Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Theresa Caballero Post

I almost fell out of my chair when I heard Theresa Caballero on the air during Chris Bailey's show.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
I have been working on a blog post about her showing up on the air with Hector H. Lopez the other day. She basically led him around by his nose for a couple of hours and he never challenged a single one of her allegations.

I'm going through the audio to make sure I get her many, many interesting quotes correctly as I write my opinion in the blog post. I will try to have it up later today or tonight.

Sit tight, its going to be very interesting considering what she said.

Until then, go over to David K's blog and read what he wrote today. He linked to a post back when Caballero liked him. She was very complimentary of him...we'll see if that piece stays up or is taken down.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Domestic Partnership Debate Last Week & City Council Meeting

Here is a little sample of the back and forth from the domestic partner benefits debate before city council. This video shows two people against equality, Pastors Tom & Sonia Brown, and two for equality, Yours Trunly and Lisa D.

Tuesday Morning BJ!

What better way to start your Tuesday with a nice long BJ.

Check out the newest column on The Border Journal!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Was it Something I Said?

Pastor Tom Brown has apparently decided to make his MySpace profile only viewable to people that are his MySpace friends.

I guess he's changed his mind.

I linked to his page so that everyone could see his words and his pattern of a particular set of beliefs over time.

Maybe he didn't want people to see what he had to say. But whatever the reason, it is pretty interesting. Some of us just believe in standing by our words and others....

El Paso City Charter Amendment for Equality

If you are interested in signing the petition to get a charter amendment on the ballot for equality, you have a chance to sign the petition tonight.

If you are on the Westside of town, you can stop by the Barnes and Nobel on Sunland Park. If you are on the Eastside you can stop by the Barnes and Nobel on Viscount. The time is from 6-9pm for both locations.

If you aren't registered to vote, there should be voter registration cards available as well.

The petition language reads as follows:

"It is unlawful for any person within the City of El Paso to be denied the use, exercise or enjoyment of any advantage, right, privilege, facility, service, employment, housing or accommodation, generally used, exercised, or enjoyed, on the basis of the person’s actual or perceived race, gender, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender identity, marital status, disability or sexual orientation."

For more information, check out their website.

Equality...its the American way!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Polls Show Obama Still Has Support

Ha ha, eat that GOP!

A new poll shows that Obama leads as choice for President against a generic Republican candidate and has a bigger gap of support when you given a choice between specific candidates.

With Republicans in control in the House, the President will now have a chance to finally play a little offense and his support will likely go up between now and the election.

Come on Palin! Run Palin run!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Anti-Gay Movement Spawns a Candidate

One of the people supportive of the ordinance that took away domestic partner benefits from eligible couples, retirees, and others is apparently making a run for city council.

Manny Hinojosa, who has addressed city council along with other members of the religious community during the debate over domestic partner benefits, has indicated that he will be running for city council.

Hinojosa has been talking about doing so for months now. In addition to the domestic partner benefits issue, Hinojosa says he's also been a watchdog for lower taxes from the city.

The political resume of Hinojosa is a little thin, but pretty much par for the course for city council candidates. Political careers often start off at the city level so its not surprising that Hinojosa doesn't have too much experience politically speaking. But Hinojosa does have an aspect of experience not usually seen by city rep candidates, he is a Precinct Chair in the Republican Party.

Hijonosa lives in the district currently represented by Ann Morgan Lily.  

Self Preservation at City Hall

The debate over domestic partner benefits in town has enlightened me about a few people. There are some people on that council that are more concerned with doing the popular and easy thing rather than the right thing.

They lack the political courage that others had that made it possible for those very people to hold the offices they now occupy.

Here's at least on example of what I mean about doing the easy and popular thing, all for the sake of self-preservation. Representative Quintana's amendment is nothing more than her attempt to have her cake and eat it too.

Essentially she, and the reps that will support the vote, want to be able to say that they “respect the will of the people” and at the same time say they fight for retirees.

This move is simply an attempt at self-preservation. Perhaps she wants to run for re-election, maybe she wants to be a county commissioner one day, who knows?

But I think at the very least, members of council should reflect on their actions. There are times when its more important to be right than popular. Its not easy and it takes courage but in the words of Martin Luther King, “...the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice...”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pastor Tom Brown's Words on attending "Hispanic School"

Pastor Tom Brown of the Word of Life Church in El Paso, Texas has some interesting things to say on his My Space page.

In his profile he gives us a little background about his upbringing. I think its very telling. Brown talks about being raised by his grandmother following the divorce of his parents. I'll give some of my thoughts on that particular scenario later, but what I found most interesting is when he says, "Then I went to Riverside High School for 2 years, and because it was difficult being white in an all Hispanic School, my sister and I transferred to Eastwood High."

First of all, Riverside is in fact predominantly Hispanic, but its not "all" Hispanic. Secondly, what does me mean when he says it was "difficult being white" while attending Riverside High School, particularly when he makes reference to the number of Hispanics in the same sentence?  Is he alleging that Hispanics are mean to white people? Is he alleging that he was discriminated against?

But wait, it gets more interesting. Pastor Brown then talks about meeting his future wife after high school. "After graduating from Eastwood, I met my future wife, Sonia Blanco." 

Brown proudly proclaims, "Yeah, 'Blanco' is Spanish for 'White'."

He ends the tale of meeting his future wife by saying. "So sometimes she says she just changed colors."

Draw your own conclusions about Pastor Brown's remarks. If you want to read the full profile you can find it here on My Space.

But getting back to what I said earlier about Pastor Brown's upbringing, I think its very insightful. While Lisa D was holding up her sign in City Hall today about Pastor Brown, an elderly woman who was sitting next to and chatting with his wife the entire time called Lisa a "hypocrite" when she saw the message on the sign.

That's an interesting choice of words when you put several things in context. First, the group in opposition to domestic partner benefits refer to themselves as Traditional Family Values. 

While Christ never mentions homosexuality in his teachings, he is pretty clear on what he thinks about divorce. In Mark 10:1-12 I found the following: "Pharisees came to him testing him, and asked him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
He answered, "What did Moses command you?"
They said, "Moses allowed a certificate of divorce to be written, and to divorce her."
But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart, he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife, and the two will become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter. He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her. If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery."

Brown says he was raised by his grandmother. Again, straight from Pastor Brown himself, "They divorced when I was only a year, so my grandparents took my sister, Cathy and me into their home. My grandmother was like a mother to me."

So what is a traditional family? It think that's an interesting question. One would assume that their definition of traditional family would be something taken from the Bible. If that's the case, an even greater paradox arises. At one point in the Bible, a traditional marriage and traditional family meant a man and multiple wives. 

Catholicism teaches us that Mary was ever-virgin and there are little if any references to Joseph after Jesus' presentation in the temple as a young boy. So did Mary spend most of her life as a single-mother? If that's the case, is polygamy and single-parent households consistent with Pastor Brown's definition of a traditional family?

Moreover, is his own upbringing, from a divorced set of parents and raised by a grandmother, something he would define as "traditional"?

Obviously most of us would believe that yes, he was raised by a family and many probably come from a similar background and find no fault with it at all.

That brings me to my last point. The ordinance that Pastor Brown and his group passed has taken away benefits from, among others, grandmothers raising their grandchildren.

