Wednesday, April 19, 2017


By Juan Montoya
In the photo above of the Cameron County Commissioners Court, it seems like County Judge Eddie Treviño is merely placing his hands upon the table.
But if you were at the meeting or go to the county's video of the meeting, you can see that at about 5 minutes and 15 seconds into discussion of the item titled "Consideration and Adoption of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Transportation and Tourism Plan," Treviño was really slapping his hands on the table in frustration because the other commissioners weren't buying the proposal by the City of Brownsville for it to adopt the plan.

At about 20 minutes into the discussion, Treviño made a motion for the court to adopt the plan and failed to get a second to his motion. At bout 30 minutes, the motion died for lack of a second and was tabled. 

Treviño's anger boiled over shortty into the discussion as he and the city's envoy, planner Ramiro Gonzalez, tried to downplay the financial responsibilities that the county would incur if it adopted the plan.

Gonzalez and Treviño said that the mere adoption of the plan did not commit the county to spending "one dollar," an assertion disputed by county legal counsel Frank Martinez who said that the adoption would require "significant contributions by Cameron County to this plan."
This set of  a heated response by Treviño who asked Martinez where in the backup document the county was required to spend any money or contribute any resources.

"Where in this plan is the county committing to spending one dollar, where?," Treviño asked Martinez pointedly. "If in the future there is some request for funding from the county, they will have to come back to the court and make this request."

But Martinez – along with commissioners Sofia Benavides and Alex Dominguez – remained skeptical of the representations by Gonzalez and Treviño and questioned the extent of the support that the city was asking the county in adopting the plan.

"When the city first came to the court, there were two pages," she said. "Then you come back with a 179-page document I never thought I'd finish."

When Martinez and Dominguez balked at the vagueness in the plan concerning the county's participation if they adopted the plan, Treviño exploded and slammed both hands on the table.

"This is ridiculous, golly!"
To which Dominguez commented: "Is this the way we're going to have a quorum in Cameron County? I think that our legal counsel is giving us advice and we should consider it."

Included in the plan, Martinez said, was the future hiring of an executive officer and assistant by the Rails to Trails Association, a national bicycle advocate group that would be put in charge of implementing the plan. The cost for that was estimated to be between $90,000 and $110,000, he said.
"(Adopting it) leaves the county open to making commitments to something the county does not know when or how much it would be required to contribute."

The adoption of the city plan – which Gonzalez and Treviño said had been supported in resolution by 10 Cameron County cities – is part of an ongoing attempt by bike advocates in the city to connect the communities in the county with bike and hike trials.

The city's website explains that "on February 13, 2015, Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation awarded $100,000 to the City of Brownsville, in partnership with The University of Texas School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus, for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Active Transportation and Active Tourism Plan (previously the Cameron County in Motion: Active Transport Master Plan) project. 

"The LRGV Active Transportation and Active Tourism Plan will evaluate the connectivity possibilities between neighborhoods and cities within the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and provide an outline for interconnected pedestrian and bicycle routes. These routes would not only connect the cities, but also encourage physical activity and bicycle tourism.

This Plan will establish guidelines for current and future land use, pedestrian circulation, vehicular circulation, parking and natural features of the partnered communities. The Plan will strengthen the overall vision of the biking communities along the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Soon, Brownsville will enjoy a 21st century biking metroplex with the addition of 129 miles of hike and bike trails, lanes, and bicycle boulevards within the city limits."

However, adoption of the plan would – in effect – scrap the plans for a West Rail Loop road that has been singled out as a project by the Brownsville Metropolitan Organization (MPO) and the Texas Department of Transportation for the better part of a decade and where millions of public dollars ahve been spent. A vocal group in west Brownsville has vowed to stop the road and have a hike and bike trail. Treviño – when he ran for office – pledged support to stop the road to court their political support. He is counting on that support for his selection bid in 2018.

The county is the main landowner of property and right-of-way, including the abandoned Union Pacific Railroad grade. Hike and Bike Trail have failed to convince commissioners that they should abandon the pan for a road and install a hike and bike trail


Anonymous said...

Any thing the ball of lard Ramiro Gonzales is involved, will be to screw the citizens.

Pat Ahumada said...

Part I

Remember the ALAMO! Remember Imagine Brownsville, the scam left by Eddie Trevino and Carlos Marin that cost the city over a million dollars. Keep in mind Imagine Brownsville plan was presented to the city shortly after Eddie Tevino left office and required the city to pay $850,000 to fund the plan up front, plus annual membership fees. It required all of the city and PUB staff, rquired the actual master plans each entity already had with projections for growth and dependent upon funding. And for Trevino's and Marin's sheme to work, it required no funding from them, but required all the city staff and resources to help Marin compile each departments stategic plans into one plan called Imagine Brownsville.

