Friday, September 30, 2011

Jerome Tighlman Entering Democratic Congressional Race

Former talk radio personality Jerome Tighlman will be joining Congressman Reyes and Beto O'Rourke in the race for the Democratic nominee for congress.

Tighlman confirmed his interest and I will be interviewing him next week to add to the videos.

Tighlman made an attempt to run as an independent in 2008 and has also run for city council.

Tighlman is an Army veteran and was a member of the elite Ranger Team. He is currently a teacher in the El Paso Independent School District.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Video: Democratic Congressional Race Interviews Part 1

Television gives you sound bytes and newspapers give you quotes. I've never really thought that was sufficient enough information to make an important decision like who to vote for.

So this is the first in a series of interviews I will be doing between now and election day with as many candidates that want to take me up on the invitation.

I spoke at length with both Congressman Sylvestre Reyes and his challenger Beto O'Rourke about a range of federal issues. Both are obviously very busy men but they were kind enough to set aside some time to visit with me about policy. I broke the interviews down in to bite-sized chunks so that they are easily digested by voters.

The only editing done was for the occasional interruption during interviews so you get to see a pretty raw look at the candidates.

The interviews will be broken down by topic whenever that is feasible in order to give a side-by-side comparison. There will be an occasional difference in the length of their respective answers so don't interpret that as one candidate getting more face time than the other, its just a matter of speaking style.

Hope you find these interviews useful.

New Poll Question

I added a new poll question on my blog. Go weigh in...

Que dice la gente?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clarification on Enriquez

I wrote something that deserves a little clarification. Hector Enriquez is a likely candidate for HD 75.

I wrote that he was going to run regardless of whether or not Quintanilla decides to run for re-election. I stand by that opinion, but I wanted to clarify that Enriquez did not say that.

Enriquez said his decision was contingent upon Quintanilla's decision.

People might not always agree with my opinion, but when I make a statement of fact I want to get it right and I don't want to confuse people. So do I still think that's what Enriquez is going to do, yes.

But Enriquez was clear about his decision was contingent upon the decision of Quintanilla.

A couple of other developments. Enriquez has spoken and me with Forma Group, but they are not on retainer and have not signed a contract. H also says there is no deal set in stone with the TLR, though he has taken a meeting with a local point-person of the TLR.

So if I confused anyway, that's my bad.

Forma Group Working with O'Rourke Campaign

In a somewhat surprising move, the Forma Group is working with Beto O'Rourke's Congressional campaign.

I've been critical of them in the past, but one thing you can't deny is their track record of late. They have worked for Dee Margo, Naomi Gonzalez, Ann Morgan Lily, and Marisa Marquez over the last couple of years, so they are on a roll.

The original campaign designs and announcement were done by Two Ton Creativity. Morris Pittle, who runs Two Ton, has been with O'Rourke since his first election and also worked with County Judge Veronica Escobar.

So the move is somewhat surprising considering how long O'Rourke and Pittle go back.

Forma Group has been closely associated with the Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR), which is a conservative PAC, going back to the Marquez victory of long-time State Rep Paul Moreno.

As they say, politics make strange bedfellows...

Quintanilla's Unwillingness to Commit is Becoming Juvenile

There has not been a worse kept secret in this town than Quintanilla's bid for County Commissioner since County Judge Veronica Escobar pondered her run for County Judge. 

But Quintanilla coyness is bordering on stupidity at this point. Zahira Torres wrote a piece that says Quintanilla has placed an order for signs that indicate he is running for County Commissioner. 

Despite the fact that Torres found out about it, Quintanilla is still pretending he is not running for County Commissioner. That is flat out ridiculous and an insult to not only the reporter, but to voters intelligence.

Honestly, I don't have a warm place in my heart for Quintanilla at this point. Its bad enough that he has a horrible voting record as a Democrat, but on more than one occasion he has dismissed something I have written as "gossip". Despite the fact that I was able to get comment on this items.

But when someone knows there is artwork produced, speaks with Quintanilla about it, and he still tries to feed a big line of bullshit to readers by saying, "I have not ordered the signs completely, just the design to see if I like it and at that point I'll say go do it or don't do it,"

Haven't ordered the sings completely? What the fuck does that mean? How do you partially order something?

So by his logic, he is going to make the decision on whether or not to run for County Commissioner based on how the signs look?

I've heard of some stupid shit in my day, but damn! That takes the cake!

How about making the decision on issues or whats best for the constituents? 

Put on your big boy pans, man up and make a decision Representative Quintanilla. Its going to be a loooonnng campaign for you...

Hector H. Lopez Possible Candidate for HD 75

Former talk radio personality Hector H. Lopez is rumored to be considering a run for the seat currently held by Sate Rep Chente Quintanilla according to sources in Austin. Lopez is Vice President at the National Hispanic Institute and currently hosts a show on the Las Cruces PBS station. Lopez is currently out of the country and unavailable to confirm his interest. Ill keep you posted...

Candidate Interview Project

As you know I try to provide in-depth issue-based interviews with candidates to help flesh out their positions on issues.

I plan on doing the same in this election, so if you are a candidate, consider this an open invitation.

On that note, I will start with the Congressional race. I have already interviewed Beto O'Rourke and will interview the Congressman and Jaime O. Perez before the week is over. I will post the interviews in pieces here on The LionStar Blog so you all can get a good comparison between the candidates on the issues. I will start with the two Democrats and then publish Jaime O. Perez's interview afterward.

Again, open invitation to all candidates. The questions will all be issue-based and in-depth. Its your chance to showcase your positions to voters. No softballs and no sound bytes. Just meaty interviews.

For scheduling and more info -

What Darley's Election Means for the PDN Tejanos & the Party

Here is my opinion and analysis of the election of Blanche Darley as Chair of the Paso Del Norte Chapter of the Tejano Democrats.

The election of the Blanche Darley as Chair of the Paso Del Norte Chapter of the Tejano Democrats sets back the organization at least a decade and is an embarrassment to the El Paso County Democratic Party.

I have raised the point several times and I am not sure why no one has done anything about it, but Darley IS NOT SUPPORTIVE OF THE PRESIDENT. How can someone who is so public about her opposition to our Party's nominee and now President of the United States, be elected to ANYTHING in the Party, much less the Chair of the most-influential Democratic auxillery in the County?

For God's sake, in her own announcement email she has to go back to 1980 to show support for Ted Kennedy for President instead of mentioning support of our President. Lets put that in to perspective, I am one of the older members of the El Paso Young Democrats. Most of the membership are in their 20's. I was 5 years old when Ted Kennedy ran for President.

The Tejano Dems just lost their credibility with the election of Darley as the Chair. First of all, the manner in which she was elected immediately is cause for concern. If there is not a sense fair play and transparency going on, why would that organization even deserve credibility?

Who would want the endorsement of an organization that elects someone under a suspect process, and who's chair not only doesn't support the President but has allegedly referred to him as a n%$#er?

Members are already talking about leaving the organization. She has been known for being confrontational and manipulative. Darley as Chair will do more harm to the organization than anyone else outside of the organization could ever dream of doing.

In the crazy straw of thinking in the El Paso Democratic Party this lady was elected the Chair of the El Paso Democratic Party. Party chairs are supposed to be outspoken on Party Platform issues. They are supposed to be good at fundraising, generating volunteers, connecting the base with candidates, etc. Darley falls painfully short of all of those measures.

I can't think of a single candidate that will want to have their picture taken with Darley during an election year based on her comments and conduct.

Darley doesn't represent my Democratic Party. My party stands up for social justice, not the bigotry and oppression Darley represents with her alleged racially-charged comments and support of the recall. I thought we turned the page on people like that in the El Paso County Democratic Party.

Whats worse is that Darely was allowed to happen because for years the party and club leadership has allowed her behavior to continue, unchecked and unchallenged. Now she's the leader of the Tejano Democrats. 

Its bad for the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats and horrible for the El Paso County Democratic Party. 

Blanche Darley Elected Chair of Tejano Dems

Blanche Darley, Chair of PDN Tejano Democrats
(Photo Courtesy of Don Williams)
Controversial figure best known for confrontation and racially-charged statements, Blanche Darley was elected as the new Chair of the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats.

Her election came with a controversy and sparked interest in taking the issue to the state-level entity of the Tejano Democrats.

I spoke to several attendees of last night's meeting, none of which want to be identified for fear of retaliation on the part of Blanche Darley.

The controversy swirls around the credentialing process.

Darley, whom I have actually recorded on video circumventing a credentialing process previously, was chair of the credentialing committee in accordance with the chapter charter.

Darley apparently held on to the credentials list and would not let the list become public and would not share the list, as required, with the other officers of the club. There was a reason she had done so according to one source close to the situation. Darley allegedly stacked the deck in her favor according to the source. The source says Darley allowed her supporters to be credentialed and turned down other members in good standing.

Sources in Tejano leadership indicated that Darley was asked for the list of credentialed membership several times but kept coming up with excuses for flat-out ignoring the requests.

The issue that may be taken to the state level is the notification process. Per charter, the elections are supposed to be held in August, but due to a private matter of a personal nature with the Chair, the election was postponed until September.

Multiple sources within the Tejano Democrats state that Darley only sent out emails notifying members of the change to her supporters. Since there are a lot of seniors that are members of the Tejano Democrats, a great number of them do not have email and they are supposed to be notified via mail.

That didn't happen. Any member in good standing can challenge that issue with the state entity.

The sources further allege that Darley, who maintained the list of credentialed members, called the members that she knew didn't have email to ensure they were present at the meeting, provided they were one of her supporters.

As I have previously written, Darley maintained a list of the email addresses of members and was famous for sending out unauthorized emails to the membership to the point that the chair had to clarify what was an official PDN Tejano email.

Some members that should have been credentialed but weren't, had to actually challenge their exclusion in order to get credentialed to be eligible to vote. That included Don Williams who was successful in his endeavor to get credentialed. (Side bar: I have previously written about allegations that Darley used the "N" word when referring to Don Williams, so the fact that he still plays nice with her is a testament to his commitment to the Democratic Party. He's a better man than I, because I would've gone postal, which is why he's a respected big shot in the party and I'm not.)

Darley also allegedly used the Tejano membership email list to target an email to her supporters to let them know of her intent to run for chair. Here is the text of the email she sent out, targeted only to her supporters:

Tejano Members,

I am announcing my candidacy for Chair, Tejano Democrats Paso del Norte Chapter.  I am asking for your vote tomorrow Tejano Democrats Paso del Norte Election of Officers.  I will be available to work with you and for you, and I will work hard to keep Tejano Democrats the Strongest Democratic organization in El Paso.
I am former:

  • Chair of Tejano Democrats,
  • Texas Democratic National Committeewoman (DNC) 
  • State Democratic Executive Committeewoman, Senatorial Districts 17th & 29th (SDEC)
  • International Vice President Minority Coalition United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, AFL-CIO.
  • National LULAC Women's Affairs Coordinator

  • El Paso Campaign Coordinator for Senator Ted Kennedy for United States President.

  • Presently I am Precinct Chair #38.
Thank you,

What makes this email so interesting is that it appears to show a blatant level of duplicity on the party of Blanche Darley. In another piece I wrote, I mentioned an email from Robert Grijalva, who was trying to be a voice of reason and a sorely-needed statesman for the Tejanos in which he admonished Darley for her actions toward the Chair, Rebecca Robledo. 

Darley actually responded to the email and part of her response was "Frankly it's an embarrassing situation for me. I do not have an issue with the Chair, I performed my duties as Treasurer and with the Tejano Chapter. "

So apparently Darley says on the 24th of this month that she doesn't "have an issue with the Chair..." but just days later she is running for Chair.

Darley may have had this planned for quite some time. Sources indicate that Darley, her niece Yolanda Clay, and Yvonne Rodriguez all "ambushed" the chair at their recent golf tournament fundraiser and made mention of a private personal matter dealing with the Chair. The sources indicate that Darley and others basically told the Chair that she wouldn't be able to run for re-election due to the matter and then used that situation to their advantage and spread the information to other members.

Several people including Judge Angie Juarez-Barril and Robert Grijalva urged that the meeting be postponed in order to ensure fairness and that all members that were eligible to vote were properly notified.

Several members have already indicated a desire to resign from the club as a result of the debacle.

I will keep you posted as this continues to develop.

Guest Post: Domestic Partnerships

By Getsemani YaƱez

In the midst of clear divisions this election year, we will be faced with even wider disenchantment and greater emotional charge. As a Christian and a democrat – yes, we can be both – I refuse to prostitute my God and my religion for the purposes of political capital. I am very troubled that others can do so with such ease, however. While I do believe the mayor and council failed miserably in their attempt to effect change in their first round of the domestic partnership talks, I do believe they had great reason to vote as they did. The fact is, however, we should have never let the matter escalate to the heights that it did. The only accomplishments we have to show for it are deeper divisions, a beat-up group in our society, and a recall effort that will have us dipping further into our pockets in the middle of a recession.

Throughout this entire debacle, I have continuously thought of two scriptures. One comes from Luke 20:25 in the matter of taxes, where Jesus plainly states, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give to God what belongs to God.” At a closer glance, one can clearly see that he is not only speaking of taxes. As men, we live under two laws – that of our government, and that of our Lord. It is up to us to live a life that honors our God and our beliefs while maintaining Caesar’s rules of order. Luckily, much has changed since the rule of Caesar. Thankfully, we live in a country of democratic processes. We live in a country that treasures freedom of religion and freedom to become people of self-governance and self-preservation. Our future depends and belongs to us, so long as we commit no harm to others – so long as we give Caesar what is Caesar’s. We are essentially ruled by documents that clearly speak of liberties and a pursuit of happiness regardless of race or religion. Why, then, should we allow our government to dictate our lifestyles beyond that which belongs to “Caesar”? We should not. It isn’t right from either a religious or a constitutional standpoint for a people’s lifestyle, be it chosen or natural, to be compromised due to our government’s will.

In ending, I would like to remind Christians of all denominations – including Catholics, of course – that we live by the New Testament. Jesus came to lighten our hearts and to make it easier for us to enter the gates of heaven. Jesus’ life was one of compassion, love, and inclusion. Which brings me to the second scripture in Romans 12:9-12, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” We are not on earth to cast stones, and we are not on earth to judge our fellow man. On the contrary, the New Testament tells us we are here to be our brother’s keeper, and we must attempt to walk the path that Jesus led through love and positive action: to clothe the poor, feed the hungry, and help the weak.

If this recall effort is truly a religious objection to domestic partnership benefits, I will leave you with one question. What Would Jesus Do? Regardless of your interpretation on the matter of sin and what it constitutes, would Jesus want to insure people, or not? And if you cannot or will not honestly come to a conclusion based on religious teachings by the Son of Man, then please, do not prostitute my faith. Rather, give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and be honest and faithful to God.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why the Tea Party Will Help President Obama Win Re-election

The Republicans find themselves in a bit of a paradox. The people who will decide the Presidential election are people that live in the ideological center.

Most Americans have a negative opinion of the Tea Party according to recent polls.

Yet within the Republican Party, the Tea Party base has become very powerful within the likely Republican voters. So, the Republican candidates for president have been tripping over one another trying to appeal to that fringe group.

This video makes a very important point. When the audience cheered people being executed, not a single Republican candidate called for civility. When people cheered to let someone die because of healthcare costs, not a single Republican candidate called for civility. And when a soldier in the United States Army asked a question via YouTube in another debate, he was booed, and still, not one Republican candidate pushed back.

This is the type of stuff that turns off people in the middle. This is the kind of stuff that turns them away, or worse yet, makes them stay home from the polls on election day.

This shows Republican candidates having to appeal to the extremists within their party and then they have a very difficult time running back over to the center for the general election. The President might be unpopular, but he looks better and better against the extremists every day.

One last note, before any of you geniuses start to cry wolf and say its because of the "biased liberal media", you should remember the facts. The first debate was hosted by MSNBC. That's an admittedly liberal-leaning network. That debate sparked the applause for the death penalty.

Buy the debate that had the audience cheering for the death of a hypothetical person who couldn't afford healthcare be let to die, was hosted by the Tea Party! And the debate were Republicans actually booed a member of the United States Army was hosted by Fox News!

Another Budget Meeting, Another Gandara Absence

I swear I'm not picking on the guy, but its starting to get a little ridiculous.

The County is dealing with the budget issues, a circumstance were really important decisions are being made on behalf of taxpayers of El Paso County and yet again, Precinct 3 County Commissioner Willie Gandara is not at the meeting.

