Thursday, April 28, 2016

D2 Debate Analysis

Well for whatever reason, the 40+ minute segment of the District 2 debate held by the Progressive Democrats of El Paso is taking forever for me to upload to YouTube. I started loading that thing this morning and it still says it has 391 minutes today. Must be my connection.

In the meantime, here is some analysis of the debate.

I'll cut right to the chase, anyone who watched the debate knows that Jim Tolbert and Cemelli de Aztlán were head and shoulders above the rest of the candidates in terms of preparedness.

The big takeaway from the debate was how little most of the candidates for the office know about the job. Many of them had no clue about questions relating to issues before the city council now. Embarrassingly so.

So the quick rundown on the other candidates is that David Nevarez is a nice guy, but doesn't have the requisite knowledge of council or the job. You'd think he would because he's on a committee that he says he "founded". Not sure he can really say he "founded" the committee but he is at least a founding member.

But he doesn't know the first thing about the budget situation at city hall. Which was shocking. Neither did Dolores Baca. She's a very sweet lady and I think her heart is in the right place but she isn't prepared for the office. Gordon Thatcher is probably the most-ready of the second tier candidates but he seems geared to take on making cuts at the city but I don't think he understands the intricacies of city government. He mentioned praying a lot, but when I asked litmus questions like legalization of marijuana and continuing of domestic partner benefits, he said yes to both.

But he's never run before and he along with another candidate said he wasn't taking any campaign contributions. Which means they have no clue how to run a campaign and that is why they are second tier candidates.

So Tolbert V De Aztlán:

Lets start with CDA and her strengths. She's smart and presents well. She knows when to turn on the passion to drive home a point. Her presentation style and overall package as a candidate is something that could inspire voters. She's young, progressive and educated. She scored well when talking about connecting communities. She is extremely disciplined about staying on message.

Her weakness is substance and temperament. When you watch the video you'll see she's the only one that went up with a bunch of notes and props. Maybe that is because she's used to giving presentations and that is a comfort zone thing, but she comes off as very "scripted". That was the word used by some folks that attended the debate that I spoke with after.

That is her campaign team's issue. Being scripted is not the same thing as being prepared. And that was evident once you peeled back the layers of the soaring rhetoric. CDA had a strategy of sticking to a sweet spot of community advocacy and every chance she got, she was very disciplined about doing so, she would bring every question back to that message.

The problem is that it exposed a very big weakness - CDA doesn't do well when she's taken off script. And whats worse about it, her demeanor becomes pretty defensive when that is done. You'll see what I mean in the video, but there were times when asked a question, CDA would go off on soaring rhetoric that almost always included the word "community" and was punctuated by some cause or organization she was involved with. Again, very disciplined, but when cornered to answer a question or be specific, she either had no answers or because defensive.

Her team should have spent less time scripting her and more time preparing her.

The soaring rhetoric that lacked content reminded me of Hector H. Lopez's mayoral bid.

I could've framed the question about her lack of a voting record in a different way, but I read the questions as it was framed from a card submitted by an audience member which was framed in a more friendly way and it allowed her to say that she was apologetic about her lack of a voting record and then use voteria as a floatation device to escape the Titanic.

I can't help but wonder if the first time she was confronted about her voting record, rather lack thereof, would've been at the debate and not in a blog how she would've reacted.

But her team had time to script an answer. But frankly, as I mentioned, there isn't enough bullshit in all of Clint to really deal with the fact that she hasn't voted much.

She mentioned voteria - a program she is spearheading that attempts to increase voter participation - but I think that actually underscores just how bad her lack of a voting record really is. There is a big credibility deficit with the electorate when you are asking them to vote for you but you really haven't been an active participant in the voting process.

Here's a screenshot of her voting history. As you can see, not much to speak of.

But there is an even more interesting aspect of her voting history that one needs to consider. In her response to the lack of voting history, particularly never having voted in a single municipal election, CDA cited her work with voteria for the last year and a half.

Admirable work, but in that year and a half that she was doing voteria and not voting, she missed the following elections:

The Gubernatorial Elections
The EPISD Tax Ratification Election
Constitutional Amendments Election

And drum roll please....

The Fire Fighter Proposition Election

All elections matter and are important. But the fact that she's a parent with school-aged children, especially in light of the issues EPISD has been facing that appear to have targeted poor, Latino students, in the area she wants to represent, is pretty inexcusable.

