Friday, December 30, 2016

Action Alert: Tell The Governor To Protect Corpus Water

Today we message the Governor, Mamas.  Please go the contact page on his website. Click the button that says you need assistance to encourage them to give you a response.  Fill out the form and let the Governor know what happened to us here in Corpus.  Let him know about the lines and the people who could not get to water distribution sites. Let him know Stripes was able to jack up the prices of water because he did not declare a State of Emergency.  Let him know we have had four water crises, including the recent disaster, in the past 18 months.  Ask him what he is going to do to protect us from unsafe water in Corpus Christi.

Please message him today, Mamas!  Thank you!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Action Alert: Water Disaster Letters to The Editor

Yesterday, you emailed your Council Members, Mamas, but people's memories can be short and it is important to keep the pressure on until we know that this cannot endanger our children again.  A steady stream of Letters to The Editor printed in the local paper keeps people from forgetting the need to hold our public officials accountable.   An added benefit, is that a Letter to the Editor that contains a public official's name is certain to be read by that public official's office.

Please write Letters to The Editor of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times about the need for further investigation into the causes of the disaster, preventative measures that need to be taken, and the need for a study of the city's response.  Keep your letters very short and write one letter for each topic. Get your friends to write as well. They will not generally print more than one letter by a person in a month, so keep trying and keep recruiting more concerned citizens to write.

We are not going to let this disaster be forgotten until it can never happen again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Winter Holidays

In honor of Hanukah, Christmas and other winter festivities, this edition of Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club features books with  Winter Holiday themes.  Happy Holidays!

  • Three Wise Women by Mary Hoffman
  • Lone Star by Barbara Barrie 

  • A Dozen Silk Diapers by Melissa Kajpust

  • Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

  • The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson

  • A Full House by Madeleine L’Engle

  • The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia St. James

  • What Child Is This? by Caroline B. Cooney

  • The Winter Gift by Deborah Turney Zagwyn

  • Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle

Action Alert: Email Your Council Member, The Mayor and The At-Large Council Members About The Water Disaster

This is a week (plus; a week, plus) of Action Alerts about the Corpus Christi water disaster, Mamas.  For today, what we need is for Corpus Mamas to email their Council Members.  We need to email them about investigating the causes of the disaster, about preventative measures and about the City's response to the disaster.  Please email your own district's Council Member, as well as the Mayor and the three At-Large Council Members.  Email addresses are:

Mayor Dan McQueen:
Paulette Guajardo, At-Large:
Michael Hunter, At-Large:
Joe McComb, At-Large:
Carolyn Vaughn, District 1:
Ben Molina, District 2:
Lucy Rubio, District 3:
Greg Smith, District 4:
Rudy Garza, Jr., District 5:

Please email today, Mamas! Get your Mom Squad to email as well! We cannot let this go until we know it cannot happen again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Action Alert: Ask Valero if They Are Going To Keep Renting to Ergon

At this point, it is hard to say how much responsibility Valero has in the recent water disaster that contaminated the Corpus Christi water supply in December.  What we do know is that chemicals being used by their lessee, Ergon, contaminated our water supply, so we can be relatively certain that Ergon was, as the City calls such things, a "bad actor".

Why are they still in the industrial zone?

I called Valero today and spoke to their public affairs person and asked her if they were planning to continue renting to Ergon after what Ergon did to us.  She said she did not know until after the investigation.  

I say we know enough on this particular point.  

Please call Valero at 361-289-6000, ask for public affairs and then ask if they are going to keep renting to Ergon after what Ergon did to us.  If enough mamas call, maybe they will get the picture.  And if they don't get rid of the bad actor because we asked, there is always the power of the boycott.

Please call today!

Mama Reminder: Email The Chemical Safety Board

Hello, Mamas!  Have you sent your email to the Chemical Safety Board at, asking them to investigate the Corpus water disaster yet?  Here is the one I sent:

Dear Chemical Safety Board-

I live in Corpus Christi. Texas and on the night of December 14th, we were informed (sort of) in our City that there was an unknown contaminant in our water and it should not be used for anything, even if boiled, not even bathing. As time went on, we were told the chemical came from an asphalt company, Ergon, that was operating as a lessee of Valero Refining. The chemical seemed to be Indulin AA-86, along with some hydrochloric acid.

We did not have water for four days and there was a lot of talk about proprietary ingredients and non-disclosure agreements.  The City says the water is now safe and that they and the AG's office are investigating the disaster.  I am not entirely sure they are qualified to do that alone.

Please open an investigation into the causes and effects of the water disaster we experienced.  We need to be sure that our children are safe.

Thank you.


Mariah Boone

Monday, December 26, 2016

The New King

So are all of you so-called Christians who are supporting the President-Elect-who-has-already-slammed-all-of-what-Jesus-said-in-the-Sermon-on-The-Mount really okay with the Republican Party comparing him to Jesus on Christmas and hailing him as our new king?


Me, I'm going to stick with the Beatitudes.  You guys can define Christianity in what ever delusional way you choose, I guess.

Happy Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day!

