Thursday, April 18, 2019

Carlos Sierra Digs Loweree's Hole Deeper

I haven't seen a story handled this poorly by a campaign staff since David Saucedo's campaign team asked for a time-out in the middle of an interview when it wasn't going well.

KVIA decided to follow-up on a story broken by the El Paso Times about Loweree's education and experience, or rather lack thereof in terms of what she stated to have on her bio on the EPISD website.

From a public relations and campaign perspective, this is an example of a very easy story to deal with and kill immediately. First, if the facts are on your side, be first. Be first to release the information. Had they actually had documentation of the degree, teaching certification, and work experience, they should've released it right away. That would've undermined the union and prevented them from framing her has dishonest.

If they had it and they didn't release it, then that is just simply a failure on the part of her campaign team. Frankly, unless Loweree for some reason didn't want it released (and I can see any reason why), its hard to see that as anything other than malpractice as a consultant.

But what if there was no degree, certification, and work history to support her claims on the bio? Is this way of dealing with the story appropriate under those circumstances?

Hell no.

If her campaign team found out it wasn't true, then they should've advised her to deal with the issue head on, end the questions and controversy, express remorse and contrition, minimize it and move on.

That is how you deal with a negative story. She would've taken a hit, but there was time to overcome it. How they are dealing with the issue now is the worst possible way to deal with it.

First lets be real here, if she actually had the degree, certification and experience, she wouldn't pass up the chance of making the union look like they don't know what they are talking about. That would strategically be very beneficial to her because they put so much money into her opponent and there's no logical reason she wouldn't take that route.

But having a controversy magnet like Carlos Sierra be the media contact for her campaign was a huge mistake to begin with. But if he was the one who came up with the idea to say that the degree, certification, and work experience exists - but she doesn't want to release it until after the election - was Hall of Fame stupid.

The best case scenario for Loweree is that she loses and no one will care anymore if she was lying or not because she won't be a school board member.

That is LITERALLY the best case scenario for her. Why? Because if she wins (which this story ironically makes it pretty clear that she's not going to) then there is ever MORE pressure for her to come through with the proof of the education, certification, and work history.

And if she doesn't, it would then be actionable.

The reality is that no matter how much money from God knows where that she dumps into the campaign, it is not going to help her win at this point.

I can't recall of a trustee that has a worse reputation among teachers in EPISD. Her statements made at the Westside Democrats hurt her even more. She made a comment that basically said that class size doesn't matter if you're a good teacher.

Now I know that because of Trump we are almost conditioned to look past the fact that an elected official is lying, but just because people are used to Trump lying a lot doesn't mean that they are going to be okay with an untruths allegedly coming from a school board trustee.

This answer makes her sound like Trump and his taxes. They apparently haven't learned their lesson that people don't like when you insult their intelligence, which is what that ridiculous answer was.

The unknown factor is if Tom Hicks, Sierra's other candidate in EPISD, will face any negative blowback from association with Sierra.

Click the video below to see the story that aired on KVIA and Sierra's answers to the questions from the reporter.

Teachers' union questions credentials of EPISD trustee

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Loweree's Mailer Features Vendor/Boxer

Controversial EPISD Trustee Mickey Loweree has raised eyebrows yet again in this campaign season. This time over a campaign mailer that features a vendor at EPISD.

The vendor is El Paso Boxer David Rodriguez. Rodriguez has a contract to provide anti-bullying course/training/services (not really sure what to call it) at EPISD. I can't recall ever seeing a vendor actually show up on a mailer before, although they periodically donate to candidates.

If you recall Loweree's predecessor was Dori Fenenbock and she rolled out the endorsement of Rodriguez in a pretty high-profile press event, only to have to walk it back shortly thereafter when Rodriguez' extremist policy stances - and overt support for Donald Trump came to light.

At the time he had posted several Facebook posts that were considered anti-immigrant and sexist. Well since then, his demeanor doesn't appear to have evolved much. Here are a couple of recent examples of posts that are anti-immigrant and anti LGBTQ.

These aren't old posts. One was from a couple of weeks ago and that anti-trans post was less than 24 hours ago.

Seems pretty antithetical to the whole, don't be a bully thing.

Admittedly I don't know much about the services provided by Rodriguez but the fact that he makes money off of a contract with EPISD and then ends up on a mailer endorsing a trustee candidate is what is getting the attention of people.

What is also getting their attention is the fact that Rodriguez is the vendor for that particular course/training/service. If you may recall he was involved in an altercation that resulting in him being stabbed in Scottsdale, Arizona. A news report indicated that he may have allegedly used a racial slur toward the African-Americans that were allegedly involved in the incident.

