CONSIDER THIS: Why Prioritizing is San Benito’s Kryptonite

Managing Editor

Michael Rodriguez

Michael Rodriguez

If I was forced to choose one thing that I believe is the culprit for all the controversy that has plagued San Benito over the last several years, I’d identify a misguided sense of prioritizing — characterized by our leadership’s lack of focus, professionalism and rationale — as our kryptonite. Bar none.

Consider this: When interviewing city or school district officials from San Benito about whatever the latest scandal may be, more than half the time I find myself fielding questions about why, how or where we retrieved the information. Such a reaction is a clear indication that the person sitting across from me, or — if I’m making a call — the person on the other end of the phone line, is more concerned with their community newspaper’s intentions when reporting the news (yes, I find that funny as well as it is absurd), the public’s perception of the problem rather than the problem itself and, not to mention, suppressing the self-described whistleblowers who risk much to be voices for the voiceless.

I’ve even been asked by elected officials to reveal tipsters’ identities, which is reprehensible. Granted, these conversations are often cordial, but they always end the same way: with me protecting my sources and revealing nothing. Is it then any wonder why most people who do come to us with story ideas and concerns choose to do so from a position of anonymity?

Take, for instance, a certain school district administrator who recently tried to intimidate me by lecturing the supposed illegalities of revealing executive session discussions. This person was a bit confused as to what the law actually dictates and whether the media should unconditionally respect closed-door talks, the latter of which can be answered with a simple “no,” we should not. Depending on the nature of the story, public awareness supersedes unnecessary secrecy. If certain information is revealed to us through means we consider substantiated, then that information is fair game. Of course, we do implement good judgment when assigning stories, but that’s up to us to decide as opposed to the sources in our pieces.

In another case of misspent energy, a city leader’s recent accusation that I was “blackballing” San Benito for running an article about the town’s 2013 sales tax collections remaining stagnant, and thus becoming one of only a few other communities in the Rio Grande Valley to post no significant gains, proved quite telling. Sales tax receipts are arguably the best indication of a city’s economic health, and if publishing the numbers rattled the higher-ups, then that’s a serious problem. I can’t help but wonder if as much time and energy were spent on identifying, addressing and resolving matters of concern as they were on accosting reporters, maybe there wouldn’t be “bad news” to report. To put it another way, don’t worry about what we’re doing at the News; worry instead about what you’re doing so you don’t become the news.

I must say that I’m not too optimistic about San Benito’s immediate future if this is how our elected officials and the leaders of our local municipality and school district respond to daily challenges. To the people I’m referring to, I ask that you please reprioritize. Focus on the chaos that is now our city rather than worrying about the public perception of said chaos; respond to media inquiries professionally so as to exhibit strength when faced with scrutiny; remove reporters from your crosshairs and target that which piqued the media’s interest and curiosity in the first place. Remember, your tenures will come and go, but the citizens of San Benito will remain long after the impact of your leadership is felt. So take better care of what kind of city you’re leaving behind, because it belongs to all of us.

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    • No Peel on April 9, 2014 at 11:19 am
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    CLASSIC! One of the funnier comments I’ve read on here for a while. And there have been many!

    • Houston on April 9, 2014 at 9:40 am
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    For the record, my first comment wasn’t on the side of the “4”, the “3”, Mr. TT, or Mr. PP. Go back and read it. It was addressing the problem that is the SBCISD School Board, voting, and change. The fact that certain readers get defensive to certain comments is “extremely interesting”, “just plain ridiculous and idiotic”, “a total disaster”, etc…

    For the record, all 7 should go. No sides hear. All have been given a chance. All 7 have been given years, some more than others. The inability to work together is reason enough to get rid of them all. Pointing fingers and accusing the other of this and that can go on and on, as it does with the supporters.

    As far as the Limon ordeal goes, all 7 dropped the ball on that one. How much have all 7 board members cost the district and taxpayers cause of their inabilities?

    And to close, as if the 7 haven’t done enough damage to the district and city, what about the 8th board member. -itching about skunks and booster clubs and money, he’s costing/has cost the district the same amount of money, if not more.

