Tuesday, April 25, 2017


The central library saw a slight increase, while the main office saw a more than 50% decrease.  Basically everyone else was stable more or less. New Horizon and the UTRGV Student Center also saw a small increase.  We went from 469 early voters to 436.  This election is going to require at the district level that the candidates get out their voters.  If you cannot get people to the polls you will lose.

There is no polling in Brownsville so no one can say who is winning and who is losing.  "Word on the street" predictions are as useful as used toilet paper.  All three races are any one's guess.  


After last night, although I hate thinking about it, when Buster passes I will go to the pound for two more puppies.  There is no better medicine or doctor than a dog.

Buster is the darker one. Keaton passed about three years ago from brain cancer. I always use this picture because I never want to leave Keaton out when I speak of Buster. 

People may not believe me, but I do believe Buster saved my life last night. I posted what follows to a member of my FB family's timeline who just lost one of their dogs.

Dogs are amazing and I feel sorry for people who do not get just how amazing dogs really are. 

At maybe 3:30 a.m this morning Buster put her paws up on my bed where my head was. She started to bark up a storm until i woke up. I was suffocating. CPAP/BIPAP's do not always work. It is not about the number of events, but the length of the event.  Even with a high pressure, it is not enough to get you breathing again.

I felt myself floating away. I could not wake up. Buster knew something was wrong, and kept on barking until I woke up. It was bad. My chest was killing me. My head was all disoriented. When i was finally able to get out of bed I realized what happened.

I was mad at Buster at first for waking me, but when I realized she would not go out, and just went back to her spot to go back to sleep I realized what she did. God dogs are smart. 

This sealed it. When she passes I will go to the pound for two more. Whenever I am sick Buster insists on sleeping in my bed, otherwise she prefers her own. She is so intelligent and protective.  I truly know how amazing dogs can be.  How did she know I was in danger.

Monday, April 24, 2017


Only 469 people voted on the first day of early voting.  While not an absolute rule, the largest turnout is on day one.  This means an average of 117 votes per each of the 4 districts.  If this pattern holds, this election will come down to who gets out their voters.  While the data available at this time only allows us to extrapolate, only about 117 people voted in each of the Neece Villarreal, and Garza Munguia races.  I suspect a city wide turnout of 8,000 after election day will be high.

People if you want to vote for someone you need to go vote.  This race will come down to every single vote.  Every vote will count.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dear Citizens:

There seems to be a misconception circulating about my position on "quality of life" projects in Brownsville, and, in particular, those revolving around Biking, in Brownsville. I’d like to make my position clear through this statement: Quality of Life: Yesterday, April 22, is good place to start. I attended, performed at, The event is held at the Linear Park, which is thand helped produce the 7th Annual Earth Day Festival, here in Brownsville. Shannon Guerrero, Rose Timmer and I developed and have worked on this event for 7 years. e origin of the Palo Alto Hike and Bike Trail. This year’s event was the largest and best attended of any of the past events. This is a positive event focusing on all of our citizens and our relationship to our Planet. The Farmer’s Market, which began after our first Earth Day Celebration, was part of the event, as it has been, in the past and benefited from the additional surge of people attending the Earth Day Event. If you want to see what a fantastic even it was look here {SEE ABOVE VIDEO}

Additionally, I was a member of the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts for over 20 years, which organization was responsible for annual events, such as: the Latin Jazz Festival (20 yrs) and the Brownsville Guitar Festival (16 yrs). The BSPA produced dozens of other events over the last 22 years, including the annual Messiah Performances at the Performing Arts Theater. Although I have, recently, retired from the Board, I am still involved in the Performing Arts Academy Project and the BSPA Radio Station. These efforts have contributed, tremendously, to the quality of life Brownsville enjoys. I am, currently, a member of the Brownsville Historical Association, having previously served as its President, as well. The BHA has been an integral part of the quality of life in Brownsville.

We recently merged with the Historic Brownsville Museum to provide support to its museum, which joins our existing museums, nationally recognized resource center, archival unit, the Stillman House, Market Square and Alonso Building. The BHA has promoted Brownsville, in many ways, contributing, not only to our quality of life, but promoting Brownsville to academians and tourists, alike. Ozanam Homeless Center (Casa Romero): A little over 5 years ago, I started focusing my efforts to more humanitarian projects, after I was appointed to the Board of the Ozanam Homeless Center. I decided that it was time to devote my energy to the less fortunate of our community. We have instituted several programs toward that end and have maintained operations, even during fiscally challenging times. Recently, we were the beneficiaries of a generous donation to construct a Community Center, where we will have our first clinic on Immigration issues April 27, 2017. This and our downtown homeless initiative are real humanitarian programs that help the neediest of our citizens and residents.