Click here to see the live video stream.

What monies go to which precincts, departments, and programs are the decisions made in these types of meetings.

Why are we talking about who can speak to voters in Spanish rather than who can speak on behalf of voters at the County?

"I'll Never Vote for that N***er..."

Those are the not-so-subtle words of Blanche Darley at the state Democratic Convention back during the last Presidential election.

I personally heard her say that. I'll never forget it because it was the first thing I ever heard her say.

Flash forward to the next Democratic Convention during the recent Gubernatorial Election and she allegedly used the same racial comment toward the now-SDEC Don Williams.

Now this picture of maturity, acceptance, and leadership is apparently running for Chair of the Tejano Democrats. It would be really bad for the Democratic Party as an organization if Darley were elected Chair. She is divisive and in my opinion does not represent the values of El Paso or the Democratic Party.

The remark about the President is not only racist but should have led to her being relieved as a precinct chair and any leadership position within the party.

The alleged remark against SDEC Don Williams didn't have much of an impact against Williams because most people in the party stopped listening to her a long time ago. But nonetheless, the remarks were hurtful, shameful, divisive, and not consistent with the Democratic Party values.

If she were election as Chair, it would set back the Tejano Dems at least 10 years in my opinion.

If you are a Tejano Democrat and are reading this post, ask yourself a question. Do you really think your club would be effective with Blanche Darley as the Chair? Do you think she would help expand your membership, or would she turn people off to the political process and scare them away?

A Chair should set the example for the club. Is this the example you want people in your club to follow?

To this day she is still not supportive of the President.

And a good chair should at the very least, be able to follow the rules. This is video I shot of Darley at the last Presidential convention in the Hispanic Caucus. She some how acquired bracelets and started handing them out to people that she knew were going to vote the way she wanted. As you can see in the video, she actually checks the delegate's credentials to make sure there were a delegate for her candidate. She circumvented the official process in order to try to influence the outcome of the vote. The bracelets were eventually taken away from here when some really smart, handsome guy showed the committee chair this footage :-).

And above all a Chair should be someone who is honest and means what they say. In an email response to the email I wrote about previously from Robert Grijalva who stepped in and tried to be the statesman in this situation, Darley states, "Frankly it's an embarrassing situation for me. I do not have an issue with the Chair...".

Yet she sent out an email soliciting support for a run at Chair. 

I am not a Tejano Democrat. But as I have written previously, people like Darley are not a good representation of our party and someone has to have the courage to push back against her type of actions. When she runs around using racial slurs, it damages and embarrasses the entire party. Coupled with her support of the recall effort, Darley demonstrates that she has a fundamental lack of understanding of one of the pillars of the Democratic Party's National justice. 

I am not a Tejano Democrat, but I am a proud Democrat. In my opinion she is an embarrassment to our party due to her actions and words. We can do better. The Tejanos can do better. I hope they make the right decision tonight.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Grijalva Weighs-in on Tejano Dispute

Robert Grijalva, staffer for State Rep Chente Quintanilla and long time member of the Paso Del Norte Democrats did something that frankly should've been done a long time ago.

He attempted to deal with the antics of Blanche Darley. In this email to Blanche Darley, Grijalva attempts to be the voice of reason and stop a dispute between Blanche Darley and the chair of the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats.

As I previously wrote, members of the PDN Tejanos stated that Blanche was trying to recruit someone to run against Robledo. In her response to this email Darley stated that she doesn't have an issue with the Chair, but also didn't deny recruiting a challenger.

The Tejano Democrats meet this week for elections.

Here is the email from Robert Grijalva to Blanche Darley:

Good morning.  Our chapter of Tejano Democrats was formed at the same time that the state wide TD was formed.  Ours is the flagship chapter in El Paso.  Founding members included some of the most highly respected El Paso Democrats.  For almost twenty years, the chapter has been highly respected by our office holders and candidates.  Every endorsement meeting that we had would be filled to the limit.  Many have tried to minimize our influence but have failed; the most notable being a former state rep from south central el paso.

The conflict between the Chair and the Treasurer is hurting our standing in the political arena.  From where i stand, the conflict is an between the two of you.  It is not a rules issue or a parliamentary issue.  It is a clash of personalities.

The members of PDNTD elected the officers to perform their duties in the best interest of the organization.  The issue of memberships and voting is resolvable by the officers working together.  The conflict at the highest level of our chapter is undermining the integrity and strength of the chapter.  The continuance of the conflict will do what a certain former state rep could never do.

The standing of our chapter is much more than just an organization; it is part of Texas History because of how, when and who created it.  Tejano Democrat Chapters will be the key to getting more Hispanics to vote and if we are percieved as dysfunctional, our efforts will produce nothing.

I hope that these thoughts help end the conflict before Tuesday and we have an orderly process of electing our leadership.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.  My concern is exclusively for upholding the standard that was handed to us by the founders.

Gandara No-Show on ABC 7 Xtra; Takes a Beat-Down

County Commissioner Willie Gandara chose not to attend the ABC 7 Xtra debate held between the candidates for County Commissioner Precinct 3.

It was a mistake to not show up.

He's already getting a lot of heat for not showing up to things and then he's a no-show for something as high-profile as a 30-minute television show?

Not the best of decisions and he paid for it. His opponents were basically free to tee off on Gandara at their leisure. Although their critiques were basically a rehash over what has already been discussed.

The big winner in the broadcast was Vince Perez. He was able to answer questions about his command of Spanish and was able to focus on the issues that are affecting the district. (On a side note, this Spanish thing isn't over. Mark my words, one of the other campaigns will have someone at a forum talk to Perez in Spanish in order to embarrass him and underscore the language proficiency. Its the valley, that's how they roll.)

