Friday, November 25, 2022

BROWNSVILLE GUINESS WORLD OF RECORDS: LEADS RIO GRANDE VALLEY CITIES IN HOMELESS DYING OF COLD

Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Brownsville will soon compete in the Guinness Book of World records for receiving the most pledges from local residents to vaccinate their pets. 

The city is coordinating the effort to gather the pledges that will allow them to win the world record to this prestigious prize and put the city on the map. 

To participate in Guinness World Record, all you must do is remember to sign the pledge in the 24-hour window from Dec. 9 – Dec. 10 from 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. The City of Brownsville in partnership with Brownsville Animal Regulation & Care Center, Petco Love, Best Friends Animal Society, 24Pet® and Operation Kindness are the coordinators and urge resident to register to get reminded of the pledged opening date or follow us on our social media accounts to get access to the pledge link on the day of the event.
But why compete on something that may be unattainable when we have already attained a recognition across the Rio Grande Valley and in local and state media for another record that is right under our noses?

Brownsville was the only city in the Rio Grande Valley to have two - not one, but two, mind you - people die of cold and exposure, including one who has been confirmed as a homeless 60-year-old man who managed to crawl to a vent near the HEB on Central Blvd trying to escape the cold that ultimately took his life as he lay freezing from exposure next to the building.

Investigations into the two deaths are underway in the city. Police say both men were found outside in the cold this past Monday morning. One man, identified as 46-year-old Enrique Juarez, was found huddled  on the ground near the Chick-Fil-A on Boca Chica.

The 60-year old man was not identified in news reports by police has been identified by friends as Joe Barguiarena, whose fortunes spiraled toward the abyss of alcoholism after his marriage break up and he lost his home. Joe was a Golden Gloves champ in his youth and had two masters' degrees. Barguiarena had been convicted of two DWIs and that had prevented him from gaining employment with the Brownsville Independent School District even after he had undergone treatment, attended AA classes and abstained preparing for his interviews that were promised but never came.
 
In the case of our furry friends, participation is easy and free! All you have to do is sign a pledge, whether you are a pet owner or not. As a bonus, those who seek free pet health care and or looking for an opportunity to sign the pledge in person can attend the FREE PET HEALTH CLINIC on Dec. 10, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m at Brownsville Sports Park.
 
However, if we want to address the issue of homelessness, you have to show compassion for your fellow human beings and extend them a hand, or at the very least, a warm, secure place for them to sleep out of the cold. Despite their battles with their demons, should we just let them die alone out in the cold?

The city has had the opportunity to provide a shelter for the homeless since the late 1970s when a city bond issue was passed to establish one near the Mother of Perpetual Hope building on Madison and Sixth Street, but the Good People of the City thought it would be an eyesore and tourism killer to have the homeless wandering too close to the city's downtown. Now they wander the streets and sleep in doorways for everyone to see.

So, just as the old saying goes, out of sight and out of mind, they approved the homeless shelter miles from downtown toward the airport - the Ozanam Center - on Minnesota Road. Was the man found on Boca Chica near the Four Corners trying to reach the center? We'll never know.

But this much we do know.

The city has continually strived to get national and world recognition for caring for it pets and vaccinating Fido, awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize for building a Culture of Health, and was named 2014 All-America City along with 9 other cities nationwide. And the National Civic League recognized Brownsville as a city that is "taking the lead in issues in health."

Before that, it competed for (paid for) and was awarded 2010 Texas Municipal League Spirit Award, then was awarded the Texas Municipal League recognition of Brownsville's Greener, Healthier Initiative. And it recently launched its 3rd season of Brownsville Biggest Loser Challenge and ended the challenge by breaking a Guinness World Record® for the largest Zumba® class, with a total of 1,223 participants, putting Brownsville at the top with a world breaking record.

Wow.

Now, if only it took care of its poor homeless who have no place to go and end up like our friend Joe Barguiarena and other unfortunates dying of cold in the street as it does in taking care of its animals, its Biggest Losers, Zumba dancers, and other obese residents.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

DESPITE CHALLENGES, DANGERS, TAKE TIME TO BE THANKFUL

 Special to El Rrun-Rrun

It's probably understandable that people may find it difficult to find something to be thankful about today given the last two years or more of suffering through a pandemic that has taken millions from among the living, battered our economy, and - combined with other factors -  created a rise in the cost of living.

The racial conflicts in our country, and the continuing ideological antagonisms that have resulted in blood spilled in our streets between brothers, have rent the social fabric of  this republic. Mass shootings, caused by hate or mental stresses, have become an epidemic on their own, and, to our society's distress, the new "normal." 

In this moral vacuum, demagogues of all  tendencies and stripes revel, stirring the base desires of revenge and retribution, pitting us one against the other.

Unity - so necessary to forge the social contract that bind us together as a people - is eroding visibly. The midterms clearly demonstrated this.

Yet, we - you who read this and I who write it -  have much to be thankful for. 

We are alive, we're not starving, and live in a nation that is the envy of the world. Hunger stalks the world. People are literally dying on our shores and borders to be where we are, to enjoy the benefits bestowed upon us that are denied to millions worldwide.

 In fact, food bank advocates say we waste more food in this nation than in any other.

As our older Mexican-American generations in South Texas used to say: "No concemos el hambre."  

We must be thankful for the men and women - military veterans and civilians - who came before and for those who are are still serving in their place to make us safe and secure. 

