Friday, December 17, 2010


December 16, 2010
CONTACT: Ricardo Lopez-Guerra
                         (512) 463-0578
McALLEN- Beginning December 20, Texas shoppers purchasing eligible ENERGY STAR appliances may receive a rebate between $40 and $1,000 through a mail-in program administered by the Texas Comptroller's office, Rep. Gonzales announced.
"I encourage my constituents to take advantage of the rebate program and update their old appliances with energy-efficient models, which save money by using less energy and are better for our environment," Gonzales said. "Hopefully, shoppers will be able to find good deals during this holiday shopping season that will make these purchases even more cost effective."  
To receive a rebate, customers must purchases appliances such as heat pumps, air conditioners, washers, dishwashers and more on or after December 20. Once the appliances are installed, the rebate application and a copy of the receipt must be mailed to the Texas Comptroller's office, which has $18.5 million in federal funds available. The rebates will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis based on the postmark on the application until all of the money has been dispersed.  An ENERGY STAR appliance that replaces an old model can result in an additional $75 rebate if the old appliance is recycled. Proof of recycling is required on the rebate application.
The rebate application form is available at , which will also display a daily tally of processed rebates and monies available.  Shoppers may call the customer information line at (855) 556-1312 to request a form through the mail, and to find out the daily amount of money remaining in the program.
Eligible Star Appliances
Rebate Amount
Air Source Heat Pumps
Central Air Conditioners
Clothes Washers
Freezers (14.5 cubic feet or greater )
Refrigerators (14.5 cubic feet or greater)
Room Air Conditioners
Water Heaters that meet current Energy Star criteria

Explore McAllen - Valley Symphony Orchestra & Chorale Holiday Concert 20...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Unauthorized Defense of Aaron Peña

Yesterday was the big day that Texas State Representative Aaron Peña announced that he would switch to the Republican Party. There have been many questions with respect to why he would do it. There many many vicious accusations of betrayal, or doing it for opportunism.

Overall, the Democratic Party, which is bleeding power in the current political climate is behaving like a wounded animal, lashing out at anything that causes further injury. In that sense, I can understand some of the reaction. However, since we're talking about people, I had hoped that reason would play a larger role in peoples' reactions.

Let's Get it Out of the Way

Many of you know, or are about to find out, that I work part-time for Peña. He and I haven't talked about his decision to switch parties. I found out on Twitter just like many of you that he would be switching. And, we have not had time to sit down and talk about his motivations. But, I can guess based on my own experience. First, let me lay out some facts.

A Few Facts

Fact 1: The Rio Grande Valley is a safe Democratic region. If you have a D next to your name, you have almost a 2 to 1 chance of winning in the general election.
Fact 2: Democrats run almost all of the public offices in the region, except for some judges and appointments by the Governor.
Fact 3: Peña's district has a lot of poverty and rural areas that stand to suffer from the budget cuts that are sure to take place in this legislative session.
Fact 4: Other Democrats who have flipped are in districts that have become conservative, unlike Peña's district (I think this puzzles people the most).
Fact 5: There are going to be budget cuts to deal with a $25 Billion shortfall. Boy, are there going to be budget cuts!
Fact 6: Redistricting is back. In the superminority, Democrats have little say in how their districts are drawn.
Fact 7: Republicans have a supermajority in the Texas House.

I think that last fact needs to be expanded a little. What does it mean that Republicans have a supermajority? Peña was one of the Killer Ds who left to Oklahoma to break quorum in the redistricting fight early in his legislative career. Without quorum, the House cannot pass laws.

With a Republican supermajority, if all House Democrats banded together and squeezed really tight, they couldn't stop a fart from passing. Breaking quorum is not an option this time around. Democrats can, at most, chub bills before Sine Die, or *gasp* cut deals with Republicans in exchange for... what?

What Were Our Options?

What options do House Democrats have at stopping budget cuts and immigration bills harmful to our region? What options do House Democrats have at redrawing districts that maximize their chances at winning reelection? Clearly, in this legislative session, the deck is very stacked against the Democratic Party of Texas achieving their aims. Even worse, redistricting is going to kick over their anthills.

I have not had a chance to discuss Peña's motivations with him; but to me, these are major problems facing the Rio Grande Valley. I don't mean just District 40. I mean the entire Rio Grande Valley. While our region's strength has been a unified voice through the Democratic party, in this session, it paints a big red target on us.

Uphill Battle

The problem I have with people accusing Aaron of being an opportunist is that he has to gain something big in return for the major sacrifice of losing your support. We naturally distrust politicians, and most of them deserve it; but, the Rep. has had no personal gain in all these years. I don't expect that to change.

You've seen the election numbers; it is going to be one hell of a fight to be reelected as a Republican. So, there has to be a BIG payoff. The problem is that a BIG payoff can't be hidden, as other elected officials have discovered. Clearly, Peña has a lot to lose by switching.

