Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Me And Bike


Here's a video I created some weeks ago.  I just got around to loading it.  Enjoy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chacon Trail



Here are a couple more pics from the hike that took place Saturday morning.  This shot was taken from a manmade bridge along the eastern edge of the trail.  The area suffers from neglect.  Apart from litter, old branches and grass are piled up along the trail, a result of maintenance done by city staff.  While the upkeep is appreciated, the leftovers prove to be unsightly, and a hazard, as they can easily be lit on fire. 


A broken mannequin was found near the Freddy Benavidez Baseball Field.  Why?  I can see how tires and other trash would be thrown around here, but a mannequin

The trail has a lot of redeeming qualities, but a little TLC is desperately needed.  Trail markers are placed at intervals, but more signage wouldn't hurt.  One group got lost that morning. 


The walk from Dryden Memorial Park to the Rio Grande is about a mile.  It's good exercise either by foot or bike.

Abe Martinez' Sentencing

Apparently word is going around that the former hospital CEO was to be sentenced today, but I haven't heard anything yet.  I'll have to wait until one of our media outlets reports something.

Versatile Property


It's seems like school just started and people are already getting prepared for Halloween. 

The building pictured above is located on the 500 block of Market, it's caddy corner to Yoly's Cafe.  This place has been used to sell used clothing, office supplies, etc.  After the 31st, it's going to become the site of LaSanbe's world news headquarters.  I'm sure there will be plenty of room left over for BOLAS (Blogs of Laredo Association Statistics).  Each blogger will have more elbow room than they'll know what to do with.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Maquinitas


People profit off of eight liner machines.  People lose their savings playing eight liner machines.  Eight liner establishments pay out too much money and eventually are busted for the promotion of gambling.  But they're here to stay because it means revenue for taxing entities.
Are they in the appraisal books?  Are we taxing them?
And that makes everything all right.

Less Water Use

It's refreshing to know that some people take the climate seriously.
Over the next couple of decades the city took drastic measures to stabilize its water supply, undergoing a philosophical and physical facelift that included ripping up grass from many public places, installing rock and cactus gardens and offering financial incentives for residents to do the same.
Today, El Paso is among the few cities in the drought-stricken state not worrying about water. It's a distinction El Paso leaders attribute to a conservation plan that other cities in less arid climates such as San Antonio and Austin have tried to a limited extent amid receding water resources and booming population growth.
I've seen some changes towards water conservation here in Laredo, but it hasn't come at the behest of our city leaders.


Chacon Creek Trail (Laredo)






This is a shot of the end of the Chacon Creek Trail.  Hikers were looking across the Rio Grande at two horses.  It was a good hike; got some good exercise.

VMA's tonight

The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards are tonight. You will usually catch a good performance by some artist or group, and maybe even some controversy will ensue. Tonight's nominees include Katy Perry, Foo Fighters, Adele, The Black Keys, Beyoncé, Cee Lo Green, and Justin Bieber among many others. Taylor Swift and Kanye West will both be there again, but unlikely to repeat their past on-stage interactions.


I remember the VMA's hosted by Arsenio Hall. He hosted like four years in a row back in his own heyday. Here is a performance where we witness the challenge of dealing with a band with one or more members under the influence of something on live TV! Even Bret Michaels says at the end of the song: "It's not perfect, but it's Rock 'n Roll!"

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Menso, Not Mensa






You either have to be really desperate or really dumb to try to pull off a caper in a car with flat tires.  As if somebody going down the street with all four tires flat isn't going to attract attention.  Not smooth, Mr. Bryan Keith Stone.


Friday, August 26, 2011

"A Booming Bonanza"

At last week's city council meeting, the mayor reinforced his commitment to creating jobs for the community as it relates to the Eagle Ford Shale drilling activity.  He wants the city to capitalize on the economic potential as far as anything having to do with hydraulic fracturing; And he's not going to sit by while there's so much to gain.
But when you have a place like San Antonio, thinking that they're going to eat our lunch, well they've got something else coming.
Que lindo.  He's standing up for us.  Apparently we can go toe to toe with one of the largest cities in the nation.  Except that........
Fresh off Thursday's revelation that Halliburton Co. is looking to build a “supersite” in the San Antonio area, a county official disclosed another heavy-hitter in oil services wants a piece of the action.
That's right.  Halliburton, and now Schlumberger, are looking to set up shop in Bexar County, taking with them a lot of jobs.  How can this be?  What does San Antonio have that we don't have?

