Monday, August 30, 2010




The scoop: he was beleaguered by the LOYD NEAL NETWORK and some of the “old guard” – according to sources.

MCLAIN (with libertarian leanings) in a recent election beat Mike Bergsma (associated with the Neal Machine of Government-Corporate Relationships). Intially when McLain won with the support of the “tea-partyers” and libertarians he was described as a true representative of the people. Early on Radio Talk Show host Bob Jones (who transmits off a Christian Station) said: “We need ‘Tea Party’ people in the party to keep the Repubican Party honest.” Even long time political Republican activist William “Willy” Vaden said: “The Tea Party folks are the true blood of the Republican Party.”

It all sounded positive at first; McLain had defeated Mike Bergsma (the “establishment guy” – he was the person endorsed by former Chair Mike Bertuzzi) that had been part of a movement associated the Loyd Neal network to make a cottage industry with tax-dollars.

However, McLain would be pressured BY THE REPUBLICAN NEAL MACHINE and some of the “Old Guard” TO RESIGN. Ron (with libertarian leanings) who advocated "small government" and "fiscal sanity" would gradually be stripped of al his powers to appoint persons to committes and exercise a major role in party. Why?

Had McLain failed to accommodate the “special needs” of the NEAL MACHINE? One McLain supporter gave us a glimpse of last Tuesday's meeting of the Nueces County Republican Party: “The Neal machine and some of the ‘old guard' were there at the committee meeting passing cards to each other. Their objective was to strip the new chair (McLain) of most of his power. They were also intentionally upsetting McLain, and they did so to the point that he blew up… ‘Resign if you don't like it’ one person whispered a daring note."

McLain, who opposed the "big government" agenda of coporate/government relationships promoted by County Judge Loyd Neal and friends, finally decided to resign. McLain had previously objected to Neal’s close associations with the Rene Rodriguez political faction and frown somewhat on the adulation given to "Rene's Girls" (i.e., candidates Angelica Hernandez, Anna Maria Jimenez, and Amanda Torres). One regional Libertarian opined: “I think McLain had realized that the Republican Party (at least those associated with Neal) was mostly about a profit-making agenda. As for Neal, I believe he is desperate to win to the point that he would kow-tow and recruit even the ‘infamous’ Rene Rodriguez to optimize his chances to win.” The same source added: “Neal wants to complete one of the most lucrative insurance deals of his life. Disturbingly, he has hired his former secretary Claudia Lobell (whose total salary/benefits amount to about $80,000) and even used his influence to bring in his former insurance business partner (i.e., Tomas Duran who specializes as Neal on “self-insured” Group Health Insurance) as a consultant. McLain was seen as an obsticle by the profit-making machine, and they did everything in their power to enervate the influence of this office.”

But not everyone agrees with this interpretation. One anti-McLain member of the Executive Committee of the Nueces County Republican Party shared: “McLain I feel was not a true Republican; he was a ‘conservative’ which is a code word for Libertarian. I feel he stepped down because he didn’t get what he wanted. He proposed bylaws that would allow him to appoint anyone of his choosing to different committees, etc, without a vote or input from the Executive Committee.” The same sourced added: “Thus, defeating the purpose of having an Executive Committee in the first place, in my opinion. His proposed bylaws would have given him more control over the party, and I feel without any oversight or accountability… His proposed bylaws, I feel, again, would have taken away some of the voice of Precinct Chairs and the people he represented. It appeared to me that he was more interested in getting control of the Republican Party than uniting it. This is ironic because: isn’t that what he accused the ‘old guard’ of doing?”

Another anti-Ron McLain Republican injected: “I personally feel it was sneaky and disingenuous for McLain to run for the Republican chair to begin with. He’s not a Republican in my opinion. He maybe conservative, but he’s still not a Republican. We are the Nueces County Republican Party, not the Nueces County Republican, Libertarian and Conservative Party.”

