By Juan Montoya
The Brownsville Herald, whose publisher (Danny Cavazos) is a member of a United Brownsville education committee, has given the blessing to the five Brownsville Independent School District trustees who voted to give that shadow government organization $25,000 in return for being included among its "educational partners."
In a front-page article, writer Gary Long described the organization as one that "promotes the city's best interests through collaboration among eight member organizations."
In the presentation put on by United Brownsville executive director Mike Gonzalez and co-chair (and IBC Bank President) Fred Rusteberg which was also attended by UB member (and Port of Brownsville CEO) Eddie Campirano, the two men said (again) that their group "engages in collaborative efforts to draw job-creating industries to the area, promotes needed infrastructure development, and champions efforts to improve Brownsville's quality of life."
Let's see. United Brownsville "collaborative" efforts consist in "engaging," "promoting," and "championing," all these wonderful things. And they do it out of the goodness of their hearts?
No, not really. They want the rest of us to pay for their grandiose plans.
Do they do fundraisers, boobtubeathons, or put money out of their own pockets to do all these glorious things?
Actually, they imposed themselves upon local publicly-funded entities, hired Gonzalez ( a former mayor of Kule, Texas) at $80,000 a year, and go collect $25,000 every year to "engage, promote and champion" the rest of the year on our behalf.
These giving entities are City of Brownsville, the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, the Brownsville Navigation District, The University of Texas at Brownsville, Texas Southmost College, and the Brownsville Public Utilities Board. Now, after the first two times that they failed to convince a majority of the BISD board to fork over the dough, they brought out the heavy guns to duly impress the members to shell out the cash.
To its credit, Cameron County commissioners court has been the only entity not to have fallen for the sweet nothings Rusteberg is whispering in everyone's ear.
The United Brownsville boosters cited the All-In Movement, Better Block, and CycloBias as examples of their efforts to uplift the unwashed masses of Brownsville. The All-In public relations website "encourages" students to do their homework and not skip classes. It "urges" their parents to keep an eye on their kids and don't forget to pay their taxes on time. Makes sense, because if they don't pay their taxes, where would their yearly $25,000 come from?
Better Block was a block party at Market Square and CycloBias was a one-night chisca Tour de Browntown.
Gonzalez also told the board members that without efforts like United Brownsville the area will continue to produce mainly low-wage jobs..."
Let's think about that one.
Since its inception in Jan. 2011, have you seen the flowering of all this "engaging, promoting and championing" create the high-paid jobs Gonzalez talks about? Other than salary increases to the United Brownsville administrator, we would challenge Rusteberg and BISD board president Enrique Escobedo to show us where these jobs are. The unemployment rate is not any better. In fact, we think it's worse. After all, in three years (at $25,000 a pop for eight entities a year = $200,000 x 3= $600,000) the public has "donated" $600,000 to "partner" with Rusteberg and the Big Boys to "engage, promote and champion"... something.
Gonzalez just couldn't leave well enough alone. He went on to say that the BISD "membership" (we though it was partnership) "gives" the BISD "a seat at the table."
Well, now BISD board president Escobedo is a United Brownsville member as is Superintendent Carl Montoya. Did he mean to say that unless the $25,000 were forthcoming they wouldn't have a "place at the table."
For $25,000 for their two plates, we hope these gentlemen don't wind up with indigestion. It seems a bit rich for two setting at Lord of the Manor Rusteberg's banquet to us.
Voting to give away our children's money were Escobedo, Otis Powers, Jose Hector Chirinos, Minerva Peña" and Cesar Lopez.
Voting against were Catalina Presas-Garcia and Lucy Longoria.