Thursday, July 30, 2009
Pinch me I am dreaming. El Defenzor and Shamsie Agree on our Youth: Judge Shamsie Ignores Cheap Shots
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Washington D.C.--July, 24, 2009--The Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation announced today that Texas Public School teachers will receive an $800 pay raise through more than $2 billion now available for Texas under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The raises will be included in school budgets for this upcoming school year.
This funding will lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs at risk of state and local budget cuts. Texas will be eligible to apply for another $1 billion this fall. Today’s funding is being made available per Texas’s successful completion of Part 1 of the State Stabilization Application, which was made available on April 1.
Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz said:
“As dean of the Texas Democratic Delegation, I am elated to know of today’s $800 raise for school teachers throughout our state. This raise, which is made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will help educators pay for their day-to-day living expenses. With the high prices of gas, groceries, and other basic life necessities, I find it important for U.S. representatives from Texas to work together with state government officials to ensure we are providing funding to all who needed--especially our educators go give their heart and soul for a better Texas.”
Congressman Chet Edwards said:
“This is great news for Texas teachers. These funds will not only give Texas public school teachers a much-deserved pay raise, it will save jobs, and help school districts budget for the upcoming school year. Ensuring our teachers, students, and schools have the resources they need during these tough economic times will help our children succeed, strengthen our economy over the long term, and invest in reform of our education system.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said:
“The Recovery Act was designed to meet two critical challenges: rescue the economy from the immediate peril it faces and invest in the building blocks of a strong economy. The Recovery Act investments in our students and our schools will have a huge payoff in the years ahead. The $2 billion Texas will receive today is part of the single largest boost in education funding in recent history. The President’s leadership and support from Congress have made this historic investment possible. Texas can now utilize these funds to save jobs and lay the groundwork for a generation of education reform.”
To date, Texas has received $1.7 billion in education stimulus funds—representing a combination of funding for Title I, IDEA, Vocational Rehabilitation Grants, Independent Living Grants, Impact Aid and Government Services funds. On April 1st, Texas received more than $474 million in Title I funding and nearly $505 million in IDEA funding. This represents 50 percent of the Title I and IDEA funding Texas is eligible for in total. On April 1, Texas also received more than $22 million in Vocational Rehab funds and more than $3 million in Independent Living funds. On April 10, Texas received nearly $7 million in Impact Aid funding.
Congressman Rubén Hinojosa said:
“These historic federal investments made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help provide relief to our local school systems and make certain that they continue to increase access to a high quality education for all students. I am hopeful that Texas will continue to provide the U.S. Department of Education with the assurances required to ensure that we are making progress in reforming our educational system and doing what is necessary to prepare our young people for college and beyond.”
“Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act so that our schools and teachers would have the funding to prepare our children and be properly equipped to do their jobs. The $2 billion for Texas’s State Stabilization Fund that was approved today will go a long way towards retaining our teachers and educating our children,” Congressman Gene Green. “Texas needs further ARRA money to ensure that we continue to provide the best education for our children and our teachers receive the additional funds they need to do their jobs well.”
“Texas schools have been waiting on good government to meet their needs and deliver real results. These federal dollars will raise teachers’ salaries and make a difference in the classroom, where we need it most. Our schools and our teachers deserve every dollar coming their way,” said Congressman Cuellar. “With these dollars we make sure our schools don’t get left behind. And this is another example of how the Recovery Act will help get America back on track and invest in the state’s priorities during these hard economic times.”
“I am proud that I voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, landmark legislation that addresses the critical needs in our national education system,” Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said. “I pledge to work with my colleagues in Congress, Secretary Duncan, and state and local officials to ensure that we continue to invest in students and save and create education jobs across Texas.”
In order to receive today’s funds, Texas provided assurances that it will collect, publish, analyze and act on basic information regarding the quality of classroom teachers, annual student improvements, college readiness, the effectiveness of state standards and assessments, progress on removing charter caps and interventions in turning around underperforming schools.
Texas is also required by the Department of Education to report the number of jobs saved through Recovery Act funding, the amount of state and local tax increases averted and how funds are used.See Texas and other state applications for initial funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program at http://www.ed.gov/programs/
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Founder of El Defenzor -- Homer Villarreal -- to appear Monday on the 1440 KEYS Morning Show. Topic: "The Life And Times Of Albert Huerta."
