Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Will the Real Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats Chapter Please Stand Up?

C'mon, a return of The Lion Star Blog would not be complete without having a little fun with the never-ending novela that is Blanche Darley (pictured on the right).

Take note of the date and time, but I'm about to speak highly of the Paso Del Norte Chapter of the Tejano Democrats. Since I've been gone, the PDN Tejanos have really cleaned up their act. They, for the first time in probably more than two decades, actually complied with campaign finance law and became a PAC.

Their meetings are largely drama-free, all the officers get along with each other, and their candidate forms are no longer a ride on the crazy train.

The reason?

Better leadership. Becky Bustamante (pictured on the left) was able to regain her position as the head of the organization after the last time that Blanche rigged it so that she could take it back from Bustamante the first time. I know, its confusing.

For years I was openly critical of how any respectable judge or other elected official could be a member of that organization with a straight face. They suffered a big loss in membership for a time as well, mostly due to the antics of Darley and her motley crue of followers. Not sure if those former followers died off, became disintrested with politics or upped their dosage of medication, but for whatever reason their number dwindled.

Bustamante along with a board of credible community leaders have worked hard to restore the integrity of the organization.

But alas, Darley will not go quietly into the night. She continues to assert that she's the rightful president of the organization. And like any deposed dictator of an unstable country, Darley is determined to rule from exile. She apparently has set up her own version of the Paso Del Norte Chapter of the Tejano Democrats.

However, word around the TDP is that Darley has tried the patience of the state leadership of the Tejanos for the last time. They apparently told Blanche she's not the president and can't just start up a new chapter with the same name because she's upset that she lost.

There is also apparently still some controversy surrounding the money in the account of the Paso Del Norte Chapter of the Tejano Democrats. Apparently Darley's access to the money has been questioned and is likely a legal matter that will have to be ironed out.

The Tejanos are working hard to regain their previous stature and looks like they will do so under the current leadership. Which is a shame for me because I rather enjoy the spectacle of Blanche and will miss her emails.

Hell, I may actually become a member.

El Paso's City Budget - Why We Don't Really Want Cuts

This is the time of the year when everyone gets really upset about their taxes and the budgets of the various taxing entities.

There's a few reasons for that, chief among them being the fact that most taxing entities do a terrible job of managing budgets. Rather than having a budget being a living document that you manage all year round like your own finances, the elected officials start sharpening their pencils for their once-a-year budget exercise.

Another reason is that many elected officials would rather pander to the public than roll-up their sleeves and do the hard work. The city really put themselves in a bad spot. Rather than do the fiscally responsible thing of adopting the roll-back rate so that they had some room during the budget workshops to make the best financial decisions, they married themselves to a particular tax rate that was insufficient for all the priorities that were set.

Thus a shortfall.

Why did they do that? So that they didn't have a parade of crazies marching up the microphone during public comment with that empty threat of a recall. Actually I shouldn't say that, there is one member of city council who is likely going to be recalled soon and that effort is likely going to be successful, but I'll talk about that more later in the week.

You basically have only three options when it comes to a budget.

1)Keep the status quo and spend no additional money and have no plus or minus change in your revenue

2) Increase your revenue to cover additional services, emergencies, or budgetary priorities (which could mean more debt)

3) Make cuts

Thats it, thats basically all you can do. The first option has a lot of variables and almost never realistically happens. So you are essentially left with options 2 and 3. Options that people who think about the budget once a year have to consider.

I know what you're thinking, lets make cuts. Sure, that is everyone's gut reaction but its not likely because as constituents, as much as you might try to deny it, you don't really want services cut. You don't think you get your fair share as it is.

None of you every say, "Wow, we have way to many parks in this town." Or "We are way to safe around here, we need some danger." or "You know, I'd really like to see some more house fires because I really have too many nice things." or "This road is way to smooth, I want an off-road experience on Lee Trevino during my commute to school in the morning".

If anything, you want more services.

And if you really were cool with cuts, where would you cut? Salaries are a big expense but cutting the City Managers staff will only get you so far. In order to get what you really want you'd have to cut police and fire personnel. But they have unions and contracts to protect their jobs.

Lets be real. The people on city council that say they don't want to raise your taxes are the same people that take contributions from those unions and talk about their support for the unions. I like unions so I'm not being critical, I just want to point out that you really have to pay attention to the difference between what a politician says and what a politician does.

