Sunday, January 27, 2013

Visit Laredo: Pallets And Things

Recycled materials have their place in the landscape, but one has to pay attention to detail.  A lack of consistency and design comes across as clutter and the better half of the household will surely have something to say about it.

For a more polished version of Laredo, visit the city's version of our town.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Approach Coming

Burt Reynolds in the ICU and Morissey battling a bladder infection?  I'm gonna need some time to myself.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fetus Talk

A Catholic hospital's legal defense team in Colorado is fighting a lawsuit brought about on behalf of two unborn twins:

Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights.

In wronful death legalese, the Rocky Mountain State doesn't actually classify someone a person until they are born.  That justification doesn't bother me.  What bothers me is that it's being used to represent a Catholic hospital's stance on the start of human life.  I can appreciate self-serving behavior, but this just flies in the face of what they stand for. 

In Texas it's the same thing:  if the fetus dies because of alleged medical malpractice, health care staff is off the hook.  But if a layperson kills a fetus, that's another thing.  How's that for tort reform?

It's remarkable the double standard that exists.  I don't mean to indict the medical establishment in all of this; but it's highly suspicious that such a law exists, especially when Catholics are hiding behind it.

Mary Elizabeth Williams agrees that life begins at conception, but that fetuses don't have the rights that mothers do.  The "life begins at conception" argument has been used quite a bit.  But if that had any actual traction, how would it change a person's allowable admittance into grade school, age of adulthood, drinking or retirement age?  Would my birthday start when my mom had her first bout of morning sickness, or when I actually came out of her lady parts?  I think that's a legitimate question to ask, particularly when some states are attempting to pass personhood laws.

The abortion debate is definitely worth discussing.  And it seems that no argument is too crazy in this realm.
Rep. Cathrynn M. Brown, who represents the towns of Carlsbad and Loving, would require victims of a sex assault to carry the fetus to term or be prosecuted for "tampering with evidence" if they sought an abortion.
That's going nowhere.  It's probably just somebody's cruel way of testing the waters.  Roe v. Wade just turned 40 so I guess anything's fair.

Ms. Angela Martinez wrote a letter to the LMT Editor today calling out Rick Perry for trying to '"make abortion a thing of the past."'  Perhaps a more vigorous debate on abortion will go a long way in terms of turning Texas purple, or maybe even into a blue state.  That could just be the crazy in me talking.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Onward And Upward

Meet the new DNC Finance Chairman.  Why, it was only yesterday that Maximiliano brought up Mr. Munoz and his pledge to the city of Laredo.  And it's been three years that I learned about him.  How time flies.

Meanwhile, downtown Laredo languishes.

Cautious Optimism

I wouldn't say I got inaugural overload yesterday but I did catch quite a bit of the fesitivities.
If the president’s rhetoric was sweeping, it was also pragmatic. “Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life,” he said. “It does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time.”
Brian Williams of NBC News was a trip in the lead-up to the president making his appearance for the crowds at the National Mall.  He quipped that Joe Biden's Bible had the dimensions of a pull-out couch.  And that the president's escorts had the somber countenance of somebody walking towards an execution. 
That's Fred Willard color commentary if you ask me.  Too funny.

As far as the president's "sweeping" remarks, I think they work for effect on such a grand stage.  And if anything they keep the dialogue on subjects such as immigration reform, and gay rights at the forefront, but drastic changes are anything but assured.  Promoting action on climate change is admirable but I don't expect to see solar panels be the wave of the future any time soon.  This passage I liked
"The commitments we make to each other—through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security—these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us," he said in his address on Monday. "They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
The president's speech did highlight what democrats are supposed to stand for, and we shouldn't shy away from those values.  But I, as well as opponents, should realize that an agenda has only so much potential.  In the real world, gay marriage can only go so far.  Gun control can only go so far. 

It'll be interesting to see how the next four years play out.  Surely there are a lot of hot button issues to tackle, but there's always the Middle East, the mid-term elections, and plain ol' opposition party tactics.  We must make plans but also be realistic about their fruition.  They're only viable until the next shoe drops. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Gun Debate: Laredo Style

Paranoia prevails with the gun rights crowd.  Watch this Pro8news clip where "Rick" says nothing new, but acts like he'll be persecuted for his beliefs.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mayor Birder

Raul Salinas on the birding festival starting February 6.
“Bring tourists our way, it’s one of the best economic development tools that we have at our disposal,” stated Mayor Raul G. Salinas. “This event is a natural fit to augmenting leisure visitors to our city interested in wild life viewing and photography; we have trails, parks and ample river access in close proximity to the City’s business center and hotels; which facilitates, and I would say, enhances the bird watching experience that can only be had in and immediately around Laredo,” he said.
Courtesy of the City of Laredo

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Scratch My Back

Power outage in area of South Central Laredo

By Laredo Morning Times
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:08 PM CST

A power outage has been reported in South Central Laredo along Chihuahua Street.

At about 9 p.m. today, a vehicle struck a light pole at Chihuahua and McClelland Avenue, knocking out power in the area, said District Chief Eloy Vega, Laredo Fire Department spokesman.

