Saturday, January 31, 2009

SUNDAY'S SALES
CITY COMMISSION TO HAVE WORKSHOP ON CHARTER REVIEW - MONDAY (as corrected by reader)

I have a question: if the process is as transparent as the Commission would like us to believe, why not just post the recommended changes on the internet, or in te meeting packet for consideration by the people?

The meetings may have been open to the public, but the public who owns the charger should not have to go to the meetings to know what happended at the meetings. The people own the Charter - not a bunch of political appointees.

To remind everyone there were minority voices on the committee wanting to post everything to the internet, but those who believe transparency means as clear as a morning fog in San Francisco won out on the issue.

It is sad the majority of political appointees on the committee decided the keep the public in the dark until the 11th hour.

Friday, January 30, 2009

MODERATE BLACK REPUBLICAN WINS CHAIR OF REPUBLICAN PARTY

(No movie review - I was in SA all day on business - not VA business - also nothing new worth watching anyway.)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7862158.stm

I personally believe had John McCain chosen Michael Steele as his VP he would be president today. So goes history.

The Republican Party is in a complete free fall. If you know Mr. Steele he is no friend of social conservatives. Is this the beginning of a fiscally conservative, but socially moderate Republican Party?
TODAY’S POST IS NOT EXCITING NOR FILLED WITH DRAMA - BUT JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

There is no getting around the fact the economy is collapsing. Both the Democrats and Republicans appear oblivious to two simple problems with the economy. The government can put a trillion dollars of new money into the system for loans, but if we cannot afford the debt we already have, how will we afford new debt?

The second issue is gas. Everyday people watch for the price of fuel - should they buy today or wait and see what happens tomorrow. It is very difficult to budget one’s household expenses when you know there is no stability in the price of gas. By June we could easily be back to $4.00 a gallon - then what? Congress will not take action to regulate the speculators and put a price freeze on the price of oil.

All we have left is each other. During these difficult times, I am proposing that each of us do our best to support local businesses. A family which owns a restaurant like Big Daddy’s cannot look to the profits of 100 other sister restaurants to absorb the losses of 10 of its restaurants. The big chain restaurants have a better chance of surviving this economic downturn than the family owned restaurant. If you can afford to go out and eat, choose a locally owned restaurant over a chain restaurant.

Next, just because you cannot afford new shoes does not mean you cannot get an old pair refurbished. I still wear my 1981 issued US Army shoes - they have been resoled more times than you can imagine. Hey, it keeps a little shoe repair shop in business and allows him to feed his family.

If you need a windshield there is the family owned business Ramirez in Southmost. They are cheaper than the chain places and the work is A+.

My bigger point is, as money gets tight, think about where you shop. It is important that we support our neighbors by shopping in their stores when possible.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CISNERSOS, CAMARILLO, AND GARZA ON PROBLEM SOLVING IN PUBLIC WORKS

IT IS TIME TO ADDRESS THE FAILURES IN CITY MANAGEMENT THROUGH CHARTER REVIEW

BUT FIRST THE MAYOR AND BISD UPDATE

My sources with knowledge of the evidence DA Villalobos is keeping from the grand jury in the mayor’s check scam tell me that the mayor’s checking account was overdrawn on the day he deposited the subject check, and that he immediately paid $6,000.00 worth of bills with the money. My sources are telling me that DA Villalobos has ordered silence by his staff as to why the grand jury review was cancelled. It is my understanding it will not be heard until February.

As of Monday it appears Antonio Juarez had abandoned his lawsuit against BISD. Ben Neece has taken no action to obtain a TRO to prevent BISD from firing Juarez. You see, in federal court rules tend to matter a bit more than in state court. In the case of Judge Euresti Ben Neece knew Judge Euresti would sign his own death warrant - but the same cannot be said for federal Judge Andrew Hanen who will hear Juarez’s case.

On Monday we learned that two city employees were arrested and fired for abuse of the city purchasing cards. We learned that City Manager Cabler lied to the Herald about how their system of auditing caught the problems. I have asked the City Commissioners to comment on this, not a word from the town clowns.

The following are the questions the City Commissioners are refusing to answer:

When will this city commission deal with the mismanagement in Public Works?
When will this city commission call for an independent audit of city credit cards?
When will this city commission make education a factor

Those seeking the offices currently held by Camarillo, Garza, and Cisneros need to answer these questions as part of their respective campaigns against this trio.

As I reported yesterday, I verified with the BPD Cabler is a liar. The only reason they caught the problem is because I threatened an open records request of the credit card statements if they did not take action. In fact the city filed an objection to my request with the Office of the Attorney General. In fact the city is late on an Open Records request related to phone bills for the commissioners’ cell phones. Apparently another suit is the only way I am going to get the phone bills, which Pete Gonzalez stated to me in an e-mail were subject to an open records request.

You see this city commission is prepared to spend a million dollars defending lawsuits rather than simply comply with the law. Pete Gonzalez has refused to respond to my request as to the status of the phone bills. It is sad they will pay an attorney to respond to my request. Your tax dollars being wasted to keep the corruption under wraps.

Charlie Cabler is the epitome of corruption and nothing will change so long as he has a job with the City of Brownsville. This brings me to management.

Santana Torres oversees Public Works. This includes the Greens Department. Monday’s revelations about corruption in the Greens Department was only the tip of the iceberg. There is still the case of the $14,000.00 stolen from the safe at the landfill. Because I cannot trace the money to a specific person and cannot prove my claims with an open records request - the thieve has been told - no worry - no investigation - Charlie Cabler has your back.

Everyone who works in Public Works knows they can go into any storage facility and take anything they want and sell it at a pawn shop, the flee market or in Mexico. There is absolutely nothing in place to track who is checking out high dollar equipment and who is bringing it back.

When David Ivory left Public Works he had two secretaries. When it was realized Santana Torres was in way over his head, according to my source, Lydia Gonzales at Cabler’s request authorized 5 additional secretaries to be hired to help Santana Torres to do his job.
In real cities where competence matters, the Director over Public Works would have an engineering license or an MBA. In Brownsville all it requires is a high school diploma.

So what ever happened to the Charter Review Committee? Originally we were told we would be told about their recommendations in November. Then we were to be told about their recommendations during a City Commission Workshop, about two weeks ago. Still nothing - what is the cover-up?

The City Charter belongs to the people. Why are Charter Review Committee members being prohibited by the city commission from revealing their recommendations? What is the delay? What is the cover-up? Where is the infighting?

One thing I called for was a mandate that all City Directors have a professional licence, or a masters in their field. The City Manager should be required to have a Masters in Public Administration. The one thing I know about the City of Brownsville, the Abyss by the Gulf, is its city commission will always be opposed to educated people holding key positions. They need ignorant people who could not get jobs as ass wipes so that they become 100% dependent on a hopelessly corrupt and inept city commission.

FOLLOW-UP TO ARRESTS OF CITY EMPLOYEES - TIME TO FIRE CABLER AND TORRES

UPDATE FROM ORIGINAL POST:

This afternoon the BPD verified for me that Charlie Cabler lied to the Brownsville Herald and that the only reason they caught these thefts was because of my complaint. Again who is Cabler protecting?

The Herald quotes City Manager Cabler making the following statement regarding the fraud in Public Works.

"We continually check on the cards with our internal auditors; we saw discrepancies and initiated an internal investigation when we saw there was a criminal element. We contacted the police. The system (using the cards) is a good way to expedite materials. It's a good system. We just need to fine tune it."

This is a bold face lie - and Cabler is covering for his own incompetence and failure to address this problem months ago. This also means the problem remains unresolved and your tax dollars remain subject to theft by city employees.

This entire matter was discovered because I filed a complaint with Pete Gonzales giving him the names of Llamas, and Rodriguez. Had Cabler simply said the investigation was opened after a citizen complaint I would have no complaints. It is his lie that the system, which is broken, caught the problem. His lie tells me the taxpayers are still exposed to further fraud, and this is what concerns me.

Here is an excerpt from my original e-mail to Pete Gonzales in December, which according to the Herald is when the city started the investigation.

"My source is telling Raul Llamas in the Greens Division ordered him to use a City credit card assigned to the Greens Division to buy certain supplies at McCoys. The city employee did not think twice about this. Mr. Llamas then called the same city employee demanding he use city time and the same city credit card to buy industrial staples. The employee was ordered to bring the staples to Raul Llamas home. This is when the city employee saw the supplies he had previously purchased at McCoys being used to build a carport at Raul Llamas home. My source is telling me that after he paid for the building supplies at McCoy's he gave the receipt to Gilbert Rodriguez to make arrangements to have the materials pick-up."

The following is Pete Gonzales initial response to me via e-mail after he open the investigation.

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2009/01/from-peter-gonzalez-city-of-brownsville.html

My issue here is simple - why is Cabler lying about how broken the system is and claiming they caught it? This is a point blank lie and every city commissioner knows it. When the city manager lies about a broken system which is allowing for endless fraud on the taxpayers it is time to fire the city manager.

