Special to the PRESS
Thank you Ed.
For the past several years Port Isabel has had the good fortune to be managed by one of, if not THE best, city managers, that being Edward Meza. This town has never looked cleaner and more inviting to our visitors than it does today.
Serving on several committees with you where things actually moved forward to the benefit of the residents of Port Isabel was indeed my pleasure and motivated not only myself but other committee members to actively participate in the growth of Port Isabel.
Your achievements as City Manager of Port Isabel have been numerous and you left some really big shoes to fill. You have shown grace under fire and conducted yourself with dignity in the face of hostile rudeness by some of your employers.
It was evident when dealing with the city employees that you were a respected leader among those employed by the City.
Sitting in these meetings and listening to the noise of the “new” commission I was reminded of the old Jack Nickolas movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Fly high my friend and best wishes for a bright future.
Is LNG a threat to UTRGV Mission?
In the RGV, we have made great strides in increased educational potential as UTB and UTPA are merged with a new medical school making UTRGV the second largest Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI) in the nation. This is excellent news with the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute being established in Harlingen. Our community leads the nation in problems with diabetes with links to depression according to Dr. Francisco Fernandez, founding dean of the UTRGV Medical School at the UTPA More Health Conference in late April.
The Brownsville location of UTRGV recently announced the addition of a marine biology degree. For years, there has been collaboration between UTB and UTPA to afford their students an opportunity to study the coastal waters at the UTPA Coastal Studies Lab on SPI. However, now with the merging of UTB and UTPA, more research of our unique environment of coastal waters and estuaries can be accomplished in this new marine biology program.
But, I wonder if UTRGV will be able to complete its mission of providing educational and health care opportunities for a healthier population in a new hospital district supported by its Cameron County residents?
There is the proposed building of four or more Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plants on the Brownsville Ship Channel. The Brownsville Herald has reported that Annova LNG (Annova) and the Cameron County Commissioners Court are in negotiations on whether to grant Annova’s request “for a 100-percent property tax abatement from the county as an economic development incentive” lasting 10 years for Annova’s construction of a liquefaction and LNG export terminal on the Channel. This is only one of the private gas companies which plan to build export terminals along the Channel, and the others are on record as having also requested such tax abatements for themselves. So, here we have privately owned far away companies requesting the poorest communities in the nation to subsidize for the next decade a polluting and environmentally damaging industry which they seek to bring to our RGV.
And if we are to subsidize multiple private LNG companies to degrade the area of the Bahia Grande Restoration Project, are we also to support a Hospital District? The Hidalgo County Hospital District has already been voted down by its population. So, will Cameron County have to finance a hospital district on its own?
Hopefully not, but if so, there is merit for the education and health of our population and this expense for community improvement with a medical school and hospital district that has already been placed on the table as a commitment. But, to add tax abatements for private LNG companies to export gas at our communities’ expense is a very real threat to the UTRGV Mission.
Why should we, the taxpayers of Cameron County, be asked to subsidize these LNG companies’ profits via tax abatements? Would not a True Corporate Citizen, seeking to set up polluting companies in our backyards in the Brownsville Ship Channel, be concerned about the health of the local populace as well?
We, the people of Cameron County, should not be asked to subsidize these LNG companies’ profits via tax abatements while the very health and educational opportunities offered by UTRGV are in jeopardy, due to the pending hospital district tax votes.
Which tax do we want to pay?
At least with the UTRGV hospital district tax, we are creating health and educational opportunities to better the RGV communities. With LNG companies’ tax abatements we get more corporate profits for the faraway owners’ industrial business bottom line, while destroying our refuges as well as local businesses related to fishing, birding, ecotourism, and vacation beach destinations. Mind you, all of these are green businesses which will continue to inject upwards of $1 billion a year into the local economies of the RGV, all the while paying their taxes, not asking for tax abatements
Many graduation ceremonies will take place within the next several weeks. Graduations represent a special time for many students and their families. It is a time that should be celebrated.
So often balloons are used to celebrate graduations, as well as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Balloons add a lot of color to any occasion and are great when decorating; however, they must be used responsibly which includes deflating them after use and disposing of them properly. However, when balloons are released into our environment, it is NEVER a good idea. The damage they can do is limitless. I realize that these colorful balloons are beautiful to watch as they float upward, but what actually happens to these balloons does not include a happy ending for our wildlife, marine life, and environment. These balloons travel a certain distance…climb to a certain altitude…POP…and, then travel back to earth as litter. Yes…LITTER!!!
In 2011, Healthy Communities of Brownsville published a booklet titled, Up, Up, and Away…NOT! (This booklet was also just reprinted in 2015.) This booklet, written in English and Spanish, tells of the dangers of balloon releases. The following organizations helped sponsor this project: The Brownsville Herald, Children’s Museum of Brownsville, Sea Turtle, Inc., Surfrider Foundation-South Texas Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists, Paragraphs, and the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation. This 24 page booklet can be downloaded at two locations: www.healthybrownsville.org under the” Publication” tab (in PDF format) or at www.nie.brownsville.com on the NIE Home Page under “More Resources.” I encourage you to share this information with family and friends.
Please take the time before the many upcoming celebrations to research the dangers of balloon releases and research alternative ways to celebrate your special occasion. By choosing to not release balloons you ultimately have chosen to help our wildlife, marine life, and our environment.
Board Member of Healthy Communities of Brownsville
Chairperson of the HCB Environmental Trendbender Group
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