Tuesday, December 15, 2009
To watch i-HOMER LIVE (internet television) click on link below or photo image: (Remember it's on air Mon-Fri 7-8 p.m.)
Friday, October 23, 2009
WASHINGTON--Today, U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz, TX-27, released this statement following the White House announcement confirming Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas as GSA Regional Administrator for Region 7:
“I want to congratulate J.D. Salinas on his appointment to the General Services Administration,” Ortiz said. “I, along with the Texas Democratic Delegation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have worked with him and the White House to ensure his consideration for this position.
“J.D. has worked hard for the people of South Texas in his capacity as County Judge of Hidalgo, and I know his high moral standard of work, dedication and loyalty to this country will continue to stand out as he oversees the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and our great state of Texas in this new role,” he said.
“I will continue to work hand-in-hand with J.D. Salinas in his new role as we both strive to better serve this country, region 7, and South Texas,” Ortiz said.
Since 2007, Salinas has served as County Judge of Hidalgo County, where he oversees more than 3,000 employees and 175 county buildings.
During his tenure, Salinas developed and implemented the Hidalgo County Prescription Drug Discount Card, established a wireless emergency notification system for county residents, and worked closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the International Water and Boundary Commission on the Levee/Barrier Project.
Elected in 1999 as Hidalgo County Clerk, he established satellite County Clerk offices and extended hours to allow more convenient access for country residents. Additionally, while in office Salinas established the “Public Report Card” system, a transparency measure of the County Clerk’s Office. Salinas received his Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Masters of Public Administration for the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This weekend: COTTONFEST '2009 -- A celebration of our Agricultural History... FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!!!
NUECES COUNTY, TX – COTTONFEST is scheduled to take place this weekend (Oct 17th & 18th) from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Richard M. Borchard Fairgrounds in Robstown. The site is located at 1213 Terry Shamsie Blvd. Robstown, Texas. This is a celebration where Nueces County celebrates its agricultural history and reinforces it’s unique traditions.
Cottonfest is a place to havefun with the whole family: e.g., music, food, drinks, talent contests, turtle races, fireworks. The top bands that will be feared are La Conquista, Clarrisa Serna, The Brew (Austin, TX), City Limits (Orange Grove, Tx), Jesse Marroquin, Hilda Lamas, Rendition, Los Arias and a few others. They will also have a top ranked comedy guest performing at the festival that worked alongside Paul Rodriguez and George Lopez. FREE GIGS.
In addition to the cited activities above. On Friday Oct 16, a cook-off will take place starting at 6:00 p.m. and a Tailgate Party after the football game – a prelude to the major festival.
Saturday, October 17th schedule: 9:30 a.m. – Kickball & Pony League Opening Ceremonies; 1-10 p.m. GIGS; 1-5 p.m. – Car Show; 1 p.m. -- Salazar Elementary Cheerleaders; 1:30 -2 p.m. --Augustine; 2 p.m. – Trail Ride at the Equestrian Center; 2:15-3 p.m. Ballet Folklorico – Kingsville; 3: 15 – Los Arias; 4 p.m. – Turle Races; 5-6:45 p.m. – City Limits (band); 5:30 p.m. MG’s pizza Costume Contest & Great Pumpkin Egg Hunt; 7-10 p.m. – The Brew (band from Austin, Tx), 10 p.m. – Fireworks Show.
Sunday, October 18th schedule: GIGS from 1-10 p.m.; 1-2 p.m. Tae Kwan Do Demo 2:15-3:45 p.m.; Rendition 4-6 p.m.; Jesse Marroquin 7-8 p.m.; Clarissa Serna 8-9 p.m. La Conquista.
On Oct 17th, 24th, 30th, 31st, there will be a “Night of the Living Dead” HUNTED HOUSE; it will take place form 8:00 p.m.-12 a.m. at the Fairgrounds. The charge for this event: $10.00.
Cottonfest has easy entry/exit traffic flow. In fact, one can enter the Robstown Fairgrounds from three directions. It is not as congested as downtown Corpus Christi. One visiting spectator described it as “an ideal site for a successful gathering on any kind.” The popularity of the Fairgrounds here grows in popularity despite some misunderstood analysis.
Robstown Area Development Commission is proud of COTTONFEST '2009, Joe Kramer, President of the Board, said: “This is an Annual Celebration of Culture, History of Cotton, and Economy of Robstown & the surrounding area. Historically, cotton and vegetable farming have played an important role in this economy. The community will celebrate this heritage, this year at COTTONFEST '2009 – it’s an October family festival. Join us. There will also be historical exhibits.”
For more information call 387-3933.
COTTONFEST VIDEO (CLICK ON LINK TO VIEW IT- OR VISIT SITE FOR FULL DETAIL)-------------> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C0bjikDuKQ
Thursday, September 24, 2009
WASHINGTON--Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3631, The Medicare Premium Fairness Act, which passed overwhelmingly with a bipartisan vote of 406-18, with U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz (TX-27) voting in favor of the bill.
H.R. 3631 would extend the “hold harmless” policy to protect all Medicare enrollees from an increase larger than the Social Security COLA, so that the Medicare 2010 Part B premiums will remain at $96.40 and no seniors will see a cut in their Social Security checks. The bill will protect 11 million seniors and cash-strapped states from increases in their 2010 Medicare Part B premiums during our economic downturn.
“Although this constitutes a temporary fix in the process of improving our health care system and lowering out-of-pocket expenses for seniors, I am pleased to continue my advocacy on behalf of this population by voting for this legislation which is paid in full,” Ortiz said. “I, along with my colleagues in Congress, remain dedicated to our pledge to implement deficit-neutral policies.”
The bill is endorsed by AARP, The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), the Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA), Alliance for Retired Americans, National Association of State Medicaid Directors, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Association.
