County should be forthcoming about flood prevention efforts
It is clear to most that, at least for newspapers, space on the page is equal to profit. Therefore, it is good to see that The Monitor is keeping the past and ongoing effects of our recent flooding before our eyes. This is in direct contrast to our Hidalgo County Commissioners Court that has not. Contrary to their claims of transparency, they have not provided us with their solution or a timetable for its application.
After asking a few questions I have found out that the county’s current plan is to ask the cities to retain and detain more run-off on the land. Stop! Hold it! This is exactly what they have been doing for the past 40 years and what contributed greatly to the most recent flooding. It would be naïve to think that HCDD No. 1 really believes this is a long-term solution. However, in the absence of any information from the county, what are we to think?
Possibly, Hidalgo County should contact an engineer from The Netherlands, a country with hundreds of years experience in preventing flooding. I am sure that engineer would tell them what should already be understood by any logical and rational individual. You have to get the water off the land and into the ocean. Gentlemen, putting in some gates, some pumps and digging a ditch is not rocket science. Storing the water on the land or underground in larger pipes is not a long-term or even a short-term solution. It is just a continuation of our 40-year-old patch job.
So, county commissioners and judge; tell us what are you going to do and when? If you have our flooding from thunderstorms, not hurricanes, under control tell us. I certainly would prefer being told I am wrong, here, in writing, than I would have my home flooded.
Congressman unconvincing in recent stances
According to The Monitor’s July 14 story, Henry Cuellar “is standing by his vote” to amend the 1997 Flores settlement, which bans the long-term detention of migrant children. In defense of his vote, Cuellar claims that the practice of releasing families pending their court date is slower than imprisoning them.
It seems that those migrant children released with their parents under electronic monitoring have to wait longer for their turn for a day in court.
“… The ones that are kept in detention, those cases are done much, much faster,” he maintains.
So holding innocent children in prison is worth it, because it’s faster.
Later in the same article, The Monitor notes something that could explain Mr. Cuellar’s concern for efficiency over sympathy for children: “The congressman also addressed another criticism, this one over contributions he received from GEO Group, the largest for-profit prison operator in the country.”
In fact, Rep. Cuellar (as of 2014) was the top Democratic recipient of private prison money in the House. And the Karnes Detention Center (GEO Group), where ICE plans to detain families as soon as August, is in Cuellar’s district.
Among Securities and Exchange Commission filings there is to be found a report by the GEO group on “Risks Related to Our Business and Industry,” where GEO neatly explains the relationship between immigration decisions and their bottom line: “Immigration reform laws […] could adversely impact us.”
On the other hand, this amendment to the Flores settlement could favorably impact their business, big time.
Certainly GEO will be on hand to fund Cuellar for the foreseeable future after this demonstration of his willingness to use children as pawns to enrich his corporate benefactors.
Edinburg city council should stop spending
Council members were elected as a team to make changes in a governing system that they said was corrupt. They consolidated support by promising to return to the basics of public service and transparency. They are now finding that running for office and being in office are vastly different.
The major problem caused by the ex-mayor was over spending. The previous administration allowed construction on public property so that the owners would not have to pay property taxes. They allowed the construction of a health clinic and a sports arena. In reference to the clinic, the city is now paying the Vipers a fee for maintaining a building that the city paid him to build. Besides a maintenance fee, the city is also paying for water, sewer and electrical services. City use of the facility must be approved by the Vipers.
In reference to the sports arena, the property was given to the city, which is also paying the Vipers a maintenance fee and all utilities.
This information is well-known, and the only question is what is the new council going to do about it? It seems that our new council is occupied with creating greater debt by selling bonds for street paving and creating a small business loan program. All the city has to do is lower the tax rate and that would help everyone. The tax rate is .6350, which is among the highest in the county.
So here is my suggestion, call your city council member and tell him to stop spending, and develop a strategy for removing these two projects now.