Putting the mayor's delusions aside, when he made that statement, he was addressing members of the Safe Fracking Coalition, a group that's concerned with the environmental impact associated with hydraulic fracturing.  He explained to the group that he understood their concerns, but not once did he ever utter the words clean air, or clean water.  His focus was job creation and he did a good job of talking down to the group.



I understand the need for job creation, but I also think that there comes a time when you have to be a diplomat and bring people together.  His little rant made it seem as if the SFC is a nuisance to the community.
 
Hey mayor, here's a tip:  pretend like you care about the environment; stop rambling; be more fair and balanced yourself; stop it with the jokes (Johnny on the spot); and for gawd's sake, turn off your phone!!!

Laredo:  There's Always A Reason To Celebrate.



Chacon Creek Hike






This nature walk will start early tomorrow morning.  I want to attend but that'll depend heavily on my cushy pillow.

I'm Shocked!!!


El Manana reports that more than half of local car inspection stations were shut down due to illegal practices.

Dept. of Public Safety personnel acted undercover after it was learned that inspection stickers were being handed out to drivers whose cars didn't meet the required standards.  In some cases, if a vehicle wasn't up to spec, money was exchanged under the table.

Depending on the offenses by each establishment, closures will last up to one year; permanently in some instances.

I am shocked by this*.  How could it be happening under our noses?! 

If The Mayor Speaks In An Empty Forest...

The drainage pipe project in the downtown area, at the tail end of Flores Ave., has yet to be completed.  See KLDO story here.  Naturally, this has some area merchants upset.  Lucky for us, we have a leader who will put his pinky ring down and lay down the law.
Para si no pueden ellos, entonces conseguir alguien que lo haga bien (smile).
Tough love for the Houston-based company in charge of the project.  But I think it's a little too late for that kind of talk, mayor.  Posturing in front of the camera to score points with the public is lame, to say the least.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Body Count Climbs


Rain Thread

I was going to title this post "It Rained Everywhere In Laredo This Afternoon Except In El Chacon" but I don't think the title would've fit.

Water Woes

KGNS reports that people have been voicing their concern about the watering schedule at the golf course located near Lake Casa Blanca.  It doesn't sit well with some that the course is being watered during the day, every day, while the city is in stage 3 water restrictions.  But golf course manager, Rudy Gonzalez, explains that the facility is able to water freely because it is effluent water that's used to irrigate.  City Manager Carlos Villarreal made note of that at a recent city council meeting.  (Video here; Mention of it comes at the 45 second mark)

I don't have to tell you how hot it's been around here, and that a lot of our foliage has taken a beating.  Lawns, plants and trees have suffered even after watering has taken place.  The ones that seem to be handling the spike in temperature are our native plants.  Not everybody is a fan of mesquite trees but it's time we rethink our lawn design. 

According to the city manager, the county golf course and the country club golf course are using effluent water that the city provides under contract.  How true that is is beyond me.  But I think staff at the county facility could be a little wiser with their watering.  If they're watering during peak hours, a lot of that water will succumb to evaporation.  It would make more sense, I think, to water when the sun is down.  Perhaps if I had stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, I could sound more convincing.

For now, keep obeying the watering schedule and feel free to question everything.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hikes For LISD Staff

LISD trustees want higher teacher pay

By Nick Georgiou
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 2:25 AM CDT
Several LISD trustees are unhappy with the pay bumps the district’s educators will receive this school year, saying they deserve a higher salary increase.

Laredo Independent School District trustees John Amaya, Hector “Tito” Garcia and Cecilia Moreno have called for a special meeting Friday to vote on a $300 pay bump for teachers as well as a step increase, which is based on their years of experience.

First off, let me say that I think teachers deserve every penny they get and more, but with trustees pushing for step increases on top of pay bumps, se mira como que quieren quedar bien con los empleados.  Right now may not be the time to be too eager with raises.  

