Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dear Citizens:

There seems to be a misconception circulating about my position on "quality of life" projects in Brownsville, and, in particular, those revolving around Biking, in Brownsville. I’d like to make my position clear through this statement: Quality of Life: Yesterday, April 22, is good place to start. I attended, performed at, The event is held at the Linear Park, which is thand helped produce the 7th Annual Earth Day Festival, here in Brownsville. Shannon Guerrero, Rose Timmer and I developed and have worked on this event for 7 years. e origin of the Palo Alto Hike and Bike Trail. This year’s event was the largest and best attended of any of the past events. This is a positive event focusing on all of our citizens and our relationship to our Planet. The Farmer’s Market, which began after our first Earth Day Celebration, was part of the event, as it has been, in the past and benefited from the additional surge of people attending the Earth Day Event. If you want to see what a fantastic even it was look here {SEE ABOVE VIDEO}

Additionally, I was a member of the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts for over 20 years, which organization was responsible for annual events, such as: the Latin Jazz Festival (20 yrs) and the Brownsville Guitar Festival (16 yrs). The BSPA produced dozens of other events over the last 22 years, including the annual Messiah Performances at the Performing Arts Theater. Although I have, recently, retired from the Board, I am still involved in the Performing Arts Academy Project and the BSPA Radio Station. These efforts have contributed, tremendously, to the quality of life Brownsville enjoys. I am, currently, a member of the Brownsville Historical Association, having previously served as its President, as well. The BHA has been an integral part of the quality of life in Brownsville.

We recently merged with the Historic Brownsville Museum to provide support to its museum, which joins our existing museums, nationally recognized resource center, archival unit, the Stillman House, Market Square and Alonso Building. The BHA has promoted Brownsville, in many ways, contributing, not only to our quality of life, but promoting Brownsville to academians and tourists, alike. Ozanam Homeless Center (Casa Romero): A little over 5 years ago, I started focusing my efforts to more humanitarian projects, after I was appointed to the Board of the Ozanam Homeless Center. I decided that it was time to devote my energy to the less fortunate of our community. We have instituted several programs toward that end and have maintained operations, even during fiscally challenging times. Recently, we were the beneficiaries of a generous donation to construct a Community Center, where we will have our first clinic on Immigration issues April 27, 2017. This and our downtown homeless initiative are real humanitarian programs that help the neediest of our citizens and residents.

Cyclobia: I am not against biking or cyclobia. I have issues about the location, i.e. downtown, instead of the Palo Alto Hike and Bike Trail. This is because I have heard the voices of the downtown merchants, who are suffering, rather than benefiting from the street closings during the events. I am opposed to closing heavily traveled traffic lanes for “bike lanes,” especially when “bike trails” are immediately adjacent to the “bike lanes.” This is not, in my opinion, an appropriate allocation of resources for our citizens. Many have expressed, to me, their displeasure with the increased traffic congestion caused by the traffic lane closures.

More input from the citizenry would be helpful in determining the proper allocation of municipal resources. Friends of the West Rail Trail: Recently, the Friends of the West Rail Trail have endorsed my opponent, which endorsement I recognize as their constitutional privilege. However, I would like to clarify my position, to assure that the Friends of the West Rail Trail are aware of it. It is not often that an opportunity like the one presented by the abandonment of the Union Pacific Railroad easement presents itself. These are long term considerations that cannot be easily undone. I understand the urgency of the Friends, because of loss of opportunity, after having suffered for so long with blocked train crossings, the sounds of the locomotives and the dangers involved in having a train pass through your neighborhood.

I have stated, in writing, to your leaders, and twice in public forums, that I SUPPORT a “car free” West Rail Trail. As stated, above, I helped develop usage of the Palo Alto Hike and Bike Trail, i.e. the Earth Day Festivals, and would do my best to develop the West Rail Hike and Bike Trail. My son and I spent many a wonderful time riding the bike trails, both on the Palo Alto and the Montebello “off road” trail, where we took our spills and spilled our blood, riding at Montebello. How does this affect District 4?

The Priorities of District 4 have not been met. Allowing the District to be "forgotten," regarding the growth of the city and revitalization of the Historic Downtown District is not acceptable.

 Necessities should come first, like adequate bus shelters, innovative approaches to downtown parking and security. Also, deregulation to facilitate new businesses openings downtown. Incentives for landowners to renovate their properties should be priority, as well. Having practiced law for 35 years I have dealt with many diverse problems and have found ways to solve them. It’s my job. I want to do that job for the citizens of District 4.

 I hope I have helped to clarify my position on these issues. Please feel free to send comments or questions to my website at:

Thanks for your consideration of me as your representative. Ben Neece

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