Sunday, February 28, 2010

Homeboy / Asshole of the Week Award



This Homeboy of the Week Award goes to Liz Gonzalez. There is a special place in heaven for people who die while trying to help others.

The Asshole of the Week Award goes to anyone who is eligibile to vote and who either hasn't voted in early voting, or doesn't vote this Tuesday.

My Republican Family



I've talked about this publically on more than one occassion about how many of my family members are Republican, but the unauthorized use of some of my video footage from an interview in a Republican PAC's attack ad got me to thinking.

Essentially the ad goes after Jay Kleberg, a Republican in HD 78 primary squaring off against Dee Margo and Rene Diaz, for voting for Barack Obama in the last election.

Kleberg said his vote for Obama was a protest vote because he didn't like what the Republican Party had become over the last eight years. He's certainly not alone.

Hell, REPUBLICANS are even reluctant to identify with their own party name. I was covering a Republican Party event last week and Bobby Ortiz, a former Congressional candidate for Congress, said he doesn't consider himself a Republican but rather a Conservative.



That remark drew applause from everyone in the room (okay, except me).

But some have put forth the idea that if Kleberg voted for Obama over McCain for president that he is somehow not a "real" Republican. Real as opposed to what exactly?

Thanksgiving before last my Dad was really sick and we spent a lot of time in the hospital. It was the first time I really had the chance to sit and talk with some of my dad's siblings, most of whom happen to be Republicans.

While my dad was as liberal as they come, my tata was as conservative as they come. He was Richard Nixon conservative. In our home we always had a picture of John Kennedy hanging on the wall. In my tata's house, it was a picture of Richard Nixon. (Which might explain why I am so liberal on social justice issues, but have a conservative streak in me when it comes to fiscal issues and my stance on life).

The bottom line is that many in my family were Republican Latinos before the GOP got smart and realized that Latinos were a group they should be recruiting.

Many of the Republican members of my family voted for Obama. Mostly because they didn't like the direction Bush was taking our country in. Think about it, if you are a Reagan Republican, you really couldn't be all that proud of Bush's spending and assault on the Constitution.

In fact, my uncle Bernie, a Repulican who supported Obama partially due to McCain's inability to support a particular veteran's issue my tio was advocating for, was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance when President Obama visited Phoenix on February 18, 2009.

That was the day my dad died. He knew my dad would want him to go and he went. He made us proud. He was one of those REAL Republicans, like others in my family, that voted for Obama.

The way one of the matriarchs in my family put it, "We didn't leave the Party, the Party left us."

The fact that the Tea Party is so successful is partially due to the frustration many traditional conservatives have felt with the GOP. And lets not forget that the "Maverick" from Arizona, John McCain, really wasn't all that much of a Republican. That's part of the reason Palin was put on the ticket in the first place, because she appealed to traditional conservatives.

And people who like the term "maverick".

So now a Republican PAC wants to paint Kleberg as something less than a "real" Republican?

They have no idea how much of a compliment that is in some circles.

"Anonymous" Comments

I'm serious about this comment thing. I encourage comments, even the ones that disagree with me. Hell, I don't even care what haters say about me online anymore because the more they talk about me, the more controversial they make me, the more people tune in.

But I've been pretty relaxed about comments lately, but I'm putting my foot down. Any comment without a name at the top, or within the body of the comment, will not be approved, no matter how harmless it is.

Sorry, but I need to be consistent and put a stop to some people's crap. If you are gonna say it, you are gonna at least own it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I Feel So Used!!!!!

Holy crap!

I can't believe this happened. Someone sent me a link to this video that is an anti-Kleberg ad. I'm pretty pissed about it because they used my footage without my permission.


At least they credited me for it though, which is more than I can say for most mainstream media in town.

I should point out that when I had Dee Margo on my show he told me that he didn't think the vote was a big deal and that he didn't plan to raise the issue.

Interesting.

But a Republican PAC using my stuff?

I gotta go, I need to shower!

Down & Dirty Down in the Valley

The heat is really being turned up in the race for District 76 which pits the incumbent State Representative Norma Chavez against Republican-backed Naomi Gonzalez and totally un-backed Tony San Roman.

This was a mailer sent out recently by the Naomi Gonzalez campaign. As I have said from the beginning, there is nothing wrong with a rigorous debate and spirited competition.

But somethings are just trash. Here is an example of something I look at as trash.



Based on the text of the piece, the person with their back to the reader is supposed to be a representation of State Representative Norma Chavez. If you look closely though, the person in the photo appears to be an African-American.

Draw your own conclusion was to why, but personally I'm a little torn. I don't know if the image is meant to poke fun at the fact that Representative Chavez is dark complected and her opponent isn't, or if its a sublte jab about the fact that Representative Chavez was an outspoken advocate for then-candidate Barack Obama during the last presidential campaign.

In either case, its inappropriate and a low blow.

