Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Too Much Uncertainty And Anxiety

City council had a meeting on April 17, 2017, where they discussed the future of the vacant/abandoned Mercy Hospital in the Heights area.  Councilman Alex Perez does not want the old building to be used as a detention center by the federal government.  I can understand the neighborhood's residents not wanting a detention facility in their backyard.  The Heights is a mix of residential and business establishments.  But a public eyesore with trespassers who do god-knows-what is okay?

The Carranco family, who owns the old building, has said that they've had offers in the past, but nothing has panned out.

(photo courtesy of KGNS: Beyond the Headlines)

Alex Perez has floated the idea about the city buying the former hospital.  I believe he wants to do that so the City of Laredo has more control over what is developed at the site.  The Carrancos, for their part, can just sell the property and its new owners can turn the place into a bingo hall or a flea market.  But if the city buys it, they can possibly lease it out, and perhaps rake in some revenue; or they can just flatten the structure and install a park.  That would be ideal for Alex Perez, y quedaba bien con sus Heights constituents.

But before the city can entertain the notion of buying Mercy, they have to crunch the numbers, with the help of the federal government.  Councilman Alex Perez:

What the EPA is going to do is, uh, provide us exact numbers as to what's wrong with it, uuhhh, how much is it gonna cost to clean, and uuhh, they're going to provide us a roadmap as to...(pause).. uh I guess you can say, the best roadmap, uh, the best way to go.  (end quote)

Councilman Perez has his own anxiety roadmap, if you will, for the abandoned building.  But he's been through this before.  In the spring of 2011 he even reassured the public that the city would not take ownership of the building.

Perez has about a couple of years left in his second term.  The clock is ticking and it's still hard to tell what will happen with the public nuisance that has sat empty in Las Lomas since 1999.

(another courtesy photo, albeit unflattering for one person) 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Nixon's Changed

I got this photo from Google Maps to show the church that used to be on the corner of Lyon and Malinche.  I never got around to photographing it, and then it was demolished to make room for the LISD music magnet school.

Another photo I grabbed from the internets here.  Plum, the street between the band hall and Nixon's main buildings, once was once accessible.  It's not anymore.  It now belongs to the high school.

Last photo.  A lot of parking off of Malinche.  The open space in the background is now occupied by the magnet school.  Things change.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Site is Different

Yes, I still update my blog.  It's usually when I get inspired to write.  The URL to my site is different, so that probably throws people off.  After a year-long leave that started in 2013, I had to change my blog's address -- it's a long story.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Barrio Power

Something I saw when I took a walk in my neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

They See Some

During city council's meeting two weeks ago, CM Nelly Vielma introduced her motion to start each meeting with a prayer.  She referred to it as having a secular invocation, the way it's done at the state and federal level.  Dr. Carlos Valle, who spoke at the meeting against the idea, submitted a letter to the Laredo Times' Op/Ed page Sunday.  I'm waiting to see if more people speak out on the issue.

Several terms were used during the council member's discussion: non-denominational invocation, sectarian prayer, and ecumenical prayer.  Apart from the suggested moment of silence, the offerings from those pushing for some kind of invocation cited God.  To a non-believer like me, the proposition is not insulting, but it does have the potential for creating a wedge between interested parties.  Ms. Vielma's reasoning for promoting an invocation was to help unify the council before their meetings started.  A noble precept; however, I don't think you necessarily need a prayer to help bring members together to do the business of the city.

It should be understood that, as soon as you walk into council chambers, everyone is held to the standard of working for the best interest of the City of Laredo as a whole.

An interesting aspect of the discussion was how each council member prefaced their remarks with a declaration of their own faith.  Alex Perez didn't utter a word; he just sat there like the stump he is, glazed look and all.

Councilman Roberto Balli spoke out against any kind of invocation at council meetings.   But apart from wanting to keep church and state separate, he lamented the fact that the idea of prayer was what council, Nelly Vielma especially, took away from their recent trips to Austin and Washington, D.C.

He went further and stated that some council members didn't take part in all meetings when they went to Washington.  A source tipped him off to that.  Apparently, Balli didn't go to our nation's capital because he thought the traveling group was too large.  Judging from the photos that were provided to me, I'll take him at his word that council members made themselves scarce.  Local politicians are obsessed with photo ops.  The fact that they're missing from the shots the city released to the media is very telling.  (The photos above are from Day 1 in D.C. )

This set of photos is from Day 2.  They include both the mayor of Laredo and the mayor of Nuevo Laredo, along with our two TX senators.  And that's it.

On Day 3, our leaders came together and listened to several Washington peeps speak.

I applaud the carpetbagging Councilman Balli for having the gumption to call out his colleagues.  It's apparent that city leaders treat the trip to Washington as a sight-seeing venture more than anything.  It doesn't take hordes of people going to Washington to get Laredo's priorities across.  It doesn't have to be that they ask for private donations so they can booze it up outside of Laredo.  Family members have never needed to tag along either.  And them staying in luxury hotels is simply disgusting.

