Laredo is safe… from reality

Laredo is safe. Laredo is safe. Laredo is safe.

So… are you believing it yet?

Now if I were to say: I am not a serial killer. I am not a serial killer. I am not a serial killer. At some point, aren’t you going to wonder, “Is she is serial killer?”

Serial killing might not be my thing but if you say it to people you don’t know, they are going to wonder why you are saying it. ¿Que no? It isn’t much of a stretch for those in cities North of Laredo who are exposed to the ridiculous Laredoissafe billboard campaign to ignore the “myths and facts” and just wonder why Laredo is so adamant about being perceived as “safe”?

Today, I saw one of these billboards as I drove back from the Valley. Yes, one of the scary yellow and black Laredoissafe.com billboards glared at us as we drove through Zapata, Texas. Did no one at any point consider the color choice?? Did no one consider how this particular message of alarm kinda, somewhat, maybe erases the positive promotion of Laredo that ALREADY EXISTS?? I just don’t understand why the Mayor’s Office would purposely interfere with the messages that are put out by other city offices promoting what few attractions are actually in Laredo. Then there is the website, built on free WordPress theme (eso dejaselo a blogueros) with stats after stats. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good information but the delivery is way way off… ¡Nos debe dar vergüenza!

So… Laredo is safe? Safe from what? Definitely not safe from unprofessional, condescending PIOs who hail consumerism as a mark of success in a city whose poverty rate and voter involvement is dismal. Ching… other bloggers have already put in their two cents over the recent comments made by a certain someone who is not a blogger favorite. A certain someone who’s been written about before. The responses were on a story about McAllen’s new library and were positive, positive, positive and then… You know we all took screenshots:

Facebook screenshot in response to a story about the new McAllen library

Guess what?? That McAllen Public Library really is AWESOME! I went to McAllen in my “fan” role to watch the Wrestling Revolution host the Laredo Wrestling Alliance. I figured since fans from the Valley come to every LWA show (and stay in Laredo hotels and eat at Laredo restaurants), I may as well return the favor; but, it gave me a chance to check out the library:

First we see some nice landscaping

Then a gorgeous fountain that provides a misting effect if you are close enough

Some eye-popping paintings with a current events subject matter

Something I can relate to! Help for those with mobility problems :)

A cool entrance with a help desk… but it does make me hungry

A pretty large children’s section

Fancy signs that change to let us know of different events taking place

The “Hungry Scholar” cafeteria – oh, and there is also a decent-sized bookstore but I forgot to take a picture

Dual-flush toilets!! Woot woot!

Several study rooms where people were actually studying

Meeting rooms to the right and plenty of space

A huge computer lab, other computers to the right

And… the rest of the libary

Because I totally dig the McAllen Public Library does not mean I am downing the Laredo one. Everything new and shiny and with its own tourist map is going to be an attraction. The unique point about this particular library is its following of a trend to convert unused spaces into something completely different – a repurposing. McAllen isn’t the first and it won’t be the last to do it. I recently read a Indiegogo project that was proposing to turn entire blocks in Detroit into Z World Detroit (Zombie Theme Park). Creative but they aren’t doing all that well with fundraising.

I once asked why we couldn’t use the old Riverdrive Mall to host the monthly Farmer’s Market but was told it was private property, they were not sure how the owners would respond. I asked because of the movement to find alternate uses for empty malls across the U.S. Check out this, and this, and this, or this Canadian contest.

Regardless of the different ways to reuse space, why not be happy for other cities and take on their progressive decisions as an opportunity to challenge Laredoans to also improve. It does give me a little twinge of how often I hear people who live here be happy that another chain store or restaurant is opening up – instead of celebrating the independent spirit of local Laredo businesses. Walmart is a dirty word in some places I have lived but here…

Unfortunately, we don’t really see the unique and independent championed or embracing Laredo the way it really is – warts and all. I have always said I feel relatively safe living in Laredo but that does not mean I am immune to crime or am ignoring the increasing militarization of the border (a whole other blog post unto itself). Any person coming to Laredo for the first time will wonder what gives with all the helicopters and the massive amounts of law enforcement that those who live here sometimes take for granted. And if it is one of my out-of-town guests staying at my house – they are probably to hear the gunfire or explosions. That is just life on the border at this moment, punto.

Pero no… que dejar en paz ni que nada, instead, I wake up to an alert of Laredo in the news because the mayor wrote a looooong “commercial” for the Huffington Post about Laredo… ay, ay, ay. Even in McAllen I am not safe!

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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 quefregados@gmail.com.
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8 Responses to Laredo is safe… from reality

  1. Victoria says:

    It doesn’t look like alarma. It doesn’t look like alarma. ((http://www.tubefilter.com/2009/06/02/mexican-gore-tabloid-finds-interest-relevance-in-the-daily-lives-of-millions/) Don’t think about alarma. Don’t think about alarma.

  2. Keyrose says:

    I paid the public library (on Calton) a visit yesterday. The staff was very helpful, and I even found the book I was looking for. Good experience overall, but their landscaping near the entrance is atrocious. I love the use of ornamental grasses at the McAllen library.

    Agreed – the LaredoIsSafe billboards are hideous. Design is definitely not the best. And who uses the ‘www’ anymore?
    In the Chacon, we hear and see the helicopters on a nightly basis. It’s unnerving to see them hovering in place with their spotlight pointing towards Nuevo Laredo. The experience feels like something out of a science-fiction movie. Weird.

  3. LarMedia says:

    Laredo is not safe from poverty, illiteracy, domestic abuse, a high number of child molestation, thefts besides auto, etc.

  4. btblues says:

    Excellent post with solid points. You have too much logic for the collective brain trust at City Hall. If you keep saying something often enough, then the opposite must hold true. At least in part. And LarMedia is right on with the looming dangers besides violence from the dreaded cartels.

  5. Wow- you guys drove to McAllen? The library looks great! I still haven’t visited yet- but when we do, I’m going to be sure to stop by!

  6. Victoria says:

    There is so much talent in Laredo, and I know at one point there was a community contest to find out the best things about Laredo (I would imagine plenty of ideas generated) so why is it that these campaigns are at a standstill or worse: 10 cybersteps behind (including issafe , ci.laredo, rediscover, etc.) I know the library was not a comparison, just merely an admiration, but here is a link that I am using as both, a comparison and admiration, such websites makes one not only want to visit but want to move there: http://livehere.georgetown.org/proof-in-numbers/.

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