Thursday, December 30, 2021

Por Eso Estamos Como Estamos: Omicron Variant

 


It was sort of a holiday miracle yesterday when city officials teleconferenced with Ruben Villarreal of KGNS for another installment of MEDIA BRIEFING!!!  This kind of Facebook face timing had not happened since October.  The pressing matter up for discussion was the rise in Covid-19 cases and the urgent need for testing.

The first to present was code-switching extraordinaire Guillermo Heard, Chief of the Laredo Fire Department.  He said we should be concerned with the Omicron strain of Covid-19, which is transmitted more easily.  Chief Heard, however, stressed that now is not the time to panic.  Local emergency rooms are seeing more people with flu-like/Covid-like symptoms but the majority of enfermos are not serious enough to be admitted to the hospital.  We can thank the great number of Laredoans who are vaccinated against Coronavirus, apparently.  

Chief Heard said that Laredo currently has 8 testing sites in operation.  3 will be added next week to meet the demand.  


Director of the Laredo Health Department who wore a chin strap to the online meeting Dr. Chamberlain (pictured above) reported there being 529 active cases of Covid-19 in Laredo.  85 of those were classified as breakthrough cases.  

Taking on a more serious tone was Dr. Victor Trevino.  (He's an actual medical doctor and better at speaking bilingually.)  He started by reporting 3 new deaths in the community attributed to Covid-19.  Resources to combat the current crisis are limited, he said, one being hospital personnel.  Dr. Trevino recommended that we wear masks when indoors at public places.  He also pushed for people to get vaccinated if they hadn't done so already.  

I just got my booster shot (Moderna) last week, days before the Christmas holiday.  On the 24th I visited my in-laws for a short while.  I felt like a schmuck, being the only one at the gathering who was wearing a face mask.  (My wife & son kept theirs on at times.)  I felt so awkward, wondering if my extended family was silently dissing my PPE move.  Well, wouldn't you know it, yesterday I learned that four people who visited my suegra over the Xmas weekend tested POSITIVE for Covid-19.  

And suddenly I was vindicated.  My anxiety towards a house full of family paid off.  I was right to keep my mask on during my Christmas Eve drop-in.  

Thankfully my in-laws are all vaccinated and those who came down with Covid have had mild symptoms.  Needless to say, a New Year's Eve gathering has been canceled.  I still want to see my suegra this weekend, but the visit will be brief and every necessary precaution will be taken.  What I'm waiting to see are the photos that my cuniados will post on social media.  I'm counting on them posting pics with a ton of unmasked people at their own houses.  

There's a reason things ARE like they are right now.  And there is blame to go all around.  The CDC recently updated their guidelines for Covid-positive persons who are asymptomatic: quarantine for 5 days instead of ten.  Local officials, however, want to keep the ten-day recommendation in place.  Reason for that, according to Dr. Victor Trevino, is our lack of resources to fight Covid-19.  I would add to that that we've let our guard down.  The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been a Godsend.  But they can't be our sole source of protection, not yet.      

I left out the mayor's rambling input during the media briefing.  You're welcome. 

   

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Manchin Manchando Y Cuellar LLorando

Senator Joe Manchin, of no-chingues-Juan-Dominguez fame, told a Fox News bobblehead today that he was not supporting the Democrats' Build Back Better bill.  The bill included money for universal preschool, care for the elderly, and taco stands on every corner.  The whole Build Back Better saga has been in a sort of limbo because of the likes of Sen. Manchin.  Apparently the bill was monetarily bloated and would severely add to the deficit.  Moot points since the bill was supposedly paid for and because no one bats an eye when they approve of the generous defense budget every year.  

Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have been thorns in the side of Democrats recently.  These two knuckleheads have been impediments for such things as BBB and voting rights legislation.  Henry Cuellar, however, doesn't mind calling Manchin a friend and posing too close for pics with Sinema.


    (courtesy photo that I could've done without)

The House of Reps passed Build Back Better with a vote along party lines, of course.  And Enrique (Henry) Cuellar was counting on the federal money reaching his district.  It would've given his campaign more animo until March 1, 2022, the date of the primaries, where he is being challenged by two females. 


Hank had already posted campaign fliers for Build Back Better.  That's unfortunate. 



 

With BBB being kaput, kway-ARE will have to go back to pontificating about supplying bulletproof vests for county law enforcement officials and speechifying against immigrants from Central America.  There is no time to think about what could've been, with only 72 days till the finish line. 

The game plan will have to keep its course: go negative against your opponent. 


Cuellar has been running an aggressive campaign.  He senses that his political future is in jeopardy.  The electorate has probably caught on to his cynical ways and outdated thinking.  Personally, I think he's overstayed his welcome.  The baggy pant punieta needs to be shown the door.  

His gall at calling his opponent, Jessica Cisneros, a socialist is priceless.  Cuellar's whole M.O. is propping up his so-called record of awarding grant money to local agencies.  Cuellar is an anti-abortion, pro-law enforcement, pro-NRA jerk.  That his BBB claim to fame is being squashed by another corporate shill makes for sweet justice.  One lives and dies by their own conservative mamadas.


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

It And The Theater

 


The Movies 12 Theater along Santa Maria Ave., next to Kohl's, has been shuttered.  There is no word on it reopening. 

The Alamo Drafthouse Theater re-opened on Friday, December 10.  It and the theater at Mall del Norte are the only movie houses left in town. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Evelyn Motel's Days Are Numbered

 


Rooms of the Evelyn Motor Inn, as seen from San Agustin Ave.  Fencing has been placed around the motel in preparation for demolition.  


I took these photos yesterday. 



Saturday, November 27, 2021

Securing Both Their Jobs

 


Front page story in yesterday's paper: $4.3M given to Sheriff's Office for border security. 

Naturally Henry Cuellar has to drive the narrative.

Every year, the resources provided by the Stonegarden Program assist our local law enforcement in their efforts to protect our border community, Cuellar said.  The funds provide new, updated equipment that is essential to improve operations, pay for operating expenses, and with money to pay for overtime hours, we can provide the necessary manpower to keep our community safe at all times. 

Since 2008, I have secured more than $45 million in Operation Stonegarden funds for Webb County and delivered over $123 million in total OPSG funding.  With my seat in Appropriations, I will continue to provide our local law enforcement with more federal funds to keep our South Texas communities safe and secure.  I want to thank Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, as well as the local, state and federal officers for their commitment to helping to secure our southern border. 

End quote.

Every year since 2008 Henry Cuellar has repeated the same script and held the same photo ops, all while giving himself credit.  The huge banner in the photo above (via LMT) is new.  He's not leaving anything to chance when there are only 79 days left until early voting starts [Feb. 14].  This time around Cuellar has two female challengers. 


Clipping from January 2016: fact of the day.

Both Henry and Sheriff Martin Cuellar have shared in their self-congratulatory maneuvering come election time.  They give themselves total credit for supposedly securing grant money every year.  It's the same game plan every year, with Henry and Martin feeding off of each other. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Shovels And Bows


 Photo via Webb County Twitter

County officials gathered yesterday at the former downtown HEB to signal the start of their latest multi-million dollar project.  The facility will be turned into office space for the sheriff's department.  

Two years ago, the Laredo Times (Wallace) reported that the county bought the building for $4,125,000 and paid $395,000 for design and oversight work. 

Commissioner Liendo, second from left, will be on the ballot for the March 1 primary.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Signs Pop Up

 


First campaign sign for an unknown candidate: Ricky Jaime.  He's running for county commissioner.  This sign is at the corner right before getting on the Chihuahua St. bridge. 

The primary election is on March 1, 2022.  107 days away. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Many Works Of Judith Zaffirini

 


I sometimes flip through the many political newsletters that arrive at the Sanbe news headquarters.  I'll scan some sections and see who's included in the photos, before tossing the material in the recycling bin.  But I felt it was my duty to look into the supposed works of one of our illustrious leaders, Judith Zaffirini. To toss it aside like an old sock would be a crime.  Whatever. 

Zaffirini's recent mailer has the headline: Senator Judith Zaffirini passes 106 bills reflecting broad range of issues.  The four-page newsletter includes a sample of the senator's toil up in Austin.  Let's take a look at the highlights.

