Thursday, November 3, 2016


By Juan Montoya
Sources close to the office of Esperanza Zendejas, the superintendent of the Brownsville Independent School District, say she is off to California for the third time in as many weeks, and the speculation is that she is there to interview for a superintendent's gig.
The BISD elections have turned out to be more contentious than ever and, apparently, Zendejas sees her four-vote majority in danger.
Before, with the support of Joe Rodriguez, Carlos Elizondo, Cesar Lopez, and Jose Chirinos,
Zendejas could put up with the sniping from pesky Catalina Presas-Garcia and later, from Minerva Peña, the anti-evolution born-again Christian who sought to establish an independent image as her reelection approached.

Peña is one of those people who pander to the evangelicals in this city who still can't cope with the geological evidence that shows the world was not created in seven days, that human being evolved like other species on earth, and that different cultures and religions can still co-exist peacefully without a lightning bolt crashing down from the heavens to smite the non-believers.

Listen to her speak publicly (if you can bear the thought), and what you get is a homily with more "God bless yous" and appeals to Providence than a Bishop Flores sermon. She has found out that religion, as patriotism to some, is a nice, safe refuge from which to delve in local politics.
It's a measure of our local electorate, that a core group of her supporters think her style of politics is just fine, thank you. She may be inarticulate, adorably brash and naive, pero es muy buena gente.

She is the classic gabber at social functions who is not above spreading a bit of juicy gossip when it may leave some sort of political profit in return from the listener.
Peña has seen the tides of fortune change during her tenure on the BISD board. At first, she went along with the Rodriguez, Lopez, Elizondo, and Chirinos majority and cooperated to remove Otis Powers from the president's chair. But she didn't realize that it would be her head rolling down the steps of the Glass Palace that would be next. Sure enough, the inevitable happened and the boys turned on her and she was out.

Kent Whittemore is giving her a run for the money. Whittemore, a veteran administrator at BISD, has sought to distance himself from the majority policies that have shifted the priorities of the district away from small class sizes, supporting Spacial Needs students, and other decent goals, to pay homage to the Jock Gang who imagine the BISD becoming a football power in South Texas. Anna Elizabeth Hernandez Oquin (rAnna McDonald), has used her McDonald's franchises to make her run at Peña, but apart from having a Fren-Fry font on her logo, not much has been seen or heard from her on the hustings.
The Rodriguez dream of establishing a football powerhouse at the BISD, of course, will never happen, but that hasn't stopped the Rodriguez Gang to plunk down $800,000 to cover a football field with artificial turf at high schoos, and even a middle school or two.

And he even threw in an indoor training center for his protege Tom Chavez's Rivera High School.
Football prowess never happened even during the Rodriguez Reign as coach and Athletic Director, but as we said, it's all about imagine. In this town, reality is shunted aside in favor of putting out a good front.

We may be the backwater of the United States, but by god, we can dance zumba with the best of them, have more kids dipping fishing poles in a resaca than anyone else, and cover more surface space with bike trails than we have sidewalks for people to walk on. And, oh yeah, we also bought ourselves the All-American City designation.

The administration and the BISD lawyers have allowed just about anyone to run for a seat on the board of trustees. Already, with Head Cheez Erasmo Castro making a run at incumbent Presas-Garcia and pressing on the heels of Laura Perez-Reyes, the documentation is in the hands of his opponents that will disqualify him from holding the position because of a felony conviction for forgery in his youth. The Brownsville Herald, which prides itself in not publishing political ads unless you can document where the ink in your pen came from, has allowed one Frank Mar to run two ads accusing Castro of not only having the conviction, but also of being named in other, less unpalatable acts involving filing immigration forms for poor clients without proper authority.

Perez-Reyes, meanwhile, has been the recipient of funds from BISD vendors who despise Garcia-Presas, although, to her credit, the challenger's campaign ads have not attacked the incumbent.

That slack has been picked up by BISD general counsel Baltazar Salazar, a mediocre education lawyer related by his sister's marriage to the Lucios and being subsidized by taxpayers at a generous $264,000 salary. Salazar has been sloppy and is the main suspect in the formation of the Brownsville Taxpayers PAC which has paid for at least three mass mailings against Presas-Garcia.

After it was discovered that its treasurer listed his "office or residence" at 925 N. Iowa – a vacant lot being sold by Salazar's sister Liz Vera's realty company – the PAC's next report to the Texas Ethics Commission listed a Houston address. But it didn't take but 15 minutes for documentation to show that the house in Houston is owned by Baltazar Salazar and his wife Maria.

As we said, he is a bit sloppy in his deceit. The only money reported in its TEC finance reports by the PAC for its website and printing and mailing the anti-Presas-Garcia literature, was $13,000 from Salazar.

The last thing Zendejas wants is to have Dr. Sylvia Perez-Atkinson beat Chirinos (a member of the Gang of Four) elected to the board. After all, it was with Zendejas' connivance that Atkinson was shown the door at BISD. But with a well-funded campaign and a horde of supporters, her worse nightmare may well become reality. Her nearest opponent, firefighter Rigo Bocanegra, lacks the financial purse to counter her campaign, and at least one source has told us of bounced checks as the campaign is in the home stretch. Only a late-game surge from Team Rigo could make it close. Of course, if he filed his reports on time, we may have a better idea of the breadth of his support.

