Thursday, November 29, 2007

Manuel Antonio "Tony" Eberhardt

Manuel Antonio "Tony" Eberhardt

It is with great sorrow that I must announce the death of Tony Eberhardt, husband of Margaret Eberhardt.

Margaret is a very dear friend and a frequent contributor to this Web site. Tony died suddenly in Cusco, Peru, last Saturday while he and Margaret were visiting Tony's family in Peru. Tony died of a heart attack as the result of altitude sickness. Tony and Margaret had three children: Mercedes, Luis and Nito.

Tony's funeral will be held on Saturday afternoon at 2:00pm at St. Ann's Parish in Pharr, TX. The Rev. Genardo A. Henriquez will preside over the bilingual funeral Mass. Edward Arguelles and previous members of the Holy Spirit Choir will provide spiritual song. Burial will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens.

Please know how much you are loved, Margaret, and how deeply your loss has been felt by all of your friends during this very sad ocassion.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holy Spirit Parishioners' Newsletter 11/25/07

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit
November 25, 2007

You Better Watch Out!!
Some new signs have appeared on the parish grounds recently. Are these signs simply signs of the times, in the sense that our buildings and grounds are under assault by the lawless hordes that are wreaking havoc on our society, culture, and property, or are they signs of a different mentality at the helm in the parish? Maybe it is true that the neighborhood has so dramatically deteriorated in the past four years that it has become necessary to plaster these sorts of things around the parish property. But maybe it is more true that the Monsignor and his advisors just look at the world and the parish from a perspective that would strike many parishioners as hostile and intimidating.

Has there truly been use of church grounds without permission that has been damaging or unsafe? Oh yes, we all know that there has been “unauthorized” praying happening on church grounds for many months. Such dangerous behavior must stop, of course, and now don’t we feel better (more secure? more powerful?) that we will have it all recorded (probably in HD).

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them, unless of course they haven’t obtained permission from the church office first.”

Advent Understanding
We went to spend thanksgiving with family out of town this holiday, which offers all kinds of new opportunities, including the opportunity to read different newspapers with articles that might not make it to our home paper. One story helped me start to focus my thoughts towards advent and the spirit of new understanding it brings.
The story has a somewhat bittersweet ending.

A nine year old boy and his mother were traveling through an isolated stretch of highway in Arizona, when his mother lost control of the car. His mother was killed and the boy was left injured, distraught and alone. He was found by a man illegally entering the United States who stayed with the boy, built a fire and cared for him until they were found by some hunters. Border Patrol was the first one to respond to the hunter’s radio call for assistance and the boy will recover from his injuries. The man was sent back across the border, his dreams and hopes for his own family sacrificed for a young boy’s need.

No drug trafficking, no terrorist—just a man who became an angel of mercy. I suspect most of the people crossing are like this man, decent people who can bring the gift of hope. This advent we will again tell the story of a young family immigrating to Bethlehem and the human needs and responses along the journey. Maybe this advent can be a rebirth of compassion for each character in an immigration story and a rebirth of hope for us all.
from a fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña.

Priestly People
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pet 2:9)

Father Paul Stanosz, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, has researched and written extensively on the priesthood, particularly seminary training. Here are a few of his thoughts that have appeared in Commonweal in the past few years:

“Priestly training in the seminaries I studied tended to impart a clerical difference, a sense of specialness that led the seminarians to see themselves as not only separate but also superior to laypeople. These students tended to see loving human relationships as involving lust and sexual desire rather than mutuality, communication, and collaboration...

“The current dearth of priestly vocations also leads seminarians to think of themselves as markedly different from other people. That they are entering a profession for manifestly altruistic purposes and lofty ideals likewise adds to their understanding of themselves as special or different from most other people.
“I found that this sense of specialness was also heightened by a feeling that their services would be in great demand following ordination. The day would come when men and women, a generation or more their senior, would address them as Father and kneel before them for a blessing…

“Priestly identity must be rooted in the person and ministry of Christ and the church, not in a search for superior status…

“I see the priest shortage as a blessing in disguise that will eventually break the clerical choke hold on absolute power and force ad-justments down the road, bumpy though it may be along the way. I am optimistic in the long view that new modes of ministry will prevail, and bring more blessings than problems.”

