Monday, February 28, 2011

Larcenaire Story - Watch 26 tonight for details

There will be a story tonight on Canal 26 that you will want to watch. Larcenaire has been talking about how MHMR is going broke, but information has surfaced regarding Mr. Larcenaire's spending habits that tax-payers have to foot the bill for.

Hotel mini-bars, golf, meals, luxurious hotels, etc.

Tune in for the details.

City Council Recognizes Bob Marley..Mon!


David K wrote about this on his blog today. Go read it, its funny and I'm glad he was paying attention.

I don't know if a freedom fighter kinda guy like Marley would accept a Conquistador Award or not, assuming he was still alive of course, but I'd love to know who put it on the agenda and who read it during the meeting.

I would also like to know if they read it with a Jamaican accent..mon. Personally I think they all should have worn those tri colored hats with the fake dreads sewn in to them that you see at party stores during Halloween for the occassion.

I happen to dig Bob Marley, so this gives me an excuse to post a Bob Marley video.

Caballero's Latest Motion to Recuse Denied

A judge denied prominent El Paso Attorney Theresa Caballero's request to recuse the judge hearing the Arditti case.

Not much information available to me on this one yet, other than the judge denied her motion to have visiting judge, Judge Steven Smith recused from the case. Judge Smith is from Brazos County and is the latest in a series of judges hearing this case.

Dora Oaxaca Appointed to UMC Board

Dora Oaxaca was appointed to the UMC Board today on a 3-2 vote.

Objections to the appointment of Oaxaca were raised by Commissioner Perez.

Oaxaca will fill the unfinished term of Barbara Perez and will also fill the next term, which will either be one year or three, depending on the outcome of the board's next meeting that will discuss the staggering of terms on the board.

The objections of Oaxaca's appointment were whether not it was appropriate for the Commissioners to appoint their staff members to boards.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wisconsin Solidarity Event

Kind of short notice on this one people, but a friend of mine sent me an email and I thought I would post it here. If you want to show solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin fighting against the GOP's latest tactic, this is the place to be!

Morning All,

I'm holding up signs at the corner of Sunland Park and Mesa from 10 AM to 12 noon. Let's support our public service worker in WI. Pass the word; I put it on my FB, although I need help in garnering support from the local unions because of the short notice. Just show up, wear red, and usher in the winds.

I wasn't able to register the event on the website, pero podemos pasar la voz.

Give up some of your time and stand in solidarity, por favor.

Xavier Miranda

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Busy Lady!

In addition to running Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr's office, and in addition to running a city rep campaign for Dr. Michiel Noe, Dora Oaxaca has been nominated for a seat on the University Medical Center Board.

Oaxaca, who has been a long-time activist in the El Paso Democratic Party and has run several campaigns and worked with various elected officials, has been nominated for the post by her boss, Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr.

The seat opened upon the recent resignation of Barbara Perez, who had to resign because she won her bid for the Justice of the Peace seat in the eastside. Ironically, Perez's campaign was managed by Dora Oaxaca.

The University Medical Ceter will be facing federal and state cuts in funding and will likely gain a higher profile of the next year as a result.

Caballero Puts Self on Stand; Examines Witness

It what was described as one of the strangest proceeding ever heard by eyewitnesses, prominent El Paso Attorney Theresa Caballero represented herself in a proceeding and called herself as a witness.

She then proceeded to interview herself.

The old addage, "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client", comes to mind, as written about in this Houston Business Journal piece.

People in the courtroom said that she would look in one direction to ask the question and would look toward the judge to answer the question.

It sort of reminded me of an old episode of Taxi. Louie, played by Danny DeVito, ran into an old lady and represented himself in court. I tried to find the video on youtube, but I couldn't find the actual part were Lou asks himself questions.

For now, just try to imagine this scene from A Few Good Men, but instead of Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, just imagine a prominent member of the El Paso legal community.

City Rep Eddie Holguin to File Re-Election Paperwork

Sources in City Hall state that City Representative Eddie Holguin will be filing papers for re-election in the next couple of days.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
Rep Holguin represents the Mission Valley and part of the Eastside north of the freeway, south of Zaragoza. There is no indication as to exactly when that is going to happen but local Democrats say that a fundraiser and campaign kick off event is in the not-too-distant future.

When contacts, Holguin stated, "When the day comes that I file for re-election, I hope the voters in my district will be happy with the work I have done so far...".


EL PASO – Today at 11:00 a.m. at Austin High School, Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) will present over 400 books from the United States Library of Congress to Austin High and Stanton Elementary Schools in an effort to help replace some of the books recently lost due to water damage. This is the first installment of books that will be donated to Austin High School, and other El Paso libraries, each month from the Library of Congress in partnership with the Office of Congressman Silvestre Reyes.

Austin High School and Stanton Elementary were both impacted by the recent freezing temperatures

that caused flooding throughout the community due to frozen pipes. To help these schools recover from their losses, the Office of Congressman Reyes is partnering with the Library of Congress Surplus Book Program to donate hundreds of books each month. This long-term effort will also support other libraries throughout the community with the greatest needs.