And we must salute the public servants who labored, and are laboring,  sincerely to make our democracy work, and the taxpayers who contribute through their labor and obligations to fund its existence and provide the wherewithal to their fellow citizens to assure their survival.

There will always be political differences, but there is a mechanism - political participation - to address them. The right to dissent and resist the government is guaranteed by the constitution. No one - magistrate or soldier - can force you how to think or how to worship.

To not be thankful for this is to be an ingrate and a denial that we are the beneficiaries of living in a great nation and part of a great people. Be thankful today for that and for those who share our existence here. And pray that the suffering millions around our world have a  better tomorrow. Work for and pray that our future generations also enjoy the fruits of our democracy and its bounty. 

Share with those who have less and extend a hand to those needy among us as the Creator, Great Spirit, or God, has extended these blessings to us. Show compassion, as has been shown to us.

Happy Thanksgiving America.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

TREY MENDEZ SAYS "NO MAS" TO 2023 MAYORAL REELECTION

(Ed.'s Note: After months of vacillating on his possible reelection bid, Mayor "Juan" Trey Mendez has announced he will return to private life and his legal practice. 

Mendez, who also served as a Texas Southmost College board member and formed a majority to fend off efforts by former UTB-TSC president Juliet Garcia and her supporters to dissolve the community college and transfer the assets and real estate to the UT System, will end his one-term tenure in 2023.

The announcement will trigger a spate of jockeying for the city's top city commission position. He defeated former Mayor Tony Martinez four years ago. Some names have been thrown about as possible candidates including former city commissioner Ben Neece, and current District 2 commissioner Jessica Tetreau.

District 1 commissioner Nurith Galonsky's, At-Large-A commissioner John Cowen's, and Tetreau's terms expire May 2023. Tetreau is prevented from running for commissioner because of the term limit charter amendment passed through a referendum. However, she can still  run for mayor and indications are that she will.

So far, neither Galonsky nor Cowen have made their plans public on whether to run for mayor.

(Currently, it is reported that some local movers and shakers are already seeking potential candidates and trying to put together slates for the positions.)

The full text of his statement is printed below:

After months of consideration and self reflection, I have decided that I will not be seeking re-election as Mayor for the upcoming election in May 2023. As much as I would love to continue, I realize that the past three and a half years have taken a heavy toll on my physical, mental and financial health that few can relate to.

I believe that we have successfully managed a multitude of catastrophic and unforeseen events over the past 36 months that required our absolute attention, but it wasn't easy. We have been fortunate to have received national attention for several great initiatives that we have been able to move toward completion. 

The biggest will be citywide broadband, but I am proud of many other accomplishments along the way, such as the first Zoo master plan in 50 years, Sunday bus service, a new development code and the digitization of our permitting process, electrical rate reductions at PUB, substantial increases in our revenues while decreasing the tax rate, record investments in residential and commercial developments and, of course, the massive economic impact of SpaceX. 

An increase in the number of police and fire personnel, as well as the addition of a third hospital (DHR Brownsville) are major milestones that will bring even more quality care and safety to our citizens.

Despite these achievements, my work is not yet done. It will be my honor to serve out my term with the same energy and leadership you have seen the past 3+ years and I wish the next Mayor much success. 

My passion has always been to help create a better Brownsville for families to raise their children, provide young adults with more professional opportunities, and create a vibrant, progressive and connected community. 

During my 13 year journey as a public servant, I’ve never once taken your support or the responsibility of an elected position for granted. I am sincerely honored by the trust and faith that you have placed in me to represent you. The role of Mayor is extremely difficult, and doing it right takes an enormous time commitment. Besides serving without a salary, the position of Mayor for the city of Brownsville has no dedicated staff or support personnel, which makes things harder.

I strongly urge our community to support whoever is in the role and refrain from the personal attacks and behavior that public servants, including myself, have seen over the past few years. I ask that you consider the candidates, their agendas, platforms, background, public service history and character. 

I truly hope we have a candidate that will innovate, and put in the necessary work to continue to harness our full potential and eliminate special interests at City Hall, something I feel I was able to do during my term. I am thankful for the honor of serving in this seat during such an important time in our history. My goal is to transition back into my full time law practice over the next few months. 

It's never a good time to say goodbye, but this feels like the right time. Those who know me know that I love my city too much to go away, so expect me to continue to be involved in improving our great City in some capacity going forward.

– On the Border, By the Sea and Beyond

"OUT OF THE BLUE AND INTO THE BLACK: YOU PAY FOR THIS, BUT THEY GIVE YOU THAT..."

Monday, November 21, 2022

NOT A GOOD TIME TO TAKE A DIP. A MITE CHILLY, WAS IT?

(Ed.'s Note: Texas Southmost College Police are still trying to figure out how this car ended up in the Ft. Brown Resaca – or oxbow lake – after its driver, a woman, apparently lost control of the car end ended into the water. As far as it can be ascertained, the car skidded into the lake early at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday and is still in the water. 

Authorities say she managed to get out of the car through the passenger side window on her own as did, apparently, someone in the rear, as the rear door is open. 

We're not trying to make light of this. We're sure it was a horrifying to know you were going to end in the drink. Good thing the resaca isn't that deep or a tragedy could have occurred. So far, there have been no details released to explain the mishap. Brrrrr!)