Help me out here. Whats the word used to describe someone who writes an ordinance that takes away benefits from someone who is in a similar position in which he himself was raised? Hmmm, let me think....its on the tip of my tongue...oh yeah, I remember..."hypocrite"

Monday, December 13, 2010

Representative Marquez & Representative Riddle

Okay, once again, I have to give credit where credit is due, so now its Marquez’s turn.

For all of Representative Chavez’s faults, she was the one legislator that would stand up for Chicanos and Latinos in El Paso whenever there was an issue in which there needed to be the proverbial line drawn in the sand.

Case in point, the move by Board of Education to minimize or remove key historical figures. Chavez was at her best during this time and was able to coordinate a response very quickly. It’s not something she did for votes, but she did it because it was the right thing to do.

When Chavez lost, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be anyone around to fill that void of Chicano leadership.

I’m not saying the Marquez is ready to step in to that role, but I have to give her props for something she told me about the other day.

Representative Marquez said she personally called Representative Riddle to express her displeasure with the anti-immigrant bills she filed.

I admire that she did so and she should be recognized for it. Marquez told me that she told Riddle that “these are hateful bills”. When I asked what was Riddle’s response Marquez explained that Riddle became a little shaken.

Marquez didn't intend to shake her up, but wanted her to know that she wasn't happy about the proposed legislation and wanted her colleague to understand why.
Now I am even more proud of Marquez. I’m glad that she called her colleague out for filing those bills and yes, I’m glad she rattled her cage, even if it was unintentional. I know that’s shallow of me. If you don’t like that about me, too bad because a) I don’t care if it bothers you and b) you can stop reading my blog anytime you feel like it if you feel that strongly about it.

I’m only sorry I wasn’t there to get it on video!

And if you are wondering, yes I did call Riddle’s office to get comment on her lagrimas de cocodrilo. Her Austin office directed me to her field office and I left a message with her field office and have not heard back from her office as of the time of this post.

Marquez did tell me that Riddle said she respected the fact that Marquez personally called to express her displeasure rather than doing it through the media.

Well done Representative Marquez, well done.

Legislators Meet with Community Members & Organizations

Three members of El Paso legislative delegation met with community members and organizations on Saturday at Café Mayapan. The event was organized by El Paso Grassroots.

All members of the delegation were invited to attend, but only State Senator-elect Jose Rodriguez, State Rep Marissa Marquez, and State Re-elect Naomi Gonzalez were in attendance.

Representative-elect Margo had confirmed with Xavier Miranda, one of the event organizers, but his office called Miranda the morning of the event to say they had no record of the event in their calendar.

Representatives Pickett and Quintanilla did not return the call of the event organizers.

Despite the fact that there were several events set up for Saturday morning, the group listened to the community members and organizations about issues facing the community and legislative priorities for the respective groups.

The groups consisted of activists and organizations involved in immigration reform, protection of the Franklin Mountains, education, and healthcare.


I’ve been critical in the past of Rep-elect Gonzalez for not showing any stances on anything that remotely looked like an issue and for not attending events.

So if I’m going to lay down the much-deserved criticism of those two points, it’s also equally fair for me to point out the opposite.

I’m starting to see Gonzalez flesh out some positions on a few issues. She has also started to show up to events, even if it’s just for a few minutes. She usually shows up late and leaves early, but she is making progress.

On ABC 7 Extra, she sounded like a Democrat and I am encouraged by that. Luckily for her, the Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) probably won’t have to ask her to take any tough votes given the majority the Republicans have in the Texas House of Representatives.

I guess I’m coming to the realization that there was a perfectly good reason why Gonzalez didn’t run on substance or issues…she didn’t have to. She knew that all she had to do was give the community a viable alternative to Representative Norma Chavez and she would be elected.

I still don’t like the idea of running without substance or clear stance on issues, but I understand why her campaign was run the way it was run.

Lastly, let me explain why it’s important that legislators and elected officials attend events in the community. Visibility means a lot to constituents. It’s not an indication of someone’s work ethic, ability to lead, or intellect. It’s just an expression of how much the community means to them.

Showing up doesn’t mean you are really interested anymore than not showing up means you aren’t interested, but it means something to the constituents. They will get the perception that you are engaged and care about what’s important to them.

Kudos for Gonzalez for the progress she’s made. Hopefully there will be more to come.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Theresa Caballero Makes Claim Re: Charlotte’s Furniture Case, Can She Back it Up

Prominent El Paso Attorney Theresa Caballero called in to live talk radio the other day and made an interesting allegation. Near as I can tell, she attempted to tie Melissa O’Rourke, owner of Charlotte’s Furniture.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
In a nutshell, O’rourke’s business allegedly took a substantial amount of cash for payment of furniture and didn’t report it.

Early in the phone call Caballero said that Bob Jones was indicted for public corruption and was “..rolling all over everybody…”

She then continued by declaring with certainty that Bob Jones “..was rolling all over everybody and he implicated Charlottes, Melissa O’rourke…”

Here is the recording in its entirety.

What is even more fascinating is that Caballero called back later and was given the opportunity to substantiate her claims.

She didn’t because she admitted that she couldn’t.

If her allegations are true, then WOW! What an intriguing development!

But if they are not true, you’d think a lawyer would be more careful about making unfounded allegations on live radio.

Considering that her tag-team partner Stuart Leeds is suing David K for something far less, and considering how many times she called whining to management about what I say on the radio, you’d think she’d be more precise.

I don’t understand how someone who is so touchy about critiques leveled at her comes off making allegations without back-up?

But if she’s got the back-up…she should come forward with it!

Moody for Mayor? Maybe.

So I wrote about the rumored mayoral bid by Eliot Shapleigh the other day and I was bombarded with calls, emails, and text messages asking me about the possibility.

There's also been some talk around town that Joe Moody may decide to run for mayor. After hearing it now for a few days, I decided to call and get comment from Moody on the matter. So I asked him if he was considering a run for the mayorship and he replied:

"Since November 2nd, many people have reached out to me and asked me to consider running for various offices.

I appreciate their support and advice, but I have not even begun to consider when I will run again or what office I would seek. Right now, I am focused on continuing my legal career and staying involved with local groups that work on important issues for our community.

Regardless of my decision, I will always be involved in bettering El Paso in any way that I can."
If you are new to politics, Moody absolutely left the door open to the possibility of running for Mayor. People that aren't interested in something say so, but if they aren't interested in it right now but might be in the future, always leave the door open.
If he's thinking about it, he should announce early. He should announce before Shapleigh and it might keep Shapleigh out of the race. Even if it doesn't, announcing early would give him a pretty good advantage.
The next mayoral race is still far away and things are already getting interesting around here...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cacique of the Ysleta Del Sur Passed Away

The Cacique, or Chief, of the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo passed away last night. Santiago Bustamante, 89, was the Cacique since the 1990's.

He passed away late last night or early this morning at his home on the Tigua reservation. The Cacique had been struggling with several illnesses including cancer.

Bustamante became the Cacique in the 1990's and is a mix of traditional, ceremonial and spiritual roles. The Governor of the Tribe has legislative authority and the Cacique oversees traditions and ceremonies and is seen as the leader of the tribe.

The Cacique is non-hereditary position and is elected by the men of tribe. Unlike the Governor that serves for one year, the Cacique upon election serves for life. The male members of the tribe elect their leadership on New Year's Eve at the Tusla, which is a sacred site on Tigua land. Positions include Governor, Lt. Governor, Aguacil (Sheriff) and the Capitan de Guerra (War Captain).

Sources within the tribe indicate that they will likely select a new Cacique during the New Year's Eve election.

Bustamante's services will be a mix of Catholic and Tigua tradition. There will be a public ceremony and a tribal ceremony for tribal members only.

Funeral Arrangements:

Visitation is at Susnet Funeral Homes, 9521 North Loop Sunday December 12th, 2010. 3:00 PM-4:30 PM

Rosary will be held at the Old Mission starting at 7:00pm on Sunday.

The Funeral Mass is at Old Mission on Monday, December 13th at 10am. Internment will be at Mt. Carmel in the Tigua Section.

Tigua Ceremonial Rites will be held at an undisclosed location and time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mayor Shapleigh

Senator Eliot Shapleigh, according to the Whisper’s Column in the El Paso Inc is passing the hat around Austin for a bid to run for Mayor of El Paso.

To all of you who told me that Shapleigh was going to quietly go off in to the sunset; I told you he wasn’t going to leave the political scene!

If he ends up being right about the Bowie High School thing, we will never hear the end of it.

But when you think about it, is there anyone in El Paso that is poised to beat him? Think about it.

Go ahead, take your time.

I couldn’t think of anyone either.

Be prepared for heavy doses of Shapleigh speaking Spanish to anyone who will listen. But his rise to the mayorship would really bother a lot of powerful conservatives in town, but they would be powerless to prevent it.

Their only hope is to put their money behind one of the other Democrats in the city that would take on Shapleigh. I know, it’s a non-partisan race, but the only other candidates that would be considered people that could take Shapleigh on, would have to come from the Democratic party.

But that’s the problem. Who is there out there that could defeat Shapleigh? Quite frankly, I can’t think of anyone. Turnout for city elections is always low and voters in this town tend to support the name they know.

There are several names that periodically pop up for a possible mayoral bid in the next election, two of which are Democrats with a widely known name, City Rep Eddie Holguin and City Rep Emma Acosta. Joe Muench, who doesn’t leave his ivory tower over at the El Paso Times long enough to know that City Rep Steve Ortega isn’t interested in being mayor, has thrown around Ortega’s name for mayor and for congress. Ortega won’t run for congress, probably couldn’t win for congress (yet), and won’t run against Shapleigh for mayor.

Holguin and Acosta won’t run against each other. Holguin is least likely to win for mayor at this time. He does one thing that really ticks a few people off, he tries to stand-up to the Westside. While a noble act, it simply doesn’t win him votes and he doesn’t seem to be positioned to win a citywide election. Being known as the Dr No on city council is not going to get the job done.

Acosta doesn’t have the machine in place yet or the citywide recognition yet to be a contender against someone with as high of a profile as Eliot Shapleigh.

The real question is what will city council be like by the time Shapleigh becomes mayor? Beto O’rourke says he’s not running for re-election. Who knows who will end up in that seat and what the long-term impact that will be on the dynamic of city council. City Rep Susie Byrd is termed out and her absence from council could have raise the same question.

The question for me is what will Shapleigh’s platform be if he indeed runs for Mayor? I know, you’re thinking that the current majority on council will be even more progressive with Shapleigh at the helm, but if you recall, there is at least one issue in which the mayor and Team Shapleigh disagree on…legalization.

I also wonder what the leadership dynamic will be like. The current majority on city council is perceived to be followers of Shapleigh but they have differed on policy before. We have a weak mayor system and he won’t even get a vote on issues unless it’s a tie.

But when he does identify a platform there aren’t too many people I can think of that could hold their own in a debate against him.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

FBI Informant Story in El Paso Times

Ramon Bracamontes has an interesting story in today's edition of the El Paso Times regarding an informant in the FBI public corruption case. The informant is a witness in the case against Adrian Pena, who used to work for CF Jordan and is accused of bribing former County Commissioner Betti Flores.

Flores plead guilty to taking a bribe and is awaiting sentencing.

If you haven't read the story, you should read it before continuing on this piece.

The piece doesn't say how the information came to light, but if it was through a source, I'm pretty sure I talked to the same guy yesterday. From what I can tell, it appears that the source had been shopping the story around to the media over the last few days.

A man came to the station yesterday with several documents and part of what he told a reporter for the station and I was what was reported in the El Paso Times. The man would later explain that he acquired the documents through a friend of his at the courthouse. He didn't say whether it was the county or federal courthouse.

The man identified himself as the father of Adrian Flores.

We asked him if he was willing to go on camera and he agreed, which is why I am identifying him. He never asked us to remain anonymous, so I don't know if he asked any other media outlets to remain anonymous.

The man prefaced what he was about to tell me by saying that "What I am about to tell you is through the rose-colored lenses of a father..."

The documents are the same documents referred to in the Bracamontes piece. What he was upset about was that he thought that the Court was doing something wrong because the documents appeared on PACER, witch is a records management system used in the courts, then disappeared, then reappeared. According to Mr. Pena the documents were able to be viewed, which I assume is when they were printed out, then they disappeared and then they were back on the system Friday morning but were sealed at that time and therefore not able to be viewed.

The documents, which appear to be discovery motions, actually said the word SEALED on them. My assessment was that the situation appeared to be that the documents were posted on PACER but weren't sealed. I took this to be a clerical error. Then pulled down, and finally reloaded under sealed.

That was my conclusion anyway.

If that was the information provided to the Times, I assume it wasn't in the piece because they came to a similar conclusion.

What will get the public's attention is the fact that the informant was paid. Paying informants isn't out of the ordinary, but its the part the public will latch on to.

In my opinion, what is more significant is who the informant is. The informant is Elizabeth Sotelo. That is significant because of who she was working for and who she ended up working for, but I'll get to that in a minute.

The other reason its significant is because an informant in the public corruption case was identified. Most people assumed that the star witness would be Betti Flores. I don't think too many people realized that the FBI had someone else other than Flores and someone so close to the situation.

Sotelo was Flores' assistant while she was County Commissioner. At the time, the commissioners only had one assistant. Word around the courthouse was the Sotelo was very close to Flores and the two were always together. Some elected officials have staff that never leave the office and are rarely seen in public, others have staff that are with them in the field all the time, to the point of when you see one, you usually see the other.

That's covers who Sotelo worked for at the time.

Flores was defeated in her re-election bid by now County Judge-elect Veronica Escobar. When Escobar was elected, Sotelo was picked up by another member of Commissioner's Court...Luis Sarinana.

Commissioner Sarinana's office was one of the offices raided by the FBI in the opening days of the public corruption scandal but has yet to be charged with anything.

Friday, December 3, 2010

El Paso Times Editorial Out of Touch with Socorro

Of all the problems in Socorro, you guys focus on projects that are improving the quality of life in that town?

What about all the other stuff going on?

Here's a crazy idea, get off your asses and get to know the community you are commenting on. Its not enough to send reporters out there and rely on their story to formulate your opinion of the entire community.

Come on, get out of your ivory tower, get your hands dirty, and get to know the community, its problems, issues, and aspirations first. That way when you comment, you have something to go on.

