In Texas, an Emerging Problem for Democrats on the Border

first_imgMr. Trump defeated Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Texas, winning a more narrow victory than he had in 2016 but winning nonetheless. Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, won re-election. Wendy Davis lost again, one of several Democrats who tried and failed to grab Republican-controlled congressional seats. A push to flip the Texas House foundered, as Republicans held on to their majority. – Advertisement – Many residents in this part of Texas have strong Christian, anti-abortion, pro-gun and back-the-blue views that put them more in line with conservatives than liberals, and in Zapata, there is a strong sense among his supporters that Mr. Trump will bring jobs to the economically struggling region.In a brief exchange during the final presidential debate, Mr. Biden had said he would “transition from the oil industry” because of its pollution, a remark that did not go unnoticed by Zapata residents, including Yvette Gutierrez De Leon, 56, who is a secretary for an oil-field services company and who voted for Mr. Trump.“At the end of the day, in the little bit of oil field that is still left, if it goes away tomorrow our county will go away,” Ms. De Leon said. “Oil is all we have here.”Isela Gonzalez-Lindquist, 42, a saleswoman at a Laredo mattress store, said she voted for Mr. Trump even though she was opposed to his plans to extend the border wall in the area, because she believed it would hurt wildlife and infringe on the rights of property owners.“I want to convey that he is not perfect and we know that, but he is the best candidate for the job,” she said. “I like Trump’s grit and that he’s not a career politician.”James Dobbins reported from Zapata, and Manny Fernandez from Houston. David Montgomery contributed reporting from Austin, Texas. ZAPATA, Texas — Democrats spent years focusing on how they could finally win Texas. But since Tuesday’s election, they have been wrestling with a more pressing question: How did they lose Zapata County?In the reliably Democratic and majority-Hispanic stronghold of South Texas, Zapata County, population 14,179, had never been a political bellwether. It is a largely rural border community on a narrow stretch of the Rio Grande between Laredo and McAllen, home to oil-field workers and one of the highest poverty rates in Texas.- Advertisement – Mitt Romney lost Zapata County in 2012 by 43 percentage points. Donald J. Trump lost it in 2016 by 33. Ted Cruz lost it in 2018 by 26. On Tuesday, President Trump reversed many years of political history, including his own, and won Zapata County by 5 percentage points. “Why should I apologize for it? I’m not going to apologize anymore. Just because the president wants people to come into the country the right way, it doesn’t make him a racist. He’s not a racist and neither am I.”- Advertisement – Mexican-American families have called Brownsville, McAllen, Edinburg and other Rio Grande Valley cities home not for years but for generations. They identify with their Mexican roots just across the river but identify just as strongly with America. At the formal southern line of the nation, patriotism intensifies, and many an American flag waves in yards and on porches. Young Mexican-American men and women eagerly sign up to become Border Patrol agents. Often, their older relatives and neighbors worked for Border Patrol, and they are proud to do so, too, ignoring the perception of the agency among immigrant families elsewhere in the country. Many Trump voters in Zapata know one another, and they have formed an unofficial booster club and support group. It includes Ricardo Ramirez, 51, the president of a local bank branch, and Jack Moore, 45, an oil-field construction worker who said the Democrats of 50 years ago “are not the same Democrats today.”center_img These working-class and middle-class Mexican-Americans feel compassion for the Central American migrants who have been flooding the border off and on since 2014. Volunteering at migrant