Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let's Groove with Red Socks

Shooting Near Falcon Lake

Via the LMT:
Officials said Thursday afternoon that a man and woman jetskiing on Falcon Lake were believed to have been shot at by gunmen.



WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar, TX-28, joined by City of Laredo officials and Laredo Police Department, will announce that the police department has received a grant for $4,369,266 to hire 22 law enforcement officers.

The grant, which will be distributed over three years, is from the Department of Justice’s Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which grants directly to state, local and tribal law enforcement.

Mayor Salinas has been vocal at how the federal government hasn't really funded first responders to be at adequate staffing levels.  His favorite line is, "we can't have homeland security without hometown security."
Now that we're getting money for 22 new officers, I bet he's going to take credit for it during the upcoming debates, all because he took a trip to D.C.

Info. above courtesy of the Cuellar camp.


The only thing I ask of a waiter or waitress is to attend to me in a timely manner.  I don't expect the food to reach my table within five minutes of placing the order but I have limits.  Thankfully I can only recall one time that my server took forever.

There are differences with each new server.  Some will be somewhat reserved while others will be checking on you every two minutes.  In all cases I leave a 15 percent gratuity.  It's only been twice (that I can remember) that I've left a big tip:  once at a late dinner on New Year's Eve, and at a local restaurant where a family member got ornery with the waitress.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Is Not Here

Someday I'll leave this Laredo behind. 

Dems Unite In Laredo

Local suits are banding together to raise money and support for each other.
In an unprecedented event in the political history of Webb County, dozens of elected democrat officials will come together to support the campaign of Bill White for Governor of Texas and that of other candidates from this party, who will be running for office in November against the republicans.
The event takes place this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Monte Carlo Ballroom.  Call 763-3473 for information.

Patricia Barrera Critique

Jesus Flores submitted a letter to the LMT's editorial page to set his own story straight and detail the cost of defending County Tax Assessor/Collector Patricia Barrera's legal issues. 
Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 2:13 AM CDT

To the editor:
In reference to my letter to the editor dated March 7, 2010, in which I was discussing the excess raises of some county employees, I confused the names of County Clerk Margie Ibarra with that of Patricia Barrera.
At no time did I intend to either misrepresent that facts or insult Ms. Barrera, much less the most honorable County Clerk Margie Ibarra.
The fact is that at the time I was researching Patricia Barrera’s legal scandals, and that’s why I probably made this mistake.
In other words, Ms. Barrera was heavy on my mind.

As a taxpayer, I was very interested in the issues relating to her arrest.
It was hard to miss the entire media blitz and her jovial manner during interviews.
I wondered at the time how much her legal troubles ended up costing the taxpayers.
I am sure we all remember the issue of several of Ms. Barrera’s employees suing for being forced to sell raffle tickets for her re-election.
The suit was settled by the County Insurance office in the amount of $186,007.03, and I wonder how much that premium went up to.
But that wasn’t all.

This is what we, the taxpayers, ended up paying:
Goode, Casseb, & Jones - $96,725.00
Hall, Quintanilla, & Alarcon - $33,315.00
Law Office of Albert Lopez - $33,466.35
Law Office of Yohana Saucedo - $37,749.00
Murray E. Malakoff - $145,172.00 (the granddaddy of them all)
With all the other small expenses the total bill for the taxpayers is an exorbitant amount: $356,101.20!
Even better is the fact that in case 2009CR613-DP, a gambling case, Ms. Barrera was referred to pretrial diversion for one year and given a fine of $1,000, a drop in the bucket with her current $105,000 salary.

In other words, she received a slap on the wrist.
So much for “integrity, ability and good morals.”
Better yet, why go through the process and expense of a trial?
Is that what Chilo means by being tough on crime?
Ms. Barrera should have been made an example of, especially being a public servant.
Could this be why the people of Laredo say they are ashamed to live in a city with justice as a game?
Have a nice day!
Jesus Flores

The timing of this letter is strange.  I commend Mr. Flores for correcting his mistake, but instead of stopping there, he goes on to give an accurate account of Ms. Barrera's legal tab.  Excuse me, Webb County's tab.  The fact that she's not running for re-election this year makes it all the more odd. 

I didn't vote for her last time around.  As a matter of fact, I probably didn't vote for her before that either.  I'm no fan of hers but I've moved on since the Commissioners Court decided to settle with Ms. Barrera's former employees.  Mr. Flores' letter does nothing for me, unless he knows something new is coming down the pike.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In The Public Eye

A Maryland judge has ruled that a motorist was not in the wrong for taping law enforcement officials when he was stopped for a traffic violation.  That's good news, for sure.  But I wouldn't expect local law enforcement to allow me to tape them at will.

One police officer stopped me some time ago after taking pictures of his traffic stop.   And at Bridge 1 this summer I was interrogated by customs officers after they saw me videotaping an inspection.  I was actually taken out of the pedestrian line and questioned about my activities.  They ordered me to erase the footage I had captured.  I was advised that I had to get clearance before walking around with my camera.

I don't agree with getting clearance since the whole area is in the public domain but dealing with dumbass federal law enforcement is another thing.  At any rate, I'm glad justice was done in Maryland.

I was tipped off to the Maryland story by a reader.  Thanks.

Musica Nueva

Who knew that Jose Canseco and I would be needing the services of a lawyer at the same time, for different reasons, of course.

On another front, Abe Vigoda has a new album out.

I'm happy for Neil Diamond, but...
Neil Diamond and Alice Cooper have both been eligible for over fifteen years — and only Rush and KISS fans have been more outspoken about the exclusion of their favorite band. “I think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be calling me,” Cooper said in 2002. “I think I'm being blackballed.