But Joe Tellez needs to talk to his PAC board and ask them some serious questions. This is yet another screw up by a union.

In her closing remarks, Cemelli essentially used the time to list all the organizations and people that have endorsed her. One of them was the Fire Fighters.

It makes no sense to me that a union would endorse someone who we know with absolute certainty didn't vote in favor of their ballot item.

Big, big, big boo-boo.

CDA and I spoke after the debate and I asked her why her voting history is so bad and she mentioned being "turned-away" twice, but I'm not sure you can actually prove that. Although she later said she was turned away because she just simply didn't register to vote on time.

Another candidate was actually removed form the ballot earlier this year for that problem. So not being eligible to vote because you failed to register to vote on time isn't the same as being "turned-away". That answer is a little disingenuous.

She also indicate that she didn't vote because she was in Boston for school. Which spurred my follow up question of why didn't she vote absentee. She said she didn't know she could.

You're advocating for greater voter participation for a year and a half and you don't know registration deadlines or that you can vote absentee?

Tolbert on the other hand showed a depth of knowledge in his answers at the debate. He was clearly the candidate most-ready to step into the job. He has been getting some heat for an answer he gave about a livable wage at another forum, so I asked him about that and he was on record as stating he supports a $15/hr minimum wage and he alluded to the fact that he supported a presidential candidate that was pushing for the new figure.

Where other candidates danced around questions they didn't know the answer to, Tolbert gave straight common-sense answers that were concise and clear. No soaring rhetoric, no fluff, just answers to the questions.

Tolbert was "Mr. Nice Guy" most of the debate. It wasn't until his closing remarks that he showed a little teeth and went after his opponent, actually pointing at CDA and talking about having no municipal election voting history and CDA only living in the district for 1 year.

CDA clarified with me after the debate that she has actually lived in the district longer than a year, in fact several years, but many of those were when she was a minor.

Other than the fact that Dora Oaxaca attended the debate and ate food but didn't buy a food ticket, the only other real notable thing about the city council debate was CDA channeling her inner Jeb Bush. She kept asking the audience to clap for her.

Thats all for now, the video now says it has 334 minutes to go...

Dora Ate But Didn't Buy a Plate

At the Progressive Democrats of El Paso debate I was a little surprised to see Dora Oaxaca show up. 

But it's possible that she's working with a campaign. She obviously does a lot of campaign work. 

The event was also a fundraiser for the organization and plates of food were being sold for $10.

Keeping it classy in that special way that only Dora knows how to, she ate a plate of food without purchasing a ticket.

Which is weird considering she is paid by multiple members of council. 

Oh well, I'll take care of the meal, I wouldn't want none of the workers to get in trouble as a result. The mujer Obrera ladies work really hard, Theybshouldnt be shorted.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Big Debate Tonight

Probably the most meaningful debate for the District 2 candidates will be taking place tonight at Cafe Mayan at 6:00pm.

The candidates for the 8th Court of Appeals, Tax Assessor Collector, and District Attorney will also be participating.

The debate is being sponsored by the Progressive Democrats of El Paso and will feature a panel made up of local journalists.

Since early voting has already started, this may be the last big chance to see all the D2 candidates debate one another.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Well, At Least David K is Predictable

You'll have to pardon David K, he has this nasty habit of talking out of both sides of his mouth. 

First the Times endorsement doesn't matter because Tolbert had it and lost last time, but when you confront him about all the people who have won with the endorsement he changes the subject.

Yesterday he says I act like the world revolves around me, but he can't stop writing about me. 

Actually, look over the last year and you'll see he reacts to what I write regularly. 

But I digress. 

I was all set to write about how Ali Razavi's friends at Forma have no candidates in the run-off and they have no candidates in the D2 race either. Pretty surprising for the city's supposed elite political consulting firm.

But then all of a sudden I hear David L has now reversed himself within 24 hours and now thinks I'm running CDA's campaign.

I haven't seen a complete reversal from someone that fast since Rep Noe changed his tune from calling the street fiasco "corruption" to defending Romero. 

What David K doesn't tell you is the stake he has in local city politics, even though he pretends he doesn't have one.

I mean, you didn't think a guy who doesn't live here anymore writes about El Paso because he loves this town so much did you?

There's a reason he tries to push the narrative that everything is all hunky-dory with the city manager, everyone is going to get sued for saying anything bad about him, and that everyone really loves Tommy Gonzalez.

Word around the water cooler is that Gonzalez has been wanting to clean house in the City's Engineering Department. 

