International Award-Winning Author to Speak at LULAC Convention
By Ramón Hernández
Emma González, an international award-winning author who lives in Edinburg, Texas, is one of three speakers that have been chosen to participate in a panel at this this year’s LULAC State Convention.
Dr. Juan Tejeda, a professor at Palo Alto College, and Dr. Emilio Zamora are the other two panelists.
As a child, she grew up in Ovid, Colorado while her migrant family toiled in the sugar beet fields. As an adult, she was inspired by Saint Mother Teresa into writing and publishing her first book “Field Mice: Memoirs of a Migrant Child” and “Field Mice: Memoirs of a Migrant Child Children’s Edition” in 2015, based on her true-life experiences as a migrant child during ten tumultuous years with her migrant parents in the 1950s and ‘60s.
She may have waited until later in life before deciding to write, but the innate writing skills were there. The result is that both books won awards in September 2017 at the International Latino Book Awards (ILBA), known as the Academy Awards of Latino Literature and Culture in Los Angeles, chaired by Edward James Olmos. “Field Mice: Memoirs of a Migrant Child” won Most Inspirational Non-fiction Adult Novel, and the Children’s Edition won Most Inspirational Non-fiction Youth Book.
This was Emma’s first submission to the ILBA as a first-time author. Latino authors from the U.S. and 20 Latino countries were represented in the competition.
Aside from prestigious awards, when Little Joe read her book, he told her, “There were parts that made me cry. Then, I’d find myself laughing in the next chapter. It especially hit a chord in my heart because it was in part, like reading my own story.”
Since then, her works have been selected by The Monitor’s Festiva Creative Writing and River Sedge: A Journal of Art & Literature published by University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, in Edinburg, Texas. She is also the 2017 “Literacy Champion” recipient, an award from South Texas Literacy Collation for her work conducting writing workshops to high school migrant students.
González shares her life’s story with migrant students to motivate them to stay in school, to reach for the stars, and she conducts writing workshops “to help them find their voice and write their story.” For migrant parents, she offers heart felt advice from her experiences.
González, who graduated from Edinburg High in 1972 and attended UT Pan Am, majored in Criminal Justice and ventured into successful business entrepreneurships hence touts the importance of education
On the personal side, she lives with her supportive husband of 45 years and is close to her beloved children & grandchildren. She travels to distant places she once only read about as an isolated migrant child.
In her sequel, “Paths of Pearls: After the Migrant Years,” Emma writes about her life when her parents finally settle in Edinburg. At the age of 15, her struggles continue after the migrant years have decimated her family and forced her to shoulder the financial burdens after her father’s death, to support her mother and herself, and fights to pursue her education and happiness. Plus, how she drew strength from her past to survive this new, unsettling life.
This book is due for publication this year. Ergo, González has embarked on a successful writing career. Her next tentative project is chronicling Little Joe’s early life in the fields.
Meanwhile, she is on a book reading tour, but will take time off to make an appearance at this year’s LULAC State Convention at the Tropicana Hotel on Friday, June 1.
To buy Emma’s book, just go to Amazon.com and search for “Field Mice” by Emma González.
The Valley has had more media, celebrities and athletes traversing its cities in the past week than possibly ever, and with it comes gossip.
As outsiders discover our quirks and charms, they write, tweet and share their observations. The assessments are entertaining and insightful, like eavesdropping on a stranger talking about you.
So, what are people saying about us? How are we comparing to other host cities so far?
Early in the week, ESPN Radio and “SportsCenter” host Scott Van Pelt was surprised with how many people were already visiting Super Bowl festivities.
“I will say this: That for a Monday, there’s a ton of activity. A lot of times it’s crickets,” he said.
“I get the sense that there will be people all over town, and so because folks know what’s here, I get the sense that there will be a lot more foot traffic and activity here than some of the other (host cities).”
ESPN “NFL Live” host Trey Wingo said Wednesday he visits the Valley at least once a year and loves the golf, scenery and hiking.
“Considering everyone from our crew came from a place that just had three feet of snow dumped on it, we love everything about the Valley,” he said. “Everyone I’ve spoken to is hoping to see Phoenix become a more permanent part of the Super Bowl rotation.”
