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

Commentary this week addressed political party influence, imprints people left thousands of years ago and the state’s decision to exclude nonprofit healthcare provers from Medicaid contracts. Letters discussed school testing, spirituality and various candidates, among other topics.

As always, we welcome contributions to our public forum, and thank those who have shared their thoughts with their fellow readers.

Too many benchmarks

I heard a top Brownsville ISD administrator tell a television reporter something I could not believe.

She said BISD would be working to bring back students to BISD and to prevent so many absences. Her solution was to benchmark more often and not wait until the end of the year.

How will that help attendance? To begin with, and from what I have observed from volunteering at different schools, students are sick and tired of taking tests and bubbling all day long. They want to learn, and discuss what they have learned and relate their learning to personal experiences and share with the teacher and other students.

I strongly believe that absences could be curtailed if the students enjoyed going to school to actively participate with their teacher and classmates and not just rote learning and bubbling circles. That is the reason many students do not want to go to school. Take those phones away and get involved with actually teaching in group activities and receiving the joy of having fun in school while they are learning.

My fondest recollection of my school days are the stories our teachers told us and those we shared with the class and how we all were able to pass the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills we were given at the end of the year. We learned “for keeps” and not just to pass the test. I also have nine out of 12 perfect attendance certificates from my school days because I loved going to school and we had an attendance officer, Pete Bouis, whom we respected and dared not miss school once his name was mentioned.

Teachers, try using the Socratic method of teaching in your room; that is the best way to determine if your students are progressing under your leadership.

Give it all you have; all our students deserve it and expect it from you. Find a way to teach that objective in a way that students will not object coming to school.

I hope those tasks force teams they plan to instigate at each campus to take this into consideration.

Judi “J.Rod” Rodriguez


Allred attacked

For years, Colin Allred has masqueraded as a moderate, claiming to support comprehensive immigration policies while actually supporting the far-left agenda. However, his recent flip-flop on border security reveals his true colors: a cowardly politician willing to abandon his principles for political expediency.

Allred’s shift from labeling the border wall “racist” to advocating for it raises serious questions about his consistency and sincerity on border security issues. Despite vocalizing support for border protection measures, there’s a noticeable absence of tangible efforts or legislative initiatives led by Allred to strengthen border security or address the root causes of this issue.

Allred also missed a pivotal vote on border security, which only raises more concerns surrounding his commitment to effectively addressing the crisis at the southern border.

His actions make me question his integrity and trustworthiness as a public servant. If he is willing to compromise on such a fundamental issue as immigration, what other principles is he willing to sacrifice for the sake of political expediency?

Texans deserve a representative who will uphold unwavering principles on critical issues like border security, instead of wavering to cater to changing political tides.

Minerva Simpson


Recent letter draws reply

Mr. Madrigal is lamenting his property tax increase (letters, June 10), but his distress should be directed at Gov. Greg Abbott and current Republicans who did and do nothing to decrease our property taxes.

Texas’ local governments rely heavily on property taxes to pay police and firefighters’ salaries as well as services: roads, libraries, parks and public schools, and currently Texas’ public schools depend enormously on property taxes for funding.

School districts use local property tax revenue to cover their base budgets and then the state should chip in the rest; however, this formula has resulted in fewer state dollars paying for public education as local property values have grown. More than half of all property tax revenue in the state comes from school property taxes, according to data from the Texas comptroller’s office.

Mr. Madrigal should realize that numerous local school districts are in budget deficit, reeling from inflation, campus safety costs and a basic per-student funding level that’s been stagnant since 2019. Add in the mandated new expenses of HB3, which requires each school to hire an armed guard, allotting only $15,000 per campus plus $10 per student.

But there’s more.

An Austin American-Statesman analysis discovered that Texas’ per-student funding from state and local sources has dropped by 12.9% since 2020 after adjusted for inflation. Texas ranks 42nd in the country for per-student public education funding.

The state’s share of public school funding dropped from 44% in 2011 to 31% in 2022.

