Thursday, June 30, 2016

Trollies in El Paso!

As you know, so many people are really excited about the trollies coming back to El Paso.

Not really, most people are just annoyed at all the construction that is bogging the downtown area.

I'm trying really hard to care about this project, and I want to think its gonna be a great thing for El Paso, but the more I think about it, the more it annoys me.

Its an incredibly expensive project that will transport relatively few people. Its another hipster feel-good project, but when you look at who really uses public transit on a regular basis you'd understand why I'm annoyed.

There is no practical reason that the BRIO was done on the westside before other parts of town but we all know why it was done first.

Alameda should've been the priority because the valley has more public transit users than other part of town, but this town routinely ignores this part of town.

And so why many of you may genuinely be excited about the trolly, I get annoyed because I go down Alameda every day and there are very few bus stops with shade.

I see the riders, mostly women - seniors or moms with small children, having to face the heat without shade and I think about the obscene amount of money spent on the frivolity of the trolly that only goes from UTEP to the border. Think about how many shaded bus stops that money would buy.

But those moms and little old ladies aren't as cool as hipsters right?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bernie Or Bust is Bad

I'm a Bernie Sanders supporter and what I am about to write is going to bother a lot of my Bernie brethren but it needs to be said.

We lost and the stakes in this election are too high to play Bernie or bust.

For full disclosure, I don't support an assault weapons ban. I don't think it solves the problem. But I acknowledge, like basically anyone else in the country with two brain cells to rub together, that the number of mass shootings, and crimes committed with guns, is a national problem that needs to be addressed.

The fact that the GOP won't even take up a vote underscores the importance of ensuring we have a balance of power in Washington.

There are a few other important reasons why Bernie or bust is counterproductive, but let me address the elephant in the room.

I'm not a fan of Hillary Clinton. If you follow me on social media then you know that. She's all the things people say about her, dishonest, untrustworthy, entitled, only committed to the values of the party when it suits her, flip-flops, sold-out unions, dishonest, difficult to like and dishonest.

The problem is Donald Trump. The reality is that so many people hate Hillary that they are willing to forgo their values and good sense to vote for a racist, self-centered, greedy, and dangerous mo-fo like Trump.

Every vote that Hillary doesn't get, benefits Trump. If you don't understand that, then you just don't understand election math.

There are two types of Bernie supporters (mostly). The younger ones are millennials and hold no allegiance to the Democratic Party. They are liberal, but they would just as well be socialists as Democrats. Then there are the older really progressive liberals. Some of them are hippies, some are yuppies, and some are one issue voters (environmentalists, union people, social justice people). They don't all fall nice and neat into those two groups, but for the most part, thats how they roll.

The younger ones tend to be the Bernie or Bust people, although there are a fair amount of the older ones that are just sick and tired of the Party not being "left-enough". Admittedly, I'd fall into that category, if it weren't for Trump.

The older liberal progressives are probably a little more pragmatic and want to pull the Party back to our liberal roots. They will more easily vote for the nominee because they have been around since before McGovern and understand that you have to win an general election.

Look Bernie or Busters, I get it. You want very much to stick to your guns and the thought of voting for Hillary turns your stomach.

It turns mine too.

But you have to look at the bigger picture here. We have to stop Trump at any costs. The man is a danger to this country. No patriot would ever want that idiot to have his finger on the bomb.

So don't look at it like your voting for Hillary (even though you must), look at it as your blocking Trump from winning. Sadly, its like being a Cowboy fan. Not in the playoffs, but at the end of the year you're just trying to salvage a little dignity in being a spoiler.

Any vote that goes to anyone but Hillary at this point helps Trump. You aren't sending a message if you don't make a sizable dent in anything and Green Party candidates and Libertarians NEVER make a dent. No one every remembers them. They never accomplish anything. They become the Ralph Nader of history. Smart guy that is ultimately right, but ineffective because he can't get elected.

I know you won't like hearing this and right now you are losing your shit over reading this, but Bernie or Bust is ultimately counter-productive. Especially if enough of them stay home and don't vote or blow their vote on the Green Party or worse, the Libertarian.

Trump doesn't have enough support in his own party to win. He is depending on bringing out other people and like it or not, you're contributing to that guy if you take away votes for Hillary.