The city commission will do nothing about Cabler’s attempted cover-up of the broken system and you can see this in Sorry Charlie Atkinson’s name calling at me. You see Cabler can keep his job so long as he is willing to do the dirty work for the commissioners. Who among the commissioners’ favorites on the city payroll is Cabler protecting?

My question is, if Cabler is lying about having caught the problem when in fact he did not, what/who else is he covering for in terms of fraud and mismanagement under his failed leadership?

When it is convenient for Sorry Charlie Atkinson to demand that Pat Almighty tell the people where the check came from he is all MOUTH, but when it comes time to demand Cabler tell the truth about how this investigation came about he engages in name calling against the citizen who filed the criminal complaint.

Who is Cabler protecting for Sorry Charlie Atkinson?

The fraud against the city and Cabler’s total incompetence and lies on the issue, should be the number one issue in the May elections. The people are at their limits with corruption and incompetence by politicos. If Cisneros, Garza and Camarillo are not willing to demand Cabler’s and Torres heads over this, then the people will send Cisneros. Garza, and Camarillo packing.
For those new to BV here are some old articles on mismanagement in Public Works - Greens Department is part of Public Works

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2008/12/credit-card-fraud-against-city-of.html

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2008/09/brownsville-city-landfill-where-dirty.html

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WHEN A VENDETTA RUNS ROUGHSHOD OVER COMMONSENSE AND GOOD PUBLIC POLICY BECOMES THE VICTIM

Editor's note: late Tuesday I posted the press release concerning the criminal charges against two city employees which came about as a result my criminal complaint. I will have more to say on this later Wednesday morning - but the bottom line is Cabler is covering for a failed system - see my comments in the Herald)

TIME WARNER

I will be as clear as I can about the fee Time Warner is charging to customers who do not received their bill via e-mail - it is good for the poor and will result in lower bills over time, or no increases over time. I understand that to have service with Time Warner means endless frustration.

Sorry Charlie Atkinson and Shorty Dick Longoria have made it clear that those of us who live in Southmost have no right to quality service from Time Warner. The lines are old and do not work on cold nights. It took me over a month to get Time Warner to replace my outside cables over this issue, and then another month to put waterproof connectors on their outside connections. Even with these changes, after threats of litigation, my Road Runner goes down every day. My point is, I get we all hate Time Warner. But hating Time Warner does not mean you oppose a policy which will lower operating costs which in turn will keep fees down and provide greater access to the poor.

Before I explain the how, I want to use two examples to which most people can relate. In 1974, I paid $225.00 for a rt ticket between NY and Miami. For reasons not important, my family flew for free from Miami to Managua, Nicaragua. In my family if you worked you paid for your own plane tickets. Today that same plane ticket is $198.00 plus fees. How it is that 35 years later, with fees the cost of a plane ticket is the same as in 1974? The internet changed everything.
In the old days the airlines had to pay a reservationist to take your call and help you find a fare and time which was good for you. You could spend a half-hour on the phone looking for a reasonable fare. If you did not use their reservation service you went to a travel agent. The airlines then had to pay a commission to the travel agents.

Now that most people make their own reservations on line and print out their own boarding passes on line, the airlines save millions of dollars a year on salaries and benefits. The airlines became more efficient and cost conscience. This is why the cost of a plane ticket from NY to Miami has not changed in 35 years, although wages have gone up and new planes have been bought.

It was not long ago that senior citizens on a fixed income or parents dependent on child support could not get bank accounts because they could not afford the monthly fees. Because of the internet and electronic transfers banks realized they could waive the monthly fees if people agreed to direct deposit for their SS checks or pension or paycheck. Electronic deposits saved the government the costs associated with producing the checks, and the banks the costs of paying tellers to process all of the checks. The banks realized that by going electronic they could improve their services while actually eliminating fees.

All of this expanded banking to the poor. Poor women and men no longer wait for their child support in the mail. The state deposits it directly into their bank accounts and these parents who live day to day have their money on the same day the bank deposits the money into their accounts. The banks and the Child Enforcement Section of the Office of the Texas Attorney General are saving millions of dollars which were previously devoted to the processing of checks.
How much do those of you who will attack my post think the banks are saving now that millions of Americans no longer use checks and pay their bills on line, or charge groceries on their debit cards? How much are the retailers saving now that they no longer have to process millions of checks every year?

It is the same for Time Warner Cable. I agree poor people will not be able to take advantage of the 99 cents savings by receiving their bill electronically. But the poor will benefit big time as rates are held down as Time Warner saves millions on mailings, personnel to process the bills, and personnel to process the payments. Part of what will happen is more and more people will just begin to pay their bill on line. This will mean Time Warner will not need an entire department to process checks.

As for the fee to pay your bill at the Time Warner Center - I do not get it. I go every month and scan my bill at the bill pay kiosk. My account comes up. I insert my money and my bill is paid. It does not cost me a penny. I cannot help the people who prefer to stand on line and pay the extra dollar so they can say they gave the money to a live person.

Anyone can ask how to use the kiosk and the staff for free will show them how it works.
The bottom line is, this 99 cent fee will force a lot of people to change their habits about how they receive and pay their bill. This will save Time Warner millions of dollars in operating costs. This will mean less pressure on Time Warner to raise our rates. If paying 99 cents to receive a hard copy of my bill will mean no rate increase for a few years, then I say, no commonsense says, the poor will be the primary beneficiary of this new policy.

And before someone says, Time Warner will not pass on the savings - let’s look at history. The cost of a plane ticket has not changed in 35 years. The banks no longer charge the poor to have a checking account.
CITY OF BROWNSVILLE EMPLOYEES ARRESTED AFTER BV CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

Here is my original story.

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2008/12/credit-card-fraud-against-city-of.html

It is actually worse. For over a year I have been complaining about credit card abuse within the City of Brownsville. In the Greens Department any employee can take a blower, lawn mower, chainsaw and sell it at the flee market. They have no system for checking out these high dollar tools. Anyone can check them out, while having no duty to take them back.

This is all happening under Santana Torres. If Charlie Cabler fails to fire Santana Torres, then the City Commission needs to fire Charlie Cabler.

The problem is huge. As I have said before, I have personally seen city employees buying printer cartridges at Office Depot and selling them to their friends in the parking lot.

A major part of this problem is Elia Gonzales - she treats the City of Brownsville personnel office as her personal employment agency. This position should be held by someone with an MBA in Personnel Management - but then again - this is Brownsville the Abyss on the Gulf of Mexico.

PRESS RELEASE FROM CHIEF GARCIA

Date/Time: January 27 2009
Location: Brownsville Texas
Subject: Brownsville City Employee Arrested

Brownsville Police Department initiated a Theft Investigation in December of 2008 into allegations that two Public Works employees were abusing the use of their assigned City of Brownsville Purchasing Credit Card (P-Cards). The investigation revealed that Greens Division employee, Raul Llamas and Greens Division Supervisor, Gilberto Rodriguez were making purchases with their assigned P-Cards and either keeping the merchandise or selling it at half price. The value of the property the stole is more than $1,500.00 but Less than $20,000.00.

The investigation revealed the suspicious purchases started in January of 2008, were made at different locations such as; Sears, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, McCoy’s, Burton’s, John Deere and also made a purchase through the internet for tools. Investigators were able to recover most of the items from the employee’s homes and a pawnshop.

Llamas and Rodriguez were brought in for questioning and admitted to the thefts and both were being charged with Theft (State Jail Felony) Llamas has an additional charge of Tampering with a witness as he intimidated an employee into giving police a false statement when questioned.
On January 20, 2009 Llamas was arrested and charged with State Jail Felony Theft and Tampering with a Witness. He posted a $10,000.00 bond.

Gilberto Rodriguez is now considered a fugitive, as he is aware there is a warrant for his arrest. Rodriguez still has not been located to execute the arrest warrant.

The City Credit Cards have since been collected and the city is in the process of reviewing and changing policies regarding "P-Card" purchases.

The two employees have been terminated due to the allegations made against them and the Charges pending against them as well.

# # # # # # # # #
A LEGAL HODGEPODGE DAY

Someone in one of the comments asked why I bother with the idiots. Between Sunday night and Monday I rejected nearly 10 posts mostly by the same person. The ones I let through are selected based on my desire to show the level of mental illness driving those who seek distraction as an alternative to solutions. While it is obvious to some it is not obvious to others. I simply allow some through to allow my readers to see the other side of blogging and those who seek to destroy any hope for positive change. We must know the enemy if we are to defeat them.

A funny side note - one of these idiots actually believes that if he keeps on saying I do not work, I will disclose a list of my clients so he can harass them. I have rejected the same pathetic comments a million times and he keeps on posting them. I think it is called being an obsessive compulsive manic depressive.

PAT ALMIGHTY:

This was in Saturday’s Herald: "The DA wanted the opportunity to review the case (for possible prosecution) and we felt there was no need for the FBI to get involved and not necessarily because it's a low amount of money," said Johnson, clarifying a prior statement from the FBI San Antonio office that the amount was below the threshold that prompts a federal inquiry.

"A violation of trust (rather than a financial crime) is the most important thing and you can't put a price on that," Johnson said.

