Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Last Blog Post Ever

LaSanbe is 6 years old today.  I want to thank you for supporting the blog.  Now it's time for me to move on.  It's been fun.  Keyrose, out.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Menso Not Mensa

I haven't rolled out this feature as much, even though there are plenty of good candidates to receive the honor.  Today's winner goes above and beyond.  He takes Menso-ness to new levels.  He totals a kickass car while drag racing on a wet surface.  He destroys public property, luckily not killing himself.  And, oh yeah, he doesn't have a drivers license.  Menso!!!!!!!

Aldo's 100th






Odie Arambula tells us that the inner workings of local government are as crooked as ever.  Apparently not much has changed from the old days.

As a friend close to activities at the municipal airport explained,  "Little has changed from the old ways of doing things.  Then there were just a few.  Now, we have many.  Conveniently, as opposed to other times, we now accommodate wrongdoers with retirement to prevent loss of benefits."

One has to be determined and meticulous in weeding out any wrongdoing, as a source notes for today's Monday Wash.

I think Mr. Arambula's column is perfect for today because it's Aldo Tatangelo's birthday.  He would've been 100 today.  The former mayor replaced corrupt politician J.C. Martin Jr., a man who proudly informed Bill Moyers how local voters were instructed to vote. 

When most people are preoccupied, or not, with el 16 de Septiembre, or the unpredictable hurricane season, perhaps it's a good thing to recall how local politics is not always on the up and up.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blogging Past

My blog's sixth birthday is in two days, and I want to take this opportunity to thank some people who have contributed their expertise to making this site a little better.

First up has to be my buddy Juan.  This man and I go back some 35 years.  It was great to have him support me from the beginning.  Not only did he direct me to blog providers like Blogger, but he showed me how to add links to my posts, something trivial to him, but enlightening and useful for me.  Originally he suggested I try My Space, or Facebook as a blogging platform, but for some reason, those sites didn't interest me then.  I was determined to have my website have its own identity and separate location from those popular outlets.

He went on to contribute posts for LaSanbe, as did some other people I know.  Past blog contributors include:  Single X, Not My Rodeo, and Piper Maru.  I realized that blogging would be a hobby for me.  I was never going to reach the heights that popular bloggers reached.  However, I did want to maintain some consistency for readers, and the help that my contributors lent really took some of the pressure off.


Next I gotta send props to my friend Alex who came up with the first ever LaSanbe logo (pictured on left).  I gave him the idea of including the suit of armor in the logo because it's an image I've always associated with San Bernardo Ave.:  vendors selling those gawdy things.  The faint scribbling behind the soldier is an "L" and an "S" for to (inside joke) accentuate the design with a nod to the blog's name.  I think I added the tagline at the bottom, not one of my best ideas.







Next came a masthead.  The street sign motif was created by Daniel Castro of San Antonio.  I liked what he did for the Bordertown Blues blog, and so asked for his help with mine.  His design has been the most popular among some of my readers.





The LaSanbe bus masthead, which is about a year old or so, was created by local artist Gil Rocha.  The art he has displayed outside his studio inspired me to seek his input.

And hey!, how 'bout the Sanbe t-shirt?  Definitely a collector's item.  Only about a dozen were made back around 2009.


Design and printing done by Mr. Aldaco.  His shop is somewhere along Lyon St.

Since 2007 I've amassed 489 videos on my YouTube channel.  Not spectacular by most blogging standards, but noteworthy nonetheless.  Which brings me to some of my video capture.  This technique I've had to learn on my own, which probably explains the shoddy production sometimes.  Thanks to the use of a DVR, and a cable that connects the digital recorder to my computer, I can practically capture any footage I need.  With it I can also capture still shots of anything that appears on t.v.

I use the El Gato software for video capture.  I can use the program to transfer footage from my DVR, VCR, DVD player, etc.  It's a very handy tool for a lot of applications.

It's been more than a year since I've done an audio podcast.  Audio podcasts don't take as long to upload like videos do, but the process can be somewhat tedious.  All I would do was record my voice directly into my desktop using Garage Band.  From there the key step was to convert the audio clip into an MP3 file, then upload it to the podcasting host of your choice.   

I think that's LaSanbe in a nutshell.  I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Keyrose, out.

UPDATE: 4/28/2016 (LMT reporter interviewed me after a blogger meet-up)



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Where Is Their Mind?



(post via Facebook)

The Laredo Animal Protective Society is not pleased, to say the least, with city council's decision to cut off their funding.  Apparently the city has better things to do with its money.

Let's forget for a while that the city hasn't always been smart with its money, and focus instead on where it stands now.  First, Mayor Salinas is always spouting what he thinks are current priorities for Laredo.  Several days ago he chose safety as priority number one.  (Later it will be jobs, or kids, or his health)  Not that his word means anything at city hall, but the mayor and our elders should see that a strong, viable LAPS organization is good for the city in terms of public safety.

Rabies is one thing, but stray pets present other problems for the people of Laredo.  On my commute to work the other day, several cars in front of me had to break suddenly.  Luckily I was focused on the car ahead of me, if not, I would've hit the automobile.  As it turns out, a dog was wandering in the middle of Zapata Hwy.; That's what caused the cars in front of me to slow down all of a sudden.