The national coverage has been, at worst, visually stereotypical, said Mark Lodato, assistant dean and broadcast news director at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
“What I’ve noticed most of all in terms of a visual sense is the graphics a lot of the networks are using … it’s a lot of desert landscapes, cactus, Old Western themes which I think, frankly, has rubbed some Valley residents the wrong way,” he said. “It’s not that we’re not proud of the Western area, it’s just not what we are all about.”
The final verdict won’t be in until the game is over on Sunday and thousands of visitors have departed by Monday night. Until then, here are some of the big themes surrounding the Valley in the national news.
Where is Glendale and why is its stadium called ‘Phoenix’?
The first point in any discussion about the Super Bowl is how one refers to our Valley of the Sun. (Hint: They never call it the Valley of the Sun.)
For Newsweek, the University of Phoenix Stadium is “located in the western suburb of Glendale.” To the Boston Globe, it’s “several miles from downtown Phoenix.” It’s actually a 17-mile drive from the Phoenix Convention Center, which is hosting the NFL Experience.
Vox ran an explainer on the stadium’s confusing name.
“This is the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals NFL team, not a stadium where a university-affiliated team plays. The University of Phoenix is a for-profit college that bought naming rights to the stadium for publicity purposes.”
Apart from the stadium, Forbes reports there are “plenty of opportunities to visit the greater Glendale area,” a phrase that likely has never been applied to the greater Phoenix area before.
Glendale’s mayor is outspoken about the Super Bowl, isn’t he?
Jerry Weiers, who has been the mayor of Glendale since January 2013, has long been outspoken on his disdain for the city’s involvement with major sports and its related debt.
His scorn got national attention Monday when the New York Times reported that Weiers had not been offered a ticket to the game.
The story zeroed in on Glendale’s financial problems.
” ‘The city of Glendale is the poster child for what can go wrong’ when a city invests heavily in sports, said Kevin McCarthy, the president of the Arizona Tax Research Association. ‘You don’t want to be building stadiums and not be able to hire police officers.’ ”
Weiers also told ESPN The Magazine’s Mina Kimes “he doesn’t expect a windfall when his city hosts the big game in February. In fact, he says, ‘I totally believe we will lose money on this.’ ”
“Glendale is no ordinary city,” Kimes wrote. “It’s a place that has given a great deal to sports, reaping little in return. Since 2000, Glendale has helped build three stadiums, including the Cardinals’ field, a silvery dome that sits in the desert like a docked UFO.”
But dang, the Valley is beautiful and pretty cool
Our beautiful weather is a no-brainer, but as people roll into town they’ve noticed our arts, culture, entertainment and dining.
ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian praised the Valley on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio on Monday.
“I love it here; I think it’s great. It really is my Number 1 place in the country to come in the wintertime,” he said. He visits along with other sports leaders when annual NFL football meetings are held at the Arizona Biltmore, and out of all the host cities, “this is almost everybody’s favorite place to come.”
Fernanda Santos, chief of the Phoenix bureau of the New York Times, told a Times reporter that the Valley is an ideal host.
” ‘This is a perfect place for a party,’ she said. Especially this time of year, when temperatures are in the merciful 70s, instead of the 100s, she said, ‘People want to be out and about.’ ”
Much attention has been given to the Roosevelt Row Arts District, Welcome Diner, FilmBar, Phoenix Public Market and Short Leash Sit … Stay, all of which are within a mile of the Phoenix Convention Center and have been mentioned by numerous publications.
Newsweek‘s list of the Valley’s top attractions included Scottsdale Quarter, a place where “you could cast three seasons of ‘MILF Island’ in just one hour of strolling the grounds,” and Talking Stick Resort near Scottsdale, a casino that “has fewer oxygen tanks-per-patron than the other reservation casinos around the Valley.”
A Boston Globe reporter explained the Valley to our Super Bowl tourists like this:
“If you have an opportunity to tailgate between Gisele Bundchen hunting, there is much to see here. The trick is sniffing around like a pig looking for truffles and discovering what this city offers.”
They allow alcohol in the streets!
The Republic reported last week that “Phoenix and state liquor officials have approved plans for an ‘open campus’ where adults can legally consume alcoholic beverages on public streets and sidewalks within an enclosed nine-block area. Organizers said the gathering is the largest special-event liquor license ever issued for downtown.”