The other guy running, Rudy Loya had a real opportunity to make a splash. It was his first opportunity to get introduced to voters. Despite claims of high name ID, I have been around the valley and I'd say he has moderate name ID at best. People that are civic-minded down know of him, but they basically had no opinion of him.

When Loya did speak, he didn't do what he needed to do, which was distinguish himself from Perez and Gandara. He broke a cardinal sin, he kept agreeing with Perez. Its fine to do that occasionally, but its imperative that a candidate find some area to distinguish themselves from the field.

The reason it was so imperative for Loya to perform well is because he is probably going to get lost in the shuffle if yet another big name jumps in the race, Chente Quinanilla. I'm betting Quintanilla jumps in the race and if he does, that probably hurts Loya the most. Loya's base of support is in the San Eli area. There are only so many votes down there. Quintanilla and Gandara are names that the voters are more familiar with and its going to eat at Loya's support.

I know its early, but I'll bet that Loya's real strength will come in who he supports for a run-off. If there are issues he's passionate about, he can really shape the outcome of the race.

Overall Loya isn't a bad candidate. He seems like a smart and articulate guy and certainly likable.

Getting back to Gandara, Darren Hunt said that Gandara's reason for not showing up was that basically he is the incumbent and decides when and where he debates opponents. HUGE MISTAKE! That answer will not go over well with voters.

It pretty much went downhill from there. Perhaps Loya's shining moment in the program was when he commented on Gandara's absences. He said it was disrespectful to constituents. I thought that was a great way of capsulizing the sentiment. \

A caller, Efren from Socorro, called in and said he felt it "was a slap in the face..." that Gandara didn't show up.

The interesting thing about Perez's candidacy is that he actually helps the Loya and possibly Quintanilla if he jumps in the race. Perez and his "dream team" will do all the homework on Gandara's record and provide material to argue against Gandara.

The other candidates will benefit from it and make it their own, but that's part of politics.

It will be interesting to see all the candidates when they finally all get together in one place for a discussion on the issues. That should be really interesting.

The Recall

Sorry, been busy and I know people have been wanting my take on it.

I'll make it quick.

First of all, Pastor Tom Brown should stop being such a drama queen. In my opinion, he personifies hypocrisy. He has absolutely no problem with a sign that shows Mayor Cook dripping with blood, but he has a fit on camera over the guy at Freeway Carpets that had a sign that was only text.

By the way, I've written several pieces about the guy at Freeway Carpet and I think he, his business, and the sign are an institution in this town. I hope he never stops doing that. Its harder than blogging and tweeting and it could negatively impact his business and he still has the stones to do that.

That makes me want to find an excuse to buy carpet.

Anyway, back to the recall.

All the rumors of the recall people having more than double the number of signatures needed turned out to be exactly what I said...bullshit.

Yes, I think the Mayor could be in trouble. But lets face facts, its not really the Domestic Partner benefit issue. He is in the unfortunate position of death by a thousand cuts. But he's a tenacious campaigner, so I think he has a shot at survival.

Ortega is not a tenacious campaigner, but I think he will likely survive and Byrd will be completely fine.

They will have to work hard to save their jobs, but I think they will be okay. The election is a long way away and its going to be VERY expensive.

There are a few reasons why I think Pastor Browns' efforts are in trouble.

#1. The method used to collect the signatures. How the signatures were collected will ultimately be a big issue.

#2. As David K says, the crazies are turning on one another.

#3. The sign thing may really case a lot of people to turn on the recall people. As if the argument that the recall and fight against domestic partner benefits not being about hate wasn't stupid enough, the recall supporters remove all doubt with the bloody Cook sign.

#4. You have to have candidates to run for the open positions if the recall becomes a reality. The minute the collection of attention seekers that surround Pastor Brown make a run at the vacancies, is when people will turn against them in large numbers.

#5. Election cost. I think I saw something attributed to Brown that said something like if they are concerned about how much a recall election costs than they can resign. Yeah, here's the funny thing about that.


Since Pastor Brown appears to be so partial to mixing politics and religion that I would like to see them cough up the cash to pay for the election instead of saddling anyone else for it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More on State Rep Race for HD 75

I saw this piece today written by Zahira Torres of the El Paso Times about Chente Quintanilla still weighing his options in terms of what race he will be running in (County Commissioner or State Rep).

I'm betting he runs for County Commissioner. I mention the piece because Torres mentions Quintanilla's famous catch-phrase of Chente Por La Gente.

I wrote the other day that the url of had been purchased already. Turns out it goes to another Chente, Vince Perez's campaign website. I'm sorry, but that makes me LOL.

You snooze, you lose.

It looks like Hector Enriquez is going to be a candidate for State Rep in District 75 and word around Austin is that he is going to be backed by the Texans for Lawsuit Reform. The TLR has taken a particular interest in El Paso legislative races as of late, so it makes sense that Quintanilla would jump in to the County Commissioner's race. Enriquez is still in the exploratory stage, but he has a treasurer filed and can already start taking contributions, so he's pretty much a bona fide candidate at this point.

I also heard from one source that keeps tabs on this stuff that there are some rumblings that Luis Sarinana, former County Commissioner for Precinct 1, now held by Anna Perez, is considering a run for State Rep in Quintanilla's district as well. That's still unconfirmed so take it with a grain of salt, but it looks like people smell blood in the water in HD 75.

PCT #3 County Commissioner's (Most of Them) to Debate on ABC 7 Xtra

Word around town is that two of the three candidates for County Commissioner Precinct 3 are committed to debating on ABC 7 Xtra with Darren Hunt this Sunday.

Vince Perez and Rudy Loya have agreed to be on the show according to my sources. I'm told that Commissioner Gandara hasn't committed yet.

Commissioner Gandara has talked about being very busy but I would think he would find it of the utmost importance to attend. If he's not there, both candidates will be able to tee off on him and he won't be there to defend himself.

On the other hand, maybe he's better off not going. I don't think he wants a side-by-side comparison in the race with the other two candidates. I don't know much about Loya but I'm betting Gandara won't want to have to talk about his track record with two opponents on television. It might not measure up favorably for him.

Como Say What?

So I was watching the news last night and they had a piece about Gandara going after Perez for his command of Spanish. I was not the least bit surprised that this was going to happen because its the lower valley whisper campaign in full effect.

But I almost spit out my food when I heard a quote from Gandara that I couldn't believe. I'll get to it in a minute.

First things first. Saying that Perez doesn't speak Spanish or saying he's not "valley enough" is something that people who live in the valley should find offensive. Think about it, what exactly are people trying to say when they say someone isn't "valley enough"? What does it even mean?

I'll just be blunt. Its basically painting Perez as a white boy. Its an attempt at rejecting what Perez is, educated, successful young Chicano who came from a modest upbringing and avoided being a statistic.

Does "valley enough" mean that he should speak with a thick accent in Spanish and say stuff like "Jeeey Meeestiir, jew got shange fur a dola?" (Hey mister, do you have change for a dollar). Should he put on working boots and a straw hat (get them nice and dusty for good measure) and go knocking on doors and pretend that he's El Hijo del Pueblo like some other people have been known to do?

Should he fit some horrible valley stereotype of dressing like a cholo with a tattoo on his neck of his jaina's name? Or should he swap his boots for some botas picudas, tight white pants, a cowboy hat with the brim folded to look like a taco and wear a loud shirt with the Virgen the Guadalupe on the back and some scorpions on the sleeves and drive around in a huge pick up truck?

Oh wait, Perez actually does drive a big ass pick-up truck.

But you get my point right? Saying that he's not "valley enough" means that he doesn't fit a negative stereotype that is supposed to be prepacked for sale to voters in the valley.

Does he reflect the average voter in the valley? Probably not. He has an advanced degree.

But isn't that what we tell our kids what we want from them? Don't we tell them, Mijo, study hard so that you can get in to a good school and not have to struggle in life or end up working with your hands.

So when you have someone who actually did that, someone who grew up in the barrio and went to Bel Air High, worked his ass off to avoid becoming a statistic, and ends up getting a Master's Degree from Georgetown, we are now going to turn around and say, sorry mijo, you aren't unsuccessful enough for us to consider you for County Commissioner?


So lets stop and take a look at the scoreboard here for a minute.

Vince Perez                    Willie Gandara
Master's Degree              Master's Degree
Bachelor's Degree           Bachelor's Degree

Looks like both candidates are valley boys that did well for themselves.

The difference is that one candidate doesn't reflect that valley as much as the other. One candidate grew up with every advantage. One candidate comes from wealth and privilege. One candidate is the rich and powerful son of a rich and powerful father. One candidate owns vast land holdings. One candidate comes from a family of politicians.

The other is the son of a cop who started as a patrolman writing traffic tickets and worked his way up to a Lieutenant in the Criminial Investigation Division for the valley. He picked up extra shifts so he could afford to send his son to a good school. He worked as a police officer in the day 7am-4pm, and then a few days a week he would go do security work in the projects from 4pm until 2 in the morning so he could afford to send his kid to a good college.

The thing about saying that Perez isn't "valley enough" is that you are basically attacking the way and the place where the guy was raised. When you do that, you are attacking his family and his neighborhood.

I don't think Commissioner Gandara wants to make family members the major topic of discussion in this race. In fact, I think Commissioner Gandara would rather some of his family members' names not be brought up in this race at all.

At the end of the day, neither candidate is really a reflection of their district. The Gandara name is synonymous with power and money in the valley. Most people that live in the valley wouldn't say they have power and money.

Gandara has several vehicles with a combined value worth more than a lot of homes in the valley. The most-used routes of public transportation (the bus) in town are in the valley.

When Gandara went on TV and said "he's lived it", I almost spit out my food. Lived what?

Their family has been known for wealth and power for a long time. There's nothing wrong with that either. Its the American dream to become powerful and wealthy.

All I'm saying is, don't act like you are El Hijo del Pueblo if you were raised in comfort and had opportunities that other people in the valley didn't have.

Just be grateful and humble about it.

We should be talking about policy and the direction of the district. We should be talking about track records, votes, agendas and ideas.

For Gandara's sake I sure hope he has more in his arsenal than order from the menu at a Mexican restaurant...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dems Need Strong Party Leadership

The Democratic Party needs a new Chair and it looks like the current chair, Danny Anchondo, isn't going to run for re-election.

That is not only a good thing, its a great thing. I've been critical of Chairman Anchondo in the past and tried to work with him, but it became a pointless and unproductive endeavor because I think he fails to realize the importance of utilizing the talent within the party unless they are people of his choosing.

Basic house-keeping stuff like keeping an updated website or managing a social networking project doesn't get done. The year is 2011 and the El Paso County Democratic Party doesn't have a regularly updated website and the administrators on the Facebook page don't post information. Only people who were removed as administrators on the order of Chairman Anchondo update the facebook page.

There's no excuse for stuff like that to happen when you have the talent pool that is available to the Democratic Party in El Paso.