Councilman Jorge Vera knows something about having to avoid dangerous traffic situations.  Unfortunately now he wants to look the other way when motorists could be in danger because of stray dogs.





Council met in a special meeting Wednesday to decide what to do with the money they received from the Civic Center sale.  Some of the funds are going into the general fund, and the rest will be used for a sports complex, one with a focus on baseball fields for tournaments.  Uh, we already have one.  In fact, when the city dedicated the Slaughter Park SPORTS COMPLEX, it used kids dressed in their little league uniforms as props as Mayor Salinas spoke.

 

We need more baseball fields and the Laredo Animal Protective Society can go screw themselves.  It's not like we need more capacity to handle the pet population in Laredo anyway.  I'm sure the new dog pound facility the city built will be able to take care of the city's needs.    

Sarcasm aside, I really don't know where city council's head is at.  To deny funding to LAPS is to deny a problem that is right in front of our face on a daily basis.  The city knows full well that the need for public services will only increase as the city grows.  This decision to make a worthwhile organization go on with less is unbelievable.  Council should be ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More Monies Thread

The county is dealing with a whole bunch of problems right now, but at their next meeting, on the 23rd, they're going to take time to settle on salary raises for elected officials.  You know, because they deserve them.  The notice of the salaries was inserted in the last page of the LMT today.






One of my readers noticed the notice and went through the trouble of calculating the different percentage amounts proposed for each elected official.  (It's good to have smart, industrious friends who are willing to lend this blogger a hand.)  Hat tip to my reader.  See courtesy chart below.


Good life, if you can get it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It Makes Sense To Them

Laredo for a long time was lacking in park space.  Fortunately the city has made strides in recent years to provide the public with green spaces that lend themselves to recreational activities.  Now that the Civic Center has been sold to LISD, city officials decide to spend most of the money on a new sports complex.  Councilman Esteban Rangel:
I think having a facility that we're going to be able to have kids being able to either play here and not having to go out of town, and then, at the same time we have Uni-Trade Stadium to have it as a big game winner, you know.  So, I mean, it's these types of amenities that we could tack on to our resume as a city.
Apparently Mr. Rangel thought he was the best choice on council to sell this idea to the public.  (fail)  And he thinks that there is a baseball tournament market that we haven't tapped in to.  (eh?) 

I agree that some parts of the city still need park space that can add interest to particular districts.  But I don't understand why Esteban Rangel is putting this forth like it's something we've needed all along.  The focus is going to be on baseball fields?  I thought Laredo got along well during the Border Olympics, but apparently there's something I'm just not getting.  

Maximiliano at LaredoTejas ponders the legality of using the funds for different purposes.

The city is putting some of the money into the general fund, and the rest into a new sports complex.  So basically the money is being used as the city wishes.  Let's ponder, for a while, how the city has unloaded some of its property on LISD while it's adopted a new building downtown, the old federal courthouse.  That on top of other property that has sat stagnant for many years:  The Plaza Theater, the Southern Hotel, and four plazas that haven't been updated in years.  And how can I forget the Chacon Hike & Bike Trail that hasn't progressed anywhere towards completion. 

I would think that if outlet stores were going to open in downtown Laredo soon, then the city would work on projects in the area to draw even more attention to it.  But that's just me -- a person who doesn't know shit from Shinola. 




My Life In B.O.L.A.S.

A small group of local bloggers is planning a forum of sorts to help aspiring bloggers get started.  My first piece of advice is to learn how to explain to your family what a blog is and why you do it.  Then you can get into the nuts and bolts of it, such as: theme, logo, links, pictures, video, podcasting, t.v. screen grabs, footage capture, sharing, monetization, promotion, interviews, town halls, etc. 

*BOLAS - blogs of Laredo association [statistics]  (I did not come up with that)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Presidential Address Thread

Talking about a strike against Syria, and annoyingly pounding hands on podium.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rising Costs Everywhere






Trash fees, bus fare, license plate renewals, bridge crossings, recreational costs, co-pays, movie tickets, fajita plates ..........

New Attitude Thread


Photo via Yahoo Sports.

Cowboy flags will be flying at fullest mast today.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekend Blog Roundup

The Laredo Lizard took good note of Tano Tijerina's official announcement to run for Webb County Judge.  By this bloggers score, it looks like Tano has a lot of momentum going into the race against career politician and incumbent, Danny Valdez.  The Lizard hints at other possible candidates that might vie for the position.  Fun will most surely ensue.

El Diablito de Laredo over at deLaredo 2.0 wonders what exactly is going on at the Laredo Times where they post shots of everybody busted for DWI and then posts a 'hits' counter for each person.  I don't even know what to say about the LMT's little stunt.  I'm speechless.

Like deLaredo 2.0, LaredoTejas has started blogging again with some consistency.  In his post he is puzzled at how the city is always strapped financially, but all of a sudden, they have a good enough purse to install new parking meters.  Maximiliano at LT pays close attention to local politics, especially what's going on at city hall.  He's definitely not at a loss for material lately.

And blogger for Furniture in Life is apparently back and in love.  Awwwwwwwww!  The post included is almost two weeks old but we'll take it.

