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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 10:47
Letters
Re: UTPA students protest name of UTRGV mascot
Dear Editor,

November 13, 2014

This message is for UT-Pan American students. If you have time to protest an item as trivial as a mascot's name, then you must have time for some much more important matters such as:

- Your brother and sister university and high school students who have been protesting the Mexican governmental and legal policies; why not a peaceful protest at a South Texan Mexican consulate?

- The soon-to-come increase in oil and gas fracking on both sides of the river; a protest at a drilling company?

- The United States' renewed military activities in the Near and Middle East; protest at a post office?

- Dramatically low voting in the recent election, a solution?

- Unfair United States' immigratation policies, especially towards the millions of Mexicans who have been here for decades, and hundreds of thousands Central Americans who have been here for at least five to 10 years, protest at an INS office?

- Inadequate public transportation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a solution?

- A public and private school system that stresses tests instead of connections, serious reading, a solution?

- Insufficient women's and children's basic healthcare in the entire Rio Grande Valley, especially for poor and lower-income families; protest at Republican federal and state legislators' offices?

So, UTPA students, expand your concerns, and quickly!

Many protests await you, as do solutions, all more essential than fervor over a mascot's name.

It would be wonderful if you could tell relatives and in 20 or so years what part you played in the endless struggle for a fairer civilization.

Eugene "Gene" Novogrodsky

Brownsville, Texas


Re: Voters will decide on Hidalgo County Hospital District
Dear Editor,

October 25, 2014

I fully support a healthcare district in Hidalgo County and encourage voters to vote for Proposition 1.

I have worked in the healthcare field for over 30 years. I was the first director of the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health-South Texas Center, established in McAllen. In that capacity, I was well aware of the Valley health statistics associated with high growth and high poverty rates and high levels of chronic diseases. I am also aware of the critical need for all Valley communities to find ways to improve public health standards in order to reduce chronic diseases here.

I was co-founder of the Community Health Management Corp., known as the El Milagro Clinic, that through support from local, faith-based and community groups and the City of McAllen and Hidalgo County, built a new facility with 30 exam rooms. This clinic has been treating uninsured and low-income individuals since 1995 through state funding and local support. It provides healthcare access for those who work but do not have insurance.

Chronic healthcare and access issues have been impacting young populations. To address the substantial needs of this growing population requires a major catalyst for change to occur locally, which includes training future doctors here, conducting relevant research and promoting more regional economic independence.

In my opinion, there is no greater health or economic catalyst for a region than a medical school — provided it is supported by the community. Our state representatives and local elected officials have worked for over ten years to make this UT-RGV medical school a reality for the RGV. Further, many of our current doctors have invested time training future physicians here through the Regional Academic Health Center in preparation for a full-scale accredited medical school here in the Valley.

First-rate medical education programs require the support of the communities they serve through a health district. Therefore, I recommend that Hidalgo County residents make the investment by voting for Proposition 1 this election. It is the most effective way to keep pace with the growth of this region and to improve access to quality medical care for Hidalgo County communities.

Ron Tupper

McAllen, Texas


Re: Voters will decide on Hidalgo County Hospital District
Dear Editor,

October 18, 2014

During breakfast while reading the newspaper, I was surprised to see that Hidalgo County Judge Garcia and state Senator Juan Hinojosa had resolved the growing conflict concerning the hospital district.

Their solution was that after it was approved by the voters, Juan Hinojosa would go to Austin and request that a 25 cent cap be placed on the authorization.

I had to wait a while until my blood stopped boiling before I said, no new taxes, why is that so difficult to understand. Taxing the people of the poorest county in Texas so that private for profit hospitals can make more money is not acceptable. Eighty percent of the people in Hidalgo County live on a fixed income, so how can a new tax be helpful. We will just create more homeless people.

Judge Garcia, Juan Hinojosa, Bobby Guerra and Terry Canales are the ones that made it possible to hold an election on raising taxes on the poor. The vote in November is to create a new taxing authority that will ultimately raise our rate to 75 cents. Now these same individual are saying that they will go to Austin and make it right. I do not trust these elected officials to work in the best interest of the people of Hidalgo County.

They are proposing an additional tax on our property. If you do not pay, you will lose your home. This is the seventh year that 31 percent of taxpayers could not pay on time. The County Tax Collection Report states that 96,783 notices of delinquency were mail out. Hidalgo County is from 16 to 20 million dollars over spent and still they continue to spend, a new Court House, remodeling Court House Offices and increased salaries.

