Tuesday, May 24, 2022

AT 90, SHE TOOK THE TIME TO VOTE, DID YOU?

(Ed.'s Note: That's yours truly's mom who called me and insisted she wanted to vote at her precinct at Benavides Elementary. Fiercely proud of her right to vote, she doesn't miss a chance to exercise it. If you are younger and haven't gone, take the time. People have sacrificed to make this possible. You have until 7 p.m. to do it.)


 

BERNAL A FINALIST FOR ADAMS COUNTY, CO. MANAGER


Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Noel Bernal came to Brownsville in December 2018 and now, with his selection as one of two finalists for Adams County, Colorado, manager, has apparently been eyeing greener pastures in the Rockies for some time now.

He will need a new wardrobe stipend from Adams County , of course, because it tends to get a bit cold in the Rockies. And while he's at it, he might – if he gets the job– take his overpaid underachiever cadre of assistant city managers who together pull in close to $1 million a year in salaries.
Still, the the Texas City Management Association named him Administrator of the Year in recognition of his "significant contributions" to local government management over the past 18 months. However, he and his former Information and Marketing Director – who already flew the coop – were good sloganeers with their "Total Alignment" mantra that they credit with making the city prosper and bloom. Huh? Where? 

Add in the close to $1 million in consultants who actually do the job they're supposed to do and we could realize a real savings from their departure. We wish him the best of luck and that he gets the job.

A NOVEL WAY TO DEFUSE A VOLATILE DOMESTIC SITUATI0N


(Ed.'s Note: Patrons at the CC Wings on Central Blvd, were watching the Astros game on Sunday when they noticed a woman walking along the side of the road and a pickup truck loaded with furniture rolling slowly behind her. It was obvious that there was some problem as she argued with the driver who was trying to talk her into climbing aboard the passenger seat and she angrily refused. Kids in the back seat of the truck were asking her to relent and come back.

Then, stopping in front of the restaurant, the man driving walked out, went behind the truck and came up to the woman, fists clenched as he approached her. Everyone in the place thought there was going to be trouble. But then, as the man faced the woman, he knelt down and hugged her. At the sight of him kneeling, she melted and hugged him back, climbed in the truck and they rolled off.)

VOTE TODAY: DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN VOTING SITES

Election Day Democratic Party Locations (Click on link blelow)

Election Day Republican Party Locations (Click on link below)


After months of campaigning, surviving the March 1 primaries, and going door-to-door seeking votes, today is the day when voters will decide which of their party's candidate will represent them in the Nov. 8 general election. Look up your precinct on your voting card in the list above to find your voting site.

The candidates have done their part. Now it's out turn. If you didn't vote early, today is the day to cast your vote at the sites above. Every vote counts. Ask the candidates. Take the time to vote.

Monday, May 23, 2022

PORT PICKS GUERRA CHAIR, CELEBRATES NAT. MARITIME DAY

Special to El Rrun-Rrun

The Brownsville Ship Channel at the Port of Brownsville is the lifeline connecting businesses with markets and shippers around the world thanks to the work of merchant mariners.

“Ports are essential to our economy and way of life. The Brownsville Navigation District recognizes the pivotal role merchant mariners play at the Port of Brownsville. These individuals support the safe and secure movement of goods through our domestic and international waterways,” said BND Chairman Esteban Guerra. 

“Since 1936, the port has facilitated trade opportunities throughout South Texas and Northern Mexico aiding sustainable growth to create a thriving network of industries for our families to prosper.”

Guerra was unanimously appointed to serve as chairman of the BND Board of Commissioners during the board’s regular meeting held Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

Guerra serves as chairman alongside BND Vice Chairman Ralph Cowen and BND Secretary of the Board John Wood, also unanimously appointed to serve as part of the executive board. Commissioners John Reed and Sergio Tito Lopez round out the board as assistant secretaries.

Wood, Commissioner Place 2, and Guerra, Commissioner Place 4, were re-elected to the board in the BND election on May 7. During the swearing-in ceremony, Wood was administered the Oath of Office by his son Frank Wood while Guerra was administered the Oath of Office by State District Judge Gabriela Garcia.

On National Maritime Day, commemorated annually on the 22nd day of May, the Brownsville Navigation District recognizes the essential roles of merchant mariners to the port’s operations.

Merchant mariners are instrumental in ensuring that goods are available as our world emerges from the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tugboat captains, deckhands, harbor pilots, officers and crews of all U.S.-flagged vessels work tirelessly to sustain the movement of essential goods to medical professionals, manufacturing plants, businesses and communities. Despite the challenges faced in the national supply chain, the maritime workforce continues to be a vital part of the nation’s recovery.

National Maritime Day was established by a joint Resolution of Congress and by a Proclamation of the President of the United States in 1933 to commemorate the American steamship Savannah’s voyage from the United States to England, marking the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with steam propulsion. 

During World War II more than 250,000 members of the American Merchant Marine served their country, with more than 6,700 giving their lives, hundreds being detained as prisoners of war and more than 800 U.S. merchant ships being sunk or damaged.

LOPEZ OBRADOR ORDERS PROBE INTO SALE OF DEAD DOGS AND CATS; CASE CAME TO LIGHT WHEN TRAILER AND BUS CRASHED

Codigo @ Delicias

A trailer crashed in Tamaulipas and its cargo was exposed: 4 tons of dead dogs and cats that were traveling to the United States; AMLO orders investigation...

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) reported that the transfer of four tons of dead dogs and cats destined for the United States will be investigated.

This is what AMLO said during the morning conference on Thursday, May 19, after it was revealed that a trailer had collided and its load of dead dogs and cats was exposed at the height of the city of Matamoros in Tamaulipas. https://rrunrrun.blogspot.com/2022/05/raining-cats-and-dogs-and-frogs-beef.html

AMLO promised to review a bill that was presented to him and that seeks to reduce animal abuse in Mexico.