The bill now goes for consideration by the Senate.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
CAN CCISD'S SCHOOL BOARD CAROL SCOTT (WHO IS BENG PAID BY LAS BRISAS ENERGY) CONTINUE TO BE A "TRUSTEE" OF OUR CHILDREN? [Facebook discussion]
CCISD’s John Longoria just reported that Tomas Duran was a consult for CCISD, but has left. I understand (and again) I am prudently generalizing from John’s update that Thomas Duran now (who is tied in with all the big time insurances like Entrust) is free and legally able to bid on the CCISD Health Insurance. .. I believe that when they go out for insurance (from sources, I believe) will be between Carol’s buddies – Art Granato and Thomas Duran.
WATCH CAREFULLY... Read More…Another question to ask is: “Did the Scotts use ‘La Brisas’’ money to get a new American Federation of Teachers President? I hear Art Granato donated to him also… I am just connecting the dots. Jeff Kane did comment on our board that it was “gray area” … his word was ‘leveraging”… Rene Saenz who sits on the Health Insurance Committee feels that the pressure that will be excerted by different parties will be fierce. So the new AFT president was handpicked by Carol so to speak, if the info is true.
Mark A. Di Carlo
Homer: McMurrey show, AFT President, is on my Voices show on Friday at 10:00 P.M. (On my webcite also) But I do not get it, are you inferring you campaign for the job as Union President and raise money to do it? Maybe so . . . . might have been a good subject.
The new AFT president is a member of the CEC. send me an e-mail later.
Yeah, AFT was the Scott's project according to my sources. They are eroding the credibility of our community: the SCOTTS.
Homer Villarreal: " A regional government, for protecting the agenda and whims of a wife of a city councilman only, is but a carcass, and soon falls by its own CORRUPTION and decay."
There is a beauty to a cat fight; because it stems from the soul of a woman. Carol has to go!!! Yeah, the truth of her evil does not seem to matter to her, only the way she chooses to interpret it. But it is survival of a fitness. We are being taken by her, and I am sure not gonna, not gonna put up with it.
Amadora, "AFT is the scott's project" what are you inferring? I'm a member of AFT and there was no project there. In fact, I talked to Ray, the new prez, the entire time during his campaign. In fact, in the beginning we were trying to decide who should run, me or him. In the end, I deferred since I had other projects going on. I believe your source... Read More/sources are all wrong. I'm the ultimate source on this issue. But we agreed on one thing, the past president had to go. If you really want the inside, I know it all.
I respectfully disagree Mr. Saenz...and for you to believe that the ultimate source was yourself in re: to the "Carol"/Kailo connection (implied) on the "Las Brisas dollars" (in addition to the Art Granato 's/lobbying interests in this matter) - is quite delusional, and to venture beyond the bucket of this complex issue and investigation by myself... Read More and ours in the region. To question me(or anyone here), is a matter of credibility. But be forewarned, You are welcome to post, but to admonish if "you have a dog in the fight" there are the consequences. If you are participating especially in defense of a party in question, the AFT PREST. or SCOTT's hand in this matter, you become fare game. With that said let's begin.
Mr. Saenz you were not the main source. You sit on the board that will be instrumental in later being used to justify awarding the "Health Insurance" bid contract. The board you sit on will be the raison d'etre for the Scotts (continued in another posting).
33 minutes ago • Delete
It does not take a rocket scientist to see the "project" or "connection" between the AFT post and Carol Scott! The former AFT president took a position against "Las Brisas." But then again before proceeding, abiding by the rules of fair play, and the audience following this "connecting-the-dots" progression and story, I have to ask you sir, "Do you have a dog in this fight?" Admit it if there is, if not it will surface believe you me.
I don't think you are being fully straight forward. Your version might just be sectarian view of the a road of intricate paths and bypaths. You are welcome to email me and share what your experience in attempting to unseat the former President. It is my duty to listen to all parties so as to not only be fair, but responsible in piecing the final view.
15 minutes ago • Delete
What makes this so unethical Mr. Saenz is the fact that Carol Scott (is/and was being paid by "Las Brisas" an enormous salary. The former president was merely trying to be a voice for the children (adocating for the right cause) was slaughtered by a high-paid, unethical party who happened to be the President of CCISD board. She was being paid (thousands of dollars)as Prest. of the CCISD board to stifle someone who was taking against her client (LAS BRISAS). He as just trying to be a voice for the kids (in this particular issue). As far as where he stood on the school politics also, despite how controversial and different from our view, should not have been suppressed by a corporation promoting "breathing black smoke" (as Carolyn Moon put it) and paying a public official to sell out (Carol Scott/Kailo) thousands of dollars.
How could Carol Scott Scott advocate for our children, if she taking a hefty paycheck from Las Brisas?
The former AFT president took no position. I was at that meeting when the motion was made. And guess who moved the motion to take the position against Las Brisas? I made the motion and argued forcefully for it. The motion passed unanimously. In fact the former President, who you defend, had a worker who was recorded as saying her personal beef was ... Read Morenot with the building of Las Brisas, her beef was with Scott. The motion was very clear, protect the students and teachers, not go on a personal crusade against an individual for personal reasons. I do not defend Scott's postion. That's hers to take. I don't agree with it. And yes I do sit on the board that will be dealing with the Health Insurance, the very insurance that covers me and my family. Personally I think humana stinks and I will be arguing that we move to the state insurance for teachers. Personally, I think the current president of AFT is much better than the previous one. I will not e-mail you to discuss AFT politics but you are
more than welcome to contact me. One more question...how does a Amadora Zapata, with blond hair and blue eyes, where a Wisconsin shirt rather than a TEXAS shirt? Be warned that we longhorns kick ass.
THANKS FOR POSTING MR. SAENZ:
FACT: CCISD Board President CAROL SCOTT both is and was being paid by LAS BRISAS ENERGY.