No serious injuries were reported in the crash.
Last night the Keyrose household had to eat everything in the refrigerator to avoid any food from going to waste.  The decision was made after the electricity was interrupted.  But it wasn't just our house that was without power; The whole neighborhood was pitch black. 
For a couple of hours we sat together with nothing but candles giving off light.  Thankfully a portable DVD player briefly kept us entertained.  Later we learned that a vehicle crash caused the power outage.  (Thanks to the L.F.D. spokesman for the info.)
A subject I wanted to blog about last night was the lawsuit that Eduardo "Mr. Uni-Trade" Garza brought against VIDA, Hector Farias, and Jose Valdez Jr.  The LMT featured a story on it yesterday.  Apparently a judge allowed the case to go forward.  Mr. Garza supposedly has evidence of slanderous comments made against him, and the mayor, city manager, and four council members (Vera, San Miguel, Liendo, Garza) have provided affidavits that help his case. 
This whole case is funny because VIDA, and Dr. Hector Farias put themselves forward to highlight the all-too-cozy relationship between Mr. Eduardo Garza and city council.  Now that a lawsuit is underway, the mayor, city manager, and council members are all too ready to oblige their political patron with sworn affidavits.  In doing so, they highlight what Farias is trying to point out. 
If somebody made a claim against Mr. Garza that he's a gun runner, or drug dealer, or abuser of dogs, then he should fight his own battles, and prove that he's an upstanding individual.  Don't call on those that stand to benefit from your financial benevolence to speak for you, especially when conflicts of interest exist.  And city hall has to stop using the word transparency if it's going to get upset and retaliate against anybody who asks questions about its business.

Monday, January 14, 2013

MMD Is What They Call It

Odie Arambula laid out today the details of the proposed Municipal Management District which will include much of the historical part of town.  The Texas Legislature must okay the plan.  City council, along with its consultant out of Houston, Hawes Hill Calderon, sent out notices to the Laredo business community to keep them in the loop.  It would be interesting to know how they took it, especially this passage:

The District will have the power to levy ad valorem taxes and to impose and levy assessments on property within its boundaries...

Read the rest of the notice below.  (Submitted by a reader)

 And there's a map to give you a visual idea of where the "assessments" will be levied.

As I understand it, a municipal management district is established to provide for economic development.  But benefits could extend beyond the boundaries of the area.  This is how Councilman Alex Perez puts it:

This is part of the inner city blight reinvestment initiative.  This tool along with others like the Neighborhood Empowerment Zones (NEZ), tax increment refinancing zones (TIRZ) and other economic tools are being implemented to address our inner city blight.  Districts and areas include the Heights, Azteca, downtown, San Bernardo, Chihuahua and Guadalupe.  Boundary maps are available. 

These tools have been used with great success in over 60 cities.  Before and after pictures are incredible.  We have hired a consultant with district 8, 3, and the Streets of Laredo putting a third of the $150,000 consultant fee.

Mr. Perez's district includes the Heights neighborhood, Guadalupe, and Chihuahua streets.  The others he mentioned are jurisdiction of Councilwoman Cindy Liendo-Espinoza.  She told me that not all business owners are happy with the idea of a municipal management district.  However, once they learn about the benefits of the plan, they'll be more open to it, she added.  As far as new taxes are concerned....

They will pay an assessment that will go back to improvements.  (Only in that area)

A long, long time ago when one Gene Belmares had everybody's ear, talk was all about converting the sports venue tax into a b4 model to spur economic development.  I'm not sure if this new MMD idea is a way of going forward since the b4 didn't go anywhere.  What I think is certain is that people will want to see results fast if they're going to be shelling out more money.

Must Be The Grants That Built It

The basketball court at the Eliseo Valdez Park is getting an upgrade:  a huge metal canopy.  That seems to be the trend now.  I've seen this kind of amenity at several parks when it used to be that the only "dome" standing was the one at the Three Points court. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Watching Some Pro Football

I'm still here.  I'm just going through a kind of writer's block.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Papi's Gas Station

Could it be that thong-wearing teens are going to be manning a gas station soon?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Playoff Time

Most Laredoans are still coming to grips with the Cowboys' loss on week 17th.  And their minds nowadays are on what Jerry Jones will do with his roster, and coaching staff, so I don't expect la raza to pay much attention to this billboard on Saunders.

Another picture of note that a reader submitted was of a political message written on somebody's truck cover.  I posted this one on my faceplace page on Friday, but just got around to putting it here. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day Before Rosca

Nice out to put my rain barrel's water to work -- not too cloudy and cold.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Open Air Concept Right In Front Of Me

We have a wise, and skillful city council.

Newbie councilman Roque Vela Jr. is sure that no damage will occur to Lake Casa Blanca with the proposed development across from the airport.

Let's hope the idea of the Laredo Town Center plays out and prospers without any problems.  So far the city hasn't fared well when it comes to ambitious projects.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bringing The Drama

Our leaders may not be the most tactful, but we can take comfort in the fact that they don't go around telling each other to go fuck themselves

Mikaela Rodriguez writes for the LMT that County Treasurer Delia Perales is dismayed at disparaging remarks made towards her by Leo Flores, County Auditor.  And for some reason, Mr. Flores has kept his distance from Ms. Perales for several years.

Comments previously posted on this blog have expressed little confidence for those employed by the county, or elected to county offices.  I can understand people having professional deficiencies, but this is some major league dysfunctional behavior at work.  I would be a fool to think that it didn't exist, but for crissakes, we haven't even had a full week of work in the new year and already the dirty laundry is flying.

I'm going to limit any further comment on this episode of 'he said, she said.'  But I will note that acts of harassment are common around here:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gas Leak News

CenterPoint Energy crews will be closing the 2100 block of Stewart Street Flores to repair a gas leak.  Please follow all detour signs.  The closures will last approximately all day today, WEDNESDAY, January 2, 2013.

It's been a whole two weeks since the last one. 

Presser courtesy of the City of Laredo.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Commish Takes Oath

Mike Montemayor was sworn in today as the new county commissioner for Pct. 1.  Friends, family, and the usual cast of political players were on hand to welcome Montemayor to his new surroundings.  This is the event that got me out of the house today.