Wednesday, July 5, 2017


By Desi Martinez, M.A.
South Texas Economics - GOV Liaison, private consultant
Harlingen, Texas

To: Cameron County Commissioner Alex Dominguez,
Happy Independence Day! 
Image result for empty water spigotI read the article on Mr. Juan Montoya's, El Rrun Rrun, and saw the suffering voiced by el Rancho San Pedro residents, as we know it, and now in the City of Brownsville. 

My mom was born in Cavazos in 1912 near San Pedro. We have extended family in the area so I take this message to heart: "they have been warned not to drink the water or allow their children to come into contact with the liquid" (contaminated water) for over a year." 

Can this be true.? Over a year of the Military Hwy, Water Supply Corporation (MHWSC) doing planning to take action on an urgent human need? These residents are your common city and county constituents. Please take action.

As a former HUD-CDBG Director and Cameron County Planner, I know there there are possible options to investigate and take action with possible local funds. Urban cities have received HUD block grants from since 1972 to aid low-and-moderate income neighborhoods 

(Please see attached"HUD-CDBG Categories of Eligible Activities". You can find these at
Brownsville has its share and is operated by a CDBG Board and city staff with oversight by City Council and the city manager. The city and county both have public health departments. The State of Texas has a regional public health office as well and all should already have coordinated written and laboratory reports to determine an "urgent safe water need". 

The city and county both have civil engineers and should have a "standing local agreement" to develop plans and specifications to act on urgent matters related to areas annexed by cities and in extra-territorial jurisdictions (ETJ's). Why? Because you can, in matters of urgent human needs. You collaborate all the time in emergency management as in storms and hurricanes and law enforcement.

City of Brownsville HUD-CDBG can fund or provide seed or matching funds for, 'Urgent Needs Projects", National HUD Objectives, Chapter 2- page17 of eligible activities which states "The acquisition, construction, or reconstruction of a public facility or improvement to alleviate existing conditions and the grantee (City of Brownsville) certifies that these conditions are a serious and immediate threat to the health and welfare of the community, the conditions are of recent origin, there is no known source of funds it can use to implement the activity". 

This urgent matter meets the definition and MHWSC has no money to fix the problem.

Rural non-profits organizations and special districts that have been annexed or located in cities cannot function properly without the assistance and support of the city and county. Both elected entities must collaborate to make our areas safe and prosperous. Just recently, Cameron County and PUB obtained a Texas Department of Agriculture grant in the amount of $1,000,000 for PUB to install sewer lift stations, sewer lines, and yard lines for 100 family homes in the Brownsville ETJ. So you can act collaboratively.

Please stop planning to take action. Instead, take action to alleviate these immediate families and children safe water needs.

Sincerely, Desi Martinez


Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about the poor but the poor. Let them figure it out, bro. What do I care?!!

Anonymous said...

Desi come on do they really qualify for CDBG funding? really or you are just blowing smoke so you can get hired as a consultant like in los fresnos where you didn't do a thing?

Anonymous said...

Desi Martinez
Jul 5 (2 days ago)

Good question.

The MHWSC should be looking at all possible city, state and federal sources. The City website reads "The primary eligibility requirement for any such activity to be funded is that the project or program principally benefits low and moderate-income persons in designated census tracts. U.S. Dept. of HUD defines low and moderate (LMI) as a household that is at or below 80% of the median income for the area." The 2017 LMI for the Brownsville-Harlingen SMSA is $37,700 for a family of 4 persons. See; The question to be first answered if the area is indeed in the city limits, "Is the area in a CDBG designated LMI program area OR census tract?" I could not find the COB CDBG LMI Program Area Map on the web. The city decides the census tracts. I said "this a possible option that should be looked at". I do not suggest otherwise. Area may not be eligible. However, it should be looked into.