Friday, December 19, 2014

City Hall Christmas Party

In the never-ended drama headquarters of west Texas that is El Paso City Council, there was an interesting incident recently.

Sources at city hall indicate that there was a holiday party that was supposed to be for city staff and it was hosted by City Reps Limon and Robinson. Limon likes to through a lot of parties from what I'm told.

Anywho, the staff from the other city rep offices weren't invited to the exclusive little shin dig. Having been a staffer, thats a pretty big violation of staffer code. Typically staff have an unwritten rule that while you are always expected to remain loyal to the boss, you still have to get along with the other staff.

So having a party for all city staff but not inviting your colleagues' staff is not only a ZAS to the colleagues, but it creates bad blood with staff. That is NEVER a good thing for an elected that has to work with other electeds.

Funny part is, from what I hear from city hall peeps, Robinson and Limon allegedly has the huevos to not invite their colleagues' staff (or the colleagues for that matter), but also asked the city reps for $100 each to help pay for the party.

$800 Christmas Party? Dayum, thats a hell of a party...

If my math is correct, that's about 8 times as much as the value of last year's Eddie Holguin Shaver lights display.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

City Council Races

I'll make this quick.

It's pretty quiet out there in terms of city council candidates. If a serious contender plans on making a move against any of the incumbent city reps, they had better make the move pretty quickly. It takes longer to defeat them. It also takes more money.

I haven't heard about a single opponent for any of the three incumbents (Reps Niland, Noe, and Ordaz), much less serious contenders. Based on previous performances it's not likely any of them will actually get any serious opposition either.

Sure, an ankle-biter or two may make a bid, but no one credible. With Niland someone would have to come up with a lot of cash to take her on. Good luck with that, fundraising was her profession. Ordaz has money left over from the special election and made a statement with her win. She has been very non-controversial and has a campaign team that are as close to unbeatable as you can get. Dr. Noe is the only one that is remotely close to being classified as vulnerable. And even then, he has little to fear from "the swimming community".

District 1 will likely be the Wild West because it's the open seat. But even then, I'm not hearing anyone really credible joining Svarzbein in the race. Not yet anyway and it's getting late.

Tic toc, tic toc.

More on Marquez

I wanted to clarify a couple points about my piece yesterday having to do with what happens when the senator eventually leaves his seat.

First, the main point of what I wrote was the fact that Marquez is the most likely to run, but least likely to win. Not sure how any of you interpreted what I said any differently, but that was my point.

Do I think she's qualified? Yes, certainly. More so than one or two other members of the delegation to be sure.

The other thing I wanted to underscore is that she's tougher than most people give her credit for. I have two reasons for thinking this.

#1 - she's terrible at relationship management which surprisingly doesn't appear to have hurt her in Austin yet, but has at home. She can't keep political allies and constantly has to keep looking for another port in the storm. That has to suck. Especially as she looks towards playing the long game in politics. I mean she's really put herself on an island.

#2 - she had to deal with a real asshole a while back. Some jerk in cyberspace was harassing her, making fun of her, and made a threat against her. Eventually law enforcement was involved and well, when you threaten a public official you have to know that law enforcement takes that stuff seriously. That guy learned that you're never really totally anonymous on the Internet. He was eventually found out.

And faceless assholes that harass, make fun of, and threaten someone anonymously online are cowards and total Dicks. No one likes a total Dick.

Funny thing...that same guy didn't learn his lesson and did the same thing to me. I figured out who he was and confronted him. Funny how the people that do that are all pretty brave until you figure out who they are.

Then they aren't so brave anymore.

Marquez has had to deal with that and I admire her for being strong and not being intimidated by that kind of stuff. In fact, I'd love to see her come up with some legislation to protect people from those faceless anonymous Dicks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

So What Happens When Senator Rodriguez Moves On?

So that buzz around town is that Senator Rodriguez may be on his last ride in Austin. Whether or not that is actually true remains to be seen but it will no doubt create another shuffling of the deck.

Who wants the job most? Probably State Representative Marisa Marquez. The Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) will likely make it rain on her should she make the bid for the seat.

If she runs, it will leave her seat open. I'm sure a myriad of candidates will line up for that job. I'm not convinced that she's the only member of the delegation what will take a stab at the seat either.

Rookie mistake.

Here's the thing about state representatives. As much as they hate to hear it, they have less influence with the electorate than a member of city council. Thats not an exaggeration either.

Think about it, state reps run every two years and since the session only meets once every two years, they are really only relevant once every two years.

Members of city council, or commissioners court for that matter, are relevant every week. Thats why state reps are always so hungry for media attention, because they don't get it often.

Another disadvantage a state rep has for pursuing a Senate seat is the fact that they run in districts. The Senate seat is actually slightly larger than countywide. Someone who is a known commodity to voters countywide has a much better shot at winning the race than say Marquez.

Here's what I mean, people who have run citywide or county wide already understand how much more difficult it is, and more expensive, to run a race on a larger scale. So someone like Marquez would certainly have a lot of money, but there are other leaders in town that could and would raise big money on their own.

To say nothing of the fact that the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA) isn't going to just sit around and let their Republican adversaries (TLR) gift wrap a race for Marquez.

And lets be real, Marquez has gotten by because she always (very smartly I might add) takes on weak opponents.

The reality is the TTLA is probably going to find a female candidate, one who probably already has the ability to raise a ton of local money, something Marquez doesn't really do, dump a lot of money on the candidate, and make sure its a candidate that can win in an area larger than a state rep district.

In that scenario it would be difficult to see how Marquez would be a viable candidate.

Especially if she runs into a candidate that can leverage a message better than her previous opponents have. She escaped the wrath of voters for supporting Dee Margo over Joe Moody in a district race, but in a very partisan countywide race, a Democratic primary would be even more difficult. Especially now that Margo is even less popular than before. Any candidate worth a damn is going to hang him around her neck like a boat anchor.

