Monday, December 5, 2016

Plazita Lights: A "White" Christmas

I fully expect to get a lot of Hateraide for this post, so if you've got beef with what I'm about to say, once again my phone number is (915)694-5714 and you can email me at thelionstarblog@gmail.com.

That being said, I'm not a fan of the lights at the plazita.

They are beautiful.

They are very nice.

There are a lot of them.

But they have absolutely no soul.

The decorations at The Fountains have more soul than what we have at the plazita now.

I took my kid out to the tree lighting event and it was great fun. The city went all-out and even have an ice skating rink downtown now!

All things to be proud of.

I've never really bought-in to the idea that business leaders in El Paso were trying to make downtown less brown. I just figured that they wanted to drag El Paso kicking and screaming into the future and a lot of the griping was just people who don't like change. But the plazita is almost unrecognizable from its former self, which like many of us El Pasoans had its flaws, wrinkles, and love handles - but had a tremendous amount of down-to-earth character and appeal.

But it is undoubtedly an improvement, even if I miss some of the old stuff.

San Jacinto Plaza was redesigned for over-priced coffee drinking, skinny jeans-clad, man-bun, horn-rimmed glasses-wearing, bearded, pseudo intellectual hipsters who listen to indy music 'cuz they think they are cooler than us and order PBRs not because they are old school but because they are hipsters. Aside from the fact that those participation ribbon, lets-focus-on-my-feelings generation of people annoy the shit out of me - those people are the type of people the plazita appeals to now. Hell its not even really called San Jacinto Plaza anymore, the city calls it "SJP".

You know, like that kid who was named Guillermo but went by Billy because he was embarrassed his parents named him something so ethnic because it was his great-grandfathers name or something.

But going to the plazita for the lights this year was the first time that I felt like I could understand the folks that think that downtown is making a deliberate effort to look less "Mexican". Gone are the colorful, bright, maybe a little tacky, but deliciously festive lights and displays of the past. Frankly, that was the character and soul of El Paso at Christmas time.

The manger with the baby Jesus, the big tree with those huge bulbs, the colors of the season...that is what drew people downtown. Who didn't love bringing their out-of-town family downtown during that time to walk around, take pictures, and enjoy some champurado?

Now the lights are almost all white.

And the plazita now feels "all white".

It doesn't feel like El Paso's plazita holidays anymore. It feels like some corporate set-up. Like holiday decorations at an outdoor foodcourt at an outlet mall.

And thanks to ridiculous tax-payer funded toy train set to nowhere, parking was even more of a headache this year than in years past.

I think what the city needs to remember is that Christmas is about traditions. Its about tamales, menudo, and posole. Its about family and everyone squeezing into your abuelita's tiny house. Its about decorating your tree with old heirlooms and often child-made ornaments. Its like my family's Christmas tree. There are new editions to it every year, but its mostly a collection of stuff my siblings and I made as kids, and now the grandkids. Macoroni Christmas trees on a paper plate, hand prints, or toothless elementary school pics in the center of an ornament. Its a big gaudy monstrosity and we love it.

Because its family and tradition.

When a family doesn't have traditions it has nothing. And when a town doesn't honor their own traditions it no longer feels like that great big family that El Paso has always felt like. We lose our soul.

Again, its not that the lights and decorations don't look great, they most certainly do. I took a lot of pics and I'm sure I will as I visit downtown periodically during the holiday season.

But it doesn't look like El Paso.

Remember, even those douchey hipsters that the plazita was redesigned for - still like tamales at abuelitas house on Christmas Eve.

We can't, and should not, be ashamed of who we are as a community. I hope the city brings back some of the decorations, especially the nativity scene, from out of the boxes stored in the attic. Lets keep the fancy new stuff and incorporate it into our traditions - but lets not forget Nana's Christmas in the process.

Lets not forget we are El Paso. And that is something to be proud of.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Judges Garcia & Herrera Involved in Finger-Flipping Incident

Two colleagues getting into it in a parking lot at work is hardly earth-shattering. I know I've personally flipped off at least a dozen co-workers at some point in my life. Who am I kidding? I was in the Army for 7 years, its probably more like a hundred.

The very obvious difference is that Judges Ricardo Herrera and Patrick Garcia are not a couple of GI's in the field arguing over who is going to pull the next shift of guard duty.