shelters and donating clothes and food have become Valley traditions. But many view those migrants as outsiders. The Hispanic migrant in a shelter and the Hispanic longtime Valley resident are culturally and economically disconnected. Texas is more politically and culturally complex than any one poll or election can capture. There were Houston oil-and-gas workers who voted for Mr. Trump, but many in the industry voted for Mr. Biden. There were longtime Democrats who, on the same ballot, voted for Mr. Biden and Mr. Cornyn. The president may have won Zapata County, but Mr. Cornyn lost it.If there is any one force determining how Texans vote, it is neither party nor politics. It is something that resists party labels but has helped transform Texas from a place to a cause — an ideology disguised as a brand disguised as a state. It is a cliché to say Texas is filled with mavericks, but the whole notion of mavericks belongs uniquely to Texas — the word comes from the surname of a Texas rancher and lawyer who left his calves unbranded in the late 1800s, Samuel A. Maverick.At first glance, Mr. Biden’s support in most of South Texas appears solid. He carried all four of the counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley region, next door to Zapata County. But a closer look reveals the emerging Democratic challenge on the border. Mr. Trump broadened his support in all four, plus in other border counties. In one of those communities, rural Starr County, Mrs. Clinton won in 2016 by 60 percentage points. On Tuesday, Mr. Biden carried it by just five.South Texas has long been a place where a lot of people are politically liberal but culturally conservative. The flipping of Zapata County was one of many Republican victories in a state that Mr. Trump carried. But it stunned Democrats and reflected their enduring struggle in the country’s largest conservative-led state. Not only do Democrats have a problem surging forward, they may be going backward in places.“When I was running, I’d get 85 percent in Zapata County — and Trump carried it,” said Garry Mauro, 72, a Democrat and former state land commissioner who was the chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign in Texas in 2016. “The idea that Trump, who has been so overtly racist about Hispanics in particular, was able to do so well has got to be a failure of our party not having a message.”In the postelection aftermath, a changing Texas remained largely unchanged.- Advertisement – Updated Nov. 7, 2020, 4:37 a.m. ET “When I would tell people I helped a friend sell air fresheners in the shape of Trump’s head, I would apologize because I supported Trump,” said Anna Holcomb, 55, a Latina and former oil-field administrative assistant who lives in Zapata, the county seat. Mr. Trump’s support in that context was not surprising.“I believe that many Mexican-Americans who ordinarily vote Democratic are attracted to his personality,” said State Senator Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat who is Mexican-American and whose district includes Zapata County. “He’s very strong here. I don’t find him appealing but I’m fascinated by his appeal to so many Texans.”The town of Zapata lies along five traffic lights on Highway 83.Halloween decorations, hay bales and pumpkins were still up on a highway plaza in the aftermath of the election this week. Payday loan, auto parts and pawn shops outnumber gas stations and restaurants. The gentle western slope down to the Rio Grande gives residents spectacular sunsets and views of Mexico. In town and on the more rural roads around the county, where Border Patrol agents can be seen on hilltops gazing through binoculars across the river, there were an equal number of Trump signs and Biden signs.Two of the few orchestrated Trump events in Zapata happened in September, when stickers and signs were handed out at a local restaurant and a “Trump Train” caravan rode through town.But they did not draw huge crowds, and even now, some people who supported him said they feared retaliation for speaking out.last_img read more