On my end, I want to thank Laredo Sun for including a link to my site on their sidebar.  Muchos thank yous.

Carry on.

Are We All That?

El Mañana newspaper recently published a story about how McAllen's export totals closed the gap with Laredo.  Naturally, valley media outlets also featured the historic bit of information.  And McAllen was proud of this achievement as well.

So what do our city representatives do?  They get all upset and come to the city's defense, as if anybody asked them to do so. 

City Hall cites Laredo's recent ranking as the third best customs district in the nation from some obscure publication, the World City magazine.  Now, Laredo is definitely ranked in the top ten when it comes to World City magazine to customs districts, but the city goes on to present all these wild numbers, and I have no idea where they got them from.






But that doesn't stop the city from making up its own story and sending it in to the local newspaper.

I don't dispute that the port of Laredo is a key area that racks up large trade numbers.  I just don't understand, again, where the city gets their information.  In the clipping post above, they state that their export total is $76 billion.  Meanwhile, the Commerce Department puts it more around the $5.2 billion range.  So who is right?

And they also ranked Laredo as the 50th export market two years ago.  That's different from 'customs district' but what I'm concerned with is how Laredo ranks itself against other cities. 

Laredo may be a great trade hub, but city officials have really thin skin.  Don't mention McAllen because they'll just blow their top.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Today's Stuff

On this day in 2001, Tony Sanchez announced his candidacy for governor.  He went on to spend millions of dollars of his own money to fund his campaign.  The end result was not good.

Today Tano Tijerina announced that he's running for county judge.  (Photo courtesy of Pro8news.) 


Let's hope this Laredo businessman has better luck than Tony Sanchez.

And in city council news, Councilman Carlos San Miguel of pool fame presented an idea to city staff about constructing a "doggie" park in his district to accommodate our four-legged friends and their masters.  He made mention that it's not expensive to build the park amenity.  But with budget deficits being so common at city hall the last several years, a colleague had to remind him that money is tight.
It's not very expensive, but, you know, when you don't have money, you don't have money.  A Quarter Pounder isn't expensive, but if you don't have three bucks, you can't get the Quarter Pounder.
Good for Councilman Roque Vela Jr. for expounding on the virtues of fiscal restraint.  But he then went on to talk about building a park in his district along Bartlett Ave.  Oh well.  



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Green Can Got A Buddy






My mother got her blue bin today.  She's concerned about having only one day dedicated to trash pickup.  She really doesn't generate a lot of trash.  What she wonders is how the neighbors will get by since they come and stuff her green can with their overflow.

So It Rained Last Night






Laredo bridge destroyed on this day back in 1932.  It was originally a "foot bridge."

In current news, city hall will discuss the budget.  It's appropriate that the LMT puts the story next to the words "Anger Boils...."  14.7 million, yo!


Monday, September 2, 2013

My Life Feels So Empty

I actually woke up this morning expecting a lengthy Labor Day comment from our mayor.  I think I'll just go document local drought conditions to appease Judith Zaffirini and her drought pictorial project. 

Blog birthday on the 17th of this month.  My shirt size is large and I'm partial to salty snacks.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Going All Matamoros On Your Ass

For 88 years, St. Peter’s Memorial School Raiders have been a major part of the Laredo community.  However, raiders are pirates and an image many at this Catholic elementary and middle school felt was not appropriate for the students to portray.

After a year-long process of research and design, today the school unveiled their new mascot:  the St. Peter's Memorial School Crusaders.  

 Information courtesy of the Laredo Public Information Officer who really has no business passing this around.

Appropriately enough, the school is located on Matamoros.  In 2008, a local teacher proposed changing the name of the street because it translated into killing of Moors.  It was clarified that the name Matamoros was derived from a Mexican war hero.  Okay, so there's that.  But is it really a good thing to choose the name crusaders when the U.S. is on the verge of attacking Syria?





Since 9/11, many Americans adopted a negative view of all Muslims; Nevermind that they didn't know what they were talking about.
Now I question whether St. Peters officials know what they have done in changing the mascot's name from the supposedly unacceptable Raiders to Crusaders.

Laredoan's won't probably give this issue a second thought.  And school officials will be damned if they're going to change the name to something else.  But I can guess that one person now thinks he was bamboozled five years ago when he was told that Matamoros meant something totally different.

Writings On The Wall






I'm not sure about all the people who are running for office next year, but I've seen some campaign logos out and about.  The one pictured above is for Hector Liendo (via Facebook) for his bid for county commissioner.  I believe Joe Valdez Jr. is also running for office.  Could someone please confirm that one?

Word on the street is that Johnny Amaya's LISD board seat will be contested.  Mr. Amaya has kept a low profile ever since he resigned from his county utilities director position.

I can't go five feet without seeing a Rollie Saenz sticker.  He's all in, whoever he is.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Laredo Is Safe






I love that yesterday's paper featured how "Laredo ranked for safe driving," and then below that you had this:


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Before The Shit Hits






Yeah, we know something's going to happen, and people are worried about our troops, but has anybody taken the time to see where Syria is actually located?

Major Announcement Thread

Not really, it's just Wednesday August 28.

Monday, August 26, 2013

School Year Thread

Question:  what happens to the recycling drop-off facility on McPherson and Clark once the blue bins collect all our recyclables?

