Friday, February 27, 2009


This same article also references problems at the San Francisco Chronicle. It is amazing to me that the editorial boards of these newspapers are so self-absorbed that they simple cannot fathom the idea they are the problem.

Such as with the Brownsville Herald, (Freedom Communications) editors simply refuse to understand newspapers must reflect the news. For years the economy was collapsing, while corruption ran roughshod over investors. Even after ENRON the editors refused to allow for news coverage of the corruption.

The people who actually live through the day to day corruption at all levels of government and corporate American know the truth. They just got tired of the editors dismissing the whistle blowers.

The death of the Fourth Estate could lead to the end of our form of government. I can only hope someone with money will come forward and bring news back to the newsrooms.


This morning a report on CNN claims that 60-70% of the profits of the Mexican drug cartel is from marijuana. Legislation pending in California is looking at outright legalizing marijuana and then taxing it. It is their largest cash crop. Plain and simple - time to legalize marijuana.


All candidates can obtain packets for getting their name on the ballot from the Office of the City Secretary. The Secretary of State has a good web page with information. I strongly recommend everyone review this information. Do not make the mistake of starting a campaign without first filing a Designation of Campaign Treasurer.

If you feel like you do not understand your obligations do not hesitate to ask to speak with one of their lawyers. They are very helpful.


Next to the theft of 21.4 million dollars from the Brownsville Navigation District, Imagine Brownsville has to be the next biggest con job on the people of Brownsville. My issue from the beginning was, "how do we pay for the recommendations?" Do we all remember the people lining up telling the organization heading up Imagine Brownsville all of their wants and wishes?
Where is the report? It is now time for Garza, Cisneros, and Camarillo to face the truth - there is no money to pay for anything. Imagine Brownsville was $900,000.00 of waste. It is time they admit they were conned into wasting $900,000.00 worth of taxpayers’ money.

This should be a major issue in the May elections. It will not because telling the people there is no money to give them everything under the sun is not how you get elected. When you start a campaign with lies you end up with commissioners who are liars.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


For 8 years Bush refused to veto one bill filled with earmarks. His Republicans compadres were allowed to spend like drunken sailors. The Republicans now tell us, "trust us, we learned our lesson, no more earmarks." Well, the reality is, the new budget to take the US to the end of the fiscal year is filled with over 4000 earmarks of which 40% are by Republicans. Trust us, my ass.

The Democrats were reckless in passing this bill. The good news is the Senate Republicans can stop it. This budget bill does not pass without Republican votes. If this budget bill passes it passes on the votes of Republicans. Even then, President Obama can veto the budget bill. At this time his spokesman is saying this is a budget bill carry over from Bush. - No hell no - Mr. President it goes nowhere without your signature.

While great speeches will be well received by the people, bad policy will be rejected by the people. If President Obama thinks he is going to get away with this type bait and switch double speak, he is sadly mistaken.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


From CNN:"Sixty-eight percent of speech-watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey had a very positive reaction, with 24 percent indicating that they had a somewhat positive response and 8 percent indicating that they had a negative reaction.

Eighty-five percent of those polled said the president's speech made them more optimistic about the direction of the country over the next few years, with 11 percent indicating the speech made them more pessimistic.Eighty-two percent of speech-watchers said they support the economic plan Obama outlined in his prime time address, with 17 percent opposing the proposal."

I have watched every major presidential speech since 1974. I can honestly say no president has so inspired the nation. Yes, I agree he was short on specifics. The speech was not for the policy wonks, it was for the people. The people need to be inspired. Several months ago I stated that half of his battle will be gaining the confidence of the people. This president remains as a force of interaction with the people. This is killing the morons on Repubtrican talk radio. They know so long as President Obama has the ear of the people, the people will be inspired. This is half the battle. 85 % of the people who watch felt more optimistic about "the direction of the country." Yes, Virginia, the country will turn on him if things turn for the worse.

The stock market is 100% myth. This is why it goes up and down based on drama. If President Obama can bring the institutional investors to the point of thinking things will get better, the market will go up. The entire recovery is about the people being inspired.

I am not saying I agree with everything President Obama had to say. I am saying he inspired the nation. He managed to speak the truth about the crisis, while striking at basic principles of Americanism. I loved when he stressed that education begins at home with the parents. This was a major policy shift change by the Democrats. President Obama’s speech was replete with examples of personal accountability.

It saddens me the local Democrats will continue with the failed policies of the past which in my opinion has created a form Democratic Plantation politics. Texas Democrats, especially the DINOLINOS of South Texas, defend the Democratic Plantation politics which keeps the people down. Brownsville has so many people who are fearsly independent and self sufficient. But there are also far too many people willing and ready to accept scraps. It is the latter group of Brownsville’s residents which keep us down and the worst of the worst in power.

If Brownsville only had a President Obama, it would become a center of prosperity and a semitropical paradise for all to visit. But no, all we have are politicos looking for chump change.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The Republicans have told us over and over and over again that part of the problem with the price of gas is a lack of oil refineries. True to form they blame the environmentalists. Why? Because the lemmings who listen to them will believe anything they hear. The idea that commonsense should inform them of reality eludes them.

In the last week we learned that the reason why the price of gas is not coming down with the price of oil is because the oil refiners are shutting down the refineries or cutting back production. They realized the glut of oil on the market was bringing down the price of gas. Since they cannot control the price of oil, they decided to control refining of the oil into gas. If you do not refine the oil, there is no gas.

Pelosi, Reid, and Obama remain unwilling to take action and bring about regulation of the speculators. Until the Democrats take a leadership role on this issue, the people will be held hostage to the producing countries, the oil companies and the refineries. The Democrats are equally part of the problem.

One last word on the morons buying into the idea that the oil company profits are only 4%. Yes, BISD math at its best. When oil sells for $34.00 a barrel profit is 4%. When oil sells for $147.00 a barrel profit is 4%. These morons listen to Reputrican talk radio because without the daily celebration of their ignorance they have no reason to live.

Monday, February 23, 2009


So you understand how corrupt the US Supreme has become - even though these judges have confessed to their crimes against these children, they cannot be used for damages. The US Supreme Court has found that you can prove a judge knowingly entered into a criminal act against you, and so long as they are sitting on the bench at the time of their criminal conduct, you cannot sue them.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


This is how I felt the other day when I was having lunch with a former local politico, and local businessman. They claim to believe the only hope for Brownsville is a business group taking the lead to form an organization which will recruit and run local community activists who have a vision beyond, "how can I make chump change for my family and cronies?." This was actually our third meeting. I pushed the questions - When do we start? How much money are each of you willing to put on the table to start the organization? I pushed hard.

Well the answer left me feeling like saying, "frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn." Like every other coward in Brownsville they want everyone else to do the fighting while they sit back and do nothing, but jump in once the battle is won. Before the meeting I was already emotionally drained from chronic fatigue related to my sleep apnea or mild pulmonary hypertension. The meeting did not help my mood. So I sat back for a few days and tried to comprehend the meaning of the meeting.

By chance "Gone with the Wind" was on, on Saturday. At the end of the movie my response was the same as it has been a million times before "he will never say it, he will make it work this time." Well he does say it, because no matter what he feels he knows a simple truth, Scarlet O’Hara will always be Scarlet O’Hara. Brownsville will always be Brownsville. It will always be the misfortune of anyone suckered into loving Brownsville.

It is amazing to me this city has not changed one bit from the city my father described to us as children. It is the same city he lived in some 63 years ago. If it were not for the weather, the gulf, and Winter Texans this city would have become a ghost town a long time ago.

It is a city completely without hope or a future. It’s guided by politicos who cannot see beyond the chump change offered to them by two-bit developers looking for a quick buck. My father left this city 63 years ago in complete frustration. He spent years organizing the unions, only to learn they would sell themselves out to the highest bidder every time, only to find themselves with nothing in the end. 63 years later nothing has changed.

