Addressing Homelessness in Flour Bluff

Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics, Health, Law Enforcement
Melanie Hambrick addresses FBCC (Photo by SevenEleven Photography)

       On October 16, 2017, members of the Flour Bluff Citizens Council were joined by city, county, and state elected officials and city staff to hear a presentation on homelessness in Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff.  Melanie Hambrick, a Flour Bluff resident who has served on the city’s Advisory Council for Homelessness, Mental Illness, and Substance Abuse, Kae Berry of Timon’s Ministries, and CCPD Chief Mark Schauer helped to educate the residents in the audience at the regular general meeting held at Grace Community Church on Flour Bluff Drive.

     Hambrick began her part of the presentation with a definition of homeless.  “Though many definitions exist, for our purposes we will define homeless as chronic, those who have been continuously homeless for one year; transitional, individuals who have experienced a single episode of homelessness lasting an average of one to two months; and episodic, an individual with three or more episodes within the last year rendering him homeless,” she said. Hambrick said that research indicates the primary reasons for homelessness to be addiction, poverty, lack of housing, lack of affordable health care, domestic violence, and mental health issues among others.  “The number of homeless changes daily, and finding these individuals to talk to them about their personal experiences is challenging and therefore cannot be accurate,” stated Hambrick.

Data based on the 2017 Point-in-Time Survey of 611 individuals in Corpus Christi.  This annual survey is required by the U.S. Dep’t. of Housing and Urban Development.

     “There are lots of factors that contribute to chronic homelessness.  When people are released from public institutio or public systems without adequate discharge planning, they are more likely to become homeless,” said Hambrick.  “Adequate discharge planning is a crucial element to the long-term success of these individuals. Reasons given include release from correctional institutions, release from hospitals, release from mental institutions, children aging out of foster care, and migration for jobs.”  Hambrick added that Corpus Christi becomes a destination for the homeless because of the mild winters and places that lend themselves to living outside, such as bridges, brushy areas, and beaches.

     “All of this does come with a cost to the taxpayer,” said Hambrick.  Though she did not have exact data for Corpus Christi, Hambrick gave the national average, which is estimated between $30 and $40 thousand per individual annually. “This cost is absorbed by many.  For example, the cost for processing and holding of individuals in correctional institutions, hospitals that do not refuse those who seek medical attention, and court-appointed attorneys who represent those who have been arrested, to name a few.”  This does not include the cost to clean up homeless camps in public spaces and parks, which would be absorbed by the Solid Waste Department or the Parks and Recreation Department.

     Hambrick provided data on what services are available for the homeless in Corpus Christi:

  • 10 agencies provide shelter totaling approximately 600 beds (none in Flour Bluff identified and many serve specific populations)
  • 14 identified churches and organizations provide food (none in Flour Bluff identified)
  • 7 agencies, including Timon’s Ministries in Flour Bluff, provide health care and case management services
Kae Berry of Timon’s Ministries (Photo by SevenEleven Photography)

     Kae Berry of Timon’s Ministries told the group that Timon’s was incorporated in 1999 and opened for business in 2000.  “I started there as a volunteer serving food,” she said.  “A year later I became the director, and I’m still there.”  Berry explained that it really began back in the eighties at St. Peter’s by the Sea UMC on Waldron Road as a shelter for the homeless.  “They were feeding the homeless who camped near there out the back door of the church.  It grew and grew and grew.  Then, other churches got involved, and they formed Timon’s.  When it first opened, we were really feeding only homeless people,” Berry said.  “Because of the development of the Flour Bluff area, the number of homeless in Flour Bluff has diminished significantly.  Currently, only about 5% of the people we feed are homeless, usually the chronic homeless.”

     “Our goal at Timon’s is to help people not be homeless,” said Berry.  “Most of the folks we see are people who are just hanging on by a thread.”  Berry told of how they serve many children whose parents have been incarcerated and who are being raised by indigent grandparents who live on fixed incomes and could barely afford to feed and care for themselves, much less the grandchildren. “Those in need are welcome at Timon’s.  If they don’t behave themselves,” Berry said, “they can’t be there.  There may be more homeless wandering around out here, but we don’t see them because they’ve been banned.”

     Berry said that Timon’s is really working to help the working poor and the disabled poor.  “I don’t feel the government does enough for these people, and that’s who we’re after.  We have a doctor on board who has 1700 charts; most of those people are not homeless.  A few are homeless, and with them most of what we do is wound care, spider bites, and that sort of thing,” said Berry.  “We’re helping the uninsured, and it keeps them out of the ER.  This started in 2012.  We opened the first dental clinic in 2009, the first in the Coastal Bend.  We have 3400 charts for people who come in for dental care from all over the place, not just Flour Bluff.”

     “We also help with things like driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and the kinds of things that get people back on the road so they can get a job.  You can’t do anything without an ID; without a birth certificate, you’re dead in the water.  All of this costs money,” said Berry.  “We move about three tons of groceries out every month.  That is increased since Hurricane Harvey since we’re helping a lot of folks with emergency food.  We’re also helping with their medicines.  This is not the time to be standing in water with your house down around your knees to be without your blood pressure pills.  We’re glad to help folks with these things.  However, if we’re going to spend a farthing on you, you must pass the drug test.  We will feed you and give you groceries because there are children involved, but for anything else you have to pass what we lovingly call the ‘Whiz Quiz’.”

     According to Berry, running Timon’s costs about $323,000 a year to operate, most of which comes through grant funding.  Hurricane Harvey did damage to the Timon’s building, leaving them with a 30-year loan for its repair. When clients do not behave, Berry said they call the police and issue a criminal trespass. Timon’s Ministries is located at 10501 South Padre Island Drive next to Pizza Hut and is open from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. daily.  Berry can be contacted by phone at 361-937-6196 or by e-mail, timonsministries@sbcglobal.net.

Chief Mike Markle (Photo by SevenEleven Photography)

     Representatives from law enforcement agencies were present at the meeting, including Constable Mitchell Clark and Chief Mike Markle who brought several officers to answer questions.  “We often receive phone calls and emails from the public asking what we’re going to do about the homeless.  Unless a crime is committed, we can’t do much.  Homelessness is not a crime.  I understand the frustration of property owners.  I’m a property owner of Flour Bluff,” said Markle.