Question:  how far has Miley Cyrus set us back?

Question:  will Sergio Mora ever understand the need for modern day libraries?

Question:  And will Charlie San Miguel ever apologize for his transgressions?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Water Almost Ready

Media attention this week has remained on the poor quality of water available for the residents of El Cenizo, and Rio Bravo, TX.  People living in those communities have been urged to boil water intended for consumption.  Webb County officials have been delivering water by the tanker load to the people living there.  And bottled water from private donations has been delivered too.

County Commissioner Mike Montemayor was on Pro8news Friday to provide details on corrective measures currently underway.  That's good.  I just don't understand why he's so nervous.  His body language is very odd. 






Everyone Should Be Squared Away

I had an unpleasant experience at my son's junior high middle school the other day where we had to wait two hours to turn in several registration forms.  I don't remember the registration process taking so long last year.  This time around we were given a number and asked to wait in line.  Actual contact with school officials, who were going over the paperwork, took about ten minutes.  I was so upset that I tore the principal a proverbial new one.

I was surprised to learn that everybody is going through the same thing.  At the high school level, students are even supposed to take a parent  along to register.  People were unable to wait in line so a lot of them end up leaving.  I don't know why the change was made, but it's a step backwards towards efficiency and autonomy.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Free Form Thread

The city held a press conference today to officially open the Charlie San Miguel's parents swimming pool in north Laredo.  10:30 a.m. is not really a good time to have dignitaries available when people are off working, or getting stuff ready for their kids going back to school on Monday.  People won't be getting in the way of their photo ops, so there's that.  But really, who would want to go to the event and see Charlie San Miguel in his dad (jeans) swim trunks?

As I understand it, there wasn't a lot of promotion for the event.  That's a good way of keeping things all to the northside yourself.  

On the other side of Webb County, visitors are all aghast.  (via Twitter)


And Rosaura (I won't call her Wawi) Tijerina puts on a good show for the crowd.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Doggie World






Via Facebook.

Hints that the city is still not doing right by stray dogs.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Free Speech Is One Thing

But being a community leader and saying dumb things is another.  Running your mouth without putting any thought into it is a sure way of getting run out of Dodge. 

Local Musicians Release Album

We can't be at Stubb's BBQ in Austin this Saturday but we wish Gringo Barrio the best of luck.  The band, which features 3 Laredo natives, will celebrate the release of their self-titled album this weekend.  

Gringo Barrio, the album, was recorded at Moonhouse Studio in Austin and comprises 11 original songs, each as unique in character as the story they tell. The album is a tribute to a unique place called Laredo. The album was conceived and materialized by three Laredo, Texas natives, Hank Sames, Mike Jackson and Richard "Sparky" Miller along with a diverse group of talented musicians based in Austin, Chip Dolan, Craig Calvert, and Joe and Boo Resnick.

The engaging lyrics and catchy tunes reminisce on the fun times of the South Texas of the 1960’s and 70’s. Hank Sames, lead vocalist and co-songwriter for Gringo Barrio explains: “We are creating a unique sound that reflects the mix of cultures as we saw it and grew up knowing. You will hear a lot of nostalgia of the life on the border, much of which is now gone”.
The Gringo Barrio debut album is now available in digital format on ITunes and CDbaby. For more information on Gringo Barrio, and to hear a few of the songs, visit gringobarrio.com.


Information courtesy of Monica Bautista.

Check out the band's videos on YouTube.





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Year Of New Fees


There was a lot said when debating the city's $3 trash fee hike last year.  But I never heard anyone say that trash services were going to be scaled back.  The new blue bins will take away things we usually trash, so basically we'll still have trash pickup twice a week; That is if the city makes frequent rounds, and if people learn to separate their waste from their recyclables.

The city is proud that it hasn't raised property taxes, but it's raised taxes everywhere else:  bus, bridge, parks, yard sales, maquinitas, etc.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Not On The Same Page

A blog reader is not happy with the city's handling of the plastic bag ban.  And he/she feels that city officials have ignored calls for answers.
Here are some reasons that point to the plan being a bad idea:

  • Plastic bags are not a significant source of waste.
  • Banning plastic bags will eliminate (bag-making) jobs.
  • Other plastics are not being addressed: bottles, dry cleaning bags, utensils.
  • Paper bags will take the place of plastic bags.
  • Reusable bags enable shoplifting.
  • Reusable bags harbour bacteria.
  • Lawsuits will result to challenge bag bans.
  • Bag bans result in stores laying off employees.
  • Tote bags will be a cost to the public.
  • Plastic bags are utilized again after their initial use.

An opinion piece that relies on "anecdotal evidence" goes over the cons of plastic bag bans.  The piece was sent in to the LaSanbe news world headquarters by the reader opposed to the local ban.

Here's a shot of some of my reusable grocery bags.  I've used them for a while now.





