The crew of Coast Guard Station South Padre Island would like to thank our communities within the Rio Grande Valley for the tremendous outpouring of generosity, compassion and support during the lapse in appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security.
We are truly humbled, privileged and proud to serve you and will continue to stand a ready, relevant and responsive watch. Thank you!
LT Kurtis D. Mees
Commanding Officer STA South Padre Island
In reference to the previous Letter to the Editor from David Woolverton.
Mr. Woolverton was quick to point out in his recent letter that Port Isabel had a forensic audit that “provided certifiable evidence” of many wrong doings from previous administration. Seriously?
Apparently, he missed that part of this “forensic audit” where the auditor pointed out several checks in the Revolving Loan Program were missing. Even the City Manager Jared Hockema weighed in and said that he believes the money regarding those checks at City Hall. So much for “forensic.” So much for “certifiable evidence.”
The auditor explained to those of us that attended these “forensic audit” presentations that he, the auditor, relied solely on the information provided to him by City Hall. Question: If
Mr. Hockema believes the money was accounted for, why couldn’t he make that information available to the “forensic auditor”? Theory: It does little to strengthen the City’s position that wrongdoing was the reason for gaps in funds. So, let’s sue. The auditor could have, and should have been able to pick up the phone or written a letter and inquired of the contractor(s) if they had cancelled checks to clarify the discrepancies but he was not permitted to do that by the people that hired him. The City apparently knew the funds were there, so why didn’t they give that information to the “forensic” auditor? Instead, the auditor presented them as missing therefore it must be for “wrong doings.” What else was not available to the forensic auditor?
The “forensic audit’ was first suggested by “a” (as in one) letter, received from a “concerned citizen.” How could one concerned citizen prompt a $90,000 (ninety thousand dollars) audit? Upon this suggestion of an audit, then Mayor Joe Vega suggested that if we were going to have such an audit let’s do the entire wall-towall business of City Hall. As you can imagine that idea was quickly dismissed. Again, why?
You will notice that Mr. Woolverton alluded to “the many wrong doings” without actually identifying any of them. How can the City engage in a multi-defendant lawsuit based on an apparently flawed “forensic audit”? Answer: because they can, and guess who’s picking up the tab? The tax-paying public of Port
Don’t follow the ball as Woolverton suggested. Balls bounce around all over the place in all different and confusing directions. Follow the LAW. Big difference. HUGE.
I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to the The League of Women Voters – Rio Grande Valley. They conducted a candidates forum for the City of Port Isabel and Point Isabel ISD last week. It was well attended and organized. All the candidates had the opportunity to answer questions and express their positions. Our community can benefit a lot with this type of exchange of information so as voters can decide who represents our interests the best.
From my perspective I am glad to hear candidates express the importance of public education. The Robin Hood issue of insufficient funds being retained in the area was covered. Good to know there has been some connection with Austin representatives on how this can be changed. We have many children who could use more services and to keep more funds in our area makes sense.
I was impressed to know the City of Port Isabel is working on affordable housing. I think this is very important since working people need a place to live in order to keep our tourist area moving forward.
Questions and answers in reference to the financial status of business transactions came up. I believe this was good and as long as voters participate we can have more positive results. We must get involved and attend meetings where decisions are made on how to invest our tax dollars.
How can candidates involve the public? I was glad to hear some candidates already have an open door policy and voters can have access to them. I understand local issues are the priority. We also need to be aware of what is happening with our environment. Only one candidate mentioned working against LNG and this is very important and affects our community at all levels. Another important issue to remember that did not come up and needs to be addressed is the separation of religion in public education. Transparency is another issue that was raised. A candidate mentioned she was uncomfortable with the narrative of corruption in our area. Of course we do not like it and some of us have not been silent when we have seen questionable acts. The only way to change it is to speak up immediately and make it public regardless of who is involved.
I want to thank the Port Isabel leadership for working to make the Laguna Heights area cleaner on Hwy100 and again thanks to all the candidates who want to represent us for their time and dedication. Remember, we are all interconnected and we want to respect our public spaces for all to enjoy.
Yolanda Garza Birdwell