Brownsville sooner than later will be without an airport. When the maquiladoras come back, and they will, Matamoros is not where they will look to build. Brownsville has rail, a port, and an airport. All three remain underdeveloped. A friend of mine who lives in San Diego, can now fly non-stop between LAX and McAllen when he needs to visit his company’s plant in Reynosa. You can also fly non-stop to Las Vegas, Orlando, Houston, and Dallas. Brownsville has small commuter planes to Houston - that’s it folks

Our port is underdeveloped because a bunch of local yokels see it as a place to make chump change for their families and cronies, while taxing the local people to keep the port financially above water. Our port will never amount to anything until it is sold to private operators. This will take a change in the law. We all know Senator Lucio will never introduce that law. In the hands of a private corporation the Port of Brownsville could find itself at the crossroads between Latin American and the US and Canada. It will not happen - the local yokels will never see past their chump change.

Ask yourself - you want to build a new maquiladora, do you build in Matamoros which is the sister city to Brownsville, or Reynosa, sister city to McAllen. McAllen is miserably hot in the Summer, but businesses would still rather do business in McAllen than Brownsville. Time is money. When you can fly your company executives non-stop to McAllen from LAX, Orlando, Dallas, Houston, or Los Vegas, why choose Brownsville? The drug cartels in Reynosa may be the only thing which saves Matamoros, assuming they can keep the violence out of Matamoros.

Companies are consolidating. Brownsville’s airport has no purpose. Continental continues to fly Brownsville out of sheer pity. If Continental were to close down its operations in Brownsville tomorrow, so what? We would just drive to Harlingen - what choice would be have? Continental has no reason to stay in Brownsville.

I will do my best to keep BV going through the election. If every thing goes as planned I will be spending my Summer elsewhere than Brownsville. If I enjoy the change of scenery and opportunity, I will make the move permanent. The weather will not be as great. The magic of living in a bi-cultural city will not available. But, I will be building something which can and will make a difference in people’s life. This is not an option in Brownsville, and never will be. Plus living in a town with a VA hospital which is not tied to Texas’ medical schools will be a good thing.
Brownsville will continue to grow because Winter Texans will continue to flock to Brownsville. Brownsville will always have two things, the best weather in the US and the worst political environment in the US. How sad, how very, very sad.

I will do my best to keep the BV going until after the election, assuming anyone announces for the election. At this time no one has announced. Sorry Ms Miller - by your own admission you have no money. You cannot win without money and or a political machine.

As to political machine I am waiting to see if Escobedo uses his political machine to run a candidate against Carlos Cisneros. It will be a good feeler for his own campaign against County Commissioner Wood.

I will say without both a strong political machine and money no one can beat Leo (the Cowardly) Garza. It is one thing to campaign door to door in a small district, yet another in the entire city. The key to such a campaign would to be able to convince the anti-wall coalition that Garza played free and loose with the law and negotiations with DHS. This could deliver the political machine and the money. Also any such campaign would require a strong community voice in each individual district heading up the campaign in their district for the at large candidate. Without a strong voice tied to each individual district, I do not see how an independent voice can possibly win the election against an incumbent at large Commissioner. It is possible, but it will take everything I have stated above.

I hope I am wrong about Brownsville and there is hope for Brownsville. The business community is all too happy with chump change and will never rise to the occasion of making Brownsville a better place.

The Brownsville Herald is a complete and total joke. My litigation against the Herald is nearly ready to go. I am trying to solve a jurisdiction issue. More and more courts are now holding newspapers accountable for their online blogging, under a variety of theories such as breach of contract. No damages have yet to be awarded. The news media has special privileges when it comes to court. Even though a judge will order a lawsuit to go forward, the news media gets to take an immediate appeal to stop the lawsuit. The bigger point is the courts have recognized that organizations like Freedom Communications can be held accountable. The lawsuit should be filed in a few weeks. I know the solution to the jurisdiction problem, I am just not sure if I want to limit the issues which would insure jurisdiction in California.

Brownsville will never have a fighting chance so long as Cavasos is calling the shots at the Herald. A major loss in federal court, and Freedom Communications being humiliated because of his mismanagement of the online blogging may be what it is going to take to force Freedom Communications to hire a new publisher and editor. Until we have a new publisher and editor at the Herald, Brownsville will not have a city wide voice for and by the people.

Brownsville is desperate for a city wide publication which hammers at change on a daily basis. Lucio will have no choice put to introduce legislation allowing for the sale of the port if the issue is put on the front burner day after day. This is just one issue. We all know Daniel Cavasos will never allow the Herald to be used as a voice of the people. Hence the need to get rid of Daniel Cavasos. A federal judge authorizing my lawsuit to move forward may be what it takes for the Board of Freedom Communications to take a closer look at his mismanagement of the Herald. I am sure everyone has noticed Sunday’s Viewpoints no longer merit their own section. How sad - the voices of the people no longer matters.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My hat goes off to the fathers who sat through this movie with their daughters. This movie is a winner for mother daughters, but not for father daughters. The movie is still doing well. I missed the first two weeks because they were sold out for the 7 p.m. showing. Last week the family I wanted to take was unable to make the movie. This week I just went. It was nearly a sell out, which is remarkable for the fourth week.
Most children's films are for the entire family. Maybe very young boys might like this movie, but I think maybe by the age of 10 or 11 it would be a mistake to take your sons. For your daughters the film is good for any age.
Obviously the technology which went into this film is remarkable. The 3D was somewhat less than desirable. This part of the film could have been a lot better.
The film is about a little girl in search of better and more interesting parents. She discovers alternative parents, who turn out to be controlled by the evil mother. The movie then becomes her adventure to release the souls of the other children who have been trapped in this alternative life with alternative parents, and to release her real parents who have been kidnapped and made part of this alternative life.
In the end she learns, odd parents are better than the mythical perfect parent who gives you every thing on command.
This is a great movie for mothers and daughters. Boys and fathers will probably not enjoy the film as much as mothers and daughters.

I will begin with a true story. It the story of a family whose father turned to crime in desperation. A lot of people do not know that middle class children who are disabled are denied medicaid. The great value in medicaid sometimes is not the monthly payment by social security, but the value in the healthcare.

Years ago I worked on a case wherein a man who was here legally from Mexico with a work permit lost everything trying to find a way to pay for his daughter’s medical bills. The man ran a very successful roofing business in North Texas. By all accounts he had met the American dream.

His third child was born with a host of birth defects. The family was told that because he had a successful business the child did not qualify for medicaid. With over a hundred thousand dollars of unpaid medical bills, and doctors turning away care he did what I would have done - he turned to crime. For money to pay for his daughter’s medical bills, he drove undocumented workers from Dallas to Chicago. He got caught. We were able to prove to the court that every penny he earned he gave to doctors. The law compelled only one result. Although he was here legally, he was not a citizen, so upon conviction he was deported.

The end result was the daughter is now on medicaid, the family lives in subsidized housing, and on welfare and food stamps. The father sends what money he can from Mexico. Without the father, the business was lost. My point is, the crime of smuggling human-beings continues, while the only people being punished are those most in need. The war on illicit drugs is no different.

A lot of ignorant people will make a big deal about yesterday’s shoot-out in Matamoros. Every day drug gangs shoot at each other in the big cities within the US. But yet, we do not see moronic headlines like revolution around the corner in the US. When I lived in El Paso in the late 70's the Mexican Communist Part on a regular basis use to steal a fire truck, drive it onto the bridge, throw the American flag into the river, and then hold the bridge for a few hours. It was not the end of Mexico. It was just a day in the life of Mexico.

Assuming a friend of mine receives her birth-certificate in the mail today we will be eating dinner at Norteños in Matamoros. If we go early enough I will go shopping at the Soriana’s next to where the shoot-out occurred. The Mexican government is doing a great job in trying to take down these drug cartels. Why should I stay away from Mexico because drug gang gunfights are now occurring in the same way they have been occurring in major US cities since at least the 1920's?

A major part of the Mexican drug cartel shootouts is the result of the US not sufficiently punishing those who get caught smuggling guns into Mexico. These drug cartels are at war with the US. It should be treated as an act of treason to sell them guns. If you get caught smuggling guns into Mexico for them, or selling them guns in the US, you should be charged with treason and if convicted given life without the possibility of parole.