He said that since the state is so far ahead in addressing the case "it should run with it."

http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/attorney_93996___article.html/district_blaylock.html

Mr. Johnson with the FBI was clearly upset with the previous article in the Herald which lead the readers to believe the FBI was not interested in the Pat Almighty case.. His response was mostly a warning shot at Villalobos - "mess this up and we will handle it for you." This is very telling because it indicates the FBI is all too aware Villalobos cannot be trusted. Mr. Johnson’s decision to come back and clarify the FBI’s position was a clear slap in the face to Villalobos. It was a black and white statement of no confidence towards Villalobos.

Pat Almighty’s attorney, Blaylock, says his client wants to testify before the grand jury. Yea right - do not believe it. I have testified before the grand jury on behalf of clients and while pursuing grand jury referrals. Unless you are willing to tell the grand jury foreman to shove it up his ass when he attempts to assert his imaginary authority, you are best not to testify. My first time, I told the grand jury foreman to shove it up his ass and accused him of being bought an paid for by the Assistant DA. I walk out of the grand jury room and marched up to the office of the DA. The Assistant DA was pulled from her duties as an Assistant DA, and the case was assigned to a new grand jury after it was decided the original grand jury had become tainted by the foreman and unethical ADA.

When you are before a grand jury you have no rights. You have no attorney in the room to object to a question or advice you how to lie. You are on your own. No competent attorney tries a case before a grand jury. All you can do is argue the DA has the law wrong. That is exactly what I did when I won my first No Bill. The issue was whether a political candidate falsified his address on his Application for a Place on the Ballot - ala Presas-Garcia.

BISD - POWERS V. JUAREZ

In further defense of his character Mr. Powers posted the following to the BV "Antonio Juarez came to my office (twice) for advice about filing a grievance against Hector Gonzales during the first week of January."

Juarez, in his lawsuit, never mentioned this meeting with Powers. It would not surprise me to learn that it was never a majority of the unnamed Board Members who encouraged Juarez to file the grievance, but only Mr. .Powers who at the time was just an average citizen like me and you.
You see, all allegations have an element of truth - it is just a matter of spin. I have seen this tactic before - one person makes the claim, and the lawyers puts it on an anonymous group. A curious thing about the "Majority Board Members’ making the demand that Juarez file a grievance against Gonzales - was this during an illegal meeting between Mr. Juarez and the "Majority Board Members"? You see a majority would constitute a quorum in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Some people have raised a legitimate concern that I may be covering for Powers. If Powers has done something wrong, me filing a complaint with the FBI certainly did not help him. I will follow the evidence where it takes me. Anyone who knows me knows I care not one bit where the axe falls so long as it falls on justice.

When I look to Antonio Juarez’s claims I just find them to be without merit as alleged. (Qualifier "as alleged") To believe him about the "Majority Board Members" is to believe he himself was party to an illegal meeting. Presas-Garcia and Peña were certainly not at the meeting. I think we can all be certain at this point that had such an offer occurred to give Juarez back his job as CFO in exchange for a grievance against Gonzales, Presas-Garcia would have been the first to call the Herald. So if it happened it happened in an illegal meeting without Presas-Garcia and Peña present.

LAWSUITS AND HAVING FUN

Most people seem to have a very poor understanding as to the mechanics of a lawsuit. After you file the lawsuit a process server delivers the lawsuit to the person who you sued. In state court they have until the first Monday after 21 days past the date they were served with the lawsuit to file an answer. In state court most defendants can file what is known as a general denial. There are a handful of exceptions. Federal court is different on this issue.

There are morons, you know the type people who have to put everyone down to compensate for their own low self-esteem, who think they can run from the lawsuit. These morons actually believe they are the first person to think of this. Texas law provides for morons. A moron can be served through publication. After being served through publication if they fail to timely file an answer the judge can default them. This becomes particularly dangerous if another party has agreed to an Agreed Judgment for lets say 5 million dollars. In these cases the judge can tack on the name of the party who defaulted using the theory of joint and several liability. The settling party is released from the judgment upon payment of a portion of the judgment. The defaulting party typically learns of the judgment when the constable shows up at their bank with a writ of garnishment, effectively emptying their bank account.

Something similar to this happened to a lawyer I was working for in 1989. The constable showed up at the office with a moving van and removed all non-exempt property from the office. Van left the airport after cancelling his ski trip and returned to the office to write a check for a large sum of money to the lawyer on the other side of the case. It is a lesson which has stayed with me and which has proven very profitable over the years.

Just a little adventure in the wonderful world of litigation.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

THE DEVOLUTION OF BROWNSVILLE FROM A WANT OF VISION - ITS NEW MOTTO "A STRIP JOINT AND BAR ON EVERY CORNER - IT’S GOOD FOR BUSINESS."

(Editor's note: there was a late night posting on BISD before this post.)

Most people who are of the older generation remember all too well how their children fled Brownsville in hopes of greener pastures elsewhere. Over time many came back, but most stayed away. Today a new generation is moving into Brownsville because they heard there is economic opportunity and weather which is everything you could hope for. Among these new arrivals some leave after several months, especially the professionals. What they quickly learn is, between the politicians and the lack of a quality educational infrastructure, Brownsville is not where you move to raise a family.

Every parent hopes that their child will grow up and seek employment in their own town. For this to happen, opportunity has to extend beyond the parent. The new arrivals who are needed to help Brownsville grow see little hope of this.

For reasons I do not understand, Brownsville is a city without hope or vision. Ask yourself, what do you see Brownsville offering your child in 10 years? Do you see anything happening which would give you reason to believe Brownsville will ever be a great tourist destination. A place where a major auto manufacturer decides to build a plant? All major manufacturing is done through robotics. There is no where for our children to go to learn these skills. No one in a position of leadership can seem to make the connection between training workers for the future, and Brownsville’s ability to recruit a major manufacturer.

Vision by the Airport Board and the City Commission means a ten year break-even plan to remodel the parking lot at the airport. Have you been on Boca Chica of late? Does anyone believe Boca Chica can handle the expanded traffic which will come with a larger airport? Boca Chica cannot handle the traffic caused by Walmart.

Leadership with vision would be looking at land on 77 and 511 or 77 and East Blvd to build a new airport which would have direct access to 77. No, vision Brownsville style is upgrading a parking-lot which will take 10 years to pay for. Does anyone believe Brownsville can present itself in a professional manner while its airport remains a glorified shack and Harlingen and McAllen have built modern airports?

When you leave Brownsville’s airport the visitor’s first impression on their way to SPI is Iowa - a road which is one pothole after another. You are on your way to SPI for a convention, do you see Brownsville as anything but a third world city with antiquated infrastructure, or a city on the move? If you shoot down Billy Mitchell the first restaurant you see is literally a falling down shack. What do you think? Your company wants to transfer you to Brownsville - do you come?

The one thing for which anyone has a vision to bring about economic development, the Weir Dam, is met with opposition from a city commission more interested in settling personal scores with Mayor Pat Ahumada than in moving Brownsville forward. The Weir Dam turns downtown Brownsville into a pearl on the Rio Grande with fine restaurants, shopping, and hotels.
More and more people are afraid to travel abroad for a variety of reasons. Within the next month a cousin of mine and her husband will spend a week on SPI - two reasons - Miami is too cold this time of year, and they like the idea they can run across the border real quick for some shopping while basically feeling safe in the US.

Imagine a first class airport with easy access to 77, a convention center, a developed downtown with river-boat gambling, fine hotels, shopping. and restaurants. But all our leadership can imagine is a sports complex which does nothing for tourism or economic development, and potholes.

I have met with so many people in the business community and have asked, why are the political candidates always the same old recycled failed politicos of the past? Answer, no one with an ounce of integrity is willing to suffer what is sure to be a campaign of take no prisoners, which is run by proxy by corrupt officials - looking to insure their clan are the only ones to benefit from change. The sad part is the blogs, bloggers, and the Herald are all too willing to make themselves party to attacks of distraction.

The current stable of candidates looking to run in the May elections are nothing more than a stable of old horses long overdue for being sent out to pasture or the glue factory. Although, allowing the incumbents to remain in office does nothing for hope. A recycled old horse at least sends a message the incumbents have failed us. Further, Brownsville has the real possibility of a special election for a new mayor. Who will run? The same old tired horses looking to make money for their clan rather than for the benefit of the city.

Brownsville is desperate for an experienced business leader - paying a bunch of poor old soles (I mean soles - not souls) a welfare wage does not make you experienced or successful. There must be someone who has run a multimillion dollar corporation who has a vision for Brownsville. A professional who understands you establish your goals and go for them. A professional who through his/her acts can demonstrate the pettiness and immaturity of the current city commission, without having to go personal. I believe people will follow a true leader while dismissing most if not all of the current city commissioners as without vision or leadership.

