Saturday, June 30, 2012

Midwest recording all-time highs in many states

The Christian Science Monitor is reporting on the heat wave that continues to grip the Mid-West. Some record high temperatures for this week (June 25-30), 2012 include:

McCook Nebraska                     109 degrees

Hill City, Kansas                       115 degrees

St.Louis, Mo.                             108 degrees

Atlanta, Ga.                                106 degrees

Washington, D.C.                      103 degrees

Cincinnatti, Oh.                         103 degrees

Nashville, Tn.                            104 degrees

Chicago, Ill.                               100 degrees

Unfortunately the heat can turn deadly and is being blamed for at least a couple of deaths in the Kansas City, Mo. area (105).  In many cities and towns across the affected areas, police and fire fighters have been checking in on the sick and the elderly.  The general public is also being asked to keep an eye on their friends and neighbors.

A city in the Midwest having the nation's high temperature for five days in a row is very unusual, said Chris Foltz, a weather service meteorologist in Goodland, Kansas.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sarah Palin: different look, still as nutty as ever

I can't pinpoint what exactly it is about Sarah Palin that's making her look different these days. Is it the glasses? her age?  Well, anyway, she's still as ditzy as ever: referring to Nancy Pelosi as" a deengbat". No word yet on whether she bit off a bit of her tongue.

McAllen still eating Laredo's gas-prices lunch

I don't know if gas prices will start to shoot upwards as I posted earlier today. This was due to the fact that the price of oil surged on Wall Street.

In the meantime, our neighbors in the Valley are still enjoying substantially lower gas prices. In checking out, I noticed the following prices as of Friday Night, June 29th.

Sam's club on 7600  North 10th street                                      $2.77

Valero on 7144       North 23rd street                                       $2.79

HEB     on 900         South 10th street                                       $2.82

Closer to home, the same website shows Laredo's prices more than 25cents higher than those in McAllen.  Here's a sample.

Sam's Club       San Bernardo & Calton                                 $2.98

Murphy's         Walmart-Clark & Spur 20                              $3.04

HEB                 Saunders                                                         $3.05

I guess it's time for Richard Noriega and AL Guevara to again shine the spotlight on the continuing discrepancy in gas prices.  Is anyone surprised McAllen's keeps find ways to eat our lunch?

State fracking rules "not good enough" for Salazar

All local politicians from "Heh Heh" Henry Cuellar to the Mayor to our seedy council have told us all time and again just how much they love the Eagle Ford Shale and all it's fracking activity. They ignore the fact that the oil and gas companies have to be here (Webb county) because that's where the shale is. There's no way that they are going to leave if our city "leaders" were to insist that they be responsible with our air and water resources.

Instead, our fine politicos keep bending over backwards to appease the fracking industry because of the jobs, jobs, jobs.  

Sadly (for them), it appears that the federal government is starting to make some noise about how unacceptable the states' fracking rules are.  Here's how the right-leaning Wall Street Journal reports on this development.

From The Wall Street Journal

The Western Energy Alliance industry lobby estimates that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's rules will add at least $1.2 billion to the cost of new wells in 13 states. These costs will be borne primarily by small businesses and energy-producing Indian tribes, which are furious. In response, Mr. Salazar has agreed to extend the comment period on the rules for 60 days. The Obama Administration says the delay is proof of its reasonableness, a point it is trying to stress in this election season.

Note well, however, that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar isn't offering to kill the rules. Meanwhile, other federal agencies ranging from the EPA to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking for ways to justify imposing their own rules on fracking in the name of water quality, worker safety and more.

As Mr. Salazar put it this week, state oversight "isn't good enough for me." If President Obama is re-elected, a sure bet is a tax increase. The second surest bet is that oil and natural gas fracking will face a deluge of new federal costs and bureaucratic orders.

Oil prices up, how long before gas follows suit?

I just heard Brian Williams say that the price of a barrel of oil was up more than 9 % today. It was the single-day biggest increase of the year. Apparently there was some sort of deal brokered by the European banks or something and that was what reportedly lead to the spiking of oil prices.

Just yesterday, I got some gas at the HEB on Saunders at $3.07 a gallon.  I've noticed that when oil prices go down, gasoline prices are slow to follow, but when the opposite is true, then gas prices jumped overnight, if not the same day.

Maybe it won't affect prices that much, but I'm sure the oil & gas companies won't let such an opportunity go to waste.  Dust off your yonkas and get them ready.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Like finding two needles in a haystack

A couple of days ago, I was listening to the best news source in town- KLNT, OK, besides the BOLAS-certified blogs of course, when I heard ol' Richard Noriega recount a story about an incident down in the Texas valley. Reportedly, an individual had been beaten outside a bar and the police were still looking for the alleged assailants.

The descrption the police had provided for the two men went as follows: 2 Hispanic males, in their late 20s to early 30s, heavyset, with shaved heads and several tattos on their hands and arms.

Good luck in find those suspects, I think you just succeeded in describing at least 50 percent of the South Texas males in that age group, if not more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

US Supreme court weakens bite of SB 1070: racial profiling still probable

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court threw out key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants Monday but said a much-debated portion could go forward — that police must check the status of people stopped for various reasons who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally.
The court upheld the "show me your papers" requirement, but even there the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges. And they removed some teeth by prohibiting officers from arresting people on immigration charges.

The Obama administration had assailed the Arizona law as an unconstitutional intrusion into an area under Washington's control, and the court struck down provisions that would have made state crimes out of federal immigration violations.

But several lawmakers and civil rights groups said the part of the law left in place by the high court was an invitation to racial profiling.

The court announced that Thursday would be the last day of rulings this term, which means the decision on President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul probably will come that day.
The Arizona decision landed in the middle of a presidential campaign in which Obama has been heavily courting Latino voters and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been struggling to win Latino support. During a drawn-out primary campaign, Romney and the other GOP candidates mostly embraced a hard line on illegal immigrants, though Romney has lately taken a softer tone.
Obama said he was pleased that the court struck down key parts of Arizona's law but concerned about what the high court left intact.

"No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," the president said in a written statement. He said police in Arizona should not enforce the provision in a way that undermines civil rights

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Laredo does not own Unitrade, Schuster does

"Now, let me make this perfectly clear, this is MY field and you do what I say"

It's now amazingly clear that Laredo taxpayers have spend roughly 23 Million dollars on the so-called Unitrade baseball park only to virtually give it away to Lemur man, Mark Schuster.  Since the baseball park started to take shape, LaredoTejas has joined many other Laredoans in speaking out against the carpetbagger-style antics of the Ventura group.  Now, we know that they, more specifically Schuster, calls the shots himself; not any of the citizens of Laredo nor their elected "officials".

When the Laredo "Roses" of the fledgling Sugar and Spice women's football league tried to follow through with their scheduled (since April) game at Unitrade Park, Mark Schuster said No and it was No.  Neither the Mayor, seedy council nor staff could or would dare tell the head Lemur that this is our town and that he does not have the final say-so in who gets to use the park or when.

Of course, our city leaders were nowhere to be found and the Laredo Roses had to make their debut at Father McNaboe field where the game was called short due to darkness.  In the meantime, all Laredoans continue to pay 8.25 cents sales tax with the .25 continuing to go for paying for Schuster's baseball park. 

There is no need to call Ventura Group a bunch of thieves because that implies that they had to forceully take Unitrade. The truth is that it was all wrapped up and presented to them, all 23Million dollars worth,  on a silver platter by our Mayor and council - compliments of the Laredo taxpayers.

Now, Mr. Schuster, if you'll excuse us hometown people, we have to go water Father McNaboe field and see if we can use it while you consider  whether you're ever going to allow us the use our own field ever again.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Laredo: Capitol of fake jeans and copywright infringement


LAREDO, Texas — What not to wear? Nearly 2,900 pair of fake jeans.

Agents in South Texas have announced the seizure of about $194,000 worth of counterfeit-label jeans.

Customs and Border Protection officials in Laredo on Thursday said the jeans were falsely labeled as Levi Strauss & Co. products. Investigators say the case involves alleged trademark infringement against the San Francisco-based company.

Further details on the commercial shipment of clothing, seized at the World Trade Bridge, were not immediately released.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Carreton repair shop to relocate to Laredo ?

Carreton photo appears courtesy of Bordertown Blues blog

Laredo has long been renowned for its stray dogs, dumped used tires and , of course, abandoned carretones from the various Laredo area supermarkets and shopping centers.  Truth be told, oft times, these useful transporters of goods are mostly intact save for their wheels. 

Due to a structural design problem, a carreton's wheels come nowhere near in durability in comparison to its body/chassis. Taking this fact into consideration, there is a very good likelihood that carretones all over the barrios will soon be resurrected and once again become a valulable commodity.

LaredoTejas business desk has some inside information indicating that Caring for Carretones, a company dedicated to restoring old shopping carts to their glory days, mostly by refitting them with hi-tech, long-endurance wheels, will soon be opening a location in the Gateway City.

Caring for Carretones is expected to add at least two jobs to the Laredo workforce, with the possibility of adding perhaps up to three more during its first year in operation.  Taxpayers should not worry, there is not word of any tax abatements or incentive packages being offered as of yet to CFC.  

According to reliable sources, CFC is looking at opening its first Laredo branch somewhere in carreton-rich West Laredo, probably near the barrios of Los Amores, El Trece or La Ladrillera.

Auto Thefts: Is this coverage we can count on?

