Monday, August 30, 2010

Tricky Ricky

Looks like Rick Armendariz is going to quarterback Dee Margo's Spanish-language media outreach.

Armendariz is a political operative in town known to not really be tied to a political idealogy or persuasion and has worked with Democrats and Republicans in the past.

Armendariz recently worked with State-Rep Elect Naomi Gonzalez who defeated long-time State Rep Norma Chavez in the last election and he previously did work for Chavez as well.

He was also the name that the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats organized under when they first organized as a proprietorship.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Perry, Punches, & Putin

I guess this piece is more of a critique of the Bill White campaign than it is a critique of Governor Rich Perry.

What I find frustrating about Bill White, and why I think he’s going to lose is that I think he’s peaked too soon.

From The Lion Star Blog

There was a time when a few polls in the state of Texas made this race look like it was winnable for Bill White, the Democratic Party nominee.

White was originally going to run for Senator and eventually shifted gears to retool his campaign toward a shot at the governor’s mansion.

But after an initial buzz after defeating Farouk Shami, Bill White’s campaign seems to have lost some steam. The bulk of his campaign leadership seems to be a younger group of campaign workers.

From The Lion Star Blog
Maybe that’s why they appear to have missed a great opportunity to capitalize on the naked stupidity of Governor Perry. The governor made a remark recently in which he gave both Pinocchio of the guy who lies from Saturday Night Live a run for their money. Perry mentioned car bombs going off in El Paso.

Unless he’s talking about someone sitting at a traffic light with bad gas after a big meal at Avila’s, the Governor is lying.

How the hell does the Bill White campaign let the Governor of the State of Texas off the hook for impugning the reputation of one of the largest cities in Texas? How do they let Perry make such a stupid remark about the safest city in the very state in which he governs?

Maybe the young guns over at the Bill White campaign think they can Twitter or Facebook their way to victory.

Warning…here’s one of my boxing analogies again:

The biggest disappointment about the El Paso car bomb remark is the fact that it was exactly what the Bill White campaign appears to be waiting for…a chance at a knock-out punch. The Bill White campaign at this point looks like Mike Tyson at the end of his career, a guy that is past his prime and is willing to eat a lot of leather in order to swing wildly in the desperate hope that he will land that one magic blow.

The Bill White campaign will lose because they haven’t been throwing the jab. The most humble of all punches in boxing, but ask any fighter and they will tell you it’s the most important one.

Rick Perry knocked off Kay Bailey Hutchison essentially by jabbing her to death. He pressed her every day. Press release after press release in a pace that would’ve made even Senator Shapleigh’s offices a little jealous. Even if nothing meaningful landed, he kept Hutchison off her game and on the defensive the entire race, just like a really good jab is supposed to do.

He jabbed his opponent and won on points.

In the case of the fairy-tale car bomb, the Bill White campaign didn’t miss the knock-out punch, they never threw the damn thing!

From The Lion Star Blog

And thanks to the spoiled opportunites, Governor Perry will go down in Texas history with a unique distinction…he’s been the man in charge in Texas longer than Vladimir Putin was the man in charge of Russia.

Sorry, I know I should’ve finished this piece with an analogy involving Rocky and Ivan Drago, but I guess I missed the punch…

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anita Blair Passes Away

Former State Representative Anita Blair passed away today following complications with her heart.

The 92 year-old former legislator was a pioneer for women in politics in the state of Texas.

Tune in to The Strelz this afternoon at 4pm for more details and a rememberance of the life and times of Anita.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Interesting Facts About August From My Uncle Bernie

My Uncle Bernie sends me really good emails, mostly jokes.

He sent this one this morning I thought I'd share with the rest of the class.

This August has 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays, 5 Tuesdays, all in one month. It happens once in 823 years. I'll probably miss the next one."

Gotta love my Uncle Bernie...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tim Collins to Appear on Congressional Ballot

From The Lion Star Blog

Tim Collins has been actively soliciting signatures to try to get his name on the ballot for the November Congressional Election for a couple of months now. Today Collins collected the last few confirmed signatures needed to appear as a write-in candidate on the ballot.

He will be facing the incumbent Democratic Congressman Sylvestre Reyes and Republican nominee Tim Besco.

Collins' efforts may be in vain. The State of Texas allows a spot for write-in candidates on the ballot, but requires the candidate to get a certain amount of valid signatures before the votes for a write-in candidate will be counted as votes.

Had his actual name appeared on the ballot, I think there was a real chance for him to received more votes than the Republican candidate Tim Besco.

KO on the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque"

I think this is one of the best responses to the discussion of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gilbert Sanchez Contemplating Next Election

From The Lion Star Blog
Gilbert Sanchez is making no secret about the fact that he is considering another run for political office.

Sanchez has openly discussed running for City Council and County Commissioner's Court.

A run a city hall would put him up against City Rep V. Rachel Quintana, if she chooses to run for re-election, or a large field of candidates that many on the eastside are predicting to surface.

A run at County Commissioner's Court would pit Sanchez against Commissioner Anna Perez.

A run in a field of candidates for the city rep seat is the better play for Sanchez because he's used to that type of campaign and has the family support needed to gather the most amount of votes and end up in a run-off.