I've written about a few names flying around to be the next chair. A good party chair should be able to raise money, expand the base, mobilize the base, cultivate volunteers, not take sides in primary races, set a good example, empower clubs, get the Democratic Party message out, and actively advocate for the party platform.

But above all, be a strong leader!

That's why my personal choice for the next party chair would've been Don Williams.

Williams is seeking another office now, so like many Democrats I am wondering who will step up and lead the party.

The last thing we need is more division. More "us versus them" mentality. More exclusion. More drama.

All of that needs to become the past and stay in the past.

We need someone who isn't polarizing and won't divide the party further. We need someone who can bring people together, not be obsessed with power and control, and will cultivate relationships with the life-blood of the Party.

As the days roll by, I'm sure more names will come up. But we need to have a serious discussion about where we are going as a party and who is going to be the next chair. Its vital and the time to have that conversation is now, not later.

Dear Judge Angie Juarez-Barril...

I'm really glad to see your efforts at building a Veteran's Court. I support the idea as long as we can afford it.

But do us veterans a favor. Please learn the correct way to refer to clothing worn by service members.

They are UNIFORMS, not outfits.

This is a uniform:

This is an outfit:


A Proud Veteran

Attention Potential Candidates...

As you have no doubt seen over the last couple of days, I have posted several pieces about potential candidates for a range of offices from judicial candidates to a kindergarten-class-size of candidates considering running for Rep Quintanilla's seat.

I have one question for you. What the hell are you waiting for?

Especially if you are taking on an incumbent. Volunteers are being sucked up by campaigns. There is a finite number of people in town that actually know the nuts and bolts of a campaign. Guess what, they are all probably committed to a campaign.

Every day that you wait is one day less you have to talk to voters and convince them to vote for you. Every day that goes by is one less day available to raise money.

Tick-tock people...

Gandara's Community Meeting

County Commissioner held a community meeting last night and had a pretty decent turn out of about 35 people.  The meeting was regarding the tax increase for UMC and UMC President and CEO Jim Valenti presented information about the increase and the hospital budget.

He also went over some highlights of their accomplishments and some things to come.

Also in attendance were State Rep Naomi Gonzalez and Gandara's opponent in the Democratic Primary, Vince Perez.

Perez and Gandara exchanged a handshake and Gandara was cordial with me. Interestingly he staffer that I took a picture of at Perez's announcement made a point of taking a photo of me. I hope it goes up on Facebook and they tag me. I was wearing my favorite Redskins shirt.

Gandara was questioned by Hector H. Lopez as to why he missed the vote on tax increase for UMC and Gandara said he is responsible for 70% of the area of El Paso County and has lots of meetings to attend.

Gandara went on to say, "All the need, all the biggest concern, all the help thats needed is in my district...I'll be the first one to tell you, I'm not at all of my meetings because I've got meetings that run simultaneously...I've missed a great number of meetings because I'm at other meetings...Now to tell you where I was at that specific time? I can't think back then because we are always working."

Gandara held other community meetings this week on the issue and for at least one of the meetings, held on Tuesday at El Paso Community College (Mission Campus), Gandara's staffer Dora Oaxaca went  in his place.

Gandara Attends Community Meeting; Not @ Budget Meeting Now

County Commissioner Willie Gandara attended a community meeting regarding the tax increase at UMC yesterday.

I'll post more on that a little later, but I thought it was interesting that he's not at today's budget meeting, as you can see in this live video stream.

During his meeting last night he addressed being late to the budget meeting earlier this week by stating that he was late because he was meeting with a department head regarding the Tornillo Bridge.

Possible Challenger for Anna Perez

Charlie Madrid, who is about to take over as head hancho of the Mexican American Bar Association, confirmed that he was considering a bid to challenge County Commissioner Anna Perez.

The confirmation came at this week's meeting of the El Paso Young Democrats.

Perez was originally elected in 2008 after defeating Luis Sarinana.

Way to Go George!

Not only did my friend George Ybarra celebrate his 21st birthday this week, but he took time out of his day to write a great letter to the editor in the El Paso Times.

Ybarra was writing against the recall people.

George is a good Democrat.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Williams, Strathmann Vow to "Keep it Clean"

In an almost unprecedented move in El Paso politics, two candidates in a race have vowed to keep their race clean.

The candidates, Don Willams and Laura Strathmann are both seeking the office of, oh hell, its one of the judicial posts, the 3something.

The two sat near one another at the Young Democrats meeting and I overheard them talking about making appearances at one another's fundraisers.

Williams, an attorney, is the State Democratic Party Executive Committeeman, President of the Black El Paso Democrats, and a member of the El Paso County Democratic Party Hall of Fame. He's also a member of almost every Democratic Party club in town.

Strathmann is also an attorney but I admit I don't know much else about her yet. I do know she has a fundraiser tomorrow and I will post the info as soon as I get it.

Although its really refreshing that both candidates seem to genuinely like each other lets bear in mind that its still a competition. Only one of them is going to get the job. I just wish it was a race other than a judicial race. It would be nice to have a race be a clean but hard-fought race over issues. Judicial races have no issues. They have no personality, they have no excitement.

I know its hard to think of any race with someone like Don Williams as a race with no personality, but they are judicial candidates and can't really say anything.

But then again, after recent headlines involving judges, we as a community had better start asking the tough questions...

I say good for them. One expects judicial candidates to run clean, ethical, and dignified races. Its about time that happened in this town. That should be the norm instead of the exception.

HD 75 Candidate Attends YD Meeting

Hector Enriquez, who has been rumored to be considering a run for House District 75, the seat currently held by Innocente "Chente" Quintanilla attended this month's meeting of the El Paso Young Democrats.