The sad thing is that this is yet another attempt in a long list of negative campaigning done by Naomi Gonzalez. I hope voters pay attention to what is going on. Has Gonzalez's message to voters been about her ideas and what she will do for the district, or has it been mudslinging?

In my mind, its only been mudslinging, which is unfortunant because it gives the impression to some that Gonzalez doesn't think voters in the valley care about issues that affect the district but rather Chavez's complexion or support of an African-American.

SIDEBAR: An interesting bit of irony I need to point out. The piece alleges that Representative Chavez turner her back on people when they needed her most. That's really interesting coming from a Republican-backed candidate in a heavily Democratic district like District 76!

FYI - You Can't Put Campaign Literature in Mail Boxes

Some people out in the field working for a candidate in another race came across some fellow campaigners this afternoon. Apparently the group they came across were rookies because they made a classic rookie mistake.




Most campaigns stress to their walkers that you CAN NOT leave camapaign material in a mail boxes. Sometimes they forget.







Commissioner Dan Haggerty Insults Tiguas & Native Americans

El Paso County Commissioner Dan Haggerty made these controversial remarks while addressing the GLBT community of El Paso. Apparently Commissioner Haggerty thought he was being funny.

No one laughed.


More Campaign Sign Drama: Acosta V. Herrera


In the latest round of campaign back & forth dealing with signage, this photo was leaked to me the other day.


As you can see the truck in the photo has a sign in the back, which appears to be a sign belonging to Beto Acosta, a candidate for judge.


The interesting thing about this photo is that the vehicle allegedly belongs to a man named Cesar Prieto. Sources at the courthouse tell me that Mr. Prieto is the Mental Health Cooridinator for Judge Herrera, who is the incumbent that Beto Acosta is running against.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Theresa Caballero & Censorship



I've talked about this on air, but I think its time my reading audience new the truth about Theresa Caballero. She publicly pretends to be fighting for truth, justice, and reform and a crusader against corruption. In my opinion this is nothing more than a facade.


She has talked about standing up to the establishment, about saying what needs to be said, even if it bothers some people. At the same time she's saying stuff like that, she is engaged in a clandestine operation of trying to silence one of her critics. She has made phone call after phone call to management in an attempt to silence my criticism and analysis of her argument. Her tag team partner, Stuart Leeds, is obviously along for the ride. Just recently Leeds hand delivered a letter to management. He could have at least had the decency to put in an envelope!


Many people have wondered out loud what it would be like to have Theresa Caballero as a county attorney. Many have also expressed their fear that the office might be used for her own agenda rather than what it is the legislative mandate of the office. In my humble opinion, its hard to disagree with their fears when Theresa Caballero is so clearly pulling out all the stops to silence a critic while she's just a CANDIDATE, I can understand the fears some might have with Theresa Caballero having the power of the county attorney's office behind her.


I want to make it clear the lengths Ms. Caballero has gone to to silence me. She has called MANY times. I have strong reason to believe she's had be investigated to dig up dirt to fling. Which is interesting because she seems so reluctant to engage my critiques, which have always been based on issues and substance, but appears to me to be quick to play the mud game.


Now I'm second-guessing myself, maybe I should play the mud game too? On second thought, why would I stoop to that level?


But in my opinion, the hypocrisy doesn't stop there. TC is also quick to throw allegations around of destruction of an arrest record of an alleged sex offender. Not a convicted sex offender, an ALLEGED sex offender. She ties this to her opponent, County Attorney Joan Bernal. Yet an examination of some of the people Caballero has represented is somehow something that can't be discussed?


Really?


Or how about the fact that Caballero throws around the word corruption like its going out of style. She seems to find evidence of corruption under ever rock in the county. Except, ironically, people that are directly tied to her. The cloud of suspicion in the public corruption scandal hangs over the heads of many prominent people in this town, several of which are tied to Caballero but that never gets talked about.


Really?


But wait, it gets even better. She somehow manages to pronounce the word dedazo in her frequent tirades she calls a campaign speech. She says that Bernal is the dedazo or chosen one because she was appointed to the County Attorney position. Again, interesting when you consider she didn't seem to have a problem with the process when it was one of her buddies, Mario Gonzalez, was seeking the appointment of Commissioner's Court for the very same job.


Ever notice when Paul Strelzin has Commissioner Escobar or County Attorney Joan Bernal on his show? For some reason, Stuart Leeds will call right before Strelz goes to the guest. I think its his subtle way of firing a shot across the bow of Strelzin, letting the Strelz know that they are listening.


Personally I like when Stuart Leeds calls the other shows. Hell they've called every political talk show on the line-up but mine. What does that tell you? To me it says, they like being the bully but they don't want to get on air with anyone who will engage them on issues.


And what about Caballero dramatically pulling out the mugshot of a judge during a KVIA debate? What was the point of that other than to sling mud? Hell that picture of the judge looks less like the judge in real life than Caballero's campaign photos. I wonder if she had a stunt double smile for her because I don't think I've ever seen her smile.


