Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Isla Blanca (again)

I received the following e-mail from an Island resident.

Hola Sandy - Perhaps you have an answer...complete or otherwise...regarding the seemingly lack of interest of this important local issue. (I did vote for Alderdude BTW....yet wonder why neither he nor any others have not spoken up).

This reminds me of populace's attitude in "The Emperor's Clothes"....Everyone knows that caca is taking place...yet no one will confront the issue!

I realize you have much on your plate...but thought you might know something more than is generally known.

Took the liberty of forwarding this to Fred = "former alderdude" (you know, the dude with the guts to bring Doyle wells into a BOA meeting for an agenda item on the isla blanca park contract and proposed development so that he had the chance to publicly protest the issue from his former position as Alderman. There were legal limits on how far he could go with the discussion, but i think the point was made, and agreed to by three of the other 4 alders....)

Anyway, here is Fred's response:

Based on your email to sandy feet about what you perceive to be a 'lack of interest', i am afraid that you are out of touch with all the activity going on with regards to the proposed isla blanca park development. As you know, that part of the park is out of city limits thus limiting 'official' city action, but as citizens of the county we as individuals do have a say.
Become involved.... do what many of us are doing: attend county meetings, contact your commissioners, it is a shame you have not attended the many meetings so far to get up to speed on what is currently being done, and all the activity and lobbying that already _has been done: BOA meeting, several surf rider meetings, hearings at the county commissioners court, many letters to the editor of b-ville, harlingen, port isabel and island papers, setup meetings with the developers, etc....
As for speaking out, this issue was raised in both candidate forums and a radio talk show, and all candidates spoke in opposition. There were various levels of opposition, but all were against the hotel portion.

Hopefully you have a save isla blanca bumper sticker to state your position against private development of public property.

If you truly do want to help, start by emailing Faith at to get the date of the next surfrider meeting or event in opposition to the development. The county web site has the meeting agendas posted so that you can watch for agenda items regarding the development (though most are in executive (closed) session).


(this is lucinda again) -- and in case you aren't on the surfrider mail list - this just came in from Faith:

From: Pedro Ballesteros
Subject: Great meeting
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2006 07:58:21 -0500

Hey everybody. Welcome to the movement. It's going to keep spreading and growing. Like an avalanche...

What a great meeting we had Sunday. Even though most of us were meeting for the first time, we made a big decision right then and there. A billboard! Now that's action. Thanks to the folks who suggested it and started up with their donations. We are looking into the cost etc. and I'll get back to ya'll about the p.o. box to which you can send donations. You will also be able to send petitions to that address.

Here's what excited me the most about our meeting. We had people from all over the Valley! We are connecting with each other at last and now we are really going to start making some noise. What we need is for everyone from Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, and the rest of the Valley to tell people in their communities, churches, schools, work, etc. This is a Valley issue, after all, much more than an Island issue. As the Island gets more and more crowded with buildings, there are fewer and fewer places for Valley residents to come and park and enjoy their island. This is a public park. We are the public. Let's fight for our park.

This whole movement has really been a grassroots, word-of-mouth effort. I talk to someone, and she talks to someone else and it just spreads. Letters to the editors, county judge and commissioners are a huge help. Even just coming to a meeting, putting a bumper sticker on your car or filling out a petition helps this effort to grow. Whatever small or large role you want to play in this, it will make a difference!

Here are some action ideas:
1. Media. This may mean putting together photos and info packets to take to campuses and places where we set up an information table. It can also be coming up with ideas and/or designs for public service announcements, print campaigns, etc. Petitions, bumper stickers, fliers. Maybe you know how to put together a slick ad. Whatever ideas or skills you have are valuable.

2. Fund raising/financial. Got a knack for raising money? Here's a great place to use it.

3. Legal. Some of you are skilled at studying legal documents. Or maybe you have a friend who is an attorney who would be interested in researching the legality of this issue. Maybe you saw a phone number for some organization that fights for the rights of the public. Give them a call. You never know what call or conversation will lead to something big. You could call the county judge and pester him to let us see the new contract before it is signed. Pestering county officials is always helpful. (Just don't believe anything they tell you.)

4. Political. This could be going to Cameron County Commissioners Court meetings, researching candidates to see where they stand on this park issue, or where our state reps stand on gambling issues, etc. Becoming a voter registrar so we can have campaigns to get people registered to vote AND fighting this issue. (Elections are in November.) And, once again, pestering county officials is always helpful.

A lot of this movement is just about each of us taking initiative and doing some little thing. Whatever thing you think of doing to save our park, do it. You never know how the small stuff will snowball into that avalanche.

And let's not forget to have fun! That's what we love about Isla Blanca Park. We have fun there. Heck, I had a blast at the meeting Sunday. I'd like to see us get together at the Dolphin Cove or somewhere just to hang out and enjoy that beautiful place. The more we get together and communicate, the more we get excited about this thing.

We've got three fund-raising issues to work on: bumper stickers, more petitions, and the billboard. Keep thinking, planning, and scheming. Contact me via email or phone (956)772-9828 for info, questions, ideas etc. And here are links to 3 important websites:

for the latest news check out the Island Breeze

the Cameron County Commissioners Court agenda

Thanks again, everyone, for showing up and getting involved. I can't wait to see what we all can do together.
Faith Ballesteros



Blogger Sam said...

Perhaps there has been a lull (except for Faith's actions!) because the developer was supposed to propose a new design and the County was supposed to renegotiate a new deal, and to our knowledge, nothing has officially happened.


Without having the design, facts, contracts, and maybe subcontracts there is little one can do about all the hand wringing and arm waving.

What Faith and others are trying to do is to spread the word up the Valley. Most seem surprised to learn that such a thing could even be considered. Not much else to do until the "fit hits the shan." Regards /sam

9:19 PM  

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