Monday, May 23, 2016

Ali Razavi's Crass Email & Forma

So I was told that Ali Razavi sent a pretty nasty email to County Judge Veronica Escobar over the weekend which represents a new low even for a guy who was circulating negative stories about his then-boss while he was working for her and very happily continuing to take a pay check for being her employee.

But if you know him, that shouldn't surprise you. The guy is a walking hypocrite.

The email came out the night that the Siria Rocha story came out, in fact just a few hours after the information was dumped to local media but before it had been published. Now for a long time Razavi has really gone out of his way to pretend that Razavi isn't connected to Forma, even having gone so far as to write about it a couple of times to dispel the allegation.


Because it was hurting Forma candidates because the donors were getting pissed. Rocha was at one point in this election cycle, a Forma candidate. Since Marisa Marquez is the talent scout for Forma, she would no-doubt have a relationship with Rocha.

So here is the email Razavi sent to the County Judge:

I know, classy right?

Say what you want about me, and you cowards that comment but wouldn't dare say anything about me to my face frequently do, but I've never sent an elected official an email like that. But again, not something new for Razavi. How long has that guy's obsession with the County Judge gone on now?

Well, about as long as her falling out with Marisa Marquez.

Coincidence? Of course not.

Well interestingly enough, Ali will probably have to start writing those posts about how he's not affiliated with Forma again because he probably got the firm in trouble with their donors again. And lets face it, they don't pull the strings, they get their strings pulled by the donors. The minute the money guys go away and choose a different option than Forma, is the minute their firm ceases to exist.

So the email about Rocha was sent out a little after 4pm. Here's the time/date stamp and the email that was sent to the media and myself.

As you can see, the time stamp on Ali's email to the County Judge, which was before the story was published anywhere, it says 8:21, same day.

So I'm betting Marquez gave him a heads up about the info release because I confirmed with the Gonzalez campaign that the info was not sent to Ali Razavi aka Max Powers.

Since Forma basically hasn't won a race in a while they may have been banking on Rocha to an extent, even though she only used them during part of her campaign, to get back in the win column. Perhaps after finding out about this shit storm of bad info had come out, and it being a Friday night and Razavi has been known to drink pretty regularly, he was probably several douchey craft beers into the night and sent that email to the County Judge.

The give-away?

The fact that he posted the email himself so quickly. Maybe he had a moment of clarity from the fog of some micro-brew and realized he fucked up, so the best way to try to deal with the situation would be to release the email himself.

The judge has been pretty open about her support for Ruben Gonzalez after all.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe someone else gave Ali a heads up. Maybe a person in the media sent it to him?

All he would have to do is post the email.

But he won't, because that isn't how he got the heads up.

Like I said, there are two types of bloggers in this town - me and those that blog about me. And of course, true to Forma, oops I mean true to form,  I was mentioned in his little cyber assault on the County Judge which is why I feel it necessary to point out Razavi's hypocrisy.

He asks why Escobar hates women, as though she only is opposed to female candidates for some reason. Are you people stupid? Have you seen Escobar's track record of work when it comes to women?

Do none of you bottom-feeders realize that most department heads at the county are women?

Have you not noticed all the female candidates she's supported, assisted, contributed to, mentored, etc?

Anna Perez
Joanne Bernal
Tania Chozet
Naomi Gonzalez
Lina Ortega
Georgina Perez

Marquez and Forma just ran a pretty damn ugly race against Mary Gonzalez. Yet I don't hear Maxi Pad bitching about the war on women from Marquez.

Ah, and one more thing especially for the little click of haters out there. Do I support Judge Escobar? Yeah, actually I do. I think she's done a great job and taken a leadership role that was absent at a critical time in community. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work she does.

Do I agree with her on policy all the time? No, but its fair to say the vast majority of the time I do.

Some of you idiots don't recall when I've been critical of her because it doesn't fit your narrative. I've been critical of every elected official in town, but I'm issue-based. Sorry, but asking an elected official how someone else tastes just isn't my style.

Frankly I don't know why the County Judge hasn't explored some legal recourse because of that email.

So lets get this straight, I write what I want to write, when I want to write it, for the reasons I want to write it. All of you guys should gather the tin foil you hear on your heads, flatten it out and make a big giant mirror. Then stand in front of that mirror and say hello to the dumbass you're staring at if you think ANYONE can control what I say or do.

Ask Norma Chavez if its easy to try to control me...

Friday, May 20, 2016

County Documents Reveal Serious Issues with Siria Rocha

According to documents obtained through an Open Records Request, County Tax Assessor Collector Candidate Siria Rocha was apparently reprimanded for several serious issues, including something she accused her opponent of doing in multiple pieces of campaign material, while she was an employee at the County. 

