I congratulate Robert Silva on his retirement from his years of exceptional service to the City of Marfa. He has given credit to others for his success, but his work ethic and loyalty to his employer is above reproach.
Robert is a success in anything that he sets his mind on. I am proud that I had a part in getting the City of Marfa and Robert together.
My thoughts are many, but the one example of Robert doing his job and being pleasant and hard working focuses on the morning I went out to the old sewer plant, built during the heyday of Fort D.A. Russell, while several men were down in the sewer with buckets, shovels, and ropes to clean the sludge. I couldn’t imagine what I would find as far as morale amongst the employees, and there they were, with Robert leading the way with a smile and something pleasant to say to me.
That year we would have won a recognition from the State of Texas for the outstanding sewer plant except for one reason: they had no category for a plant that old.
Congratulations, Robert, for a job well done and a retirement well deserved. God be with you, my friend.
Jane B. Shurley, Mayor, City of Marfa 1982-1985
* * * * *
The Marfa Gun Show was successful once again this year due to all of these terrific people and businesses.
We thank Minerva & Delfin Lopez, Mary Turk, David Turk, Kevin Turk, Janie & Aldn Podsim, Juan De La Garza, Roger Amis, The Big Bend Sentinel, Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch, Ray Hendryx & KALP/KVLF, Herb & Dorothy Surber, Hugh & Espy Howard, Bob & Sheri Eppenauer, David Kimble, Drake Marquez, Eddie Pallarez & AEP, Marfa National Bank, Johnson Feed & Western Wear, USO Staff, Prieto Family, Alpine Chamber of Commerce, Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce, Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez and all of his staff.
Most of all we extend a big thank you to all of our old and new friends both behind and in front of the tables for coming out and supporting our event.
Mike and Holly Turk
* * * * *
Just wondering, is anyone named Marfa or does anyone have a pet by that name?
I do! My year old Pomeranian is named after my hometown that I left so many years ago. And if she digs one more rose bush, we’ll change her name to Alpine.
Manuel R. Espudo, Gy/Sgt., USMC, Ret.
* * * * *
In response to Lonn Taylor’s column last week about comic strips:
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your column! As I read through it I was increasingly impressed with how much of the newspaper comics you remembered (Alley Oop?) And then, at the end, you shared the source for much of that – which I will pursue soon!
I’ll try to remember to ask the next time I see you if you are in syndication.
The quality of the work you do should be widely appreciated far beyond our Big Bend region.
We have a framed ink sketch of Poteet Canyon, which stems from a connection my father-in-law had with Caniff. I don’t recall what that connection was, but my wife probably does.
Headlines vs. whatever else the headings are called: Comic strips and comic books are two different worlds! A whole other story there, I’m sure since they were also a significant part of our young lives.
Thanks for your contributions.
* * * * *
I just couldn’t sit by and not respond to Mr. John Jones’ letter to the editor in The Big Bend Sentinel August 30, 2012. In the past I have generally agreed with Mr. and Mrs. Jones’ letters and do agree with their political leanings, but this time there are a couple of things stated or implied I want to reply to.
Mr. Jones stated that he might “see about owning a newspaper.” I hope he checks out all the newspaper stuff most readers don’t know about before jumping into that little endeavor. I know a few things about the newspaper business. I was a journalist working for daily newspapers for 31 years and that’s a tricky business top-to-bottom. I won’t go into any details about people I worked with, but there was that one very drunk reporter.
Mr. Jones stated that the Sentinel is “very unfair and unbalanced.” Unbalanced, yes, unfair I would hesitate to agree with. Newspapers are often unbalanced and if you don’t agree with them they seem unfair. Mr. Halpern has often used my letters to the editor and I assure you he has never shied away from my opposing views, even though I haven’t lived in Far West Texas in many years. I have told him how I feel, like I’m a part of your wonderful part of the world he allows me to participate in.
I told Mr. Halpern recently how his paper has changed and in my view not much for the better, but it’s still a great weekly newspaper. I love Dick Decent and abhor that thing Gary Oliver does. I know Mr. Oliver is Mr. Halpern’s friend but he has no talent and his cartoons are often name-calling lies.
Since Mr. Halpern, Jr. came on board I’ve noticed political views in what should be full news stories, but there are also the columns by conservatives like Kay Bailey Hutchison. I have to agree with Mr. Jones that many of the letters to the editor seem to come from people in outer space. I could be mixed-up a little myself, my parents were conservative Democrats and my wife’s parents were very conservative, Republican Mexican-Americans and my son’s a liberal lawyer.
But overall I dare say The Big Bend Sentinel is one of the best weekly newspapers its size I’ve ever read and a heck of a lot more open minded than MSNBC.
