Letters to the Editor for Nov. 9, 2017

Special to the PRESS


It’s no secret that Port Isabel has had its fair share of turmoil in recent years, but it’s a relief to see our city finally moving forward. As reported in this paper, the city has been working to upgrade its finances, its infrastructure and its government. Citizen committees were formed to examine both the city’s ordinances and the city charter. I had the honor of serving on the charter committee, and so, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain the amendments and to urge my fellow citizens to vote “yes”!

Our city charter was originally written back in the early 1980s, and Amendments 1 and 5-10 would update the charter to reflect changes in the state law, particularly related to elections. The state requirements are incorporated by reference, to prevent the need for future changes. As part of these changes, we also inserted a requirement that vacancy on the commission caused by a recall be filled by election, not by appointment of the commissioners.

A couple of years ago, our city suffered through a controversy involving three members of the city commission, and allegations that they were doing business with the city. The provisions of the current charter were ultimately not able to be enforced, so with Amendment 2 we worked to create prohibitions, an enforcement mechanism and penalties that would withhold the pay of commissioners who do business with the city or hire relatives. I’ve heard a lot of disinformation about this amendment regarding potential benefits to commissioners, and this amendment does not provide any benefits or additional compensation!

Amendment 3 makes it easier for the city to hold special meetings, while Amendment 4 revises the requirements for our city manager to make allowances for the city to cast a wider net, and attract more qualified candidates. Finally, Amendment 11 ensures that city ordinances are passed by the city commission, and go through the proper vetting and review prior to passage. Citizens retain the right to recall commissioners, and to petition for the repeal of ordinances.

We’re moving forward in Port Isabel, and I hope you can join me in voting yes to these amendments, so we can put past controversies behind us and continue the progress.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Gary Snyder
Port Isabel

Editor’s Note: The PRESS received this letter to the editor last week, but due to our longstanding policy regarding letters of a political nature, we delayed publishing it until after the election was over. As a reminder to our readers, we will postpone publishing letters to the editor about political candidates or elections if they are received less than one week before Election Day. You can find our complete policy on letters to the editor in the lower left-hand corner of this page.


Dear Editor,

It is so nice to find positive actions displayed by the City of Port Isabel who recently donated a fire truck to our neighbors in Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas. The message given by the officials is moving and resonates with a lot of us who believe in cooperation, friendship and brotherhood with our neighbors with which we share a long history.

Thanks to all the officials at the Port Isabel. You did a great job!

DAY OF THE DEAD. The Museum of Port Isabel had a very well attended presentation of the Day of the Dead – Dia De Los Muertos where the artist Posada’s art work of Calaveras was the center focus.

The outside celebration of the Day of the Dead was windy. Still we had tables with foods, toys, information and many dressed to honor those who have crossed to the other side. We had an altar DYING WHILE CROSSING. We had the opportunity to remind our public El Dia De Los Muertos is a celebration. Dr. Enriqueta Lopez Ramos, who is an anthropologist, celebrates Day of the Dead. She was quoted in an article by Raul Garcia of San Benito.

“I love traditions and I love cultures, and especially ours,” she said. “It has become a Catholic ritual, Day of the Dead was a belief of the pre-Hispanic people.”

Jose Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican artist and cartoonist was responsible for the promotion of Calavera de la Catrina, the “Skull of the Female Socialite” which was meant to satirize the life of the upper classes during the Porfirio Diaz reign. During the 1920’s a French artist Jean Charlot who discovered Posada’s art work visiting Diego Rivera. I appreciate Jeannie Marie A. Flores, the Museum Director and the rest of the personnel for helping us to present the perspective of our pre-Hispanic history.

The Day of the Dead is very much part of the narrative in the USA and by remembering we honor our dead.

Yolanda Garza Birdwell
Laguna Vista



I support bringing the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry to Brownsville because it has proven to be safe and will bring a large number of badly needed jobs. For these reasons, I applaud the Cameron County Commissioners who approved the Chapter 312 agreement with Rio Grande LNG on Oct. 3.

When you consider that the Brownsville-Harlingen area has a 7 percent unemployment rate, how can people be against bringing thousands of jobs to Cameron County?

Maybe the opponents are retired and already set for life. I would ask those opponents to think about younger adults who are working hard to build good lives for themselves and their families.

As a lifetime Brownsville resident, I know many skilled, talented young people from Brownsville who have left the area in search of jobs in their fields. We need to give these bright young people more opportunities to work closer to home.

Also consider that once businesses like Rio Grande LNG and SpaceX are established, they will put Cameron County on the map as a progressive, pro-growth area. I believe in the saying, “Success breeds success” and that these large businesses will attract other businesses to our area.

I would not support bringing the LNG industry to Cameron County without doing my own research. I’ve studied the industry and know that it has a strong track record for safety and environmental performance. I also know that LNG is not stored under pressure, is non-explosive and is non-flammable.

Exporting LNG is a safe, reliable business that will bring huge economic investments and jobs to our region. Again, I want to thank the commissioners who supported the Chapter 312 tax incentives agreement to bring Rio Grande LNG to our region.

John Hohn



As someone who truly cares about our community, I’m concerned about the lack of jobs. I talk with people regularly who are challenged to find good jobs in Cameron County. My own granddaughter is moving to Florida because she cannot find work in her field. I am sure many families face the same concerns.

The solution is to welcome responsible new industry like Rio Grande LNG to our community. Many cities around the country would be glad to have this multi-billion dollar investment.

This project would bring thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of ongoing operations jobs, creating new wealth and generating thousands of indirect jobs.

Just imagine how this project-related payroll and spending will stimulate other economic growth throughout our community.

These workers, with their well-paying jobs, will boost other businesses by spending money locally on everything from groceries to new vehicles. They will open checking and savings accounts, buy or rent residential properties and go out to eat.

Bringing Rio Grande LNG to Brownsville would also attract other businesses to invest here. We need to show the world that Brownsville is open for business and supports economic growth.

I would not be supporting the proposed Rio Grande LNG project if I were not confident that it would operate safely. The liquefied natural gas industry has a strong safety record in the United States. I also know from my research that this proposed project would meet or exceed all state and federal air quality requirements.

Please join me in supporting Rio Grande LNG and the opportunities it will bring.

Rose Melendez


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