The Candidates Speak

5 hopefuls: Fight crime, provide jobs

Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 2:02 AM CDT
Crime and finding jobs for Laredo’s unemployed were the most common topics candidates spoke of during the first mayoral debate of the campaign, hosted by the Next Generation Rotary Club Monday evening.

The candidates were asked to describe how they would improve Laredo's image.  They were also asked to come up with a tagline for the city.  Gene Belmares came up with 'star,' or 'jewel,' of the border -- something like that.  It's obvious we've done little damage control when it comes to people's perception of our town. Some describe Laredo as a kind of lawless city.
The older woman sitting in church was fed up with pretty much everyone — the politicians, the clergy, the police, the district attorneys — but most of all with the gun-slinging young men who act as if the streets of the Bronx were the streets of Laredo.

To be fair, the writer could be referring to the old version of Laredo, the one with gunfights and dusty trails.  But even if he was talking about modern day Laredo, would most people know where it's located?  We've come a long way.  Yet, people have the wrong idea about us and we've still got a straight-to-video character about us.


In the dog-eat-dog world of Laredo taco vendors, you really have to set yourself apart.  One such establishment has done just that.  Their tacos are superior to the rest.  They're mamalones!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Ride

Sorry for not posting regularly but the weekend threw off my rhythm.  I got into town Friday afternoon; I had to work Saturday morning; and Saturday night my car was totalled.  It's that last part that I'm preoccupied with. 

What happened is that a drunk driver ran a stop sign and slammed into my front end.  He stopped momentarily and then went off on his merry way.  The only reason I know the driver was drunk is because a witness followed him and actually talked to him.  This witness came back to the scene and gave me the make and model of the truck, and the license plate number.  After twenty minutes a police officer showed up to make a report.  He told me that he would send out another unit to the drunkard's home -- if they found him/her, I would be contacted.  Well, it's nearly two days and I haven't heard a peep.  And the report is not ready.  Apparently it takes two business days to process reports.  I find that curious since police officers are always on duty. 

My insurance company advised me to wait on the police report to locate the other person.  If he/she doesn't have insurance, then I can file a claim to take care of the balance of the car.  For now I'm riding the bus and the person who hit me is probably still working off the alcohol at his/her Webb County job, and the cop who made the report has forgotten all about me. 

Good times, eh?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mayoral Forum Tomorrow

Come out to see what the candidates have to say as they run for the office of mayor.  The event will be held at the LCC Ft. McIntosh campus at 7:30 p.m.  Hope to see you there.

UPDATE:  All candidates are confirmed.  The questions have been selected by a committee.

See you there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Where's . . .

Where's Raul?

See if you could spot him?


I go away for an overnight trip and I come back to find out that one school administrator suffers a concussion, Nixon goes on lockdown, and the Martin Tigers drop to 0-3.  Crazy.

I'll take a break from posting to attend the Laredo Broncos Wrap-Up Party tonight at 6516 McPherson Rd. (formerly Homerun Derby).  The event starts at 8:30.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Repubs roll up their sleeves and channel their inner Bruce Springsteen.

Brownsvillians Come Together To Get Oprah's Attention

Via the Brownsville Herald.
A contest funded by the multimillionaire businesswoman and host of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is searching for the U.S. city most in need of a Main Street makeover. The winning city will get a financial boost to renovate a significant area that has seen economic hardship—and, of course, a spot on the TV personality’s nationally rated talk show.

40 Days Left


Published: Thursday, September 23, 2010 9:32 AM CDT
Laredo voters will be able to decide term limits for City Council members and Municipal Court judges, the rules for the city’s Civil Service Commission and other aspects of city government during the Nov. 2 election.

Apart from the candidates running for office, our ballot will have 34 proposed changes to the city charter.  I was excited about going to vote until I read this.  Thanks Zach!  So when I go to the booth in November I'll have to decide for three LISD school board positions, four city council seats, mayor, municipal court judge, agriculture commissioner, governor, judge for the 4th Court of Appeals, some UISD spots, congressman, and oh yeah, 34 propositions!!! 

Several propositions deal with city council term limits.  Here's one:
if a council member leaves office, "whether by resignation or otherwise," that counts as a full term, regardless of how much time the council member actually served.
This is the result of Jose A. Valdez serving half his second term, resigning to run for mayor, and then coming back to finish out his last two years. 

Despite people's dismissiveness, or claims of incompetence or corruption against politicians, I have to take part in the election process if for no other reason than to get an oval-shaped sticker to place on my chest.  But seriously, I've mocked practically every elected official in town.  I have to vote; that's my way of saying thanks.  Because I've harped on so many issues, it's only fitting that I take part in the process.  By doing so, it gives me license to continue ribbing our elected, and would-be, officials.

I vote, therefore I blog. 


Lesley Lopez

Press Secretary

UPDATE: ‘Patient’s Bill of Rights’ to Begin Today

Washington- Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar announced that several important consumer protection features of health reform are set to go into effect today, September 23rd, six months after Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Better known as the Patient’s Bill of Rights, these provisions seek to end insurance company abuses.

“Starting today, key patient rights and protections begin to take effect. This new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” is designed to put you and your doctor – not the health insurance companies -- back in charge of your health care.

Up until now, insurance companies have often left patients without coverage when they needed it most -- causing them to put off needed care, thereby compromising their health and driving up the cost of care when they got it.

As a father, one of the major issues for me was denying children coverage for pre-existing conditions, like asthma. If your child is ill, please know that these reforms will ensure your child can get the help he or she needs.

Here is what the Patient’s Bill of Rights will mean for you:

THEN: Insurance companies were able to retroactively cancel your policy when you became sick, if you or your employer had made an unintentional mistake on your paperwork.

NOW: The new law prohibits insurance plans from rescinding your coverage when you get sick, except in cases of fraud or an intentional misrepresentation of facts. (Applies to all insurance plans.)