And the incredible: There is a state budget surplus of $32.7 billion from last year. The Texas Legislature tapped existing revenue for $4 billion in school funding, but under Abbott’s coercion these school funds were tied to voucher approval.

Mr. Madrigal, if you want to lament, perhaps it’s time to write to/ask your current Republican legislators such as Monica de la Cruz and the governor why your property taxes are so high and why our public schools are struggling. Why is there no special legislative session on funding our public schools with the billions of dollars available — which could cut all our property taxes?

Diane Teter


Medicinal concerns

There was an article that DHR was promoting FDA approval of lecanemab (Leqembi) for Alzheimer’s. The article was of interest to me because my aunt has early-stage AD.

My concern is that Leqembi was just FDA approved short of a year and the adverse effects are somewhat disturbing to say the least. Examples: swelling of the brain, bleeding on the surface of the brain, etc.

My recommendation would be to inform the family of the possibility of what can occur and let them make a decision based on all information available. Most of our community, especially the elderly, follow doctors’ orders without knowing there could have been an alternative.

To all our hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, please form a group and open to the public where we can teach patients and family members more about every disease the medical field services. It’s not about money, it is about taking care of our community and providing quality care. Let us be mindful in everything we do.

Rosalie Fernandez


Changing countries

The United States and Mexico are facing a dual political dilemma. It is coming to a point that citizens on both sides feel the uncertainty of living peacefully in their own nation. The new president in Mexico will continue to push the agenda of the previous president toward socialism affecting property ownership. There are more restrictions on property ownership coming to the point that citizens feel it will be a thing of the past and government ownership of the land will be the future in Mexico. The Mexican citizen will rent the property from the government and the government will have total control if you deserve to live there or not and how many people you will have to take in to keep your home and property. This fear for the Mexican citizen today is real.

In the United States, we are subjected to paying taxes or losing our property to the government. Our government at this point is not going to force us to take people to live in our own home or lose all rights to our property, not yet, anyway.

The political leadership this November shows signs of trouble ahead, from both political leaders running for office. We know that is not going to be good for America but we need to evaluate how bad it will get. If one side wins, we will see a repeat of the burning of our west and east coast and rioting for the next four years. And if the other side wins, we will see a change in government leadership imposing this new generation and their ideas to spread throughout the nation. Leadership will be based on changing America from a united nation to a divided nation, forcing the children in school to submit to gender neutrality and changing gender under their control and not the parents.

How did we get to this point? Because people don’t care anymore about America. They care more about the ideologies they bring into this nation only to create chaos, and have no interest in submitting to our laws and morals and respect for others. We can see it on our streets today. In Austin there is a large homeless population in the downtown area. A family member of mine was physically assaulted because the homeless man wanted money. Got in his car and began to strike the window and yelled at him, “You got money and I don’t.” My family member said they play nice until you say no and then they get violent.

That is the new America we live in today, day in and day out.

Rafael Madrigal


Canales recalled
Host Johnny Canales talks with the guests on his show The Johnny Canales Show during its taping Feb. 6, 2013, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

“You got it, take it away.” Old Johnny Canales has left the building!

Mr. Canales passed away a few days ago at the age of 77. I know that some of you probably never heard of him. To those of us who enjoy Tex-Mex music he was our very own Ed Sullivan, our very own Dick Clark. Just like Mr. Sullivan showcased and helped launch the careers of Elvis, the Beatles and many more superstars, so Mr. Canales introduced and gave a launching platform to such Tejano superstars as Selena Quintanilla. He did a lot to introduce, popularize and legitimize Tex-Mex music as a musical genre.

God be with you, hermano, rest in peace. Thank you for all the great entertainment you gave us here in south Texas and throughout. Now we say to you, “Take it away” and rest in peace!

Jesse Dorsett

Whittier, Calif.