The ensuing attention was, well, excited.
SB Nation tweeted “Yes. Yes, this shall do nicely.”
“Phoenix appears to be going out of its way to one-up the Super Bowl party that New York City threw last season,” they wrote Monday.
The news seemed to be the icing on the rum cake.
“An estimated 1 million people will traverse Verizon Super Bowl Central, where there will be concerts, games, attractions and nightly fireworks,” they wrote. “The centerpiece will be a 100-foot rock-climbing wall called the Grand Canyon Experience — naturally, what else would you want in the middle of the world’s largest bar?”
Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson Says Being Gay Is Illogical: A Vagina Is More Desirable Than a Man’s Anus
by Zach Johnson
As a straight man, Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson doesn’t understand what it means to be gay.
In the January 2014 issue of GQ, the A&E reality star shares his views on homosexuality and opens up about his conservative, Louisiana-based family, and their strong Christian faith.
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he says of his family’s meteoric rise to fame, which has landed them multiple tabloid covers and a spot on Barbara Walters‘ Most Fascinating People of 2013 list. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”
One thing isn’t likely to turn around, however, is the duck hunter’s views on modern immorality. “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” Phil says. “Sin becomes fine.”
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he tells the magazine. Paraphrasing Corinthians, he says, “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Phil continues, “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
Jep Robertson doesn’t explicitly tell GQ that he agrees with his father’s sentiments, but it seems likely that he does. “We’re not quite as outspoken as my dad, but I’m definitely in line,” he says of his backwater family. “If somebody asks, I tell ’em what the Bible says.”
Phil, 67, later says that he’s not too concerned with how other people are living.
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
Phil also predicts Duck Dynasty will be off the air in three to five years. He’s grateful to have been able to share his family’s views with more than 14 million viewers each week.
“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it,” he says of doing the reality show. “All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s 80 years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”
(As GQ notes, Phil ignores centuries of war, bloodshed and human enslavement committed in the name of Christ.)
Phil—who says he misses the “old days”—believes all sinners are capable of finding salvation.
“If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead—yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved,” he says.
It’s Grand Parent’s Day @ Pre-K for 4 SA north side education center.
To see the excitement on your grandchild eyes: it’s priceless.
The simple act of making a hand print or reading a story makes their day. Looking around I saw nothing but smiles, not only on the kids, but the grand parents as well.
From my experience from my grandchild, learning to tell the difference of shapes to counting numbers. This was an opportunity to see firsthand, the wonderful way San Antonio newest program at work. It’s giving our youngest a great head start on the road of education.
The money spent will pay large dividends in many ways. Basically a better educated person makes a better community.
Thank you Mayor Julian Castro
And thank you San Antonio.
Story and pictures by: Joseph Martinez River City Attractions
Billy Graham is now 92+ years-old with Parkinson’s disease. [
In January, leaders in Charlotte , North Carolina ,invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, ‘We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.’ So he agreed. After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there.He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it. “The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’ “Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. “The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’ Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.” Having said that Billy Graham continued, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going.” May your troubles be less, your blessings more, and may nothing but happiness, come through your door. “Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point.”
Amen & Peace My Friends And may each of us have lived our lives so that when our ticket is punched we don’t have to worry about where we are going.
this was in my inbox today, came from my sister in law Alice…………
Photos by Ramón Hernández
We’ve all heard about the “Seven wonders of the world,” and the seven wonders of the ancient world. And if they were to rate seven seafood restaurants among the eatery wonders of San Antonio, Rudy’s Seafood would be at the top of the list because that’s how good it is.
Even the very reasonably priced appetizing daily specials are a force to be reckoned with. Take the special that includes two choice large fish fillets, three nice sized shrimp, Cole slaw, zesty French fries and a Serrano pepper to make the dish even more enjoyable. Even the presentation looks exquisite.
The Serrano pepper is something the establishment’s founder Yndalecio Rudy Ramírez tried years ago and it became a popular mainstay. And as is evident, his middle name became the eponym for the popular seafood eatery.
Rudy, who loved to fish, got a secret recipe from a fellow fisherman and in 1964 opened his first location as Rudy’s Fried Fish on Nogalitos Street. He later operated seafood branches on Guadalupe Street and Fredericksburg Road in the North side, but found that the demographics that best worked for him were in the Southside.