A parishioner kindly supplied me with the financial report provided to the parish on November 4th and the parish offices came through with a copy in the mail—thanks to both.

As a fussy, nerdish math guy, numbers take on an almost mystical life of their own for me, so bear with me as I wander through the report’s entries and muse out loud for a while.

First, I don’t believe that the report is untrue in any overall sense—there are too many ways that deception could be uncovered that the risk would be too great to attempt it. That being said, there are some things in the report that raise questions.

One oddity is that adding up the 52 weekly reports of collection totals presented in the Sunday bulletins gives a yearly total (from 7/1/06 to 6/30/07) of $680,549.41, but the yearly report gives that total as $780,437.58—that’s an almost $100,000 difference. Why have the weekly totals been so dramatically under-reported?

Another oddity is that the diocesan assessment (cathedraticum) is reported as being 12.35% of the Sunday collections, yet the required percentage is 11.5%. Why did the parish pay a little over $6,700 more than is required to the diocese?

The categories used in the current report do not, in general, match those used in the last report (2004-05), so it is very difficult to see how the expenditures/income have changed from two years ago, except in the most general terms. Some specific differences can be noted, however: “Other Collections” decreased from about $67,000 to about $17,000; expenditures for “Religious Education” decreased from about $116,000 to about $50,000. The magnitude of those differences is puzzling. Also, there is an entry of over $35,000 for “Legal Fees.” What is that about?

I have asked the Blog Person to post the two reports and let people do their own perusing. Jerry Brazier

Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an oppor-tunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

School of the Americas

McAllen coalition protests the School of the Americas

Rio Grande Gardian
November 14, 2007
By Michele Angél

Sister Moira Kenny

AUSTIN, November 14 - A delegation from McAllen will travel in caravan Thursday evening to join thousands of other protesters at the gates of the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Now officially named the Western Hemisphere Institute for Strategic and Economic Coordination, or WHINSEC, the school is believed to teach torture and terrorism to Latin American regimes that control armies.

Led by the Holy Spirit Peace and Justice Christian group, a coalition will leave from McAllen, for the first time, to attend the annual vigil and demonstration to close the school. Organizer for the trip, Benny Arsele said that usually South Texans join groups in Austin and leave from there.

Sister Moira Kenny will join the group to attend the non-violent direct action campaign for the 10th year. She has been arrested twice for crossing the line that on another day does not exist.

"We pay taxes, why shouldn't we be able to go on there? Every other day of the year, people can drive right up to it," said Kenny.

Kenny served six months, with another line-crosser, for trespassing. "We were the only two in the jail serving time for a misdemeanor offense," she said.

In 2002, about 90 people crossed the line together and were arrested. Students had their charge dropped and about 60 or so went to jail, Kenny reported.

The Catholic nun was willing to go to jail to raise awareness about closing the school and to honor the memory of four United States church women who were raped and assassinated on December 2, 1980, by graduates of the SOA.

The role of the U.S. in shoring up the Salvadoran governments before and during the civil War there became controversial after a National Guard death squad raped and murdered the women, according to Joao Da Silva, communications coordinator for SOA Watch.

Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel were American nuns, and Jean Donovan was a young laywoman doing a Catholic relief mission to provide food, shelter, transportation, medical care, and burial to the poor.

This spring, in defiance of Pentagon pressure, 203 Members of Congress voted for the McGovern/Lewis amendment to cut funding for the school. The amendment lost by six votes. Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, was the lone South Texas vote to cut funding.

Congressman Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, voted not to cut funding. Reyes could not be reached for comment at press time.

Other Texas congressmen who voted against de-funding the school, included Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, and Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, did not vote on the amendment.

Kenny said that their efforts to raise awareness are working. Several countries, including the Bolivian and Costa Rican governments have recently announced that they would cease all training at the school.

"These Latin American countries are not being invaded now from foreign countries," Kenny said of the countries that send their troops there and questioned why countries train at Fort Benning.