This will not solve the drug cartel problem. Nothing will ever actually solve the drug cartel problem, you can legalize every known illicit drug today, and tomorrow they will have a new one on the market. What we can do is begin with marijuana. I do not want to hear marijuana is a gateway drug. It is not. If we are going to play that game let’s make caffeine illegal as a gateway stimulant. In college I experimented with marijuana and I did not like it. I rarely drink, I do not smoke anything. Why, because I do not have an addictive personality, or a genetic predisposition to addiction. Marijuana is only a gateway drug for people with addictive personalities or a genetic predisposition to addiction. And you know what, because of those addiction traits, these are the people buying the drugs illegally anyway.

Once you make marijuana legal, then you make strong laws against use in public areas, or operating a car, boat etc while under the influence. You make a law of life without the possibility of parole if you get caught smuggling illegal drugs.

All we can do is slow down the trade of illegal drugs. We will never win the war. Those with addiCtion traits will find their fix one way or the other. It is sad under the guise of protecting our society from drugs we are fueling a nasty war on drugs on our southern border, causing people to be afraid to travel to the border areas in the US or to Mexico. Shouldn’t this result be enough to make us rethink the war on drugs.

Sorry for the late post, but I am simply too tired from the sleep apnea to do anything after dinner.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


FOR THE RECORD:Mayor Pat Ahumada has been at the forefront to bring change to Cameron Works by asking for resignations of rogue board members, which were ignored. The Mayor even wrote the governor and State Workforce Chairman Tom Pauken to intervene, based on the numerous complaints from CWI board members and the community since there is a severe lack of transparency and accountability, along with other complaints. Unfortunately, they did not intervene and the Mayor has been forced to wait for expiration of terms in order to appoint people who would bring transparency, integrity and accountability to the board, which was sorely lacking.

I am adding to this post that my source has told me that both Ahumada and Cascos have made good appointments

I want to make clear there are Commissioners working hard to bring recycling to Brownsville, but it my be decades away unless mandated by the federal or state government.

My source has explained to me that the Brownsville City landfill is a positive cash cow for Brownsville. The next closest landfill is in Donna. Every surrounding city sends its trash to Brownsville. Every residential dump truck is charged based on volume. In the end whether it is Harlingen or Brownsville, money is paid to the landfill based on how much trash is being dumped.

My regular readers know I recycle everything -including the water in my dehumidifier. I water plants with the water. It takes me 4-6 weeks to fill one trash can with non-recyclable material.

Imagine if everyone recycled. The amount of trash which is dumped in the landfill would be cut in half. This would have a major impact on the revenues earned by the Brownsville City landfill.
At this point the question is - fiscal responsibility or environmental responsibility? If people were to find their PUB trash fee to double to make up for lost revenue at the landfill, they would demand heads.

Why is it Brownsville does not have the same problem with landfill waste as other cities? On Long Island you will receive a ticket if you do not recycle. In fact you pay a nickel deposit on all recyclable containers (it may have gone up since the last time I checked). Bottom line is, on Long Island and in most of the populated areas of NY there is no land left for landfill. In Brownsville there is land everywhere.

I will continue to recycle. I hope more and more people join the recycling movement. But I know all too well, people would rather put recyclable material in the landfill than pay a higher fee for trash pickup. This will be the case until the profit from recycling is higher than the lost revenue from reduced trash pickup.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Sorry for the late post - My fatigue related to the sleep apnea has me down.

At the end I will comment on Sorry Charlie Atkinson’s conduct at last night’s meeting.

The way I understand it after reviewing several documents, One-Stop Management, L.L.C. (OSM) has sued Cameron Works for failure to pay $59,303.75 after services were rendered. The case is pending in Travis County Court at Law No. 1, cause number C-1-CV-08-003087. I cannot speak to the merits of the case, but I can speak to my experience with these type cases.

Part of the lawsuit is filed under a sworn account. It is very difficult to defeat a lawsuit when you have been sued under a sworn account cause of action. This means the plaintiff is basically putting before the court the contract, the bill, and a statement it has not been paid. This goes back to 2007.

The backdrop to this alleged breach of contract includes a meeting which occurred on November 20, 2007. "The County Judge, Carlos Cascos, the Cameron Works, Inc. Board Chair, Lee Reed, Board Member Davil Merrill, and Executive Director of Cameron Works Inc., Frank Castellanos, had a meeting in Brownsville, Texas and called the workforce staff at the workforce center in Harlingen, Texas to discuss some of the issues that were intended to be addressed in the public meeting on November 21, 2007. This meeting was not posted, the other board members were not informed of the meeting and the other Chief Elected Official, the Mayor of Brownsville, Texas, Pat Ahumada, was not made aware of this meeting. Neither the public nor the media were made aware of this meeting in which decisions occurred circumventing the called special meting. "

Before this period during the Summer of 2007 the Cameron Works board voted to extend the contract of One -Stop Management to operate the Cameron Works Career Centers. At the meeting the Executive Director (Frank Castellanos) recommended the extension and expressed no reservations with the performance of OSM.

OSM and Frank Castellanos eventually reached an agreement as to the terms of the new contract. The allegation goes that Frank Castellanos repeatedly represented that the new contract was being sent overnight express mail to OSM. It never arrived. Fast forward, the contract without proper bidding protocal being followed was later awarded to UMOS. The allegation is, Frank Castellanos "selected a new Career Center operator with no competitive or open procurement process and manipulated information concerning the negotiation to make it appear that there was a breakdown in the process, when in fact, there were no negotiations only evasion and deceit."

The final claim is, Frank Castellanos had previously worked with UMOS, which had never "operated a career center in the complex and unique Texas Workforce system."

If the claims being made are true, I am compelled to ask, what exactly is the purpose of the Cameron Works Board other than to allow its Executive Director to run Cameron Works as his personal Fiefdom? Why is taxpayers money being spent to defend a lawsuit for Cameron Work’s failure to pay its bills?

This is so typical of how it works, whether it is the City of Brownsville City Commission, BISD’s Board, or Cameron Works, these commissions/boards are all too willing to spend our money defending their incompetence and personal agendas.


I did not see last night’s meeting. I had a dinner engagement. According the to Herald, Sorry Charlie Atkinson wanted to take the Charter changes into Executive Session. He was shot down. He then tried to raise the issue of healthcare benefits for the commissioners. While I personally support extending healthcare benefits to the commissioners, if they do not have it otherwise at their job, only a complete idiot would push for it now. But you see, Sorry Charlie Atksinson is not facing reelection in May - it means nothing to him to throw Camarillo, Garza, and Cisneros under the bus on the issue on the eve of an election.

Monday, February 16, 2009


According to every report I read on the issue the city was to get back the land obtained from the landowners when the city was ready to proceed with downtown development. Maybe two years ago their was a controversial Supreme Court decision wherein the Court found that under the federal eminent domain provision cities could condemn private land for commercial development. The State of Texas moved immediately to insure this could not happen in Texas - unless you cut a deal with DHS.

Over the Summer when the City of Brownsville held the same hearing on a possible deal with DHS, I could not understand why this developer who had been working on downtown development was so insistent that the city agree to the DHS offer. I now understand.

DHS condemns private property. In this market they pay nearly nothing for the land compared to what it would be worth at the point the downtown and river development goes forward. Fast forward, the City of Brownsville proceeds with the river and downtown development and DHS gives all of this land purchased for pennies on the dollar from the land owners during the condemnation proceedings. The City of Brownsville now controls the land and can develop it as it chooses without having to pay full dollar for the land.

This was the deal. Under Texas law the City of Brownsville could not condemn the land for private commercial development. The solution is simple - cut a deal with DHS to condemn the land for the temporary wall, which includes giving the land to the City of Brownsville at a later date. The DHS deal bypassed the Texas Constitution.

Effectively the City of Brownsville, with the prodding of a developer, and the assistance of DHS steals privately owned land for pennies on the dollar for later commercial development. It is all legal because they tried to do it with the assistance of DHS, rather than directly, which would be a violation of the Texas Constitution. This is why the landowners were kept out of the negotiations.