Had McLain failed to understand the culture of the Neal Machine and the so-called “old guard”? Most observers agree that THE LOYD NEAL Network has a “For Profit” incentive in it. One downtown businessman postulated: “I feel the Neal Machine is run like a business. It is successful because many key supporters benefit from it. On the other hand, the Democratic Party in this county is weak maybe because they are still trying to run it like a political party. This kind of model might be considered too naive and pristine in this day and age by career politicos - they might want a return for their services. The Democratic Party has little or no incentitves for key players to connect with it. The Democratic Party in this county is still trying to be run on nothing more than ‘passion’ for the party. I feel McLain wanted to do a similar thing in the Republican Party.”

A Corpus Christi City Councilman agreed: “Maybe top players want to stretch the envelope. Maybe more passion for money is the key to buying loyalty to some degree within the Republican Party (i.e., Neal machine). On the other side fo the ocin, maybe many Democrats are working with Republicans now because of their passion to make money or other benefits such as the couple Mark and Carol Scott have done in the city and at CCISD. The latter couple (associated with the Neal Network) have used their political affiliation to make money – and the hell with ethics... As for former Republican Chair Mike Bertuzzi, he formed a close relationship with Phil Vela and Representative Tod Hunter because he saw the ‘new’ business design – that is, to capitalize on political relationships. Think about it: ‘How can you run against someone that is gonna make money and can get you money?’ You see right now in this eleciton: “There is not so much passion among Democrats as among Republicans associated with the Loyd Neal Network. Lots of money can be made – ethics? Hehehehehe.”

One local businessman (associated with the Democratic Party) agreed: “A few democrats are starting to see money and other incentives as a motivator in politics. See traditional Democrat Party activists like Abel Alonzo and Susie Luna (not changing parties but supporting Republicans. In the school you had Luna fighing Carol Scott and John longoria – the two that did attacked the union – AFT (American Federation of Teachers) – that she was associated with at Corpus Christi ISD. They made sure she was not part of them anymore. Now she is supporting John Longoria and others of that camp to get re-elected in the School Board. Longoria has always been a ‘I will make it worth your while financially” type of guy.”

“As regards Ron McLain, it has to be asked if he was trying to bring back the idea of supporting the Republican Party for philosophical reasons to bring it back to its idealistic and passionate platform?” – this is a question being asked. “It doesn't pay to try to challenge the Loyd Neal Network” – Is this the message that was sent to other party members -- i.e., by pressuring McLain to resign?

A Democrat shared a smiliar story: “The same thing that happen to Ron McLain in the Republican Party I feel happen to Lucy Rubio when she was the Democratic Party chair in the county. The establishment never accepted her. She was pressured not to run anymore. Ms. Rubio never had control of the rank and file. I feel this is not a right or wrong issue, but if you go against the establishment of a party: the odds are you will not succeed fruitfully in your tenure. This also happened to Lauro Cuellar some years back when he was the Democratic Chair and he didn’t play ball with Rene Rodriguez in the Democratic Party.”

One local historian said: “If you don’t follow the lead of those that are on the inside, and sometimes even if you don’t do what you are told by them, you are out of there. If this trend continues, I feel both parties are not good for this county and country. The Neal Network is clearly not in the best interest of community and county but there are incentives, lucrative incentives floating around to key figures. It is an agenda that is not good for the people. Public officials should not be using their public offices to make a profit for their own person business. The latter has been a trademark of the Neal Network.”

A miff has broken out in Facebook between some so-called “real” Republicans and “Libertarian” Republicans. Here is a taste of an exchange between two ladies. Both ladies are active within the party had hold posts.

LIBERARIAN (FEMALE): “Ms. ?, you were and still are part of the old Republican guard. Shame that had to put Ron (McLain) through the ringer. It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

Anti-McLain (female): “I’m a Precinct Chair for the Republican Party & I was at the committee meeting Tuesday. Judge Loyd neal DID NOT ‘strong arm’ Ron McLain, nor was there any sort of ‘machine’ present.”

LIBERTARIAN (FEMALE): “Ms. ?, if you are going to be saying things about people, you should have some spine and stand by what you say when you are confronted.” (The Libertarian female had been called a “porn star.”)

Anti_McLain (Female): “Uh, sure-whatever you say, lady.”

Libertarian (female): “Ms. ?, what was the last movie you saw me in? Did you enjoy it? I enjoyed making it. Let me be perfectly clear. I have never been a porn star; I have no intentions of ever being one. It is my opinion that certain actions should remain private.