So, the city was to fund Imagine Brownsville before any work was done and it was solely dependent on PUB and City staff to attend meetings to put together the Imagine Brownsville play book, which was a replica of the public entities already in place plans.

Imagine Brownsville, AKA United Brownsville, the kicker was Eddie failed to have it introduced when he left office and left it on my plate. Shortly after Eddie leaves office, Carlos Marin and Fed Rusteberg appear before the city commisison asking for the $850,000 approval to fund the scam. I, as mayor asked the question of Rusteberg at said meeting, if Imagine Brownsville was a for profit or was it a non-profit organization? Fred was miffed by the question and looked at Marin, forcing him to acknowledge that the Imagine Brownsville plan was a for profit organization. You could hear a pin drop, but then Atkinson intervened and lauded the plan and pushed for funding.

I informed the commission that we already have our master plan and we did not need Imagine Brownsville. I informed them that the plans are living plans, as they change based on needs, growth, and available funding. I also stated that we did not need Imagine Brownsville to do what the Chamber or UTB students could do as a project for the city at no cost, stessing that we did not need what was being offered, because we already had it. If you look at the city video, I also stated that if we approved this $850,000 funding, we would be ceding local governance to a none elected organization with accountability to no one. I also stated that once we open Pandora's Box, there was no way of going back and undoing the control we were ceding to the Imagine Brownsville organization. I strongly adviced against funding Imagine Brownsville, but Atkinson had control of Longoria and Leo, which played into Gowen, Camarillo and Troiani's Imagine Brownsville agenda to fleece the city out of a million dollars and would benefit them, as it has Gowen for years.

Pat Ahumada said...

Part II

Keep in mind, the position I took against Imagine Brownsville was not easy for me, as it cost me an enromous amount of money. My decision to say NO to Fred Rusteberg who was a person I respected and believed in was not easy and I signed my death warrant financially. IBC/Fred's bank was my biggest client as an appraiser, which is how I made my living and saying no was going to be affected. Once I went against the Imagine Brownsville proposal, I lost my biggest client. By putting the city first, I paid a huge price, but I did what I thought was right. I voted no with no attacks or any vocal opposiiton once it passed. Only when I was attacked for having said no, then I defended myself and became spoke openly about it. I was the only one who stood up for Brownsville and voted against the Imagine Brownsville proposal, but it was not personal, it was based on what I believed was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, people took it personal and it cost me.

If Fred had come to me personally befoe the meeting, perhaps I could have persuaded him against being part of this scam. I believe Fred's heart was in the right place, but he was used and was sold a bill of goods by Carlos Marin. Carlos Marin collected the $850,000 fee as a for profit corporation he owned and controlled and laughed as to how stupid and gullible the commissioners were and it earned me the hate of many.

I firmly believe and it is only an opinion, that Eddie Trevino got something under the table from Carlos Marin, but in the end they both have to meet their creator and will pay if they acted as I think they did. Perhaps not, but then it shows how stupid Eddie Trevino is to have proposed such a plan that produced nothing and no accountability for those who over see and control our local government governance to this day. It is now impossible to get them out, as it is being seen today.

Carlos Marin was very smart and rebranded Imagine Brownsville from a for profit organization after collectitng $850,000 by creating a non-profit organization now known as United Brownsville. United Brownsville did not get the $850,000, but it would live on the $25,000 annual funding from the public entities. Carlos is a genius on scaming taxpayers. Carlos Marin is very smart and we should give him credit or the people who go along are complet morons for being so gullible. After all it is not their money, it is taxpayers money.

The county commissioners are smart to be skeptical of anything Eddie Trevino proposes. Kuddos to them for not being rubber stampers.

Attack me all you want for speaking out, but I would not trust the county judge Eddie Trevino on anything, because he is not there as a public servant and does not care. Eddie is there for himself, just look at his PUB appointment by mayor Martinez, which has allowed Eddie to milk PUB $490,000 +/- per year for the last 4 years in attorney fees. Eddie would starve if it were not for PUB, like Sossi if it were not for the city, which is another failure by my fellow commissioners because they would not listen, but like Longoria said, "even if it is good for Brownsville and you propose it, I will vote against it". Atkinson and Logoria had made up their mind to undermine Brownsville in every which way as long as it made me look bad.

Now, look at the Tenaska project Eddie Trevino and mayor Martinez have going, which is also a scam. Eddie has already walked away fron the irresonsible and disastrous policies, including giving Cabler a life time contract with severence pay that goes against city charter. And the Mayor will walk away from the Casa Nylon, Tenaska, and all the other mess and who cares? No one really, because if you do, you get blasted.

AT said...

Well said, Pat Ahumada. Anything that costs too much money is already suspect in this city.

Anonymous said...

(to put together the Imagine Brownsville play book,)

Dude, give it up. Do us all a favor and go back to shrimping. That's all you were ever meant for.