THEN: Every year, thousands of families have been denied insurance for their children just because they were born with a health condition or they have become sick.

NOW: The new law prohibits insurance plans both from denying coverage and limiting benefits for children based on a pre-existing condition. (Applies to all employer plans and new individual plans.)

THEN: Over 100 million Americans have been enrolled in insurance plans that impose lifetime limits on coverage – meaning when a catastrophic illness strikes, they were in danger of bankruptcy when their health costs exceed the limit.

NOW: The new law outlaws lifetime limits; no longer will a family go broke or lose their home just because a loved one has an accident or becomes ill. (Applies to all insurance plans.)

THEN: Even more aggressive than lifetime limits are annual dollar limits on what an insurance company will pay for health care. The insurance plans of millions of Americans have had such annual limits.

NOW: The new law phases out the use of annual limits; ensuring that the coverage of hundreds of thousands of Americans will no longer be cut off right when they need it most. (Applies to all employer plans and new individual plans.)

THEN: Most insurance companies did not allow parents to keep their young adult children on their plan, as the children worked to launch their careers.

NOW: The new law requires insurance plans that offer family coverage to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance plan, at the parent’s choice. (Applies to young people who do not have access to their own employer-sponsored coverage.)

THEN: Insurance companies didn’t always make it easy to see the doctor you choose.

NOW: Patients are guaranteed their choice of primary care doctor within their plan’s network of doctors, including OB-GYNs and pediatricians without a referral. (Applies to new plans.)

THEN: Each year, thousands of Americans have gotten hit with exorbitant charges from their insurance company when they got sick or injured when they were away from home and used an out-of-network emergency room.

NOW: Under the new law, insurance plans will not be able to charge higher cost-sharing for emergency services that are obtained out of a plan’s network. (Applies to new plans.)

THEN: Millions of Americans did not have the right under their insurance plan to have an “external appeal” of insurance company decisions.

NOW: The new law prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage for needed care without a chance to appeal to an independent third party. (Applies to new plans.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We've got the best.

Trouble At The ATM

I tried withdrawing money from my Vatican Bank account but ran into some trouble.

Image Is Everything

By Sean Bowlin
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 3:00 AM CDT
About 75 city and business association leaders met in a half-day seminar Tuesday to determine key quality of life priorities for a growing Laredo

Topics on the agenda were:  people's perception of Laredo, tax incentives for businesses, downtown attractions, and an efficient building approval process.

I, for one, can attest to the fact that Laredo is not the violence-ridden city that people make it out to be.  However, we need something to draw people to this town.  I have an idea.

Yes, John Schneider is going to be our spokesperson!!!  Now if we can just figure out how to get him down here.

LaSanbe Presents: El Baile del Perrito

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Debates Are Coming

KGNS will host the first debate on October 7.

UPDATE:  One candidate already has a commercial out there.  Here's a clip.

Sporting Laredo

Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 3:58 AM CDT
Sports event marketing will be added to the job description for an unfilled position at the Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Let's see, they can market hunting, running, cycling, kayaking, bird watching and someday when they get their act together on the off-road bike trails, they can push trail bike riding.

This ain't yo mama's Streets of Laredo.

Corruption On Steroids

Some public servants in California are in big trouble.
Some City Council members in the working class California community were allegedly pulling in $96,000 a year for part-time elected positions, amounting to 20 times the national average for similar positions. Former City Manager Robert Rizzo, who was reportedly among those arrested, banked nearly $800,000 a year.
They knew how to work the system.
The council members allegedly built up their salaries by accruing stipends for serving on city commissions. Some of the commissions would reportedly hold meetings for just a few minutes a month, or in tandem with other meetings.

New Music Tuesday

I'm feeling especially chipper today not only because the rain seems to have passed but because my latest total cholesterol result came in at 181 mg/dL.  WooHoo!!!  I've gotten lower results in the past but I've given up on obsessing over my lab results.  My glucose (diabetes) was 82 mg/dL; kidney and liver function tests were normal as well.  I am a bit anemic and my uric acid is just a touch over the limit but I'm not having any symptoms of gout, yet.  These lab tests were carried out by the Buena Vida Program at the City of Laredo Health Department.  The cost is $35.  For more information call them at 723-2051.

With that in mind I can enjoy some new music.  This week we have a new release from Michael Franti.  Check it out.

Last week I didn't feature a new release.  El Guincho was out with an album.

Cheer Up, Mayor

This is something to be proud of.

City of Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas welcomed Lupita Zepeda of AT&T, Adolfo Popo Gonzalez, Gabriel Lopez, Veteran’s Liaison, current soldiers and members of the Family Support group, all to  help proclaim (attached) the week Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week in Laredo.  Many local businesses and organizations, including the City of Laredo, Webb County, the school districts, and even Webb County, hold positions for employees who are deployed into active duty for the National Guard or Reserves.  Some, like the City of Laredo, offer differential pay to the employee, and others offer 100% pay, so that families do not suffer when the employee is deployed.  AT&T offers calling cards to soldiers and their families to make it easier to stay in touch.

Info. courtesy of the City of Laredo.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Cops were stationed at a house across the street from my home tonight.  One lady was taken into custody and one car was hauled away.  KGNS briefly mentioned the incident but no video is available yet.  Hopefully we'll hear more details tomorrow. 

Donde Esta?

Just like the "Where's Waldo" game, there is now a new feature to get you ready for Laredo's 2010 Mayoral race. At La Sanbe, it is appropriately called "Where's Raul." Just look for the local mayor in various pics.

Be sure to send in all photos of the mayor out and about town (like here or here).

Just be wary of any pics of Mayor Salinas illegally-parking or using a Handicap Space without a placard.

