There are a few group of people who follow valley politics pretty closely. I like to think that I am one of them.
Local politics is a lot like you’d expect. One person talks to another person, that story gets put through several games of telephone and before you know it, what started as one passing lunch conversation between two mid level politicians has now turned into a full on policy debate with one group of hysterical mouthbreathers vying for consulting jobs against another group of hysterical mouthbreathers. Tax rates, non-profits, DHR and all that aside, this is essentially the lay of the political map when it comes to the Health Care District. Make no mistake, both sides have something to gain monetarily from this thing passing or failing.
On one side you have a group of old retired (sort of) well meaning “patriots” like the OWLs, Mission Mayor Beto Salinas, his PAC, and the sorry mess of republicans that passes for a “political party” in Hidalgo. On the other you have a slew of surprisingly conservative democrats who (sort of) mean well too, along with non-profit organizations like La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), the Valley Interfaith Council and a consortium of hospitals and clinics. Chief among them being DHR and it’s money. Lots and lots of goddam money.
The fight is mostly about taxes, and how, according to the mouthbreathers, the passage of the HDC means that your abuela is gonna lose her home and will have to resort to turning tricks on the street while she waits for the shelter to open (or something like that). It’s also about how all those goddam “illegals” are gonna start jumping the fence in droves because we are giving out free diabetes screenings.
Aside: In addition to allocating millions of dollars to train new doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals, screening for diabetes is actually going to be one of the main benefits of an HDC. This is a good thing considering how the vast majority of RGV residents are fat fucks living mostly off of Stripes burritos and Hot Cheetos with cheese.
If you go deeper into the discussion you’ll notice the mass amounts of coded language and outright animosity when it comes to this perception that undocumented folks don’t pay taxes. Apparently your cousin is gonna be able to cross the river, walk into a hospital and get a penis enlargement on the spot without paying a single cent into our county coffers.
The blatant racism and chest thumping coming from the “Anti” crowd in this conversation is astounding to me. Leave aside the reality that I probably only need 1 or 2 degrees of Kevin Bacon (Kevin Tocino?) in order to find an undocumented immigrant in your family. This notion that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes is bullshit and couldn’t be further from the truth. “Illegals” pay BILLIONS in taxes every year. You think Uncle Sam gives a shit about your immigration status come tax time? Hell no. That’s what ITIN numbers are for. Fact is that if you have a house in Hidalgo, papers or not, your ass is paying property taxes.
The actual merits or the proposed legislation are lot clearer than opponents would have you believe. The valley really doesn’t have it’s shit together when it comes to prying dollars out of Austin and Washington. Next time you hear somebody bitch that the taxes are too damn high down here, you may want to point out that our state and federal leadership has no problem raining millions on the border when it comes to putting more state troopers and border patrol in La Joya, but they are total dicks when it comes to investing in our roads, schools and healthcare.
The creation of the Health Care District would allow us the leverage to get matching funds from the feds. And that’s not speculation, that’s a fact. Look that the HCDs in other parts of the state. HCDs work just fine over there.
If you’re for this thing, then you’d be standing along side legit community do-gooders like Rebecca Stocker of the Hope Family Health Center, Juanita Valdez Cox of LUPE and Father Frank of the Valley Interfaith Council on this one. There will be plenty of other people fighting for this thing and despite what some are surely going to assume, they’re not going to get a single dime for doing so. To them, this proposition is not about money. It’s about people.
And they have no desire to see your grandma lose her home and resort to all sorts of ungodly acts in order to survive. But they would like to make sure she could still have access to the medicine she needs when you get tired of her and put her in a home.
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