Obviously someone would really love to see that happen considering they have a contracting firm. 

It's the big elephant in the room. Maybe he should spend less time accusing me of meddling in the election considering only one of us really has motive and opportunity...

Mark my words, no matter what happens, David K is going to defend Tommy Gonzalez.

So for the record David K, not that facts matter to you, but I'm not involved in either campaign. In fact both campaigns are probably laughing at you right now.

I'll tell you this though, David K's right about one thing - CDA's voting record, if what he says is accurate, is a big problem for her. 

It'll interesting to see what kind of bullshit Ernesto Bustillos comes up with to explain it away. (Here's a secret Ernesto, there isn't enough bullshit in all of Clint.)

Truth is I haven't really poked around on any of the candidates in the race. Either of the top candidates would be a big improvement on Romero.

So what difference does it make which one wins?

So I Stopped By The Plazita...

I didn't want to go to the grand opening of the plazita because I didn't want to fall for the city's propaganda machine. I wanted to make up my own mind about the project.

So I waited until a workday, in the late afternoon after lunch time, at a time I expected to get an idea of what its like when it would most likely be deserted. 

Let's start with the obvious - the plazita is a hell of a lot cooler and nicer than it used to be. 

The Good:

The plazita is a meeting place again. Couples, families, people on their lunch breaks, tourists, and regular Paseños are all using the plazita again. In fact, I was surprised at how many people were there and how many went in and out.

The cafe is a cool addition. I saw someone complaining about the pricing but frankly its not really too expensive. Its probably on the lower-end in pricing when you compare it to other downtown eating options. 

Los Lagartos. I struggled with putting this in here for a few minutes. When you think about it, it was really shitty that we had animals in the plazita to begin with and we abused them. We meaning El Pasoans back then. People threw stuff at them and mistreated them. Frankly it was pretty shameful. But we aren't the only city to have done a knucklehead thing like that. The statue doesn't celebrate our stupidity and abuse of the animals. The statue is a great icon of El Paso - and give credit where it is due - kudos to Norma Chavez for leading the effort to save it.

This is the part were Miguel Juarez starts bitching about not getting credit for it. 

Any who, I like that there are more trees in the plazita now too. The canopy is nice and of course the chess tables, ping-pong tables, and horse shoe areas are cool. 

The Bad:

Who's bright idea was it to make it so much concrete. Jesus that sun reflects like crazy and makes it hot!

There is more green space...allegedly, but not really. Why? Because they have these damn electrical boxes everywhere. There isn't green space in the park that DOESN'T have these boxes. Whats the over-under before someone bites it on one of those? I'm guessing the first casualties will be a kid or the elderly. 

The name of the cafe is Rent-A-Chef. Seriously, you couldn't think of something better than that?

The fountain part looks cool, but you expect the water to do something. It doesn't. It just sits there. Nice breeding ground for the Zika Virus thought. Well done Rep Niland, put stagnant water in the middle of a gathering point for people. I'm sure that is going to work out great. 

The Obvious:

While the plazita is certainly a vast improvement over what it was, there are two truths about it.

#1 - Doesn't seem to be worth all the money that was spent on it. Its not like there were building a lot of structures there or anything. 

#2 - It damn sure wasn't worth the time it took to get done. This isn't a case of the city taking time to make sure the job was done right, this was just a poorly managed project. 


It cost too much and took too long. Like a bad fixer-upper. But, its a great addition to the downtown area. People genuinely like it, despite the hater-aide you hear from some people online. It will be a point of pride for people and is yet another cool addition to the downtown area. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

D2: Who is & Isn't With a Campaign These Days

This is a quick blurb that was inspired by a conversation I had with someone last night about District 2 and since early voting begins today, I thought it would be appropriate.

First in a campaign bombshell, Daniel Lopez (he's still fuming about coming in dead last in the District 1 race) has apparently left the campaign of David Nevarez.

Lopez as pretty tight with Nevarez and would follow him around and take pictures of him at city council meetings. Not sure what exactly the falling out was between them, but Lopez posted this social media update a while back:

I know right?! Major development!

Just kidding.

No one cares.

I just posted it because its pretty noteworthy when the only vocal supporter Nevarez had was a guy who came in last in another part of town, and now he has "resigned from the David Nevarez campaign".

First of all, I can't figure out which one of the two is the one who lost out here.