It is time for honest people in the business community to search among their own and help the people of Brownsville and Cameron county find new faces to run for public office. Such a committee must include trusted community activists. If the business community would recruit and fund such candidates it is possible such candidates could overcome the 11th hour ads of half-truths and disinformation the proponents of corruption will seek to run. Our next mayor probably needs to be a transplant. It seems to me a Brownsville native will probably be by nature like a rudderless boat. When your only experience in observing government is observing failure it seems to me you automatically become jaded by that failure and a prisoner of a system which will never aspire past failure.

Two years ago many of the current city commissioners and mayor promised to raise impact fees, to cover the costs to the city for new construction -two years later, nothing. Our older communities continue to deteriorate. When people want to buy a new home they do no think about an older home they can remodel, they think new construction. If you want to make older homes more attractive to new buyers you need to raise the cost of new construction homes. An impact fee of $6,000.00, on new construction homes would force people to buy older homes in need of remodeling. A remodeled home improves older neighborhoods and revitalizes them, and in time increases property tax revenues. Something so simple, but yet too complex for consideration by this city commission.

The city commission’s view of our older neighborhoods is to just let them die off like abandoned cities after a nuclear war. The idea that they can be revitalized through competent visionary governmental policies eludes this mayor and city commission, all of whom lack any real vision. It is truly time to reject all candidates who are part of the same old recycled politicos, and seek out new blood who are not limited in their vision of Brownsville by the failed leadership of the past.

Something as simple as dealing with new bars in Brownsville is beyond the competence of this city commission. BISD is threatening to sue the city for approving a liquor permit for an establishment within 260 feet of a school facility. If this happens tax dollars from the city will be used to promote a bar within 260 feet of a school facility -but no money for potholes. In real cities with real leadership entertainment and red-light districts have been established as a way to keep bars and adult entertainment out of our communities. Not in Brownsville - Brownsville’s motto is, "A strip joint and bar on every corner - it’s good for business." I guess if you keep enough people happy with spirits and strippers they will not notice they live in a backward third-world city.

Special education is a disaster in Texas. We in Brownsville with the BISD mess are watching the failure of special education unravel at both the state and local level. Eddie Lucio III’s solution is to pull a Mayor Ahumada and introduce legislation to make it a crime to steal a dog. This is Eddie Lucio III’s idea of leadership and creativity. Our special needs children are being denied an education because of failed policy at the state level, and failed leadership at the local level, and Lucio III is trying to make laws about dogs. This is Brownsville.

OTIS POWERS MADE VICTIM TWICE - BV RESPONDS

I was waiting for the gallo pinto to finish, refried Nicaraguan beans with rice mixed together, along with boiled platano macho and yuca root, (picture has them fried) when I decided to check the blogs. You would think a BISD English teach would know how to read plain English, but maybe not. I get testy when you interrupt my gallo pinto.
Here is the original story by the BV.

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2009/01/otis-powers-accused-of-receiving-bribe_21.html

There is a big difference between reporting what a third party has said in a sworn statement and making the accusation yourself.

The BV knows of no allegations by anyone wherein Otis Powers is alleged to have taken a bribe. The BV reported that Antonio Juarez in a sworn statement made a claim in a sentence which included the word bribe and the name Otis Powers. The BV also made clear the sentence was incoherent. The primary point was to make known the level of dirty politics coming from Ben Neece and his clients.

I defy anyone to tell me what the following means:

"Complainant alleges that a former Board member, Otis Powers, received a bribe, on behalf of Kent Whittemore, to help influence the outcome of the grievance."

All the BV did is report Otis Powers was accused of this, what ever it means.

Who knows what the truth is, but the BV knows of no coherent statement by anyone who claims Otis Powers took a bribe. The BV has certainly never made the claim. In fact anyone with minimal skills in the English language can read my criminal complaint and understand I suggested that Antonio Juarez only used Otis Powers' name because Otis no longer has control over his future. The implication to the other Board Members was Antonio Juarez will name names, but for now he is only naming someone who has no control over his future. You might call it a veiled threat.

After I contacted Mr. Powers to inform him I intended to respond to the claims being made concerning BV, he informed me he made the following post on another blog.

‘Let’s get the facts right. I welcome a grand jury about Mr. Antonio Juarez sworn statements. I have nothing to hide. I have been off the board since November and have not attended any meetings since October 21, 2008 . Mr. Juarez was re-assigned in December not October. Mr. Kent Whittemore grievance was held on January 20, 2009 and did not get what he requested. My attorney is looking into perjury of Mr. Juarez statements and false statements by Board Member Caty Presas-Garcia. I will not let any body blame me for Mr. Juarez re-assigned. I will fight to the end."

Herman Otis Powers Jr.

Otis and I may not agree on policy or how he handled himself as a former BISD Board Member in terms of Hector Gonzales and Art Rendon, but that does not translate into me believing in character assassination. I grow bored with people who cannot make a policy argument so they turn to distractions and character assassinations. these people are the evil which keeps Brownsville down and as a third world city. If Otis Powers is a victim here, I hope he gives Antonio Juarez and Ben Neece hell.

A man should take no prisoners when defending his reputation against false accusations.
SUNDAY'S SALES CIRCULARS

Friday, January 23, 2009

I liked the film, but with qualifiers. This is a modern day fairytale which incorporates many parts from the old standards. I think children under 12 will probably be bored with the film. Also if you are not a fan of the genre you will probably not like the film

The scenes are magnificent. The director's blending of colors to perfection only made for an even better film. Brendan Fraser has a gift which causes characters to come alive out of the books. During one reading several evil characters come out of the book "Inkheart" and his wife goes in.

The story is about his journey for a duplicate copy of the book "Inkheart" I must have missed what happened to the original which causes him to have to search for a duplicate.

In my opinion the story is well written and well acted. Helen Mirren plays aunt Eleanor to perfection. I love films which bring new ideas to the big screen. On balance I found the film to be creative. But again, children under 12 will probably be bored. And adults should be fans of this type genre of film to fully appreciate its creativity.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SCHOOL DISTRICTS FAIL CHILDREN

Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - ShootingThere was a shooting last night at around 2:45am at the Borders Apartments at 375 Media Luna at Apartment #3701. Alejandro Mendoza (24)-reported that he arrived home to find that his sister Amy Mendoza was having a party in the apartment. Alejandro states that he was done for the night and he was trying to sleep but the people in the apartment were being loud so he asked everyone to leave. As he was escorting them out of the apartment one of the male subjects ( Bruno Leal -19) got into a verbal argument with him, while they were outside. The subject then pulled out a gun began shooting at Mendoza. Mendoza ran back into the apartment and shut the door. Mendoza was hit in the left arm but the bullet traveled into his body and lodge in his lung. He was transported to Valley Regional Medical Center, where he is under going surgery and in critical condition. Amy Mendoza and the party goers identified the shooter as Bruno Leal from 804 Pinemore Drive in Brownsville. Bruno Leal was arrested at his residence without incident at around 11:45am today and is now at the Brownsville City Jail. He will be arraigned tomorrow via video arraignment.PREVIOUS ARREST FOR LEAL

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WITH THE MAY ELECTIONS AROUND THE CORNER, WHAT SHOULD WE BE LOOKING FOR IN CANDIDATES?

I think there is little doubt unless the law requires the mayor to resign after indictment, Pat Almighty will stick this out until he has no choice but to resign or be thrown out via a recall. This is sad because if he would simply resign now, we might be able to still have a special election during the regular May elections. To know Pat Almighty, it means nothing to him how much a special election outside of the regular municipal elections might cost the taxpayers.

Brownsville has three levels of representation within its city government. The mayor, commissioners at large, and commissioners who represent a specific district within Brownsville. Each of these three levels of representation have different purposes.

I want to begin with the latter first - the commissioners who represent districts. These commissioners should have their primary focus on the districts they represent. They are more community oriented commissioners. Their job is working to improve the quality of life not throughout Brownsville, but in their district. These means little things like cleaning graffiti, keeping alleys clean, keeping trees around electric lines trimmed, insuring adequate police patrols in the districts. You get the idea.

What I am suggesting is, when selecting someone to run for the Brownsville city commissioner at a district level, make sure you choose someone with a strong history of being in the community and working towards a better quality of life for the people in the community. You should be leery of people who come in and make promises to fix everything in Brownsville, or want to take the lead on major city wide projects. This is not their primary job.

The secondary job of these district commissioners if to address issues which are Brownsville wide, and insuring that the city government is serving the needs of the community. This is in contrast to the commissioners at large who should be focusing on the larger issues facing Brownsville. They represent the entire city and not just a mere section of the city. They however, are not the spokesperson for the city.

In looking for a candidate for an at large position we should be looking for someone who understands they are to provide leadership in terms of a vision for all of Brownsville. They should not be overly involved in specific complaints by citizens, although if they receive one they should respond accordingly.

This brings us to the mayor. The mayor and only the mayor is the spokesperson for the city. A competent mayor should be able to unite all of the commissioners for the good of the community. When the mayor fails to do same, the mayor fails as a mayor.

In searching for a mayor people should be looking for someone who can unite the community, and who has a vision for the future of Brownsville. The candidate should have a goal of 3-4 major goals for the city. Anything more than 3-4 major projects will insure the mayor fails. It should be the commissioners which bring forward the lesser issues for resolution and planning by the commission as an entity.