TODAY: USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

By Andrew Keh
Reporting from Doha, Qatar
New York Times

Qatar waited years for Sunday’s World Cup moment, and promptly flubbed its opening lines. On Monday, several countries with much richer soccer histories will be hoping to avoid the same fate.

England, a semifinalist four years ago, goes first, facing Iran. Next comes the Netherlands, which sat out the last World Cup: It will take on Senegal, an African champion looking for respect. Then, at very long last (at least if you’re an American fan), it will be the turn of the United States.

The Americans will play their first World Cup match in eight years, facing a Wales team playing its first World Cup match since 1958.

The Americans have second-youngest team at this tournament, a roster of promising – but largely
unproven, at least in a World Cup sense – players including forward Christian Pulisic and midfielders Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah.

Wales, on the other hand, arrives with an experienced group with major tournament experience, including a run to the semifinals of Euro 2016 and to the round of 16 in Euro 2020. Wales is led by Gareth Bale, a superstar forward at the tail end of a trophy-laden career.

Both teams would love to claim all three point from the game, given that they each have meetings to come against England, widely agreed as the best team in the group. 

But the teams will have to decide how many risks they are willing to take, as emerging from the opener with no points at all could severely hurt their chances of advancing from group play.

It would be a long time to wait to come up empty.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

THROWBACK TANKSGIVEN THURSDEY: GOT IT ESTUDENTS?

Brownsville Independent School District
(Ed.'s Note: Yeah, we know, it's an old picture of when Cummings Middle School still existed. Now it's the BISD Career & Technical Education Department at 1905 E. 6th Street. You've got to give the guy credit, however. It's phonetically understandable and when it comes to language and spelling it's really what matters, ain't it, Pa? Anyway, have a Feliz Pavo Day, everyone!)

WAS SUPPORT FOR MENTIRAS FLORES VICTOR'S DOWNFALL?

"I am the most popular candidate of the three and yet I wind up on the short end of the stick." (Statement by Victor Caballero) Brownsville Herald Nov. 18 ("Recount set for BISD race") 

"The Cambridge English Dictionary defines popularity as the fact that something or someone is liked, enjoyed, or supported by many people. In the recent BISD Board of Trustee election, Carlos received 13,358 votes, Frank received 16,011 votes, and Victor received 11,695. So, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary definition of popularity, who is most popular? Commenter

"That's why Victor Caballero lost the BISD seat. Victor was carrying around the Mayra Flores sign everywhere and that did it for him. Teachers got pissed and only voted for the other two. Victor Caballero had personally promised Mayra Flores an open door to BISD. Sorry Victor, you should of only campaigned for yourself." Commenter

"Can you prove that he was for Mayra Flores? I'd like to see that picture." Commenter

(There you have it, commenter.)

And (lame duck Texas District 27 Eddie "Sucio" Lucio) is not the only one who is courting the Republicans locally. While the Brownsville Independent School District races are non-partisan, as are the port, the college, and City of Brownsville elections, it appears that the Republican bug has also found a home there. 

In the photo, Victor Caballero, a candidate for Place 2 on the BISD board, is depicted carrying a campaign sign for U.S. House of Representatives District 37 congresswoman Mayra Mentiras Flores.

Caballero, a retired school principal is running against incumbent Denise Garza for the BISD board. One wold think that as a former elementary school principal he would be an advocate for gun safety legislation that keeps children in schools safe.

This is interesting. After all, Flores is a gun-rights zealot who – even after the Uvalde massacre of 19 elementary school kids and two of their teachers by an assault weapons wielding 18-year-old – voted against a gun safety bill supported by a bipartisan majority in Congress immediately after the tragedy and is against upping the age to possess military assault weapons to 21.

WHERE'S THE WALL AGAINST CRIME WHEN YOU NEED ONE?


By Russell Contreras
Axious.com

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found.

Why it matters:Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.

By the numbers: The Axios analysis using FBI data and the 2020 census found 11 border communities had a violent crime rate of 340.2 per 100,000 residents, around 15 percent lower than the national average of 398.5.

Also, in the 11 communities from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas, taken together, the average murder rate was 4.1 per 100,000 residents – well below the FBI’s reported national average of 6.5.

The intrigue: The disparity in violent crime rates is starker when comparing the 11 border communities with similar-size cities with similar poverty demographics further north.El Paso, Texas, a city of 681,000, had a violent crime rate of 318 per 100,000 residents. Memphis, a city of 650,00, has a violent crime rate of 2,356.5 – more than seven times higher.

Del Rio, Texas – a city of nearly 36,000 people, where mounted Border Patrol agents on horseback were seen charging Haitian migrants last month –  had a violent crime rate of 162.4. Lima, Ohio, a city nearly the same size in population, had a violent crime rate of 688.8.

Calexico, California; Nogales, Arizona; and the Texas cities of Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and McAllen all had violent crime rates below 190.

Yes, but: The U.S. State Department during the summer issued an advisory cautioning U.S. citizens against travel to the Mexican state of Tamaulipas along the U.S. border due to high crime and kidnapping.  Cuidad Juarez, the Mexican city that borders El Paso, also has seen a jump in violence due to fighting among cartels and gangs.

Yuma, Arizona, a farming community near the California state line, was the only border community with a violent crime rate near 500 and a murder rate approaching twice the national average.

But, but, but: According to FBI crime data, 10 of the 11 U.S. border communities maintained low rates of violent crime over the last five years.Alex Nowrasteh, director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, told Axios the presence of the U.S. Border Patrol, one of the largest federal law enforcement agencies, along the border likely contributes to lower violent crime numbers.