Robert Grijalva Puts Early Brakes on Candidacy

I posted a piece about a month ago about the possibility of Robert Grijalva, staffer for State Rep Chente Quintanilla and former staffer for former State Rep Paul Moreno, running against the State Rep that retired Moreno, Marissa Marquez.

The Times eventually wrote a piece about Grijalva possibly running against Marissa Marquez. There were some interesting quotes from Marquez that I will discuss later in this piece.

But essentially, Marquez scared of Grijalva. He issued the following press release earlier this week in order to end the conversation about his possible bid:

Chief of Staff Grijalva Puts an End to Rumors of Candidacy

There have been rumors for some time now that I had decided to file as a candidate in

State House District 77. In order to eliminate the uncertainty of the rumors, I am

informing the public that I shall not seek office in the 2012 primary elections.

After returning from my duties during each of the past 3 legislative sessions, I initiated a

process of evaluating my potential run for office. I had intended to do the same during

the summer months following this session. The process was nothing more than assessing

the political climate and my position in it. I shall not engage in this process after this


It is unfortunate that a rumor arose from my regular political evaluation. In this case, the

rumor was given legs by overly enthusiastic friends or supporters. The rumor, and the

way it spread, created the impression that there was a foregone conclusion about my

intentions. This caused considerable angst among the El Paso delegation with the

potential of a serious rift; understandably so.

I was responsible for preventing the situation from escalating and I failed. For that I

apologize to the residents of District 77 and El Paso. I have spoken with the delegation

and issued an apology personally to each.

It is my hope that by making this definitive statement the delegation can put this in the

past and go forward with the session united.

Robert Grijalva
I took issue with Grijalva referring to it as a rumor because I had taken the time to call him and get confirmation. He gave a quote that did not close the door to the idea of run. That was strategic on his part. If he wasn't contemplating a run, he simply could have told me so. Instead he said, "Lots of people are asking me to run...I haven't made a decision yet. When I do, I will make the best decision for the community."
When I called him to let him know I took issue with him referring to it as a rumor when he in fact had given a quote that neither confirmed nor denied the idea that he was running, he took time to give me his side of things and I was appreciative of the fact that he did so.
But its hard to dismiss something as gossip when his quote is "...I haven't made a decision yet".
In Zahira Torres' piece on the El Paso Times Capitol Report Blog, Representative Marquez makes a questionable remark. She says, "It may put lobbyists in a difficult position.”

Who cares? Lobbyists are certainly part of the system, but why the hell should we care about them? Many people believe lobbyists have too much influence on the system as it is, remarks like that substantiate the fears of some voters.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cirque Du Socorro

In last night’s edition of Cirque Du Socorro, the city council held public hearings on the ordinance creating a recall election of Mayor Willie Gandara and District 3 Councilman Luis Varela. Mayor Gandara was indicted on public corruption charges and Councilman Varela was arrested on drug charges.

Ironically, it appears that the arrest of Councilman Varela was, at least according to this map, exactly 112 feet from a business that is listed on the El Paso County website as Gandara Recycling. That DBA was first registered in 1999 to Mayor Willie Gandara and is still active under his name.

Most of the people, about 70%, that spoke were in opposition to the ordinance, that is to say that they were in support of Mayor Gandara and Councilman Varela. If you gauged public support for the Mayor and Councilman Varela based on the public comment portion of the meeting it would be easy to assume that public sentiment was on the side of the Mayor and Varela.

The majority of City Council in Socorro says that’s not the case. A couple of members of council argued that their constituents support the ordinance but choose not to come to city council meetings for public comment periods.

Mayor Pro Tem Jesse Gandara, nephew of Mayor Willie Gandara and sponsor of the recall amendment, stated that most of the people that spoke before the council in support of the Mayor and Varela had a vested interest in ensuring the Mayor stayed mayor of Socorro or had an axe to grind.

One of the people that spoke was Sergio Cox. He was the Councilman-at-Large (CAL) and lost to the current CAL.

Attorney Joshua Spencer spoke in opposition to the recall ordinance. There are two reasons that is interesting. One, he doesn’t live or do business in Socorro. When I asked him his connection to Socorro he said it was because he hunts in Socorro. Which is weird because there is an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms within the city of Socorro, but I’m told people hunt rabbits and birds out in the rural areas. The other reason is pretty obvious, his last name is Spencer. I checked with him and he is the son of Joe Spencer, who is Mayor Gandara’s lawyer.

In one of the lighter moments of the meeting, one gentleman who addressed the city council, Roberto Leal, began by saying, “I come in peace”. He went on later to say that “…Mayor Gandara told me he didn’t even know the person who accused him…” Mayor Gandara cut him off by putting his hands up and saying, “No, no, no”.

Ernest Gomez and his sister addressed the city council. Gomez was formerly the municipal judge of Socorro and is a retired police officer. His contract was not renewed by the city council in favor of the appointment of a municipal judge with a law degree, Alex Vidalez.

Interestingly the city of Socorro has never had a municipal judge with a law degree. Vidalez has not yet passed the bar exam, but does have a law degree from UT Austin and formerly worked as a Legislative Aide for Senator Shapleigh. Gomez and his sister would understandably have a reason to oppose the current majority on city council since he no longer has the $30+k per year salary, though its now $50k.

There was a question about the residency of the municipal judge. Vidalez lives in east El Paso and not within the city of Socorro. Some people have looked at the city charter on the city’s website and saw a provision that required the municipal judge to live in Socorro. In fact, sources tell me the El Paso Times is going to do a story on the issue.

I checked the El Paso County Election website and found that in the May 2008 election there were 12 amendments to the city charter on the ballot. Amendment 9 changed the residency requirement from Socorro, Texas to El Paso County. The measure was approved by voters 61.43% to 35.57%, or 352 votes to 221.

Another resident (didn’t get a name for him) said he was a veteran who served in Afghanistan and resented people infringing upon his freedom of speech (more on that later) and specifically address City Councilman Jesse Gandara. He said that Gandara didn’t show respect for his uncle and said that he would get it if he ever spoke to his own uncle the way Councilman Gandara speaks to Mayor Gandara. To underscore the various familial ties, the man’s father is Alfonso Gutierrez, who was the city councilman for District 4 until he was defeated by…you guessed it, Councilman Jesse Gandara.


I can see why some people might not want to come to city council meetings to speak during public comment. The crowd is often pretty rowdy and emotions run high, which is why they tried to make the public comment portion of the meeting more orderly in the first place. The entire meeting has the feel of confrontation and in a town the size of Socorro, who wants to have that kind of relationship with their neighbors? Not many I’d guess, so that’s probably why not too many people in support of the ordinance attend.

Their city council meetings look like Kangaroo Court. It’s a small town and it looks like people take the public comment portion of the meetings to settle the score of blood feuds that probably span multiple generations.

There is no infringement of anyone’s right to free speech by the change of the way the community is allowed to address the city council. Under their previous system, they had an Open Forum system. Essentially that meant that any one, at any time, could stand up and say basically whatever the hell they wanted. I’m sure you can see how that kind of stuff could get out of hand.

The new system is more orderly. There is a public comment portion of the meeting, the Mayor will recognize anyone who wants to address the council and they walk up to a podium to speak. There is no limitation to how long someone can flap their gums and bore the hell out of the audience. They don’t even require someone to sign-up to speak, both of which are required by the City of El Paso.

There are good things happening in Socorro, despite the fact that the circus is covered more than anything else. Socorro is sometimes its own worst enemy.

But the driveway project gets a bum rap from the El Paso Times Editorial Board and reporters. They run a headline that said some residents were irked by the driveways. Funny thing is, their article doesn’t quote any irked residents. Don’t believe me, read for yourself

Each city district has a project in the works. District 4 chose driveways. There was a formula to choose whose homes were done first, which was at least in part, based on a check with the Central Appraisal District. Some of the homes that have been paying more property taxes and therefore contributing more tax dollars to the city were given priority.

Is there a fair critique in the formula?

Probably, but to act like it was done arbitrarily is inaccurate.

Should the two city councilman have waited to go last?

You're damn right. But doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s an improvement to the district and the residents are appreciative of the upgrade.

An old firehouse is being converted to a community center. A new state-of-the-art park is in the works.

I’m betting that a year from now people will be talking about the improvements made to Socorro, but for now, everything is seen through the prism of their crazy city council meetings, and confrontational relationships.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

new phone; text me you number

Dropped my phone and it broke so I got a new one. But I lost all my contacts so please call or text me your name and number please. My number is the same.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gay is Not a Lifestyle

I hear the homophobes and their steady drumbeat and its getting on my nerves so I feel I have to say something about it.

You can usually spot them the minute they start talking. They say something along the lines of, “I’m not prejudice against gays, but I just don’t like their lifestyle.” Its entirely possible that some of these people think it actually is a lifestyle, but somebody has to set them straight…no pun intended.

Lifestyle implies a choice. Its something you choose to become a part of like lowrider culture, skiing, scrapbooking, hunting, spelunking (people who explore caves, I just like saying the word cuz it sounds dirty), or people who work out a lot.

It’s a choice.

Being gay isn’t a choice.

I know that’s hard for some people to wrap their head around, but it’s the truth.

Don’t believe me, let’s try a little test. If you are heterosexual (that means you like people from the opposite sex), how old were you when you chose to like the opposite sex?

Was it in the sandbox, the nursery, or the locker room in high school? Were you confused about it for a while and then woke up one morning and decided you were going to be straight? I know, I know, you are appalled at the thought.

You always liked the opposite sex and are offended by the inference that you would ever consider playing for the other team.

I get it.

I understand you.

I’m the same way. I’ve always liked women, not preferred them, because it was never a choice. I only like women. Usually ones with big booties, a little cholita in them, her own eyebrows (no sharpies) and preferably not too much emotional baggage, I have enough of my own thank you very much.

The point it, I’ve never been in to other vatos and I never had a choice in the matter. And gay people don’t either. They are attracted to who they are attracted to because that’s the way they were born.

Think about it, there probably aren’t too many people that would choose to be discriminated against and vilified by neo-cons if they could help it.

So for those of you walking around trying to convince yourself that you aren’t prejudice, you just don’t like their lifestyle, please realize how ignorant you sound. They have no more control over their sexual orientation than you had over what color you were born, who your parents are, or what color your eyes are.

And we all know how ignorant it is to discriminate against someone because of their skin color, right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dee Margo's First Test

If you read the El Paso Times yesterday then you no doubt saw a story outlining all of the bills filled in the next legislative session that will be anti-immigrant.

Once again, the Republicans can't seem to get out of their own way. Just when they start making headway in to developing a strong presence in the Latino community, they show themselves to be a bunch of xenophobes with misplaced leadership priorities.

There are very few people that will argue the fact that biggest issue facing the state of Texas is the $12-$25 billion budget deficit we will be facing in the next legislative session. Yet Republicans like Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Humble), are camping out to introduce anti-immigrant legislation like she was waiting for the chance to buy Willie Nelson farewell tour tickets.

The Tea Party movement was supposed to be about fiscal responsibility, though I have always have doubts about how loyal its loose collection of members have been to that tenant.

If that's really the case, then people like riddle are going to piss off the fiscal conservatives for showing what her real priorities are, which apparently don't include fiscal responsibility but rather the opportunity to project herself on a state and possibly national stage in the same way Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was able to accomplish.

This puts incoming freshman State Rep and now-Hispanic Dee Margo in an interesting position. He's gone record with me, on more than one occasion, stating that Arizona-style legislation is not for Texas, as you can see in this video (Second half of the video).

Margo has always billed himself as a fiscal conservative, so Margo will face the test of facing tough decisions in terms of how he votes on those issues as the reach the legislature. Interestingly, Margo has set an interesting precedent in his campaigns that may add an unexpected wrinkle to his legislative term.

When asked about his support of gaming, Margo has frequently said that he would support gaming in El Paso. And he always qualified his support by saying that polls show the majority of El Paso support gaming and he will therefore support gaming because of that fact.

So will he be consistent with all issues and vote the way a majority of El Pasoans would like to see him vote (a philosophy similar to that of City Rep Eddie Holguin), or vote the way he thinks is best? That makes the House debate about some of these anti-immigrant bills all the more interesting because a majority of El Pasoans clearly don't support Arizona-style anti-immigrant legislation.

That will make a very interesting test for the westside Republican.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Problem with City Rep Holguin's Philosophy

I usually agree with City Rep Eddie Holguin, and I probably hold him to a higher standard than the other city reps because he represents the barrio.

Yes, I know, Rep O'rourke and Rep Acosta have barrios in their districts, but Holguin's district is basically entirely barrio.

If you don't understand why that's important to me, there's no way I can explain it to you, so go ahead and stop reading now.

But Rep Holguin is wrong this time...dead wrong. He was wrong for flip-flopping.

I give him credit for standing up and engaging in a debate over his flip-flop, but no matter how you slice it, Rep Holguin flip-flopped like a fish in a boat.

One week he's going to propose the reversal of the controversial city ordinance that took away health benefits from domestic partners and retirees, the next week he's echoing his mentor, Jaime O. Perez who not-so-coincidentally released a statement with similar language to Rep Holguin's own “respect the will of the people” line.

Representative Holguin is for equality for the gay community. He has been clear on that for quite some time. Which is why I think his defense to his recent flip-flop is all the more a cop out.

Holguin believes that his role as a city rep is to do only what the constituents want. No more, no less. He says he doesn't subscribe to the idea that he is a trustee, meaning the idea that a rep is elected to make decisions on behalf of the constituents, regardless of what they may want.

In general, Holguin's position seems reasonable and certainly in line with “the will of the people”. But all too often the philosophy is simply cover for having one's political cake and eating it to. The philosophy allows a rep to say, I am personally for gay equality, but I had to vote the way I voted because of the will of the people.

That philosophy doesn't hold water when you are talking about something like social justice. Social justice issues rarely enjoy popular support and its almost always been the case, going back to the days of slavery. The only reason that codified changes to social justice have occurred is because elected leadership showed the courage to stand up for what's right, as opposed to what's popular.

The easy way to govern is the way Holguin appears to want to lead. The idea of being a representative who does only what the people want is you have the convenience of having cover for whatever political decision you make. You can say something along the lines of “well, my personal feelings on the issue are...” and then turn around in the same sentence and say, “...but my constituents don't want it and I will do what they want.”

How do you really know what your constituents want? How do you know unless you poll your district on every issue? Who is a constituent? A voter, someone who's registered to vote, a citizen, a resident, etc? How exactly do you make that distinction?

