Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Show Some Love for the Spanish Language Media

For being the highest-rated television station in town, KINT doesn't get the love it should around here.

They are the only local television news station that covers 100% local news. Yes I work for Entravision, but I'm not saying that to be a company man, I just dig local news and they give the most depth to local news coverage on television.

We have a new reporter here named David Stout. The El Paso Times reports that he replaced long-time reporter Luis Villagrana.

He actually is replacing Pedro Villagrana. Come on news partners, get the names right! Especially since Pedro has been a fixture in this town for years.

The Luis that works here is our sports guy, Luis Zuniga.

As far as I know he's not being replaced, especially considering how many people watch him for World Cup updates! But then again, I'm low-man on the totem pole around here so I'd be the last to know. Kidding, don't read anything in to that.

Message from El Paso Organizing for America

OFA Volunteers - Get Fired Up
at our
4th of July Celebration at the Chamizal!

In its July/August 2010 issue, Men's Health Magazine ranked El Paso as the 99th out of 100 cities its size in its "Most Patriotic Cities" in the country.

You and I know this is not an accurate description of El Paso. Volunteers like you and me have had a great time serving, engaging and changing our community. That is why we invite you to join EP OFA to celebrate our country's birthday at one of the largest community event venues this summer. Music Under the Stars at the Chamizal Memorial Park. We will have a booth where we will be able to register park attendees to vote and obtain voter pledge cards for the November elections. Our goal is to get 250 voter registrations and pledges and we think we can do it with 25 volunteers who register or pledge 10 people each. We can do it...I know we can. If you are deputized to register people to vote make sure join us. Even if you are not we need help with getting pledges filled. So there is something for everyone!

We will have drinks and ice cream for all volunteers. Come and spend some time registering voters, listening to music, enjoying ice cream and finally enjoying the fabulous fireworks show at the park.

If you will attend please email me at to RSVP. Hope to see you at the social!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Senator Shapleigh's Personal Vendetta

Personally, I’m a little sick of Senator Shapleigh’s antics. I’ve invited him to come on my show to talk about a range of issues, but he never returned my calls.

I think the Senator has been a bit of a hypocrite on several issues, but his latest crusade against Dr. Garcia of the El Paso Independent School District is in my opinion, a dangerous precedent.

I listened to Shapleigh when he went on Paul’s show to hear him try to defend his attack against Garcia. I was listening to hear what his argument was going to be and I was listening to see how long it would take him to throw in a few words in Spanish. Sorry, but it’s so condescending when he does that and sounds as contrived and saccharine as a losing candidate congratulating the victor on election night.

Before we go on, let me be clear about one thing. I don’t have a problem with the Senator being against the TRE. The problem I have is with a lame duck Senator saying he wouldn’t support the TRE until EPISD got rid of Garcia.

What that says to me is that Shapleigh will put off the needs of parents, students, and teachers for political advantage. Is that what our community needs? Is that real leadership?

The truth is, that’s the case more often than not from Senator Shapleigh. He’s cutting his nose off to spite his face. Isn’t that what he said was wrong with State Rep Norma Chavez?
I think Senator Shapleigh’s stance is indicative of a big problem with Senator Shapleigh…ego. That’s the reason that I think he got so upset when I asked him a question about being “the Democrat of all Democrats” while talking up a Republican on talk radio.

It was almost as though he was offended at the very idea of being asked a probing question.

This desire to be treated differently, the desire to avoid a probing interview, wild accusations with little or no root in fact, and throwing around conspiracy theories all over the place reminds me of someone.

Someone else who has been able to keep a high profile in the media by also pursuing a prominent Doctor in town.

After watching this situation develop over the last few weeks, I thought I would check with someone who has a dog in this fight that hasn’t been heard from in the media as of yet. I wanted to check with City Rep Susie Byrd.

She’s a passionate defender of local eateries in her district, especially the really, really, over rated one, so I figured she’d feel pretty strongly about this situation because she’s a close political ally of Shapleigh and an alum of the school at the heart of the controversy, Austin High School.

Representative Byrd didn’t mix words when talking about Senator Shapleigh’s latest posture. “I think he’s wrong. I think he’s doing more harm than good right now…”

Senator Shapleigh needs to realize that he was elected Senator, not God. The community decides who sits on their school boards and they are the ones charged with oversight of the district.

When even your close political allies think you wrong, Senator it’s time to rethink your position.

Source: "Arditti Signed Receipt for File a Month Ago"

A source close to the case tells me that Judge Regina Arditti herself signed a receipt for the legal file for her case from Joe Spencer more than a month ago.

As reported in the El Paso Times by Diana Washington Valdez, attorneys for Arditti claim they have not received the file from Joe Spencer, Arditti's former attorney in the matter.

My source says that there is a receipt that is signed by Arditti showing she took possesion of Spencer's copy of the file around a month ago.

If memory serves the visiting judge District Court Judge Thomas Franklin Lee of Hondo, Texas, talked about resetting the case in order to give the defense team time to go over the case so it is unlikely that this potential revelation will have an impact on the case.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Caballero & Leeds Thumped Badly in Court

I hear people say that Theresa Caballero is such a great lawyer. They are apologists for her behavior and attempt to rationalize it by saying that they might not agree with her tactics, but she’s a good lawyer.

Many would debate that.

For example, as I have previously written, Theresa Caballero received a pretty good thumping from a federal court judge a while back.

Well , Caballero subpoenaed around 15 people for a simple hearing in the Arditti case.
The attorneys that represent each of the people subpoenaed made motions to quash. In layman’s terms, the attorneys were asking the judge to excuse their clients from the legal proceeding because they didn’t have anything to do with the case.

The judge agreed and granted ALL of the motions to quash.

What that means is that Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds lost nearly every single motion they put before the court.

Apologists for Caballero and Leeds might find that one a bitter pill to swallow, but the bottom line is that they lost at every turn on the subpoenas.

What I found most interesting was the fact that Caballero and Leeds actually subpoenaed Joe Spencer, Arditti’s former attorney. This is something that many will point to when apologists for Leeds and Caballero make the claim about the two being great lawyers.

Many critics will say that it is a huge mistake to subpoena Spencer for two reasons. Number one, he can’t say anything because of attorney-client privilege, so subpoenaing Spencer is, in my opinion of course, a colossal waste of time.

The only way Spencer would be free to say anything is if Arditti waived her attorney-client privilege.

The judge hearing the motions, a visiting judge named Tom Lee, a retired state district judge, ruled against Caballero on Spencer and all the other witnesses.

You’ll start to hear people that carry water for Leeds and Caballero try to come up with a bright spot for the two during Friday’s hearing. The visiting judge did instruct the District Attorney’s office to comply with the discovery process. The DA’s office already complied with discovery, but that was when Arditti was being represented by Spencer.

The judge ordered the DA to basically make a second copy for Leeds and Caballero. Whoopty freakin’ do.

Courtroom Observations

I’m not a legal expert, but I have some observations from the proceeding.

First, I thought the County Attorney’s lawyer (sorry, I didn’t get any names) was pretty good in court and effectively conveyed his points. He showed poise, confidence, strength, and a command of the law.

The District Attorney’s lawyer… not so much.

He seemed timid, soft spoken, and unsure of himself. He had the law on his side and won his points, but I thought he could’ve been stronger and more confident.

I was impressed by Judge Arditti. She seemed like she’s taking an active role in her defense. By now you probably know that I pay attention to greetings, body language, and expressions. My observation was there were a couple of times in the hearing that Arditti seemed frustrated with Leeds and Caballero.

What I’m interested in watching is if this case becomes about yet another one of Caballero’s crusades involving conspiracy theories, personal vendettas, smear campaigns, and sensationalism at the expense of Arditti’s defense. Again, that’s just my opinion.

Remember, at the end of the day, Caballero and Leeds job is to get their client off the hook. The responsibility is to their client. As this case develops, what I’m going to be watching is if Caballero and Leeds actions are accomplishing the ultimate goal gaining an acquittal for their client.

I’m pretty sure that’s what Arditti’s going to be watching.

The proceeding was very entertaining to watch. In my opinion, Caballero spent a lot of time trying to be confrontational with the judge. The question I had in my head the entire time was, what do these tactics accomplish?

I’m pretty sure I read this somewhere but I think Caballero should keep this in mind. Is what I’m doing, getting me what I want?

The judge was incredibly patient with Caballero. But on several occasions he let Caballero know who was boss and put her in her place. He raised his voice, told her to sit down, and did a pretty good job of not reacting to her provocations.

It was interesting to watch Caballero as she was getting beat. Caballero is not exactly a poker face. She wears her frustration all over her face. She has a tell. In my opinion, when she’s losing, that’s when she becomes confrontational.

A couple of times during the proceeding when Caballero wasn’t getting her way, she acted in a way that reminded me of my teenage daughter when she doesn’t get her way. In my opinion, it was desperation personified.

Couple of interesting points during the proceeding that I think you’ll find interesting.

Caballero mentioned the fact that several of the people that she subpoenaed were members of ACTS.

That’s a Catholic retreat that is held annually. I don’t remember if that’s the reason the judge used the words “conspiracy theory” when addressing Caballero or not, but I know that many in the audience laughed at that point.

Later there was a theory floated around by Caballero that mentioned the fact that many of the people that have been charged with some level of corruption in this community are females.

No one laughed, but I now know what the sound of a room full of people rolling their eyes sounds like.


I shared an elevator with Robert Vance, who is Arditti’s ex-husband and father of the bailiff that was hired by former Judge Manny Barraza. He and an unidentified court reporter (with a cheesy goatee that made him look like a Civil War re-enactor) were discussing the fact that the judge wanted to hear part of the proceeding earlier in the day. They expressed a negative impression of the intended change in schedule. Good intuition on their part.

I have admit, I was impressed with Stuart Leeds. He has the passion and strength of Caballero, but without the confrontational attitude. Seems like he knows just exactly how far to push things with the judge and then stops at the appropriate time.

But I think there is a major bit of hypocrisy going on between Caballero and Leeds.

Lets take a comment that Leeds makes regarding the Ethics Commission. When referring to county employees that are allowed to run for office and maintain their employment with the county, Leeds is quoted in the El Paso Times as saying, “The taxpayer is being cheated out of an honest day’s work in this situation”.

Which is really interesting.

I wonder how he feels about the fact that tax payers of El Paso County had to pay, according to an estimate from the County Auditor, about $300 per hour for the county employees that had to be in the hearing because of the subpoena from Leeds and Caballero?

The work those employees are supposed to do still has to get done, so someone else has to pick up the slack. I agree with Leeds, “The taxpayer is being cheated out of an honest day’s work in this situation.”

And finally, speaking of the issue regarding county employees being permitted to run for office while employed by the county, Caballero said something pretty hard to believe.

The judge said something from the bench like, I think one of the arguments that Mrs. Caballero makes is that Callan didn’t have to resign to run. Is that the policy of the DA’s office?

The DA responded with something like, that is true, he did not have to resign to run.
That’s when Caballero spoke up saying, “I’ve never seen that policy. I’m unaware of that policy.”

The County Attorney’s office stood up and said that Caballero was being disingenuous because she was at the Ethics Commission meeting the day before. That’s the same meeting where Leeds made his remarks regarding that very policy.

She’s also been critical of the fact that county employees can run for office while employed by the county on the campaign trail. I’ve got hours and hours of footage of the various debates and forums that I have filmed so I’ll find the video and post it here later.

More than one attorney apologized to the visiting judge for Caballero’s demeanor in court. Luis Aguilar stated, “…The El Paso Bar is extremely professional and we hope you don’t hold that (pointing towards the defense) against the El Paso Association”.

Theresa Caballero had to correct the visiting judge. He kept referring to her as Mrs. Caballero. She corrected him and said she was a Ms. not Mrs. (I wonder if she’s ever been married, maybe I’ll check that out?)

The judge corrected himself later in the proceeding.

Caballero asked the judge about something and he replied, “Yes sir.”

He quickly corrected the slip.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kudos to Maria Garcia of ABC-7

I have the advantage of spending a large part of my day on the internet as part of my job and that means I get to spend a lot of time on the internet.

I was on the air the other day when I saw the story break on The El Paso Times regarding the summons of Mayor Cook and City Manager Joyce Wilson to the court house to testify in a court case involving a client of Theresa Caballero.

I read the short blurb of the story on the El Paso Times website, but I also saw a piece on the story on ABC 7’s website as well. The story on ABC-7, written by reporter Maria Garcia, was much more developed, while the Times just had a small blurb.

We are talking about two types of media, print versus television. The Times’ story won’t be printed until tomorrow, while the television stations will be able to get the report out to viewers in at least three broadcasts before the Times’ story is even seen.

The Times has the advantage of being more thorough in the story because they don’t have the limitations of time, though there is often a limitation related to space.
But online, the two forms of media are pretty comparable. The internet is the great equalizer.

And on that side-by-side comparison, I think Garcia’s piece out classed her more experienced colleague from the Times.

But where I think Garcia did particularly well was in the actual courthouse. She did something that too many in the media around here are afraid to do. She put a microphone in Caballero’s face, asked her fair questions, didn’t take no for an answer, and followed her around trying to get the story.

In my humble opinion, far too many people have been scared off by Caballero’s self-generated mystique.

That’s why it was so refreshing to see a reporter like Maria Garcia who isn’t intimidated by Caballero and does her job. Sooner or later, other reporters in town will also wake up.

Activists Protest Border Patrol Headquaters in El Paso

A group of nearly 300 activists protested the recent shooting of a Juarez teenager by a Border Patrol Agent. I conducted an interview with Fernando Garcia, the Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights on the incident and the protest event.

El Equipo de Todos

The USA lost to Ghana, but I'm proud of how well they played. We did well and have nothing to hang our heads in shame about. This one's for you TEAM USA

Orale Mexico, your turn tomorrow. Vamos Mexico!

DREAM ACT Supports Walk for Awareness

I was driving around town this morning and I saw a group of young people dressed in cap and gown walking down the street so I pulled over to find out why.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Let the Parade Begin!

Two things I absolutely love from childhood, a parade and a circus. Lucky us, El Paso will have that soon.

A source over at the County says that Theresa Caballero has, or intends to, subpoena an interesting list of prominent El Pasoans in the nepotism case involving her client, Judge Regina Arditti.

Here is a partial list of people that have been, or may be, subpoenaed:

District Attorney Jaime Esparza

Amy Lujan, Esparza’s secretary

Venessa Ocegueda Secretary’s sister

Alberto Ocegueda

Jim Callan, Asst. D.A. who ran against Judge Arditti in the Democratic Party Primary

Jennifer Callan, Spouse of Jim and Assistant City Attorney

Chris Antcliff, Judge of the 168th, and former opponent of Arditti in general election

Jesus “Chuy” Reyes, brother of Congressman Reyes

Joe Spencer

Deanna Spencer, employee of the DA’s office

And several others. This should be lots of fun.

Can’t wait to cover it.

Why Judge Rangel, Why?

Like many of you out there, the summons of the Mayor and the City Manager in to an El Paso County Court over a criminal case involving a defendant who is represented by Theresa Caballero left me scratching my head wondering one thing.


There has got to be a reason that Judge Rangel agreed to summon the Mayor and City Manager to court. I can’t figure out what it is, but there has to be a reason.

No one does something for no reason, especially someone as smart as a judge.

I’ve done my best to try to try to puzzle this together and here’s what I’ve boiled things down to: (again, this is my opinion only)

Theory #1- Judge Rangel might have felt that it was the right thing to do in the interest of justice. (Don’t laugh, it could happen…)

Theory #2 – Judge Rangel might have been intimidated by Caballero.

Theory #3 – Judge Rangel might have figured that if she didn’t allow it to happen that Caballero would try to use that in a possible appeal. No judge likes to have their cases turned over.

Theory #4 – Perhaps there is a personal friendship or other connection between the two that perhaps could have come in to play. Judge Rangel did receive a couple of modest campaign donations from Stuart Leeds and a woman who works for Doris Sipes, who has been Caballero’s Attorney in the past.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Interesting Comments on El Paso Times Article

The El Paso Times has been accused of selective enforcement when it comes to negative comments surrounding certain people in town.

That being said, I thought I was draw everyone's attention to the comments on this piece. It will be interesting to see how long of a shelf life they have...

Mayor Cook and City Manager Wilson Called to Court

Mayor John Cook and City Manager Joyce Wilson had to leave the regularly scheduled City Council meeting to attend court proceeding in the court of Judge Bonnie Rangel.

The case involves Oscar Marquez who is accused of allegedly assaulting a Public Servant, which is a 3rd Degree Felony according to the El Paso County website.

The attorney of record in the case is Theresa Caballero. The story was broken by El Paso Times reporter Marty Schladen.

Courthouse rumor is that Caballero had the mayor and city manager summoned to court in order to hear testimony regarding the incident because in their official capacity as Mayor and City Manager, the two oversee the actions of the El Paso Police Department.

A well-placed source in the County tells me that Caballero's client is accused of assaulting a member of the El Paso Police Department.

COMMENTARY: Everyone knows that City Council meets on Tuesday. Judge Rangel allowed this move on the part of Caballero to interrupt a regularly-scheduled meeting of City Council. The costs of the delay ultimately rests upon the tax-payers of the City of El Paso.

Should the tax payers have to foot the bill and bear the burden of Caballero's tactics that are, in my opinion, meant to create doubt in the minds of the public about our law enforcement?

How long can El Paso afford to pay for Caballero's agenda?

Why didn't Rangel postpone that portion of the trial until the next day when City Council isn't in session?

What is the relevance and/or importance of summoning the Mayor and City Manager?

Does anyone else think its interesting that the story was broken by Marty Schladen?

I know, he covers the city and county beats, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Don Williams Addresses El Paso Young Democrats

Don Williams is a candidate for State Democratic Executive Committeeman and this was his address to the El Paso Young Democrats last night.

Well, well, well...

