Saturday, March 21, 2015


"At the end of the day what are you going to do for my people? When a hurricane hits, what are you going to do?" 
District 1 commissioner Ricardo Longoria to challenger Roman Perez

By Juan Montoya
For the last five years, District 1 city commissioner Ricardo Longoria has stood by as the city administration and his fellow commissioners siphoned off the money meant to create a hurricane safe room on land adjacent to the library in the heart of Southmost.
This Tuesday, while wringing his hands in despair as the time ran out to use the Federal Emergency Management Agency money to construct the dome, Longoria voted to do just that.
Instead, the money will be funneled for street improvements in Longoria's district just in time for his reelection bid. In fact, his Facebook page features a list of streets he has fixed. This will undoubtedly be prominently displayed there, too.
It's not like he hasn't had time to fight for "his people," as he likes to call the residents of the teeming Southmost barrios.
On May 25, 2013 – almost two years ago – the city commission, with Longoria present, voted on this item:
8. FIRST Public Hearing for the proposed 2012/2013 HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Funding allocation. (Stephanie Reyes – Grants)
The "substantial" part of that amendment was the proposal to shift $535,000 from a construction of the planned Southmost Community Center (Dome) to provide hurricane protection to that community and add $300,000 to John Villarreal's District 4 Oliveira Skate Park's $150,000 and another $235,000 to meet the needs of additional amenities to District 2 Jessica Tetreau's Portway Acres Park which was originally programmed for $107,692.
According ot the minutes of that meeting:
"Commissioner Estela C. Vasquez moved that the proposed 2nd Substantial Amendment to the
Fiscal Year 2012/2013 HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Funding
allocation, be approved. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jessica Tetreau and carried
Longoria had another chance to protect "his people" on December 12, 2014 when the commission considered delaying the construction once again. The minutes of that meeting state:
9. Consideration and ACTION to request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant the City of Brownsville a 12-month extension to complete construction of  the Community Safe Room project (DR-1791-361), located at the Southmost Library. Commissioner Ricardo Longoria Jr. moved that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to the City of Brownsville, for a 12-month extension to complete construction of the Community Safe Room project (DR-1791-361), located at the Southmost Library, be approved. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jessica Tetreau and carried unanimously.
On Tuesday, the minutes will reflect that Longoria voted once again to cancel the project in his district.
The commission instead authorized city officials to use the money for street and drainage improvements in the Southmost area.
Yet, this forked tongue commissioner from the Southmost area took to his soapbox and said his constituents were ‘cheated’ out of a dome.
The FEMA safe room project has been in the works for the last five years. Originally, there was a proposal to build four FEMA safe rooms in the city. In January, two of the four were canceled, and their funding was to be used for the remaining two safe rooms to be located at the Brownsville Sports Park and Southmost Public Library.
The safe rooms can withstand winds of up to 150 mph and can accommodate 800 to 1,000 people.
Those safe rooms can double as community activities centers or even gyms when not being used as hurricane protection.The 5-0 vote by the commissioners canceled the dome and voted to fund street and drainage improvements and the construction of a dome at the Brownsville Sports Park.
 According to news reports (not by the Herald, but by the TSC Collegian's Oscar Castillo) Marina Zolezzi, director of the city’s Office of Grant Management and Community Development, said FEMA’s deadline to build the dome is August 2016 and if the city does not meet that deadline, it runs the risk of paying 100 percent of the remaining project costs.
Under an agreement with FEMA, the federal agency contributes 75 percent of the funding and the city would have a local share of 25 percent.
“We would have really liked to see a second dome, especially in the Southmost area, but as we outlined earlier, because of FEMA’s deadline, which is August 2016 and because of the funding, we will not be able to meet that,” Zolezzi said in an interview with The Collegian after the city commission meeting.
Longoria thanked Zolezzi and the grants department for their work on the safe rooms, and yet had the nerve to say that in "his opinion, his constituents were being cheated out of a dome.
“I appreciate the money for the streets … [and] a dome in the north side of town at the Sports Park used for a gym, I understand the dual purpose, but you also have to understand that the citizens of my area don’t live in windstorm-certified homes,” Longoria told Zolezzi during the meeting. “To throw money at a couple of streets my way and, in my opinion, cheat my people out of a dome doesn’t really fly in my book.”
“The people in my community live on cinder blocks, live in houses that have three different pieces attached to the original piece. … You can see where the people in my community will benefit from [a FEMA safe room],” Longoria told The Collegian. “How am I supposed to get my people over to the Brownsville Sports Park when they’re in need of shelter in case of a storm?”
Asked what he would recommend people do in case of a hurricane, Longoria replied, “I don’t want people staying in the neighborhood, I want them out. I want them in a safe place. I’d rather have them go up north; I’d rather have them go somewhere where they’re actually going to be safe.”
No, Ricardo, you can't have it both ways. You sat there and voted to give the money away to suck up to the city administration and your fellow commissioners. You didn't stand up for "your people" when you had the chance. To now say that they "cheated" Southmost out of the money for the dome is a bald faced lie. It was you who cheated the Southmost area of effective leadership. We've been lucky. Pray to God that we don't get hit by a hurricane.
On May 9, there are two other candidates running against Longoria. They are Roman Perez and Michael Gonzalez. Either one would serve us better than this weasel.  


Anonymous said...

Caliche politics continue to prevail and Longoriia obviously feels threatened in the election and is willing
to make statements that clearly indicate he is trading asphalt for votes. Longoria is small minded and hopefully will lose the elections.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Rick Longoria, the Fire Department is not going to support you regardless of what you offer, pendejo.

El Tranzas

Anonymous said...

Jerry Hedgecock, Calvin Walker and there buddies must be disappointed they wont be able to steal from this project.

Anonymous said...

Congressman Louie Gohmert just inquired who this dude is in a foreign costume is? He could be deportable .