“The customers are very loyal in the Southside and if you treat the people right, they will keep on coming forever,” said Roland Ramírez, who has been working at Rudy’s since he was eight and took over the restaurant after his father passed on October 16, 2004.
“The fathers you can deal with, but when the mothers go, that’s a totally different thing because they’re the ones that keep the family going,” Roland continued.
Gratifying, titillating, well prepared seafood became the family specialty and Roland’s brother Jerry Antonio followed in their father’s footsteps when he opened Neptune’s followed by J. Anthony’s, which he later sold.
Roland’s mother, Elva Gloria Garza Ramírez, has been keeping the books since day one; and his two sons, Roland Jr. and Johnny are following their grandfather’s example by working along their father and will hopefully continue the family seafood legacy.
Getting back to the star of the restaurant – the food — entire families can enjoy the luscious mouthwatering six and six (6 & 6) special, which consists of six fish fillets and six shrimp. Another popular combo is the flavorful two fish fillets, two piquant shrimp, two savory oysters with French fries and tasty Cole slaw.
Then there’re side dishes such as mouthwatering fried mushrooms, delicious onion rings and fried delectable sweet potatoes.
All dishes are stacked with generous portions that make one wonder how Roland stays in business, but one bite answers that question, taste.
During the time this writer were there, everyone that walked through the door made a beeline for Roland, whose personal touch has endeared him to his thousands of customers, now lifelong friends that keep coming back to eat in a pleasant family oriented atmosphere where everybody knows him.
“A lot of our customers grew up before our eyes as we saw them coming in with their parents; and now that they have grown up, they come in with their children; and in some cases a family may span three generations from grandparents to their children and grandchildren.”
“And it is not strange or out of the ordinary to see a stream of celebrities and VIPs from actors, comedians, Tejano singers and musicians, basketball players plus car dealership owners, prominent attorneys on up to county judges come in for a bite.
During Cuaresma (Lent) lines have been seen to extend through the middle of the parking lot from late morning to 8 p.m. and cars are parked up to two blocks in all four directions.
Asked for the secret of their success besides their top secret recipes, Roland said, we have been at this present location twenty years and everyone raves about the taste, which we attribute to cooking only all-original fresh seafood and giving a pilon (freebie portion) of extra fish or shrimp.
So perhaps the freshest is what makes their seafood tempting, stimulating and succulent, all which a children could summarized with one simple word, yummy.
Rudy’s is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and it is always packed, but do not fear because there’s plenty of booths and tables. Another plus is that men can watch their favorite sport on a big screen television and women can watch their favorite telenovela on a different big screen.
El Bolero II is a musical program that promises to seduce its listeners with an array of romantic ballads.
And as Patricia Pérez-Lemppaf, the show’s artistic director says, “However, remember that falling in love and being in love can sometimes end in heartache. So be prepared for this music to capture your soul and the lyrics transcend you and make you reminisce about a past or present love.
“So whether you’re in love, have fallen out of love or you’re in the process of conquering a sweetheart, the bolero will enlighten your heart and soul with visions of passionate love.”
In addition, the program is also educational in that those in attendance will be treated to several different forms of the genre which originated in 18th century Spain as a Spanish/ Africa dance with a very slow rumba style rhythm that evoked erotic feelings or communicated love between dance partners. In the Western World, the slow sensuous love song in Cuba evolved from a Caribbean genre known as trova in the eastern city of Santiago during the late 19th century, spread to Mexico and other Latin American countries in the mid-20th century and finally reached the United States where many boleros were translated into English and released as “What A Difference a Day Makes,” “You Belong to My Heart” and “A Taste of Me” to name a few.
According to Lemppaf, this Alizanza Latinoamericana musical program will present variations such as the bolero ranchero, as immortalized b Pedro Infante, the tango bolero as made famous by Carlos Gardel and Libertad Lamarque; and the contemporary bolero most recently popularized by Luis Miguel and El Tri-O.
Some of the performers include Emma Hernández, one of the best known vocalists during the 1950s and early ‘60s orchestra era when she was the featured vocalist for the Emilio Caceres Orchestra, also Marielos Duarte and Malú Gil, both Mexico City natives, who have sung with numerous trios and mariachis for as long as they can remember. Both chilangas started out performing at family gatherings eventually singing at public functions.