Libertarian (female): "Ms. ? I would appreciate it if you did your research when you comment on other people. Not only have you accused me of being a porn star, now you are accusing Ron McLain of not being a Republican. For your information Ron McLain has always voted Republican. STOP SPREADING LIES Ms. ?, unless that in your own distorted world, YOU MAKE THINGS UP... Your displaced desires should remain with you and not complicate others."

Thursday, August 26, 2010




NUECES COUNTY, TX -- While political trickster and attorney Filemon "Phil" Vela Jr. (and his wife-Appellate Court Rose Vela) -- is in the Valley both constructing their new home in an upscale neighborhood and crafting his "new conversion" back to the party his father used to lead in the Valley -- i.e., the Democratic Party (Note: his dad, the late Federal Judge Filemon "Phil" Vela Sr, played a major role and had a cult following in South Texas), here locally Corpus Chrisi's attorney Rene Rodriguez (Phil Jr.'s business partner and political side-kick) has been brought into the county’s GOP by top Republican players (such as County Judge Loyd Neal & former Republican Chair Mike Bertuzzi). Rodriguez (known as “El Cucuy” – or “The Boogie Man”) as the top consultant of the Republican party in this election cycle. Rodriguez, who still brags he is a Democrat and utters his mantra in tight circles: "Once a Democrat; always a Democrat".

“Word is circulating around that Rene’s faction of Democrats (some are now running as Republicans) are being both bankrolled and given a “free ride” in the ‘circus elephant’ that the Repubican party has become in this year's election,” a downtown Corporate lawyer who is an orthodox Republican told our publication. “How can this be! You have the true conservaties running as Democrats this election such as Clarissa Gonzalez for County Judge and Mark Skurka for District Attorney and even District Judge Manuel Banales who has always been tough on crime).”

Republican Candidates -- Anna Maria Jimenez (running for District Attorney; she was appointed District Attorney by a Governor's Republican Committee – where County Judge Loyd Neal and brashly even Sheriff Jim Kaelin served as members), Angelica Hernandez (who is running for the post held by District Judge Manuel Banales), and Amanda Torres (who is running for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 1) – how many are the candidates that have become known as “Rene’s Girls.”

“Why the elaborate political scheme?” – this is the reoccurring question in many circles. Because Loyd Neal (who is considered by many to be a “faux” Republican) needs to keep his post and maintain his power according to the behind-the-scenes elite that fuels his crusade. Neal (who has over 40 years in the insurance business) is in the twilight of life and purportedly working on the biggest insurance deal of his life. It has become know as the “TRI-FACTA” (the aim is to control or implement the Health Insurance Contracts for three government entities – the City of Corpus Christi (which they have in their pockets-where Mike Scott sits as a councilman), Corpus Christi I.S.D. (which they are working diligently on via Carol Scott and network), and Nueces County Government (where Neal has concentrated his top staff and “top-guns” to assist him in the deal).

This is not “conspiracy theory” – these are the bare facts. The veracity of the political schemes implemented by Neal and his network in the last few months has become so grim that many “spot on” Republicans do not even want to talk about it. NEAL is micromanaging the HEALTH INSURANCE OF THE COUNTY. He has removed the person in the county that should be in-charge of the Health Insurance – the AT-RISK MANAGER (Severando Caballero) from participating on this business deal. He has instead used the influence of his office to hire his former Insurance Associate – Tomas Duran (who has a history in the region of serving as the “middle man” and “power broker” in this specialty – as a full-time “insurance consultant” for the County: a consultant position that has traditionally been commissioned part-time.

Government offices should not be used for personal business profits; yet Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars are involved in this government/tax-payer bankrolled endeavor. Duran is not legally allowed to receive “commissions” while working for the county government, yet he is negotiating deals with pharmacies, doctors, Third Party Agencies and their administrative structures. “No one seems to be questioning who is going to get a cut or a rebate?” one specialist in the area said. It involves a complex rigmarole dealing with the “non-Fully Funded Insurance” Health Insurance Plans (which Neal and Duran specialize and have a history of being agents for in the past); there is more than meets the eye. Incentives and rebates are so cleverly shrouded in this type of insurance structure and stratagem that even a specialized insurance agent cannot adequately trace any crafty doctoring of funds.”

