To the authorities of the City of Presidio and Presidio County,
I am a resident of Presidio, I teach in Presidio, I vote there. On May 17 in Washington, DC, at the annual convention of the American Institute of Architects, I spoke for the Adobe Alliance of Presidio, Texas, to professional architects about our work in Presidio and abroad, and showed PowerPoint pictures that included sites of Presidio to a large national audience. This event was written up by journalist Richard Glover in The Presidio International and Big Bend Sentinel.
I have tried since the Thursday before Easter, April 26, 2012, in Presidio to renew my car registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The office was closed for more than five days. On April 26 I was stopped at the bridge by a new bunch of police in blue uniform who cross-examine drivers before they enter Mexico. Curiously, they ask the very same questions a federal Mexican official would ask on the Ojinaga side: “Do you have $10,000 in cash, a gun, etc.” A policeman who is not local gave me a humongous ticket because my registration sticker was out-dated. Policeman Jimenez (702 as it faintly reads on ticket # 011515) did not take my dilemma into consideration.
I got another whopping ticket for lack of inspection. I had wanted to have my car inspected at the former Tom’s Texaco but should have done so in El Paso, the moment I had crossed the border from New Mexico where I am getting medical and dental treatment. I paid that ticket immediately but still have no inspection sticker because everything was closed from Thursday before Easter to the following Tuesday, thereby causing great inconvenience to citizens who do not take five days to celebrate Easter. I had to return to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A policeman who I had reached last week after many days’ search gave me the address where to mail my money; he gave the physical address of the municipal court as 507 O’Reilly West, Presidio, Texas 79845. That address is also printed on the green ticket. So I mailed my check and the ticket as instructed.
The postmaster of Presidio returned my envelope. He does not know the PO address of the court. He is evidently not capable, nor does he have the professional conscience or the good will, to move three steps in his office to slide that envelope into the correct box (which just now I learn is PO Box 1899.) No, he returns my mail to Santa Fe, where I am until end of June. Alas, Adobe Alliance no longer has a mail box in Presidio because same postmaster gave it to someone else without informing me. All my mail was, unbeknownst to me, was as a result returned to senders even though I had paid for that post box since 1997, plus it appears printed on my business cards, stationary and brochures.
To find out how to pay up all my transgressions I find out only today from a person who works for sewers who is kind enough to pick up a ringing phone (a phone # no one has answered since last week.) This sweet person, Cynthia Lujan, expertly threw light onto my case and gave me the correct address of the municipal court to whom I can now finally send a payment. I have been calling 432-229-3527, which is printed erroneously on the ticket, since May 24 with no answer.
When I receive the letter refused by the federal postmaster I am in a panic because I like to pay on time. Today, because someone picked up the phone, actually the wrong phone at 432-229-3517, I now finally can pay my multiple traffic and other fines. The information about the court’s address is not in the Big Bend phone book, so how is one to know? My payment therefore has been delayed for lack of anyone – justice of the peace, Presidio police department, municipal court, postmaster, willing to give me the information.
Today I throw myself at the mercy of the court begging to not receive a warrant for my arrest. My check, the ticket, plus as directed by Judge Vivi Cataño, a self-addressed stamped envelope are going out tomorrow to the municipal court.
The delay is caused by the need to spend time writing this letter.
Presidio and Santa Fe, New Mexico
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I was privileged to watch the Lady Bucks in the title game against Crawford, at my home in San Diego, California via live video streaming.
I am very, very proud of the Lady Bucks’ terrific accomplishments this year, and send hearty congratulations to players and coaches. They are marvelous ambassadors, on a very big stage, for Alpine and the entire Big Bend region.
AHS Class of 1959
San Diego, California
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“Homage To The Shark,” for Adam and Krista, and of course Fanny Face and Miss Kitty.
The man with the mustache.
The girl that looks at you from the side.
He’s tap dancing to the beat in his head.
She’s boxing lunches that make all the annoyances in your day fictional.
I love the Shark.
I’d give the Shark my shirt.
Food Shark doesn’t exist because of Marfa.
Marfa exists because of Food Shark.
Brooklyn, New York
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Charles L. Simpson was correct when he said in his letter last week that Marfa is no former ranching town. If the present drought would break with dependable rain we would be back on the map for growing some of the finest cattle in the United States, and many ranchers in the area hold their breath, waiting for the storm we’re sure will eventually come.
While we wait for those life giving rains, Marfa is evolving into a world class Mecca of art and culture, in the middle of a vast and largely untamable region of far West Texas. There are many chapters in the story of this little town. In its lifetime, many visionary folks have fallen in love with Marfa and have invested in this area both personally and financially. It has not been without some growing pain that Marfa has developed from an outpost for the Calvary, into the “art oasis” we live in today. Through all of these changes, what has remained constant is the fact that all of the folks who live here, today and throughout our history, are of a hardy variety, they are committed to their ideals, their legacies are enduring.