Other vocalists are María Betancourt, Isidro Manjarres, Jaimé Vidal, Broadway Joe, Paul Ford, James Hickey, Homero Zapata plus the mother-son duo of Ruby and Dennis Castell.
Some will perform with music tracks and others will be backed up by a trio of musicians.
Willie Zulaica, a Tejano music pioneer whose resume includes playing sax with Joe Bravo y Los Sunglows, Ruco Villarreal, O.B.G. Band de Rocky Hernández and is presently with Canela, is the show’s musical director.
Zapata of Los Internacional Hermanos Zapata not only sings, but also plays accordion and drums. As a drummer, he performed and recorded with Toby Torres and the internationally famous Flaco Jiménez from the late 1960s to 1976.
José Ramiro Pérez, Francesca Anderson and Richard Alvarado will also delight the audience with their ultra-smooth dance steps as they displayed how to dance to this beautiful music.
Alvarado’s credits are heading a seven year program with the San Antonio Library where he teaches salsa and merengue and where his busiest time of the year is during Hispanic Heritage Month.
They may not be household names, but they all sing and dance from the heart; and the fact that they can share their God-given talent is thanks to the Alianza Latinoamericana who recognizes their gift and provides the opportunity and venue for them to showcase their voice and their moves in this tribute to the bolero.
This production could not be possible without the volunteer help of Dalia Guzmán, artistic coordinator; Eduardo Velázquez, set designer; and the support of Street Talk Magazine’s Jaimé Vidal, La Prensa publisher Tino Durán and supporters such as Félix Padrón, Frank Villani, Juan Hernández, Johnny Hernández, Lissa Bengtson, Valerie Arrieta and Vanessa L. Jenkins, also Gabriel Sánchez and Dora Olvera.
The participation of all these people says volumes about this non-profit organization, which, with the exception of the Office of Cultural Affairs, has yet to receive a cent in funding therefore everyone is encouraged to attend and fill the venue to demonstrate why Alianza Latinoamericana is worthy to be considered as a serious contender for funding.
“Su Majestad – El Bolero II” – emceed by Andres Ricardo Morín — takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 4th at the International Folk Culture Center located on the Our Lady of the Lake campus at 411 S.W. 24th Street.
Anyone can save two dollars by purchasing their advance tickets for $5 and they are available at the International Folk Culture Center until July 24. Furthermore, patrons can also enjoy the delicious taste
For reservations or more information call (210) 431-3922, 385-3877 or 378-2970. One can also e-mail the organization at email@example.com.
Here is what was published by ThinkProgress.com
By Ian Millhiser on Jul 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm
This man is Raúl Héctor Castro. He is 96 years old, a former Arizona governor, and a former United States Ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina. He was born in Mexico, and is a United States citizen.
Last month he was stopped by U.S. border patrol agents after residual radiation from a medical procedure he’d recently undergone triggered an alarm at a checkpoint in Tubac, AZ. The 96 year-old heart patient was then forced to exit his vehicle in the 100 degree Arizona heat and wait in a tent in a business suit, even as his companion begged the agents not to subject an elderly man to such treatment.
This is the third time the former governor and ambassador has been detained by border control. The first occurred years ago while he was repairing his own fence and agents stopped him and asked to see his work card — although they eventually desisted after Castro pointed out a sign by his farm entrance that read “Judge Castro.” The second occurred years later in San Diego, although that encounter ended shortly after someone recognized Castro and said “Governor, how are you?
Now I know we will forever be un-fortunately living with a few Bad politicians that dictate their personal views into the law including those in our Supreme Court
However some of you in law enforcement need to go back to school and get a formal education! I have myself been in meetings where these big fat politicians are trying to come up with rules and regulations, and when someone like me jumps in with “Are You Crazy” They simply say “Well at least we are not the one’s on the street having to enforce our crazy ideas!
This is Racial Profiling at it’s best.
p.s. I hope my friends Dr.Paul Ruiz & Margie don’t read this as I’m having a hard time keeping my blood pressure levels in check.