When Texas' budget shortfall (rick perry) is discussed, first mention always goes to school cuts.  It doesn't look pretty out there for the next couple of years for schools.  And it's been said that the 2012 - 2013 year is going to be even more brutal.  I hope the board thinks this through and puts their re-election campaign motives on the back burner, especially when they've been advised against pay hikes.
LISD trustees' vote to increase salaries went against administration's recommendation.  District Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson had asked them to freeze salaries because of the $23 million in state revenue that LISD will lose during the next two fiscal years compared to current funding levels.

Sun Beating Down


With the unrelenting heat we've had, people have taken cover during the peak hours in any way they can.

The truck pictured above is always parked as shown, not caring to make it all the way into a parking spot, but preferring to take advantage of the shade provided by an oak tree.  Nevermind that he/she is partially obstructing the right of way for cars, and the path for pedestrians; what's more important is this driver's comfort.

I understand the difference that tree shade makes:  the temperature is approximately 15 degrees lower.  But convenience has a way of making people do stupid things.
This type of parking douchebaggery typically is seen from people who drive luxury cars, or from people who hold public office.  These people walk amongst us.  They're polite on the surface; But their contempt will eventually show.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Budgets And Taxes

County sees healthy budget

But workers to pay more for insurance

By Andrew Kreighbaum
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 2:40 AM CDT
Contributions to the Webb County health insurance plan will likely increase by $10 for employees and $17 for the county per two-week pay period, County Auditor Leo Flores said Monday.
This is my favorite part of the LMT story.
The commissioners court also held a public hearing on a proposed increase of more than $2 million in tax revenues to $57.8 million in the next fiscal year's budget, made possible by higher property valuations.
Next time you hear a local politician say, "we didn't raise taxes," ask him/her why government entities are seeing more in revenues.  I realize that they have to provide services for the public; I just don't like them taking credit for tax relief that doesn't exist.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weird Sunday Today

My wife and I have been anxiously preparing for tomorrow's big event:  our son's first day of middle school.  While I think things will be OK, we can't help but worry.  So to keep from obsessing, let me present you some images that I find interesting. 

First, an inappropriate pic from El Manana.



It amazes me the stuff they put on their front pages.
This is not a picture, but the title, I think, is a bit off:  "Harlandale probes its bond manager."  I'll pass on that one.

Next, glazed weirdness.








While I think Newsweek was wrong to go with this shot, it does represent the lady quite well.

And lastly, I've always been fascinated by Danny Valdez's hair.  It's nicely tended and has a signature disco era character to it.  While I admire the fact that he doesn't dye his hair, I dock him points for the lack of stylishness.  It's a nice head of hair but it reminds me of someone else.

  I make it a habit of not getting personal with people's looks, but that part gets me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shirley Field A No Go


Too bad the higher ups at LISD couldn't do more to see that the stadium was ready for game one in 2011.  The video below is from December 2008.  The stadium wasn't demolished until early 2009. 

















Huge Fire In Nuevo Laredo


This is what 400,000 tires burning looks like.  Firefighters in Nuevo Laredo fought the blaze since early Friday morning.  To see more photos, click here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cruisin'






I haven't had the pleasure of riding an El Metro bus lately.  I wonder if I've forgotten how to.  But check out the bus pictured above.  See anything strange?

Seriously, when I noticed this bus on south Meadow, I thought it was going to tip over at any minute.  I know buses "kneel" to accommodate handicapped people, but this vehicle was riding along the avenue as pictured.  It looked like it had a flat tire, or two.

Whatever the reason, it made for an interesting sight in the barrio.

Cops Gone Bad

Via the Houston Chronicle:
"I thought we knew these people like the back of our hand," said Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza. "But then again, if you look at the back of your hand every five years, it changes."
Well duh!  However, the back of the hand grows colder, bitter, more jaded only because the other side of the hand is the one getting a taste of all those hundred dollar bills.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anderson Cooper Pees Himself

Well...almost! The usually ultra-cool Anderson Cooper got a case of the giggles on live TV. It happened during a segment on his CNN show Anderson Cooper 360˚ called "The Ridiculist."


He was discussing a recent incident involving the French actor Gerard Depardieu, in which the celebrity peed on an airplane carpet after being told he could no longer get up to use the bathroom.




The adolescent-sounding laugh made Anderson lose a few style points!

Thursday Night Football Thread


It's preseason but it's good anyhow.

