Letters to the editor


To Rod Ponton, Presidio City Attorney; Joe Portillo, Presidio City Administrator; Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., President, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Dean, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, TTUHSC El Paso; Aksh Patel, Director, Corporate Development, Tenet Healthcare; Patrick Kennedy, CEO, TransPecos Banks

Re: Microhospital Development in Presidio;

Dear gentlemen,

Thank you for your current efforts to establish a microhospital in Presidio, Texas. Presidio is a growing city on the U.S.-Mexico border, and the State of Texas is making substantial infrastructure investments, including new bridges, a railroad bridge, port, and highway upgrades, to develop and promote it as a major trade corridor.

As you may be aware, my Senate district (TX SD 29) includes five counties: El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, and Presidio. The four rural counties in TX SD 29 are some of the most sparsely populated areas in the state, and residents of these counties face significant challenges accessing health care services.

Although the City of Presidio is the largest in the county, residents do not have access to care beyond a single primary care clinic. Residents must travel more than a hundred miles to Alpine in Brewster County, 230 miles to Odessa, or more than 250 miles to El Paso for any specialty care or emergency services. Notably, although the Texas Medical Board indicates that there are three licensed direct care physicians in Presidio County, there are no full-time physicians in the City of Presidio. The development of a microhospital in Presidio would also help residents in other parts of TX SD 29 where only one direct care physician is licensed in Jeff Davis, Culberson, and Hudspeth counties. In addition to the dearth of physicians, these four rural counties do not have any licensed psychiatrists or general dentists. It is my hope that this new partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Tenet Healthcare will help improve access to mental and dental health care in the region.

This lack of access to health services has resulted in high rates of chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases; high costs associated with preventable hospitalizations and re-admissions; and low utilization of preventative care and screenings. Access to care barriers identified include travel distance to access neonatal, pediatric and cardiac care as well as screening sites, physical rehabilitation, and long-term care. A microhospital in Presidio will go a long way to improving residents’ health as well as ensuring more timely access to emergency services, potentially saving lives.

In closing, I fully support the development of a microhospital in Presidio, which is long overdue. As the State Senator for Presidio, you have my commitment to assist in this endeavor. Thank you once again for your continued efforts, and please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.

Jose Rodriguez, State Senator

District 29

El Paso


Follow the Russian Money,

Trying to figure out why on earth the Trumpster would have removed the US from the multinational agreement that is working very well to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, I heard some discussion that made a lot of sense: His Russian handlers wanted the price of oil to rise. The lifting of sanctions on Iran under the agreement put Iranian oil in the market, particularly in the US. Down went the price of oil worldwide. Up went the move to clean, renewable energy. Reinstate US sanctions and up goes oil prices. Climate change? Forgedaboudit.

John McCain said, “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” Some have said it’s more like an oil barrel, but proper credits go to McCain anyway. So even though Russia is a party to the Iranian agreement, they want the price of oil to rise. They know that Iran is unlikely to return to developing nuclear weapons – under the separate nonproliferation agreement Iran has agreed not to do so.

Russia gets a twofer in US removal from the agreement, because it also fractures the relationship between the US and Europe which increases Russian power in the region. So who else wants oils prices up? The US fossil fuelers and climate change deniers. We have Trump to thank for our higher prices at the pump. The last time we had a major recession it was preceded by a limitation in the supply of oil and a spike in prices for consumers. Let’s call this gas price spike “Trump’s tax” and pray that we don’t have the “Trump Recession” coming soon.

So, here’s why he did it:

* Please and empower his owners in Russia by boosting their profits (to trickle down on him?)

* Increase oil profits for the Koch brothers and other US fossil fuel suppliers

* Stall progress on the move to renewable energy

* Please his buddy Netanyahu who seeks increased tensions in the Middle-East (why Bibi wants that is another mystery but the answer may lie in his own corruption)

* Roll back the legacy of President Obama. Remember him? He’s the one who, with empathy, grace, dignity and humor, was making America truly great and respected around the world. The tin-pot dictator Trump can’t handle that.

Mary Bell Lockhart Alpine


About the May 14th TxDOT “meeting” in Alpine and likely those scheduled in Fort Stockton, Marfa, and Presidio: Meeting? That assumes a discussion among various parties. It was a very slick presentation by their Houston based consultants, but no. It wasn’t a “meeting” by any stretch of the imagination. If they turned the Civic Center temperature below 32 degrees the “snow storm” would have stuck to the floor.

It was like an exhibition hall at the State Fair, with various exhibits at ‘stations’ to visit and folks guiding you from place to place or claiming to help interpret the various posters and maps. Told by several consultants, oh no, it’s not Entrada. Really? While improving the roads, might as well move the nuclear waste down here, too.

The last time an exhibit was as deceptive was the “Fallout Shelter — How to Survive” at the Erie County (NY) County Fair. I walked in to learn about fallout shelters popular during the 1960s. After turning an inside corner, it was a Scientology display staffed with ardent recruiters and literature, but having nothing to do with physical survival!

When an organization is as deceptively “cute” as that, the level of their integrity has been sufficiently displayed. Prudence dictates walking … no, running away from them and it as quickly as possible!!

This is the “Field of Dreams” of projects. Don’t tell us that if it’s built … they “won’t” come! Do we have to trace the donor trail from the last effort at ramming this through to today’s better, but slicker presentation?

Anyone who has watched the first season of that USA network show Colony will see right through the TXDOT, I mean alien invaders real efforts. They aren’t pretending to be sweet in order to make things nice for the humans.

Admit it. US 67 from Presidio to Midland-Odessa is pretty nice as our roads go. Deaths, casualties are a very tragic reality. But widen the road to accommodate this TXDOT master plan? Come on now. Here’s how to cut down on fatalities without opening it to more 18 wheelers and less safe vehicles coming up from Mexico at the Presidio crossing: 1) Prevent mountain fog at certain times of the year’ 2) Keep up with road paint and or neon markings for lanes, curves, etc; 3) Get Texans to drive at the posted speed limits or not 30 mph under; 4) Get us to stop being distracted drivers; 5) Install deer guards on ALL vehicles driving at night and scoops for the javelina.

Am I against progress? No, just against “progress” being defined as someone else’s idea of what’s good for them economically. If traffic patterns warrant, add more lane passing opportunities, rest areas and places for slower vehicles to pull over allowing the conga line behind to pass.

Thanks, but no thanks to TXDOT and it’s Houston “consultants”! Then, TXDOT can turn their attention to the unnatural disasters of US 67 from McCamey to San Angelo; and others in the larger oil patch network of roads, where fracking also opened the route to big haulers making the drives behind slow moving large trucks a debris and dust nightmare.

Anyone without a stone hurled cracking their front window or dinging the paint? Good! TXDOT would NOT like to hear from you!

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah