LETTERS: On healthcare districts, tax plan, defense spending, Zika, Christmas and San Antonio ‘towing scam’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to all of the recent nominations for RGV Citizen of the Year, we have fallen behind in publishing letters to the editor. Therefore we devote the entire page today to your letters.

Healthcare districts

I read with interest Berenice Garcia’s Nov. 22 article, “Talk resurfaces on healthcare district.” We, in Cameron County, certainly owe a debt of gratitude to Hildalgo County voters, who on two occasions voted down propositions to fund a healthcare district that would have raised property taxes. At the same time, concerned citizens in Cameron County formed a PAC to oppose similar efforts. Cameron politicians, thankfully, saw the results from elections in Hidalgo County, along with our efforts to organize, and were reluctant to forge ahead with a similar proposition.

Texas, because of its lack of an income tax, is seen as a “low-tax state.” However, this is far from the truth. Our state ranks sixth-highest in property taxes — owing to the efforts of tax-and-spend politicians to create taxing districts, like the healthcare districts sought in South Texas. Ms. Garcia’s account of the pro-health care district meeting last month listed the attendees as the usual big-money medical interests, associated contractors and politicians, who would likely favor gouging taxpayers to support their goals.

Researching the PACs and political lobbyists supporting healthcare districts in the RGV reveal very deep pockets with money to spare for political donations. The word out now is that the big-money interests will seek to accomplish their ends for the creation of healthcare districts by avoiding another direct vote locally and spearheading an effort for a constitutional amendment, which would require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature before being put to voters statewide. Whatever methods the big-money interests choose to utilize, they may be assured of continuing opposition from citizen groups opposed to increased taxation and underhanded politics.

John Barham, vice president, Friends of Cameron County Residents, Brownsville

Don’t build the wall

Regarding a Nov. 26, letter, “Build the Wall,” by Ron Weaver, of Pharr, he seems to have gotten some of his facts mixed up. Seems to me everything he writes has come out of the mouth of Donald Trump and his not-so-smart followers. I did not read where he mentioned God or Jesus Christ in his message so I wonder if he is an atheist or a Republican?

Given his words, I do not believe this man has ever asked God what we should do. We are all God’s people and we should listen for the right answer that is best for all the people and this great country. Maybe my letter has hate in it and it is wrong to say but his letter is filled with hate.

Chuck Rusher, Mission

On Feit conviction

They described ex-priest John Feit, who was finally convicted in the murder of Irene Garza, as a family man with a wife, children and grandchildren. I am just curious as to why in all the weeks of media coverage leading up to and during the trial, did not one of his family come to his side? Did his devious demeanor extend to his own family?

We reap what we sow.

Suzanne Oviedo, Mission


I heard former Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra is going to run against present DA Ricardo Rodriguez in the next election. Well I think that Mr. Guerra will win when “pigs fly.”

Joe R. Cervantes, Edinburg

Defense spending

Regarding the Dec. 11 column by Washington Post writer Robert Samuelson, “We must raise US defense spending,” this is so far off-base that I could not resist a reply. He started out with an assessment by the right-wing think tank American Enterprise Institute, so immediately the bias flag goes up. Further, his examples come from the Center for Strategic & International Studies, another right-wing think tank. This includes things like the Navy ship count is down, and the Air Force aircraft inventory is down. He fails to acknowledge that these newer types of equipment, even in lesser numbers, far exceed the power of older equipment. Then the issue of spending is ludicrous. The United States spends more on our military than the next seven nations combined. Added together China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, United Kingdom, India and Germany spend lass than we do. How can anyone imply that even that is not enough?

Lobbyists for military equipment industries would not stop if we doubled or tripled the amount we spend on munitions. The American people have to send Samuelson and his ilk to the woodshed.

Dave Anderson, Pharr

Holiday suicides

Not everyone feels jolly tor thankful this time of year. According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the third-leading cause of death in Texas for ages 10-14 and second-leading cause of death for ages 15-34. On average, one person dies from suicide in Texas every three hours — that is eight Texans each day.

There are twice as many people dying of suicide annually than homicide in Texas. Women are three times more likely to attempt suicide and men are four times more likely to die from suicide.

On average, there are 25 attempts for every suicide. For each attempt, that is a cry for help. Every year, more than 374,000 are treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries. As a community, we need to know what is available to help a person in need. If someone mentions suicide to you please do not take it lightly. Whether the person is under the influence of a substance or not, it is a very serious matter. Be the person who saves a life. The Prevention Resource Center of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas is here to help link you to the resources that you may need to be a lifesaver. The phone number to contact us is (956)787-7111.

Elizabeth Urbina, Raymondville

Eradicating Zika

The two species of local mosquito menaces transmitting Zika, prominently reported in your publications by the Hidalgo County Health Department, are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both are famous for the females readily preferring residence inside our houses to be protected from outside cold weather where they continue to consume considerable quantities of peoples’ and pets’ blood, while also carrying Chikungunya, Dengue Fever and West Nile viruses to also infect us and vector heartworms to our feline and canine four-legged family members. Yes, your cat is at risk for heartworms here in South Texas in the wintertime.

