Monday, January 2, 2012


I decided to do this special post (no regular posts) on the airport because of an article in the Herald which gets an "F" for detail and reality.  I wrote on this issue exactly one year ago today.  I have been writing on this issue since before I moved to Brownsville, 7 years ago. 

Brownsville's airport has the potential of being a major employer, along with being a major money maker in terms of profits and taxes generated.  Unfortunately our leaders fail to see the potential.


I detailed the issue about the runway limitations one year ago.  I said it should be an issue in the mayor's race.  It was not an issue and remains a non-issue. 

"According to the City of Brownsville its longest runway, runway 2, is 7399 feet long. What this story documents is, is that at least as far back as 2003 there has been a promise to expand the runway to 10,000 feet, so as to expand commercial and cargo service. I have not been able to learn why there is such a delay or what exactly is the status of the runway expansion."

Larry Brown has refused my emails on the issue.

Source:  Brownsville Voice 1/2/2011

For at least 9 years Brownsville has debated this issue and nothing has been done.  ( years ago a 10,000 foot runway would have been acceptable - but in today's world of modern cargo you need a 12,000 runway.)

I know for a fact my biggest readers are the business community.  I spent years developing this part of my readership because I knew the business community has the most influence with our elected officials.

The city commission needs to have a workshop on what it is going to take to build a 12,000 runway and a full service international cargo facility.  They then need to take the action to fund the development though airport fees and bonds.  Brownsville cannot move forward without strong leadership on the runway and airport issue.

The development of the airport will also bring railway jobs, port jobs, and trucking jobs.  It may take creating a combined Port, Airport and County Port Authority such as you see in the NY, NJ combined Port Authority.


There is this woman who loves to speak at the city commission meetings and complain ad nausea about taxes.  She is the problem with Brownsville and why it cannot move  forward.  She has no understanding of business or how to grow it.  She is so poorly educated that while complaining to the city and county to not raise taxes she openly supported the union for the sheriffs' deputies.  Someone forgot to tell her that a union for sheriff's deputies would mean raising taxes to support their hirer salaries.

In my home there are a lot of things I want - but everything is budgeted based on necessity and utility.  Some things cannot wait because it will cost a lot more later - such as a repair.  Somethings will bring me greater comfort while increasing the value in the home.  On these issues I spend - on everything else I save a penny at a time until I have cash to pay for what I want.  Brownsville's priority should be the airport and everything else should wait until the economy recovers.  (Side note - more and more airlines are dumping these commuter planes - is Brownsville ready for the larger planes which may replace them?)

There are two ways for government to raise revenues - taxes and profits.  No one likes taxes - but you cannot raise money through profits unless you invest money in an enterprise.  This may mean raising taxes on a short term so that through investment later on you will not have to raise taxes because revenues from profits are now funding the city instead of taxes.  The faux conservatives in the Republican Party fail to understand this simple aspect of capitalism.  People like this woman and everyone else who say no, no, no to taxes cannot even begin to understand what I just wrote.


Once we have a commitment on the runaway - to be built asap, then Brownsville needs to incorporate an international trade business to run the cargo business at the airport for profit.   This will generate profits for the airport and for the city through its international trade business corporation.


As the Herald, the governor, and every other rational person pointed out, the business model Hedrick brought to Brownsville is viable - it makes sense.  It was unfortunately in the hands of the wrong person.

The thing that made Pan Am exciting was the prospect of bringing South American agricultural cargo through Brownsville. The documentation related to the delays in Miami and Los Angeles was real. Our South American trading partners are not happy with how long it takes to clear customs. Agricultural products such as flowers and asparagus cannot sit forever waiting to be cleared. It was proven Brownsville can clear the products faster and cheaper. This is what made Pan Am exciting.

Months ago I called on the COB to abandon Pan Am and go it alone.  Nothing can happen in terms of the South American trade until we have a larger runway.  10,000 feet are not going to cut it - it may bring business for a few years - but the major cargo companies are going to want to see a plan on paper to expand to 12,000 feet within a few years after completion of the 10,000 foot runway.

The moment bonds are sold for a new runway the city must have in place a corporation for profit which seeks out South American cargo such as flowers and asparagus.  We do not need one airline running this business.  What we need is to convince Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Columbia, Argentina and Brazil - the major exporters - to put pressure on the existing cargo companies to bring their product through Brownsville.  The corporation owned by the COB then manages the business of receiving and making sure the cargo is cleared, while also insuring shipping out of Brownsville on rail, barge and truck is timely.

This is very doable so long as we have leaders who do not run and hide every time some idiot says no new taxes.  We need leaders who understand that by investing now and raising taxes to cover the bonds to develop the airport, we are in fact insuring lower taxes in the long run as the city benefits from the profits generated by its international trade corporation and from the airport.  The time to borrow is now, while the money is cheap.