I mean on the one hand, Nevarez lost his biggest supporter. On the other hand, it was David Lopez.

Seriously, the guy got less votes than Manny Hinojosa and has been a card-carrying member of the crazies ever since his loss.

I don't think I've seen something that dark and bitter since the last time I drank a cup of coffee at the chow hall at Fort Bliss.

Not sure he lost an asset to the campaign.

But then again, he was his only real vocal supporter.

So that covers who is no longer with a campaign, lets talk about who is with a campaign in the D2 race.

Tolbert has Susie Byrd and Chris Hernandez. You all know Susie, but Chris is the field guy that ran Josh Dagda's campaign against Cortney Niland. So that is basically Jim Tolbert's team.

Susie Byrd (L) - Chris Hernandez (R)

Cemelli de Aztlán has Ernesto Bustillos and .... Josh Dagda. She has someone who is the campaign manager, but the campaign manager has never run, nor won a race.

Ernesto Bustillos (L) - Josh Dagda (R)

Actually, Josh Dagda hasn't either. Ernesto has been part of one winning team and has helped a few other campaigns out and is currently consulting for Siria Rocha's campaign as well.

I make this point because there has been some confusion about fundraising in this race. Jim Tolbert has a big lead in fundraising, but the reports make it look like no one else really raised or spent any money.

CDA has Dagda and Bustillos and Bustillos indicates they are not going to get paid but will be "in-kinding" their services to CDA. So I guess they are working for free.

But it still has to be reported. Sometimes candidates don't report stuff until the last report in order to hide all the resources they really have, which is funny because most candidates try to overstate what they have in the early parts of the campaign. I think legally though, they have to report the services as in-kind that were provided during the filing period.

Moot point for the first election though considering early voting has already started. Could be interesting when Tolbert and CDA are in a run-off.

Another Tantrum From David K

David K - who I’m rather enjoying having an absolute fit over anything I post on my blog or my social media - has shat himself again.

This time its because of who the El Paso Times endorsed for city council in District 2. Much like many of you, I figured it would’ve been Jim Tolbert. 

Let me stop for a minute and bring you all up to speed. David K is all in for Jim Tolbert. I don’t think even he would deny that. He’s a big Tolbert fan and he will likely add to the other City Reps that DK communicates with and then denies he communicates with them. 

Like I said, I’m as shocked as the rest of you that CDA got the endorsement. The cesspool that is the comment section is even funnier because its basically a bunch of white people who hide behind a screen name to talk crap about Mexicans - and now CDA.

Making this a race thing doesn’t help Tolbert. But DK doesn’t care, he’s just in the middle of another one of his famous tantrums. 

I’ll repeat what I said the other day - either candidate would make a great city rep for district 2. Both are smart and would do a great job. Not according to David K though. 

But let me clear up something David K is trying to feed you people that is compete bullshit - despite what he tells you, the Times’ endorsement matters.

I’m not sure on what planet he believes that the daily English-language publication isn’t a factor but it shows how disconnected with this town he’s become. First, who still reads newspapers?

Old people. The print version anyway.

Who votes at a higher rate?

Old people.

Who are more likely to be homeowners and therefore more dialed in to issues that affect taxes?

Old people. 

David K confuses what the purpose of the endorsement is with whether or not the candidate wins. 

Their job is to pick who they feel is the best candidate for the job, not the one they think is most likely to win. In an ideal world, the best candidate gets the endorsement and the win. But not always. 

There’s been times were I thought the editorial board got one wrong and I’ve mentioned it.

But I’ve never been dumb enough to say the Times’ endorsement doesn’t matter, because it absolutely does. 


Because of the fact that old people read it and old people are more likely to vote. If you don’t know that, then you’ve never knocked on a turf of likely voters. 

The truth is that the Times’ endorsement of Cemelli De Aztlán gives her legitimacy in groups that  either didn’t know her before or weren’t sure they were comfortable with her or not. 

Obviously any idea that there would be a candidate that emerges from this race without a run-off should be completely dead now. 

Its anyone’s race at this point and CDA is still severely hampered by her campaign team, but Stevie Wonder can see that she now has momentum. 

But how is she going to accomplish getting people to go BACK to the polls after this election, the run-off election fro the other races, and then their run-off. Her campaign team doesn’t have an answer that doesn’t sound like some hair-brained social media push. 

Tolbert is far from done and he still has the advantages of money, name ID, and the better field program but not getting this endorsement was a big blow. 

