Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Republican Sheriff Candidate Backs Henry Rivera (D7)

Recent Republican candidate for sheriff Tom Buchino announced the other day on his campaign page that he was endorsing District 7 candidate Henry Rivera.

Buchino was strongly backed by the CLEAT unions for sheriff to unseat incumbent Sheriff Richard Wiles. Wiles and Rivera served together in EPPD for many years.

So they have something in common now other than their years of service in protecting our community...neither of them were supported by CLEAT.

Its particularly interesting when you consider the fact that Rivera was, until very recently, an officer in the organization and ran the PAC.

So Buchino reached out to all of those union people that supported him - despite the fact that the union didn't support Rivera.

They endorsed a friendly incumbent, City Representative Lily Limón.

What's the phrase I'm looking for here...help me out...oh yeah! I remember!

"All those badges can't be wrong..."

Mayoral Candidates at BEPD

Here is video of the mayoral candidates at the Black El Paso Democrats forum and endorsement meeting last week.

That was the longest forum I've ever been to. It may still be going on for all I know, I left at 11:00 last week and it didn't look like it was done yet.

Here's video of the three major candidates for mayor. So here's a quick run-down of what they all said.

Saucedo sounded like Howard Dean and Donal Trump had a baby. Yelled a lot and spoke about making history and prosperity for El Paso. It was very "Make-El-Paso-Great-Again". Prosperity for all!

Acosta sounded terrible. She fumbled her opening and most of her answers were terrible. But take note around the 5:00 mark of the video. Its pretty interesting how she characterizes her retirement settlement deal. She makes it sound like she was fighting for women, which as I understand it, is complete bullshit.

Dee Margo, and it causes me physical pain to admit this, sounded the most prepared. Don't take my word for it, watch the videos.

I give Saucedo and Margo credit for showing up and trying for the endorsement. I wish someone from BEPD would've just asked them about their party affiliation but none of them did. Also, this has happened a lot in campaigns, sometimes your surrogates, staff, or consultants aren't doing you any favors when they turn more people off than help. I was having a private chat with Dee Margo about personal stuff, completely unrelated to politics and his staff walked up and made a shitty comment to me about how he should be careful what he tells me because it will end up in my blog. (Saucedo has this problem worse than Dee to be fair).

As most of you reading this know, I don't do personal. Dee knows that and he quickly corrected her on the spot. But it pissed me off, so you know what did make my blog?

You lady.


Here are the videos...

Forma Being Forma...

Ah yes, the team at Forma Group is at it again.

Way to go, I knew you guys wouldn't let Jaime Barceleau mailing outside of his district go unchallenged. Way to one-up him...you guys mailed outside of the state!

Thats definitely an innovative GOTV strategy...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Socorro Rep Maria Reyes' Last Gasp

Socorro City Rep Maria Reyes successfully led the ouster of Mayor Gloria Rodriguez last week through manipulating two other members of council. 

Some of you may have seen the media accounts of what happened but I'll fill you in on some of the important details that have probably not been reported widely.

No matter how you slice it, Reyes has dragged Socorro backward, cost tax payers $20,000-$25,000 and has contributed to the stigma of Socorro politics.

Why? Because she wanted payback. No amount of explaining from her will make the facts any different. And here's how you know its just another Socorro movida...

First of all, who put the item on the agenda? It wasn't Reyes, it was Rep Yvonne Colon-Villalobos. Reyes had to be the person to "second" the item in order to get it on the agenda. She originally didn't want to and was trying to get another rep to do it. Why? Because she knew if it came from her everyone would know that it was her personal beef.

And while the story broke on Monday, it wasn't until AFTER the meeting on Thursday that anyone was able to get any indication of why Rodriguez was even being removed form office in the first place. There was zero transparency in this issue. There was no reason given on the agenda. There was no back-up provided to the public. But somehow the public that are friends with Reyes knew what the deal was although it was never discussed, even when they were actually voting to remove Reyes.

Rodriguez's Attorney Jim Darnell confers
with Socorro City Attorney Jim Martinez
Why the need for secrecy? When you are subverting the will of the voters by removing someone who was elected by the people of Socorro, why wouldn't you take every necessary step possible to ensure that you maximize the transparency of what you are trying to do? Because people would know it was nothing but a personal trip.

Voting on an item with zero transparency and not an ounce of back-up for the public to peruse was a failure on the part of all the members of council that voted for that item and further undermines the confidence of the voters of Socorro about their government.