Today, Congressman Reyes will personally present the books to Austin High School, and following the event he will visit to Stanton Elementary to deliver the children's books, also from the Library of Congress.

El Paso has one of the lowest literacy rates in the nation. In a 2010 literacy study by Central Connecticut State University, El Paso ranked 69th among 75 cities studied for literacy. This project seeks to support local libraries in need and encourage reading, particularly among young people.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blanche Darley Issues Plea to Tejano Democrats to Help Arditti

Blanche Darley is the Treasurer of the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats. The largest and most-established auxillery of the Democratic Party.

She sent out an email to their membership pleading for them to come to the aide of Judge Regina Arditti in her court case. She wants them to go and "rally" in front of the Court House. Arditti attorneys are Stuart Leeds and Theresa Caballero.

(Interestingly, if memory serves, the Tejano Democrats endorsed the County Attorney over Caballero in TC's latest bid for a political office. Seriously, I couldn't make this shit up if I tried...)

It will be interesting to see who shows up. I know I will because I'm dying to know who will be in attendance. Plus, its been a while since we've exchanged pleasantries.

Here is the text of the email:

Tejano Members & friends.

On Friday, February 25, 2011, Judge Steven Smith of Brazos County, TX will face a recusal hearing in El Paso, TX based on allegations of bigotry.

There will also be a RALLY at 8:00am in front of the El Paso County Courthouse protesting Judge Smith presiding over Judge Regina Arditti's case. Everyone is invited to come and join in the protest and attend the hearing (41st-10th floor).

Please join us and bring your friends and family in support of Judge Regina Arditti.


Wisconsin – Democrats Protecting American Workers

I've been pretty silent on whats going on in Wisconsin and its time I comment. Admittedly I am extremely biased because after all, I am the son of a Union Organizer for the United Farmworkers Union.

I applaud what the Democrats are doing in Wisconsin to protect union workers.

The Republicans are attempting to gut the ability for people to collectively bargain. Democrats should've get involved in some false argument over whether they have the “right” to collectively bargain. That isn't the point. If they didn't have the right to collectively bargain, the Republicans wouldn't be trying to take it away, that's pretty simple.

You don't try to implement legislation to take something away that people don't have.

The real argument is the argument. The Republicans want the train wreck fights. They WANT to polarize the country. That's been their tactic for many years. Why do you think we only hear about abortion and gay marriage every four years during a Presidential Election? Because its part of their tactics.

The Republicans are now expanding their effort. They realize that the President's approval rating is on the rise. They realize that while they had public sentiment on their side, they don't have a candidate at the top of the ticket that can cash-in that sentiment in the White House.

I also think they understand that they have a very tenuous and temporary alliance right now. The Tea Party candidates, the moderates, and the religious extremists can only hold it together for so long. Its a matter of time before they start to implode. Conflicting agendas will do that every time.

We in the Democratic Party have dealt with that problem for years and we still haven't figured out how to make it work. Which is saying a lot because unlike the GOP we really are a big tent party.

But lets stop acting like the Democrats in Wisconsin are doing anything that Republicans haven't. Since day one of the Obama administration, the Republicans have been obstructionists. Its what they do. I've complimented them on how well they've done it.

The term Roadblock Republican wasn't born overnight, it was forged over a legacy of tactics in Washington. The Democrats are taking a page out of the Republican's playbook and now they want to cry foul?

Give me a break, get off your high horse. Don't make me itemize all the crap the GOP has pulled in Washington to obstruct legislation. Its about time some in the Democratic Party showed some balls.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

State Rep Chente Quintanilla...WTF?

I don't know what has gotten in to Representative Quintanilla, maybe he realizes he's about to be drawn out of exisistence in the legislature, but that vato is trippin' lately.

This is a little old, but I've been meaning to comment on it. I dont' understand how Quintanilla can be supportive of a move to restrict who can vote for water boards.

He wants it to be land owners only.

I realize that we set our clocks back once a year for daylight savings time, but someone please tell Rep Quintanilla that they didn't turn back the clocks to before the civil war!

Guess what Rep Quintanilla, the only thing you were missing was to make it so that only white male property owners could vote and you would've turned Texas back to the days of the Confederacy!

Newsflash Chente "por la gente"! Democrats don't surpress the ability of people to vote! Start acting like a Democrat damn it!

The El Paso Democratic Party: Sleeping Through a Revolution?

Less than a few days ago, Jesse Jackson Jr addressed El Paso’s Democrats at the Black El Paso Democrats dinner. He spoke about making sure we don’t sleep through a revolution.

He mentioned the story of Rip Van Winkle who fell asleep for 20 years. When he went to sleep, King George III was in charge and when he awoke, George Washington was in charge.

It was a message that echoed a similar message Dr. Martin Luther King gave at a church in Washington DC shortly before his assassination.

Democrats, I fear that this message has fallen on deaf ears, or at the very least, we may have heard the message too late.

In our own backyard, the so-called Democratic stronghold in Texas, we are sleeping through a revolution. Take a look around people, in the city election, nearly every single candidate is a REPUBLICAN! In at least two races, there are ONLY Republicans running.

Where are the Democrats?