They are members of the judiciary, a profession that commands a particular amount of respect and reverence. There are strict rules and a certain decorum expected in a courtroom. For God sakes, you're supposed to stand when a judge enters and exits the courtroom.

But if you read the article in the El Paso Times, that apparently was thrown out of the window one particular afternoon at the courthouse. The Times reports that the incident occurred around lunchtime in the parking lot at the courthouse. Herrera was with a couple of other judges he pals around with along with Mike Izquierdo, the administrator for the Council of Judges.

I'll cut to the chase here, the ones that look bad in this story are Judge Garcia and Izquierdo. Apparently Garcia was upset about Herrera allegedly busting a plea deal for a case in Garcia's court, but doesn't say how that happened. Garcia was allegedly pissed and there was an altercation that ended in Garcia allegedly giving Herrera the ol' one-finger salute to Judge Herrera in front of Herrera's colleagues and Izquirdo.

Frankly it shows a lot of character and backbone on the part of Herrera to take the issue to the authorities. The easy thing to do was to blow it off or flip him off back or drop a few expletives. Instead Herrera showed the restraint and clear-thinking that one would expect from someone in a robe and handled the incident the right way.

If things went down the way they are reported to have, then its one of those stories that makes El Paso look like a joke. And lets reflect on what flipping the bird to someone means. It certainly isn't something nice. So if one judge disrespects a judge, why should anyone? At least thats the message I hear.

And Mike Izqueirdo's quote... what. the. hell?

He allegedly didn't give a report to authorities because he "did not witness a criminal act". Since when is a report based on you witnessing a criminal act? The report to authorities is what you witnessed go down, not whether or not it was criminal. You either saw what happened or you didn't.

Period.

But for those of you that lack context, Garcia was pretty much Izquierdo's boss for several years while he was the head of the council of judges.

You put that one together people.

Competing for the PD Union Endorsement

I am forwarded material all the time from readers and every time the Saucedo campaign puts out a newsletter a couple of my readers are kind enough to send it to me.

The latest newsletter is focused on police as "square one in quality of life" in a pretty obvious attempt at securing the endorsement of the police union.

Here's an excerpt from the newsletter.



Hopefully the police union is being smarter than their sheriff brethren and will think twice about endorsing a Republican when opposition to unions is part of the GOP platform. But frankly that is pretty irrelevant.

Why?

Because the PD union endorsement is very likely going to City Rep Emma Acosta if Mayor Leeser doesn't rethink retirement.

How can I be so bold in a prediction so far in advance of the election?

Simple.

Dora Oaxaca, Acosta's controversial staffer, just married Henry Rivera about 10 days ago in a Vegas wedding according to the Clark County website. Rivera is the money guy for the PD union.

Congratulations to them both by the way.

(I know, this might confuse some of you in political circles because she was in a 6+ year relationship with Jay Desai, Acosta's appointee to the City Planning Commission. According to Jay Desai, she ended the relationship Labor Day weekend. She apparently found love immediately and tied the knot a little over 2 months later. Good for her, some people go a lifetime looking for the right person.)

Anywho, Dora's married to the money guy from the police union so its pretty hard to see how Acosta doesn't have that all sewed up. Actually now that I think about it, how badly would that reflect on Dora if she COULDN'T make that endorsement happen at this point?

With campaign money being a premium in a race like this, especially with Acosta's many vulnerabilities, she's going to really need a key endorsement like the PD union. Not only because of the money that will come with it, but also as an effort to blunt the negative messages that are going to rain down on her from the other campaigns.

I'll say this for Saucedo, his record shows he's solidly Republican, but if there is anything authentic in that newsletter he sent out, he's breaking ranks from the rest of the GOP to a degree. So I give him credit for that.

NOTE: I normally don't talk about people's personal lives. But Dora is super gossipy about my personal life and has been for the more than a decade that I've known her. She's gone so far as to actively get involved in my personal life (yes Dora, I know about it), so she's the one exception and her, her ex boyfriend, and her new husband are all part of the political scene in El Paso.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mayoral Confirmations & Special Elections

Okey dokey, I keep getting this question asked of me about Cortney Niland and her rumored mayoral bid so I'll go ahead a write a bit about it.

Yes lots of people have heard that she may run for mayor and you get two versions of it - she's dead set on doing it whether the money guys like it or not, or she will only do it if she can manage to still keep her seat.

The talk of her mayoral bid has become so loud that a lot of people are starting to look at who is going to replace her on council if she does.

So here's the deal with the whole resign to run thing. Her announcement, if it happens at all, will likely not come until it is too late to order a special election to replace her. Essentially what COULD (not saying it will) happen is that Niland can wait until the last possible minute, there won't be enough time to order a special election, and it will just go on the November ballot a little less than a year from now.

She would absolutely have to resign to run because of the length of time still left in her term. BUT because of the Texas Hold-over Clause, she would remain the city rep until there was an election to replace her...in November.

Smart move on her part because it guarantees that she will still be on council after the mayoral election.

Funny thing is you would have three sitting members of council running for mayor at the same time. All three would have more name ID than all the also rans.

If you throw Niland in the mix and think objectively, you would basically have three tiers of candidates vying for the office. This is what those tiers look like to me right now, 1 being the most likely to win, two having a shot at a run-off and three, not gonna happen:

Tier 1 -

Emma Acosta. End of tier. This is probably the hardest tier to be in because when you're the favorite everyone is gunning for you and the race is yours to lose. Am I saying that she is not vulnerable? Hell no, she's extremely vulnerable for a lot of reasons, votes, she'd be weak on the westside (although with a lot of westside-pleasing candidates on the ballot that particular point will be minimized), and because of Dora Oaxaca. She's gonna have a hard time raising money too. But she is the only woman in a field of men, she has name ID, and she can appeal to parts of town that others can't. The real question for a lot of people that are in the know, not the electorate, is do you really want Dora Oaxaca in the mayor's office?

Tier 2 -

Dee Margo. Yes, he's Darth Freakin Vader of local politics. But he has a larger base of support than anyone else running because his former lege district is bigger. He will have the lion's share of the rich white people money and Forma is going to pour everything they've got in to the guy. Its hard to see how their mail program won't be 100% geared to all of Acosta's many bad positions. Frankly it wouldn't shock me to see her little stunt to make the city less transparent in a piece of mail. Again, she can thank Dora Oaxaca for that one. Margo would like it a whole lot better if Niland's name wasn't even being mentioned at all because he needs to consolidate that westside base in order for him to be a real threat to win. With Niland in the race, he stays bogged down in Tier 2 status.

David Saucedo. I toyed with the idea of putting him last of the three candidates in Tier 2 because he doesn't have a base of support and essentially has to try to rely on getting noticed. But I remembered that he has part of the team that almost (BUT DIDN'T) beat Niland in her re-election bid. What he won't have in this election that was the major reason Niland almost lost to Dagda (Sorry field guy) is a big push from fire fighters. But a field presence beats no field presence and coupled with the fact that Niland will be splitting her westside base with Margo, Saucedo gets the second slot in Tier 2. Also because he's Latino. He needs a lot of help to make a run-off. If he sneaks in a run-off with Margo, it will be an interesting match up of Republican versus Republican in a Democratic city.

Cortney Niland. Left for politically dead after narrowly defeating a weak candidate with no money, Niland has slowly crawled (with the help of a really weak field of candidates) her way back from No Way in Hell to Well Almost Anything Is Possible When Emma Acosta is a Front Runner. There are a lot of questions for Niland and frankly if you held my feet to the fire, I'd probably confess that of the current field of candidates, I think she'd likely do the best job as mayor. Again, of the current field of candidates. Where's she gonna get the money? Will she self-finance or will she peel away some of the money guys? Who is going to run her campaign? Forma already has a date to the dance. Will she actually run a field program this time? She didn't last time and she almost lost. But you have to give her this, she's the most resilient of the field and you may see the ol' Honey Badger live up to her name again.

But not likely.

Tier 3 -

Carl Robinson. He has the highest name ID of all the other candidates that don't have a chance in hell of winning.

Willie Cager. Nice guy. El Paso treasure. But no base and I don't think he has the health and money to effectively wage even a feeble attempt at the office.

Ghosan Gus Haddad. Maybe some people will think he's Gus Haddad.

Jorge Artalejo. Until someone else runs, he has my vote. So that's two...

Anna Romero Zaidle. Never heard of her. No money, name ID, or base. At least Artalejo has been on a ballot before.

Charles Stapler. Wrong time, wrong race.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Draft Leeser Idea Picking Up Steam

You've probably heard this around the water cooler yourselves if you work in government or in the downtown area but the notion of drafting Mayor Leeser to run for another term is starting to pick up more and more steam.

At an event in the valley this weekend Mayor Leeser along with several other elected officials were in attendance and the buzz among attendees was getting the Mayor to run for another term because of the current field of candidates.

Mayor Leeser has presided over a council that did a lot of fighting amongst themselves for a while but seems to have come together as of late.

Obviously Mayor Leeser would be a favorite for re-election considering he has higher name ID than any other candidate running, and is the only candidate running that has already demonstrated the ability to win a citywide election.

Oh yeah, and he's loaded. He doesn't have to go hunting for cash because he already has a lot.

A Leeser re-election bid would completely change the race. When he first ran, I completely underestimated the impact of his name ID and money. Plus, to be honest he's done a decent job his first term. Brought in some jobs, and did his best to maintain order in a pretty turbulent time.

His reelection bid would likely force a few people to drop out and he'd probably wipe out the rest because their money will dry up pretty quickly with Leeser in the race.

At least one person mentioned the idea of drafting Leeser to run for another term for the good of the city.

They mayor didn't react one way or another.

::Mental note - never play poker with Mayor Leeser.::

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Partisan Elections & the Mayoral Race

Well known El Paso artist Ho Baron had a letter to the editor published in the El Paso Times recently about switching to partisan elections for city council.

The idea isn't a novel concept, its done in several major cities including New York, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and Houston among others.

But it got me curious about the impact of partisan elections (hypothetically) on the mayoral race. As we all know El Paso is a Democratic city - overwhelmingly. Parties are about governing values - which is the primary way in which they are distinct.

One candidate in particular has had my interest, David Saucedo, because of his love for ultra right-wing conservative Rick Santorum. He was also the person who was the driving force behind bringing Lou Holtz to El Paso for a fundraiser following some very controversial remarks about immigration.

I checked all the voting records of the announced or rumored mayoral candidates for the upcoming municipal election. Basically there was only one surprise - David Saucedo. I wasn't surprised that Dee Margo's voting record is solidly Republican, and I wasn't surprised that Saucedo had voted as a Republican before as well.

But what did surprise me was just HOW Republican Saucedo's voting record really is. The bottom line here is that Saucedo has the most solidly Republican voting record of any candidate in the race with the exception of former Republican State Rep Dee Margo.

Seriously, its not even close.

Here is a screen shot of his voting record. I highlighted the times he voted Republican in red. As you can see, in ever election since he was old enough to vote, Saucedo has voted Republican. The races that have no highlight are general elections or non-partisan elections.

Now he can probably say he voted for the Democrat in the general elections but if you believe that there is a way that a guy with his voting record in Republican primaries decides to magically vote for a Democrat in a general election then I have bridge over the railroad tracks on Zaragoza to sell you.

So he's being portrayed as a "young progressive Latino" to voters by his campaign team. Well good luck with that. Based on his voting record (and attempt at bringing an anti-immigrant, pro-Trump speaker to El Paso), he's exactly as progressive as Dee Margo.

The values he and Dee Margo vote for are the values they would govern by. The same as any solidly Democratic mayoral candidate would govern by their party's values.

Lets put this in perspective. Mayor Leeser is often mentioned as a "Republican Mayor". Here's his voting record. I highlighted all the partisan elections he's voted in - blue for the ones he voted Democratic and red for the ones he voted Republican in. Have a look for yourself:

Yeah, you're looking at that correctly. Leeser has only voted in one Republican primary (that was the
big Tea Party revolt by the way) and has been solidly Democratic for at least the last decade. 

The talk of City Rep Cortney Niland running for mayor is growing louder and louder as well. So if you look at her voting record, its almost identical to Mayor Leaser's.


But just to demonstrate just exactly how Republican the voting record of Saucedo really is, take a look at Dee Margo's voting record:


Nearly identical to Saucedo's voting record.

So like I said, Saucedo is as progressive as Dee Margo.

Interestingly he was also appointed to the Texas Board of Nursing by Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Texas' party system is a little unique in that you don't register with a party, you are affiliated with a party based on your voting record. So in addition to his solid Republican voting record, the governor felt so confident in Saucedo's Republican values that he appointed him to a board.

I'm still trying to figure out who I'm going to vote for in the mayoral election. There is no one in the current field that I think I could vote for, so #TeamJorge still looks like my alternative.

Terán Facing Major Campaign Hurdle

I'm not sure if this was previously reported or not, but Monica Terán is the former Justice of the Peace in the Lower Valley and was defeated in the last election by the current Justice of the Peace John Chatman.

There has long been talk about Terán running for her old seat again when Chatman faces reelection.

Well that just became an even steeper hill for her to climb. I was looking for an alleged mug shot of a state lege staffer with political aspirations. This staffer was apparently involved in a DUI.

I stopped looking for his when I came across this one:

Photo taken from KVIA website


Ms. Terán is innocent until proven guilty and will obviously have her day in court to deal with the issue, but the point is this mugshot is a nightmare for her ability to regain her seat on the bench.

It should also serve as a reminder to us all during the holidays to get a ride home instead of getting behind the wheel.

This is something that could happen to any one of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Local Election Losers

And now for the losers...

El Paso County Sheriff's Officers' Association

You know up until Election Day I thought most of the employees were anti-Wiles. But as I made my way around the county from polling place to polling place and I spoke with poll-sitters, it was then I realized that a lot of them were deputies and their families. The union made it sound like "all the badges" were against him.

The EPCSOA are the undisputed champions of losers in this election not just because how incredibly bad they lost the election, but on how they did it. At first the reaction in the labor community was confusion as to why a labor organization would support a Republican in the first place. But eventually that turned into anger as the election wore on because the sheriff's union and municipal police union supporting a Republican ultimately undermines the rest of the labor unions in town.

This election is an opportunity for the union to take a long hard look in the mirror at what they have been doing the last few years. The new administration in the union actually managed to do even worse than the previous administration in elections. Fellas, let me kick it to you real for a minute...you wasted a lot of hard-earned dues money on backing the wrong candidate in the wrong election. Membership should be really upset with how their money was handled in this election.

It wasn't just losing that was bad for the union, it was the manner in which many of the membership - certainly not all - conducted themselves in this election. President Horstman needs to call some of his guys on the carpet for their conduct. It got ugly. It got personal. And if Horstman did anything about the conduct of his membership, its a big damn secret. Some of his guys were harassing Wiles supporters. One of his guys was texting his ex-wife and really berating her for supporting Wiles (Horstman, if you want the screenshots just let me know). But the thing that really made the union look bad was feeding filth to an online outlet that can't even spell the word sheriff correctly. I mean it got really ugly and there was apparently no one telling them to behave.

Now that really wouldn't matter if it weren't for the fact that President Horstman sent out this sponsored Facebook post after the election that calls on the sheriff to be professional before he calls on his own guys to be professional. He apparently hasn't seen his boy Marco Camarillo all over Facebook during this election.




I'm sure Sheriff Wiles will be professional with the EPSCOA. But I think the EPSCOA needs to understand an important political lesson. Elections have consequences and when you spend thousands of dollars trashing an opponent, and then lose, don't expect that opponent to think very highly of your organization.

Had you guys taken Wiles on in a primary election and had a candidate with an ounce of experience in law enforcement, I probably wouldn't have made a peep. I finally got to meet Mr. Buchino on election day in Tornillo. Nice man. Very cordial and polite and it turns out, we've chewed some of the same dirt in the Army.

He simply wasn't a good candidate. He wasn't qualified. You guys went shopping for a candidate instead of letting qualified candidates come to you, vetting the properly, and having a plan for how money was going to be spent for maximum result.

But worst of all, and its really magnified by the Facebook post, is that the EPCSOA made it personal with Wiles and dragged even his family into it. That is a mortal sin in politics, you don't drag non-combatants into the field of fire and you most certainly never, I mean EVER bring kids into the fight. So when you have the conduct of some - certainly not all - of your members, coupled with bringing the Sheriff's kid into the mix, its pretty hypocritical to be calling on professionalism from the sheriff.

Not to mention all the money you guys spent to buy a new guy to sign your labor contract. Time for a serious internal conversation about how you guys handle your political activities. I don't know how much longer your membership will tolerate the EPCSOA blowing their hard earned dues like has been the norm for the last several years.

The Anti-Bond Crowd

I don't live in EPISD but would have voted against it if I could have so I would have to include myself in this one.

But the James No-Bond guy should have reported his expenses and is open to a fine for not doing so. In addition to one being sexist and one being anti-semitic, his one-man advertising show certainly passed the $500 threshold.

Daniel Lopez - that guy jumped in front of the cameras when there was a photo op to be had and then basically campaign against the bond as well as he campaign for his city council bid. Show horse, not a work horse.

AFT Union Boss Ross Moore - Never in my years of being around local politics have I seen a guy on the winning side of an election burn more bridges with people. Seriously. Oh, and so much for your promise to the membership that Forma wasn't going to be involved.

Jaime Barceleau

The guy is an announced candidate for city council, uses the EPISD bond to overtly further his political career and then...wait for it...

the bond loses in his own precinct!


Its hilarious to me that he couldn't deliver his own precinct, of which he JUST became precinct chair, to the cause.


Assorted Valley Losers

There are a lot of big loses in this election cycle of races in the valley but I'll lump them together for the sake of context.

Jack Alayyan who is the general manager for Lower Valley Water, his biggest ally is gone and the make-up of the board is now different. This will get interesting down there.

Lorenza Fraire - the former Socorro City Manager who was let go under the administration of the new Mayor-elect and then City Rep Gloria Rodriguez tried to get three of her candidates elected. She was looking for a majority on council so that she could be hired back at the City of Socorro as City Manager again. Only one of her candidates got elected, so so much for her failed coup. I bet she was madder than the people on the Make Fabens White Again page following the election.

Honorable Mentions

Marco Camarillo from the Sheriff's union...that guy would tag me every day in some video or post about Buchino. Since the election, its been nothing but crickets.

Jaime O. Perez loses again. Not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination but its now gotten to the point that his supposed running for elections to force a debate on issues isn't even true anymore. No one even pays attention anymore.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Winners - The Local Election

I'll get to the national stuff in another post, but as they say, all politics is local so I'll start there and the next post will be the losers.

Sheriff Richard Wiles

This is obvious, it was essentially the biggest race of the night after the presidential race - and it was over early. Wiles completely demolished his opponent winning 184 of 191 precincts in El Paso County. Like I told Marco Camarillo - probably the loudest smack-talker for the sheriff's union, Buchino didn't win a single precinct south for the freeway from downtown to the freeway. Hell Buchino almost didn't win a precinct anywhere east and south of the New Mexico state line. More on the sheriff's union in the losers section...



I've been critical of the sheriff on matters of policy - and some of you may have forgotten that it was his department that actually conducted the investigation on me when I went through my divorce. I worked for an elected official that had a somewhat adversarial relationship with the sheriff. So if there was anyone out there that could've been the guy to spend all day hammering the sheriff, it'd be me. But through my interactions with the department, particularly watching him advocate for his department and his deputies, I grew to respect him as an administrator and leader of his department.

El Pasoan's overwhelmingly made the right choice last night. His margin was so large that it sent a very loud message about the level of support he has in this community.

State Rep Joe Moody

In another beat-down, State Rep Joe Moody also won last night, by an even wider margin. His district swings a bit more red during gubernatorial elections, but his support from the westside has congealed and that seat will be blue for as long as Joe Moody wants to hold that seat. May change if there is a weaker Dem one day, but Moody is young and has a long legislative career ahead of him. Pickett will one day pass the baton on to him.

Westsiders also sent a clear message about their satisfaction with their state representative.

Congressman O'Rourke

He was in the neighborhood of 90% of the vote with two opponents. Granted one was a Green Party candidate and the other was a Libertarian, Jaime O. Perez who probably didn't even carry the Libertarian vote.