What do ya know?

Looks like Judge Regina Arditti has a hearing coming up this week. Court records indicate that it is a pre-trial conference set for 1:30pm on Friday in Judge Bramblett's Court.

What a coincidence!

Remember my prediction...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Prediction Regarding El Paso Times

The criticisms of the El Paso Times are growing louder and louder regarding coverage of certain issues near and dear Theresa Caballero and many point to the alleged relationship with the Times Metro Editor Milan Simonich.

Today's edition featured an interesting piece about the cases involving City Reps Carl Robinson and Rachel Quintana.

I'm just throwing my own personal opinion out there on this one (opinion only), but it wouldn't surprise me if in the next couple of days there was a piece in the Times that talks about Judge Regina Arditti, who is being represented by Theresa Caballero.

I'll bet (again, just my opinion) that there will be some discussion about how long Quintana's case is taking and how quickly Arditti's case is going forward. Which is interesting because Caballero also represented Quintana.

What will be more interesting is if they start getting criticism over whether their coverage will be slanted in a way that potentially benefits Caballero's case on behalf of her client. That's something to watch, if it happens.

Again, its just my opinion, but lets see if I'm right...

JP Resigns From Post

The Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Rosalio Munoz is hanging up his robe today at Commissioner's Court.

A source tells me that the JP was spending a lot of time in California and has cited, "family and health" reasons.

More to follow as I gather info.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Times Increases Price of Paper

Word on the street in The El Paso Times is raising the price on their daily paper to .75, which is something the experimented with previously.

I hope it is as successful this time as it was last time.

World Cup

If the World Cup isn't exciting to just aren't living!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hey Marty, I Got Your “Factual Errors”

I wrote last week about The El Paso Times’ newest star in the line-up, Marty Schladen. We talked about the fact that there were details that were left out of reporting on the El Paso County Commissioner’s Court meeting that I thought were important to the news story.

If you don’t remember the piece, scroll down to find “Marty’s Dilema”.

In this piece
, Schladen doesn’t mention why PD Clara Hernandez said that the El Paso Times is biased, but says that Hernandez “detailed no factual errors, and she didn’t respond for comment after Monday’s meeting.”

That’s something else he left out of his story, the fact that Hernandez, and I’m paraphrasing here, said her office will only answer questions from the El Paso Times via email because she wants to make sure that her office is accurately quoted.

But nonetheless, he’s right; she didn’t detail any factual errors. Though I think the way he wrote the piece could give the reader the impression that she couldn’t site factual errors.

I’m sure the Public Defender can site factual errors, after all she’s a lawyer, but I thought I’d do a little check of Marty’s facts for myself.

And wudda ya know, I found a couple.

For example, if you go to this article he wrote the Sunday before last, Schladen says, “The public defender's office provides attorneys for about half the defendants who cannot afford them, and it handles many of the felony cases in which forensic testimony could be important. The office contracts with attorneys in private practice to handle the rest.”

Factual Error #1
– The PD Office contracts with private attorneys to handle cases.

Not true.

It was pretty easy for me to find out how the process works and it surprises me that he got this one so wrong.

The Public Defender doesn’t farm out the work to private attorneys.

They have nothing to do with private attorneys being assigned cases at all.

Judges are the ones that determine whether a defendant that can’t afford an attorney of his own is assigned an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office, or is appointed a private attorney. This is accomplished either directly by the court, or through the Court Administration office. That’s run by a guy named Mike Izquierdo.

The attorney submits a voucher, its approved by the judge, and the invoice gets turned in to the Auditor’s Office. At no point in the process does the Public Defender’s Office get involved in contracting with private attorneys.

This process is pretty much common knowledge if you follow El Paso politics. Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez made it a campaign issue when she defeated Alfredo Chavez for her seat. It’s commonly referred to as the Attorney Wheel.

I’ve written several pieces about the Attorney Wheel, and if memory serves, the most recent one was regarding the fact that in Judge Chavez’s court there were a couple of prominent El Paso lawyers that made big money off of appointments to that court, Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds. In fact in one period of time, Leeds made more than any other attorney in town except one, and the money he made according to county records is an amount more than the salaries of the Medical Examiner and the Public Defender…combined.

The reason we even have a public defender’s office that covers about 50% of the defendants that can’t afford representation is because of a class action lawsuit against El Paso County. In 1987 there was a settlement in a case in which the ACLU represented inmates in County Jail. The inmates maintained that they were sitting in jail for long periods of time without getting a lawyer or when they were appointed a lawyer, they would sometimes not even see the attorney.

In a few extreme cases, the DA had even allegedly declined to press charges and there was no one there to make sure the accused would be released from County Jail.

According to the settlement, the PD Office would eventually handle half of the cases and the other half would be handled by private attorneys through the appointment of a judge.

Factual Error #2 –
Well this one isn’t really as much as a factual error as a mischaracterization.

Schladen refers to a case in which Leeds and Caballero were the attorneys representing the defendant Victor Jimenez. He was on trial last year for murder. The prosecution said the victim was beaten to death. Caballero and Leeds offered an alternate theory, a cocaine overdose.

Shrode allegedly messed up and didn’t save enough of a sample to be adequate for toxicology testing, even though there was a request from the lab that the medical examiner’s office uses.

This is where the debate lies. Schladen writes, “Caballero and Stuart Leeds have been the only defense attorneys to challenge Shrode's credibility based on the false claims he made on his résumé. They and a few other attorneys have had success in contesting Shrode's conclusions.”

I guess that depends on what your definition of success in contesting Shrode’s conclusions looks like. The fact that Schladen uses the word “success” is interesting.

Caballero’s and Leeds’ client was found guilty in that trial.

Yes, the client received the minimum sentence, but the client was found guilty of the crime charged.

Had they had “success”, some might argue that Caballero and Leeds might have won an acquittal for their client. Others might say that even being found guilty of a lesser charge might be considered a “success”.

But alas, Caballero and Leeds weren’t able to manage either. Their client was found guilty of the crime charged. But maybe the defendant thinks the minimum sentence for murder is a consolation prize worth the price of their fee.

The point is, successful impeachment of a witness means the jury did not believe any, or at least some portion of the witness testimony as characterized by a not guilty verdict, or finding guilt of a lesser charge.

Caballero’s and Leed’s client was found guilty.

Despite every effort on the part of Caballero and Leeds, the jury nonetheless believed and affirmed the State's case, finding their client guilty.

Apparently when it came to Shrode’s testimony in that case, there was no finding of “factual errors”.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Brownfield Empire Strikes Back

Lord Brownfield had gone underground for a while but has come back with a vengeance.

The frequent poster on The Strelz Forum, which has now birthed several bloggers, including Yours Truly, who was known for voluminous posts filled with humor and sarcasm has struck out on his own. You can find his blog here. I've also included it in my blog roll at the bottom of my website.

Frankly, it was about time. “Brownie” as he is known in the Strelz circle, usually writes long pieces that take time to sit and digest and don’t really lend themselves to the quick-fire exchanges in the Strelz forum.

As you can see in his most recent posts, he’s learning how to use multimedia and the Force is definitely strong with him. He came out with guns blazing making fun of, well, everyone!

I haven’t laughed that hard reading a local blog since the El Paso Times bought out the El Paso Fake News Blogs in a bloody hostile take-over that is rumored to have cost the El Paso Times dozens of dollars.

(I know, I know, you’re expecting a joke about how the El Paso Times is now in the business of fake news given who’s calling the shots, the quality of a couple reporters, and rumored relationships. But I just won’t do it, it’s too easy. Sometimes a lay-up is enough, you don’t always have to slam dunk.)

The expansion of a business as large as the Brownfield Empire, LLC has caused havoc and a flurry of activity in local politics.

REDCO issued a press release taking credit for the tens of jobs that will be added to the local job market.

The El Paso City Council immediately put several items on the agenda to ensure that it would be more difficult for the Brownfield Empire to actually conduct business in this town, and added a late agenda item to restrict the signage size of the Brownfield logo on his blog.

Rumor has it that three blogs must go down in order for the City to authorize the posting of his blog.

Not to be out done, Jaime O. Perez, Republican candidate for County Judge issued a (yet another) press release condemning city council’s proposed agenda items as unfriendly to business and un-American.

City Rep Steve Ortega then called for a multi-million dollar study on blog logos and street cars and City Rep Susie Byrd introduced a resolution designating House of Pizza the official restaurant of her district.

Mostly out of reflex, County Commissioner Dan Haggerty voted against the study, but Commissioner Veronica Escobar reminded Haggerty that he could only vote “no” on Commissioner’s Court, not at the City. The job of voting “no” at the City belongs to City Rep Eddie Holguin. Escobar then got in to an argument with County Judge Anthony Cobos.

County Commissioner Willie Gandara immediately stepped in to be the peace maker. He awarded everyone, except me, a plaque in a “5-minute” ceremony that lasted 9 hours.

In response to seeing happiness around her, State Rep Norma Chavez then had Sammy C kicked out of the ceremony. That led to another Escobar-Cobos argument.

Prominent lawyers Terry and Stewie then declared that the entire award ceremony was part of an elaborate cover-up and County Judge Anthony Cobos quickly had me locked out of the ensuing press conference.

Larry Medina then showed up because he heard awards were being given out. After not seeing the Mayor play his guitar, he realized he wasn’t being given another Conquistador Award and proceeded to hug everyone in the room and call them carnal or buddy.

Mayor Cook then arrived and awarded Medina another conquistador award for being nice. County Commissioner-elect Sergio Lewis then read some poetry, which led to another Escobar-Cobos argument.

Alejandro Lozano
then arrived with campaign material showing a photoshopped push card with an image of Jesus wearing a t-shirt that says Vote for Lozano for President. Again, Escobar and Cobos argued.

As the event wound down (Gandara still at the podium the entire time except for Sergio Lewis’ poem), Senator Shapleigh arrived to take credit for the closing of Asarco, the acquisition of the Medical Center, improved test scores in EPISD, and Texas becoming a state.

He immediately awarded the Brownfield Empire LLC, an Adelante con Ganas Award. Word on the street is that Brownfield was going to donate his Adelante con Ganas prize money to Rep-Elect Naomi Gonzalez, but she didn’t know how to cash a check that wasn’t from the TLR.

State Rep Marissa Marquez showed up late and left early. State Rep Joe Moody was not in attendance due to the fact that WWE Raw was being filmed in Las Cruces that day.

The El Paso Times reporter on duty filed the following accurate (sarcasm) account of the entire event:

El Paso, Texas - Something, somewhere in El Paso, happened today.

City Gives Leftovers to the Lower Valley

The City of El Paso has decided to throw a bone to the people of the Lower Valley.

Apparently parts of the city are going to get fancy new shading for their bus stops, which is a good thing, especially considering its been hotter than, well a ride on the city bus when the AC breaks down.

The part of town with the highest ridership is the Lower Valley. That’s where Sun Metro makes its money.

There were no plans to give the bus stops in the Valley any new shading. The City recognized an injustice and decided to put on their super hero capes and step in to save the day.

It’s good to know the City has an innate sense of right and wrong.

The City, in their infinite benevolence has decided to correct the situation by ensuring that the Valley will get its pick of the finest left-over shades the city has to offer, ones that are being replaced by the shiny new ones in other parts of town.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hey Milan Simonich, Can You Be More Obvious???

Seriously Captain Obvious, just who do you think you are kidding?

In case you missed it, check out Milan’s column in Sunday’s edition of the El Paso Times. He writes about the medical examiner’s important role.

TC won’t shut up about the Medical Examiner and last week’s meeting of Commissioner’s Court featured some comments by Public Defender Clara Hernandez that alluded to a long rumored relationship between Milan Simonich and Theresa Caballero, as reported by the El Paso Inc.

And now you wrote on article about the issue she can’t stop talking about?

I just think people should know how they roll over at the El Paso Times. Actually not all of the people at the El Paso Times, because most of the people there are ethical, hardworking journalists and it would be unfair to paint them with a broad brush.

Normally, in a sentence like the one I’m about to write, I’d use the word allegedly over and over to make sure I’m clear about what I’m saying.

I don’t need to in this one. This is how Milan rolls.

Earlier this year I wrote to the El Paso Times management inquiring about what I was told by sources within the El Paso Times about an incident involving the changing of a by line. I sent the email before my show started.

By the afternoon, I was contacted by Darren Meritz, a reporter for the El Paso Times at the time, asking me questions. It was meant to be a negative story about me. Like anyone would, I immediately thought it was payback because someone probably thought I was poking my nose where it didn’t belong and wanted to shut me up.

After Meritz had left the Times, I called him and asked about who it was that told him to call me regarding the negative story the Times was attempting to do. His answer, “It was Milan.”

I told him I wouldn’t say anything until after he’d gone on the record about the El Paso Times. He did so in this piece in the El Paso Inc.

When are they gonna right the ship over there at the El Paso Times?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marty's Dilema

I don’t want to pick on the new guy, so I’ll be tactful here.

Hell, who am I kidding, let’s just rip the band aid off.

My question is this, is Marty Schladen of the El Paso Times not reporting county business accurately or is it being edited that way?

Bear with me, because this is complicated and might take a while.

He’s in a tough position. He’s the new guy in town. He has two beats, the City and County. That used to be covered by two reporters and now is covered by one.

I’m sure there is a part of him that wants to please his boss, Milan Simonich.
In a piece in the El Paso Inc. there is an allegation of an alleged relationship between Simonich and TC.

I read a piece in the El Paso Times written by Marty Schladen where he gives a recap of a confrontation between County Judge Anthony Cobos and the Public Defender Clara Hernandez. She had taken issue with the fact that Judge Cobos said he’d lost faith in her performance.

The apparent catalyst of the conversation was an article written by Marty Schladen in Sunday’s Edition of the El Paso Times.

The PD stood up for herself and said that she felt that Cobos was assisting Leeds and Caballero because she felt Cobos was beholden to them politically since they represented him. But perhaps Hernandez’s most interesting revelation was that she would only contact the Times reporter via email because she felt the Times was biased. Here is the audio from that exchange in case you missed it.

She cited the aforementioned El Paso Inc article as her reason for feeling a bias. She followed up by saying she didn’t want to talk to someone from the El Paso Times because of a “very close relationship between Ms. Caballero and someone at the El Paso Times.” The PD expanded by saying, “…and I imagine it’s the truth because no one has denied it...during Ms. Caballero’s campaign the El Paso Times covered the campaign, gave her a lot of media coverage, but never disclosed that such a relationship existed…”

I sent an email to Chris Lopez and the editor at the time inquiring about a tip I received. The tip I received was that there was discussion with management about a possible alleged relationship between Simonich and Caballero. The tip further alleged that Simonich was given a directive to not cover Caballero and subsequently allegedly wrote a piece about Caballero. Simonich allegedly changed the by line to the name of another reporter and the issue came to the attention of management. I was attempting to ascertain the validity of that information and to establish if there was any punitive action on the part of management as a result.

To date, I have received no answer to that email query.

Which brings me back to Schladen. Unfortunately for him, he will now not only have to report the news, he could quite probably become part of the news. He covers the County which means he will at some point end up covering Caballero, which puts him in a bad position because Simonich is his boss and edits his stories.

If you heard my show yesterday, I read Schladen’s recap over the air. Actually not all of it, but most of it. My attention was drawn to one point I found particularly interesting. As you can see here, Schladen paraphrases Hernandez’s critique of the Times and her belief that the Times is bias.

I read the sentence and made the remark that there was a period where there should be a coma. The sentence says, “Hernandez told the commissioner s that a weekend news story about the issue contained ‘misrepresentations,’ and she said the El Paso Times is biased.”

The Times doesn’t tell the whole story. They don’t tell WHY Hernandez feels the El Paso Times is biased.

If you listen to the recording at the bottom of this piece, you can hear everything she says.

The Times article stops at the part where Hernandez mentions an alleged relationship between Caballero and an employee of the Times. The Inc article Hernandez refers to identifies that employee as none other than Schladen’s boss, Milan Simonich.

In my opinion that means that Schladen either left that information out of the piece out of an abundant desire to please his boss, or it was edited out by the very person that is allegedly part of the reason that Hernandez believes there is a bias in favor of Caballero by the El Paso Times.

But I wanted to check with the El Paso Times to be sure and give them an opportunity to tell their side of the story. I submitted several questions to Marty Schladen and CC’d Milan Simonich, Chris Lopez, and the new publisher. Since I didn’t get an answer by the afternoon, I thought I’d call up Schladen.

I introduced myself and told him I was following up about my email. He said, “…I’m not gonna get down in the weeds about some El Paso Inc story. Ya know, I just can’t do it…”
I followed up by asking if the omission of why Hernandez thought the El Paso Times was biased was his call or edited out.

“Yeah, it was my call.” He replied.

Surely the Times isn’t having Simonich edit pieces that have to do with Caballero right? They wouldn’t do that, would they?

Would they?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

TC’s Double Standard

She’s shown her brilliance yet again.

She’s managed to get headlines, grab attention, and take people’s focus off of the issue at hand.

I have to give her credit.

Only TC could make something like this happen.

She completely took the attention away from her client, Judge Regina Arditti and the charges leveled against her, and put the focus on TC’s political rivals. All the while spinning a tale that included an alleged affair, an alleged secret love child, a medical examiner, and more conspiracies than Watergate and the Iran-Contra Affair combined.

I’ve been spit-balling for days trying to figure out how the hell she does it.

What’s worse is I now expect it to happen and it still catches me by surprise. It’s almost like it’s the 80’s all over again and its fourth and goal. The Fridge comes in to the huddle and you just know the ball is coming right behind him. Everyone in the stadium knows it’s coming and even if you stack the line, the Bears are scoring.

And then I figured it out.

The reason she always seems to win (unless an election is involved, she’s still 0-for in that department) is because she plays by different rules than everyone else. And she’s got guts. I hate to admit it, but it’s true. She wouldn’t be able to pull off the magic if she didn’t have guts. Maybe that’s part of her brilliance too.

Here’s what I mean by a different set of rules.

If she’s making a political play, then in my opinion, she can level pretty much any claim she wants at anyone. I sometimes feel like she’s a modern day Don Quixote, only instead of fighting windmills, she’s fighting “corruption”.

Hell, pick your metaphor. Maybe it’s Moby Dick and she’s the Captain searching for the big white whale named “Corruption”, relentlessly pursuing it night and day.

She “crusades” against what she calls corruption. But pointing out the fact that it’s my belief that she’s the one with alleged ties to people allegedly under the shadow of suspicion of alleged malfeasants is somehow out of bounds.

I have made this point before, because several people have pointed it out to me. The only other person that some people I know say is as passionate about fighting “corruption” was former mayor, Ray Caballero, her father. I’ve never met him, but from what I’m told, his pursuit of perceived corruption was the stuff of legend.

For better or worse, I’m a lot like my dad so it stands to reason that she’s a lot like hers.

Hey look there's the apple not falling far from the tree!

I once mistakenly referred to TC and Stuart Leeds as law partners. It’s the only time she’s called my show. She called and told me that they are not law partners and followed by saying, “…so let’s stick to the facts…”

Which is real interesting when you consider that she filed papers in court alleging an affair between District Attorney Jaime Esparza and his secretary and asking for a paternity test of the secretary’s youngest child, all based on “a good faith belief” of what “…employees close to the DA have said…”

That left me scratching my head wondering what the hell happened to “let’s stick to the facts”?

In my opinion, she’s quick to go on the attack, but if she’s challenged she, in my opinion, plays the role of victim. Remember the time I was going to ask her a question at a forum and she was looking for City Rep Emma Acosta to throw her a life preserver?

But let’s take this thing full circle and “stick with the facts”. In documents filed in court, TC alleges that District Attorney Jaime Esparza is himself guilty of nepotism.

I thought of the classic carnival game. Step right up folks; follow the ball under the walnut shell…

So I asked for guidance on just exactly what the State of Texas classifies as Nepotism. I was able to get the same documents that are given to elected officials in Texas when they first take office. There’s a lot of legalese that could bore the paint off of walls, but from what I gathered, it comes down to two types of relation in order to be considered nepotism.

Now mind you, I’m not as smart as big shot lawyers who make significantly more every year from the tax payers of El Paso County than most employees of El Paso County, after all, I have just under two semesters of community college.

But from what I read, any alleged relationship fits neither legal standard, consanguinity nor affinity, to constitute nepotism.

Oh yeah, and another thing. The child doesn’t work for Esparza!

In my opinion, that never mattered. Nepotism was never the point. The point was to get people to stop talking about Judge Arditti and start talking about Esparza.
And it worked.


By the way, management made a decision, so don’t expect to hear TC on Talk Radio 1150.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

JOP Press Release Re: Eddie Holguin

I'm shocked by this press release. I'm cutting and pasting here, directly from JOP!


El Paso, Texas - June 7, 2010 - This is in response to the news that a group of residents is lobbying Rep. Eddie Holguin to run in the State Rep. 76 slot in November.

Jaime O. Perez (R) County Judge Candidate welcomed the news. A candidate of the caliber of Eddie Holguin Jr. is needed to represent the lower valley. His non-partisan voting history and his fiscal conservatism makes him a natural fit for the tea partiers.

Perez said, "I think Repubicans will respect the fact a blue dog Democrat is close enough to their valuesto vote for him. This is particularly so, since there is no Republican in that race."

Warmest Regards,

Jaime O. Perez (R)
County Judge 2011

El Paso County Signs Deed for New Port of Entry

On Monday the El Paso County Commissioner’s Court signed the deed to the land needed for a new Port of Entry in the Lower Valley.

I’m going to get a little cynical here, so let me say the important stuff first.
Overall, this is a good thing for the Lower Valley. The economic impact will be huge and it will create jobs, which is good because based on last year’s numbers, REDCO sure isn’t creating any!

It’s good to see the community that is in most need of the jobs and economic development will finally be getting it. Kudos to Commissioner Gandara for spearheading the project and all the people involved. I’d name them, but Commissioner Gandara spent more than an hour thanking everyone, saying he considers them a close friend, saying he can’t say enough about them (then proving it), and then awarded them all with plaques that look like they were made by tombstone maker in his spare time.

Seriously, everyone without a camera and a mike in the room was given an award. I thought I was at my kids kinder grad…”and now the awards for perfect attendance and macaroni art…”

But the deed signing was not without its controversy. A group of local Republicans came to support a member of the family that owns the land, Steven Luttunich.

I’m not in favor of taking someone’s land for commercial purposes and I’m not exactly 100% easy with the idea of taking something someone worked hard to get for the public good either, but I sort of hold my knows when its done.

But I think both sides can make the case that they are right in this one.

This gets pretty complicated so you’ll need to watch these interviews to get an idea of what the dispute is.

This first video is an exchange between Luttunich and Congressman Ciro Rodriguez. Luttunich told the congressman about the deal, his family, and the fact that the decision of the courts is still in the appeal process. After they are done talking, I started asking a couple of questions of the congressman.

After learning about the allegations of the Luttunich family, I then spoke with Commissioner Gandara to find out about the deal, how long he’s known about controversy, and the benefits of the deal.

Gandara answered as many questions as he could, but suggested I talk to the County Attorney’s Office.

So I did.

Here’s my interview with the attorney in charge of the deal from the CA’s office.

She answered as many questions as she could, but I had a question about the size of the land acquisition.

She referred me to the project manager, who referred me to the PR person, who finally referred me to JD Salins, III who is the Regional Administrator for the GSA.

My question was about the size of the property. It’s over 100 acres, which seems like a lot of land for a port of entry. At over a 100 acres, I was starting to wonder if it was a space port of entry or something, but apparently its not (sorry Stephen Hawking). Here’s my interview with Salinas.

Norma Chavez Still the Queen of Making Friends

Maybe she’s enrolled in the Eliot Shapleigh School of Lame Ducks Struggling for Relevancy (I hear she sits next to Paul Moreno in class) or something, but State Rep Norma Chavez was apparently in great form yesterday at the El Paso County Courthouse.

According to Sammy C, Chavez was trying to get Sammy kicked out of Commissioner Gandara’s office. I know what you’re thinking, why is a State Rep even sticking her nose in the operations of a County Commissioner’s office?

I think there are two reasons. One, because I think she’s used to being in charge and in control. Maybw its a Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland kind of thing? After so many years in office, getting used to the idea of going back to one of us regular people is probably hard to deal with.

The other reason I think is because I’ve been critical of Representative Chavez. I’m betting she’s pissed and from what I’ve observed, she holds a grudge (so do I) and will be mad for a long time. Sorry, not my problem. I calls em like I sees em.

I think Sammy messed up though. I think he should’ve done something that someone should’ve done with Chavez a long time ago, reminded her that he’s a voter in El Paso County, and therefore her boss.

Apparently she booted him out because he’s “media”. Sammy has a blog and is on my show occasionally. He hardly fits the definition of media. He wasn’t breaking any rule or bothering anyone, so he should’ve listened to her.

When I walked in to the Courthouse, Dora Oaxaca, a staffer to Commissioner Gandara walked up to the Sheriff that mans the metal detector in the courthouse and tried to whisper to him to call for a Sheriff to go in to the Commissioner’s Court area.

Yes, a Sheriff was taken away from his duties to ensure that weapons don’t enter the courthouse because Dora Oaxaca and Norma Chavez wanted to make a scene. Sammy was only in Gandara’s office because the event was marking the signing of the deed for the new port of entry.

The owner of the property filed an appeal and the issue of who owns the land is at least partially in court. The landowner wanted to talk to Commissioner Gandara regarding the issue and asked Sammy to accompany him.

This is one of Chavez’ last chances to take credit for something and I’m guessing she didn’t want anything to mess it up.

Sammy, rule number one about blogging: You make the rules, not the elected. As a tax payer, you are their boss, they aren’t yours. Next time turn on your camera and tell her to mind her own business.

Last I checked, she wasn’t in charge of who is a constituent and who is media.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Alfresco Fridays-Fungi Mungle Covers GnR

This is a video of Fungi Mungle playing in El Paso, Texas at the Alfresco Fridays event.

Despite record heat, an organizer told me that Friday might have been a record crowd.

Enjoy the video, there is even a rare sighting of the Lioness.

Friday, June 4, 2010

“…Shut Him Up…!”, Slander & Libel

(The following piece is my opinion and my opinion only. It is based entirely on my good faith belief.)

That’s a quote. And that’s how she rolls.

I’m sick and tired of Theresa Caballero. I’m sick and tired of everyone being afraid of her. I’m sick and tired of her saying and doing anything she wants and no one calls her on her shit.

Let me make this clear to you, her, and everyone else reading: I don’t fear her.
In my opinion Caballero tries to bully and intimidate people in town that don’t agree with her or are critical of her. I believe that if you express a critique or opposition to her, she will apply pressure in order to silence you. I will not succumb to that pressure. I will not be intimidated.

This part isn’t opinion, its fact: Theresa Caballero has made multiple calls to management complaining about me. Her latest call was earlier today.
She left a voicemail that said in part, “…shut him up…”.

Many people have told me that they fear her in any capacity of power because of situations like this. That is of course, their own good faith belief that may or may not reflect the beliefs or fears of any one else.

Personally I am a fan of freedom of speech. I express an opinion that is contrary to hers. I ask publically for her to substantiate the allegations she makes. I believe that my existence annoys her.

I sometimes feel like I am the only one in town with the balls to stand up to her.
I won’t be silenced. I have a right to express my good faith belief. I didn’t serve my country to allow someone else to try to silence me. I’ve earned my right to speak up and plan on exercising it.

Now many have asked the question, does Caballero put herself in a dangerous position in terms of slander/libel because of her assertion in court documents about DA Jaime Esparza being guilty of nepotism and having a child with his secretary.

Because Caballero’s allegations are part of a court proceeding, they are protected.

Essentially if it is connected to a court case, she can say whatever she wants to say and not worry about being sued over it because it’s part of a court case.

Which is interesting considering some of my critiques of her on my show stem from the fact that I alluded to an alleged connection between Caballero and some people who have allegedly been implicated in an alleged court case, allegedly.

Sounds like the same protections she enjoys are also extended to yours truly. I love our judicial system!

All I know is this, you can’t seriously expect to have your cake and eat it too. You can’t possibly think that you can enjoy an easy ride from Strelzin not challenging anything you say and asking questions like “I gotta ask you, what’s your favorite color?” and “Have you done something different with your hair?” and expect no one to critique you.

Some people might think that she was waiting for the opportunity to present itself where she would be able to allege something scandalous about Esparza, like a secret love child, and enjoy shelter from legal recourse.

Still others might point out the fact that she seems to be pretty adept at leveling outlandish allegations like a secret love child belonging to a political rival, or allegations leveled against a reporter who has been critical of Caballero in the past, but seems to have thin skin with anyone challenges her.

It’s an interesting critique and one we should watch as the situation continues to develop.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sanchez & Jones Trial Delay Until 2011

An unopposed motion to delay the trial until next March was granted by Judge Frank Montalvo in the public corruption case involving District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez and Luther Jones.

I’m not a big shot lawyer like Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds, but they said something on yesterday’s edition of El Paso on the Move with Paul Strelzin that I found pretty interesting. I’m paraphrasing here but essentially they said that the delay doesn’t bode well for the prosecution because of the delay and that if they had their case together they wouldn’t need a delay.

Before you all start nodding in agreement, let me point something out. It was the defense teams that requested the delay and the reason the requested the delay is because there is a large quantity of evidence including phone calls, emails, text messages, and computer files.

The real threat to the prosecution’s case, and this is something Caballero and Leeds didn’t mention, is the fact that there is a case in front of the Supreme Court involving deprivation of honest services that could have great implications in the Sanchez/Jones case.