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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Government leaders Building Sand Castles on South Padre Island

Government leaders Building Sand Castles on South Padre Island
“Island Time” Just 3 Miles from Mexico

It’s called “Island time” here at South Padre Island, the last land before Mexico a couple miles away. At the convention center a sign reads: “No Tie Zone.” Sure enough. I saw no one in a tie, which is easy when its 95 degrees outside.
Few know that the last battle civil war was waged nearby, over a month after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. Port Isabel had a lighthouse which was fought over and the only beacon for ships trying to find this valuable sheltered port. A storm sent several Spanish ships down off these waters with millions in gold and silver, some of it recovered and on display at the tiny but well done Port Isabel Museum.

Few know that the Mexico port of Matamoros is only three miles from the historic Port Isabel lighthouse. This area was a crossroads for international trade and territorial disputes since the Spanish first settled it and gave out huge land grants.

Yet today, I’m told, much of the land is owned by nationals from other countries, with the Israelis as one of the biggest. They bought a lot of the land in the 80’s and 90’s when it was sand. Now it is high rise condos and hotels.

This morning I saw dolphins in the water off the beach. It was an amazing sight.
This island paradise on the U.S./Mexico border has some of the most incredible sunrises I have ever seen.

There was a regional government group here for an educational retreat/trade show. One of the tasks near the end was for teams to build a sand castle in a competition of teams.

The idea of government leaders building sand castles did seem to me to be a bit ironic for awhile, but they were really nice people -- and the castles were pretty clever. I took photos at the link below.

Despite being wildly busy the past few days, the water, thick white sand, dolphins and peaceful air makes me realize how much everyone needs to step out of the emotional and spend some “island time.”

Just a year ago we were on the brink of the worst financial disaster since the 1930’s. We were a ship on the rocks, leaking oil badly. Many forget how expensive it is to fix that kind of damage. Now we are rebuilding and the markets are not frozen or in free fall. The problems that got us here still need to be fixed but at least the ship is not going to go under.

Yes, the situation has been costly. Wrecks are. And the fixes may not be perfect but we as a nation need to address the big issues like health care and climate change if future generations of Americans are going to have a system that works better than being No. 37 in the world. Ignoring them doesn’t work. Broken systems like broken cars don’t fix themselves. I don’t think our forefathers would sit back and do nothing when 45,000 Americans die each year from lack of health care – more than those who die from illegal drugs.

Being out of the daily noise can clear your head. Try it sometime. Our country needs some clear heads to start working on solutions instead of throwing around wild and false allegations. Future generations depend on what we do today to make tomorrow a more secure and healthy America.
And don’t forget to check out the photos of Sand Castle creativity on South Padre Island at

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