At stake in all of this is control of a $500 million budget, the education of 45,000 students and the employment of 7,000 employees.

Zendejas – from previous experience – has shown that she can see the writing on the wall, even if misspelled. She has left a trail across the country in school districts where she was courted by a board majority, wore out her welcome as the districts succumbed into personnel turmoil and bad finances, and then walked away when the next board ousted the previous majority and bought out her contract.

She cannot only read the writing on the wall, but the omens are all bad. Even the Giant Pumpkings contest turned out to be a dud. Instead of giant calbazas, the merciless South Texas sun stunted the gourds, as the vote in this BISD election may stunt her dreams of staying on as superintendent here and fizzle at the polls.

It appears, as the baseball prophet said, that it's deja vu all over again.


The Pissed Off Conservative said...

Like a spoiled brat Zenxejas is already making plans of throwing a berrinche and leave the field because things are not going her way.

What a pile of garbage, rather than working out the differences she just walks away. The factvthat someone hires this piece of trash and puts her in a position of leadership is just astonishing.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to bad news!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered calling her, juan? She's in her office today.

Anonymous said...

Zendejas is a Stanford grad! She came here from Indianapolis. hey, she's free to search for jobs as much as the other guy. Why begrudge her that, juan? Brownsville is lucky to have such an educated person. So FUCK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Juan, please call me. I am in my office. I may need a new Public Relations Officers very soon. I am sure that you are more than qualified after working so many years in behave of some of our board members.

Anonymous said...

That would seem like a good approach to "investigative reporting".
Have you ever tried to contact those persons you openly criticize on
your blog ? It is never too late and maybe your reporting could be
evaluated as being more "fair and balanced". Or do you even care ?

Anonymous said...

Ha!Ha!Ha!....Someone sure got their panties in a wad! Good job, Juan! Brownsville newspaper won't print anything about the BISD if it's not their stupid pumpkin growing adventure or another such thing. School Board is worthless and charges should be brought up on most of them.Zendejas is worthless too!

Anonymous said...

Did you know that she was here for many years after her last job doing nothing other than enjoying life. What makes you believe that now that she is searching for any other job when she could have done it before. However, if she is, good for her. She is an intelligent person and well qualified with many years of experience in education.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The Letter to the Editor in the Herald today said it all! We don't trust the BISD Trustees to promote education...because they are promoting themselves. A pertinent point in that editorial does a person steal $300,000.00 from the food program over a period of years without being caught?????? No oversight

Anonymous said...

Get rid of Baltazar Salazar.

Anonymous said...

$300000 is a small piece of the pie. School principals charge teachers $1 a day to be able to wear jeans. This miney if for fund raising and sometimes for local and national charities. Who oversees this money? There is no accountability. BiSD has how many campuses times how many teachers? That's alot of money. Even though Web page advertises the "dollars for scholars" Jean wearing program. Puro ratero!!!

Anonymous said...

If Pendejas left the store then Mas Pendejos are minding the store!

Anonymous said...

Juan, you owe it to us to investigate your insinuations before you print them. When Zendejas went to California it was to receive an award with the Lopez principal, to attend a family gathering. she is
now going to Wash DC to receive another award or do you suppose she is meeting with the new administration for a job as Education Secretary.
Afterall, she is qualified for that position and the politics are just as bad as they are at BISD. Sylvia made her mess before Zendejas was even on board but since Montoya would not get rid of her, Zendejas first duty was to place her on leave to avoid more problems for BISD.
Then Sylvia, who still believes in BISD, came back and sued the district for some EEOC claim for one quarter of a million dollars. How do you think she got the money to build a wall around Brownsville with her $$$ face. Syliva has done this in Los Fresnos, Santa Rosa,
Eagle Pass, and Socorro and collect a big pachocha. Besides Erasmo,
who else has criminal charges on their record. Why don't you check on that and publish it for us to read. I can tell you of 4 right off the top of my head.

JOE said...

DR.Z DOES NOT NEED TO WORK SHE HAS TO MUCH $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

who paid for this trip ?

Anonymous said...

When Dr. Z was down here, she was the principal at a school in McAllen and was working here to be close to her grandchildren. She has never been a lady to do nothing and has always taken the reigns to lead whatever position she holds. It is just so sad that school boards, who are not suppose to be professional politicians, do not like to accept the fact that they can not micromanage or take over governance issues.
They are the trouble makers in the district because they listen to every complain and make promises to individuals, just a politiqueras do when buying votes. If she has left a district it is because of differences within her and the board who tries to manipulate and I can assure you that this lady is not one who will be manipulated by anyone!
He dicho!!!!

Anonymous said...

Electing Atkinson would be a terrible mistake for BISD. She serves no purpose except to herself and her cronies. Investigations of mishandling various programs and monies have followed her from district to district as previously mentioned. She uses intimidation tactics to serve her own needs and seeks recognition at the cost of the employee. Her belief in BISD leads her to use stock photos and videos in her latest ad. These photos/clips depict a student and teacher population that is not a true representation of our schools' demographics. Yes, she included a spattering of photos taken during her time within the district, as well as video clips from retired or discharged former BISD employees. However, this is not a representation of the here and now. Atkinson is a step backwards, not forwards. Quite frankly, why involve our students' education to fulfill one woman's vendetta?