Pro 8 news is reporting that Laredo dropped out of the top 10 cities for auto theft and is now ranked all the way down at number 53 according to a list compiled by the National Car Insurance Bureau.

The way the news was presented, the "dropping out of the top 10" occurred this year.  Yet, Laredo did not appear in last years (2010) to 10 list either.

Well, here's the real scoop.  Laredo did drop out of the top 10, but that happened last year, not this year.  Still, the news is good since Laredo went from number 11 in 2010 as shown below to number 53 on 2011's (the latest ) list.

Maybe I'm juse splitting hairs but being that we have so little news coverage on Pro8news, we might as well keep them honest.

Last year's list of cities with most auto thefts

1.Fresno, Calif.
2.Modesto, Calif.
3.Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
4.Spokane, Wash.
5.Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
6.Sacramento, Calif. area
7.Stockton, Calif.
8.Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
9.San Francisco-Oakland, Calif. area
10.Yakima, Wash.
11.Laredo, Texas
12.Detroit, Mich. area
13.Seattle, Wash. area
14.Macon, Georgia
15.San Diego, Calif. area
16.Myrtle Beach, SC area
17.Las Vegas, Nev.
18.San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
19.Jackson, Miss.
.20.Albuquerque, NM  

                      The Good News -  From

At any rate, cars these days are much more difficult to steal than they were 20 years ago–and crime rates overall are dropping. FBI statistics for 2011 show a 3.3-percent drop in vehicle thefts since 2010, this thanks in large part to a decline in the ranking of Laredo, Texas. Laredo went from being rated at the No. 1 spot in 2009 to No. 53 in 2011. Within those two years, Laredo’s thefts dropped 53 percent, from 1,792 to 849 cars stolen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Plastic bags cheapen shopping for groceries

There used to be an art to "sacking" groceries. Of course that was back when we had paper sacks. At the checkout station, the cashier would ring up your groceries for the day while a proud sacker would strategically sort out your groceries and bag them for you. No one bag was was much heavier than any of the others. The cold stuff went together, as did the produce and everything was appropriately stacked as to avoid any damage to your goods.

Now, we have plastic bags and anything goes.  You'll get one that weighs a ton and another that's only got a few ounces in it. Your bread is just one of many things that is likely to get crushed in today's plastic bag world. 

When you get home, no longer do you get the pleasure of walking in with several, tall, upright paper bags full of groceries for your family. The sense of "I went to the market" is gone.  Now, one walks in with a bunch of unsightly, drooping bags that can sometimes cut the circulation off your finger tips if you're not careful. Their armorphic properties frequently allows them to roll off the counter.

Then, as if I had to mention it, there's the horrendous toll these hundreds of thousands of plastic bags (trash) are taking on our communities.  Look at any cyclone fence, there's hundreds of bags tangled up. Weeds are everywhere in Laredo, and where's there's weeds, there's plastic bags ensnared about them.

I'm glad a concerned group of citizens is again resurrecting the effort to reduce the number of plastic bags that litter the Gateway City.  Councilman Alex Perez deserves credit for lending the influence of his position the this cause. Also, Ms. Tricia Cortez, who has a propensity for aligning herself with good, community-promoting causes deserves much credit as well.

Political matching name game

As long as we're talking city council, excuse me,seedy council. Try your hand at matching some of the nicknames that I've heard in referring to our fearless leaders.  I can't take credit for making them up and some I hear more often than others.

council men's nicknames

El vozalon
El Fred Flinstone
El weasal
El chicloso
Mr. self-credit
Mr. Clean
El peinadito
El stars and stripes
El bullfrog
El "pretty much"

There's more but they escape me at the moment.

Self-centerdness: On watching the seedy council

Ulterior motives line almost every face in the place:the mayor, the council, staff, most in the audience.  The mayor chews up about 5 minutes of the clock repeating himself very other phrase. Vida is back and the public forum is about the only place where people might mention a thing or two about others and not themselves.  Beyond that, self-centeredness abounds.

Department heads tired and mostly unaware of the too-routine process yet to their credit they never fail to wake up when the agenda item up next involves them, their job and position. A few words here and there, a half-sensical explanation at best and their over-sized paycheck is safe for now.  No passion remains for something they might have once approached with at least a semblence of idealism and creativity.

On the way to the meeting, I pass some of the lowest performing schools in the state. Most of them brand new, millions of dollars invested in brick and mortar but the yield is barely measurable. Making my way downtown on Santa Maria, several abandoned places that used to house businesses dot the route. I can still hear the mayor from earlier on TV speaking about how low our unemployment is and about how good Laredo is doing. Bizzare?

 Yes, of course, bizzare. Thinking  "why even bother to write any of this": exactly.

VIDA comes back to vida

Laredo's only daily newspaper, LMT, today reported on the latest incarnation of watchdog group VIDA : Voices in Democratic Action.  This organization is not to be confused with the BOLAS sanctioned BIDA: Blogs in Democratic Activism.

