Friday, September 20, 2013

Willl Mayor, council and staff take credit for this also? Monterrey flights cancelled

Our local daily, aka el mty is reporting that AeroMexico flights between Laredo and Monterrey have been "quietly" cancelled.  The quiet part was no doubt because that's how the local politicos wanted it.  Monterrey is a huge industrial metropolis of several million people and so Laredo has lost a large market.  All that travel and free private-jet flights to and from Mexico and other Latin American countries are not looking very productive at all.

Laredo Morning Times reported it as such online:

Residents wanting to travel to Monterrey, Mexico by air will have to find a different airport to fly out of. AeroMexico Airlines canceled its daily flights from Laredo International Airport to General Mariano Escobedo International Airport in Monterrey on Aug. 10 after less than a year in service.

Airport Manager Jose Flores said although the partnership with the Mexican airline was valuable, the daily output was not up to the standards of the billion dollar airline giant. “The flight was just not profitable,” he said. “Rather than continue with an unprofitable rout, they decided to cancel the service.”

Representatives from AeroMexico could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Of course, AeroMexico representatives could not be reached for comment. Again, that's how the Mayor and the other local politicos want it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

G.O.U.G.E. to address city council's attack on Laredo garage sales

G.O.U.G.E. or  Grassroots Organization United for Garage-sales Entrepreneurship will be calling their first, organizational meeting to deal with the current pounding garage sales are taking under the present city council.   Only last year, a permit was required for the first time ever in order for someone to hold a garage sale: the permit fee was $5.  This year, the fee was tripled to $15 per garage sale. At that point, the reasoning was that the fee increase would generate an additonal $27,000 to help the hapless city officials offset a growing budget deficit.

Now, you can forget those additional $27,000 going in the city's coffers. At last night's meeting, Cm. Alex Perez made a motion to reduce the number of garage sales allowed per year from three to two. If the city was expecting to rake in $27,000 for 3 garage sales a year, then it makes sense to figure that the city will stand to lose 1/3 of that money ($9,000) by reducing the allowed number of garage sales.

Like the saying goes: "Ellos solos se estan cortando el pescuezo".

Anti-LDF trend continues at city council

As LaredoTejas recently reported, cities throughout the Rio Grande Valley continue to fund their respective Development Foundations rather generously-especially when compared to the city of Laredo. Laredo's essentially anti-LDF trend continued last night at the city's council's meeting. The wheels were sent in motion to cut back the funding to LDF even further. Eventually, what the city manager and council want is to completely take over the money available currently for the LDF.

Councilman Vera suggested that the city look at what it would cost for the city to create their own Economic Development department. He instructed city manager Carlos Villarreall to report back with figures on how much it would cost the city to fund "an economic director and two assistants".  If the current allowed funding of $270,000 is allocated to these three new positions, the breakdown might be something like: 1 Director at $110,000 a year and 2 assistants at $80,000 a year each. If these, new political positions are not created then chances are that the money will be used by the mayor and council to expand their vacation-like trips throughout the country. Even when not travelling, the mayor & council could use these thousands to wine and dine so-called prospective investors.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

San Benito gets in line to eat our lunch

As the Laredo Economic Development Foundation slowly gets defunded a la Ted Cruz, it looks like our Valley neighbors are stepping up their game to attract business development. We're not even talking about McAllen this time. The story in today's Harlingen Valley Star centers on the town of San Benito, Texas which apparently has taken its seat at the table where Laredo's Lunch continues to be one of the most popular items on the menu.

From The Harlingen Valley Star

SAN BENITO — City commissioners have taken their first step to approve the San Benito Economic Development Corporation’s proposed $972,773 budget. In a meeting Tuesday night, commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance that would adopt the budget. Commissioners are expected to approve the budget in a Sept. 17 meeting.

The proposed budget includes $676,005 earmarked to help fund projects to lure prospective businesses to town, Torres said in an interview. The funding compares with $305,205 budgeted this year, the proposed budget shows. “Those changes reflect our workload,” Torres said of projects that focus on several prospective businesses.

Read the entire article at:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I guess we're getting another baseball complex we can't afford: Pretty Much

Just a couple of hours ago, I was surprised to learn (from Pro8news) no less that the city has decided to spend "a portion" of the proceeds of the civic center sale to buy yet another un-needed baseball park/complex. Someone, somewhere is going to get some big bucks. Councilman Esteban "Pretty Much" Rangel proudly spoke about the city's intentions with KGNS and astoundingly commented that he's not really worried about the cost of maintaining and operating another sports facility because, according to him, just one tournament will bring in about $800,000 dollars?  I am not making it up. I'm guessing Pro8News will probably post the report later on.

Anyway, not as if it matters, but Texas law regarding proceeds from sale of public property says:

(d)  The proceeds of the sale may be used only to acquire and improve property for the purposes for which the sold property was used.

Ok, so both the sold property and the property to be bought must be for the same purpose. Let's see, Was the city center used to play baseball?  MMM Pretty Much....No.
Will the new property include a ballroom and an auditorium?  MMM again, Pretty Much, No.

It looks like our slick city council is doing whatever they wish again with public funds.  Also, true to form, Pro8News does not specify what "portion" of the proceeds will go towards the new, un-needed sports complex. Is it 1 dollar or is it 5 Million dollars?   Hard to tell.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Texas schools to experience increase use of "la m'am" and "el sir"

Today, the Texas Tribune came out with the latest figures on the changing demographics in the state's public schools.  This definitely increases the chances that the phrases "la m'am" and "el sir" will continue to be heard more and more throughout Texas schools.  N'ambre!

From The Texas Tribune

An analysis from Steve Murdock, director of Rice University’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, shows that of the roughly 979,000 children added to the state’s under-18 population from 2000 to 2010, about 931,000 were Hispanic. By 2050, Murdock’s projection shows, the number of Texas public school students is expected to swell to 9 million from roughly 5 million now, and nearly two-thirds will be Hispanic. The overall percentage of Anglo students will drop by half to about 15 percent.