So here is how its going to go down. I'm very, very, very reluctantly going to vote for Hillary. Liker Bernie Sanders himself. Hopefully she wins.

She will be a disaster and be a one-term president and the Republicans will get their collective shit together in 4 years and take back the White House.

But its the next 4 years that are the most critical because of one other really important urgency...the Supreme Court.

For the first time in a couple of generations its actually possible to have a majority of liberals on the Supreme Court, which would make this country a lot better place to live.

The stakes are really high in this election. Do you want Trump shaping the future of the Supreme Court, or do you want a Democrat doing so, even if it is Hillary?

As they say at the end of every episode of Epic Rap Battle of History, YOU DECIDE!

SIDEBAR: I know its been awhile since I've written anything and as a result, my bitches in the blogosphere haven't written much either. But hey, since I wrote something, they can all now get back to blogging. You're welcome El Paso.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day - A Personal Post

(NOTE: This is a repost of a blog I wrote a few years go for Father's Day)

Whifff, snap!

Whenever I hear those sounds I think of my dad. Its the sound of playing catch with him when I was a kid. My dad lived for baseball the way I do for boxing. And he was damn good too.

He'd always threw the ball too hard for me. I was terrified. The whiifff sound was the noise the ball made as it cut through the air on its way towards my head. Snap was the sound when it hit my glove, usually followed by some grunt of pain from under my breath.

I hated playing catch with my dad when I was little. But I learned from it. I learned that life wasn't ever going to take it easy on you and that if you didn't learn how to catch life's problems, even if it hurts a little bit, its better than letting it hit you right between the eyes.

Whiff, snap!

As I got older, I learned even more. I learned that once you catch that ball, turn around and fire back as hard as you can. I can still remember the first time I did that too. I was 11 and playing little league. I finally stopped being afraid of the balls my dad threw and starting getting mad. My dad could see it on my face. He saw my eyes water with anger. He even asked me, "Are you getting mad son?"

"Yes!" I screamed.

Now I was embarrassed because it was in front of the rest of the team.

"Then do something about it Rag Arm". That was my nickname during baseball season because I couldn't throw as well as my kid brother.

Whiff, snap!

I think he threw it even harder that time. I reared back and let it loose, straight at my dad's face. I wanted to catch him right between the eyes.

I didn't.

He caught it like it was a routine catch. Lesson: When somebody gives it to you, give it back and aim for the head.

After we were done my dad walked up to me, pulled my cap down over my eyes and said, "'Bout time Rag Arm". He had a million nicknames for me. Actually for everyone. None of the siblings in my family are called by their real name on a regular basis except me. Pedro is Pete, Margarita is Maga, Relles is Ray Boy, Pablo is Paulie, Eleanor is Lala, and Helen is Pima.

Now I don't know if my dad was actually trying to teach me something that day or not, but I learned a lot.

He loved baseball so much that when we were kids my dad would take us out of school to go catch opening day of spring training every year. At that time it was the only professional baseball in Arizona. He had a beer and peanuts. We shared a soda and a big red licorice rope.

Whiff, snap!

Our political conversations were very much the same. It was a lot like playing catch. Only the older I got, the better I got at catching and firing back. My dad was the best prep for talk radio ever. He made me defend any position I took starting at a young age. Eventually I became better at it than he was.

Whiff, snap!

But I could never throw harder.

I miss my dad, like many of you that no longer have yours. And if you know me personally, then you know I really looked up to my dad. We all tend to idealize people once they're gone and I guess I am the victim of a little hero worship of my pop. But if you are going to hero worship, why not let it be someone who shaped your life?

Whiff, snap!

My earliest memory of my father was when my Tata Remigio died. Remigio is my middle name and it might as well have been my first name because we were so close. Closer than I was to my father at the time.

My dad was the one who broke the news to me about his passing. I remember it was the first time someone tried to explain the concept of death to me. I started crying when they lowered the casket in the ground. My dad nudged me and whispered in my ear, "Abeytia's don't cry."

That became something my dad said to his children and grandchildren regularly. It became a saying in the family, usually when one of the kids fell down, scraped a knee, or was throwing a fit about something.

Whiff, snap!