Anonymous said...

If we could bring businesses and jobs to Cameron County and Brownsville, a bike trail might be a nice recreational investment. Without jobs and new business.....perhaps Rose Gowen and Eddie Trevino have the cart before the horse. With all the development and new investments in Hidalgo County....there are jobs, before the recreational venues. Why is Brownsville and Cameron County doing this backwards????

Anonymous said...

CASA DEL NYLON will be a bonanza for Brownsville. prime real estate. Hold on to it for afew years and then - BOOM! Long-term investing is something the poor do not understand.

Anonymous said...

Pat Ahumada is one sad fuck. Get a life, bro. You were mayor: WERE!!!

Anonymous said...

Pat - let that be a business lesson for you. You were probably making aa good living with your appraisal business and IBC was your main client and you got comfortable.

What you should've of done is expanded your client base and not depend on one client to be your majority source of income. You lacked the vision to make a company grow and you applied your same short sighted vision to your time as mayor (TWICE!!), and by reading your posts, you still have that short sighted vision. Its even worsened dramatically because now you don't even look to the future, all you talk about is the past.

You have good stories to tell though.

You don't see Carlos Marin going broke over United Brownsville debacle. I don't know they guy and don't care for the guy, and he's not public service material, but Im sure the COB and its entities are a single digit percentage of his income.

We need better, larger vision City leaders.. and we need Cabler to go too.

Pat Ahumada said...

IBC was a big client and considered a main client, but not the only client. But yes, the lesson is learned. Most of all that it does not pay to get into politics if you want to do the right thing. It just doesn't, because it is a given that you will make enemies if you do something, but if you want to like Atkinson told me to learn how to play ball, well then you have to compromise on your principals. I chose against my own detriment to do what I thought was best for the city and I have no one to blame but myself. I was and am an idealist, but the reality is people say they want good transparent and honest government, but they really don't. They want you to apply the transparent and honest government to someone else, not them. They are the exception and you need to play ball to be lauded or risk the wrath of the powers that be. They will ridicule you, delegitimitized, and even framed if the opportunity presents itself in order for them to get what they want when you are in the way. They will create a perception that is not true and people will believe it, but that is the price some pay when you don't play ball.

I am fine, I may struggle along the way, but I have maintained my principals, integrity and self worth. I never needed the position, nor wanted the position for self serving reasons. I just wanted to do the job.

You are wrong, I look to the future for sure. I am happy, not interested in seeking office and focus on my family and me. I mention the past, because the past is now the present. Decisions made back then are now haunting us now and creating a culture of corruption like never before. The problem is that we will not progress and fulfil our potential, because those we allow to continue doing the things that have hurt us in the past by not speaking out will continue to hold our city back. So you are wrong there, we cannot look the other way and let them continue to raise our utility rates, make bad deals like Tenaska, Casa Nylon, etc. We must speak out, otherwise we will be in a sinking ship that cannot be bailed out when we allow these yo yo's go unchecked.

Thank you for your words of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

It's terribly sad the Commission is thinking of making Brownsville even more third world than it already is, stuff your face with tacos in your uninsured car, and not beautified and athletic like Austin. Nature trails and foot paths always make a city look more refined. We had an opportunity to bring our home into the first world, integrated with nature paths and bikes and kids. Too bad they cared more about politics than about a minimal investment that could have drastically improved our cities.

Anonymous said...

You mean "La Casa Del Fraude" Nylon

Anonymous said...

Eddie is a liar self serving shrimp

Anonymous said...

Well, with that being said Pat. Im guessing that unless we have a retired, either wealthy or not interested in money, with no strings attached candidate, we will always have the mess we have now.

Also, Id like to add that although some projects might seem to be not in the best interest of the citizens - that would only be an opinion and would be relative.

Theres almost 200,000 citizens in Brownsville, so theres 200,000 different opinions. Its obvious a particular decision that benefits some, will hurt others, and the hurt will speak out.

Tenaska will eventually be an anchor for larger manufacturing companies to includes Brownsville in their site selection homework. Same for the Port and other larger, major investment projects the City is involved.

Its easy to criticize when all you've (not you in particular) done is open a burger joint, a coffee joint, a blog. These projects take 1 or 2 months to conceive and most business owners only consider 3 months of life support money to survive, and then blame the rest of the citizens because their business failed.

As an appraiser and mayor, you probably saw huge projects being planned, and some came and some didn't. So you know, it takes years and sometimes decades for a multi million dollar project to break ground.

You can't expect to create better paying jobs if you don't have the demand for it, and you can't fill better paying jobs with employees who don't have the experience or education... its a big cycle with many moving parts, they all have to think big, think long term.

We can't be a maquiladora support town for ever, we won't progress being a Sunrise Mall or retail town. We need serious jobs, we need serious investment, we need serious education.