The changes present both challenges and opportunities to Texas public schools. According to state data, Hispanic students have been statistically less likely to leave high school with a diploma than their Anglo peers. Of the Hispanic students who do graduate, few are prepared for college. In 2011, 42 percent met college-readiness benchmarks in both English and math, compared with 65 percent of Anglo students. Among economically disadvantaged students and those with limited English proficiency, the gap continues to widen. Thirty-eight percent of students who came from low-income households did well enough on their Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills or college entrance exams to qualify as “college ready.” Only 5 percent of those with limited English language skills did so.

Read the entire article at :

Monday, September 9, 2013

Will LMT and/or Pro8News investigate possible nepotism at county?

If what Pct. 1 Constanble Rudy Rodriguez said holds any water, our local media may have a little project on their hands- if they see fit or course.  Rodriguez said Monday on Pro8News that the Webb county commissioners' court, which includes Wawi Tijerina, hired Wawi's husband for some new county job that reportedly pays $60,000 a year.  What if commissioner Tijerina abstained from voting, does that make a difference?

Here's what Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot has to say about the issue in the state publication entitled 2012 Texas Nepotism Laws made easy.

What types of local government officials rubject to the nepotism laws?
The nepotism statutes apply to any public official who is the final hiring authority or is a member of the governing body that has the final hiring authority.
It goes on to clarify:
A governing body or public employee would still be considered the final authority if either may exercise control over a hiring decision - even though such authority may have been delegated to another official or another entity.   
Even more clear, the AG's publication addresses the question of abstention:
May other members of a governing body vote to hire a person who is a close relative of a public official if that public official abstains from voting?
The short answer : No.
It would be interesting to get LMT's/ Pro 8 news take on this. Anybody think they'll cover this?
Here's a link to the AG's report:



"Rip Van Winkle" aka Danny Valdez asleep at the switch, now retirees pay bigtime

Danny Valdez and his cohorts over at the shameful Webb county commissioners' court have recently cited that the reason they are suddenly raising health premiums for retirees 1000 percent is because "
we haven't raised them for 10 years".  Well, the question is "why not". Who was minding the store all of these years. Of course, the answer is that, for most of that time, it's been Judge Valdez.

I understand that the effected employees are the ones who have retired but are not yet old enough to qualify for medicare. Commissioner Jaime Canales, who is being challenged by Jose Valdez Jr. and perhaps others, has mentioned a couple of times that "they" are trying to see if there is something else they can do.

pre-fight warmup: Sheriff Cuellar strips away some of Rodriguez's domain

Lending more credence to the belief that Webb County Precinct 1 Constable Rudy Rodriguez will challenge incumbent Martin Cuellar for the Sheriff's position this coming year, there were shenaigans abound at today's Webb County Commissioner's meeting.  This is how it appeared on the agenda.
Discussion and possible action to transfer the oversight, supervision, financial and operational responsibilities of the Mental Health Unit from Constable Precinct No. 1 to the Webb County Sheriff’s Office, including all corresponding Slots, personnel and equipment assigned to this division, effective October 1, 2013.

Constable Rodriguez's opionon is that this move is some sort of retaliation. He told Pro8News that the commissioners had approved yet another new position at the county. It was some sort of traffic director and was given to the husband of commissioner Tijerina. However, Rodriguez did not go into detail as to how exactly it was retaliation. Perhaps behind the scenes during this formulative stage of the next election cycle alliances are being formed and shenanigans are sure to abound. 

Rodriguez appeared on the 5pm telecast of Pro8news and alluded to some political reasons with this proposed (now approved) move.  According to the Valerie Bragg, the commissioners voted aye after debating about an hour. Dicho y Hecho

Thursday, September 5, 2013

$250,000 burning a hole in city's pockets. Let's get some parking meters!

It's ironic that the city has never given much support to promoting businesses downtown. Now, all of a sudden, they are jumping at the chance to install some new, state-of-the-art parking meters that will take credit and debit cards. No word if they will also accept the Lone Star card.

Forget about the city's budget problems, all of a sudden they found $250,000 to splurge in the parking meter fund. Maybe they figure that if you install the meters, they will come.

Here's what the agenda background info back in June of this year looked like.

From the City of Laredo's agenda for June 17th, 2013

The pilot project will entail the installation of 50 new state-of-the-art single parking meters and 25 vehicle detection sensors to reset meters at locations selected by the Parking Meter Division. The pilot project will be in place for a period ofthree (3) months and is scheduled to start approximately in August 2013 and end October 2013.
 The City will bare no cost during the implementation of the three (3) month pilot project. The new parking meters include GPRS Wireless communication, solar and battery power; live monitoring for maintenance, audit and enforcement purposes.

Parking meter payment options will be coins and credit cards with future capabilities for pay by cell, tokens, and smart cards. The pilot project will evaluate the revenue of collections comparing current meters with new parking meter options.

The Parking Meter Fund currently has funding to upgrade approximately 300 parking meters including AutoTRAX license and merchant fees should the City decide to proceed with awarding contract to IPS Group after the pilot project.
FINANCIAL: $250,000 is available in the Parking Meter Fund.

RECOMMENDATION: STAFF:Staff recommends to proceed with the single parking meter pilot project.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Henry gets stuck due to train, city council tripping over itself to respond.

US congressman from Laredo, Henry Cuellar -D (28), apparently got blocked by the KCS train this afternoon  for about 45 minutes.  He placed a call to city officials (City Manager) and wants something done about this- yesterday. According to Planning and Zoning director Nathan Bratton, a meeting with KCS "corporate" is shaping up in the next couple of weeks.

Of course, something needs to be done to avoid blocking city crossings for any lengthy amount(s) of time. If it takes Henry himself being blocked by the train for something to (maybe) be done- so be it. The mayor and others are correct in saying that these crossings should not be blocked long, especially when an emergency arises.

From past discussions, it doesn't seem that local governments can do much about such things. It appears that it's the Feds that usually make these types of calls when it comes to the nation's trains.

Ever opportunistic, Cm. Alex Perez, quickly added that this issue should be something to discuss when "we go to Washington". There goes another $100,000 dollars again. And that's only for the trip to the nation's capital.

Texas Tribune keeps on trackin'

The Texas Tribune has just updated it's database of government employees' salaries. This includes your very own local, City of Laredo.  According to the Tribune's latest figures. There are 36  city of Laredo public employees (paid with your taxes and mine) making over $100,000 a year. Many of these are well over the $100K mark.  Even figuring 36 x $100K, that equals $3.6 Million dollars a year.  With the city looking to balance it's budget, a mere 5 per cent cut in salary for these 36 public employees would save the city approximately $200,000 dollars. 