* * * * *
The Big Bend Sentinel sets the highest standard of weekly journalistic reporting and photography in the area. A true gem. While it is compelling to respond, you lower those standards by defending and publishing the moronic rants of John Jones.
* * * * *
The Jones of Fort Davis wrote a lot of letters to the Sentinel. I found those letters to be very disrespectful. I think that letters with a disrespectful tone set a bad example and do harm to cooperative problem solving efforts. I will not miss those letters.
I am sending you a contribution to replace the income you lost in refunding their subscription fees.
I have no illusions that the Sentinel is perfect, but you do a darned good job.
* * * * *
To John and Janice Jones,
From where does your xenophobia stem?
I have yet to see you, in my estimation, make a cogent argument to justify this star-bellied sneetch mentality that you harbor regarding immigrants. Your letters comprise a collection of obtuse diatribes, sharp digression, glaring sentences in all caps and suggestions for your audience to Google random keywords, but the gravitas to be taken seriously is lacking.
You have been roped into the current Zeitgeist of your political party and are convinced that “illegal” immigrants are taking jobs from American workers. Exactly whose jobs are they taking? How many people do you know who are just dying to work excruciating hours in abysmal conditions through extreme temperatures and elements, alongside hazardous machinery, exposed to atmospheres of harmful chemicals, disease, miasma and low morale for a dehumanizing wage? How many people do you know who are willing to be mistreated by a company with a fetish for exponentially increasing their bottom line? Who exactly is willing and wishing to get exploited?
While it’s true that standards and wages may be raised by exclusively hiring “legal” workers, many corporations bypass the law in order to save money by employing “illegal” immigrants and the authorities look the other way. My point follows at which I must petition you to, as you have so often asked of us, exercise common sense and consider what just may be a stunning revelation (to you): It is illegal to hire “illegal” immigrants! The nationalist law for which you hold much reverence is being (abused) by the people who are sworn to uphold it and dole out punitions in cases of insubordination because they are in bed with these companies. Yet you have failed to produce invectives against the monuments of American fascism who hire undocumented workers (or in your parlance, “illegals”). Where is your railing against the American companies that largely aid the perpetuation of “illegal” employment? Furthermore, who is the onus on to follow the law: The uneducated, hardworking immigrant who has worked on farms his entire life and is seeking opportunity at all cost or the US corporation who is well-versed in the regulations for conducting business? The American company is obligated to deny any “illegal” worker a job and to fairly compensate “legally” employed personnel and better the conditions in which they work. This is not in their best interest, however and an angry corporation makes the very government scared.
By the way, I could rattle off a list of people whom I have known in the past and whom I know in the present who have been paid under the table and each one of those people and their employers is an American citizen.
I am also moved to mention that the surname Jones doesn’t exactly possess any intimation of Native American heritage. Since your letters are often fraught with internet statistics and Wikipedia entries, I thought I would search “Jones etymology”. I found that it is a traditionally English (particularly Welsh) surname and most American versions are derived from similar sounding last names in different languages. What can we surmise from these “internet facts”? I’d hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are the descendant(s) of immigrants.
While I’m aware that this letter will hardly be illuminating to you, I want to add that the laws of the bible do not apply to everyone. However if you insist on calling yourself a Christian and follow the bible, I have a suggestion: instead of paying obeisance to its archaic guidelines for moral living which were used to attain and maintain power by Draconian tyrants, perhaps you should opt to subscribe to the tenets of love, sharing, compassion, kindness and forgiveness with which it is teeming. I have a final question for you. It is a hypothetical situation but as a God-fearing Christian you may be able to suss out the dilemma: What would the biblical version of Jesus Christ do if he owned a ranch in a borderland and an immigrant family ended up on his land, starving and dying of thirst? Would he call the Department of Homeland Security to have them repatriated? Would he scare them off with his shotgun? Would he be terrified of them for not being able to understand their language? I doubt it. What about you?
* * * * *
For most of the 1970s and 1980s, I lived in central Florida. During many of those years every time a politician opened his mouth he (they were all male, as I recall) would espouse the merits of “cultural diversity.” I don’t know if that phrase was used elsewhere and I’m not exactly sure why it became so popular; maybe just to convince the locals that the huge influx of Cubans, Jamaicans, Haitians, other Anglos from the upper Midwest, and even New Jersey, was a good thing. Maybe the city fathers were prescient enough to nip potential racial strife in the bud, since we were not that far removed from the race riots in neighboring Alabama and other Southern states during the ’60s and early ’70s. Regardless of the why or how, “cultural diversity” as a PR campaign worked. There were no significant racial conflicts in central Florida during those decades.
But what if there had suddenly been tongue-in-cheek columns in local newspapers titled Ask a Cuban or Ask a Pole (lots of Polish descendents in the Midwest)? Well, even back then, before political correctness evolved into a concept almost as radical as Tea Party Republicans, I imagine some people would have been offended. In fact, some people seem to go out of their way to make sure they get offended. Really, would those people have only jokes about lawyers and politicians (who are mostly lawyers) deemed politically correct? Sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it?