Cyclobia: I am not against biking or cyclobia. I have issues about the location, i.e. downtown, instead of the Palo Alto Hike and Bike Trail. This is because I have heard the voices of the downtown merchants, who are suffering, rather than benefiting from the street closings during the events. I am opposed to closing heavily traveled traffic lanes for “bike lanes,” especially when “bike trails” are immediately adjacent to the “bike lanes.” This is not, in my opinion, an appropriate allocation of resources for our citizens. Many have expressed, to me, their displeasure with the increased traffic congestion caused by the traffic lane closures.

More input from the citizenry would be helpful in determining the proper allocation of municipal resources. Friends of the West Rail Trail: Recently, the Friends of the West Rail Trail have endorsed my opponent, which endorsement I recognize as their constitutional privilege. However, I would like to clarify my position, to assure that the Friends of the West Rail Trail are aware of it. It is not often that an opportunity like the one presented by the abandonment of the Union Pacific Railroad easement presents itself. These are long term considerations that cannot be easily undone. I understand the urgency of the Friends, because of loss of opportunity, after having suffered for so long with blocked train crossings, the sounds of the locomotives and the dangers involved in having a train pass through your neighborhood.

I have stated, in writing, to your leaders, and twice in public forums, that I SUPPORT a “car free” West Rail Trail. As stated, above, I helped develop usage of the Palo Alto Hike and Bike Trail, i.e. the Earth Day Festivals, and would do my best to develop the West Rail Hike and Bike Trail. My son and I spent many a wonderful time riding the bike trails, both on the Palo Alto and the Montebello “off road” trail, where we took our spills and spilled our blood, riding at Montebello. How does this affect District 4?

The Priorities of District 4 have not been met. Allowing the District to be "forgotten," regarding the growth of the city and revitalization of the Historic Downtown District is not acceptable.

 Necessities should come first, like adequate bus shelters, innovative approaches to downtown parking and security. Also, deregulation to facilitate new businesses openings downtown. Incentives for landowners to renovate their properties should be priority, as well. Having practiced law for 35 years I have dealt with many diverse problems and have found ways to solve them. It’s my job. I want to do that job for the citizens of District 4.

 I hope I have helped to clarify my position on these issues. Please feel free to send comments or questions to my website at: www.benneececampaign.com

Thanks for your consideration of me as your representative. Ben Neece


I swore I would not buy today's Herald for the political ads, but I did.  The three ads appeared in the following order.  Neece, Gowen, Castro.  All three were the same size. Neece's stands out because it is on the outside of the page.  I flipped through the front page section three times before I saw Gowens.  I was tuck on the inside of the page near the end of the front section.  Castro's is on the outside of the page, but not in the front section but instead in an insert promoting Brownsville,"fyi Brownsville."

In my view ads will only matter in close elections.  The At Large Election is the most difficult of the three. Getting enough walkers to go door to door for you in a city wide election is no easy task. Neither Gowen nor Castro sent a mailer which reached my home or that of any of my neighbors.  So in the end a newspaper ad may be the only way they have to reach a large section of the city, assuming people are buying the paper.

Gowens ad has approximately 41 lines of text.  I am sorry but I would never read that ad even for someone I support.  It is way too dense and long. Castro's ad has 17 lines of text.  More readable, but like Gowen's only typical political spillage. 

Ben Neece's ad has 25 lines of text.  In all ads I am counting all lines - even lines with a simple date.

The Gowen Castro race will come down to whether or not Castro's FB followers turn out.  In the past they have failed to turn out in every election in a way to get him elected. In the citywide mayor's race the turnout was dismisal for Castro.  Yes, it is true he got over 10,000 votes in the BISD race, but that race included a presidential race.  In his only city wide race he did not make it to the runoffs.

This race will come down to one thing and one thing only, will his FB lemmings vote? 

Friday, April 21, 2017


I will post any mailers I receive or are sent to me which go to the substance of the election. National public polling shows a disconnect between the people and elected officials.  This mailer hits that issue on the head.


The ads are placed with the Herald.  On Sunday we will see who has money and who does not.  The mailers went out yesterday or this morning.  The postal workers will be busy delivering mailers many will use for dust pans.  That is what I do.  But if the mailer is good, it will be read and could make a difference.