HB 4477 - relating to the financial exploitation of certain vulnerable adults (TX Legislature Online).  In Z's newsletter it says, Adult Protective Services could not request holds on financial accounts when it suspected exploitation -- HB 4477 eliminates this restriction.  According to TX Legislature Online, Zaffirini was a sponsor of the bill, hence the HB (House Bill) designation, I guess.

HB 3529 - relating to consent for the use or possession of personal identifying information under the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.  Again, a House Bill and Zaffirini is a sponsor.  In the newsletter, Zaffirini writes about the bill, which amends the definition of identity theft to include coerced debt, thereby allowing survivors to access additional resources.

SB 43 - relating to residential mortgage loans, including the financing of residential real estate purchases by means of a wrap mortgage loan; providing licensing and registration requirements; authorizing an administrative penalty. FINALLY AN ACTUAL SENATE BILL.  But this bill has 8 sponsors, Zaffirini being one of them.  This was Zaffirini's third attempt at passing the bill, according to her mailer.  "It closes loopholes that allowed predatory wrap mortgage lending practices to defraud unsuspecting homebuyers."

Back to the House Bills.

HB 21 - relating to the statute of limitations applicable to a sexual harassment complaint filed with Texas Workforce Commission.  The statute of limitations was extended from 180 days to 300 days.  HB 21 had 14 sponsors.  A House Bill, but chalk it up to Zaffirini's scorecard.  Not a full year for the statute, but still.  

HB 39 - relating to protective orders; making conforming changes.  In Zaffirini's newsletter, it just says, ensure protective orders are enforced adequately and issued timely.  The bill had 8 sponsors: six Dems and two Repubs.  Still, newsletter-worthy.  Thank you, Madam Senator. 

HB 1172 - relating to the rights of victims of sexual assault or other prohibited sexual conduct.  This one was authored by Rep. Donna Howard, according to LegiScan.  The bill had 15 sponsors.  Zaffirini said of HB 1172: These bills will increase opportunities for them to find safety and healing and will incentivize reporting.  House Bill 1172.

SB 45- relating to the prohibition against sexual harassment in the workplace.  The wording!!  This bill came up in 2020; Zaffirini's newsletter points to SB 45 passing on its third try.  It "provides that sexual harassment by any employer, regardless of how many persons they employ, is unlawful.  Not sure we needed this one in writing, but okay.  This bill had 36 sponsors, three attempts and they still couldn't get the bill's title right.  I'll ding LegiScan for that last point.

HB 4344 - relating to a complaint filed with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.  It was authored by Jacey Jetton.  Sponsor: Zaffirini.  The newsletter notes: This bill culminates seven years of determination to increase judicial accountability.  The commission is supposed to "investigate and resolve complaints" in a timely manner.  This took seven years?!

SB 346 - relating to the participation of open-enrollment charter schools in the Jobs and Education for Texans Grant Program.  Authored by Senator Angela Paxton.  This one is from this year.  But in Zaffirini's newsletter, SB 346 (2019) apparently reformed the criminal fees system.  SB 346 propped up SB 41, "which restructures the civil court costs and fees system."  SB 41 had six sponsors.   

HB 290 - relating to the period of continuous eligibility and a periodic eligibility review for a child for Medicaid (LegiScan).  It had 54 sponsors.  In Zaffirini's newsletter, HB 290 is about "authorizing the use of existing funds to provide representation to indigent criminal defendants.  Who's right? 

HB 3009 - relating to child custody evaluations.  Three sponsors.  It's a House bill.  But Zaffirini boasts passing HB 3009, "requiring courts to appoint a bilingual custody evaluator for parents who do not speak English."

Zaffirini, or her newsletter editors, claim that the senator passed FIVE guardianship bills this year.  

HB 79 - relating to associate judges for guardianship proceedings and protective services proceedings in certain courts.  Authored by Andrew Murr.

SB 692 - relating to access to certain financial records by the guardianship abuse, fraud, and exploitation deterrence program.  Two sponsors to the bill. 

Zaffirini goes on to take credit for ten other House Bills and five Senate Bills.  SB 1216 "allows the City of Portland to hold a local election to expand eligibility for retail alcoholic beverage permits."  Good for Portland, TX!  

All of these bills relate to someone.  Not me, but someone out there.  


