Saturday, October 21, 2017

Too Early for Signs?

So I've been checking out something for the last couple of weeks and wanted to clarify for a few different groups regarding campaign signs.

There is a little contradiction in the law, but here's what it looks like near as I can tell.

If the road is maintained by TxDOT, you can't start putting signs along said road until 90 days before the election. So on Horizon Boulevard near Sparks there is a sign for a former JP candidate that is trying to get her seat back.

That sign can't be up yet because Horizon is a TxDOT road. The same would technically also apply to all the freeways in town. But it would also apply to some other roads that you might not think about when you think about TxDOT. Alameda, McCrae, Mesa, Montana, North Loop, Socorro, Yarborough, and Zaragoza are all TxDOT maintained roads.

Someone sent me an example of a Fenenbock sign in a median near Loretto. That particular example is never allowed. You cannot place a political sign in the center island or medians of a road at any time.

However, there are no restrictions for signs on private property. So if you have a supporter who lives along one of those roads, you can put up a sign there at any time.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Know, I Always Gotta Be That Guy...

But seriously...

I thought the Superintendent of EPISD had some sort of medical condition that was so bad that he had to sit in First Class seats on the public's dime because he pulled a Cheddar Bob and shot himself in the leg or something...

But he's apparently okay to literally, "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes"?

I've done this event.

Walking around in heels around an area in downtown freakin' hurts. So help me understand this...


Before you Dori bots lose your shit, I'm not minimizing the charity. I'm not minimizing the issue, like I said, I have personally participated in this event. Thats how I can tell you with full confidence, that it is freaking painful. It is just a surprise to me that a vato that has to fly First Class because of medical issues can do this event.

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Speaking of EPISD....

I wrote about Dori being a no-show to meetings and it having an important impact. Well, aside from the fact that I don't think there was a legal requirement to resign to run, I also thing its interesting that keeps getting forgotten...if Fenenbock were truly being altruistic in her resignation to avoid the appearance of impropriety, then why was she fundraising for the job for several weeks before deciding to resign to run?

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Still speaking of EPISD...

Interesting fact - and I'm not saying its a good thing or bad thing in and of itself...but does anyone actually think the EPISD Board of Trustees look like the community they serve?

Because there is only one Latino trustee, Al Velarde. And Velarde is the guy that was originally going to be the EPISD President to succeed Fenenbock until he called for an audit and was screwed out of the position in favor of Trent Hatch, a close political ally of Fenenbock.

Just an observation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fenenbock's Absence Stops Travel Budget Cut to Cabrera

An effort to reduce the travel budget of the El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Juan Cabrera following controversy around First Class travel, frequent travel, and travel to non-school related functions like the AIPAC convention in Washington DC, failed in a 3-3 vote of the Board of Trustees.

By Robert's Rules, when there is a tie on a motion, it dies. Trustees Dye, Geske, and Hatch (shocker) voted against the item. That means Trustees Byrd, Taylor, and Velarde voted to reduce the travel budget for the embattled Superintendent.

Compared to other Supers in neighboring districts, Cabrera travels significantly more and the amount of his budget that has already been spent on his travel, coupled with the amount of time he has been out of the office for that travel, has been the subject of criticism for Cabrera.

The reason it was a tie is because Trustee and Congressional Candidate Dori Fenenbock has not attended a single meeting of the EPISD Board of Trustees since resigning abruptly. Shortly after her resignation, controversy started to swirl around the superintendent and alleged contact between the super and someone competing for a contract.

Interestingly there doesn't appear to have been a legal requirement for Fenenbock to have resigned from office.

By contrast, Escobar did have a legal requirement to resign to run for congress and yet continued to serve under the Texas Holdover Clause, which also applies to Fenenbock, until such time as she was replaced.

So by the Texas constitution, you have an obligation to continue your service until such time as you are replaced.

Fenenbock quit and hasn't attended a meeting since.

And thats how her buddy the Superintendent, got to keep his first-class travel budget.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Congressional Candidate Finance Reports

You've no doubt seen the emails and social media posts from the two main congressional candidates about what they raised in this reporting period along with their respective spin.

So here is a no BS assessment of the reports.

Escobar raised a ton of money in a short period of time, about half of what Fenenbock has raised the entire campaign season thus far. Escobar did so in about a month. Escobar raised slightly more than Fenenbock in that roughly one month period than Fenenbock raised in a three month period.

Fenenbock spins it in a strange, but not surprising way. On her social media post they spin it as "Our supporters have donated twice as much as our opponent's."

Which is true.

Except that Escobar's supporters donated half as much in about a month than Fenenbock's supporters over several months. The two roughly raised the same amount in their first 30 days.

Which leads to the big campaign question for the two congressional candidates...who is going to be able to sustain the fundraising over the life of the campaign?

Click here to see Dori Fenenbock's campaign finance report.