I have more at work, and some at my mom's house.  (I buy groceries for her)






Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Names Just Keep Coming

Candidates continue to push the envelope in the realm of political nicknames.  For the 2014 political season I present Roberto "Indio" Elizondo. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Anonymous Friday Thread


Did anyone notice that this story doesn't have the writer's name included?  It's like when the LMT does stories on the violence in Nuevo Laredo and keeps the writeup anonymous.  Hmm.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

At The Ready

It's good that we have a mayor that's healthy enough for many travels.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Late Entry Thread

Totally missed the fact that yesterday would've been J.C. Martin's 100th birthday.  Have a nice weekend looking out for new campaign bumper stickers, and social media updates urging you to vote.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stupidest Decision Ever!

On July 30, 2013, the Laredo City Council accepted the naming of the south Laredo library branch as the “Sophie Christen McKendrick, Francisco Ochoa and Fernando A. Salinas Branch Library,” pursuant to the Naming Rights Agreement as entered into between the City of Laredo and the donors.

Think Of The Money

In the El Mañana newspaper, Sergio Mora Benavides takes issue with the city’s handling of its yearly budget.  He noted that in recent years the budget has been continuously short in the millions of dollars, and city staff responds with a “band-aid” in solving its major fiscal problems.  Mr. Benavides points to the city’s propensity for traveling to Austin in droves, even though we have representatives who are responsible for advocating for us.  And on top of yearly deficits, the city manager is awarded a hefty increase in pay.  City Manager Carlos Villarreal recently said that “the city is running out of options to plug the holes.”  Of course, we got hit with a $3 hike in our garbage (taxes) fees not too long ago; and now they hit the commuting public with an increase in bridge (taxes) fees.  Yet we never hear about city hall taking one for the team, of them doing with less.  What we hear instead is money being tight all over and employees having to endure salary freezes.  For once I would like to hear our city leaders forego their operating expenses.  

A local citizen details in a letter to the editor the expenses that city officials rack up.

 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Before El Cuarenta

There was Whitey Bulger and Jaime Gonzalez-Bath.  The latter's daytime shooting spree happened twenty one years ago today.

We All Worry About Budgets

How does the city deal with a $7 million deficit when they now have to take care of a gifted federal building?  Let's not forget that the Plaza Theater, and the Southern Hotel have sat idly by for years.  Last week I linked to a story where the city was looking for land donations to turn into park space.  The donations are good but then the city will need people to tend those parks.  I understand that the city must tighten its belt, but they seem to keep taking on more than they can handle. 

Where on Earth can the city cut costs?


Courtesy info. from a blog reader.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Look Out

Well it's only natural that electric companies be anxious when people switch to solar power.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Que Que?

Hearing the mayor speak tells me a lot about his intelligence, or the lack thereof.  I'm going to make a wild guess and say that he hasn't read a book this year.

In speaking about the city's financial situation, he said this:
We need to be due diligence.
Please, Laredo, don't be like the mayor.

 Video courtesy of Pro8news.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hasle Login En El Face




Courtesy photo.

The Pronto Insurance billboard that's pictured is located in the valley.  It was sent in by a blog fan who was amused by the message.

Language in the Rio Grande valley is very creative, to say the least.  You have to marvel at how the natives linguistically navigate the world around them.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

But I Digress

KGNS featured a story yesterday about a Nuevo Laredo YouTube video.  The newscasters showed a brief glimpse of the amateur footage; You can see the whole video here.  The eight-minute piece entitled "Este Es Nuevo Laredo" is basically of a roving reporter, of sorts, driving down Guerrero Ave., capturing life on a typical day.  I think the purpose of the video is to show people how the city maintains some semblence of normalcy.  It's a good approach, even though some people have made up their minds about Nuevo Laredo and its history with cartel violence.
  Of course, no discussion about our sister city would be complete without a comment from our camera-friendly mayor.  This is what he had to say:
I'm a man of faith.  And I think on both sides of the border we need faith.  And maybe it's time to bring God closer to the issue for resolution. 
You can see his comments here.
I'm a little confused by his remarks.  Not because he invokes God, but because he thinks that the Almighty hasn't been brought into the fray by Nuevo Laredoans.  I'm sure they pray every single day for the safety of their loved ones.  But perhaps it's not even them that he's directing his comments to.  It's anybody's guess.  What I take most from it is that he suggests that all other options have been exhausted, and now all that can be done is to leave Nuevo Laredo's problems in the hands of God.

Mayor Salinas may say he's a man of the people.  Probably.  But he's no public speaker, that's for sure.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Laredo, Texas!!!!! You're on The Price is Right!

The Price Is Right, the popular daytime game show that has given us Bob Barker, and the catchphrase "come on down," dates back to 1956.  The program has gone through many changes since its inception, but the games haven't changed much over the last four decades.  It is now hosted by Drew Carey.

On Tuesday a special contestant played the (yodeling) Cliff Hangers game.  The song attached to the game is so amusing.  Not only that, it triggers some type of Pavlovian response in me when it comes on.  Instantly I turn into a dancing fool.  But enough about me.  Let's take a look at how one of our own, Ann, performed on national t.v.


Later on Ann and another contestant literally come on down during the spinning of the wheel.