     “When crimes are committed by the homeless, we deal with those.  However, homeless folks, more often than not, are victims of crimes rather than instigators of crimes,” said Markle.  “We do have many homeless because they see Corpus Christi and its mild climate as a destination city.  They see this and the very giving and charitable nature of the city as reasons to come here, so they get on a bus or get a ride and head down here. I doubt that Corpus Christi will ever be without homeless.  It is more of an issue of co-existing and everyone maintaining qualities of life while being charitable, while being cognizant of the law, while enforcing the laws so that others aren’t impacted negatively by their presence,” continued Markle.  He encouraged the residents to get in touch with Captain Lee Weber who is the district captain in charge of the Flour Bluff area.  He can be contacted by phone  (361) 826-4052  or email: weldonw@cctexas.com.

Chief Markle and Captain Lee Weber (Photo by SevenEleven Photography)

     “We are very much involved in homeless issues outside of just police work,” said Markle as he introduced Assistant Chief Mark Schauer,  a 35-year veteran of the police department, who offered additional information about the homeless situation in Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff.  “Chief Schauer has been involved in many homeless initiatives, serving on various boards and working with the Coalition for the Homeless , Metro Ministries, and Charlie’s Place.  He’s also been involved in the Point-in-Time Surveys – as were many of our staff in the police department.”

     “When I got this job, I had been homeless for about five months, but it’s a different kind of homelessness. You can’t paint everybody with the same brush of homelessness.  Some are homeless because of domestic violence, some for drugs and emotional conditions.  You have young people being kicked out of their homes.  The average age of the homeless, as I learned from serving over four years on the Metro Ministries board, is sometimes nine years old.  A mother with kids drives down the average age, and there are lots of mothers with kids who have no place to go,” said Shauer.

Assistant Chief Mark Schauer (Photo by SevenEleven Photography)

     “In my case, I graduated from college, worked for my dad for a year, and decided I didn’t want to live in Illinois any more.  So, I got in my truck and left.  I camped out of my truck on the beach, under overpasses, even the JFK Causeway, and places where I was kicked out because I didn’t know I couldn’t camp there.  A week before the academy started I rented a room in a mobile home on the other side of town.  That was my first place.  I had money in the bank and a desire to get a job, not really the same as for many homeless.”

     Schauer shared with the audience information about homelessness in Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff that he and other officers received from a two-year survey with over 400 homeless people.  “We learned that a lot of the people interviewed were homeless less than a year.  Many were not from here but didn’t say why they came here.  A lot of them admitted to having drug and psychological problems.  Some who said they didn’t have psychological problems admitted to being treated for psychological problems,” said Schauer.

 

     “If you ask the intake officer at the city detention center, he’ll tell you that he hardly ever sees a PI (public intoxication) for alcohol any more.  It’s all synthetics.  It’s easy to get and extremely cheap. They can share it. They can take a blunt and make it last for days because they can get high with just a couple of hits. And, it’s deadly. If you see people leaning against a building – looking like a zombie or something – almost for sure they’re on synthetics,” said Schauer. “We think it’s a waste of time to give money to these folks, so we put up the ‘Keep the Change’ signs.  We prefer that you give to the shelters, give to Timon’s, give to somebody, but don’t flat out give them cash.  I think it’s the worst thing you can do.”  Later in the presentation, Schauer told the audience how they could tell if synthetic use is going on in their area.  “Look for the cigarillo packages like Swisher Sweets.”

Image result for cigarillos for weed
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

     “We also found out through the survey is that 7% – or about 28 people – said they are just satisfied being homeless.  These are the ones you see all the time,” Schauer said as he described one particular barefooted man whom he sees sometimes 20 times in a day around City Hall.  “He is the face of homelessness for me, but it’s not the representative face because there isn’t one.  Some are mothers.  Some are people who came here for jobs that they didn’t get. This is a complex issue.  All we can do is enforce the law and try to keep it at bay.”

     Shauer said that he worked on the aggressive panhandling ordinance that prevents people from repeatedly asking for money.  “Talking to you is a First Amendment right, but they can’t continually ask you or approach you aggressively.  We can stop it when they’re in the roadway, and we do that a lot.  When we make an arrest for that, it’s an endless cycle.  They don’t have the money to pay, and we don’t have debtors prison.  You can’t hold them.  We arrest them.  They magistrate them and then release them.  We pick them up and try to interrupt their cycle.”

     Some of the homeless activity, Shauer said, takes place on private property, and the police cannot legally get back in there without the permission of the property owner.  “Flour Bluff is unique in that it has large, brushy areas privately owned by oil companies and such, but without their express permission or a direct request, we can’t just go onto the property. Some of these camps are elaborate and look like Apocalypse Now.  If you see them and tell us, then we can address it through the property owner,” he said.

     Shauer explained that many of the people are mentally disabled or emotionally unsound, but there is not a lot of money for them.   “We wish there was.  We commit a lot of people who are out a few days later.  There is no long-term treatment facility unless they are sent to SASH (San Antonio State Hospital),” said Shauer.  “I sit on the board for Charlie’s Place, and they have what they call scholarships for the people we encounter on the streets.  We have a special unit that works around City Hall and out in the Bluff around Parker Park and along Graham Road.  Our bike officers offer them some of these spots at Charlie’s Place, but they don’t always take them up on it, so they end up getting arrested.”

     When asked by a Citizens Council member why these people are not made to work even though they appear to be able to do so.  Shauer responded by saying that some are truly disabled mentally or physically; some will but look for ways to sue the property owner; others do work at Metro Ministries and earn their keep; still others simply do not want to work.  At the Rainbow House, the women are working or going through a job program, and all the kids are in school or in childcare Shauer explained.

     Another member asked what can be done about them urinating or defecating in the park.  “We have ordinances that address that, and they can be ticketed.  We have to see it.  Call us out, and we’ll come out and talk to them.  Most of the time they comply with our requests.”

    Shauer was asked if anyone had used drones to fly over some of the larger brush-covered areas to locate homeless camps.  “No.  We have to respect private rights, too. Just about everything out here (Flour Bluff) is privately owned, and we would need the permission of the property owner to do something like that,” Shauer said.

     Melanie Hambrick talked about possible solutions.  “Many components are necessary for a successful plan to end homelessness,” she said.  “However a plan is just a plan if no action is taken.  It is clearly a waste of time and effort.  This is a community issue, and government can only be part of the solution.”  Hambrick outlined some actions that could be taken immediately, such as locating a coordinated entry center for those in need where they will be met with a process that will maximize potential assistance in changing the homeless person’s current situation.  She added that service organizations that work in tandem with the Texas Homeless Network will provide solutions and pathways for individuals to become self-sufficient.  “This will also aid in our ability to collect true data on homelessness in our area,” Hambrick added.

     Hambrick stated that all who are serving the homeless in some way should take a “collective impact approach” to combat homelessness.  “This means that previously independent and uncoordinated programs in Flour Bluff that address the needs of the homeless should be coordinated to work toward common goals.  Leadership and civic engagement should be collaborative at all levels across all sectors,” she said.  The FBCC meeting ended with an appeal to the churches, businesses, and residents to take an active role in helping solve what is a daunting task for any community.

     At the October 17, 2017 City Council meeting, Amy Granberry, Chairperson for the Advisory Council for Homelessness, Mental Illness, and Substance Abuse briefed the council on four recommendations, echoing what Hambrick presented at the Flour Bluff Citizens Council meeting the night before.  Almost all council members were in favor of moving forward with two or three of the recommendations, but District 4 Councilman Greg Smith lead the charge by strongly suggesting that all four recommendations be acted upon swiftly.  The four recommendations are as follows:

  • Coordinated entry to ensure that all people experiencing a housing crisis have fair and equal access and are quickly identified, assessed for, referred, and connected to housing and assistance based on their strengths and needs.
  • Parks and Recreation Homeless Workers Program, which is based on the City of Albuquerque’s “There’s a Better Way” Program.  Workers will pick up trash and beautify the city and will work in conjunction with the Community Service Workers Program in the Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Tent City / Tiny Homes in which city could partner with businesses to build a tiny home community  by providing city-owned land and CDBG funding to build bathrooms and showers where residents would be charged a reasonable rent fee.
  • Family Reunification Program, which is a one-time use program designed to reunite homeless with supportive family outside of Corpus Christi.

NOTE:  For information on how you can help, contact Lt. Chris Hooper, Melanie Hambrick, or Shirley Thornton

at

fbcitizenscouncil@gmail.com.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

Stop It Right Now!

Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial, Religion

     In one week, the local school children will be headed back to school, and not a minute too soon according to many moms, especially moms who have two or more children at home.  The start of summer is usually great!  The kids play with each other, attend camps, go on vacation, and spend quality time together.  Those family photos from early summer show happy children frolicking in the sun and enjoying just being together without the responsibility of school.  Moms are able to sit back and read a book or sip iced tea while the kids play together joyfully. Ah, it is a wonderful time!

     Then, about mid-July, when the kids are forced inside by the extreme heat, things change. It’s too hot to play outside where there’s room to run and play and stay out of each other’s way. The camps are over. Vacation is just a memory.  The boredom sets in. What’s a kid to do for a little excitement? Aggravating a sibling by touching him or his “stuff” will certainly get the party started. So, one taps the elbow of the other who is about to put a spoonful of cereal and milk in his mouth, spilling it on the table and – if lucky – in his companion’s lap.

     “Quit it!” the victim screams.

     “You deserved it!” responds the offender.

     “What’d I do?” says the other.

     “Remember that time you took my headphones?”

     “That was last summer!  Who cares?”

     “I care.  I’m still mad at you.”

     “That’s stupid!”

     “No, you’re stupid!”

     “No, you are!”

     “No, you are!”

     “No…

     Now, this is where timing is crucial.  As soon as it becomes apparent that a fight is about to begin, the good mom quickly speaks in a loud and scary voice, “Stop it right now!”  For most kids, the “tone” comes through loud and clear.  They know that taking the conflict to the next level will most certainly result in something painful to their allowances, their free time, or their backsides.  Most won’t chance it, at least not immediately. As good moms know, it is during these times of unrest that they must be the most vigilant, watching and waiting for one child or the other to fan the flame and reignite the war.  She must be ready to douse the flame, being careful not to take a side. She must point out the wrongs that each child has committed to make them think about all the ways that either one could have been the better person and nipped the growing “war” in the bud. The good mom is not afraid to call them out and even inflict a swift and appropriate punishment on both.

     What a good mom knows – and must teach her children – is that dredging up old offenses never rights a wrong, but it can certainly create new ones.  She must be the voice of reason and – more importantly – the voice of  God’s wisdom, giving her children the words and thoughts they need to be able to live among other people.  She must speak as Paul spoke and let her children know that the past cannot and should not be forgotten.  She must teach them to remember their failures and learn what to avoid in the future.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  These words echo God’s words spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

     Most importantly, a good mom must teach the Golden Rule in the manner in which it was intended. In an article entitled “What Is the Golden Rule?” found at GotQuestions.org, it is explained this way:

“The English Standard Version translates the Golden Rule like this: ‘Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’ Jesus brilliantly condenses the entire Old Testament into this single principle, taken from Leviticus 19:18: ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.’ Again, we see the implication that people are naturally lovers of self, and the command uses that human flaw as a place to start in how to treat others.”

     Judging by the behavior of some young rioters who are emerging in this country, it is possible that their moms failed to pass on these important words of wisdom or that they simply failed to listen.  Whatever the case may be, this childish behavior can lead to dire consequences – and has.  Whether a person believes in God or not does not mean that he can’t come to understand His teachings for living a complete life.  Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, put it this way:

     To all the moms who take the time to step in, step up, and speak words of wisdom words of wisdom, may God continue to bless your good works. For those who have somehow “missed the mark” (Strong’s Greek: hamartanó – to miss the mark, do wrong, sin), it is never too late to start righting wrongs.  It should not be done through rioting and killing and teaching hate but through telling the children (even the adult ones) to “Stop it right now!” Then, follow up with a lesson on what good, decent behavior is and how important it is to treat others with respect and kindness, especially when they make us angry.  More importantly, the moms (and the dads) must model the behavior they wish to see in their children.  When we choose to spread true wisdom, the kind that builds up instead of tears down, that forgives instead of condemns, that joins instead of separates, that loves instead of hates, we can start moving toward a perfect world, the one God intended for us.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

Constable Mitchell Clark Connects with Citizens through FBBA and FBCC

Business, Community Organizations, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Government and Politics
Constable Clark receives Certificate of Appreciation from Jennifer Welp, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association

     Newly elected Nueces County Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark made the rounds this month in Flour Bluff.  On April 12, 2017, Clark spoke to the members of the Flour Bluff Business Association at the regular meeting held at noon at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Five days later, he addressed the members of the Flour Bluff Citizens Council at their general meeting held on the evening of April 17 at Grace Community Church on Flour Bluff Drive.  Since taking office, Constable Clark has been busy making changes at his department, and he is working to get the word out.  Clark reminded both groups that the constable’s office has historically been known as the “people’s police department.”  Precinct 2 covers Flour Bluff, Southside Corpus Christi, and the area in and around Chapman Ranch.  “My vision is to get back into community policing,” Clark said.

     Clark explained that the role of the constable is to keep the peace.   As a peace officer, he therefore has the statutory duties and authority of a peace officer within his precinct. As an exception to this general rule, five categories of peace officers, constables among them, may make an arrest outside their jurisdiction without a warrant for any crimes committed in their presence or view.   “The perception is that all we do is serve papers, and we do.  As a matter of fact, we make the county quite a bit of money by serving anywhere from 1000 to 1400 papers per month. In addition, we are available to assist you with non-emergency kinds of calls.  If you have an emergency, you should call 911.  Otherwise, call our office at 937-6306.  We are available 24/7.  After 5:00 p.m., our phones rotate over to the dispatcher, so we will still get the call.  I am here to serve you.”

Constable Clark addresses citizens at the Flour Bluff Citizens Council general meeting at Grace Community Church

     The constable explained that he has several new programs in the works.  One program, called Walk with the Constable, is one that is designed to get neighbors together and actually walk their neighborhood while listening to their concerns.  “Call us.  We’ll do it any day at any time.  You just let us know, and we’ll be there.”  Another, Talk with the Constable, will all citizens to meet and have a conversation with Clark and his deputies at his office, which is located in the Ronnie Polston County Building on Compton Road in Flour Bluff.  “My social media will be up and running soon so that we can communicate that way, too.  I want to hear your concerns.”

     Clark told the FBCC about other programs that he is initiating.  “I am working on a gun safety class just for women called Guns and Roses,” said Clark.  He also told the group that he is going to spend more time at the schools giving age-appropriate talks regarding safety and protection.  “We have badges for the little ones and comic books for all age levels.  All of this is at no cost to the taxpayer.  I have had these items donated.”  For the adults in the community, he will offer a Constable’s Citizen Police Academy, which includes ride-alongs.

      “We are even making changes in our uniforms,” said Clark.  “We are going back to Stetson hats, which have also been donated.  No tax dollars will be used for our uniform changes.”

     Constable Clark reiterated to both groups his willingness to work with the citizens of Precinct 2, the Corpus Christi Police Department, and all other law enforcement entities to keep the peace.  “We answer all calls for service.”

NOTE:  Constable Clark is a regular contributor to The Paper Trail News.  His articles can be accessed by searching the site.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

Meet Your Constable

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics
Nueces County Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark

     After writing a couple of articles for The Paper Trail on the history of constables, I thought it might be time to introduce myself to the people I serve. After graduating from King High School in Corpus Christi, I went on to join the United States Marine Corps.  During my four-year active duty enlistment, I served as a military policeman with a specialty in corrections and eventually was selected for the highly prestigious Marine Corps Drill Instructor School at San Diego.  After graduation, I served as a Drill Instructor in 2nd Battalion helping train young men to become Marines. After obtaining the rank of Sergeant, I received an honorable discharge.

     Upon my return to Corpus Christi, I enrolled in college and began my career as a deputy constable. While attending school full time, I also worked full time as a police officer in the Nueces County Constable operations, serving in Precincts, 1, 2, and 8.  I received an Associate of Science in Police Science from Del Mar College, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Corpus Christi State University, and a Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law.  Currently, I am the elected Constable for Pct. 2 Nueces County, Texas.  I have over 35 years experience as a police officer in Nueces County Constable operations serving as a deputy constable, captain, and legal adviser.  I have been licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) since 1981 and am currently licensed as a Master Peace Officer by TCOLE.  I also belong to the Texas Justice of the Peace and Constable Association.

     After graduating Law School and receiving my law license, I began a long career as a trial attorney, working on cases across the United States but never forgetting my first love, law enforcement.  I continued working in the constable operations on a non-paid basis while practicing law.  On November 8, 2016, I was elected to a four -term by the citizens of Precinct 2.  As an attorney, I have 25 plus years civil trial practice with emphasis on commercial litigation, business litigation, business formations, and contracts.  I am licensed by the Texas Supreme Court and the Tennessee Supreme Court.  I am admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, all Texas State Courts, and all Tennessee State Courts.

     I have always enjoyed being in Law Enforcement.  Being elected Constable was certainly a highlight of my career.  I take this position seriously – with a dose of humor at times.  I am committed to providing the citizens of Precinct 2 a safe environment in which to work and live by using technology, equipment, and my highly trained officers and administrative staff.

     We are initiating two innovative programs, Walk with the Constable and Talk with the Constable.  Walk with the Constable has the Constable and his officers going into the neighborhoods to meet the people, listen to their concerns, and devise and implement ways to help resolve those concerns.  Talk with the Constable will utilize various social media to communicate with the citizens.

     The Department serves the citizens of Nueces County who live in the Flour Bluff, Southside, and Chapman Ranch areas, some of the fastest growing areas in the county. The Department provides safety and protection to its citizens via community-based policing and pro-active law enforcement efforts.  My department and I are here to help.  Call or come by anytime if you need assistance.

Nueces Co. Constable Precinct 2
10110 Compton Rd
Corpus Christi, TX 78418

361-937-6306

Semper Fi,

Constable Mitchell Clark

 

Up Next………..What’s a COP?

Constable Clark is the duly elected official for the Pct. 2 Constable’s Office. He has been involved in the Nueces County Constable operations since 1981 and holds a Masters Peace Officers license from the State of Texas. He is a licensed attorney in Texas and Tennessee and in the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a former Marine with assignments as a military policeman with a specialty in corrections and as highly prestigious Marine Corps Drill Instructor @ MCRD San Diego. Constable Clark knows the law.

Please follow and like us:

Tom Brady (or someone like him) for Mayor!

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady missed the entire 2008–09 football season after he suffered a serious knee injury caused by the type of tackle that was banned in 2009 by the NFL’s new “Brady Rule.”
Tom Brady throwing a touchdown pass during Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 (Jeff Haynes—AFP/Getty Images)

 

     As I watched Tom Brady lead the Patriots to yet another victory in a Super Bowl this year, I found that I wanted to know more about this man who pulled off the impossible.  My teacher brain saw a “kid” who had tapped into his potential.  My 40-year interest in how our brains work (which helped me tremendously as a teacher) made me wonder how he thinks and decides in the short and long term.  Even those football fans who aren’t Brady fans must surely recognize his ability to think and act under extreme pressure.  Maybe this is just the kind of leader our city needs.

     So, let’s take a look at ol’ Tom.  Brady was the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft.  The pre-draft report on Brady by Pro Football Weekly summarized: “Poor build. Very skinny and narrow.  Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds, and still looks like a rail at 211. Lacks great physical stature and strength.  Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like.”  Before the big game this year, Brady said, “I am in the best shape of my life,” to which many old-timers laughed.  How can a 39-year-old athlete be in better shape than when he was 22?  As it turns out, Brady was right.  If you don’t believe it, search the internet for pictures from 2000 for the old Brady model and 2017 for the new and improved model. He actually IS more physically fit than when he was drafted.  But, Brady was actually quite successful even before he upgraded his body to the fit athlete he is today.  There must be something else.

     That same draft report listed “decision-making” as Brady’s positive attribute, something that he went on to prove was the most valuable aspect of his marketable skills.  In Coach Bill Belichick’s words regarding the hiring of Brady said, “Tom had been in situations–both in playing-time and game-management situations, tight games against good competition–and he’d handled all of them pretty well.”  From there, Brady started amassing knowledge about playing quarterback at the professional level, something that is frankly quite different than the college level game.  This increase in knowledge and experience coupled with a strong work ethic certainly must have played a role in Brady’s success. But, was thinking and working hard (and the better body) all that Brady needed to lead the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL) to five Super Bowl victories (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, and 2017) and earn him the Most Valuable Player (MVP) four times (2002, 2004, 2015, and 2017)?  He seems to have been born with an incredible radar for finding the open man, the main problem every quarterback must solve — and solve it in a matter of seconds.  There’s just no time for deep, thoughtful contemplation about the math involved in getting the football to the right guy when a whole line of angry linebackers are bearing down on him.  Brady possesses something quite intangible, something that we know exists but can’t specifically identify, something that goes deeper than thought but is delicately intertwined with thought.  Brady has intuition.

    This ability is referred to by science types as intelligent intuition.  It’s certainly recognized in the business world. Bruce Kasanoff, Forbes writer, says that intuition is the highest form of intelligence but that having the instinct alone is not good enough.  Kasanoff says it must be harnessed and honed through research and self education. “You might say that I’m a believer in the power of disciplined intuition. Do your legwork, use your brain, share logical arguments, and I’ll trust and respect your intuitive powers.  But if you merely sit in your hammock and ask me to trust your intuition, I’ll quickly be out the door without saying goodbye. I say this from personal experience; the more research I do, the better my intuition works.”  This is how the Leonardo da Vincis, Benjamin Franklins, Albert Einsteins, and Tom Bradys of the world became masters in their fields, setting a mark so high that those that follow will have to work very hard just to reach it much less surpass it.

     So, let’s turn to the problem of electing a mayor for Corpus Christi.  In our pool of candidates thus far, is there a Brady in the bunch?  No doubt, we have some with the knowledge and experience necessary to get the job done to a reasonable degree.  Some have limited knowledge and experience but are good people who want to serve the citizens and work to get the city back on track.  Others have very little to offer in any of these areas.   Which one of them has depth of knowledge in city matters, experience in getting to the root of a problem, courage in the face of a crisis, intuitive intelligence, an ability to connect with the stakeholders, a willingness to see failure as part of the problem-solving process, and an ego that is in check?  A resume’ and campaign speech will never offer that information. Perhaps instead of a candidate forum where questions are asked and answered, our city manager should hand them a real city problem to solve between now and election day, give them the access to the same resources as an elected council member, and let them go to work.  The one who does the most research and comes up with the best solution to the problem would get my vote.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

Constitutional Convention Dangerous to Liberty

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

There is a movement in the Texas Legislature to add Texas to the list  of states calling for a constitutional convention. Two-thirds, or 34  states have to call for this in order for the convention to take  place. They are getting very close to the required number. Some people are calling for amendments to our Constitution adding term limits for  members of Congress; some are calling for a balanced budget.

I am totally against this convention, and here is why.

1. The people making up the convention will come from all 50 states.  They are not all going to be freedom-loving, pro-Second Amendment  conservative folks like you and me. Some of them are going to be liberal, progressive globalists. Can we really trust all of these people with our beloved Constitution?

2. Nothing says they have to stick to one or two topics. In fact, it could turn into a runaway convention and our whole Constitution could be scrapped for a different one. I have seen copies of proposed constitutions. No God-given rights or the Second Amendment are included.

3. Our Constitution is not broken. It does not need fixing. Our elected representatives need to follow the one we have.

4. If we did add a balanced budget amendment, just how would it work?  If the budget was not balanced, how would they balance it? My guess would be by raising taxes or chopping away something. Who knows what they would do, or how it would be worded?

If you agree with me that the constitutional convention is a dangerous idea, call your state representatives and let them know you don’t want
Texas added to the list of states calling for it. Your liberty just might depend on it.

I was born in Crown Point, Indiana, and I am 72 years old. I retired from the Northern Indiana Public Service Company in 1999 as an Operating Dispatcher. I enjoy playing golf and spending time with family and friends. My motto is “Have as much fun as you can and never act your age because your age can be boring.”