Click here to see Veronica Escobar's campaign finance report.

The other questions is, who is going to make the most of their contributions?

So far, Fenenbock's campaign appears to be burning through campaign contributions like crazy, with most of the money going to consultants, airfare, luxury hotel accommodations and meals. Lots and lots and lots of dough going to consultants.

Escobar doesn't have many expenditures, which is likely a function of the fact that she started so late in the fundraising period.

One of the remarkable differences, and this may come into play when you think about sustainability, is the fact that about 3/4 of Escobar's contributions came from people that live in the district. Most of Fenenbock's contributions on her first report were from people who live outside the district.

So I'm expecting PAC money to play a big part of the remainder of the campaign contributions of this race. Escobar's PAC money so far has been from PACs that have the express goal of electing Latino candidates. Many Latino organizations want the seat to go to Escobar and have put in some money early. Expect that to continue.

Interestingly Beto O'Rourke, the outgoing congressman that is taking on Ted Cruz for the US Senate seat, has a no-PAC policy.

So I combed through each and every contribution and expenditure on both reports, which took awhile. Only one of the contributions actually made me stop and double check what I was reading and it cracked me up a little.




This is a contribution to Veronica Escobar's campaign.

Yes, it is a relative of her opponent.

In fact, all 4 of the $8,100 maxed-out donors are from the Gaddy family. They are in-laws to Fenenbock.


There's some Saucedo-level bad blood in the Gaddy-Fenenbock family. When you include Alison Glass into the total, Fenenbock's in-laws account for $37, 800 of Escobar's total. That is more than 10% of what Escobar has raised so far.

Gacho.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dori & Gun Control

I've been in an on-going back-and-forth with one of my commenters who at first took issue with the fact that he was I was "doxing" Dori Fenenbock. Thats when you publish private information about someone, which implies there is an intent to harm someone.

He's speaking of the fact that I have posted her voting record with a screenshot from VAN. If I don't post it, then no one can definitively tell that I am talking about the right person and, just for clarity's sake, her address is public. She used it on her filing documentation. Anywho, the guy never says anything about all the other times I've posted the same information about all the other candidates I have shown voting records or finance reports.

That coupled with a conversation about the fact that on her first finance report her largest expenditure was to an anti-gay activist who created a PAC against gay marriage following the SCOTUS ruling that made it the law of the land, led to a conversation, in his attempt to pretend she's not a Republican, about the fact that Dori Fenenbock has very few identifiable positions.

What cracks me up about that is that her supporters very often say, "talk to her, you'll see she's sincere and why we support her." But they never say you'll get an identifiable position out of her.

Case in point, gun control. And for me, it perfectly captures my general critique of Fenenbock's campaign. There's no substance.

Following the tragedy that happened in Las Vegas there was no shortage of politicians that wanted to comment on the issue. Fenenbock commented on the issue, but failed to discuss the underlying issue around the tragedy, the debate about gun control.

Personally, I like firearms, shoot often, and think the more minorities that have them the more likely there would be gun control laws. But you know what Dori Fenenbock thinks about gun control?

Does she think now is the time to start a conversation about an assault weapons ban?
Closing loopholes for sales at gun shows?
A national database?
Restrictions on the kits that turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon?
Further strengthening the second amendment to ensure law abiding citizens get to keep their fire arms?

I have no idea. And neither do you.

Why?

Because she never says anything about the position. She chooses the most politician way to get out of the debate. Here's what I mean. This is a screenshot of a social media post she made about the Vegas tragedy.


Very often I write blog posts and schedule them to post at certain times throughout the day but this one I am writing and posting as soon as I am done. I wanted to have the most recent screenshot available before I post it. Its about 10:30am right now on Tuesday morning of the 9th of October. Its exactly a week after she posted the Facebook update. She's asked directly by people what her position is on gun control. She's been silent on the issue.

My point isn't debating her stance on gun control. My point is she doesn't articulate a stance on gun control or basically anything else. Except one weird thing. I know some of you might think, hey she's a busy lady and she probably hasn't had time to get on to social media since then.

So I checked. Here's the weird thing she has taken a stance on, that she posted after the post about Vegas and after both of those very direct questions from the public about her stance on gun control.

Hamas?



There was an important issue that happened in America where dozens of Americans were killed and hundreds injured and when asked a direct question about gun control she responds with crickets. But she's concerned about a political appointment in another part of the world?

You can't make this stuff up.

I just went to Escobar's page to see what she said about the Vegas tragedy. She also posted about the issue. Here's her post.


She was also challenged about her position on gun control. But Escobar actually articulated a position.


Obviously its not much, but you at least come away knowing that she won't duck or dodge the issue and even if I don't necessarily agree with her, you know that she has a position on the issue.

Dori dodges.

On social media I posed the question to each of the candidates about their position on firearms. They all gave and answer, some where very specific, most were non-communal platitudes. But they all at least attempted to give their position on a timely issue.

Except Dori.

Why is this important? Well aside from the fact that they are running for a federal position and this is a federal issue that is current events, but there is also another reason...

Dori was recently endorsed by PD.

PD are generally in favor of more gun control because they are in the streets every day having to deal with the consequences of guns being able to be acquired so easily.

I imagine they might want to know her position on that issue, along with every other Democrat that has to cast a ballot in March.

Lewis Fundraiser Announcement

As previously mentioned, I post all campaign announcements sent to me as a courtesy to their respective campaigns. This is the latest from Sergio Lewis' campaign.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Ruben Nuñez Fundraiser

As previously mentioned, all candidates for office that send me their fundraiser or event info to post will have it posted. If you want yours posted, send it to me at thelionstarblog@gmail.com. Here's the latest:


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jack Alayyan Terminated from Lower Valley Water District

Hit the road Jack.

Controversial figure Jack Alayyan was terminated Wednesday night at a special meeting of the Lower Valley Water Development Board following what is alleged by some to be a sexual harassment allegation.

Alayyan was the subject of a previous allegation of sexual harassment which was eventually paid out in a settlement.

No official word on who will be Alayyan's replacement but he has been a polarizing figure since his days at El Paso County.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been contacted by over a dozen current and former employees who have expressed concern over working conditions and treatment under Alayyan.

The Lower Valley Water Development Board had to pay out a settlement to a previous employee because of similar allegations alleged against Mr. Alayyan.

His clique at the office is not going to be happy about the change...

Odds & Ends From My Notebook

Okay here's a few blurbs that aren't big enough to be their own post, but are still good enough to be mentioned.

As I previously mentioned, I went to the VAN training the other day and there were a few funny things that happened. The funniest thing was this big conversation about who got banned from using VAN and why. There were a bunch of conflicting rumors but since I had the low down I corrected some false stories.

The next funniest thing was some poor guy that was helping out County Judge candidate and former El Paso Mayor John Cook. He showed up late as well. I don't mean like 15-30 minutes late...I mean like HOURS late. I don't even know why he bothered to show up, it was a total waste and made Cook look bad, especially because a few people mentioned that very few people showed up to Cook's fundraiser.

That reminds me, let me know about your fundraiser and I'll post the info.

Anywho, the kid started talking about some social media push and I just sort of rolled my eyes about all the kiddos that thing they are going to social media their way to an election win.

Congressman O'Rourke had several staffers attend the training. He looks like he's very serious about the senate bid. Escobar didn't have anyone there but Mike Apodaca is running her field so she didn't need anyone there and Dori, well her field guy isn't allowed.

Judicial candidates Judge Monique Velarde, who is running against Gonzalo Garcia, Danny Razo, Jesus Rodriguez, and Ruben Nuñez attended the training along with Laura Enriquez who is running for County Judge. Richard Samaniego's campaign consultant Norma Chavez was also in attendance.

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JP Names Make it Official

Chavez, who was formerly the state representative for District 76, confirmed that she is not a candidate for Justice of the Peace. She's helping people run for office this cycle and will not be a candidate.

Rebeca Bustamante has indicated that based on feedback and support that she has received that she will be a candidate for Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4 on the eastside. She is an attorney, which is one main advantage she has over the incumbent judge, but also has a long history in the Party and will likely be able to raise the money necessary to win a ground-focused campaign. Urenda, the incumbent is in a tough position because if he doesn't get out in the field, he will not be able to knock on as many doors as Bustamante. But if he is in the field, he's going to face scrutiny for not being in the office full time.

This is certainly the year for female judicial candidates.

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Weirdness at a Fundraiser

I didn't personally attend and I'm waiting on some video but I'm told things got really weird at District Clerk Norma Favela's recent fundraiser, which is apparently fanning the flames of a rumored upcoming opponent. Attendees tell me that her spouse Jaime Barceleau got kind of strange when introducing Favela and referred to her as "our District Clerk". Apparently that was supposed to be some cue for her staff to shout the phrase "our District Clerk" as well and they didn't do so until Barceleau kept prodding them to do so.

Apparently Barceleau kept mentioning her election as favorite elected official as well. That is actually a bit of a sore spot for staff because they have said for many years, at least going as far back as when I was at the County, that they hated that time of the year because Favela pressured them to attend the event to vote for her, which is why she won so often.

She can't honestly think that people genuinely think the District Clerk, an office they don't even know about most of the time to begin with, is actually their favorite elected official.

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David Stout is absolutely running for County Judge. He's gonna hang on as long as he can to get that County pay raise he voted for himself. He has the best of both worlds right now. He can fundraise for Commissioner (wink, wink) and then at the last minute pivot to run for County Judge. With a weak field of candidates, he is absolutely going to do so. Until he comes out and rules it out, which he has specifically not done, consider it likely to happen.