Also, if you haven’t read David K’s post about the endorsement there is something you should know. He believes ever single one those conspiracy theories he wrote about, otherwise he wouldn’t write them. He just wants to distance himself from his own crazy, which I guess only makes sense to him. 

One last thing, speaking of conspiracy theories…what is the over-under of how soon David K starts calling either Tolbert or CDA an “Ordazian”? I'm guessing if CDA wins it will be right away. If its Tolbert, I'm gonna guess he will wait until the first vote Tolbert takes that DK doesn't like. 

But more than likely, probably in about 3…2..1.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Socorro City Council Meeting Tonight

The investigation of embattled Socorro City Rep Sergio Cox by the City of Socorro has not been completed and will not be on the agenda tonight but its still likely that the issue will be raised and fireworks will go off.

Word around the Socorro Whataburger - basically the city hall annex of Socorro - is that some are expecting Cox to formally resign tonight.

Its not clear that a resignation on the part of Cox would have an impact on the ongoing investigation. Cox is being investigated for the method in which some roads in Socorro were paved. Cox has a financial interest in property on the corner of an intersection that was paved with public funds.

Here are two interviews I did with Mayor Ruiz and Councilman Gandara after the special city council meeting in which the city decided to go forward with an investigation into the matter.

The meeting will be at Socorro City Hall Chambers at 6pm this evening.

Elections & Run-Off Elections

The run-off election for the DA race, the Tax Assessor No One Gives a Shit Collector, and the 8th Court of Appeals election will be interesting for several reasons but one of them is because of the fact that there is a city election right before it.

I'll get to that in a minute.

The DA race and the Tax Assessor Collector race are interesting because they essentially feature incumbents in run-off elections against younger female challengers. As I have mentioned previously, incumbents in a run-off is generally a political death sentence. But inactivity on the part of their opponents, or at least not using the full run-off time effectively, has probably given the incumbents more of an opportunity than they probably otherwise would have had.

I couldn't find a single incumbent who was pulled into a run-off that actually won. If there is one, it damn sure isn't recent. But it looks like its not out of the realm of possibility if, and only if, the incumbents really push hard and make the right choices. The odds are against them, but if they make the right moves there is a path to victory for both of them.

Ruben Gonzalez deserves an honorable mention here. The fact that there was a run-off at all was pretty surprising. Two male opponents with the exact same name, on a down-ballot race for an office no one gives a shit about.

And not only did he make a run-off, but he is going into the run-off with the most votes. Run-off elections are about turn-out and you have to give the advantage to Ruben Gonzalez because of his campaign manager Mike Apodaca. Brilliant field performance. The expression in sports that "defense wins championships" could be converted in politics to "field wins elections" and Apodaca put together a good field strategy.

His signs however, suck. Seriously if there were an award for the Worst Quality Signs in the History of Anything Mike should win that one. El Paso spring weather is hard on campaign signs. Harder on them when you pick chaffa material. Come on Apodaca!

So then there's the D2 race, which was sandwiched between the primary and run-off elections. So in May, there will be two early voting periods and two election days for two different elections. Anyone doing field work in that area is going to confuse the crap out of voters. Its going to hurt turnout, but more so for the D2 candidates who will already be dealing with a small electorate.

And since there is going to be a run-off, and that will happen after the primary run-off, there will be an increase in voter confusion and a decrease in voter participation. So the person that goes into office for D2 isn't exactly going to go in with a mandate.

And finally - the race for 8th Court of Appeals. Its the most important election, but frankly the two candidates don't appear to be doing anything. If you've ever had kids you've probably had to deal with them being really noisy and annoying at some point. So you play the "Quiet Game" in order to get them to shut up for a while.

I think Ramirez and Palafox have their horns locked in the most epic round of the Quiet Game in the history of the game.

Seriously, one of you act like you want to win! That race is more boring than C-SPAN 2 or listening to jazz.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

D2: The Run-off Candidates

There are only two campaigns with a legit field program in the D2 race to replace Larry Romero. As a result, they are the two that will make it to the run-off.

Today is 4/20 so I don't blame you if you think any one of the candidates can win the city election without a run-off, because you'd have to be higher than Snoop Dogg on stage if you think there won't be a run-off.

The run-off is going to be between Jim Tolbert and Cemelli de Aztlan in case you haven't figured that out yet.

