Saturday, February 25, 2017


Friday, February 24, 2017


I am not a mall shopper unless what I want can only be bought at the mall, such as "Build a Bear."  Part of the story concerning Sears I am dumping because although two different people told me Sears no longer opens at 10, when you call the store they say they open at 10.

But I can say Sears, JCP, and Dillards have all laid off people and cut employee hours and benefits.  Sears earlier announced the closing of stores, Brownsville was not on that list.  Today JCP announced it is closing 140 stores. JCP's is saying they are looking at sales and needed upgrades at individual stores in deciding which will be closed.


The stores doing well all over the country have lots of sales, coupons, and massive discounts.  JCP has good coupons and sales.  I will tell you my family tells me we have more open cashiers in Brownsville than they do at the JCP at the mall near them.  But the lines are always long.  Customer service on the floor is non-existent.

The number of full time employees with benefits has shrunk big time.  College students or anyone else getting 20 hours with no benefits are never going to be invested in the store.  This is a fact.  JCP like Sears is one of those chains with long term customers who came to know the sales associates, and the associates knew them and their needs.  This was the draw.  Well the change in how we shop forced that model to be abandoned in favor of employees who are not invested in the stores or customers.


I think we are safe in Brownsville because a lot of Mexican nationals shop at JCP and Sears.  As a community we also do not shop high end stores.  I will admit I find shopping on line to be cheaper and easier.  The new pump I just bought for my pool is a good $200 more if I buy it locally versus Amazon.

The Mall owners and the City need to meet with JCP and Sears and offer any tax breaks or help available to show corporate that we are serious about their presence in Brownsville.  If we lose either, the Mall will be on life support.  But I know our leaders, they will wait until JCP or Sears close their local stores and then say "oh well."

Thursday, February 23, 2017


This was wrong when the Republicans silenced Senator Warren, an in some ways even worse that this refugee from Vietnam was silenced by the Democrats for giving an alternative view of someone the Senate celebrated days earlier who the Vietnamese do not look upon favorably.  Her constituents who the speech belongs to need to sue the Democratic Senate of California for denying them a voice.

Are so many of you die hard Democrats still confused why so many people just could not vote Democrat?  I'm not.  Freedom of speech if the cornerstone of our freedom.

"SACRAMENTO — Republican state lawmakers are decrying what they call a free-speech violation after Sen. Janet Nguyen, a Republican from Southern California, was forcibly removed from the Senate floor on Thursday morning during an attempt to criticize the late California Sen. Tom Hayden.

The unusual scene, captured on a cellphone video, shows the Vietnamese-American lawmaker being led from the floor by Capitol security officers.
Nguyen, who fled communist Vietnam with her family in the early 1980s when she was a young child, is critical of Hayden’s anti-Vietnam War activism. Hayden, who died in October, is a polarizing figure in the Vietnamese-American community, as is his former wife, actress Jane Fonda, who was widely accused during the Vietnam War of giving “aid and comfort” to the North Vietnamese enemy.  Hayden was memorialized in the Assembly earlier in the week.


My understanding is based on a discussion with the lawyers in the election office at the SOS. Texas has no ballot access law for petitions related to city commission races. Therefore if the city adopts a petition process, the city charter governs not state law since there is no state law on the issue. Brownsville's Charter is quite abusive. Dallas requires only 25 signatures to get on the ballot. Other cities require 1/2 of 1 % of the votes received by the mayor in the previous election. In this case it would mean a bit more than 50. Fred is at about 90, and Brownsville requires 100. So he is out. All races are now down to two candidates.


It is way too early to know what will happen in 2018.  But I was shocked to learn the following from CNN:  "It's not a crazy idea. Republicans control the House by 24 votes, and there are 23 Republican House members whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in November, providing a tempting target for Dems."

Click for CNN:

 White House press secretary Spicer and Trump can keep the narrative going that these town hall protesters are by paid trouble makers. Delusional beliefs tend to work to the opposing side's advantage. Yes my dear, it is fake news there are not enough life boats on the Titanic.


You know when non-Catholics and atheist say they love this Pope you know he is doing something right.  His latest words to Catholics who do not live the teachings of the Church which are angering the false Catholics.

""There are those who say 'I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association'," .... . 

"He said that some of these people should also say "'my life is not Christian, I don't pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, (I lead) a double life'."

Click for Source:


In the first video Senator Cotton is shouted down and told to do his job after he dismissed a question on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Here is a hard core reality, it was the Republicans and Conservative Think Tanks during the Clinton Administration demanding a mandate, a requirement they then opposed when Obama agreed to their demands. The number one issue the Republicans cite for repealing the ACA is costs.  Well newsflash for all of you factually challenged Republicans, the insurance companies are raising the costs of the insurance not the government.  The only way to stop this is through federal regulations and the Republicans will never do that.