From The Lion Star Blog
A run against Perez is probably not a good idea because Perez has already shown herself to be more than capable of beating an opponent with baggage. Its way too soon for Sanchez to jump in a race like that.

Even if Sanchez beats the rap, which I think he will, he will still have to deal with the court of public opinion.

They passed their verdict a long time ago in his case and its off to the gallows.

From The Lion Star Blog

Weigh in with your own thoughts on Sanchez. Take the new poll on your right.

Norma Chavez...Still Making Friends

According to people who attended the redistricting hearing earlier this week indicate that State Representative Norma Chavez had another "incident".

From The Lion Star Blog
Apparently Chavez was late to the event and State Rep Joe Pickett publically recognized her. Perhaps she didn't hear the part where witnesses say Pickett called her "Representative" but Chavez apparently snapped at him in front of the attendees saying something along the lines of, I'm still a state representative until November.

I also acquired a copy of an email that she sent out to what is left of the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats' membership.

The following is a selection of highlights from the email along with some additional commentary on my part:

"Quick update, we will NOT be having our meeting today with Representative Roberto Alonzo as was planned."

Wow, I'm shocked.

"I have been in communication with the state leadership regarding several issues brought up by three previous members of the executive board regarding organized structure and status. Rep. Alonzo had to return to Dallas earlier than expected but he has offered to come to a meeting as we clarify and recharter the local chapter."

Sure he did.

"I would like to confirm that Willie Gandara Sr., Dora Oaxaca, and Alfredo Longorio resigned from the board. I would like to personally thank Mayor Gandara for his courtsey and professionalism regarding his resignation. He is the only resignation I have formally received as he did it in person at a meeting we had to discuss the future of MAD."

This is typical of Representative Chavez. Even when she is trying to sound gracious, she has to let loose an insult to someone else. If she is only the Treasurer, then why would anyone even need to formally resign to her? The protocol would be for the individuals to resign to the Chair, which is what was done.

"He indicated his interest in remaining in a El Paso MAD chapter as it is re-chartered."

But doesn't want to be chair anymore?

"I have received text messages and read articles in blogs that have confirmed the resignations of Ms. Oaxaca and Mr. Longoria. To date I have yet to see the described letters. Their public notice on the blog is sufficient evidence to determine termination of their elected positions and membership."

Again, she's the Treasurer, why is she speaking like she's the Chair?

"Several issues have been raised. Namely that Camino Real MAD was set up as a sole proprietorship. This is accurate."

Thanks, that's what I wrote.

"However, other accusations made are false. I will provide more detail in a follow up email."

If they are false, why wait? And what specific allegations are false? Who made the allegations?

"The organization is under reorganization under the guidance of Texas MAD, our state chapter."

If they were organized the right way to begin with, would they even need to re-organize?

"I want to inform you that other Democratic organizations are not non-profit organizations, if they are their legal status requires that they not endorse (we are a political organization endorsing is part of our bylaws), and their are those other organizations that we could not find in county, state, or federal public records."


"Although, a former member has asked that MAD not be included in any Unity activities, you are more than encouraged to participate in any and all activities of UNITY 2010 and Democratic candidates. We are a Democratic political organization, not a social organization, it is in our bylaws to support all activities of the Democratic Party. It is our duty to remain involved. Many of you already are involved in various campaigns.

We are working to expedite the local chapter re-charter as many of you have indicated your desire to remain active in a MAD organization in El Paso."

In other words, she's trying to get the paperwork right.

"If you would like to be a charter member or are interested in rejoining after our formal re-charter, please respond to this email your interest and you will remain on the email list. If you are not, your lack of response will remove you from the email list, or you can email that you are not interested."

Sas! Norma being Norma.

"I will provide a more thorough email in the near future.

Norma Chavez
State Representative District 76"

Jose Rodriguez Forum

Slideshow of J-Rod's Forum on Employment and Economic Development.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Camino Real MAD DBA Status Now Inactive

I checked the county records and I noticed that all of the names that were listed as the proprietors for the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats have now had their status changed to Inactive.

This is a recent development because previously the organization had two names that were active.

Click this link to see the actual status.

Internal Email from the EPMPOA

I have a feeling this is going to be a big deal. As you can see, there is some internal dispute about the leadership of the El Paso Municipal Police Officer's Association over their bargaining with the city.

Watch Canal 26 tonight at 10 for some more information about collective bargaining and how it can be taken away. The brown stinky stuff is gonna hit the fan!

From: Holguin, Robert
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2010 3:49 PM

EPMPOA Members,

As an association, we are in dyer need of unity. This unity needs to start with our present EPMPOA board. We are one and we should act and be treated as such.

There is no magic solution that will allow a new start and ignore the situation at hand, we must work with what we have. As an association we must work on our relationship with Chief Allen, Joyce Wilson, every member of the El Paso City Council, and our own command staff before it is too late and damaged beyond repair.

Impeachment of our present EPMPOA President may not be the answer, though many believe this. Lets repair the damage that has been caused immediately and cross the other bridges as necessary. The EPMPOA needs to form a new negotiation team that has our members' confidence right now and start working with the City ASAP. After negotiating, if we (all of the members of our association) are not content with the outcome, we simply vote against it. With this being done, the City can never truthfully claim that the EPMPOA refused to resolve this situation.