Sorry Nevarez, but Paredes put your business out there about the domestic violence stuff and no amount of explaining is going to help you get over that major hurdle. Remember, Peter Svarzbein is a city rep because another potential candidate, potential front-runner, had to drop out because of that issue.

Aside from that, your campaign manager is the guy who came in DEAD LAST in that race. He even got less votes than Manny Hinojosa. So Nevarez was doomed from the get-go. Nice guy, but just not a legit city rep candidate.

The other people running are people no one knows and with an election that has early voting starting any day now, there just isn't enough time to get people to know, let alone remember you.

So the race comes down to the two candidates that have name ID and a little bit of campaign cash. Both have their positives and both have their negatives.

Lets lay them out:

Jim Tolbert is a nice guy. Very well qualified and been the active voice for city and environmental issues in the area for many years. Voters turned him away once, but he's got a much higher profile now these days and he's positioned himself as the anti-Larry.

He's got a lot of advantages obviously and that is why he's the front-runner. He's had more of a dedication toward field work than the other candidates. That is a big advantage. He has more money, that is a big advantage. He has Susie Byrd running his campaign, that is a big advantage.

The vato has backbone and you have to admire that.

His one weakness is pretty glaring. Its why he lost last time and there is nothing he can do to fix it.

Jim Tolbert is white.

Yeah, I know, so is Susie. But Susie went to Austin. That area is key in that district and she had a great base of support there. That makes all the difference. Jim, not so much.

Expect Jim to go into the run-off with the most votes. But if he doesn't, he's toast.

Cemelli de Aztlan is more of a threat to win in this race than many of you might think. She's extremely intelligent and has an amazing personal story. She's been a community advocate for many years, though her issues weren't primarily about city-based stuff. But she is brilliant and articulate. Much better speaker than Tolbert.

Here's video of her speaking recently and frankly, she's impressive.

She's young, progressive, Latina, and bilingual. The big question is can she get the money necessary to win. She even has a pretty big endorsement from Carmen Rodriguez.

CDA has street cred in addition to a great background in academics and activism.

Her biggest drawback, which is something that is a strength for Tolbert, is her team. It hangs like a boat-anchor around her neck. They basically have never won an election and her message guy just screwed up royally on another campaign he's working on. But as a practical matter, she doesn't appear to have anyone around her who will help her avoid doing stuff like this:

Yes that is her.

Someone around her should've stopped her from doing the whole lucha libre mask thing. Being "en la lucha" is what she is known for, but wearing a mascara undercuts her credibility because there are large chunks of the electorate that don't know who she is. You don't really want to make that introduction wearing a mask. Unless she can get Jim to wear a cape and stretchy pants.

She went to Harvard for Pete's sake.

Truth be told, I'm pretty biased in this one. I like CDA's politics. She's consistently been a community advocate. Yes, the same can be said for Tolbert, but the causes I care more about are ones CDA has also been involved in. Farmworker rights, equality, fair wages, anti-wage theft, immigration reform, etc are all issues I know she's been involved with and I've seen her work.

Not taking anything away from Tolbert. He's a smart policy-oriented guy and I think he's one of the few people in town that was no problem telling the money guys were to stick it.

The reality is that unlike recent history, D2 has a chance to pick between a couple of really great candidates and either one would make a great city representative.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Personal Payback Politics

What happened today at city council is an example of why city government is dysfunctional. And keep score on this one because there will be a time to hold people accountable and this is one the electorate should pay attention to.

City Rep Michiel Noe removed a routine re-appointment to the city planning commission for what is essentially a little political payback. Although truth be told, he should be thanking the guy he just stabbed in the back today because he's the reason he still sits in his chair.

I'll get to that in a minute.

He started off by saying something along the lines of not to get political here which is a lot like when a white guy says I'm not a racists but... you just know something racist is going to follow. So you just knew Noe was about to get political.

But the bottom line here is that what went down in city hall today was the re-emergence of Gandara politics, this time at the city of El Paso. And people wonder why the city is dysfunctional?

Reps Noe, Acosta, and Niland all went on an attack against arguably the most qualified member of the CPC and it all comes down to one thing - political payback. That member is Jose Landeros.

And what, or whom, is the common denominator?

Dora Oaxaca.

Which is interesting that you don't hear of a bunch of personal problems and a confrontational culture at the county anymore, but you damn sure do now that Oaxaca is at the city.

But hell, maybe that is all just a coincidence.

Dora Oaxaca has worked for all three city reps. I even did an open records request asking for payment records to her but the city was unresponsive to my request. So its more than a little disingenuous of City Rep Acosta to be talking about disclosing payments made to a CPC member.