“We are going to do the investigation. We received the proposal, the project for a law initiative (against animal cruelty) that allows us to review them, to see if the executive can send that project as a law initiative”

It should be remembered that a trailer from Querétaro' Aquaanimales company and bound for Rana Labs Brownsville, Texas, crashed, with a bus exposing the macabre contents.

The trailer that hit a bus, whose driver lost his life, was full of dead animals, mainly dogs and cats. The accident was at kilometer 265 of the Victoria-Matamoros highway, where a trailer and a passenger bus whose driver unfortunately died after the impact and according to the expert opinion carried out by elements of the National Guard, he was pointed out as the person responsible for the accident.

The driver of the trailer indicated that he was coming from Querétaro and was going to Brownsville when the bus invaded the lane, causing the accident on the Victoria-Matamoros highway. He pointed out that he got out of his unit to help the driver who was traveling alone, but unfortunately he was already lifeless.

In relation to the transfer of dead animals, such as dogs and cats that he carried in 200-liter drums, he stated that he only carries out the transfer to Brownsville, Texas and delivers them to a Rana Labs, a firm dedicated to distribution to university laboratories for student practices. He said that there were a total of four tons of dead animals, consisting of dogs, cats, hearts and bovine eyes, transported in 200-liter drums, with 90 percent  water and 10 percent percent liquid to preserve them.

He pointed out that the transfer he makes is completely legal and that he has all the necessary permits, including that of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa), as well as export to the United States. He said he did not know how the animals are acquired in the city of Querétaro, since he is only drives and transfers it to Brownsville from there.

CORTEZ CHIDED FOR USING KIDS' SUFFERING FOR POLITICS

SO MAYRA PICKED COTTON IN 1999? REALLY? WAS SHE ALSO ONE OF THE DISCIPLES WHO WALKED WITH JESUS?


"Growing up, Mayra (Flores) worked alongside her parents in the cotton fields in Memphis, Texas to earn extra money for school clothes and supplies. Instilling the value of hard work and the importance of education in her at a young age."

"In 2004, she graduated high school in San Benito, Texas..."

In one of her campaign ads, Flores talks about picking cotton when she was 13. Ok. Let's say that she graduated when she was 18 in 2004, that would have made her 13 in 1999, when all cotton harvesting had been done mechanically for more than 30 years.

"Between 1948 and the late 1960s, mechanical harvesting of the cotton crop went from essentially zero to 96 percent of the crop."    

So how could Flores – in 1999 – be picking cotton by hand? 

If her claims about picking cotton by hand are obviously false, how can we believe all the rest of her claims? Since she says she is "pro-God," will she claim she  was one of Christ's apostles, too?

Flores, a Republican, is running in a special election to the U.S. House to represent Texas' 34th Congressional District. She is also on the ballot in the special congressional election on June 14, 2014. 
Flores is also on the ballot in the general election on November 8, 2022. She advanced from the Republican primary on March 1, 2022.

Dan Sanchez and Rene Coronado are Democrats running in the special election. The other Republican in the race besides Flores is Juana Cantu Cabrera.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

TSC COMMENCEMENT: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITY AWAITS


 
          
Texas Southmost College had a record number of graduates walking the stage at the Jacob Brown Auditorium during three commencement ceremonies held on Saturday, May 14. 

A record number of dual enrollment students from Brownsville Independent School District, Jubilee-Brownsville, and Los Fresnos CISD earned an associate degree in General Studies before a high school diploma and joined the Scorpion Alumni family and have become Scorpion Strong. 

Congratulations, Spring Class of 2022!

TURD NABBED FOR ILLEGAL LOBBYING OF LEGE MEMBERS

By Patrick Svitek
Texas Tribune
A 2019 law aimed at cracking down on the revolving door of lobbyists at the Texas Capitol is ensnaring two recent legislators and prompting state ethics regulators to address potential loopholes.

The law says former members of the Legislature cannot engage in activities that require them to register as a lobbyist if they have made a political contribution using campaign funds in the past two years. It is meant to prevent a situation where, for example, a lawmaker spreads campaign contributions around to colleagues, steps down or loses reelection — and then goes to lobby those same colleagues a short time later.

The law, House Bill 2677 by state Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, passed without any opposition in both chambers.

But redistricting has created more turnover than usual at the Legislature this year, creating a pool of former lawmakers who may want to join the lobby. Two of them — former state Reps. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, and Chris Paddie, R-Marshall — registered as lobbyists with the Texas Ethics Commission last week, despite using campaign cash for political contributions in the past two years. But after media inquiries, they decided to suspend their registration.

Paddie nonetheless characterized his registration as a proactive measure and said it was not because he had engaged in activities requiring disclosure — the threshold outlined for the two-year ban under the 2019 law.

“I recently registered with the Ethics Commission with the intent of engaging in lobby activity,” Paddie said in a statement. “However, I have not yet engaged in that activity and have suspended my registration with the Ethics Commission.”

Lucio’s case is a little more unusual. When he shut down his campaign account earlier this year, he sought to retroactively comply with the 2019 law by seeking refunds of all the political contributions that he thought he had made in the last two years. But his lawyer said he recently became aware of other political contributions Lucio made over that period. And he is now unable to rectify the situation because the account has been closed.

“We reviewed Mr. Lucio’s reports and the applicable laws surrounding lobby registration and we believe that he did everything he could to mitigate his situation before registering,” Lucio’s lawyer, Andrew Cates, said in a statement. 

“Subsequently, we were made aware of additional contributions Mr. Lucio made in 2020 that we were unable to mitigate prior to closing his campaign account. Out of an abundance of caution, Mr. Lucio will suspend his lobby registration until the time period runs out in October 2022 and we will reassess his legal options at that point.”