Yet, the Rio Grande Valley has a lot to gain from this defection. But, it all hinges on one thing, that Aaron Peña is still Aaron Peña. When you change parties, you don't get reprogrammed. As a Democrat, Aaron voted his district. I don't see that changing either.

Peña is not suddenly going to start hating the poor and walking around in a white hood (a popular mischaracterization of Republicans). Anybody who has paid attention to his voting record would know that he has been a moderate Democrat. In fact, he got more grief from Democrats because he wasn't Democrat enough for their likes. I think that he'll probably get grief from the ultra conservatives for not being Republican enough for their likes.

Clearly, becoming a Republican is not a walk on easy street for the Rep.; because, it's not about him.

What It's Probably All About

What does the Rio Grande Valley have to gain from having a Republican legislator in this session?
1. More say in redistricting, which will affect our region for many years to come. Yes, Peña is drawing YOUR districts.
2. More say in how much State programs get cut, or don't get cut.
3. More say in moderating bills that offend Hispanic sensibilities.
4. Better chance at getting bills through committee and on the House floor.

It's obvious to me that the Rio Grande Valley is getting the better deal here. Our other elected officials can eat their cake and have his too.

Tough Choices

Whatever shortcomings Rep. Peña has, I do respect that he looks out for his district and his people. Knowing him these few years, I know that his decision to switch parties is rooted in carrying out his duty to those who elected him, even when they don't understand. I've seen him anguish over tough political decisions. This can't have been easier.

He has doubled my respect by doing what he has done despite knowing the vicious attacks and rejection that would be hurled his way by the very people he is trying to protect.

Like it or not, what Aaron Peña has done will affect the entire region's future for many years to come. Open your eyes beyond District 40. Look at all that Aaron Peña touches and how that affects our future prosperity in the RGV. Look at what ALL Rio Grande Valley districts have to gain by having a friend amongst those who would otherwise make decisions for us and without us.

Does he face a monumental reelection challenge? Absolutely, without question.

Could he stand around on the sidelines while an opposing party hacks his region to pieces? Abolutely not.

His conscience would not allow it. You're looking at one legislative session; he's looking at the coming decade. Lift your gaze from what is immediately before you; you will see the many years of hardship that are beyond if nobody is there to speak for us amongst an unstoppable majority.

At this point, I look forward to hearing from the Rep. himself what his motivations are. I have a good enough sense that his first thought is towards protecting his community.

I didn't ask for permission to write this post. I've abstained from political blogging these past few years because it complicates things for our office. But, given that everybody hates him now anyway, I feel compelled to write this on my day off because I have been a witness to his way of thinking. Normally, I'm a fly on the wall in these matters; but, clearly, everybody is attributing nefarious motives where none exist.

If you don't understand why Aaron Peña would switch parties, then at least cut him some slack. Though it's not immediately apparent, he's going to do right for his district, his county, and his region.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010 Fiesta Marathon & Relay Marathon - Food Bank RGV

Fiesta Marathon is set for December 12, 2010.

Explore McAllen - Story of Hanukkah

Explanation by Rabbi Steven Rosenburg.

McAllen High School Christmas Concert

Pharr Chamber Tamalada December 16th

Pharr Chamber of Commerce Tamale Luncheon

Thursday, December 16th -  

Attention Chamber Members and Community Associates....

You are cordially invited to our Annual Chamber Member and Community Associate Appreciation Tamale Luncheon on Thursday, December 18th from 11:00a.m. to at the Pharr Chamber of Commerce located at 308 W. Park in Pharr, Texas.
It is our pleasure for us to provide not only networking and marketing leads to our Chamber Members and Community Associates, but also free educational and informative seminars that has lead to many new business relationships amongst new and old members during this 2010 year and we want you to know that we truly value your business and appreciate your continued support and loyalty during these difficult times.
In appreciation and gratitude of your dedication to our Chamber, we are hosting this Tamale Luncheon especially for you and look forward to many more years of  partnerships. We wish all our Chamber Members and Community Associates a very Merry Christmas and much success.

For more information, please call us...

Chamber LogoPharr Chamber of Commerce
308 W. Park St.
Pharr, Texas 78577


Pharr Chamber of Commerce | 308 W. Park St. | Pharr | TX | 78577

Weslaco Chamber and TXU Mixer - Legistature Kick-off

Info On The Web


Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce
301 W. Railroad St., Weslaco, TX  78596
(956) 968-2102 office  (956) 968-6451 fax
Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce | 301 W. Railroad St. | Weslaco | TX | 78596

Monday, December 06, 2010

Weslaco Christmas Parade

Info On The Web


Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce
301 W. Railroad St., Weslaco, TX  78596
(956) 968-2102 office  (956) 968-6451 fax
Weslaco Area Chamber Of Commerce | 301 W. Railroad St. | Weslaco | TX | 78596

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...