The party of personal responsibility is pulling a fast one and none of you have seen in coming. They are hiding their values as Republicans by only running in non-partisan races so that they can get elected without having to have the scarlet letter “R” behind their name.

They boast that Latinos are Republicans, they just don’t know it. That’s implying we are stupid.

You all know that I vote for the person and not the party. But part of what makes me vote for the person is their beliefs in how government should operate and how people should be treated in this country. Rather than own their beliefs, they hide behind them.

Take a quick check of the candidates. Here are the Republicans (according to the primary elections they’ve voted in): Ann Morgan Lily (1), Manny Hinojosa (1), Tim Besco (1), Abe Peinado (1), Cortney Niland (8), Zulema Lazarin (6).

The Democrats, Eddie Holguin (6), Maria “Mayela” Mejia (5), Dr. Michiel Noe (5).

Don’t tell me that values don’t matter in a city election. They matter in every election, including school board elections. Many of the Republicans wear their values on their sleeves and one even boasts on his website, “In God will I trust and pray before every decision. Along with several other religious references on the website.

Yet we appear to have a fear of expressing our values as Democrats and liberals. Do you know they actually think we don’t love our country? Do you know they actually believe that we don’t stand for the Constitution? Do you know that some of their leadership refer to us as “Godless Liberals”?

The Democratic Party leadership in this town should be actively recruiting candidates to run. There are a couple of groups in town that have formed groups to work on this idea, but call me old-school but I think the party leadership should be leading the charge on this front.

We can’t let people who don’t reflect the values of El Paso have the keys to the car without making them earn it!

The time is now. The Republicans have momentum. The Republicans are organized. The Republicans are motivated.

Are we?

Democratic Party leadership: Get off your ass, stop resting on your laurels, and get in the game! If not, get the hell out of the way for people that will!

Subpoenas Handed Out Like Candy...

Word around the courthouse is that Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds want a whole lot of people in to testify at a hearing on the 25th of February.

They have a motion to recuse a judge in the case involving Judge Arditti.

Caballero has asked for new judges so many times I forget who is currently in charge of the case. More to follow...

One Local Political Talk Show Left on Talk Radio 1150

Its on Saturday from 1pm-3pm.

I've been all around political circles over the last few days and everyone asks me a lot of questions. I'll be on the air on Saturday afternoons from 1-3 and we'll give you your fix of local political talk. There's plenty of national stuff out there, and I will talk about the national stuff too, but we will spend a lot of time on Texas, county, and city politics.

The good thing is that I can cram a lot of content in to two hours with content I can collect during the week. The Talk Radio 1150am website is being revamped with a more robust blog feature.

Obviously I will endeavor to continue to try to bring in leaders in government, business, culture, and activism and talk about today's issues. Campaign season is gearing up so we will kick things off with a candidate forum within the first couple of shows.

The LionStar Live Weekend Edition is back!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Was Carl Robinson at Jesse Jackson Jr. Speech?

The Black El Paso Democrats big gala is an event for Democrats. Democrats are the standard bearers of certain values in the country, one of which is social justice. Its one of the corner stones of the Democratic Party.

That's why I was shocked to see City Representative Carl Robinson have the nerve to show his face at the event. He's never been around the Democratic Party to any great extent. But he shows up when its picture time and we just let it happen? Personally I am a little sick of people that only express their support when its in their best interest.

But more importantly, he's completely wrong on every social justice issue that he has had an opportunity to vote on since he was elected! EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!

He voted against the resolution condemning Arizona's SB1070. He voted against the disabled community. He has voted against the gay community. How does a guy with Robinson's voting record have the audacity to attend an event and have his picture taken with Congressman Jackson, who has a legacy along with his father, as being advocates for social justice?

I don't fault the BEPD leadership because its not like they can un-invite someone, but seriously Democrats, we can't let this kind of shit happen without any level of accountability. Representative Robinson should be held accountable by El Paso Democrats.

I do fault Representative Acosta though. As a courtesy she invited her city council colleagues to the stage to present the keys to the city to Congressman Jackson. But she is well aware of Robinson's voting record, she should've just presented the keys on her own without inviting the city council rep with the worst record on social justice on city council.

I'm sorry, but someone had to Speak Truth to Power!

Jesse Jackson Jr Addresses the Black El Paso Democrats

In an inspirational speech that brought the crowd to its feet, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr sent a message to El Paso Democrats. Don't sleep through a revolution.

Honestly I don't think I could begin to do justice to the Congressman's message, so you can hear it in the recording below.

Quite simply, it was powerful.

There were several candidates, and rumored candidates, in attendance. The place was packed and the turnout might have been the largest ever for the organization.

Awards were handed out to many community activists for their service. I thank the Black El Paso Democrats for honoring me with an award.

Dr. Michiel Noe and his opponent Maria "Mayela" Mejia were both in attendance. They are candidates for City Rep District 5.

Also in attendance was Republican Charlie Garza. I guess he goes to all the events now, though he didn't have the pomp and circumstance of his investiture ceremony. There were no children walking behind him holding the train of his cape and he must have his crown in the shop for repairs because he wasn't wearing it. :-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Greater El Paso Republican Women Meeting

Saturday was a pretty busy political day in El Paso. The Greater El Paso Republican Women (GEPRW) met for their regular meeting on Saturday morning.