The answer is, you don't. Which means that basically any decision can be made and can be defended by saying its the will of his constituents.

There's a saying for that in the barrio...puro pedo!

Let Me Get this Straight...

I can't touch a stripper in El Paso, even though I pay the price for admission and presumably the price for the lap dance because its considered indecent...

But a TSA worker can grab my package for free while going through the airport? What that hell did I miss?

Oh, and speaking of airports, check out this cool video.

Jaime O. Perez Makes Startling Revelations in Open Letter

From ECA Candidate Forum

Jaime O. Perez made some rather startling revelations in a recent open letter to city council. Perez praises city council for what they attempted to do and had some rather strong words for Pastor Tom Brown, Nacho Padilla and others.

You can find the open letter on the Talk Radio 1150 website.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stories Critical of EP Police Department & Sweeps Period

There has been a lot of public discussion over the El Paso Police Department and various charges of abuse, etc.

Chief Greg Allen even issued a press release on the coverage.

The only note I wanted to add about it that has gone largely undiscussed is the fact that we are in the sweeps period. Its not like these issues are new and suddenly happened this week.

So I checked with the News Director of Canal 26 KINT, Zoltan Csanyi to find out if sweeps period had anything to do with the stories being run now as opposed to any other period.

"It is 100% related to sweeps", Csanyi explained.

I'm not saying that PD doesn't have issues and I realize that any organization has room for improvement. But I think part of the conversation should be the fact that we are in the middle of the sweeps period and I think it has an absolute bearing on the framing of the overall story.

Canal 26 has been running stories for the sweeps period regarding escaping the violence in Juarez, robotic surgery in El Paso, and premature births.

Support a Local Artist

Adrianne Riley is a local photographer and does some really great work. She's done a lot of her work at political and public events.

She's the one who took that new pic I have here on my blog (look to the right) and she did this picture on Flag Day.

I liked the image so much that I have a print of it hanging in my office.

Check out her website for more information. She's available for hire and has great rates!

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Socorro City Councilman Arrested

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
According to a press release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, Socorro City Councilman Luis Varela was arrested on drug charges. Stay tuned to Noticias 26 for more details....

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

On 11-16-10 at about 5:40 pm the El Paso County Sheriff's Office conducted an operation at 10840 North Loop in Socorro Texas. The operation resulted in the arrest of four suspects for the Delivery of 43.5 lbs of marijuana.


Luis Varela (40) of Socorro Texas


Ernesto Garcia (29) of El Paso Texas


David Alarcon (19) of El Paso Texas


Jesus Palacios (49) of El Paso Texas

A search of the vehicle driven by Luis Varela resulted in the locating and seizure of 27.5 grams of cocaine. Varela was charged additionally with the possession of a controlled substance/cocaine. Information on the arrests as follows:

No further information will be released at this time as the investigation continues and further arrests are pending.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sarah Palin for President

I just would like to take this opportunity to publically thank the members of GOP that are pushing Sarah Palin to be the nominee for President in 2012.

That will help the Democrats keep the White House.

Seriously, could you possibly find a worse candidate? It wasn't enough that her daughter was on Dancing with the Stars, her daughter's baby daddy was in Playgirl, or that she quit being the Governor of one of the most sparsely populated states in the Union.

She needed to have her own reality show! Which is great!

Hell, maybe she'll ask Snookie to be her running mate!

Monday, November 15, 2010

City Council Boo'ed in Orangeville

A couple of days ago a couple members of the El Paso City Council attended a UTEP basketball game and were the sound of boos from the crowd.

Sources that attended the game said that State Reps Marisa Marquez and Naomi Gonzalez were also introduced, but didn't get boo'ed.

Apparently City Rep Rachel Quintana, according to my source, "jumped around like a UTEP cheerleader trying to get more cheers but she got booed." Then City Rep Steve Ortega was introduced and he apparently was booed worse than Quintana.

My source had this final addition to the story. "The boos weren't overwhelming or anything, but they were definitely audible, The really didn't get any cheers."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Marquez Fundraiser

Please join us at a fundraiser for state Rep. Marisa Marquez

November 11, 2010


Brick and Mortar

115 S. Durango

Veterans Day

Veterans Day provides us with the chance to mark the debt of honor we owe to all those who have worn the uniform of the United States. We remember those who gave their lives beneath our flag, in service of our freedom.

And with so many still fighting, we owe special thanks to the courageous families of those who serve.

Because when our servicemen and women deploy overseas, their loved ones are left to undertake heroic battles of their own at home. The unique challenges they face in support of men and women in uniform allow us all to enjoy the freedoms of our democracy.

Every time I have a chance to meet with these families, I'm struck by their strength and their quiet dignity -- they are truly some of the most selfless, courageous people I've met.

And today is also a day to acknowledge the sacrifices these brave men and women make every day, and pray for the safe return of those they love.

I've felt their calling personally, and I want to encourage Americans across the country to step up and do more for our military families. Take the time to stay informed about the concerns and activities of the families of service members in your community. Let them know you recognize their struggles and appreciate all they do.

You can help by finding out the needs of the military families in your community and volunteering, from working with your local school's PTA to hiring a military spouse.

Today and every day, I am moved by the personal sacrifices made by service families. And I'm humbled by the patriotism of those they support -- our soldiers and airmen, our sailors and Marines.

Today, if you can, please take a moment to offer your gratitude for the families of the veterans and active service members that you know. Or go online to to find out how you can serve military families in your area.


It is the Soldier...

From Pics of Me
When I was in the Army, I saw this somewhere and never did find out who the author was. You can find this in a multitude of places on the internet. It choked me up the first time I read it, but it still chokes me up to this day. Enjoy it and remember veterans on this Veteran’s Day!

It is the soldier, not the reporter,

who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,

who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,

who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer,

who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier

who salutes the flag,

who serves under the flag,

and whose coffin is draped by the flag,

who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hector H. Lopez's On-Air Tantrum

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
Hector H. Lopez, who seems to have an endless supply of criticism for everyone and thing in El Paso, including saying that there are no leaders in El Paso, apparently can dish it out, but can't take it.

David K and Brownfield wrote some pieces on their blogs that were critical of Hector H. Lopez's election night coverage. I linked to Brownfield's post because I thought it was funny. During Hector's on-air bitch fest the other day, he said he liked it and thought it was funny too.

Which is why I can't understand why he dragged me in to his tirade. Who knows, maybe he was on his period.

What Hector H. Lopez doesn't understand is the concept of team. I'm a member of Team KHRO and on election night, when Chris Bailey was having a hard time with some technical issues over at the UNITY headquarters, I helped him out and made it possible for him to broadcast with Hector H. Lopez.

Know what else I did? I shared my election numbers with him. Chris Bailey gets it. He understands that in order to make anything happen, it takes a team effort and Bailey thanked me for helping him out.

Despite the fact that Norma Chavez was involved and she's not exactly my favorite person, I still pitched in. Why? Because the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back of the jersey.

Hector H. Lopez doesn't seem to understand that concept. He apparently gets pissed when he's not involved in something and decides to take his ball and go home. In my opinion, Hector's hemorrhoid he apparently has for me is because Greg Freyermuth and I were asked to co-moderate a big debate between Joe Moody and Dee Margo. That debate was broadcast on Talk Radio 1150.

Hector was not invited by the two organization that sponsored the debate, the College Republicans and the University Democrats. Greg and I didn't have control over who was invited and apparently Hector H. Lopez felt like it was a slight to him.

Honestly, even if we did have the power to invite him, we wouldn't have, especially after his performance at the Talk Radio 1150 debate earlier this year during the primary election. The guy seemed like the only question he was capable of asking was what the candidates' vision was. He apparently doesn't get that it was irrelevant to the races. But that really wasn't the point. The point was he was trying to make himself the star.

For God's sake, the candidates had to take him over their knee and spank him during the debate for not being able to move on and ask something of substance.

That's why he wanted to do election night coverage and Greg and I were left out.

Now rewind the movie for just a second. The day of the debate between Moody and Margo, Hector H. Lopez was on the air talking shit about the debate. I lost track of how many times he called it a “snoozer”. You didn't hear Greg and I start menstruating over the air because Hector H. Lopez hurt out little feelings.

So its total bullshit that Hector gets pissed at a couple of little critiques after he spent so much time talking shit about the debate. Like I said, if you dish it out, you should be able to take it.

When I asked Hector why he dragged me in to his on-air tantrum, he said it was because I linked to the piece that he praised on the air!

That's Hector H. Lopez for ya.

On a quick sidebar, I always seem to get the blame for linking to something someone else wrote. Remember the whole Hummer-gate scandal that the Avocadoan wrote about an alleged tryst involving a member of city council? I didn't write the piece, but I got the blame for it.

Here's what he doesn't get, while some of the stuff he's done is really cool, he doesn't understand that most listeners don't give a shit. But the elitist in him prevents him from grasping that fundamental point.

You have to connect your topic to things people in El Paso care about. Lets take his interview with the President of the Banana Republic, I mean the Dominican Republic. Why would anyone in El Paso care about that interview? I think its really kick ass that he was able to get an interview with a foreign head of state and that's something no one else on talk radio can say.

But why would a guy driving around in his delivery truck or an attorney in the courthouse give a shit? The answer is, they don't. They are too worried about stuff happening around town to be concerned with the President of Banana Republic.

Oh yeah, did I mention that the interview was in Spanish?

I'll be honest, it really pissed me off that Hector H. bought me in to this. He doesn't like me, resents me, whatever. I honestly don't care.

We are two different guys from two totally different worlds.

I'm Chicano, he's Hispanic.

He's educated, I'm the least educated guy on the radio.

I'm a street kid, he's a jet-setting Georgetown grad.

His on-air buddies are highly educated smart people that know everything about the world. Mine have seen the world through military service and on occassion have spent a little time in county jail.

I get it, we aren't as good as he is.

It probably irritates the shit out of him that people read my blog and listen to my show. But whatever his beef is, he should've left me out of it.

I've been told that Hector H. Lopez fancies himself a future congressman. Why else do you think he's always talking shit about the leadership in this town? Why else do you think he always talks about who are the next leaders for El Paso? Why do you think he's always critical of the congressman and the President?

Seriously, have you seen the picture gallery on his show's Facebook page?

Here's a guy who's a precinct chair that has not done anything in the Democratic Party. He criticizes everything but doesn't actually DO anything. The self-described Blue Dog Democratic is more like diet Republican than anything else.

I don't fault him for using his show to try to position himself as a future congressman. I just think that if he's going to criticize, he should be able to take it too. If he's going to have all these people from BFE, he should at least do a better job of having a local tie in to El Paso.

As for congressional hopes, he's not even in the conversation and I don't see any honest discussion of him being a congressional hopeful in his future. But then again what do I know, he's much more educated than I.

But if you ask me, there's nothing wrong with the wanna-be future congressman doing what ends ends his show with...Think Big!

Monday, November 8, 2010

City Rep Ortega on Congressional Bid: “I have no desire to run”

I’m working on a rather extensive piece that is a critique of Joe Muench, political columnist for the El Paso Times, and his latest column on Sunday. Its a conjecture piece in which he lays out scenarios for possible successors to Congressman Sylvestre Reyes.

But before I post that piece, I decided I’ve give the star of Muench’s column, City Rep Steve Ortega a call to find out if he’s interested in running for Congress.

Here’s Ortega’s answer, “Absolutley not, I have no desire to run.”

Other than demonstrating he has very little, if any, understanding of the local political scene weren’t bad enough, apparently it never crossed the mind of Joe Muench to call any of the people who wrote about to see if they are even interested in running for the office.

When I asked Ortega where Muench would get an idea like Ortega running for office, Ortega replied, “He never called me to ask me if I was interested…he never did what you are doing right now.”

In fairness to Muench, his piece never actually says he talked to anyone and it was more of a what-if scenario.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Brownfield's Take on Talk Radio 1150's Election Night Coverage

You have to have a sense of humor in life sometimes, if you don't you'll go insane.

Brownfield posted this hilarious critique and I thought I'd plass it on in case you haven't seen it.

Check it out here.

State Rep Marquez May Have Opponent in 2012 Primary

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
Rumors have been flying around for a while now about a possible challenger for State Rep Marisa Marquez since prominent El Paso lawyer Mike Torres decided not to run in the last election.

The name that has been floating around most recently, and most often in El Paso political circles is Robert Grijalva. Grijalva is currently the right hand of State Rep Chente Quintanilla but previously worked for former State Representative Paul Moreno.

Since I'd hear the talk of Grijalva as a potential candidate, I thought I'd look in to it a little more. I called Grijalva around lunch time today to get comment on the issue. Most of the conversation was centered around the fact that he's going to be really busy helping Quintanilla in this session of the legislature and he said that's his main focus and priority.

But he did have this to say about the rumors..."Lots of people are asking me to run...I haven't made a decision yet. When I do, I will make the best decision for the community."


State Rep Marisa Marquez is going to be a formibale opponent and in the driver's seat for re-election. As you no-doubt remember Marquez defeated long-time State Rep Paul Moreno. In an unusual twist even for El Paso politics, the Moreno clan, not-so-lovingly referred to as the Moreno Mafia by some, and State Rep Marisa Marquez supported Naomi Gonzalez in her bid to unseat State Rep Norma Chavez.

Grijalva used to work for Moreno and one would assume that the Moreno's would be inclined to support him, but time will tell if that's actually the case. Grijalva is a guy who knows Austin, knows the local politicos and campaign donators. He's not a guy that has made it a habit to run around burning bridges and will no-doubt benefit from some Moreno loyalists.

The two big questions are recognition within the district and knowledge of grassroots operation.

Marquez is no longer an inexperienced campaigner. She doens't get rattled in public very easily and has been putting her time in within the party. She has one session under her belt and will be going in to another session with talk that she may end up on the Appropriations Committee, which is a pretty important committee, even if you are in the minority.

Election Results Piece on Talk Radio 1150 Website

We've made some changes on the Talk Radio 1150 website today. Go check out the changes.

I wrote about election results on the website in the blog section. You can read my piece here.

Also, working on a response to Tim Besco's comments here on The LionStar Blog. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tim Besco Sends Controversial Letter to Republican Party

You aren't going to believe this email, so take your time reading it, it's certainly worth the read. I'll let you know one thing that will make you want to keep reading, it ends with


From Burges Candidate Forum

The following is an email sent out via an mass email communications program. I obtained this email just a few moments ago and checked with one source in the Republican Party to verify its authenticity. To the best of their knowledge, this came from Tim Besco's Campaign:


All of you who are getting this email should know why.