So it is true, they were against the wall, but used the wall issue as a backdoor way to use eminent domain to steal privately held land for commercial development. They could not use eminent domain to secure the land for commercial development, so they went to DHS and had them do it.

Mayor Ahumada needs to inform Congressman Solomon Ortiz about what happened and secure his assistance to get DHS to open an investigation against their own negotiators for their part in this mess. The people of Brownsville need to inform their neighbors about how Leo (the Cowardly) Garza, Carlos Cisneros, and Edward Camarillo were all too willing to make themselves party to this con on the land owners.

I would go so far as to suggest Mayor Ahumada inform the federal judge assigned to the case of this fraud on the court by DHS. DHS clearly made itself party to a conspiracy to cheat these landowners out of their land for pennies on the dollar so that Brownsville would be free to later develop the land for pennies on the dollar of what it would have cost otherwise. Federal judges do not take kindly to their courts being used for fraud.

The land owners need to file common law fraud on the court claims against DHS to have the condemnation proceedings dismissed as a sanction. This type conduct must be punished, and the voters must punish Garza, Camarillo, and Cisneros at the polls.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have given Ben Neece a hard time for what by actions appears to be an abandonment of his clients, Art Rendon and Antonio Juarez. In the case of Rendon he allowed the TRO to expire rather than subject his client to public cross examination, and he simply has allowed Juarez’s lawsuit to sit idol in federal court. The last thing Ben wants is to put Juarez before a federal judge while being subject to cross examination.

To be fair, BISD has also abandoned its defense. Craig Vittitoe of Adams and Graham, L.L.P., has appeared as counsel for BISD. Before his appearance Mike Saldaña filed in Rendon’s case a Plea to the Jurisdiction. A Plea to the Jurisdiction means, that court has no legal authority to rule on the merits of the case. Under the rules Ben Euresti would have had to rule on the Plea before allowing for Rendon to defend his TRO at a temporary injunction hearing. Given this reality, Ben Neece had to drop the TRO. A full fledge hearing on the court’s jurisdiction could have resulted in dismissal of the lawsuit.

The following is BISD’s argument as to why the district court does not have jurisdiction to entertain Rendon’s suit.

‘Sullivan admits that she did not exhaust her administrative remedies and acknowledges that exhaustion of remedies is a prerequisite to the trial court's jurisdiction in a case like this involving disputed fact issues. See Texas Educ. Agency v. Cypress-Fairbanks Indep. Sch. Dist., 830 S.W.2d 88, 90 (Tex.1992); Mission Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Diserens, 144 Tex. 107, 188 S.W.2d 568, 570 (Tex.1945)."

Wilmer Hutchins ISD v. Sullivan, 51 S.W3d 293, 294-295 (Tex. 2001)

In the case of Hector Gonzales as a superintendent he knows this to be the rule. The above case is a retaliatory discharge case. Now I do concede there is an interesting twist to this - does TOMA (Opening Meetings Act) violations allow for limited suit on TOMA violation issues? "An exception to the rule is that a trial court may intercede before administrative remedies are exhausted where the administrative agency lacks jurisdiction." Westheimer Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Brockette, 567 S.W.2d 780, 785 (Tex.1978).

I have stayed away from the TOMA issues for this reason. If the court has jurisdiction, its jurisdiction is limited to TOMA violations only. This would mean the remainder of the lawsuit could be dismissed.

So here is my question, why has Craig Vittitoe, who has filed his appearance for BISD in the Rendon lawsuit, not sought a hearing on the Plea to the Jurisdiction? As of Friday last he has filed nothing. I called his office for comment, but his secretary stated she is not allowed to write down questions for Mr. Vittitoe or give out his e-mail. His email is readily available on the law firm’s web page. Mr. Vittitoe has refused to return my phone calls to answer this simple question - why on behalf of BISD have you not sought a hearing on the Plea to the Jurisdiction?

There is a stalemate. Both sides now know both sides are prepared to go all the way with accusations of wrongdoing by both sides. This becomes a no win for both sides. After all of this drama why has BISD refused to defend the interests of the taxpayers?

Gonzales has made it worse with his lawsuit. Craig Vittitoe has already been hired to defend the Board Members in the Rendon suit. Gonzales is a major witness in that lawsuit who was sued in his Representative Capacity. Vittitoe cannot be working with Gonzales as a witness for BISD, at the same time he is representing the Board Members in the lawsuit filed by Gonzales. This means the taxpayers will foot yet another bill for attorneys fees, as yet another law firm must be hired.

I assume the BISD Board will make this decision at the next meeting. So now we have more lawyers being hired at the taxpayers expense, and these lawyers are doing nothing to protect the taxpayers. It is a stalemate and the taxpayers are paying the bill. I will give Ben Neece an A+ for this. He has protected his client with a stalemate of "you fire my client he will talk." This could be construed as blackmail to influence the decision making of elected officials. This is a crime. Again this will be a matter for the FBI to decide.

I took Antonio Juarez’ claims related to bribery to the FBI because I knew then what I know now, both sides are running scared and hope to find a way to shut this down without further damage to themselves. Gonzales has added to this mix with his claims.

If Gonzales believes he is the object of retaliation for going after Joe Rodriguez then he should take the audit report which proves his claims to the FBI and provide them with an affidavit stating which Board Members are blocking Joe Rodriguez’ discharge. If he believes that the BISD police chief is obstructing the investigation into wrongdoing, then he should allege that in an affidavit to the FBI. If he does this then the truth will come out. But going to the Herald behind the scenes (either individually or through a third party) to have them request the audit does not help his case. Further refusing to tell the people to which law enforcement agencies he took the claim, does not help his case.

None of this excuses his neglect concerning Rendon’s mismanagement of Special Services. Gonzales has to go for that reason, and not because he supports the discharge of Joe Rodriguez, so the allegations goes.

The most Gonzales can do at this time to save face is to take down the four board members he is suing. I would submit school boards are not in the habit of hiring former superintendents who have sued the school board on claims of corruption. He is not going to find another job after suing the school board members. No school board will ever trust him. His career is over because of his own actions.

But this does not mean he cannot leave as the good guy - Gonzales needs to face the reality of the mess he has created for himself by suing the school board. He needs to take his claims public, while in a very public way filling them with the FBI. It is time the FBI get to this bottom of this mess.

He also needs to concede that he allowed the situation with Art Rendon to get out of hand. So long as he is defending Art Rendon, those who know the truth about Special Services, will demand Gonzales be fired. Gonzales cannot claim he is looking out for BISD by going after Joe Rodriguez, and then ignore the mess created by Art Rendon. It comes across as selective indignation.

While he will never be hired as a superintendent again, he can still rally his supporters in Brownsville and work with the TEA to start another Charter School. Maybe he can make it up to all the special needs children who have suffered under Rendon, and start a Charter School which addresses their needs.

In addition he needs to order his attorney to non-suit his intervention in the Rendon lawsuit. He has clearly breached his fiduciary duties to BISD by suing BISD within the Rendon lawsuit. First and foremost he had no legal or equitable interest in the lawsuit to justify the intervention. Second, assuming the cases were to go to trial his testimony against BISD in his own claims would cost BISD money in the Rendon suit.

To Mr. Peña, Mr. Gonzales attorney - if by Friday morning you have not non-suited Gonzales' intervention I will ask the State Bar to issue sanctions under In re Bennett, 960 S.W.2d 35, 40 (Tex.1997) (orig. proceeding). The Bennet decision clearly gives Judge Euresti authority to issue the sanctions sua sponte without a motion. In fact he can still issue the sanctions after you non-suit it. Judge Euresti can certainly save face in this mess if he would simply do as the Texas Supreme Court commands he does under the Bennet decision.

Judge Euresti should issue a Show Cause Order to Mr. Peña to state Mr. Gonzales' equitable or legal interest in the Rendon suit of face sanctions for forum shopping as provided for in the Bennet decision. Judge Eursti needs to send a message to the attorneys of Cameron County he will not play their games or accept their insults that he can be trusted to ignore the law.

