Friday, August 4, 2017


By Juan Montoya

Even as a groundswell grows calling for term limits in the District 37 Texas State Representative Rene Oliveira position in the wake of his announcement that he will seek another term that – if successful –would give him 36 years in the House, a curious apologist campaign has been launched.

Image result for rene oliveira, rrunrrunHis defenders point out that his 34 years in the House confer upon him a mantle of seniority that a replacement would not have.

How that seniority would make Oliveira more effective in light of the fact that he is part of a the Democratic minority in the House and can only make futile whines from the sidelines as the Republican Juggernaut steamrolls its agenda through the state legislature is never explained.

And the Oliveira apologists have targeted Pct. 2 County Commissioner Alex Rodriguez for pre-emptive strikes because it appears that they have decided that he is a likely challenger to Oliveira's reign. So far, no one has announced they will challenge the incumbent, but the cyber destruction of Dominguez indicates that they fear he will run against Oliveira again.

The apologists poo-hoo his performance as county commissioner without any specifics. They ignore the continuing improvements at Cameron County's biggest colonia, Cameron Park, which Dominguez continued after Carlos Cascos, John Wood and Ernie Hernandez, the former precinct commissioners.

They also ignore his major role in the setting up of the countywide Tax Reinvestment Zone, a $1.6 billion plan to fund countywide transportation infrastructure improvements. That plan involved setting up a countywide TRZ whereby the county dedicated a portion of the tax increment on properties in the zone to fund the development of some or all of the projects.

That plan also included an inter-local agreement between Cameron County and the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA) that identifies over 50 projects that the two entities deem critical to the long term transportation infrastructure needs of the County. The vote by Commissioners Court was 4-0 in favor of the plan.

Originally, the CCRMA wanted the incremental taxes to be on all property in the county, including the property where the billions of LNG projects are being set up. Dominguez convinced the commissioners court and the CCRMA to accept a scaled-down version that restricted the incremental funds to the existing five TRZ instead. They agreed.

And when the Military Highway Water Supply Corporation (MHWSC) resisted paying the Brownsville Public Utility Board to solve its contaminated water system at the end of the network in San Pedro, Dominguez – even though the town is inside the Brownsville city limits – stepped in and convinced the MHWSC to solve the residents' water problem.

Add in the overhaul of the South Padre Island County Parks System, the renovation of the old Wells Fargo Bank into a downtown Brownsville anchor, the completion of the West Rail Bridge and the effort to establish a second causeway, and the "signature" accomplishments are there if they cared to see them. 

But to the Oliveira lemmings rush headlong into the abyss and ignore these facts. They minimize the incumbent's well-known foibles and bon vivant reputation with facile generalizations. Let's take a look at just a few.

The Texas Monitor:
An examination of campaign fund expenditure...shows that the Democrat from Brownsville spent at least $16,105 at liquor stories between Jan. 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2016, with descriptions that include “beverages for capitol office” and “beverages for district office for constituents.”

"Those expenditures, which include $6,228.33 at Jones Liquor and $5,730.54 at Ben’s Liquor, both in Brownsville, are part of a total of more than $250,000 Oliveira has spent out of his campaign funds over the past decade on extravagant living for himself and gifts for his constituents."
Image result for rene oliveira, rrunrrun
Apologist: "He’s been too much of a playboy by a variety of accounts. And, according to the Texas Monitor, he has taken campaign contributions and both enriched and entertained himself royally. Nice, leased vehicles have come easily, as has a Saudi’s banquet of exotic foods and a river of expensive alcohol. It is not taxpayer money he has used; it is cash from campaign supporters.  About that: All of the politicos in Austin do a bit of this, as well. Local State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. does it, as does State Rep. Eddie Lucio, III."

Conclusion: It's OK cause everybody else does it.

Apologist: "That Oliveira does it in an excessive manner is troubling, but at some point the always go on faith. Oliveira has let his constituents down if he is known only as a boozer and womanizer, as is the currently the case in Brownsville. Along the harsh Mexican border, well, everybody drinks alcohol. "

Well, not quite. Rene goes a little beyond the pale.