To add fuel to the fire, County Judge Loyd Neal has used his power to employ his own personal business secretary, Claudia Lobell. She is being paid over $80,000 (salary plus benefits) in the county. Her title: “Chief Executive To Loyd Neal” -- WHILE the top execuitive secretary that has tenure in the county and was highly trained for the post is only being paid $30,444.

Historical notes: This abuse of tax dollars by a county judge is unprecedenced. There is a gulf of difference between Neal’s administration and even former County Judges. For example, former County Judge Terry Shamsie had one top secretary and was paid close to $30,000.

While the NEAL NETWORK FOR PROFIT turns over parcel of power and departments (such as the District Attorneys Office) and weakens the Nueces County Republican Party, the true Republican Chair, Ron McLain (with LIBERTARIAN leanings and a member of SOUTH TEXANS FOR LIBERTY), is both shunned and ridiculed both openly and behind his back by the Neal Network and the Rene Rodriguez faction. More of Rene’s “Democrats” are being recruited to run in subsequent years. “We can work around him (Ron McLain),” former Chair Bertuzzi (Phil’s Jr. intimate buddy) said in the Lago show (visit this Link?).

The latest news. “Phil Jr., (and his wife, Rose) plan to ‘turn’ Democrat – again soon. “It is clear that the Republican Party has been hijacked by the NEAL NETWORK FOR PROFIT. Neal has sold out the party I feel to keep his post and make a 'killing' in the insurance business. The Velas and the Rodriguez-es are implicitly and explicitly laughing at the great ruse they have managed to get away with. It has weakened the Republican Party and has made it ripe for a Democratic Party take over. Do we have a Republican Party anymore? This has clearly taken us back decades.”

We need to get that GRINGO (referring to MIKE SKURKA) and other GRINGOS OUT from the DA’S (DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S) office,” a close associate with the Phil Jr. camp daringly said at the courthouse. "They don't understand us and never will."

“I feel Neal ran as a Republican because it was the fad at the time. It would optimize his chances of getting the top post in the county. He never believed in my estimation in the ideals of the party. His deal as well as his NETWORK was to use PUBLIC OFFICES, PUBLIC DOLLARS for PERSONAL BUSINESS GAINS,” a disgruntled Republican concluded.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

POLITICAL CORRUPTION or BUSINESS ASSOCIATE? -- this is a suspicious question being asked about "LOYD NEAL'S" CONSULTANT