I guess my main point is that though Caballero may try her best to silence me, I will not be so easily silenced. My blog is my property and not the property of KHRO 1150am. Hate to break it to you Caballero, but you can't make a phone call to stop me from writing.


You really underestimated me on that one.


Personally I think Ms. Caballero's time is better spent on calling voters rather than calling management, especially given her poll numbers. She doesn't seem to have her eyes focused on the ball. If she doesn't focus her attention on her election, she'll find herself on the losing end of another election.


Who am I kidding, she's probably gone lose even if she focused entirely on the election!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Get Well Soon Estela Casas

For as long as I've been in El Paso, I've watched Estela Casas.

Yesterday in the middle of a news broadcast, Estela revealed that she is in a battle with thyroid cancer.

I was shocked to hear it because she's probably the only television anchor that I have followed on a regular basis. I remember her giving birth, graduating from UTEP recently, and watched her sing Christmas carols on commercials.

I've never met her but I always felt like she was family.

God Bless You Estela and get well soon.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Lion Star Live & Ratings

I don't know much about the ratings system or the way it works so all I know when it comes to ratings is what management shows me.

According to what I saw, my show is Number 1 in ratings on the station. I am humbled that the audience Barbara Perez built up has stuck around, along with some new listeners, to make the program #1.

It honestly wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for some mentorship I have received along the way from Paul Strelzin and Greg Freyermuth. They have given some of their wisdom to a kid from the barrio and have done their best to make me a better host.

Props to them for that.

I thank the loyal listeners of KHRO for tuning in, even if you tune in because you hate my guts.

Comment Posting Policy Change

Okay, I have received some complaints that its too hard to comment on my blog lately. As I have said before, I am tired of the personal crap people have thrown around on my blog too.

So I guess my change in policy made it too hard to comment, which is a bad thing. So message received, I am fixing it. But I still want to have a balance of responsibility on this blog so here is my new policy.

I will not approve comments if they don't have a name. Comment away, its open for everyone as long as you put your name. But if you don't put a name, it won't be approved. If you attack a family member of a candidate or public person, I will not approve the comment.

Don't abuse the comment priviledge people.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sign Gate 2010


Campaign signs have been quite the discussion over the last few weeks.

Some candidates like Rick Ledesma, Liza Montelongo, and Theresa Caballero have only a few signs around town. Some candidates like Farouk Whats-His-Name, Connie Telles-Odom, Sergio Coronado, and Judge Rangel have signs all over the freakin' place.

In one race, all the candidates in the race had their signs made by the same guy! And Larry Medina isn't running for County Judge anymore but still has a huge billboard up on I-10!

The most recent developments of signs are a little more interesting. Frank Macias, a candidate for one of the judgeships against the incumbent Julie Gonzalez, has signs with a bit of a problem. The problem is that they are misleading. As you can see in this picture taken last Friday, the sign says Vote for Frank Macias, then the name of the office. It doesn't have the word “for”, which would mislead someone in to believing Macias is the incumbent.


The issue was raised by his opponent, Judge Julie Gonzalez when she was a guest on my program on Friday. By Wednesday of this week, the sign had been changed as you can see in this picture.

I went out in the field to follow up on another sign problem raised on my show and I spoke to a volunteer from one of the campaigns for County Judge. The volunteer expressed frustration with Larry Medina because his signage is still up, most notably the billboard.

The volunteer made the point that if Macias can fix his sign in less than a week, then Medina most assuredly could have.



“There is low voter turnout in this election, his sign is confusing people and taking votes away from other candidates”, said the volunteer who asked not to be identified.

The reason I even went out to the field in the first place was to follow a tip I received on air yesterday from State Representative Norma Chavez. Turns out, it wasn't exactly the way I understood it on the radio, but nonetheless I took a trip out to the polling places to find out what the issue was.

In short, it was pretty overstated. A few signs had to be taken down, but it really wasn't that big of a deal. Turns out there is a city ordinance against campaigning on city property. The two polling places in question, Pavo Real and the Carolina Center, are on city property. A few of the candidates had placed signs there they couldn't be and they were removed, but the city said any sign that volunteers where holding or that were placed on vehicles were okay, so not much really changed.

Except for one candidate, Monica Teran. She's running for re-election for Justice of the Peace. Several of the volunteers from other campaigns said that it was Teran's signs that were the biggest offenders and someone complained about it, thus causing the city to step in.

Teran's signs were salvaged by her volunteers and piled up in the back of a pick-up.

Hostility on the Campaign Trail

You should never take things personally on a campaign. Thats a lesson my dad taught me since I was old enough to walk and pass push cards. My philosophy is that if I'm working a polling place, I might as well have some fun while I'm out there. So I make friends with the other volunteers, shoot the breeze, share water and burritos, and push for my candidate.

But things inevitably get a little heated on the campaign trail, which is stupid because you will never win and the only losers are the candidates.

Usually its a shouting match between campaign volunteers that breaks out.