Instead the city will raise the garage sale permit fee 200 per cent from $5 bucks to $15 bucks for each garage sale.  Take that you taxpayers.  How dare you try to make a few extra bucks without us taking our cut right off the top.

Where's mayor's next job?

I've heard that mayor Salinas is fixin' to announce that he will be running for county treasurer to replace the retiring? Delia Perales.  He has been reluctant to announce it simply because it's too early.  The mayor should really consider running for US congress given his vast powers of filibustering. He could team up with Rand Paul or something.

Many stickers around town already displaying 2014 candidates. Most of them do not include the particular position any candidate is running for. This is probably due to the fact that it's wayyyy to early in the campaign calendar.

Actual "quote" :  
During tonight's city council meeting, the mayor actually said something the effect of :
"The USA consumes about 80 per cent of the drugs used in this country" ???  OK, mayor, I think we know what you meant to say.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sneaky, Sneaky

Don't worry, we'll just overcharge you for the water and we'll call it even.

Within the last couple of hours, the ever-informative LMT online posted a very brief article stating that Webb county will have an "emergency" meeting on Friday (tomorrow) to discuss the continuing and embarassing dirty water problem down in Rio Bravo and El Cenizo.  However, there is nothing on the County's agenda as to such a meeting and 311 doesn't have anything on it either.

LMT says

Webb County officials said earlier this week that the boil water alert in El Cenizo and Rio Bravo could be lifted today.

However, they said this afternoon that the alert will remain in effect for at least another day.

Webb County Judge Danny Valdez said county officials will hold an emergency meeting Friday to discuss lifting the boil water alert, which was issued Aug. 8 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

TCEQ issued the alert after receiving water quality complaints and water sample testing positive for E. coli.

Trash p/u rates, water rates going up? What to do? Play Golf !

OK, so you have to pay $3 more for your garbage pick up and yes it's only going to be once a week now. Of course, next year it will be $3 more. And yes, our water rates going to skyrocket and are scheduled to keep on doing so. But don't fret, just look at the high-price clubhouse at your disposal.

How will this affect UISD and LISD "cops" ?

The Texas Tribune is reporting on a change in the way Texas school districts will be allowed to handle certain undesireable behavior at your public schools.  How, if at all, will this substantial change in our state laws affect the policing of our local school districts?

From The Texas Tribune

Public school students in Texas who have chewed gum in class, talked back to teachers or disrupted class have often received citations from school police officers. Beginning in September, students who engage in such levels of misbehavior will face discipline in a different manner.

While school administrators and teachers have traditionally handled student discipline, some school districts in Texas over the years have allowed school police officers to deal with certain types of misbehavior by charging students with Class C misdemeanors, a practice commonly referred to as student ticketing. Students charged must appear before a county or municipal judge and can face fines of up to $500 if found guilty by a judge.
Students who do not pay their fines could be arrested as soon as they turn 17 years old. Even if students pay the fines, the offenses could still appear on their criminal records.

The Legislature took steps this year toward decriminalizing such misbehavior at school with Senate Bill 393 by Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas. The measure prevents school police officers from issuing citations for misbehavior at school, excluding traffic violations. Officers can still submit complaints about students, but it will be up to a local prosecutor whether to charge the student with a Class C misdemeanor.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Texas good ol' boy Attorney General tickled pink about Voting Rights Act defeat

Practically hollerin' "Hot-diggity doag, what in tarnations are we waiting for?", Texas attorney general Greg Abbott set out to implement the state's controversial Voter ID law which was previously denied by the US Attorney General under the then-active Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Excerpted from the Dallas Morning News

After the Texas Legislature enacted the voter ID law, the Justice Department invoked Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to block implementation. The Obama administration, siding with minority advocates, says the law would discriminate against low-income and minority voters. An appeal is pending at the Supreme Court.

But with preclearance suspended, Abbott tweeted after this morning’s 5-4 ruling by Chief Justice John Roberts, US Attorney General “Eric Holder can no longer deny VoterID in Texas” and “Texas VoterID law should go into effect immediately.”

In a statement, he lauded the high court for wiping away unequal treatment of Texas and other states. He acknowledged that Texas — like all states — is barred from racial discrimination and remains subject to after-the-fact lawsuits under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which remains intact.
“Today’s ruling ensures that Texas is no longer one of just a few states that must seek approval from the federal government before its election laws can take effect,” Abbott said.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

News? What news? Laredo Outlet Shops: Check this PDF from circa 2007

It's been labeled the greatest announcement in Laredo in the last 20-30 years. But wait, there's this PDF brochure-type of the Laredo Outlet Mall Shops and it appears to be from around 2007.So maybe it's not quite that.

The "brochure"  shows the location of a proposed "Mall" as in the green, grassy type and it also illustrates an extension of IH-35 that will supposedly take you all the way to the door of the Outlet Shops themselves. 

Check it out at :,%20TX.pdf

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ol' West Texas town runs out of water

The Texas Tribune is also reporting that Barnhart, in West Texas, is just about out of water and the people are very PO'd about the situation. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is predicting that about 30 Texas communities could run out of water this year.

From the Texas Tribune

Barnhart, a small community in West Texas, has run out of water.

John Nanny, an Irion County commissioner and an official with Barnhart’s water supply corporation, said on Thursday that the situation was serious. When reached by telephone, he was working on pumping operations and hoped to have a backup well in service Friday morning. A load of bottled water was on its way to the community center, he said.

The town has one main well that serves 112 customers, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But the well stopped pumping quickly enough Tuesday evening, and while there is still some water in it, Nanny said, "We don’t want to get down to the mud."

Nanny said he had checked for a leak but had not found one. The Barnhart area has been hard-hit by drought, he said, just as surging oil and gas drilling activities have increased local water demands. Barnhart was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal owing to the increase in oil boom-related railroad traffic through the town. (Incidentally, Barnhart's backup water well was drilled by the railroad in the early 1900s, Nanny said.)

Read the rest of the article:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tex Leg. to Border produce inspectors:Wait while we do another study

Hurry up and wait goes the old saying.  This time, it's the Texas legislature telling that to US Customs inspectorx at Texas' border ports. I guess they figure that there's not enough business at the border to necessitate expediting shipments. Or.....there's some cronies that are about to make some big bucks doing another study......or both.