Land Use

The city is giving the public the opportunity to make land donations to be used for parks.  El Mañana reported yesterday that people have until August 14 to make their proposals.  Laredo is looking to procure up to 200 acres within the city limits. 
The area that is in dire need of land donations is the part of Del Mar, near St. Patricks Church, where the four-lane roadway bottlenecks into two lanes.  This is just an idea, and I don't know if it's been considered before, but let's offer the residents who give up some curbside property a tax break for a year or two.  And by tax break I mean they don't have to pay municipal, county, or UISD taxes for a given amount of years.  The reason I include the different taxing entities in the Keyrose plan is because they all, in one way or other, use Del Mar. Blvd. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Royal Baby Watch Thread

Prince William will be a father soon.

Closer to home, I've noticed south side store employees greeting anybody who walks through the door.  Not sure if local businesses got together and made this a thing now, but it's a good step towards good customer service.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Legal Troubles For Z

Will we ever know, if in fact, the executors (including Judith Zaffirini) made off with more money than they deserved?
Instead, they paid themselves more than $420,000 — more than quadruple the amount executors are allowed under law — and still owe the family $377,681, the family claimed in court documents.
This will drag out in court, and maybe some day we'll get to the truth.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Let's Get Estrogen In On This

I don't fault men for taking a stand one way or another on the issue of abortion.  We have some say in the matter since we take an active part in the process of procreation.  But because we don't get the physical mementos of stretch marks, or episiotomy scars, I suggest men walk lightly around the issue.  Women do more of the leg work - physically, emotionally, and psychologically - when it comes to pregnancy; And for that, men shouldn't be so cavalier, and shortsighted when they chime in on reproductive rights.
A letter that appeared in the LMT today:
  
To the editor,
Years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a national government class with Arturo Nava at Laredo Community College.
To be honest, it was Professor Nava who will always hold a special place in my heart as a man who opened my eyes to politics, our government, as well as issues that dominate debate among Americans across this country.
Every class with Nava would begin with a good morning and a discussion of current events that were most scrutinized in all our media outlets.
During one of those discussions, the topic of abortion came up, and Mr. Nava asked the class a question that once answered, would settle the abortion debate as both sides know it.
To this day, no one has been able to give a straight answer.
The question: When does life begin?
Sincerely,
David R. Vasquez

I'm not sure if I should fault Professor Nava for trying to tackle abortion with one question.  A lot could've been discussed in class.  But if Mr. Vasquez's memory serves right, and this is exactly how the situation unfolded, then Mr. Nava should be ashamed of himself, and Mr. Vasquez too, for taking such a myopic approach to abortion.  If this is how we're going to unscramble to challenges of the day, then I don't hold much hope for the future.

For a moment, let's put aside women's privacy, control over their own bodies, rape, incest, domestic abuse, the woman's health, financial responsibilities, the physical toll of pregnancy, access to medical care, access to family planning, social expectations, social stigma, circle of support, care of the child, and whatever else you can think of, and let's just focus on abortion as if it hinged solely on the question of when life begins.

Many will say that life begins at conception.  This argument is popular, especially in North Dakota, where a personhood amendment will be voted on next year.  The bill, if passed, would give embryos rights, and outlaw abortion under any circumstances.  In Mississippi, such a measure was voted down.  There, birth control would've been banned if the personhood law was passed. 

If life begins at conception, does it matter that the heart doesn't start beating until approximately the third week of gestation?  Does it matter that a doctor won't be able to hear the heart beating until late in the first trimester? 

Death, or the end of life, depends so much on heart or brain function.  Legally, my family would be off the hook if I was ruled brain dead.  They could pull the plug and face no repercussions.  Likewise for the beginning of life, you could make the case that it begins when brain activity starts, but then what is to be said about quality of life?  If you were paralyzed from the neck down and supported by mechanical ventilation, would you consider that life?

In Texas legal speak, a fetus is referred to as a woman's "body part."  And because it is not viewed as a person, people can't sue a hospital or staff for negligence when a fetus dies.  Family can sue for the death of the mother, but not for the death of fetus(es).  If a fetus is not considered a person for the sake of legal protection, then any personhood amendment, which offers that life begins at conception, is indefensible.

How can Texas have different reactions to life in the womb?

Interestingly, by not considering fetuses people, health care institutions are not held to a higher standard.  Yet the recent anti-abortion bill, signed by Rick Perry, purports to raise the standards of clinics that provide abortions by requiring them to be on par with surgical centers.

We can't settle the issue of abortion by stating when life begins when so many people have different interpretations of life itself. 




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Texas Sucks

The state ranks at the bottom when it comes to voter participation.  Texas is a red state, and republicans will see to it that it stays that way with:  voter ID laws, unfair redistricting, and the lack of same-day voter registration.  The Christian Science Monitor has the list of top 6 states with the highest voter turnout.  Most of those states have same-day registration laws in place, and Oregon voters vote by mail.

Julian Castro, and Wendy Davis have gotten quite a bit of national attention.  Perhaps they can appeal to apathetic voters, and help the state's left make strides in helping to turn Texas blue.  Apart from that I don't see things changing.

Old Club


Courtesy Photo

The nightclub Vivant's in Nuevo Laredo appears mostly intact today, but the rumble of dance music and partying teens is long gone.  The lure of former hotspots like this, apart from the ambiance, was the accessibility of alcohol for Laredo teens. 