Earlier today though the hostility was much different. My frequent co-host Sammy C and I hit the streets early this morning to stop by some polling places to see how things were going. We wanted to show some love to the campaign volunteers because they are the die hards. They take time out of their personal lives and walk around trying to win a few votes for their candidate.

They are the unsung heroes of campaigns.

We went to Pavo Real and ran in to some campaign volunteers. One was a young Chicano in his 20's. Since that is a pretty rare sight in terms of volunteering, I thought I'd interview the guy. He happened to be a supporter of Naomi Gonzalez. We were all set to do the interview when a lady in a pick up truck pulled up and jumped out of the truck telling the guy not to interview with me, going so far as to say, “he's not our friend”.



I thought it was a really low-class thing to do because I was just going to ask why he was there and why he was supporting his candidate. No biggie and its something I do every election cycle. But for some reason, this lady was having a fit about it.

Turns out, the lady was State Representative Marissa Marquez's tia, Margie. She happens to be the same tia that was running State Representative Marissa Marquez's office on a volunteer basis following Marquez's decision to let go her assistant Alice Rosas.

That's an interesting turn of events because Marquez has publicly denied aiding Naomi Gonzalez in her bid to unseat her rival, State Representative Norma Chavez. Marquez went so far as to call Paul Strelzin to assure him that she was not helping Naomi Gonzalez. I happened to be in the room when Paul took her call.

The question is, why is Marquez denying her involvement publicly? What is the point? If she's helping Gonzalez, so what? Chavez helped her get elected over Chavez's rival, former State Representative Paul Moreno.

No Justice, No Peace in Justice of the Peace Race

As if that wasn't bad enough, things got a lot worse in the afternoon. Justice of the Peace Monica Teran got in to an argument with her opponent, John Chatman. It was embarrassing.

I missed the first few seconds of the argument because I didn't realize they were arguing at first. Then I started rolling and Teran actually started playing to the camera, which is surprising coming from someone who wears the black robe.



I then went to speak with her to get some foundation as to why the signs her removed. She was very hostile and frankly rude to me because she said my friend (Sammy C) was rude to her. In Sammy's defense, he was trying to get the candidates to act like, well, candidates.

I returned her sharp tone with a stern reply and told her she had to reason to be rude to me and that one would expect better temperament from a justice of the peace.

And candidates wonder why we have such low voter turn out!?!?

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Outing" a Candidate

I'm a little pissed off at a development recently over a Twitter post I made earlier in the week. I posted a small rhetorical question about whether El Paso would follow the lead of Houston and elect its first openly lesbian state representative in light of a recent poll in the El Paso Times.
For some strange reason, some idiots have turned that simple post in to something more diabolical. I thought I'd set the record straight. First of all, I never mentioned the name of the individual because Twitter only allows so many characters and since I was Tweeting from my phone I didn't know how close I was to the limit and sure in hell wasn't going to count each character.

Second of all, the criticism is predicated on that person not wanting to be outed. Once again, people that don't know the whole story change the facts around or simply go on supposition. I didn't know the person in question was lesbian until they INTRODUCED me to their partner! Yes, the person in question knows who I am, that I am a blogger, and introduced me to her partner very proudly. If it was something she was trying to keep a secret, then she did a horrible job of it.

And seriously, I am a political blogger and the only one in the Democratic Party. Why would you tell me anything you wanted to be kept a secret? Since the candidate was the one who introduced me to her partner, why would I have any reason to assume she was in the closet?
Thirdly, I challenge anyone to show me a more public straight person in town that is a bigger ally to the gay community than I am. Has there been anyone more vocal about gay rights in this town that isn't gay?

As the father of a lesbian, I am outraged that people would attempt to portray me as anything but a friend to the gay community.

For some reason, El Paso still has a problem with dealing with homosexuality. We had the Chicos Tacos incident, the the debate over domestic partner benefits. Houston elected an openly lesbian mayor and a candidate that introduced me to her partner is running for office. What did I miss? When did I become a bigot? Did you forget about the piece I wrote about how I was invited by Rio Grande Adelante to sit on their float in the Sun Bowl Parade?

If you have a problem with homosexuality, that's your problem, not mine. Don't pin your guilt on me because you find the topic uncomfortable to discuss.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cut it out!

Okay damn it. I fully realize that it bothers many of you when I curse on my blog and I have been trying to be better about cleaning up my language.

But sometimes its the best and most effective way of conveying a sentiment.

So here goes:

For supporters of Naomi Gonzalez and Norma Chavez that comment on my blog...CUT YOUR SHIT!

I'm sending this message out to supporters of both candidates to be fair, but to be accurate, its coming mostly from Gonzalez's supporters.

Stop writing bad shit about family members of the opposing candidates. They are off limits. Leave family out of it. I know, Gonzalez's family was heckling Chavez, but it doesn't matter. Family should be left out of the discussion.