Where was the public discussion of the allegation? Where was Mayor Rodriguez's due process?

And let me be clear about something with those of you reading this who may have not yet picked up on this particular fact - I have often been a vocal critique of Mayor Rodriguez. There are many areas of policies in which we disagree and I certainly don't care for the political company she keeps.

But wrong is wrong, regardless of my personal feelings for Mayor Rodriguez in the past.

Perhaps another reason that City Rep Maria Reyes didn't want to have a public conversation about the allegations against Rodriguez may be the fact that there is a good possibility that the city of Socorro will ultimately have to deal with this issue in court. No telling how much the final bar tab will be for Reyes' personal vendetta against Mayor Rodriguez, but one thing is for sure, it ain't gonna be cheap.

Here's video of Rodriguez's attorney Jim Darnell, being interviewed after the meeting in which Rodriguez was removed. As you can tell, this is anything but a slam dunk. Which further begs the question of why this wasn't vetted publicly.

What's Next for Rep Reyes?

Well there is already talk of an opponent against Reyes and creating a vacancy at the mayor's position will likely make things more difficult for Rep Reyes considering several of the names of people that are already rumored to be considering a run for the seat. Not a single one is a friendly toward Reyes. And not only is that going to be an issue for her, but there is already talk of two different opponents already gearing up to take Reyes on in an election.

Reyes is a notoriously lazy campaigner, so the minute she gets in a race with an opponent, she's pretty living on borrowed political time.

So what does she do in the mean time?

Well this is the challenge for Reyes. She's never really done anything for her constituents. There really is no accomplishment for Reyes during all her years on council. The only thing she really has done was use public funds for some blankets that were given out to the public for personal individual use. That's it.

Now that she got rid of Rodriguez, what is she going to do now? What is going to be her focus? She should now try to accomplish something of note in the short time that she's still a member of Socorro city council. That is going to be a tall order for someone who has done absolutely nothing while on council except focus on political payback of her enemy on the public's dime.

And now that she has done so, now what?

Frankly, I don't think she will do anything other than continue the politics of personal payback.

But she has the opportunity to actually do something. Other members of council have worked hard on actual substantive change for Socorro. City Rep Rene Rodriguez has pretty much carried most of Socorro City Council on his shoulders and worked with regional partners to significantly improve the city's infrastructure, bring in new business to Socorro, and secured nearly a half-million dollars in resources for a library that the taxpayers of Socorro don't have to pay for.

Meanwhile, Reyes who has been there much longer has nothing to show for her time on council. Oh, and don't even get me started on what transpired IMMEDIATELY following the meeting in which she ousted her foe...

...lets just say she could be removed from office just as easily...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

BEPD Dems Forum, Saucedo Tidbit

Be cool. I'm working on the video from the Black El Paso Democrats Forum and I'll post it later - along with some video from the NE Business Association. It's a lot of stuff and needs to be cleaned up.

All the major mayoral candidates attended last night and I got some good video. Including all the D3 and D4 candidates were there and two of the D2 candidates.

One little tidbit about Saucedo...a source high up in the Democratic Party tells me that David Saucedo's campaign was rejected by the Texas Democratic Party for use of VAN because of Saucedo's Republican voting record. The source tells me that his field organizer has two other municipal accounts on VAN for Jim Tolbert and Sam Morgan. So that looks like the Saucedo slate of candidates.

Also, Max Grossman is still trying to strong arm candidates telling them all that he has 30,000 voters at his disposal.

Someone tell Grossman to put down the pipe.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

City Council Meeting Yesterday

On the day of a crucial vote regarding funding of projects that El Pasoans need City Reps Emma Acosta and Cortney Niland were not in attendance. I guess Acosta thought no one was going to notice that she wasn't around for an important debate?

And Niland...has she completely checked out? She's almost never at council anymore. She's really missed a lot of meetings.

I thought Dr. Noe did a good job of using video to put his colleagues on the spot about on the one hand saying they support projects but then not willing to fund them. That is pretty much the problem with most members of council.

Leeser's Media Item

Really dumb move on the part of the mayor to put the item on the agenda having to do with the release of material. You can't single out a group of people when it comes to the application of a law. Treating media differently than anyone else that makes a request is shockingly stupid.

My question is how bloggers would be treated under this policy. Would people like David K and I be treated like private citizens or would they treat us like media?

Northeast Business Association D4 Candidate Forum

I took video of the forum last night at the Northeast Business Association Candidate Forum for District 4. I'll edit the video and post it soon. Interestingly there was one little exchange at the end of the debate that may end up being pretty interesting when the KCOS debate airs.