Villarreal said: "I'm excited to have a grand opporunity to be able to examine the seminal impact that the late Alberto (Albert) Huerta had in our society, especially on the institutions -- political, social, economic and religious. Huerta rose to become a prominent lawyer specializing in serious injuries -- he was an eccentric genius in a sense and knew the socio-psychology of the multicultural area and was able to make a fortune. The complex social web and its respective catenations will be examined...Also to be examined, the turning point in his life: when his son, Joseph, an attorney was involved in a skiing accident that resulted in serious brain injury. I will do my best to trace the journey of Albert from his early years as aspiring, idealistic attorney to the phase where he came to an epiphany and began to address the larger spiritual questions and his calling as a healer and how he finally dealt (well and truly) with the last chapter of his life."
Villarreal concluded: A microscopic examination of some of his endeavors he participated in will be looked at with a critical and at the same time a compassionate eye... There is so much to learn from this public figure's story."
Hot Off The Press: MINIMUM WAGE To INCREASE TO $7.25 PER HOUR
Increase takes effect Friday, July 24
WASHINGTON--U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz (TX-27) and other influential representatives announced that the national minimum wage will increase on Friday by 70 cents--from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour--the final of three increases to take effect under legislation enacted by Democrats in the U.S. Congress.
“With the high cost of living today, we must be able to provide a decent minimum wage to the millions of Americans who work hard for their wages,” Ortiz said. “This 70-cent increase per hour will help those Americans who work to support their families.
“American workers are hurting right now, and this increase will make a big difference in paying the electricity bill, buying groceries and filling up the car with gas,” Another Press release stated “About 4.5 million Americans will see this raise on their paychecks, resulting in $1.6 billion annually in increased wages.”
Thirty one states are affected by today’s increase. In Texas, the minimum wage will increase for 985,000 workers.
“Even before the current economic crisis, our economy created a lot of wealth for the wealthy and not much was left for everyone else,” a prominent local Democratsaid. “As we rescue the economy, we must rebuild it stronger than before. This minimum wage increase helps to do that.”
The raise is crucial to stimulating the local economy through increased consumer spending. The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the increased purchasing power resulting from raising the minimum wage will boost consumer spending by more than $5.5 billion over the next year, and a recent study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that every dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to an $800 increase in spending per quarter by families with minimum wage workers.
El Defenzor believes that as local businesses struggle to stay competitive during the recession, "This increase provides a boost not only in consumer spending but in the overall psychology of the working masses and gives citizens to circulate their money and be able to buy more products and items from their local businesses.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job. It’s about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive. And it’s about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.
So let me be clear: if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day. These are the consequences of inaction. These are the stakes of the debate we’re having right now.
I realize that with all the charges and criticisms being thrown around in Washington, many Americans may be wondering, “What’s in this for me? How does my family stand to benefit from health insurance reform?”
Tonight I want to answer those questions. Because even though Congress is still working through a few key issues, we already have agreement on the following areas:
If you already have health insurance, the reform we’re proposing will provide you with more security and more stability. It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it. It will prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick. It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, move, or change your job, you will still be able to have coverage. It will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket. And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money.
If you don’t have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you’ll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange – a marketplace that promotes choice and competition Finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.
I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade – and I mean it.
I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics – to turn every issue into running tally of who’s up and who’s down. I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to “go for the kill.” Another Republican Senator said that defeating health reform is about “breaking” me.
So let me be clear: This isn’t about me. I have great health insurance, and so does every Member of Congress. This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings…This debate is not a game for these Americans, and they cannot afford to wait for reform any longer. They are counting on us to get this done. They are looking to us for leadership. And we must not let them down. We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice, and provides coverage that every American can count on. And we will do it this year.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Robstown, Texas -- James Andrew Gonzalez, a Robstown soldier stationed at Fort Hood, has been missing since last Sunday night after a jaunt to Laredo. His brother J. C. Gonzalez has stated that he is very worried at this point in that his missing brother is not answering the his cell phone. “It goes directly to voice answering machine… I am worried that this is a very serious, serious matter”.
J.C. also did divulge both Army officials and even the FBI has been in contact with the family. At firsty the Gonzalez family believed he had not reported to duty on time (that is Monday; now the family has appended that a representative from the Waco FBI office claim they received a phone call that James Andrew (24-years-old) has been abducted. The FBI claims the kidnappers have demanded $100,000 as ransom and that a major political move be taken by the government immediately to removed troops from the border.
James Andrew’s mom -- Rose Gonzalez -- said her son had been in the army for about a year and was doing satisfactory. J.C., his brother concluded: “I ask the public to keep our brother in their prayers… I hope they find; he is too young. I hope the FBI gets responsibly involved and maybe things will change for the better. This is just awful.”