The MIBs at BOLAS' undisclosed headquarters describe BIDA as a loose federation of mostly Laredo-based blogs that continually point out many facts about the Gateway City, including its politicos and their many, many shortcomings.

As far as VIDA goes, According to Laredo Morning Times, they will be making their first public appearance in a long time at this afternoon's city seedy council meeting. It should be interesting how the constitutional awareness-challenged mayor and council will welcome the group.

The mayor himself, coming fresh off another whirlwind tour, might be handling the gavel after being absent for the last couple of meetings. If this is the case, will he resort to his "removing Laredos from the airport" version, or, will he reluctantly recognize Laredoans first amendment rights to free speech and petitioning their government for redress of grievances?

The meeting should broadcast tonight startin at 5:30 on Public Access Channel 13.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fox's Bi-polar presentation of immigration news

Media Matters for America reporting today on two very distinct ways in which Fox's website(s) are handling today's news that Obama administration will stop deporting law-abiding immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents when they (the kids) were under 16 years of age.

On Fox News Latino, the news is reported as follows. Note that Fox News Latino is meant to include Latinos in Fox's internet audience.

Fox News Latino - Fair & Balanced

Obama Administration Halts Deportations for Young Immigrants

On the other hand, the often-racist Fox Nation reports the exact same story from the Associated Press but in a way that is certain to play better with their mostly-anti-immigration base:

The FOX Nation
Obama Administration Bypasses Congress, to Give Immunity, Stop Deporting Younger Illegals

Bunch of hypocrites, I reckon

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The squeaky wheel gets the

"Heh, heh, heh. The money's all mine! "

At the top of Henry Cuellar's donors are the good ol' Koch Brothers. They have donated $33,000 bucks to Heh-Heh Henry Cuellar's coffers.

Here's some interesting figures from

Cuellar's dirty money by category -above

Henry's Dirty money by Industry

It's Baaack! : Stage 3 water rationing

Many Laredoans, including yours truly, were bewildered last year when the city of Laredo decided to end stage 3 water rationing in the middle of the worst Texas drought in the history of the state.  Personally, I thought that the city was doing it because it was about to start selling water to fracking industry and it couldn't justify doing that and having stage 3 water restrictions in place at the same time.

Well, on this upcoming Monday's city council agenda, there is an item (no.13) that will seek to reinstate the stage 3 water restriction policy.

From The Laredo City Council Agenda for June 18th, 2012

13. Consideration for approval to advance from Stage 1 of the Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Ordinance to Stage 3 and declare it effective on July 1, 2012 for approximately three (3) months.
A Stage 1 is voluntary water conservation, and Stage 3 is mandatory water conservation. Stage 3 requires customers to irrigate their lawn using a hose-end sprinkler or automatic sprinkler system only three (3) days per week.
 Addresses ending in even numbers can only water on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and addresses ending in odd numbers can only water Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Watering Sundays is strictly prohibited.
The watering times are only before 8:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. on the assigned days. This schedule also applies to the washing of vehicles and refilling of swimming pools. Hand-watering or using a drip irrigation system is allowed at any time.

Waterless Fracking in Floresville, Texas

A Canadian company brings a water-free fracking process drought-stricken Texas. While most other frackers use upwards of 5 Million gallons of precious H2O for each well that is "fracked", GasFrac has developed a high-tech gel that replaces water as the fracturing element.

That being said, GasFrac should make its way down to Webb county and show the current operatos how to be more responsible with our scarce water resources.

Being that the process is so new, some, like the Texas Sierra Club's Dewayne Quertermos remain wary of the innovation, telling Austin's KUT News  "It’s so new. We don’t really know that much about itSo we don’t really know if there’s going to be some problem with it that won’t come to light for two or three years.”


A Canadian company that uses a new, waterless process in fracking operations plans to build an operations center in Floresville that will serve clients drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale, a company official said Friday.

Canada-based Gasfrac Energy Services Inc. already has begun hiring the 100 workers that it will need, marketing director Kyle Ward said.

Experts say about 5 million gallons of water is needed to hydraulically fracture a well in the Eagle Ford Shale, a rapidly developing oil and gas play in South Texas. Water used in hydraulic fracturing has raised concerns the region's water supplies could be threatened.

Gasfrac's Ward said the company's technology uses a propane gel to fracture rock instead of the usual mix of water, sand and chemicals.

“We are the only 100 percent waterless (well) stimulation process in the world. The beauty of the gel is that it becomes gas again as it returns to the surface. Because it is vaporized, there's no disposal or cleanup. It's a clean hole. All we leave is sand.”

The gel was developed by Chevron Corp., which patented it, while Gasfrac has patents on the process, Ward said.

“We spent two years looking at how to gel it and pump it.”