While Judge Euresti should do this on his own without a motion by the defendants, I would expect that once BISD approves the hiring of an attorney, the attorney will file a Motion to Strike the Gonzales lawsuit, and move for sanctions. But then again, it is all a stalemate being paid for with the taxpayers money. Neither side wants this litigation to continue. They will benefit from this stalemate so long as Judge Euresti plays into the games. The taxpayers will be caught holding the bag.

I am e-mailing his to Craig Vittitoe for his response as to why BISD has taken no action to seek a hearing on the Plea to the Jurisdiction as filed by Mike Saldaña before Mr. Vittitoe was hired as counsel. Inasmuch as the taxpayers are paying him, I would assume the taxpayers have a right to know.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


The mayor of La Grulla, Texas was arrested for threatening to kill a commissioner. Two Brownsville city employees are charge with stealing less than $20,000.00, and are fired and then arrested. Mayor Pat Ahumda is accused of misappropriating a check from the city in excess of $26,000.00. The question is, why has Chief Garcia refused to order his arrest? In the eyes of the people Chief Garcia has lost all credibility. It is time the City Commission announce an Executive Session concerning personnel matters related to Chief Garcia and his refusal to arrest the mayor. Why did he drop the ball after completing the investigation?

Friday, February 13, 2009

You must be a fan of international intrigue films to like this film. My review is one of indifference, but I suspect fans of this genre of film will like it a lot more than I did. It is slow. About 3/4 of the way through it picks up a bit.
An investigator with Interpol heads up an investigation of IBBC Bank. The bank's officers seem to have a penchant for killing anyone who might get in their way of promoting international arms sales.
To understand what happens at the end you were required to stay and read the newspaper headlines while the credits ran. People were walking out. Maybe half the audience bothered to stay. The theater was half empty during the film.
I give this film an eh only because the story could have been a lot better. The director and screenwriter missed an opportunity to really tell the story. The key to the story is how all governments are somehow tied to the bad guys and then become dependent on one another. There should have been behind the scene scenes which developed this part of the story. This is where the film failed.

Today I went back to the court because I forgot to get a copy of any agreement extending the TRO. They are only good for 10 days. I quickly noticed that there was no such agreement in the record. I then checked the docket sheet. The previous stamp entry for TRO had been whited out. I then asked Elva Olivo, Judge Euresti's Court Coordinator, why it was whited out and she said, because the TRO was withdrawn by Ben Neece.

Why? Because Ben knew the second he put Art Rendon on the record under oath and subject to cross examination the gig would be up. This is the same reason he has abandoned Antonio Juarez's request for a TRO in federal court. He is unwilling to put his client under oath and subject to cross-examination.

As to Gonzales suit - apaprently Ben Euresti has been humiliated enough and told Hector Gonzales that if he wanted a TRO/temporary injunction he would have to come to court on Judge Euresti's schudule and be subject to being sworn and subject to a charge of perjury if he lied. He will also have to be subject to cross examination.

The hearing is set for March 12, 2009. The entire gig is up - I think Judge Ben Euresti is tired of being humiliated by these BISD plaintiffs.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Sorry this is not the post I promised, but after two sixteen hour days of work, I am just too exhausted to doing anything complex.

This post is not an endorsement of Carlos Cisneros. It is a discussion which will hopefully help people understand how elections work in the real world. Carlos Cisneros could go down as one of the most incompetent city commissioners in Brownsville’s history if he votes yes on the DHS compromise. Given the fact we are now waiting for a response from the Obama Administration, the city commissioners should vote to table the issue and order counsel to file an answer to the condemnation proceedings alleging bad-faith negotiations. This should delay a final result long enough for Obama to address the issue.

You cannot win an election unless you have one of two things in place. A lot of money or a political machine. At this point, if it is true Moses Sorola is going to challenge Cisneros he has neither. Making matters worse, he has angered the largest independent political machine in Cameron county. The anti-wall lobby has a large number of members and can raise money.
Voring no to the compromise agreement with DHS,, or to table it until the Obama Administration responds to Ortiz’s letter will not anger DHS. It is total BS coming from petty children on the City Commission that DHS will never make the offer again.

The offer has been made. It will be there if Obama does not take action. In fact DHS can agree, if it so chooses, to an abatement of the proceedings until the Obama Administration responds to Congressman Ortiz. I will go one step further, the federal judge in the case will look upon DHS as negotiating in bad-faith if they refuse to abate the proceedings until the Obama Administration has an opportunity to clarify its position on continuing with the wall in Cameron County.

Back to the Cisneros/Sorola race, assuming Sorola actually decides to run, why would anyone who is part of the anti-border wall lobby even consider Solola in light of his own words?

"Who is funding the protesters? Who has the most to gain? Could it be big business that wants cheap labor? Drug lords who want to continue their trade? Religious organization that want more donations? "

"The poor who come here from Mexico are almost all Catholic and they contribute freely and in large amounts to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church does not want the fence because it will reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, drugs and the flow of cash to the Catholic Church"

For those in Cisneros district who wants him gone, you better find a better candidate than Sorola. If Cisneros votes yes on the compromise he will face an anti-border wall candidate. This would make him an idiot. Right now Cisneros can simply argue to give the Obama Administration an opportunity to clarify its position on the border wall, and he wins reelection. No one but a complete fool would make such a mistake under these facts to vote yes on the settlement agreement with DHS.

Now what? does Il Duce Troiani tell the people of Brownsville take the deal before Obama calls off the wall.

Deal or no Deal


If this letter was so predictable, why did Il Duce Troiani not see it? he did see it, so why is he still pushing for this wall? That is the million dollar question.

Tomorrow, I am going nuclear on the BISD Board, Gonzales, and the lawyers - to a person they are all con jobs robbing the people blind.

When a plaintiff uses unethical acts to choose one particular judge over another it is called forum shopping. "This case arises out of a deliberate circumvention of the random assignment of cases in a county in which eight district courts preside." "search of a court perceived to be sympathetic, subverts random assignment procedures that are in place in many multi-court counties and is an abuse of the judicial process. This type of conduct, if tolerated, breeds disrespect for and threatens the integrity of our judicial system."

In re Bennett, 960 S.W.2d 35, 40 (Tex.1997) (orig. proceeding).

This is exactly what happened when Hector Gonzales authorized his attorney to file an Intervention Cross-Plaintiff action in the Rendon action. The above case is a sanction case wherein the lawyers involved in the conduct were sanctioned. The law prohibiting Gonzales’s lawsuit is so black and white and well established there can be no question that Gonzales’s attorney did same because he has no expectations that Judge Ben Euresti will allow the triviality of the law to be a guide in his rulings.

The Four Board Members should move for immediate dismissal of the intervention and request sanctions. They then should use the sanctions order as a basis for immediate discharge of Gonzales for cause. He can then sue Peña for malpractice.

I have been on the fence about filing a complaint against Judge Euresti for his conduct in the Rendon case. There is no doubt in my mind that Judge Euresti would sign his own death warrant. This is why lawyers like Neece and Peña have no problem seeking him out as a favorable forum for their clients. I will be putting the judicial complaint against Judge Euresti in the mail today.

Back to the facts. Neece secured an improper TRO on no evidence from Judge Euresti for the benefit of Rendon. He filed a similar lawsuit for Antonio Juarez. Judge Leal would not play the game so Neece could not secure a TRO for Juarez. BISD then removed the lawsuit to federal court. Ben Neece then abandoned the lawsuit for all practical purposes.

As of Friday last Neece had taken no action to secure a TRO from federal Judge Hanen for the benefit of Antonio Juarez. Why? Because unlike in Judge Euresti’s court where evidence and legal authority are not required, Judge Hanen would require that Antonio Juarez take the stand and swear under oath to his personal knowledge of the alleged bribery and contract rigging.

Even Ben Neece knows enough to know Judge Hanen would have issued major sanctions when Juarez failed to deliver evidence based on personal knowledge. The truth would be out, and this is why Neece has effectively abandoned the lawsuit. I cannot help the facts. How does Juarez go from alleging he needs a TRO to taking no action on his lawsuit? - fear of a judge who will enforce the law -fear of the truth coming out.

Gonzales filed what is known as an intervention. I will allow my readers, (this is mostly for Judge Euresti, BISD’s lawyers and Peña) to read the case law on the issue and to form their own opinion. The key is the following. "The party who seeks to intervene in litigation that is pending in a trial court must show a legal or equitable interest such that he would be entitled to recover in his own name to the extent of relief sought."

Gonzales has no equitable interest in the Rendon suit such that he is "entitled to recover in his own name to the extent of relief sought." Gonzales lawsuit is at best only related to the Rendon lawsuit because both are suing BISD for matters related to personnel issues.

I will give this to Ben Neece, unlike Peña, he had enough sense to file the Juarez lawsuit in a separate lawsuit, as opposed to an intervention.

Two things need to happen at this point if Judge Euresti wants to save what is left of his reputation. He needs to recuse himself from the entire case based on the insult Gonzales brought upon his court and the judiciary. He then needs to refer Pe a for sanctions. This is a black and white case of forum shopping. Peña must be sanctioned and Ben Euresti must take the lead on the issue or be forever known as the Cameron County judge unethical lawyers seek out for favorable rulings. If Judge Euresti fails to recuse himself from the Rendon lawsuit the message to the people will be clear - he can be relied upon as the object of forum-shopping.


"The party who seeks to intervene in litigation that is pending in a trial court must show a legal or equitable interest such that he would be entitled to recover in his own name to the extent of relief sought; or, if he were the original defendant, he would be able to defeat recovery, in part or in whole. King v. Olds, 71 Tex. 729, 12 S.W. 65 (1888); Wilson v. County of Calhoun, 489 S.W.2d 393 (Tex.Civ .App.--Corpus Christi 1972, writ ref'd n.r.e.); 44 Tex.Jur.2d, Parties, § 44. The sufficiency of the petition in intervention is tested by its allegations of fact on which the right to intervene depends, and the petition will fail if no justiciable interest, legal or equitable, is alleged therein. Mulcahy v. Houston Steel Drum Company,402 S.W.2d 817 (Tex.Civ.App.--austin 1966, no writ); Watkins v. Citizens' Nat. Bank of Rockwall, 53 Tex.Civ.App. 437, 115 S.W. 304 (1908, no writ); 44 Tex.Jur.2d, Parties, § 60, § 61 (1963).

To entitle a person to intervene in a pending suit, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to show an interest in the subject matter of the litigation '. . . greater than a mere contingent or remote interest . . ..' Beall v. Helm, 50 S.W.2d 460 (Tex.Civ.App.--Fort Worth 1932, writ dism'd). The right to intervene is subject to wide discretion by the trial court in judging the sufficiency of an opposing party's motion to dismiss the petition of the intervenor. Armstrong v. Tidelands Life Insurance Company, 466 S.W.2d 407 (Tex.Civ.App.--Corpus Christi 1971, no writ); Roberson v. Roberson, 420 S.W.2d 495 (Tex.Civ.App.--Houston (14th Dist.) 1967, writ ref'd n.r.e.); Jones v. English, 235 S.W.2d 238 (Tex.Civ.App.--San Antonio 1950, writ dism'd). In testing the sufficiency of the facts alleged by the petitioner in the petition for intervention, the facts so alleged should be construed along with the allegations of fact set out in the pleadings of the person who resists the petition in intervention. Schnick v. Morris, 24 S.W .2d 491 (Tex.Civ.App.--Beaumont 1929, writ ref'd)."

National Union Fire v. Pennzoil, 866 S.W.2d 248 (Tex.App. —Corpus Christi 1993)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Tonight the Brownsville City Commission will interview candidates for the position of city attorney. Here is the problem. What happens if they hire someone who works to get the DHS settlement approved, and Camarillo, Cisneros, and Garza are replaced during the election in May? The new city attorney could find he has the shortest career in Brownsville City attorney history.

Monday, February 9, 2009


There seems to be confusion about what is going on with the border wall and the taking of City of Brownsville land by the US Government. Brownsville City Manager Charlie Cabler’s representation as to the status of the land is at best misleading. It is true, but false.

I have to admit I have not reviewed the pleadings as of yet, but my choice is to believe there was a constructive coup d‘etat of the mayor, or Mr. Cabler is being less than honest. I know government attorneys are capable of bad things, but I refuse to believe that DHS lawyers conspired with some city commissioner to undermined the position of the City of Brownsville. This is why I am so confident in making this post without ever having reviewed the pleadings.

When the US Government files a condemnation proceeding the land transfers to the government at the time of filing.

"A. U.S. Attorney's office prepares complaint in condemnation and related pleadings and files case. If a Declaration of Taking is filed and a deposit of estimated compensation is made with the clerk of he court, title to the land passes to the United States upon the filing of the Declaration of Taking and deposit of funds."

For anyone interested, the link provides a good step by step process of how condemnation works.

Once this happens the city has a time frame to either accept the condemnation or challenge it. A challenge can include a claim the government has not negotiated in good faith. If my memory serves me this is what the university did, and won. If I remember, Judge Hanen ordered them back to the drawing board. My point is, Brownsville can delay the process of the taking by challenging it.

Because the City of Brownsville can still challenge the condemnation the deal is not done. The compromise which the city commission is seeking to vote on would be a settlement. In effect the city would not challenge the legality of the condemnation or the value of the land made the subject of the condemnation.

The compromise by itself is not a bad agreement. I am as opposed to the wall as the next guy, but if I understand the agreement once the city is ready to go forward on other projects DHS will remove the wall and return the land back to the city. If this is true the agreement would have zero negative impact on the weir dam.

What is important here, and I concede I could be wrong and regret this post, there was no de facto coup d’etat of the mayor. The ownership of the land referenced by City Manager Cabler is nothing more than a reference to the automatic transfer of title which occurs upon the filing of the condemnation proceeding. I will do my best to make it to court on Tuesday to check on the dates.

Assuming I am correct, nothing nefarious occurred by any city commissioner trying to undermined the mayor or the people. I am not sure about negotiations with DHS. Does anyone know or remember if in the past the commission assigned some commissioners to act as negotiators?

My view as to what should happen right now is, the City Commission should agree to table the offer and direct the city manager to send a letter to Congressman Ortiz requesting that he intervene with the Obama Administration to halt further construction in Cameron County until such time as the Obama Administration can review the current policy related to the wall. The letter probably should also be sent to both Cornyn and Hutchison.

The city can file a motion to abate the proceedings for 60 days to allow the Obama Administration to respond to the request. I am willing to bet the judge would grant such an abatement. People may not realize but policy does not change just because you change presidents. At this level everything is going forward as if Bush were still president. It is going to take a directed policy shift by President Obama to stop the proceedings and the building of the wall. Given the collapsed economy, somehow I think the wall is just not on Obama’s mind.

The primary purpose of this post is to inform people that there was probably no nefarious behind the scene action by city commissioners which caused the land to be transferred to DHS. DHS filed a standard condemnation proceeding, and transfer of title was automatic, subject to a timely challenge. This is the only way to explain Cabler’s claim the land has already transferred title from the city to DHS.

The city can either challenge the proceedings or enter into the proposed settlement agreement. With the agreement on the table, I think it is highly unlikely that DHS would take it off the table forever just because the City of Brownsville chooses to delay a decision for a couple of weeks to allow Congressman Ortiz to seek comment from the Obama Administration. Any claim to the contrary is simply false, or the advice of someone who fails to understand how the courts work.
Now I could be wrong - maybe this happened months ago and the city defaulted. If this is the case, which I doubt, then heads should be sent to executioner.

The only reason to rush this is to humiliate the mayor. It seems to me Sorry Charlie Atkinson must abstain. The mayor will vote no. This means Il Duce Troiani and Shorty Dick Longoria will need the help of Leo (The Cowardly) Garza, Carlos Cisneros, or Edward Camarillo to pass the settlement agreement. Given the three are up for reelection, it could be political suicide to vote yes without first giving Congressman Ortiz an opportunity to seek intervention by the Obama Administration.

If I had to predict the May elections today I would say all three incumbents are shoo-ins. This issue however could provide the final blow needed to bring to the campaign candidates who can and will be able to raise the money to send the three packing.