“SHOULD COUNTY JUDGE LOYD NEAL’S “INSURANCE CONSULTANT” (and longtime business partner) Be Employed Full-Time?” – this very suspicious question is being asked.
Nueces County, TX -- A verbal exchange transpired between County Judge Loyd Neal and Commissioner Chuck Cazalas last week (Thursday, August 5) during a meeting of the County Commissioners Court. The commissioners were discussing cutting the budget. The significance of this exchange is that it hints at political corruption. It seemed to be more than just a Freudian slip so to speak, but a resolute charge underlining how how County Judge Neal is abusing the political power entrusted in him by voters. How he is, presumably, extracting from public resources and utilizing it to accumulate for private enrichment and/or a business advantage, and signals that such ploys have surface as a result of lack of transparency.
What is political corruption? It can be defined as "the abuse of public authority and power for private benefit". The corrupt motive usually is wealth, status and/or power, or more specifically it is more about self-service than public service. It is about self-enrichment, and power preservation. The consequences of such political behavior is (in the long run about) institutional decay, arbitrary power, authoritarian tendencies and reduced liberty.
To return to the crux of the article: During the verbal exchange on Thursday, August, 5, County Commissioner Cazalas referred to Insurance Consultant Thomas Duran (Neal’s longtime associate and insurance business partner), who appeared on the budget payroll as “Neal’s (Insurance) Consultant.”
County Judge Neal, who has some 44 years in the insurance business in the area, fired back by saying, “He is not ‘my’ consultant, but the ‘county’s consultant.’” Cazalas, whose blood-ridden face turned a cherry crimson, returned fire: “Yeah! Right!”. This exchange occurred during the discussion of budgetary cuts Thursday after the commissioners reviewed a two-page list of proposed spending cuts.
Neal tried to justify his specious recommendations to cut $1.4 million in spending and keep the tax rate at 35.5 cents per $100 valuation. He claimed it would be a way to avoid raising taxes in a manner that would anger the community. Commissioner Cazalas’ rejoinder was a skeptical one: “Yeah, right.” When all was be said and done, Neal’s budgetary cuts and increases were perceived as a protracted planned subterfuge; it was exposed by some of the commissioners. Even Commissioner Mike Pusley, who is Neal’s top supporter on the commission was clearly disenchanted, and asked: “Why can’t he take a pay-cut (referring to Neal’s former business partner Duran who appeared on the county’s payroll) if we are asking all the other employees to do so?”. Neal insisted that Duran deserved every dollar he was being paid.
Neal said Duran – who is working for the “county” supposedly to advice them on the route to decide on which route to take with their “group health insurance.” [Note 1: Some suspect that Duran – who has a reputation for lobbying and pushing for what is known to be ‘Self-Insured’ or “Employer-Funded Group Health Insurance plans, as opposed to ‘Fully Insured” plans (and who has worked closely with Neal in the past) was hired to help put a process in place that benefits Neal’s scheme for his favored (Employer-Funded) health insurance type dominate in the county]; [Note 2: “Fully-Funded” plan is when an insurance company covers catastrophic losses; “Employer-Funded”, when Employers do.]
Clarrisa Gonzalez, who is a candidate running against County Judge Neal, said: “Why is Tomas Duran being hired full-time when an ‘Insurance’ consultant usually is only hired for a short span of time until the course for deciding on a group insurance plan is laid out?”
Ms. Gonzalez added: “This does not seem right with this picture. The matter needs to be looked at more seriously.”
A brief history: Neal’s and Duran’s business relationships dates back many years. In fact Neal, when he was first elected Mayor of Corpus Christi back in 1997, received a reputation in town for having brought in the first controversial Self-Funded (or Employer-Funded Health Insurance) program in the county. Neal sold one to Sam Kane Meat Processing. Duran was his business partner back then (they worked for the same insurance company that runs by the name of ENTRUST). During his mayoral tenure, Neal conveniently introduced the City of Corpus Christi to this “Self-Funded” insurance plan and brought in his close associated Tomas Duran to pitch it before the city council. When the council voted on it back then, it was split right in the middle. Neal, as mayor, broke the tie. It set off an explosion in that he had a clear conflict of interest. [Note: There was an FBI investigation after that vote and other matters related to the insurance deal ended up in the courts. ENTRUST went on to represent the city, and Duran was hired by the city to oversee it. Despite the move, the city would go on to lost money as a result of having contracted with ENTRUST in that there were catastrophic losses were incurred that overshadowed its gain.]
Other questions are being raised by local agents who operate in the area: Are there bribes and/or "commissions" and/or fees being taken from private sector businesses? The law clearly prohibits consultants from doing so. “Is there a watchdog agency looking into this Neal/Duran ‘very suspicious’ arrangement and into political contributions and other in-kind services?” one source admonished.
Historical notes show that when a health insurance consultant is hired by a government entity, the salary totals to about $30,000 or up to $40,000 depending on the situation, but the job is never a full-time deal. But in the case of what has been referred to as the Neal-Duran agreement in the county, Duran’s salary has far exceeded any precedent figure: it is believed to lead into the hundred of of thousands.
The Neal-Duran “consulting” agreement is very suspicious in that the person hired by the county, Servando Caballero (the AT-RISK MANAGER), who is in-charge of overseeing this insurance issue, has been taken out completely out of the formula. Neal is micromanaging the deal with Duran and a few others it is believed such as his administrative assistant (Steve Waterman). “There is a lot of money involved. Waterman seems to get involve when there is a major insurance deal. County Judge Neal has decided to get the top guys involve with his ‘favorite’ insurance and not living it up to the ones that should have handled it such as Servando Caballero – the AT-RISK MANAGER for the county. Why should Waterman makes the decisions instead of Caballero?” an insider in the field ruminated.
Other related notes: Duran has a history of being brought in as the “middleman” (or consultant) to set up the process in this type of “employer-funded” healthy insurance as was done at the Corpus Christi Independent School District several months ago at the insistence of some of the school trustees such as John Longoria.
“I believe Duran is brought in to set up the process, the guru. He sets up the process I believe and then manipulates the process to make sure the arrangements to make sure what agents are involved with the insurance (Art Granado has been been designated an agent in the past)… The agent chosen I believes can get a big chomp of change via commissions. Is their payola? Rebates? What is there preventing the agent from turning back and writing a check every month or so to the person who had something to do with he being appointed? The payola could be enshrouded justified under the umbrella of administrative overhead,” another inside source shared. “It is very suspicious to have County Judge Loyd Neal (who was an agent for the Insurance company Duran represents), in setting up the process for this health insurance deal.”
Duran is the middle-man that negotiates deals with the insurance companies and related the related-business network involved. But here you have a clear opportunity, where Duran has coordinated with politicians (Neal etc, who have been involved in the insurance business). “Who is stopping them from getting a piece of the pie? Caballero, whose job description in the county is to make sure no hanky-panky takes place has been removed from this deal and course of action altogether,” a local man involved in the insurance business asked. “If one prying eyes are around, then everyone involved can get taken care of and their was no transparency.”
Other questions linger: “Why is County Judge Loyd Neal using off-budget transfers to keep Duran as a consultant all year round? Where Duran is offered an opportunity to make up to ten times what he earned while working as a consultant at the Corpus Christi Independent School District?”
Many critics fancy that County Judge Neal is circumnavigating around the radar of public accountability. “Duran as a consultant will get to decide the different companies the insurance will work with as well as the pharmacists, the third-party management and so forth. Will there be a percentage rebate coming in from every prescription being filled? Etc. To whom will it be channeled and who is overseeing the process?”
Most of the persons interviewed in reference to the above insurance scenario felt that Duran should not be employed full-time as a consultant in a business of that size.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Nueces County, TX – On Thursday, August, 5, during a meeting a spur-of-the-moment verbal exchange between County Commisioner Chuck Cazalas and County Judge Loyd Neal took place. Cazalas referred to Insurance Consultant Thomas Duran (Neal’s longtime associate and business partner), who appeared on payroll as “Neal’s (Insurance) Consultant.”