My four major issues would be a new airport, convention center, the Weir Dam, and redevelopment of downtown.

The commissioners at the district level should be focused on bringing about redevelopment of their neighborhoods. They have failed the community on this issue. If they would simply raise impact fees to at least $4,000.00, this would force people to buy existing homes and remodel them, as opposed to buying new construction.

This simple act of raising impact fees would bring a renaissance to the older neighborhoods, and as a consequence a better quality of life, and increased property taxes for the city. It is sad the commissioners do not see the value in a policy which promotes fairness by charging the developers for the impact the new construction has on the community, and naturally makes existing housing a better choice for new home buyers.

THE MAYOR’S CHECK SCAM

As we are learning this morning the FBI is declining the case for now because the sum is not high enough to justify their time. This does not mean they cannot come in latter and charge the mayor if they conclude the DA failed to do his job. That option will always be there. For now though it is highly unlikely Pat Almighty’s lawyer can secure a letter of non-prosecution from the office of the US Attorney, unless the US Attorney is happy with the result at the state level.

The other day I learned something I did not know. Brownsville is in the Southern District of Texas. San Antonio is in the Western District of Texas. (The foregoing I knew) For reasons I do not know, for FBI purposes Brownsville is under San Antonio, but the US Attorneys which prosecutes the case would be from the Southern District. This might explain why so little is done about the corruption in Cameron County.
WHY HAS THE MAYOR NOT BEEN ARRESTED OR INDICTED?

I’ve been debating all day what to talk about today - I am kind of burned out on BISD. While working on the grand jury referral on Wednesday I was thinking - are they in their debating the Mayor’s future?

Here is the bigger question - if you are I took a check from the city for $26,000.00, not payable to me or you and deposited it into our business accounts, and the teller ID us as the person who made the deposit what would happen? We would be arrested, and released on bail pending a grand jury. But this is Brownsville where the DA has his special rules for politicos.

I am confused. When Sorry Charlie Atkinson was arrested for DWI "District Attorney Armando Villalobos recused himself and his office from prosecuting the case this month, citing a close relationship with the City Commission."

http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/atkinson_83896___article.html/mcdonald_case.html
Why has District Attorney Villalobos not recused himself from this far more serious criminal case?

The only good news is, the US Attorney can still prosecute if Villalobos tries to play games and get the grand jury to no bill the case.

I think Chief Garcia said it best in Thursday’s Herald. ""But there is no mistake as to who deposited the check . . . none whatsoever. Everybody needs to focus. The most important part is what was done with the check," Garcia said."

Villalobos’ failure to seek the arrest of the mayor based on the eyewitness testimony of the bank teller only empowers his opponents to yell cover-up. Anyone else but a politico would be arrested pending indictment.

I am reprinting the original press release from Chief Garcia

From Chief Garcia

"The summary contained in this media release is based on facts and evidence gathered through the investigation.

On October 22, 2008 the City of Brownsville printed/issued a check in the amount of $26,139.00 to TARSA Technical Industries of New York for services provided to the city. This was the second payment of two scheduled payments.

On October 28, 2008 at about 9:15am, Mr. Larry Brown arrives at Mr. Ahumada’s residence, located at 53 Alan-A- Dale, to pick him up and transport Mr. Ahumada to the airport, later determined to be the Matamoros airport. Mr. Ahumada advises Mr. Brown that he needs to run an errand to the bank and that he will be right back. Mr. Brown waits for him. Mr. Ahumada is observed leaving his house, to the bank, in a black truck.

At approximately 9:30am this check was deposited into Mr. Ahumada’s account at the BBVA Compass bank located at 3255 Boca Chica by Mr. Pat Ahumada himself through the drive thru window. The bank teller, who handled this transaction, recognized Mr. Ahumada through previous bank transactions and positively identified Mr. Ahumada through a photo lineup. The bank teller provided a sworn statement to Brownsville Police Investigators recalling the events of this transaction. The teller remembers the transaction for several reasons. He knows Mr. Ahumada, since he has been a customer of BBVA Compass, formerly Texas State Bank, for numerous years; the amount of the check and such check not being made payable to him; the check was already endorsed and had an account number that was verified by the teller to be that of Mr. Ahumada; the teller proceeded with creating a deposit slip for Mr. Ahumada since he did not provide one at the time, a customer service provided by the bank; and he did not want to question Mr. Ahumada’s integrity as he feared that a complaint would be brought forth against him, since he knows Mr. Ahumada’s character as a person and his reactions. The transaction was finalized. No other checks were submitted for deposit that were part of this transaction. Mr. Ahumada left the drive thru in his black Chevy Avalanche as sworn to by the bank teller. The bank video depicts a black Chevy Avalanche departing the drive thru at approximately 9:33am. The driver of such vehicle cannot be clearly identified thru the video; however the bank teller has provided a sworn statement that he knows Mr. Ahumada drives such vehicle and a motorcycle.

At about 9:45am Mr. Ahumada arrives at his residence and departs with Mr. Larry Brown to the airport (Matamoros). Mr. Brown transports Mr. Ahumada to the Matamoros airport and while on their way there, they stop at a pharmacy in Matamoros at the request of Mr. Ahumada. Mr. Brown has provided BPD investigators with a sworn statement of these events on that day.
On December 2, 2008 Grand Jury Subpoenas were issued and executed to BBVA Security Office in McAllen, Texas for bank records pertaining to Mr. Ahumada’s account.

On December 15, 2008 late in the afternoon BPD investigators officially receive the bank records and video for Mr. Ahumada’s account from BBVA Compass.

On December 16, 2007, late in the evening, I called Mr. Ahumada and advised him that BPD investigators were ready to interview him. Arrangements were made for him to come in at 9:00am on December 17, 2008.

On December 17, 2008 at 8:30am Mr. Ahumada calls me and advises me that he is running late and will be here by 9:30am. I advise him that this is not a problem and that the investigators will wait for him. Mr. Ahumada provided a sworn and signed statement which contradicted with the facts and evidence collected by BPD investigators. He was advised of this and disagreed with the investigators.

On December 17, 2008 late in the afternoon, we are notified by the finance department that on this date the city’s account has been credited with the amount of $26,139.00. This is contrary to what Mr. Ahumada had been stating, that the city had already been credited for the amount of the check.

We are still investigating the circumstances as to how the check resulted in the hands of Mr. Ahumada.

We are still continuing this investigation and the final results will be forwarded to the Cameron County District Attorney for their review with a recommendation that the results be presented to a grand jury to determine what charges, if any will be brought forth against Mr. Ahumada. The local FBI office has been authorized to review this case and will be provided with a copy of the final investigation. Any final determination as to the jurisdiction for the prosecution, if any will be a matter for discussion and decision between the District Attorney and the United States Attorney’s Office. "

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BISD SEEKS DISMISSAL OF RENDON LAWSUIT

BISD has file a Plea to the Jurisdiction seeking dismissal of the Rendon lawsuit. This means that if the Plea is granted the lawsuit is over and Rendon must appeal. If the Plea is denied, BISD can take an immediate appeal.

They also filed something else. I was in a rush and did not have time to wait for the clerk to pull the file. All I know is it said "Leave" it could have been "Leave" to separate that part of the lawsuit which does not apply to the Plea to the Jurisdiction.
RE: Request for Criminal Investigation BISD - Part Two

Chief Garcia, BPD
FBI Field Office, 1700 Paredes Line Rd
Brownsville, Texas 78520

Via Hand Delivery

Dear Gentlemen:

The enclosed grand jury referral filed with the Honorable Judge Cornejo-Lopez speaks to the alleged criminal acts.

When identical claims surfaced with a school district in Hidalgo County the FBI investigate and prosecuted the wrongdoers.

I do not know if anything is true or false in Mr. Juarez’s lawsuit and sworn to statements. What I do know is he only mentions former Board Member Otis Powers by name in terms of a bribe. He does allege contract rigging in terms of other Board Members but does not mention their names.
The appearance is, Mr. Juarez is saying, I will name names if I have to, but for now I am only naming the one person who cannot vote to protect my job.

If these claims are true related to bribes and contract rigging, each of you have a duty to seek prosecution of the alleged wrongdoers.

I am filing this complaint only in my capacity as a concerned citizen.

Sincerely,

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
xc: Judge Cornejo-Lopez
FORMAL CRIMINAL COMPLAINT TO GRAND JURY, CHIEF GARCIA, AND FBI: RE BISD

January 21, 2009

RE: GRAND JURY REFERRAL
The Honorable Judge Elia Cornejo-Lopez:
Judge 404th Judicial District Court
Cameron, County, Texas
Brownsville, Texas 78520

xc:
Chief Garcia, BPD
FBI Field Office 1700 Paredes Line Rd.

Via Hand Delivery

Dear Judge Cornejo-Lopez:

As a resident of Cameron County, I am exercising my right to ask that you forward my grand jury referral onto the grand jury. According to the Office of the DA, you are the presiding judge over the current grand jury.