From The Texas Tribune

Border lawmakers and local officials who had hoped for state money to help train new produce inspectors at border ports and reduce wait times instead got a promise from legislators to study the issue.

Nearly half of all U.S. fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico last year came by way of Texas land ports, including those in Laredo, El Paso and McAllen. As Mexico nears completion this year of highway improvements that will create a quicker route from agriculturally rich areas in the western parts of the country to Texas ports, the already large amount of imported produce is expected to increase dramatically.

Lawmakers and local officials from border communities say the federal government's investment in southern land ports has not kept pace with the expansion of trade. The ports have run out of capacity, and there aren't enough inspectors to examine all the goods coming across. It all adds up, they say, to unpredictable wait times that slow down commerce and leave stalled trucks idling for hours, belching exhaust into the air.

Washington is exploring ways to address the shortage of agriculture specialists who inspect produce at border ports, but state Rep. Bobby Guerra, D-Mission, came into the legislative session with a proposal to address the problem sooner with local resources.

Guerra filed House Bill 3761, which would have used local institutions like the Texas A&M University Kingsville Citrus Center in Weslaco to train produce inspectors to meet federal guidelines. New inspectors, he hoped, would reduce wait times and increase the speed of commerce

Read the entire article, including how Texas lawmakers from other parts of the state opposed this measure and how some shippers/importers are even willing to pay extra to get more inspectors at the various Texas ports.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Taco Bell fires employee Lickety Split

USA Today is reporting that the infamous Taco Bell "licker" has already been fired, along with the person who took the photo of him licking a tall stack of taco shells. Apparently, they wasted no time in deciding to fire him. You could say it was done lickety-split.

From USA Today

Now, it's the Taco Bell employee who is taking a licking.

The nation's largest Mexican fast food chain says that a Taco Bell franchisee has suspended -- and "is in the process of terminating" -- the restaurant employee whose photo showing him licking a stack of empty taco shells went viral earlier this week. The person who took the photo no longer works for Taco Bell.

The photo caused a serious public relations headache for Taco Bell earlier this week. Red-faced Taco Bell executives had to try to explain to a skeptical public the circumstances behind the embarrassing photo. On Monday, the franchisee informed Taco Bell corporate that both employees were no longer with Taco Bell.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Five minutes with Fox: Auditions for FOX continue at IRS hearings

Tea Partiers bask in the limelight on Fox News

Fox News is keeping close watch on the ongoing IRS hearings that are supposed to find out to what extent the Tea Party was "targeted" during their application for tax-exempt status. Specifically, they have been applying for 501 (c)4 status, which actually maintains such an organization's activities must be exclusively for social-welfare purposes. The word exclusively was replaced with primarily way back during the Eishenhower administration and thus has led to the current melee.

In watching Fox News for a mere 5 minutes this morning, a Tea Party lady was obviously auditioning to be on Fox News and I'm pretty sure she'll be on Fox by tonight, probably on the Sean Hannity show.  Her main complaint was that she their (she and her husband) application was targeted because it contained the words Tea Party. Note that in cases such as these, the word Party designates a political party, which is specifically forbidden by the original IRS law. Of course, that fact escapes the entire scandal-hungry Fox network.

 Update: It looks like I'm behind the curve here, it looks like this lady's already making the rounds of Fox.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's next for Laredo Community College?

These are the possible scenarios for our historic Laredo Community College. Representatives from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges just wrapped up a visit to the college and according to their website, here's what might happen:

Why was Laredo Community College continued in accreditation for good cause and placed on Probation?
Laredo Community College was continued in accreditation for good cause and placed on Probation because it had exhausted its two-year monitoring period for complying with the Principles and had failed to demonstrate compliance with Comprehensive Standards
Access the Principles of Accreditation at

What will happen in June 2013?

SACSCOC Board of Trustees will consider the accreditation status of Laredo Community College following review of a Third Monitoring Report submitted by the institution addressing the standards cited above for non-compliance and the report of a Special Committee that will visit the institution in spring 2013. The Board will have the following options:
(1) remove the institution from Probation without a report or with a Fifth-Year Follow Up Report,
(2) continue accreditation for good cause and continue Probation, request an additional report, and authorize a special committee visit, or
(3) remove the institution from membership with the Commission on Colleges for failure to comply with the standards or failure to meet the provisions of good cause.
Commission staff will not speculate on what decision might be made by the Commission’s Board in June 2013.

For additional information regarding the Commission’s accreditation process, access

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Compromise keeps South Texas Medical School moving forward

Recent squabbling between different South Texas legislators was threatening to derail legislative efforts to create a top tier medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. Friday, however, proved to be a day of compromise that has kept the process going.  During the last couple of weeks, there had been substantial disagreement over the exact location of the proposed Medical School. The apparent compromise includes language that signals that the Valley will share in where the future medical school will be.

I guess in this particular case, Laredo is not considered to be in the Rio Grande Valley as often has been mentioned. With Hidalgo county figuring to get part of the proposed medical school, and considering that McAllen is in Hidalgo county, is it possible that McAllen is eating our lunch again?

Excerpted from The Texas Tribune

When Senate Bill 24, which contained the original language, was brought up in the House on Friday, an amendment was added that state Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, standing alongside the entire Valley delegation, said was a proposal from the UT System "that cemented us together."

"Like any family, we have squabbles, and like any family, we unite," Oliveira said.

The bill as amended creates an office to oversee undergraduate education in Hidalgo County and an office to oversee graduate education in Cameron County. It says educational programs for the first two years of students' medical education should primarily be run in Hidalgo, and programs for the third and fourth year should be run in Cameron. And it also says that the system must ensure that all existing facilities and resources are fully utilized.

"Ultimately, this leaves enough flexibility for the UT System to have a regional medical school," said state Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Harlingen, the author of the amendment.
After SB 24 clears the House, it will go to the Senate, where it is expected to be easily approved. With the support of more than two-thirds of the Legislature, the new university will be eligible to receive money from the Permanent University Fund, a major source of revenue that only certain schools are allowed to tap.

Heritage Foundation to GOP legislators: Don't legislate!