We're wiser now, thanks to somebody speaking up.  Their jig is up.  Oh, and yeah, no prayer at meetings.

Monday, April 3, 2017

On This Day: April Edition

April 1, 2014 Nvo Laredo Mayor Galvan found dead

April 1, 1978 Aldo Tatangelo elected mayor
April 1, 1952 Base reactivated, renamed Laredo Air Force Base
April 1, 2008 House next to gym on Guadalupe. (blog photo)
April 1, 2019 Yeary Library at LCC downtown campus reopens after major remodeling.
April 3, 2016 Tex-Mex Railway building being torn down. County owns building.
April 3, 2012 Chihuahua St. overpass opened to eastbound traffic.
April 4, 1972  ZZ Top release “Rio Grande Mud”
April 4, 2016 Esteban Rangel attended last council meeting. Recommended pay raises for mayor and council.
April 5, 2009 Train derails in Chacon neighborhood.
April 5, 2010 1490 AM in Laredo now broadcasts as ESPN The Zone
April 6, 2015 City council rename part of Del Mar as Bulldog Blvd.
April 6, 1954 J.C. Martin Jr. elected mayor.  Succeeded Hugh S. Cluck.
April 7, 1886 Botas march in victory, promise to bury a Guarache in effigy. Leads to Laredo Election Riot.  About 30 dead.

April 7, 2015 Kevin Hart in a Laredo bar (First Draft) to take selfie with crowd.

April 8, 1947 Tom Delay born in Laredo.
April 9, 1999 Fastball plays at Yucatan Club on Santa Maria. Miles Zuniga, guitarist, is from Laredo.
April 9, 2015 Boy dies after ingesting car cleaner at local car wash.
April 9, 2018 Bodies of a young woman and a child found near Father McNaboe Park. Border Patrol agent is prime suspect. 
April 10, 2015 Pizza Hut on Guadalupe re-opens. Remodeled after fire.
April 10, 2015 Lazy Mex Bar demolished as part of Operation Crackdown.
April 11, 2015 Mud Run at North Central Park canceled because of rain.
April 11, 2006 Runoff between Danny Valdez and CY Benavides.
April 11, 2013 McDonald’s on Santa Ursula being torn down. New one coming.
April 12, 2012 Mayor Salinas rambles on local FOX newscast debut.
April 13, 2013 Inside Out Project posts large pictures on base of Rio Grande Hotel.
April 13, 2017 Ground breaking ceremony for Pla-Mor in far north Laredo.
April 13, 2019 Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach music at park under bridge 1. 
April 14, 2021 Demolition of water tank at Lyon and Meadow.
April 15, 2021 Spring Fling carnival opens at arena, post Covid-19. 
April 16, 2004 LCC has dedication ceremony at its new south campus facility.
April 16, 2015 TAMIU opens KLRN studio on campus.
April 16, 2015 Ramiro Veliz III appeared before Civil Service Commission to appeal his termination. His termination was upheld.
April 16, 2018 City council votes for ethics commission to look into abuse of power by Alex Perez.
April 17, 1997 Jorge Gutierrez and Tomas Izaguirre bought Sames-Moore Bldg, now The Rialto.
April 17, 1973 Pilot training at Laredo base terminated. Base deactivated in Sept. Closes in December.
April 17, 2016 Sirloin Stockade’s last day of business.
April 17, 2017 Councilman Balli motioned to name 7 Flags Park after Johnny Amaya. 
April 18, 2011 Local pastors complain to city council about drive-thrus with scantily clad attendants.
April 18, 2017 LCC breaks ground for Allied Health building at south campus.
April 19, 2009 Las Flautitas Restaurant. (blog photo)
April 20, 2016 Former Santo Nino branch library re-construction in progress.
April 22, 1925 Raquel Gonzalez born. Developed Southgate subdivision; Founded Webb Co. Title & Abstract Company. 
April 22, 2016 Moving Laredo forward turned in 10,000 signatures to city hall.
April 24, 2021 Dr. Arthur Santos celebrates 25 years in Laredo 
April 25, 2015 George Altgelt elected District 7 council member, 173 days after Jorge Vera recalled.
April 26, 2015 Taco Co. prices increase. Two egg tacos used to be $1.61. (photo)
April 26, 2017 FBI raids city hall, county courthouse, offices, and Dannenbaum Engineering office on McPherson.  
April 27 Richard “Heatwave” Berler’s birthday!
April 28, 1905 Tornado hits Laredo & Nvo.Laredo. 40 people die.
April 29, 1979  J.C. Martin Jr. finishes jail sentence (30 weekends in jail for mail fraud).
April 29, 2016 Bridge 1 northbound car traffic halted for major port renovation.
April 30, 1957 Construction bids made public for Russell Terrace housing project.
April 30, 2015 Plastic bag ban takes effect.  Not enforced due to ongoing litigation.

April 30, 2015 UISD breaks ground on United HS 9th grade campus.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

He's Fresh And He's Okay

The commissioners court thought Villarreal was a swell guy and that's why they all voted for him.