At 11 a.m. people were already lined up to purchase a plate of beef with rice and beans at Big Al’s Garden Bar in New Braunfels as mobile DJ Ray Rosales played a non-stop array of Joe Lopez and Mazz hits.
Incidentally, Big Al’s is owned by José Reyes, who didn’t hesitate to volunteer the use of his venue. And while Ramón Chapa helped to coordinate the event, this writer was not aware that the true organizer of this event was in effect Raúl Lagunas, therefore mil disculpas, and you now stand vindicated.
For those who sent compliments to the chef, the cooks were Mary Lou García, Mary Páez, Dorie Flores and LettyValadez, who with Gonzalo Páez, Rico Crespo, Matt González and Linda Macias, also doubled as servers.
David Hernández, who played delivery man, took as many as 40 plates 30 miles south to San Antonio as he personally delivered to people at the Methodist Hospital, Janie’s Record Shop and other locations where people had pre-paid for their plates.
Also there to lend their moral support were Diana Hernández and Ruby Rodríguez, who came all the way from Taft, Texas.
Joe’s blue-eyed look-a-like brother Lorenzo and his lovely wife Judy, who drove all the way up from Brownsville were very pleased with the outcome and e-mailed our magazine the following note.
“The fund-raiser was a great helping hand towards legal fees for Joe. A special thank you for everyone who made the event possible, benefit coordinators, servers, cooks, everyone who donated food, plates, etc., and all who purchased tickets. There are no words that can express our gratitude for your help, unabrazo, Lorenzo López.”
In spite of its success, it will take fund raisers in many other cities to come up with the total needed amount. However, every little bit counts.
By the way, for those readers that would like to write Joe, they can address their correspondence to José Manuel López, 1399866, Ramsey Unit 1, 1100 FM 655, Rosharon, Texas 77583, E-2-5.
There is no doubt Joe López is innocent and the ‘Justice for Joe López’ organization has the proof.
Joe did not have to go to prison because he was initially offered four months in jail followed by probation. The result is that he fired his lawyers for even fathoming the thought of such a deal. Instead, López adamantly professed his innocence.
“Imagine that. If I had indeed done that and was offered only four months, I would have said damn, let me kiss your feet and hugged them outside, right? But I didn’t do anything. So why should I admit to a crime I didn’t commit in exchange for a light sentence?
“Ni lo mande Dios (God forbid),”López said during a prison interview as he shook his head in disbelief.”
Joe refused the plea bargain because that would be admitting guilt and he repeatedly stuck to his guns in regard to his innocence.
On Tuesday, October 31, 2006, Joe was sentenced to 32.5 years in prison. This was a pretty stiff sentence when one considers that the punishment for third degree murder is thirty years.
“It was a hanging trial and we (the family) are now all in prison,” his oldest brother, Raúl López Jr., stated.
To help out Joe, Tejano living legend Gilbert Rodríguez is asking performers to donate their talent for three fund-raising concerts – one in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas — to cover the legal costs of attorneys Roger Z. Guevara and Art Vega in San Antonio plus Philip T. Cowen in Brownsville to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
“Now, just as O.J. Simpson, I have several attorneys . . . and the support of Jaimé P. Martánez behind me,” Joe said in his most recent letter to Gilbert Rodríguez.
To date, every single Appeal has been denied and the only thing left is the Writ of Habeas Corpus, but attorneys don’t work for free. According to Lorenzo and Judy López, the deadline to file is March 30. Therefore, he needs all the help he can get. Otherwise Joe, now 60, will not have the freedom we all take for granted until he is 88.
Any band and vocalist wishing to participate may contact Gilbert Rodríguez at (210) 673-2990.
To acquiant Street Talk’s readers with what really transpired, I was allowed to share the following few tidbits of information – including copies of actual medical records.
First of all, let me introduce the main character being the alleged then 13-year-old rape victim. Her name is Krystal Benita López, daughter of Joe’s brother and his then wife Blanca Estela Chávez. Therefore Krystal is Joe’s niece.
The courtroom figures were District Attorney Armando Roberto Alexandre Reyes Villalobos, Judge Leonel Alejandro, who presided over the 357th state District Court.
Joe’s defense attorneys were Micheal (pronounced Michael) Pete Trejo and Michael Lee Young.”