"It is being used against their own people. It's a war on the poor," said Kenny. "Why are our U.S. tax dollars being used for this?" The activist would like to see Congress close the school and stop the funding, so she continues to make the trip.

Arsele said that will also be garnering national and international visibility on the issues of building a border fence. The group will attend some of the presentations and speakers at the convention center and demonstration.

"We will be taking materials from the No Border campaign to other peace and justice-minded people at the event," said Arsele. In 2006 about 22,000 people were reported to attend. Most recent years have seen close to that amount, according to the School of the Americas Watch, or SOAW.

Kenny said that she wants to tell everybody in the country, "We don't want a border wall. Our politicians, business leaders, environmentalists, and immigration rights advocates are all on the same side of this issue."

Called the "Convergence of Hope and Resistance," organizers have been gathering at the gates of Fort Benning since 1990.

The dates of the demonstration, November 17-18th, coincide with the anniversary of the 1980 murders of six Jesuit priests, who were pulled out of their homes in the night. Jesuits have been advocating the closure of the school and educating around the world on issues of non-violence.

Some of the coordinated activities include mass, a prisoner reunion, a Veterans for Peace gathering, nonviolence training, legislative training, and benefit concert, and puppet theatre.

Teach-in and panel topics include issues like movement building, the struggle for civil liberties, violence against women, children of war, restoring indigenous values, terrorism, neoliberalism, water privatization, counter recruitment in high schools, labor rights, migration, free trade, U.S. foreign policy, race, class, and criminal justice.

Presenters include the Committee in solidarity with the People of El Salvador, or CISPES, Amnesty International USA, the American Friends Service Committee, Witnesses for Peace, Pax Christi, the Latin America Solidarity Coalition, 1,000 Grandmothers, Pace e Bene, and others.

Groups from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bolivia, Venezuela, Oaxaca and others will be represented.

Perhaps the most dramatic event will be the memorial service and solemn funeral procession on Sunday, when a list of names of murdered victims of graduates of the SOA, will be read. The names will also be posted on crosses carried by thousands of demonstrators. The reading takes several hours.

Solidarity vigils will be held simultaneously world-wide.
For more information on the upcoming event, see

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving Days Past

Thanksgiving Days Past
I just read "The Monitor" section on Valley Life, where there was a great article show casing Tomas Tijerina and the story behind his Thanksgiving Dinner provided in front of his restaurant, Rene's. I was most touched by the woman who was in tears because now she had a place to go for Thanksgiving Day dinner. He is to be commended for organizing such a charitable event for the residents of Mission.

Perhaps he will understand how those of us from Holy Spirit Parish are upset that, after doing the same thing for 22 years, a new Pastor, Fr. Brum, comes in and stops what had been so successful.

We started the Thanksgiving Day dinner, following the morning bilingual Mass, back in 1983. The two reasons we did it was to have a place for people with no extended family to come with parish family to eat, and to provide a place for those of low income, migrant workers and colonia residents, to come and eat and take food home with them.

It did not cost us more than a few hundred dollars, as parishioners were very generous in donating all the food. We never had a problem getting volunteers; we had more than enough volunteers every year. Families would come gratefully with their children, and it became a Thanksgiving Day tradition that many of our children grew up with. I will never forget the second year we had it, a woman came and told Fr. Marti that she was contemplating suicide because she felt so alone. She was thrilled to come to the parish and worked to help serve and eat and laugh and be with others.

Fr. Brum's having a dinner on Sunday for the parish does not help people out on Thanksgiving Day who have no family. His offer to send people with a certificate to Rene's is fine, but why cannot they go to their own parish for this event in McAllen?

Are we going to pretend that the pastor's message, "Thanksgiving Day is a day to be with family members" answers the reason why he stopped the Thanksgiving Day meal? Could it be that he himself is out of town on Thanksgiving and doesn't want anything happening that he cannot be at? Is that micro managing or what? Could it be that because this was a tradition of Holy Spirit Parish before he arrived that this meal, along with almost everything else that was in place, had to be done away with so he could assert his own power? Was this part of the plan the Bishop had made up by sociologists and psychologists to deal with unionized parishes? Does this act on the pastor's part sound like someone who claimed he came to Holy Spirit "to serve the people?"

