Sunday, January 13, 2013


In Sunday's Herald we saw how the various political players in Hidalgo and Cameron county are vying for the new medical school and control of the location of the new UT campus combining Brownsville and Pan-American. 

Let's look to the known facts.  Texas and the federal government are broke.  UT administrators are so strained for cash they are asking Texas to change the Hazelwood program.  Hazelwood is a program which excepts Texas veterans from paying tuition at state universities and colleges.  There is no money for veterans, but Juliet Garcia, Tony Martinez and Rose Gowen think Texas is going to invest in a new campus in Brownsville, when one already exists in Edinburg.  Brownsville will get a small satellite campus.

When it is all done and said, UT will do what it has to do to rent or buy facilities from TSC.  If TSC college trustees continue to refuse to sell facilities to UT so as to pay down the bonds, the trustees will find themselves voted out of office.  This little petty game being played by the trustees will come to an end sooner than later.

If we get a medical school it will be in Harlingen.  UT has already spent a fortune on its facilities in Harlingen to just abandon them because Tony Martinez, Juliet Garcia, or some elected official in Hidalgo county say so.  VA hospitals are tied to community hospitals and medical schools.  The VA is not going to move from Harlingen.  Its largest veteran population is in Brownsville.  While they will not build the hospital in Brownsville - that ship has past - they will not likewise move the hospital any further away from Brownsville than its current projected location in Harlingen.

This leaves the community hospital.  UT has already said it needs a local taxing authority to support  the facility.  This is typically  the community hospital.   The current VA model has the medical school, VA hospital, and community hospital all next to each other.  It is the most cost effective way to do things.  The VA is not going to spend millions of federal dollars to satisfy the egos of locals.  The VA will push for the most cost effective model.

The same can be said for UT.  It is not cost effective for UT to spread this new system out across two counties.  The main campus will in Edinburg. Brownsville will get a small satellite campus - most likely in the form of bought or rented buildings from TSC.  Harlingen will get the medical school. 

While the VA will push for the community hospital to be next to the VA hospital, because of the taxing authority issue, the VA may accept a community hospital along highway 83 on the border between Hidalgo and Cameron county. 

If Juiliet Garcia survives it will be as the administrator over the Brownsville campus - a major demotion from her current position.  I am certain no one in Austin is even considering her views on the issue.  Her failure as UTB's president has already soured Austin on dear Juliet.

It blows my mind these three think they have a voice in this deal.  It just speaks to just how out of tune the three are with reality and the community.

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