What are we "the people" going to get? Will the indigent get free health care? No, co-pay is still there. What about those that are not classified as indigent, what will they get? You, my friend will get to pay the bill and the increase will look something like this: (home 50,000, tax $375) (home 60,000 tax, $450) (home 70,000, tax $525) (home 80,000, tax 600) (home 100,000, tax $750)

Most people have forgotten, but we are still going through changes to our health care system and it is called the Affordable Care Act. It has been designed to provide indigent health care and the last part will be implemented in January of 2015. Everyone will be required to have federally approved health insurance. The Employer Mandate will require all employers with over 50 employees to pay for federally approved health insurance.

So why are we creating a hospital district? So that private hospitals can make more money.

Vote no on the hospital district so that we can save the homes of hundreds of low income families.

Fern McClaugherty

Edinburg, Texas


Re: Democrats should not sit out mid-term elections
Dear Editor,

October 17, 2014

Midterm elections are right around the corner, and Texans will be choosing a new governor and lieutenant governor to lead the state for the next four years.

This election will determine whether Texas will continue on the path we have been on for at least the past 12 years or pivot into a new direction.

Many important issues — Medicaid, education, voting rights, minimum wage, and equal-pay for women — will be addressed by those elected in November. Democrats and Republicans are usually on opposite sides on these issues.

Medicaid was the part of the Affordable Care Act that provided medical health coverage to persons whose income fell below the poverty level. The states were to provide the coverage and the federal government would reimburse the states that expanded Medicaid at 100 percent of the cost for the first three years and 90-97 percent for the following seven years.

There are 1.5 million Texans whose income fell below the poverty level who are without health insurance, even though they qualify for Medicaid. This is because Gov. Rick Perry refused to expand Medicaid in Texas. His action is costing the state millions of federal reimbursement dollars. Republicans are against Medicaid expansion; the Democrats say they would expand Medicaid in Texas.

Since 2011,Texas Republicans have cut $2.4 billion from the state’s public education budget, and the state now is spending less on education than it did in 2010.

Texas teachers make about $1,000 less a year than the national average.

A federal court has just struck down a 2012Texas voter ID law.The judge said the evidence showed that the proponents of the law were motivated by the law’s detrimental effects on the African American and Hispanic electorate. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office said it will immediately appeal the ruling. Democrats are for expanding voters’ rights, rather than restricting them.

Equal pay for women and the minimum wage are two other issues the Democrats support. Not only do they improve the economy, but the current minimum wage is not enough to provide a decent living for working families.

Paying a woman less than a man for doing the same job is discriminatory, especially those in positions of responsibility. All citizens should have access to health care, a good education, a right to vote and decent wages.Women should be entitled to equal pay for equal work.

No Democrat should sit out this election.

Juan Ramirez

San Benito, Texas


Re: Community Centers fear huge funding cuts
Dear Editor,

October 6, 2014

I don't, for one minute, believe that the strict anti-abortion law passed by the Texas Legislature was done for altruistic reasons.

"We want to make sure women are protected and safe." Hah! I know how to protect myself and so do most women.

The Legislature's attacks on Planned Parenthood, and consequently on women, are vicious, and beyond any thinking individual's comprehension..

Planned Parenthood, through its women's health clinics, has provided screenings for various cancers, blood pressure monitoring, diabetes testing and reproductive planning for men and women who are ready to have a family.

Planned Parenthood has prevented more abortions through that essential family planning program than any health orgnization in the United States.

By attacking women's health services via its refusal to accept special federal health funds for women's health and expanded Medicaid monies for the working poor, the Texas Legislature has guaranteed there will be more abortions (llegal and illegal), more unwanted children and a sicker population.

Ruth E. Wagner

Brownsville


Re Cuellar: Guatemala, Honduras, want their kids back
Dear Editor,

July 17, 2014

I am deeply disturbed by this report in the Rio Grande Guardian.

Having cared for these children and their mothers from Central America over the last few weeks, I am confused that Rep. Cuellar feels that speed is the answer to the Central American problem. If he is serious about solving the violence problem in these countries, shouldn't we begin with this and then move towards assisting the families to return to a safer place? Given the horrifying risks in the journey, does he really believe any mother would expose their children to this, if they were not fleeing something worse. I have heard stories of rape, sisters being murdered, children taken. Deporting them with speed, before we can assure that we are not sending to them to their death, is unconscionable and immoral. Speedy trials simply ensures that justice will not be done. As a citizen of the United States and a pediatrician with a vow to protect and heal children, I believe we can do better.