Earlier this month, Jorge Vela of the Laredo Times wrote that Judith Zaffirini passed 106 bills in the 87th Legislature, 81 becoming actual law in Texas.  How many were actually authored by Zaffirini, though?  She may have introduced tons of bill in the senate, but did they originate in the Texas House?  In her own newsletter she has the courtesy to cite the House Bills she sponsored and voted for.  That doesn't necessarily mean she conjured them up.  

A lot of it is low-hanging fruit.  The laws that have heft, the ones that affect everyone, not in a good way, are the voting laws, the gun laws, the anti-abortion laws.  Zaffirini was inconsequential in those.  It's not her fault, but her putting up her record of bills passed is negligible.    

Zaffirini will be lauded by Laredoans.  Just don't ask them what to applaud her for.  They won't have an inkling what to point to.     

Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Suits Are Wearing Him

 


Less than 7 months to the primaries and Enrique Cuellar -- south Texas Democrat and liver spot model -- has two challengers ready to unseat him.  Naturally, he's out making the rounds with any media outlet that will listen.  Helping Mr. KWAY-are are well-funded PACs that have money to spend on TV ads and billboards.  


 The energy industry is making a big push for Cuellar and he is returning the favor.  Kike wants to direct federal money towards natural gas big wigs.  It's funny that the energy sector needs any help at all.  But they're apparently in need of a little welfare.  And Cuellar being there to deliver for them is the ultimate irony.  In the past he's badmouthed the far left for their socialist proposals; and he'll do it from now until the results are in in March. 

Cuellar is the ultimate socialist, always posing for the cameras to announce federal funds going to local non-profits.  As a shill for energy companies and for-profit prisons, el compadre goes all Karl Marx on us.  

I don't want to say that Cuellar is rolling in corporate donations.  If he is, he's not spending it on clothing.  But I have to wonder if it's easier to stuff wads of money in his baggy suits.  (insert suspicious look here)


    

Friday, July 23, 2021

La Cagaron Con El Agua

 


This newspaper clipping appeared in the Laredo Times on Sunday, July 4, 2021.  It was the day before that the city posted the alert on their social media feed.  I found it peculiar that it was my neighborhood that was being singled out.  I thought that the city was getting back at me since I tweeted my concern for crews flushing the lines and there being low levels of chlorine in the system.  Alas, it's not always about me and my paranoid delusions.  It turns out that the resident who summoned TCEQ about the water's integrity also lives in my area.  Go figure.  


It was a private citizen who found the problem, again.  Like in 2019, he found some sort of slime building up in his home filters.  Being the thoughtful person he is, he called on TCEQ to look into the matter.  His initiative put the wheels in motion, and ultimately the entire city was placed on a boil water notice.  


City officials, including District 3 Councilmember Mercurio Martinez helped to pass out bottled water to the public in the days following the boil water alert.  Unfortunately, people like Martinez turned that into a photo op.  As far as I know, he never reached out to the person who found the problem with the drinking water, even though the neighborhood that Martinez represents was the first to be put on alert. 

In investigating the matter, city staff dismissed two employees at the water plant on Jefferson.  The city manager and the utilities department director both offered their mea culpa.  The public, however, has asked for City Manager Robert Eads to resign.  

The public was told that there was no bacteria in the water.  But we were advised to boil water, meant for consumption, for two minutes.  Doing that is a nuisance in itself, but for businesses that depend on water for their beverages, they had to adjust more than we did.  Fast food establishments were not serving fountain drinks or coffee.  At a couple of places, patrons were served canned soda with their meals.  

I'm pretty sure we'll see another event like this in the future.  Laredo has a way of not learning from its mistakes.     

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Site On Saunders Is Down


 

The abandoned Whataburger building on Saunders and Bartlett finally came down.  The above photo is from May 21, 2021.  Today the site is all clear of debris.  Commercial spaces are planned for this spot, including a Starbucks shop. 


This image I got from an online source. 


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Bien Pesudo El


 Mission CISD receives $76M from Congressman Henry Cuellar, so they say.