Some people have written some bad stuff about Chavez's family. Critique the incumbent all you want, she's a public person and its completely fair to go after her. But stop the attacks on family. You are supposed to be adults! Its your kind of bullshit that turns off people from politics.

I am also making a change on my commenting policy. I will no longer allow anonymous commenters. If you are going to say something, have the balls to put your name to it. I'm sick of people thinking they are chingon and hiding behind anonymous. I can't control what happens in other parts of cyberspace, but I for one am sick of the bullshit and it stops now.

Stick to issues and the candidates. Leave the family out of it. If you don't have the balls to say it in public to someone's face, then don't try to be a lengua larga here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poll Numbers on Chavez / Gonzalez / San Roman

The El Paso Times released polling data about the two state rep primaries and I'll dedicate this post to some analysis of the State Rep 76 race.

The race consists of the incumbent State Rep Norma Chavez, Naomi Gonzalez, and Tony San Roman.

The poll indicates that Chavez has 41.6% of the vote, Gonzalez has 30%, and San Roman 8.1%. Undecided voters made up 20.3% of the vote.

For some reason, people are wanting to write Chavez's political obituary already. It may be premature.

Lets take a look at political reality. Chavez had a bad session in terms of public relations. In fact, to say it was bad is an understatement. It was Hall of Fame bad publicity, most of which was her fault.

But lets continue with reality for a moment shall we? The poll shows Chavez with a comfortable lead of more than 11% in a multi-horse race. Thats a pretty sigficant lead in any race, but very significant in a multi-horse race.

Clearly she is not as strong as she was the last time she faced an opponent. But does this poll say more about Chavez's weakness or that of her opponent Naomi Gonzalez? Gonzalez has had the perfect storm to be elected. There is an over all anti-incumbent sentiment going on at the national and state level. Her main opponent had a really bad year in terms of publicity. Gonzalez has received a lot of funding to help her along the way, primarily from the mostly-Republican Texans for Lawsuit Reform lobby. Essentially, everything has gone her way.

Yet she has only been able to capture the support of 30% of the people polled? The fact that there are still 20% of the electorate still in play should be alarming to Gonzalez. It means they aren't thrilled about Chavez, but Gonzalez hasn't convinced them to go to the altar with her yet.

Gonzalez has spent her TLR money on an air war. Her commercials have already been running on Univision, despite the fact that Gonzalez doesn't speak Spanish herself, which is clearly where they need to be running when you have a race in the valley. Gonzalez's commercials have a very sharp tone and deliver a clear message about the incumbent.

Chavez's commercials haven't run yet. Chavez's mailers have been focused on her record so far, but Chavez knows how to turn up the heat. Gonzalez has very shrewdly stayed on ground of her own choosing for the most part, avoiding tough questions or large crowds. It will be interesting to see where those undecided voters go once Chavez starts getting her message out to voters and a shaper critique of Gonzalez.

Gonzalez has shown the ability to throw a punch, but it remains to be seen how she takes a punch. She's put most of her resources in the field already and Chavez has not even begun to put all her troops in the field.

This race will ultimately come down to a ground game. Chavez knows how to win the ground game better than just about anyone in town. The question is whether Gonzalez learned anything from her loss during the city council race against Emma Acosta.

Has Gonzalez learned how to get voters to the polls?

Has she learned how to communicate with voters or is she relying solely on bad press of her opponent?

Has she punched herself out early? Can she take a punch?

But more importantly, how does she go about getting the vast majority of undecided voters to come out and support her?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

LSB Exclusive: Polling Numbers

Okay, I'm not 100% sure on these numbers but I am sure enough to post it. Word on the street is that the Times polling numbers for the race for County Attorney and County Judge are in.

I made a bet with a friend of mine who is going to owe me lunch.

County Judge:

Escobar : 47.1%

Coronado: 15.2%

Ledesma: 14.7%

Medina: 6.3%

Undecided: 16%

County Attorney:

Joan Bernal 49.7%

Theresa Caballero 35.3%

Undecided 15%

More scoops tomorrow. Call me the palatero!

Summary of KHRO Candidate Forum

There are winners and losers in every candidate forum, even though we try to put things more delicately than that sometimos. The bottom line is that some people do a better job in front of an audience than others. Some candidates are more qualified than others and some candidates are better able to articulate their argument than others.

Thats what happened last night. Here’s my take on the performance of the candidates, which may or may not be what my colleagues Greg Freyermuth and Hector H. Lopez think.

Winners

State Rep 78 Republicans – Dee Margo. Margo displayed a depth of the issues that was not shown from Diaz. Margo also demonstrated a full understanding of the political machinations to a degree that would put him on par with any member of the legislature. I don’t agree with his policy, but I measuring up the candidates side by side was pretty easy on this one.

Diaz displays a ton of good intentions and plenty of passion, but it doesn’t translate in to a strong understanding of the complexities of the issues.