Questioning your gender at age 2!? Gender confusion.

first_imgNZ Herald 15 February 2015The kids at school call Milla Brown “gay-girl” and “weirdo” – but in an astonishing video inspiring millions around the world the young Kiwi says he only wants people to accept him for who he is.Milla, 9, was born a girl but identifies with the male gender.The heartbreaking video documents the journey and explains his struggles and distress at the idea of becoming a woman. It reveals how he insisted on wearing boys’ clothes from two years old and later demanded all his blonde hair be cut off.Despite constant bullying, Milla insists he is staying with the decision and the video is a plea for understanding and support.“Nobody wants to be my friend,” Milla says. “I just want people to accept me for who I am.”By last night the video had been viewed five million times and shared by more than 100,000 people.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11402223Kiwi transgender boy’s online video draws applauseNZ Herald 16 February 2015http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11402523last_img read more

Man Utd ‘welcome’ Moyes arrival

first_imgDavid Moyes has told Everton he wants to become Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor as Manchester United manager.The Goodison Park club confirmed that Moyes will depart when his contract expires this summer.Minutes earlier, Manchester United appeared to signal that Moyes’ appointment was imminent.The Old Trafford club put a entry on their Facebook page that said: “Send your personal welcome to our new manager David Moyes”.United had denied a deal was done and said they did not know how the page was updated.The page was later deleted. Ferguson, 71, revealed his decision to step down on Wednesday after nearly 27 years in charge at Old Trafford.An announcement is expected on Thursday, although the discussions mean that could slip to Friday.Moyes, in charge at Goodison Park since 2002, is out of contract at the end of the season.The 50-year-old held talks with Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright on Wednesday evening.Kenwright told Sky Sports News: “David’s contract is up in six weeks’ time and he has a right to make his own decisions. He has served this club wonderfully well.” Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has also been linked with the task of replacing Ferguson, but Moyes looks set to get the job.United chief executive David Gill believes the job is a unique opportunity for whoever takes over.“It is a dream job,” he told MUTV.“The new manager will inherit a great squad and infrastructure off the pitch, with a great staff.“He will be walking into a difficult situation in terms of the number of trophies, but the positive of also having the support of the Manchester United family.” Wigan’s Roberto Martinez and Swansea’s Michael Laudrup are thought to top Everton’s list of potential replacements should Moyes, as expected, be confirmed as United’s next manager.Kenwright added that he thought Moyes would still be in charge of the Toffees on Sunday, when they entertain West Ham for what would be the former Preston manager’s final home game in charge. Everton, who reached the FA Cup quarter-finals this season, are currently sixth in the Premier League table, six points adrift of Tottenham in fifth but five above Merseyside rivals Liverpool.A number of high-profile football names believe Moyes is the right man to replace Ferguson, who won 38 trophies during his time at the United helm.“He’s cut from the same cloth,” said former United captain Steve Bruce. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he got the job and I’m sure he would be very successful. “He’s not had huge finances but he has still managed to put an Everton team together that comfortably finishes in the top 10.”Former United assistant manager Steve McClaren added: “He’s a winner and has a work ethic similar to Sir Alex.“He’s also built a dynasty and legacy at Everton. He’s waited many years for this opportunity and I hope he gets it.”Former England and Everton striker Gary Lineker said Moyes would be a “sensible” appointment but said expectations would be enormous.“He is hugely respected within the game and he will instantly get the respect of the players, but it’s the biggest pair of shoes you can follow,” said the Match of the Day presenter. “He will always be judged against someone with phenomenal success, but he will know that anyway.“It is going to be extraordinarily difficult for the next boss of Manchester United because, if it goes wrong, the fans will let him know they are missing Sir Alex.“However, you can still see the allure of the job. It is one of the three biggest clubs in the world, so it will always get big names wanting it.”Former United defender Gary Neville also backed Moyes as a successor to Ferguson.“I don’t know if he’s going to be appointed, but I would welcome it,” Neville, who won eight league titles at United, told Sky Sports. “It makes sense.” Former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen thinks Moyes is the right man to replace Ferguson.“David Moyes is the perfect choice,” he told BBC Sport. “He has done an incredible job at Everton.“He speaks well and knows the game inside out. I think the Manchester United fans will take to him.”But former England striker Alan Shearer believes the appointment of Moyes is a risk given he has not won a trophy during 11 years in charge at Everton.“Anyone who has worked with David Moyes says great things about his man-management and his coaching,” Shearer told BBC Sport.“The only thing you would say is that he has not won a trophy at Everton.“But I suppose anyone who goes into Manchester United is a big gamble because it is going to be one heck of a big pair of shoes to fill.”Former United manager Tommy Docherty said he would “feel sorry” for Moyes should he be appointed.“If it is David Moyes, then I congratulate him and feel sorry for him,” said Docherty. “How can you follow the impossible?”last_img read more

