Letters to the Editor for 10-15-2015

Special to the PRESS

Dear Rep. René Oliveira,

On October 7, I attended a luncheon on South Padre Island hosted by the Chamber of Commerce where you spoke before a group of business owners. My husband and I live on the Island and have owned a gun store here since 2008. My husband has spoken with you several times as y’all were flying and was shocked when I told him all that was said. While we appreciate your time and all that you have done on behalf of our Island, you owe an apology for the disservice at that meeting and any others that you have misrepresented the law.

I was quite disturbed about the portion of your message discussing passed legislation on new gun laws in our state. Much of what you said was INCORRECT. I’m not sure how many groups you have or will speak to about the new gun laws, but most assuredly you need to be factual when you do so. Our country suffers too much already with elected officials not being factual in order to run their own agenda. Please don’t continue YOUR part of doing this in Texas! Whether what you said was purposeful misinformation and you want to promote your liberal agenda as much as possible or you just DON’T KNOW the laws you speak of, I don’t know. Either way, we expect you to be informed, factual, and truthful to those you represent.

I have printed out House and Senate Bills to assist with people here on the Island who heard the wrong information from you. If not corrected, the retelling of what you said will cause further misinformation and confusion on a subject that needs clarity! We will do all that we can to make sure people here know the law. I suggest you have your staff review and inform you so that you can do the right thing going forward.

For one thing, campus carry does not go into effect August 2016. THIS law allows ONLY for CONCEALED CARRY by conceal carry by license holders who have to be 21 years of age. Also, the time before the law goes into effect allows for each campus to make decisions on areas where a licensee can and cannot carry. Surely, in light of recent events, you can see the benefit of a licensee on campus perhaps being able to stop further death and injury.

Your comments about guns around public schools also were wrong. You cannot go within 300 yards of a school with a gun. You can leave a gun in your car in the PUBLIC parking lot, but even a licensee cannot carry a gun on their person, concealed OR openly.

Regarding open carry, the law is beneficial in that if a license holder carrying concealed accidently displays or prints, someone would not be able to get them arrested. Most people have NO intention of carrying openly. It makes you a target and is unnecessarily alarming to those around. There will be those who (for a time) will prove their point, but will soon realize the danger involved. You should not continue to use your example of Whataburger saying they will not allow guns in their restaurants. What they said is they will not allow open carry. In the law there is provision for any business to post a sign (30.07) so that licensed gun owners know they cannot carry openly into that business.

Misinformation will NOT promote gun control. It will only cause further confusion about laws that are meant to save lives. Control will NOT keep guns out of the wrong hands. Only licensed, responsible gun owners will make the difference. If you do not understand guns or know the law, you only cause bigger problems.

On a personal note, I was highly offended when you were discussing sales tax, use tax, etc., saying that soon people would be selling ties and shirts out of trunks of their cars like gun dealers! That was a comment leading people to believe gun dealers are shady people. We ourselves pass strict background checks. We pay rent and taxes. We stay informed and educate ourselves so that we can educate our regular customers as well as those who randomly walk into our store. We are required to run background checks through the NICS system before releasing a gun unless they have a Texas Concealed Handgun License and they have already had an extensive background check. We are audited annually, and I assure you our records, inventory, and store is scrutinized. We take what we do very seriously, as we believe most gun dealers do. I say most, because in any business, there are those who are misinformed and greedy….just as with elected officials.

The question that continues to roll in my mind is, if you are up for re-election why should I vote for you when you perhaps are too busy otherwise to know the law, you obviously tout your own agenda, or you do not represent yourself truthfully?


Betty Vanzant, South Padre Island


Dear Editor,

LNGs are FERCing the Laguna Madre

Some people wonder about the efficacy of letting the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) process play out a year or two on down the road, when the 26 agencies involved have submitted their conclusions about the impacts of the proposed LNG plants in the Brownsville ship channel. Of course the LNGs are going to push for a FERC ruling simply because in the 42 years since it was created, FERC has Never Not Approved an LNG application! Yet FERC has the audacity to say they are Not a Rubber-stamp for the oil and gas industries they oversee!