FACT: SHE WAS BEING PAID TO ATTEMPT TO STOP CRITICISM OF LAS BRISAS, the former President was critical (and I did interviewed him at Taqueria Guadalajara in Annaville).
FACT: Then it logically follows that Carol Scott as a "public official" was a high-paid "Aggressor" by LAS BRISAS to eradicate disgruntled parties with Las Brisas. In short, the entire staff of CCISD was under the gun of a Chair of the board, Ms. Scott (remember, she is a public official who both took and is taking money from Las Brisas). The few that spoke up were targeted (via Las Brisas' dollars) and punished (via las Brisas' dollars).
FACT: Ms. Scott as Chair of CCISD School Board used CCISD Employees and buses and pupils to make TV commercials that earned her a lot of money.
FACT: Ms. Scott her leverage as chair to hire "Skip" Noe (who coordinated efforts and is piecing the road open for Las Brisas to established themselves with various municipal and an interagency network). Note: Angel Escobar wished not to venture in the 'gray area" that the EDC and Carol Scott are espousing.
FACT: The new AFT President was stamped and endorsed by a corporate movement with multi-million dollars interests being represented by KAILO (formerly Scott Public Relations).
CCISD Board PRESIDENT is their high-paid face -- i.e., Las Brisas Energy. In fact send I dare you to send an email to Las Brisas Energy at www.lasbrisasenergy.com/contact.html -- while on their website hit the contact button: and guess who will receive the message in her cell phone and computer? YOU GOT IT RIGHT. CCISD BOARD PRESIDENT CAROL SCOTT. She is the gatekeeper and face of Las Brisas Energy in the area.
This issue is a legal matter and Las Brisas Energy has no right to pay public officials to do their bidding in our schools and use "divide and conquer" tactics to hurt and punish anyone in the district (or the community) who is against the children breathing "black smoke" (as Caryln Moon so poetically put it).
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Dear Mr. Homero Villarreal),
Thanks for speaking with me today. I am sure you will be interested in my responses to the comments you published. Thank you very much for agreeing to POST my response to the blog of Defenzor.
Here are my comments.
Thanks for listening...
(Signed) Wayne Wright
My name is Wayne Wright, and I am responding to your comments about me and my law firm on your recent Defenzor Blog entries You do not know me or our reputable law firm, so I would like to give you factual information that will change your opinion of me and my law firm.
I am glad that you fight for the underdog and that you fight to stop illegal lawyer case solicitation and case running in all of its ugly forms. So do I.
And so does my law firm, Wayne Wright Injury Lawyers. In fact, our firm leads Texas legal communities who are committed to stamp out all forms of illegal case running.
Our law firm was the lead contributor and underwriter in forming and supporting the Society of Ethical Attorneys at Law(SEAL), a not-for-profit, anti-solicitation organization dedicated to stopping illegal case running in Texas. This organization’s final mission is to stop, once and for all, illegal solicitation and case running in Texas. Visit them at http://www.societyofethicalattorneys.org/
Our firm was the underwriter for SEAL posting a $25,000 reward for information leading to any attorney’s arrest for case running or other illegal case solicitations.
Our firm was voted among the best personal injury attorneys in San Antonio in the annual San Antonio Scene Magazine.
We contribute tens of thousands of dollars each year for non-profit television ads, sponsored by SEAL, to warn the public about illegal case running and unethical lawyer activities.
Additionally, each year our law firm purchases hundreds of Public Service Announcements on television stations warning the public to avoid case runners. We work closely with SEAL, local police departments, and the State Bar of Texas to put case runners and unethical attorneys out of business, including committing numerous resources to support new state-wide legislation to stop illegal case running.
We are the only law firm in Corpus Christi who underwrites more than 40 TV commercials each month warning of the dangers of illegal lawyer solicitation and case running.
I seriously doubt that any law firm in Texas does more to stop these types of illegal activities. And we continue in this fight daily.
Let me point out a few other facts about our respected law firm and its lawyers.
* We never accept clients with any intention of working with outside counsel or other law firms. Lawyers on our payroll, working in our offices, work on every case we take. On some occasions we are ethically and legally required to engage other counsel to assist in a case such as retaining guardian ad litems, trustee attorneys, lien resolution expert attorneys, and other similar examples. And, we have, like all ethical law firms, on occasion partnered with outside counsel to add our significant law firm expertise and financial muscle to maximize case results for the client.
* I am a full-time member of our attorney roster, a working personal injury lawyer with over 30 years experience in personal injury law and consumer law. I am available 24/7 to assist clients and meet personally with clients who need my personal legal attention. That means that I travel to all of our offices, in every city, when needed. Obviously I cannot solely represent every single client in our firm. That is why we hire only the best and most competent lawyers with varied specialized talents to work with me to provide the highest quality of legal services to our clients.
* Our clients have direct access, 24 hours a day--in person or on the phone--to their own personal lawyer, who is in charge of their case. Unlike some less reputable firms, we hire only competent, licensed lawyers to take responsibility on injury cases. We also hire Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyers to help train and assist any of our lawyers, as needed.
* Our lawyers are the best trained lawyers in their field. Through our personally funded Wayne Wright University, each lawyer has access to more than 4 times the minimum annual continuing legal education and ethics training classes required by the State Bar of Texas. My son Wyatt and I are committed and involved members of the College of the State Bar of Texas. Our firm is dedicated to hiring only the most ethical attorneys in the country. Our track record proves that.
* You will never find a single instance in the history of our law firm where a referral fee was paid to a non-lawyer or where we solicited a case illegally. We have no “referral sources” and only occasionally accept a case from a fellow lawyer. That is usually when we are asked to help an under-funded sole practitioner or small law firm--drained of resources by a big insurance company or defense law firm. We thrive on representing the underdog. We believe in old fashioned ethics--earn your clients by hard work, ethical conduct and great results.
