CONSIDER THIS: In the Interest of Professionalism

Managing Editor

Michael Rodriguez

Michael Rodriguez

Apparently, a smile and a handshake can cost you dearly in San Benito.

While wishing all the candidates well at the San Benito CISD John F. Barron Administration Building on Election Day, I encountered familiar behavior from individuals whose shenanigans are often exposed: immaturity.

In the interest of professionalism, I attempted to be cordial with Jesus “Chuy” Aguilera and SBCISD Board President Yliana González while they were awaiting the results of the Election at the administration building on Saturday. Smiling and with my hand extended, I said, “Hi” – this in hopes that, despite our recent disagreements, González and Aguilera would not dismiss the opportunity to be debonair. Well, I was wrong.

González turned away when I attempted to shake her hand while Aguilera and his nephew uttered, “Don’t come here shaking our hands,” or something to that effect. Still, I have to hand it to Aguilera and his nephew… at least they spoke to me. It was González – you know, the Board President, an elected official, the figurehead of an academic institution that’s responsible for the education of our children – who surprised me by spurning a reporter’s attempt to engage in (gasp) professional behavior.

To make matters worse, Aguilera’s nephew – a fellow who I still consider a friend – had to be restrained by his uncle. Otherwise, my “friend” may have attempted to take a swing at me.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a reporter doesn’t feel safe at a public place – a school district administration building, no less. Granted, I appreciated Aguilera stepping in since González appeared unfazed and eerily cold. But what would have occurred if Chuy wasn’t there to stop the situation from escalating? Would I have been attacked? Would my wife, who now fears for my safety after witnessing the ordeal, have spent the night in a hospital to watch over her battered and bruised husband?

I have no qualms admitting that I wouldn’t have stood a chance in a fight. Consider the fact that I’m not a fighter and hold no desire to cause harm to any person unless my life or the lives of those I love are threatened. This is how I was raised, to respect life and never endanger the safety of others. My instincts are therefore rooted in finding peaceful resolutions to matters that would otherwise create havoc.

I suppose this is why my response to the immaturity exhibited by González, Aguilera and his nephew that evening was to ask, “Really?” before wishing them well and parting with a genuine “God bless.”

Since this incident occurred, I’ve grappled over whether I should even pen this column. With so much transpiring now in San Benito, after all, it’s not as though there’s a shortage of topics. The decisive factor that prompted me to address the matter is the same thing that drives me in my career: public awareness.

With that understood, I’d like to offer the following as an attempt at intimacy. Yes, these individuals’ disdain for me is quite evident, but what’s unfortunate is while some of these very people happen to espouse the Word of God when they’re not accosting reporters, they do so while forgetting key components of Christianity: that we are called to love one another; to turn the other cheek; to advocate for truth and the dissemination of said truth; and to “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice … Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Although I’m not attempting to ignite a theological debate, it’s worthy noting that my intentions when offering them my hand derived from forgiveness of their treatment of me and this publication. Sadly, it’s abundantly clear that they’re not ready for such progression of character. Regardless, I’ll be waiting when they are ready… with a smile on my face and a hand extended.

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    • Esther Martinez on May 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm
    • Reply

    So funny, I have no intention on going through my entire life story to please you “fake person”
    But I will say this, don’t be a coward, hididng behind your little phone trying to comment on me and pretend you know a single thing about me. Seems to me you all enjoy dramatic events, you do all of the above your asking me to do. Practice what you preach lady!
    My hobbies include: taking selfies and being on facebook.haha!
    Chuy doesn’t need a clan, in the comments I posted was directed to a hand shake article, what I’m saying is for every action there is a reaction, and if they didn’t want to shake his hand get over that’s dramatic!
    So to you two hopless souls get over it, I’d love to meet you so we can clear up your false thoughts about me. Even though neither of you deserve it, but I’d still like to show you all my accomplishments..besides when did this article become about me,, ignorant people!! And yes I have a beautiful life,!!

    • We Was Rockin on May 20, 2014 at 9:45 am
    • Reply

    once a zorrillo, always a zorrillo

    • Amanda on May 20, 2014 at 7:55 am
    • Reply

    Oh boy , you couldn’t be more right that lady is and always will be in the towns drama and a BULLY !

    • OH BOY on May 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm
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    Wow just wow Chuys clan is everywhere I saw all your comments on FB Esther Martinez is just as bad as Chuy and the biggest drama queen ever always wanting to be involved where ever there is DRAMA , is that her middle name ? The whole town is always jealous ,attacking her not physical verbal , coping her ideas and what so not OH YES CHUY CLAN ALLOVER HER FACE ! Lady get a hobby counting cars on expressway is not one by the way go volunteer some where and not just once a year to post a pic on facebook make it a habit since you love taking pictures go to the nursing homes pretty up the ladies take pics of them do something for the community not just YOU all the time keep occupied in your life not in others ! As for the nephew he is a whole other story !

    • Rianne Fontanot on May 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm
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    Well written editorial and excellent comment by Daniel Rodriguez.

    • Old Maintenance worker on May 17, 2014 at 5:15 pm
    • Reply

    The soon to be former board president was never about children. Her main concern was always the maintenance and cafeteria departments where her parents worked. She made life miserable for the maintenance director that took over over her father’s best friend. Almost daily she would complain to the superintendent about something wrong in the maintenance department. She wanted daddy to be second in command. The superintendent stopped listening to her nonsense and it eventually got him suspended. Mr. Editor, you took the high road… you are trying to be at peace with everyone.

    • Daniel Rodriguez on May 17, 2014 at 11:22 am
    • Reply

    Michael, it’s fallen human nature to despise those we feel are a threat to our desires. It is an evidence of maturity when we can separate the issues of our disagreements from our carnal, emotional feelings. It is Christian character to be kind and even “love our enemies” [by speaking and dealing in truth]. I applaud your willingness to keep extending the hand even to those who at first rebuffed it. D R

    • Milo Esquivel on May 17, 2014 at 11:18 am
    • Reply

    It is not the 1st time the Nephew tries to attack or make threats at someone. He called me up and threatened me once back during election time in 2012 for posting some facts about 2 Board members. I guess him boasting about being 6’2′ and 280 lbs would scare me into submission. I am not into street fighting anymore but I also do not believe in someone attempting to bully me so I did not stand down. He then taunted me on the day of election at the firehouse where I decided to pullover and see what his deal was. He walked over to where I had parked. I did not know what he was going to do, as I was by myself, but I figured I would give him the opportunity to do what he wanted to try and accomplish. I just didn’t want him to think that he could bully whoever he wanted. I’m not sure if it was that he knew me growing up or what but he just spoke to me and we agreed to disagree. Needless to say the outcome was not at all what I expected considering the way he spoke to me on the phone. He was much bigger than me but after 13 yrs in the Marine Corps and two tours to Iraq you learn that sometimes the only way is to stare fear in the face. He has also threatened a good friend of mine recently by calling him at his work place. This bullying has got to stop. I may have confronted him but how many out there has he threatened and done the same to that were not willing to stand up for themselves. I try my best not to going around fighting and would only do something if I am attacked. That’s also because I was Martial Arts Instructor with a 1st Degree Black Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts and was also an MMA fighter so I could be able to defend myself. The problem lies in those who are not able to defend themselves or are willing to go to the police. I know I would not report him or press charges because in Texas there is such a thing as Mutual Combat. I am sorry for what happened to you and as part of a News organization it is not your job to be popular but rather report the news as it is. I applaud you on your hard work and professionalism. The best way to combat the bullying in this case would simply be to boycott his uncles store. (I will leave it nameless to preserve some professionalism in the midst of lack there of.)

      • Reform San Benito on May 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm
      • Reply

      Milo, that is the key to these bullies — they’re all bluff and no heart. They figure they can intimidate whomever they want by their size. A lot of people in this town, who haven’t been where you’ve been, fall for that crap. So many good people in this town just want to live in peace w/o the crap, get bullied. Only way to deal with a bully is bully him back. You pulling over challenged him and eliminated his false bravado. Good for you, Milo!

    • Shocked and Appalled on May 17, 2014 at 2:20 am
    • Reply

    Mr. Editor, it seems you are again extending your hand to people who have no intentions of ever reciprocating. It is a sad day when one cannot simply say, “No thank you,” to a hand shake instead of being ridiculously immature and disrepectful. Still, I applaud you for trying … again.

    Yliana González, don’t sit there and wonder why people have such harsh opinions about you when you choose to act the way you do. No one else is making you look immature, irrational, and disrespectful but you. Take responsibility for that, learn from it, and move on.

    As for Chuy’s nephew, wow, just wow. A fight? (And if I may borrow the word you used Mr. Editor) Really? You are a grown man, time to realize you are not in grade school anymore and you can go to jail for your actions. And what could you gain from it? Oh look, I just beat up an Editor of a newspaper (no offense, Mr. Editor), but that’s not exactly something to brag about. Furthermore, thank you to Chuy for having a level head in that moment and stopping the situation before it went too far.

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