Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The RGV Is Conservative But Votes Democrat

In one of the wierdest twists, if you interview the average person in the RGV to find out their political leanings, you would think that the Valley is predominantly conservative. Since we are largely Hispanic of Mexican descent, most people are Roman Catholic. So, most disfavor abortion. Nobody likes paying more taxes. We mostly want the government to provide services and stay out of our business. Most do not think that the U.S. should answer to the United Nations. And on and on. If you poll people on individual issues, you would walk away thinking that the Rio Grande Valley is strongly Republican.

The reality is that the community is brainwashed by our local media into thinking that Republicans are out to take away all government assistance and that they need to vote Democrat to maintain the status quo. If you watch Telemundo, assuming you understand Spanish, you can immediately see their leftist leanings. George Bush can do no right by their coverage. Radio is pretty much the same, except for talk radio. The people influencing the region have nothing in common with the influenced. The influenced are producers. They pick crops, do landscaping, work in plants, do construction, fix cars, etc. The influencers don't produce anything other than intellectual property. As is usually the case, people who produce intellectual property and make a good living of it tend to be idealistic. The people who actually produce things and make a lousy living tend to be realistic. However, in their limited understanding, the producers fall prey to the intellectual types. The logic is that the intellectuals are educated and know what is best. Therefore, the Valley votes Democrat election after election because the local media have biased everybody against the Republicans.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

South Texas Heat

If you are considering visiting or coming to live in the Rio Grande Valley for the summer, be warned that the summer heat is unrelenting. The heat here does not feel the same as the heat in Arizona, New Mexico, or even as close as West Texas. No sir! The heat here has an added ingredient called humidity. The heat itself is not so bad. The high humidity makes it so that your sweat does not evaporate to cool your body. At 100% humidity, which we occasionally have, you will sweat buckets and not cool off. That is one of the worst feelings.

Our best friend in the RGV is air conditioning. The minute or two that you will be outdoors between your vehicle and home, work, or elsewhere will make you so glad for the invention as well. Keep in mind that most home air conditioners are designed to create a temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors of 20 degrees. So, if you AC unit cools your house down to 80 degrees on a hot day, consider that a victory. Pushing the temp lower than that is just begging for a huge electric bill.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Colonias Get a Bad Rap

It is probably very politically correct in the RGV to rag on colonias. If you don't live in the RGV, you may not know what a colonia is. Literally translated, a colonia is a colony. Now, imagine back to the times when the pilgrims came to the US. There was no running water or sewage. No utilities. Well, maybe not so bad. Often colonias are able to get electricity.

In any case, a colonia is an underdeveloped subdivision. We always see news stories on local television telling the rest of the Valley how bad conditions are in the highlighted colonia. You get interviews of the residents complaining that there is no pavement, or phone service, or sewage, or other amenities. Usually, the people complaining are dirt poor. It never occurs to the reporters or the residents that the reason that the residents of these colonias can afford to buy the property is that they know in advance that these amenities are not available. You very well know that a fully developed subdivision will have lots at $20K to $40K per lot. Colonia lots, on the other hand are available around the $10K to $15K range over 10 years.

I grew up in a colonia which was later upgraded with sewage. I dare say that if the subdivision were fully developed, my parents may not have been able to afford the 2 lots that they bought. As it was, they could barely afford the cost of living in a colonia. So, before you go looking down on the developers of colonias, keep in mind that they offer the prospect of ownership to residents. You may be proud of your quiet and gated community. Keep in mind that there are people out there that earn more or less than $12,000 per year. Colonias are the only way that they have to build equity in anything. By demanding higher standards, you are severely hurting the poor.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

An Advocate for the Rio Grande Valley

Being a resident of the Rio Grande Valley, I often hear fellow residents express unfavorable opinions about our region. It is for this reason that I am starting this blog, to help point out some of the great things in the Rio Grande Valley. Certainly, we don't have the cosmopolitan culture of say New York, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Nevertheless, we do have our own culture. It is a distinct mixture of American, Texan, Tejano (no, Tejano and Texan are not the same), and Mexican. In future articles, I want to celebrate this distinctness and point out shining examples of our local culture.

Welcome to RGV Life

Welcome to RGV Life. This blog will contain updates about life in the Rio Grande Valley. If you are not from the RGV, then let me tell you about our region. We are located in South Texas on the border with Mexico. Our local towns include Brownsville, Donna, Edcouch, Elsa, Edinburg, Harlingen, Hidalgo, La Feria, La Joya, La Villa, Los Fresnos, Lyford, McAllen, Mission, Mercedes, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Monte Alto, Port Isabel, Progreso, Raymondville, Rio Grande City, Rio Hondo, Roma, San Benito, Santa Rosa, Sharyland, Valley View, Weslaco, and a bunch of other little towns that have a very small population.

I will seek to keep you informed about events, politics, and other news in the Valley. Some of the news you find here can't be made up if you wanted. Keep checking back for updates, I'll do my best to keep you informed.
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