Please follow and like us:

The American Healthcare Act (AHA pronounced Ahh-Ha)

Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial

     

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House

     At last, the Republicans have released their 123-page missive called the American Healthcare Act (AHA pronounced Ahh-Ha).  They claim AHA repeals the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” otherwise known as Obamacare.  Unfortunately for us, it references Obamacare throughout the legislative document, so in order, to fully understand their intention, you need to read the nearly 2,000 pages of the Obamacare legislation.  This is not what I had in mind when I voted for representatives to repeal Obamacare. I kind of prefer simple language. You know like, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed effective May 31, 2017.”  Please remember the Constitution of the United States of America is a mere 22 pages.

     In typical Republican fashion, they attempt to appeal to some imaginary supporters like Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer. They always seem to forget who elected them, and obviously forget these famous words from Nancy Pelosi:  “Bipartisanship is nice, but it cannot be a substitute for action.”

     To provide full disclosure, I must admit that I only scanned AHAs 123 pages, but several things are clear. First, the Republicans like the provision that allows parents to insure their adult children because they retain the provision for keeping children on their parents’ policy until the age of 26. I think this is great, but if you are still so immature that you are a dependent at age 26, you should not be allowed to vote until age 27. Further, your parents should pay the full cost of your coverage. It should not be subsidized by your parents employer or the government (taxpayers).

     Republicans also like the welfare provisions in Obamacare that provide for Medicaid expansion. The AHA allows the continued expansion of Medicaid at the state level until 2020. After 2020, anyone receiving Medicaid would still get it, but the state allocations change to a per capita basis. Funding Medicaid should be changed to a per capita basis immediately so that any expansion by the states forces the states to fund the expansion not the federal taxpayer (you and me).

     The Internal Revenue Service continues to play a big role in AHA. You may recall that the IRS hired several thousand new agents to enforce Obamacare back in 2010. The Republicans apparently want them to continue monitoring your healthcare because the IRS is referenced 16 times in AHA. They have a role in enforcing health savings accounts as well as various exemptions, deductions or tax credits. If reducing healthcare cost was a goal, the IRS could better spend their time reducing Medicare and Medicaid fraud, not monitoring citizens’ healthcare expenditures.

     President Trump has made it very clear that our healthcare system should be a free market system, but unfortunately the Republicans do not have the same faith in the free market system. The AHA turns the market over to exchanges and state insurance regulators. The term free market cannot be found in AHA; although, the word repeal is found 15 times. And while there is no provision to purchase insurance across state lines, the welfare provisions in Obamacare remain, but the Republicans have juggled the way the welfare provisions are administered. People who pay no taxes still get a tax credit which is refundable (more welfare spending).

     The Republicans claim this is just the first step of a three step process, but they offer no details of the other two steps. This puts citizens in the same position we were in when the original act referred to as Obamacare was passed. The act will have to be passed in order to find out what is in it.

     There is much in this legislation, most of which is not good if you wanted Obamacare repealed. The AHA merely nibbles around the edges. However, I should not close without saying that abortion gets mentioned 11 times. Apparently, the Republicans found the courage to de-fund Planned Parenthood abortions for one year maybe. I am not sure who this will appeal to, but since I am on the subject of abortion, this AHA legislation looks a bit like a Kermit Gosnell botched partial-birth abortion. Please consider that I did not bring up abortion for the sake of controversy. The Supreme Court long ago decided that we all have a choice with regards to abortion. The choice is Pro-life or Pro-death;  you decide.

     While Chuck Schumer was not referring to the IRS directly, he said, “Decisions ought to be made by doctors, not accountants.”

Until next time…

A citizen of the United States of America, a Texan and a resident of Flour Bluff, Dan Thornton, values enlightened reason and freedom. Dan is a lifelong student of history and philosophy, and a writer of poetry and song. The hallmark of his pursuit is a quest for universal truth. By admission, the answer is illusive, but he is undaunted, and the quest continues.

Please follow and like us:

The Constable’s Corner: Of Kings and Constables

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics, History

Welcome to the Constable’s Corner.  This is the first in what will be a series of articles from Mitchell Clark, the duly elected Constable, Pct. 2, Nueces County, Texas, on various topics of interest which relate to the constable operations in Precinct 2. 

King Alfred the Great successfully defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by the time of his death had become the dominant ruler in England. He reigned from 871-899 A.D. and is credited with establishing the first constables in Wessex.

     For the past four years, television audiences have been captivated by Vikings, a made-for-television series on the History Channel. Viewers have “witnessed” the bloody battles between the Vikings and the European monarchs that played out during the 8th century.  As the fifth season begins, viewers will get a glimpse into the life of Alfred, son of Aethwulf and grandson of Egbert (both kings of Wessex), a man who would one day be called “Alfred the Great.” This mighty king of Wessex changed his country forever.

     According to the BBC History site, aside from successfully running the Vikings out of Wessex, he built up the defenses of his kingdom, reorganized his army, built a series of well-defended settlements across southern England, established a navy for use against the Danish raiders who continued to harass the coast, and advocated justice and order and established a code of laws and a reformed coinage. “He had a strong belief in the importance of education and learnt Latin in his late thirties. He then arranged, and himself took part in, the translation of books from Latin to Anglo-Saxon.”  In addition, Alfred the Great established the office of constable, an office that exists today in some fashion all over the world – even in Nueces County.

     Historically, the title “Constable” comes from the Latin stabuli , which means “attendant to the stables, literally count of the stable” and originated from the Roman Empire.  The constable was the officer responsible for keeping the horses of a lord or monarch. The West European term “constable” itself was adopted, via the Normans, as konostaulos (Grand Constable) in the Komnenian and Palaiologan periods, when it became a high military office of dignity. The title was imported to the monarchies of medieval Europe, and in many countries developed into a high military rank and great officer of state.  Such was the case of the Constable of France (Connétable de France) who was the commander-in-chief of all royal armed forces and second to the king until Prime Minister Cardinal Richelieu abolished the charge in 1627.

Historically, a constable could also refer to a castellan, the officer charged with the defense of a castle. Even today, there is a Constable of the Tower of London.