Plus, she's running out of teams to be on. Norma Chavez elected her but not before Marquez had pissed off so many members of her own campaign team that they ditched her on Election Day. Then she ditched Norma.

She ran to the progressive crowd, but well that doesn't look like its working out for her anymore. She really has put herself on an island. Just her one other elected official. Its getting lonely out there...

More on other prospects soon...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Okay, I know what you are thinking...

You're watching City Council right now (okay, let's be real, you aren't) and you see Rep Limon on the screen. 

The first thing you think is, hey what gives! She's not wearing lime today.

The next thing you think is, hey she looks like she's dealing poker on a riverboat casino.

I feel you, I thought the same thing.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Answering Maxi Pad's Blackmail

Okay so today is the black mail deadline. To bring you up to speed, Maxi Pad has apparently tried to use me in a weird bid to black mail the County Judge.

He apparently has emails that are supposed to be a big deal. Personally I think he's full of it. The reality is Maxi Pad just wants a public hand job.

But hey, I find the black mail bid entertaining. So I'll play along.

I'm supposed to say that Maxi Pad is not Rick Armendariz or anyone affiliated with Forma Group. 

So, "Max Powers is not Rick Armendariz or anyone else affiliated with Forma Group".

Now that I've done that, let's see what happens.

Your move Maxi Pad...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

UPDATE: Chairman Maya Health

I visited Chairman Maya today and since so many of you are asking how he's doing I thought I'd pass on a quic update.

His health is improving. The stroke affected his mobility but there was no cognitive impact. In other words it didn't affect his ability to continue as the Chairman of the El Paso Democratic Party.

We talked about the news and some other stuff.

He will be at the facility he is at right now for about a month and probably go home after that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Democracy Alive and Well in San Elizario

Last night the San Elizario city council ultimately did the right thing. After a controversial agenda item that would've made property owned by the mayor's parents the temporary city hall, the council voted to no longer consider the location.

The City of San Elizario is going to pursue securing a lease for property that was once a fire station but now belongs to the San Elizario Independent School District as its location for city hall.

Ultimately that makes more sense because they need a long-term plan for city hall. As it is now the current council has to make do. A lot of city business is conducted via cell phone and home visits. That simply won't work.

I went to the city council meeting and most of the council and many in the audience seemed offended that people showed up to the meeting that don't normally go to city council meetings. Council is going to have to grow thicker skin. That is the nature of politics and only a very small fraction of people actually show up to city council meetings. There's about 10 regulars at El Paso city council meetings. There's actually about the same in the city of Socorro even though it has a far smaller population.

The community needs to learn to accept that as well. When something is controversial the media is going to show up. Why?

Because its their job.

They weren't there for the other highlight agenda of the night, the menudo fundraiser. They were there for the controversial item. One prominent member of San Elizario chastised the media for showing up to the meeting stating that "you guys only show up to stir things up and never come around for something good." His wife in tern chastised him for saying that, which was cute in the way that couple who have been married for a long time bicker.

I told him, "well a plumber only shows up when there's a problem too."

The point is, you have to realize that the media will show up if something is controversial. The media showed up a lot when Socorro was trying to annex San Elizario and I don't know a single person in town that had a problem with the media showing up for that. They appreciated the benefit of having coverage from media. It gave them the leverage and momentum they needed.

And have no doubt, had they selected Maya's Garden as the spot for city hall, its would've been a problem. In any city in America, it would've been a controversy if a city leased property for city hall from the parents of the mayor. Look at all the controversy over city hall in El Paso. So don't kid yourselves, it would've looked pretty bad to the public.

Of course anyone in San Elizario knows that I personally used to refer to Maya's Garden as "city hall" back when we were working with the community to fight the annexation by Socorro and later during the incorporation effort.

But that was a joke because they weren't incorporated and it was the main community meeting spot.

Now that they are incorporated and there are public funds involved, its no longer fun and games. Its serious business.

To be clear, I don't think anyone had any malicious intent. I don't think there was a single person involved that was trying to pull some kind of tranza. It was primarily a function of the fact that San Elizario is a very small place and there aren't a lot of properties to choose from. Clint, just up the road on FM 1110 has city hall that is smaller than the barracks I was in during Basic Training.

There were about 30 adults present for the meeting, many of which were involved in the incorporation effort. Most present were in favor of the Maya's Garden site. There were a few present that were opposed to the location and they spoke during public comment as well.

Here's video from Paul Johnson, a prominent resident of San Elizario that was opposed to the Maya's Garden location.

The bottom line here is that San Elizario showed that democracy works. The issue was controversial but the process was open and transparent. After deliberation with the community the process worked.

Clint Board Member Hasn't Been Sworn-In

A source in Clint ISD indicates that one of the school board members that recently won a seat in the last election has not taken office yet.

The source indicates that Hilda James allegedly isn't taking office because of a policy relating to nepotism.

Apparently there is a policy in the Clint ISD that basically says that you can't be a board member if you have a relative (probably some level of consanguinity is defined in the policy) that works for the district. The source indicates that you can't take office if said relative has worked for the district for less than 6 months prior to taking office.

I'm doing more research to see the exact policy and to check to see if the policy says 6 months before the election or taking office.

But at any rate, my source indicates that Ms. James allegedly publicly indicated that she was going to wait until the 6 months is up before she takes the oath of office.

If true, then constituents are going to go without full representation in order to allegedly assist someone circumvent a policy relating to nepotism.

Obviously there are ethical issues if the sources information is accurate but there may be some other issues at play. Specifically in what way, if any, does the Texas Hold-Over clause apply to this situation.

More to come, this one may end up being a big deal...