Both Paddie and Lucio announced they were not seeking reelection during the redistricting process last year and then stepped down early months later. 

Paddie, the former chair of the House State Affairs Committee, had registered to lobby for Incode Technologies, an identity verification company based in San Francisco. Lucio had registered to lobby for five clients, including the health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield and Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the powerful tort reform group.

Their registrations came as the Texas Ethics Commission was crafting an advisory opinion that addressed a potential loophole in the 2019 law. An unnamed state legislator had asked the commission to weigh in on whether the two-year ban applies to not just campaign accounts, but separate political committees where lawmakers sometimes maintain their contributions.

All lawmakers have a “candidate/officeholder account” that is traditionally the main vehicle for their campaign finances. But some choose to raise and spend money out of other committees — often “special-purpose” committees — to allow for more flexibility.


Friday, May 20, 2022

THOUGH NEVER HERE, LINCOLN'S TERM INFLUENCED BY BORDER

 "The Mexican War did two things though. We got a lot of Western land, damned near doubled our size, and besides that it was a training ground for generals, so when the sad self-murder (U.S. Civil War) settled on us the leaders knew the techniques for making it properly horrible."

From "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck

By Juan Montoya
George Washington never made it to Brownsville. 
For that matter, neither did Abraham Lincoln.

And while it's true that we have no cherry trees that young George could have cut down along the Rio Grande,  the events that happened along it's banks 176 years ago May 8 made a definite impact on the budding political career of Lincoln and his subsequent nightmare to keep the Union intact.

And two future presidents, Zachary Taylor and Ulysses S. Grant fought the Mexican Army on the grassy lowlands just north of FM 511 where the Palo Alto National Battlefield center stands today. 

The closest Robert E. Lee - the general of the Confederacy - got to Brownsville was on a ship off Brazos Island awaiting the arrival of forces campaigning with Taylor in Mexico to invade Veracruz and March to force the capitulation of Mexico City with Gen. Winfield Scott.
Lee later returned to Brownsville prior to the Civil War as a Union officer to assist with the "bandit" wars.

As Steinbeck correctly concludes, the U.S. soldiers who fought here and who were stationed on the fort that Taylor built on the banks of the Rio Grande went on to lead the ranks of the northern and southern armies in the Civil War that was to come less that two decades later.
No less than 37 future generals fought the Mexican army at Palo Alto (23 Union and 14 Confederate).

Another 15 future generals (six Union, nine Confederate) were present during the siege of Ft. Brown across from Matamoros, next to the golf course at the college.
It can be safely said that the seeds of the Civil War were planted at Palo Alto and at Resaca de la Guerra the next day, although the field was watered with U.S. and Mexican blood and not exclusively American as it was during the Civil War.

Although Lincoln, never set foot on South Texas soil, the events that unfolded here linked his life inextricably to our area.
Lincoln’s biographers say that the first utterances Lincoln gave concerning South Texas came some three weeks after Mexican and U.S. forces clashed May 7, 1846, at Palo Alto and ignited the war that ended with more than half of Mexico in possession of the United States.

At that time he is said to have been given a “warm, thrilling, and effective” speech at a public meeting that he gave to encourage volunteering. However, he was of like mind with most young white males of the day in that he considered most Mexicans ”greasers,” according to historian Mark E. Neely in a paper he presented in 1981.

When he got to Washington as a newly-elected congressman in 1847, he thought that whether one agreed with President James K. Polk on the Mexican War, “should...as good citizens and patriots, remain silent...at least till the war should be ended.”

But all that changed when Lincoln, the Whig congressman, arrived in Congress. By that time the fighting was substantially over. In his annual message of December, 1847, Polk asked Congress for additional funds to bring the war to a close, claiming the vast territories of New Mexico and California as partial indemnity. In that address, he repeated the claim that Mexico had initiated the war by “invading the territory of the State of Texas, striking the first blow, and shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil.”

Shortly thereafter, on December 22, Lincoln introduced a series of resolutions requiring that Polk provide the House with “all the facts which go to establish whether the particular spot of soil on which the blood of our citizens was so shed, was, or was not, our own soil.”

Had that spot, Lincoln queried, ever been a part of Texas and whether its inhabitants had ever submitted themselves to the government or laws of Texas...by consent, or by compulsion, either by accepting office, or voting at elections, or paying taxes, or serving on juries, or...in any other way?”
Lincoln even joined 85 other Whigs led by Massachusetts representative George Ashmun who introduced a resolution declaring that the war had been “unnecessarily and unconstitutionally began by the President of the United States.”

Lincoln’s anti-Polk tirades in the House eventually earned him the wrath of the Democratic press, who chided the new congressman by calling him “Spotty” Lincoln, in reference to his insistence that Polk name the spot where hostilities had begun. His two predecessors in the congressional district – John H. Hardin and E. D. Baker – both had served volunteered to serve in the Army when the war broke out.

This apparent contradiction didn’t go unnoticed by Missouri representative John Jameson, of Missouri, who professed astonishment that the successor of Hardin – killed at Buena Vista – and Baker, a hero of the battle Cerro Gordo, should utter such unpatriotic speeches.

The reaction in the press was partisan as it was pointed. Precious few Whigs came to Lincoln’s defense, but pro-Democratic newspapers took umbrage with his views in no uncertain terms. The Illinois State Register warned that Lincoln predicted that he would have “a fearful account to settle” with the veterans when they returned from Mexico.

Likewise, the Peoria Press denounced Lincoln as the “Miserable man of spots” and pilloried him for his “traitorous course in Congress.”
In public meetings, Democratic speakers chastised Lincoln for “base, dastardly, and treasonable assault upon President Polk” and prophesied that “henceforth will this Benedict Arnold of our district be known here only as the Spotty Ranchero of one term.”