* Unlike many small law firms, our firm has the monetary and staff resources to meet any challenge. We currently employ more than 30 lawyers and nearly 125 paralegals and other staff support personnel. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with small law firms. I once had a small firm and did a competent job of representing clients. But times have changed since the local one-person law firm could be all things to all people. I learned, over almost 30 years of practicing law, that doing the best job for an injured client means having the resource muscle to get the job done.
* Today’s big insurance companies and big defense law firms are committed to burying small law firms in paper work and draining their financial resources. They do it because it works. Unfortunately, the poor, underdog client is the ultimate loser. But, we have the financial ability and staff resources to compete against big corporations and big defense law firms by giving them back some of their own medicine. Our law firm cannot be intimidated or forced into settling a case too early because of inadequate funds to continue in the case. Our lawyers have carte blanche to do whatever it takes to get the best result for our clients.
* Clients come first at our law firm. We may be the only law firm in Texas that guarantees same day return calls to clients from their personal lawyer team. If we fail to live up to the guarantee we voluntarily pay the client $10.00 for inconvenience in not getting a prompt return call. In the last 10 years we have paid out a total of less than $300.00 to clients on this guarantee. Not such a bad track record.
* We are the only law firm in Texas that operates an internal Ombudsman Program. We guarantee to each client an independent advocate who assists in solving any problem on any subject matter associated with the case.
* We may be the only law firm in Texas that publishes a Client Bill of Rights that always puts the client first.
* Yes, we have many clients. Some fellow lawyers don’t like that, especially those lawyers in direct competition with our firm. But, even among those competitors, we expect the truth to be told. Anything less is libelous. The truth is, we earn our clients one client at a time. Most of our clients come from word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients. Others come from our many advertisements. And, when you view our commercials you see the facts…our clients speak in their own words how they feel about our services.
* Yes, I am proud to be a lawyer who advertises his law firm’s special and unique benefits as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. We all know some people dislike advertising lawyers. However, I am personally more concerned about watching closely those lawyers who never advertise but somehow seem to get a lot of cases by paying referral fees to non-lawyer runners. We know who they are. They run rampant throughout Texas. My firm has been fighting against them for years.
So now I challenge you. If you really are committed to stopping case running and all forms of illegal conduct and solicitation by lawyers, meet with me to discuss positive ways to stop it. Speak with the many dedicated investigators working on this problem for SEAL, the local police departments, and the State Bar of Texas. These are dedicated folks committed to their mission. To the extent that information does not compromise an on-going criminal or ethical investigation, all of us will share the atrocities that are happening every day. Together we can make a difference.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Profile: Bruce Holstein, CEO of Christus Spohn Health System; He Has Reawaken The Initial Missionary Zeal of the Entity!!!
CORPUS CHRISTI — Bruce Holstein – approachable, down-to-earth yet the “big picture” sort of guy -- is about to complete two years as the CEO of Christus Spohn Health System. He is currently involved in one of the most exciting chapters of the history of the mentioned Health system (which is a faith-based one) he leads. One of his goals currently is to seek input on a regular basis from the community as well as staff members of hospital to capture the main theme – that is, of “compassionate” – that has historically defined the foundational aim of the health system he is now in charge of steering.
Holstein, who has an extensive professional health-care background in his field, is passionate about this area, a geographical area that reminds of the traditional and rich make-up of culture and views that he grew up as a boy. “I feel very much at home here,” he told El Defenzor.
He grew up in a challenging background; this reporter believes the average working person can relate to him. He started working in a hospital environment when he was 16 in the kitchen area and eventually (though training and education) up the totem pole to management. "His story mirrors our story," said Oscar Villa "Bullet" and Hispanic Movement activist and musician. His (Holstein's) father served as his role model (i.e., his father was involved in a health field in the military.
His work ethic and nimble mind yet affable demeanor made him a good candidate for administration. Before coming to the area, he headed Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and the Sentara heart Hospital in Virginia. He did not just come to run the hospital on a predictable and management recipe. He approached it first as a facilitator.
He has first started a dialogue with diverse parties in the community to try to identify themes that carry a hefty amount of emotional weight and pragmatic evaluative value. He told El Defenzor: “First I focused on getting my feet on the ground, and then I started working on a strategic plan. I want to meet as many people as I could before I began to translate everything into coherent goals for the system. No preconceived plan. I honestly want the strategic plan to meet the needs of this area in a bona fide manner.”
Holstein has been overseeing half a dozen Christus Spohn Health System hospitals. Three in Corpus Christi and one in Alice, another in Kingsville, and thus one in Beeville. His day-in and day-out job description is elementally to work methodically with the board of directors in addition (to iterate) to overseeing the mentioned six campuses.
Holstein’s is using his extensive knowledge and background to promote a sense of grows in the region. “I am working closely with the medical residency programs that train postgraduate physicians in various fields. I am passionate about assisting the current board working closely with me to promote the hospital’s programs,” he said. Family medicine and emergency medicine – these are two programs that Christus Spohn Memorial currently has. Spohn Memorial is rated a level-three trauma center and is vying for a level-two status.
Holstein wants to do his best to reach out fairly and integrate well with the various sectors of the burg. Many in health fields believe that Holstein can be catalyst to take the hospital to level-one status. “The key variable that determines the various levels is a hospital’s potential to treat traumatic injuries… This is Holstein’s forte,” a local MD shared.
A local newspaper reported soon after he was appointed: “Holstein’s appointment comes at an important time for the health system. In November, the Joint Commission, a nonprofit group that accredits hospitals based on patient care and facility operations, released preliminary reports to Spohn officials stating that Spohn Memorial, Shoreline and South did not comply with the commission’s standards during an unannounced site visit…The hospitals were given six months to improve operations in 18 areas, which include standardizing policies and procedures and improving infectious disease control.”
Holstein is becoming the sunlit face of the Health System, a Health System that is well on its way – during his the tenure -- to fixing some of the setbacks of the past. But he is more concerned about moving into the future closely interspersing the theme of “compassion” along the way.
The morale and confidence is high at Christus Spohn Health system. Holstein is proving on a daily basis that he not only has the knack to escort organizations to the highest merit they can achieve with their available resources, but most importantly, he exemplifies the “culture of compassion” that was the initial goal of the hospital. He has reawakened the original missionary zeal of the entity he leads.
(Note: Bruce Holstein has a Bachelors degree in health care administration, University of La Verne in California; as well as a Masters degree in business administration with a focus in health care from the University of Colorado at Denver.)
I have an hour before going to press. My fingers and body feels like they are quivering. My body is loaded with caffeine. I do not know if the “quivering” was brought on by the over-nighter I did working on the layout of the newspaper or the territory my fiery pen covered in internal space and the excess energy I am still emanating. It’s political season and I am sure my story on "Runners" (who bring cases to attorneys) and my views on regional political races will rattle some stuffy minds. It always does. There is a new election cycle. Visit our digital edition on the net: WWW.ELDEFENZOR.COM -- this way you can get daily updates.
Angelica Hernandez, former Assistant District Attorney, announced this week that she will be attempting to dethrone District Judge Manuel “Maximum” Banales. She will be running as a Republican candidate; this is a strategic logic to her doing so. I will touch on this matter in future articles. She played a key role in highlighting the growing problem of “runners”.
Who else will come forward and announce for political office? Joe Benavides will be running for Justice of the Peace now that the incumbent (JAG or Jose A. Gonzalez) has resigned and will be vying for a new political post – i.e., a seat on the Nueces Cou ny Commissioner’s Court (the one currently held by Betty Jean Longoria; she is not seeking re-election). Longoria feels the “thrill is gone” (as the song says); she is no longer operating as part of a major. It is the bleakest of times. In fact I explicitly remember one occasion in which she howled out that the commissioner’s meeting were being taken over by Republicans (I sensed a tinge of racial tension in her remark but maybe it was me. Then again, I am no psycho-therapist nor “wild-eye” progressive socialist).
Returning to Joe Benavides: He has a track record that really impresses the average voter. He served our country in the military; he has gone above an beyond the call of duty in the region to assist in many a benevolent project. He has been a wonderful role model for our community. He is the son of the noted political activist and strategist Benny Benavides (who also co-hosted Comentarios on the now defunt KUNO Radio Station).
It is still early. Well, it has been whispered that a well known young attorney -- Juan Reyna -- is considering is being approached to run for either the Court of Appeals or, guess what, the COUNTY JUDGE SEAT! Reyna was not available for comment (aka “Bobby Kennedy” was not picking up the phone. He was probably blissfully mulling over the consequences. Hehehehehe. “Do not disappoint me Bobby!),” his buddy commented. “We shall see but rumor has it that BOTH PARTIES have come to him to run… But as always, many talk but few write checks (contributions) to make this happen.”
I have deep admiration and respect for Reyna and his genuineness and in my estmation he does have statistical electibility. He, with the right backing, will be the threat to that portion of the EDC monster and related spongers “milking” the county right now. How many more years must we endure the “milking” of our county taxpayers funds by the two main power groups? While commissioners pule and whine about ”the paddle of waste,” while they themselves employ their own lawyers for$ 175.00/hr and more. “The time has come to clean up shop and bring new leaders and new growth to South Texas,” a local attorney told El Defenzor. “County Judge Neal’s agenda is charged with vested interest and is too focalized on an elite group; Reyna (or someone on his caliber) would the variable we need. As Obama dominated the elder McCain perhaps a ‘new horse’ shall come to take out the weed-ridden, old guard. If not Reyna it is whispered others are contemplating the run.” More news on this soon.
Now a funny soundbyte: Politics is not for everyone, especially if you have liver or heart problems. Have a heart to heart talk with your doctor before considering throwing your head into the political ring of Nueces County, Texas. Hehehehe.
There is one Republican – 319th District Judge Tom Greenwell – that has touched the “heart strings” of not only a hefty core of the Hispanic Community but many a clique within the Democratic party. A few of these “My Way Or The Highway” Republicans (and Democrats) could learn a lesson or two from him. In fact he was the one that opened the gateway especially for the crazy quilt of Republicans in public office at the county level. He was the variable that triggered the Nicolas Tesla variable that brought the former Patron System of winning elections to its knees. He almost produced lightning in his hand and fought his way through rival barriers not with a blunt “power sword” but with a marvelously aromatic platform which mirrored an embryonic need for socio-political change. Neal, Kalein, Pusley and a few other public officials and key players in the Republican Party should not forget that note in political history. A “Tejano Music” display does have a place at the Republican Headquarters.
Connie Gutierrez, founder of the Corpus Christi Morning Coffee Group said: “Judge Greenwell walks into a room full of Democrats and the room begins to gleam with happy faces. Even staunch Democrats have to whisper in his ear their heart-felt compliments from fear of being heard by their own party members. Hahahaha.”
Joe Ortiz, a Civil Rights Leader of a Chapter of the American GI Forum agreed: “Greenwell I some that reminds of someone who transcends party. He is a judge that does his best not to be partisan. But maybe he hints at a better world – a future world where there are not parties; a time when humankind has outgrown the need to have feudal system or a two party system, but has adopted a complex system in the age of the Global community. In our modernize world why should we be so petty: look at the county and its political wars; look at the moves and counter moves of the Port and other players in various entities. I believe that future political wars in the region will not be won with ‘sword-like” blunt tactical moves, but by an effortless rose of reason.”