Bobby Holguin #1277

JOP Interview

I interviewed JOP on a new story that is going to be run questioning the timing of his campaign activities during traditional work hours. I also had a chance to ask him questions on a few other issues as well.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

El Paso LNRC Issues Statement on Reid; Silent on Opponent...

From The Lion Star Blog
The El Paso chapter of the Latino National Republican Coalition issued a statement to the media today calling for Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) resignation as Majority Leader in the Senate because of comments he made questioning why Latinos would be members of the Republican Party.

"The El Paso Latino National Republican Coalition finds the comments made by Harry Reid on a campaign stop in Nevada to be racialist and demeaning to the Hispanic Community. For many years Hispanics have been a part of the Republican Party not only in El Paso but nationally as well and the numbers have been steadily growing as more and more Hispanics find themselves being over taxed, don't want big government and are tired of working hard so others can live off of social programs. For Harry Reid to even think that all Hispanics should think a certain way only feeds into the stereotype that all Hispanics should also all look a certain way and should all talk a certain way. His comments should not be taken lightly as Mr. Reid has a history of making racially charged statements. We ask that the Senate Majority Leader step down as his actions are not those of someone who should be leading. "

Reid is running for re-election in Nevada, a state that has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the United States.

Many have critiqued Senator Reid's push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform as political pandering to the Latino electorate of Nevada. Others in the Latino community of Nevada have pressured Reid's office saying the Senate Majority Leader hasn't done enough for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Interestingly, Senator Reid's opponent has also come under fire from the Latino community recently for issueing a media black-out to the Spanish language media of Nevada.

Nevada CBS affiliate 8 News Now, reports: "While Democrat Harry Reid's campaign actively pursues Hispanic media interviews, Spanish language broadcasters and newspapers say they're getting shut out by Republican Sharron Angle's campaign.

Hispanic media journalists are tracking the Senate campaign alongside their English language colleagues. But the editor of Spanish language newspaper El Tiempo says in 30 years, he's never experienced such a shutout as his team is getting from Angle's campaign.

"We never receive information, press releases, information on the place for talking with the community. Nothing," said Editor in Chief Hernando Amaya."

They also got comment from Spanish language radio as well.

"Miguel Barrientos with KLAV-AM says calls to the Angle campaign go unanswered for weeks, leaving Hispanic media outlets at a loss to inform the community about the issues that affect them.

In contrast, Angle campaign spokespeople give statements and issue press releases to English language reporters. Amaya feels ignored by the campaign.

"For us, it's very important that a candidate, Sharron Angle, and other candidates talk with our reporters," he said.

Hispanic voters in Clark County trend to the Democrats. But 7,000 out of 24,000 Hispanic voters went Republican in the last off-year election. Keeping them informed and willing to turn out on election day could be the key, something Senator Reid has on his mind."

Senator Reid says his campaign office has a different position from that of his Republican opponent. Again, from 8 News Now: ""I do a call with Hispanic media every three or four weeks, just with Hispanic media. I include Hispanic media in every event that I do. Why? Because they're a part of modern day media. Why shouldn't I," he said."

The Angle campaign now says that they want her message out to all Nevada voters and will being reaching out to all media outlets, English and Spanish language.

Angle's last media event was Monday, and Hispanic media outlets were not invited.

Sammy Carrejo, El Paso LNRC Chairman was surprised by his party's candidate's exclusion of Hispanic media.

"Why would she want to do that? That's not a smart move. You would think she's embrace the Spanish speaking community...there's good strategy and bad strategy and each candidate has a right to choose which one they use. A good strategy would be to be more inclusive rather than exclusive."

When asked if his organization would be issueing a statement critical of Angle's posture towards Hispanic media, Carrejo

"I don't see a statement coming, but we'll take a look at the rest of the facts and issue a statement if we see one is necessary."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GOP Grand Opening Slideshow

Didn't get to take too many photos because I was interviewing people but here are a few.

New Poll

I just posted a new poll here on the LSB. Look to your right, its a poll about the future of Norma Chavez's career.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interview with Francisco "Quico" Canseco

I visited with Francisco "Quico" Canseco yesterday. He was in town campaigning and made a stop by the El Paso County Republican Party's grand opening of their new headquarters.

Interview with Chris Antcliff

I intereviewed Chris Antcliff yesterday at the grand opening of the new headquarters building for the Republican Party.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Watch for Some Spin

From The Lion Star Blog
I’m betting the spin cycle goes in to full gear regarding the resignations from Camino Real Mexican American Democrats starting at around 4:00 this afternoon.

I’ve seen a bit of what is being sold to the public as far as spin goes already and I gotta tell ya, they aren’t doing a very good job!

So let me lay out some important things that really can’t be disputed (from what I can see so far). I apologize in advance for a lot of direct quotes here, but I wanted to be very specific).

On page 2 of the Campaign Finance Guide for Political Committees, “a political committee that meets any one of the descriptions set out below is a general purpose committee.”