Lincoln only served one term, in large part as a result of his stand on the Mexican War and his attack on Polk. But before he left office, he became the driving force who pushed for Taylor – victorious at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Guerra – to be drafted as the Whig candidate for president.

“Our only chance is with Taylor,” he cautioned voters on the presidential campaign trail.
After he left office, Lincoln could not have known that the men who had served with Taylor in Texas and Northern Mexico would play large roles in his future and that Taylor and later Grant would go on to become presidents themselves.

Grant would become Lincoln’s leading general, providing the Union with victories when things looked darkest.
Besides Grant, other future Union generals who would later served under Lincoln that were present at Palo Alto included Gen. Benjamin Alford, Gen. Christopher Augur, Joseph K. Barnes, William Brooks, Robert Buchanan, and Don Carlos Buell, among others.

Future Confederate generals at the battle included Bernard Bee, Braxton Bragg, Samuel Gibbs French, Robert Selden Garnett, Bushrod Johnson, Edwin Kirby Smith, and James Longstreet. 

Joseph K. Barnes, Taylor's medic, went on to become the U.S. Surgeon General and was serving in the position when Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater. He was one of the physicians who tended to the fatally wounded president before he died. 

In fact, on April 14, 1865, Barnes attended the death bed of Lincoln and ministered to the successful restoration of Secretary of State William H. Seward. In 1881, during the long struggle of President James A. Garfield to live following the assassin's attack, Barnes was one of the surgeons who for weeks served in the chamber of the dying president.

However, as it relates to Lincoln's ties to our area, while president, he and his cabinet grappled with the blockade of southern ports, including shipping from South Texas. Considerable fortunes (such as those of Charles Stillman and Richard King's) were made running the blockade to deliver cotton to British mills. As the Union tried to stem the flow of cotton from the South and arms from abroad, they found themselves helpless to stop the flow of Confederate cotton from Puerto Bagdad, on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.

David Herbert Donald tells of the Peterhoff incident just off the coast of Brownsville in his Lincoln biography. Union forces captured the ship suspecting that it carried contraband intended for the Confederacy. Secretary of War Gideon Welles defended the Navy and urged Lincoln to open the mails so that proof of the ship’s intentions could be verified.

The British protested claiming the inviolability of the mails under international law and demanding that the Peterhoff be released.
Secretary of State William Seward backed the British position and things were at a stalemate until Lincoln interceded and laid the issue to rest. Telling his cabinet members that the US. could fight only “One war at a time,” he ordered the blockade-runner released.

Lincoln never visited South Texas, or Texas for that matter, but his presence looms large over this area. His contention that an unjust war and the inclusion of Texas as a slave state would further the divide that would lead to the Civil War was justified, and his relationship to those who fought here make him an important figure in this area’s history.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

COB OCCUPANCY TAX FIRM: MERELY INEPT, OR FRAUDULENT?

 Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Call it total misalignment.

When City of Brownsville City Manager Noel Bernal recommended approval of the Buy Board hiring of Chigago-based Localgov Hotel Occupancy tax collection firm to handle hotel occupancy tax (HOT), he hailed it as a step up in professionalism and excellence.

No more would the city have to rely on mere mortals at the City Secretary's office to collect the fees as part of their duties and city employment at no extra cost to the city. Now, for a slight commission, a crackerjack firm from Chicago would handle the function. They could also assess penalties and extra fees.

But the payees of the tax – local hotel and motel owners  and rental car companies – have had a slightly different experience that they can only attribute to the firm's ineptness and – God forbid – deliberate fraud or intent to defraud.

An example of this "total misalignment" is the case of a payee whose $526 in tax remittances were accepted by the city on May 2, only to be notified nine days later – on May 11 – that the payment had been rejected.

The receipt above show that the city confirmed the payment of the HOT tax on May 2. The, on May 11, Localgov notified the payee that they were rejecting the payment for no apparent reason.
So what gives?

It seems that since the tax is due to be paid at the end of the month and it fell on a weekend, they penalized the payee when the payment was made on the first business day, which was May 2. They were charged penalties and interest and their payment was rejected.

Only a strident protest by their representative forced them to return the extra cash.

But did every other business caught in the same predicament protest, or just meekly handed them their hard-earned money?

Do the math. Say $25 in penalties multiplied 300 times. Over a year that could add up to real money going from Brownsville to Chicago.

Is it merely a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing?
Or it is a deliberate attempt to defraud and gouge the small business owner?

How can such "total misalignment" occur in a supposedly professional outfit (Localgov) and the supposedly professional city management who hired them (Noel Bernal)? 

More to come.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

WERE GARZA'S GAS GIVEAWAYS ILLEGAL CORPORATE GIFTS? MEXICAN RADIO SPOTS ALSO MISSING FROM CAMPAIGN REPORTS

 Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Despite the claim by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 runoff candidate and Brownsville attorney Elizabeth Garza that her vaunted "legal experience" made her more qualified than her opponent Cyndi Hinojosa, her acceptance – and failure to report in her campaign reports – of gas giveaways by an insurance corporation may constitute a felonious violation of Texas election laws.

Hinojosa garnered 48 percent of the vote in the March 1 primary, just shy of the 50 percent plus one vote necessary to win outright.

Garza – in recorded interviews aired over social media – publicly admitted that she had approved the $20 in gas giveaways by a local representative of an insurance corporation on behalf of her campaign at least five times during the period between the March 1 primary and the May 24 runoff election day in violation of the Texas Election Code.

That code specifically states that such contributions are prohibited.

Garza, who came in a distant second in a three-way contest in the March 1 primary for JP 2-2, repeatedly promoted the gas giveaways in her campaign postings on social media and posted that she was thankful to LadyRifas, a local representative of the Insurance Corner Auto Insurance Corporation, for the gift of $20 in free gasoline to potential voters.