Chapter One of the book I was commissioned to write starts out as follows:
As will be outlined and practically proven, Joe was wrongfully accused, was charged on four counts based on a downright, outright lie and had to stand trial due to a fabricated story of an alleged rape. And it didn’t help when a few people perjured themselves on the witness stand.
Moreover, lack of time for new defense attorneys to properly prepare for his case and ineffective counsel lead to his wrongful conviction.
The facts contained between these two covers will prove that Joe was innocent because he was not guilty of the charges brought upon him.
The facts that would have saved Joe from being convicted was all the alleged victim’s medical records, correctional center’s papers and other documents deemed inadmissible in court because the alleged victim was a minor at the time of the trial.
Furthermore, Joe’s defense attorneys advised him not to take the witness stand and the reason for this gross error will unfold within these pages. In the process, this book will also give some insight to the corrupt so-called justice system we live in.
It is his family’s prayer that this book will exonerate Joe as you the reader will be made privy to all the facts, what really happened, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
PIECING THE PUZZLE TOGETHER
A written reenactment of many events outlined in chronological order and in story form is based on numerous interviews and the sworn testimony of this case’s witnesses when they were asked to take the stand. So what transpired has been a careful, timely process of piecing together all the witnesses’ statements and answers to both the State and Defense according to the reporter’s record transcript.
It was like putting together a difficult jigsaw puzzle. This process helped cut down pages of repetitious, redundant questions and answers. Otherwise, the reader would have 775 pages of tiresome, boring transcript which would put one to sleep.
From this point on and through coverage of the trial, the entire scenario will be explicitly detailed, word per word and will adhere to the time-line and time-frames stated by the many witnesses that testified.
For utmost accuracy, all quotes are verbatim as they appear in six volumes of court transcripts. While there was the temptation to edit and make many corrections due to fragmented sentences, wrong word usage, grammatical errors and other mistakes, they were left intact, ‘as were transcribed’ by court reporter, Cynthia L. Garza, CSR, RMR.
Therefore, some of the dialogue may not make sense due to the improper use of the English language by a few witnesses.
What really transpired will definitely open up more questions than those it will answer, and this questions and their answers is what could have proved Joe’s innocence and set him free.
This is not a book about Mazz, or the musical story of Mazz, but about an innocent man – and about any Joe that is behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Most of the information is extremely touchy and cannot be divulged until Joe is granted a re-trial so I will have to tip toe through some important points. But it is a fact she lost her hymen at 12 and by 14 was a sexually active teenager.
In 2004, Joe was performing with excruciating pain due to a hip injury and his time on stage was minimal. After this, Joe was unable to take one single step without a walker, and he was prescribed even stronger medication. After falling off the stage in Dallas, he spent the next few months more drugged up than a junkie.
By April 2004, Joe was still unable to walk without the aid of a cane and he was under so much pain . . . his wife Tina made sure he was not without a bottle of Chivas Regal for his pain and a bottle of pills to put him to sleep in what became his new lifestyle. His brother Lorenzo also said that Joe had to sleep on a recliner because he was unable to climb on top of the bed without physical help.
There were days that Joe couldn’t walk, much less even move; and on weekends, he was on cocaine and heavy medication to take the pain away in order to perform. Once onstage, he grabbed the microphone stand and held on to it for support without making his condition obviously to the audience.
As a man, the pain medication killed his urge, his longing, his sexual appetite, his passion, lust or whatever one wants to call it. Therefore he was unable to have an intimate relationship with his wife because the hunger and yearning was not there. He couldn’t climb up on his bed on his own and there was no feeling in his groin, except that of numbness.
But when it came time to testify on Joe’s behalf, his attorney made her change her tune.
During a one-on-one interview with the Grammy Award winner at the Ramsey Unit in Rosharon, Texas on April 28, 2009, Joe said, “You know what my attorney told my wife to do, to state that she had given me sex in the bathroom, in the bed, in the living room. And I told Tina, ‘why are you lying like that?’
That statement drove in the last nail on Joe’s coffin because it made him come across as being capable of having sex.
During the trial, there were numerous times Krystal’s testimony, as well as that of others could easily constitute reasonable doubt, but they were never questioned. In fact Krystal and her mother’s statements raised more questions, but no one bothered to clarify any conflicting and contradicting statements. Not one witness was pressed for more information to fill in the missing blanks.