Fast-forward to September 13, 1994 at Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I was a 19 year old soldier at the time and a newly wed. I had married my first wife, Sandra Abeytia in February. She had complications in her pregnancy and they had to take the baby out early to try to save her.

We were hundreds of miles away from home and family. My dad was the first family member from either side of the family to show up when she first entered the hospital from Fort Sill a couple weeks before. We'd take turns sitting by bedsides, either my wife's or our baby girls. I named her Sandra after her mother. She was born on August 29th, and after a couple of weeks fighting for her life, my wife died.

My dad had gone back to Arizona during that time and my mother had come and gone as well. It was a lot of time off of work for them to take off and it turned out that none of my family was there with me when she passed away. I drove home alone to Arizona to bury my wife.

I was 19 and suddenly a widower and single dad. My parents and family nursed me through that time. I tried to hold back the tears, I guess out of some stupid idea of what it meant to be strong. But I broke lose when my dad put his hand on my shoulder and told me it was okay to cry.

Its still a bad habit I have. I still try to hold things in because "Abeytia's don't cry".

Whiff, snap!

A few years later, my Nana passed away. She was my dad's mother-in-law. My father cried. I put my arms around him and told him, "Abeytia's don't cry."

We laughed.

I made a lot of bad decisions in my life and my dad was always there. Either to scold me, tell me I told ya so, or to just listen. Sometimes to get drunk with and listen to sad oldies or mariachi songs. And sometimes, to just play catch.

Whiff, snap!

My dad had health scares since he was in his 30's and had a quadruple by-pass. Every couple of years there after, my dad was in the hospital for this or for that. After a while, you harden up to health scares. Eventually we had strange conversations like, "Hey, dad's in the hospital again."

"Is it serious?"

"Nah, just another heart attack."

But toward the end of his life, the hospital stays and brushes with death become more and more regular. I took advantage of what my dad once called "over-time". The last visit I had with my pop was the Thanksgiving before he passed. I sat and talked with him for hours about every beef I ever had with him. From throwing the ball too hard, to mistreating my mother, to hitting us too often and too hard when we were little.

My dad apologized for every wrong he'd ever done and I apologized for everything I had ever done. I hugged him and we cried. And I told him, "Stop dad, Abeytia's don't cry."

He said, "then stop being a pussy and quit your crying."

We both laughed.

The rest of the time I spent with him then was spent just listening to and documenting stories of his activist days. I recorded them and I listen to them every Father's Day and his birthday.

Dad died the following February. Before he died I got a phone call from my tia telling me that it was time to come home because my dad only had a few hours left. Pop hung around for 13 days. Everyone got a chance to say their good-byes to him.

Dad was a die-hard Dodger fan. At some point later in the day when my dad died, someone noticed what the day was. It was the day that pitchers and catchers reported for spring training. It all made sense.

Whifff, snap!

He asked me to give his eulogy. Up until recently, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I literally bit back the tears as I eulogized my father. I kept hearing my dad's voice in my head saying "Abeytia's don't cry".

Whiff, snap!

Dad loved his grandchildren more than anything. The stern disciplinarian with a short temper and a long belt was quickly replaced by a gentle Tata with an abundance of patience and affection for the second generation.
Again, I learned from my father. I learned the importance of making every day count. Of celebrating every little accomplishment and achievement and I am truly blessed on this Father's Day to have the best kids a dad could ask for.

I often wonder if every father looks at their kids the same way I do. I wonder if every other dad thinks their kids are the most beautiful, handsome, intelligent, kind-hearted, and talented kids God ever put on this planet. I guess we can't all be right about that, but luckily I am.

I can't be with my kiddos this Father's Day and those of you that are my friends know I'm going through some tough times right now. I wish I could be with them. I wish I had them with me.

And I wish I had one more day with my dad. I could use his consejos right now.

Most of all, I could use one more good game of catch.

Whiff, snap!

I love and miss you dearly Dad.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Letter to Delegates from Matthew Leahy

I apologize for the lateness of my decision to run for this position, especially to our new County Chair, in week i have tremendous faith and confidence in and I am not running because I have any issue with her or her ability to help guide our state's selection of great DNC members. She's the first person I told that I would run and she didn't even offer to discourage me and I appreciate that. I simply believe that, since she already has a great way to influence and lead our party in the right direction, we can afford to grant someone else this opportunity to stand for principles like the following and support those DNC at-large candidates that do as well.

1. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, no matter her intentions, has not led the DNC forward and should be replaced at the earliest moment when a transition won't harm our chances of winning in November.

2. The DNC should create a special speakers bureau to help local parties raise money. Imagine how much more successful our annual spaghetti dinner would be with an exciting special guest that had his or her expenses paid for at no cost to our County Party. 

3. Hillary being the presumptive nominee should mean that her supporters are in the driver's seat at the national level. But let's remember that the Sanders crew, especially the young ones hould have a hand on the wheel as they learn the ropes. While we put the pedal to the metal towards a demolition derby with Trump in November. So let's reform our primaries to better educate and include a young, progressive movement while finding ways to place interested upcoming young campaign staffers in places we might not normally expect to find Democrats to begin planting BLUEbonnet seeds across Texas and other states.

To conclude, thought this isn't about resum├Ęs, I have had the privileged experience of leading several winning campaigns, most recently as Justice-elect Palafox's right hand in an area that's spans 17 West Texas counties, and I will vet candidates based on their knowledge of the issues challenging our progress in Texas and willingness to try new methods that can help move the party forward. Please support me if you support these ideas or ones like them that can make our party live up to its inclusive, democratic and progressive ideals.

SDEC Race Takes Center Stage at Dem Convention

Since Bernie Sanders lost I really didn't see a need for me to attend the convention, but once I remembered the SDEC races were going in, I immediately regretted it. For those of you there, this is a post for you.

The Party's wanna be power couple Othon Medina and Dr Anna Perez are both running for SDEC. 

You should vote against both of them and I'll tell you why.

Both of them are Tea-janos and are more concerned with what they believe is a little bit of power with titles rather than actually doing anything for the Party. And frankly for far too long the Party has been run by people who essentially just show up to club meetings but don't do anything else. I don't recall the last Party leader other than Mike Apodaca, that actually did campaign work for the Party.

I don't even think Medina and Perez can even login to VAN and I don't ever recall seeing them knock on a door or pick up a phone and engage a voter. Sure they go to Teajano meetings, but that's because it's their little county club clika.

Speaking of Apodaca, it was Othon Medina who was behind trying to oust the only guy in the Party that works and he had Perez do his dirty work at a CEC meeting.

So let's start with Perez. She and her gentleman friend Medina have been torturing everyone in the Party with endless rambling emails about their personal lives in an effort to get votes from the delegates. 

No one gives a shit.

But I almost fell out of my chair when I read this email from Perez:

Respect, responsibility and responsiveness? Is that a joke?

They respect anyone who agrees with them and no one else. And frankly she damn sure doesn't respect rules. 

I personally witnessed her trying to subvert the rules at the county convention. And she was treasurer of the Tea-Janos Andover almost lost track of how many reporting rules they've broken.

Her opponent is Lyda Ness-Garcia. Lyda is smart and though. More importantly, she's the only one talking about the VALUES of the Democratic Party and fighting for them. That is the kind of leadership we need, not someone looking to exclude as many people as possible. And Lyda has actually campaigned. She's done FAR more for the Party than Perez.

Let's move on to Medina.

Seriously, it would blow my mind of this guy won. He fights with EVERYBODY! 

While I'm at it, let me remind you all that at the last convention he had to be removed from the stage.

For the first time ever the Texas Democratic Party had a brown chairman. Instead of supporting him, Medina was openly critical of him to anyone that would listen to him. Hell even if you didn't want to listen to him, you still had to put up with his shit.

He's way too abrasive to represent our community. 

His letters are especially funny because he highlights the fact that he's in his 80's and usually out of the country. To me, he sounds too busy to takenthenjib seriously. 

I actually took the time to read all of his emails. He tries really hard to sound like he's "one of us" but it's really hard to talk about a humble upbringing when you rub in the fact that you're wealthy and own a yacht.

His opponent is Antonio Williams. Another young, smart, and capable candidate. Antonio is one of the few of us young Obama kids that are still around and active in the Party 8 years later. He's an immigration lawyer. The vato lives the Party values. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Straight-Shooter" Indeed

Shame on me for not noticing this sooner, but its funny and I can't let it go without comment.

If you recall, Tom Buchino is a candidate for sheriff and I posted his cheesy internet video where he fires off a few rounds from his pistol to demonstrate how he's a "straight shooter".

Doesn't actually show if he is a straight shooter or not, but I guess that is beside the point.

So lets talk about being a straight shooter shall we?

I've seen a few of his signs around town and if you see a white pick-up with the logo all over it, that is the EPSOA Union Boss Sgt Horstman. Looks good on his truck to be honest.

But if you look at his logo:

What do you notice?

Well its not what is there. Its what is NOT there.

Mr. Straight Shooter forgets to mention his party affiliation. Buchino is a Republican but he doesn't include it on his signs.

Frankly, its pretty smart. In a general election in which Donald Trump is going to ensure that there is an increase in turnout because Latinos hate the guy, it makes sense to not mention you're a Republican.

I mean voters are going to see it on the ballot when they vote, so he's still screwed, but his strategy makes sense. Except that you can't HIDE your party affiliation and call yourself a straight shooter at the same time.

Its disingenuous.

Next we will talk about something on his website that caught my eye.

Its gonna be even harder for Buchino to hide from the GOP label when he uses campaign rhetoric similar to Donald Trump. Here's a screenshot from his website.

The anti-political correctness was all fine and dandy during the primary when the Republicans were doing their ritual of trying to out-stupid and out-bigot each other, but its a whole other ball game in the general.

Especially in Blue El Paso.

Everyone reading "I believe political correctness must take a back seat to the protection of our citizens" will know that is Republican dog-whistle for an anti-immigrant stance.

I guess it makes sense now why the Samaniego's are endorsing him.

Yeah, I said it...Y Que?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Congratulations Are in Order for Reps Acosta & Noe

City Rep Emma Acosta and the City of El Paso are finalists for the prestigious Golden Padlock Award, a national award given by Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc. That is a non-profit entity dedicated to the improvement of investigative reporting.

They give an annual award called the Golden Padlock Award celebrating "the most secretive government agency or individual in the United States".

Turns out the City of El Paso and Rep Acosta made the final cut and the winner will be announced June 18th. 

Who knows, maybe Acosta will bring home the hardware for the City of El Paso. But Rep Noe and his Cold War era redaction of open records should get a modest share of that award. 

Follow this link to not only check up on who else she's up against, ( a little refresher of why she and the City of El Paso are nominated. They also mention the debacle of public information requested and (not) released to the El Paso Times. 

Don't worry, if by some strange reason she doesn't win, I'll go to Home Depot and pick up the biggest pad lock I can find, spray paint it gold, and present it to Acosta during a council meeting. I wouldn't want her to go unrecognized. 

"Most secretive agency or individual in the United States" will look great on a plaque, (or mail piece) don't you think?

EPSOA's Mistake Even More Clear

Tom Buchino is quickly becoming a caricature of a sheriff candidate in Texas.

Cowboy hat, check.
Tight blue jeans, check.
Boots, check.
Saying you're a "straight-shooter", check.

And now, to complete the picture, shooting a firearm during his commercial.

Seriously, he did that. Just watch.

My favorite part of the spot isn't just the overly-exaggerated tactical engagement, is the fact that he doesn't show whether or not he even hit the target.

I'm assuming because he's a green beret, he hit it. But I guess we just have to take his word for it that he's a "straight-shooter".

But is he in fact a straight-shooter?

I ask because one thing that isn't mentioned in his commercial is that he's essentially devoid of any real law-enforcement experience. Tactical experience is one thing, but law enforcement is different.

And he apparently doesn't have any.

Being a sheriff for "all of El Paso County" means understanding you are not in a tactical environment. This community is not a war zone. This is a community in which development of trust between the Sheriff's Office and the community has been a big part of keeping this community safe.

Interestingly, and perhaps because Buchino is used to the almost endless resources available to the military, he has been critical of the fact that Wiles has said his loyalty lies with the tax-payers of El Paso County.

I'm not sure how that was supposed to be a bad thing, but its funny to hear a Republican that is endorsed by a union be critical of a Democrat that is looking out for the tax payer. Here's the reality that very few in law enforcement will admit to.

