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Brownsville candidates weigh in on environment in municipal elections

An environmental candidate forum was held on April 9th for Mayoral candidates and At-Large A candidates. The forum was hosted by Citizens Against Voter Abuse, Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club, Awesome Women in Action, and Save RGV From LNG. Candidates weighed in on topics of LNG, green spaces, PUB Tanaska fiasco, and more.

Candidates for District 1 and District 2 were given the opportunity to provide their insight in writing. Pat Ahumada was the only candidate to respond. His responses are below.

How will you work to protect our property values with impending border walls, LNG export terminals, and pipelines?

I am an appraiser and this question is baffles me, because property values is driven by market factors. The answer is with a question, what do you expect for me or any elected official to do?

What do you think Brownsville should do to address the impacts of climate change?

As mayor between 2007 and 2011, I introduced the going Green Agenda and submitted said agenoda for adoption. The commission at the time voted unanimously to adopt said agenda, but it seems Brownsville is not committed to a going Green agenda. I am one vote and can only be responsible for my vote and I support the going Green agenda, which requires us to identify what kind of industry to we want to bring to Brownsville, it also pushes for recycling and to be better stewards of our environment. In 1991, as mayor I opposed the development of Boca Chica beach, because of the impact it would have on our environment. Climate change can only be addressed by working together with state and federal officials to regulate fossil fuel industry, emissions, and those factors that we can control to protect our climate.

Being that the Laguna Madre Water District and the communities of South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, and Long Island Village have all passed anti-LNG resolutions, should the city of Brownsville take a stance on LNG? If yes or no, please elaborate.

Not at this point, the LNG is out of Brownsville's taxing entity and is an issue for the BND and the communities mentioned in your question.

If you’re elected, would you be willing to make the Public Utility of Brownsville powered by 100% renewable energy like wind and solar, and use existing finances from the Tenaska power plant to support renewable energy initiatives, or reimbursement the rate-payers? If yes or no, please elaborate.

As mayor between 2007 and 2011, I pushed for investing in wind power. I went to wind power farms to get informed on the development of the industry and learned how to best protect birds from being casualties to this type electric generation, which is with a very sophisticated radar that can provide advance notice 13 miles away to control the turbines. I also learned solar is cost prohibitive at this time as compared to wind power. My record is and has been for alternative fuel source to power electrical generation. The second part of your question is to use Tenaska funds for renewable energy should be done with voter approval, because the monies collected through 41% rate hikes was a scam through a plan by private industry to take advantage of a public entity to build a plan with little investment from them, with the highest return to them requiring Brownsville to take the lead in permitting and getting the infrastructure set up for 25% of the plant. Scam! Scam! Unfortunately, I was not re-elected to stop them from raising utility rates and getting noting in return.

Would you be willing to come together to support and finance new air pollution monitoring systems near the city? If yes or no, please elaborate.

First, I need more information on the proposal, cost and how to pay for the proposal.

In what ways will you support or create hike and bike trails, green spaces, and local ecotourism and active-tourism opportunities or businesses in Brownsville?

I am an early pioneer on hike and bike trails, developing ecological wild life corridors, recycling with the first ever plan to recycle in Brownsville dating back to 1991. We purchased the Linear Park ROW, which belonged to Union Pacific back in 1992 and made it what it is today. We also built the off terrain bike park on Alton Gloor during my second term as mayor. I support hike and bike trails, but with a plan that benefits the city and being able to sustain it.

I do not pander for votes by telling you what you want to hear, my record speaks for me. I introduced funding initiatives and ordinances that got passed to reforest our city back in the early 90's when our vegetation was devastated due to freezes. I introduced the first ever recycling effort, which was located on Elizabeth Street. I introduced and fought to pass for two years the plastic ban ordinance. I introduced ordinances and put into action the effort to make Brownsville "no kill", which is also part of what I believe to improve our environment. I led the way in my efforts to push PUB to consider wind generation instead of fossil fuel generation for Brownsville. While I was mayor, Space X was already in the works before I left office and expressed my deep concerns for the wild life corridor being impacted and the development of our beach, plus the concern for the safety of SPI and Florida residents should there be a mishap on a launch should the rocket explode. Florida launches have the vast Atlantic as a safety net in case of a catastrophe, we do not.

The City of Brownsville General Election will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 with early voting from April 22, 2019 to April 30, 2019.

Voting Locations (Spanish) The Offices up for election are:

  • Mayor (Citywide)

  • City Commissioner At-Large A (Citywide)

  • City Commissioner District 1 (Candidate must live within the District)

  • City Commissioner District 2 (Candidate must live within the District)

Names as to appear on the Ballot as Filed Electoral District Map

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