The only solution when it comes to costs is to allow people to chose between buying their own insurance or entering a one payer system.  It has been proven time and time again the cost of managing medicare is significantly less than the cost of managing an insurance company.  Medicare does not have to pay stock holders dividends or worry about stock holders replacing the Board of Directors because profits are not high enough.  There is no other solution.  It is that simple.

And I do not want to hear the stupid Republican mantra, "keep the government out of my healthcare." The government and insurance companies decide everything about your healthcare.  ERISA federal law has been around for decades and regulates your healthcare.  Paper pushers at insurance companies decided if you live or die.  So please get an education, or just shut up and sit down.

The insurance companies help push to define when certain procedures are defined by protocol.  Then they cite the protocols they pushed for to deny you the procedure.  Unfortunately, medicare, medicaid, Tricare, and the VA follow the same protocols lobbied for by the insurance companies, and patients die every day because the insurance companies and their lobbied for protocols are deciding if you live or die and not your doctor.

The BV is open to anyone willing to write a piece explaining so long as insurance companies are in control how it is possible to hold down rates.  Universal coverage by its nature forces higher rates.  So unless you want to deny coverage to the sickest of the sick you have no solution.  Even a right wing economist understands it is a numbers game.  The more people you have buying the insurance the more the cost for the sick is spread out among the many.  A system where based on your income you buy into a one payer system, will allow for the costs to be spread out a lot more than if you have it being done piece meal one insurance company at a time.  This is all fact, and your alternative fact approach because you have no solution will not change reality.


This little boy reminds me of Grisham's book "The Painted House" which takes place in Arkansas. It is a short book which basically shows the issue is not new. It also shows children sometimes are the one who can show us the proper path.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


This OPED from the NYT's is a must read.  The OPED focuses in on the 21st century and no one person or Party.  I like the fact that if the author is accurate he is honest in depicting that the economy grew a lot slower under President Obama, than during the last century.  But note the economy still underwent a major recovery from the Bush II years.

I do not like when all millennials are depicted as the same.  I have a grand nephew who will graduate high school this year who works his butt off, and has taken advantage of all the high tech educational opportunities NY offers its students, while most of his friends just glided through school.  My point is, some millennials are working hard to be successful.Some are not.

This is a must read  from the NYT.  I quote only one part which stood out for me as to what we need to do to fix a problem created my both Parties and people of all backgrounds and ages,

" The Eberstadt piece confirms one thought: The central task for many of us now is not to resist Donald Trump. He’ll seal his own fate. It’s to figure out how to replace him — how to respond to the slow growth and social disaffection that gave rise to him with some radically different policy mix."

Click for Post

What I like about this is, it is time to stop whining about Trump and look for solutions.  People voted for him for a reason.  So now it is time to address the valid complaints and look for policies which we can bring forward with new leadership, even if it means a new political Party, which is what I favor.



Upon meeting with city officials this morning, Fred Martinez was informed he was no longer short 44 valid signatures, but was now only short 6.  He still does not know the names they are challenging.  If he is not qualified by the morning, he will ask for that list and begin to work on the verification process himself.


Fred Martinez is adamant the city is wrong in declaring more than a 1/3rd of his signatures invalid. He claims he personally knows about 80% of the people who signed the form and they live in his district and are registered voters.  All he needs is 20 or so of the signatures verified as correct to get his name back on the ballot.

I have no idea who is right and who is wrong, but I do know the clock is ticking which is why you never file on the last day.  It is my understanding Fred wants his attorney to review the matter instead of simply asking the city for a the names of the rejected signatures. I have no idea what he will do, but I know from experience in a case like this tasking someone else to do the job you should be doing is the fastest way to failure.  Election law is very time sensitive.  You cannot be off by a second.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Side note, the COB web page shows an Alfredo "Fred" Martinez has entered the race for the seat currently held by Debbie Portillo who is not running.  For now pending approval of signatures by the city this race will be the only race with more than 2 candidates.  There are 4 possible candidates at this time, pending verifications of signatures.

I did interview Fred.  He will be an under dog, but his focus is looking at the models of other cities which have revived their down towns.  He speaks fluidly about how other cities have revitalized their down towns and has actually taken the time to visit these cities to study and learn about the models.

His goal is to block walk a community every week with push cards.  He is hoping the one on one face time with him will make a difference.  It could get him into the run-offs.  There is still speculation as to who the mayor and Carlos Marin are backing, but the speculation seems to be almost certain.