Jose Plasencia, the artist formerly known as "The Other Guy", alleged that Sam Morgan came out against Domestic Partner Benefits during the KCOS debate taping. That debate will be aired April 2. A source in the Plasencia campaign says that the Morgan made the comment on an unrelated question.

When confronted about it, Morgan denied saying it and was pretty upset at being accused of discrimination as a black man in America.

This will be resolved when the debate airs on April 2. Either Team Other Guy has to apologize to Morgan, or Morgan is going to have some explaining to do. So that will be interesting. But make no mistake, if Plasencia is wrong, he's going to owe Sam Morgan a really big apology.

The video will show you how they answered questions but here's my quick thoughts on each of that candidates last night:

Jose Plasencia - Come up with something better to do with Cohen Stadium than a farmer's market. Its silly and not an impactful public benefit.

Diana Ramos - For the love of all that is holy in the world, ANSWER A QUESTION! She deflects giving a substantive answer to most questions and turns it around and says that she wants the people to tell her. She's supposed to be the policy wonk in this race, so it surprises me that she doesn't appear excited about giving substantive answers.

Sam Morgan - Stop talking about your book. No one cares that you're a published author unless its a book on "How City Government Can Lower Your Taxes for Dummies". I looked up the book, there's a pretty bad review.

Shane Haggerty - No one cares about robots, how terrible of a soccer coach you are, or your love of ice cream.

I think I found my mayoral candidate...

I was at a forum last night and I met Elisa Morales. Before I go on, let me explain something really important. I don't agree with all of her positions. There are some based on my conversation with her and a look at her website, that I think she is completely wrong on.

BUT...when I spoke to her I was thoroughly impressed with the fact that she's the only mayoral candidate that seems to have any solid understanding of policy. Smart, articulate, poised, and tough. I put my foot on the gas with her a couple of times on policy just to kick the tires and see how she would respond and she was extremely well poised and kept herself together. Usually when I press a candidate they either get pissed or they find the nearest exit.

I think I'm voting for her. Not entirely convinced, but I'm about 80% there. She's way smarter than any other candidate I've seen in the mayoral race and seems willing to take a stand on issues, even if its the wrong stand, as opposed to someone like Saucedo who seems more interested in NOT making anyone mad with an answer.

Obviously Morales' viability is suspect. She's pretty much a complete long shot considering she has no base and not much money. Frankly, she should've sat this one out and ran for city council.

She does have a couple of other problems - much like District 4 candidate Diana Ramos, she is a DC staffer that came home but there are questions as to whether she's lived here long enough to run, as discussed in this recent news story. But my view is that if Ramos is eligible, then Morales is eligible.

Morales basically left El Paso for the Land of Terrible Mexican Food (San Antonio) as soon as she graduated from Eastwood High School, but she came back. I don't think there's anything wrong with someone coming home to make El Paso a better place.

She's from the lower valley, went to Eastwood, has a Bachelors from UTSA and an MBA from A&M San Antonio.

Here's her website if you want more information.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Socorro City Rep Maria Reyes - Everything Wrong With Socorro Politics

So by now you have seen that yet again, Socorro is going to be in the spotlight for their pendejadas. While the agenda item has the name of Rep Colon-Villalobos, make no mistake about it, this movida is coming straight from City Representative Maria Reyes. 

Rep Maria Reyes (Left) - Mayor Gloria Rodriguez (Right)
And frankly, Reyes has come to embody everything that is wrong with Socorro politics. First, let me give you some background so you understand why Maria Reyes has become the way that she is. Reyes - to her credit - was the lone dissenting voice on a council that was corrupt even by Socorro standards. Little Jesse Gandara and his clique of mean girls changed rules, ordinances, and the charter to become a patchwork of rules that essentially made Reyes completely ineffective as a member of council. She was mistreated by them and pushed around a lot. But she stuck to her guns and for that she should be given credit.

But that was a long time ago and shouldn't be used as an excuse for her behavior now. Maria Reyes feels she was treated badly by the former regime. As a result, Reyes is completely obsessed with getting political payback on Mayor Gloria Rodriguez, to the point that she's willing to use the people's business to get even.

And that is petty and bad leadership.

Rodriguez is the last member of the Gandara clique that is still on council. She's the survivor of the group and has actually started to work with members of council that were former adversaries. But that isn't important to Reyes, all she wants is a pound of flesh - and apparently is willing to use the city's time and resources to do it.

