Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Comments were varied this week, with local officials requesting support for addressing our water crisis and local hospitals. Other topics included what we might expect during the next presidential term, civility in politics and workers, both the lack of workers in businesses and the use of immigrant labor.

As always, we thank those who participate in our public forum, and invite everyone to share their thoughts with their fellow readers.

Postal change spurs comment

The Monitor of April 6 contained an article about Texas Lawmakers urging Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reconsider his plans to move the processing of mail from McAllen and Corpus Christi to San Antonio. I recently attended a public hearing at the McAllen Library where two people were sent from San Antonio to answer questions from the public.

Instead of the district manager who should have been there to answer, two people were sent who knew nothing, remained silent and looked at each with no answers.

DeJoy may call it “Delivering for America,” I call it a prelude to privatization.

The main U.S. Post Office on Pecan Boulevard is seen Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The U.S Postal Service has major problems already, where mail no longer can be delivered in one or two days across town, delivery standards are nonexistent, forwarding of mail is a total disaster and employees are burned out.

How can sending mail several hundred miles and return in a truck be cost savings, especially when the San Antonio facility is old, out of date and certainly subject to breaks?

Four lawmakers are questioning and opposing DeJoy’s dream. They should also question his ability to run an organization he had no experience with and knew not what it cost to mail a letter.

Lyle Puppe

Retired postmaster

Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Stop playing dirty politics

While elections provide an opportunity to exercise our constitutional rights, it is crucial to remember that they also serve as a valuable teaching moment for our children.

It is important to instill in our children the belief that true success does not come from tearing others down. It is essential for candidates to remember that their opponents are not just faceless adversaries. They have families, friends, and children who are capable of reading and understanding the negativity that is being blasted into the universe; it will regrettably stay with them forever.

When aspiring for political success, it is imperative to maintain a sense of common courtesy and human decency. Candidates and their supporters, whether through financial means or otherwise, should focus on promoting their own platform and ideas, rather than solely criticizing their opponents or looking for dirt. Let us teach our children, regardless of their age, that resorting to mudslinging is not necessary to make a valid point.

Yes, the past will always resurface, and the truth will eventually come to light; however, it is crucial not to be the person who digs for it, as doing so only adds to one’s own baggage. Simply put, candidates who rely on tearing others down to elevate themselves cannot stand on their own merits. Instead, they feel the need to bring others down to try to help their own position. This approach is hardly an improvement; actually, the person throwing mud balls usually plays in dirt themselves.

Panel one: “This election is sure to get nasty.” “But we are all Americans. We can find common ground.” Panel two: “Joe Biden’s a pedophile.” Panel three: “Obama was a Muslim.” “Hillary ran a child sex ring in a pizza shop!” Panel four: “Journalists should be jailed! The pandemic was a liberal media hoax!” “Tucker has the proof!” Panel five: “The deep state is plotting to imprison God’s anointed one, Donald Trump!” “Democrats are literally servants of Satan!” Panel six: “So… forget what we said about common ground.”

You don’t step on others to get ahead. That is not the lesson I was taught. That is not what our culture is about. That is not what RGV politics should be about.

Through respectful discourse and focusing on the issues we can create positive change in our community. When one decides to use dirty politics to advance their career it is a good indication of the depths of their malicious nature. Good character and class are not easy to uphold, but when someone’s actions clearly conveys they have none, trust them.

Politicians must stop using dirty tactics and personal attack campaigns to try to win votes; all they win is disdain. Do better.

Hortencia Camargo


You’re the cult

Just a few comments in response to those who continue to use this forum to demonize and characterize supporters of former president Donald Trump as cult members.

It can be argued that those who label Trump supporters as cult members often exhibit cult-like behaviors/attributes.

First, they display a pathological fear and hatred of Trump and his supporters. They go on and on about how Mr. Trump and his supporters pose an existential threat to our democracy. Their mission in life thus appears to be to expose and convince others that MAGA Republicans are hell-bent on destroying the country and our democratic institutions. Trump supporters are thus depicted as insurrectionists, fascists and enemies of the people. Their mantra appears to be: “You are either with us or with those evil Republicans.”

Those who accuse Trump supporters of being cult members should perhaps look in the mirror and lay off the the anti-Trump Kool-Aid.

Ben Castillo


Missing workers

I would like to throw out a bone to those who have some finance and economics courses under your belt. Business industry stats historically have placed the full employment rate of our workforce at 4.5%. We have been well under that rate (3.8%), according to the repeated claims of this Democratic administration!

Since the end of the pandemic and to this day, many businesses have been unable to return to regular working hours requiring overlapping shifts! Why?