In addition, he said the research-supported fact that various studies show immigrants are less likely to commit crimes overall helps explain the region's consistently low murder rates.

The bottom line: Crime and the migrant crisis along the border were among the issues defining the 2022 Midterm elections (especially by Republican candidates) but data show the two are not linked as some candidates might claim.

Get more news that matters about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sign up for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

THROUGH 40 YEARS OF THE EDDIE LUCIO JR. GLASS, DARKLY

(Ed.'s Note: This December 31 will mark the end - mercifully - of nearly 40 years of the disastrous political reign of Eddie Lucio Jr. and his offshoot, Eddie Lucio III, two parasites who gorged themselves and grew fat on the blood, sweat and tears of the South Texas body politic and its suffering residents. 

After four decades of these self-serving demagogues who said one thing and did another, it will be like a fresh start, albeit with a progress delayed for nearly 40 years while they paraded pompously as our representatives, all the time pandering to Republican, right-wing zealots.

 They  never represented our interests. 

They represented themselves and the interests that paid them. One can only hope that when Morgan LaMantia takes over Texas Senate District 27, that dark cloud will pass through this region most synonymous with the effects of a political enema on a constipated political system.

Is it any wonder that they called Eddie III Eddie the Turd? January can't come soon enough for us.) 

IS MURDOCH'S RIGHT-WING MEDIA TURNING ON TRUMP?

Two days after the midterm elections, the paper illustrated former President Donald J. Trump as Trumpty Dumpty about to have a great fall.

By Katie Robertson
New York Times

Since Election Day last week, The New York Post’s front pages have been merciless to former President Donald J. Trump. First, the paper heralded his political rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, as “DeFUTURE.” 

A day later, it illustrated Mr. Trump as Humpty Dumpty about to have a great fall.

Then, on Wednesday, the paper relegated Mr. Trump’s announcement about his latest run for president to a small headline at the bottom of the page: “Florida Man Makes Announcement.”

All three covers shot around social media, putting the 221-year-old tabloid at the center of the national discussion about Mr. Trump’s future and elevating its print front page from New York City newsstands to Twitter’s global public square.

The covers also had the news media and political worlds talking about whether the recent Trump coverage was another sign that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, which includes The Post and Fox News among other news organizations, had broken permanently from the former president after supporting him for years.

Mr. Trump weighed in himself on his Truth Social site, criticizing “the no longer great New York Post.” He added, “Bring back Col!,” a reference to Col Allan, the paper’s former editor in chief.

Many progressives took pleasure in seeing the tabloid turn nasty toward a man it once lavishly praised.

“Just like in Australia and the UK, it’s almost impossible for any conservative politician to survive without the blessing of the billionaire Murdoch empire. Trump is toast …,” Thom Hartmann, the liberal radio talk show host, tweetd.

A Post spokeswoman declined to make Keith Poole, the editor in chief, available for an interview. A spokesman for The Post’s parent company, News Corp, which the Murdochs run, declined to comment.

Friday, November 18, 2022

QATAR: NO BIRONGA FOR THE INFIDELS AT 2022 WORLD CUP

By Tarik Panja
New York Times

DOHA, Qatar – Beer gets a red card at the World Cup.

In an abrupt about-face, Qatari officials have decided that the only drinks that will be on sale to fans at stadiums during the month-long World Cup will be nonalcoholic.

The decision on beer sales was confirmed on Friday morning by a World Cup official familiar with the change in plans. The official asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak with the news media, and because Qatar was still preparing its official announcement.

The move is the latest and most dramatic change to an evolving alcohol plan that has for months increased tensions between FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, and Qatar, a conservative Muslim nation where the sale of alcohol is tightly controlled. 

But it also will complicate FIFA’s $75 million sponsorship agreement with Budweiser; infuriate fans already chafing at restrictions; and once again leave organizers scrambling to adjust – this time only 48 hours before the tournament’s opening game on Sunday.

But it also suggested that FIFA, which has faced years of blistering criticism for its decision to bring its showpiece championship to Qatar, may no longer be in full control of major decisions related to its event. 

The organization’s official guide notes that “ticket holders will have access to Budweiser, Budweiser Zero, and Coca-Cola products within the stadium perimeter” for at least three hours before games, and for one hour afterward.

The ban on alcohol sales to fans at stadiums – beer will still be available in luxury suites reserved for FIFA officials and other wealthy guests – comes a week after an earlier edict that dozens of red beer tents bearing Budweiser’s branding be moved to more discrete locations at the World Cup’s eight stadiums, away from where most of the crowds attending games would pass.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

ELIZONDO, ORTIZ, SWORN IN; NEW BOARD OFFICERS PICKED

Unable to find a local judge willing to administer him the oath,  Elizondo asked Texas District 38 Rep. Erin Gamez – a criminal defense attorney – to swear him in to the Place 1 seat. 
Port Isabel Municipal Judge Luis Hernandez swore in Frank Ortiz to the Place 4 seat.

Special to El Rrun-Rrun
With two new members sworn in, a new majority on the board of the Brownsville Independent School District quickly realigned the pecking order and – with two sitting members joining the two new ones – quickly reorganized and stripped the old majority of their positions as officers of the board.