It seems odd to me anyone with a half of brain would play political suicide on the eve of an election when their reelection is all but guaranteed. What is the harm in a months delay? Nada

Brownsville Crime stoppers. at 956-546-TIPS

(Second post today, based on a readers question)

To cut to the chase illegal aliens have the right to file suit in US courts. Think of it this way - should just because someone is here illegally mean you can go out and destroy their life with impunity? Illegals file lawsuits all of the time. I remember several years ago when the Republican judges in Dallas saw the writing on the wall about changing demographics they all publicly announced that they would not allow a person's legal status to be an issue in the case. The reality is, it should not be unless it is germane to the issue.

On deportation the courts have taken the position that society's interest would not be served if an entire class of people (albeit here illegally) could not access our courts for civil remedies. Believe it or not undocumented men are paying child support. Do you really want to deport him and then put his children on welfare and Medicaid? If the courts start to report undocument fathers who are paying child support the fathers will simply never appear in court, and the state will get caught with the bill. Nothing is ever black and white.

To see the reader's question go to comments in previous post. To try and better understand this story I tried to research the case. There are a lot of bad articles out there written by people who have zero knowledge of the law and the meaning of court rulings. Here is a quote which I believe summarizes why the judge allowed the case to move forward. Between the above Fox article and this one I think you can get a good sense of what this case is about.

"The federal lawsuit charges Barnett, his wife, Barbara Barnett, and his brother, Donald Barnett, with conspiring to violate the plaintiffs' civil rights, according to the release.

U.S. District Court Judge John Roll in March rejected Barnett's efforts to have the charges thrown out, ruling that sufficient evidence of a conspiracy existed, that the Barnetts denied the immigrants' right to interstate travel and that the actions of the three were motivated by race.

Barnett's attorney, David Hardy, had argued that illegal immigrants didn't have the same rights of interstate travel as U.S. citizens do.

Roll's ruling came on the heels of another judgment against Barnett in February 2008.
At that time, the Arizona Court of Appeals refused to throw out a jury verdict from November 2006 - and a nearly $100,000 monetary award - against Barnett in another civil case where a jury concluded he falsely imprisoned members of a Douglas family."

The current trial is scheduled to go through Feb. 13."

I have not seen the admissible evidence to know one way or the other whether there was sufficient evidence to raise a fact question for a jury. There is an interesting question - do illegals have the right on interstate travel if they have no right to travel in the US in the first instance? This may shock my readers, but I would say no.

Years ago I worked on a wrongful death case wherein myself and another attorney were representing the construction company. In the first instance there was no liability as a matter of law. What got them to drop our client from the lawsuit was my draft brief that even if our client were liable for the plaintiff's death, his family was not entitled to lost wages based on a US wage earner because he had no right to wages in the US. The plaintiff's lawyers feared the argument and dropped our client from the lawsuit.

Generally, especially in Texas, you have a right to defend your land. You have the right to use reasonable means to detain someone on your property until law enforcement arrives. This can get sticky. The problem is you will rarely be able to defend your actions if they cross the line under the facts. This becomes very fact specific, which means the case goes to a jury.

The jury will decide whether he acted reasonably under the facts. He has a problem. Because he already has a judgement against him for similar conduct, this will come out when he is being cross examined. It will be almost impossible to avoid opening that door.

The final result is any one's guess.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

My review of this film is mixed. In many ways the essence of the film is not truly revealed until the music video at the end when they run the credits. I liked the film, but concede it has a very limited audience. For me, the reviews of this film by American critics are very frustrating. It is the typical apologist guilt ridden bourgeois accolades. Now, my long term readers know I am a socialist at heart and reject American liberalism as a pathetic attempt to make amends for and salvage a system they know does not work.

This film must be viewed in the context of contrapuntal analysis. This link expounds on this concept, but in its simplest form, you are to focus not on the bigger story, but on the slum children (the people behind the story) and their existence and how they came about and where they are going. Edward Said who created this form of analysis was a Palestinian socialist who taught Comparative Literature at Columbia University. I tell people you have not read Rudyard Kipling until you have read his works through the eyes of the indigenous servants. It forever changes your view of Colonialism. Anyway I digress - I really want to teach a course on Rudyard Kipling through the eyes of Edward Said.

Back to the film - It is a love story which begins with three orphaned children - two brothers and a girl. During their early years you learn about a history of India I assume India just assume forget. It is brutal. It is important that you note their rejection of colonial literature. This is important because in the end Jamal (India) wins inspite of its rejection of colonial influences.

In hopes that the love of his life will see him Jamal Malik lands a spot on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." After the first night on the show he is arrested on suspicion of fraud. The story opens with the police torturing him to secure his confession. The police chief replays the show and for each question demands that Jamal explain how he knew the answer. With each answer the movie cuts to his life as a small boy to a young teenager. Each answer is found within a tragedy in his life.

You must view this film as a study in sociology. Otherwise, you will be bored to death. You must focus in on how each tragedy in his life brought him knowledge - knowledge which brings him to the point of being a millionaire. He is a reflection of India’s tragic past being a force for its massive economic jump forward. He is India - hence India’s hope and future. He represents slums which are now massive high-rises. He did not allow himself to become a victim of his past. He succeeded because of his past. His slum existence is what made him a success.

The music video at the end, while the credits run, reflect the tradition of Indian music and dance, while incorporating elements of Western culture. It is India accepting itself, while incorporating just a tad bit of Western influence. If you do not view this film through the eyes of India’s tragic past and poverty, you will miss what makes this film more than just another film. India’s current success does not come from the west and its colonial oppression of India, but from India’s endurance and own history independent of the colonial period. It is its destiny.
(Side note- gitano music has its origins in Punjab, India)

This is where the American critics fail the film. This film is not a feel good film of slum kid wins in the end. It is a film of India overcoming its colonial past and the oppression incident to that past. This film does not exist without the music video at the end.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Right now my view of Obama is that of the little boy on the playground desperate to be liked - so he tries to become friends even with those who seek his destruction. At least half of his appointments reflect a total lack of judgment. The nomination of Senator Judd for Commerce was the final blow for me.

You cannot guide a ship without a rudder. Leadership is not trying to placate everybody so in the end you placate no one. He is so concerned with being the uniter he has forgotten to lead. His ship is running adrift in heavy seas. This is not good.

The so called stimulus plan is a joke so filled with pork they might as well call it Porky Pig's family reunion.

Obama said in regards to the Daschle fiasco, "I screwed up." What I think really happened is Obama went into a staff meeting and let his staff have it in a way which would make Christian Bale’s tirade sound like a children’s "G" rated movie.

Obama learned that his staff works for his staff. It is always the hardest lesson any new president learns early on during his term. I do not see this level of mistake happening again. I personally think Susan Criss will get the nod for many of the reasons I discuss herein which are not always a good thing. (Assuming you had a gun to my head and demanded a prediction) She has proven herself as a Democrat and has a resume which makes Villalobos come across as her ass wipe.

Villalobos, according to the Herald, put his name in the ring based on community people asking him to do so. If this is true, which I doubt, the only people who asked him have been on the receiving end of his corruption, or expect cover in the future.

The Cameron County Democratic Party is a corrupt political machine which nurtures candidates based on their willingness to play along. Villalobos finally got an "A" on his transcript. He has proven time and time again he will play along in exchange for support from all of the right people.

Every elected public official has an FBI file. His is not good. They have his entire history as a lawyer. Let’s not forget Amit Livingston is on the FBI’s most wanted list. This is in Villalobos file.
Any moron can put in an application for US Attorney. It means nothing - other than in Villalobos case you are suffering from extreme bouts of delusion. With Villalobos’ allowing a confessed and convicted murder to walk out of court while having his bond turned over to his former law partner, Eddie Lucio, it is fair to say a convicted child molesting priest has a better chance of becoming the lead teacher in a preschool program than Villalobos has getting any federal appointment.

Everyone of these nominees will face the US Senate Judiciary Committee in addition to a complete FBI background check. Obama will fire his new US Attorney if for some reason Villalobos receives the recommendation. Obama will tell the Texas Democratic delegation they have become persona non grata in the White House if they make the mistake of recommending Villalobos.