We spend a shit-ton of money on law enforcement. In fact, its infuriating for tax payers to have to pay for the same service repeatedly and essentially the time that its acceptable. If you live in the city of El Paso, as most of you reading this do, I'm about to really piss you off. But here's the truth, you pay for your security repeatedly. You pay for federal security forces (Customs and Border Patrol, DEA, FBI, and the military), you pay for municipal police, you pay for school district police, you pay for community college police, you pay for constables, and you pay for the sheriff. You get one service, law enforcement, but you have to pay a lot of people for it.

Imagine if you had to do the same thing with water or electricity? You get one gallon coming out of your tap, or one hour of power coming out of your socket, but you have to pay several entities for one service? Would that make any sense to you?

No. So its a good thing that the Sheriff wants to keep the tax payer in mind.

I don't for one second believe that the endorsement of a Republican was unanimous amongst the membership. But for the sake of argument, let's say it was.

What does that say about the collective political wisdom of the Union?

Obviously there are some legit issues to deal with in terms of fulfilling the contract they have. A contract should be honored, there's no two ways about it.

The proper way to deal with some of these issues, like making some of the jobs civilian jobs, is to address it in the next contract negotiation instead of making the changes now. That is what the union is rightfully upset about.

But okay this moving to the end already have one of, if not the, best contracts in the state. A paperwork job being down by a uniform isn't cost-efficient. The jailers take too much time processing inmates in and out of that place, and truth be told, it costs taxpayers precious resources when they do that. 

You think you're now in a position to get a better contract now? You think endorsing a Republican is the way to get a better contract? 

Good luck with that.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trying in Vain to Make Margo Viable

It's no surprise that Ali Razavi is taking shots at Ted Houghton, who may or may not run for mayor, because as we all know, Ali is Forma's bitch.

He does what he's instructed to by Forma in order to try to create a narrative. The purpose is to try to damage Houghton as much as they can because they are likely to be the consultants for Dee Margo's bid for mayor.

And Ali has been doing Forma's bidding to try to prop up Margo for years. You see when he wasn't stabbing his own boss in the back to spread bad shit about her to media WHILE HE WAS WORKING FOR HER, he was doing Forma's bidding online going back to the second Margo-Moody campaign.

Maybe he was upset that Chavez had him play taxi driver, or walk HD while the mutt pooped on the capitol lawn and clean up after the dog, or because she made him fetch her food from lobbyists and Dr Peppers. Who knows.

What is most interesting is the idea that Dee Margo is a viable candidate for mayor to begin with.

Sure, its a non-partisan race. But what people apparently misunderstand, most especially Libertarians and Republicans, is that El Paso is a town of Democratic values. As much as folks might like to think otherwise, El Pasoans aren't stupid and don't just vote Democratic because their ancestors did. You're insulting the electorate you're hoping will support you when you say stupid shit like that. The reality is, El Pasoans prefer Democratic Party values. There's no way around that.

Yes, in general the electorate of municipal races tends to be more conservative than other elections, but they are still very much in the minority. How in the world does Forma plan to overcome the fact that Dee Margo is known as the main Republican bad guy in town?

It would take a level of re-branding that is unheard of to try to make that guy viable. Obviously there is too much unknown right now to even calculate how to make the rebranding happen. First of all, because their job would be a whole lot easier to rebrand Margo if he was in a field of old white guys. But that isn't likely.

Plus, the negatives against Margo are a lay-up. Way too easy to highlight and remind voters about.

Now personally I don't recall ever having met Ted Houghton, so I honestly can't say what I think about the guy. I only know what he's done. El Paso has a lot more infrastructure now and Houghton is a big reason why. Hell I don't even know if Houghton is a Republican, but if he is, he's not synonymous with the word like Margo is to El Pasoans.

Maybe Ali is upset because Houghton didn't tip him when Chavez had him play taxi for him, or maybe he is upset because Houghton ignored him like everyone else in Austin did, but whatever it is it seems directed by Forma.

But Forma's biggest problem is that Margo is El Paso's answer to Donald Trump. And it will take a really long time to redefine someone who even shares the same first name as Trump.

Yes, Donald is his real first name.

Gotta love the irony.