Within minutes of my arrival I was bombarded with questions about the line-up changes at KHRO. I'll explain what the details are, as far as I know them, in a later piece.

I was invited to attend the meeting by the President Becky Hermosillo. They were a gracious group of patriotic women and were very kind and respectful. There was the occasional playful ribbing, but it was all in good fun.

There were three candidates in attendance, though we really didn't get a chance to hear from them at the meeting. The organization is having a couple of candidate forums in their next couple of meetings.

The candidates in attendance were Manny Hinojosa, Zulema Lazarin, and Abe Peinado. Hinojosa did a good job of working the room and introducing himself to people. I didn't notice Lazarin doing so, but she did take a minute to make a quick remark on the microphone (audio available below) and Peinado listened respectfully, but didn't really work the room. That might be his inexperience on display considering the GEPRW is an organized group of women that would be receptive to his message and would be a great place to start building a base and possibly develop campaign contributions. I'm sure he'll soon find his footing.

State Rep Dee Margo gave a briefing to the group, but unfortunately I am not really free to disclose what he had to say because he asked the conversation be off the record. Actually it was more like demanded it. So this one is a freebie.

But anyone reading this might want to let Representative Margo know that he doesn't get to decide what is on and off the record. If I am an invited guest he happens to be at in the future, I will relay the facts. If he talks with me one-on-one and wants to have a conversation about what is and is not on the record, I'm happy to have that conversation.

Its a shame too, because I was pretty impressed with a few things and was going to mention exactly what and why. But oh well, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt...this time.

I don't know what the policy of the organization is in terms of endorsements in these types of elections, but any candidate would benefit from visiting with the group and laying out their positions. I did some checking around and the GEPRW are a pretty well-organized organization.

Correction to El Paso Times Weekend Piece on City Rep Candidates

The El Paso Times had a piece in this weekend's paper that mentioned the candidates running for District 5. I wrote back in late January that Omar Macias has dropped out of the race before it even started.

You can read the piece I wrote back then by following this link.

They must not have called the candidates, but Macias dropped out a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure it was just an oversight on their part, but I wanted to make sure the information was accurate.

Friday, February 18, 2011

More on Abe Peinado

I was able to track down District 1’s newest candidate Abe Peinado over the phone a couple days ago.

As you may have heard me say, District 1 is really short on talent in terms of the candidates. In general I think the municipal elections have a lower caliber of candidate overall, but it is especially true of the candidates in District 1.

But of the candidates in District 1, Peinado looks like he’s a little stronger than his peers. He is pretty young (in his late 20’s), which wouldn’t be bad for him if he had some prior political experience. But he doesn’t, so his sphere of influence in terms of a base of support and volunteers is going to be slim pickings.

Here’s a little more info about him. He went to Morehead, then Coronado, and graduated from UTEP with a degree in Finance in 2006. He then left El Paso and moved to Dallas a while back. He moved back to El Paso about a year and a half ago.

Peinado has started his own insurance firm last January and employs 3 people. He mentioned having to sell off some of his toys so that he can make payroll, so he’s a guy that knows what its like to sign the front of a paycheck, not just the back of one.

I had asked Peinado where he fit on the political spectrum and he was reluctant to answer the question, though he eventually described himself as a fiscal conservative. After doing the dance about what his political views are I finally asked him how many elections he’d voted in and if he voted in the Democratic or Republican primary. He said he voted in the Republican primary.

Not surprising and not the kiss of death. All of the candidates in District 1 are Republicans and several members of city council are conservative Democrats.

I asked Peinado several questions about the issues facing city council and he demonstrated a pretty strong grasp of the issues and most of his answers were focused around small business and making El Paso a more business-friendly city. He seemed to have concrete ideas on the matter and much more of a fleshed-out plan than the other candidates.

Near the end of our conversation we started talking about the Domestic Partnership issue. He said he would do what the voters said and I asked how he voted on the issue and he stated he voted against allowing city employees to have Domestic Partner Benefits. I don’t know if that makes him a social conservative across the board, but you all know how I feel about that particular issue.

He issued a press release that mentioned he lives with his brother and enjoys lifting weights. I think that might be the first time I ever saw someone mention their living arrangement and weightlifting in a press release.

Still, one of the biggest challenges Peinado will face in addition to being relatively politically unknown, is the fact that along with the other two candidates, the anti-incumbent vote will be split three ways. That makes it much more difficult for his candidacy, unless he gets some big money backing.

Being a pro-business candidate will make it easier for him to get the backing of the big money people, if they like what they see. There’s no way Besco is getting the money after the bridges he burned. There’s no way that Hinojosa gets the money because he’s simply not a top-tier candidate and his religious and social stances will turn off a lot of voters.

Changes at the Upper Rio Grande Workforce Board

The head person in charge at the Upper Rio Grande Workforce Solutions Centers was fired earlier this week according to sources in the company. A private contractor, Ross, manages the workforce centers and their director was Rosa Flores.

