Rio Grande Valley – Liberals received their marching orders and the orders are to deflect to Trump in handling Senator Al Franken’s sexual harassment scandal. Franken has been accused of sexual misconduct when a long held photograph of him reaching out to seemingly grasp the breast of sleeping journalist Leeann Tweeden.
The photo was taken while both Franken and Tweeden were attending a 2006 USO Tour.
Liberals, rather than address the situation at hand, opted to compare the sexual advance to that of Judge Roy Moore and his sexual misconduct allegations. Moore is currently seeking a highly coveted U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.
President Donald Trump’s tweet regarding Franken’s conduct sent the liberal press into over-drive, with the press criticizing Trump’s response to Franken in comparison to his handling of Moore’s allegations.
Edinburg – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has experienced a substantial decline in graduate enrollment according to a letter sent from UTRGV President Guy Bailey to faculty and staff on Wednesday.
In the letter, Bailey did not reveal by what margins or percentages the graduate enrollment has declined, but stressed that the reduction in enrollment could create significant challenges to the university.
McAllen – Former McAllen Mayor and former District 1 Commissioner Richard Cortez officially kicked-off his bid to become the next Hidalgo County Judge. Speaking in front of supporters, Cortez assured them that he’ll work to become a County Judge that citizens would be proud of. Current Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia will not be seeking re-election.
Speaking with the Rio Grande Guardian, Cortez offered his plans on dealing with county-wide issues, one which includes his support of a highly unpopular proposal. For the much maligned courthouse project, Cortez assures that he’ll see that it’s built on time and on budget. In speaking about the UT-RGV School of Medicine, Cortez would like to see the school fully funded. Currently, legislation in Austin have left the UTRGV Medical School with reduced funding. Proposition 1, which sought to establish a health care taxing district, would have offered additional financial support to the medical school. At this time, Cortez hasn’t made it clear whether he would support a new health care proposition.
Despite the fanfare, there are some local leaders that are still un-sold on Cortez’s appeal in a county-wide race, one official being current County Judge Ramon Garcia.
Prior attempts at establishing a healthcare taxing district have failed twice with Hidalgo County voters.
EDINBURG – A highly controversial subject is expected to be discussed once more if agenda items hold true at Tuesdays Commissioners Court meeting. Item 8-A on the Hidalgo County agenda calls for a discussion over a “Health Care Funding District.” Previous attempts at creating at Healthcare (Hospital) District have failed twice with Hidalgo County voters, with the most recent 2016 Proposition 1 being rejected by 72% of voters. Continue reading “Health Care District back on Hidalgo County Agenda”
Edinburg – Hidalgo County Executive Officer, Valde Guerra will being enjoying a 22% increase in salary if Hidalgo County Commissioners approve the Fiscal Year 2018 budget next week. The increase will bring Mr. Guerra’s total compensation to around $160,000 annually, which would be on par with other county governments of similar size and scope, this according to Precinct 2 Commissioner Eddie Cantu who spoke with the McAllen Monitor.
Guerra has been in the services of Hidalgo County for the past 30 years, ultimately being appointed to Executive Officer in 2007. According to Executive Officer profile on the Hidalgo County website, Guerra’s duties include:
Oversee and provide management direction to all County departments under the direct control of the Court.
Ensure to the Court that all departments are managed and administered in an efficient and cost-effective manner
Support the overall operations of the County
Provide necessary services to the Hidalgo County citizens and/or to County departments and employees
Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia, Hidalgo Commissioners, nor Mr Guerra himself have demonstrated what additional duties Mr. Guerra would assume to justify a 22 percent increase, nor have they disclosed any performance evaluation reports to the public that would justify an increase.
It didn’t take long for Hidalgo County citizens to raise their concerns with Mr. Guerra’s raise. The optics couldn’t come at worse time considering the cost of the new county courthouse is under scrutiny, and questions were raised on whether Hidalgo County really needed to procure a 5.4 million dollar voting machine replacement.
Complicating matters further is the uncertainty the federal 2018 budget will have on municiple and county governments, particular in housing and urban development, much in which the county has some oversight. Reduction or elimination of these grants could reduce employment, and place additional burden on Hidalgo County’s very own general fund if the county is to cover some of the cost.
Citizens also pointed out that Mr. Guerra’s increase amounted to an annual salary of various entry level staff positions, and could be better spent in aquiring additional support in numerous departments. Taking a look at the employement section of the county website shows a few positions where $28,943 increase is nearly the starting annual salary for some staff positions.
That being the case, did the Executive Office, budget office, and Commissioners take the time needed to determine whether essential support staff was urgent and necessary before approving the raise? Increase in personnel charges must be sustainable, and it’s $29,000 the county will not have for additional personnel or operating cost. This especially at a time where unemployment rates in the Rio Grande Valley are running at higher percentages than other major metro areas.
Once again Commissioner Eddie Cantu justified Mr. Guerra’s increase by saying it maintains parity with other counties. However, what Mr. Cantu fails to understand is just because something is wasteful in other counties, doesn’t mean it has to be wasteful in ours.
UPDATE: The annual cost of living adjustment (budget permitting) for employees is 3 percent.
McAllen – A locally produced film challenging man-made climate change is scheduled to be screened today at McAllen’s Cinemark Hollywood USA theater. The film titled “The Hoax: A Documentary on the Man-Made Myth on Global Warming” was developed by Dr. Lawrence Gelman, a local anesthesiologist and former administrator of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Though the plot of the film is quite clear, the points addressed are expected to be based on Gelman’s conclusions on man-made C02 emissions, and the effects or lack thereof it has on climate change.
Edinburg – Followers of both Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia and ECISD School Board member Miguel “Mike” Farias were treated to a tense but “respectful” exchange over the fate of an uncompleted park project. Despite the respectful pleasantries peppered in their respective post, both sides accused the other of political posturing.
Video of the assault have generated local outrage on social media. However, locals were silent on physical assaults on Trump supporters by Antifa operatives and Black Lives Matter supporters.
South Padre Island – A video circulating through social media depicting an unidentified man verbally assaulting a Muslim family on a South Padre Island hotel beach has caused an outrage from locals, who believe the mans actions is representative of all supporters of Donald Trump.
The video, credited to AlwardNoria, runs nearly 6 minutes, and begins in midst confrontation as the man, clad in a green tank top stands toe-to-toe with a shirt less man. Moments later, the man in green returns to his camp to seethe, pausing for a few moments before resuming his verbal assault. Below is the video of the full confrontation.
Othal Brand Sr’s 1997 runner-up vote totals were greater than Jim Darling’s winning totals in 2013 and 2017.
McAllen – Around 88 percent of eligible registered McAllen voters were not moved to vote in last Saturdays mayoral election, according to the unofficial election results provided by the City Secretaries Office. Ultimately, their passiveness proved costly to challenger Othal Brand Jr, who had spent nearly two times as much as the Darling campaign, in effort to convince McAllen voters to elect him over incumbent Jim Darling. Darling was declared the winner of the highly contested race with a comfortable margin of 4,409 votes to Brand’s 3061 tally. While other traditional media outlets were quick to congratulate voters that turned out, a lingering question remained. How could a city of over 134,000, with approximately 66,000 registered voters, have a major election decided by a very few? Since 1997, the City of McAllen as seen a sharp decline in voter turnout for local races.
Edinburg – UTRGV campus police may uphold the newly signed SB 4 bill, which will take effect September 1st. Recently, questions arose as to what University law enforcement will do in regards to the verification of someones immigration status. Under the SB 4 bill, law enforcement may face disbarment of state funding if they do not comply with the anti-sanctuary city law.