Sunday, September 29, 2019
Yesterday evening, city officials alerted residents of south Laredo that they needed to boil the water that was intended for consumption. The news was disseminated through social media and word quickly spread. Before the night was over, all Laredoans were being asked to take precautions: boil your tap water for 3 minutes or use bottled water.
The emergency notice was made public because of low chlorine levels in the water supply. City leaders tried to reassure people that no bacteria was present in the water; they were just following the recommendations set forth by the TCEQ.
There are no newscasts on Saturday nights in Laredo; so the only news report that I came across was a live video that was posted on Facebook by a local Univision reporter. Dr. Hector Gonzalez from the health department was the only face anywhere, telling citizens of what was happening. All other city officials were M.I.A.
It wasn't until Sunday afternoon, a whole day after, that city and county leaders held a press conference. (See top photo, FB snapshot) Mayor ProTem Balli explained that they were communicating their findings with state leaders and TCEQ officials in order to arrive at the best possible outcome. They reminded viewers that no bacteria was found in the local water supply, but that chlorine levels were low.
Laredoans weren't taking any chances: they were out early Sunday morning looking for bottled water. Shelves at local stores were left empty by lunch time. There was no bottled water to be had.
Tonight HEB was limiting cases of water to 2 per person. The jugs pictured above had no limit.
The events of the last 24 hours are remarkable for what happened and for what didn't. The response by city officials and local media was predictable: the most minimal of efforts were utilized.
The public reacted just as was expected, even though the situation was ostensibly under control. In the mad rush for water at local stores, I only hope that citizens shared what they got with those who needed extra help.
We may be wiser now. Next time may not be as pretty. Let's all take note of what occurred today so that we can be better prepared in the future.
Saturday, September 21, 2019
On August 3, a racist individual went into a Wal-Mart in El Paso and killed 22 people with a high-powered rifle. The attack is unique in that the killer traveled hundreds of miles, from north Texas to El Paso, to kill brown people. Local attorney David Almaraz penned an OpEd for the Times. I'll leave it here without any further comment.
Thursday, September 5, 2019
In early July we heard of the brilliant plan of placing a ferris wheel next to the Outlet Shoppes downtown.
On Tuesday, city officials got to talking about plans for a water park.
These two public amenities are, for now, just wishful thinking. Them becoming reality is too far off. The mere mention of a ferris wheel near the Rio Grande and a water park next the arena sounds promising. What the public should put more thought into, though, is the completion of the detox center and the veterans museum. It can't all be about the sexy.
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Last weekend, word began to spread about a certain social media somebody that was thinking about running for city council, District 5. She, who I don't follow on Facebook, is toying with the idea of running against incumbent Nelly Vielma. Decent and mediocre candidates have always been drawn to public service in our area. This aspiring politician, however, does not even rise to that level. She's crass, toils in gossip and sensationalism, and has admitted to having no actual knowledge of the inner workings of municipal government.
The only currency she has to her name is the ignominy related to her past and present legal problems. The numerous stains on her reputation would make her one of the guys with the rest of city council.
For those unfamiliar with local politics, city hall has seen its fair share of bad actors: pols who have been busted with drugs and those who push people around. And let's not forget the FBI raid of city offices that may or may not see the indictments of elected officials. It's a pool of ne'erdowells at 1110 Houston St. Candidate X would fit right in if she decided to jump in.
Julia Wallace wrote about the possible amending of one city charter item -- the one dealing with asshole elected officials who commit some type of wrongdoing. Those that crime it up will be guilty of moral turpitude. This official language became part of our lexicon, thanks to the twice-elected council person that made one hell of a boneheaded mistake as a candidate, Vidal Rodriguez. He's one who, despite his failings, convinced his voting public that he was the right man for the job.
The new baldheaded contender, the one who has Vielma in her sights, might do the same: convince several thousand people that she's the better candidate. She may have a huge following on social media, but how many of her District 5 followers will actually cast a vote for her? It's all hypothetical at this point. We hardly know if she's going to take a crack at local office. She should take into consideration the current discussion being had, that of torpes committing moral turpitude and the potential for their disqualification from office. I doubt she's privy to what's currently being discussed, in terms of city charter amendments. I don't see her as a page 1 peruser. She deals more with the police blotter section, an area that she's personally close to.
2020 is going to be a hoot.
(Image via Ballotpedia.org)
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Image from The Politica of Laredo Facebook page.
Early last month, the Laredo Times reported that George Altgelt would not seek re-election in 2020. I thought the issue was a non-starter since he was elected twice to the same post.
Altgelt was elected to serve as councilman of District 7 when he won a runoff race on April 25, 2015. Results above courtesy of Ballotpedia.org. Altgelt replaced Jorge Vera, who was recalled from office in the fall of 2014.
In the November 2016 race, Altgelt beat challenger Juan Chavez.
There was some language added to the city charter, relating to the Terms and Limits of a council member. That resulted from Jose Valdez Jr. deciding to regain control of his District 7 seat after having quit his position to run for mayor. He didn't win in that venture.
Valdez Jr. was elected a third time, to serve as city alderman, on May of 2008. He would only get to serve out two years from his incomplete 2nd term, after a judge ruled on the matter.
Altget's case is different, given the extraordinary circumstances that preceded his first win. He was elected to the same position twice, though. The city charter may have to be amended one more time, seeing as how kooky things are around here.
Friday, July 26, 2019
Photo above appeared on the front page of the Laredo Times yesterday.
Tents and portable buildings are being put in place in a site near bridge 1. Once ready, federal officials plan to expedite the asylum claims of immigrants coming from Central America. CBP agents have been overwhelmed with the wave of people trying to set foot on U.S. land -- so much so that officials have been stationed at mid-bridge to prevent that from happening. People seeking asylum are being told to wait in Mexico in the meantime, a process referred to as metering.
(courtesy photo: Jose M. Reyes - July 12, 2019)
All sorts of impediments have been placed on bridge 1, both for drivers and pedestrians heading north. I have never seen anything like this. These are truly extraordinary tactics, all because of the current Administration in Washington, D.C.
It's been several years that I have crossed into Nuevo Laredo. I wouldn't dare do that now, for fear that I may run into severe pushback from bridge employees. I just hope I don't need any emergency dental care anytime soon.