      • Higher on April 9, 2014 at 10:47 am
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      Houston: now your making great sense and I must admit I’m wondering if your the true Houston.
      Well said!

        • Houston on April 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm
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        The SBN/Editor can confirm that it is indeed me, has been all this time, the one and only, Houston.

        We’ll see if the SBCISD School Board Space Voyage will survive or continue to crash and burn. Only time will tell.

    • Houston on April 9, 2014 at 9:26 am
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    They’re sandals sweetheart. Sandals!

    Go Yliana Go!

  1. @ Higher and Suppprter,
    I find it extremely interesting that these (T)-medrano supporters go to the lengths to try to discredit candidates or incumbents not on their side… It’s just plain ridiculous and idiotic! For example, let’s focus on Medranos educational record once again, folks there’s non.. Let me make my self clear, just because you step foot on a college campus doesn’t mean you attended it.. It a total joke and disrespect to the taxpayers and voters of our town that this Board Member would intentionally lie to you guys. What else as he lied about is the question? Anyway it’s time for a change and Mr.Papas will easily beat Medrano because he stands on his own two feet and his honest!!! Bottom line!!!! I agree vote ” smart “

      • Houston on April 9, 2014 at 9:25 am
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      Keep It Really,

      I totally agree with your questioning of attending college. I do not,however, know what it is you are asking (or trying to imply). Are you saying/implying that Medrano isn’t educated? June? Fatima? Julian?

  2. @ Houston
    I can’t speak for Mr. Lopez but what I can tell you, is that he stands for himself and won’t be manipulated by no one. It’s simple, go ask his supporters they won’t shy away from answering or expressing their support for Mr.Lopez. I don’t believe in 4-3 split stuff but it’s very obvious why there will always be a split unless the minority – Anna Cruz and Oscar get their slate in office.. That will be a total disaster that’s for sure!!! Houston we got a major problem!!!! Go ” smart choice “

    • Supporter 100 on April 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm
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    @ Houston, IT’s MR. PAPAS…



    • Olivia on April 8, 2014 at 11:59 am
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    @ Houston, you target cewrtain board members which only means one thing, you are on the other side (T) why dont you ask about past corruption within the board members??? Medrano, Tumberlison, and De La Fuente.. ask them how they have misused the schools money. These new school board members are trying to clean up all the mess they made that was kept hush hush for years. Now that the tables have turned there seems to be an issue.
    Medrano and Mendez are both under (T’s) spell! Why dont you think Rodriguez, Weaver and Aguirre are no longer apart of the T’s corruption, they have OPENED their eyes. It’s sad when you get recruited and promised so many things then get told that you need to step DOWN from runnin for school board because this is NOT YOUR YEAR… When is the right time? Is there ever a right time? On another note, I can understand that each and every board member serves a purpose on the board and once that time has run out or comes to an end is normal. But when you have a candidate who is so DETERMINED to stay on the board then it becomes a little suspicious as to why..Why does Medrano (T) want to stay on the board so bad? He’s served around 8 years already.. IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!!! There’s so much going on with the band booster and quarter back club and from what I have gathered Medrano is apart of that. NICE! We sure need someone like that on our school board.
    You speak of Huerta’s family getting promotions within the school district, well, why don’t you ask Medrano who works for thw school district and if she/he should even be there. If that’s such an issue, why don’t we take a look at Limon’s wife and he was super for many years…. You speak of Mr.Lopez’s age, what does age have to do with it? He is a very educated, family orientated man. Furthermore, if I am not mistaken Medrano was younger than Mr. Lopez when he was elected into being a board member.

    The city of San Benito is finally opening their eyes and realizing that the ones doing the school harm are all under the spell of (T)…..

    May can’t come soon enough…


    • Houston on April 8, 2014 at 11:30 am
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    Higher power,
    I give her too much credit? She deserves it. She gets things done. They might not be things that you or I agree with, but she gets things done. At least she doesn’t bow down or answer to anybody. What makes Mr. Potato a “strong candidate”?

    So if I’m talking “crap”, that means that Lopez isn’t tied to Yliana or Chuy? Can you at least answer that question (since you didn’t answer the questions from my previous comment)?

      • Supporter on April 8, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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      @ Houston, IT’S MR. PAPAS…..

      GO PAPAS GO!


      • Higher on April 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm
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      Ha Ha! Again, if san benito’s minority board members don’t get what they want they always resort to childish tactics. Mr. Papas is not a follower of Illegaliana or Chuy. You must not know Mr. Lopez, because if you did, you would know that he is not a manupalitive man or does not “bow down to anyone”! He is a very educated and credible individual, but again you all resort to hateful and childish tactics. One thing is for sure- the man is running a clean and respectful campaign.

      Look out because I’m sure him and his huge crowd will be campaigning again this weekend. Mr. Lopez is my choice!!!!!

  3. @houston
    It’s very obvious you don’t now these poeple and just talk crap.. Typical so called ” minority ” supporter! Total joke.. But I still stand for what I said ” smart choice” you got that right!!!

    • Houston on April 8, 2014 at 8:06 am
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    What does short term memory loss have to do with corrupt board members? One, I didn’t state whether the board was corrupt or not corrupt. I did however agree with a previous comment. I did state that voting certain people out and replacing them with certain people doesn’t necessarily fix the problem within the school board. If the problem is in fact corruption then so be it. But I say again, I did not state whether the board was corrupt or not corrupt. By the looks of your statement, you read my statement and apparently must have looked into the fact that I didn’t mention all board members. By the looks of your statement, you are clearly defending Huerta and Lopez. And that’s fine. You have every right too. As do I. Tell me its not true that Huerta and Lopez aren’t under spell of Chuy and Yliana. Tell me its not true. June, I won’t even get into that conversation. She is her dad’s daughter. Its a shame she doesn’t have her own voice, but she’s just doing what her dad says. Doesn’t justify any of her actions, but does make it understandable. But short term memory loss? Really? High five to you. I lost a grandfather and an uncle to Alzheimer’s. So don’t use memory loss as your punch line. You can use the following as your punch line:

    Huerta – Does as Yliana and Chuy wish. The one thing he was going to get credit for, according to him, was the hiring of the AD/HC. We all saw how that played out. He made a joke of the AD/HC hiring process.
    June – That’s a no brainer. You want to talk about shame. A true Webster definition.
    Lopez – Papas? You’re 30 something years old. Grow up mijito. Will do what Yliana and Chuy wish. Already is.

    Sounds like a “smart choice”.

      • Higher power on April 8, 2014 at 9:37 am
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      You give Yliana too much credit. She does not have control over anyone much less Papas. Like you say- he’s a grown man and can make decisions on his own. As far as I know Yliana is so arrogant and self absorbed to want to have a strong candidate like Mr. Papas take the attention from her. I agree that she must go but please don’t credit that girl with controlling anyone.

      • Higher power on April 8, 2014 at 9:46 am
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      @ Houston. You give Illegaliana too much credit. Believe me, as you mention- Mr. Papas is a grown man and can make decisions on his own. Illegaliana is too self absorbed and arrogant to want to have a strong candidate like Mr. Papas on the board. That person ( Illegaliana) needs to go!

  4. @ Houston
    It’s unfortunate that you apparently have short term memory loss, because the previous board members and current ones are extremely corrupt. Boards members have profited at the expense of our children. Shame on those board members and they know and the public knows who they are and unfortunately there’s a few 3 on the board still. All that will change come May 10 and the focus moving forward will be on the children and if not, we’ll have to change the board in 3 years again. People will vote smart – Huerta, Lopez, June , and Benavides those are your smart choices and if you do think so you’ll see what you get for the next 3 years..

    • Sun Tzu on April 7, 2014 at 3:34 pm
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    Sounds like a good job for you to do.

    • WeThePeople on April 7, 2014 at 11:45 am
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    Watch the ballot boxes! In SB there is a long history of ‘stuffing the ballot boxes’ and scamming with the mail-in ballots. The bad guys should also remember that the night has a thousand eyes.

    “Know thy enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.” – ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu

    • Houston on April 7, 2014 at 8:02 am
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    Houston we have a problem.

    Alvarez, I totally agree with what you say. The problem is voting to get them out doesn’t necessarily solve the problem because the person put in to replace the problem could potentially be part of the problem as well. It’s not a secret that Huerta is affiliated with the corruption and negative energy that is Yliana and Chuy. Huerta had family promoted within the district. Yliana had family promoted within the district. All three have profited off the district. If Huerta gets voted out, but Medrano gets voted out too, and is replaced with Lopez (affiliated with the corruption and negative energy that is Yliana and Chuy), the problem the school board has technically still exists. Hence the expression: Chuy Papas. And I don’t think many people around this neck of the woods are fans of chewy potatoes.

    • leighanna alvarez on April 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm
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    ** I understand everyone’s fustration, if that is the case why are the people you have just mentioned still in office?** Why isnt anyone using their energy to get people out of office and bring order to this once adorable peaceful friendly non-bickering town? VOTE TO GET THEM OUT !! ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!!!

    • Tejano68 on April 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm
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    The future of our city is in the voters actions. If they like the way the city is and this is the type of city that they want for their children then vote for the incumbents. BUT if you want BETTER, If you want CHANGE, then vote for the new candidates: Celeste, Shirley and Joe. We owe it to our children to leave a better city. The present incumbents have been there for six years and we saw the sales tax report. Our city is STAGNANT. Voters, only you can make the difference. Vote for accountability, vote for transparency and vote for prosperity,: Michael’s editorial should awaken a sleeping giant. Do we want thugs? Do we want to be intimidated for speaking the truth? Please, Please ACT now and ask all your friends, strangers and relatives to vote for a new direction of our city. Vote for Growth. Please read Michael’s editorial over and over and until you can feel the tyranny that has invaded our town. Please let us remove tyranny from our Beautiful City of San Benito.

    • BIG MESS on April 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm
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    @Memo Rodriguez and ReformSanBenito2.
    I agree with you guys 100%. In all my years as a resident of this town I have NEVER seen the corruption this bad with the police department. It even scares me to have to be faced with any an officer for a simple citation.
    The corruption in our city and school reminds me a bit of the way things are done in Mexico. These are very scary and dangerous times, I think!

    I pray and hope things get better because as of now it seems like all is lost!!

    • WeThePeople on April 1, 2014 at 8:49 am
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    Great work, Mr. Editor. One of your best in a while. The fact that you had so much grief just for informing the public where the city has failed to move forward, is a bit scary. It appears we have people running the City that rule through fear and intimidation.This won’t stand for long.

    “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” –
    Maximilien Robespierre

    • Frank on March 30, 2014 at 10:34 pm
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    “To put it another way, don’t worry about what we’re doing at the News; worry instead about what you’re doing so you don’t become the news.”- Nice, Michael! Kudos!

    • ReformSanBenito2 on March 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm
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    @Memo Rodriguez

    My thoughts exactly about Mr. Editor digging into the dealings and workings of the SBPD. I have been dealt many blows by this arrogant department that lacks transparency. Mr. Editor, I would love to sit and discuss with you what I have been dealing with because of the actions of this police department.

  5. Who do the city official think they are a bunch of GANGSTERS. My vote is for CELESTE,RODRIGEZ AND VEGA.The time is here for the big change.The POLICE DEPT. I HEAR IS VERY CORRUPT OFFICERS can’t even say anything or they risk the chance of getting FIRED.WHAT ever happened to the JUDGE’S INVESTIGATION? What happened to ASSISTANT CHIEF’S M.GALVAN’S INVESTIGATION? What happened to ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER’S INVESTIGATION? It all smells like CORRUPTION TO ME. I think an outside AGENCY SHOULD INVESTIGATE. MR. EDITOR MAYBE YOU SHOULD INVESTIGATE. CAN’T WAIT FOR ELECTIONS.

    • Colleen on March 28, 2014 at 11:37 pm
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    When a person decides to “go on the record” and use their real name the fallout can be harsh. Hind sight being 20/20 I personally see why people choose not to use their name. People are more worried about who told you or how did you find out then the information. From the way people are treated who use their name I think more and more are going to hide. Your job is hard and should be respected when you choose not to reveal a source.

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