Blogging from the Women’s Leadership Launch

Kudos to Laredo Community College for hosting the first Laredo Women’s Leadership Launch with 68 local women participating. It’s part of the same group that coordinates Leadership Texas that I’ve always wanted to participate in but… time has always been everyone’s worst enemy. And for me and probably most women in Laredo – the cost. With that said, big up to F.M. and the group that invited me participate and cover costs. I am one lucky blogger.

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Check out Pam Owens, Director of Creativity of Women’s Resources commanding the room.

Let’s see what sparks catch fire after a motivating session. Laredo does have quite a history of having alumna from the Leadership Texas program so maybe those little fires have already started burning.

As for me, I still have an overflowing plate with my little business, the Laredo Clothesline Project which went up for the Domestic Violence conference this past week, the Inside Out Project, an upcoming conference, the Zombie Walk benefitting the local veterans’ Food Pantry and many other activities that I wish I had more time to write about. Sigh.

The mud clears up – we hope

Oh, the suspense will be killing us until this special announcement. I’m sure KeyRose or Maximiliano will be letting us know and for sure it will be related to the recent mud flap where we will see who really is One Tough Mud’r.

Just as the Mud Race was lining itself up to join in the gradual WBCA creep beyond February. With all the negative attention, the Mud Race won’t be the next activity to slither in like Border Beer Fest and STARS event, both now part of WBCA but in October. Next, WBCA might try to add my October birthday, too!

From their website.and all:

screen shot of the WBCA website line-up announcement.

J.R. Martinez visits

Got my tickets, I’m ready to go… except… I work until 6:30pm. Still, I intend to catch part of his presentation. Thanks, Laredo Community College.

Patriot Day, Day of Remembrance

Another anniversary that so many of us still clearly remember. Most people can specifically say where they were or what they were doing when they first heard the news about the Twin Towers. After all these years, may you find peace with yourself and others.

If you choose to commemorate with a group, these are some options:

TSA (Transportation Security Administration)

CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Or celebrate on this special day with the Laredo Fire Department:

Or volunteer with Volunteers Serving the Need (Food Pantry for veterans in financial need):

Laredo pride at the Democratic National Convention

Pride in more ways than one :).

What were those qualifications again?

So, let me get this straight… LISD’s Crime Stoppers program coordinator, who was part-time, retired. LISD announces the full-time job posting, sets up interviews at 10 minutes each and hones it down to two finalists? An article by Andrew Kreighbaum in the Laredo Times on August 30, 2012 has the following:

Nelson interviewed both candidates and recommended Rangel to trustees, who approved the recommendation at their Aug. 16 meeting.

Nelson dismissed any notion that Rangel’s hiring was political.

“With all due respect to any concerns about this, the crime in our schools is way bigger than any political discussions that anyone wants to have,” he said.

“The larger issue right now is what will Rangel do in the position to make a difference.”

Right. With all due respect – Seguro que si.

The top two candidates include one person who is passionate about the position and Crime Stoppers, has established good working relationships with the law enforcement entities that make up Crime Stoppers and is well connected with state Crime Stoppers officials, has been active in Laredo Crime Stoppers since 2002, has the degree, understands the Texas statutes that regulate Crime Stoppers programs, has been instrumental in assisting to make the LISD Crime Stoppers program (and the Laredo Crime Stoppers program too) one of the top-ranked in the country and is the current president of the Crime Stoppers Board and then there is the Transportation Coordinator who has not attended one single Crime Stopper training conference ever but happens to sit on city council.

I had seen Ms. Rodriguez’ resume before and asked her for it. This is part of her training:

Laredo Independent School District is free to choose whomever they want for their positions; BUT…, those choices do impact programs, perceptions and in this case, risk (I see possible conflicts of interest). Right now, they aren’t looking too smart.

Council member Rangel has big shoes to fill, especially if LISD hopes to keep the quality of the program it currently has. This situation sheds light on what undeserved opportunities are handed to those who happen to accept a position where they are supposed to be serving the public, not serving self. Fellow bloggers can make lists of other instances but the more the average citizen says, “this is not right,” the more ethical a city can run. This is but one example. I hope Laredo continues to speak up.

And don’t get me started on the widening of the gender ratio that hiring Rangel amplifies. As it is, decisions made this past year at the Sheriff’s Department already have created an all-male team handling all of Laredo Crime Stoppers. Nice guys but… the question does need to be asked.

Just remember, readers, the first step in trying to fight crime, is considering ethics.

Uy, cucuy…The Eye speaks

A reader from Corpus shared the following video challenge for all of Laredo. A ver que tan cierto es… my guess is, probably not but it is fun to imagine.

Considering that the video only has 4 views, I imagine my fellow bloggers also have this link sitting in their inboxes? Sepa. Anyway, I am probably the pollyanna of the group of local bloggers (BOLAS) so it is fitting that I help distribute it. No, it isn’t me offering the $10,000 reward but I DO expect that people do their best, take responsibility and create the kind of city they want to live in.

FYI: Not to be confused with the Sheriff’s EyeOnLaredo iPhone app or the other Eye something or other Laredo on Facebook. Laredo seems to have eyes everywhere, huh? Oh, how easily I am entertained :).

Peace Caravan arriving to Laredo August 22-23

How often do we spotlight the effects of the violence taking place in our sister city and other part of Mexico (and yes, even in the US)? I don’t mean reading the statistics. I mean really focusing on the aftermath. We don’t.