Truly outraged,

Dr. Marsha Griffin

Brownsville, Texas


Re: Hinojosa: Mother would rather have child die on journey to U.S. than at her front door
Dear Editor,

June 30, 2014

I would like to thank the Rio Grande Guardian for its account of Congressman Hinojosa's recent visit to a McAllen detention center at a Border Patrol Unit. I am very impressed at his rapid mobilizaiton of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus to attend to this tragic issue. I am in favor of humanitarian care to the families that are now in our country.

I would have equally impressed with Congressman Hinojosa if he had mobilized the Hispanic Congressional Caucus over the incident I reported to this office regarding the Border Patrol agent who killed himself rather than face criminal charges following his assault of two minors and another woman, two that he left for dead and the third that he sequestered to his apartment for continued criminal activity. The Border Patrol Unit immediately rushed the women out of the Rio Grande Valley so that no reporters would get to them for details. Interesting! Of course, I can understand Congressman Hinojosa's choice of events; the immigration surge carries international and national media clips as opposed to the criminal activity of our federal agents on women and children.

I contacted Congressman Hinojosa's office as well as other elected officials (Cuellar, Vela, Cruz and Cornyn) and not one responded. I am still waiting! A group of us are still waiting! We believe that there should be a commission formed, not of internal government officials, but of experts in health care who can interview the women and children who come face to face with our federal agents as we believe that what happened in Hidalgo County is not an isolated incident but a prevalent one. We request that this be a commission that is only federally represented and it could very well end up like the IRS or VA scandal to name two of the recent avalanche of scandals.

This weekend was different of course. Congresswoman Pelosi was here so there was more opportunity to demonstrate that action is being taken. Is it? What is it? I trust that when Congresswoman Pelosi returns to D.C., we will see more action and less words on the matter given that "We are all Americans."

One more thing, where did the acronym "OTM's (other than Mexicans)" originate? It sounds to me that it leans towards profiling. I am so pleased that Congressman Bennie Thompson visited the Valley. Perhaps he can help us delete that terminology given that he reviews the Department of Homeland Security.

Eloisa G. Tamez, RN, PhD, FAAN

Brownsville, Texas


Re: Supreme Court rules in Hobby Lobby case
Dear Editor,

June 30, 2014

The United States companies that are permitted to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees should realize those workers are not their slaves. They won't, though. Cruel companies. Cruel Supreme Court. But then again, why should companies be in the business of providing healthcare of any sort?

Once again. this week's Supreme Court's nod to employers' "morality," illustrates the need for a single-payer healthcare system in the United States. Then, individuals will be able to obtain the reproductive care they wish - freeing this vital piece of life from the religious whims of their employers; these employers will be out of the business of healthcare.

Follow your "moral code," Mr., Ms, Miss and Mrs. Boss all you wish; just don't impose it on your workers via monetary power. How smug you must feel after the Court validated your keep-women-in-place ideology. Sixty to seventy years of feints towards a single-payer plan; the result: half-baked compromises, and in the case of companies and health insurance, bad for the companies, bad for the employees.

Several states are on the verge of enacting single-payer health plans. Good move. But as for most of the states, as well as the federal government, do not hold your breath. So basic, a woman's reproductive choices, from contraception to a safe and legal abortion.

While on this topic, abortions would decline dramatically, as they have in Europe, when contraception, sex education and open family planning discussion are givens. A bit odd: XXX movies, porn in all forms, sex in ads, all quite open, yet, the nuts and bolts of reproduction can't be discussed and taught openly in many parts (including much of Texas) of the United States.

Such a modern nation we are, with technology booming; however, in the area of healthcare as a pooled right and responsibility, we are in an ugly time warp.

Eugene 'Gene' Novogrodsky

1547 W Washington St.

Brownsville, TX 78520


Re: Overturning Citizens United
Dear Editor,

May 31, 2014

Most of the time, whatever the Supreme Court is doing up there in D.C. doesn’t really impact our lives here in the southernmost tip of Texas. But, when the Supreme Court destroyed limits on spending in our elections in the Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings, it made a huge impact on our lives.

Now that corporations can give unlimited amounts to influence elections, and wealthy donors can give millions directly to parties and candidates, everyday Americans are paying a price. We pay a price when our elected officials are more responsive to donors than constituents. We pay it when our representatives create huge tax loopholes for their corporate donors. And, we pay it when lax regulations endanger our health and security.

Finally, we can do something about it. People in towns and cities across the country are advancing resolutions through their city and town councils and state legislatures that declare support for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, challenge corporate power, and eliminate unlimited campaign spending. The Senate is taking a vote on a constitutional amendment and holding a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, June 3. Please join me in asking Senators Cornyn and Cruz – who both serve on the Judiciary Committee - to support that amendment by calling their offices or writing a letter. Many thanks!

Madeleine Sandefur

Laguna Vista, Texas


Re: Shinseki resigns
Dear Editor,

May 31, 2014

My opinion is that General Eric Shinseki, a very, very rare honest and honorable military American hero and public servant in Washington, D.C., was unfairly 'thrown under the bus' with so many opportunist politicians turning against him.

The turned against him to cover-up for their failure to conduct congressional investigations when so many U.S. Veterans had filed complaints regarding VA inefficiency and retribution, many years before General Shinseki became VA Secretary.

General Shinseki opened the door for us veterans to speak to him one-on-one, the truly 'open door' policy which so many politicians promise, but soon forget once they get to D.C. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs need to be investigated by a commission of military-retired NCOs and officers with the power to recommend indictments to the Justice Department, not by bureaucrats, to get to the bottom of the problem – and to resolve so many festering issues; thereby preventing needless Veterans’ deaths – and to stop the ludicrous squandering of “bonus” taxpayer money. Nobody knows the problem, better than those affected by it.

Is it going to take another VA-type scandal for President Obama and members of congress to take corrective action regarding the obvious racism and mismanagement so prevalent in the U.S. Postal Service? How many more deaths will it take, to get your attention?

Placido Salazar

Vietnam War veteran

San Antonio, Texas


Re: Moves afoot to un-designate Hidalgo County Courthouse as historic
Dear Editor,

April 18, 2014

The Edinburg Mayor wants a publicㅡprivate partnership. That may work well at first but if there are problems in the future then we may have a lawsuit which could end up costing us more in the end. Sometimes these companies go bankrupt also. What happens then? In my opinion the Hidalgo County residents should be able to vote on bonds towards the construction of a new courthouse. The majority of the voters should decide whether we want to pay more property taxes for the project.

Xavier Cervantes

San Juan, Texas


Re: Moves afoot to un-designate Hidalgo County Courthouse as historic
Dear Editor,

April 18, 2014

Wow, what lack of imagination in this design! A square box, like the old courthouse. Can't these men (judging from the photos) consider a style of architecture in tune with local history? Spanish colonial, perhaps? Hidalgo county derives from Father Miguel Hidalgo, who was the Mexican priest who led the revolt of the peasantry during the Mexican revolution. The "square" has a sculpture of him; are our "leaders" so out of touch with history and so devoid of curiosity? All that glass?? Hurricane season, not to mention high electric bills, will be not so amusing!

Yolanda Jurado

McAllen, Texas


Re: Valley legislators celebrate medical school success
Dear Editor,

April 18, 2014

Rio Grande Valley politicians, Med School master planners and community groups, please think about this. An RGV full-service 24/7 VA hospital would not only provide the medical care which our Valley Veterans need but would provide gigantic economic and employment opportunities for this depressed and high-unemployment region. Sure, programs such as zumba classes, nutrition classes, cooking classes are important, but I believe that the healthcare of our more than 120,000 Valley veterans should deserve just a bit more attention from these decision-making personnel. Imagine the thousands of high-income jobs and the spending power that goes with it of several hundred doctors and other medical professionals, plus the secondary support businesses which a veteran medical facility would attract.

Placido Salazar

USAF Retired Vietnam Veteran

Veterans’ Legislation Liaison

Dr. Hector P. Garcia American GI Forum Org of Texas

America’s Last Patrol

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Universal City, Texas


Re: Cortez to give major speech on Valley's economy
Dear Editor

April 9, 2014

Mr.Cortez is right to continue to put the data-based truth out there.

All-too-often the political leadership is given a dispensation to make data free pronouncements that are nothing but a fabrication of erroneously interpreted facts.

I recall hearing Congressman Hinojosa proclaim once at a conference that he was proud of the fact that over 80 percent of GearUP participants were enrolling in colleges and universities. That to me, based on my analysis of the data, was a bunch of hooey. I recall meeting with my former department chair at UTPA and surmising that barely 16 percent of GearUP participants ever made to a post-secondary educational institution. No one ever challenged the Congressman because he was, after all, the chair of the Higher Education Committee of the House.

The issues that Mr. Cortez presents require policy and programmatic responses from those agencies that are charged with bringing about change. The economic development corporations, colleges and universities, the county and municipal elected officials and the Lower Rio Grande Development Council need to develop an accountability and resource based strategy. The one in place, from Mr. Ken Jones, has no baselines or benchmarks that can be referenced before those agencies that were charged with making something happen. All I see is much posturing and aggrandizement by elected officials that are always been recognized for doing something that is commonplace and which does not hold water.

I am looking forward to reviewing the transcript of Mr. Cortez's comments and I hope that his admonishments do not fall on deaf ears.

Baltazar Acevedo y Arispe, Jr.

Waco, Texas.


Re: Wendy Davis meets with leading Valley women
Dear Editor

March 2, 2014

Thanks for the superb coverage of Wendy Davis' meetings with Rio Grande Valley women.

Wendy Davis, Leticia Van De Putte and many Rio Grande Valley women have educated me about the importance of women's and children's healthcare, along with issues of public education, veterans' care and a more creative economy.

I know these women, in most cases, are far ahead of Valley and Texas men in their concern for the overall betterment of a huge and growing Texas.

I hope millions of women, as well as men - and the latter need to put their false sense of male superiority aside - vote for Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte come November.

If Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte win the election, the changes in Texas will resound positively around the nation, and even the world.

Eugene "Gene' Novogrodsky

Brownsville, Texas


Re: Bishop Flores: Border wall is a 'psychological scar' for South Texas
Dear Editor,

November 29, 2013

Thanks for the great article. I was fortunate to witness some of the 1960s’ social justice improvements. Clearly visible then at the front of marches across South Texas to improve the quality of life of its residents were many Catholic priests. In truth, Mexican-descent Texans owe their socio-economic blessings to this type of activism.

Sadly, I also witnessed a deliberate roll back of that church-led activism beginning in the late 70’s. That unfortunate lull (caused primarily by the church’s joining the far-right in the issues of abortion and gay rights) lasted for too long. (Pope Francis has correctly noted that unfortunate path and has promised to change direction to devote precious time on human rights issues that matter such as this one.)

Regardless, I’m glad that the Bishop posse is engaged to achieve immigration reform and finally end the 1960s’ War on Poverty. By the way, San Antonio’s Bishop Siller is equally concerned and leading efforts to get the word out to the decision-makers to do the right thing for the right reasons.

Very Respectfully,

José Antonio “Joe” López


Re: Abbott: We have to address healthcare needs of South Texans
Dear Editor,

November 13, 2013

A joke, it must be, Republican candidate for Governor Greg Abbott's professed concern for South Texas' health needs. Abbott is part of the Republican Party/Tea Party ilk in Austin that refused to expand Medicaid and has done all that is possible to cripple the Affordable Care Act. South Texans are paying a huge price for this neglect.

Toss in the horrible restrictions on women's reproductive health and choice, with an unrelenting effort to kill Planned Parenthood, and one can feel Abbott's joke sadly grow.

Democratic candidate for Governor Wendy Davis doesn't offer such jokes. Her health concerns are believable!

Eugene 'Gene' Novogrodsky

Brownsville, Texas.


Re: Hinojosa: With hindsight, DPS would not have set up Valley checkpoints
Dear Editor,

October 19, 2013

What I take from the results of the ill-advised DPS valley checkpoints program is as follows:

(1) The absorption into the U.S. colossus in 1848 instantly turned South Texans (former citizens of Tamaulipas) into strangers in their own homeland. This “colonial” style of governing in Texas continues to this day. In my view, that’s why there is so much difference in social-economic-political factors north and south of Highway 59.

(2) There was a time when “Rinches” intimidation was common throughout South Texas. The horrid storm trooper methods were reluctantly accepted by Mexican-descent citizens as a method to cope. Make no mistake. The DPS “Oops” moment when they removed the checkpoints was due to the fact that Rio Grande Valley residents of all backgrounds are not going to take it anymore. That’s why it’s important for citizens to voice their displeasure when they see officials abusing their power.

Not that they were acceptable even then, but such treatment of loyal citizens belongs in the 1950s, not the 21st Century. Now, if State Senator Juan Hinojosa and other community leaders can help us stop and get rid of other Republican-owned Voter ID, redistricting, and racial profiling, South Texas Mexican-descent citizens can begin to enjoy everyday life without officially-sanctioned intimidation.

José Antonio “Joe” López

Universal City, Texas.


Re: Why did anybody in the Valley speak up against Ted Cruz
Dear Editor,

October 19, 2013

What leaders are you talking about in the Rio Grande Valley? There are none. All who were there when Cruz spoke were there to find out how they were going to fill their pockets.

Kiko Salazar

Via Email


 

 
 
 
 
 
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