County Judge Neal, who has some 44 years in the insurance business in the area, fired back by saying, “He is not ‘my’ consultant, but the ‘county’s counsultant.’” Cazalas, whose blood-ridden face turned a cherry crimson, returned fire: “Yeah! Right!”. This exchange occurred during the discussion of bugetary cuts today after the commissioners reviewed a two-page list of proposed spending cuts by Neal.

Neal tried to justify his specious recommendations to cut $1.4 million in spending and keep the tax rate at 35.5 cents per $100 valuation. He claimed it would be a way to avoid raising taxes in a manner that would anger the community. Commissioner Cazalas’ rejoinder was a skeptical one: “Yeah, right.” When all was be said and done, Neal’s budgetary cuts and increases were perceived as a protracted planned subterfuge; it was exposed by some of the commissioners.

The regional CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER-TIMES reported that “Commissioners reached a consensus on 14 budget cuts in an attempt to trim $1.4 million in spending”; but the cited would be a report not of a studious expression and would not statisfactory capture the growing outrage both among employees and many a family in the community.

Among the cuts the following: Neal pushed to reject a two percent pay increase for all county employees they had been promised, court-appointed attorneys for poor children for court-at-law No. 5 and critical allotments to other needed jobs in the jails and so forth, and as expected to the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds (Neal is affilated with the downtown group that wants to monopolise social activities in their real-estate turf in a congested part of downtown influenced by the political patron (Al Jones of American Bank).

When this section on the agenda was first touched on, Commissioner Cazalas asked administration if the written items had been included. Cazalas wanted to make sure that certain county employees who had a diligent and an assiduous record be the last to be affected by the cuts. “I don’t want you to ignore the items I brought forth,” Cazalas emphasized.