Saturday, July 18, 2009
“The America’s Affordable Health Choice Act of 2009, H.R. 3200, was introduced on Tuesday, July 14, and is currently under review in the committees of jurisdiction where I will continue to monitor and evaluate the bill as it moves through the legislative process. I am concerned about the growing costs of insurance premiums for my constituents, the high rates of uninsured in South Texas, and our local medical professionals having the resources necessary to care for our community.
“Implementing health reform is vital and long overdue to control the growing cost of health care. By focusing on what works and fixing what is broken, this plan will offer affordable quality health care for Americans, while reducing the burden of ballooning health care costs on American families, businesses and our fiscal future. For more information, please visit my Web site, http://ortiz.house.gov or contact our offices in Brownsville and Corpus Christi.”
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
COMING SOON: VETERANS GIVEN THE DRUG SEROQUEL FOR DEPRESSION GET TRIPLE THE RATE OF DIABETES! TELL US YOUR STORY. 387.6216
MAXIMUM MANUEL finished for consideration on Federal Bench yet threatens Tom Greenwell and REpublican Party if he catches an opponent and says that if he does Judge Greenwell will receive one also. Is he still bullet proof or is it political curtains for Manuelito?? Manuels Pic says: " Yes, I've been passed over twice like a village idiot, y que?
Is Greenwell and the Republican Party tired of the schoolyard bully Maximum Manuel along with everyone else?
For November who will assume the place of U.S. District Judge Hayden Head, Jr?
BOTTOMLINE FROM HOMERO:
Friday, July 10, 2009
WASHINGTON--Today, it was announced more than $2.7 million awarded in federal funding to assist families who are homeless throughout the 27th Congressional District of Texas with housing expenses.
Brownsville is slated to receive $1,347,839 and Corpus Christi will receive $1,393,181, according to figures provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“One of the worst situations a person or family can face during their lifetime is being homeless,” Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz said. “Many families are facing economic hardships, and I know the residents of South Texas, who face these conditions, will be able to benefit from these funds.”
For more information about the federal funding awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, contact Joel Munguia, grants coordinator for U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz’s Office, at (956) 541-1242.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
It is whispered that a 36 year old lawyer with bipartisan support is raising a large amount of money to make a run against Manuel Banales. What is also reasonably believed is that Watts and Vela may join forces to aid him. Who is this Obama-like creature who lurks in the shadows and wishes to straddle power in the 105th?. The revelation will come soon enough. And when that seal is broken perhaps a "just reign"(Divinci Code hint my friends) will occur in Nueces County once again. Soon enough we shall discover who this man who is above reproach and who's reputation is blemishless and who will be conquered and will announce and bring out all the truth which will uncover all of the corruption with full state and federal support. Many are already trembling. Beware he comes soon. What we do know that it is a short list of young hispanic males who perhaps have thrown their hat in before or have contemplated it. Tune in my dear bloggers....
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
This Just In: Confidential Defenzor Sources Reveal That Maximum Manuel Reached Out to Rene El CuCuy Rodriguez and Filemon Vela for Mercy
BANALES BRAINDEAD. FILM AT 11. FAILURE TO DISCLOSE BARGER OR BANALES' KIDS CONFLICTS. JUDGE STURNS ABOUT TO OPEN UP CAN OF WHOOPASS! CELIS IN THE MIX!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
LAX BLASTS THE HUERTA SHOW: This Part of the Blog brought to you by Shamwow (consumer poll for bloggers on Shamwow)
This Part of the Blog brought to you by Shamwow and(click link, go ahead...)
It is Poltical War!
CORPUS CHRISTI Over the past two decades, many a South Texas defendant has feared a sentencing by state District Judge Manuel BaÃ±ales, who's known for meting out harsh and creative punishments.
In 1993, the judge made headlines by sentencing a first-offense drug smuggler caught with 54 pounds of marijuana to 54 years in prison. The conviction later was overturned and the man went free.
Eight years later, Banalesales again made national news by ordering sex offenders in Nueces County to place signs describing their offenses in front of their homes and on their cars.
Other offenders have been ordered to serve lengthy jail sentences in small installments, year after year, during the Christmas holidays.
He'sa no-nonsense judge who is very severe in sentencing. Very harsh,said Albert Pena III, a veteran criminal defense lawyer.
Thus, when Banales appeared to show leniency this spring after stepping into a high-profile case involving the state's most prominent fake lawyer, Mauricio Celis, the natural legal order shuddered.
That's not the Judge Banales I've known all these years. It's a different one. Maybe he's mellowing, said Pena, one of the few willing to speak on the record.