This blog has a lot of negativity toward everything - we need less of that. We need less people living off politics.

Pat Ahumada said...

In response to Anonymous 1:26 PM, it is not all about money, it about themselves. It takes people who care to seek public office, people who will put their community before themselves to do the job well. The present elected officials can do the talk, but do not do the walk, because their wants and needs comes first and city's needs comes last. Plain and simple.

it is also not opinions, it is about having a fiduciary duty to represent the taxpayers best interest by making sure the funds entrusted are being spent for the over all best interest. For instance, Gowen's pet projects as compared to the city's needs and priorities, she obviously is pushing her personal agenda over the city's needs and priorities when you put the pencil to it, you will find that not only does it cost the city millions for her pet projects in direct monies, but also the indirect costs of employees time spent to meet her needs for a very select few at the expense of city's real needs. She justifies her wants by saying it is for our health, but our health is a personal choice it is not for her to try to make this city into a bicycle city when no one uses the bike lanes. We have bike trails and the linear park, which is suited for the bicycle enthusiast, but that is not enough for her, because she is trying to force her agenda at the expense of the city's needs, but does understand that everyting is cyclical.

The city is going to grow and as much as she fails to understand the bike lanes will be removed in time, because this ciy is an automobile transportation city, not a bicycle cultured city. As more autos are put on the road, the more need for asphalt and the bicycle lanes will be removed. What she should have focused on was to continue promoting health fitness and the bicycle trails built specifically to meet the health needs. The bicycle lanes are not being used, divide the $435,000 by the amoutn of bicycle users of the lanes and you will find the amount to be not justified and that the money could had been put to better use.

She is also creating a health hazard with the bicycle lanes, because in todays use of the roads, unfortunately drivers are texting and speeding with the possibility of death to a bicyclist using lanes in roads meant for the automobiles.

She prefers to sacrifice everything else in pursuit of her personal wants instead of the needs of our city. I think no one opposes bicycle trails in safe areas designated free from the automobile, but she believes she can transform Brownsville into a bicycle transportation mode type of city.

We need business people who understand the ficuciary duty to budget, plan and spend the monies appropriately to provide the maximum benefit for the citizens they represent. We need people who run to be independent thinkers, who care, and who will not be afraid to speak up, which I belive is not likely to happen the way things are today. No one wants to run and the people who run for the most part are more into themselves and being part of a network for control. Unfortunately, when elected they don't know why they are there.

Anonymous said...

Of course they are doing it backwards! Spend the money before you have it on something that takes resources away from what you need now.

Anonymous said...

Pat, who cares what a DRUNK DRIVER thinks about our bike paths LOL!! If you had gotten on a bike instead of behind the wheel you never would have been arrested baboso.

Too busy driving under the influence o k? FYI the bike paths are filled with kids walking home from school, or riding bikes, or skateboards. There are families on the path walking their dogs and baby strollers or feeding ducks.

The trails are pleasant, family friendly and attractive places. Not that you would know anything about family friendly entertainment, as your values of entertainment appear to consist only of bars and maquinitas or a jail cell.

Pat you never had the vision for Brownsville as anything but a shitty dive with a bunch of drunks on the road. This is why you lost, and why no one takes you seriously. I am grateful to have bike paths in my neighborhood as it keeps the kids off the street, where they might be hit by crazy drunks behind the wheel like YOU

Anonymous said...

Dr. Gowne was a failure as a doctor and had to close her own practice. If it wasn't for the public welfare she depends on she would be on food stamps.

Dr. Gowen closed her private practice and went to work for Carlos Marin's wife at Su Clinica Familiar, then she went to work for Juliet Garcia at UTB. I am sure Dr. Gowen is still living off public funds, because she cannot make it on her own. If Dr. Gowen cannot make it on her own, she cannot manage public monies. Dr. Gowen loves to spend taxpayers resources.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr. Ahumada, I appreciate your comments and also thank you for your public service as Mayor. You done one hell of a job during your last tenure and we'll vote for you in the future on any capacity in case you consider public service again. Don't pay attention to so many comments about you, you do have people that support you. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

If anonymous thinks the bike Lanes are so great why not send your kids to use them. No one uses the bike Lanes and the money Rose has spent shows how misguided she is. Gowen could careless how she wastes taxpayers money, because she feels entitled.

Anonymous said...

Try walking on a bike path one of these days. They are filled with families and kids HELLO and duh because they are among the nicest and FREE places people can go to hang out. BTW cowardly anon attacks against Gowen doesn't make your DWI and arrests disappear dude

Pat Ahumada said...

The DWI was discussed dismissed, because they had a weak case. What does that have to do with the waste of taxpayers monies for private events and bicycle lanes that no one uses? I support and did before Gowen got elected bicycle trails and off road parks. Learn to read. Your attacks don't phase me, but it shows the coward you are and that you fear me Anonymous.