Case in point, City Representative Lily Limon. Representative Limon much like Commissioner Sergio Lewis at the County, was supportive of increases in expenditures of tax payer money. But when it came time to set a tax rate to pay for the expenditures requested, she didn't want to vote for the tax rate that would do so.

Its like going to your favorite bar and ordering shots for you and all your friends but when its time to pay the tab, you don't want to fork over the feria.

- Representative Limon asked for more money for her staff. 

- Representative Limon asked for more money for discretionary spending. 

- Representative Limon asked for more money for the Shaver Park Lights, and 

-Representative Limon said she didn't want to cut a single job at the city.

I actually agree that city staff for council should get paid more. I think more discretionary money should be allocated to the city reps and I'm glad to see an elected official stand up for staff at the city.

But I don't think we need more money at Shaver because we already were fleeced for that debacle once. Other than that, I agree with Representative Limon.

My only question is, how do you pay for it without an increase in taxes or fees?

I''ll go further in-depth on how this played out in a future piece. Stay tuned...

QUICK SIDE BAR - I've posted an announcement section to your right and there is now a poll section to your left.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Never Regret

The Lion Star Blog is back.

And as the good congressman from South Carolina, Frank Underwood says, "Let the butchery begin".

There are a lot of people who aren't going to be happy about my return and with good reason. They've had it pretty good in my absence.

My haters will do what they always do, talk smack from behind a keyboard. For more than a year and a half I had to put up with all of that stuff without being able to punch back.

Those days are over.

Sure they'll kick and scream and take their outrage to Facebook. But lets be honest, they'll be my most loyal readers. Obsessing about whether or not I write about them will be their hobby when they aren't sitting around coming up with their latest conspiracy theory about local government. But relax haters, we have plenty of time and there will be plenty to elaborate on about my return.

Be patient.

Its really gonna suck for Maxipad and El Paso Snooze. You vatos are about to be irrelevant (again).

Sure, we all know what you're going to do. Both of you will write some angry little piece that will be a rehash of the same old crap you've always said about me. Paredes will probably come up with some new lame-ass photoshop job of me and Maxipad, well I think he'll just continue to obsess over my hair, taste in women, choice of beer, my booty, etc. (Yawn)

And then what?

I've already survived the worst you and the rest of the crazies have said and done to me. And I'm still here.

The fun part is that I know more about the two of you than you think. The next few weeks of your relevance are going to be a lot of fun for me. The only real question is, which one of you do I expose first? Ah decisions, decisions.

In the mean time, you two will be reduced to writing posts that are reactions to stuff David K and I write.

Sorry boys, back to the bench you go. Now go fetch me some water.

Its time to get back in the game.

Batter up...

Monday, December 31, 2012


I think I saw a piece somewhere about headlines that the author wished he or she saw but didn't. I thought I'd offer a few local headlines I wish I'd seen but didn't over this last year in El Paso.

So here's what I came up with:

















The Most Important Election in El Paso You Never Hear Of

The men of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo will gather at the Tus'la (not 100% sure on the spelling) tonight to hold elections for their Governor and other positions.

This isn't an office people campaign for and it is usually closely tied to family alliances and feuds. The elections are important to the region because the leadership determines the direction of the Pueblo and its relationship with the rest of the region.

Hopefully word will get out tomorrow as to who the leadership will be for the Pueblo. The terms are a year long and there is no indication that the Tiguas will go in a different direction than the one they are going in now, but these elections are very unpredictable and there's no telling what is going to happen.

Again, only Tigua men older than 18 are allowed to vote or attend. Also there are no electronic devices allowed at the meeting either.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Suck It!!!!

As El Paso's unofficial biggest Redskins fan, I just want to send the Dallas Cowpies a warm heartfelt goodbye to the playoffs!

Suck it Cowpie fans!

How to Win an Election in El Paso

I have to confess, as a blogger I have always loved city elections the most. Yea, they aren't as fun in terms of policy as state and federal elections where I can feed my inner wonk, but everyone loves a good train wreck.

And candidates for city elections have a tendency to be walking train wrecks. Its the place where the ankle-biters, weirdos, nutcases, and the eccentric try their hand a politics.

But since this is the holiday season, I feel like being generous so I'll tell you exactly how to win an election in this town. This is a total freebie people. And don't worry, I'm not giving away the nuclear launch codes here. I'm just telling you what has worked for WINNING campaigns.

#1 - Timing and opportunity. Politics is 100% about timing and opportunity. If these two things don't line up, do not pass go. And an open seat is not opportunity. You're ability to WIN and open seat is opportunity. Or running against a vulnerable candidate.

#2 - Money. Generally speaking the rule is He who has the most money, wins. But if you don't manage the money properly that is an advantage that can be overcome. Just look at Chente Quintanilla and Mary Gonzalez. Those are perfect example of how having a ton of money and not spending it properly will ensure you lose, and how having all the money in the race and spending it properly will ensure you win.

#3 - Messaging. You have to have a message that will resonate with voters. You have to be able to deliver that message in a way that they will understand and which will result in a desired outcome. This part isn't easy and is one of the areas where candidates trip up the most.

#4 - Targeted Universe. If you don't know what this term means then you have no business running because you are going to get trucked. This is the other area where the wheels fall off of a campaign. You can pay political operatives all the money in the world, but if they don't know how to identify a strong, effective targeted universe of voters, they aren't worth a double order from Chico's. They should be tweaking the universe based on any available election data they can get a hold of. A perfect example of this is Jaime Romo. He ran for County Commissioner in Precinct 1 earlier this year. He was young and progressive. Genuinely nice guy that people would vote for. The problem? Bad targeting of voters. He knocked on the door of every voter in the precinct (thats what he said anyway). Huge mistake. My tocayo should've been knocking on the door of LIKELY voters and should've done so more than once. El Pasoans like meeting their candidates one-on-one. They like sizing them up. They like people to ASK for their support. They want to be talked to, not talked at.

#5 - Effective Mail. Your mail has to effectively deliver your message. Its that simple. It needs to be short and make an impact. Sending big long Luther Jones style mail pieces do nothing for you. Mail should be as targeted as your block-walking. And despite the fact that so many people say they don't like negative campaigning, its still effective.

#6 - Commitment. If you aren't committed to winning, don't bother running.

#7 - Effective Media Relations. For the most part, the media in town isn't going to cover your race. Unless you are in trouble, or you can find a way to make them cover it. Media is biased towards one particular candidate or another. Act accordingly and hope you are that candidate.

There, you just saved yourself some money. Now you have to be able to execute. And thats the hard part. Thats the part that determines who wins and who loses.

Mayors Race Will Be a Snoozer

The last election showed very clearly that despite a few loud voices out there, we are not a divided city. We are a city that pretty much agrees on the direction of El Paso.

The results of the proposition measures show that pretty clearly.

And thats exactly why the mayoral election is going to be one giant snoozer. Come back in May and read this blog post again and you'll see I'm right about this one.

City Rep Steve Ortega will be the next mayor of El Paso. Make no mistake about that. There is no one even remotely poised to be a credible challenger. Steve Ortega is exactly what El Paso voters love in a candidate. He's young, smart, dynamic, and progressive.

Take a look at nearly all of the races in town and really in the county for that matter over the last few years and you will see what I mean. I've made the point over and over that given the chance, El Pasoans will choose the younger and more progressive candidate.

I'm sure there will be an effort to make someone who isn't a credible challenger look like a credible challenger, but trust me there is no one out there right now poised to beat Ortega. You'd need a lot of money and no one else has started working yet. You'd need much more time to take out someone as formidable as Ortega and I just don't see anyone getting off their butt to do so. Plus, you have to have a candidate voters would prefer over Ortega.

Not gonna happen.

The only other person out there that I can think of that has articulated a desire to run for office doesn't appear to actually be doing anything significant. And don't give me the "its still early" argument. Its never too early. Especially when you are trying to defeat someone from a faction that is basically undefeated.

Get used to the idea people, you should get used to calling Steve O, Mayor Ortega.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dear USC Trojans

Welcome to El Paso. You'll find we are a very warm and welcoming city...to those that deserve it. But for those that smack talk about our little town, well you can kiss our collective nalgas.

I'm an El Pasoan by choice, that is to say I wasn't born here but I am an El Pasoan just the same. We are no LA, that is to be sure. But lets face it, almost every Latino in LA probably has family in EP.

There is a character about this city. We do our share of fighting with one another, but nothing brings people from Chucotown together like some idiot talking smack about our home town. Just ask the last guy from Oklahoma how that worked out for him. And lets be honest, you have to be certa-effin-fiable to be from Oklahoma and have the nerve to bad mouth El Paso.

You are going to find everyone in this town to be very friendly. Unlike the cesspool of humanity that is the LA area, we still say Buenos Dias when we see strangers, we stand up for seniors on the bus, and we hold the door open for ladies. Being from a big city is no excuse to be a classless idiot, although you guys from LA seem to have refined it to nuclear grade capacity.

Frankly, you guys are going to be treated like kings. You'll be wined, dined, and thoroughly taken care of in this town. We don't have fancy stuff like other towns but we have what you people don't have. Good, genuine, salt-of-the-earth people.

And no one, and I mean no one, parties better than people from El Paso. And we have more hot women per square foot than any other town in the country.

But we won't forget what your linebacker Tony Burnett had to say about our fair town. When you are in restaurants, bars, and attractions around the Sun City you are going to taste good ol' El Paso hospitality. But when he enters the stadium on New Years Eve, well, don't be surprised if he meets good ol' El Paso hostility. After all, when you talk about where someone is from, you are pretty much talking about their momma.

And everyone knows those are fightin' words.

Trust me, I wanted to really rip your whole team a new one for what was said about El Paso. I was going to have a post filled with snarky remarks like the fact that the most popular Trojans in this town come in box that is held behind the counter at a convenience store, not your mascot. Although the ladies around town tell me that if you take your helmets off that prevents a pregnancy just as well as the Trojan in a box.

But I'm not going to do that. I'm gonna go out of my way to be as friendly as I can to you all. I'm gonna kill you with kindness like everyone else in town.

Except when Burnett enters the stadium. I'm gonna boo him like crazy.

Forget Texas, Don't Mess with Chuco.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

On behalf of the entire staff here at The LionStar Blog, (which is just me) I'd like to extend my warmest wishes to you and your families during this holiday season.

I am grateful to have had such a large and devoted base of readers over the years and for that I am truly appreciative.

May all of you, even my haters, have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

Feliz navidad!

Socorro Special Election?

A frequent reader of The LionStar Blog in Socorro reminded me of something the other day. I mentioned the sudden resignation of Trini Lopez as mayor of Socorro as one of the top political stories of 2012.

My reader reminded me to ask what what is going to happen to replace former mayor Lopez? I haven't heard a peep as to what the process is going to be to replace him. Are they going to have a special election to replace him as the mayor of Socorro?

If so when and what is the process going to be like?

And frankly it wouldn't surprise me if some old names popped up yet again. When and if there is another election for mayor down in Socorro I assure you that you will see the same old names recycled again. My only hope is that some good candidates jump in the race.

Socorro is in need of good, strong, ethical, and progressive leadership.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Just in case the Mayans were right...

My buddy Jose Landeros and I were sittin' around shootin' the breeze, which means drinking beer, and we got in to a conversation about what we would do if the Maya are right about the world ending. (Yes I know, thats not really what the calendar says, don't be a douche. Just go with it...)

So we compiled a list of people we'd like to shoot the breeze with before the Mayan-Zombie-Pole-reversal-Planet-X-Solar-Flare-Apocalypse. See if you can figure who picked each item.

People We'd Like to "Shoot the Breeze With"

All living presidents. So we can tell them where they went wrong. And cuz, lets be honest, who doesn't wanna have a night on the town with Bill Clinton?

Ron Paul & Arch Bishop/Duke/Jedi Knight Tom Brown - see we can tell both of them how silly and irrelevant they are.

Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards - Because we both like Top Gun. I want them to help me sing "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" to Estela Casas. Jose wants to buzz the tower with them. "Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full."

Vicente Fernandez - cuz no one understands me like Chente.

Dierks Bentley - cuz no one understands Jose like Dierks.

Captain Kirk - Cuz he kissed a green chick and made out with Uhura.

Spock - because is logical.

The Pope - just communion wine.

Sting....the wrestler, not the singer. He wears face paint. Chicks dig mystery.

Stone Cold Steve Austin - Cuz he said so.

Julio Cesar Chavez - He's my childhood idol and he could kick Chuck Norris' ass.

Salma Hayek, Carrie Underwood, Penelope Cruz, Rachel McAdams - have you seen them?

Tom Hanks - Jose's favorite actor. A man who's lived alone on an island for that long as got to have some good stories. And we hear he's met a few presidents too.

George Strait - Because he's George Strait.

Richard Rodriguez - He makes cool movies and Salma Hayek is his comadre.

Edward James Olmos -I want to have him record my voicemail message.

Morgan Freeman - Because he's God.

Little Joe - I've drank with him before and I want Jose to experience how cool it is.

Obi Juan Kenobi - Because the Force is strong with him and everyone knows he's handy in a bar fight.

Daisy Duke - Innovator of our favorite shorts for women.

Jorge Ramos & Anderson Cooper - Clearly they were separated at birth and we'd like to reunite them.

Lou Diamond Phillips - Ritchie! (We want to show him what Mexicans are really like.)

Kim Jung Un - to tell him to lighten the hell up.

George Clooney and Brad Pitt - in suits in a Vegas Casino. Cuz if the Oceans movies can have Chinitos, why not Chicanos? (Relax, its an accurate term. The character was small and Chinese.)

Tommy Lee Jones - We're Texas Democrats and he's is therefore a God to us.

The Swedish Cook from the Muppets - Our theory is he'll make sense if were drunk. Plus, Jose and I have really spent an afternoon chopping turkey nuts. But its cool cuz it was charity.

Prince - Who else could you listen to all night long?

Gene Simmons - We know he doesn't drink but...we do.

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg - so we can hear their music and they'd be good to have around if anyone wants to start some shizzle with us. Hey even Obi Juan Kanobi needs someone to give him 'squina.

Carlos Slim - the richest man in the world. He's Mexican and loaded. And after all the people on this list, we're going to need someone to pick up the bar tab.

Updated info on Romero

So my friend Jackie ripped me a new one for "poor fact finding" on the District 2 Candidate Larry Romero. I usually am the one that whacks people around here, but she thumped me pretty good so I have to take it like a man.

She posted a comment on the last piece I wrote about Romero but since she whacked me pretty good on getting facts wrong, I thought it deserved its own post. He's her uncle and if someone got facts wrong about my uncle, I'd correct them to.

So here it is:

He was a big part of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has relatively well rounded connections with our current representatives in El Paso. He used to work at the City in the Economic Development office, before he left to become a small business owner, not a bookkeeper. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even provide bookkeeping services. He previously ran for the El Paso Community College Board of Trustees when he came back from his position with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, so he does have campaign experience. So no, there isn't going to be a "steep campaign learning curve."

Honestly, Jaime...Slacking on the information gathering? I mean, you have almost everything wrong about him. There is a pretty sweet thing known as Google and his LinkedIn profile is there for all to see.

Now then, let me respond to just a couple of things she wrote. Having run for arguably the most inconsequential office in town, and lost, doesn't necessarily mean he has campaign experience. Well, not the right kind anyway. This is an entirely different ball game and with all due respect..he lost. So yes, there is going to be a steep campaign learning curve. I stand by that part.

The rest of what I wrote, well she was right to whack me and I deserved it. 

Jackie 1 - LionStar 0

Nothing is Going to Happen, & the World is Not Going to End

Okay so apparently every school in West Texas is closing early, increasing security, or taking some other over-reaching ineffective steps to prevent some act from happening at our area schools.

Nothing is going to happen. Not even teenagers are stupid enough to post a warning on FB that they are going to do something like that. And teenagers are pretty stupid.

Hell, they can't even organize a flash-mob without some help. Nothing, I repeat, nothing is going to happen.

And the world is not going to end tomorrow. Although I am going to do a piece about stuff I want to do if the world was really going to end.

But it isn't. And anyone who takes the word of a group of people who couldn't foresee their own demise needs their head examined.

Relax people and have a cup of cheer.

District 2's Other Candidate

I keep forgetting to write about this guy named Larry Romero.

He's another candidate for District 2 and he is a book-keeper or something like that. From what I'm told he was previously going to run for the District 2 seat in the last go-around. For whatever reason he chose not to, which tells me he is at least a strategic thinker.

Word on the street is that he has some money saved up for the bid and has the ability to raise more if necessary. I don't recall him ever running for anything before so there is going to be a steep campaign learning curve.

Not sure if he has a campaign manager yet either.

He's an older guy and has some ground to make up in terms of name ID and a platform but having money is a good equalizer.