Recently I put forth a query to establish, more or less, how recent it had been that the various Nvo. Laredo clubs were still thriving.  I recall making trips to Firenzi's, and Plaza San Miguel some time in the early 1990s.  A younger acquaintance remembers taking an out-of-town friend clubbing in 2002.  His companion was of Indian descent, so their entry back to Texas was, let's say, a little more thorough than what most of us were used to.

Usually when we crossed back into Laredo, we were met with a quick inspection from the customs agent at the international bridge.  But in the post 9-11 world, things changed, moreso for some.

Part of the reason I inquired about the nightclubs in our sister city was also to get an idea of when cartel violence started taking hold of Nvo. Laredo.  From unofficial reports I've heard, because of the violence, people move indoors once the sun goes down.  Streets are practically empty at night.  This week we learned that the leader of the Zetas cartel was captured in Nuevo Laredo.  Little consolation, perhaps, for a city marred by years of negative publicity due to cartel violence.  Add to that the fact that the Zetas already have a successor in line to take over the captured leader.

Last year El Mañana reminisced about the glory days of Nvo. Laredo nightlife.  Mention was made about the iconic Cadillac Bar and the nod it got in Texas Monthly.  (The Cadillac Bar became El Dorado)  It closed in 2010.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Of All Things

The plastic bag ban may be the issue that overtly divides city hall.

Embrace The Natives


The green space along a Santa Fe neighborhood roadway was recently made over.  What before was a long, patchy stretch of native grasses and Ash trees is now a refined landscape utilizing a hardscape design.  This is a smarter, and more appropriate landscape design use for our area.   

Monday, July 15, 2013

Political Haps

LMT columnist Odie Arambula reminds us today that a judge will rule next week on whether the commissioners court will be able to place limitations on county directors/employees if they decide to run for office.  I can see where Commissioner John Galo was going with his motion, but I think he went about it the wrong way.  If I remember correctly, Patricia Barrera had people making charges against her, that her employees had to help out with her re-election campaign.  A better approach, I think, would be to prohibit any subordinate, from any county office, to take part in a re-election campaign.  If Patricia, or Martin, or anybody at county wants to run for (re)election, they have to fend for themselves. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Photo Thread


I'm not sure what the purpose is for the new partition at the Papi's Gas Station on Guadalupe.  The fencing, painted black, separates the gasoline pumps from the air/water machine.  What makes it more odd is the flimsy material flowing in the wind.  Feel free to guess at it.

Closer to my old 'hood, I noticed that the surface area of the Zacate Creek is being leveled.





Clean up duty was tougher before this because berms formed over time; and after it rained, small pools of water formed, making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  The photo below shows a before-and-after comparison.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bad Cops: Laredo


I can almost hear the mayor's reaction to this story.  You know he's going to say something at the start of the next city council meeting.  The question is, how long will he hold the floor for?

Friday, July 12, 2013

VDN Volunteers

Voz de Niños (VDN) is a local organization that pairs volunteer advocates with children that are in foster care.  It has been serving Webb County for the last six years.  Voz de Niños trains any person interested in becoming a volunteer.

Once a volunteer is trained, he/she visits with the child (children in some cases), and foster family.  The volunteer collaborates with local agencies.  And reports of all findings are made to the presiding judge and VDN.

La Sanbe wants to take this opportunity to introduce two very dedicated VDN volunteers.
 
Meet Francisco.

This young man has volunteered with VDN since November 2012.  Francisco majored in Criminal Justice and is looking to pursue a graduate degree in the same field.  He learned about VDN and its mission through a Facebook post that recounted a case of child abuse.  Francisco was so moved by the story that he decided to become a voice for abused and neglected children.

Because of his schooling, Francisco already had an understanding of what he was going to encounter.  Currently he is assigned to one child.  He has learned about the family dynamics that are particular to his case. 

Francisco has learned what everybody's role is in seeing that the child's needs are met.  For his part, he has made numerous visits with his assigned child.  He has made court appearances to give his input on the progress of the case.  And he has helped distribute donations, given through VDN, to the child. 

Francisco expressed that the volunteer work is not daunting, and he sees himself working with VDN in the years to come.  Currently he is taking advantage of a new employment opportunity, but is focused also on being the voice for a child in need.


Meet Claudia.


Claudia became aware of VDN's mission at a high school event, where the organization had set up a booth to hand out information.  She was assigned her first case early last year.  For years Claudia wanted to get involved some way in helping children.  She knew now that if she was going to get involved, she would have to give her efforts 110 percent. 

It's easy to see that Claudia is a dedicated volunteer.  Not only has she complied with her duties as a child advocate, but has had to travel out of town because of her child's foster care arrangement.  She states that the child is in a very good place, where the foster parents are very supportive, but laments the fact that the child does not want to be there.  Claudia understands that it is very difficult when anybody would be separated from his/her surroundings.  But she also understands that there's only so much she can do.         

Claudia voiced some frustration at how help comes to children after they've already been abused or neglected.  But her strong mind, and commitment to service keeps her working for those who need a voice.  There was one instance where Claudia reported to court.  Because of unforeseen circumstances, nobody was available to report to the judge on the child's progress.  She had to step in and convey to the court what the child was going through.  Claudia stressed that it's not a usual occurrence, but she was ready in that moment to step up to the plate.