The BV will hold until it has more proof.

Assuming the COB approves Fred Martinez's application, the BV will have more.  This is not an endorsement, it is just information for our consideration.


 The number one question I get is why did I stopped covering the city election?  What is there to cover?

The Texas Supreme Court is known for overruling the U.S. Supreme Court or simply ignoring its rulings.  In Texas only Rose Gowen or the City can challenge Erasmo Castro's candidacy.  This is contrary to the Supreme Court's ruling in Anderson v. Celebreeze, 460 U.S. 780, 806 (1983) 

"We began our inquiry by noting that our primary concern is not the interest of candidate Anderson, but rather, the interests of the voters who chose to associate together to express their support for Anderson's candidacy and the views he espoused. Under any realistic appraisal, the "extent and nature" of the burdens Ohio has placed on the voters' freedom of choice and freedom of association, in an election of nationwide importance, unquestionably outweigh the State's minimal interest in imposing a March deadline."

The interest belongs to the people.  Now some have said the ruling was limited to Presidential races - false - the Court in detail discussed the interests as the people's and the fundamental rights related to elections which belong to the people.  They merely said way into the opinion the interest is hightened when it impacts a national election, like for president.

Rose Gowen has the blind female vote, and the money and machine of Tony Martinez and Carlos Marin.  Mike Hernandez will not cross Carlos Marin so he will stand behind Rose Gowen, a well known Brownsville villain.

So here is Rose's predicament, does she directly challenge Castro's place on the ballot now based on a claim he is a convicted felon - this is a  question of law because tecnically on paper he is not, except the courts have found that piece of paper in other cases to be void.

If Gowen fails to act now, it will do her no good later once she has lost.  Then only the city commission can vote to have Castro's win declared a legal nullity because he was not qualified to run or hold office.  Castro is playing with fire and his own future.

I know the system.  Gowenites will tell her to not take action because it will make her look bad and she will listen.  Many a candidate has regretted such advice.

John Villarreal again will have the Martinez machine, which means Carlos Marin.  Mike Hernandez will not cross Carlos Marin.  And besides, Ben Neece is costing Mike Hernandez time and money by representing Jerry McHale who Mike is suing.

The third race is anyone's guess.  We have to wait and see the first campaign finance reports.  They will actually tell us nothing because it is too easy for the candidates to hide their donations until the report just before the election.  So this is going to take some independent investigation which does not include rumor has it so and so was seen with so and so.

The Herald will run cover for Gowen and Villarreal so it will take a lot of mail outs about John Villarreal's voting record in order for Ben Neece to overcome the Martinez/Marin machine. Outside downtown businesses, and bars no one knows Ben Neece, except for negative press.  The reality is I doubt most people in his district have even heard of John Villarreal.

So my question is, what is there to cover?  Nothing new for the city will come from this election.  The cards are stacked against the people, and to be frank, we really are not being given much of a choice.  The Brownsville city commission is looked upon as a circus of clowns and the best of the best simply have no interest in running.

Where was Mike Hernandez with his promise to recruit good candidates.  He has been too busy promoting himself with self-serving commercials and trying to silence the press.


No matter how much Mike Hernandez and OP 1033 hates the reporting of the truth about him and his acts and incompetence in the political arena, the BV will continue to cover it. I am assuming Barton will also continue to cover it. But McHale and Montoya have been shut down. The Brownsville Voice cannnot be bought and Mike Hernandez will never forgive me for refusing his offer of money in exchange for endorsing his candidates for the Port Election .


Trump fails to understand his anger and words can impact how people react. I chose this video because the speaker makes clear the Jewish reporter went out of his way to say there is no evidence Trump or his administration are anti-Semitic.  All the reporter wanted to know is what is the Trump Administration going to do about the up tic of threats against Jewish centers.  Trump called the reporter a liar for claiming he was going to ask a simple question, which Trump considered this to not be a simple question.  It actually is, "we will not have it, our policy will be zero tolerance for such conduct against Jewish Americans."

Trump then lied and made it appear as if the reporter was accusing him of being anti-Semitic,  The exact opposite of what the reporter said.  Because the reporter is true to his faith he later made excuses for Trump saying he was just reacting to the negative press.  But Trump is the president and should be able to handle an honest and simple question without turning it into something about himself.

Yesterday there were 11 reported bomb threats against Jewish Centers.

So Mr. President, again what is your Administration's response to this up tic in anti-Semitism.  Groups which support you Mr. President are tied to white supremacist and Neo-Nazi organizations.  What say you to these supporters?