It looks like former GOP Tea Partier Jim Demint is on a roll: a negative roll that is.  A couple of weeks ago, The Heritage Foundation (HF) took quite a bit of fire when it was found that they had hired a eugenics (see: racist) proponent that subscribes to the notion that neither immigrants nor children or grandchildren will ever achieve the same IQ levels of other "Americans".

Now, NBC news has published a letter by their politically active arm, Heritage Action For America, that essentially tells the GOP house leaders to forget legislating and instead keep the spotlight on Obama's recent slew of troubles. 

You can read the letter for yourself below. So much for calling GOP members legislators.

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor:
For the first time, the activities of the Obama administration are receiving a sustained public vetting. Americans’ outrage over Benghazi is amplified by the Internal Revenue Service’s intimidation of conservative grassroots organizations and a cascade of negative headlines. There is the real sense the Obama administration has been less than forthright with the American people, the press and lawmakers.

Recent events have rightly focused the nation’s attention squarely on the actions of the Obama administration. It is incumbent upon the House of Representatives to conduct oversight hearings on those actions, but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference.
To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference. Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another “circular firing squad” article.

Make no mistake, principled conservatives will still oppose bad policy if it comes to the floor. Rather than scheduling such legislation for consideration, we urge you to keep the attention focused squarely on the Obama administration. As the public’s trust in their government continues to erode, it is incumbent upon those of us who support a smaller, less intrusive government to lead.

Michael A. Needham
Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Action for America

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Will prospective teachers have to leave Laredo for degrees?

Laredo (LT) - For the last 40 years, Laredo's institutions of higher learning have been producing future teachers.  That era might be coming to an end soon if TAMIU teacher candidates do not fare better on their state certification tests. According to today's Laredo Morning Times, TAMIU failed to have at least 75 percent of its teaching candidates pass the state tests and was place on probationary status in February of this year. Now, the Texas State Board of Education is requiring 80 per cent of students to pass in order for an institution to retain its teacher accreditation.

Since around 1970, Laredoans wishing to become teachers have been able to do so without leaving town. Before that time, it was typical for high school graduates from Laredo and the surrounding area to have to go to Kingsville (Texas A&I) or elsewhere to pursue their teaching certificates.  That changed with the establishment of the education college of Texas A&I at Laredo which later became Laredo State University and eventually, the full-fledged 4 year Texas A&M International University here in Laredo.

Of course, this all looks very bad for Laredo's students. While exact figures are not given, it makes sense that perhaps those TAMIU graduates that DID pass the state exams might have not scored as high as graduates of other state teacher schools.  The recent resignation of an LISD Principal accused of manipulating STAAR test scores speaks to the very notion that our local university might NOT exactly be producing truly highly-qualified teachers.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mayor, council give $$ raise before looooong break in council meetings

How do you like our new council chambers back there (Fed.bldg) ?

I have to give credit to Laredo mayor Raul Salinas and our city council. Their timing on giving city manager Carlos Villarreal an extremely controversial $37,000 raise was perfectly timed, especially considering our public's very short memory.

Usually, there is about a 14-day break between city council meetings. For the most part, there are two held every month. The exception(s), of course,  are when the mayor and council are up partying it up in either Austin or our nation's capitol.

After the much-maligned raise, however (on April 15th), the subsequent city council meeting is not to be held until at least about 22 days later, around May 6th. On top of this prolonged break working in favor of the unpopular council actions of late, there is always the chance that they will throw in a pseudo controversial agenda item such a beer run ordinance or something.

Our illustrious mayor and council might not learn much in the way of truly being helpful to their community, but they're learning something allright.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Private Lobbying groups dictating Texas' educational policy?

Former Tx senator $hapiro now part of Tx. Lobbying group

It appears that Texas is planning on adopting an A through F grading system for the state's public schools.  There are many teachers, superintendents and legislators opposed to this idea while most republicans and business interests support it. The idea probably resonates a lot clearer with most of us since that is the grading system we grew up with as students.

Follow the money-makers

The Texas Education agency has a 30-member advisory panel but perhaps surprisingly, the A-F idea did not come from them. As a matter of fact, Alief  ISD superintendent, H.D.Chambers sat in on some of that panel's sessions and, according to the Texas Tribune, had this to say :

"In our opinion that wasn't the best way to create a label to the accountability system to communicate to our community about how our schools were doing. He added that there was "pretty unanimous opposition" to the A-through-F plan among the committee's 30 members over significant concerns about whether it could promote inaccurate assumptions about school performance.

So, who appears to be calling the shots up at TEA if state education commissioner Michael Williams is not taking the advice of his own 30-member panel?  How about  a business-oriented lobbying group named Texans for Education Reform?  This influential group includes former Texas senator Florence Shapiro who played a crucial role in cutting $5.4 billion form Texas schools a couple of years ago as well as former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige.

At present, Senate bill 1408, sponsored by republican Dan Patrick calls for the A-F grading system to become the law of the land, awaits action on the senate floor.

Move over LISD & UISD,  Harmony Come on Down!

Patrick is also busy trying to expand the number of charter schools in Texas, an extremely popular GOP initiative. The New York Times reported the following on Patrick:

In January, Mr. Patrick announced the formation of Texans Deserve Great Schools, a nonprofit coalition that includes the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which has invested millions in Houston and Louisiana charter schools, and the San Antonio-based Brackenridge Foundation, which is part of a $50 million campaign to bring more charters to the city.

Editor's note: No wonder Harmony Science Academy started in good ol' Houston, Texas.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wade Watch: proceed with caution when crunching numbers

Recently, Wade called these water gourds "maracas', now his math is off.

It has been a while since LaredoTejas' last "Wade Watch" posting. For those who might not remember, WadeWatch deals with statements, claims and/or other assorted views presented by good ol' Tom Wade, formerly of the Wake up Laredo radio show and current regular guest on the Jay St.John radio show which airs daily from 7am to 10am on 99.3FM. Of course, Wade also runs the fast-growing WakeUpLaredo blog.

Today, Wade decided to blog about an article appearing in Saturday's Laredo Morning Times. Specifically, the article dealt with figures on texting ordinance violations  that new LPD chief Ray Garner presented before our city council this past Monday. After crunching the numbers, Wade concluded the following:

"Let's look at the takeaway from this information.