I do not know if Tony Garza will help - but he is now recognized as a leader in this field.  I would hope that at a minimum he would be willing to help Tony Martinez make connections with the people in our State Department who can introduce a Brownsville delegation to the right people in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Columbia, Argentina and Brazil - the major exporters - so that we can lobby them to promote Brownsville as a major cargo hub for South American cargo.  Once these governments and the major exporters realize Brownsville makes good business sense the governments will be the ones pressuring the cargo companies to use Brownsville as one of the ports of entry.


This also is not complex.  We need a delegation of no more than two who can lobby the right people in Washington to explain why Brownsville is good for Brownsville and the federal government.  Expanded trade with South America is a win  for the federal government.  It is also a win for Texas.  Governor Perry has already recognized this potential for Texas - Brownsville is where it needs to happen.  Even in these difficult financial times there are federal and state dollars for projects which promote the US and Texas.  We must market this plan as something a lot larger than Brownsville - if we do outsiders will see the value in the investment.


Stop the madness - this nonsense that our limited dollars should be used to promote downtown is just plain and simple stupidity.  The other day based on a story in the Herald I went downtown about 3:30 t try a new pizza place.  Look the pizza was not bad and I am sure it serves the community, but it is not NY pizza - not even close.  I hate people who try and sell pizza by calling it NY pizza when it is not.  For the record not everyone likes NY pizza  - if the people who buy it like it then it is the right pizza for them.  BUT - I spent 45 minutes in traffic and trying to park.  Until there is a parking garage downtown I will never go downtown again.

The only interest the city should have in downtown is the building of a parking garage for profit.  Again I would support the selling of bonds  for such a project.  The profits should be enough to pay down the bonds.  Private business should then be responsible for downtown.  Beyond a parking garage taxpayer money should not be involved in downtown.

Any politician who thinks develop of downtown is Brownsville's salvation should be not an elected official.  The development of downtown will not move Brownsville forward and will not bring about real jobs beyond minimum wage jobs.

 Airport jobs will be real jobs with real wages and benefits. 90% of the city's attention should be on the airport.  Unfortunately I think our simple minded elected officials will continue to think small and hope for the best with more bars downtown - a place you will never find me.


While verifying the spelling of faux I found this.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What is your opinion on the article today regarding the TSC President?

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I agree with EVERYTHING you said. Which Tony Garza are you referring to ? WHAT CAN ONE SINGLE CITIZEN DO TO HELP SET THIS VISION IN MOTION?

Ruben Valdez said...

You're right on target regarding the airport. What you have outlined, as in the past makes perfect sense and it should be a priority. Can you "Imagine Brownsville" had it been done years ago? Talk about a booming economy, growth and quality of life for the citizens of Brownsville. The amount of jobs and money would have put Brownsville on the international map for sure. Like you and probably the majority of your readers, I can't understand why the city leaders don't take this golden opportunity and run with it. If not, I can assure you that either Mcallen or Harlingen will. For the sake of the citizens of Brownsville everyone needs to get behind this initiative and make it happen.

BobbyWC said...

Courage in leadership is something Brownsville does not have - I see very little hope for the airport - the leadership is just not there

On TSC - her move was incredibly stupid - even if they were the most qualified people - hopefully this will be a hard lesson for her

But with all the garbage at BISD the Herald has put a news blackout on, there can be no doubt that the Herald is about settling scores for the people they favor and not the community.

I rad it last night and thought - just how pathetic Daniel Cavasos has become - it is really up to her supporters and the supporter of TSC to boycott the paper.

Now - I would feel differently if the Herald did not have a news blackout on BISD and its mess

This type approach to news is not news - the Herald is nothing more than an advocate for Brownsville's destruction.

But in the end while it is standard practice for people to bring there own people in - especially when building a new organization - given the reality in Brownsville it was a move which she never should have made.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

City should consider moving the terminal to FM511. The current location is good for most Brownsville residents, but it is terrible for anyone coming from Harlingen or further. Boca Chica takes too long. It will be faster to exit fm511 and loop around the city. especially when the tollway is complete.

BobbyWC said...

I totally agree - there was a time I was pushing the city to buy the land at university and 77 but 511 is also a very good option - the old airport could eventually exclusively cargo

Thanks for commenting and adding to the discussion

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

The problem with Brownsville is as long as liberal progressive democrats run this city we will always fail.

BobbyWC said...

Really - do you even know the concept of the truth - it is the ignorant faux conservatives who are always blocking investment throught borrowing - which by teh way is exactly how private businesses expand - through borrowing

Bobby WC