Barbara Breazeale

Barbara Breazeale

When I first came to Victoria, I heard about a monthly Hispanic newspaper called Revista. I did not read it because I don’t speak or read Spanish. Then one day I was curious and picked one up and was pleasantly surprised to find half of the paper was English, the articles were well written and the pictures were in color.

Emett Alvarez, the owner of Revista, is a kind, easy going man who gives equal time to all sides of an issue. I really like that.

He went to Crain, Aloe and graduated from Victoria Stroman High School. He was educated at the University of Texas, Austin, with a B.A. in Business Administration. Most of his adult working life was spent in the area of economic development and I was curious as to how he ended up owning a bilingual newspaper.

The Revista was established in 1991 by Chris Rivera. In the late 90’s, Chris sold it to John Roberts, one of the owners of the Advocate. In 2001 Chris Rivera, along with Emett and others, bought the paper back. In 2004 he started actually working at the newspaper and bought it from Chris.

In their office on Sabine Street, they design and sell ads, they collect stories and pictures. Around the 15th of the month, the final product hits the newsstand and website at revistadeVictoriatx.com.

Emett serves a special niche in the bilingual community and is especially proud of the fact that he believes it motivates his readers to learn how to speak and read English. Some schools have the paper delivered to help with Spanish instruction.

His business model was based on reaching the Hispanic buying public all the while helping the population learn English. Emett talked proudly about how his family spoke Spanish but emphasized over and over to him the importance of education. As he said, “Education was always paramount in my home”.

He has seen the appeal of the paper expand and each month delivers 300 newspapers to Ramsey’s Restaurant which is typically frequented by older, white patrons who speak English. The south side of Victoria, along with Port Lavaca and Calhoun County, is home to most of his readers.

Also, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requires that all water and air permits be printed in a bilingual paper if one is available.

Emett has always been very involved in the Victoria Community. He publishes for free special fundraiser’s information, raises money for medical costs and helps the churches in the area.

Somehow, he found time to serve on the Victoria City Council, member of La Camara de Comerico de Victoria, city council rep on the Victoria Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Central Appraisal District, ex-officio of the Victoria Main Street Program and Deputy Grand Knight of Our Lady of Sorrows Knights of Columbus Council 8388.

Years ago, the city was looking at a water treatment plant being built behind the Catholic convent. The sisters were concerned about the smell and the contamination of the water. A lawsuit was brought against the city and in the settlement, the treatment plant was required to build beyond state standards. They had to have sensors in the ground to detect leaks and air cleaners were required above ground to mitigate the smell. Emett was instrumental in obtaining this settlement. After that victory, Emett ran for city council and won. (2012 to 2016).

He served on Board of Association of Rural Communities in Texas, Greater Victoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Adult Literacy Council, De Leon District of the Boy Scouts, Victoria Children’s Protective Services, Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission on Economic Development, director of Victoria Leadership Alumni, treasurer of Food Bank, and vice chairman of the greater Victoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a member of the Victoria Crime Prevention Commission and the Victoria Grand Jury.

The list is actually longer! Thank God we have civic minded people like Emett Alvarez who care about Victoria on so many levels.

My question is, when does he sleep?

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Barbara Breazeale is a mom to four and grandmother to seven. She is the Advancement Director for Victoria House of Palms, P.O. Box 4886, Victoria Texas 77903. barbarabreazeale@gmail.com.

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Barbara Breazeale writes an occasional blog for the Victoria Advocate.

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