Banales' deepening role in the case has triggered a public showdown with prosecutor Carlos Valdez. The longtime Nueces County district attorney wants Banalesoff the case, claiming he hasn't been impartial.
I'm doing something that has not been done before. And when you take on a judge publicly, there may be consequences later, Valdez said.
Impersonating a lawyer
The improbable figure at the center of it all is Celis, a man who overcame his modest origins to open his own Corpus Christi law firm, earn an estimated $10 million mostly in case referral fees from lawyers and play the role of high-dollar rainmaker in Democratic political circles.
He did it all with brains and chutzpah, without even being a lawyer.
After he was denounced as a fraud two years ago, Celis added a colorful subplot to the story by chasing down a nude woman, who had fled his hot tub, while flashing a police badge and clad only in a bath robe.
As the criminal charges and civil suits piled up, Celis insisted he had a law degree from Mexico, dropping that claim only after being convicted of 14 felony counts of impersonating a lawyer.
The trial was heard by visiting Judge Mark Luitjen who was appointed by BaÃ±ales.
However, in May, just before the Celis sentencing, Banales removed Luitjen on a recusal motion.
The defense also asked for a new trial, claiming in both motions that Luitjen had been unfair.
As proof, seven jurors testified that he showed bias against Celis, and Banales took over the case.
But where Luitjen had outlined a sentence of a year in jail, probation and restitution of more than $1 million, Banales gave Celis 10 years' probation and reduced restitution to proven claims by victims.
It was almost identical to what the jury had recommended for Celis, who faces at least three more trials on related charges.
Assumingthat what Mr. Valdez says is true, that this defendant is a con artist of the greatest magnitude, that in and of itself does not warrant incarceration,Banalessaid at sentencing, noting the offenses did not involve violence or injury, and that local jails were crowded.
To some local lawyers, it didn't add up, but because Banales' reputation for harshness extends to his critics, few would speak on the record.
This was not business as usual. I think he did the guy (Celis) a favor. If this had been Joe Blow off the streets, he'd be doing his year in jail, one veteran defense lawyer said.
Said another lawyer, Banales is a stinker all the way around. Maybe Luitjen rolled his eyes a little bit, but that's never been grounds for recusal.
Mauricio Celis isn't going to harm anyone, said James Granberry, who has practiced before Banales
I didn't get a lot of heartburn about him not going to jail. Those beds are for people who keep me awake night, prying in my windows, he said.
The nuclear option
While online conspiracy theorists in Corpus Christi speculated wildly this spring about dirty deals in the Celis case, Valdez activated what he called â€œthe nuclear option.
Days before a June 26 hearing on a new trial for Celis, he filed a motion to remove BaÃ±ales, claiming his impartiality was suspect.
â€œJudge Banales came in and undid everything that Judge Luitjen had done. And if he grants the motion for a new trial, we're back to Square 1,he said.
In his motion, Valdez outlined the judge's financial and social links with various defense lawyers who have an interest in the Celis case, foremost Tony Canales, the lead defense lawyer.
The things we have raised went on outside the courtcampaign contributions, socializing with the judge, and the possibility that Judge Banales is in line for a federal judgeship and that Tony Canales would be the perfect conduit to help him,Valdez said.
A man of expansive ego and ambition, BaÃ±ales lost out on a bid in 1993 to become a federal judge in Corpus Christi. Rumors floating around town have him as possible replacement for U.S. District Judge Hayden Head Jr. who is expected to step down in October.
Because Canales is a member of a state judicial selection committee and a reputed kingmaker, he is well positioned to help Banales, according to Valdez.
â€œAnd if he thinks Tony can get him in, Tony is in the perfect place to get what he wants from the judge. It just doesn't look right,said.
Canales and Banales declined to be interviewed for this article.
In their response to the recusal motion, Celis' lawyers say it was filed too late, that taking campaign contributions from lawyers isn't grounds for recusal, and neither are the judge's social ties.
The real bloodshed might lie ahead, because last week Banales declined to step down.
â€œThe state presents no legal basis upon which I should recuse myself, he wrote.
This throws the recusal issue to Chief Supreme Court Justice Wallace Jefferson, who either will hear the issue himself or assign another judge.
In a full-blown hearing, reputations are likely to be harmed.
According to District Judge John Hyde of Midland, a recognized authority on recusals, several aspects of the legal drama playing out in Corpus Christi are noteworthy.
â€œI don't think I've ever seen a case where a recusal occurred at the end of a trial,â€ he said, after reviewing some pleadings. Normally, he said, appellate courts are the remedy for alleged trial bias.