In the enclosed lawsuit, Antonio Juarez alleges the following:

"Complainant alleges that a former Board member, Otis Powers, received a bribe, on behalf of Kent Whittemore, to help influence the outcome of the grievance."

"The Board of Trustees had conspired in the manipulation of the bidding procedures, in order to aid ING in obtaining the contract." ("basic life and stop loss insurance")

Also alleged: "The majority board members coerced the Superintendent to obtain Complainant’s resignation. " As the lawsuit explains this was in regards to Mr. Juarez’s alleged refusal to participate in the contract rigging.

Each of these statements were sworn to. When similar charges came to light in a school district in Hidalgo County Board Members were prosecuted.

The grand jury has the legal authority to initiate their own investigation independent of any request by the DA.

It is my request that you as the presiding judge over the grand jury, deliver my referral to the grand jury.

I am formally asking that Chief Garcia of the PDB and the FBI initiate criminal investigations along the same lines.

Sincerely,

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
xc:

Chief Garcia, BPD
FBI Field Office 1700 Paredes Line Rd.
file
OTIS POWERS ACCUSED OF RECEIVING A BRIBE, ON BEHALF OF KENT WHITTEMORE and a word on SORRY CHARLIE ATKINSON

Antonio Juarez, former CFO BISD in his lawsuit against BISD states the following under oath:

"Complainant alleges that a former Board member, Otis Powers, received a bribe, on behalf of Kent Whittemore, to help influence the outcome of the grievance."

(I have no idea what the above means - from my perspective it is incoherent)

He also states under oath that " The Board of Trustees had conspired in the manipulation of the bidding procedures, in order to aid ING in obtaining the contract." ("basic life and stop loss insurance")

Also alleged: "The majority board members coerced the Superintendent to obtain Complainant’s resignation. "

Antonio Juarez swore an affidavit to the above.

I am assuming the lawsuit was removed to federal court because Mr. Juarez alleged federal constitutional violations.

The lawsuit alleges bribes and contract rigging. This matter should have been referred to the DA, FBI, and BPD. These are serious charges. I am taking the lawsuit to each of the above agencies asking that they immediately meet with Antonio Juarez, secure the evidence, and bring charges as required by law.

I do not know what is true or false. I do know this, that if Mr. Juarez believes that Hector Gonzales was a party to the cover-up, then he should be fired for not filing a complaint against Mr. Gonzales. He cannot have it both ways by saying Hector Gonzales fired him under pressure related to the contract rigging, and then say it is wrong to file a complaint against Hector Gonzales.

I am compelled to ask, why does the "Most Honorable Juarez" only mention Powers by name? Answer, Powers is no longer on the Board. It is almost as if Juarez is saying to the Board, "I will name names, so proceed with caution." Well Mr. Juarez, you will name names to a grand jury and if you cannot you may get charged with perjury.

The good news is, this is now in federal court. The game playing which was allowed under Ben Euresti in the Rendon case will never be tolerated by a federal judge.

If it is found that Antonio Juarez’s claims are unfounded he needs to be charged with perjury. If the BPD, DA, or FBI find the claims to have merit, then each and every Board Member past or present party to these alleged wrongdoings need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

I just read in the Herald the Board dropped the investigation into Special Services until February. I find it interesting Ben Neece claims influence peddling by Board Members and they drop a hearing against his client. This is why the DA, Grand Jury, BPD, and FBI need to investigate.

These claims against his clients cannot be dropped because Ben Neece is claiming criminal wrongdoing by Board Members. The perception would be blackmail.

Further I am concerned that in the Juarez lawsuit Ben Neece has claimed wrongdoing by attorneys at Walsh, Anderson. Walsh Anderson needs to be removed from representing BISD. The perception is by not seeking a slam dunk mandamus to end the Rendon lawsuit and now this agreement to delay the investigation into Special Services until February Ben Neece is controlling Walsh, Anderson. You have Ben Neece as the fox guarding the hen house (Walsh, Anderson). Is it any wonder the people are going hungry.

Here is Mr. Powers response as posted to BV last night.

"Thanks for the information. First and foremost, I have not been involved with BISD since the election date of November 04, 2008. During December, Mr. Juarez was re-assigned to the Grant Department by the Superintendent. The Board of Trustees has no authority in stopping the re-assignment uuless Mr. Juarez files a grievance. I will forward this information to my attorney. During my term, I have never been to Mr. Whittemore office or Mr. Whittemore at my office. I have never called any board member or administrations in regards to Kent Whittemore grievance. Mr. Kent Whittmore has always been very professional and honest in his job duties. During my tenure of over ten years, Mr. Whittmore has upheld his job with the utmost integrity. By the way, Mr. Kent Whittmore Level III grievance is being held today on January 20, 2009 at the BISD Regular Board Meeting against Mr. Antonio Juarez former CFO. I am not on the Board and have no vote. I will be attending Antonio Juarez hearing on his lawsuit. I will not be succumbing into any current events happening at BISD. Once again, thank you Bobby for the current events happening at BISD.Herman Otis Powers Jr. "

Also from Mr. Powers, he wants everyone to know he has never accepted Cowboys tickets.

SORRY CHARLIE ATKINSON CANNOT SEEM TO CONTROL HIS MOUTH

This moron is clueless to the fact he lives in the US. Threatening residents with criminal investigations because he does not like their speech is just stupid beyond human comprehension. If the claim is true that people take money in exchange for going to the Commission meetings and speaking out against the Commission, so what - it’s called lobbying. We all know that campaign money never influences Commissioners.

Hey Sorry Charlie - would you know a terrorist at the border if you saw one? Here is a hint - look in the mirror.

Oh, on the pothole, they came by Tuesday about 3 p.m. - they parked the trailer on top of the pothole - and then left without repairing it. I do not want it repaired. It will mean just having to clean tar off of my truck. Assuming closing goes through, I will be moving in a month anyway.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

OTIS POWERS DEFENDS AGAINST ACCUSATIONS -

Thanks for the information. First and foremost, I have not been involved with BISD since the election date of November 04, 2008. During December, Mr. Juarez was re-assigned to the Grant Department by the Superintendent. The Board of Trustees has no authority in stopping the re-assignment uuless Mr. Juarez files a grievance. I will forward this information to my attorney. During my term, I have never been to Mr. Whittemore office or Mr. Whittemore at my office. I have never called any board member or administrations in regards to Kent Whittemore grievance. Mr. Kent Whittmore has always been very professional and honest in his job duties. During my tenure of over ten years, Mr. Whittmore has upheld his job with the utmost integrity. By the way, Mr. Kent Whittmore Level III grievance is being held today on January 20, 2009 at the BISD Regular Board Meeting against Mr. Antonio Juarez former CFO. I am not on the Board and have no vote. I will be attending Antonio Juarez hearing on his lawsuit. I will not be succumbing into any current events happening at BISD. Once again, thank you Bobby for the current events happening at BISD.Herman Otis Powers Jr.
OTIS POWERS ACCUSED OF RECEIVING A BRIBE, ON BEHALF OF KENT WHITTEMORE

Antonio Juarez, former CFO BISD in his lawsuit against BISD states the following under oath:

"Complainant alleges that a former Board member, Otis Powers, received a bribe, on behalf of Kent Whittemore, to help influence the outcome of the grievance."

Antonio Juarez swore an affidavit to the above.

To be honest, I am not sure what the statement means. Did someone give it to Powers and then he gave it to Whittemore, or did Whittemore give it to Powers? I have no idea.

The lawsuit has been removed to federal court.

More tomorrow on my criminal complaint to the grand jury and the BPD.

Mr. Powers and defense you may have will be posted by BV unedited.

Monday, January 19, 2009

WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA NOW A REALITY WE SHOULD REFLECT ON HOW FAR WE HAVE COME

Some days need to be days of peace and reflection. With the BISD mess, somehow I think there will be breaking news. At least until after the inaugural, I want to keep it simple. Today all Americans should be grateful that once again we prove that as a nation we can peacefully transfer power from one president to the next. As Americans we should be proud that we finally have overcome the racial divide. Racism still exists, but it no longer rules us as a nation.

I want you to read the news excerpt I posted below while watching this video. We have come a long way since 1974. I had hoped to find a video of the actual attacks on the buses. This is what has stayed in my mind since 1974. This is the best I could do. I just thought as we experience this moment in history, we should think about how far we have come in 35 years.

Most news services on the internet will have live coverage of the inaugural. You can watch it from your desk if you so choose.

There will be afternoon posts. After the inaugural I will be at the courthouse pulling lawsuits and meeting with a source. For now, just enjoy the morning and today in history.

September 12, 1974

Violence in Boston over racial busing

In Boston, Massachusetts, opposition to court-ordered school "busing" turns violent on the opening day of classes. School buses carrying African American children were pelted with eggs, bricks, and bottles, and police in combat gear fought to control angry white protesters besieging the schools.


http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5340.

