Thursday, February 28, 2013

Safe But Not Always Straight

The new crime statistics that came out for Laredo are definitely positive.  I for one feel safe in my community.  That's not to say that murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault don't happen here, but people may have a warped view of what happens in our fair city.

Corruption is another thing.  How a man can get away with doling out fake auto tags for twenty years is beyond me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

City Ethics Commission A Reality

The new ethics committee chair, Paul Zuniga, on the committee itself:
Most of us are apolitical people, if not all of us, and that's good thing.
Perhaps Mr. Zuniga means to say that they're unbiased.

Quote via the LMT (Mikaela Rodriguez)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Melodies Welcome

I don't know if it's me getting older, or if music today is severely lacking, but it's not a good thing when I get more satisfaction from hearing music at the Oscars than at the Grammys.  There are some good Pop songs out there right now that get constant airplay, but more and more I find interesting music appearing in movie soundtracks.   

The 1960s clip I included above is of the title song for the James Bond movie "Goldfinger."  Dame Shirley Bassey performed it at Sunday's Oscars as a tribute to music in film.  I like the song for its bold vocals and muted trumpet. 

The 007 franchise has a lot of memorable songs for me; But so did a lot of movies from the 1970s and 1980s.  Just last week my wife and I had to pause for a while to see the last scene of "The Goodbye Girl" segue into the credits, all while David Gates sang in the background.  It's a sappy song but it takes me back to my childhood, back when catchy melodies existed.  "Sixteen Candles" couldn't have had a better finale without If You Were Here.  And The Promise fits all too well at the end of "Napoleon Dynamite."

I love a good ballad, and who doesn't?  However, it hasn't been all slow songs that I remember.  Heavy Metal (Takin' A Ride) rocks.  Any Wes Anderson, or Coen Brothers movie has plenty of songs that are noteworthy.  And how 'bout these four words?:  Oscar winner Trent Reznor.

Access to movies and music has come a long way in the last decade.  We don't consume either one the way we used to.  But at least what's constant is that a song can make a movie, and vice versa.  The stories and the players might be different.  The connection the sights and sounds make with us is long-lasting.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Really Windy All Day

Carnival delaying opening today.  Got word of a blackout in the Cigarroa H.S. area.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

No Fast Track Here

The south Laredo library project has to be the biggest badge of shame for the City of Laredo.  According to the city, the first book was supposed to be checked out on September 2011.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Always On Topic

The mayor leaves KGNS' Jerry Garza stunned as the mayor goes off on a quick parade route rant.

EMR Featured Actor

The featured "Eddie Macon's Run" actor of the weekend is Jay O. Sanders.  The Potts brother character almost put an end to Eddie Macon's plan of reaching the border town of Laredo.  Eddie, however, proved to be the more skillful. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Party Continues

Laredo's growth should be measured by the number of toy vendors at parade routes. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crumbling Infrastructure

A reader submitted this picture of a splintered light pole on the corner of Sanchez and Flores Ave.  It's been like this for more than a month.  There's concern, obviously, for safety around this area. 

Don't attempt to hold the pole up.  Otherwise Jorge Vera might want to ticket you for that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Describe Yourself Please

I'm very emphatic.

And not too wise about word usage.


Courtesy Photo

Of all the toys, games, gadgets, and things I've owned throughout my life, the bicycle, with all its variations over the years, has left some vivid memories in my mind.  I remember learning to ride at a young age by going around in circles in our yard with the help of a neighborhood friend.  When I passed my CCD tests, I remember racing home on a blue ten-speed excited to tell my family.  And I remember wiping out on a BMX model after attempting to jump over a friend's bike.  My brother rushed to me with concern; all I could do was laugh nervously from the pain.

In my adopted barrio I don't see any kids out biking.  There are many reasons for that, I'm sure.  But it's one more thing that I've noticed that's slowly disappearing from the old neighborhoods.  I do see kids out and about, but a bike is not part of the equation nowadays.

The only constant in the old neighborhoods seems to be residential mechanic garages.  And now it seems that tire shops are on every other corner.  Our barrios need change.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Praise Them

The city council, mayor, city manager, and city attorney are working tirelessly right now to present cogent arguments at today's meeting. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

No Trash Holiday

I was looking through the archives to see what posts I have for the month of February 2012.  Unfortunately I don't have one for the 18th of February to comment on.  Not that it's important but it's cool to look back and reflect on previous work. 

Nevertheless, I did find this little nugget concerning Rosie Cuellar's son.  A year ago this month he fled from police.  Fast forward to 2013 and Ms. Cullear is having to distance herself from a drunk driver claiming to be her employee.  Can we safely say that February is not a good month for the Cuellar household?

Happy President's Day, people!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Corporal Idea

If local administrators and trustees want to go back to the good ol' days of paddling students, then I suggest they bring back bonfires at the Civic Center parking lot, Friday night dances in the gym, lockers, jeans and t-shirt dress code, band serenatas during the night on Mother's Day, pep parades/riding on flat bed trucks, etc., etc. 

UPDATElink to story suggested by reader -- Male administrators should not paddle female students.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Come One Come All

The city is looking for a few good ambassadors.  Mayor Raul Salinas:

“What better way to welcome guests to Laredo, Texas than with a group of friendly Laredo volunteer ambassadors,” said Mayor Salinas. “Everyone who is passionate about their community is encouraged to submit an application. The Laredo Ambassador Program will allow you to get more involved with the latest events, conferences, tournaments and the list goes on!”
If you're interested in helping out, submit an application to begin your involvement.

Press release courtesy of the City of Laredo.

I found it interesting that the passage I posted above is attributed to Mayor Salinas.  No biggie you might think.  But on the Visit Laredo site (click on link above), the same passage appears but with no quotes or mention that it comes from the mayor.  This could be an example of the mayor having a ghost writer.  And it might be a clue about how involved he is with city matters.

I would like to take this opportunity to summon all my BOLAS (Blogs of Laredo Association c/S) brethren to unite and come up with ideas about being ambassadors for this fair city.  Let the suggestions fly!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mensos Not Mensa

Being left home alone at a young age is nothing new to Laredo natives.  But if parents leave their children alone, I would prefer that they were out doing something constructive and not enjoying themselves at 8-liner joints.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ethics Come Knocking

Senator Robert Menendez has a friend who has provided him with campaign donations and private plane rides.  And then the friend is in line to do port inspections in the Dominican Republic?  Why does all of this sound familiar?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Laziness

By now most of Laredo has heard about the gentleman who won a cool $20 million (15 after taxes) playing the Texas lotto.  His phone has been ringing off the hook ever since.  But the Conoco gas station - where the ticket was sold - was also awarded $200,000 for their part in making a Laredoan much richer.

This weekend I noticed that a landscaping makeover has occurred at the corner of Saunders and San Dario Ave., the site of the Conoco.  It just might be a coincidence that it happened after the jackpot winnings, but it's a good change nonetheless.  Before, the space was covered with a native grass; I don't remember if there were any plants in place besides the yuccas you see to the left.  Now they went with a hardscape design that features several drought-tolerant plants.  Bravo!

I'd like to see more of this throughout the city.

In more serious news, the terror alert warning has been raised to watch your ass amarillo.  Several news outlets have been reporting about the recent wave of violence in Nuevo Laredo.  Nightly we've heard helicopters hovering too close to our neighborhood.  I don't know exactly what law enforcement agency it is that's being a pain in the ass.  Unfortunately it's all a part of life now for us and our neighbors in Mexico.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Culture Of Alcohol

The most recent DUI offender is a 46-year-old political insider. 

A Laredo fire fighter was recently convicted of drunken driving.

Who else has been brought down by alcohol abuse?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

San Miguels Getting A Break

Press release courtesy of the City of Laredo:

Laredo Fire Department Academy Cadets to Graduate


Thirty Three Fire Academy Cadets are set to graduate tomorrow Friday February 8, 2013 at 9:00A.M. The ceremony will be held at the Laredo Civic Center Auditorium.

“This accomplishment exemplifies the commitment of the graduates to serve their community and the commitment of their instructors to produce highly trained, professional firefighters whose mission is to save lives and property”, Fire Chief Steve E. Landin, said.

It was confirmed to me that Charlie San Miguel's sons are in this graduating class.  The city has stayed mum on the whole issue of nepotism concerning the councilman and his sons, Carlos and Roberto.

The city council got creative in giving the San Miguel family preferential treatment by trying to incorporate nepotism rules into the fire department hiring process.  But this little diversion is meaningless since the application for the fire department already includes the question about any relation to the mayor, or city council.  If it's asking you about a relation to a city official, then the reason for the question being there is to avoid any type of nepotism from taking place.

Charlie San Miguel has really settled in to his position quite nicely.  He gets to name a new pool after his parents.  His sons get a pass.  And his sister gets a nice city contract.  Yes, it's good to be a San Miguel.

UPDATE:  Some people don't get the perks that the San Miguels get.  (name and dates have been blocked out for privacy)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sexually-Oriented Businesses

I'm almost hesitant to compose a post on the continuing Mami Chulas saga because the public's commentary on the issue hasn't much changed, but I think it's worth one more stab since the city took on a somewhat dubious approach to it.  Via the LMT.
The ordinance also included in the definition "“a state of dress that fails to completely or opaquely cover a human buttock, anus, male genitalia, female genitals or any part of the female breast or breasts that is situated below a point immediately above the top of the areola."”
If you only read the passage above concerning the beer runs - the ones that are targeted by this new ordinance - then you would have a case to make against the validity of the ordinance.  If I went to buy breakfast tacos at the Conoco gas station and the clerk was wearing a low cut blouse, the store might fall under the auspices of a sexually-oriented business.  But the difference with the thong-wearing, drive thru attendants is that they've been known to offer lap dances.

Wearing a thong, or pasties in public is one thing, but dancing suggestively, and offering gawd knows what else to patrons perhaps makes sense to label that activity as sexually-oriented, thus requiring more scrutiny.

If you think the city is way off on this, then gander at the memo being passed around before the upcoming Grammy Awards.

The Mami Chulas of the world might have their place in society, but they're not necessarily known for their longevity.  Two infamous drive thrus in south Laredo are not open anymore.  And a couple near the Civic Center area that were a bit more tame are also long gone.  What older Laredo neighborhoods need is smarter, local investment with staying power.  The barrios need anchor businesses that will be unique and useful, businesses that will help communities thrive.

Revitalization should not be a word only associated with the downtown area.  And code enforcement should apply to more than just keeping sidewalks clean and clear.  We should demand better lives for us and our neighbors.  That which is visible defines us and it shouldn't be Mami Chulas, or maquinitas for that matter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Rained Mightily Tonight

Hadn't done this in a while, but it's new music Tuesday.  And me with no record store to go to.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Not All Tree Huggers Treated The Same

City council and the mayor are all smiles in recognizing a young man's efforts in making America beautiful.  Oscar Medina IV won the Ruthe Jackson Youth Leadership Award last year.  For that he gets his picture taken with the residents of city hall.

Just prior to this, our city leaders all had a palpable disdain for Laredoans wanting to protect green spaces near Lake Casa Blanca.  The mayor in the past has spoken disappointingly about the lack of local participation at the polls.  Here we have many people active in the democratic process and he doesn't want any part of it, not while the clock is ticking.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Listen Closely

Mayor Salinas, or as one of my readers calls him, Mayor Papas, is featured on an NPR story about immigration.  The interview which also features the mayor of El Paso is seven minutes long.  Check it out.

Mayor Cook comes off as thoughtful, and organic.  Our mayor not so much.  Canned (answers) is the word that comes to mind in listening to Mayor Salinas.

On a side note, I'm going to link current posts from other local blogs on my sidebar.  Currently, on the front page, you can see a link for LaredoTejas, DeLaredo, and WakeUpLaredo.  I try to keep up with what's going on in the Laredo blogosphere, but it's difficult sometimes.  Feel free to include the name of a blog that I'm missing, or a story that you think is worthwhile.  I'll put up a link on the right, or I'll include it in a blog post.  Thanks.

Some of you may have noticed, but the LMT has a re-design in place.

UPDATE:  Almost forgot about a picture I took the other day.  It's of a policeman talking to a person who seems like a female panhandler on the corner of Lafayette and Santa Ursula.  Don't know if the city is getting tough on people asking for cash on street corners.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sanbe Sex Sting

I was getting worried that P.D. wasn't going out to bust prostitutes on San Bernardo anymore.  But it had to happen sooner or later.