Therefore the jury was left to decide in whom to believe – an adult, a responsible mother and wife, or a teenager with a history of being a troubled child?
For example in just one sentence, Krystal was “unsure” about three different things as she answered, “I’m not sure,” “I think” and “I don’t remember.”
Some testimonies were 180 degrees opposite of each other. And in some case, there were three different versions of what happened. Yet there was no further search for the truth. How could any attorney overlook these inconsistencies?
FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2004
According to the transcript, after the alleged rape, Joe went to sleep and Krystal was not restrained. She was completely free to run out the door and in less than a minute reach the Rancho Viejo Police Department to report the alleged rape.
Furthermore, the police department was then at 3461 Carmen Avenue, cater-corner, across the street and less than a two minute walk from Joe and Tina’s condo.
As Tina testified on the third day of the trial when asked about the location of the police station in relation to the condo, she stated, “It’s like catty-corner, right there … It’s just across the street. Like … maybe a hundred (feet), I’m not sure.”
When Young asked how long it would take one to walk from the condo to the police station, Tina stated, “A minute, two minutes, not even.”
The question an average person would ask is, “Why would a rape victim ‘walk,” wouldn’t one assume they would run? And why didn’t Krystal immediately dart out the door and run across the street to the police station?
Instead of running out for help, she got a Coke from the refrigerator and sat back down in the living room. Then she picked up the telephone and called her boyfriend.
Moving along the court trial, when Villalobos asked Krystal if she had showered after the alleged rape with “wouldn’t you want to be clean?” she stated, “Yeah, but I didn’t take a shower.”
“You weren’t thinking to yourself this whole time, ‘gosh, I can’t wait to get this off of me. I can’t wait to clean up. You never said anything about feeling like that, did you?
Looking the district attorney straight in the eye, she said, “no.”
To top it off, that same night, Joe, Tina and Krystal went out to eat at his sister Alma Trevino’s house. And later that same evening Krystal went fishing with her father, Joe and Omar Rodríguez, a family friend who says she seemed to be having a good time.
Based on what he has seen while working in his current position at a juvenile detention center, during a one-to-one interview, Omar, who knows most of the signs and body language exhibited by someone who has been raped, said, “She wasn’t distance, withdrawn or appeared to want to seclude herself.”
CONTINUATION OF LETTER
I could go on and one, but it would be hard to condense a 36 chapter book. However, I will leave your readers with some food for thought. Her Rape Kit test turned up ‘negative.” We initially had the permission of Christina Hernández, founder of Justice for Joe López, to publish two pages from Krystal’s medical records from the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department Medical Department.
In the “Drug History” section, readers would have seen black and white proof that Krystal smoked, drank hard liquor and test positive for marijuana, PCP, ecstasy and downers plus had a few serious ailments.
The second page revealed she tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease and if Joe had slept with her, he would have contracted Chiamydia trachoactis.
To have published those medical records would have violated the patient/doctor confidentiality, therefore they were pulled at the last minute.
All evidence against Krystal was inadmissible in court because she was a minor. Instead the DA painted a virginal picture of Krystal. In addition, police officers that had stopped Joe for suspicion of marijuana use in the previous decade were brought in to testify in a case that had nothing to do with drugs. The purpose of course was to damage his character.
Another giant flaw is that the court allowed Leticia Cisneros García, a woman whom Joe’s brother Lorenzo had dated twenty years prior, not only to serve, but was also named ‘jury foreman.” Furthermore, after she got married, her husband Robert Sierra and Joe had a falling out in 2002.
Many other rules were broken and they are all detailed in the book. In summary, all the cards were stacked up against Joe. To know the truth and the injustice that has been done to Joe would turn anyone’s stomach.
There were numerous instances of more than ‘reasonable doubt and times when Joe’s attorney objected or asked for a mistrial. And each time the judge sustained and overruled all his objections and his motions were each time denied.
Again, I remind the reader that attorneys have until the end of this month to file a Habeas Corpus. Not one of us is a saint. There is no exception so let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Call Gilbert Rodríguez and find out how you can help him raise the money to pay Roger Guevara file the Habeas Corpus.
Very respectfully, Ramón Hernández