This game that Enrique Cuellar and the media play is tired.  He doesn't have his own treasure chest from which to distribute at his discretion.  Cuellar has to protect his phoney baloney* job as congressman and doing so requires orchestrating photo ops like this. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Lost Cause Zaffirini

Judith Zaffirini's statement on the Texas House Democrats who fled to D.C. to break quorum in the special session:

Each legislator must determine how to best represent his or her district. I believe the most effective way to represent my constituents is by staying in Austin to vehemently oppose Senate Bill (SB) 1, which, unfortunately, and inevitably, will pass—whether during this special session or the next. I proposed five amendments and co-authored another one that would eliminate some of the most egregious provisions in SB 1 and would mitigate its detrimental effect on persons with disabilities and persons of color, who would be impacted disproportionately by banning 24-hour and drive-through voting and by placing unnecessary restrictions on persons who assist curbside voters.

The amendment that I co-authored with Senator Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, clarifies mail-in vote identification requirements and was adopted unanimously. The following, however, were rejected along party lines, 4-18, with all Republicans opposing them:

• Rescinding the ban on drive-through voting

• Making curbside voting easier

• Rescinding the ban on 24-hour voting

• Requiring poll watchers to be experienced election officials

• Removing ambiguous language from the voter assistant’s oath that could result in well-meaning persons being charged with a crime.

I remain committed to protecting every Texan’s sacrosanct right to vote and to supporting the practices that have enabled Texas to successfully administer fair, honest and secure elections.

Accordingly, I stayed in Texas to represent my constituents at the Capitol and to strongly support my colleagues who chose to voice their opposition to this restrictive voting bill by leaving the state. Although the party in power has the votes to pass SB 1, I will continue to work to improve it and to oppose its final passage.


Someone on Twitter said that Texas Senators may flee the state to break quorum if Governor Abbot calls a second special session.  A tag-you're-it maneuver for TX Democrats, if you will, to prevent the GOP's ultra-conservative policies from passing. 

But Zaffirini would rather use her oratory prowess to counter any proposal from Abbot and company, even if it would all be for nothing.  

In 2003, Judith Zaffirini joined TX senators by going to New Mexico to fight an onerous redistricting agenda.  The lady doesn't have that kind of fight in her anymore.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Things We Cherish


 

Graduate took photo with her parents to honor them and their unyielding support.


Graduates showed pride for their heritage by displaying a Mexican flag during the cap and gown ceremony. 


In Laredo, teenagers co-opt a culture they know nothing about and their families spend untold dollars in the process. 


There is no humility in what the WBCA promotes.  It's all about class and privilege.  

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Pocha Skinhead Racist At It Again

 


Laredo influencer, Priscilla Villarreal, made another hate-filled video entry into her Facebook feed.  This time to bash immigrants.  

She starts out by taking credit for organizing the protest in front of the fire station on Del Mar Boulevard on Thursday.  There, people took issue with county officials setting up tents at the L.I.F.E. grounds to house immigrants.  She, of course, did not attend the event because she developed an eye ailment so severe that she had to go to an eye specialist that same day.  Naturally, like any other person would do, she got in her car afterwards to drive on a busy interstate and proceed to record another podcast.  

This is what she had to say:   

No es que uno sea racista; yo no soy racista.  Y yo no tengo ningún problema con los inmigrantes.  O sea, uno como raza, como hispano, como latino, dices tu, pues va entrando gente Mexicana.  Y dices tu, la cultura de nosotros la entendemos perfectamente.  Cada uno de nosotros que vive en una frontera entiende una persona inmigrante que es latina, mexicana. 

Pero cuando entre estos inmigrantes que van llegando a nuestra ciudad son de africa, son de haiti, son militia, no saben ustedes el pedo que estamos metiendo a nuestra ciudad.  Yo no digo que todos son malos, claro que no.  Pero lo que ustedes tienen que entender - que si nosotros estamos peliando para que no pongan estas tents - los inmigrantes de nuestra ciudad, que con todos estos inmigrantes, no nomas vienen mexicanos.  Vienen todos estas gentes que les estoy diciendo.  Crecieron con otras costumbres. Ellos no saben la cultura de nosotros.  