Flores was previously a member of the Board Staff and very closely aligned with the CEO Lorenzo Reyes. A couple of days ago there was a notice in the El Paso Times about the Board seeking a new contractor.

The Upper Rio Grande Workforce Solutions Board is a quazi-governmental agency that manages workforce development activities for west Texas. Flores was a member of the staff, not a member of the actual board.

Staff members, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, indicate that Flores may end up on the actual board in the near future, which as their rules read, doesn’t appear to be within the rules.

Word from the staff is that she was fired due to complaints of her treatment of employees and that the corporate office sent in an attorney to investigate the complaints.

More to follow…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

District 1 Field of Candidates Grows to 4

Abraham Peinado has filed to run for City Council District 1.

That brings Representative Lily's opponents to 3, which is a total of 4 candidates in the field.

Lily has been seen as vulnerable for some time now, but the large field of candidates isn't helpful towards the idea of unseating her considering they will all split the anti-Lily vote. All she has to do is to get 50+1 and she can avoid a run off.

If she ends up in the run-off election though, she's in big trouble.

Don't know much about the new candidate but already seems to be more formidable than the other two. Besco is toast and has a bad name within his own party. Running against so quickly after losing so recently makes it look like he just wants a title.

Hinojosa is not a viable candidate. He has no base, will likely implode along the way, and has a hard time communicating effectively, though I'm told by several candidates that he spends a great deal of time tracking down cell phone numbers of other candidates running in other races and talking their ear off.

Peinado is young and is a business owner. He's in insurance. Seems like he might be someone to watch as the campaign starts to flesh out.


So my buddy David K and I have a difference of opinion...again.

He was talking about a couple of pieces I wrote recently about candidates ducking and dodging because they are afraid of answering questions that are tough, but on point and never about stupid or irrelevant stuff.

It took me a while to realize it, but David K is coming to the defense of Cortney Niland because he is supporting her. Thats cool, whatev.

But I wanted to clarify a couple of things. I don't look for the gotcha moment, he and maybe others, just perceive it that way because I carry around video and audio with me. I do that so that no one can say I am making something up.

The other reason might be because I am not afraid to ask questions. I don't just critique here in the blogosphere, I will ask a question to their face.

Some people feel they need to be sheltered. I am always suspicious of those types of people, and you should be too. We have shitty leadership sometimes because we don't check out our leadership.

Hell I know people who spend more time checking out people's pics on Facebook than they do finding out about candidates. Thats not a joke.

But the funniest part about DK's piece is that he glosses over the fact that Niland opened a campaign office in a district she isn't running in. As I said, its just within the bounderies of the neighboring district, but I only mentioned it because I thought it was funny.

I guess she just wasn't paying attention to details.

So that got me to thinking about something DK said himself just a few months back when he was making a bid deal about the Congressman's flag in his campaign art.

He said, "It's the result of a smug Congressman and a lazy staff that are 100 percent sure they'll win as long as his names is on the ballot. They are so smug, they don't even proof their advertisements for disturbingly bad errors like a backward flag.

I'm glad the chairman of the intel committee has such an eye for detail. "

Just substitute Niland for the Congressman and I would agree with my buddy David K.

Besides, if I was really trying to have fun with his candidate, I would've mentioned the fact that I think her campaign logo looks like the one from Cartoon Network. Or that when I've asked around about Cortney Niland, several people have responded by saying, "Coney Island, the hot dog place?"

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia

Just sayin...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I didn't make my own card, but I found this one from the Marrrrrrgo family.

Happy Valentine's Day!


The LionStar

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Responding to Tim Besco & Manny Hinojosa Comments

Couple of comments made recently that I found interesting enough to respond to. The first one was in an old post about Tim Besco. I'm reasonably sure the comment came from Besco or one of the people close to him. Okay, I'll be honest, I have a way of know where the comment came from, but its not hard to figure out. He's not that interesting of a guy that people would want to go back to a relatively older post just to comment, but here's what it said:

"I have it on good authority that Mr. Besco could give a rat's ass about what you think. If I recall, he said something like you "have such a fringe audience" and that you could "fit them into a phone booth and still be able to turn around." Basically, he thinks you're a loser who emigrated to El Paso like he did. At least he has the common sense to follow the Cowboys and not those loser Redskins like you. "Cammy Sarrejo" 

I don't mean to brag, but I have more readers than he'll get votes in the city council election and I'm more liked by Republicans than he is, which isn't a lot to begin with!

The other comment was this one, made by Manny Hinojosa:

Who were you talking about when you said "the anti-gay movement spawns a candidate"? because what I heard is that the people of Nov-voting chose a better represenattive - Manny Hinosa

Since you asked, I was talking about you Manny. You are an anti-gay candidate. As for what you heard about November, you might want to tighten up the screws a little. First of all, what better representative? There weren't any city candidates on the ballot. Second of all, what makes you think that its you they are talking about? Your support and base are basically unknown at this point. Though I do admire your confidence. Good luck in your campaign, you're gonna need it! 

Snoop Dogg Concert

Had a great time at the Snoop Dogg concert the other night.

Personally I think Power 102 could have done a better job during the almost four hour difference between when the doors opened and when Snoop Dogg finally hit the stage.