Gasfrac has landed a two-year contract with San Antonio-based BlackBrush Oil & Gas LP to provide fracturing services for the exploration company's wells in the Carrizo Springs area.
Read more:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Los Llorones de Fox News

The crybabies at Fox's "News" Five are at it again. They find Spanish annoying even when it's coming from the highest achieving student at a California High School. I'm guessing the kid's not the Valedictorian without being really good at English as well. He probably was being respectable of the older Hispanic audience, many of whom might not understand English that well.

P.S. as the Fox crew mentions, he did offer to do his speech in both English and Spanish but was told to pick one.

Mocatelas! : Martin High School at bottom of STAAR scores

La Martin la rego en el STAAR

My, own Alma Mater, Raymond and Tirza Martin High School is at the very bottom of the ladder in regards to the just-released STAAR test scores.

 Ol' Tim Gutierrez announced a few minutes ago that in English 1,Writing,  the home of Tiger Legends scored an appalling 16 per cent passing rate.  The news was not much better in English 1, Reading.  On this test, the mighty Tiger freshmen scored an abysmal 27 percent passing rate.  It sounds like someone has a lot of work cut out for them; Administrators, teachers, parents and students.

I can't say that I'm very surprised. English is spoken very little at today's MHS.  From the time you walk in, the security guards, office personnel, students and even teachers carry a great deal of their conversations in Spanish.

Tax payer funded advertising for Canales?

Bottom Menu

I couldn't get a picture of it, but tonight on Pro8News, they had a piece on a Webb county free summer camp for kids. Apparently, it's being sponsored by Pct. 4 commissioner Jaime Canales. I could not miss this fact because of the towering letters prominently displaying Canales' name.

On top, in relatively small letters it reads "Webb county", followed by a much much larger font announcing "Jaime Canales". Well, here's a not-too-reasonable fascimile.

Webb County Summer Camp
Jaime Canales

Now, if commissioner Canales is paying for the camp out of his own pocket, then my apologies and he certainly has a right to display his name as prominently as he wants to.  But......if it's taxpayers' money paying for the camp and its advertisements, then commissioner Canales should have known better.

Monday, June 11, 2012

City keeps racking up sports venue debt

It started with a nearly $40 Million dollar arena-which stands mostly unused. Then, our brainiac seedy council decided to add an $18 Million dollar baseball park -which is now turning out to be a $23 Million dollar park. Now, for a mere $100,000 added to the sports venue tax debt, the city's financial committee will consider authorizing the purchase of a portable basketball court for the Laredo Energy Arena.

This is the brainchild of cm. Rangel. After realizing that there was standing room only for an Alexander High School state playoff game locally, the district 2 councilman decided that we need a basketball court to replace the now-gone ice rink.

Incidentally the operations committee is made up of: councilmen Mike Garza, Alejandro Perez, Juan Narvez and Charlie San Miguel.

Here' the agenda item discussed above:

Agenda 16. Consideration to authorize the purchase of a portable basketball floor system for the Laredo Energy Arena (LEA) from NAH Inc., Houston, Texas, in the amount of $98,350.00 utilizing BuyBoard Cooperative Purchasing Contract pricing. Funding for this purchase is available in the Sports Venue Fund.
The committee meets tomorrow, Tuesday, June 12th at the very convenient hour of hi-noon at the city council chambers downtown.

Fairway on the fairway at Casa Blanca?

Another Fairway Suites somewhere else

Agenda item number 8 on tomorrow's Webb county commissioner's agenda concerns plans for a possible Fairway Suite hotel on the grounds of Casa Blanca golfcourse. Tune in tomorrow at 8:30 am to your public access channel to see what shenanigans the commissioners' court is up to now.

Agenda Item no. 8

Status report by County staff and outside counsel regarding a proposed lease

agreement with Fairway Suites for the construction of a hotel to be located at the Casa

Blanca Golf course; with discussion and possible action to approve said agreement

between Webb County and Fairway Suites; and any other matters incident thereto.

Under Republican leadership, Texas cuts 25,000 teachers

Class sizes have increased in Texas over the last year: bad news for learning

The Texas constitution calls for compulsory education for all Texans under 18 years of age.  The state GOP party has, therefore, proven to be anti-constitutional as it cut the last bi-ennial education budget by $5 Billion. Over the last year, this has translated to 25,000 less teachers in our state's classrooms. Nice going GOP.

From United States

Visit public schools across Texas, and you’ll see more students packed into classrooms. You’ll see fewer of just about everyone else – teachers, librarians, counselors, janitors.

New data from the Texas Education Agency illustrate what school officials have decried for months: Their staffs are stretched thin following the unprecedented state budget cuts that took effect this school year.

Statewide, districts eliminated roughly 25,000 positions, including more than 10,700 teaching jobs. Overall, districts cut their workforce by 4 percent – through attrition and, in some cases, layoffs – since last school year.