La gente que viene de la militia saben matar a machetazos; tienen otras costumbres que nosotros no estamos acostumbrados.  Mi preocupación es la siguiente: me mandaron mensaje gentes que viven en Carrizo (Springs), donde en ese mismo lugar en Carrizo Springs estan las mismas tent cities que quieren hacer en laredo.  Todos los días personas huyen de estas facilidades.  No hay suficiente seguridad.  Lo que pasa es que esta gente anda caminando las calles de estos pueblitos alrededores, pidiendo dinero, positivos con Covid.  Y lo que no entienden es que no nomas Covid es el problema.  Vienen con otras enfermedades que tenemos anos, décadas de no oir de ellas. 

El problema son las personas que trabajan en estas carpas: nomas se toma una persona que se infecte para que toda la ciudad valga verga.  La verdad.  No se trata que uno quiera ser racista, claro que no.  I'm all about helping the community, being a humanitarian; I'm all about that, and you know that.  But it's also about protecting our city -- proteger a nuestra ciudad, nuestros ciudadanos, proteger a la gente.  Por si orita es un problema, en un mes va ser una crisis. 

In her speech, Villarreal has trouble with the Spanish words for tents, Democrats and facilities.  For someone who bases her whole persona on having street cred, she sure is a fuckup when it comes to language.  This girl is a flake who has used racial stereotypes before.  Worse here is that she ascribes inflammatory language to describe people coming from countries other than Mexico.  

This girl is a racist.  Y esa es la verdad. 


  

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Actual Scenery In Laredo

 


I took these photos on May 7, 2021, after I noticed that someone had turned the four city blocks between the I-35 terminus and bridge 2 into wildflower meadows.  While there, I noticed a bunch of flying insects enjoying the new digs.  This has turned into an actual destination in our expansive concrete jungle.  Kudos to the gardeners who made this happen. 


UPDATE: June 15, 2021: the people in charge of tending these city blocks recently mowed everything down.  I'll check in periodically to see if any of the wildflowers rise again during the summer months. 


UPDATE: June 28, 2021: I took a walk at the downtown grassland blocks (coining that name) and noticed that the flowers are coming back, thanks to the irrigation system.  Some flowers are even settling in through the cracks in the cement. 





Thursday, June 3, 2021

No Courage In These Characters

 


Photo via the Texas Tribune/Miguel Gutierrez Jr. 

Democratic state representatives walked out of the Texas Capitol on Sunday in order to kill Senate Bill 7 (SB7), the bill that would prohibit voting methods used during the last election in the Lone Star State.  Without the Democrats being present, there was no quorum in the House and the bill did not advance.

The Texas GOP left Democrats out of discussions and then tried to rush the amended bill through at the last minute, at the end of the legislative session.  The walkout was a last-ditch effort for frustrated Dems.  

Some of the proposals in SB7 included: limiting voting hours during Souls to the Polls day; doing away with drive-thru voting; adding ID requirements to mail-in ballot voting; prohibiting election officials from sending out unsolicited mail-in ballots; granting more access to poll watchers; and the ability to overturn an election if enough ballots were found to be illegitimate. 

Republicans defended their tactics, all in the name of secure elections.  But Democrats saw this as a way to disenfranchise minority voters.  


On Monday, Pod Bless Texas tweeted a photo of the roll call vote.  Laredo Twitter-ers noticed that our very own Tracy King and Richard Raymond stayed at the Capitol on Sunday and voted for SB7.  To make it a hat trick, I'll include a third supporter of SB7: Ryan Guillen, a known politico to these parts. 



Raymond's vote would've slightly enforced my dislike for him.  His participation in the SB7 vote was not the courageous stuff of his Democrat colleagues.  If Governor Greg Abbott called a special session to revisit SB7, I would not hold out hope for Raymond and King.  

But just when I thought that things would die down for a bit, Raymond took it up a notch.  He spoke to  Ashley Soriano from KGNS on Tuesday to voice his concern for SB7:

It's all being driven by what is commonly referred to now as a big lie. Donald Trump lost the election last year, he wouldn't accept that.  That has led to movements to introduce bills like Sentate Bill 7 here in Texas.  It's not only an overreaction, it goes against the grain of what this country is about. 



  

The walkout by Democrats was met with applause by those on the left.  Voting restrictions are being championed in other states and TX Dems (not our weasely pendejetes) showed that they can outmaneuver Republicans just fine.  