Not viewing the debates

I am not going to watch the presidential debates. I don’t need to listen to President Joe Biden talk about his accomplishments, goals, immigration successes, great economy, renewed world respect and love of America. They all are self-evident. But also because I don’t need or want to listen to a mentally unstable, egocentric narcissist talk about himself.

Ned Sheats


Mental health and spirituality

In recent years, the connection between mental health and spirituality has gained a lot of attention. For young people dealing with mental health challenges, Christian faith-based practices offer a unique support system and healing method.

These practices include prayer, Bible study, church attendance and community outreach. For many young people, these activities are a crucial part of their identity and provide a sanctuary amid the chaos of modern life.

Research shows that spirituality, including Christian practices, can positively impact mental health. A study in the Journal of Religion and Health found that regular spiritual practices are linked to lower levels of anxiety and depression. Another study in the American Journal of Psychiatry noted that those involved in religious activities often have better mental health outcomes.

Christianity aids mental health by fostering a sense of belonging. Church communities offer a supportive network that young people can rely on during tough times. This community alleviates feelings of isolation and loneliness common in mental health struggles. Engaging with a church community provides emotional support and a platform for sharing experiences, which can be very therapeutic.

Moreover, Christian practices encourage mindfulness and self-reflection. Activities like prayer and meditation promote calmness and help individuals connect with their inner selves, leading to greater self-awareness and emotional regulation. The discipline of regular spiritual practice can also bring routine and stability to a young person’s life.

Christian teachings offer a different perspective on life’s challenges. The Bible emphasizes hope, resilience and the transient nature of suffering. These teachings can help young people view their struggles in a broader context, reducing feelings of hopelessness. The moral and ethical guidance provided by Christian faith can also aid in decision-making, helping young people navigate their problems with clear values.

It’s important to note that spirituality, including Christianity, is not a replacement for professional mental health care. However, it can be a valuable complement. Mental health professionals increasingly recognize the role of spirituality and integrate it into holistic treatment plans. Combining traditional therapy with Christian faith-based practices creates a more comprehensive approach to mental health for many young people.

Christian faith-based practices offer significant benefits for young people facing mental health challenges. By providing community, promoting mindfulness and ng and offering hopeful perspectives, Christianity can play a pivotal role in fostering resilience and emotional well-being.

Reyes Castillo

San Benito

Republican strategies

Knowing how how they feel about guns and taxes, I’m inclined to believe that the MAGA Republican congressmen who prosecuted Hunter Biden for lying on his application to purchase a gun were not too enthusiastic about doing so. You’d think they’d rather give him a pat on the back instead. The charges against him, as Sen. Ted Cruz might say, were “ticky-tacky.”

Donald Trump, of course, would not agree. He’d probably say, “You little vermin, if you give Hunter a pat on the back, I’ll doom you! Hunter’s father denied me my deserved dictatorship, so you go out here and smother him with a vengeance! Gratify me with sweet revenge!”

And the trembling little sycophant soldiers obediently obliged, pretending to be bold and “macho” as they targeted Hunter Biden’s jugular.

Joe Biden, with the help of our cherished democracy, denied Trump a second term. And his supporters are working hard to make sure he does it again come November. And, of course, we have those on the other side wishing to see their poor loser felon wannabe dictator take over the throne. Why? I have no idea.

If Trump fails to win a fair election again, will there be another attack on our Capitol? Will it be bolder, bloodier and more brutal? Will it evolve into a stupid civil war? Good grief!

Roger Stone, a Trump ally and former adviser who was convicted of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the Russian investigation, tells us an attack on our Capitol will not be necessary. “Trump,” he says, “is already prepared to challenge the 2024 election armed with lawyers, judges and technology.”

So, does this mean Trump already knows he’s going to lose — again? And he’s going to challenge the results, again? Hoo-boy!

To those who want to scrap our successful centuries-old democracy for an unknown and possibly piddly autocracy, I say this: “Be careful what you wish for.”