The Texas Monitor:
"...Examined the campaign expenditure reports of each member of the state’s House and Senate, looking for expenses for such items as exotic travel, fancy Austin accommodations, car leases and swanky gifts for people in their districts. Oliveira’s tally ranked him fifth (out of a total of 150) in the Texas House of Representatives during the past decade.

Well, maybe it's just the critics from outside his fan base that raise their eyebrows at his high living, his apologists say. To them, no hay quinto malo.
No. Even those in his inner circle warned him repeatedly about his excesses, something Rene's apologists choose to ignore.

Chief of staff J.J. Garza, internal memo dated July 12, 2011: "In the 181 days (your account) paid for meals and/or drinks for supporters and/or constituents almost 200 times (actually 197) for a total of more than$13,000 (actually $13,360). In some cases these expenditures occurred as many as four times in a day, and make up one-third of your total expenditures...

""Fifty six of those times were Valley establishments – 50 times during the regular session and six times during the special session. This means that you entertained supporters and constituents in Austin about 150 times during the 140-day regular session. Considering that often the Austin week is less than a full week – the House met in session just 101 of those 140 days – that means means you were entertaining supporters or constituents an average of 1.5 times per day the House was in session.

"Over the 181 day reporting period, you average almost $74 per day in entertaining expenses.
"Why do you need to spend so much, when your Valley colleagues are spending as little as 10 to 20 percent of what you are spending on supporters and constituents?," Garza asks in his memo.
"I think you should prepare yourself for heavy criticism from them and their readers," Garza warns the festive rep.

Apologist: "He has his detractors and his image problems, but Oliveira, a Democrat, still looms large in Austin insider politics. Replacing him at this point would be to saddle the next state representative from this district with being so low on the seniority totem pole as to be useless….for years and years."

District 37 Demographics after 34 years under Oliveira's seniority mantle: "After all, he has to worry about the 39 percent of the people in his district – including 13,239 families – who live below the poverty level. That's compared to 17.7 percent in Texas. That would make anyone toss and turn, we guess. That and the fact that even after 34 years of working on educational issues against the nasty reps from up Nawth, a full 22 percent – or 34,776 – do not speak English well or at all compared to 8 percent across the state."

" Using sports as an analogy, we do not see a Rio Grande Valley high school football coach being courted the next time the Texas Longhorns need a head coach...Dominguez is small potatoes at this point in his political career. His selection of coffee shop whiner Zeke Silva as campaign manager and administrative aide says way too much about him, as in too much of the Same Ol’-Same Ol’ in local politics. Oliveira at least knows the Big Time ropes…"
Image result for rene oliveira, rrunrrun

Reality: This sounds suspiciously like the flowery hyperbole used by former Brownsville city commissioner Melissa Zamora (she was, like Rene, also a TexasEx) when she was hired to do PR for Oliveira and get him and his girlfriends out of alcohol-driven binds.

She hated Silva and succeeded in driving him from the community outreach position at the DA's Office. Karma came around and she got booted from her position as Director of the Harlingen Convention Bureau for sassing back and insubordination. Is she working the social media  for Rene again though this cyber apologia?

But come on, Oliveira is no Darell Royale, and if he was placed on the sidelines he'd probably go into full-blown cardiac arrest on the first snap from center.


Anonymous said...

If Melissa truly did write that, man, she's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Rene Oliveira the mastermind behind the reason UTB never paid TSC the $11M backrent?



Anonymous said...

When is the date for the wedding of his latest engagement?

Anonymous said...

Rene should get no sympathy from voters of Cameron County. He has done nothing for the local community despite his claims. He is a pawn to special interests and has sold his vote to them. Rene has done nothing!!! He is a boozer and womanizer who is an embarrassment to our community. Elected because his "mama" Gloria was a force in the local Democratic Party; he has done nothing to make her proud. Only comment I ever heard from any of his girlfriends was that he had the greatest tongue in South Texas.

Anonymous said...

Pee wee weewee lol

Anonymous said...

Got to hand it to him - I once saw him with this really fit chick.. looked like a fitness model.

Anonymous said...

Lmao Thats a good one and then what., he can't throw it down it's probably a relative haha.