State Rep 76 Democrats – Clearly State Representative Norma Chavez won. Her only opponent in attendance was Tony San Roman and quite honestly, he might as well not have been there. San Roman didn’t show confidence in his own candidacy. In fact I found myself wondering if he was even going to vote for himself. Bottom line is this: if you don’t demonstrate confidence in your own candidacy, how is anyone else supposed to?

Chavez simply ran on her record and understanding of the issues facing the district.

County Attorney – County Attorney Joan Bernal was the only candidate in attendance, though her opponent apparently attended another forum earlier in the day. Bernal had to face our questions alone for 30 minutes and handled the barrage rather well. Bernal dealt with the Coroner issue and demonstrated a thorough understanding of the inner workings of her office.

Caballero was not in attendance due to a fundraiser.

County Judge – There were two candidates that stood out in last night’s debate. Jaime O. Perez and VerĂ³nica Escobar. If you listen to candidates long enough they all start to sound the same after a while. So what I look for when I am sizing up a candidate is specificity. I didn’t see specificity from Sergio Coronado and Rick Ledesma. I was hoping to see that from Coronado because he has gotten the other candidates to come around to an idea he first articulated months ago, the need for efficiency enhancements in the county. But he came off long winded without specificity when it came to cuts.

To their credit, Perez and Escobar talked about specific cuts and stuck their necks out. It may be a hard pill for some to swallow, but at least they articulated a level of planning.

Ledesma doesn’t sound like a Democrat at all. I don’t have a problem with it if he’s a Republican, but he should be intellectually honest and say what his political beliefs are rather than try to pander and pretend to be a Democrat. He’s not doing a good job of it. In fact, he sounded like more of a Republican than the actual Republican.

His best bet for being on the ballot in the November general election would be for him to run unopposed on the Republican side.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Analysis of District Clerk Race

Due to the ugliness and craziness of the County Judge and County Attorney Races the race for District Clerk is going under the radar. The reason thats surprising is because the race involves the incumbent Gilbert Sanchez, who still has a couple of charges from the FBI hanging over his head.

Its a crowded field that have thrown their hats in the ring to take on Sanchez including Norma Favela, Jeremiah McCrimmon, Connie Telles-Odom, Rosa Cervantes, and Gilbert Pinon. There are basically two tiers of candidates in this race. The top tier consists of the candidates that have the best chance of winning based on money, infrastructure, name ID, and campaign work put in.

My list of top-tier candidates include Gilbert Sanchez, Connie Telles-Odom, and Norma Favela. The second tier candidates are Rosa Cervantes, Gilbert Pinon, and Jeremiah McCrimmon. The thing the second-tier candidates have in common is the fact that they all jumped in the race later than the rest. They also have less qualifications for the job than the top-tier candidates.

But things have tightened up a bit over the last few weeks, particularly in the last 10-14 days. I'd now say the second tier candidates only consist of McCrimmon and Pinon. Almost based on hustle alone, Cervantes seems to have moved up to the top tier and probably has as good a chance as any of the other candidates of making a run-off. She's moving up and Norma Favela may be trending down, despite securing a few more endorsements.

Here's what each of the candidates offer.

Connie Telles-Odom – Her strength is clearly her knowledge of the courthouse process. She has a bit of an edge over some of the other candidates because she's run before and knows what to expect. Her association with Judge Alfredo Chavez has gone completely undiscussed and she's escaped from his shadow and shown herself to be one of the candidates most likely to make a run-off.

Norma Favela - Her strength is leadership and administrative experience. Outside of the incumbent, she's the candidate with the most experience running a big office in the courthouse. She also has a good understanding of the complexity of the process, but lacks direct experience in the District Clerks office. She could make the run-off, but needs to take some time off from work and kick some butt.

Rosa Cervantes – Her experience isn't as deep as Telles-Odom and Favela, but she has an understanding of customer service issues and document processing. She has an outside chance of making the run-off but needs some help along the way.

Jeremiah McCrimmon - He's worked in the District Clerk's office as an entry-level employee. He has some experience in the operations of the office, but from an employee perspective and not really a management level. He has no name ID, no money, no signage, and no base. Not going to make the run-off, but he's young so he has a future.

Gilbert Pinon – Pinon has no direct experience but in general has leadership experience. He always looks like he's in a bad mood or would rather be somewhere else, but he's been upping his profile lately. Absolutely won't make the run-off.

Gilbert Sanchez – Despite several scandals and a few charges from the feds, Sanchez is still not only a viable candidate, but probably the front runner. Aside from the headlines, Sanchez is a name people know, even if they only know it from negative headlines. And just under those headlines, lies some real accomplishments that he hasn't really done a good job of taking credit for. Sanchez will probably be in the run-off.

Look for this race to take on a much sharper tone in the run-off. This race will be in the spot light during the run-off because the County Judge race will likely not be a run-off so all the attention will be on the District Clerk's Office. That's when Sanchez will really start to feel the heat.
Next time, I'll analyze the race for Commissioner's Court Precinct 2.