Italo J. Zarate


Trump blasted

Former President Donald Trump had four years to lead the United States and failed us by his own choosing. Whether it was in foreign policy or domestic policy, he did not protect the United States as commander in chief.

We the American people have finally borne witness to what happens when they place an incompetent businessman in the Oval Office, especially one who had everything handed to him.

Quality of life is not a business decision. Rather, it is a humane choice to be empathetic to those who cannot help themselves. This is why government exists.

Now comes the jury’s decision making Trump a convicted felon. Has he no shame and decency? As was said about former president Richard Nixon, jail to the chief.

“Devolution of the Donald: Lothario Trump “Grab ’em by the p—-!’ Apprentice Trump “You’re fired!” Impeached Trump “American carnage!” Godzilla Trump “Revenge! Blood in the streets!”

All Trump does is complain and moan about what others have done to him. However, by all accounts he put himself in precarious situations and is now facing the consequences.

MAGA has become a dog whistle for Nazi. His followers would have made great “brown shirts” in Adolf Hitler’s Germany. They demonstrated their loyalty to Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, an event he instigated.

As for inflation, somebody encouraged corporate America to gouge us at the grocery stores, gas stations and pretty much everywhere at the point of purchase.

Because of Trump’s words and actions many now prefer the “old man” over the felon.

Joe Bialek

Cleveland, Ohio

Trump support

The June 9 Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas tells you all you need to know about former President Trump and his supporters.

First, Mr. Trump could be living a life of comfort and luxury in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, or anywhere in the world. Instead, he was willing to risk his health and physical well-being by speaking for an hour in 115-degree temperatures about what he can do to solve the problems facing the country.

Second, those who attended the rally were willing to wait in line for hours to listen to his speech. They were also willing to risk their health and physical well-being.

It is difficult to think, or give examples, of any other candidate for office and supporters who are willing to make such a sacrifice.

Ben Castillo


MAGA more than Trump

A new election will dawn soon, so how’s things working out for you. Are you better off than you were four years ago? How about your finances and senses of economic and civic freedoms?

The TV talking heads are screaming inconsolably about this great orange menace who’s about to destroy all of it and anoint himself dictator — you know, like in his first term. No, wait — that describes their dishonest portrayal of it, not reality.

If you subtract the four years, 24/7 doom and gloom gnashing of teeth by the screen people, the tangibles of daily existence were all quite bearable and pleasantly mundane. There was more money in your pocket, you could afford gas and vacations, home ownership was in reach, you didn’t have to worry about border invasions or world war or an overstepping government.

A dark cloud emerged overhead and sabotaged all this: I think it was called COVID, or ebola, bird flu, monkey pox, zika or climate change, or something. Heck, I get ‘em confused at this point.

The media millionaire aristocracy has a stern warning: Elect Donald Trump and it’s Adolf Hitler 2.0. How could you in good conscience choose your leadership at the ballot box via representative democracy when they can “protect democracy” by removing him from the campaign trail via lawfare?

Who created the greatest economy since the ’60s, lowest minority unemployment levels ever, U.S. energy independence, brokered Middle East peace, successful foreign relations and kept us out of war?

Apparently he’s had moral indiscretions too, but he’s not being hired to enforce moral sanctity at a monastery, so cry me a river, pearl-clutching hypocrites. It was A-OK excusable when Bill Clinton did worse and lied to Congress about it. But he got a pass. John and Jane Q voter are now painfully aware of the dichotomy, and will react accordingly come November.

Indoctrinated-brained leftists have nothing to offer to nudge you to vote Democrat, other than “Orange Man Bad”! What policy incentives are you offering us other than unlimited abortion, and the one that says, “You’re an oppressed minority, powerless to ascend that bondage without Big Government controlling your destiny.” Thus is the sales pitch of every campaigning Democrat. Donald Trump is possibly going down, but like a weary superstar limping off the field during a long game, somebody will come off the bench, energized and indignant by Democrats’ outrageous tactics. MAGA is not a man, but a movement.

Jamey Honaker


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].