What makes the Villalobos story instructive of politics is, he did all the dirty work which was expected of him, and now he expects the pay off. Times are changing - apparently no one told Villalobos a US Attorney nomination goes before a US Senate confirmation committee. Villalobos apparently has a very low opinion of US Senators.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


In May Leo (the Cowardly) Garza, Carlos Cisneros, and Edward Camarillo are all up for reelection. If my memory serves me right this morning, De los Santos is running against Garza, and Miller is running against Camarillo. Am I correct in saying that Cisneros does not have an opponent?

In an election the burden is on the opponent. Are De Los Santos and Miller even running campaigns, or is the Herald just not covering the campaigns? Other than some global claims out of the play book of old, do we know how their opponents are distinguishing themselves from the incumbents?

Brownsville is entering some very difficult economic times and not a word about these campaigns. If the news about the shortfalls in revenues Pete Gonzalez gave the Commission on Monday last is true, the next fiscal year is going to see massive cuts in services by the city (roads) or massive property tax increases. Hello - anyone out there to address these campaign issues? Let’s not forget, De Los Santos, the Magical Saint, is promising to deliver greater services while Brownsville’s budget is stretched to its limits, and revenues are falling?

Also on the ballot, assuming the Commission ever acts on them, will be the proposed changes to the City Charter. The good news is, if the Herald got the story correct, we may get to vote an making recall easier, and there will be no vote for a pay raise for the commissioners.

So, is this the future of Brownsville politics? The same old faces, same old complaints, same old nothing ever changes?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The above link provides a list of projects which the Republicans claim to not be stimulus, but pork. Pork is my friend. I know pork when I see it. A lot of this is pork.

When will Congress get it - never

I say if it oinks like a pig - it is pork - but then I could be wrong

The latter part of the City Commission meeting was actually interesting - now I qualify this with the fact I am a policy wonk. Pete Gonzalez did a pretty good job in advising the Commission that revenues are down. People should be paying particular attention to the history of how tax revenues go down during economic hardship in Mexico.

I do not believe all people fully appreciate the importance Matamoros plays to the Brownsville economy. The Harlingen mall is experiencing problems not being faced by the mall in Brownsville. First, Brownsville is larger than Harlingen, and second, Brownsville has Matamoros residents as a source of shoppers.

A second issue presented is, with the peso at something around 14:1, it is more cost efficient for many Brownsville residents to shop in Mexico. If we as Brownsville residents are shopping more in Mexico, then it means fewer tax revenues on the Brownsville side of the border.

I think the 2 million dollar short fall at the airport is misleading. My regular readers know I am no defender of this airport or its administration, but fair is fair. How much does the airport generate in revenue outside the airport? Somehow I think when you consider the jobs created at hotels, restaurants, car rentals, airlines, shopping - the benefit exceeds 2 million dollars. Beyond the job creation there is also the tax revenues generated by the visitors and all the workers who have jobs because of the airport.

In the end the numbers are not good. We must tighten our budget. The other day I was kind of angry when a realtor told me that the deal I thought I had on a house fell through. After hearing excuses for 3 days as to why there was no contract for me to sign, I finally got the truth - the listing agent found someone else to buy the house directly from him. This meant he did not have to share the fee with my agent. I am not mad anymore because I think the market is about to collapse even further. I think in 6 months the house will be worth about 10 thousand less than what the new owners just paid for it.

The mayor was right about property tax revenues falling. Just because it is not yet showing up in the numbers does not mean it is not a problem. People are dumping land left and right. Tomorrow I am looking at land for 25k an acre. Just six months ago this guy was asking 55k. There are so many empty Resaca lots it boggles the mind. One development off of Minnesota has not sold one lot in a year. It is only going to get worse.


I do not know - but I did like the way all of the discussion went on the subject. It was open and frank - people spoke their mind and the people were the better for it. I can say - Sorry Charlie Atkinson with the endless picking of his teeth with one hand, and rubbing of his nose with the other treated everyone with equal contempt - he just cannot help but interrupt everyone.

The Commission would serve its public interest well if it were to conduct itself more like during the discussion over lobbyists. It was professional and informative - You just need to tie the hillbilly boy’s hands down so he does not pick his teeth and rub his nose.

Monday, February 2, 2009


It is sad the Commission is unwilling to listen. The law is the law - regardless of who is urging the point and regardless of whether I or anyone else likes it.

In the statute the key word is "inquiry." I understand people will ignore the word to get to the result they want - but in the end the key word is "inquiry.


(a) If, at a meeting of a governmental body, a member of the public or of the governmental body inquires about a subject for which notice has not been given as required by this subchapter, the notice provisions of this subchapter do not apply to:

(1) a statement of specific factual information given in response to the inquiry; or
(2) a recitation of existing policy in response to the inquiry.

(b) Any deliberation of or decision about the subject of the inquiry shall be limited to a proposal to place the subject on the agenda for a subsequent meeting.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Here is the Attorney General opinion on the issue. It is long, but just do a word search for 551.042 and it will take you right to the discussion.

The way I read inquiry is, "a search for knowledge." This is actually an online definition. For me this means the citizen must ask a question - "how much did the sports park cost?" A commissioner would then be allowed to respond with a factual answer without engaging the citizen. It is not to be used to correct misstatements of fact made by the citizen.

Another example would be, "what is the city’s policy concerning the sale of spirits near schools?" A commissioner could then simply state the factual policy - nothing more - nothing less.

Sorry Charlie Atkinson’s desire to take it beyond this is outside the law. Now, I do believe it hurts the interests of the people if the Commissioners cannot correct misstatements of fact or policy presented by citizen speakers. For now the solution is to put on the city agenda a time for correction of misstatements of fact or policy by citizen speakers.

The City Commission might consider asking our state representatives to amend §551.042 to allow for not only providing factual information to a speaker upon inquiry, but to allow a City Commissioner to call on a city staff person at the meeting to immediately correct any misstatements of fact or policies made by citizen speakers.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

No one is going to convince me that any of the past or current BISD Board Members care one bit about the children of Brownsville. It is sad that while the Board could have cited valid reasons for dismissing Gonzales, they did not, thereby leaving people to believe his suspension is politically oriented. While my online poll is not scientific, I nonetheless find it interesting that the Board is coming across as the bad apples, while Gonzales is doing significantly better than the Board.

We heard a lot of bru ha ha over the City Commission’s decision to approve a liquor license for a bar next door to a BISD teaching facility. What we have not heard from the same people complaining about the new bar where the old World gym was is the fact the BISD Board allowed for the construction of a new elementary school next door to an establish bar. Raquel Peña Elementary, located at 4975 Salida de Luna Road, is expected to open in August 2009. It is right smack next door to a bar. It is all a game - a very, very sad game.

Once this new bar opens, I hope people will keep an eye on who gets hired as a DJ. Shorty Dick Longoria not only voted for the bar, he tried to claim there is no instruction going on at the Aquatic Center. There is a shocker, a BISD teacher does not know the meaning of instruction.
We cannot begin to consider hiring a new superintendent until we have a new Board. Since a new Board is not an option, politics will remain the basis of every decision forthcoming from any BISD Board.

Sorry Charlie Atkinson, and Leo (the cowardly) Garza have put on Monday’s agenda an item which merely says, contemplated litigation. I have never bothered to research the issue of what can and cannot be discussed in Executive Session. Based on a reading of the statute and an AG Opinion, the announcement complies 100% with the law. However, the announcement would also comply 100% with the law if it said "contemplated litigation regarding removal of mayor." So my question is why the secrecy? Why not be transparent about the "contemplated litigation?" Why be so secret?
While I understand the legal advice the Commissioners might be seeking from counsel needs to be kept confidential, the reason for seeking the advice does not need to be kept secret. There will be no secret if a lawsuit if filed, so why not just be transparent up front and tell the people the reason for the contemplated litigation? Answer - the people are a mere inconvenience to the process and must be dismissed as a nuisance.
Given the fact the item was placed on the agenda by Sorry Charlie Atkinson, it's anyone's guess who he wants to sue and why?