From the very start of my campaign - I have had nothing but criticism from many of you. All I'd hear was, "You don't speak well." or "You can't do this or that." I'd even ask for your help at different events, but I'd get very little or no help. Then when I hired someone who is a professional consultant - I would get nothing but even more hatred. Just for the simple fact that he was a Democrat (which has nothing to do with my views), my manager had been ridiculed and ignored by all of you.

I quickly realized that in order to win - not just make a good showing - I needed to do something different from what the GOP in El Paso had done in the past. The number of Republican voters here will NEVER be enough to win a county wide seat.

I've reached out to you and many organizations in the party - and all of you either criticized me for my choice or worked against me. I wasn't doing what you wanted me to do. I wasn't saying what you wanted me to say. Well, I beg to differ. I was the candidate and I wasn't going to let you control me and my campaign.

Some of you said I was "turning my back" on the party. On the contrary, I turned around to open my arms to the rest of the city. If you think about it, the results showed that for the first time Silvestre Reyes got less than 60% of the vote. Part of that was related to the anti-Reyes feeling in town. But part of that also was because of my efforts to reach out to traditional Democrat voters.

el paso banner

I was the first Republican to actively campaign in the Lower Valley, Soccoro, Segundo Barrio, and the Senior Centers. I knew it would be unlikely that I'd get much support - but I also knew that any vote I could get there was one less vote for Reyes.

I also focused on the East Side - another area that has long been forgotten by traditional GOP candidates. Think about Chris Antcliff. He put up thousands of signs all over the county including the East Side. He barely lost his race, but it still was not enough to overturn the Democrats' "machine".

I've learned a lot about the political process in El Paso while working with Oscar. The most important thing I learned is to temper your message. People are sick and tired of partisanship. How many times did you think "Oh God, not another Denish (or Pearce, etc.) attack ad."? I was asked several times while I campaigned, "You're not one of them 'Tea Partiers' are you?". The point I'm trying to make is that we can stick to our values but not be blind to our surroundings. Case and point, look at Commissioner Dan Haggerty. He is very conservative, and yet he still gets many Democrats to vote for him.

You'd say "Well he won because his district is Republican." BUT you forget that this is roughly the same area is where Dee Margo had to spend nearly $1 MILLION just to barely defeat Joe Moody.

Which brings me to my final points. I know for a fact - not through "paranoid delusions" - that most of you worked against me.

FACT: The hesitation by party leadership to stifle support for a write-in led to confusion and dissent within the active party.

FACT: Auxilliary groups supported this write-in by letting him speak at functions, sign his nominating petitions (I have the copies), and falsely endorse him. Just because an endorsement questionnaire was sent, does not allow you to choose to endorse a candidate running against the Republican candidate. Your own bylaws - yes, I looked them up - state that it is the mission of your organizations to "support, and help elect ALL Republican candidates on the ballot." You can't justify "endorsing" the opponent of the legally nominated Republican candidate by sending a questionnaire. You shouldn't have even bothered to send one - there was only one Republican candidate. You should only the Republican candidate. If you don't like him either get out of your group or don't do anything - but you don't work against him publicly. That is worse than voting for someone who is "Pro-Choice" when you are a practicing Catholic.

FACT: At the East Side Civic Association Forum (which was a joke), I was publicly attacked by a member of the College Republicans. Despite their feeble attempt to hide it, I saw through the lie that "he was acting alone". Again, your organization is nothing but petty for holding a grudge over your fundraiser at the county convention and hateful because I didn't choose one of you to be my campaign manager. (Lot of success there with Dan Chavez, eh Nickole?)

FACT: Dee Margo and others, openly ridiculed and humiliated me in public forums. It is an "unwritten" rule that you don't ask another candidate in an entirely other race how are their "finances" doing especially when you know full well that he/she isn't doing well.

One other thing about Dee Margo is that I know that he is on the board of the Business and Industry PAC for the state of Texas (BIPAC) - a very large GOP donor. I had contacted the national BIPAC offices, and was told that they wouldn't help me because of Dee Margo's efforts against me here in Texas. This was in spite of my answers on their questionnaire and originally had a good response from them.


FACT: When he was contacted by potentially large contributors for my campaign - specifically the party chairman - he told these donors to ignore my people and that I "didn't have a chance of winning". How would you know that, unless you were working against me?

I had been gaining momentum, and through the month of August my team and I were working tirelessly placing signs all over the entire county. With the infusion of their donations, we could have purchased the billboards, TV ads and mailers that would have continued to get my name out there.

Everyday well-meaning but ignorant GOP activists would tell me "You need to get yourself out there more." I would always tell them to donate so we could, but nothing would come in.

I put more of my own money into this campaign - based on percentages - than any candidate. Sure, you could say "Well, too bad for you." But I know that if it hadn't been for all the "knives in my back" - I wouldn't have had to put that money in.

FACT: The Republican Party of El Paso, the LNRC, the West El Paso Republican Women, Grassroots El Paso (Tea Party), and so many others will never see the forest for the trees. You refuse to believe that just because someone is attending your functions they aren't friendly to you.

Dan Chavez, and Jaime Perez were using you. They were considered to be the "jokes" of the Democratic Party - failing in all their attempts to get elected. They came over because they had no support within that party. They both failed again despite your weak efforts to get them elected.

Jaime Abetiya is not a reporter, or any kind of serious media person even if he does have a radio show. He is a Democratic activist who is close to several key elected officials including Reyes, Jose Rodriguez, and others. He may be friends with Sammy Carrejo - but he really isn't friendly toward the Republican party despite what he says.

That older lady that was hanging around with Dan Chavez who STILL IS a Democratic Party Precinct Chair - has no intentions of "crossing over" despite what some people have said. She is a very strong Democrat activist.

FACT: Your support is misguided, unorganized and weak. Rene Diaz is a prime example of this. He should have won his race for the EPCC Board easily. He played along with you, and ran as a "real Republican". Well, Jaime Abetiya and others painted him as a closet Democrat and permanently hurt his chances. If your support was so great - he should have won. A mailer from you denying this false charge, phone calls by the party leadership to voters, signs and even a neighborhood billboard would have helped. You dropped the ball. And the excuse, "We made the other guy work hard." is lame. Face it, he lost in a strongly Republican district because your support wasn't really there.


If you really think that you are going to make any headway in El Paso - you better open your eyes, get organized, get focused, and come out of your shell. You've said it yourselves, "El Pasoans are really Republicans - they just don't know it." You can't get them to believe that by telling them that they are "stupid Mexicans that only vote straight ticket". You can't say things like "we should electrify the border fence and put alligators in the Rio Grande".

It's like that cell phone commercial that has Philadelphia Eagles fans cheering in a restaurant that is obviously in Texas. The waitress says "They got sense of their surroundings, do they?". When the one fan asks for a refill, she says "Comin' right up 'shug'." and wrings out the dish rag into his cup. The GOP here has no sense of their surroundings and the city is "wringing out their dish rags" in your drinks.

As far as I'm concerned - I'm done with politics. And all of you - from the top to the bottom - are to blame. I've been classy enough to never "air our dirty laundry" in public. It's too bad that some of you did.

And if you've gotten this far....