Overwhelming support for the Congressman. He should stop all this silliness of running for US Senate and continue to serve this community. Also, I take back what I said in the past about Jaime O. Perez should quit running for office. He should keep running as long as possible. I rather enjoy watching this community completely reject him. Oh and I take back what I said about Beto being as viable for US Senate as Jaime O. Perez was for Beto's congressional seat. Beto would certainly break single-digits. And carry more of the Libertarian vote now that I think about it.

EPISD Bond

El Pasoans voted for the largest bond ever attempted in the history of El Paso County. There will be some real belly aching going on as this bond gets going because people are going to see the huge disparities in how the money will be spent, but thats something they are going to have to just swallow. You can't say it wasn't a majority of the voters who passed it because it clearly was. You can't say it was just a small portion of the electorate because it clearly wasn't. It passed and it is a mandate.

Dori Fenenbock took a big political gamble by being the face of the bond. She and the bond came out on top. So in that sense she's a winner. But we all know she has future aspirations and there is a bit of sobering news for Fenenbock that she needs to understand. Of the 21 precincts where the bond failed,  13 of them were on the westside. So yes it was a victory but 2/3 of the losing precincts were in her back yard.

But the clear winner from the EPISD Bond, and trust me there were some losers, was Mike Apodaca. Its quite a feather in his hat to be able to say he passed the largest bond ever attempted in El Paso County.

Took the title from another vato I know.

From a strategic perspective, Apodaca probably would've preferred this election to happen in any other election cycle than this one because it would've been easier to predict who was going to come out to vote and easier to target those voters. This was essentially the exact worst election cycle to run a bond of that size. There was significant opposition to the bond and quite frankly there is no way in hell the bond would've passed without Apodaca's field work.

I've seen this movie before, the board members, and committee members, and the superintendent will all strut around like they are the reason the bond passed, but the real reason it passed was because of a low-key experienced field guy who over works his canvassers and has a weird fascination with his pet turtle.

Just kidding Mike. (about the turtle anyway) Great job.

Socorro

The Rodriguez's are the winners in Socorro last night. Current Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz lost his bid for reelection to current City Rep Gloria Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a political survivor and worked hard.

Councilman At-Large Rene Rodriguez also won last night and will continue to serve in that capacity. Under Socorro's form of government they have a Mayor that only votes during ties but represents constituents across the city and a Councilperson At-Large that represents the entire city and votes.

Fabens

Fabens is a big winner because they re-elected Orlando Flores to the school board. He's an experienced and intelligent board member who makes thoughtful decisions. He made easy work of a race I thought might be closer. He won with a mandate and the community of Fabens will be better off for it.

Customers of Lower Valley Water District

This one is really inside baseball but if you know anything about water issues in the lower valley, nearly every bad water situation in that part of the county has something to do with that, what many call dysfunctional, entity. It provides water and trash service to communities like Socorro, Clint, San Eli, Sparks and a few other colonies.

Water districts and school board races are way more important than people really understand because they have far more to do with your daily lives than what happens in DC.

There 5 candidates running for 2 seats on the Lower Valley Water District - 4 of the 5 were named Dave.

David Carrasco who has held several positions at LVW will return to the board and Dave Armstrong was defeated. That is a development that should make General Manager Jack Alayyan a little nervous. One guy is an adversary and the guy that lost was an ally. Sources indicate that there have been several issues related to conduct by Mr. Alayyan that have cost the water district money including an alleged sexual harassment settlement.

At any rate, the customers of Lower Valley Water are winners in this election.

Constable

In the only remotely competitive constable precinct in the county, Constable Angie Sommers defeated King Merritt.

Canutillo ISD

Armando Rodriguez won another term on the CISD Board of Trustees. Despite having a negative story (really, really, really bad one) on the front page above the fold, he somehow won reelection. Most of the time a story like that one ends someone's political career, even if it is just a school board race.

Forma Group

They made a lot of money off of the EPISD Bond that AFT Union Boss Ross Moore swore to his membership they wouldn't be involved in...

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The Big Unknown

Village of Vinton

With the departure of Mayor Praino, it is unclear what direction the small hamlet on the westside of the county will choose for itself. But it looks like a brand new slate of elected officials in Vinton of who have a big job cut out for themselves. Mayor Praino has left a mark on that community and this county. She was a steady hand in an often turbulent town that at times made even Socorro blush.

And whatever their proposition was, it only won by 5 votes! I'm on a mission to find out what it was.