Largest Inland Port, But Not Gateway To Mexico


The natives don't care much for logos so it won't matter when the city does away with the "Gateway To Mexico" slogan.  Of course, it's a symbol that's been used to draw in potential visitors, but it should be a sense of pride for us being that we have two cultures influencing us greatly every day.  Alas, it'll be gone soon enough.

Newbie councilman, Jorge Vera, brought up the item of dropping the slogan at the last city council meeting.  He opted to table it because he wanted to research the issue further.  The mayor, on the other hand, explains why the logo must go.
So I think that we're gonna craft something that will be extremely appropriate.  We went through all this trouble of creating a little slogan for the city, and somebody won, so we have to recognize and appreciate that.
Right.  The city is changing the slogan not because they want to, but because they have to in order to give credit to the young girl who came up with the new slogan, "Always A Reason To Celebrate In Laredo."

The mayor explains how we will always be the 'Gateway To Mexico' regardless of any slogan, but it sounds to me like we're trying to distance ourselves from our neighbors even more.

Three months ago, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Dept. of Transportation for that matter, got some heat for covering up "Nuevo Laredo" on one highway sign on southbound I-35.  The mayor pled ignorance and reassured our neighbors that this was by no means a sign of rejection.  He however didn't mention that a new slogan was already chosen, and was in the process of usurping the old one, the one that connects us with our sister city.

Ultimately it's just a slogan and the city can change it a thousand times.  I just find it convenient how they boast about being the United States' largest inland port, and sign agreements with San Luis Potosi, but act to portray Laredo as some sheltered oasis on the southern border.  Laredo, all of a sudden, is the last stop on the map.

I realize that a lot of people don't cross into Nuevo Laredo nowadays because of the crime and violence that's gripped the city.  For many, Laredo ceased to be the "Gateway To Mexico" some time ago.  But this new tactic closes the door on our history and culture.  This kind of tactic is the reason we celebrate George Washington's birthday every year.  Laredo leaders long ago decided to establish the event (WBCA) to assert its place in America.  And now our current leaders are doing the same thing, only with another bogus ploy.  Most Laredoans don't know why we celebrate George Washington's birthday.  And in the video link provided above, the mayor has trouble explaining why there's always a reason to celebrate in Laredo.  His conscience trumps him a bit, but he manages to hand us some disingenous answer that's as half-hearted as our new slogan. 

Tires: Laredo


Old tires are found in the south side, and on the north side of Laredo.  If there was only something we could do with them.  Look for a discarded couch post this weekend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

U.S. Training Mexican Forces

Step right up if you want to go to Mexico to train police forces.
Brownfield was in the Texas border town of Laredo on Wednesday, signing an agreement outlining how deputies from the Webb County Sheriff’s Office could spend periods of three months, six months or more training their counterparts in Mexico.
Something tells me this is more about embedding our officers over there to collect information.

Crazy Ideas

Sometimes I come up with ideas that solve the most pressing problems.  Take for instance people's argument over the Second Amendment.  People want their guns, but critics prefer safety over easy access to semi-automatic weapons.  Solution:  don't sell the bullets.  Bullets are not protected by the 2nd.

Your welcome.

Next problem:  expensive text books.   People pay too much for new books, used books, study guides, etc.  Solution: buy books that are two years old or older.  They're dirt cheap and they have the same information as the books that came out this year.  I mean really, Civil War facts aren't going to change and college algebra is college algebra is college algebra.

Again, you're welcome.

Tree Planting Fail


The new LISD bus depot located just west of the Russel Terrace colonia is practically finished.  From casually scanning the area, it just looks like it's a humongous garage with a ton of parking.  Gone are the cafeteria, playground, and classrooms that served as my introduction to the local public school system.  That's fine.  Progress has to occur.  Unfortunately I didn't photograph Don Tomas Sanchez Elementary before it was knocked down.

Getting back to the new digs, I'm disappointed with the landscapers' placement of some trees.  As you can see by the photo above, several trees were planted right under existing power lines.  Hijole, Laredo!  Apart from that, they're situated right next to a brick fence.  Eventually the trees are going to be subjected to brutal pruning to avoid the overhead cables. 

One thing's for sure:  local landscapers know very little about design.  I really would like to know who's in charge of this.  And I don't want to pick on LISD because this happens all over town.  It's just that this gives me an indication of what passes for design and construction.

Over at Shirley Field, I hope they have better contractors to handle the stadium that's going to be visited by thousands of people for years to come. 


(Courtesy photo)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shirley Not Ready


The new field will not be ready because the paint job has not been finished.
"(By week 3), there's not doubt there that we'll be playing," he said.  "United versus Martin will play Thursday, Week 3, and Cigarroa versus Nixon (will play) on Friday of that week.
So Martin will have a chance to be the first LISD team to play at the new stadium?  Seems convenient since Mr. Ramirez, the A.D., is a former Martin coach. 

Am I being too cynical?

No Expomex This Year






El Manana is reporting that Expomex 2011 will be cancelled due to a poor showing last year.  Officials brought up the idea of hiking admission prices to make up for losses, but in the end they decided to try again next year.  Nuevo Laredo's negative image has kept people from attending the event, the story reads.



Rio Grande Water


On a Tuesday, that's good to hear.  Sort of.

Monday, August 15, 2011

El Portal's Rent

Thank you, Councilwoman Liendo, for bringing this up at tonight's meeting.

I think it has something to do with a recent post of mine.

UPDATE:  "They will pay 3% above the break even point, it's not on gross sales."  That refers to the financial responsibility on the part of HK Global.

Security Concerns

With Mexican troops crossing into Laredo by land, and by air, the public's anxiety was exacerbated.  Stories of spillover violence from Nuevo Laredo have existed for some time.  Seeing troops step onto U.S. soil certainly would unsettle anybody's nerves. 

Laredo's police chief, Carlos Maldonado, spoke to the city council to reassure the public of his department's involvement in border security.
The Laredo Police Department is very active, actively engaged in collecting, gathering intelligence information and sharing it with other entities in the United States.
The mayor has tried to put our fears to rest, but I think the chief did a better job of it.  See Chief Maldonado's statement here.

It's surprising to see Mexican troops cross into Laredo, to say the least.  But we can't assume that any act of aggression would be ignored and not contained by security forces, be they local, state or federal.  Put another way, I don't see anybody rolling over on this side if some sort of invasion took place.









Rick Perry This, Rick Perry That


It's going to be nauseating how much press Rick Perry is going to get in the coming months.  But the sad part is that people won't really learn much about his track record as Texas governor.  The proof will come when Pro8news interviews the locals again and they won't be able to give one good reason why Perry should be elected president.

There will be those who'll love him, and those who'll be extremely cautious of him.  Me?  I don't want to say he's a male bimbo, but I don't see how he's smarter than George W.  Seriously, if this guy wins the nomination, it'll be because people are tired of Mitt Romney, and they'll fall in love with his hair. 

A lot of Texans will line up behind him, and supporters will tout Texas' balanced budget approach, and he'll be called a straight shooter, and yadda yadda yadda.  However, I don't know if Perry is prepared to take hits from teachers, students, colleges, and universities who are dealing with massive cuts.  He'll repeat his supposed jobs creation successes and the state's economy, but the little matter of a budget deficit will certainly dog him.

I think Perry's got a lot of guts entering this race seeing as how people haven't forgotten what W. did while in office.  All democrats have to do is connect him to Bush.  And on top of that, point to Perry's long tenure as governor and the mess Texas is in now.

Get ready, Rick.  This is not going to be a walk in the park.

Music Buys


Saturday night I had a chance to visit with my friend over at Second Chance Music.  I made off with two CDs and a DVD copy of "My Cousin Vinny."  Coincidentally, the movie was scheduled on the CMT channel this weekend, but for some reason, the screen was blank during the movie's showing.

Good stuff to be had at this used record store.  By the way, I would've bought some vinyl if I wasn't pressed for time that day.  Next time.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some Are Challenged



El Manana reported yesterday on the challenges some elected officials will face early next year (March 6).

The race that I expect to be crazy is the one between Frank Sciaraffa and Louis Bruni.  Bruni is looking to unseat the commissioner for some reason.  I'm sure Mr. Bruni will list for us all of Frank's shortcomings, and he'll do it in the most theatrical of ways.
The debate, where Frank won't bother to show up, should be something.  Although I don't think it will be carried out if there's only one candidate up there.

El Manana is also reporting that Commissioner Jerry Garza may be looking to run for state office all because of the new redistricting map.  (I can't find a map that shows Webb being divided)  If that happens, John Galo may seek his county seat.

