Monday, January 2, 2017


WHERE DOES BROWNSVILLE GO FROM HERE?

You cannot solve a problem until you define it.  The people of Brownsville are not the same as their elected officials.  This confusion that they are the same paints Brownsville in a false light.

The Brownsville I know is industrious, resilient, and hard working if given a chance.  There are so many success stories, but that would bore social media so they are not reported on.

I grow bored with this notion that only Brownsville resident use government assistance.  While in NY, people using the equivalent of Lone Star were a dime a dozen.  Newsflash for the racists - white men also walk out on their families thereby leaving them in need public assistance.

You cannot compare the average income of the people in Brownsville to that of other cities.  Average income must be adjusted based on the cost of living.  A house here which will cost you $100,000 will cost you easily $300,000 or more on Long Island.  The property taxes will leave you speechless. People earning  $250,000 a year struggle to live and send their kids to college.  

If you have an average house in a lower upper middle class neighborhood, you cannot retire with a million dollars in your 401k.  Although on this one those telling me this I suspect are not being fully truthful.  I know off someone who lives off the two social security checks, and profits from the 401k [nearly $5.000]. But then they only have one house and one car.

THE PEOPLE

The key to Brownsville is its people.  At Four Corners an inventive businessman has decided to refurbish old retail shopping centers and sell the spaces instead of renting them.  The one at Four Corners appears to be sold out.  I call this innovative.  We are getting a coffee shop and a third pharmacy for Four Corners, along with other new businesses.  This is not coming from the city or county, this is coming from a small businessman's creativity in business.

The BV has always supported local businesses, especially the small business person.  Zeke Silva and I are not know for our support for one another, but when he opened his coffee shop the BV told its readers to try it out.  The small business person is important to our economy.

A lot of good people have bought and refurbished old houses and buildings in downtown Brownsville.  These are the people making a difference, not the city commission or county. Personally, I think anyone willing to invest in refurbishing an old building in downtown should have all BPUB fees and city permit fees waived.  This is something the city can do which will promote some growth downtown.

Unfortunately most business ventures in downtown have been in bars, and that is not how you build a vibrant downtown.  A lot of businesses have invested in downtown for office space and that is good.

THE INVESTMENT I WANT TO SEE IN DOWNTOWN

The buildings are there.  I refuse to believe a group of local investors cannot come together to refurbish a building or several buildings into apartments, condos, or townhouses for use by UTRGV and TSC staff and students, or anyone else for that matter.  Again, for these investors the BPUB should waive all fees, and the city all fees for permits, while still doing the inspection.  Just one success story, and a second then third building will be refurbished for higher end living.

THE PROBLEM - THE POLITICOS ARE THE VILLAINS

I do not paint with a broad brush.  TSC, and the Port have some good people serving the people.  The Port Commissioners worked hard to get the money to deepen the ship channel.  This was a victory.  A victory Mike Hernandez knew nothing about because he took orders from Carlos Marin who had no control over the Port.  The people rewarded the incumbents with a major election victory.  We know our elected officials.

No matter how much I oppose LNG the people look to the Port Commissioners to create jobs.  That is what they are doing, so not only Mike Hernandez lost in that election, so to did the anti-LNG forces.  I remain anti-LNG, and hope safety issues related to Space X kills LNG, but the reality is the people expected the commissioners to bring in jobs, and that is what they are doing.  There was no reason to challenge the incumbents based on failure to bring positive change to the Port and jobs.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is many things.  It is significantly more than the blogs.  Sometimes it is a temporary FB page to push an issue by organizing the force of the people.  Factually based corruption by the villains spreads fast on social media well beyond the blogs.  With the new discussion on fake news stories people are getting better at sorting out fake versus real news stories.

EXAMPLE

Juanito claims the BPUB is giving refunds for the increase in rates.  This is a fake story.  I checked with the BPUB and they know nothing about it.  When I redid each toilet in my house, I got the same $50.00 reimbursement on my bill.  BPUB pays $50.00 for each new water efficient toilet you install.  I once had a $40.00 reimbursement for an improper fee charged to check my water meter.

When he broke the fake story I was unable to confirm or deny the claim because of the Holiday.  Everyone I know who gets a BPUB bill and the BPUB know nothing about the claim.

Now their is a story, and the BV will get to it this week.

THE POLITICOS

I cannot worry about 2 years from now.  There is only so much money and time.  We must focus on Rose Gowen, Debbie Portillo and John Villarreal.  All three city commissioners must go, if for no other reason than to send a message the people run this town and not the villains.

The biggest problem we will face is perennial losers like Martin Sarkis running for office thereby making it easier for the inept elected officials to win.

This is a problem which empowers the incumbents.  Social media will split on this issue.  Sarkis has a felony indictment dismissed by convicted judge Abel Limas with an empty file other than bounced checks which explain the how or why.  I believe in redemption, but instead of redeeming himself for his actions he went on the attack.  A redeemed person would have faced up to his history and explained the truth about how it got dismissed.  But social media will split on this issue thereby empowering the incumbent.

WHO WE NEED

We need well funded candidates who see the need for the city to become part of a Cameron County metroplex.  I like McAllen.  But I wonder without the medical industry if they would still be a dusty town west of Brownsville.  I will not lie, I love when I get to go to Edinburg for medical care because it means shooting down the street to Barnes and Noble.  But Brownsville overall has more to offer if harnessed by competent leadership.

The BV will continue this conversation with its ideas of competent leadership.  You may differ from the BV and are welcome to add to and extend the conversation.

So this is where the BV begins.  We have to think about the problem and its source before we begin to look for solutions.

No comments: