Political Happenings

Blog Archive

Friday, August 10, 2007

Reply to "The Lone Star Blog"

An American battle over the protection of the country’s borders has been raging in our backyards for many years and the heated debate is far from cooling down. With our close proximity to the region in question, the affects of illegal immigration have been infused into every aspect of our lives as more and more immigrants have become visible on the city streets, in our places of work, and in the news. Uncovered in the Lone Star Blog, readers can see that the problem extends beyond the man-made barriers constructed to keep Mexican immigrants out, but can also be found in the mentality of those living on the opposite side of the fence. With powerful debates throughout the government, speculations of a corrupt policing system in South Texas, and such a large population of those considered to be or are descendants from illegal immigrants from Mexico, the issue of Mexican Immigration into the United States will be a battle that brings fourth controversy and divides the country.

In the Lone Star Blog, readers are informed of the corruption lying within the South Texas Government. For the protection of the American citizens, the government feels that it is best to secure the borders, but when problems emerge on American soil, who is to blame? With the approval for an 860 mile border equipped with checkpoints the border-regions of South Texas should be considered a safe place for legal immigrants and U.S. citizens, but recent reports have illustrated a much different story. La Salle County Deputy Sheriff Henry James, and former La Salle County Deputy Sheriffs Robbie Thomas, and Joseph Canales have all come under fire after accusations of corruption including extortion, perjury, and tampering with evidence have all been reported. Some reports state that James would pull over motorist looking Mexican and threaten them with a few days stint in jail until arraigned in court, or bribe them for $150. For those being illegal, Srgt. James would almost be doing his job, but the problem stems out further than the racial profiling and now involves harassing innocent people and extortion. Mexican-looking motorist would be enough reason to pull someone over with South Texas’s growing illegal immigrant problem.

Is it surprising to the American Public that people of power have taken advantage of a situation that citizens are suppose to be protected from? The American Government feels that allowing Mexican immigrants into our communities can be detrimental to society, but who is protecting the rights of the immigrants. It is one thing to side with the American Government and try to keep immigrants out of our country, but The Lone Star Blog does a powerful thing by questioning the rights of Mexican immigrants. An immigrant is someone who travels from one country to another. America was founded by these people traveling from place to place for a better life. In recent America, the word immigrant travels with negative connotations of people who are poor, uneducated, and un-American. Immigrants are still humans and they should have just as much protection under the law when in our country. Why has immigrant harassment become such a problem in our border regions? The government knows that it is virtually impossible to keep these immigrants from crossing the border so they might as well benefit from their presence. For the Mexican Immigration issue to be properly addressed, we must first address public views and government actions concerning these people different countries before we point the finger of who is corrupting our societies.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Third World Country...Americas Backyard?

Curable illnesses carelessly going untreated, the sobering death of many whom hover around the poverty line, and a government so disorganized and a proud employer of scapegoats. For the typical American family, these are scenes watched from their comfortable living rooms with someone making a plea to donate only cents a day to save a child’s life. On the contrary, these scenes are unfolding in our backyards as more and more young children are being born without proper healthcare. The state of Texas, frontrunner in a long list of states without adequate healthcare for children, is most in need of change with one out of every five children lacking health insurance (ABC News Report).

What makes Texas’s situation unique and in the most need of help? The Texas population is steadily increasing and many of the people adding to the growing population are illegal immigrants. The large diverse industries of the Gulf Coast and large cities and the growing need for cheap labor are the perfect ingredients for disaster as many immigrant families calling Texas home are paid low wages with even lower opportunities of health benefits, if any at all. For the Texas residence who legally work and collect a salary that is able to sustain a household but are still considered around the poverty line, opportunities for adequate healthcare are just as grim. Lowered standards of what it is considered to be in need of assistance when it comes to healthcare and the many hoops families have had to jump though just to receive some form of healthcare have created a system that does not cover nearly enough of the Texans it should. The system is not only affecting the people dependent on the government assistance, but hospitals across the state are experiencing the pressure. Lower insurance reimbursement rates brought on by the masses in need of more assistance have left many of the “non-profitable” units to be closed. You would think the lives saved and not money brought in would be a profit that hospital execs would be more interested in, but in today’s world with a health system that has been established the bottom line means money, and not what is seen on the heart monitor when another child is dead from a curable illness.

With the unwanted publicity of having the worst childcare health system and angry voters the Texas legislature is finally trying to right the wrongs and adjust the system. Why is it that it takes many illnesses and death along with angry taxpayers to get something done? Governor Rick Perry and legislatures have gone through with submitting the plans for an improved Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to Congress, but growing tensions surrounding the amount of money Texas feels they need and the amount Congress is willing to allocate has only slowed the process. The legislature should be praised with efforts of improving CHIP, but somewhere throughout all of this they need to take accountability for letting the Child Health Insurance Program becoming what it is today. Whatever amount is decided for the program, we can only hope it will help save more lives by supplying more Texas children with proper healthcare.

In a country that claims to be so advanced and a state so big and vast of resources, there should be no reason for such a large gap in the children’s healthcare system. Though CHIP is in the process of being addressed by Congress and the Texas Legislature, the states uncovered children are far from safe from even the common cold with fears that without proper medical attention it can progress into something worse. Pretty soon the pleas for donations we see on television infomercials will be coming from the thousands dying right around us in Texas because of the states poor healthcare system.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

When the Bell Rings on This San Antonio Campus...There Goes the Neighborhood

Residents of the city of San Antonio are experiencing a unique situation. The government that has been implemented to serve its citizens is doing just that. It is serving the residents of a downtown neighborhood a big helping of the city’s homeless population. In an article entitled “Neighbors Fear Homeless Center” featured in the San Antonio Express News, communities express their grievances for the downtown Haven For Hope Homeless Campus as city officials continue to move forward with the planned 22 acre project.

The article, aimed to add the spark to an already heated issue, is written not to bash city efforts to make San Antonio a more pleasing place for the “down and out”, or to ridicule the selfish homeowners who want no such campus near their homes, but rather to inform the residence in the greater San Antonio area. Many may not be aware of the need for such a facility for the homeless or even realize the losing battle residence face when attempting to protect their neighborhoods even after city officials give the OK.

Communities located near the downtown project fear that the planned homeless sanctuary will only worsen neighborhood crime, prostitution, drug use, and increase the number of pedophiles walking the streets. Readers are shown this fear through examples of community outreach like the formation of the Westside Task force, which will take legal action upon construction, and testimonials of the concerned throughout the city. The fears of these residence seem to be falling on deaf ears, and that is only upsetting the involved communities even more, as it should. Having volunteered at the Austin Salvation Army, I can personally say that programs for the homeless need to exist, but when you see the alleyways adjacent to the shelter filled with handfuls of people turned away from the shelter due to drug abuse, alcoholism, and other factors, it might put many homeowners and parents on edge.

When considering exactly what political implications are lurking behind the scenes of this article and growing debate about an intruding public facility, you visualize the city of San Antonio acting on a project that will only benefit residence and also give the homeless a second chance. Sounds like a win-win situation. Delve a little deeper and you find that San Antonio is really successful at racking up those famous superlatives. In the list of Fattest cities of America, most successful NBA franchise in recent years, and now being included in the list of America’s Meanest Cities When Concerning the Homeless (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10823343). Ranked number 7 in fact, the Top Twenty list was configured after analyzing opportunities for the homeless and the different laws that prohibit begging, sleeping in public areas, and other activities the homeless often frequent.

Now aware of the shortcomings the city of San Antonio has experienced when dealing with the homeless, the reason for the Haven For Hope Homeless Shelter is better understood. The editorial explaining the growing downtown controversy is successful at also pointing out the city’s ability to mask residence concern being near the shelter for ignorance to the facility’s capabilities and the greater good it will bring. The greater good for the homeless having a place to go during those cold San Antonio winters. The greater good for the citizens of San Antonio knowing the homeless will be given a proper chance to once again become viable members of society. But more importantly the greater good for the city of San Antonio to try its hand in good PR and have their name taken off the list of Meanest Cities When Concerning the Homeless, even at the expense of downtown neighborhoods.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Death At Popular Recreation Spot Proves To Be More Than Just Water Under The Bridge

With the death of another tuber on the Guadalupe River looming over the heads of city officials, the residents of Gruene, Texas are demanding something be done about a 98 year old bridge that is responsible for the death of a 49yr old Austin man. A suburb of New Braunfels, Gruene is a popular destination for Texas recreation enthusiast for its pristine Hill Country atmosphere and close proximity to the Guadalupe River. The Bridge in question is a low narrow slab of concrete that is quickly submerged in the frequent Texas deluges and also collects much of the debris that floats down the river. Below in the water, tubers either collide with the bridge during higher water levels or become trapped under the aged bridge surrounded by dangerous debris, while walking on the narrow passage poses a threat to pedestrians who are separated from the passing traffic by mere inches. Prior to the latest fatality, the Department of Transportation drafted plans to raise the bridge 5 feet to keep the road above water and lessen the risk to tubers but weeks before construction, the Texas Historical Commission halted plans once again to see if they could work to preserve the historical bridge. The request to preserve the bridge will go before a review board of the Texas Historical Commission headed by F. Lawerence Oaks and begin the long process of stagnate debates and meetings on the now 10 year project. I do not understand why city officials are not acting in a responsible manner and repairing the bridge to protect the thousands who travel to the tubing hotspot and in turn add substantial amounts to the city revenue. I have actually driven over and floated to the Gruene Bridge and it is obvious to anyone that its safety capabilities are questionable. Rather than debate about the historical context of the bridge, officials should be more concerned with protecting tubers and pedestrians before another incident prompts the end of the popular Texas water activity in this Hill Country town.