Had a political sighting while I was there. City Rep Rachel Quintana was there with a date. She and I were probably the only people in the building not smoking weed.

And she wasn't one of the girls in this video from the concert dancing on stage with Snoop Dogg.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cortney Niland Opens Campaign Office

Cortney Niland who is running for City Rep in District 8 has opened a campaign headquaters on Mesa.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia

Its located in the Festival Crossing Plaza, which is near an early voting location, which is a smart move. (5380 North Mesa if you're wondering).

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia

One funny little quirk about the headquarters, it is actually in another district, District 1.

Townsend-Allala for City Council?

The talk around town has been that prominent El Paso Attorney Stephanie Townsend Allala was considering a run for City Council.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
I checked with her and after laughing a bit replied, “I admire everyone who runs for office…and I plan on spending my life helping good people in our town run for office…but I have zero desire to run for office…”

Allala did say she had been approached about running for City Council but said she was focused on building her all-female law firm at this time.

Townsend-Allala recently attended a meeting of a Westside Democratic group recently.

A Picture & Words

Acquired this photo today of a school marquee that is normally reserved for announcements, some cheesy quote, or a thank you to the janitor who is retiring after 87 years on the job.

But today the sign was used for this message:

What are your thoughts about the sign.?

Here's what's interesting to me about this photo - if she was running for office and had an opponent - wouldn't that mean she's getting free advertising and an endorsement?

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia

I’m betting it was meant as a “Thank you” but it’s at a school that Lisa Colquitt-Muñoz represents and if she had a challenger, I’ll bet the challenger would interpret that sign as and endorsement and advertising.

City Council Candidates Address Business Group

Ernesto Villlanueva, candidate for City Council District 8 addressed La Red this morning at Paco Wongs. La Red is an organization made up primarily of Mexican business people that are now living, working, and/or doing business in El Paso.

La Red's profile has been increasing over the last year and since they are businessmen, it makes sense for candidates to speak with them in order to try to secure some campaign cash.

Maria “Mayela” Mejia, candidate for District 5 on the Eastside, also addressed the group at today's meeting.

Both candidates spoke for just a few minutes.

No other candidates spoke at this meeting, although it is likely that they will come calling at a later meeting.

La Red is an important stop for the business-friendly candidates.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rep Marquez Named Vice Chair of County Affairs

State Representative Marissa Marquez was appointed the Vice Chair of the County Affairs Committee. This is a natural fit for Marquez who has introduced county bills previously during her freshmen term.

Marquez was also appointed to the House Committees on Local and Consent Calendars, Corrections, and Administrations.

In a statement released to the media, Marquez said, “I am honored to serve on these important committees, and I am ready to get to work.

"I know that we face great challenges this year, but it is time to tackle them on behalf of El Paso."

Rep. Márquez has been promoted to Vice-Chair of the County Affairs Committee which controls the organization, creation, and governments of the counties. The County Affairs Committee focuses on county governance and regulation, and serves as a conduit between state and local government.

"I am excited to have Rep. Márquez back on the committee as Vice-Chair," added County Affairs Chairman Garnet Coleman. "She was one of the most effective advocates for our local governments last session, and her expertise will be invaluable."

Dee Margo Lands Spot on Appropriations Committee

Republican State Rep Dee Margo landed a position on the influential House Appropriations Committee for his freshman term. Due to the fact that the legislature will be facing two big issues this session, the budget and redistricting, it looks like Margo will be in a key position for El Paso, despite the fact that its his first term.

Pickett Loses Chair of Transportation Committee

El Paso Democratic State Rep Joe Pickett has lost the Chair of the Transportation Committee. Official announcements will be made shortly, but it looks like Rep Larry Phillips will be the new Chair of the committee.

Chairman Pickett is rumored to be in the running for the Chair of the Defense and Veterans Committee. The El Paso Democrat has maintained a strong position in the legislature despite being in the minority over the last few sessions.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Worst Quote Ever

When I heard it, I thought it was another bad Johnson Jewlers commercial.

Something along the lines of the mayor is a blue jumper with his name on a patch on his chest with a wrench in his hand. Queue the close up. "I don't wanna be your plumber!"

But no, instead of a bad Johnson's Jewlers commercial, it was Mayor Cook being interviewed on the road by a KTSM reporter.

Click here to see the entire story and hear the Mayor in his own words.

"Did they want me to restore their water? I'm not a plumber," Mayor Cook said in a phone interview today.

Mayor Cook was apparently on VACATION while his constituents were dealing with the weather issues. I know the Mayor has a life, I get it. I know that the Mayor had no control over what is going on with the weather.

But surely someone close to the Mayor could've told him that the remark was ignorant and completely insensitive to his consitituents who are still without water.

What makes it worse, is that he sounded so indignant about the whole thing. Not his best moment and I am probably not the only one disappointed in him.

He better hope someone else screws up worse this week because at this point, he's a shoe in for the weekly prize...and not the good one!