Every week I run into people who have left the parish, some have left the church itself. They are in shock over what is left at Holy Spirit Parish. They are discouraged and hurting. Where is the process the bishop promised for healing five years ago? Does he not care? What a sad testament to our leaders, both the lay people leading the parish at this time and the clerical leaders, the pastor and the bishop. It is all about power, it is not about making people feel welcome. And, you critics out there, that is one thing you cannot disagree about the parish before June 18, 2003: Holy Spirit Parish was a welcoming parish community. There was room for everyone around the Table. Now it seems no one gives a damn!
~Ann Williams Cass

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Holy Spirit Parishioners' Newsletter 11/11/07

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit
November 11, 2007

Corporation Soul
In the liberal press we frequently read about “soulless” corporations that in the drive to improve the bottom line mercilessly run roughshod over people and communities. These corporations do not seem to be bound by the same moral codes that individual people are. They are just creatures of the capitalist system, forces of nature, really, that if just left alone (we are assured) will serve the common good—eventually.

In most parts of the country, the local Catholic diocese is a corporation sole—that doesn’t mean a corporation with a soul, but a corporation whose only (that is, sole) member is the local Bishop—all property and assets are in his name. This practice arose in the United States in the nineteenth century in reaction to what has been described as the “trustee system.” In the trustee system, each parish was a separate legal entity whose assets were held in trust for the parishioners and were managed by a local board of trustees in each parish—the trustees managed the money and property and the pastor took care of the spiritual needs (roughly speaking). Given the democratic tendencies of the American spirit and mindset, this eventually created conflicts between some pastors and parishioners and led the hierarchy to abolish the trustee system and to either institute a corporation sole for the diocese (in most places) or to wrest control of parish trustee boards from the parishioners (e.g., the Archdio-cese of New York).

The Vatican has always looked dimly on the corporation sole model since it is at odds with the way parishes are described in Canon Law. Ironically, many dioceses in the United States are now looking to separate incorporation of each parish, doing away with corporation sole, not because of some new insight into the nature of parish communities, but as a way to protect assets when the diocese loses a judgment in court (e.g., a sex abuse settlement).

Our diocese is a corporation sole which many times seems to act like a corporation without a soul—witness the latest foolishness associated with KMBH. The powers associated with the station (the Bishop, Monsignor Briseño, etc.) seem to think they can run a public broadcasting operation like they run their parishes and diocese, secretly and tyrannically. This is the only PBS station in the country owned and operated directly by a church (there are two others with church-related ties: Provo’s station is run by Brigham Young University, which in turn is owned by the Mormon Church, and New Orleans’ second PBS station—a small effort with very limited programming—is owned by an organization with only informal ties to the Archdiocese). It remains to be seen whether the general community of the Valley will continue to be satisfied with the ownership and management of its public broadcasting being in the hands of this diocese, this corporation sole.

The Eleventh Hour
“I pray for the millions of Iraqi brothers and sisters who have been killed in the 16-year war of the United States against the people of Iraq. I pray that all soldiers will put their guns down and refuse to kill. I pray that no young person will join the military. And I pray that we will not pay for war any longer. For this I pray to God.” a Prayer of the Faithful offered by Kathy Boylan at St. Aloysius Parish in Washington, D.C.

There are those who remember November 11th as Armistice Day, com-memorating the end of World War I (the “war to end all wars”). Many decades ago the commemoration morphed into Veteran’s Day, which has a slightly different emphasis—rather than celebrating the end of a war, we now reflect more on the men and women who sacrificed so much of themselves (and some their lives) by participating in our nation’s wars.

For some of us raised in families for whom World War II has always been and probably will always be “The War”, it is difficult to look at the last sixty years of history and see the righteousness of America’s wars over that period of time with the same clarity that we saw the righteousness of World War II. Vietnam, the various Latin American invasions, Iraq, etc. have all raised serious questions about how our nation uses military force to impose its will on the world.