Several scenarios are laid out but the one that fits Camino Real MAD is actually used as an example. “A political committee that supports candidates who are members of a particular political party is a general-purpose political committee…”

Which would then lead to the section on page 4 titled Filing an Appointment of Campaign Treasurer. “A group becomes a political committee by its actions, not by filing an appointment of campaign treasurer. A political committee must have a campaign treasurer appointment on file, however before it may engage in certain activity.”

If you follow this link, you will see that there is no treasurer on file for Camino Real Mexican American Democrats, Camino Real MAD, El Paso MAD, or any other variation of the name.

Which is interesting because the next session (also on page 4)called, $500 Thresholds for Filing a Campaign Treasurer Appointment says, “Neither a general-purpose committee nor a specific-purpose committee may accept political contributions that total more than $500 without first filing a campaign treasurer appointment. This is a one-time threshold, not an annual threshold.”

Sources familiar with the organization’s finances say that the organization has collected thousands of dollars in contributions since its creation in El Paso.

I’d also draw your attention back to that link for treasurers and you will see that the Paso Del Norte Chapter of the Tejano Democrats is also missing a filing for a treasurer.

That leads to the section titled, Expenditures by general-purpose committee. “A general-purpose committee may not knowingly make political expenditures that exceed $500 unless it has had its campaign treasurer appointment on file with the Ethics Commission for at least 60 days and has accepted contributions from at least 10 persons.”

Sources say that the organization has spent much more than $500 in political expenditures since its creation.

So what does this all mean?

Well, I am still working on the details here, but there are some rather ominous consequences outlined in the Campaign Finance Guide for Political Committees that you should be aware of.

The section on page 6 titled, Qualifications of Campaign Treasurer states, “A political committee should consider its choice of a campaign treasurer carefully because the treasurer is responsible for fulfilling the duties described in the following section. The committee should also be sure that the treasurer is aware that he or she may be subject to fines or criminal penalties for failure to fulfill those duties. “

Among the duties outlined in the section are “Keeping records.” And “Filing reports. The campaign treasurer must file the political committee’s reports of contributions and expenditures…No action by the filing authority is necessary to trigger the requirement to file reports of contributions and expenditures. Failure to file or late filing may subject the treasurer to fines or possibly even criminal penalties…”

The Camino Real Mexican American Democrats’ current Treasurer is out-going State Representative Norma Chavez and the previous Treasurer is out-going State Representative Norma Chavez.

More to come...

Political Writers Wanted

From The Lion Star Blog

The Lion and The Juice are working on a special joint project together. We are putting aside our periodic spats to work on this because we want to encourage more local discussion about politics and current events and in that spirit we are putting together a team of writers.

This will be open to anyone who would like to contribute. So if you've ever wanted to have a weekly submisssion of information or editorial, now is your chance.

All political view points are welcomed and we are getting to launch very soon. Deadline for the first edition is Wednesday, so get writing!

Feel free to contact us with your submission, or the contact info of someone you know who might be interested. You can contact me at or contact David K at

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More Confirmations from Former MAD Leadership

Another member of the executive committee of the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats has come forward to confirm their departure from the group.

Dora Oaxaca, Vice Chair of the organization and a senior staffer to County Commissioner (and future congressional hopeful) Willie Gandara Jr.

“I am confirming our resignation from MAD”, Oaxaca stated. Oaxaca went on to elaborate that their (hers and Willie Gandara Sr) centered on the revelation that the organization had been formed as a sole proprietorship.

Upon being asked about taxes and reporting requirements Oaxaca replied, “Those are some of the issues and questions that we have.”


I wanted to clarify a couple of issues that I’ve written about. First, when I stated that Alfredo Longoria worked for Reps Chavez and Marquez, I was talking about doing campaign volunteer work. He was not, nor did I state as such, employed by either candidate.

Another point of clarification I wanted to make was that it is possible that the reason that Rick Armendariz was no longer the proprietor could have been because he became a lobbyist at one point and lobbyists have lots of rules they have to comply with.

Yet more questions

If you are wondering what requirements Camino Real MAD has for filing and reporting, you are not alone. I checked with the Secretary of State’s Office and MAD is not registered as a Political Action Committee. However, some other chapters of MAD are listed as PACS.

To be fair, neither is the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats, something I wrote about several months ago when they made a contribution to Naomi Gonzalez, Brian Haggerty, and Norma Favela. Favela and Haggerty did not cash the checks and I’m not sure what Gonzalez’s final decision on that issue was.

Here is the Texas Campaign Finance Guide for Political Committees if you want to check it out for yourself.

I am wondering if the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats is even officially affiliated with the state organization at this point. I tried finding information on the state website for the Mexican American Democrats of Texas, but quite frankly, its not an updated website.

The next meeting of the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats was scheduled for Monday, however it has been postponed for a week because the leadership from the state MAD was supposed to be in town to address the membership.

Something else to watch out for…

Frequently when local leaders find themselves in a political bind, they often fight back in message forums and blogs via comments. Often they will attack the people involved, the people who wrote about it, or whomever else is their perceived enemy at the moment as a way of taking attention away from the situation they find themselves in. They often will create a false internet “identity” to engage in their internet subterfuge.

I know, its juvenile, pointless, and vindictive, but it happens nonetheless. This is an issue that I deal with on a regular basis. It would not surprise me in the least bit if it happens again, if it hasn’t happened already.

U R Not My Friend, Part 2

Apparently there has already been some fallout from the recent developments in the world of social networking. Alfredo Longoria has been de-friended (or un-friended, whatever is correct) by Representative Chavez, but not before she left him a parting remark.

"My parents are very disappointed in your actions. Good luck to you! Goodbye"

More on Rep Chavez and Camino Real MAD Leadership Resignations

There is more to what I posted but I am in the process of digging around and getting some background from attorneys in terms of process before I write the rest, so stay tuned.

A quick search of county records does show that the organization is registered as a proprietorship. This link shows that the group was first organized under Ricardo Armendariz. More commonly known as Rick Armendariz. He's a political consultant here in El Paso and is known for working on campaigns regardless of political affiliation. He recently ran Gus Haddad's bid for Mayor and has done some political work for State Representative Norma Chavez in the past. I wrote about a mailer that was done by Armendariz for Chavez a couple years back and a similar design was done for her opponent, State Representative-Elect Naomi Gonzalez, who recently defeated Chavez.

This link shows an active registration under the name ANIBAL HIDALGO OLAGUE and lists an eastside address.

This link shows an active registration under the name LUIS MANUEL RUIZ. Its the most recent one on file with El Paso County. Luis is a former candidate for City Council and Lily Ruiz's brother. Both of the Ruiz's had a fall out with Representative Chavez over the last year, with Lily Ruiz's fallout coming in the closing days of the run-off campaign that Chavez lost to Gonzalez.

There are some indications that Chavez's response to this issue may be to charachterize the recent events as a "re-organization" rather than a resignation of all the executive committee.

There are indications that some of the remaining officers in the organization may also soon resign.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Member Confirms Resignation of MAD Executive Committee

From The Lion Star Blog
A member of the Executive Committee of the newly-elected Camino Real Mexican American Democrats confirms that most of the officers and all of the Executive Committee with the exception of State Representative Norma Chavez, have resigned from MAD.

Alfredo Longoria, the Secretary of the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats says he turned in his resignation in writing last week to the newly-elected Chairman (and Mayor of Socorro) Willie Gandara Sr.

Longoria also confirmed that the Chair and Vice-Chair Dora Oaxaca (senior staffer of County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr.)also resigned.

Though not specific as to why he resigned, Longoria did state that he felt the organization had "...been mismanaged over the last 8 years..."

Longoria also said something that may shed some light on his reasons for leaving the organization. He said, "...I felt defrauded. I gave MAD my money and it was spent on other purposes..."

Longoria has been active in the El Paso Democratic Party for a few years now working on campaigns including State Representative Norma Chavez and State Representative Marisa Marquez.

A source close to the situation that spoke only on the condition of anonymity was more specific. "It was recently revealed that the organization was created as sole proprietorship instead of as a non-profit...other clubs in town are non-profits and we were all under the impression that we were as well...we have questions about whether or not taxes have been paid and what reporting needs to be done..."

Chavez was previously the organizations Chair and in 2008 she stepped down and Lily Ruiz was elected Chair. At that point, Chavez became the group's Treasurer. Chavez was recently re-elected Treasurer.

More to follow...

(Editor's Note: I was previously a member of Camino Real MAD and joined in 2008 during the Presidential election. I resigned earlier this year due to the way the MAD endorsement process in the most recent election was conducted.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wow...I'm Speechless.

I know I spend a lot of time making fun of my own party, especially here in town, so every once in a while its nice to laugh at the other team.

Here's a video of a Republican candidate for Governor of Tennessee. Suddenly Rick Perry doesn't seem all that bad, lol.

BTW, it was a Republican who brought it to my attention so props to his sense of humor.

Video: Obama Celebration

In case you didn't get a chance to attend the Obama celebration last night here some video of the event.

Conservatives on the Wrong Side of Social Justice

I've made this point over the last few months about how the conservatives in this country have been on the wrong side of just about every social justice issue this country has faced since the end of slavery.

Sometimes I'm not as articulate as I'd like to be on a particular issue, but I found someone who makes my point pretty clearly. I took this video last year, but the message strikes home now just as then.

El Paso Dems Gather to Celebrate Obama's Birthday

I think I stepped out of the room when they sang Las Mananitas to the Commander-in-Chief, but last night's gathering of El Paso Democrats had all the feel of a birthday party.

I know, a birthday party for Obama sounds cheesy. I agree.

But it was more of an opportunity to get Dems together and start the big push toward November.

Turnout was about what I expected, a mix of party regulars, African-Americans, candidates and electeds. (Quick side note: It disappoints me when electeds do drive-by appearances, duck in, get some pats on the back, and then they are out.)

Conspicuously absent were the PDN Tejanos and their leadership. A couple of them were there, but their leadership was AWOL. With most of the other Dem leaders in attendance, their absence was noticable. The question I have is was it because it was an Obama event, was it because they are uncomfortable with Black people, or was it because of personal issues/rivalries with Black El Paso Democrats Chair Don Williams?

It certainly didn't speak of Democratic Party "UNITY". I think they want UNITY on their terms, meaning we should all have UNITY when they say/want it but its not reciprocated.

The other observation I had was one I think can be fixed. Though they were in the same building, I saw very little interaction between raza and African-Americans. I think both crowds seemed uncomfortable with the other. I don't think in this community that there is enough interaction between the communities and I'm concerned about it. I don't want it to be the case where Obama events get seen as "Black" events.

Obviously the first step towards rectifying that issue is to get them all in the same building more often. The communities have to become more comfortable with one another. Instead of an unfortunate rivalry between the communities, we need to realize that we have much more in common than we do differences.

Given the political rhetoric from the right/conservatives/Repulcans/Tea Partiers since the election of Obama and now the emerging debate on immigration, matters of race are becoming more and more of the discussion. We don't have time to have beef with each other right now.

Having gone to high school in Phoenix where most African-Americans attended (although raza was still the majority), and having served in the United States Army, I've been around the African-American community, but a lot of people from El Paso haven't really had that much interaction and there is a noticeable level of discomfort between the communities here in town.

I've learned from Carl Robinson's campaign and the Obama campaign that there are alot of African-Americans in this town that vote, mostly Democratic, but they are not seen in the local Democratic Party scene.

Far more African-Americans attend Obama events than attend Democratic Party functions. Other than the BEPD Chair, I don't think I've seen that club's leadership at party events or functions.

Latinos make up the majority of the Party in this town and do the lion's share of the work, but if African Americans showed up to more Dem events and shared some of the load, it would go a long way toward building relantionships between the communities.

And raza needs to be willing to extend our hand and make them feel welcome, especially considering there seems to be a conserted effort against people of color lately. We are all in this together.

Obama says "Yes we can".
Cesar Chavez said "Si se puede".

There is common ground to build on.

Imagine how much things could be better if Don Williams, Mirian Spencer, and Sissy Byrd weren't the only to active African-Americans in the party...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More Things Wrong with the El Paso Democratic Party

I could go on and on about this topic for days, but I'll restrict my current critiques to just a couple of areas.

At some point I am going to write about the fact that we are the "Democratic stronghold of the state of Texas" but people don't "need" the party to win elections in this town. In fact, most of the people in town that have won elections lately aren't party regulars, so its pretty sad that the party is largely irrelevant in elections when we are the "Democratic stronghold of the state of Texas".

But here are two problems with our local Democratic Party.

#1-The website. What the hell? The site is fugly and many parts are not updated or functional. Click here to see what I mean. By comparison, check out the Republicans' website.

They kick our ass.

A good website should be clean, easy to navigate, intuitive, and updated regularly. I will volunteer myself and a team to help with this if necessary.

#2-El Paso's answer to Vladimir Putin.

We have two of them.

From The Lion Star Blog
Blanche Darley and Norma Chavez. For those of you that don't know what I mean, Vladimir Putin was the head vato in charge in Russia and was term limited. Despite the fact that he was term limited, he retains a large amount of power in government simply by changing his title.

So even though he's not the boss, he's still sort of the boss.

From The Lion Star Blog
The PDN Democrats always have Blanche Darley in their leadership structure and the Camino Real Mexican American Democrats have Norma Chavez who continues to, and probably always will, hold an officer position in the club and absolutely runs the organization. The two clubs have an intense rivalry (actually mostly just Blanche and Norma) that hasn't been seen since Tupac and Biggie.
From The Lion Star Blog

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

JOP on Repeal of 14th Amendment

I don't always agree with Jaime O. Perez, infact we are usually on the opposite side of almost every issue that comes to mind. But he sent out this press release and I think he's right on this one.

Mr. Perez said, "The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, granted citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," including slaves.

The Constitution should be left alone. John McCain stated, "I believe that the Constitution is a strong, complete and carefully crafted document that has successfully governed our nation for centuries.." He is correct.

Tinkering with the Constitution in the modern day vitriolic and toxic political environment can only bring hurt to our nation.

The spirit behind the move to tinker with the Constitution is, regrettably, born of bigotry. Recognizing this will go a long way towards thwarting any attempts to modify the constitution.

We must secure our borders and fix the immigration problem through thoughtful compromise and pursue what is in the best interests of our nation. As Americans, we must not open the door for tinkering with the constitution. Once opened, the tinkering will continue at the hands of those on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Short term political strategies can result in long-term and irreparable damage to our democracy."

Commissioner Perez Speaks About Judicial Appointment

From The Lion Star Blog
Rumor killer time.

This one has spread like wild fire at the County Courthouse. County Commissioner Anna Perez is not seeking a judicial appointment to replace Judge Alvarez.

I have plenty of direct quotes, but I'll be honest, I left my notebook at home so I don't have the quotes on me right now. I'll post the actual quotes tonight, but here's what she said in a nutshell.

She's not going to pursue the post, despite the fact that some people have approached her and encouraged her to do so. Some people have gone so far as to tell her that Judge Alvarez would support her for the position.

Perez says she has a job to do as county commissioner and very much enjoys being a county commissioner. She also said that a judicial post is a retirement job and not something she's looking at right now.

She didn't close the door on the possibility of pursuing a judicial post at a later date, but its not something she's looking at now.

The rumors, which I've now heard from 5 different people at the courthouse, also involve a common idea that Perez would pursue the position because she needs the money. Perez, the only attorney on commissioner's court, says that while she's taken a pay cut over the last couple of years, that she, her husband EPCC Trustee Art Fierro, and their daughter are "comfortable" and are "not hurting" financially.

I'm not sure why this one took such a solid root because it really doesn't make sense when you think about it. If Perez took a judicial position, that would mean she's have to resign from the seat that she just won in 2008. Aside from pissing off a lot of voters, County Judge Anthony Cobos would appoint her replacement.

Raise your hand if you think Cobos will appointment someone to replace her that will be someone Perez would like to see fill her seat.

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Riddle Me This...

From The Lion Star Blog
Think about all the people that have taken a role in fighting Asarco and continuing the struggle for the clean-up of the site, etc.

What names come to mind? Senator Shapleigh, Bill Addington, City Council, and a host of others.

But for some reason, this didn't occur to me until very recently. What name have you not heard but would expect to?

From The Lion Star Blog
How about the State Rep that represents that area? State Representative Marissa Marquez. I've been checking around and it turns out that no one, so far, can remember Marquez having a presence at any event relating to Asarco.

I just thought that was an interesting set of circumstances.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Podcasts Have Arrived

Okay, took me a while, but here are podcasts of some of my previous shows. In the future, just look for the audio archive link on the right hand side. Click on the link and it will take you directly to my podcast archive and you can select the podcast you want to listen to.

From The Lion Star Blog

July 19th, 2010

July 20th, 2010

July 21st, 2010

July 23rd, 2010

July 26th, 2010

July 27th, 2010

July 28th, 2010

July 29th, 2010

New Poll

I just posted a new poll. Just look to your right and you'll see the poll. Weigh in and tell us who you think should be the next Chair of the El Paso Democratic Party.

The Power of the Precinct Chair

(This is a long one, so strap in)

In a very meaningful way, El Paso County Democratic Precinct Chairs may end up making a couple of key decisions this year that you should know about.

I’ve written previously about the PC’s nominating a replacement for a judge if the vacancy occurs before August 19th, 2010.

They also could’ve picked the nominee for one of the Justice of the Peace Courts as well, but I’ll get to that later.

I will admit, this piece is more of an inside baseball thing for the Democratic Party, so not all of you will find this of interest, but you should at the very least understand the process and how things work in this town considering the cast of characters involved.

The El Paso County Democratic Party Chair is Danny Anchondo. Anchondo is a guy that has been eyeing a seat on the bench for quite some time now. As I previously mentioned, he would like to be the person to fill a vacancy should one arise on the bench. According to at least one member of Commissioner’s Court, he’s openly asked for a commitment of support for the appointment. A source at the County Courthouse confirmed that he was there to meet with Commissioner Gandara today, though there was no indication as to why he was wanting to speak with Commissioner Gandara.

Back when Jose Rodriguez resigned as County Attorney to run for State Senate sources within the Democratic Party and at the Courthouse say that Anchondo was seeking appointment as the interim County Attorney.

One of the critiques that has plagued Anchondo’s term as chair has been allegations that he’s not fair to those in the minority. That being said, there has been no other Democratic Party Chair in recent history in this county that has had to take on the job Anchondo has. Like him or not, it was a tough job to oversee the El Paso County Convention and the State Convention during the Presidential election.

Since there has been discussion that Anchondo might end up on the bench, or as at least expressed his desire to be there, lets entertain a discussion about who would replace him as County Chair.

If you were to ask yourself who you think might be someone who would naturally want to step up to be the next Chair, what names would come to mind.

The first name that came to my mind was his long-time political ally, Yolanda Clay. But given Clay’s relation to her uncle and aunt (Paul Moreno & Blanche Darly) and several incidents of political infighting, along with low name ID outside of Democratic Party powdered wigs, it’s doubtful that Clay could win a countywide election. (I’d expect to see a name change if she did run, something like Yolanda Moreno-Clay.)

If people whispered critiques about Anchondo’s fairness, they would probably scream critiques about Clay’s. Clay has been known to be VERY factionalized and territorial.

The other name that comes to mind is Don Williams. Williams has a good reputation for fairness and is a member of every single Democratic Party Club in town, so it would be difficult to tag him as factionalized. It would however, be equally difficult for Williams to win countywide, for some of the same reasons, low name ID , etc. Only he doesn’t have the advantage of using Don Moreno-Williams.

The two are natural choices as successors because they are both SDEC’s, they both know how to operate the machine, and they both have really solid credentials as Democrats. Williams is the Chair of the Black El Paso Democrats, Clay is an officer in the PDN Tejanos and a senior officer in the state entity of the Tejano Democrats.

If you are Anchondo and planning a run for a judgeship if the appointment process doesn’t work out, you will need an ally as the County Chair. So how do you get your ally in to the seat in time to help you out in your possible election?


You resign early, because guess who picks your successor?

The Precinct Chairs.

As I previously wrote, Christina Fenstermacher, has previously remarked about the urgency of getting precinct chairs in place. She’s even formed a group in the Northeast part of town to help facilitate such a plan.

Sidebar About JP in the NE

Remember when I mentioned earlier that there was a scenario in which the Precinct Chairs could’ve selected the Democratic Party Nominee for Justice of the Peace? Well here’s how that could’ve worked. If you remember during the primary election in the Northeast, there was a field of candidates lined up to take on the incumbent Sissy Hernandez.

At one point during the campaign, Yolanda Clay sent out an email urging people to support Hernandez, along with State Rep-Elect, then candidate, Naomi Gonzalez. The text of the email, sent on Tuesday April 6th at 9:59am reads “Friends,
i know you may not live in these areas but you have family, friends, co-workers who do, please pass the word.


This bothered several people in the party and at least one elected official sent Clay a response admonishing Clay for urging people to support a candidate that was under indictment.

At first glance, many might wonder why Clay would stick her neck out for someone under indictment. That is until you consider the fact that if Hernandez won election, but had to be removed from office before the election, the responsibility for selecting a successor would fall to, you guessed it, the Precinct Chairs.

Several Democrats in the Northeast said that Clay was toying with the idea of nominating Christina Fenstermacher to replace Hernandez should the situation arise.

I haven’t been able to confirm whether or not that is actually the case, but it’s an interesting scenario nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

The Moreno Faction might make its last stand against Don Williams. Turns out the Moreno clan has been upset with Don Williams for quite some time. It goes back to the 2008 election in which State Rep, then candidate Marissa Marquez defeated long-time State Rep and Moreno patriarch Paul Moreno. For the first time in almost 20 years, Paul Moreno did not get the endorsement of the Black El Paso Democrats.

In an 18-2 vote, the endorsement went to Marquez.

The Moreno clan was miffed at not receiving the endorsement. It didn’t matter to them that not one voting member of the Black El Paso Democrats actually lived in the District and could vote in that particular election, they were just upset that Moreno didn’t secure the endorsement.

During the same campaign cycle, the controversial challenge to the El Paso County Democratic Party’s awarding of delegates went to the state committee. The Moreno faction had the majority were the ones that decided how many delegates the Clinton and Obama supporters received. Don Williams was the public face of the Obama delegation’s challenge.

When the challenge went to the state committee, they voted unanimously in favor of the Don Williams challenge.

The Black El Paso Democrats traditionally have their banquet in February because it’s Black History Month. The Tejano Democrats have only had a couple of banquets over the last decade but recently tried to plan a banquet in February. It was only because of the intervention of Chairman Anchondo that they event was rescheduled to the end of January. From what I understand, the PDN Tejanos made around $8000 from their banquet. The BEPD made around $12,000.

In fact, though the Black El Paso Democrats is the second-smallest club in town, they raise more money and give out more money to Democrats than any other club in town.

Email Trail

In a series of emails I recently obtained, the infighting is starting to peak. The email alludes to a conversation between Don Williams and Yolanda Clay in which Williams said he let Clay know that regardless of how she felt about him, he would be willing to support Clay for El Paso County Democratic Party Chair if the situation arose and on the condition that Yolanda Clay support Joann Robles, head of the West Tejano Democrats, for the position of SDEC that would be vacated by Clay. Clay and Robles faced one another at the Democratic Convention earlier this summer for the SDEC position.

According to the emails, Williams said that he wanted to support Clay’s Chair ship in order to alleviate any rumors that he was going to challenge Clay for the position. But based on situations outlined in another email, Williams said, “I now reserve the right to change my mind about that due to these and some other recent developments.“

So what are the other developments? Well, at least one of the apparent developments Williams referred to was an email from Yolanda Clay in which she takes issue with an email sent out by Williams to his email listserve which includes over 3000 local Democrats. Specifically Clay says, “It appears by your email as if this very worthy event is being sponsored or backed by Unity 2010 – and that is not the purpose of the committee. I feel that by wording it this way, you are attempting to use the strength and momentum (and possibly funders?) we have built for Unity 2010 to save the McCall Center – and this is simply not done. We do not use the Unity name for ANY OTHER entity/occasion/event – no matter how worthy the cause may be. Otherwise, everyone would go around in the name of Unity to raise funds for their own pet projects. “

Clay was referring to an email Williams sent out that was an invitation to an Obama Birthday Celebration. The apparently offending line in the email reads, “Please join us in the spirit of DEMOCRATIC UNITY to the OBAMA BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION on Wednesday, August 4th, 6pm at the McCall Neighborhood Center.”

In her email to Williams complaining about the invitation, Clay said that she was giving Williams a “heads up” because she was raising the issue with the Chairman and the Unity Committee.

There was even a bit of a dust-up between Anchondo and Williams in the emails in which Williams referred a complaint lodged by Anchondo as “chicken shit”.

Anchondo’s beef was apparently over an email that was sent out originally by Glenn “Butch” Maya and forwarded to Williams’ email listserve.

The offense?

Butch accidently left Anchondo’s signature block under Butch’s name in the email.

Dude, What's Wrong with Ruben?

I know that sounds like a really open-ended question, but its part of a bit we are doing.

This is a couple of videos we made at the office in case you haven't seen them yet.