The good news is, we are at the 11th hour and this nasty election will be over soon.

Your choice is simple.  Vote a blank ballot to send a message you want better candidates.  I only get to vote in the At Large Election.

If you are happy with the state of affairs vote for Gowen, Villarreal, and Munguia.

If you cannot bring yourself to vote a blank ballot and are unhappy with the state of affairs vote Neece, Castro and Garza.

My readers do not need to be hand fed an endorsement and told how to think.  So do what you think is best for Brownsville and your family.  I hope your decision moves Brownsville forward, although I must say construction is everywhere in spite of a poorly managed city. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017


This is newsworthy at so many levels.  First a tropical storm in April is almost unheard of.  Second the fact the storm started off of the north Atlantic and is heading directly for Canada is highly unusual.  

But the Republicans keep saying nothing in the weather patterns is changing.


Arlene changed directions overnight and now has a projection of heading towards DC.  This storm is far enough out that it could die off well before any chance of landfall.  But the fact it totally changed directions overnight makes this storm for now completely unpredictable.  We can say Arlene is like the COB elections - it is any one's guess.


It has changed course again.  It now appears it is headed for the straits between Florida and Cuba.  It will not surprise me if it does a complete U-turn and heads to Europe.


According to Remi Garza, of the Cameron County Elections Office, since January only Erasmos Castro and Ben Neece have requested the list.

From Remi:

2 people have requested City of Brownsville Voter Lists.

Erasmo Castro and Ben Neece.

After voter registration closed the list was updated and the COB requested the updated list.  Remi Garza recommended I check with the city to see if any candidates requested the list from the city.  I will check with the city and as soon as I learn the answer I will post it.  This was the update I was waiting for the other day.


The BV has noted perhaps the most interesting part of this election is the schism Abraham Galonsky has created by not backing Tony Martinez's and Carlos Marin's candidate in John Villarreal. Any schism in a one political machine system is always good for the people. Mike Hernandez's entry into city politics has only widened that schism, which in the scheme of things is good for Brownsville.

Yesterday while out I got an earful over my suggestion Rose Gowen supports the mocking of overweight people.  It was made as clear as day to me she is not happy with Mike Hernandez and his meddling in her election with the help of the typing monkey.

I was told to demand he print any interview the typing monkey has with her.  Rose does not answer questions so the interview will not exist.  But if you remember not answering questions is a basis to dog a candidate, well unless it will anger your benefactor.

And please I do not want to hear it.  It is common knowledge George Gavito is passing the money so Mike Hernandez's paid bloggers can officially say Mike is not giving them the money.  We are not stupid Mike.  Mike if you have a problem with my words you might want to tell your drunk blogger to stop getting drunk in public bars and running his mouth.

Rose Gowen finds the jocular ramblings of the typing monkey offensive to Brownsville and the needs of Brownsville.  Her associate made clear she is angered by the attack on people with a weight problem.  She does not like the vulgar language.  She finds him a bore and wants nothing to do with him.

In fact Gowen is not happy with Carlos Marin's association with Mike Hernandez, so her associate says.  She remains silent other than with Tony Martinez on assurances things will change.

On my side, if the typing monkey could afford bus fair from McAllen Pharr he would know Brownsville is filled with new cars and trucks and as is his want because of some personal grudge he has against Brownsville he constantly lies and depicts Brownsville otherwise.

The BV has made clear so many times, you build a university or city based on their known assets.  I have made it clear, I am a strong supporter of our parks, trails and bike trails because they complement the best weather in the United States. But the downtown bike event hurts business and the venue should be changed to the old golf course or Sports Park.  Before someone is killed, the bike trail in front of the zoo should be removed.  It is beyond dangerous.  It cannot be safely used.  These have been my only complaints when it comes to trails and bikes.

While we enjoy a summer temperature of 94 and a gulf breeze. McAllen suffers under 110 degrees with no breeze.  Yes Brownsville can do better.  We need better hospitals.  Doctors Renaissance in Edinburg is a premier hospital with top of the line doctors.  We also need a book store.  When I have a hold over in Houston I love going to the book stores to check out new books so I can order  them on Amazon.  I would prefer to check out a book store in Brownsville and buy the books in Brownsville.

In the end this schism within the Martinez/Marin political machine is good for Brownsville.  On this note Galonsky and Hernandez did something good for Brownsville.  But Mike cannot help but make enemies for himself by associating with the blogs.  You cannot be associated with people who are caught all of the time posting false diatribes against local politicos and then ask why the local politicos dislike you so much.