New members Carlos Elizondo and Frank Ortiz were joined by sitting members Jessica Gonzalez and Minerva Peña to cast the 4-3 votes to elect Gonzalez as president, Elizondo as vice president, and Minerva Peña, secretary. Ortiz was elected asst. secretary by a 7-0 vote.

The swearing in, however, didn't go as neatly as planned. 

Elizondo could not find a local judge willing to swear him and his mother-in-law, at the last moment, asked District 38 Texas Representative Erin Gamez to swear him in as a personal favor. Gamez barely made it to the ceremony in time to administer the oath. Perhaps the fact that Elizondo has two felony theft cases pending in district court gave the judges room to  pause. 

Ortiz picked Port Isabel Municipal Judge Luis Hernandez to administer his oath of office.

Brown thanked the district, parents, staff and students for a lifetime of working there as a teacher and then as Public Information Officer.  "Thank you for the opportunity to serve," she said. "It was truly an honor and a privilege."
 
Outgoing Place 4 board member Prisci Roca-Tipton did not attend.

Elizondo, for his part, said he was glad to be back as a board member. "I am blessed to be back...and to be back to be a servant...I will be a fighter in the forefront...I am here to be a team member."

Ortiz, on the other hand, said that "the best is yet to come...I'm ready to go work (and) am here to serve you." 

And observers said that when both men took the oath where they swore that they had not promised anything to anybody for their vote, neither Elizondo nor Ortiz raised their right hand to make the pledge. From a distance, audience members couldn't tell whether either one had crossed their fingers. 

During the comment period, several teacher unions representatives (BEST, AOBE, TSTA, NEA, etc...) pointedly reminded the new members that they had promised them during the campaign that they would have a "seat at the table" and that "our voices would be heard" as the district came under the direction of the new board majority. 

"You give us so much hope," said one. "We are hopeful that you will give us the respect that everybody needs...because before we were not allowed to have one (a seat at the table.)"

The new board members were told by the BISD-hired independent auditors that the old board had left them with more than three times the necessary budget to run the district day to day for a month, a clean audit of federal grants, and a healthy fund balance.

After conciliatory words by several members, Peña – who else? – reminded everyone of her 20 years as a state trooper, the advice of her Korean War veteran father, and said that because of the teachers in the district this was the greatest country in the world, by God. "Let's pray for unity."

IF ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES, SHOULD BISD BRACE ITSELF FOR A ROUND OF VENDOR AND PERSONNEL CHANGES?

Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Just about everywhere he's gone, former Brownsville Independent School District board counsel Baltazar Salazar has primed the pump by giving out large amounts of political contributions to candidates to various school district boards in hopes they'll remember him fondly enough to land him the well-paid position, which at BISD meant a $325,000 annual paycheck.

Now, as the new board takes shape after the Nov. 8 election which saw two of two incumbents being replaced by challengers, the chance to exact a return on his investment and public political support of the candidates might just materialize. Does a new majority mean a superintendent buyout, a change in legal counsel, and the handing out of patronage goodies like promotions and plum assignments for their supporters? 

And as the reorganization of the new board unfolds at today's board meeting, it could all come down to one swing vote for the pendulum to swing the new majority's way. And in this case, it might hinge on the decision of board member Jessica G. Gonzalez, an unlikely king maker whose voice is rarely heard in the board's open discussions.

On the old board, Salazar's interests were always supported by Place 1 board member Drue Brown, who lost to former trustee Carlos Elizondo. That will present no problem to the wily lawyer, knowing that Elizonzo has never been reticent of ingratiating himself with the right people to make a buck. And Salazar openly supported Place 4 winner Frank Ortiz and Victor Caballero, the latter losing to incumbent Denise Garza by more than 4,000 votes. 

BISD administrators and Cameron County Elections officials say Caballero is in the process of requesting a recount because he did not receive the comparable number of votes as did his fellows who ran on the same ticket and won, Elizondo and Ortiz.

Gonzalez, according to district sources, has reached a modus vivendi with Elizondo, sitting board member Minerva Peña, and Ortiz to maker her president, if in name only. If this new majority places Gonzalez at the head of the BISD board, could the superintendent's buyout be far behind, and perhaps, perish the thought, could it mean a phoenix-like return of Salazar to the district payroll? 

His support for her in 2020 allowed her to emerge the winner of the fray against BISD gadfly Argie Miller, and perennial board candidates Phil Cowen and Viro Cardenas.  

Some district staffers say she has already started hinting of replacing the current board counsel, raising red flags of a possible Salazar reemergence, whose generosity to her in her 2020 race exceeded any other contributor's, including the two major competing delinquent tax vendors.

The old saying that elections have consequences taken on a new, insidious, meaning if the new board majority engineers yet another superintendent buyout at the expense of district taxpayers, consider a new Request For Qualifications (RFQs) for board legal counsel, and install new faces in plum positions at the district's main office as the spoils of the election wars.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

CABALLERO ON QUIXOTIC QUEST, CALLS FOR A RECOUNT; HOLDOVER PROVISION KEEPS INCUMBENT GARZA ON BOARD

 Special to El Rrun-Rrun

Place 2 Brownsville Independent School District candidate Victor Caballero who lost to incumbent Denise Garza on the November 8 election by 4,388 votes – 16,495 to 12,107 – has told the district administration that his followers are demanding that he file for a recount.

Toward that end, the district has informed the Cameron County Elections and Voter Registration Department of Caballeros request and will meet to iron out the details.

The Elections Department said it required the candidate who asked for the recount to deposit $100 per each of the voting precincts and for the early vote, a total of some $2,100.

In case that Caballero can't overturn the results by finding 4,389 votes to be credited to his candidacy during the recount, he will be required to pay for the full cost of the recount, estimated to be between $30,000 to $40,000.

Caballero’s supporters told KVEO 23 that because former principal Frank Ortiz won a seat as Brownsville ISD trustee, Cabarello should have won too. The two long time school administrators had the same support and ran as a team.

“So consequently, those numbers don’t match. There is something definitely wrong, in our opinion, and my supporters’ opinion. We’re looking to ensure that the numbers have been properly counted. They were done through a machine, now we’re asking for a hand counted figure,” Caballero said.

The BISD, for its part, has announced that Garza won't be sworn in Thursday for her new term until the recount is concluded. However, that may be academic since the state's holdover provision requires the incumbent to remain on the board pending the outcome of the recount.

"She'll be able to remain on her position and vote on items before the board until the recount is completed," said a BISD administrator.

Hold on for the ride. 

A LAS TRES VA LA VENCIDA; A TRAGEDY, NOW A FARCE

WILL BISD BOARD OFFICERS ELECTION THIS THURSDAY BE DECIDED BY AN UNHOLY ELIZONDO-PENA ALLIANCE? DARK HORSE GONZALEZ MAY EMERGE AS BOARD PRESIDENT

November 17, 2022 at 5:30 PM - Special Called Board Meeting

VIII.A. Discussion, consideration and possible action for Re-Organization of Board of Trustee Officers including President, Vice-President, Secretary and Assistant Secretary.

Special to El Rrun-Rrun

With his re-election to the board of the Brownsville Independent School District, Carlos Elizondo – facing two felony theft counts in district court – could potentially be elected president of that body if he can persuade three members to give him their votes on Thursday.

Currently the score card, according to some BISD observers, stands at three to three, with current president Eddie Garcia enjoying the support of Daniella Lopez-Valdez, Denise Garza and himself. 

They say that Elizondo could probably count on his fellow board member Frank Ortiz – with whom he ran on a ticket along with Victor Caballero, who came up short against Garza in the November 8 election – and perhaps Minerva Peña, a sitting board member.

The swing vote – for both possible candidates to win – might hinge on board member Jessica G. Gonzalez. Or will she demand that they give her their vote to make her board president and have them bide their turn?

Don't laugh. As of press time, all indications are that Gonzalez has reached a modus vivendi with Elizondo, Peña, and Ortiz to maker her president, if in name only. And some district staffers say she has already started hinting of replacing the current board counsel, raising red flags of the possible reemergence of former board counsel Baltazar Salazar.

But it is the potential of Peña's vote if Elizondo places his name for president that troubles most BISD board followers.

The former Porter High School Belles member is not reluctant to tell anyone and everyone within earshot that she is also a former Texas Department of Safety trooper (at a desk job) and of course, a bible-thumping, born-again Christian.

However, in one of the theft cases awaiting setting in a district court, Peña is said to have been the beneficiary of a contribution from Elizondo totaling several thousands of dollars that were withdrawn from the account of the Brownsville Firefighters Association Political Action Committee, also known as the Brownsville Firefighters for Responsible Government Political Action Committee.

The Texas Ethics Commission had removed Elizondo as the secretary/treasurer of the union and fined him after he had failed to file the reports required by the TEC and was not authorized to manage the fund.

The money, according to firefighters who were present when it was withdrawn, was then given to Minerva Peña at Elizondo's urging to pay for a recount of a J.P. election race.  The "contribution" was never reported in her campaign finance reports. If the charges against Elizondo are proven true in court, then Peña willingly became the beneficiary of the proceeds of an allegedly illegal act. 

In most likelihood, it will be Gonzalez – who has made her deal with the three new devils – replacing Garcia as president of the board and allowing the new majority to take the district back to the Bad Old Days, with former BISD board counsel Salazar waiting in the wings to return to his $325,000 gig.

"She's already asking about replacing our board counsel," said a district staffer from the main office. 

Are you watching your examples on the BISD board, kids?

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

STILL HOT, MARIBEL BECKONS TO NOCHE EN GARIBALDI


DON'T LOOK NOW DEAR BUT THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD

(Ed.'s Note: Is there a mutation of pigeons going on in downtown Browntown? Some of our seven readers say that when Chris and Queren, over at the Jukebox Bar feed the pigeons, several light-colored – light red and white – birds have appeared to feast on the bread crumbs and bird feed. We're not ornithologists here, but they are different than the common pigeon, like the one peering out from under the parked car. We went to our Peterson Field Guides "Birds of Texas" and could find no species that resembled the couple above. At last count, there were about five of these birds among the rest. Does someone know?) 

Monday, November 14, 2022

GUS REYNA, LAWMAN, HUSBAND, FATHER LEAVES US


Special to El Rrun-Rrun

In what is becoming a dreaded chronicler's task, we are the bearers of bad news to those who considered Gus Reyna Jr. one of their friends.

Gus passed away today after suffering complications from a cardiac event. Our condolences to his family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and  fellow law men and women.

Gus was born in Brownsville, Texas. He and his wife Martha made their home in Brownsville and were  the proud parents of two (2) boys; Gus III and Gerardo. 