“I’m hoping the Legislature will see there’s hard data showing that, yes, districts are making some good decisions in terms of efficiencies,” said Bob Sanborn, president of Children at Risk, a Houston-based nonprofit that analyzed the state figures. “But the Legislature should be very worried that in the haste to be more efficient we are cutting our future out from under us.”

Texas Politics: It's about time to challenge GOP with 1st Hispanic Party Chair

From The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas Democrats elected the first Hispanic to the state chairman's position Saturday, a move indicating the party aims to play a greater role in the Republican-dominated state.

Delegates overwhelmingly chose Gilberto Hinojosa to lead the party for the next two years on the final day of the state convention in Houston. Hinojosa is a former judge, county party leader and member of the Democratic National Committee. He is replacing Boyd Richie, who has led the party since 2006.

The native of the South Texas town of Mission takes over a party that has not won a statewide election since 1994 and does not control either chamber of the Texas Legislature. But the state's evolving demographics favor Democrats, with non-Hispanic whites now making up less than 50 percent of the population. In the 2010 election, more than 85 percent of minorities voted Democratic.

"We as a party need to realize that there are more of us than there are of them," Hinojosa said. "We believe that everyone in this great state deserves an equal chance ... and we can only do that if we win elections."

Hinojosa, 59, also said Democrats need to begin believing they can win elections and stop allowing Republicans to define them as unpatriotic.

Read more here:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Max Mandel Golf Course: surrounded by chaos


Oasis - noun :   A situation or place preserved from surrounding unpleasantness; a refuge: an oasis of serenity amid chaos.

With a 9 Million dollar price tag, the Max Manded municipal golf course 10 miles out on mines road can't help but be some sort of oasis. The above definition of the word is especially appropriate because it certainly serves as a refuge from the chaotic, noisy truck traffic that gnarls the drive out there.

Recently, Pro8News ran a piece on the ongoing development of the course and posed the question : Will Laredoans be willing to drive 10 miles to use the course?  According to Tim Gutierrez, the answer was something to the effect that "They told us that avid golfers will travel hundreds of miles to the Valley or San Antonio to play the game so they don't think travel will be an issue".

The problem is that, at times, those 10 miles will feel more like 100 miles. You can hardly call crawling ever so slowly in bumper to bumper traffic amid hundreds of tractor trailers "travel".

Supposedly, Robert Trent Jones, the architect of the park is legendary in the golf world for his world-class golf courses.  I wonder, however, if this is the only park that RTJ has had the privilege to design smack dab in the  middle of a sprawling Industrial park?

Money, money everywhere in EFS but where to invest it?

Formerly sleepy Carrizo $prings, Texas

From The Houston Chronicle Online

South Texas landowners getting fat checks from energy companies for drilling on their land have been a boon to banks based in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Deposits at most of those banks have surged. For example, Karnes county National Bank's deposits rocketed 110 percent to almost $168 million from the end of 2009 through the first quarter of this year.
Eleven other institutions registered jumps in deposits that ranged from 46.8 percent to 82.7 percent. By comparison, domestic deposits at U.S. banks increased 14.7 percent during that time.

The influx of deposits has left the Eagle Ford-area banks with something of a challenge: how to deploy that money.

Deposits at Security State Bank in Pearsall, for example, climbed by $150 million from 2009 through March 31, mostly as a result of oil and gas activity, said Mike Wilson, president and CEO.
"Where we used to hunt for money, we don't have to hunt anymore," he said.

Curtis Carpentar, who follows banks as managing director of Sheshunoff & Company Investment Banking in Austin, likened the situation to having "more than you can say grace over."
Still, the deposit windfall has yet to translate to the same growth in loans.

"You can only loan money where it makes sense," he said. "And the fact that all of these deposits are coming in doesn't necessarily translate into lending opportunities."

Those opportunities will pick up as the Eagle Ford area prospers from the energy activity, Carpenter said. Bankers agreed, saying they are eager to loan on multifamily and single-family residential projects. There is some reticence to loan for RV parks and motels because of concerns that they've saturated the area.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Unitrade Stadium: Bad at $18M, Worse at $23M

Unitrade cost now up to 23 Million Big Ones

Back on March 15, 2010, the Laredo city seedy council went against the wishes of most Laredoans and selected the Ventura group over the Laredo Broncos for Laredo's then-future baseball park. The minutes of the meeting detail Shuster's presentation to the oft-times gullible council.