This is the failed leadership that Socorro has had to deal with for generations. Being more focused on payback rather than smart policy choices or solving the day-to-day problems is the crap that has always seemed to plague Socorro and why so many people feel like voting in Socorro doesn't matter.

Under the patchwork of crappy policies, procedures, ordinances, and charter items, the Mayor of Socorro basically has no power. The mayor only votes on a tie and needs council permission to put anything on an agenda.

Essentially, they can do no harm. This was done because Jesse Gandara didn't control the mayor at the time. So Reyes won. Her adversary can essentially do nothing. But that isn't good enough for Reyes. She wants to take it a step further because she won't rest, as she's personally told me in the past, until she sees Rodriguez "behind bars".

And guess what? Its going to cost Socorro residents money in the process. Because now they are going to have to have a special election to replace the mayor. So now there is a COST to Reyes' personal vendetta.

What Reyes is going to use to kick Rodriguez off is a years-old issue about attorney fees. Essentially they are going to determine that Rodriguez owes money to the city and therefore can't be mayor. No due process, no nothing. Just a majority vote which essentially consists of 3 members of council and just like that, Rodriguez will be gone. This issue hasn't been brought up since 2014, but since Reyes was just reelected to council recently, she now had the opportunity to bring it up. There was no pressing issue facing the City of Socorro and its certainly not a money issue because an election to replace Rodriguez will cost more than whatever they are saying Rodriguez owes.

Reyes' priority should be the economic development of the community rather than her personal score settling. Every time there is another circus story like this it hurts Socorro. Its hard to get businesses to relocate to Socorro when there is a constant shit-show going on at city council meetings. Reyes should be focused on helping her community instead of getting it caught up in another media circus that is completely avoidable.

And if Reyes believes there has been some legal wrong-doing on the party of Rodriguez, she should've taken it to the District Attorney's Office long ago. But the fact that she is taking this avenue instead of going to the DA speaks volumes about her motives.

By the way, remember the 3 members of council thing. It'll come up again later...

Haggerty Fundraiser

As I do every election cycle, I post any campaign announcement that is sent to me. So far this is the only one that has been sent to me so far, so if you want one post you know where to send it. I post them as a courtesy to all candidates.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Breaking: Socorro Mayor to be Removed

Socorro City Council has an agenda item to remove the current Mayor Gloria Rodriguez from office in a special meeting called moments ago. The special meeting will be on Thursday.

The current city representative Yvonne Colon-Villalobos for District 4 put an item on the agenda to remove Mayor Rodriguez.

This is the product of a long personal dispute between City Rep Maria Reyes and Rodriguez. Reyes has been singularly focused on removing Rodriguez from office since she regained her seat.

In Socorro the mayor has no real power. The mayor only votes during ties and can't put anything on an agenda unless they have permission from another member of council.

Here is a link to the agenda.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Email: Oaxaca on "Extended Leave"

There are conflicting stories as to what circumstances Oaxaca is no longer with the City of El Paso as a staffer for Mayoral Candidate Emma Acosta. 

One story I keep hearing from sources in City Hall and former employees is that Oaxaca was fired. Its not clear why because even that theory has a lot of versions to it, none of which can be verified but are everything from being upset with her because she had her husband run against a colleague on council to allowing her to collect unemployment while she is able to campaign full time for Acosta and Rivera. So who knows…

The other story floating around City Hall and political circles is that she wasn’t really fired, she was just put on extended medical leave. I haven’t heard any indication as to what the medical issue was, and frankly that is none of our business anyway, but one assumes if Oaxaca’s medical situation is such that she can’t work, then she probably can’t campaign either. 

However, in an email I acquired Acosta and Oaxaca may have other issues to deal with now relating to Oaxaca’s employment status, in particular what activities a city staffer can, and cannot engage in as an employee of the city of El Paso. 

This email was sent out to staff and members of the MPO on March 7, 2017. As you can see Acosta clearly indicates that Oaxaca is not fired, but rather is on “extended leave”. 

She’s likely able to engage in any political activity, but the question some will be asking the Mayoral candidate is SHOULD Oaxaca be allowed to. Otherwise everyone can start putting their staff on medical or some other type of leave during campaign season and hold their jobs for them. Not sure that is a policy that makes sense for the people of El Paso. 

There was no indication as to what specific type of leave the City of El Paso allows for the situation stated in Acosta’s email.