Senate Bill 7 may come up again if the governor has anything to say about it.  If it does, I know how our representatives will vote.  Many in Laredo have no trust in their politicians.  Duplicitous Richard Raymond has shown us why. 



Saturday, April 24, 2021

It's What They Don't Say

 


Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday for his role in the death of George Floyd.  The guilty verdicts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter are being viewed as pivotal for people of color: it's one instance where a law enforcement official has been held accountable for taking the life of a black person.  

A glimmer of hope was felt by many across the nation.  Could this be a sign that fewer people of color will die at the hands of police?  After careful reflection, however, many things worked in favor of the prosecution.  There were the law enforcement officials who testified against the tactics used by Derek Chauvin and the other arresting officers.  There was the video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd for more than nine minutes.  There was the lackluster defense for Chauvin.  

Writer for The Nation, Elie Mystal, said today that the protracted pain endured by Floyd made the jury's decision easier. 

George Floyd died over an agonizing long period of time.  I hate to say it like this, but it's like, when you don't have Black pain on display, when they haven't ripped it out of us like that, it's easier for the criminal justice system, the predominantly white justice system to just ignore it. 

Let's talk about the word ignore, as in what the community did after this momentous occasion.  All this week I saw no reaction from local leaders.  There was a smattering of chatter on social media, but nothing of substance.  Perhaps it's because of the distance we have with such cases.  Could be that our community's makeup doesn't lend itself to that kind of dissection.  We're a small town, made up of Latinos who may have some connection to someone in law enforcement.  Coworkers may be closely related to a cop.  Or maybe it's just the public's attitude towards those with a badge: an unyielding reverence no matter what.  

May of 2020, activists staged a rally at city hall in response to the killing of George Floyd.  Days after that event, leaders voiced their concern to the media.  Elected officials around here are very careful about what they support.  They usually back conservative issues: religion, respect for authority, flags.  They never step out of line and question mores. 

In the photo above, the Main Boys Club has a We Back The Blue banner hanging next to others.  Not pictured is one that reads We Support First Responders.  With the perils that Covid-19 has brought upon front line workers and first responders, it's good to acknowledge their efforts.  But it may too conspicuous to have an organization named Boys Club showing their devoted support for law enforcement.  This is fraternalistic galore.  Closing rank with the Thin Blue Line and turning off our minds to meaningful discussion.    

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Seeding Wildflowers In Laredo

I dropped some Indian Blanket seeds at my parents' cemetery plot and at a park on Monterrey & Houston. Hopefully they'll sprout next spring.  In the summer I want to add Bluebonnet seeds to both those locations and maybe a third one.  


I harvested some Blanket seeds from flowers outside the cemetery some years ago.  Now I have them in my backyard.  To help the flowers re-seed themselves, I just water occasionally and mulch garden waste with the lawn mower to add an extra layer to the turf.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Otro Sucio


 

A veteran of the Laredo Police Department was arrested Friday and charged with: abuse of official capacity, official oppression, and prohibited recommendations or solicitations.  Roberto R. Ramirez allegedly advised a person, who had an arrest warrant pending, to use a particular bail bond company.  If the person did not cooperate, Ramirez threatened the delinquent with a higher bond amount and/or federal charges.  

Ramirez is not the first law enforcement official who has been busted for abusing his power.  In 2014, Justice of the Peace Ricardo Rangel was arrested for soliciting bribes in return for reduced bonds. 

In 2007, Sgt. Alfonso Santos, Lt. Eloy Rodriguez and POLICE CHIEF!!!!! Agustin Dovalina were found to be taking protection money from 8-liner joints.

And in the mid-1970s, jail employees Sgt. Erasmo Rodarte and Raul S. Lugo, along with Commissioner Alfonso DeLaGarza, were embroiled in a bribery scheme.  

The local district attorney is facing an investigation himself but that's for being a pervert, ostensibly. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Laredo's February Freeze Timeline

Temperatures took a dive last weekend as a result of an arctic blast phenomenon that affected all of Texas.  Laredoans were excited about the possibility of seeing snow fall -- a welcome change for locals that are used to an abundance of hot weather.  The situation quickly soured as roadways were closed off to drivers and the power went out.  