Sure its not like Nero fiddled while Rome burned, but its close. Cook vacationed while El Paso froze.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Michiel Noe is a doctor and is running for District 5, the seat that will be vacated by Rachel Quintana. He’s had his initial papers filed with the city for some time now, but no one knew exactly what district he was going to run in because he only had his business address listed on the paperwork and there was no mention of the office sought.

He recently amended the paperwork to reflect the office he is seeking and he lists a different Treasurer now, Ronald Pate, whose address is outside of District 5.

Why the city allows a mailing address as opposed to an actual home address so that you know what district they are running in is beyond me, but it is what it is. Why he uses his business address when he actually lives in the district is beyond me as well.

After some research, it turns out that Dr. Noe lives in District 5.

Word on the street is that he has solicited the support of some notables in the Democratic Party including Dora Oaxaca and Alice Rosas. Oaxaca currently works for County Commissioner Willie Gandara, Jr and previously worked for State Rep Chente Quintanilla. Oaxaca has helped on a lot of political campaigns over the years and most recently was working closely with Justice of the Peace Barbara Perez.

Alice Rosas has also worked as a staffer during her career. She ran the El Paso District Office of State Rep Marissa Marquez at one point and has extensive campaign experience within the Democratic Party as well, most recently with Judge Marcos Lizarraga.

Noe also has been soliciting support from Joe Lopez and Chuy Reyes. Joe Lopez is an advertising guy who has been involved with a couple of bond elections and city council candidates. He’s good friends with Chuy Reyes, the brother of Congressman Reyes and head of the Lower Valley Water District.

Lopez actually attended the campaign kick-off event for Noe’s opponent in the race, Maria D. Mejia, aka Mayela. She used to work for a couple of city reps including Acosta and Ortega. She was basically running the District 3 office solo after the resignation of Alejandro Lozano and before the election of Emma Acosta.

Mejia locked up a lot of support from the political establishment early in the race. Everyone from Sheriff Wiles to Mayor Cook, to Democratic Party volunteers, to Marty and Chuy Reyes. Reyes was listed as a supporter on her campaign kick-off invitation.

She’s already been walking the district and introducing herself to the neighborhood associations.

Chuy Reyes’ support would be key for Noe if he could secure it because Reyes has a tremendous amount of influence.

Word around town is that Chuy Reyes met with Dr. Noe because he is friends with Joe Lopez, but has already committed his support to Mejia, along with his wife Marty Reyes. Marty Reyes is a member of the Ysleta Independent School District.

Mejia and Noe also met with one another, apparently at the behest of Mayor Cook who allegedly told Noe that he was supporting Mejia, at Hudsons. I’m told the two had a cordial conversation and committed to running clean campaigns.

Mejia’s campaign manager is Ken Sutherland, another influential member of the Democratic Party for many years who has run several campaigns, most recently for County Commissioner Sergio Lewis and Republican Rene Diaz.

Noe should be pretty good at fundraising if he taps in to his professional network and money is always a great equalizer.

Mejia has the advantage of being known in political circles, more experience at the city (which is not always an advantage), and a network through her work at LULAC.

I’ll be contacting both candidates so that I can get an idea of their stances on city issues.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not Ready for Prime Time?

Election season is continuing to ramp up and that means we should start to hear more from the candidates.

Problem is, we probably won’t. Here’s what we’ll hear from them. 100% voters will get a mailer, a phone call, and a visit. They matter, people that don’t vote, don’t matter. That might bother some of you, if it does, get over it. If you don’t vote, why would they waste time talking to you? If you don’t care enough to vote, you have no power over them so it should shock you when you are ignored. Don’t like it? Then vote dummy.

Regular media won’t spend too much time, if any, covering them unless they screw up and say or do something wrong.

But for those of us that actually do cover the candidates, I have a message for you. For far too long this town has had its share of clowns elected as leaders and the reason it happens is because we don’t normally know much about the leaders before they are elected.

We are too scared or shy about asking the tough question. We don’t want to be unpopular. We are more concerned about being liked.

No more ducking and dodging. No more “send me an email with your questions” so that you have time to craft your answers. No more, “I need to brush up on certain issues first”. If any of those are the case, you aren’t ready to be a public servant.

And another thing, no one is a bad person or out to get you because they ask pointed questions. You should know the answer if you are aspiring to hold the position. It comes with the territory.

If you think you are going to walk in to the position without some examination or discussion, and yes, maybe an uncomfortable moment or too, you are mistaken.

If you can’t handle questions, how the hell are we to expect you can make good, informed decisions on our behalf.

Winning should never be easy. It should be a rigorous and thorough vetting process. That's what makes better leaders.

I say, if you aren't ready for the question, maybe you aren't ready for the job.

Friday, February 4, 2011

State Rep Quintanilla Supportive of Cesar Chavez Day Elimination at UTEP

Last Saturday State Rep Chente Quintanilla spoke at the Press Club Meeting and took questions from the audience.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
Quintanilla fielded questions on a range of issues dealing with education, voter identification, the budget, and gambling from members of the audience.

I took the opportunity to ask a couple questions myself and another person's question about UTEP reminded me to ask his position on the elimination of Cesar Chavez Day as a holiday at UTEP.