From the City of Laredo council meeting 03/15/2010 minutes

Mark Schuster from Ventura Sports Group made the following presentation:
Ventura Sports GroupStadium Costs

4,000 fixed seats/1,500 additional seating

Kids Playground area
Sports Bar & Grill

Suites/VIP Club

Team Offices

Merchandise Store

Box Office/First Aid

Concessions/Bathrooms to accommodate 10,000

Clubhouse (Professional & NCAA standards)

Ventura Cost Estimate of New Stadium $18-20 million

The vote itself revealed that even the overly-generous seedy council must have thought that $18Million was a tad too much and signalled that they expected an effort on Ventura's part to try to keep the price between 15 & 18 Million bucks, but whos' counting anymore

Again, from the City of Laredo council meeting 03/15/2010 minutes

Motion to go with the recommendation of City staff with the clause that staff should go

back and look at the pending issues that have been talked about to negotiate a contract to

bring back to Council and also with the agreement that the City does not spend more than

$15,000,000.00 to $18,000.000.00 on the complex. Motion to negotiate

Moved: Cm. Garcia

Second: Cm. Rendon

For: 4 - Cm. Garcia, Cm. Narvaez, Cm. Rendon, Cm. Belmares
Against: 3 - Cm. Valdez,  Cm. Liendo Espinoza, Cm. Landeck
Abstain: 0

As we now know, that "agreement" meant nothing: as the Laredo Morning Times reported today that the price tag will be $23 Million dollars......and rising.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Will Police Chief applicants include mayor Salinas?

I know this sounds crazy but there's still hints of the possibility that mayor Raul Salinas wants to include himself in the field of Laredo's new Chief of Police candidates.  Afterall, it's the mayor who keeps insisting that the new chief be accessible to the public and is good at community outreach. The mayor even suggested that the new top cop should be good with kids and senior citizens. This sounds to me as if the mayor wants to cash in on his years of photo-ops. There must be at least a hundred pictures of the mayor being "easily accessible" to the public and "good with kids and seniors" since the mayor hardly misses an opportunity to ham it up for the cameras.

Throw in other qualifications such as : FBI academy training, bilingual, familiar with border issues.....well, here's the qualifications as appearing in today's Laredo Morning Times

City Council voted to approve a job description including requirements for a bachelor’s degree; 12 years of law enforcement experience, of which seven should be in a position equivalent to lieutenant; and advanced certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.

Additionally preferred criteria include a master’s degree; FBI academy training; proficiency in Spanish; an ability to work with the community and other law enforcement agencies; and experience with issues in border communities.

City Manager Carlos Villarreal acknowledged that some of the preferred criteria would be demonstrated best during the interview process.

Villarreal said it could take about four months to select a new police chief after reviewing applications, conducting the interview process and making a staff recommendation to City Council.

As long as we're being sort of conspiracy theorists today, we might as well wonder aloud about the timing.  City Mgr. Carlos Villarreal says it will take about 4 months to select a new police chief. Let's see that would be around early October- just in time for electing a new mayor to replace Salinas. Try as I may, even such a theory as this, I still don't come close to some of the crazy talk we heard from Mayor Salinas and several in the seedy council.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mayor telegraphs his pick for future Police Chief

Ummmm, obviously, I don't have a mustache anymore

Tonight, there was no need to read between the lines at the Laredo Seedy council meeting. When it came time to discuss the qualifications for Laredo's next police chief, It was clear who the mayor wants filling those shoes.

In the mayor's eyes, the "new" police chief should:

1) be familiar with the Texas-Mexico border and its issues

2) be bilingual

3) be someone who can unite the police force: The mayor mentioned that getting along with the Police Unions is of the utmost importance.

4) be able to reach out to the citizens of Laredo. The mayor added, this includes kids and senior citizens.

5) "Someone from the ranks, someone from Laredo" (so much for a broad field of applicants)

6)  "Not necessarily someone with a college degree". The mayor went on to cite a couple of examples of people who achieved success without a college degree: form Laredo mayor Saul Ramirez and Head of the Border Patrol, David Aguilar.

As the discussion wore on, the council made it sound as if having a college degree were a negative asset.  Councilman Rangel, at one point, declared " I wouldn't mind hiring someone with a degree".  Councilman Vera vociferously stated that he wanted someone with Integrity, honor and dedication and not "someone with a degree who is worthless".  Not since Rick Santorum called President Obama a "snob" for encouraging Americans to pursue higher education had I seen such an blatant display of disprespect and contempt for anyone with a college degree.

To their credit, Cm. Charlie San Miguel suggested that the bar "not be lowered" and insisted that a degree should still be required for the top cop postition.  Meanwhile, councilman Garza said that although the council could hire someone without a degree, he wanted the application to state that a "Master's degree is preferred".  Finally, council woman Cindy Liendo motioned to keep the existing guidelines for possible Police Chief candidates (with degree) as the council agreed to ratify her motion.

Laredoan continues impressive carreer at Mississippi State U

FILE - Mississippi State left-hander Luis Pollorena got a run scored and a bunt single in his first positional start beyond the pitching mound Saturday.