MABA Endorsement



The Mexican American Bar Association recently gave out their endorsements. I got a little heat from a few commentors here on my blog the last time I wrote about this. So I went back and did a little homework.

The bottom line is that the immediate past President of MABA, Naomi Gonzalez, didn't get the endorsement of MABA in her bid to unseat State Representative Norma Chavez.

Some will say that its no big deal because MABA didn't endorse anyone in that race.

True.

It actually takes 2/3 majority of votes to win the endorsement of the organization. But it is telling that the immediate past President of the organization wasn't able to secure the votes needed for the endorsement. I spoke with a few members of MABA and they told me that they had some reservations about their immediate past president receiving the amount of donations she has received from Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR). Its made a lot of the membership uncomfortable.

The TLR money is also bothering some of the party big shots because TLR gives money to both parties, but the vast majority of money has gone to Republicans.
She also participated in a Grassroots El Paso Forum, which is the local organization behind the Tea Party Movement. Thats a little too close of a relationship to the GOP for some of the Democratic Party Big Wigs.

Despite not getting the endorsement of MABA, Gonzalez's money will be a big factor in the race. Sources tell me that there are some substantial media buys from the Gonzalez camp that will no doubt be a factor in the race for State House District 78. Gonzalez does really well in forums and takes a big crowd of supporters with her that gives her a bit of a home field advantage.

Clearly the strategy is for the Gonzalez supporters to heckle Chavez and take her out of her game. Despite that kind of behavior being against decorum, it is nonetheless effective.

The next forum will be Thursday and will be in conjuction with the Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association. The President, Mark Benitez is a supporter and financial backer of Naomi Gonzalez.

It will be interesting to see how the next forum plays out.

Monday, February 8, 2010

McCrimmon's Visibility Campaign



Here is a pic of Jeremiah McCrimmon who is a candidate for District Clerk. He did some visibility this weekend dressed as a lion.

This being TheLionStarBlog, it was easy for me to want to post this pic. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Speaking Up

Yes, I have legal issue I need to deal with regarding back child support. I don't deny it.

Its a long and complicated story and since its a family issue and not political, its really none of your business. I have an attorney dealing with it and hopefully it will be taken care of soon.

That being said, I made a mistake.

I'll own that. I'm a human being and I screwed up. I don't offer an excuse or want to place blame on anyone but myself. If I let you down, I apologize.

Anyone who's ever been through a divorce knows how complicated and nasty things can get. There's way more to this story than what people are saying. People that I am reasonably sure don't know me and have probably never met me.

I'm embarrassed at my mistake, but also the embarrassment this causes my family. Especially my children.

But there is another side of this story that is political and should be discussed.

Since I do what I do, I've picked up a lot of enemies along the way. So its no surprise to me that there are a lot of people that are chomping at the bit to get a shot at me.

The timing of this is not an accident.

If you've heard my show or read my blog, you know that I don't have a problem asking questions I think need to be asked. Sometimes I'm what some people call “controversial”. I dig around places that people would rather I don't dig around sometimes.

Sometimes the people that are affected by my digging get irritated. Sometimes, they get more than irritated. Sometimes they want to get even.

This thing about my child support issue is something that people try to make an issue out of whenever I poke around some place people don't want me poking around.

They've tried to leak it to other bloggers, other talk radio personalities, and even the media.

Last week I really pissed someone off. I'll lay out the facts for you and you can draw your own conclusions.

I sent an email to Chris Lopez, editor of the El Paso Times, and CC'd the publisher. I got a tip from a well-placed source about something going on internally at the El Paso Times. It turns out, I wasn't the only person in town that got the tip.

The allegation was that a reporter in town is dating a prominent El Pasoan; one who happens to be a candidate for office. According to my source, management at the Times had instructed the reporter, who is also the City Editor, to not write stories about the person he is allegedly in a relationship with. As the story goes, the guy went ahead and wrote about the person and attempted to cover it up by changing the by-line of the story.

For those of you that don't know, that means the guy allegedly changed the name of author of the story he wrote to the name of a reporter that did not write the story.

Apparently the guy got caught and was reprimanded by management.

I sent an email inquiring if the information I had received was accurate. I didn't want to write about it without verifying the accuracy first. I sent the email at around 11:00am.

By 3:10pm, the same day, I had a reporter from the Times on the phone asking me about my child support issue. After discussing the issue with the reporter, I then told him that I found the timing of his phone call suspicious. He asked what I was talking about and I told him about the email I sent.

I genuinely think the reporter wasn't told about my email to management and was just working a story he was assigned to. The reporter was surprised at what I told him and I forwarded him the emails so that he could see for himself that I had sent the email earlier in the day. I later asked him who told him about my legal problem and he said, “an editor”.

The reporter in question is Milan Simonovich. The person he is allegedly dating and allegedly wrote about is Theresa Caballero. As of this posting, I've yet to receive an answer to my inquiry.

As you know from my show and my blog, I've been pretty critical of Caballero, who is a candidate for County Attorney. In her words, I've been “hostile”.