And the other race that might be of interest is the one where Abraham Diaz, and James Roycroft are looking to knock out Rudy Rodriguez.  Each campaign will probably be tame.  Still, a jab or two will most definitely be thrown out given Diaz's past and Rodriguez's connection with one of his subordinates being nabbed for taking bribes.

Can't wait.



Friday, August 12, 2011

You Say Madrid And I'll Say.......

I love the way how, in the span of seconds, one person in this video says Madrid and the other one says Madrid.

One of my wife's pet peeves is when people say, "your child still needs the VARICELLA vaccine."  It might be correct in some setting but it does prove to be a bit cringe worthy when words are punctuated like that.  It's almost as if people have some sort of bilingual Tourettes, stressing words in Spanish for some reason.

It might have something to do with our code switching culture, but in hearing people speak sometimes, it's a wonder how anybody understands one another.  Take for instance a recent post where two people pronounced the word "height" as HI-th.  And they weren't the only ones; the city manager did it too during a city council meeting.

It struck me as weird.  I kept bugging my wife about it.  She proceeded to direct me to this link pointing out the correct pronunciation of the word.  I knew I wasn't crazy!

Laredo's culture and language (es-ta-REY-ale) can be quirky and fun, but I would like some consistency, especially from those who promote education.  We can't let this go because then we'll have a bunch of dummies saying, "Is our children learning?"


Edgy Too Nice A Word


If you want your book to get noticed, naming it "American Bitch" is a good start.  Hopefully it won't get confused with the story of a lesbian purebred dog owner.

The title of the book struck a nerve in me; I just don't know exactly why!!!  But gawdamnit if this doesn't look like a new blog series where I post excerpts from the book every week.

Jani Lane Was 47

We used to joke about this song back in the day.  I still don't know where the "down boys" go, or who they are.  R.I.P. Jani Lane.

Two Wheelin'


Legislators at a conference in San Antonio recently took a bike ride to break the monotony of sitting indoors all day listening to presentations on public policy.  The bipartisan joy ride stretched some 12+ miles.  That's pretty good.  I don't think I've ever done twelve miles of bike riding in one day.

Locally, bicyclists have participated in competitive races.  As far as I know, the only organized fun ride to take place in recent years is the Tour de Taco ride.  Unfortunately that event didn't continue. 

For LaSanbe's upcoming fourth anniversary, I might take a ceremonial ride around town, or perhaps just down San Bernardo Ave.  Who knows, I might invite our local politicos to tag along.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Doing A Double Take



It's funny how some people keep up with the maintenance of their front/back yards.  For the most part you'll see the same things:  lawn furniture, shrubs, pavement, junked cars, etc.  It's rare that you'll see something original and creative, like say, a toy car lot.


But every now and then, you'll come across somebody who keeps their big, brown Fort Knox safe out in plain view.  Those lawn implements aren't going anywhere.

New Fracking Standards?

New recommendations for natural gas drilling may be coming from the federal level.
The report also called for companies to eliminate diesel fuel from their fracking fluid because it includes carcinogenic chemicals, and for companies and regulators to disclose the full list of ingredients used in fracking.

It could be years before any of these recommendations are set in place, if at all.  Anything asked of energy companies will be seen as anti-business.  And our own congressman would prefer that states handle any and all oversight of energy companies.  LaredoTejas noted what Henry Cuellar's real motivation is.

Local taxing entities appreciate the revenue that the Eagle Ford Shale play has generated; It has helped cushion the blow amidst budget shortfalls.  But they want more, or at least the city does.  Mayor Salinas appeared on KLDO's newscast sounding like he would like to have drilling sites set up closer to home.  Good for him, maybe.  I'm just glad that I don't live in north Laredo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cuatro Vientos

(Laredo, TX – Aug 11, 2011)  The recently inaugurated Cuatro Vientos Loop 20 Extension – officially opened on July 18 – still has its “new road smell,” because drivers have yet to break in the roadway. That’s why City of Laredo leaders, along with Texas Department of Transportation officials, have partnered with Border Media to create a marketing campaign that touts the benefits of using the new road versus the congested Zapata Highway entitled “No Batelle;” or in English, “Don’t Hassle.”  Aside from awareness of the time saved by traveling on Cuatro Vientos, a scavenger hunt promotional event to be held this Saturday, August 13, 2011, from 11 AM to 1 PM, will help drivers become familiar with the new seven-mile, four lane roadway.