Closer inspection shows us that FERC is funded by annual charges and fees collected from the very same oil and gas entities they regulate. FERC is Not funded by the US Government. FERC is an independent regulatory agency. They are Not looking out for the People of the US; they only exist to serve the oil and gas industries they are funded by. So, we can easily discern the strong bias the LNGs have for the FERC ruling, which after 42 years has a nearly 100% approval rating of all such oil and gas and LNG projects!

Since FERC is only beholden to the Federal courts, they have gained a reputation as being a “Rogue Agency” which permits projects “illegally.” FERC has been found guilty in the Federal courts of violating the National Environmental Policy Act by allowing project segmentation as a way of avoiding cumulative impacts analysis.

Locally we see this currently happening again when FERC denied the cumulative analysis of the impacts of multiple LNG plants together on the Laguna Madre ecosystems around their proposed Brownsville ship channel sites.

Recently, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush visited the South Bay Coastal Preserve, about 3,500 acres of pristine habitat, which is the southernmost connection of the Laguna Madre, just south of the ship channel.  He was interested in learning more about the proposed LNG plants nearby in the ship channel, and their effects on this estuarial ecosystem of the Laguna Madre.

“In terms of the LNG export terminals,” Bush said, “the communities here will have to make an assessment as to whether or not it needs to be a part of their economic development picture.”

We, the People of South Padre Island, Port Isabel, and Laguna Vista, are the nearby guardians of this increasingly rare ecosystem of the Laguna Madre, surrounded and protected by nearly 100,000 acres of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. We are the closest to and thereby most affected by these proposed LNG sites which will pollute our environment and poison our populace.

LNGs are Not Wanted here and the local City/Town Councils of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista have voted against the LNGs coming here. The Port Isabel School District voted against giving the LNGs any tax abatements. The SPI Business Owners Association has voted against the LNGs. The Laguna Madre Water District voted against any water for the LNGs. The list of local groups opposed to LNGs grows daily.

We are making our Stand here against the LNGs! We and the Laguna Madre are Not a Sacrifice Zone!

Rick Teter, Laguna Vista


Dear Editor,

Tax Abatements’ Slippery Slope

Presently, the Cameron County Commissioners are reviewing a request from Annova LNG, LLC for a tax abatement.  Recently, Port Isabel ISD rejected a tax abatement.

While reading the replies from Rio Grande LNG, LLC from the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) home website from the FERC scoping meeting in August 2015 in Port Isabel, I read that if Annova LNG receives any tax abatement that Rio Grande LNG would also expect a tax abatement.

So, here is the slippery slope of tax abatement that our area residents and officials must be aware of.  If a tax abatement for one LNG company is allowed, then all the LNG companies would expect the same.  As there are a total of three LNG export terminals in the pre-filing process with FERC, our Cameron County Commissioners and the residents would be expected to continue abatement for any and all LNG companies that wish to construct on the Brownsville Ship Channel.  Much like a parent allowing one child a favor, all the other siblings will want the same favor.

The LNG export terminals should be required to pay their own way in the communities where they construct their heavy industrial facilities.  The residents of the area should not be subsidizing private corporations when they are able to pay their own way through their corporate profits.  LNG should pay their own  share in taxes! They are multi-billion dollar corporations seeking Not to pay taxes to the county where they propose to build gigantic export terminals to ship LNG to the rest of the world.

Why should the tax-paying residents of Cameron County be asked to subsidize these monstrosities?

That would send the message to all heavy industrial oil and gas companies that the Brownsville ship channel is a Profiteer’s Delight! Not only could they set up shop here to pollute our Laguna Madre ecosystems and poison the nearby populace of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Vista, but Cameron County will not even make them pay any taxes to do so!

Please, let us stop with this LNG Madness!

This is not the Legacy we want to leave to our students, children and grandchildren!

Please, say no to any proposed tax-abatements for any LNGs! We do not need dinosaur fossil fuels to continue to pollute our earth. We should be embracing renewable energies like wind and solar.

Join with South Padre Island, Port Isabel, and Laguna Vista, plus the Port Isabel school district and others, to send LNGs the message that we do Not want them here to destroy our slice of Paradise!

If not, this slippery slope could end life as we now know it in the Laguna Madre.

Diane & Rick Teter, Laguna Vista

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