I have decided that the Christmastide is properly a three-day holiday. In addition to the joy and wonder and holiness of the days, Christmas Eve involves so much preparation and Christmas Day the cooking and hosting, that they, while wonderful, can be a little exhausting, too.

Boxing Day is the recovery day.  A day with no expectations.  Eat fancy cheese and leftovers and watch Netflix. Chill amidst the mess.  It is a good holiday.

Happy Boxing Day!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

"and in true love and brotherhood each other now embrace....this holy tide of Christmas, of beauty and of grace, oh tidings of comfort and joy...."

Friday, December 23, 2016

Action Alert: Email The Chemical Safety Board

Neither the Attorney General's Office nor the City are qualified to be the only entities investigating the recent water disaster in Corpus Christi and we all know how easy it is for industry to get the TCEQ Commissioners to over-rule their staff.

One thing we need quickly is an investigation by the Chemical Safety Board, the independent federal agency charged with investigating the causes of accidents due to hazardous materials in industry - and, you know, we need it done while they still exist.  Please email them tonight, Texas Mamas, and let them know that Corpus Christi needs them to investigate our water disaster, apparently caused by Ergon's chemicals, on Valero's watch, and we need it done quickly. 

Please email them at and ask them to open an investigation into the water disaster in Corpus Christi.

Please hurry.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Ravages of Repeated Water Crises

Counting the recent water ban, Corpus Christi has had four water crises in the last 18 months.  There were more in the years leading up to this period as well.

Far too often, our public officials have pish-poshed the boil water alerts, publicly saying that they have continued drinking the water.  Even during this most recent, most serious ban, Representative Hunter, in his television briefing, seemed to imply that perhaps the way these bans were required should be changed.

My neighborhood has a Face Book page on which neighbors communicate and many of them admitted on it to continuing to use the water, even though we are straight up Zone Three.

This is unacceptable.  

People need to understand that water contamination is serious.  People need to understand that they must follow water bans to be safe

We cannot afford to have people decide that the answer is not calling bans as precautionary matters but waiting until people are irreparably sick and then calling them.  We have infants and elderly and people who are immunocompromised who would not survive that, even in the short term.

We do not need less regulation. We need more regulation.

We need safer water.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Solstice!

Congratulations, Everyone!  Half way through the Dark!

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Clean Water

I live in Corpus Christi, y'all.  This edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club is about clean water:

  • Clean Water for Elirose by Ariah Fine
  • The Water Princess by Susan Verde, Georgie Badiel, Peter H. Reynolds
  • A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley 
  • One Well:  The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss

Dispatch From The City of Poor Oversight And Communication And of Profit Over People

So we got the all clear to use the water, even in Zone Three where low class folks like myself live, on Sunday.  We flushed the lines, re-washed the dishes and clothes we had washed on Wednesday a bunch of times, pledged to drink bottled water at home for all the good it will do, packed up a closet with supplies for the next apocalypse and tried to move on.

 The City has a lot of work to do and we are going to have to make sure they do it.  

All of the places where industry can touch the City's water supply need to have back flow preventers and the City has got to inspect the ones that connect to the refineries and other toxic industries much more regularly.  If this sort of regulation means there needs to be a change in our relationship to the industrial zone, then make the change.  Annex them and regulate them and tax them.  They cannot be allowed to keep getting tax incentives while endangering the tax payers.

The City needs to know all of the chemicals being used in the toxic industries, needs to know what is in them and what they do and needs to know how to test for them.

The City needs to stop protecting the "bad actors".  Only Council Member Carolyn Vaughn, who has usually been an awful Teabagger, had the ovaries to call them out.  Many of us are shocked to find ourselves grateful to her, but we are - we are grateful.  Name them, go after them, stop them.

Ergon must pay.

Valero must pay.

Boycott Stripes for their immoral prices during our crisis.

If Valero's timeline is to be believed at all (big If believing Valero on anything), the City made numerous dirty water checks before issuing the ban but saw nothing particularly amiss.  That sort of treatment of industrial dirty water checks will no longer fly.  If the City gets a dirty water call from the toxic industries, even if it looks like it is okay, the City Manager and Council all need to be notified and extra caution should be taken to make sure it is okay.

In emergencies, the City needs alert the public immediately through both Reverse Alert and the 911 system and through sending out emergency vehicles to neighborhoods with bull horns spreading the word.....not just through the media and not hours later.

The City needs to publicize in all the above ways the ways that people who cannot get out to free water distribution sites can call and get water delivered to them. The Red Cross and others were mobilized to provide this service but communication of that was so poor that most people were relying on friends and neighbors and grassroots volunteers like members of The Greater Good and The South Texas Colonias Initiative to find out about them by word of mouth and deliver water.  There should be 911 calls with the contact information and bull horns in the neighborhoods.

Kudos to the Caller Times for coverage (could have done a better job with headlines but great information).  Kudos to The Greater Good and The South Texas Colonias Initiative for distributing water to those the City was not reaching.  Kudos to HEB for keeping the shipments of water and hand sanitizer coming in continuously.  Kudos to all of those in other communities - too many to name - who sent us water - thank you so much for having our backs. 