In my opinion, this was an attempt to discredit me or intimidate me out of pursuing the information. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but you can make up your own mind.

I've taken on some powerful and important people and organizations in this town over the last two years, every one from the Upper Rio Grande, the County Judge, the Mayor, judges, members of the legislature, business, the El Paso Times, Theresa Caballero, Stuart Leeds, and others.

I was warned by two of my mentors that I would probably be a target soon. Turns out they were prophetic.

Maybe I'm too stupid to know when to back off. Maybe I'm too stupid to heed a threat. Maybe I'm too stupid for my own good sometimes. Maybe I should do a better job of shying away from confrontation.

But then again, maybe I wouldn't get the reaction I get sometimes unless I hit a nerve. When you rock the boat, people want to apply leverage.

This whole situation is actually quite liberating.

Why?

Because now they have no leverage over me.

So I've got a little message to the person behind all this. I'm not going to stop being me for one minute. I won't allow people to censor me because they want to play hard ball.

Did you really think I'd stop writing?

Stop doing my show, stop asking questions, stop analyzing, stop digging, or stop going to forums?

Hate to break it to you, but that ain't gonna happen.

I tend to use a lot of boxing analogies because I used to fight. I've been knocked down before. I know what its like to be flat on my back looking up at the ceiling and tasting a little of my own blood. The mark of a good fighter isn't how many times they get knocked down, its how many times they get back up.

I've been down before. I know how to get back up.

There's plenty of fight left in me, so if you expected me to thrown in the towel because of this you'd better not spit out your mouth piece or cut the tape off your gloves just yet.

Ding ding, there's the bell.

Okay, I Hate to Admit it But...

Okay, back to politics.

I hate to admit it but Jaime O. Perez actually impressed me at Saturday's informational session sponsored by City Rep Emma Acosta. The forum was set up for all the candidates for County Judge and all four were in attendance.

It was about half way through his opening statement that I caught myself nodding my head in agreement with him. Yes, I know, crazy huh?

About halfway through the forum, I sent a text message to one of my homies that basically said, “WTF? Is it me or does JOP sound really good today?”

Later over lunch I turned to a colleague and asked what who he thought did the best at the forum. Reluctantly the colleague admitted JOP too.

He still won't win, mostly because he's a Republican now and partially because of a lack of money and a base. But something my colleague said resonated with me. He said “if I didn't know who he was or his past...”

Jaime O. Perez has done what he has said he was going to do. He has stuck to issues. He had an actual plan and was able not only to articulate his plan, but defend it.

If voters took the Pepsi challenge and heard the arguments of the candidates without knowing which of the candidates was actually making the argument, JOP would be a viable candidate.

JOP actually had the other candidates, all Democrats (well, Ledesma is sort of a Democrat) agreeing with him.

Too bad there weren't many people at the forum. There appeared to only be a handful of attendees that weren't connected to a campaign and two of them left before the forum started because it started about 30 minutes late.

Thanks Alot Janet Jackson!

Thanks to Janet Jackson's little wardrobe malfunction a few years ago, we've had to put up with old geezer bands during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

The Who were boring the crap out of me. I actually changed the channel to watch the city channel. That's how incredibly BORING their performance was.

A band made up of senior citizens from England? Did the Rolling Stones already play halftime at the Super Bowl?

What are they going to do next year, book the Glenn Miller Band?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Endorsements

Couple of interesting developments on the endorsement front that I thought were worth mentioning. I was surprised that he results of the Mexican American Democrats (MAD) endorsements when it came to the race involving Barbara Perez. Apparently Perez won the endorsement by only one vote, which is really interesting when you consider that her first major fundraiser was a who's who of El Paso politics.

I happen to be a member of MAD as is my daughter and her friend. We weren't in attendance and did not have the opportunity to cast a vote.

The Mexican American Bar Association also had some interviews and a recommendation from the Executive committee as to who should receive their endorsement. Naomi Gonzalez, who is challenging State Rep Norma Chavez for her seat in the state legislature, is a member of MABA and the immediate past president. Sources in MABA tell me that she did not win the recommendation of the Executive Committee and the recommendation was made for the incumbent, State Rep Norma Chavez.

Part Time Candidates =Full Time Losers

Its crunch time in this election. If you are a candidate now is the time you should be really hitting the grassroots campaigning really hard.

This means making the campaign for your next job your full-time job.

There are several candidates that are full-timers and several that are part-timers. The incumbents almost have to be part-timers, but the challengers choose to be part-timers. They could take time off or quit their job to run full time if they chose to.

The point I'm making is that if you aren't viewing the campaign as a full time job, don't be surprised if you don't end up getting the job you are seeking.

A few candidates would be much stronger if they put aside their jobs and focused only on campaigning.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Larry Medina to Sue Democratic Party

Larry Medina will file papers against Danny Anchondo, Chair of the El Paso Democratic Party, to compel the party to remove his name from the ballot.

More details to follow.