Apparently, the shadow government known as United Brownsville thinks that the third time will be the charm.
Twice this year they have gone to the board of trustees of the Brownsville Independent School District to get them to fork over $25,000 for a "membership" into the organization headed by IBC Bank president Fred Rusteberg, vice chair and city commissioner John Villarreal and UTB's Vice President for Economic Development and Community Services Irv Downing, the third co-chair.
Mayor Tony Martinez and UTB President Juliet Garcia round out the cadre of United Brownsville. And BISD board chairman Enrique Escobedo and Superintendent Carl Montoya are also member of the
organization's education committee.
Twice the items were pulled at the last moment after questions arose as to what exactly the organization had to contribute to the education of Brownsville children other than grandiose public relations campaigns urging them to get them to do their homework, listen to their parents and their parents to pay taxes on time (AllIn).
Gee, we can do that ourselves without giving someone $25,000 to stand on the sidelines and cheer.
There is, however, a new wrinkle. Instead of selling us a "membership," United Brownsville is coming in this Tuesday and offering (drum roll, please) the district the opportunity to engage with the group in an educational "partnership."
And, interestingly, there is no money amount included with the agenda item. Could it be that once the BISD "partners" with United Brownsville, a budget amendment buried deep in some back page filled with fund numbers will contain the cash?
The first time United Brownsville tried to milk the district, the item read thus: 15. Discussion, consideration and possible action to pay United Brownsville annual membership fees to the City of Brownsville in the amount not to exceed $25,000 from budgeted Local Maintenance Funds.
You will notice that there was no one named as the person who placed the item on the agenda.The second time trustee Minerva Peña was bold enough to place it there at someone's else's behest only yo pull it once the word got out.
It said16. Discussion, consideration and possible action on United Brownsville Membership Fees (MP, Board Member).
We have beaten on this horse before on this blog, and if need be, we'll do it again.
United Brownsville was a concoction by manipulators at all levels of Brownsville society to harvest an annual $25,000 donation from the different public entities and boards, among them the City of Brownsville, the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, the Brownsville Navigation District, the Brownsville Independent School District, The University of Texas at Brownsville, Texas Southmost College, and the Brownsville Public Utilities Board.
So far, only Cameron County has disregarded the Rusteberg's siren song and BISD has turned them down twice. We also hear that the new TSC administration and board are rethinking the
$25,000 "partnership" payment.
No one elects the members or officer of this "board." They simply appoint themselves or others they feel will toe the line and go along with the program
We wonder whether Pom-Pom Girl Peña will go along with giving away the store when she voted against paying for the election of a new trustee and instead opted to vote in Mercedes ISD Purchasing Agent Cesar Lopez. She has ogften decried "wasteful spending" on the part of the board. Will she now vote to give awy $25,000 to the brainchild of the city's richest banker and the representative of the UT System?
If she (and a majority) does, and then vote to approve the "transfer" of $1.45 million for the Local Maintenance Fund from Designated Fund Balance (read reserves), then all the talk of frugality and cautious stewardship of district finances were nothing more than lip service to their constituents.
We have inquired the destination of the $1.45 million taken from reserves but have been unable to get any backup to the agenda item. Unlike the city secretary's office, which includes the backup packets online, the BISD does not and even trustees often are kept waiting until the day of the meeting to find out what they are expected to vote on later that day. Is this any way to runa railroad? Or is that the point, that by delaying information to the board things can be railroaded through at the last moment?