     Later Roman administrative titles were used by Charlemagne in developing his empire.  The position of Constable, along with the similar office of Marshal, spread throughout the emerging states of Western Europe during this period.  In most medieval nations, the constable was the highest-ranking officer of the army, and was responsible for the overseeing of martial law.  Following Alfred the Great’s lead, the office of the constable was introduced in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066 and was responsible for the keeping and maintenance of the king’s armaments and those of the villages as a measure of protecting individual settlements throughout the country.

     The system of policing by unpaid parish constables continued in England until the 19th century.  In the London metropolitan area, it was ended by the creation of the Metropolitan Police by the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 and by the County Police Constabularies outside London by the County Police Act 1839. Together these led to all counties having various constabularies of full-time professionals.

Early Constables in England serving a warrant
Early Constables in England serving a warrant

    Europe moved west, and the Constable became the keeper of the peace in Colonial America. David Johnson writes in his book, American Law Enforcement: A History, “More than 350 years ago, America’s first known system of law enforcement was established in Boston.  As soon as colonists had settled there in 1630, local ordinances had allowed for constables to be appointed. Soon after, in April 1631, the townspeople formed a “watch” made up of six watchmen, one constable, and several volunteers who patrolled at night, walking the rounds. 

     “Initially run by a combination of obligatory and voluntary participation, the 17th century watch typically reported fires, maintained order in the streets, raised the “hue and cry” (pursuing suspected criminals with loud cries to raise alarm), and captured and arrested lawbreakers. Constables had similar tasks, which included maintaining health and sanitation and bringing suspects and witnesses to court—frequently for such conduct as working on the Sabbath, cursing in public places, and failing to pen animals properly.”

Prohibition of Tobacco from The Code of 1650, Being a Compilation of the Earliest Laws and Orders of the General Court of Connecticut edited by Silas Andrus, 1830
Prohibition of Tobacco from The Code of 1650, Being a Compilation of the Earliest Laws and Orders of the General Court of Connecticut edited by Silas Andrus, 1830

     Interestingly, Constables can be found, even today, abroad in such places as Hong Kong, Denmark, Finland, Norway, United Kingdom, India, Channel Islands, Australia,  and Canada.

    In the United States, the role of a constable varied from state to state as the new nation formed.  Then, in 1823, the famous Texas Constable was born!

Up Next!……….Part Two

“The Texas Constable”

References:

  1.  Alastair, Bruce.  Keepers of the Kingdom. New York, NY: Vendome Press, 1999.
  2. “Constable,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 July 1998. www.britannica.com/topic/constable. Access date: March 6, 2017.
  3. “Constable.”  Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. www.en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Constable&oldid=767456104.  Access date: March 6, 2017.
  4. Johnson, David R. American Law Enforcement: A History. Wheeling, IL: Forum Press, 1981.
  5. Jones, A.H.M., ed. The Later Roman Empire 284-602. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 1964.
  6. Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press, 1991.
  7. Slater, Stephen. The Complete Book of Heraldry. London: Lorenz Books, 2002.

NOTE:  Nueces County Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark can be contacted at the Nueces County Building in Flour Bluff, located at 10110 Compton Road, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.  361.937.6306    Constable Clark’s door is always open.  He is there to serve you!

Constable Clark is the duly elected official for the Pct. 2 Constable’s Office. He has been involved in the Nueces County Constable operations since 1981 and holds a Masters Peace Officers license from the State of Texas. He is a licensed attorney in Texas and Tennessee and in the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a former Marine with assignments as a military policeman with a specialty in corrections and as highly prestigious Marine Corps Drill Instructor @ MCRD San Diego. Constable Clark knows the law.

Please follow and like us:

Magill Drops Out of Mayoral Race

Corpus Christi, Government and Politics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (2/9/2017 – Corpus Christi, TX)

 

The following is a letter from former Councilman Chad Magill:


My Friends & Fellow Corpus Christians:

ourfamily.jpg
townhall.jpg
reading.jpg
commitment.jpg
app_icon.jpg

Leadership comes in many forms; Autocratic, Democratic, Strategic, Transformational, Team, Cross-Cultural, Facilitative, Laissez-Faire, Transactional, Coaching, Charismatic, and Visionary Leadership.

Some forms of leadership are most evident when times are tough and challenges seem to arise around every corner. Some forms of leadership offer a steady and even-handed approach, even in our most most difficult days. And, some forms of leadership plant seeds for the Greater Good to take root, growing steadily over time.

Today I share this with you after prayerful reflection, with a clear conscience, open heart, and belief in our city’s future that I am choosing to not run for Mayor of Corpus Christi in this Special Election.

  • By taking this step, our city will have a better chance of saving the cost of a Special Election Runoff.(Approximately $250,000 tax dollars). If one candidate is able to receive 50%+1 in the Special Election, the new Mayor will be able to get to work sooner. I hope that other potential candidates also consider the Greater Good.
  • I hope that candidates ask themselves if Corpus Christi needs yet another negative campaign or more negative publicity. Let’s have an issue-based campaign focused on what Mayoral Candidates can accomplish for the Greater Good of our city.
  • By taking this step, I pray we heal as a city, focus on being proactive, and solving the problems we know we have had for many, many years.

It Is Our Time as a City, to Rise Above
Corpus Christi can rise above our water & infrastructure challenges and financially fix them. Corpus Christi can rise above the negativity and politics, and we can rise above the bureaucracy of people that don’t go the extra mile for others. It is indeed time for our city to rise above the issues, and solve their root causes.

To each of you who have supported our campaign, offered to work on our campaign, and pledged your vote:
My family and I hope you know how much gratitude and deep appreciation we have for you.
Know this decision wasn’t taken lightly and that we will stay involved in shaping our city’s future.
We love Corpus Christi and Believe in the Greater Good for All.


Respectfully submitted,

Chad


Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

“The Napoleon of the West”: A Political Cat with 9 Lives

Corpus Christi, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics, Human Interest, International Issues, Local history

     Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna served 11 terms (6 official and 5 unofficial) as president of Mexico between the years of 1833-1855. For his many efforts, the cunning and self-proclaimed, “Napoleon of the West”, proved to be as charming as he was inept, cycling in and out of favor (and exile) with the Mexican people throughout his career in Mexican politics.