As you will hear in the recording, I was critical of the fact that not a single elected Latino leader issued any comment on the move by UTEP.

Frankly I was expecting him to against their move. I was shocked to hear what I heard next. Before any of you say that his answer was taken out of context or anything like that, I posted the entire question and his entire answer on the matter.

Here is the audio:

In another surprising move on the part of the long time Democratic State Representative, Quintanilla is also sponsoring a bill that would require a woman to see a sonogram and for her to hear the heartbeat before an abortion.

I'm a pro-Life Democrat, but Quintanilla's sponsorship of the bill will be controversial in the Democratic Party. I think a person should always choose life, but I don't think its appropriate for the state to be involved in reproduction. Much less do I believe that the state should be able to impose further requirements on a woman.

Here is a link showing Quintanilla as a Joint Author.

I know I'm not the only person in the party that is disappointed with Representative Quintanilla.

So much for "Chente por la gente"...

Homies of the Week / Assholes of the Week

Homies of the Week, County Judge Veronica Escobar, Mayor John Cook, & City Manager Joyce Wilson. I've have been critical of all three, and probably will be again. But I have to give credit where credit is due and they have acted quickly to help those in need and made good decisions during our cold weather emergency.

El Paso Electric are the Assholes of the Week. Its not like you weren't told ahead of time that weather was coming. You should've made the necessary preparation ahead of time. (To clarify, I am talking about executive management, not line workers. The workers are probably busting their ass in the cold trying to keep the blackouts from happening, infact, they get honorable mentions for Homeboys of the Week.)

Other Assholes of the Week, the pendejos that were hauling ass passing people while the roads were slick. Luckly they got theirs, I saw a few of them in fender benders. Karma suckas!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No Seriously...Tim Besco is Running for Office...Seriously

I'm not joking here...Tim Besco is running for office..again. This time he's running for City Council District 1 against the incumbent Ann Morgan Lily and Manny Hinojosa.

There was a typo on a previous post in which I posted the Cortney Niland was running for District 1, but I meant 8. 

Beco is coming off a defeat from Congressman Reyes in the general election, but nothing equals the beat down he took from the College Republicans. Haven't hears what his campaign motto will be this time, but its guaranteed to be interesting.

After burning a MAJOR bridge in the Republican Party, it will be interesting to see what kind of reception Besco receives. He will be running in a district that is basically a Republican stronghold.

No word on whether he is going to have the same campaign manager as he previously had. District 1 looks like it might be the fun race to watch this election season because District 3 is pretty much down to one candidate and District 8 is also in the same boat. 

But perhaps District 6 will provide some excitement as well considering it also features a Republican in the race.

Is it me, or are the Republican candidates for City Council (I know, its non-partisan but they are Republicans) the most interesting group of candidates we've seen in one election since the District 4 race a couple years ago?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Courtney Niland Grants Interview

Courtney Niland, candidate for City Council District 1 was interviewed recently by El Paso Magazine.

She is featured in a piece called Fashionable Philanthropy and is called February's Stylish Local.

The piece can be found here.

The story highlights her work for charitable causes.

Vandivort Makes Decision

I previously wrote about Brooks Vandivort contemplating a run for City Rep for District 1. I mentioned that he would be making a decision over the weekend. Vandivort has made his decision and sent me an email notifying me of the decision. The following is the email he sent me.

Mr. Abeytia:

I have spoken to a very small group of people I trust about my interest in running for the District 1 Council seat and wanted to convey my final decision to you as well since it had been covered on your blog.

After much debate, it is clear to me that the time required to be an effective Council member is something that I do not have at present. While I am extremely grateful to those in the public sector and business community who have urged me to seek election, I know that I cannot give the position my full attention; and that would be unfair to the citizens of District 1. The issues facing the City of El Paso require a full-time commitment; and while the City Manager form of government has placed more responsibility with City Staff, we should still expect intelligent, creative, and difficult decisions to be made by our regionally elected officials.

The City of El Paso and the surrounding areas are at tipping point both economically and socially. Too many of our elected officials continually try to solve our problems with incremental and often ineffectual policy changes, and this was at the center of my interest in running. Today the greatest economic driver in our community is the BRAC decision of 2005; and while the development community and City planning have been working to capitalize on this growth, not enough is being done to ensure that the region continues to prosper economically once Fort Bliss expansion is complete.

Further, El Paso sits on the largest international borderplex in the world and is the perfect setting for research, training, policy education, immigration, and international security on a global level; yet the programs that capitalize on this are locally or regionally focused and do not have the funding necessary to become national in scope. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso Community College, Texas Tech, and similar institutions should be commended on the progress that they have made in becoming centers of learning on the border, but a strong push needs to be made at the Federal level to enhance these existing programs and to add Federal anchors of support. A brief search of national research programs in these areas reveals that they are located in virtually every part of the country aside from El Paso. While limited progress has been made, this type of neglect comes from the top down. Local representatives and state elected officials need to push our national representatives into action.

El Paso is a wonderful city to live in and call home, and I will continue to make an impact where I can. I want to thank you for your contributions to the local political dialogue and for providing a platform that extends the debate beyond traditional forums.


Brooks Vandivort