Our secluded border hamlet has seen extreme weather events in the past.  This was something else.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021: The high was 35 degrees fahrenheit and the low was 18.  TxDOT started treating I-35 as ice was expected on roads.  Some overpasses were closed by city officials.  We were advised to conserve electricity and to expect outages.  Shelters that became available for the public were: Bethany House, the Salvation Army and the Holding Community Center.  Snow flurries were spotted throughout town.  A multi-car pileup occurred on Loop 20 after dark, near the City Hall Annex building. 


   (Icicles formed on my roof Monday morning.)


Early Monday morning (February 15), residents started reporting power outages.  State officials and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told people to expect rolling blackouts to prevent strain on the system.  The lights didn't come back on for millions of Texans.  

The City of Laredo opened the Sames Auto Arena as a warming center, providing shelter from the cold.


In Tuesday's Laredo Morning Times (above): 2 million Texas households without power as massive winter storm drives demand for electricity (Texas Tribune).

Weather and resulting road conditions lead to closures. (Jason Mack)

Rolling blackouts occur throughout Laredo on Monday. (Danny Zaragoza photo byline) 

Brindan asistencia a la comunidad: alrededor de 25,000 casas y negocios sin electricidad. (Julia Wallace)

Extienden cierres por bajas temperaturas. (Malena Charur)


Wednesday, February 16, 2021 issue of the Laredo Times:

Icy weather has big impact on Laredo, Zapata areas

Officials issue update on electricity, water. (Christian Alejandro Ocampo)

Zapata County faces boil water notice, lack of power (Julia Wallace)

Bethany House nearly full as frigid weather strikes. (Jorge Vela)

Council meeting postponed due to power outages. (Julia Wallace)

Laredo schools adjusting to frigid weather's impact. (Christian Alejandro Ocampo)


Thursday, February 17, 2021 issue of the Laredo Times:

Outages could last for days longer in Laredo area. (Julia Wallace) 

Laredoans rush for gas against LPD's warning. (Danny Zaragoza photo)

Texans asked to stop dripping taps as nearly 12 million face water disruptions. (Texas Tribune)

Sheriff's office gives out food, water; blanket drive underway. (Cesar Rodriguez)

Abbott doesn't know when Texans will have water or power. (Texas Tribune)


Our leaders: 

Governor Greg Abbott blamed the outages on frozen windmills and the Green New Deal.

Rick Perry said that Texans would rather freeze than impose regulations on Texas' energy grid.

Ted Cruz flew to Cancun with his family and left his dog home alone. 

Beto O'Rourke, with volunteers, made calls to check in on people without power or water.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez raised more than $3 million dollars for Texas; visited Houston.   


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Covid Vaccination Laredo Texas

 


Laredoans looking to get the vaccine to fight Covid-19 have to register at VaccinateLaredo.com.  Those without computer access can call 311 for assistance.  If you're lucky enough to get through, you'll be asked to provide your: name, date of birth, address, telephone number and email.  You'll also be asked to select the location and time for the vaccination, and if you belong to the 1A or 1B group.  

Once you finish, you should get a confirmation for the appointment.  Sites for the drive-thru vaccine clinics have been: select LISD schools, select UISD schools, the arena and Laredo College South. 



(courtesy photo)

At the vaccination site, wait times can be between 30 minutes and one hour.  Make sure you have an ID.  Staff has a list of the people who have an appointment at each particular site. 


Once in line, you will have to fill out and sign a consent form.  Your basic information is required, including your mother's maiden name.  Be sure to fill out the space for your phone number; staff may use that to call you with a reminder for the second vaccine dose.


On the vaccine checklist, you'll be asked about previous vaccine allergies, the use of blood thinners or immunosuppressive drugs, and if you've had Covid-19 in the past.  Having a doctor's order for the vaccine  helps staff determine whether it's safe for some clients to get vaccinated.

The vaccine is injected in the deltoid muscle, in the upper arm.  Wearing a short sleeve garment helps to access the injection site.  

You will be given a vaccine card that includes: your name, date of birth, the type of immunization (Moderna, Pfizer), the date of vaccination, and the date to return for the subsequent dose. 

After receiving the vaccine, you'll be directed to an observation area to be monitored for fifteen minutes or more.  Staff should be available to treat serious side effects, such as severe rash, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, etc.