One Back In, One Out

By Nick Georgiou

Laredo Morning Times
Published: Monday, September 20, 2010 1:08 AM CDT
Ricardo Perez, the LISD attendance officer who was fired and arrested in October 2009 for failing to report the abandonment of 2-year-old Katherine Cardenas and three of her siblings, has been cleared of any charges and reinstated at the district.

One employee is back on the LISD payroll after failing to report a case to Child Protective Services.  Another, however, has been let go because he parked his school bus at the depot with a sleeping child still on board.

KLDO reported Friday that a five-year-old child that was being transported to Ligarde Elementary School fell asleep along the way.  When all the kids exited the bus at the school, the bus driver made his way to the LISD bus depot, not knowing that one student was left behind.  The bus remained at the station until around 2 p.m. when the driver came back to make his afternoon rounds.  That is when the little boy was discovered.  The reporter mentioned that temperatures got up to 102 degrees that day (Wednesday).

Thankfully the student was OK.  The bus driver, however, not so much.


Cop is on trial

Hale up on drug, firearms, fraud charges

By Denise Blaz
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Monday, September 20, 2010 1:08 AM CDT
The trial of a suspended Laredo Police Department officer facing drug, firearm and fraud charges is scheduled to begin in federal court today.

Under indictment since April, Orlando “Chacho” Jesus Hale, 27, will stand trial on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine; carrying, using and possession of a firearm in and furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and mail and wire fraud.

Ooh, an actual tale of corruption and greed that should be the lead story on tonight's newscast besides the rain.  According to the story, Hale helped move drugs and stolen vehicles.  He might face life in prison.  Stay tuned.


Colin Powell:
In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," he said a path to legal status should be offered to illegal immigrants because they "are doing things we need done in this country."

He added: "They're all over my house, doing things whenever I call for repairs, and I'm sure you've seen them at your house. We've got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status."


With all the rain we had this weekend, people didn't have much choice as far as outdoor activities.  I for one wanted to get started with planting new things in my yard.  Apparently now is the perfect time to plant bulbs.  Alas, my visit to the nursery will have to wait one more week.

In terms of foliage, Laredo does have variety; you just have to know where to look.  Take, for instance, the sign above advertising grass.  It'll probably lead you to a local distributor that has no affiliation with big name stores, such as Lowes or Home Depot.  You might get a good deal but you have to be careful with the kind of grass you buy.  One particular kind of grass can give you headaches.  It might be the popular choice locally but it does take a toll on a person.  And once you get hooked on it, it's pretty difficult to opt for a change.

Don't be fooled, the purchase might be easy but the time needed for such a commitment is enough to give anybody a big appetite.  It can be very delicate and sensitive but it packs a strong punch when cultivated right, and your neighbors will notice.  There are tricks to manipulating the grass to get the most pleasing outcome from it.  The Joneses will try to keep up with you so it's best to work your grass when nobody's looking.  You'll be the coolest cat on the block because of the grass you've got. 

Some people will frown on your grass purchase because of the resources it takes away from the community.  All I can recommend is not to overdo it.  A little grass here and there won't hurt.  Shady places might help in your venture; you'll need less effort to enjoy your grass.  The point is to have fun.  Go out and put your green thumbs to work.  Good luck!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Armando Cisneros Joins The Race For City Council District 2

Society prospers when its citizens take an active part in its evolution.  One such person who is determined to make a difference locally is Armando Cisneros.  Mr. Cisneros is running for the City Council District 2 seat which is being vacated by Hector Garcia.  The force driving Mr. Cisneros to run is the sense of indifference he feels coming from our local leaders.
I noticed, sometimes, when I went to the meetings, they kept moving the public forum part of the meeting around.  It would be at the beginning, then it would be in the middle and I think that serves to discourage public participation
The points that Mr. Cisneros is focusing on are safety, jobs, taxes, and infrastructure.

He told me that the deadline to file for office had passed when he thought about running for city council.  The Texas election code provided him with the information he was looking for.  Apparently a person can run as a write-in candidate, within a certain time frame, after the filing deadline has passed.  A call to the Secretary of State confirmed his findings and he proceeded to put his name forward.  Take a listen to my chat with Mr. Armando Cisneros.

Powered by

     To contact Mr. Cisneros with comments or suggestions, email him at 

New addition to the Steeler Nation

The Steelers are off to a good start this season winning the 1st two games without their QB Ben Roethlisberger.

My favorite Steeler Troy Polamalu is back from last year's knee injury. He had an interception last week against the Falcons. He had one again today, and added to his highlight reel by jumping on Titans QB Kerry Collins to sack him.

I want to send my congratulations to Troy, not only for his overdue return to the football field, but for becoming a father again earlier this week. On Thursday Troy and his wife Theodora welcomed their second son Ephraim . They also have an older son named Paisios who will be turning 2 next month. Go Steelers!!!

Getting Paid At The Tire Round-Up

City of Laredo staff braved the stormy weather today to collect tires brought in by the community.  The event was sponsored by the city and United ISD; it was held at the Student Activity Complex parking lot.  The incentive was what made me take part in this:  $1 per each tire collected.

Parents and staff at Daiches Elementary decided to take part in this event to raise money for an end-of-the-year-trip.  What better way to kick off the school year than by going around collecting mosquito-ridden, scrappy tires, eh?  Parents were asked to bring in tires to be loaded up on trailers in the school parking lot (picture below).

I want to send out a big thank you to Mr. Leal (5th grade teacher) for taking the lead in this fundraising effort.  He, along with Ms. Arreazola, were very supportive of this idea.  They encouraged other parents to participate, made phones calls, got the needed equipment together and put in the elbow grease to make this a reality.

Other staff members that put in some time and effort were:  Ms. Cantu (4th grade), Mr. Soliz (4th grade), Ms. Ramos (nurse aide), Ms. Martinez (1st grade), and Mr. Jimmy Cerda (volunteer driver).  Thank you also to Principal Pulido for letting us coordinate this tire drive.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


LISD wants to keep the raffle ticket case in-house, instead of handing it over to the DA. 
Montes mentioned that in this district injustice still prevails and the wish is to maintain certain controversial issues hidden. She also mentioned that having three votes against four, the issue was left out of discussion and it will remain in the drawer of the superintendent for further instructions.
Other than that, it's a slow news day.


Our Third

With all the excitement of loading up tires for our school's fundraising effort yesterday, I totally forgot that it was LaSanbe's three-year anniversary.  This is my first-ever post.

Apparently I hadn't planned anything to commemorate the day, and I was busy running errands all day Friday.  Mexico's Independence Day threw me off as well.


Friday, September 17, 2010

A Man's Truck

Are you ready to take the weekend by the horns?

What Was That?

'Booms' spark fear in some

By César G. Rodriguez
Published: Friday, September 17, 2010 1:19 AM CDT
NUEVO LAREDO — The Nuevo Laredo festivities for the bicentennial anniversary of Mexico’s independence were cut short late Wednesday, about five minutes after fireworks exploded in the air, the “booms” sparking fear in the audience and sending families running from the plaza.

As I dozed off Wednesday night I heard the sound of distant booms.  At first I thought it was a neighbor closing his/her car door.  Then the booms came every ten seconds.  I figured perhaps the partygoers at San Agustin Plaza were being treated to fireworks; but the thought of a shootout, with the occasional grenade, in Nuevo Laredo crossed my mind.

Cesar Rodriguez provides footage of the festivities in Nuevo Laredo.  In the story he added:
A mass of people gathered on the left side of the plaza grounds began to run directly for the exits, perhaps mistaking the noises for gunshots.
Even though the people who attended the event weren't deterred from celebrating Mexico's Bicentennial, it's understandable that they would be on edge.  It's a shame it's come to this.  The city holds a lot of memories for me.  Unfortunately I won't be able to revisit them anytime soon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Got Something To Say

At tonight's LISD board meeting, trustees went at it over the approved construction of the early college high school.  Board president George Beckelhymer raised the issue of the cost of the project while Mr. Valdez and Mr. Martinez questioned the progress of the building's construction.  With so much blathering that goes on, I now realize why Shirley Field is so far behind schedule.  There are some external issues that come into play but the level and extent of debate doesn't help.

Superintendent Nelson opines:
and when you go to investigate why this school district can't do it, there's a host of reasons:  and we go to try to blame the architect; the architect going to talk to the contractor......and everyone is going to agree that the board is giving them different direction.  They're going this way one day, they're going a different way......

And so I don't want to be disrespectful to any of our partners, our architects and especially, most seriously our board of trustees.  But this type of dialogue that you're having tonight has created a theme that is culminating with us not being able to get our projects done on time.  Thank you, sir.
I've provided the video below.  Audio and video are not in sync.  Sorry.

Pendejo of the Weak

Make pretend you are a talented athlete pulling down $20-$30 Million purses per event. What would you do with this talent and vast array of riches?

In the case of Floyd Mayweather, the answer is show up at your ex-girlfriend's house, engage in violent behavior, then threaten your own kids.

Vegas authorities have slapped Floyd with at least three charges of domestic violence. We'll see how this turns out. In the interim, good luck with that pretty boy Floyd.

Today's Letter

George Rodriguez wrote in to the Laredo Times' editorial page today to answer why he is a republican.  Have a look-see:
Recently, Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev., asked how could any Hispanic be a Republican?  Several of my close, personal friends have asked me the same question since I am a conservative Republican and a Tea Party member and supporter.  My response is simple on several levels.  First, I believe in God and in public prayer, while Democrats don't support public prayer.  In fact, I am shocked at President Obama's comment last year that the U.S. is no longer a Christian nation.  The vast majority of Americans are Christian, and, of those who are, most attend Church.  The president's remark was wrong, yet no Democratic elected official, including Henry Cuellar, Ciro Rodriguez and Charlie Gonzalez, contested the comments.

Furthermore, I believe in the sanctity of life, while Democrats support abortions.  I believe a child should be taught morals at home and not sex education at schools.  I believe morality is the foundation of a civil society.  Democrats seem to "trust in the arm of flesh" rather than in God.
Mr. Rodriguez goes on to explain his support for free enterprise, border security and personal freedom.  Of course, he goes on to state that democrats are flawed.
Democrats tell people that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are beyond their control and that they (government) must help them.

For being a man of faith, Mr. Rodriguez is really judgemental.

Now, I wouldn't ask a Hispanic specifically why he or she is a republican.  I would simply ask anyone why they would associate themselves with the party of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck.  It's obvious that republicans get their talking points from both of these blowhard DJs, among others, even though they've been known to pass on false information.  Just recently Limbaugh described a judge as a hunter and taxidermist, but it turned out that the person was neither.  And Beck said that he held the first inaugural address when he visited the National Archives.  That wasn't true.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had to take back the statement she made about beheadings taking place in Arizona.

Mr. Rodriguez is pretty quick to suggest that democrats don't pray or aren't pro-life; but they do and they are.  Democrats, like Mr. Rodriguez, also "love America and what it stands for."  We believe in free enterprise and safer borders.  Where we differ is in the fact that we're not going to take our marching orders from some fanatical, egotistical dumbass who is trying to sell us gold coins.

I don't have a problem with you praying, but don't make yourself out to be morally superior just because you call yourself a Christian.  If you truly want to follow God's word, you have to be more respectful and accepting of others. 

67 Days Left

It's looking more and more like Bill White and Rick Perry won't debate before the November 2 deadline.  Each is making his case against the other:  White charges that Perry doesn't want to talk about the looming billion-dollar budget shortfall, and Perry won't debate because of White's supposed lack of transparency in not releasing all of his tax returns.  Via the Express-News.

“but I think the more important issue is for an individual who’s asking to be the chief executive officer for one of the most important states in the nation, if not the most important state in the nation, with one of the most important economies in the world, to not be transparent and honest about how he’s made his money is a great tragedy.”
That's great, Rick.  But wouldn't that be a perfect point to bring up in a debate?  Perhaps at the local level candidates can get away with not debating.  Some have no business going before the cameras.  Recently we've seen some debates hosted by KGNS (Channel 10 on cable) where people have given terse responses to questions or flown off the handle.  But in a statewide election, a debate is much more than a formality; it's the perfect place to bring up issues of transparency and budget shortfalls.

Texas needs a gubernatorial debate and Perry needs to stop making excuses.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

District 6 Race

Being the proprietor of a gas station next to a busy intersection has its perks.  Your message will get out if people like it or not.

Our Leaders Travel

Mayor, council members, city administrators in Washington, D.C.

(Laredo, TX - Sept 15, 2010) City of Laredo officials are in Washington, D.C. today, continuing to advocate for federal funding necessary to augment local resources on a variety of fronts. A focus point for the Laredo delegation will be regarding the U.S. Justice Department’s COPS program funding. The Community Oriented Policing Services philosophy supports proactive and crime deterrent methods of policing and having officers assigned to regular beats.

Most recently, the funding has helped the Laredo Police Department hire more uniformed personnel to be on the streets. Since 1996, approximately 150 police officers have been hired through this program. The City of Laredo has not received funding for this program for the last two years and officials are pressing White House representatives, insisting that the crime abatement philosophy and funding mechanism have been successful for Laredo.

“In these critical times, when local budget dollars are not at their height and our community needs the utmost in public safety fortification, as much now as in the future, it is imperative for the City of Laredo to be in front of our federal officials, advocating for these funds,” stated Mayor Raul G. Salinas. “My responsibility as the chief elected official of this great community is to be in Washington, D.C., making sure that we reap these most deserved federal dollars for the people of Laredo.”

The Laredo Delegation in Washington, D.C. consists of Mayor Salinas; City Manager Carlos Villarreal; Deputy City Manager Cynthia Collazo; Council Member Cynthia Liendo Espinoza, District VIII; and Council Member Juan Narvaez, District IV. They have a series of meetings with White House officials today and tomorrow. The group returns to Laredo on Friday, September 17, 2010. While Mayor Salinas is in the nation’s capital, he will be staying with family in an effort to reduce his travel costs.

Recognizing that there is a major hometown public event tonight, Mayor Salinas also wanted to express his sentiments to the Mexican Consulate’s office in Laredo:

“I commend the Mexican Consulate General and the Instituto Cultural for what will be a tremendous event tonight. I know that my good friend, Consulate General Miguel Angel Isidro, has been working tirelessly to again make it a memorable celebration, and I regret that I will not be able to attend, but I will be ‘gritando’ in spirit from Washington, D.C.,” added Mayor Salinas.

A New Crisis At LISD

A school district this size has just the right amount of drama.
The school district's internal auditor, Elizabeth Henry, conducted an investigation after receiving complaints about sweepstakes and lottery games performed at the department where about 300 employees work.

Local Festivities Tonight

Downtown Laredo will surely be host tonight to another celebration honoring Mexico's independence.  I'll post more details as they become available.

B Live Promotions Brings Rock Music To Laredo

Laredo Broncos Recognized By County

Webb County Commissioner Jerry Garza along with members of the Commissioners Court recognize Laredo Broncos members Dan Firova and Jose Melendez for their inspiration, motivation and dedication to baseball. Firova was recognized for being selected Field Manager of the Year for 2010 by the United League Baseball. Melendez was recognized on being selected General Manager of the Year 2010 by the United League Baseball. Pictured, (l-r) are Webb County Commissioners Frank Sciaraffa and Rosaura “Wawi” Tijerina, Jose Melendez, Dan Firova, Commissioner Jerry Garza, Judge Danny Valdez and Commissioner Sergio “Keko” Martinez.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tomorrow's Future?

The "campaign sign that most resembles a brand product" award goes to Daniel Rigal's Tomorrow's Future sign.  This looks like it belongs on a can of motor oil or a loaf of bread.  It's nice but it just looks out of place.

Violence In Nuevo Laredo

Several killed in NL

Incidents throughout city, including near schools
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 1:18 AM CDT
NUEVO LAREDO — Several people were killed here Monday, following a series of car chases and altercations between military forces and armed civilians throughout the city, including in front of schools.

Our neighbors to the South are getting ready to celebrate Mexico's bicentennial anniversary.  With threats of violence, it's understandable that cities across the state of Tamaulipas make adjustments.

The Excelsior reports that some cities won't host parades to celebrate Mexico's Independence Day, but instead, have a scaled-back public ceremony.  The cities of Tampico, Madero, and Altamira will commence their festivities at 7:00 p.m.  Altamira will have its actual grito at 9:00 p.m. and Ciudad Madero at 10:00 p.m.  Nuevo Laredo Mayor Ramon Garza Barrios only confirmed that increased security will be available at their celebratory site.

We wish them luck.

Earlier today, City of Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas (right) welcomed Mexican Consul General Miguel Angel Isidro (center) and Consul Adscrito Juan Jose Martinez (left) to recognize Mexico’s Bicentennial Anniversary of their Independence.  Tomorrow, Salinas, who will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with Vice-President Joe Biden, to discuss the drug violence that is plaguing Mexico, in particular Nuevo Laredo, and the possible spill-over into Laredo, will be unable to participate in the annual Dies y Seis celebration held in downtown Laredo and sponsored by the Consul’s office.

Hacienda To Play Old No. 2

B Live Productions is proud to present Hacienda at Old No. 2 with special guests, Jeff The Brotherhood, and the Palacios Brothers.  Tickets are available at bliveproductions.

Hacienda's current release, Big Red And Barbacoa has been getting props:
...captures the attitude of a band ready to throw pretension to the roadside and play rock'n'roll the way it was intended.
David Fricke said of their debut album, Loud Is The Night:
...write eccentric pop songs and play them with flashes of T.Rex
Get yourself out to Old No. 2 next week.  This proves to be a great show, with more to come.

Hide Your Hot Reporters

Hot TV Azteca reporter, Ines Sainz, is causing quite the media circus. This after reports surfaced that Mark "Dirty" Sanchez's NY J-E-T-S (Jets Jets Jets) teammates went 'nuts' when Ines entered their dressing room. We pause to wonder why a pack of hormone-infused professional athletes would react in such a way to a well educated, professional reporter..

As update, hottie Ines takes her case to the Today Show..

Minority Report - The Home Game

El Manana reports that the U.S. will test out iris identification technology on undocumented immigrants in the McAllen, TX area.  Officials want to evaluate the efficiency of this security measure for possible use in the future.  Testing will take place in October.

The futuristic gadgetry has been made popular in the movies, especially ones starring Tom Cruise.  I'm including a scene from his 2002 flop hit movie only because it features eye scanners and has the words "minority" and "report" in the title.  The irony couldn't be more glaring. 

Monday, September 13, 2010


Local candidates might not have enough money to put up a nice ad on a billboard, but the local tea party contingent surely does.  This one is located on Highway 359, near Whataburger and Bob Bullock Lp.

Tea Party supporters and candidates have gained strength throughout the country.  Several have ousted republican incumbents in primaries and moved on to the general election.

That's good and bad.  Good because people have taken an active role in the political arena; Bad because their biggest supporter, and face of the Tea Party, is Sarah Palin.  

Monday Rage

Today was a cliché Monday where everything went wrong.
Time to release some pent up anger. This works for me.

Hey, I've Got An Idea

LAREDO, TX- Mayor of Laredo Raul G. Salinas, in conjunction with the Central Hockey League’s Laredo Bucks, challenged the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees Monday to participate in the first-ever Cricket Mayor’s Cup for the 2010-11 season. The challenge was made in front of the media and a number of fans during a press conference at Laredo’s City Hall.

“We want to boost our Bucks rivalry with the Bees to the next level and get the City of Hidalgo involved as well,” Salinas said. “We are proud of our Bucks and want to challenge the City of Hidalgo and the Bees during the season to see who earns the most points between the two teams. The team who earns the most points head to head against each other will win the Cricket Mayor’s Cup.”

Talking Tough

J.P. Oscar Martinez on people who owe fines:
I'm gonna be obligated to arrest them it doesn't matter who you are or how much or how poor you are or who you're related to.

Apples To Oranges

A lesson in branding: McAllen vs. Laredo

By A.B. Barrera
Guest columnist
Published: Monday, September 13, 2010 3:20 AM CDT
This is a weekly column on multi-cultural marketing that will be featured in LMT’s Business Journal.
It happens almost every day.
We constantly hear people complain that there is absolutely nothing to do in Laredo.
Nonetheless, when there is something to do — at times, even numerous things to do — the Laredo community does not seem to fully support them.
More and more each day, Laredo gets compared to other cities and the lack of attractions, store and restaurant selections, and overall activities available here.

Mr. Barreda questions those who compare Laredo to cities such as San Antonio and McAllen.  The big difference with those cities as compared to Laredo is the size of population.
While both McAllen and Laredo’s populations swell with the influx of Mexican National visitors and the daily crossings of people from neighboring border cities in Mexico, this does not mean much to national companies, which cannot see these figures accurately reported on a U.S. Census report.
This statement is also interesting:
The City of McAllen also developed a separate program to assist new small business owners in opening their venues in their new downtown district.
It would be nice to know what assistance McAllen provides for promising entrepreneurs.  But if Laredo did the same, would it attract the businesses that would inspire people to shop downtown?  Or would we see more of the same retailers that keep their establishments cluttered with merchandise and stacked boxes all over the place? 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What In The Hell

....happened at Laredo Medical Center last night?


UPDATE:  Pro8news covered the story with a couple of pictures that look exactly like the ones I posted.  Coincidence?!


The Sweetest Song In Years

Happy Birthday Professor!

Today is Neil Peart's birthday. The drummer and lyricist of one of my favorite bands, RUSH, turned 58 today!

Still going strong, Neil and his bandmates Geddy and Alex are in the midst of their Time Machine Tour. They will be playing at San Antonio's AT&T Center on September 23rd with dates in Houston and Dallas to follow.

I always wish I was as well-read as Mr. Peart (peert) and as knowledgable with words as he is. Thank you Neil for all those song lyrics you have written that have "enhanced my life over the years."
(This song is from 1982!, but the lyrics still hold true today. Awesome drum ending....)

New Scoreboard At The S.A.C.

Last night we attended the game at the Student Activity Center where the Cigarroa Toros took on the Nixon Mustangs.  No biggie.  There was the usual bad punt, overplayed songs by both bands, poor concession stand snacks, suggestive dancing from the Nixon mascot, etc.  But we were taken by surprise by the loud, over-produced commercials that played on the scoreboard screen every now and then.

The high caliber ads stood out amongst all the mediocrity.  And most, if not all, of the ads were for some health related business.  Here were all these people having a nice night out with the family and all of a sudden you hear, "cardiac emergencies."  Gee thanks, I was enjoying my Cheetos con cheese until then.  But I'll be sure to call 911 if I feel a pressure on my chest, thanks.

Cleaning Up El Chacon

The Keyrose family spent the afternoon picking up tires for next weekend's tire round-up.  Our bounty was collected in the Chacon and Three Points area.  In all we got 53 tires.

I'm sure there are more tires out there in our neighborhood.  We'll pick up more here and there as Sundays nears. 

Danny DelaRosa

Danny DelaRosa kicked off his campaign to unseat LISD District 3 Trustee John Peter Montalvo.   He spoke to me about wanting to tackle the drug problem at our local schools.  Also, he emphasized the importance of running a clean campaign, free of negative attacks.  51 days left.

If You Need A Windshield

TODO for just $120.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Fold

Que Fregados tipped us off to a new blog that features kayaking in Laredo.

Laredo could see more blogs appear as the days pass.

They Raise Money

Spending spree

Mayoral candidates getting, using donations early

By Zach Lindsey
Published: Saturday, September 11, 2010 7:55 AM CDT
Three mayoral candidates have spent nearly $90,000 and raised about $93,000 for an election that is still two months away, according to available campaign finance reports.

Lindsey goes on to detail how much money each candidate has raised, according to reports filed July 15:

Gene Belmares $54,795; Mayor Raul Salinas $19,100; Jose A. Valdez Jr. $19,050

Municipal Court Judge Candidates Juan Caballero $9,508; Rosie Cuellar-Castillo $41,176; Madeline Lopez-Escoto $5,250; Charles Wise $ 2,005

City Council Dist. 1 Candidates Rolando Garcia $2,085; Mike Garza $10,200

City Council Dist. 2 Candidates Victor Garcia $9,650; Esteban Rangel $225

City Council Dist. 6 Candidates Emilio Martinez $300; B. Javier Mendoza $400; Orlando Navarro $5,100; Fred Santos $7,750

Some of these candidates have spent way more than they've raised.  To get an idea of who has spent a lot of money, just drive around town to see who has the most signs posted.  Of course money and a ton of signs posted around town don't win campaigns.  To win, you have to have a good base, and above all, be likeable.
We'll see who prevails in 53 days.

Edgar Valdez Villarreal Wants To Come Home

Via the Houston Chronicle.

The Texas-born reputed drug trafficker known as "La Barbie" — a top-level cartel boss recently captured in Mexico — wants the U.S. government to spring him from Mexican custody so he can face justice in the United States.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Parking Rights

At yesterday's park dedication, Mayor Raul Salinas parked in a convenient spot -- just a little closer to the entrance than everyone else. 

The mayor is always talking about supporting causes that benefit kids, but I wonder if that young man (pictured) is wondering, 'gee, it'd be a lot easier to get into the dugout if it wasn't for this car being in the way.'


Slaughter Park Officially Opens

Last night, residents of the Chacon neighborhood and surrounding areas were treated to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Slaughter Park Sports Complex.  City officials were there, of course, to meet the public and thank everybody and their mother for putting this park together. 

Mayor Raul Salinas did a lot of thanking;  I think the only people he didn't thank were the people who live across the street from the grounds.  He rambled every now and then.  His go-to save was to thank people.  The applause from the public gave him time to think of something else to say.

Anyway, I got to talk to John Galo who was the person who spearheaded the project when he was a councilman for this district.  I tried to talk to the current councilman, Dr. Michael Landeck, but he kept snubbing me.  He just kept getting farther away from me.  So I showcased him a little at the end of the video.

Friday Afternoon Thread

Taking care of some gustatory needs.  Will post a most imposing piece shortly.

OK, I'm back.  I wanted to touch on a story that appeared on last night's channel 10 newscast:  it's about panhandlers taking money from the public while appearing not-so-destitute.

Apparently KGNS got a lot of calls from uptight concerned viewers alerting them about two gentlemen who frequent certain intersections asking for money.  The reporter went to work and shared the fact that one of the panhandlers has a truck.  According to her, he's out there giving the public his version of supposed need, all the while having his own transportation and gawd knows what else.  For effect, she throws in a shout-out to Laredo's "kind and giving people," and sensationalizes the story by asking if these men are taking "too much advantage of your hard-earned cash."

Now these men might be making a nice chunk of change out there, but at what expense?  Cancer?  Yes sir, I'll give you a quarter if you decide to stand there and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.  If you're willing to forego any sense of dignity, then yes, I'll give you twelve cents.  It doesn't break my back, yet some have to chime in with fake outrage.  They're flabbergasted at the thought of somebody else shelling out ten cents to someone who might not be on the up-and-up. 

On some level I know KGNS is providing a service, but it's the sanctimonious attitude that irks me.  I've given money to the gentleman featured in the report, as well as to others, but it's always been spare change.  They make it sound like they're robbing us blind or something.

For those who called in to the station, and to the reporters:  you have to give us charitable people some credit.  We're not that naive.  When I saw the story, I didn't fall out of my chair.  We know that those who beg for money are always going to hand us some far-fetched story.  I remember this one lady who used to hang around Saunders telling everyone that she had cancer.  Was it true?  Who knows.

And then there's the man with the "why lie, I need beer" sign.  And the sun-burnt man hanging out along Chihuahua with an HEB cart.  He looked homeless but he knew a lot of what's going on in the political realm.  Where is this man getting his information?

The point is that I give whatever little money I can shell out while knowing full well that it's probably not going to be used with the intended purpose I deem appropriate.  Some are going to go out and buy beer.  Then again, some might need it to cover their stay at the Salvation Army shelter. 

I'll tell you what:  next time I drive by somebody asking for money, I'll give them a little extra so they can call it a day and move along, saving you from feeling uncomfortable at the sight of someone wiping his forehead with his t-shirt while holding a cardboard sign that's seen better days.  Deal?  Deal.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yoko, Oh No

In this piece, Yoko chants, signs, mingles, then makes a wish..