The War for Mexican Independence: 1821

     During the Mexican War for Independence, a young Santa Anna fought in the Spanish Royalist Army where he learned the merciless atrocities of war during battles such as that which occurred in Medina, Texas in 1813, where an estimated 1300 rebels were slaughtered and executed in what is known to be the bloodiest battle ever fought on Texas soil. During the final year of the Mexican Revolution (1821), Santa Anna saw the tides turning in favor of the rebels and he opted to switch sides to support an independent Mexico. Such antics, when coupled with his highly touted charming demeanor, won him influence among citizens and politicians in Mexico City. In 1833, Santa Anna was elected president of the young Mexican Republic, marking the beginning of what became a roller-coaster career characterized by intense peaks and valleys.

The Texas Revolution: 1836

     Two years into his presidency, he faced another rebellion in the Anglo colonies, one which was eventually led by Lone Star Legend, Sam Houston, and which culminated in the loss of Texas for Mexico. With intent to quell the rebellion and punish the Texian rebels, Santa Anna marched north with an army of thousands during the dead of winter in 1835, a rare season in Mexican history that saw record low temperatures and 15-16 inches of snow. His infamous victory at the Alamo might actually be viewed as a loss had the Mexican Army not killed the entirety of some 200 Texans who gave their lives holding the mission. For his efforts over the 13-day battle, Santa Anna lost 3 times the number of troops he defeated in the Alamo before splitting his army in a blundering effort to surround Sam Houston and 900 more rebels who were on the march near San Jacinto. At the most inopportune of times, the Napoleon of the West decided to take a siesta in an open field near a small lake, and opted not to post guards, a move that set the stage for his first big fall and his own Waterloo. Under surprise attack, Mexico lost the war in 18 minutes to the Texans at San Jacinto. In the heat of the strike, Santa Anna fled the scene on horseback and was found the following morning hiding in a thicket of brush. After his capture, the Mexican president attempted to conceal his identity after having swapped his general’s uniform for that of a common soldier. Once identified, he famously traded Texas to Sam Houston in exchange for his own life, triggering the first of many falls from favor within the public eye of Mexico. In proper fashion, Austin, Texas, was originally named Waterloo as a poke at Santa Anna’s self-proclaimed Napoleonic likeness.

The Pastry Wars: 1838

     In 1838, Santa Anna seized an opportunity for redemption while fending off a French invasion of Mexico. He once again led Mexican troops in what became another major Mexican military loss, but negotiations between France and the Mexican government eventually settled the dispute and brought end to the invasion. Though he had notched his belt with another difficult loss on the battlefield, Santa Anna was met with renewed support from the Mexican people for his will and ability to quickly rally troops and come to the defense of the country. For his troubles during the conflict, Santa Anna managed to lose his leg to cannon fire, an incident for which he chose to hold a formal burial with full military honors for his sacrificed limb. He famously donned a wooden prosthetic after the leg was successfully amputated.

The Mexican-American War: 1846-1848

     During the early 1840’s, Santa Anna once again lost the support of his people and had been exiled to Cuba around the same time Manifest Destiny had begun to cause friction between America and Mexico. By 1846, the U.S. declared war on Mexico after 11 American soldiers were killed by the Mexican Army along the Rio Grande. The war itself was one of high political controversy on the part of the United States, but once again, Santa Anna would get his chance to revive a career destined not to die. He booked passage on a boat from Cuba to Mexico, a voyage which was intercepted by the U.S. Military. Upon inspection, Santa Anna assured the U.S. government that he would go to Mexico and negotiate peace agreements to bring the war to end. Though his cunning nature preceded him, the Americans took the bait and Santa Anna returned to Mexico only to be given full command of 20,000 troops with the hope that he might be able to prevent the loss of the northern half of the Mexican national territory to the Americans. No such defense was in order, however. Santa Anna’s army was defeated at Cerro Gordo, a battle which ended somewhat satirically when the Mexican general’s chariot was raided by the 4th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry. In yet another effort to flee from capture, Santa Anna jumped on his horse and rode away. In his frantic hurry, however, he managed to leave behind his peg-leg, which was confiscated by the Americans and became a prized war trophy for the American victory. The leg, to this day, remains on display at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield.

The Gadsden Purchase: 1853

     After losing the northern half of its nation, Mexico once again retracted its support for their on-again-off-again leader. He was again sent into exile – this time to Jamaica – and as had been seen before would again return and become the president of Mexico. In 1853, a resurgence of conservative efforts brought Santa Anna back into power. Upon his arrival back into office, he found that the government was in dire need of cash if it hoped to maintain a military. After much negotiation and in the interest of raising federal funds, Santa Anna accepted a $10 million dollar offer from the U.S. in exchange for a nearly 30,000 square mile tract of land which served as the final puzzle piece in completing the expansion of the American southwest.

From Staten Island to Chewing Gum: 1855

     In 1855, after falling from grace in the Mexican public for his last time, Santa Anna was exiled to Staten Island where, in a roundabout way, he became acquainted with an inventor by the name of Thomas Adams. At the time, Santa Anna had been importing a chewy, rubbery substance harvested from Mexican sapodilla trees. Adams was intrigued and hoped to use the substance in order to find a way to produce a rubber substitute. Santa Anna, still holding onto dreams of a return to power, saw an opportunity to finance his return to Mexico. The project, however, failed after a $30,000 effort. Adams did, somewhat ironically, manage to find a way to add a combination of flavor and sweeteners to the plant, which led him to produce what he referred to as, “rubber chewing gum.” Adams went on to brand a chewing gum company that would become the largest in the country, later eclipsed only by Wrigley’s and Chiclets. Santa Anna, though he would eventually return to Mexico City, never reclaimed his power in politics, and lived to be 82 years old before dying of natural causes.

        The life and career of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna is nothing shy of a story worth telling, but moreover, might be better used as a didactic tale serving to warn citizens of the potential folly which can result from pouring public trust, support, and votes into leaders who simply look and speak in manners that are attractive.

Related article:  “Sand, Smugglers, and Santa Anna Helped Name Flour Bluff”

Matthew Thornton is an Austin-based artist and a history teacher. Originally from Corpus Christi, his wide-sweeping artistic interests range from writing and film-making to photography and painting. His work and studies explore patterns within the endless nuance of life as he remains constantly in search of the so-called, “big picture”.

Please follow and like us: