Well once again the rest of Socorro city council had to come in and fix problems started by Mayor Elia Garcia and Councilman Ralph Duran.
Last night they basically undid the little movida that was underway that many in Socorro say was just a way to funnel the judicial seat to a friend of the mayor. Whether or not that is actually try I can't say, but that is the perception around El Paso County's second-largest municipality.
Duran and the Mayor was visibly annoyed at having their plans walked back, and council avoided having to get into a potentially expensive MOU with another entity to hear the cases that would normally be heard in Socorro.
So they keep the judge that they had, who is pretty popular in Socorro and there were residents of Socorro there addressing council urging them to keep Judge Velarde. She also gets a small raise of $2,500 per year.
In an obvious attempt at saving face City Rep Duran pretended to not be aware of the fact that the amount of raise being considered was $2,500 instead of $25,000. No one believed him on council and they called him out on it.
They also called him out on the fact that he was saying it was too much money for the current judge but he was trying to get the former judge, now mayor, an even larger raise when she was the municipal judge in Socorro.
So for once, Soco appears to have triumphed over loco.
Still don't know what is happening with the case where the Mayor of Socorro is representing a resident of Socorro against the police department of Socorro. The fact that she was ever on the case has boggled the minds of lawyers here in El Paso's legal community. The fact that she is still on the case, many attorneys have said, could be ethically problematic for her legal career.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
I don't understand what in the hell is up with some progressive liberals that feel strong for an issue like Doo-ruhn-gui-toe but follow a conservative pied piper like Max Grossman. Its literally the only thing they have in common with the guy and they basically sell out the rest of their principles to follow the guy on issue where he pretty much is out to perpetuate the existence of slum lords because at some point Pancho Villa may have taken a leak on some downtown building.
But Grossman is determined to buy himself a city council. I warned you guys he was a right-wing conservative and none of you believed me until he pissed off all the Beto fans with a controversial pro-Cruz posting. I also warned you about him trying to buy himself a city council.
So today I'm going to expose another extremist Grossman conservative running for office that a few progressives I know have been supportive of.
Now listen, I don't have a problems with conservatives. We disagree on policy and philosophy, but I never let that get in the way of someone I can enjoy a cold beer with. But I'd never try to pretend I'm anything other than what I am, a liberal Yellow-Dog Democrat.
But its been all the rage for conservatives to don sheep's clothing and pretend to not be right-wing extremists and well, someone has to speak truth to power around here.
So meet the first one I'm gonna expose - John B. Hogan.
Hogan may be the most right-wing of all of Grossman's slate of candidates. I've been inundated with screenshots from people the minute he made it known he was going to run for city council on El Paso's far east side, District 5 specifically.
Now quick disclaimer here. If his only sin was being a fiscal conservative, I wouldn't even be writing about this. We could use some fiscal sense on council. But that isn't what this is. This is right-wing extremists stuff that I think you, the voters of El Paso, have a right to know about before making your decision on who to vote for. And if, after seeing what I'm going to show you you're still good supporting him, well more power to you and don't forget to go out and vote.
I started talking about his voting record a while back. Well, basically he doesn't have much of one and though he's running for city council, he's never voted in a city election for what he calls "personal reasons".
He hasn't elaborated on what exactly those "personal reasons" for never having voted in a city election before are, but I'm sure theres some sort of rational reason.
I'm not sure how he reached the age he's at, and being anti-Hillary a madre, and has only voted in a couple of election cycles, but hey, its a free country.
Sidebar - what the hell is up with the candidates in District 5 being a motley mess of even crappier candidates than the normal slim pickings on the eastside? Its weird.
So before he went back and cleaned up his social media, these screenshots were taken. They depict the fact that Hogan is a big time Trump supporter.
He also really hates Hillary Clinton.
My favorite part is when he says Hillary for Prison. A year later with a big part of Trump's inner circle has pleaded guilty, cooperating with the feds, convicted, or the subject of a federal investigation, this post is just that much more funny.
He's also that Republican guy that LOVED to rub it in that Trump won:
Hell, he not only supported Trump - he straight up defended some of his behavior. Remember when he mocked that disabled reporter? Here's Hogan defending him:
I'm saving the best - and by that I mean the worst - for last.
Now its been said by many, including Hogan himself, that I always bring things back to national partisan politics. Well that shows how little Hogan really knows about me. Sure, I post a lot of national stuff on FB or Twitter, but my blog is largely about local politics. But since we are talking about why I am attached to "party politics" so much, there is a very good reason.
Because politics matters. Party's are about values and philosophy. If you think that isn't important than you just don't know what you're talking about. Take a look around. Change starts at home. Think national policies don't impact you locally? We live in a border community. The federal government is the largest employer in El Paso.
It behooves responsible citizens to pay attention to one's political affiliation. It will give insight into what makes a candidate tick. Now having seen the video below and these screen shots, and things Hogan has said on social media that I've noticed over the last few years, I already knew he was a right-wing extremist.
Meaning I never thought for one minute he was an ally to causes like the Mexican American Cultural Center and other issues.
I don't think it squares with the content of the video at the end, but its his story, I'll let him tell it.
Now for the video. The video was sent to me by a reader who is a fellow Eastwood High School Alum. Hogan had apparently sent this out to a lot of people.
There was no message with it that said anything like, wow this guy is a total jerk, or can you believe this guy?, or wow, I certainly don't believe that way.
Just to prove my point about that, here's a screen shot from the recipient of the message showing that Hogan sent it, not disavowing it.
So now you can go ahead and watch the video. You tell me if you think that Hogan really supports the MACC. If so, I've a port of entry in Sparks I'd like to sell you.
Your values tell me how you're going to govern. That is why Party is so important to me.
If you agree with things said in this video like "I hate a Democrat and I hate a liberal" or "Fuck you Democrats", I think voters in this town have a right to know that. You know who else has a right to know that?
All those Democrats you were standing in front of the other day at the rally for the Mexican American Cultural Center. I think you conveniently left out your pro-Trump stance there buddy.
I think they have an inherent right to know that your values don't match those of a majority of El Pasoans.
Posted by The Lion Star at 7:19 AM
Thursday, September 13, 2018
The federal government is expanding the camp in Tornillo by a significant amount.
And frankly, its our own fault.
We, as a community, haven't made it hostile enough of an environment for the Trump led-federal government.
We say that we oppose legislation like SB4.
But its okay for Ice Detainers to be happening in our local jail.
We say that we oppose local law enforcement enforcing immigration law.
But we are totally okay with the federal government paying us a ton of money to house the undocumented immigrants we say we don't want local law enforcement arresting.
Stop raging about the Tornillo detention camp and your little bus tours with celebrities and ridiculous cries to abolish ICE if you aren't willing to march your ass to commissioner's court and tell them to end the contract with the feds to house undocumented immigrants.
Wanna see just how embarrassing our bipolar view of immigration really is?
The Mayor of Atlanta recently called for the federal government to get detained undocumented immigrants out of her city jails. Click here to read the story.
Her quote in the article is something you'd expect to hear from leaders from El Paso - a border community - not someone from the South.
"As we work to achieve our vision of an Atlanta that is welcoming and inclusive, with equal opportunity for all, it is untenable for our city to be complicit in the inhumane immigration policies that have led to the separation of hundreds of families at the United States southern border," Bottoms said.
Seriously, El Paso used to be known for being ahead of the times on civil rights issues. We were the first major city to desegregate. Now we are less evolved on a civil rights issue than the SOUTH!
It is untenable for our city to be complicit in the inhumane immigration policies that have led to the separation of hundreds of families...
What is our stance as a community regarding the detention of undocumented immigrants?
Show me the money!
There isn't a community in the entire country that gets more money from the feds to detain undocumented immigrants than El Paso. No wonder they are so quick to expand the camp in Tornillo!
Other than Commission Vince Perez, were the hell are the principled voices that have the courage to stand up and call this for what it is?
Why does it take a mayor from Georgia to say what leaders in the Border Community should be saying?
This shit is the second-largest source of revenue for the County.
The ONLY argument that people make about it, is that the sheriff's union will lose jobs.
We want those kinds of jobs in this community? Are we that willing to sell out our principles?
Fellow liberals, I'm looking at you. The sheriff's union endorses Republicans. They are endorsing a Republican for congress. Those are the jobs you want to protect?
There's no equivalent of the Border Network for Human Rights in Georgia saying that its actually a good idea to keep undocumented immigrants in the Georgia jails so that the inmates can be closer to their relatives.
There's no one crying about the jobs.
Its an embarrassment that a community hundreds of miles from the border is more willing to take a stance than those of us that live on the border.
Posted by The Lion Star at 2:02 PM
Cross her heart and hope to die, stick a needle in her eye.
Seriously, you gotta believe her.
The reality is Annello acknowledged that she helped Stoltz with his campaign logo a long time ago. Why a sitting city rep would have anything to do with a colleague's opponent is beyond me. Its just asking for a strained relationship, or at the very least, a pretty healthy dose of awkward turtle.
Its kind of an unwritten rule on council that they don't get involved in each other's races. Its bad ju-ju because at some point they all have to run for reelection. The last thing you want is to support someone against a colleague that loses and then look over your shoulder come time for you own reelection and wonder if your colleague has decided to help someone against you.
But Annello has been throwing little chingaqueditos to Ordaz-Perez for a while now, in addition to helping the guy out with his logo.
Annello appointed Stoltz to a city commission for animals. If you don't know Ordaz-Perez, then you don't know that she's a huge animal lover, so she's taken the lead on a lot of animal issues. Annello could've put anyone else under the sun on that commission. She could have put the vato on any other commission in the city.
But she put him on a commission Ordaz-Perez feels strongly about. Annello putting her Ordaz-Perez's opponent on that commission was a pretty obviously middle finger.
Stoltz immediately politicized the commission in order to try to kill the TIRZ on the westside. Why a Lower Valley candidate wants to campaign on the premise of making the Lower Valley residents pay for rich Westsiders' infrastructure is beyond me, but that is a post for another day.
But we are talking about using a commission on ANIMALS to try to kill the TIRZ.
Yes, you read that correctly, he tried to use his spot on the commission for animals to kill that policy.
Its strange, I know.
I'm sure he'll have some convoluted reason as to why he did it, but Annello is opposed to the TIRZ. He did her bidding from that seat on the commission.
See where this is going?
But even more interesting is the fact that according to a former City Representative that represented the area, Annello apparently approached him a couple weeks ago asking for his support of Stoltz. The former City Representative doesn't like Stoltz at all and allegedly told Annello that not only would he not support Stoltz, he would urge people to vote against Stoltz.
I bumped into Annello at the Democratic Party Headquarters last week (I think she was lost, I've never seen her there before), and we had a fun little exchange about her assistance to Stoltz campaign.
Oops, I mean her non-assistance to the Stoltz campaign. When I asked her about the alleged conversation with the former City Rep, she denied it.
Which was awkward because he was literally standing around the corner. I guess she's calling him a liar.
But honest to God, cross her heart, she's not helping Stoltz.
I can't think of a sitting city rep that tried to take out one of her colleagues other than Cortney Niland. Typically they stay out of one another's races.
Its surprising that a freshman city rep would roll the dice against a colleague like that in an era when recall petitions are all the rage.
But seriously, other than helping with his logo, appointing him to a commission - the specific commission her colleague feels strong about, and allegedly soliciting support from former city rep - she's not helping Stoltz.
Posted by The Lion Star at 11:03 AM
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Guess what? That shit ain't free.
Socorro City Rep Ralph Duran has caused yet ANOTHER problem for the citizens of the city of Socorro. This guy, and frankly the Mayor as well, are everything that is wrong with Valley politics.
So after the Socorro municipal judge kicked a case out of her court to another court because it involved the Mayor of Socorro representing a resident of Socorro against the police department of Socorro, there was an agenda item at the last Socorro city council meeting to extend the contract of the current judge.
The one that kicked out the mayor's case.
Well, there was a weird movida where the agenda item ended up being changed from extending the judge's contact and a motion was made to take action to go out for a new judge.
That should have been a different item for a different meeting, but thats another story for another day.
Guess who was the deciding vote on the judge's contract?
Come on, its Socorro...you know the answer....
Mayor Elia Garcia.
Lets take a step back real quick and refresh your collective memory.
Just before he got on council, Ralph Duran was a major advocate for the then-municipal judge to get a big time raise.
The judge at the time wanted to TRIPLE her salary and Duran was the biggest proponent of such a raise. He was pushing for her salary to be well into 6 figures.
Who was the judge just a couple of years ago when he was advocating for the raise to be in the 6 figures?
None other than the current mayor of Socorro, Elia Garcia.
Garcia wasn't awarded the contract because she wanted too much money. So the council went out to hire a new municipal judge. Garcia was PISSED that she'd lost her cush job and that sprang her desire to run for Mayor of Socorro.
Socorro ended up upgrading their judge. Remember this is a town that used to have a municipal judge who hadn't even graduated from high school. Then they had one that was friends with the Gandaras that had at least been to law school but hadn't passed the bar. Then they had Garcia who had at least been to law school, passed the bar, but didn't have much legal experience.
After Garcia they ended up with a judge with more than 12 years of experience trying cases at every court in the county from municipal, to JP, to county, to state courts.
And they got her for the same amount that was Garcia's original contract before she and Duran started asking for six figures.
But in the most Socorro thing ever, neither Garcia nor Duran ever forgot losing that battle. They were determined to get another judge and sources in city government allege that there was a plan in place to open up the judicial position so that one of Mayor Garcia's friends could get the municipal judge position.
Three guesses who is allegedly behind the movida to cherry pick the new judge.
A city who has a major problem with confidence from the community shouldn't be doing anything at all that looks like a movida to get the Mayor's homies into a judicial position.
This all went down at the last city council meeting in Socorro and there was a whole new level of hypocrisy coming from Duran.
Remember, Duran was the one pushing to TRIPLE the Garcia's salary when she was judge.
In the meeting Duran, taking advantage of the fact that one council member was gone because she was attending a funeral, changed the agenda item that was originally mean to extend the current judge's contract to taking action to open up the position to someone else.
He wanted to find someone better and cheaper.
The position pays about $40k per year. That is significantly less than a rookie attorney makes. Hell, most teachers make more than $40k.
So the SAME GUY that tried to triple Mayor Garcia's salary when she was the judge is now changing the tune to find someone cheaper?
It gets better.
He also said he wanted to find someone "better".
Better than their current judge means that the current judge's qualifications are now the baseline of what they are looking for.
That means their applicant needs to be someone with over 12 years of experience as an attorney who has spent all that time representing cases in every state, municipal, and justice of the peace in the County of El Paso. Also, they need someone who was willing to work 1-2 days extra a month, unpaid, so that the municipal court would be able to meet it's legal obligations.
And that means the applicant has to have at least two years experience as a municipal judge.
Good luck finding anyone that fits that bill. And good luck finding anyone that will do it for that amount.
So technically, when Duran made that vote happen it ended the current judge's contract effective the first of September.
After 5pm today, there will be no judge in the City of Socorro. Think about the amount of problems Duran and Garcia just caused for the City of Socorro. A major inconvenience to the community, lost revenue to the city, and a whole host of other problems.
Seriously Duran and Mayor Garcia have caused so much trouble for the City of Socorro that they should name the next two hurricanes after them.
Posted by The Lion Star at 2:20 PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
The current Mayor of Socorro - Elia Garcia - is an attorney and the former municipal judge in Socorro.
She's still practicing law, which by itself isn't a big deal. However, she is representing a constituent (which if that by itself isn't a conflict, is at least a REALLY bad practice) in a case AGAINST the Socorro Police Department.
I don't know that I have ever heard of a case were the Mayor of a municipality represented someone in their municipality against their own police department and I'm pretty sure its a MAJOR problem - ethically and legally.
It gets worse.
The case was going to be heard in the Socorro Municipal Court. The Socorro municipal judge saw an immediate conflict and referred the case out to Judge Lujan, the JP court in the valley.
There are so many conflicts here. The mayor representing a resident of Socorro is already problematic. Then its against her own police department - to which she has more access to information than another attorney would and to which the Chief answers to her and council. The city prosecutor is also an employee of the City of Socorro.
I don't know if the rest of council or the city attorney are aware of this situation, but I can't imagine that they know.
I seriously can't wrap my head around how this could even possibly ever be a real scenario.
This wouldn't even be believable on Casos de la Vida Real.
Posted by The Lion Star at 3:16 PM
I have been telling you all that Max Grossman, El Paso's Dandy, is an extremist pro-Trump Republican.
And y'all weren't hearing me.
I told you the snake oil conman was using raza for his own personal trip, and y'all weren't hearing me.
I told you that he was out to buy his own city council, and ya'll weren't hearing me.
I told you to watch out for him. I told you to watch out for all the candidates he supports.
The Dandy runs the El Paso County Historical Alliance page. How long have I been telling you that most of the history folks in charge for so many years were old white folks telling El Paso history for their perspective? They are all older white Republicans.
And now the Dandy showed his true colors to enough people and they finally revolted.
Max shared the anti-Beto, pro-Ted Cruz ad on the historical alliance's page. And boy did he get his ass kicked. The post has since been taken down and in typical Trumpian fashion that is Max Grossman's style, he tried to basically lie about what happened.
There were literally hundreds of comments against Max, calling out his support for Cruz, and supporting Beto.
It was a lot of people saying they were going to unfollow the page. Essentially from the alliance perspective it was probably the most unproductive thing Max Grossman has ever done. He single-handedly turned a lot of people against him.
Personally, I found it hilarious.
There are a lot of screenshots here, so bear with me but I include them because they expose Max Grossman for the con artist he really is.
Here's the post that has since been removed:
Now later after he received so much pushback he posted something really interesting. If you pay attention to what he wrote in the original post, he anticipated some pushback. But look what he writes in the post after he had taken down the Cruz ad.
Here's the problem, Max Grossman is full of shit.
I was watching that train wreck of a thread for a couple of hours after someone had tipped me off about it. There was a lot of criticism of Grossman. There was nothing uncivil or personal. Grossman is like Trump. A yyyyuuugggeee ego.
He thinks the slightest bit of criticism directed at him is uncivil or personal. Don't believe me, just wait til you see the comment section on my Lion Star Blog FB page when I post this.
He removed the thread because he accidentally outed himself for what I said he was from the start, a Trumpian right-wing extremist.
Most of the posts were people calling out his bullshit or like I said, declaring they were going to unfollow his page. Don't believe me?
Good thing I take screenshots.
Take a look at just a sample of the MANY comments that were just like this:
Thats 14 comments in a row that were all opposed to Grossman's point of view. I don't know a single one of these people, but they are clearly supporters of Beto. That is what he calls uncivil.
But go back up to that post where he says why he took down the original post. Whoever Bonnie Galvan is, she nailed it. She called out the Dandy for what he did and its hilarious.
I tried to warn y'all to not trust Grossman.
I tried to warn y'all to not trust the people Grossman is supporting.
But y'all weren't hearing me.
So to steal a line from a cell phone commercial, let me ask y'all one question.
Can you hear me now?
Posted by The Lion Star at 11:47 AM
The campaign of Kizito Ekechukwu is a dead campaign walking.
His campaign is over.
He just doesn't know it.
You can't get arrested in the middle of a campaign and expect to win. You most especially can't get arrested for domestic violence-related charges and expect to win.
Honestly, the guy never had a shot at winning to begin with. He's never voted before running for office. He has almost zero name ID, even with a unique last name. He's got family money to blow on a campaign, but he doesn't have anyone on staff that knows a single thing about campaigning.
Which is a consequence of the fact that he was never engaged in public policy before running, thus the lack of a voting record.
I'm about as politically engaged as it gets in this town and I never heard of him before he decided to run for office. If I haven't heard of you, trust me the electorate hasn't. And the only thing they DO know is the fact that he was arrested recently.
He probably should've just sent out a press release saying he was suspending his campaign when all of this came to light. But he's pretty defiant. I asked him in the interview if he was going to continue with his campaign and he said he would.
Ekechukwu is politically naive and inexperienced. He doesn't understand a basic principle. Before people vote for you, they must first like you. If the only thing they know of you is that you were arrested for a DV charge, trust me they aren't going to like you. Even the most popular of political figures have a hard time surviving public scandal, there's no way a political nobody survives.
Here's what annoys me about Ekechukwu's campaign - his ego.
When I spoke to him, he characterized the whole event as pretty much no big deal. Had I seen the police report before I spoke to him, I wouldn't have let him off the hook with his statements so easily.
The fact that Ekechukwu tried to minimize the incident is really troublesome. Domestic violence isn't a joke or something unimportant. If you think for a minute that voters care more about taxes, TIRZ, and economic development than they do about being arrested during a campaign, then I have a port of entry in Horizon City to sell you.
The victim in the case called me the other day. She wanted me to take down the report. She went through various emotional stages in the call from frustration, to anger, to sadness, etc.
Frankly I think she's feeling guilty about what happened. The victim defending the abuser is almost cliché.
I don't want to think Ekechukwu had her call me. I don't want to think that she's feeling guilty about this or being pressured. But imagine the amount of emotion behind picking up the phone to make that phone call to me.
Domestic violence is never the victim's fault. The victim should never feel guilty about it after, although they often do.
I don't know if any of that fits the victim.
Ekechukwu deserves his day in court just like everyone else.
But politics is a different animal. Since no one knows who the hell he is, this is now going to define him. Especially if another candidate actually starts to leverage it.
Although they don't have to.
Ekechukwu, if he's smart, will avoid any scenario where he will have to answer questions. Women voters, and decent man for that matter, are going to rightfully ask questions about the incident and there is no answer that is a good answer for Ekechukwu.
The main candidate in the race is a woman.
She's a Forma candidate.
Forma is good at one thing - negative mail.
I don't think Ekechukwu has the slightest clue what is going to be headed his way in terms of mail if they felt it necessary to go after him. See the image I used on this post? That was quick and dirty. Can you imagine the mail piece that will land in mailboxes if Forma really sinks their teeth into this guy?
He was already going to lose this election, he was never a viable candidate. But now he's going to get trounced. And that is saying something because the District 5 field of candidates isn't very strong to begin with.
Ekechuckwu should have immediately suspended his campaign, if for no other reason than to save his child's mother, his child, and his family the embarrassment of this situation.
But he hasn't. He's still going like nothing happened. That is selfish and a sign of a really big ego. But whether he wants to admit it or not - whether or not he wants to formally end it or not - Ekechukwu needs to have someone around him that cares enough about him to tell him the truth...
Kizito Ekechukwu's campaign is over.
He just doesn't know it.
And he's going to realize it soon enough. When he does, it will be like the end of the Sixth Sense. He needs his own version of the little white kid that says, "I see dead people."
Because Ekechukwu's campaign is Dead Campaign Walking.
Posted by The Lion Star at 12:03 AM
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Remember when then-candidate, now-consultant David Saucedo ran for mayor and he ended up dancing at some Democratic Party event? Seriously, the vato isn't event a Democrat.
Then there was Dori Fenenbock and her Menudazo - down in the valley no less.
So some people will do ANYTHING for a vote.
This year is no different. At the Labor Day Breakfast today, which is traditionally a major Democratic Party event that marks the final push before November, there was a surprising guest at the Labor Day Breakfast.
County Commissioner Andrew Haggerty was in attendance at the breakfast which featured Beto O'Rourke as the main speaker.
Why was a Trump-supporting anti-union Republican at the most Democrat of functions?
Simple, its campaign season.
People always try to reinvent themselves during campaign season. Remember when El Paso's answer to Roseanne Barr - disgraced former State Rep Norma Chavez - reinvented herself into a stateswoman with dignity for her congressional run? I know, it didn't last long until the real Norma popped up again, but there was a good 15, 20 minutes were it was working.
Haggerty has now reinvented himself as well, all the rest of the Haggerty's that are legitimately Democrats.
And sometimes people will do anything for a vote.
Posted by The Lion Star at 1:35 PM
In order to get it done, she needs about 3300 votes to come from the El Paso County portion of her district. Its a tall order, but doable.
If you're working the ground hard. And wait until you hear where her field guy was while she knocked on doors for 15 minutes...
You'd think that knowing all along you need that pocket of voters stretching from east of Zaragoza, Socorro, Clint, San Elizario and other communities to come through for you big time, that you'd be dropping a major effort in that area.
So GOJ makes a swing through El Paso during Labor Day weekend. You'd think she'd be squeezing everything she possibly could get anything out of her time here in El Paso. You'd think she would have an experienced team of campaigning knocking on doors like a Jehovah's Witness and a Mormon Missionary were genetically spliced to create some sort of super door knocker.
But inexplicably she chose Josh Carter to run her field work. I have no clue why people who have never won a campaign end up getting consulting work but hey, congressional races have a lot of money and people line up to get their piece of the pie.
The stakes are high for GOJ. She needs a huge turnout and a filed operative should be the most committed slave-driving person on your campaign team. The number of doors needed to be knocked and the amount of days left to do it should be keeping that person up at night. After all, early voting is less than 50 days away.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time knows that the valley is my turf. If something happens in the valley, I usually hear about it pretty quickly. Well you know what I haven't heard?
A voter that has heard from GOJ's campaign.
Seriously, I don't know one person who's door has been knocked on in Socorro, San Eli, east El Paso, any of the colonias, Clint, Fabens, or Tornillo.
You don't win campaigns by having events, you win it by knocking on doors. Ask people like Dora Oaxaca, Chente Quintanilla, or Norma Chavez (who has become El Paso's version of Roseanne Barr following her disgraceful ouster from the legislature and subsequent beat down in the 16th congressional race) if having events actually leads to votes in the valley. None of them are in office because they all lost to people that knew that knocking on doors was the key to victory in the valley.
Anywhere really, but especially in the valley.
During her last swing through El Paso GOJ knocked on a handful of doors. Literally just a handful of doors. I don't really fault her for it, a candidate for congress in a swing district is really busy. But the doors she knocked on weren't set up by her field person.
Doors haven't been getting knocked in the valley portion of her district. I mentioned it to her on Labor Day and she said that her field effort was just getting under way.
YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.
At best, her team will hit a few hundred doors. And trust me, I'm freaking being generous by saying that. By know, her walkers should be on their third, fourth, or fifth knock on the doors of her targets.
But while GOJ was actually walking in the valley and knocking on doors - an event not set-up by her field guy - where the hell was her Josh Carter, the guy in charge of making sure the valley is delivered for GOJ?
He was at a Chihuahuas game.
I bullshit you not.
Instead of working up a sweat on the campaign trail, he's knocking down a piña loca with extra chamoy downtown at a ballgame.
Maybe he was there because it was tangentially related to his day job as a staffer for State Rep Mary Gonzalez. But why is he even doing office work at this point? Its crunch time, Gonzalez doesn't have an opponent. Gonzalez is a serious block walker herself, she knows what it takes to win. So it makes no sense why Carter was at a ballgame instead of knocking on doors with the candidate.
GOJ is targeting non-traditional voters. You aren't going to get those voters sitting at a Chihuahuas game.
This is why hiring people who have never won a race before is a huge mistake. It would be a different story if he'd never won a race but doors were being knocked on, but they haven't been. That is a major tactical error - and completely avoidable.
But this mistake is on the candidate. She's the boss. If her field guy is out chewing on peanuts at a ballgame instead of knocking on doors its because someone doesn't think campaigning is a priority. That is either the candidate or the field guy.
But there's only one boss. If Gina Ortiz Jones wants to win, she's got to do more than expect the Beto campaign or the El Paso Democratic Party to carry the load for her campaign. And trust me, if doors get knocked in that area, its not because Carter is putting together turf and getting teams out there.
It'll be because of Beto's campaign or the Democratic Party who have been having weekly block walks.
GOJ has to get it in gear while she still can. A lot of us are depending on her.
Posted by The Lion Star at 9:23 AM
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
According to a report from the El Paso Police Department, the altercation leading to the arrest of Kizito Ekechukwu happened shortly after a campaign event.
The report details an interview with the victim and mother of his child who alleges that the defendant, City Rep Candidate Kizito Ekechuckwu, has allegedly assaulted the victim before but hadn't previously called police. The report also refers to the victim stating that the candidate allegedly called her a "stupid bitch" and struck her with an open hand on her face.
Here is a portion of that report containing the details I mentioned:
The report details an interview with the victim and mother of his child who alleges that the defendant, City Rep Candidate Kizito Ekechuckwu, has allegedly assaulted the victim before but hadn't previously called police. The report also refers to the victim stating that the candidate allegedly called her a "stupid bitch" and struck her with an open hand on her face.
Here is a portion of that report containing the details I mentioned:
The report in its entirety can be read by clicking here.
Posted by The Lion Star at 2:09 PM
Incumbents have a bigger advantage in this election cycle than they ever have before in municipal elections. Essentially these races are going to be name ID races.
Normally in municipal elections you have a finite number of folks that regularly vote and you know who is going to come out and what doors to knock on. That is how its usually done and how you can level the playing field when it comes to money. If you can out-hustle the more well-financed candidate, you can win.
But this election is going to be different because its the first time the election is going to with a general election. So the number of people that will vote that have ZERO municipal voting history is going to out-number the number of people that have good municipal voting history. That makes it a much steeper hill to climb for challengers.
Here's what you need to know about municipal voters versus general election voters. They are generally more conservative. They are also more informed (generally) that other voters. General election voters have a more casual voting history. So while city council candidates are generally a lower caliber candidate, by contrast the voters in those election are generally of a higher caliber.
And having a municipal election during that cycle will now blow up their voter targets. You have no historical data to go on, so essentially when it comes to targeting voters, you're essentially just feeling around in the dark. And it'll be that way for a few election cycles, until there are a few elections to start making comparisons.
Another big problem for targeting voters that will impact challengers more than incumbents is what I call, the Beto Factor. Beto's campaign has inspired a new group of voters that don't typically vote to come out to the polls. Furthermore, there is an actual targeted effort to reach out to voters that haven't voted very regularly before to get them to come out. Then there's the number of people that will come out for the midterm elections that normally wouldn't, but are doing so because of Trump.
As a consequence, the cost to run a municipal campaign has probably doubled, if not tripled because of the differences in the electorate of a general versus municipal election.
So the candidates with the higher name idea have a big advantage. Can't think of a challenger that has more name ID than any of the three incumbents.
But its a different dynamic for District 5. That is an open seat. Here's the run-down of the candidate fields:
Incumbent: City Representative Peter Svarzbein
Pros: Incumbency, money, and time. He has a name people will remember even if they can't pronounce it. He has more money than the other candidates and can probably leverage it more effectively than the opponents because they haven't run a campaign before. Time is on his side because while he has some vulnerabilities, the clock is ticking on how to define him and leverage his vulnerabilities. His biggest advantage, his campaign team. He has the same campaign manager as he had before and he has an experienced consultant out of Austin that knows how to win.
Cons: His voting history, the trolly, and public perception. He's pretty much known as the biggest flip-flopper on council. He will almost always take the path of least resistance when given the political choice. He will never take the road less traveled or blaze a new trail. His vote against the budget is a perfect example of my point. The trolley is pretty much seen as a boondoggle and it hasn't even started yet. Wait til the novelty of it wears off, it'll only get worse. The bad part for Svarzbein is that it is arguably the only thing of substance he's accomplished so far. His public perception of being sloppy, a bit of a slacker, unaccomplished, and immature is a big problem for him. But he's wearing suits now, looks put together, and is starting to be more responsive(that is universally the biggest critique of Svarzbein). That is mitigating things a bit, but as I previously stated time is running out for opponents to leverage it.
Challengers: Carlos Corral, Roni Frescas, Richard Bonart
Pros: Young, dynamic, hungry to win. He was pretty much the first one to put himself out there to run against Svarzbein.
Cons: He didn't do anything with that lead time to move the ball down the field. He's perceived as another "film guy" artist, instead of policy-centered professional. His campaign team is mostly made of rookies. He needs experienced talent but I doubt he can afford it. He doesn't have the time, budget, or experience to leverage the weaknesses of Svarzbein. And man, does this vato LOVE to ride coat-tails. He's riding Beto and Vero's coat-tails harder than Lupe Valdez and Gina Ortiz-Jones. Seriously, he's riding it pretty damn hard.
Pros: Smartest candidate in the race in terms of policy. I agree with almost none of her stands on policy like the TIRZ and Duranguito, but she knows the issues very well. She will likely work harder than everyone else. She's got the political chops to be the alternative to the incumbent.
Cons: Money and time. I don't know what her political team looks like, but I'm assume she's doing it on her own and if she is, she's one of the few candidates that is capable of being candidate and campaign manager. But she needs money and I don't think she has it. If she gets it, she's probably the one challenger of all the challengers in all the races, that is best suited to beat an incumbent. But time is running out on taking advantage of Svarzbein's weaknesses.
Pros: He's been on a ballot before. He has some money and if he self-finances, he can level the playing field. Genuinely a good guy and seen as such by most people.
Cons: Association with Max Grossman. Its not the policy stances that hurt Bonart, they are essentially the same as Frescas' stances. Its the association with someone that wants to, according to public perception, buy a city council. His association with Grossman will make people question if he's his own man and based on how Grossman has turned on people he though were on his side before, its not something Bonart wants or needs hanging over his head. Same deal for him, time is running out and he has no one in the field. But he can afford to get them in the field if he had a field person on his payroll.
Incumbent: Open Seat
Field: John B. Hogan, Kizito Ekechukwu, Benjamin Miranda, Jason Osborne, Isabel Salcido.
Pros: Salcido was the last person to get in this race but she has the inside track. Young, professional, and the only Latina, she stands out from the rest of the field. She's also the only one that has a campaign team behind her. It was a mistake to wait so long because despite the fact that its a really weak field of candidates, tactically it makes no sense to wait until the last minute. But as I said, lucky for her, its a really weak field of candidates. If she's smart, she'll dump a lot of money into signage and plater them on the eastside. Again, this is a name ID race and because she waited so long its going to be expensive for her but she's probably got the money to dump into the race.
Cons: Hogan is trying hard to not sound like the Trump supporter he is, but he is a hard core Trump supporter. He's coming along on policy knowledge but he's got no campaign infrastructure to make anything happen. Plus David Saucedo is his campaign consultant. I don't know why people who have never won a race think they should be consultants. I guess its the Josh Dagda school of thought. I mean, everyone loses - but if you've never actually won, how do you have the audacity to ask someone to write you a check? Ekechukwu is really stumbling out of the blocks. He appears to have taken a company check - which is a no-no, and he hired and then quickly fired Emma Acosta as a campaign consultant. He spent most of the $7,000 he had on his last report, which was before he hired/fired Emma Acosta. So no clue how much money he has left but he's not gonna do well. Oh, and he's been arrested for domestic violence charges and there is no way that is going to be resolved before election day, so even if the charges are dropped or he's acquitted, he's a long way away from that. Miranda is a Republican, Osborne has almost no voting history.
This race is Salcido's race to lose.
Incumbent: City Representative Claudia Ordaz-Perez
Pros: Incumbency, track record, money, union support (police and fire), time, message, and campaign team. Ordaz-Perez is the only incumbent not facing a field of challengers, which is probably an expression of her popularity within her district. She's done a ton for her district and there's a couple of newsletter's full of what she's done so far in office. She should have a fundraising edge on her opponent. Police and fire like Ordaz-Perez so they will likely donate to her campaign. Her opponent has been campaigning since February, probably longer than anyone else running for any office on the ballot other than Beto O'Rourke. He still doesn't have enough time. Ordaz-Perez has the edge in leveraging a message and she has the best campaign team in town. Her signs started going up over the last few days. Pretty sure they'll be everywhere within a week.
Cons: Can't really think of one.
Opponent: George "Eric" Stoltz
Pros: Energetic, passionate, hard-working, and dedicated. He has field experience. Stoltz has been working it a la madre. He was out at the polling locations during early voting and election day (mostly on the eastside portion of the district) handing out push cards letting voters know he was running in November for the city council seat. Effective? Absolutely not. Pretty much a waste of his time. But no one can accuse the vato of not working it hard.
Cons: Money, lack of a track record, no base, time, message. Stoltz doesn't have any campaign money and the only place that he can possibly even get money from is a huge liability for him because Ordaz-Perez's campaign probably has a mailer ready to drop the minute they get wind of the contribution. Stoltz is really young, so he doesn't have a track record to run on yet. He still lives with his parents and lists his occupation as "student". Also because of his age and lack of a track record, he has no base of support, which isn't that big of a problem if it weren't for - time. He's running out of it and he doesn't have a base yet. He doesn't have the opportunity to play for overtime, a run-off, because its just the two of them in this race. His message is a big problem too. He sounds like he's running for city council in Sunset Heights, not the Valley or the Eastside.
Interesting Tidbit: There's an interesting piece of information I'm going to share about help he's been getting from a sitting City Rep. But after a little altercation I've decided it needs to be a stand alone piece to fully-appreciate the situation. (Stay tuned).
I will say this about Stoltz, someday he's gonna be the kind of person El Pasoans want to represent them, just not yet. Once he has some work experience under his belt and gets his own place, I think he's going to be the progressive type of candidate that people can get behind.
Incumbent: City Representative Cissy Lizarraga
Pros: Incumbency, money, time, and message. She's an incumbent, even if its recent. She has money to drop into the race and time is short for her opponents. She went with Forma according to sources, so her mail message should be sharp.
Cons: She went from having a great field game to absolutely no field game. Forma doesn't have a track record for being proficient in field work. She's gonna write a lot of checks and very quickly wonder what she's getting for her money. But its a name ID race pure and simple. She already has a campaign logo, all she really has to do is get a bunch of signs printed. Maybe her strategy is to rely on a mail strategy, but that is going to make her race way more expensive than it has to be.
Challengers: Nicholas Vasquez, Richard Wright, Dylan Corbett, and Gregory Baine.
Remember what I said about District 1 earlier? Cut and paste it here. Its the same issues for the field of challengers. The stand-out at this point is Dylan Corbett. He is the only one I am aware of that has a consulting firm behind him, but time is not on his side. I'm guessing Richard Wright and Corbett will duke it out for 2nd place. Corbett is a REALLY nice guy. If he's able to shake hands with enough voters, he's going to have a shot, especially if the rest of the field does their part and forces a run-off election.
Trump makes the Latinas in District 1, 5, 6, and 8 a little stronger than normal because of the type of voter that is going to turnout in this general election.
Posted by The Lion Star at 1:29 PM