To our police officers, go ahead, write the tickets, spend time going to court, but never mind, the court will dismiss the case.
To our drivers, go ahead, get the ticket, but never mind, if you in the 95% your fine and ticket will be dismissed.
To our community, go ahead, watch an ordinance be passed with great fanfare, see the police pull over a few folks and write tickets. But never mind in the end, because there is no real teeth to the ordinance once it reaches municipal court."
 Essentially Wade concludes that citizens should "never mind" because the ordinance has "no real teeth.   In saying to the drivers "go ahead, get the ticket" is Wade in fact "saying go ahead text while you drive?" This would not good for our public safety. That conclusion, however, is misguided.

 The problem is that Wade mis-read the numbers to begin with and so his conclusion is based on mis-information. Wade claims that out of 570 citiations issued in the 4 years since the ordinance took effect (2009), only $6,000 have been collected. He continues on to say that this reflects only about 30 fines and amounts to only about 5 percent of all citations resulting in a fine.

What Garner really said, according to the LMT article, is that while its true that 570 citations have been issued since 2009, the $6,000 collected in fines are only from the period between September 2012 and early April, 2013.  By his own admission, Garner cites that "31 fines have been issued to drivers using hand-held devices in school zones during that period".  That's pretty close to Wade's claim that only 30 drives have been fined. However, Wade's post today wrongly states that only 30 fines ($6,000) have been levied since way back in 2009 when the ordinance took effect.

Nit-picking aside,  LaredoTejas sincerely applauds Wade's expanison of his blog and his regular appearances on St. John's show.  With, our traditional media outlets lack of in-depth reporting on local issues (with some exceptions), local blogs continue to serve a public service. Also, St.John's return to the airwaves provides a more traditional vehicle for providing vital information about many many issues facing our hard-working taxpaying citizens.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How did Laredo's traveling political entourage get as big as it is??

From 2006,  here is the public notice of the city of laredo's legislative trip to our nation's capitol in Washington, DC.   It number a total of 5 (five)  people.  How did it grow so ridiculously high and so expensive?  Yet, despite what the mayor claims, not much has come as a true direct result of their lavish trips.

From the 2006 City of Laredo Agenda :

2006 Annual Washington trip

Written notice is hereby given that the City of Laredo Mayor Elizabeth G. Flores and City Council Member John C. Galo, Council Member Hector Garcia, Council Member Gene Belmares, and Council Member Johnny Rendon will travel to Washington, D.C., on March 12, 2006, and return on March 16, 2006.

Dates of meetings: March 13, 2006March 15, 2006

Time of meetings: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., at such times that the schedules of the various officials allow.

Place: Washington, D.C.

This notice was posted on Friday, March 10, 2006, by 12:00 p.m. at the municipal government offices located at 1110 Houston Street, Laredo, Texas, at a place convenient and readily accessible to the public at all times.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

By Mayor's Logic, Laredo City Manager should be making around $52,000?

Ok, I guess my speechlessness didn't last that long.

Mayor Raul Salinas used comparison of other cities's population and their respective city manager salaries to justify a $40,000 increase for city manager Villarreal.  This brings our city manager's salary to $230,000 a year. Ok, so far I can understand the comparative approach. 

We should note however, that, using the mayor's own logic, the city manager would be looking at a rather low salary if the comparison involved Laredo and let's say- Dallas, Texas.  Big D has a population of 1.2 Million people, or roughly 5 times the population of Laredo.  The Dallas city manager makes $261,000 a year.

Therefore, following the mayor's reasoning, our own city manager should be paid about one fifth of what the Dallas city manager gets paid? This, again, is because Laredo only has about 1/5 of the population , so thus calling for a salary of 1/5th as much?  That's the essence of the mayor's arguement.

Ok, so lets see, it looks like that would bring the Laredo city manager's salary to about $52,000 a year.  Now, why would our mayor and city council not select Dallas for comparative purposes?


I am officially speechless.  They Mayor and the council raised our city manager's salary to $230,000 a year.  Here, in Laredo. One of the poorest and ill-educated and backward city in the country.  I have nothing to say.

From The Laredo Morning Times

Laredo City Manager Carlos Villarreal received an almost $40,000 pay raise late Monday, increasing his salary to $230,000 a year.

City Council said it gave the raise partially because his salary was not at parity with city managers who helm municipalities less than half Laredo’s size.

Mayor Raul Salinas noted the city manager of the City of Bryan, which has a population of 76,000, receives a salary of $230,000.

“You deserve the appropriate compensation,” Salinas told Villarreal.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

City breaks $100 Thousand dollar mark on trip to DC

It looks like the city has become increasingly brazen in their continued taxpayer-funded junkets to Austin and Washington DC.  The Laredo Morning Times reports that the city broke the $100K mark this time around.  Nice fringe benefits wouldn't you say?

The following is NOT an actual City of Laredo memo but for all intents and purposes, it might as well be one.

City of Laredo, Texas USA
Department of Free Trip Planning 

Dear fellow Department Head 

With the new year comes a renewed opportunity for us to travel at the taxpayer’s dime.  Also, we can solicit funds from private donors many of whom have contracts with us.  This has the added value of increasing the likelihood that all of us will stand to get some pretty impressive gifts throughout the year.  

As you know, we have been expanding the number of people who join us in these lavish vacations to our state and national capitols.  Please feel free to extend an invitation to the top members  of your department. Most taxpayers could care less and those who do cannot really do anything to stop us.  

Let’s see if we can break the record number of those in our entourage as well as the amount of money that we squander up there.  The more, the merrier! Remember, this is not costing any of us one red dime.

Viva Laredo !

Thank You and maybe next time you can all bring your significant others

Saturday, April 13, 2013

From CNN: Immigration bill includes cutoff date

Washington (CNN) - Any undocumented immigrant who entered the country after December 31, 2011, will not be eligible for citizenship under terms of the immigration deal set to be unveiled Tuesday by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators, a Senate aide told CNN on Saturday.
Specifics of the program included in the legislation were among the details the eight senators - four Republicans and four Democrats - needed to iron out. Sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN this week the sweeping measure was on track to be unveiled Tuesday.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold their first public hearing on the legislation on Wednesday, followed most likely by committee markups in May and consideration by the full Senate in June, according to the sources.

The measure includes a 13-year path to citizenship that could affect up to roughly 11 million undocumented residents, as well as the creation of a system to assess border security.
The path to citizenship would take 10 years for undocumented workers to get a green card, and then another three years to gain citizenship.

Along the way, undocumented workers would have to pay a fine and back taxes and pass a background check. The size of the fine remains unclear.
No undocumented worker would be eligible for citizenship until the border is considered secure - a key sticking point for conservatives.

To measure border security, a commission would be created with the task of establishing and assessing a set of quantifiable criteria. The commission would be made up of officials named by state and federal leaders.

Read the entire article at:

Airports gets over $30Million in grants: where has all the money gone?

Maybe the airport can buy some paint to touch up this sign which doesn't look as nice anymore.

During the 2011-2012 time period, the Laredo Airport raked in over 30 Million dollars in grants according to today's Laredo Morning Times.  The exact amount was $30,930,445. Hopefully, The  Times can get more specifics about exactly how these multi-millions were spent.

 Perhaps surprisingly, it was during these last two years that the city started looking at charging for parking at the airport. Obviously, it was not for a lack of funds.  On top of that the city recently sold off about 77 acres of airport property to the Laredo Town Center.  The nearly $10 million upfront money plus another promised $4Million are reportedly to be re-invested into the airport as well. 

Of the nearly $31Million dollars the airport received from assorted grants, approximately $5.2 million were designated for a "noise contour study" and for the federal noise abatement program. That still leaves about $26 Million for other improvements/expenditures.

Also, there was no mention of how much of this funding was obtained as a direct result of the city's lavish trips to Austin and Washington. That question continues to be asked by many Laredoans.  Good job LMT for this report and hopefully, you will soon be able to provide us with more details on how these grants were actually spent.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

MSNBC:So much for leaning forward, more like leaning White


Someone forgot to send a copy of the 2010 census to the decision makers at MSNBC.  That census shows that as of 2010, about 16 per cent of the US Population were Hispanic. Whites (non-Hispanic) accounted for 64 percent and Blacks 12 percent.

Yet, of the 21 daily hosts or co-hosts, zero percent are Hispanics. Even Fox News has a weekend show for Geraldo Rivera but no Hispanics at MSNBC.   White hosts/co-hosts make up roughly 80 percent of the daily (M-F) lineup, while Blacks account for about 15 percent and other minority hosts (Alex Wagner & Martin Bashir collectively account for the other 5 percent)

Once, again, the fasted growing and largest minority in the United States- Hispanics have absolutely no representation on MSNBC.

MSNBC Lineup

Time    Show                     Host

5am    Morning Joe         
           Joe Scarborough     White
           Mika Brehevich      White
           Willie                      White
           Mike Barnacle         White
8am    Daily Rundown
          Mike Todd                White
9am   Jansing                      White
10am Thomas Roberts        White
11am  Alex Wagner                                       German/Burmese
12 pm Andrea Mitchell       White
1pm   Tamron Hall                                                            Black
2pm    The Cycle-4hosts     White, White, White,             Black
3pm    Martin Bashir                                    English/Pakistani
4pm    Hardball                   White
5pm    Pol.Nation/Sharpton                                                Black
6pm    Chris Mathews         White
7pm    Chris Hayes              White
8pm    Rachel Maddow       White
9pm    Lawrence Odonnel   White

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another layer of government: Webb-Laredo Regional Mobility Authority?

The city of Laredo is about to authorize the city manager to get the ball rolling on putting together a Regional Mobile Authority that would include the city and Webb county.  RMA's, as they are usually referred to, have been allowed in the Lone Star State since 2001.  Here's some basic info:

Under Chapter 370 of the Texas Statutes, a Regional Mobility Authority can be formed by one or more counties. The Texas Legislature first authorized the creation of Regional Mobility Authorities in 2001 with passage of Senate Bill 342. A subsequent constitutional amendment was approved by Texas voters on November 6, 2001.

A Regional Mobility Authority is authorized to finance, design, construct, operate, maintain and expand a wide range of transportation facilities and services. Potential projects include highways (tolled or untolled), ferries, airports, bikeways, and intermodal hubs. Projects can be financed using a wide range of methods, including the sale of tax-exempt revenue bonds, private equity, public grants, government loans, and revenue generated from existing transportation facilities. A Regional Mobility Authority can acquire or condemn property for projects, enter into public private partnerships, and set rates for the use of transportation facilities.

The city's operations committee will take the first step towards our very own RMA.  From the operations committee agenda scheduled for Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 at 12:30 pm at City Hall.

Authorizing the City Manager to coordinate with Webb County to establish a Joint Webb County - City of Laredo Regional Mobility Authority (RMA) to finance, acquire, design, construct, operate, maintain, expand or extend City-County transportation projects.

Friday, April 5, 2013

North to Alaska: Designated walker next?

Voy a tener que gatiar para la casa!

Should Laredo follow in the footsteps a small Alaska village?  Bethel, Alaska is seeking to pass an ordinance that could lead to drunk citizens getting cited for WWI, Walking While Intoxicated.  I don't know the exact distinctions between WWI and public intoxication but I'm sure that overall there's some similarities.

This begs the question, when friends get together, get drunk and decide to not drive, will they sill need a designated walker?

From The Washington Times

Bethel, Alaska, government leaders are fed up with drunks who behave poorly in public, and they have moved to pass an ordinance banning walking under the influence.

The ordinance is aimed at quelling the number of complaints related to public decency laws. Newser reported that residents who are found to be drunk in public — and are urinating in public, or committing a like offense — could be fined up to $200.

Not all the city council members are backing the ordinance, however. Some see it as too farfetched, and say they’ve never personally seen a drunk relieving himself or herself in public view.
“I understand people can be a menace,” a council man said in Newser, “but there’s other ways to handle it than outlawing drunk walking.”

The council is due to take it under further consideration on Tuesday, Newser reported.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why not say "wienie dogs" instead of "chihuahuas?: Oh, it's Fox.

The integritilly-challenged bunch over at Fox News  found a way to take the Rutger's coach firing incident and turn it into yet another racially-charged slur. Talk about creative writing  whining.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Old Federal building to become new city council chambers?


Last week, LaredoTejas posted on the fact that the old federal building directly in front of Jarvis Plaza has been ceded to the City of Laredo. Some people commenting on that particular post suggested that perhaps this could be an ideal opportunity to establish a museum that actually looks like a museum.

Not so, while watching our beloved city council last week, I noticed that councilman Mike Garza commended city manager Carlos Villarreal on securing the facilities from the Feds and at the same time indicated that, perhaps by next month, "we'll be holding our meetings there".  So much for the museum idea. Instead, it appears that the city council will get a new place to conspire work from.

Health problems Flare up for EFS residents

Another Excerpt from SA Current

Depending on where you drill, wells in the Eagle Ford pump out a combination of oil, gas, or condensate. Companies can store and ship the gases for treatment. If the pipeline infrastructure isn’t there or if those “economically irrelevant” reserves aren’t worth the hassle, companies can get a permit from state regulators to burn, or “flare”, the gases.

It’s roughly a mile from Mike and Myra Cernys’ front door to Marathon’s Sugarhorn Central Facility, home to multiple crude oil, condensate, and wastewater tanks, as well as two flares.
TCEQ records show an inspector first investigated the Sugarhorn facility on August 15, 2012 to follow up on the Cernys’ complaints.

An inspector spotted emissions coming from the storage tanks using an infrared camera. TCEQ records note that during a 12-hour period, the facility emitted 42 pounds of benzene, over four times what they permitted for that specific site. Hydrogen sulfide, a natural gas that can cause serious injury when inhaled even at minimal concentrations, leaked from the facility at over 100 times the permitted amount. Nearly 3,000 pounds of methane went into the air, records show.

Prolonged exposure to benzene, William Subra, a Louisiana based environmental scientist says, is known to cause leukemia and blood cell damage. In addition, TCEQ reports from the facility showed elevated levels of toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene, compounds that may cause liver and kidney damage over long exposure periods, Subra says. In the short-term, “you’d expect to see nose, throat, eye and skin irritation,” Subra said.

All for the Money !

SA Current: The sour side of South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale

By Michael Barajas

Off-duty San Antonio cops directed a thick swarm of traffic outside the Panna Maria community center in sleepy Karnes County one evening last December. Blue-shirted Marathon Oil representatives beamed, greeting more than 1,000 local landowners who gathered to talk oil, gas, and riches.

But from the moment they walked through the doors, Myra and Mike Cerny began to curse and mutter under their breath. They rolled their eyes at the Marathon freebies, like a water bottle emblazoned with the company logo, and leafed through handouts cheering the oil and gas development that now encircles their rural South Texas home.
Later, while chatting with Marathon representatives, I heard Mike across the room raising his deep, gruff voice.

“I am right in the middle of this stuff,” he told a Marathon worker. “I get three or four migraines a day now. … I never had migraines before in my life.” The headaches grew so persistent in recent months, Mike told the worker, that he shelled out $2,000 for a CT scan. About a year ago, to their surprise, the Cernys became a family of asthmatics, regularly sucking down albuterol inhalers just to breathe. Myra and Mike began to spot mysterious rashes on their arms and legs. Their teenage son suffered unexplained, gushing nosebleeds.

When I found Kirk Spilman, Marathon’s asset manager for the region, he talked me through the company’s commitment to corporate responsibility: how Marathon recently paid to boost law enforcement patrols in the area (an attempt to make the roads safer) and how that evening the company announced a $25,000 donation to local education efforts.
Eventually he got around to the Cernys’ troubles.

“Well, you have to understand their house is very close to the road,” Spilman remarked, before saying Marathon reps would look into the complaints.

Read the entire article at :

Monday, March 25, 2013

Raking in the dough by mowing our aroyos, $192,000 worth

It looks like the city is getting ready to award 3 contracts for mowing services and cleanup of three local creeks. Apparently, the city council is getting ready to approve 3 contracts for a contractor by the name of Nick Benavides.  Let's hope Mr. Benavides does an excellent job and keeps our creek areas nice and clean. I remember not long ago seeing an abandoned sofa littering Zacate creek near the downtown area.

It is somewhat confusing that in each of the following agenda items, the term of the contract is "for a period of twelve (12) months period with three (3), one (1) year extensions".  It does not say with the possibility or option of an extension. So are these 1 year contracts or 4 year contracts?

From the upcoming City's Finance Committee meeting

8. Consideration to award contract FY13-014 to Nick Benavides, Laredo, Texas, in the estimated total amount of $63,450.00 to provide mowing and maintenance of the Zacate Creek area. This company has been deemed as providing the best value to the City. The term of the contract is for a twelve (12) month period with three (3), one (1) year extensions. Funding is available in the Environmental Services Department budget. (Also on the Operations Committee Agenda)

9. Consideration to award contract FY13-015 to Nick Benavides, Laredo, Texas, in the estimated total amount of $57,000.00 to provide mowing and maintenance of the Manadas North Creek area. This company has been deemed as providing the best value to the City. The term of the contract is for a twelve (12) month period with three (3), one (1) year extensions. Funding is available in the Environmental Services Department budget. (Also on the Operations Committee Agenda)

10. Consideration to award contract FY13-017 to Nick Benavides, Laredo, Texas, in the estimated total amount of $72,250.00 to provide mowing and maintenance of the Manadas Creek area. This company has been deemed as providing the best value to the City. The term of the contract is for a twelve (12) month period with three (3), one (1) year extensions. Funding is available in the Environmental Services Department budget.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Big D commission rules against frackers

From The Texas Observer
By Priscilla Mosqueda

It seems the waiting game might finally be over in Dallas. After years of city government lollygagging, residents appear to be closer to an answer on whether the city will be open to fracking. On Thursday the City Plan Commission rejected natural gas producer Trinity East’s drilling permits, which have been the center of contention in Dallas’ fight over fracking. The final decision ultimately rests in the hands of the City Council, but it would take a supermajority of 12 of its 15 members to override the commission’s vote.
The commission had previously voted against the permits (one of which includes plans for a gas processing plant), but its chair called for a rehearing, which was later rescheduled in February. The punt was the latest in a series of inconclusive moves on the part of the city that began in 2008 when it opened up bidding of public lands to natural gas producers. Though the city was able to bolster its budget with the lease contracts, the money was perhaps more trouble than it was worth.
Read the entire article at