Traffic hasn't been horrible on Zapata Hwy yet.  But maybe once school starts, people will seek an alternate route.   

Press release above courtesy of City of Laredo.

Se Salen

Cotulla hits a gusher

Oil boom means high prices for places to live

By VALERIE GODINES FITZGERALD
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 2:16 AM CDT
COTULLA – Times are good for Dora Vasquez.
In January, she had seven apartments built above her bright green and yellow store in the town that is experiencing a major oil boom.
The going rate for one of those one-bedroom apartments: $1,200 a month.
Who exactly is setting the price for apartments in Cotulla, oil speculators?  I understand that the area has seen a major influx of activity recently but this is Cotulla we're talking about.  You know what's the best thing to do while in Cotulla?  Get the hell out of there!  (thank you Dave Attel).

Now I have nothing against Cotulla.  When my wife and I stop there to switch seats (on our way to San Antonio), we don't get hassled at all.  In return, we make sure not to wake the sleeping crickets.  But apparently things are different now; just don't tell that to the mother who plays musical chairs with her daughter in a dirt lot.  She entertains herself and her daughter while her husband is off working in the field.

Everybody is trying to cash in on the oil and gas boom found in the area.  I'm just surprised that price gouging would occur even in a hole in the ground.

Garcia Took Bribes


Another blow for local law enforcement.
The indictment alleges that in 2007 and 2008, Garcia, a mental health officer whose duties included driving a prison transport van, escorted loads of cocaine being transported through Laredo by a local trafficker.
Public confidence drops even more.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

All Workshop And No Play


It's one success after another for the city.

Border Patrol Riding With Local Police

After a motorist was stopped on Hwy 83 and asked for I.D. by a police officer and Border Patrol agent riding in the same car, he compared the experience to what is being done in Arizona.  Police spokesman, Joe Baeza, credits Operation Stonegarden funds which help agencies work collaboratively to strengthen border security. 

Whether this tactic becomes the norm remains to be seen.  Interagency cooperation is one thing.  Doubling up is another.  Things must be tough all over if law enforcement is carpooling. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Leader

"This is serious, and we take it very seriously."

Decent Operation

With increased business activity, new industries are required, even those with scantily-clad women.
“The only reason we opened this club is that it’s a man’s world down here, oil field workers and hunters, and there are no women,” said owner Beca Howard of Laredo, who scoffed at the notion that her club could bother anyone.
“Do you really think this looks like a hoo-rah? It’s a very decent mom-and-pop operation. The girls who work here are going to college,” she said, adding, “I’m not about to have a vulgar place. My mother would rise from the dead.”
Of course.  The ogling, and alcohol consumption is done in a very decent, gentlemanly manner.

LaredoTejas posted on this subject yesterday.

The Canseco Building On Chihuahua St.


This estate's renovation is long overdue.
...for the purposes of establishing a fine arts center and a community garden
The city is working on taking ownership.  It sits in a highly trafficable area.  See video below; click on link.

<iframe width="560" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wMDtZtbQEpA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

UTSA Football



It starts now.
We've got some really talented guys, but how good we're going to be will be determined by how well we mold together.”
Now the question is how the team will be received by Laredoans.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mexican Military Lands In Laredo, TX

                                    


With what we've seen in recent weeks -- Mexican troops crossing international bridges, and now a helicopter landing at our airport -- can we now say that their troops are a bunch of boobs?  

Apparently having a sense of direction is not a pre-requisite for joining the military.


I Can't Remember

I love Josh Groban, and I love this song. BUT, I seriously cannot remember when it rained!

The canĂ­cula was once an occurrence with a beginning and an end to it! This year the dog days of Summer have been around forever, it seems! 100-degree weather is so normal in Laredo, the city doesn't even get a mention in news about the heat wave and drought that has smothered the country.

So, I guess I'll enjoy a little music with some iced tea! Stay cool.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thank You

After the city manager presented a balanced budget report at a recent meeting, council thanked Mr. Villarreal for his work.  It's nothing short of political bliss.
"Pat yourselves on the back, and we pat you, also."
Well said.