Pot, meet kettle.

Actually, while I'm at it, let me make a couple of other introductions.

City Rep Acosta, supported by City Rep Noe, appointed her own staffer's long-time partner/fiancee/significant other, to the very same board.

Noe one batted an eye. Rep Noe didn't complain. Rep Niland didn't complain. Barbara Carrasco didn't complain.

Dora's long-time whatever they are is a friend of mine I've known for years. His name is Jay Desai.

Jay is working on a degree, but like me, doesn't have one yet. Jay doesn't have any government experience either. Both Reps Acosta and Noe made point of how important of a committee the CPC is, yet the most remarkable thing about their comments today were what they weren't about.

Jose Landeros' qualifications. In fact, they all spoke about how intelligent Landeros is.

Landeros has a degree in Political Science from Texas A&M University. He has a Master's Degree in Public Administration with in Management & Development Planning from UT Arlington.

He was formerly the Program Coordinator for Community Scholars.

He is a policy advisor for County Commissioner Vince Perez. He is the Vice Chairman of the TPAC on the MPO.

He previously served as a Commissioner on the City Planning Commission as well. In short, he's more than qualified.

But did you hear a single peep from Reps Noe, Acosta, or Niland today about his qualifications?

No, you didn't. Essentially what they did was tell the constituents of El Paso that they aren't interested in having the most qualified members of our community making important decisions. They want people they can have influence over.

Like the significant other of their collective staffer. Who has worked on political campaigns like Norma Chavez, Marisa Marquez, and Dora Oaxaca.

And you know that that is?

Gandara politics at its best.

Dora Oaxaca was the staffer for convicted drug dealer Willie Gandara who once said "Dora Oaxaca is not my friend, she's my family."

And you wanna know who she helped put in office after she put Willie into office?

Thats right, Representative Michiel Noe.

So let me back up here since we are keeping score.

City Reps Noe and Acosta take issue with a member of the CPC that has run political campaigns but both just recently voted for a member of the CPC that has run political campaigns. The only difference is the one they voted for is the significant other of their staffer.

The one they voted against was the campaign manager of the man that ousted Dora Oaxaca.

Yeah, that is the REAL angle of all of this here. Dora is still pissed that she was beaten. She has wanted to be an elected official for a very long time. It was the culmination of all the political operations that she has been a part of over the years. She felt she was next in line to have the County Commissioner's seat.

And Landeros and Perez are are the reason she was rejected by voters. She's never gotten over that. She never will either. That is why it was her former candidate, Dr. Noe, that was the one who pulled the item off of the consent agenda.

And City Rep Cortney Niland has put herself in a spot because now people are going to scrutinize her appointments to committees. She appointed David Nevarez, now a city rep candidate for district 2, to a committee. He has a domestic violence rap he had to do community service for, but she fired her former staffer Jeremy Jordan for just getting arrested for domestic violence, not even a conviction.

Pot, meet kettle.

Obviously there is more to it for the reps as well. City Reps Noe and Acosta have a personal beef with Rep Ordaz. They were, and are, the biggest supporters of City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and of his raise of $61,000. They were, and are, the biggest supporters of City Rep Larry Romero.

Rep Ordaz has raised concerns about Gonzalez's performance and about Romero's pay.

So they have a track record of going after people who they consider close to Ordaz as part of their political ploys. Remember Acosta targeting me recently?

They are also upset about issues Ordaz raised with the MPO. Noe, Niland, and Acosta were members of the MPO. The city was screwing up to the tune of $60 million of your tax payer dollars. But in the typical City of El Paso stance, it wasn't their fault. No, it was the fault of the big, bad County of El Paso.

Noe, Acosta, and Niland are part of the no-accountability regime on council that wants to bury their head in the sand about REAL problems that existed at the city as it related to the MPO. And how dare the young Mexican girl from the valley have the nerve to raise concerns about an issue that was disproportionately affecting valley tax payers.

So those reps were pissed because they had egg on their face. So of course there has been an ax to grind against Ordaz.

Oaxaca has never gotten over losing to Vince Perez. Y para hechar la sal, Noe picked the guy who orchestrated her election downfall to run his campaign instead of using her again.

In one CPC vote they all had a chance at political payback and they took it.

As a community we should be offended that they chose Gandara-style politics over selecting the best and brightest to serve on committees.