He graduated from James Pace High School, attended Texas Southmost College and the University of Texas at Brownsville. Gus started his law enforcement career in October of 1983 as Deputy Sheriff in the Patrol Division. He was later assigned Investigator under the Criminal Investigations department, a position he served until August of 1990. From August 1990 through May 1994 he served as Lieutenant with the Civil Process Division.

From May 1994 through April 1997, he advanced his professional abilities and continued his career by being assigned as Major/Jail Administrator of under the late Sheriff Omar Lucio in the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office. 

At the time, the position included the day-to-day supervision of 163 employees and a $5 million dollar jail budget. Being qualified and experienced, Gus was promoted by Lucio to Chief Deputy of the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office in February 1999. 

His responsibilities included the duties of being the Public Relations Officer and Media Spokesman and also administering the day-to-day operation of 261 employees and a then-annual budget of $8.5 million  plus contributing to the planning and development of the $20 million dollar Carrizales-Rucker detention facility and law enforcement administration building located at 7300 Old Alice Road in Olmito, Texas. 

After leaving the sheriff's department, he and Lucio were hired as deputy constables by Pct. 2 Constable Abel Gomez.

May peace be with them and their families.

FORGET THE PHD., BISD BOARD CAN ONLY COUNT TO 4

By El General
Special to El Rrun Rrun

While the smoke is still clearing from last Tuesday’s local elections, a power grab is unfolding at BISD. At stake is the powerful position of board president, the new majority voting block of four members, and the fate of embattled superintendent Dr. Rene Gutierrez and his upper Valley team of administrators.

With the fall of incumbent members Dr. Prisci Roca Tipton and Drue Brown, a power vacuum has developed. Ready to step in as president is Daniella Lopez-Valdez. Unfortunately, her two years on the board have been markedly undistinguished and have labeled her as more of a follower than a leader. 

She sees her blind, puppet-like support of the superintendent as a strength. There is no way she can ever change the fact that she is a public school outsider who has never spent a day of her student education in a BISD classroom.

Her only claim to fame is her father, county commissioner Joey Lopez, a man who would love to get a firm grip on the business of BISD. Valdez was part of the majority rule of Tipton, Denise Garza, and Eddie Garcia. What was once four votes and control of everything is now three and on thin ice.

The second suitor to be board president is Carlos Elizondo. This macho man’s resume is well known to local citizens. A bully who carries an extensive collection of pending criminal charges, the former BISD board member is on a reunion tour to try to polish his tarnished reputation. He is not a fan of Rene Gutierrez, but he is a long shot to run meetings because he, too, lacks four votes.

The third board president contender is Jessica Gonzalez, a community and district favorite who has proven to be a smart and savvy board member. Gonzalez voted a few months ago with Brown and Minerva Pena not to extend the superintendent’s already lengthy contract. The contract was extended when the former board majority, Tipton, Garza, Lopez-Valdez and Garcia cast their four votes in lockstep.

Minerva Pena has been abused, censured and muzzled at every opportunity by the former majority of four and Gutierrez. Both Pena and newcomer Frank Ortiz are expected to support Elizondo in his bid to be president.

It’s no secret that most BISD employees and many members of the community are ready to see Gutierrez taken out as the district’s leader. 

But, at what cost for the taxpayers? The fun starts Thursday at the scheduled board meeting. The fate of Brownsville’s largest employer is at stake. Those looking for a bloodless coup and a smooth transition are likely to be very disappointed.

NOVEMBER IS NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

(Ed.'s Note: In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.)

By Juan Montoya

Five hundred and thirty years ago, natives of a Caribbean island woke up to find three boatloads of hungry (and lost) Europeans announcing to them that they had been discovered. What’s more, they said the land now belonged to them and their distant king.

The next five centuries would be devastating for the natives, who shared their food and resources with the new arrivals. And from the very start, no matter how generous the natives (whom the Europeans called Indians in the mistaken belief they had reached India) were, the white visitors always seemed to want more.

Over time, the leader, one Christopher Columbus, not only took their food and shelter, but he also implemented a system of tribute. The natives were perplexed at why the Europeans were so greedy for the yellow shiny metal they used as decorations.

As the Europeans become more avaricious in the quest for gold, they started demanding that the natives dedicate their entire days working in mines and river beds to search for the shiny metal.

As time went on, the natives begin dying off from over work, new diseases against which they had no immunity, and at the hands of their cruel new masters.

Needing more labor as the gentle tribes were decimated at the hands of the avaricious conquistadores, they persuaded Queen Isabella to issue a writ ordering that any so-called carabs, or cannibals, could be used as slave labor in their mines. Any native who resisted, it turned out, could be classified as a carab. And so slavery was introduced to the Americas.

Columbus died convinced he had discovered India and that China was not too far over the next mountain range. Subsequent conquistadores spread across the face of a land they called America and laid waste to entire tribes looking for treasure and plunder. The annals of the conquista are full of narratives where natives were torn apart by war dogs or burned alive when Spaniards thought they were holding out on gold deposits.

In one relato, a burial area that was on a platform was torn apart and the remains relieved of their gold burial ornaments.Related image
Mexico City was leveled, as was the Inca nation. Unspeakable cruelty was perpetrated in the name of God, King, and civilization. The tribes that weren't decimated by steel of forced labor were destroyed by diseases against which the natives had no immunity. Entire nations disappeared from the face of the earth to make room for "civilization." 