Additionally, her failure to report these in-kind contributions by this insurance corporation on her behalf indicates that she lacks some basic knowledge of the law regarding corporate contributions to political candidates in Texas.

"For her to claim she is an attorney and is more qualified than her opponent because she has more than a decade of legal experience and then to admit publicly she was accepting corporate gifts and not reporting it in her campaign finance reports is basically an admission she committed a third-degree felony in violation of the election code," said an Hinojosa campaign supporter who supplied El Rrun-Rrun with copies of Garza's social media postings.

In them, she repeatedly thanks LadyRifas and Insurance Corner Auto Insurance Corporation (the Little Red Car) for giving away gas to potential voters on her behalf.

Additionally, a review of her required campaign finance report covering January 1 to May 16 makes no mention of the corporate in-kind gift in apparent violation of the Texas Election Code.


In that report filed by her campaign treasurer Cerise Reyna de Garduño, the only monetary contributions are a $1,000 from chiropractor Aaron Guerra of McAllen and another $1,000 from Cecilia Garcia (?) of Brownsville, who listed her occupation as "unemployed."

The failure to report her expenditures goes even further. 

Staff members of station 89.5 FM (La Mera Mera) – in Matamoros – confirmed  that she has been paying the broadcaster to run radio spots on their station for weeks now that have not been listed on the campaign expenditure report she filed. 

"How can she claim she has legal experience over her opponent and doesn't follow basic election code laws?," asked the Hinojosa supporter. 

And while Garza and some social media observers say that a lawyer is needed for that court, it is interesting to note that the only attorney of the three Brownsville JPs, Jonathan Gracia, has proven to be the least effective and has collected the least fines for county coffers. Figure that.  

Today is the third day of early voting in the Democratic Primary runoffs which continue through Friday. Election day is Tuesday May 24. 

LAMANTIA": IMMIGRATION NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE, IT'S AMERICAN

 Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Morgan LaMantia has said all along that she is a Democrat, but that she is running for office to stand up for her neighbors. She goes on to say that if that means standing up to both political parties, then so be it.

“Enough is enough with the political games. Let’s FIX our BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM already” she says.

“My message to President Biden is: Walk back your decision on Title 42.
You don’t have a plan and when the next wave of caravans comes, we here on the border will pay the price. And we know they are coming.
Fixing our immigrations system won’t be easy, but we can no longer afford to ignore it.”

“My message to Governor Abbott is:
STOP the political stunts. On the border, trade = jobs.
Your truck blockade cost over $400 million in economic losses. Mess with the supply chain, and you hurt working families by adding to inflation.
It’s time to sit down at the table and put forward reasonable solutions.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

RAINING CATS AND DOGS, AND FROGS, BEEF HEARTS AND EYES; UNOS TAQUITOS DE OJO DE LA SOUTHMOST, NEW YORK TIMES?


Enlace Mx Noticias

The crash today of an 18-wheeler and a tour bus has on the Matamoros-Victoria highway resulted in the death of the bus driver and left the highway littered with a grisly cargo carried in the trucks's trailer – four and one-half tons of dead dogs and cats, beef hearts and eyes, and even some birds bound from Queretaro to Rana Labs in Brownsville, Texas.

DEAD CATS
The surviving truck driver said that the bus driver was traveling at excessive speeds and even though he tried to swerve to avoid the crash, the bus plowed into the side of the truck, popping most of the blue 55-gallon drums holding the grisly contents all over the road and on the shoulder.
BEEF HEARTS
BEEF EYES

Social media immediately speculated that the contents of the drums were meant for Brownsville to be used in the formulation of the delicious tacos that led the New York Times to name Brownsville, Texas the Taco Capital of the World. 

"No wonder the tacos of the Southmost taquerias are so delicious," quipped one post on social media. "These are clean cats and dogs from Queretaro which have been cleaned and sanitized for the U.S. market!" 

However, Enlace Mx Noticias interviewed the truck driver, who reported the accident to law enforcement and stayed after the accident to supervise the transfer of the unopened drums to another trailer. The now pungent stench of the rotting flesh of dead dogs and cats and cow innards led the reporter to say they smelled "muy fuerte."

"These are brought from Queretaro collected there by the firm called Hector Mariano Rojas and transferred to Rana Labs in Brownsville to be sold to medical sxhools all around the United States so they can have students dissect them and use them in their studies," the driver said. "They're not for tacos, as far as I know," he told the reporter.

The driver said he had no idea how the Hector Mariano Rojas firm gathered the animals and animal parts. Some of the carcasses had their throat slashed and sprayed with blue paint.

Could it be that there might be very few dogs and cats in Queretaro? Somebody's pets?

And are you sure that you will order the eyes of the cow next Sunday when you get your barabacoa?

https://www.facebook.com/EnlaceMxNoticia/videos/%EF%B8%8F-enlacemxlive-tr%C3%A1iler-que-se-impact%C3%B3-contra-autob%C3%BAs-frontera-accidente-que-dej%C3%B3/683918592817350/

HEB CUENTO: DESDE 1905 ESTAMOS CON LOS CAMPESINOS...

A REAL ONION HARVEST IN HIDALGO COUNTY
HEB FANTASY: MIDDLE-AGED WHITE HARVESTER
LA CHINGA DE VERDAD EN LA CEBOLLA
HOBBY HARVESTERS FOR HEB P.R.
Texas Onion Production:
The majority of Texas onions, approximately 55 percent, are grown in the Lower Valley.
Acres Planted: ........................16,400 
Acres Harvested: ....................14,600 
Cash Value:..............................$70,197,000

Special to El Rrun-Rrun

"Desde 1905 estamos apoyando a los campesinos..." a female narrator intones in broken Spanish in the latest Spanish-language Texas Roots commercial from HEB.

Then the camera pans across lush produce fields in the Rio Grande Valley and the fantasy begins. 

