Letters to the Editor for July 6, 2017

Special to the PRESS

To the Editor,
When I was first elected eight years ago by the citizens of Laguna Vista, I made a pledge, and just recently reaffirmed that pledge at my last swearing-in, to represent to the best of my abilities ALL citizens of Laguna Vista. During my tenure Laguna Vista has seen many improvements such as numerous parks, street and drainage upgrades. All these improvements have been made with no bias on my part, as to whom they might benefit. I feel that during these years, the Town Council has done its best to treat all residents of the town fairly. However, fairness towards all is soon to be tested. The town will soon
enter into an agreement with the Laguna Vista Recreational Association for a new lease on what is the Town’s most valuable piece of real estate. I favor a lease that would allow the LVRA to continue to operate the marina, but I believe the south grassy end of the property should be incorporated into the current Roloff Park for the enjoyment of ALL residents. Now, even most members of the LVRA, with
whom I have talked believe the sharing of the property is fair to ALL residents. However, the leadership of the LVRA want all the property. Now keep in mind, the Bayfront property is owned by the Town and since the LVRA pays no taxes on the property, it has been up to the rest of Laguna Vista taxpayers to make up the difference in those lost tax dollars to the Town. So in turn, for being given exclusive use of the bayfront property and not having to pay any taxes, the LVRA is offering to pay to the Town $1 per year. If a resident of the Town wishes to have access to the Town’s bayfront property the LVRA is more than willing to accommodate that resident if they pay the $140 yearly membership fee.
I believe all residents of the town should have free access to the bayfront, by way of a Roloff park extension. You can be sure that I will vote for a lease that benefits ALL residents. I would suggest all residents of Laguna Vista ask the other Town Council members who they intend to represent. It is a clear
choice! A councilmember will vote for a lease that shares the Bayfront property if they truly represent all Laguna Vista citizens. However, I am afraid there are some council members that will vote for the benefit of the LVRA leadership, and forsake the oath they took when they were sworn in: TO REPRESENT ALL LAGUNA VISTA RESIDENTS.

Susie Houston
Laguna Vista, Mayor


In talking about the thousands of construction jobs that the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry would bring to the Rio Grande Valley, some may question the benefits of what they call “temporary jobs.”

By their nature, construction jobs are not long-lasting, but that does not diminish their importance or economic impact.

In my experience as provost of Texas State Technical College, I can tell you that while construction jobs may last for months or a few years, the men and women in the building trade are career professionals.

Many of our graduates have lucrative, longtime construction careers in engineering, pipefitting, welding, occupational safety, and instrumentation and electrical technologies, to name a few.

Many building trade professionals live in the Valley and work here as much as possible when the jobs are available. These are well-paying jobs that enable these men and women to buy homes, raise families and send their children to college.

Even when they travel for work, they still spend their paychecks and pay property taxes in the Valley.

Bringing the LNG industry to the Rio Grande Valley will benefit our local building trade professionals and our region’s overall economy in a number of ways. I’ll use the proposed Rio Grande LNG as an example.

First, this LNG export project on the Brownsville Ship Channel is expected to create approximately 6,000 jobs over roughly seven years during the construction phase and more than 200 jobs when in full operation. Over the decades that this facility will be in operation, it would be expected to generate additional temporary jobs for scheduled maintenance.

Second, Rio Grande LNG recognizes the importance of hiring and contracting locally as much as possible. Rio Grande LNG has maintained ongoing relationships with TSTC and other local training and educational organizations to make that happen.

Third, the RGV is already benefiting from local building trade training. Thanks to established skills training programs, Rio Grande LNG’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor, CB&I, has already employed over 2,000 RGV citizens on similar projects along the Gulf Coast since 2010.

Bringing Rio Grande LNG to the Valley could allow these hardworking men and women, as well as countless other local skilled workers, to work close to home near their families rather than working far away for months at a time.

This leads to my fourth point. In addition to hiring and buying locally as much as possible during construction, Rio Grande LNG has set a goal to fill as much as 80 percent of the full-time operations jobs locally.

For those interested in working on the Rio Grande LNG project, it’s not too early to begin preparing for these opportunities. Visit the Rio Grande LNG website at www.riograndelng.com to learn about vendor and job opportunities, as well as the vendor registration and job requirements.

At Texas State Technical College, we work to build career opportunities for our students, and the proposed Rio Grande LNG project would be a great source for jobs for our graduates.

Dr. Stella Garcia

Editor’s Note: Dr. Stella Garcia serves as Provost for Texas State Technical College in Harlingen and is a member of the college’s Executive Management Council.

Dear Editor;

I sometimes wonder why you let the Birdwells and I continue our verbal battle.  I am certain we will never obtain victory over the other as we continually hash over what has been discussed and tried a thousand times all to no avail for the liberal side.

There was a time when the liberals of the Democratic Party made some sense in the argument of just how far should government, as a representative of the people, go to ease the suffering of those less fortunate than the majority.  The days of Hubert Horatio Humphrey, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member in Minnesota, are long gone. Even then, I did battle with the “Happy Warrior” in the editorial pages of a couple of newspapers.  But he was always happy to debate his point of view with malice toward none.

I have a considerable knowledge of socialism, communism and other isms, even though I have been fortunate to never live under their influence, except as it is growing here.  I have two minors in political science and history.  I studied socialism and communism in the Army’s counter intelligence school.

I travelled with a group of newspaper people to Cuba for 10 days and to Eastern Europe for three weeks to study their systems with the aid of a number of major party bigwigs.  My wife and I were with the largest group of business people to ever travel to China as it began its acceptance of the kind of controlled capitalism that the Birdwells seem to advocate.

In as few words as I can use here, I’ve seen socialism and communism, and it ain’t for us.

This 242nd observance of our Declaration of Independence should remind us once again how the signers stated, “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, our sacred Honor.”  They knew their act would be seen as an act of treason, that could lead not only to their own death or ruin, but that of their loved ones, as well. And yet, they committed this tremendous act of bravery for the sake of future generations.

In order for this “new” form of government based on the rights of man to govern him(her) self, with governments only instituted to take direction from the people, to work, John Adams said that a morality had to exist.  That morality was evident in the four times that God’s name was directly or indirectly mentioned in the Declaration.

A second requirement is that the participants in the eternal discussions be educated as to the facts of any issue as they present them fairly in any discussion. Real education, not propaganda, is the requirement.

Now, again, Birdwell uses the ill-conceived word “progressive” to label his side of the issues.  And, again, I challenge that term.  It is “regressive” talk that seeks to always bring us backward to forms of government that have been tried a thousand times and failed.  Even our first colony tried a form of collectivism that failed as nearly all of the colonists died off the first winter.

Birdwell, apparently, does not realize that communism and fascism and socialism use government control to establish their forms of government.  The people have no real say.

“Wealth” is a funny animal.  It has long been known that if you divided  $100,000 equally among 100 people, over not too distance of time, the majority of the money would have gravitated toward but a few of the recipients.  That’s just a fact of life, or should we write, human nature.

If the Birdwells have read their books, have they included Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney and others who were enlightened enough to see the bent of mankind?  Jefferson wrote the Declaration so as to “place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”  Why do we these many years later see other conditions?

Let’s see, Birdwell has hit me over the head about 13 times (the number of times my name was mentioned in his letter of 29 June) with his ignorant and polluted thoughts. How much longer does he think he has anything intelligent to write on the subject?

Duane A. Rasmussen
Laguna Vista


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