A resident of El Paso County, Joachim Schalk, requested documents relating to reprimands of Siria Rocha while she was an employee of the County of El Paso.

Rocha was allegedly reprimanded for issues relating to asking an employee to check a license plate for her personal use, misuse of county resources, job performance failures, sending sexually explicit emails, her behavior with co-workers, and ironically, campaigning and soliciting contributions on county time. 

The 56 page documents contains several “exhibits” including emails containing pictures showing both males and females in various stages of nudity, male and female genitalia, and one photo of a male performing fellatio on himself allegedly sent on the County of El Paso email system. 

I will do a more in-depth post later, but this is an absolute crisis for the Rocha campaign because it highlights the fact that Rocha has made campaigning on County time her biggest issue knowing full well that she had been reprimanded for not only campaigning on County time, but for soliciting campaign funds. 

In a statement release to The LionStar Blog Rocha stated the following:  

"Its true that in my youth I made some mistakes, like we all do, and I acknowledge them. Forwarding jokes is something that probably every viewer or reader of this story has done at some point. In the lens of almost two decades later, I see that it was poor judgement that is typical of someone in their 20’s. 

I think most voters will see this for what it is, my opponent is attempting to distract from his own mishandling of public tax dollars so that he can park in the shade. 

This is a sad reflection of Ruben Gonzalez and indicative of the win-at-any-cost attitude of my opponent. 

The people of El Paso deserve better."

CAUTION: The link contains not only the documents in question but it also contains sexually explicit material. Proceed at your own risk. 


Important election for the 8th Court of Appeals and the District Attorney's races. 

Oh yeah, the Tax Assesor Collector is on the ballot too. It's not important, but if you're voting anyway, you might as well vote for that one too. 

So go out and vote today or Tuesday and take some friends and family with you. I'm talking to all of you reading this. Be a good citizen and go out and vote!

Except you Jesse Gandara. You can't vote. 

Ya no llores!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

When Your Lit Comes Back to Haunt You

For those of you that don't know, written campaign material that you get at a polling place, mailed to your home or left on your door is referred to as "lit". 

Short for "literature", which is a bit misleading because they often aren't finely crafted prose.

I was all set to write about the negative piece the Yvonne Rosales campaign sent that landed in mailboxes yesterday against her opponent, incumbent District Attorney Jaime Esparza until I saw the piece sent out by Ruben Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is in the runoff and he's facing Siria Rocha for the Tax Assessor Collector seat Gonzalez was appointed to by Commissioners Court.

The first thing I thought of when I saw it was "gacho"!

Here's a look at the English version of the piece. I was sent the Spanish version, probably because I live in the valley.

I point this piece out because it's an example of how if you aren't careful, sometimes your lit becomes a boomerang. 

A while back I wrote about something that I TOLD you was going to come back to haunt Rocha. It was a major campaign screw up on the part of her consultant, Ernesto Bustillos. 

In the lit they were using, they implied that voting for Rocha would mean stopping tax hikes. 

That lit contained more bullshit than a farm in Fabens. 

The tax assessor office has zero to do with the tax rate. It's not just an exaggeration, mischaracterization, or wrongly phrased sentiment.

It's a straight up lie. 

Ultimately it's Rocha's mistake too because as she says of Gonzalez and his $10,000 expenditure just so the vato can park his nice truck in the shade, he ultimately is the person who signed off on it, even if it wasn't his idea. So she's guilty by the same rationale. 

Rocha and Bustillos recently sent out the negative mailer against Gonzalez. It's the one I called "capirotada". 

Here's a pic of Bustillos ordering capirotada.

The mailer tried to through everything negative but the kitchen sink into it. But the biggest problem with the piece is that it never said who to vote for or when.

And now, because of Bustillos huge tactical error in the lit, he has opened up his client to a negative piece that undermines her credibility. 

That mistake just got even worse because it gave Mike Apodaca something to hit Rocha on that will resonate with voters. 

So to put this in layman' terms, Bustillos had the lead by a touchdown, threw a pick-six and then fumbled the ensuing kickoff inside the 5 yard line and the other team recovered and have a chance to punch it in for the win as time expires.

Either way, that's a shitty way to lose the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Former City Rep Lily Now Political Operative

According to one community activist, former City Rep Ann Morgan Lily has been acting as a political operative in an effort to garner public support for embattled city manager Tommy Gonzalez, apparently going so far as to encourage and prepping people to speak during public comment against newly-elected City Rep Jim Tolbert and in favor of Gonzalez. 

Lily has also been making a series of public information requests lately, again in an apparent effort to shore up support for Gonzalez. 

"She called me and told me to talk bad about Jim...she really wants Tommy to keep his job...when I found out he (Tolbert) used to be a priest and is a really good person, I changed my mind and didn't speak bad about him, but she (Lily) was trying to get me to..." swim community activist Sarah Garcia stated in a phone interview yesterday.

"They played me for their own agenda because they knew how much I cared about getting the pool." she went on to say.

Garcia has been a pivotal member of the swimming community that has lobbied very hard to ensure that the flagship pool that was part of the Quality of Life bond that was passed by voters in 2012 is completed and funded properly. 

The immediate question people will have is, what's in it for Lily? 

Apparently Garcia has been approached and manipulated by several political figures in addition to Lily. Garcia indicated that Jeremy Jordan, former legislative aide to City Rep Niland has also worked her over pretty good. 

Garcia's understanding of the Quality of Life bonds was based on the explanation of Jeremy Jordan. During our phone interview it became abundantly clear that, if Garcia's account of her conversations with Jordan is accurate, that Jordan either straight-out lied to her or gave her information that was completely slanted to the point of not even being rooted in fact. 

What I can't figure out is all this angst aimed at Tolbert. In addition to the alleged effort on the part of Ann Morgan Lily on his very first day, current City Rep Michiel Noe also gave Tolbert a bit of a chinga-su-madre to his new colleague. During Tolbert's swearing in, Noe was the only member of council I could see to not give Tolbert a standing ovation following his swearing in. 

Obviously Noe isn't obligated to do so, but he seems to be the only member of council that is actively trying to take shots at his colleagues. 

He posted a negative article about his colleague on his Facebook page the other day. Trust me, there are no shortage of negative articles about members of city council over the last couple of years, but no matter how intense things have gotten on council, I've never seen any of them, except Noe, break decorum to the extent Noe has by sharing a negative article about a council rival.

Let me give you all a measuring stick.

Remember the whole I-don't-want-to-sit-next-to-her situation a couple of years ago between Limón and Niland? It got pretty bad between them. 

But I don't recall either of them trying to trash their colleagues on social media. Not sure what is going on with that guy but since he's termed out and will never be on a ballot again, I guess he no longer cares about decorum. But he still has quite a bit of time on council with his new colleague, doesn't seem wise to start things off that way.

Maybe its because both Noe and Lily are big supporters of Gonzalez and Tolbert filed the ethics complaint. 

I guess it leaves us all wondering just how much more intense its going to get on council. Just when you thought it couldn't get more dysfunctional and embarrassing right?

Noe kidding.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Maria Garcia's Story on P-Cards

For those of you that think that paving roads and Gandara-like credit card purchases is just something that happens in Socorro, you should watch this story done by Maria Garcia from KVIA on P-cards. 

Those are cards that are funded by taxpayers and issued to city council representatives and their staff members intended in lieu of petty cash. 

The web story is VERY different from what was aired last night. Mostly because in the story that aired last night there was basically no discussion about what the Mayor's office spent on the cards.

I'll get to that in a minute, but before I do, let me cover a couple of other things.

First, the story mentions Rep Svarzbein as having spent the least amount of money in 2015, which is the year they compiled data for in the story. Well I should hope so, he was only in office for half the year!

Put that in the "duh" category. Had you extrapolated his spending out over a year he wouldn't have been one of the lowest, but he certainly would still have been one of the lowest. Garcia also erroneously implies that Svarzbein and Ordaz have been in office a similar about of time, which is inaccurate.
Next, I almost died laughing when I heard City Rep Acosta, who was the second-highest spending of tax-payer dollars use the word "frugal" in her explanation of her spending. 


Only in the alternate reality in which Acosta lives does that statement make any sense. 
And how about that Jeremy Jordan huh? I think the real story is how much food that guy would buy on his card, at your expense. Very Jesse Gandara of him. 

But Niland, who has spent the most money, gave a rather interesting response to an expenditure on the card for Jordan's personal cell phone bill. She said Jordan "accidentally" paid his cell phone bill with that card but he paid the money back.

I heard he was audited and that is why he paid it back, but that is another story. The real interesting thing is how that was "an accident". Was he walking along a street downtown, tripped over some streetcar railing and his wallet flew out of his pocket and his p-card landed in his hand and his phone dialed his phone company and entered the digits themselves?

Because that is a pretty amazing "accident". 
The Mayor and his assistant spent almost $38 grand on their cards. I don't necessarily have a problem with that because after all, he's the Mayor. He represented the entire town, not just a district. 

But I have a MAJOR problem with his assistant Taylor Moreno spent close to $24 grand herself. I get that the mayor needs to travel a lot, but what in the blue hell is Moreno spending all that money on as a staffer?

David Karlsruher's Little Secret

There are two types of bloggers in El Paso politics.

Me, and those that blog about me.