The so-called “Columbian Exchange” was a lopsided affair. The Old World got the riches of these nations, and “America” got disease and slaughter in return. The Old World got unimaginable wealth in the form of foodstuffs that saved entire European nations from famine (potatoes), and gave humanity a crop that would in time become the most important addition to the world’s granary – corn.

Today, corn, a wild grass domesticated by the natives some 15,000 years ago, is now the biggest cash crop in the United States, if not the world. Some of the earliest pollen of domesticated corn has been found in cave hearths and middens as far north as Tampico in the Sierra Madre Oriental in northeast Mexico.

Further north, in the United States, the newcomers adopted a policy of genocide against its natives. Those it could not kill outright were dispossessed of their ancestral lands and forcibly moved across the country to unimaginably uninhabitable terrain.

The Trail of Tears remains very real to them.

(At right, Melissa Grace Issac-Montoya, a Saginaw Chippewa Tribe member from Central Michigan poses in the White House alongside portraits of ancestral chiefs who once visited the nation's capitol to sign treaties between their sovereign nations and the U.S. government. Issac-Montoya was a special guest of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden during the State of the Union Address and has been invited once again by the Bidens to  celebrate Native American Heritage Month.)  

The Cherokees and Seminoles were moved from the semitropical Southeast to the arid plains of Oklahoma. The eastern tribes were moved into the Black Hills and plains of South Dakota. The rest were packed into squalid reservations. 

To this day, some Native activists will not accept a $20 bill because it bears the face of Andrew Jackson, the president who defied the U.S. Supreme Court and removed the people from their lands in Florida and Georgia under the infamous Indian Removal Act at a huge cost in human life. Image result for andrew jackson, $20 bill

Somehow, the native people have been able to survive and their Great Spirit looked over them.

The Cherokees in Oklahoma found out that their reservations lay atop underground oceans of oil. And in the barren Black Hills, where the Lakotas were relegated, uranium and gold were discovered. And, as they are sovereign nations in treaty with the United States, they can have gaming on their squalid reservations. And they built casinos, and the people came. And they are still coming.

Next time you’re in Indian country and have a chance to visit one of their pow-wows, do yourself a favor and go. The beat of the drum and the chanting of the dancers resonate as one with the very rhythm of their Mother Earth just as it has since long before Columbus stumbled upon this continent and made his “discovery."

DESANTIS VS. TRUMP: A PISSING MATCH BETWEEN TWO SKUNKS

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Saturday, November 12, 2022

YEAH, THEY SAID A RED TSUNAMI SWEPT HER AWAY TO SEA

BEING IN TEXAS WHILE (A FREE) BLACK ON JANUARY 1860

The Matagorda Gazette. (Matagorda, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 18, Ed. 1 Wednesday, January 25, 1860:

(Ed.'s Note: For all of those who yearn back for the years when the South was the South and get all nostalgic for the era when one could actually live out this great southern "heritage," take a gander at this clipping sent to us by one of our seven readers who came across it while researching for other subjects. 

The clipping notes the arrest and sentencing of a free negro who had come into the state at Galveston against the laws of Texas.

The man, who had passed himself off as a negro minstrel, was sentenced to six months of labor to the highest bidder and, after expenses, was given enough money to leave the state. If he didn't leave within the 30 days dictated by law, the sentence would increase to five years. If you were a free black person, you were not allowed in the state under penalty of law. This was even before the Civil War.

His crime?
Being free.
Aggravating circumstances?
Being free, and black.
Punishment: working for a pittance for a white man. In other words, to make you a slave again. Show you your place.
Deterrence: An example for black slaves who might have harbored the seditious dream of freedom.

Later that year, on December 20, 1860, South Carolina – under the justification that the Union was abridging the sovereign rights of states to treat black human beings as they pleased – declared their secession from the United States of America. Within the next six months, ten other southern states would secede from the Union:
Mississippi - January 9, 1861
Florida - January 10, 1861
Alabama - January 11, 1861
Georgia - January 19, 1861
Louisiana - January 26, 1861
Texas - February 1, 1861
**April 12, 1861, the Civil War begins with the attack of Fort Sumter.**
Virginia - April 17, 1861
Arkansas - May 6, 1861
North Carolina - May 20, 1861
Tennessee - June 8, 1861

Ah, for the good old days, uh? Do you still wonder why current-day progressives want to do away with any vestige of this insidious Texas and southern "heritage"? )

Friday, November 11, 2022

AT TSC FINE ARTS CENTER, 10TH ANNUAL VETERANS DAY TRIBUTE

(Ed.'s Note: Attendees and dignitaries respectfully stand as the Brownsville Fire Dept.'s Bagpipe detail marches in the posting of the colors this morning for the Texas Southmost College 10th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony. 

Hilda Lamas, on stage at left, sang a moving and talented rendition of America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner as MC and Veterans Success Coordinator Mark A. Aguero at podium looks on. 

To his left – from right to left – stands TSC President Dr. Jesus Roberto Rodriguez, TSC Board Chair Adela Garza, Director of TSC Financial Aid Pamela Jones, and keynote speaker Maria Osorio, a retired 20-year Army veteran. 

Osorio spoke of her journey from being a Brownsville resident to graduating from TSC and dedicating a career to the military, including two tours of combat duty. Taps were played by Victor Martinez, Jose Vasquez, Tyler Fleming, and Eric Vasquez.)

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