Video from Los Martinez Drive crowd

As promised in a prior post, this is video that was recorded during a conversation with Mayor Salinas (the delay came from the missing blackberry’s connection to download it among the chaos). Much of the anger came from the superficial interest the mayor took in the disaster – his looking down at the destruction from a hill, not cracking his window, safe and comfortable in his chauffeured car. We know he was making calls and working in the background part of the time but it takes more than that to be a leader. More than anything, it was the lack of empathy with those who had lost a home, were without electricity or were worried about the little they had remaining.

Joe Valdez updated the centralized contact that the city agreed on. Erasmo Villarreal has always (in at least the last 8 years or so) been the disaster relief point person for the city of Laredo but in this instance, his responsibilities have grown a little more. I have a lot of respect for Erasmo and his planning capabilities and I hope this mess can be clarified a bit more. This was the message I received from Joe Valdez:

(QF), sorry for the late response but anyone that wants to donate any items, volunteer or help out the flood victims please call Erasmo Villarreal, he has been placed in charge of all coordination. His number is (956) 635-0692, if anyone has any further questions please call me at (956) 236-3405. Thanks, God Bless everyone!!!

Before this flooding, I had wanted to let readers know about a leader, actually a mayor from another city, who really impressed me. You may have seen him in a joke battle with Conan O’Brien when he had the Tonight Show. They kept banning each other from their respective airports, cities, states, etc. but… that is not here nor there (to see some of the videos, search youtube).

I recently met Mr. Cory Booker as he accepted the Jefferson Award for Public Service in Washington D.C. I already knew who he was and knew some of his background but during the reading of his biography, I was surprised at what a hands-on empathic servant leader, he is.

The Yale Law Report had this statement about him:

Booker’s leadership style is decidedly hands-on. Beginning with his first campaign, when he literally walked the streets, knocking on thousands of doors to introduce himself to the people of Newark, he has made outreach a key strategy. When a group of teenagers spray painted “Kill Booker” on the side of a school building, Booker decided to mentor them, becoming their “big brother” and taking them out for weekly meals and tutoring sessions. Mayor Booker holds monthly open-house meetings during which Newark residents are able to meet individually with him and voice their concerns about the City. And with violent crime one of his biggest concerns, he’s made it a habit to spend time riding the streets with Newark police officers, sometimes spending whole nights getting a first-hand look at the violence behind the statistics that have plagued Newark.

Booker’s work has not gone unnoticed. Beginning with the award-winning documentary Street Fight that chronicled his first mayoral run against longtime incumbent Sharpe James, the media has come to love Cory Booker. He’s been the subject of stories by major media from The New York Times to The Oprah Winfrey Show. He has achieved almost super-hero status, being called “The Savior of Newark” by TIME Magazine, and named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report.

So, mayoral candidates – which one of you can come closer to how Mayor Booker leads Newark, NJ?? Time to roll up your sleeves and make it your mission to make Laredo the best it can be, time to do it by example.

Oh – and Mayor Booker also has his own page because his philosophy was bettering his city, not just running for office. He uses social media to stay in contact with many, even answering questions received on facebook or twitter. He has his critics but regardless of the critics, he has made changes in Newark. Let’s hope the same for our fair city of Laredo.

Check out one of the videos on volunteers doing night patrol much like Mayor Booker has been doing to see where the violence is in Newark and confronting it head-on with a positive force:


About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to
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4 Responses to Video from Los Martinez Drive crowd

  1. Que Fregados says:

    Sigh. My high hopes are showing…

  2. rick78 says:

    Unfortunately all political candidates are visible before election and disappear into obscurity upon being elected in Laredo . Even the dog is angered at Salinas . Since there were no photo ops there he hobbled away ignoring the same people he took an oath to serve .The whole political nation can follow suit of Booker’s style which is not rocket science but just simply fulfilling the oath of office !

  3. Omar says:

    Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished. People are going to beat up on Belmarez and Valdez for trying to help the victims, but those people are very obviously supporters of the current Mayor. I’m just surprised that Salinas didn’t sic princess on the other dog to even the score.

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