Three clean middle-aged white people are semi-bent over picking onions and other produce in the fields and loading boxes of the produce on a tractor-pulled trailer. Their clothes are clean and they don't look like they have been laboring all day long at back-breaking work in the fields.

Then, as the sun is setting in the bucolic scene, the trailer rolls toward home.

As some of us who grew up as farm workers know, there were very few – if any – middle-aged white farm workers, or even kids who toiled alongside them in the onion fields, the half-acre long rows of sugar-beet fields where they hoed daily from sunup to sundown, or in the fields of tomatoes and cucumbers in the Midwest where South Texas farm workers traveled to find better-paying farm work than in stingy Texas. This included Mejicanito kids. No summer camp for them.

Their poorly-paid work made people like those fake field workers in the HEB ad rich.

To people who toiled in the Texas onion and cabbage fields, the Spanish-language HEB ad is an insult to their intelligence. Interestingly, in the English-language ad the narrator refers to "growers," which would translate to "agricultores," not "campesinos."

Obviously, the Spanish-language ad is geared to elicit a positive feel-good response from Hispanics toward HEB. But here, among us who actually experienced field work, it elicits disbelief, and not a little anger, at the deliberate deceit. 

RUNOFFS: DEMOS BATTLE FOR VOTERS' HEARTS AND MINDS

By Patrick Svitek
Texas Tribune

Democratic primary runoffs for congressional and state legislative seats in South Texas are putting on display clearly different directions for the party as it approaches a general election where Republicans are set on capturing new territory in the region.

These additional runoffs are also deeply meaningful for Democrats. They also showcase a new guard of more progressive Democrats taking on more moderate Democrats, often backed by more established local political players.

In Texas Senate District 27, Morgan LaMantia and Sara Stapleton-Barrera are competing for the Democratic nod to replace a retiring incumbent, Eddie Lucio Jr., who leaves behind a long legacy of bucking his fellow Democrats on social issues. 

And in House District 37, Ruben Cortez Jr. and Luis Villarreal are jockeying for the Democratic slot in a new battleground district that Republicans created for themselves in the redistricting process last year.

All the contests have grown contentious in recent weeks as candidates fight to show they are the best standard-bearer for Democrats going forward in a newly competitive region. Here is a look at some of the runoffs:

Texas Senate District 27

Morgan LaMantia and Sara Stapleton-Barrera are running for the Democratic nod to replace a giant in

South Texas politics: state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., the Brownsville Democrat who has represented the 27th District since 1991. And he looms prominently over the race given that he has endorsed LaMantia, and his socially conservative politics are not widely embraced inside the party these days.

But LaMantia has made clear she disagrees with him on some key issues — like his opposition to abortion rights — while looking to fend off a persistent progressive campaigner in Stapleton-Barrera, who ran against Lucio in the 2020 primary and forced him to a runoff. Despite LaMantia’s massive spending in the March primary — over $1.5 million — she and Stapleton-Barrera finished close together, getting 34% and 33%, respectively.

Now LaMantia has shaken up the runoff with a full-throated message criticizing both Gov. Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden on the border, vowing to stand up to both parties to fix immigration.

“To President Biden: The surge is here, there’s still no plan, and we on the border are paying the price,” LaMantia says in a TV ad, which is complemented by a mailer that tells Biden to “walk back your decision on [ending] Title 42,” the pandemic-era policy that border officials are using to quickly expel migrants at the border. One mailer shows a grainy, dark shot inside a migrant detention facility.

Stapleton-Barrera said Biden’s move to rescind Title 42 is the “right thing to do” and “an important step toward rebuilding the asylum system.” She accused LaMantia of using “national Republican rhetoric and trying to scare people here on the border.”

LaMantia defended the advertising in an interview, saying border communities are “fed up” with inaction by both parties on immigration reform. She said the frustrations are resonating even among the hardcore Democrats that can be expected to turn out for a primary runoff.

There is no shortage of contrasts, especially with Stapleton-Barrera’s old opponent — Lucio — in the mix. She said the district does not need “another one of [Lucio’s] mouthpieces,” and even if LaMantia is sounding different notes on abortion rights, “I don’t think that necessarily means she’s gonna be a champion or go up to bat on it.” LaMantia said Lucio remained an asset for her candidacy given all his experience and the void in seniority the next senator will have to fill.

More broadly, LaMantia pointed to her business experience — her family owns L&F Distributors, a beer wholesaler throughout South Texas — as her main difference with Stapleton-Barrera.

“Where she enjoys the soapbox, I enjoy the work,” LaMantia said.

Whether the GOP is serious about flipping this seat is the most open question among the Democratic primary runoffs in South Texas. But just like elsewhere, Republicans got a head start in SD-27, finalizing their nominee, Adam Hinojosa, back in the March primary.

House District 37

Much to the chagrin of Rio Grande Valley Democrats, Republicans divided up state House districts in the region during redistricting last year and came out with a newly competitive district based in Cameron County, including South Padre Island. President Joe Biden would have carried it by only 2 percentage points.

Republicans swiftly consolidated behind Janie Lopez, a San Benito school district trustee, and she easily won her primary in March. But the Democratic primary went to a runoff between two candidates who hail from distinctly different local factions: Luis Villarreal, a young former aide to state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville; and Ruben Cortez Jr., a member of the State Board of Education who challenged Lucio in the 2020 primary.

Cortez is arguing Villarreal would be “more of the same,” a moderate like his former boss who is too cozy with Republicans. He has also highlighted that Villarreal recently worked as an executive for a staffing company that partnered with a troubled nonprofit to open a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in the Valley.

“This young man is poised to become the next Ryan Guillen,” Cortez said, referring to the longtime South Texas state representative who switched parties and joined the GOP last year. “He is not gonna fight for this battleground district every two years. … He will fold to the Republican Party.”