Personal note - my favorite readers are those who take the time to think about what I am saying. think for yourself - if you feel like my post is incomplete try and do some research on your own and add to the discussion. Never accept my words as gospel

My point - in a million years I would never have predicted my readership would hit its current levels. Thanks for all of the support. Just remember I like the readers who take me to task on facts or analysis - these are the readers who add depth to my posts. Without the readers who challenge me, the BV is just one sided and does not work.

Again thanks

Remember if you like BV, e-mail your friends.

CITY COMMISSION DOES SOMETHING RIGHT

The following is on Tuesday’s Agenda

2 A. City Commissioners’ reply to past public comments. (Commissioners C.A. Cisneros & C. Atkinson)

This is in response to concerns that people are making false or misinformed statements during the public comments period. The Commission has a duty to correct misstatements of facts. Now lets see if they can do it in a professional manner without making it personal.

This is a good thing. I hope the Commissioners will keep it professional so that the people do not receive it as the Commissioners being unprofessional. An example of how it should be done is, "last week it was represented during the public comments period that it cost xyz dollars for abc. The fact is it only cost rsq dollars." In this format you have a correction without it being personal. If they start naming names, it will turn personal and no one will be happy, and the Commissioners will come off as petty. How they handle this will set the tone for the entire meeting.

For now lets say, job well done. Let’s see if they can keep it that way.
SALDAÑA AND THE DELAY TACTIC WHICH INCREASES ATTORNEYS FEES

These are excerpts from a letter by the Texas OAG to BISD Attorney Saldana. It speaks to his incompetence and use of delay tactics which increases attorney fees. Whether it is BISD or the City of Brownsville they do not want to hire competent counsel. They are looking for someone who will provide them cover under the guise of legal advice. I can assure you everyone applying for the position of City Attorney is turning over the key to their chastity belt as proof they will do whatever is asked of them.

"Although you raise section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with rule 192.3, this office has concluded that section 552.101 does not encompass discovery privileges. See Open Records Decision Nos. 676 at 1-2 (2002), 575 at 2 (1990). Thus, we will not address your claim that the submitted information is confidential under section 552.101 in conjunction with rule 192.3."

"Next, we note that the United States Department of Education Family Policy Compliance
Office (the "DOE") has informed this office that the Family Education Rights and Privacy
Act ("FERPA"), section 1232g of title 20 of the United States Code, does not permit state
and local educational authorities to disclose to this office, without parental consent,
unredacted, personally identifiable information contained in education records for the
purposes of our review in the open records ruling process under the Act"

http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/openrecords/50abbott/orl/2008/pdf/OR200800179.pdf
BISD UPDATE

Attorneys Fees.

Merovigian posted the following at the Herald - it gives you an insight to the entire attorneys fees con

http://www.keepeanesinformed.com/private_lawfirms.htm

BISD may seek Mandamus

I have independent confirmation from inside BISD that Saldana has been ordered to review a mandamus option

Sunday, January 18, 2009

BISD BOARD CELEBRATES PUBLIC LYNCHING AFTER WINNING RACIST OF THE YEAR AWARD - AND THE GRAND JURY - NOW IT IS EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF

A BREAKING NEWS QUESTION: Someone in a position of authority through his negligence provides a place on campus wherein students can have sex. Should he be fired or just written up? At BISD the Board believes such conduct is not a basis for discharge.

First a side note. The other day I complained about Santana Torres doing some type life extension work on the streets in my neighborhood. I noted they left the potholes in place. Well, they came and repaired the potholes. The sealer is now below the pothole repair. So why continue the story? Every pothole, but the one in front of my driveway was repaired. Sorry Charlie Atkinson, and Santana Torres must get extreme joy out of their pettiness.

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2009/01/santana-torres-celebrates-incompetence.html

THE DR. KING AFFAIR

Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday holiday. Many of you think that because your children have the day off the school district is finally celebrating Dr. King’s birthday. WRONG. They are celebrating their bigotry. The day off is a Teachers’ Preparation Day.

On Tuesday, the country will celebrate its greatness by once again proving it can transfer power from one president to the next in a peaceful manner. We as a people will also be celebrating the inauguration of the first black president. These disgusting vile pigs who oversee BISD, the Board, just cannot bring themselves to accept the greatness of Dr. King’s message. What message is being sent to our children, that as the nation celebrates its first black president, Brownsville, Texas remains defiant (or deviant) in celebrating the greatness of Dr. King? How do the child abusing pig BISD Board Members look themselves in the face in the morning? What the fuck is wrong with these people?

The BISD Board is so corrupt to a person, one must ask if the chronic filth which soaks their hands has left their brains infected with worms. (See Sunday video) I am currently investigating a claim by a former administrator that he fell out of grace with the board member Paddy Wagon Lehmann after he refused to speak with a vendor to whom Paddy Wagon Lehmann wanted to assign the SHARS contract. None of this is new. My regulars remember I opposed Eliceo Muñoz, in part, because he was openly negotiating a contract for BISD to buy a warehouse out at the airport.

THE JUAREZ AFFAIR

"Attorneys for Antonio Juarez, a former BISD chief financial officer, on Friday filed a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy by former and current school board members to coerce his participation in the "manipulation of the bidding procedures" used to award a district basic life and stop-loss insurance contract."

Juarez alleges,"Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees coerced Superintendent Hector Gonzales to obtain Juarez's resignation."

So here is the kicker, Juarez alleges Superintendent Gonzales forced his resignation because he would not participate in the scam. Then in an act of disbelief, he claims the Board will fire him because he is refusing to file a complaint against Superintendent Gonzales for forcing him to resign from the CFO position because he refused to participate in the contract scam.

http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/juarez_93744___article.html/lawsuit_board.html

Now here is what really happened. Juarez probably complained that he was forced out by Gonzales as he alleges. Someone, a Board Member or Saldana probably told him that he needed to file a grievance against Gonzales and that if he won he may get his job back as the CFO. This is what we would expect of a Board Member or Saldana. There is nothing wrong in this.

My question is, if a Board Member was party to this contract scam, why would that same Board Member demand that Juarez file a grievance against the Board Member’s alleged coconspirator?
Something is profoundly wrong. Ben Neece has either lost his mind, or he is really representing someone else behind the scenes. He is actually alleging a criminal conspiracy. Why has he not reported the evidence and claims to a grand jury through a grand jury referral or the DA?

Answer

"We are a body corporate, Lehmann said, addressing Cortez directly. We are a team of eight, sir. We work as a team, but this is conspiracy. If you must pass judgment, then we are all guilty, sir. " This was Lehmann’s response to Cortez’s request for an investigation into the La pampa Affair.

http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/board_73872___article.html/school_members.html

Who is Ben Neece really protecting? On Tuesday I will take a copy of the Juarez lawsuit and attach it to a grand jury referral. I will ask that Judge Janet Leal send same to the grand jury as a grand jury referral, which is the right of every Texas citizen. Juarez is alleging criminal conduct.

I am assuming Judge Leal will follow the law and refer same to the grand jury for investigation. It is common knowledge at the courthouse that Judge Magdalia Lopez is waiting to learn if the Commission on Judicial Conduct will formally open proceedings against her related to her failure to meet her judicial duties as related to my grand jury referral on the La Pampa Affair. They are also looking into the grand jury abuses which were alleged in the Juan Guerra indictment against Judge Lopez.

The people of Texas have the right to refer matters to the grand jury. This right becomes meaningless if the judges are unwilling to forward the referrals to the grand jury. The grand jury referral is the most powerful weapon the people have against public corruption, especially when they have a hopelessly corrupt district attorney.

Based on the claims in the Juarez lawsuit I will ask that BPD Chief Garcia and the FBI open a formal investigation. They need to immediately swear Antonio Juarez to his allegations. Ben Neece as a Municipal Judge certainly had a duty to file for a criminal complaint based on his client’s allegations.

BRINGING THIS TO AN END

The BISD Board needs to remember how Peter Zavaletta with an open for business sign hanging from his ass, threw De Leon under the bus. They also need to remember this from Paddy Wagon Lehmann, ""We are a body corporate, Lehmann said, addressing Cortez directly. We are a team of eight, sir. We work as a team, but this is conspiracy. If you must pass judgment, then we are all guilty, sir. "

Who will squeal first to save their ass? This Board cannot fire Rendon with any level of credibility, unless they also fire Saldana. He is the BISD attorney whose advice is getting BISD sued. Where was Saldana while all of this excessive billing was ongoing? It is his job to protect the taxpayers on this issue. He failed. Will he demand that a mandamus be filed to stop the Rendon lawsuit? Probably not - he is clueless. Every law firm knows that so long as Saldana is in charge they can submit all of the fraudulent billing they want with impunity.

If BISD fails to take a mandamus against Judge Euresti for his illegal ex parte TRO against BISD if is fair to say some of the board members are expecting a kickback from the law firm which will be needlessly billing BISD for a temporary injunction hearing. For all practical purposes the Rendon lawsuit can end Tuesday. It will not because the lawyers have yet to earn enough for a new sports car.

The taxpayers can fight back if there is just one honest lawyer in town. I will prepare the mandamus. They will file it on behalf of the taxpayers. Because I rent, I may not have standing. We ask the Court of Appeals to immediately void the TRO. With any luck they will demand a response from the Real Parties in Interest and issue a Stay of the TRO. This will end the endless attorneys fees.