Reader Submission


Politics, and public appearances more specifically, may suit some people, but not me.

By the way, Little Joe performed at the Casa Blanca Convention Center last night. 

Laredo's Proposed Budget

In yesterday's classifieds section of the LMT, a notice was posted of a public hearing to be held at 5:30 on September 6, 2011 at city council chambers.  The hearing will focus on the proposed 2011-2012 city budget.  The ad took up quite a bit of space so I divided it into two sections.  Here's the first:

 
In the section above I was surprised by how much money goes into the Sports and Community Venue fund.  It generates more money than even the Hotel-Motel Tax item.  I'm not clear on how the city comes to have a ending sports venue balance of over $16 million.

Let's move on.  Here's the second part of the notice:



In this section my attention is focused on the Bridge System El Portal Project.  Money for that item is at $3,200.  What is that for?  Last year I wrote about how the Khaledi brothers were supposed to be paying the city $45,000 in monthly rent.  In doing some research, I found out that payments weren't necessarily made on time, but instead, the tenants caught up with their rent eventually, or so I was told.

When the Laredo Broncos were being forced out because of late payments (Veterans Field), nobody, except LareDOS, brought up the fact that the Laredo Bucks also weren't up to date on their rent.

That $3,200 amount most likely doesn't represent rent collected on the El Portal site, but I'm wondering why it's not even included in this notice.  From the first picture I can see that this is supposed to be a consolidated budget but I would really love some clarification on the sports venue, and El Portal items.



New Blood

Allow me to introduce a new writer:  LaGueraDelNorte.

A fellow blogger asked me if I would be interested in forming some type of blogging advisory committee to help other local writers get started.  I welcomed the idea.  I think the more people that jump on board the better. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The First Million Is The Hardest

Ex-bank worker indicted in fraud

By
Special to the Times
Published: Friday, August 5, 2011 2:38 AM CDT
A federal grand jury indicted a former employee of Compass Bank in Laredo on Tuesday for bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, money laundering and unlawful monetary transactions arising from an alleged scheme involving more than $8 million in losses to bank customers.

How does one swindle a bank out of $8 million?  Was it something where she introduced a virus into the computer system and funneled fractions of pennies into her account like in "Office Space"?  And $8 million!  Where does that come from and what do you do with it?


Mr. South Texas 2102


Congratulations to Dr. Ray Keck for this new appointment.  Unfortunately his resume can't handle any more entries.  Sorry.  Nevertheless, there's a new reason to celebrate in Laredo.

 

School Spirit

I think Rick Santorum is on to something when he says that schools "indoctrinate our children."  What else could explain middle-aged Laredoans eagerly saying "Once a tiger, always a tiger" at the drop of a hat?  History and civics is secondary to showing your loyalty for Laredo's oldest public high school.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Minor Detail


I really don't see why both teams can't have the same name.

Chacon Hike And Bike Trail







One of my favorite leisure time activities is bike riding.  Unfortunately I have to settle for urban outings because this town's off-road trails have little to be desired.  When the city talked of a trail linking TAMIU with the Santa Rita subdivision in south Laredo, I was psyched.  But that was two years ago and nothing has been done so far.  I figure by the time it's finished, I'll no longer be able to ride the full length of the course.   Don't get me wrong; I'm still pretty active but I have to wonder what kind of condition I'll be in when this thing gets finished.

Laredo's Civic Center Pool


Repairs and upgrades are still ongoing at the Civic Center Pool.  It's expected to be open for the public in three weeks.  And as long as the warm weather persists past the Summer months, area pools will remain open.

Pro8news reported earlier this year that the pool was going to be heated, and thus, open year-round.  It was set to open in May.  Good thing they didn't mention which May.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shootout In Mexico



New Laredo Mascot


I think it's time to celebrate in Laredo.  Gimme a beat!


Mayor Chats With New Port Director


"It's not that I'm needy, it's just that I like to attend every public event out there because I'm a people person."

Night Run


Another race is taking place this week to benefit local students as they get ready to return to school.  This has to be the easiest way to raise money, or in this case, supplies.  You don't have to worry about cooking meat for steak plates, getting prize donations for raffles, or handling the logistical hassles of putting on a neighborhood bingo.  Alls you have to do is spray paint a starting point on the ground and have some sort of plastic ribbon at the end, right?