Part of the problem in Texas, I think, is that a lot of people are scared. Especially the reigning wealthy Anglo Republicans who will soon lose their political domination to a Hispanic-majority populace. Immersed in their fear, they irrationally strike out anywhere and everywhere they can, including playing the race card. And, obviously, not just when referring to President Obama.
Anyway, it was not particularly shocking that Joe Cole called Gustavo Arellano (Ask a Mexican) a racist last week. Personally, I think Arellano is funny and his column adds another positive dimension to The Big Bend Sentinel. It’s certainly apparent that some readers need a good chuckle…only…what exactly is a gabacho? And what’s wrong with Salma Hayek’s talents…er, talent? Hmm, maybe I should ask a Mexican.
* * * * *
Every time I turn on the news and hear the words “border” or “immigration”, I am reminded of the fact that the whole country seems to be interested in what goes on in our little corner of the universe these days. Unfortunately, however, we who are residents of this border county and who care deeply about American immigration policies have been largely excluded from the national conversation.
Now, we have an opportunity to change that. As the election approaches, various candidates, both Democrat and Republican, will be holding “Meet-the-Candidate” events. Regardless of our personal political persuasions, whoever is elected will represent our voice, whether we voted for them or not. This is why it is so important that we let our voice be heard by attending as many of these events as possible.
Sometimes it is all too easy to complain when politicians do things that we do not agree with, but in fairness, we cannot expect anyone to care more about us than we care about ourselves. When a candidate shows an interest in hearing our opinions, we must not throw away the opportunity to share our concerns simply because of the R or D next to their name.
The people of Presidio County have a long history of getting to know their local candidates personally and making their choices based upon the character and actions of the individual who is running for office. We must now extend this practice to our candidates at the state and national levels, as so many of the decisions that affect us personally are made by people far away in Austin and Washington, D.C. Those candidates who do come to Presidio and Marfa show us by their actions that they are listening, but it is our responsibility to participate in the conversation by showing up at their events, asking questions, and letting them get to know us too.
* * * * *
Let’s fight back this year to the continuous claim that a Republican, in this case Ted Cruz, is the surefire next Senator from Texas. That does not have to happen. It is up to us to get out and vote and get others to vote.
While most of us would vote for the Democrat regardless, we are fortunate to have a good candidate, an experienced legislator: Paul Sadler. He will not shove a fixed ideology down our throats but instead ask us to join with him to work out important issues.
We have the power to win. We need to use it. We need to get out the vote for the Democrats. If not now, when? Let’s commit ourselves now to vote for Sadler for our new Senator, let’s insure that Democrats keep control of the U. S. Senate, and let’s tell the Tea Party that its fixed ideology is not for us, for our communities, or for our future in Texas.
Let me tell you about Paul Sadler, about his background, his experience, and what issues are important to him.
Sadler was born in 1955 in Freer, Texas (east of Laredo) and lived in various Texas locations and well as Louisiana. He now lives in Henderson, Texas (Rusk County in East Texas). He graduated from Baylor University and Baylor Law School in the late 70s and then had an active law practice including practicing in federal courts and the Supreme Court. He is married to Sherri and has five children.
He was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1990 and served there until he went back to private practice after 2002. While in the Texas House he served on a number of committees and chaired Public Education, State Revenue and Public School Finance Select Committee, and Public School Employee Health Insurance Select Committee. The Texas Monthly named him to the Ten Best List of State Legislators in 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001. He was also honored for his work by other awards.
During his return to the private sector, he worked as a bipartisan advocate for clean, affordable and abundant wind energy.
In 2012, he sought the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate, winning the run-off primary July 31, 2012
While Sadler has a number of issues of importance, four are of particular interest:
Jobs and rebuilding our economy: He believes “new energy solutions, and educated workforce, and investing in infrastructure are the keys to securing our nation’s economic future.”
Public education: He supports Public Education and demonstrated that support as a legislator.
Achieving energy independence: He has demonstrated that concern in his career and advocates renewable energy and alternative energy. He supports energy conservation.
Protecting Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care including a pledge to never play politics with women’s health issues.
Please go to his campaign website, www.sadlerforsenate.com, where there are links for the newsletter signup, to donate, more information on the issues and his background and career. Feel free to call his campaign office at (512) 914-4391. His campaign staffers are a friendly group and will help you.
Please help get Sadler’s name and information to others by passing this on to your friends and asking them to pass it on to their friends. Please help others to understand there is hope for our future. The choice is ours, we must get out and vote and assure a good future. It is up to all of us. Please help. Let’s vote for Sadler and help our state and our future.
Story filed under: West Texas Talk