Next week on Thursday morning, Laredo gets a chance to join the 100+ caravan participants passing through our streets and stopping at about 25 cities on their way to Washington DC.

I know it is not a popular topic. I can feel the ambivalence from a community that would rather turn its head – some because they mistakenly believe it is about the “other” and yet others because of fear that comes from violence that has already touched their lives. Some of you know where I fall.

Famed Mexican Poet, Javier Sicilia, has taken a stance after his son, along with six friends, were murdered. Along with many other families that have suffered the loss of a loved one due to drug violence, they will be traveling across the United States with their message. From the Caravan for Peace’s page:

The Caravan represents one element of a broad strategy responding to Mexico’s violent national emergency resulting from Drug War policies (in Mexico and the U.S.) gone tragically wrong. The idea of the Caravan is to make Mexico’s national emergency tangible in the United States and to create a platform where those affected by the Drug War from Mexico, the U.S. and elsewhere can join their voices to inform public opinion on both sides of the border.

The U.S. Caravan’s mission is:

  • To shine a light on the crisis of Drug War violence, impunity and human rights atrocities that are rending Mexico’s social fabric;
  • To make the connections between the impacts of the Drug War in Mexico (violence, deaths and rise of organized crime) and in the U.S. (criminalization, incarceration, and life-long marginalization- disproportionately affecting African-American and Latino communities);
  • To promote a civil society discourse with the American public and opinion leaders about the policies (easy access to assault weapons, militarization of drug enforcement and U.S. prohibition policies) at the root of the crisis;
  • To foster collaboration and effective solidarity among a broad range of North American; Progressive, grassroots, religious, humanitarian and other organizations; and
  • To leave, in the Caravan’s wake, informed, organized, and mobilized communities of activists who will pursue reform strategies in the near and long-term on both sides of the border.
  • The Caravan takes place at a politically charged moment. It begins in San Diego, six weeks after Mexico’s July 1 presidential election and arrives in Washington, D.C. in September, six weeks prior to the U.S. elections. This summer we will bring communities together around events large and small, turning awareness into action and building a movement that will continue pushing for changes at the local, state, national and international level long after the Caravan has passed through.

    I will have the privilege of hosting one of the families coming (unless sleeping arrangements change to keep all visitors together) but because the planning for receiving the caravan has been loosely organized by volunteers, the group needs a little bit of help. We had been looking for a donor for an easy-to-take lunch boxes for the caravaners as they leave for McAllen on Thursday but none have stepped up. Donations are being accepted to help buy ingredients to make a sandwich lunch.

    More than anything, your presence is welcome as both the caravan participants and local Laredo family members speak out about their loved ones who are still missing or have been killed amidst the drug violence. We hope to see support on Thursday, August 23rd at St. Peter’s Plaza. Gatherings will start at 8am for an open microphone with the press conference beginning at 9am.

    If you have questions, you can write to the local organizers at peacecaravanlaredos@gmail.com (or peacecaravanlaredo@gmail we accidentally set up two).

    Civil liberties vs BP checkpoints

    This isn’t the first video I watch of someone challenging the Border Patrol agents at checkpoints; but, this is the first one I see in Laredo, on our own I-35. I have the feeling that more will come and I am sure the Border Patrol agency will be talking about how to handle those who choose to challenge being asked for citizenship status.

    While I do believe our civil liberties must be protected (as I watch their erosion in little moves here and there), I am not so sure I would do what these guys are doing but to each their own and consequences to their own. I would guess, just a guess, that a Border Patrol agent or supervisor might note the defiance and think “this guy has to be a US citizen.”

    El Amigo Partner and I might differ on where we stand on this particular challenge but I am grateful we can have a discussion on the “what happens” and “what about civil liberties” and “what is it like to encounter a challenge when you are just someone trying to do your job” and so on. He made a solid point in stating that there is a big difference between an educated person who knows pertinent laws and wants to challenge the system and those copycats who might come later and … there is no telling the outcome. But, it doesn’t matter what our discussions are like, check out the YouTube video on this checkpoint challenge:



    Before you assume que lo estoy tirando a loco, I am not; but, I don’t necessarily agree with the method or some of that tinge of arrogance. I did watch some of the other videos on Mr. Jimenez’ Traces of Reality YouTube channel and I listened intently to the following video of Traces of Reality Radio #2 – “Black Helicopters and Tin Foil Hats” .

    To those that want to brush off the increased militarization of the border, particularly here in Laredo, there is nothing wrong with the average citizen asking questions. Repeat, there is nothing wrong with asking about the latest changes of what flies in our skies rather than just accept the government message sent out in press releases (nothing against my law enforcement PR friends who obviously do a great job) and arranged photo opportunities (for those who follow the media rules). It is our responsibility to ask the uncomfortable questions and not just complain about the noise. This issue isn’t about noise and it isn’t about knocking down the hope of an economic windfall by having a military base in Laredo (yes, I keep hearing that verbalized). We should be involved and engaged citizens. So check it out:

    Note – I try to stay neutral and I talk about what I write beforehand with people I respect and do/don’t necessarily agree with. I debated on whether to shut off the comments section because this post is really just highlighting someone else’s work and there are some pretty disrespectful folks out there. Just note that if your message comes in as spam, it will be deleted as spam. If you bash one side or the other, your comment on my personal hobby blog (which has no sponsors but me) will not be approved.

    Believing in Laredo

    Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world …

    Reader Carmen caught this inspired stop sign in Laredo and wrote, “Saw this in Laredo!! Love it!” Me too.

    Somewhere in Laredo…