For some unknown reason David K has decided to drag me into his little Uber debate. I've watched it from afar but haven't commented on it because I don't really know much about it, other than David K appears to completely misrepresent what Austin's vote was really about.

But he was on the losing side of that vote so that doesn't surprise me.

Frankly, I don't really care much about the Uber debate because I don't take uber and I don't take cabs. I'm a regular guy, so mass transit doesn't scare me one bit. I enjoy it actually, ask anyone who's ever heard me rant about how great it is.

So let me cut right to the chase. The reason DK won't stop talking about Uber is because he represented them in some fashion here in El Paso. I assume he got paid to do so, but I'm not entirely sure.

But I know for a fact he was setting up meetings with members of various elected bodies.

Which is fine, but if he's going to drag me into his little venture, he should at least be clear about his motives.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Buzz Around The City

Here are a few notes of talk around some city races that are on the horizon.

By now you've all probably heard the word that Dee Margo, a former Republican state rep is going to run for Mayor. Forma once again is dusting off an old candidate and trying to resuscitate their career. Sorry but he might be loaded and all, but too many people remember he's a Republican. Yes it's a non-partisan race, but he has to wear the GOP brand all over him.

I just don't see how even Forma thinks he's viable. 

Personally I wonder if Shapleigh would come out of retirement to whack Dee Margo around one more time. Vindication from the EPISD scandal isn't a bad jumping-off point for a campaign. 

There is also talk of Ted Houghton taking a stab at running for mayor, which would also be interesting.

Since Emma Acosta isn't viable, never has been to be honest, but much less so now that she's and Noe are so closely connected to Tommy Gonzalez and Larrt Romero, you wonder if there are any Latino candidates that would step up.

Speaking of council, there is already buzz about who are replacing the candidates that are termed out. Perhaps the most interesting buzz around has been former El Paso Mayor John Cook talking about possibly making a run for his old city council seat. He apparently believes he has the ability to serve at least one more term.

He would join Sam Morgan as another person considering a run for the northeast seat.

There is one other person who is considering a run in the northeast who I think would be extremely well positioned if they ran but they haven't come to a decision yet, but there is still time so I'll circle back to that topic once a decision has been made.

In District 3 to replace Acosta, I know of two really exceptional candidates that are weighing their options and then Jaime Barceleau. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Friday Foul-Up

Mistakes happen in every campaign. But like I have been saying, a particular campaign team is more of a liability than an asset. 

Ernesto Bustillos and Josh Dagda have apparently struck again. 


Fresh off of a campaign in which they struggled to reach 15% despite having endorsements from major community leaders, the newspaper, and a fundraising edge on the last report for a Latina candidate in a border community, the dynamic duo have apparently struck again.

This is an expensive mistake too. And probably costly.

The text messages and phone calls started coming in Thursday afternoon. When I got home I confirmed it by checking my own mailbox.

What is the mistake? 

Apparently most of the mailers that went out for Tax Assesor Collector Candidate Siria Rocha where addressed to the WRONG NAMES! 

That is way up there with the time Forma sent out Tania Chozet's GOTV piece that landed after the election was over!

Depending on how big her universe was, that cost a lot of money to send out. The wrong names on the mailer mean the wrong targets received the mail, people who should have received it likely didn't, and many won't even read it. 

This is the one sent to my place. They got my address right. Now while my grandfather has a picture where he sorta looked like Javier Solis, we are in fact, not the Solis family. 

Huge, huge, huge mistake.

Especially because it's so difficult to even get someone to read a mailer in the first place! And, true story, even though I knew what the mistake was before I hit my mailbox, I still almost tossed the mailer because the mailer looked more like an ad for a product than a political message.

It was "capirotada". That's what we call a mailer that has a bunch of different messages all tossed in together. Great during lent, but terrible for a mailer. 

The message is garbled and ineffective. In fact that mailer is so busy throwing rocks at the other candidate, it never gets around to who to vote for or when.

There are ways to do negative mailers and ways to not do negative mailers. The only thing this mailer is good for is to demonstrate how NOT to do a negative mailer.

So maybe it's actually a blessing for Rocha that her campaign team screwed up and sent it to the wrong people. 

But man, I'll bet that was a lot of money. It wouldn't shock me if she took it out of their pay or makes them compensate her for their mistake. 

We'll see on the 8 day report, but these are the perils of getting a consultant that has more than one client in the election cycle and can't manage it.

Oh yeah, one more thing. When I was checking around to see how bad the mistake was, calling friends and sources throughout the county that I knew would have been likely recipients, I was mildly surprised that Michael Apodaca, aka Juro Duran, is still getting mail from Rocha's campaign. If I recall correctly that was her February D'oh!

I'm really gonna miss this election cycle!