Cortez has seized on two donations that Villarreal made to Republicans toward the end of the 2020 election — $5,000 to the state Republican Party and $2,800 to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn — asking if Villarreal is running in the right primary. Villarreal has not shied away from the contributions as he has characterized them as indicative of the kind of bipartisan cooperation needed in the state Senate.

Asked at a recent forum if it is OK for Democratic candidates to have previously donated to Republicans, Villarreal answered in the affirmative, saying it “shows character in a way that you’re willing to work with both sides.”

“We’re here locally, and we need to ensure that you’re able to get what you need done,” Villarreal said, “and sometimes that means working with the other side, as I will when I become a legislator.”

Cortez has faced his own attacks from charter-school advocates, who he has battled on the State Board of Education. One pro-charter school PAC, Charter Schools Now, is running an ad against Cortez that hits him as an “unethical” politician “out for himself.” Villarreal has piled on, writing on Facebook on Friday that Cortez “has spent the last 18 years milking the government’s cow.”

THE UBER DRIVING TEST: ONE LITTLE SLIP AND...

Monday, May 16, 2022

AS EARLY VOTING STARTS TODAY, CORTEZ'S SINS HAUNT HIM

(Ed.'s Note: The race for Texas House of Representatives District 37 runoff just got a little hotter with the mail out above appearing in voter's mail boxes over the weekend. The sins above relate to the time that Rubern Cortez, who calls himself "self-employed" was on the Brownsville Independent School District board member against land developer Luis Villarreal, who Cortez accused in a previous mail out of imprisoning children despite the fact that Villarreal – who develops and constructs buildings – has no role in housing migrant minors, but merely rents facilities to companies with contracts with the government to house them. 

This drew a sharp rebuke from Villarreal, who responded with the post below. 
Cortez's campaign mail out also say nothing of the fact that a former Cameron County Sheriff Department administration gave him and his business partner a no-bid contract to the jail commissary because his two cousins were the two top administrators for the sheriff, characteristic of Cortez's lifelong reliance on political connections for his personal benefit.

Early voting in the runoff starts today and continues until Friday, May 20. Election is Tuesday May 24.

IN JP 2-2 RACE, LIZ GARZA TRAILS HINOJOSA, BEHAVES BADLY

Special to El Rrun-Rrun
Although Brownsville law firm manager Cyndi Hinojosa almost won the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 3 March 1 Democratic Primary outright with 48.9 of the vote, she has been campaigning full time as if she had been 10 points behind.

To win outright, a candidate must have garnered 50 percent plus 1 vote or go into a runoff. 

There's a reason the Hinojosa has not let up on her campaigning and block walking door to door. Loterias, social benefits events, endorsements from teachers, law enforcement, women's, professional groups, and well-attended campaign rallies fill her social pages.

Her opponent, Brownsville lawyer Elizabeth Garza, who got 28 percent of the vote, has been running a slash-and-burn campaign on social media filled with confrontation and innuendo in her efforts to gain ground on the front runner.

Take, for example, one of the the signs placed by Garza in the city. (In a comment on this post, she denied it was her who placed the sign, but does no disavow its content.) The sign claims that Hinojosa said she will collect $1.7 million in ticket citations. For her information, it is the law enforcement entities who issue the citations and the justice of the peace courts that collect the fines. At no time do JPs "make" ticket citations and the money goes into county coffers.

Since Hinojosa has not even been in office, to project her "making" $1.7 million in citations is clearly incorrect. In fact, county records indicate that the three Brownsville JP courts collected differing amounts for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. The top Year-To-Date collected for the JP courts are nowhere near the $1.7 million alleged by Garza.

JP Court 2-1 (Linda Salazar) collected $745,665.46
JP Court 2-2 (Jonathan Gracia) collected $640,250.94, and 
JP Court 2-3 (Mary Esther Sorola) collected $1,165,070.21, the top year-to date collections among the three. 

So where does the $1.7 million figure come from?
That is not all. When Hinojosa notified the president of the Democratic Women holding a candidate forum before the March 1 primary she would not attend because she had contracted COVID-19, Garza accused her of dodging her and still was not satisfied when they agreed to a debate by Zoom between them.

Among those supporting and block walking for Garza is none other than Norma Hernandez, wife of former Pct. 2 county commissioner Ernie Hernandez, who was forced out of office for abuse of his office. 

Hernandez was the county commissioner for Pct. 2 but agreed to resign in return for the Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz dropping six official misconduct charges stemming from the illegal hiring of his brother in law Roberto Curiel. 

Curiel is Norma Hernandez's brother.

Hernandez pleaded to a charge of coercing a public servant in an unrelated case and was given deferred adjudication for his plea.

Have voters forgotten and forgiven all these past peccadillos?

We think not. But the Garza style of politics seems to closely mirror that family's political tradition.

Early voting in the runoff starts today and continues until Friday, May 20. Election is Tuesday May 24.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

SOLAR PANEL-POWERED CAR TURNING HEADS ON ELIZABETH

(Ed.'s Note: Pedestrians who walk by the new business on 847 E. Elizabeth in downtown Brownsville are inevitably drawn to the solar-powered car on display inside the new Engimineers Academy being established there. The storefront was once a work hub but now will be the site for tech and engineering camps for students for ages fro 12 to 18 who will then compete in robotics and cutting-edge engineering with students in other cities. Cards given out by personnel there say interested students and/or parents can call (956) 507-0712 for more information.)
 

CORTEZ GETS NASTY IN DISTRICT 37, VILLARREAL FIRES BACK

Friday, May 13, 2022

HER BABY DIED, THEN ANTI-VAXXERS MADE IT WORSE...

By Alexandra Sifferlin
Senior Staff Editor, Opinion
New York Times

In September 2021, Amanda Makulec experienced a devastating tragedy when her nearly 3-month-old son died. Makulec, who is active on social media, decided to share the news on Twitter to avoid answering “how’s your baby?” from online acquaintances.

Then a stranger went through her old tweets and found confirmation that she had happily gotten vaccinated while pregnant. This person created an image showing her tweet about vaccination next to her tweet about losing her baby. 

“Safe … and effective” the person wrote, implying a connection. The image spread across the internet. This is despite the fact that her baby’s death had nothing to do with vaccinations.

“I did not expect the moment of my deepest grief and pain to be weaponized against pregnant women and vaccines that could protect them from the worst consequences of Covid-19,” Makulec wrote in a guest essay this week about the experience.

Makulec does not say this solely as a victim of misinformation and Covid-related online bullying, but as an active opponent of it. She is a public health professional who works in data visualization. She spends her time thinking about how to present Covid-19 information in a clear way. That’s why she wanted to share her story to clarify for people that vaccines are safe and that she rejects how her grief was misappropriated in the service of anti-vaccine messaging.

“In a time filled with unknowns, people seek explanations for why terrible things happen and also to assure themselves that one person’s tragedy couldn’t happen to them,” writes Makulec. “But to do so with cruel disregard for the truth, as was done to my family, is an unacceptable new norm that’s reinforced when people demand and share information without thinking about it critically.”

Every Opinion essay at The Times undergoes rigorous fact-checking as part of the editing process. This means that myself (the health and science editor) and a fact checker had to comb through tweets calling Makulec names like “murderer” and “dumbest mother ever,” and see how they were shared. Deeply personal information had to be confirmed. This part of the process is not easy, but it’s critical. Ultimately the only way to defeat lies is with the truth.

Makulec’s advice, as someone who both thinks about how people consume information and who has been the victim of the worst type of misinformation, is always to pause and assess before engaging and sharing. “Doing so might declutter our social feeds to make space for the truth and also save a bereaved family additional pain and suffering,” she writes.

Read her full essay here.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

THE "BEST OF AMERICA" RECOGNITION A CITY CAN BUY....

Special to El Rrun-Rrun

It's funny to see that the city of Brownsville paid $30,000 by Communications and Marketing/BCVB under Felipe Romero and now Monica Tellam, who is now the interim director, without no experience in communications or marketing. 

And now Helen Ramirez who sees Monica as a "personal Project" is showing it off to the world on social media. With $30,0000 of course we can name the City of Brownsville Best of America, the All-American city, etc... The tragic thing is that they can actually get themselves to believe it, for a slight fee, of course. 
Also note, the city hasn't named a director for communications because no one has applied for the position as Helen wants to keep Monica. How much did the city pay to be named the Best of America?
Also the whole Communications director position is interesting as Monica wants the position but has no experience and often goes to Helen and to Perla Cepeda for hand holding and suggestions just like Felipe did. Well, of course she does, she learned from him. 

She's just another Felipe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

TWO GRAPES, SLIGHTLY BRUISED, YZAGUIRRE WINE HARVEST IN



Special to El Rrun-Rrun

It was in the middle and late 1500s when the first Spanish monks arrived in Chile to convert the natives to the Catholic faith.

Ensconced in their monasteries, the monks began the tradition of establishing vineyards  in the otherwise desolate and dry Chilean highlands.
 The monastery, located 4 hours south of Santiago, the capital, in the mountain valleys is considered to be the heart of Chilean wine country and the grapes grown there are the delight of wine connoisseurs.

Over the years, the quality of the Benedictine grapes and the wine made from the grapes grown there acquired a reputation for its full flavor, and robust body.

But there was a problem. When the monks transported the wine in bottles over the mountain roads, the bottles inevitably bumped against each other in the ox-drawn carts and shattered, spoiling nearly half the load before it got to the market. They devised a method to prevent it by wrapping the bottles in burlap to prevent the loss. (See graphic above.) 

One of the monks – one Erasmo Yzaguirre – was a native of the Basque country in the Pyrenees mountain range that separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe. Over the years, as his bloodline thinned out, his descendants started looking for any heirs that might take over the vast wineries he had established in Chile.

They sought the ancestry genealogies through church records and found out that a direct descendant of the Eyzaguirre bloodline could be traced to the tax assessor-collector of Cameron County, one Antonio Yzaguirrre.

Only last month, Tony – as he is known to his few friends – got a knock on his office door. The man, a monk, gave him the news that he was the direct descendant of the Basque Benedictine monk who had established the winery in Chile.

He carried a case of bottles of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon produced in the highlands of Chile and told the astounded tax assessor collector that he was the sole descendant of the founder of the vineyards.

"He brought me a case of their finest wine," said Yzaguirre. "Now I own one of the most productive vineyards on the continent. Usually, I prefer a cold brewsky, but I'm starting to develop a taste for the lowly grape. For example, I can tell this wine came from grapes that grew facing the east in the mountains of Chile. It's somewhat pretentious, of course, but delightful to the palate. Bottoms up!

LAMANTIA": IMMIGRATION NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE, IT'S AMERICAN

 Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Morgan LaMantia has said all along that she is a Democrat, but that she is running for office to stand up for her neighbors. She goes on to say that if that means standing up to both political parties, then so be it.

“Enough is enough with the political games. Let’s FIX our BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM already” she says.

“My message to President Biden is: Walk back your decision on Title 42.
You don’t have a plan and when the next wave of caravans comes, we here on the border will pay the price. And we know they are coming.
Fixing our immigrations system won’t be easy, but we can no longer afford to ignore it.”

“My message to Governor Abbott is:
STOP the political stunts. On the border, trade = jobs.
Your truck blockade cost over $400 million in economic losses. Mess with the supply chain, and you hurt working families by adding to inflation.
It’s time to sit down at the table and put forward reasonable solutions.”

rita