The layout of this city and the buildings themselves are a testament to the constant change of this community – it’s one of the things that make Marfa so interesting. This community will adapt to carry on in times of adversity, and each new wave of industry leaves its imprint on the streets and buildings that remain after the last taps of each evolution have been played.
Today, Marfa is alive with hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, furniture and clothing boutiques, boot makers, yarn shops, art galleries, a state of the art fitness facility and a world-class radio station for visitors and locals alike. Marfa also is home to businesses that provide employment and economic drive to our community: feed manufacturing plant, feed and hardware stores, livestock pens and trucking companies, a massive hydroponic tomato operation, a coffee roaster and a silver mining company. Each and every business is important to our economy.
While Marfa is moving ahead in many directions, change is undeniably difficult. That being so, it’s important to remember no one can take away our history, and we can all have a hand in the direction we, as a community would like to take. The Marfa Chamber of Commerce participates actively everyday with this vibrant community. We understand the challenges that face any small business owner, because we are one and the same, in that we raise 100% of our budget through member dues and special events. Our signature website, that receives 10,000 hits a month, is a beacon for visitors. Every fall we put together the Marfa Lights Festival to welcome home Marfa’s sons and daughters in a reunion atmosphere. We have generated an education series geared toward local business development, and we maintain a full time office at the Paisano Hotel. We are powered by a board of volunteers that love Marfa and are dedicated to her future. By becoming a member of the chamber of commerce, individuals and businesses in any industry can help to steer the direction of this organization to the betterment of the whole community.
Agriculture, ranching, tourism and art are the economic pillars on which this community stands. They work together to support the people of Marfa and the Tri-County area. In times when one pillar is weak we lean heavily on the stronger. We can lean on tourism and art to carry us through the drought and when the rain returns, tourism, art, culture, and music will grow alongside of the grass prairies and our ranching heritage will again be a strong pillar of our community.
Until then, the Marfa Chamber of Commerce will continue working to develop the tools this community will need to go forward into her future. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join us.
Board of Directors
Marfa Chamber of Commerce
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I want to thank Charlie Simpson for his letter to you recently. He is 100% correct. Many of the young folks coming to Marfa have about $1 in their pocket to spend. It’s difficult trying to become famous artists.
I want to also add that some of those recently running for re-election need to reconsider the positions. In our precinct we have a commissioner that has been in office for nearly 30 years. In the past several years little has been done in improvements for the county roads. What has been done was basically ruined due to the lack of ability by the operator or operators to do the proper repairs, removing water diversion systems as on Antelope Hills Road.
Work on our six miles has not been done since July or August 2006. What little that was done proved to be a disaster. I was told much of the required work that was not done was due to the lack of funds.
So we need a change in precinct one in hopes new blood will be able to renew road work within the precinct by getting good equipment operators and serve us as we deserve be served.
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At a time when we have just completed one stage of our democratic business of voting on candidates to fill many of our local government (city, school district, and to choose who will be our parties’ nominees for office (county, state and federal) in the General Election in November, we voters – and the candidates – might just wish all the signs would go away and get on with our business.
But, not so fast! We do have Run-Off Primary Elections coming up on July 31. Who your party’s candidate will be on the November General Election ballot is important. Please participate.
Putting on our elections is serious business. It is also very complex and involves many persons working together to make them as fair, legal, and cost-effective as possible. Under Texas law, counties may choose to create the position of Elections Administrator to handle elections and all voter registration responsibilities. Brewster County wisely did so a decade or more ago and it worked well for some time. Due to some very serious errors in connection with the 2008 Primary Election, the Brewster County Elections Commission, of which I was a member at the time, unanimously recommended to Commissioners Court that the position be abolished. They did so. My vote in support of that recommendation was, I now realize, a serious mistake.
One result of that action was to place the responsibility for the conduct of elections on the County Clerk and all voter registration responsibility on the County Tax Assessor-Collector. These are two elected positions, which are full-time jobs in themselves without these added election-related duties. Those individuals have worked diligently to meet those needs, but it is an unreasonable burden to impose on them. Employment of a part-time person to assist with very complex and stressful matters for $10 an hour simply does not work and results have been been very mixed. It is not sustainable, nor is it fair to those involved or to our voters.
Brewster County needs an Elections Administrator. The county’s budget preparation process begins soon. The re-creation of this office by our Commissioners Court, at a salary level, which will attract and retain a person with the requisite capabilities, needs to happen now.
This, by the way, is not a partisan issue between Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens. We all want and deserve fair and cost-effective elections. Like national defense, schools or roads, you don’t get good elections without cost. My view on this is based on more than twenty years of direct, hands-on work with our elections. I hope you will encourage your Commissioner to work to get this in next year’s budget.
Mr. Christophersen is the past chairman of the Brewster County Democratic Party.
Story filed under: West Texas Talk