Politics is like the show "Survivor" so long as you are useful, everyone is your friend, but the day you are no longer useful the knives come out and you are blindsided off of the game.  The blindside is coming Mike.  There comes a point too many politicos will go off on Tony Martinez for allowing this to continue, and Carlos Marin will have to take a stand.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


From the beginning Mike promised a new GED program.  The BV supported it while the bloggers he now pays [are you going to commit perjury George Gavito?] or has silenced trashed Mike's efforts.

As late as September 2016, Mike was promoting his GED program and his self aggrandizement.

From OP10.33 FB.  It is printed Mike so go ahead and delete it if you want.

"Great News...Cameron County Education Initiative, in partnership with OP 1033, has secured a 12,000 sq. ft. workforce training facility located at 3140 Ruben M. Torres Blvd.
The facility will be used to house our education and workforce training initiative. Our plans include the immediate launch of GED test preparation and Adult Literacy programs with an inaugural class launching in November. CCEI is committed to provide these programs at no cost to the students."

Well Mike could not pull it off.  He is still waiting for TEA approval. If and when the program is established if the right staff is hired it will be a welcomed and  desperately needed program for Brownsville. 

Now you can eventually enroll in a semi-free to free Construction Technology Program.  This is a non accredited program promoting itself as allowing you to attend without having to use any federal or state grants or loans as a benefit of them not being accredited .  They are not bound by federal regulations. 

For $400 more than Mike's program, TSC has the same training and is fully accredited. Your credits unlike Mike's program are transferable.  Mike has received some state approval which will allow  the program to seek out funding from various agencies.  Of course the agencies will have to agree to fund the student.  Mike concedes some students will have to pay part of the $4,500 for the course.

The program director says that the benefactor of the program is looking at setting aside some personal funds to help with scholarships.  She did not name the benefactor.  She just said benefactor.

In  technical training tools are always an issue along with books.  I am being told the program includes books and tools which  the students will be allowed to take with them after they complete the program. Without tools a lot of employers will not hire you. The tools are a good thing.  But the lack of accreditation may hurt the students.

In the end if the employers  see quality graduates, they will hire them independent of any accreditation.  

But I can tell you there are many great mechanics out there who cannot get a good paying job because they have no money for their own tools.  If in fact the students will leave the program with the necessary tools to do the job, it will be a plus in terms of finding a job. 

The program was fully vetted by the Texas Workforce Commission and approved as a workforce training program.

The April 24th start  date will be missed because they are still waiting for another approval.  Then they need to recruit students who will qualify for the non federal aid.

Here is my issue, why keep on promising the start of these programs  when you are not completely approved and have no sure fire funding for the students? the funding is 100% dependent on the student. It is good  PR for Mike Hernandez, but does nothing for the students.  the fact there is an unnamed benefactor willing to put up scholarship money is a good thing.

If any of these programs ever get off the ground in principle they are good.  But the final test will be  the graduation rate and if the students can find better paying jobs than they have now.

The programs better make sure the students  understand no credits will be transferable to another program.  Many students may start a program like this and decide they want to be a design engineer or architect, and in the case of this program unlike TSC's none of their credits will be  transferable and they will have to begin from scratch.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


I went to Lowes for my attic insulation because they were offering 36 months at 3.9 interest.  A week ago they charged my credit card $3400.22 for the insulation.  Every day was another excuse for why nothing was happening.

Finally yesterday the installer verified the size of the living area for purposes of the price.  It was just under what I told them.

I was told they would be here today to do the installation.  This morning the company told me the crew would be here at 11 a.m.  A few minutes ago I realized they never showed so I called.  I was told the problem was Lowes and they would get back with me.

I called Lowes and they said they had no idea why the installer would schedule a time since they had not been formally sent the contract.  When I asked why she  said, Gilbert sends the contract and they have been unable to locate him.  It's been a week.

This is not my first round with this manager at Brownsville's Lowes.  An internet order was lost for weeks and she refused to help.  Only when I filed a complaint on her with corporate did anyone care.

So with the installer unable to perform the installation which I paid for a week ago because Lowes cannot find Gilbert I cancelled the order.

What blows my mind is Joy was very comfortable with me cancelling the order.  It was like it was a daily act for her.  This is not how you treat customers.  I have one payment left on my Lowes credit card for some gardening supplies I bought a few months ago, and then I am shredding the card.

Off to McCoys for the installation.