But somehow this guy:

is getting paid to teach kids about how not to be a bully by EPISD.

And if that doesn't crystalize the problems at EPISD, well I just don't know what does.

To be clear, bullying is a serious issue for kids in school these days. Many of us didn't grow up with social media and the pressures kids have to deal with on top of normal kid drama and just problems a lot of us never dealt with and we all have those people on FB who get on our last nerve.

In junior high I had a crush on a girl named Claudia Reyes. She hung around two other girls, Veronica Sustaita and Kiki Nuñez. Well one day while I was in PE class she and her friends were sitting on some benches and I finally dug up the courage to go try to talk to her. So mind you, this was the late 80's so our PE uniforms were really short shorty shorts and half shirts.

I know, I know. But dressing out was part of our grade and it was the 80's.

Anywho, I went to go talk to her and he friends walked off, which I thought was great. Well I'm talking to her for a couple of minutes and then all of a sudden Kiki, had come from behind and pantsed me.

Down to the freaking ankles. And I was, well there's no gentle way of putting it, a late bloomer. Even though I was only in the 7th grade. Obviously it was freaking humiliating. I'm glad that of all the kids that saw it, none of them were armed with a cellphone and Snapchat to catch the whole thing on and spread it around. I would be mortified.

So like I said, kids deal with stuff we never had to contend with and bullying is a big deal. Just not sure the guy that got stabbed and allegedly used a racial slur is the guy to be teaching the class is alls I'm sayin'.

Oh and the fact that he's a vendor that Loweree and the Super proudly show off and he's on a campaign mailer just smells like, well, classic EPISD.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hicks' Campaign Money & Saucedo's Douchedom

Tom Hicks, one of the Carlos Sierra candidates FINALLY filed his campaign finance report. I've written about how how Carlos Sierra candidates always seem to have issues with reporting campaign expenses.

Hicks was only about two weeks late!

Anywho, he filed his report. Nothing earth shattering on it, other than the guy talking about integrity and honesty decided that the rules didn't apply to him so he didn't have to file a campaign finance report in his mind.

But what is MORE interesting about the fact that he took so long to file a report was how former mayoral candidate David Saucedo decided to interject himself into the conversation.

As you can see from this picture that I affectionately refer to as the Legion of Douche (its missing two guys that should be in it), Saucedo is a big supporter of Hicks.

I recently wrote about the fact that Hicks hand't filed a campaign finance report. The fact that Hicks was the only candidate in EPISD that hadn't filed a campaign finance report is a big deal. Especially when you consider a couple things - 1) that EPISD has a tremendous deficit of trust with the community and 2) the fact that candidates who were not obligated to file a finance report, still did.

When people who spent NO MONEY - that don't have to file a report - do and you don't, it says a lot.

The thing that people like Carlos Sierra and David Saucedo don't understand is that there are campaign finance rules for a reason. The public corruption scandal started at the ISD's. That is why it was so important to get state legislation to require reporting of campaign finances.

In districts like EPISD, it is especially important for candidates to report their finances.

But because Saucedo is a supporter of Hicks, he had some interesting - and revealing - comments about my post regarding the fact that Hicks didn't file.

I'm posting the screenshots of the conversation on Twitter because if I didn't, you probably wouldn't believe the depths that Saucedo would stoop to.

Saucedo took issue with me writing last week that Hicks hadn't filed a campaign finance report. His issue was that I called out Hicks for not filing a finance report because Hicks (along with myself and Saucedo) is a Knight of Columbus. For those of you that don't know, Knights of Columbus is an order of Catholic Gentlemen.

I've been a Knight since I was a teenager. In that entire time I've never heard of any edict from the Knights that says you have to not file a campaign finance report.

Saucedo was upset that I called out Hicks. He used the fact that its Lent as some sort of extra reason I shouldn't have said anything. I'm not making that up. Look at his reply to my tweet.

Seriously, this guy was upset that I called him out because he was a Knight and its Lent. Funny how he didn't have a problem - at all - with Hicks not being transparent and filing the report...somehow that wasn't the sin. The sin was me writing about Hicks because he's a fellow Knight and its Lent.

Obviously I wasn't going to let that statement go unchallenged so I replied. It gets sooooo much more interesting...

I replied and pretty much said that it sounds like Saucedo is saying that as long as you purport to be religious that he's willing to look the other way on important matters.

Seriously, I've never been so happy that I called people to undervote in my life. He justified my undervote pretty fucking quickly.

Who knows the damage that would have been done? Who knows if there would've been search warrants and investigations?

The point is he very clearly indicates that he would've looked the other way on finance reporting for someone he's close with or fits his religious demeanor.

Now as you can see, when I called him out on his pendejada - he very clearly sticks to his story and tries a terrible attempt at pivoting.

Basically if he was mayor, he appears to be saying that as long as you are a Knight of Columbus or someone he likes, he's willing to look the other way. That tells you a lot about his character as a man, as a candidate, as a politico, as a leader (had anyone actually voted for him) and as a Catholic.

Especially in a community like El Paso that has had to deal with a range of issues like a public corruption scandal, this type of rhetoric is telling and worrisome.

Now the reason that Saucedo even responds to what I tweet or post, is because he's emotionally immature. Hell, if you go back and look at our interaction, its usually filled with him responding by emojis.

All the emotional maturity of a middle school kid.

That is the guy that wanted to be mayor of our town - and he just demonstrated how willing he is to overlook the rules.

Can you imagine what he'd do as your mayor?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Margo's Money & a Poll

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo put his campaign contributions on the agenda for the next meeting and turns out he did pretty nicely at his fundraiser. 

As you may recall, I wrote about the fundraiser last week. It was held the day they were holding the memorial services for a fallen deputy who was killed in the line of duty. You may also recall that I questioned why the contributions were reported on the last agenda. 

Anywho, he raised a pretty good chunk of money. The problem for Margo is that the money he raised just doesn't go very far. When Forma is your team, a big chunk of your money is eaten up in "consulting fees" and doesn't ever materialize in deliverables. So a hundred large is more like sixty. 

But the bigger problem for Margo is that he's going to need a lot more money than what he raised, or he's screwed. The reality is that former Mayor Oscar Leeser is going to win. 

I've made the mistake of underestimating Oscar Leeser and his name ID in the past. Margo is a Republican and the only Republican holding major elective office in El Paso County. The ONLY reason he won was because he was in a field of such terrible candidates. 

How bad? Remember David Saucedo on immigration? Can you imagine the shit show it would have been with Saucedo as mayor and Trump visiting El Paso? It would have been a desmadre!

But there is another - perhaps more important reason that Margo's money is going to be an issue. Word on the street was that a poll was run in the last couple of weeks. Any decent poll worth a damn would've sampled a large portion of the electorate. If you don't understand polling you have to sample x number of voters and get responses from a certain amount. The more you call and that actually answer and take the survey, the smaller the +/- number will be. 

Political circles are buzzing that Mayor Margo's numbers are in the tank. Somewhere around 16%. 


To get a decent poll, somewhere around 10,000 phone calls would've had to have been made. That means they wen't out to likely voters. That means a lot of you reading this probably got that call, so you probably know the approximate time frame this was done. 

Forma probably knows too. 

Hell, word on the street is that they ran a poll earlier and told him he was in trouble. 

But if 16% is even in the neighborhood of being accurate - Margo is in a LOT of trouble. And there really isn't enough money in the world that is going to help him out of a hole like that. 

Especially when you factor in the fact that Republicans are likely to not want to come out and support Margo after he did the right thing and stood up to Trump's lies about El Paso.

This is bad for Margo. 

Real bad. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Westside Dems Candidate Forum

Here is video from the Westside Dems candidate forum that was held on Wednesday. I'm posting the videos in the order the candidates appeared at the forum.

Apologies for the shaky video, I didn't have my tripod and I recorded them on my phone. No commentary, just presenting it as it happened.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Loweree Doubles Down on Experience, Ed Claims

Well, talk about a surprising development. Carlos Sierra's candidate Mickey Loweree had some peculiar answers to the El Paso Times' questions about her experience and education.

She was also at a candidate forum last night where she added another layer of intrigue to the questions surrounding her education.

The Westside Dems asked the candidates to send in a bio so that it could be printed and the attendees could read about the candidate before they spoke so that the candidates didn't have to waste time giving biographical information. I'm gonna assume that Trustee Loweree's bio was submitted before the news story came out about the allegations from the El Paso American Federation of Teachers regarding Loweree's education and experience hit the news.

Now keep up because Loweree's description of her education twists and turns quite a bit over time. So on her bio on the EPISD website it says that she has worked in EPISD as a teacher for 10 years and that she was UTEP grad.

In her campaign lit, that language changes a bit. UTEP grad changes to graduated from college in El Paso. That could mean anything from UTEP to EPCC to any of the for-profit degree mills in town. 10 years as a teacher in EPISD also changes to teaching for 10 years as a volunteer.

Well there is now another change. Now she says she has a Bachelor's in Kinesiology, and has started taking classes toward a Master's Degree in Kinesiology.

It should be easy enough to verify if she is a student in a Master's Degree Program.

But verifying her employment and education claims has been the problem. As you can see in the article in the El Paso Times, rather than clarify her education or experience by definitively stating when and where she was a teacher and when and where she earned her degree from, she instead states that she went to UTEP in 1994 and refused to give specifics about when or where she worked at as a teacher in EPISD stating that her lawyer told her she had to be careful about that.

This issue came about because union boss Ross Moore attempted to verify her claims about employment and education and was unable to verify the veracity of Loweree's claims. Now Moore has standing in this. He's the union boss that represents teachers.

He's defending the profession.

He is also calling for her to drop out of the race and resign as a trustee since none of what she has claimed as so far been able to be verified as true.

"These are not the first lies Ms. Loweree has told, nor do I believe they will be the last," Moore said in the Times article.

Well she can't drop out. That actually isn't possible. It would take a court order to have her removed from the ballot at this point.

Loweree's rationale for not turning over any information that would verify the claims she's made - of which the institutions were unable to verify as accurate, defies logic. Essentially her reason for not turning it over is that Moore isn't asking her nicely enough for it.

Again, from the article "He's (Moore) going about it in the wrong way of demanding, not even asking, for information...That's not the way we work. We work respectfully and if we can't, then you don't need anything."

What kind of bullshit response is that? So the Times asked for it. Why hasn't she given it up to them?

Loweree was actually asked a question last night by Dr. Kathleen Staudt last night that alluded to the article in yesterday's El Paso Times regarding her employment and education claims.

Loweree's campaign team, and I'll get to them in a minute, crafted an attempt to reframe the issue. Loweree is now alleging that she is being bullied. She's also said that she's a human being that needs to be treated with dignity.

She's not being bullied and the fact that she tries that middle school cop out to avoid being held accountable in the world of tax paying adults is an insult to kids who have to deal with actual bullying.

She's being held accountable for claims about her education and experience that cannot be verified. That isn't bullying.

And you have absolutely no standing to talk about bullying when your campaign manager is known for being this town's dirtiest player in the game. I mean come on, your campaign manager - the guy who probably came up with the idea to claim you're being bullied, is the same guy who sent an anonymous and unreported robocall about someone with a disability - and make fun of the disability in the robocall!

Seriously, you're the last person that should be crying wolf about bullying when he's your campaign manager!

And quite frankly, if she really wanted to stick it to the people that are critical of her, all she has to do is release the information and she ends all the talk.

She'd make a lot of people look really stupid and she'd get some positive free media attention.

Come on Carlos, do I have to do your job for you? Do you really suck that bad at this?

Well according to Carlos, no he doesn't.

In the same article, there is an part that talks about Loweree's opponent Daniel Call alleging that Loweree is violating campaign rules by filming on school grounds in a campaign video.

So Carlos Sierra sent an email to the El Paso Times with a statement from Loweree that says, "My campaign team is one of the best in the country and has the best equipment on the market, so the zoom effects of their camera are obviously really exceptional...Their camera and equipment was not on school grounds."

Yes, you read that correctly. Carlos Sierra sent an email from his client saying he was one of the best in the country. I laughed so hard reading that for a few reasons, one being - what kind of asshole writes an email on behalf of his client and them pats himself on the back in said email? and two - come on Carlos, if you were that good people wouldn't always have to disavow you.

Seriously that response was the most Carlos Sierra thing I've heard since his last unreported robocall.

But let me get to the massive pile of shit that answer about camera's and zoom effects is. Carlos Sierra's bullshit story about camera zoom presumes you're stupid. The violation of campaigning on school grounds has absolutely nothing to do with where the camera is located. If you shoot from across the street or on a sidewalk - but the candidate is still ON SCHOOL PROPERTY - it is a violation.

Camera zoom is just about how close they can get to the subject. They aren't using CGI to make it look like she was on campus...she WAS ON CAMPUS.

And its silly little lies like that, that are so BLATANTLY obvious that have undermined the public's trust in her leadership.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Speaking of Campaign Finance Reports...

Since we are on the topic of campaign finance reports and Republicans...Mayor Dee Margo had a campaign fundraiser recently.

I mentioned it last week because I thought it was tone deaf for him to have it on the night of the vigil of a fallen sheriff's deputy.

Well if memory serves, I think the city council requires donations of office holders above a certain amount to be reported at the next city council meeting.

Council just met the other day and well, I didn't see any finance reporting on their agenda.

So the questions that come to mind right away are - did he just drop the ball? If so, what are the penalties for doing so?

Or did he just not raise that much money and didn't want to report it?

It'll be interesting to see the answer...