County Judge Neal showed no leniency for the judicious, no-nonsense suggestions made by Cazalas to deal with the financial meat-axing of the day. Instead Neal – who seemed to be motivated by an ego-driven vigor - tried to thrust ahead despite the hubbub; but Cazalas convincingly interjected (and so did other commissioners) who felt Neal was dealing with the matter in an high-handed style.

Other commisioners remonstrated and pointed out that how come County Judge Loyd Neal did not want to cut down on his personal travel budget (and that of other commisioners) nor on the exorbitant rates being paid to his former Insurance business partner -- Thomas Duran – who is working for the “county” supposedly to advice them on the route to take with their “group insurance.” Additionally, another commisioner – Pusley – asked how come Duran did not take a cut in pay if other county employees were being asked to do so? Neal refused to cut Duran’s salary. [Note 1: Some suspect that Duran – who has a reputation for lobbying and pushing for what is known to be ‘Self-Insured’ or “Employer-Funded Group Health Insurance plans, as opposed to ‘Fully Insured” plans (and who has worked closely with Neal in the past) was hired to help put a process in place that benefits Neal’s scheme for his favored (Employer-Funded) health insurance type dominate in the county]; [Note 2: “Fully-Funded” plan is when an insurance company covers catastrophic losses; “Employer-Funded”, when Employers do.]

Neal did suggest that the car allowances and travel for the county judge and commissioners not be razored off. He also suggested an increase in pay for an inland park director whom he favors. Cazalas returned: “My director deserves a pay increase also; mine is actually bringing in money – a profit to the coutny.” But Cazala’s plea was shunned by Neal.

But there is more to the story. Neal also targeted other political rivals in the budget such as County Judge Terry Shamsie’s court – Neal suggested that funding for legal representation for poor children be cut (note: Neal is supporting shamie’s political opponent in the November 2 election). Furthermore, Neal suggested a cut of $50,000 in CPS funds.

Tax Assessor-Collector Ronnie Canales said he could not afford anymore cuts in his staff. It had taken "a beating" in the last few years. “I can hardly operate as it is,” he petitioned. “We were promised more staff so the office runs smoothly the way it should this year, but we haven’t yet been given that luxury.”

In the next few days the commissioner’s court will be taking the final action. The court will meet up Monday morning to carry on budget deliberations; two items of major concern that will also be discussed are the county's health plan and hospital district. By late September a county budget for the subsequently fiscal yea has to be adopted, fiscal year that takes effect on the 1st of October.

Serious questions remain to be answered. Neal’s former business secretary (Claudia Lobell) has since been hired by the county as Neal’s Personal Secretary at an inflated pay scale. She was recently provided with a helper.

MagicQ 104.9 FM Radio episodically interrupted its regular broadcasting. It used its airwaves to responsible cover this issue. An interview with Clarrisa Gonzalez, who is challenging Loyd Neal, for the Nueces County Judge post in November 2, took place. She said: “I was sadden by the style of County Loyd Neal. He has an ego driven style, it’s his way or the highway. This needs to change this year. We need a collaborative style. One that will reach out fairly to all sectors of the community. We need to move forwards, not backwards, together. The Nueces County Commissioners Court needs to be a less threatening place. It should be a place where rational minds meet to spark progress. I would be proud for you to call me the needed alternative to the top leadership chair we have presently.”

[Note 3: Neal and Duran have a relationship that dates back to the late 1990s. When Neal (who was an insurance agent for “Employer-Funded” insurance and a business partner of Thomas Duran) became mayor, ENTRUST (an “Employer-Funded Insurance) was railroaded through the council. The same insurance he had brought to town; and enrolled Sam Kane Meat Processing in it…. To iterate, while mayor of Corpus Christi, Neal broke a tie when it came to going or not going with ENTRUST insurance. By the way Thomas Duran was the one that presented the ENTRUST proposal before the council… Due to the tie-breaker by then-Mayor Neal, there was an FBI investigation. Despite accusations of unseemliness, the affair was settled. Historical notes demonstrate that ENTRUST (or the “Employer-Funded” Health Insurance Package) was not a good investment in that catastrophic losses had to be paid out. Many made charges that there was a selective relativity in enforcing whose losses were paid out.]