From The Starkville, La. Dispatch

Matt Stevens

In most of MSU career, junior Luis Pollorena has been known as the Bulldogs high-energy left-handed pitcher. The 5-foot-7 athlete from Laredo, Texas added another statistic to his unique college career by starting an NCAA Regional game Saturday against UAB in right field.

In an elimination game, MSU went with Sam Frost at third baseman and Matthew Britton at second base. These moves forced veterans Brent Brownlee and Daryl Norris to the bench against UAB.

Pollorena, who was a outfielder and pitcher at Marian (Ala.) Military Academy before signing with MSU two years ago, would produce a bunt single, a walk and a run scored in the five-hole of MSU's lineup Saturday.

"I felt like that part of our lineup was a little bit more swing-and-miss and the thing I know about Pollorena is I know he's going to make contact," Cohen said. "I also obviously have to know before doing that, that Pollo's not going to pitch for us that day."

Before the start in the NCAA Regional elimination game at Florida State Saturday, Pollorena had three official at-bats in the 2012 season not including a game-tying sacrifice fly in the Bulldogs 4-3 comeback win last week over No. 2 LSU in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala.

After the 8-1 victory over UAB, Bulldogs senior pitcher Caleb Reed joked that is simply another opportunity for fan favorite Pollorena to excite the crowd.

"People love him and we have no idea why," Reed sad. "We like him a lot don't get me wrong but he gets a standing ovation for everything he does."

Read more:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

KLNT's Roundtable discussion on Downtown Part 2

Click on the link below to listen to part 2 of KLNT's discussion about Downtown Laredo. It features Les Norton, Cindy Liendo and a couple of other interested parties. Spotlight RoundTable 0531

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rio Grande: Our source of water and contamination

A little behind the scenes at the Rio Grande tests for bacteria.

Fox : Poor oil companies don't got it so good

Where else would you hear somethng like that? Fox News where else.

Valley politiqueras eat Laredo's canoneros' lunch

The contested ballots were traced to nursing homes, adult daycares and assisted living centers, and she interviewed more than 100 of the voters. The stories were consistent. They'd been visited at election time by a politiquera, who came bearing Mexican sweet breads or barbecue plates and “helped them” vote.

“These people are just dying for company, that's all they want,” Flores said, “They want somebody to talk to, they want to feel needed, and that's where they're exploited.”

In a Democratic stronghold like the Rio Grande Valley, most contests will be decided in the primaries, and of the votes cast, nearly half may be in the two weeks before election day. And in the hyper-local races — county commission seats, precinct constables, small city mayors and council members — the 200 votes the politiqueras secure for, say, $2,000, can be the deciding factor toward a position of power that can influence who gets the big insurance or construction contracts or a nod on a job with decent pay.

The politiqueras are enormously powerful, able to steer the poor to the right lawyer, the right social service agency, the right office-holder to solve their problems.

In exchange for their reach within the community, they are wined and dined, invited to high-society weddings, given paid trips to the state party convention.

The powers that be rely on them, said a Democratic candidate who feared being identified because it would not only cost her the race but also bring retribution to family and friends.

“Every candidate is approached,” she said, adding that she gave a polite no, resigned to the likelihood the politiquera would just sell her votes to an opponent. Two politicians who weren't afraid to go on the record had left the Democratic party.

One, state Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, recalled his early days as a Democrat.
“They'd walk into the office with a stack of ballots, probably two fists full, and say that they were for sale if I wanted to pay for them,” he said, noting that he turned them down.

Read more:

Read more:

Laredo News sources multiply: KLNT, Fox 16

After KVTV abandoned its 6pm and 10pm newscasts, Laredo was left with only the "coverage you cant count on", Pro8news.  Now, seemingly overnight, Laredo is much more better informed thanks to KLNT, 1490 AM radio and Fox 16's 9 PM news.

Upon catching my first glimpse of Fox's 9pm news, I thought it was being broadcast out of the Valley or even out of San Antonio. The presentation was very well-done and the graphics and color excellent. I thought: maybe Laredo feeds the news to some outfit out of town and they do a show and broadcast it back. Well, soon afterwards, I realized that at the very beginning of the newscast, the voice-over clearly states "Live from Laredo, Texas".  By the time 10 PM comes along, KGNS's "news" is not really news anymore.  Also, Fox has a lot more local news than KGNS ever has had. I've heard many people refer to KGNS's news as the 3-minute news.  After about 3 minutes, it's all re-hashed.

KLNT's Richard Noriega and Al Guevara do an excellent job of covering news at the local level. Yes, they do cover state and national news, but the bulk of their reporting has to do with Laredo's news and issues. They have already had several "round-table" discussions with many community organizations. They have definitely given Laredo a much better informed listener. They have also improved the sense of community in our town.

Congratulations to both KLNT and Fox 16 news.