Our Catholic Church is not a peace church in the sense that Quakers and Mennonites belong to peace churches, but in modern times Catholicism, at least at the level of the official, teaching Church, has officially condemned more and more conflicts as violating the teachings of Christ and the Gospel. The American invasion of Iraq is one such condemned conflict. What becomes the moral obligation of the young people who find themselves being combat soldiers and ordered to kill in a war that has been condemned by the Church? We hear a lot about “material cooperation with evil” in the context of abortion, but we do not hear much about material cooperation with evil in the context of war.

I am a conflicted person about all of this. My father was in France and Germany in 1944-45 and in Korea; my brother flew over 100 missions over North Vietnam; my brother-in-law was in Saigon during the Tet offensive. It is impossible to deny their courage and sacrifice (over half my brother’s squadron did not come home), but if people continue to accept the command to kill, then war will never end.

At this eleventh hour of this eleventh day of this eleventh month let’s at least not glorify war and warriors. As Wilfred Owen, young British poet who died in the trenches in World War I wrote:

“My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
from fellow parishioner, Jerry Brazier

Call to Action’s National Conference
On the weekend of November 2-4, Call to Action (CTA) held its National Conference in Milwaukee. The weather was terrific and the theme was challenging, From Racism to Reconciliation: Church Beyond Power and Privilege.

Every institution in our society—business, schools, the churches, the political system—needs to look at itself and understand how prejudice can lead to an assumption of privilege by some of its members and then to uses of power that amount to oppression of those who are different in some way from the privileged. Racial and/or ethnic prejudice is the basis for many of these Power/Privilege situations in our society. It’s a complicated problem that on the surface may not seem to apply in our particular part of the world, but we all would benefit from reflecting on how we see ourselves vis-à-vis those who are different from us and who we see as being less privileged in some way.

By the way, the All Saints Parish Choir from Milwaukee was marvelous and helped remind everybody that there is really only one truly American musical tradition—the one that brought us Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and (with apologies to the Monsignor) provides the real meaning of the phrase, “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

Rumor has it that a financial report was given to the Parish during the weekend of November 3-4. I was out of town and have been unable to find a written copy of the report (the parish office doesn’t seem to have one available). Is there someone out their in cyberspace who could get me a copy of the report? Jerry Brazier

Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's SOA Time Again


Washington, D.C.–On the weekend of November 16-18, thousands of human rights advocates from across the U.S. and Latin America will converge at Fort Benning, Georgia to demand a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy and the closure of the controversial U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA).

The annual Vigil to close the SOA at Ft. Benning has grown from a dozen people in November of 1990 to more than 20,000 in 2006. The annual event is held on the anniversary of the November 16, 1989 massacre at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador where Julia Elba Ramos, her fourteen year old daughter Celina, and six Jesuit priests where brutally murdered by the Atlacatl Battalion, a unit of the Salvadoran army. A U.S. Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA).

“The school is an obstacle to democracy, which is really beginning to take root in Latin America,” said Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of the Americas Watch, a non profit human rights organization. “We should be investing our money and resources into civil institutions of these countries, and not on their militaries, which have a long history of oppressing their people, of torture, of causing untold suffering and death.”

The SOA, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place.

Thanks to an ongoing grassroots campaign, support for the SOA/ WHINSEC continues to erode. In 2007, Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Oscar Arias of Costa Rica announced that they would cease to send military and police to the school, becoming the 4th and 5th countries after Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela to withdraw from the U.S. Army training facility.

The events will culminate on Sunday, November 18 with a symbolic funeral procession to the gates of Ft. Benning. Many will negotiate a barbed-wire fence to enter the military base in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Since protests against SOA/WHINSEC began more than a decade ago, 226 people have served federal prison sentences.

On June 21, 2007 a McGovern/Lewis amendment to the FY 2008 Foreign Appropriations bill that would have prohibited funding for the SOA/WHINSEC lost by a margin of only six votes. 203 members of Congress voted in favor of the amendment to cut the funding for the school quoting its connection to human rights abuses throughout Latin America.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Catholic bishop reduces PBS station's board from 7 to 4 without explanation

Bruce Lee Smith (Valley Morning Star)
November 7, 2007 - 8:49PM

HARLINGEN — Three members of the KMBH-TV board of directors were dismissed in August without explanation, according to information that recently became public.

Their dismissal reduced the board from its original seven members to four, one less than required by the station’s original articles of incorporation.

KMBH is owned and operated by RGV Educational Broadcasting Inc. The sole member of that corporation is the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, according to the articles of incorporation.

Bishop Raymundo Peña referred all questions — including inquiries about the directors’ dismissals and when new directors will be named — to the station’s lawyer, according to Brenda Nettles Riojas, diocesan relations director. The original articles of incorporation state the KMBH board must have at least five members, one of whom is elected its chairman.

The Valley Morning Star submitted 14 questions to Peña on Tuesday, seeking information about the finances and operations of KMBH. The station is the Public Broadcasting Service affiliate for the Rio Grande Valley.

The three dismissed board members are Bill Elliott, Chelse Benham and Betsy Price. All three have extensive experience in broadcasting.

Elliott has been a fixture on the Valley PBS and National Public Radio affiliates almost since the day the stations went on the air.

For many years, Elliott hosted Health and You, a KMBH-TV program that was sponsored by his former employer, Valley Baptist Medical Center. He also participated in the pledge drives for both KMBH-TV and KMBH/KHID-FM.

For seven years Elliott served on the board of directors of RGV Educational Broadcasting, rising to chairman of the board.

All of that ended in August when he received a letter from Peña, thanking him for his years of service but stating that his services were no longer needed.

No explanation was given, he said.

Peña also sent similar letters to Price and Benham, removing them from the board of directors, they said.

As the head of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Peña controls RGV Educational Broadcasting and its entities KMBH-TV and KMBH/KHID-FM.

According to the articles of incorporation filed with the state of Texas in 1983, the bishop or administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville is the only member of RGV Educational Broadcasting. Directors of the corporation “serve at his pleasure.”

Elliott said he doesn’t know why he fell out of favor with Peña.

“Anything I could say would be pure speculation because I have no idea,” the former board member said Monday.

The only change he was trying to make over the past year was to “increase the role of the board as a policy-making body and guiding body to the staff,” he said.

Price responded to inquiries about her departure from the KMBH board with a written statement:

“The letter I received thanking me for my participation and taking me off the board has me a bit confused.

“Monsignor Briseño has not returned my calls to clarify this. The letter I received thanked me for my term being up, however I have only served a couple months,” she wrote, referring to KMBH president, general manager and chief executive officer Monsignor Pedro Briseño.

Price said such mistakes may occur but they can be fixed quickly.

“I can’t imagine (why) shortly after I learned that they cycled two people off the board that have a rich experience in radio and television that they would cycle off the only other board member that has extensive experience,” she wrote.

For eight years Price volunteered at KRCL Community Radio in Salt Lake City as a board member and as a producer and programmer of three radio programs.

She was also part of the fundraising team that raised $1.5 million for a new studio and worked on every fund drive.

While on the board of the Utah Museums Association, Price helped raise $2 million for the association.

She also serves as a consultant to nonprofit organizations on budget and management issues.

“KMBH has the same potential that KRCL has to become a leader in the community serving the people of the Valley by providing local programming. What other alternative is there for a local voice?” Price said in her written statement. “I am sure this is all a mistake and I hope to be able to serve.”

Benham, radio/TV production supervisor at the University of Texas-Pan American, has many years of experience in broadcasting. She is also the Rio Grande Valley/South Texas regional representative for the Texas Motion Picture Alliance.

Benham said she hasn’t asked any questions of the station management or the diocese since receiving her letter.

Instead, her focus has been on winning a Lone Star Emmy last month for Dead Letter, a film she directed and edited that will soon serve as an educational tool on problems faced by teens.

“We serve because we care,” was all Benham would say about her experiences with KMBH.

Like Price and Benham, Elliott said he would not hesitate to rejoin the board if asked.
“I think public broadcasting is a very important part of the community,” he said. “Whenever I can be of service to the station, I’m more than happy to do so.”

Here is the link to vote, read and make comments on this story at the Valley Morning Star:

To Hell With Any Laws

Nov. 7, 2007, 1:35AM

Chertoff might waive laws to get Texas Border Fence built

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has invoked his power to waive federal laws to build border fencing in Arizona and California, said Tuesday that he hasn't ruled out doing the same in Texas, where opposition to the fence has been running high.

While Chertoff said at a Washington news conference that he will take community concerns into consideration, he added: "I'm not laying down any of the authorities I've been given to get the job done."

Congress in 2005 gave Chertoff the power to bypass environmental, historic preservation and other federal laws to build border fences. That authority, which Chertoff has used three times, is now under legal challenge by the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife, which oppose the fences.

With more than 160 miles of steel fences already built along the U.S.-Mexico border, Chertoff renewed his commitment to building 225 more miles — including 70 miles in Texas.

Fencing "is not a magic bullet to deal with every issue at the border," Chertoff said. "But it is one of a number of important tools that we can use to make the job of the Border Patrol easier and more efficient."

Ken Kramer, state director for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, expressed concern that Chertoff will waive environmental laws in a rush to complete the Texas fencing.

"We're definitely very concerned about that," Kramer said. "It appears that when the pressure is on the secretary to try to address environmental concerns, the response thus far has been to waive environmental laws. That doesn't give us a great deal of comfort."

National security trumps individual Texans' concerns about the fence, Chertoff said, noting that the impact of illegal drugs and criminals entering the U.S. is felt far from the border.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More on KMBH-TV

KMBH financial statement blurred.
November 1, 2007 - 12:01AM

Here is the link to more on KMBH-TV:

Please remember to read the comments that follow the article. Click your "back" button to return to the blog.

Also, check out: Portraits of Clergy Sex Abuse (Photo Essay) at the following link:


Monday, November 05, 2007

Letter To The Editor

Church’s ‘Family’ Very Dysfunctional

The Monitor
November 5, 2007

To The Editor:

It never ceases to amaze me how some of the leaders in my Catholic Church manage to circumvent the Gospel and the law in decisions regarding just treatment of church employees.

It is sad that no progress was made in the way that a pastor, under the guidance of our bishop, could so easily fire a parish employee, even after all that the four of us women at Holy Spirit Parish went through with the unionization of parish employees five years ago.

This journey of ours included a court-ordered mediation between the bishop and us, including the establishment of a grievance process for all diocesan and parish employees and hiring and firing practices for all pastors. These agreements were filed in state court.

We continue to raise our voices in the struggle for those who work for the institutional church, precisely because of what happened last month in Pharr. It seems that, in spite of the mediated agreement to the effect that a new pastor cannot fire an employee until he has been there for at least 90 days, the bishop has found a way to circumvent those policies and guidelines.

St. Margaret’s former pastor fired the director of religious education the last week that he was there, doing the dirty work for the new pastor. The director now finds herself without unemployment benefits (the church doesn’t pay unemployment) and no health insurance (the church doesn’t pay COBRA). She served the community of St. Margaret’s for more than 26 years, the last six with the pastor who fired her.

Msgr. Maher, our vicar general, said five years ago that we didn’t need a union for parish employees because they are treated like family. Obviously, our church “family” is very dysfunctional.

And what about the bishop’s motto, “haz todo con amor” does he not get? What about the Gospel?

Yes, we need to forgive them, but they need to reconcile and do justice and put things in right order! Nothing less should be expected from them.

Ann Williams Cass

Also in the paper again... KMBH-TV.

In light of the fact that our bishop is trying to organize a diocesan fund-raising campaign for the Diocesan-owned TV station, the following link provides some interesting reading about their reluctance to disclose the utilization of federal funds that they receive. Be sure to read the "comments" section, as well. Click your "back button" to return to the blog.

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