Returning to Joe Benavides. He will be announcing his platform in more detail soon. There are other races which we shall report in our next edition. (For daily reports visit our website: www.eldefenzor.com).
Thursday, September 3, 2009
(Part 1 of 2)
The Enigmatic Attorney Alberto Huerta
(Lawsuit Surfaces Altering His Image From Spiritual Demigod To A Ringleader of Ambulance-Chasers)
Corpus Christi, Texas – The late Attorney Alberto (Albert) Huerta (calculated to be one of the richest Hispanic lawyers in America not too long ago by Forbes Magazine) was considered by many to be an enigma. He died in July 2009 at the age of 65. One thesis that has surfaced after his death is that he kept together a socio-legal and political structure that stemmed from his nifty recipe for acquiring personal injury and wrongful death cases. Some key lawyers who orbited his world liken the “structure” mentioned above as a sort of “ecological” system (e.g., similar to the one where animals and plants all exist in a symbiotic state).
Three years before, he had been reprimanded by an authorized subdivision of the State Bar of Texas for unethical practices. To iterate, on September 21, 2006, Alberto (Albert) Huerta [#10177500] accepted a public reprimand. A journal highlights: “The District 11-A Grievance Committee found that Huerta’s non-lawyer employee, over whom he had direct supervisory authority, unlawfully solicited representation in a wrongful death case. During the representation, Huerta provided his clients with prohibited financial assistance. Huerta violated Rules 1.08(d)(1) and 5.03(a) and (b)(a).”
“Enigmatic” -- this is the re-occurring theme El Defenzor was able to snapshot in one word from many persons interviewed that orbited his socio-world. The societal causes he was involved with were manifold, and the “manifold-ness” also reflected his protean and variable behavior. But before proceeding into his multifarious lines of business, it is elemental to highlight a few biographical points.
He was born in Laredo in 1944. He studied to be a teacher at the former Texas A&I University—Kingsville. He taught school in San Diego ISD for a short while and then came to the conclusion that he was “not making enough money” (according to a former employee at his law office). “He told me that he did his best to get into St. Mary’s Law School after that in San Antonio. He did have a difficult time at first to get accepted, but eventually he did,” the source (which shall be referred to as “Mr. X”) added.
Once passing the state bar, he was involved initially with the Raza Unida Movement and the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in general (especially in the Corpus Christi area). At first, he dabbled in the fields of civil rights matters and criminal law and a few other areas that involved the situational status of the poor and the working class, and even enrolled in a few of the societal occupational enrichment programs of the time such as SER.
At this phase he was trying to define himself and to find his zealous professional centre and existential mission. As he established himself as a lawyer, he worked with the first Hispanic attorneys such as Tony Canales and Amador Garcia; lawyers that were connected to the socio-politically and influential leader Dr. Hector P. Garcia (the founder of the American GI Forum). Eventually the three lawyers went their own way. Canales was awarded a prominent political attorney in the U.S. Attorney General’s office.
In the 1980s Huerta went on to work with attorneys such as Celso Rodriguez and Dan Alfaro who were getting on the legal thoroughfare of personal injury law. Many a case had positive exponential financial consequences he realized.
After that experience, he moved to last law office on Leopard Street where he teamed up with Doug Allison. Mr. X shared: “I remember that Alberto (Huerta) told me one day, ‘Don’t think of me so much as a lawyer, but as a businessman.’ At First I didn’t realize the consequences, but it seemed he had redefined his niche... His role from there on I believe was that he could play a more instrumental role -- not so much defending clients in court – but as nurturing a network with trained investigators and cultivating a culture of ‘quick reaction time to leads’ related to prospective injury and wrongful death cases.’”
Even though Huerta and some of his non-lawyer links (which we shall refer to as Mr. TC and Big R – one lives in Buckingham Estates; the other, in Kings Crossing) connected with his law office were implicated in baratry scandals on a number of occasions, was able to acquire a large portion of the behemoth cases. Huerta had established a network system that served as the bile as well as the ever so present envy of scores of lawyers who were waiting to “reel in their first big case” (source: Mr. X). “I remember on one occasion in which a personal injury lawyer said he had a monopoly of most of the cases in the area. Alberto (Huerta) just turned and blinked his eye and walked away.”
A recent lawsuit (09-1980-E) filed in the 148th Judicial District Court by Attorney William “Billy” Edwards Sr. (on behalf of his client, Attorney Hector P. Gonzalez from Alice, Texas) shortly before the passing of Attorney Huerta portrays him (Huerta) as financially fueling the activities of “runners.”
During a recent interview, Attorney Edwards told El Defenzor: “‘Runners’ are illegally getting clients. In many instances they use aggressive tactics or muscle themselves to get into hospital emergency rooms and funeral homes and other places. Most people do not understand the statute of baratry.” He added: “The legal profession is failing by default if ‘runners’ are being sent by attorneys to lurk in the shadows and hook clients at the first opportunity they have. We cannot allow these folks to operate like mafia.”
“I became involved with this case because I sincerely want to see both citizens and lawyers obey the law. There is no need to harass individuals who have suffered personal injury. Let the system run itself. Clients should not be lured by fast talkers who look at prospective clients as a ‘piece of meat’ and not as human beings worthy of respect and dignity. ‘Runners’ – all they care about is the big bucks they are going to make at the end of the day,” Edwards summed.
But Edwards in not the only attorney with such sentiments. About fifteen lawyers interviewed by this publication alleged that the late Alberto Huerta was the gatekeeper as well as the PR person for one of the most well “oiled machines” associated with a sectional tier of professional runners.
The lawsuit filed by Edwards hints at the stance cited above. It states: “...The saga begins when V. Cortinas suffered personal injuries as a result of an automobile accident. After the accident, Plaintiff (Attorney Hector P. Gonzalez), whose family members were close friends of Ms. Cortinas, was under the impression he was going to be selected to be her attorney in pursing her personal injury claims. Turns out, Defendants (i.e., Alberto Huerta and the Huerta Law Firm) while Ms. Cortinas was in a coma, went to her hospital room and waited until she came out of her coma to get her name on the signature line of an attorney employment contract while she was in such condition as to not realize what was transpiring. Upon information and belief, money and/or things of value were exchanged between Defendants and other individuals in order to cement this illegal attorney/client relationship. Succinctly, the Defendants had “run” the Cortinas case, which results in the attorney/client contract being illegal as void and a matter of law.”
The lawsuit adds: “The Cortinas case was settled which is believed to have been for approximately 3.5 million dollars. Out of that her attorneys took over one million dollars as fees despite the fact the contract was void. On or about February 20, 2009, Ms. Cortinas retained the Plaintiff to represent her against the Defendants (Alberto Huerta and the Huerta Law Firm) for violations of the law and for claims of ‘fee forfeiture.’ When an attorney takes a fee pursuant to an illegal and void client contract as was done in the Cortinas case, any fees are thus not earned and are forfeited as a matter of law. Succinctly, the million dollars plus fee had to be returned to Ms. Cortinas.”
Mr. X explained: “It is not rocket science. There is a system in place that no one really wants to look at in an in-depth sort of way. It can be explained in a very simple way. The ‘runners’ get the cases; the attorneys get the money; and then compensate 'runners' and then split fees usually at fifty percent with other specialized attorneys who try them.”
Mr. X provided more insight: “I personally think that he realized that his role as a performing personal injury lawyer in the courtroom was now limited. He saw his partner’s --------- that is, Allison’s -- role (and of other recruited technically competent co-contractors – later Mikal Watts et. al). I think he realized they were better at trying the cases than he would ever be. It also freed him from many a responsibility of his daily duties and allowed him the opportunity to engage in many activities outside the law that he wanted to pursue.”
Mr. X continued: “Can you imagine the conglomeration of money and combined power and resources from this system of law firms and associates being invested into their future political and economic interests? Are you really listening? It has grave consequences. These lawyers pile up war chests and thus in turn channel an overabundance of resources for almost any judicial candidate of their choice (or any other post) to have more than an average chance to get elected; and it follows, that in turn the ‘favor for a favor’ culture so characteristic in some courthouses in South Texas is kept alive and well. Once their cases end up before these judges. Can you deduce that the “bench” has been bought or influenced? This is the question the larger population needs to seriously consider.”
Huerta did not create this “runner” culture but had to function amidst it and grew to know the “ins and outs” it well. His bond with key leaders in the Hispanic community and the Catholic Church and law enforcement gave him an added advantage and even served as his bulwark. Mr. X detailed: “Consider, for instance one of his so-called investigators – Mr. T. C. – whose father had a long tenure as the head of law enforcement department and many others. Consider top personalities in both Spanish and Tejano radio who were showed with gifts for a ‘plug’ in the airwaves – especially after a refinery explosion? Consider the myriad levels... ‘runners’ having ‘sub-runners’ who operate under the radar of civilized accountability? ... I believe the Catholic Church being a faith-based organization needs a constant flow of philanthropic funds, as all such benevolent organizations do; however, by orbiting him they served as a type of spiritual bodyguard before and after the fact. I don’t believe the church had bad intentions.”
Huerta had risen to the spotlight. He began to not just donate to politicians – mostly Hispanic Democratic candidates; but also to ready-made groups that could refer cases in return. The highlight of his career, his plateau had arrived.
One friend said: “Alberto (Huerta) seemed to have connected the dots of where he could be more successful... the field of personal injury. He would go on to be involved with a few Olympian class action law suits that would dramatically alter his life’s priorities. Donating to politicos helped him posture himself and be in the good graces of a few key judges.”
To fast-forward the chronology: In the last few years of his life, he even ventured into the grazing land of the boxing business and even made some aleatory real estate investments. However, the music business – this was one in the last few years of his life where he teamed up with his Tony Calderon (one of his investigators). After his son’s – Joseph Hera’s – skiing accident in a resort in Colorado (which was settled for over ten million), Alberto (Huerta) started a religious healing movement – an interdenominational ministry. This lead to the founding of what he called: “My Father’s House” (which would be housed in the defunct area known as Johnny Land (which functioned during its brief period as a chosen parcel used for both promoting and housing music concerts and other related events).
A former neighbor of Alberto Huerta said: “Alberto was all over the place. He touched a lot of people; but it was difficult to get close to him... H was an enigma. He was there; but not really there.”
What was the key to Huerta’s success in this field? Mr. X shared his views: “If I may be permitted to guess, to conjecture, to generalize. His recipe for SUCCESS was BEING A GOOD BUSINESSMAN. Because the truth is there are a lot of ‘GOOD’ attorneys out there but are not ‘GOOD’ businessmen...”
Mr. X expanded his analysis: “Alberto knew he had to market himself. He put an IMAGE of himself out there. Yet the comment that few ‘really knew’ him added to his aura of mystery. It added inscrutability. I believe there is an obscurity about this rung that few are willing to talk about. It would be considered hypercritical and beyond the pale of the acceptable now that he has passed on to the other side.”
The duality of Huerta continues after his death. He assented and became one of the richest lawyers in American. Many came to him for spiritual supervision. Was he Catholic or Protestant or did he create a unique religious movement?
“Good or bad he left a mark either through the religion or legal community. He rose from teacher to lawyer at a time where Hispanics were underrepresented,” one District Judge (who did not want to be acknowledged by name) told El Defenzor. “The issue now is, what will be the implications that Attorney Edwards (on behalf of his client) – who is a pillar of this community -- has stepped up to the plate and is trying to change his image from demigod to an ambulance chaser in TV and radio and print? Huerta there is no doubt in my mind was an enigma. Some worshiped him; some despised him; some say he was a prophet; some ruthless... In my estimation, he fed the political machine, the media, and the religion.”