Intercity Transit Recognized for Environmental Leadership, Gets Prestigious ISO 14001 Certification

first_imgSubmitted by Intercity TransitIntercity Transit, the public transportation agency for Thurston County, recently received ISO 14001 certification for its significant environmental and sustainability efforts. It is one of only nine U.S. transit systems to earn this prestigious certification, achieving a high international standard of environmental management and resource conservation.The International Standards Organization (ISO) provides practical tools for addressing operational and business challenges. The ISO 14001:2004 standards, in particular,outline a framework for an effective environmental management system. ISO 14001 certification provides an assurance that an organization’s management, employees and business vendors are meeting a high threshold of environmentally sound practices.“Intercity Transit’s sustainability efforts extend to every area of the agency and are embraced by its employees and leadership alike,” said Intercity Transit General Manager Ann Freeman-Manzanares.“Our work is about making the community a better place to live by providing a diversity of quality transportation services, implementing innovative programs, developing successful partnerships, and acting as a good public steward of the environment we all share.”Although recognized as an early leader in sustainability, Intercity Transit began its formal work to develop an Environmental & Sustainability Management System following its selection by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration in 2010 to participate in the FTA-sponsored national EMS training program. Coordinated by Virginia Technical University’s EMS Institute, the program provided a two-year, in-depth training to a handful of Intercity Transit managers to create systems, evaluation metrics and process improvement tools that support the agency’s overall sustainability commitment.In recent years, Intercity Transit’s sustainability efforts have:Cut total waste to landfill 10 percent;Cut water use 6 percent;Reduced electricity use 20 percent;Reduced natural gas use 24 percent; andReduced greenhouse gas emissions 13 percent.In addition to being good environmental stewards, Intercity Transit believes its environmental and sustainable practices also benefit the organization’s bottom line. Since 2011 Intercity Transit has increased its bus fleet fuel economy through implementing no-idling policies, practicing fuel efficient driving techniques, and adding more hybrid coaches to its fleet when replacing its oldest vehicles. The agency estimates it saves approximately $186,000 each year by not using the equivalent of 62,000 gallons of diesel. And that number will grow as more hybrid coaches are put into service.In addition to the agency’s Environmental & Sustainability Management System (ESMS), Intercity Transit has an active employee-driven sustainability committee and a sustainability program called Moving Green. This is all supported by its policy board, the Intercity Transit Authority, and an engaged Citizen Advisory Committee.Intercity Transit is the smallest of the nine transit systems to earn the ISO 14001 certification. The other agencies to have received 14001 certification for environmental management are Sound Transit (WA), LA Metro Transit District and Foothill Transit (CA), Utah Transit Authority (UT), Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (IL), SunTran (AZ), New York Metro Transit Authority (NY), and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (PA).Following the ISO certification this spring, Intercity Transit also received a top honor from the Thurston Chamber of Commerce Green Business Program (April 2014). The award recognizes efforts in waste reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency, green purchasing, pollution prevention, and transportation.Other Intercity Transit accomplishments include receiving the nation’s first gold-level rating for its sustainability commitment from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in 2012, based on its efficient management of natural resources including energy, air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions and water. APTA awards the designation to public- and private-sector organizations that make significant advances in preserving the environment, reducing waste, modeling social responsibility and helping bolster economic vitality in the regions they serve.Intercity Transit also received the nation’s top honor as the best mid-size transit system by APTA (2009), a Bicycle Friendly Business designation by the League of American Bicyclists (2013), and Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association for its park & ride facility built atop an old landfill (2013). The agency was among the first in the country to fuel its fleet with cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel (2001) and the first system in the South Puget Sound region to operate hybrid diesel-electric buses (2010). A full one-third of the Intercity Transit coach fleet will operate with hybrid diesel-electric technology beginning this summer with the arrival of ten additional hybrid buses.More information about Intercity Transit’s sustainability program, visit http://www.intercitytransit.com/about/sustainability/Pages/default.aspx or email the agency’s sustainability coordinator at jbrandt@intercitytransit.com. Facebook12Tweet0Pin0last_img read more