For the record the TRO issued individually against, Colunga, Cortez, Zayas, and Aguilar. Any of these men can bypass BISD and file the mandamus individually. Zayas is a lawyer. He can file the mandamus at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. I can guarantee, assuming there is a judge in the Edinburg office, the Stay of the TRO will issue by 8:30 a.m.

When it is all done and over BISD needs to make clear it will execute on the judgment against Rendon for the attorneys’ fees incurred. They then need to fire his ass. Rendon is so stupid he fails to realize that because of the way Ben Neece plead the lawsuit he could easily get hit with a $100,000.00 judgment for attorneys fees.

My hope at this point is at least one Board Member will call the FBI and state and in exchange for immunity squeal. It is time this entire Board, Gonzales, Saldana, Rendon, and Juarez be sent packing . The best face I can put on the Juarez lawsuit is, he knew about illegal conduct related to a contract and failed to report it. This alone is a basis to fire him.

Who wants to bet Lehmann will be the first to squeal? The pathetic school yard bully is always the first to squeal.

THE REPORT

BISD paid for a cut and paste report by "Special Workshops and Consulting, L.L.C. , Dr. Cheryl Fielding and Terry Overton. I do not know for sure who else worked on this report which is in many ways a cut and paste report. Parts of the report include incomplete sentences where findings were left out. What I do know for sure is, Dr. Fielding has worked with Lead BISD LSSP Roman Garcia de Alba. I also know for sure she has worked with Terry Overton Differential Diagnosis of Hispanic Bilingual Children Referred for Autism Spectrum Disorders Queen Anne Parlor Cheryl Fielding, Terry Overton, and Roman Garcia de Alba

http://www.unr.edu/educ/ceds/conf_agenda_2007.pdf

Who are Terry Overton and Roman Garcia de Alba? They are the two who were sanctioned in October by a Texas State Board.

In October 2008, Dr. Roman Garcia de Alba. Lead Licensed Special in School Psychology under Art Rendon, BISD, received the following sanctions from the Texas State Board of Examiners.

Complaint: Respondent failed to properly identify himself as a supervisee andfailed to identify his supervisor in public statements.Sanction: Respondent was assessed an administrative penalty of $1,500.00 andmust obtain six (6) hours of continuing education in ethics.http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/documents/NL-Winter2009.pdf

Another sanction from October 2008 is tied to Terry P. Overton, Ed.D., Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (McAllen) (He teaches ethics at UTPA’S College of Education)Complaint: Respondent provided supervision to a person without adequatedocumentation, and did not ensure that the supervisee identified himself as such.Sanction: Respondent was assessed an administrative penalty of $1,500.00 andmust obtain six (6) hours of continuing education in ethics.

http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/documents/NL-Winter2009.pdf

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2009/01/bisd-hector-gonzales-and-art-rendon.html

The company which generated this report was formed in January 2007. They were then hired to generate the report. Roman Garcia de Alba was then hired to be the Lead LSSP at BISD, although he was not legally then, nor now, qualified to supervise other new LSSP’s.

The report was then used as part of a complaint against another LSSP moved around by Art Rendon. That LSSP was cleared of wrongdoing by the same Board which sanctioned Art Rendon’s boy-toy, Roman Garcia de Alba and Overton.

Of note, in the report used against a BISD LSSP, Fielding and Overton used standards from the National Association of School Psychologists. Only one problem, these standards are not used in Texas. Psychologists’ Licencing Act and Rules and Regulations of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists expressly provides the NASP rules are not used by Texas psychologists.

It is time to investigate the influence peddling which got this report generated.

Will anyone enter stage left to protect the taxpayers? No, there are just too many attorneys waiting for the handouts being offered by Saldana.

We need to find out how much has been paid to Cheryl Fielding and Terry Overton by BISD, since their report helped Roman Garcia de Alba secure his job as Lead LSSP. My limited information to date shows it at over $29,525.00

Ms. Fielding’s professional resume shows a long history of collaboration with Roman Garcia de Alba, and Terry Overton

http://www.utpa.edu/dept/educpsych/fielding.pdf


THE FILTH WHICH IS BISD BOARD MEMBERS HANDS HAS CONSEQUENCES

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009


DEFIANCE
Daniel Craig delivered a credible performance. While I enjoyed the film, as a history buff, the direction of the story was lacking. Most Holocaust films are the same - death camps. What I liked about this film was Russian Jews decided to not just go to their death. They decided to fight back.

It begins with a small family group hiding in the forest. Over time more and more Russian Jews escape to the forest and they become a community. The story includes those who seek to divide the group for their own power.

A second social aspect is the divide between the peasant jews and the intellectuals. There are multiple levels of bigotry from all directions.

In the end I liked the film because they fought back and won. It is sad we a Americans prefer to play to role of victim when it comes to our politicos, rather than fight back.
OH I FORGOT - SOMETHING NEW FOR SUNDAY SO YOU NO LONGER NEED THE HERALD
BISD UPDATE - JUDGE BEN EURESTI PROVES AGAIN HE WOULD SIGN HIS OWN DEATH WARRANT

People need to understand the last defense we the people have against tyranny is the judiciary. Ben Euresti has a habit of signing just about anything without due consideration for the law. I have seen orders signed by Judge Euresti taking away a father’s rights although the father was never sued on the issue, and no trial or hearing ever occurred on the issue. Every unethical lawyer in town knows Judge Ben Euresti will sign just about anything you put before him.

To be entitled to a temporary injunction, the applicant must plead a cause of action and show a probable right to recover on that cause of action and a probable, imminent, and irreparable injury in the interim. Butnaru v. Ford Motor Co., 84 S.W.3d 198, 204 (Tex. 2002); Fox v. Tropical Warehouses, Inc., 121 S.W.3d 853, 857 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2003, no pet.). A probable right of recovery is shown by alleging a cause of action and presenting evidence tending to sustain it. Fox, 121 S.W.3d at 857; Miller Paper Co. v. Roberts Paper Co., 901 S.W.2d 593, 597 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 1995, no writ). An injury is irreparable if damages would not adequately compensate the injured party or if they cannot be measured by any certain pecuniary standard. Butnaru, 84 S.W.3d at 204; Fox; 121 S.W.3d at 857; see T-N-T Motorsports, Inc. v. Hennessey Motorsports, Inc., 965 S.W.2d 18, 24 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1998, pet. dism'd).

"Although the specific damages sustained from defamation and business disparagement-related activity is often difficult to measure, it is nonetheless well established that this type of harm does not rise to the level necessary for the prior restraint to withstand constitutional scrutiny."Brammer v. KB Home Lone Star, 114 S.W.3rd 101, 107 (Tex. App. – Austin 2003)

It is unclear whether or not Judge Euresti enjoined defamatory speech. The part of the order which summarizes the enjoined activities includes speech, but the actual command part of the order does not. The gravamen part of the defamation claim relates to an Executive Session review of Art Rendon’s services at BISD. The claims are on a DVD Exhibit "C". In addition to there being no admissible affidavit to the lawsuit, the DVD was not authenticated. This means no evidence to support the TRO was filed with the court. The sin qua non to a TRO.

An employer has a conditional or qualified privilege that attaches to communications made in the course of an investigation following a report of employee wrongdoing. Randall's Food Mkts., Inc. v. Johnson,891 S.W.2d 640, 646 (Tex.1995). The privilege remains intact as long as communications pass only to persons having an interest or duty in the matter to which the communications relate. Id.Further, common law official immunity is based on the need for public officials to act in the public interest with confidence and without the hesitation that could be caused by subjecting them to litigation. Ballantyne v. Champion Builders, Inc., 144 S.W.3d 417, 424 (Tex.2004). Official immunity is an affirmative defense that protects government employees in their individual capacities from liability related to the performance of discretionary duties if the actions are within the scope of the employee's authority and are performed in good faith. City of Lancaster v. Chambers, 883 S.W.2d 650, 653 (Tex.1994).

The reason you cannot get a TRO against being fired or breach of contract is you have a remedy. If you are improperly fired you can get back pay as damages, and if your employment is incident to contract you can secure specific performance. "An injury is irreparable if damages would not adequately compensate the injured party or if they cannot be measured by any certain pecuniary standard.’

Judge Ben Euresti simply ignored well established rules of law and evidence. When a judge goes unpunished for this it becomes a sanction for tyranny. So long as Judge Ben Euresti remains on the bench, justice is not an option in Cameron County.

What really has me mad is, BISD’s attorneys will drag this out to increase their billing rather than seek a mandamus which would require no more than two hours of work. To prepare for and appear at the temporary injunction hearing will cost BISD about 25 hours of needless billing.
Here is the kicker, the very Board Members who will authorize this fraudulent billing on BISD are complaining Art Rendon needlessly cost the district excessive attorney’s fees because of his mismanagement.

It is all politics from both sides. The children and taxpayers mean nothing to any of the Board Members. Scum of the earth -each and every one of them.