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I would like to remember a fallen soldier in civil rights who is Ken Chastain. He was a leader in civil rights and politics locally and nationwide. He aided the leaders that came from Dr. King's movement and fought against cancer bravely. Rest in peace to a fallen brother who is not forgotten. Ken Chastain. Services to be announced for next Tuesday.
WHO ARE THE YOUNG NEWCOMERS TO POWER? ENTER THE WHITE KNIGHT, TO KING 4...CHECKMATE! *Comments are ON FIRE!*
With the latest announcement of Angelica Hernandez to attempt to dethrone Maximum Manuel Banales who else will come forward?
Well, it has been whispered that Juan Reyna is being approached to run for either the Court of Appeals or, guess what, the COUNTY JUDGE SEAT! Reyna was not available for comment (aka Bobby Kennedy would not pickup my phone...don't disappoint me Bobby!). We shall see but rumor has it that BOTH PARTIES have come to him to run. As always, many talk but few write checks to make this happen. I have deep admiration and respect for Reyna and his genuiness and in my estmation, electibility. Reyna with the right backing will be the threat to the EDC monster milking the county right now. How many more years must we endure the milking of our county taxpayers funds, while commissioners pule and whine about waste, they themselves employ their own lawyers for 175.00/hr and more. The time has come to clean up shop and bring new leaders and new growth to South Texas. As Obama dominated the elder McCain perhaps a new horse shall come to take out the old guard. If not Reyna it is whispered others are contemplating the run. More news on this soon.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
“The funding being made available today to Port Aransas will help preserve marine fisheries habitats, wetlands and uplands with the construction of a barrier for vehicles and a minimal impact trail,” U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz said. “The funds for this project are made available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”
Once the project is completed, the Port Aransas Nature Preserve Conservation Project, residents of the Coastal Bend can use the nature friendly area for low-impact activities such as picnicking, day camping and fishing and for scientific and educational uses.
“We must always remain vigilant of ways to maintain our natural habitats throughout Texas, including the Coastal Bend area,” Ortiz said. “In the future, we will see families and friends enjoy this habitat.”
For more information about this award, call David Parsons at (361) 749-4111.
This edition will start a series on "RUNNERS" (persons who through unethical means obtain cases for attorneys or who sycophant to the the highest bit. It will glimpse at the network in place, a clandestine legal eco-system that will have grave consequences in the months ahead... from legal to political.
Our job at El Defenzor is provide novel investigative reporting to educate the masses of readers so that they can make better decisions that is so indispensable in our "representative" democracy.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Editorial: Let’s Not Forget Texas senators Hutchison and Cornyn Voted Against Sonia Sotomayor – First Hispanic Appointed To The U.S. Supreme Court
WASHINGTON — The obsticles for political mobility and higher echelons appointments was mirrored in the struggle of Sonia Sotomayor to be appointed the first Hispanic to the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn voted against her. Less than a handful o years ago, Senator Hutchison came to the former La Familia Restaurant (now Rolando’s) in Robstown, Texas and assured the Hispanic audience and El Defenzor of her role, especially as a woman (who know about barriers), to attempt to bring down socio-political and economic obticles. As far as Senator John Cornyn, whose grandparents were from Robstown, and who lived in the native burg, voted against Sonia Sotomayor – even though it was a historical phase in El Pueblo Hispano and he knew more so than anyone that El Pueblo Hispano needed una voz (a voice).
Cornyn, who sits on the distinguged Senate Judiciary Committee, not only voted against Sotomayor but disgustingly questioned her integrity as being a Supreme Court judge. He came close to calling her a“racist” – or better phrased, a “reverse” racist. As for Hutchison’s reasons, she is trying to mobilize the ultra conservative forces in her bout against Gov. Rich Perry to acquire the seat he holds. Where will Hispanics stand on the issue – that is, of her new whim to try to be the governor of our state?
Hutchison quoted verbatum: "The seriousness of the court’s deliberations and decisions requires members to carefully scrutinize academic qualifications and judicial philosophy," uttered Hutchison. "Judge Sonia Sotomayor has academic qualifications and an inspiring life story. However, her judicial philosophy is an area of great concern to me."
Now Hutchison is worried about the political reality of la raza Hispana en el sur de Tejas (Hispanics in South Texas). Now Hutchison is trying to do some trouble-shooting to reposture herself quickly: "About thirty percent of the federal judges I have selected for nomination for Texas are Hispanic, and I will continue to support the most qualified judges irrespective of race or gender," Contradictory?
As for Cornyn, he using the “politics is politics excuse” – a rendition of the “business is business” at the “rung” culture that he is operating at the moment. Cornyn is now harping on continally on “…the example of Miguel Estrada, President George W. Bush’s nominee for an appellate court judgeship whom Senate Democrats filibustered (and until he was discouraged to pursue it).”
Coryn went as far as to label Sotomayor as a radical. He said: “Will she be the Judge Sotomayor of some of her more radical speeches and writings, which cause me concern?... The stakes are simply too high to confirm someone who could redefine the law of the land from a liberal activist perspective.”
Coryn’s in the above citation clearly hints at the stuggle of minorities to climb the latter of opportunity and governmental posts. However, he is blantantly reactionary; that somehow Sotomayor is going to open old-scars and thus a floodgate of hate for what Anglos have done historically; instead of viewing her as being a voice or providing a perspective that might be more representative of El Pueblo Hispano.
If Cornyn’s believes we shouldn’t have a voice in the Supreme Court than why should we continue to support him or anyone else with such a worldview? History shows that a person who has struggle and sets out to rectify the ills of the system (via providing a different view of the norm) usually humanizes the system, not dehumanize it.