â€œThe fact that the motion for a new trial is almost a mirror image of the recusal motion indicates those are matters for an appellate ruling, he said.
He said it's not customary for an administrative judge who grants a recusal to then assign himself the case. He also found the issues of outside influence raised by Valdez unsettling. On the whole, the entire case is not helping the image of the judiciary, Hyde said.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Statement From Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz Regarding the Ingleside Local Redevelopment Authority that addresses the closure of Naval Station Inglesid
Contact: Jose Borjon, or
Today, Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz released the following statement regarding the Ingleside Local Redevelopment Authority that addresses the closure of :
In my efforts to continue to provide jobs for my district, especially the area impacted by the closure of Naval Air Station Ingleside, I commend the hard and successful work of the Planning LRA, which was formed just a little over two years ago. At the request of the Ingleside Local Redevelopment Authority, I have taken the initiative to secure $3 million for the economic revitalization of my district.
My committee, the Armed Services Committee, has started the process for this funding and has authorized it in the 2010 Defense Authorization bill. This bill still has a long way to go to clear the Senate and numerous conference committee meetings and then pass both bodies of Congress and ultimately be signed into law by the President.
After its formation, the Ingleside LRA moved in and immediately started producing positive results. As a matter of fact, the hard work of the LRA has now put the community where they are ready for the next step, which is to form an Implementation LRA. When formed and approved by the Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), the Implementation LRA will receive and administer any monies to help revitalize our area’s negative impact due to the base closure.
In moving the LRA agenda forward, I have deep concerns about the recent nomination of Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal to the Implementation LRA.
Loyd Neal has continuously opposed the Ingleside LRA, from its formation, to its implementation, to its current make up. Loyd Neal had two chances to serve on the LRA, both times he declined, even considering it, “hypocritical for me to serve on this,” according to a August 9, 2007, article published in The Caller-Times. According to a June 20, 2009, article published in The Caller-Times, Neal said that at that time he was “opposed to the representation on the authority” because of politics.My question to Neal: Which is it?
Furthermore, Loyd Neal has served as an obstructionist to collaborative efforts like the LRA.
As part of the Coastal Bend Redevelopment Planning Committee, which was ultimately dissolved because of its serious and substantial political in-fighting, Loyd Neal’s defiance resulted in the Committee’s application being rejected by the Department of Defense and the loss of millions of dollars to the Coastal Bend, according to an article published on Feb. 13, 2007, in The Caller-Times.
“The Department of Defense’s has not approved the Coastal Bend Redevelopment Planning Committee, formed in January 2006. Disagreement among neighboring jurisdictions about who should sit on the nine member committee has made it one of the last of about 120 communities nationwide to be recognized, said Richard Tenga, a Defense Department Project manager,” according to the article published on Feb. 13, 2007, in The Caller-Times.
This isn’t about any one family member serving on this board, this is about moving the Coastal Bend area forward and creating jobs and economic prosperity for all by appointing progressive-minded people to serve this community we all love and care for.
Other communities have received millions in funding from the federal government, and we are still dealing with local political in-fighting. My work in Congress is serious and I must do all I possibly can to represent my constituents.
On Feb. 13, 2007, The Caller Times reported: “Councilman Willie Vaden strongly opposed Nueces County’s requests to lead the committee. ‘What you see here is a movement by to take over,’ he said.”
In that same article, Neal put out a memo to Nueces County Commissioners, and The Caller-Times reported: “He said he asked San Patricio County Judge Terry Simpson, who chairs the redevelopment authority, that Neal serve as the chairman and that a Nueces County Commissioners Court assistant be appointed as the committee’s executive director. They also asked that the committee use Nueces County’s hired attorneys and base operations out of the .”
Story: Base reuse board not OK’d
On Aug. 9, 2007, The Caller-Times reported: “County Commissioner Betty Jean Longoria moved to name (Nueces County Judge Loyd) Neal and Commissioner Oscar Ortiz as the county’s appointees shortly after Neal said he would not support the development authority because of the way it was written. ‘I can’t serve on that.’ Neal said. ‘I don’t support it. It would be hypocritical for me to serve on this.
‘I don’t agree with the method and I don’t agree with the organization as approved,’ Neal said. ‘I am sure Mr. Cazalas and Mr. Ortiz will do a fine job, but I can’t support what’s going on.’”
Story: BRAC panel vote a deal-breaker for NealLink: http://www.caller.com/news/2007/aug/09/brac-panel-vote-a-deal-breaker-for-neal-nueces/