 We all deserve to have holidays and a decent life and all the things we want to have when we are not in the midst of an apocalyptic crisis, but we can't forget.  We can't let up the pressure on the City to make the changes needed to be sure this never happens again.

Remember also that Hillcrest and Washington-Coles and Dona Park have been living with all of this dangerous pollution for decades and they deserve to be safe too.  Remember that the colonias do not have clean water and they deserve to be safe.  

Do not stop fighting.  Every day, do something.  Don't forget.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

CCISD Exposes Our Kids And Leaves For Winter Break

So... at 2:44pm, Action 10 KZTV News posted a story about how an employee's use of an insecure website to transfer files made over 400 former students and a current student's social security numbers and other sensitive data available by public internet search.  Mostly students who took AP exams between 2008 and 2012, which one of my kids did.  I called the district before 4pm to ask about this but they had already shut down for the winter holidays.

Um...Roland Hernandez?  Mr. Superintendent?  Please go back to work and let us know if our kids' data is still publicly searchable and who exactly was exposed and what can be done, please.  You can't leave our kids hanging for two weeks after doing that to them.

Dispatch from Third World Corpus

Well, the water is supposedly safe to drink in Zone 1, where the white folk moved to avoid desegregation in Corpus.  Folks in Zone 2, where the nouveau riche and the upwardly mobile live,  can now supposedly take showers and wash their clothes, although, with all the warnings about how, I would be a might concerned about that still.  Here in Zone 3, the Corpus-that-was, we still are not to use the City's water for anything but flushing.

I am grateful for the flushing.

We still don't know a whole heck of a lot about exactly what happened or what the plan is for fixing it.  Our brand new Mayor has basically said to sit tight and we will get more information when it is useful to us.  I really am not enjoying that gate-keeping tone, I am afraid.  I am not one to make snap judgements about people, and he just got sworn in this week so our catastrophe is in no way on him, but how people handle catastrophes tells one a lot and I am not being told anything that I find encouraging, as someone who expects to get to decide for myself what I worry my pretty head about.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What The Hell, Corpus?!

Corpus Christi is back to Third World status.  We cannot drink the water or use it at all.  They are not telling us what we may have already been exposed to. Help.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

St. Nicholas Night

St. Nicholas of Myra (AKA Black Santa for the racists who don't even know that they guy who inspired Santa was not a white guy - oh, wait - he might have looked more like a Middle Eastern guy!  I'm worried that the bigots are going to register and intern Santa, y'all) came and left small gifts in my daughters' shoes.

He is so nice.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Peace on Earth

The Winter Holidays always make me think of that Wild Star's promise of Peace, and Heaven knows we need to work for peace more than ever now during this dark night for our country and its peoples. Here, then, is another edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club with themes of Peace.  Peace on Earth, Mamas. Please pray for it and work for it each day.  

For the Primary and Lower Elementary Set:

  • Our Peaceful Classroom by Aline D. Wolf
  • Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley
  • Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: an adaptation for children 
           by Ruth Rocha & Otavio Roth
  • Cain and Abel:  Finding The Fruits of Peace by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
  • The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter 

For the Upper Elementary and Teen Set (several of these are pretty heavily Quaker-influenced):
  •  Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  •  The Arrow Over The Door by Joseph Bruchac
  • Summer’s End by Audrey Couloumbis
  • Quaking by Kathryn Erskine
  • The Eye of The Heron by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Paul Ryan: Let Them Eat Cake

So Paul Ryan gave a speech to a bunch of conservatives in which he told an anecdote about how subsidized school lunches gave children full bellies but empty souls.  Yep.  Because getting to eat healthy food when you are a child is so bad for your moral development.  Someone needs to brush the Speaker up on his Maslow.  Also, he might want to visit the public schools he likes to bash because he does not know them like that.  His touching tale about brown bags equaling parental love is a wee bit outdated.  Few kids bring lunches from home.  Brown bags probably mean food allergies.  Get with it, Speaker.

I think Paul Ryan has done an excellent job of convincing people that the Trump-The-Evil-Clown stuff is what we need to be worried about.  But, really, it is him.  He is the one who will take away the children's food and healthcare. He is the one who will take Medicare and Medicaid away from the aged and disabled. He is the one we need to watch, because his gentle courtesy is all an act.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Action Alert: No Babies In Detention!

On Friday a judge in Austin blocked Texas' attempts to license the family detention centers in Dilley and Karnes City as "childcare facilities" (except, you know, childcare facilities that do not have to follow the rules of childcare facilities but get to follow the rules of prisons, instead, except it is hard to conceptualize how prison rules really work with babies and toddlers). 

The federal government released approximately 460 women and children over the weekend.  This is only a quarter of the refugee families being imprisoned and ICE has been releasing statements that the releases were not due to the results of the court hearing.


The shelters in San Antonio need help, Mamas.  If you are in the area and are able, please call RAICES and see what you can drop by.  If you are not in the San Antonio area, you can donate on Amazon:

Please help the babies and mamas if you can. They have been through so much.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

International Day of Persons With Disabilities

December 3rd is the United Nations' International Day of Persons With Disabilities.  This year is also the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With DisabilitiesRead the Convention here and commit to its principles. Remember - people with disabilities need health care.