Mosquitoes are rendered inactive at 50-degrees Fahrenheit or lower. These persistent pests prefer an average 85 degrees daytime temperature, however, and are genetically programmed to likewise seek escape from the sweltering summertime heat by sheltering inside your house laying their hundreds of eggs over their one-month lifetime in unlikely-to-be-discovered locations like the toilet tank, shower drain or even in the drip pan collecting condensation from your refrigerator.

After feasting on the family humans and pets, a female Aedes mosquito can ingest 3 times it’s body weight, which requires a lengthy rest in order to digest and transfer the nutrients directly to egg production.

Aedes mosquitoes prefer a quiet, darkened location within four-feet of the floor and find the underside of a table and chair ideal.

Put this knowledge into action. Find those skeeter squatters in your home before they surely and inevitably find and dine on you and your pets!

Dr. Kenneth C. Fletcher, Pharr

‘War’ on Christmas

The perceived war on Christmas by some conservatives is alive and well — in our own minds. The yuletide season is hardly on any liberal Grinch’s crosshairs. I’m sure they have bigger fish to fry. Liberals have too many perceived ills that can be considered far more important, like looking under every rock for evidence that connects the current president to some Russian bogeyman with the ability to sway an entire nation to vote for the eccentric politician. An individual has a right to express himself in politically correct vernacular, or in the ever unpopular, old-fashioned, male-centric, and bigoted manner that the conservatives used to enjoy by aggravating those with thin, liberal skin. Being a female sure does shock some of the many underpaid and overworked teenage cashiers or employee when they wish me “Happy Holidays” and I respond with the shockingly traditional “Merry Christmas.”

The look of surprise and the silence as a response afterwards tells me that, as a woman, how could I not subscribe to every trendy social fad so I can fit in to the imaginary cult of the politically correct? I’m sure they’ve been warned that they must use the all-inclusive phrase or risk losing their employment. To further jolt them, after their moment of silence as they process my politically incorrect response, I lean in and whisper “It’s OK, you don’t have to be what anyone tells you to be, just be yourself.” And as I lean back slowly and away, they hesitantly correct themselves and wish me a very nervous Merry Christmas. Young people tend to lean more toward liberal causes and ideologies. As we get older, we get more conservative. As far as I am concerned, these days, I enjoy being politically incorrect.

Julisa Ibarra, McAllen

Towing scam

On Nov. 24, my wife and I drove to a Macy’s Department store at the River Walk Stores in downtown San Antonio. We parked in a designated public parking lot — in a handicap space — with our handicap card displayed, and went shopping. I’m a Korean War veteran and my wife is in a wheelchair. Our car was missing when we returned to the parking lot. I called 911 for help and they gave me the number and address for the local towing company. I called and asked why they had towed my car from a designated handicap site in a public parking lot with the appropriate tag displayed. I was told it was a private lot. I explained the large sign said, “public parking lot.” The attendant’s reply was that all private lots are designated public parking lots by the city and they are allowed by the city to tow handicap cars. I then called the police, who in turn called for a cab. The cab driver said he takes

10 to 20 customers per day to the impound lot; he also said it’s the biggest scam in the city. I asked the clerk at the impound lot, along with the tow truck driver sitting on a desk, what a disabled person is supposed to do when their car is illegally towed. Their answer was to suck it up! They both laughed and charged me $220. Now, because of this incident, I have a question for the city of San Antonio: Does the City of San Antonio need money that bad that it must fraudulently tow legally-parked cars in designated handicap sites displaying handicapped cards? If so, maybe I should start a “Go Fund Me” account for the City of San Antonio.

Richard D. Wright, Alamo

Trump’s tax reform

Look at the president of the Unites States, leader of the free world and most powerful man on Earth. He’s a billionaire with a beautiful wife and great children, who doesn’t have to worry about changing the oil in his car. He doesn’t have health problems, can afford to give away his salary to charity and always has money to pay taxes. But if you listen to U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, he is going to be better off since the tax reduction is passed. All this man needs is a good horse.

Clint Williams, Edcouch


In response to the Trump Administration’s tax overhaul, Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp will raise its minimum wages to $15 per hour. AT&T and Comcast also pledged to pay a $1,000 bonus to each of their U.S. employees. It’s a good example of how lawmakers can incentivize higher wages instead of universally mandating them.

This year, we saw such an example in Seattle. A team of city-funded economists at the University of Washington found that Seattle’s

$15 minimum wage mandate had caused employee pay to decrease. That’s because the mandated increase in hourly pay was offset by a drop in work hours, when businesses with razor-thin profit margins couldn’t offset the labor cost increase with higher prices.

When employers have the freedom to manage their businesses, less-skilled workers benefit. But forcing employers to pay higher wages costs employees their jobs.

Michael Saltsman, Washington, D.C.


Earlier this year, the whole world watched a ridiculous display of affection and praise by President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

This week, after the passing of GOP tax reform legislation, Republican senators also flattered and embraced the president to a point that it’s embarrassing.

These are members of Congress, for heaven’s sake, our elite. They should present themselves with more pride and dignity.

How embarrassing.

Mary Martinez, McAllen