La Sanbe applauds Voz de Ninos, but it gives major props also to the caring volunteers who work for abused and neglected children, day in and day out, all for nothing in return.  To learn more, visit Vozdeninos.org. (VDN also on Facebook)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Open Thread Wednesday

Laredo may be the biggest inland port, but.............

it doesn't have a 24-hour pharmacy.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Attention Deficit Presentation

With the selection of a new mayor in Nuevo Laredo, it was only time that our city leader chimed in on the pick.  His comments, however, sound like what he's been spewing for the last 6+ years:  border security, jobs, tourism, yadda yadda. 


Suspects On Parade






Thank goodness I don't know any of the arrestees.  Not that my friends and family are all pillars of society, but it's good to know that they're keeping their noses clean.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Market Forces

Insurance companies are making it more expensive to cover gun-toting school officials.  Texas has done well in facing the challenge through tort reform.  But if arming teachers to protect staff and students becomes the new norm across the nation, insurance companies could see this as an opportunity to make money.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Election Day In Nvo. Laredo

There seems to be something wrong with the El Manana website.  When I type in the site's address, I'm directed to their Facebook page.  But if you want to stay abreast with Nuevo Laredo election results, there are plenty of radio outlets that can update us on the proceedings throughout the day.  This morning I tuned in to 94.1 FM.  The hosts were going over polling place hours and ballot availability.  A familiar refrain was uttered:  If you don't vote, you can't complain.  I've never liked that statement.  I would counter with:  I pay taxes, therefore I CAN complain.  I've been a member of this community all my life, and that gives me the right to complain.  I don't exist in a bubble, therefore I can complain.
Here are the top 10 reasons NOT to vote in Laredo. 

10. Uninspired campaign messages
9.   Conflicts of interest that ensue
8.   Vote count delays
7.   Actions are never explained smartly
6.   Nicknames
5.   Unfulfilled promises
4.   Credit themselves with everything; Never take the blame
3.   Defensive attitudes
2.   Resistance to ethics committees
1.   Only available during elections

Feel free to disagree with me, or to add your own reason not to vote.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Locals Not Happy With Z






Screen shot via the LMT Opinion page today.

The is the second letter that's spoken out against Texas democrats voting against the restrictive abortion bill put forth by republicans.  It's funny how this issue will divide demos, especially in Laredo, but the matter could energize Texas' Left, and enable them to make strides in this big, red state.  I don't think this will hurt Judith Zaffirini.  Standing with the likes of Wendy Davis, and Leticia Vande Putte will surely produce grumbling in local circles, but I doubt it'll oust her from office.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Villarreal Not A Tourist

In the latest issue of LareDOS, City Manager Carlos Villarreal proudly acknowledges the acquisition of the old federal building across the street from Jarvis Plaza.  He is quoted as saying, "People want to know what we do in Washington.  This is what we do in Washington."  For once I'd like to hear an explanation from Mr. Villarreal that doesn't come with a defensive tone.  And this new building will be good for the city because, or course, they have all their other things in order. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Things Have Changed

El Mañana published a poll that asked Nuevo Laredoans how happy they were with their city.  The number that stood was that 43 percent said they would leave the city if they could.  Surely the violence has everything to do with that number.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

This Is Art And Nothing Else

Marfa, TX has the concrete cube art installation.  Cool.


The Chacon neighborhood has the round, concrete cylinder art project.


It's a thing, really it is.






Maybe it needs a little upkeep.

Friday, June 28, 2013

This Day In 2009

LaSanbe and several area bloggers were featured in the Laredo Times.  A glorious day for what would become BOLAS.  Thank you, Jason Buch.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Women's Rights

The Texas senate put on a good show the other night as democrats fought the GOP's efforts of trying to pass a restrictive abortion bill.  But a vote also occurred at the U.S. House recently that sought to limit the time a woman can have an abortion.  In some cases, a woman wouldn't be allowed to have the procedure after 20 weeks.  And Henry Cuellar said okay.  It would be interesting to know if he'll be asked about it at the town hall meeting he has scheduled this Saturday morning in Bruni, TX.

After SB5 died in our state senate, Filibustering Wendy Davis became a political star.  Leticia Van de Putte also got some acclaim for a statement she made during the senate fight:  "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?"

 
I thought it was fitting to see women fighting for women's rights.  We'll see if Davis and Van de Putte take center stage again next week since Governor Rick Perry called for another special session to start Monday, July 1st.  Back in the 956 hinterlands, we have the locals trying to make sense of abortion law.  I give you Louis Bruni.


We get the politicians we deserve.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DJ Dumbass Does It Again

Media outlets have been busy covering several heavy issues.  One of the latest was yesterday's decision by the Supreme Court to remove an important provision from the Voting Rights Act.  Naturally, civil rights proponents saw this as an affront to the voting public, especially to minorities.  Our town idiot Jay St. John didn't think the decision was so egregious.  But what was more interesting was in the way that he expressed himself.

Here is the text he posted on his group's Facebook page.

Some grammatical errors here and there, nothing weird.  Not until you compare it with what Rush Limbaugh said.

Look for the passages that were ripped by Jay.  He changed a word here and there.

Jay's not only lazy, and dumb, but he obviously doesn't know the difference between right and wrong.

Don't plagiarize, boys and girls.