You go to major franchise stores and walk around like a fool looking for employee assistance! Whole sections of restaurants in Ruidoso, New Mexico, cordoned off because of a shortage of waiters to attend to the people. A popular ice cream shop in Tularosa, New Mexico, closing its doors because of labor issues! A very popular recreational business in Brownsville closes its doors early daily and closed two days a week because of a lack of personnel to overlap the shifts to stay open!

Did the workforce die from COVID? Are they still living off the free money Joe Biden dealt out to everyone? I would say “No” to both questions!

I’ve come to the logical conclusion that we’ve been getting fudged numbers about employment and this robust economy. Are they trying to fool us into believing that everything is going great? Are they telling us to not believe what we’re experiencing from day to day? I truly believe all logical answers point to the latter!

If this is full employment, why are stores running with half of the staff? Is it all about fooling us to vote for the “Big Guy”? The dirt-poor millionaire? The one who will sell out Israel for a handful of Muslim votes! Use your brains, you decide!

Ernest Gorena


Editor’s note: Full employment does not mean all jobs are filled; it means people looking for jobs can find them.

After accounting for transitional unemployment (people between jobs, recently terminated workers, etc.), our economy currently has more jobs than workers to fill them — thus, worker shortages at many businesses.

Opposed to LNG

This is in response to Mr. Todd Staples’ commentary on April 10 regarding President Joe Biden’s moratorium on liquefied natural gas export development.

As a resident of Brownsville and an Army veteran, I am supportive of America’s interests both domestic and international. I am also concerned about the local and global impact of economic and environmental issues.

Underlying my principles and opinions is my fundamental belief in honesty, transparency and respect. When interacting with individuals and organizations, I find it imperative to have these three key elements in order to achieve mutual trust.

Frankly, I feel the people behind the Rio Grande LNG export terminal violated these fundamental elements necessary for mutual trust and cooperation. Cameron County, Brownsville and Port Isabel leaders failed the people as well.

Any project of this magnitude has very important items for the community to consider: numerous jobs, environmental impact, disputed land, community safety, tax incentives, et al. The people behind the Rio Grande LNG proposal did not provide sufficient visibility and communication to allow local residents to be aware of the significance and implication of this immense facility. The business leaders backing this project, the elected and appointed officials in Cameron County, Brownsville and Port Isabel, are all complicit to denying the people pertinent information affecting their community.

It is easy to imagine a business and political culture where closed-door decisions are being made with lucrative perks greasing the wheels. The people and companies that have the means, grifting the local have-not’s.

Some may say I am reaching, overreacting; others may say I am not. Suffice to say there was little transparency and communication in local media (Spectrum news reporting, local newspapers, town hall meetings, etc.) prior to the decision to approve construction.

This leads to my conundrum. Can I trust the Texas Oil & Gas Association to provide honest, transparent and respectful information regarding the project(s) this organization supports in my community? Is there mutual trust?

At this juncture, the three key elements necessary for mutual trust have been violated. And, construction of the Rio Grande LNG export terminal is ongoing.

So, I hope many people will join me in supporting President Biden’s administration’s decision to pause the permitting approval process for additional U.S. liquefied natural gas. Maybe we can slow down just a bit to share information (both benefits and drawbacks) on the significance and implication of this massive endeavor changing the landscape of our home, our local community,

Joaquin Villarreal


Cotton pickers

Your editorial dated Jan. 6 about the politician Mayra Flores stated that (many) people claim cotton has not been hand-picked since before the 1930s. Not true. People hand-picked cotton in the Valley up to the early ’70s.

I hand-picked it for 10 summers, beginning in 1957 at the age of 5. Thousands of Mexican Americans hand-picked cotton and vegetables, especially children, from the early 19th century to the late 1960s. I am not running for political office like Mayra Flores, but I did write a book about the subject.

Jose Ramon Palacios


Forever dependent

I have a friend who served in the military and completed more than 30 jumps from an aircraft. I joked with him about the risks, and he told me that his instructor told him at jump school that “the hardest thing about parachuting was the ground.”

I hold my friend in high esteem, because he like my father served, and they both knew that once you are inducted into the military your life belongs to the government.

My friend, the veteran of 30 jumps who placed his life in harm’s way numerous times during his career in the defense of our great country, recently asked me how I felt about the surge of migrants who have entered our country. I told him that the damage was done, with more than 12 million entering our country the damage was done. I went on to tell him this was a humanitarian crisis created by the current resident of the Oval Office, who did not do this out of compassion for these people but to fill a need to import poverty, because the new Democratic regime needs poor people who will be dependent on the government. I told my friend that we were both at one time Kennedy Democrats who believed in the motto, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country.” Today’s Democrats want people to be dependent on government; once people are hooked on government aid they will continue to vote for the regime that supports them from cradle to grave.

I consider my friend a true patriot. He left me with this final thought: “I’ve served in areas where the government took care of everything for everyone, yet they all want to come to America because they think we are all rich. I wonder if our country will survive this.” I agreed with him and was left wondering if our country will survive this invasion of the forever dependent.

Jake Longoria


Decisions by desire

Today we live in uncertain times. The economy is not doing well worldwide, conflict between nations is on the increase, tempers are flaring out of control and decisions are made on the spot. Decisions made not by common sense but by emotion.

Emotion is not a good guide to go by. Let’s say you walk into a showroom at a car dealership and you scan the room and lot and there it is — your dream car, and you desire it and that takes over common sense and overrides it. Not realizing you have four children and the car is a two-seat Chevy Corvette. After you buy it, the desire subsides and you realize that it was not a good decision.

That’s why they recommend walking away to let your mind come to its senses overnight before committing yourself to buying that new car.

Conflicts between nations begin that same way. It reminded me of someone once saying, “If you want to do it, do it, don’t ask for permission, which you will never get. Do it and when confronted, ask for forgiveness. That way it is done and cannot be undone.

This is pretty much how it happened in Ukraine and Russia and most other conflicts taking place between nations as we speak.

Rafael A. Madrigal


Beware of Trump

For almost four years now, an obscene flag has been flying in someone’s backyard. It has the F-Biden words on it and can easily be seen by kids going to nearby schools. It’s the same ugly phrase that was posted recently on Facebook, probably by Russian operatives hoping angry U.S. folks will pass it on.

It’s healthy for one to express anger, but why against the current president who swore to protect the U. S. Constitution and the rule of law? And yet, these same people support the former president who, ironically, is the exact opposite! And in addition to being against the Constitution and the rule of law, this man’s mind is cluttered with revenge, his life heavily burdened with lawsuits and he wants to be our dictator! Why? Because he’s guilty! It’s the only way he can get out of this mess!

“Sir, can you sum up in one word what your basic goal is if you win back your presidency?” “Yes… revenge!”

Let’s say this guy wins the election and his supporters finally realize he’s a dork. Is it too late to do anything about it? You know, like damaging his fragile ego with flying flags and Facebook postings? Unless you like being labeled “vermin” and your life being threatened, it’s best we keep our mouths shut.

Or we can join forces and say, “Hell no! Shove this thing out the door!” And let’s also be prepared. For what, you ask? To be hunted down and shackled and hauled off to jail! Goodness gracious! Is this the world we want to live in? Hoo-boy.

Italo J. Zarate


Illegal workers

Moving to Texas from Michigan in 1975, I noticed a difference. For one, illegal migrant employment was a normal way of life here in the Rio Grande Valley.

People came to work from Monday to Friday, went back to Mexico on late Friday and were back on Monday morning by swimming across the river. That was the new normal I was exposed to and had to accept because there was a large number of people living this way here for decades. Like a continuous running conveyer belt in a factory, non-stop. It was good for the economy because of cheap labor. And everyone was employed — those that came across, I mean. They had a job to support their families in Mexico.

Benefits to the employer were: If they had a bad worker, he could be fired on the spot; the employer did not have to give assistance or provide health insurance for them; employers did not report it as his employee, the employee was a ghost. It was win-win for the business owner and the migrant; both benefited from this mutual agreement. The business owner knew the risk he was taking by illegal employment of an illegal migrant and the illegal migrant knew the downside to his employment; no benefits because of his status; at the end, he will just walk out clean and go back to Mexico or possibly be deported back to Mexico. No Social Security at the end of his working days to include health insurance, etc.

Today some foreign workers filed abuse allegations against their employer. What can possibly happen besides deportation because they are saying that they were illegally working in the USA all this time? As for the employer, it will be up to a jury to decide whether he was helping someone in need or abusing. Not even our own immigration system clearly says one way or the other, they leave it to the public or politicians for interpretation.

Our Congress needs to finally fix our problematic immigration system. They need to clarify the law and enforce it.

Rafael A. Madrigal


Editor’s note: We welcome your letters and commentary. Submissions must include the writer’s full name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters of 200 words or fewer will be given preference. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar and clarity. Letters may be mailed to P.O Box 3267, McAllen, Texas 78502-3267, or emailed to [email protected].