Enriquez confirmed his interest in the seat but said he was still in the decision-making process.

Interestingly Quintanilla hasn't indicated whether or not he is going to seek re-election or jump in to the race for County Commissioner. Quintanilla had walked back earlier discussion of a rumored bid for County Commissioner as just "gossip", which is strange because I actually confirmed that he was considering the bid with one of his staffers.

Quintanilla also recently remarked how favorable of a district he carved out for himself in HD 75 during redistricting. Quintanilla has never really faced a credible challenger during his term in the house but was seen as vulnerable after recently being characterized as "furniture" by a Texas legislative publication, which is why there is talk of so many people considering a bid for the seat.

Whatever decision he is going to make, he might want to make it soon. It looks like the URL has already been taken. Looks like it was purchased by Vince Perez's campaign.

Perez actually has the name Chnte on his truck's license plates. Now that's funny!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dissecting Gandara's Response to Perez

I tried to sit down and write this piece all day today but stuff just kept coming up. You know, it happens. (That will make sense in a minute). During his campaign announcement for County Commissioner Precinct 3, Vince Perez made a strong critique of the incumbent, Willie Gandara Jr., primarily regarding his attendance record.

Gandara characterized it as negative attacks and said, "Let's fight on the issues".

Perez criticized Gandara's attendance record. If Gandara doesn't see his lack of attendance to meetings he was elected to attend on behalf of the precinct is an issue, then that IS an issue all by itself!

And I thought his choice of words was interesting. "Fight" as opposed to debate, discuss, or even argue. Maybe I only noticed his choice of words because I have seen just how down and dirty it can actually get in a valley campaign.

In the a story on ABC 7, part of Gandara's response to Perez's critique of attendance issues was, "If I missed a meeting, it happens."

No, shit happens.

Missing over 200 votes, including a vote that raised taxes from UMC by 20% and having your voting rights revoked for lack of attendance is more than something that happens. In my opinion it represents a track record.

Gandara represents the poorest part of El Paso County and he doesn't show up to vote up or down on an issue that ends up costing tax payers 20% more? That kind of tax increase affects the poor much more than the wealthy. More on that later.

On the MPO thing, he missed the first four months' worth of meetings. If you had a kid in high school that missed that much school, you would be standing in front of a Justice of the Peace explaining why you were a bad parent and didn't get your teenager's butt to class.

And speaking of losing voting privileges on the MPO, Precinct 3 is the fastest growing part of El Paso County and has a variety of needs that come before the MPO. The valley was deprived of a say at a critical juncture of development on the far east side and lower valley.

Gandara defended his attendance record to the El Paso Times saying that "I've worked my tail off..I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week at being a county commissioner."

To his credit, Gandara's business is very successful. Anyone who owns a business knows that it requires a huge amount of time and attention, as does the office of County Commissioner. Its difficult to understand how he works that many hours and days being a county commissioner and still has such a high number of missed meetings. 

Where things get really confusing for Gandara is when he was asked about his land holdings. The Tornillo Port of Entry, which is what Gandara touts as his major achievement during his term is actually more than just one project. Its not only the bridge, but arguably the most lucrative part of the project is the road leading from the bridge to the I-10. All of that land is potentially a lucrative investment. The property out there went from being "out in the boonies" to a high-traffic area along a major transportation corridor over night.

Gandara actually best explains the economic impact in this interview back when the deed to the property was signed by the County.

As I previously wrote, Gandara was quoted in the El Paso Times as saying, "My family has owned land in that part of the county for a long time, and I bought two or three small lots here and there, mostly in tax sales," Gandara said.

"This project will bring a dramatic, nearly an overnight, change to the valley," Gandara said. "It will improve the economic environment for my constituents. And it will be good for the entire county region."

Yet Darren Hunt from ABC 7 reports that "ABC-7 asked Gandara about buying land near the new port of entry and he answered with a stern "no," even though he admitted to doing so three months ago in an El Paso Times article.

After returning a call to ABC-7, Gandara said none of those properties he owns are near the new port of entry.

Remember when I was talking about how that increase of taxes from UMC was 20% and how it affects poor people more than the wealthy? Well, I thought Gandara's comment about Perez' command of Spanish was particularly ironic. Gandara told the El Paso Times, " are you going to communicate with them if you don't speak Spanish?"

I think the more important question is about understanding them. And how can you communicate or understand people that pretty much live in an entirely different world than you do.

Gandara is wealthy. Correction..very, very wealthy. People in the courthouse say he comes to work in different vehicles all the time like a Hummer,  luxury cars, and even a European-looking sports car. Those sound like cars that are worth more than some of the homes in the precinct.

So how does someone from wealth and privilege, and arguably one of the richest politicians in El Paso communicate and understand the people of his district who come from poverty or who are just working people like the rest of us, struggling every day just to get by?

People in the lower valley use public transit more than any other part of town. But county employees working in the courthouse say that Gandara has someone who actually drives him around.

Please tell me how Gandara's critique of Perez's ability to communicate with the average person in the lower valley makes any sense or should be taken seriously.

Talking about an incumbent's record isn't going negative. Going negative is stuff like calling newsrooms around town spreading rumors about the opposition or going after an opponents family.

Perez is talking about issues.

Gandara has to understand that.

Perez attacked Gandara's record.

If that's characterized as "negative" then perhaps its a reflection of the record Perez is critiquing.

Last Night's EPYD Meeting

Its election season and as usual, people who never attend Democratic Party functions start showing up to things. Relax people, I know those of us who "pay our dues" get pissed because we do all the work and these people just float around until election season is over and then disappear, but we just have to grin and bear it.

It is what it is.

But it was one of our better meetings last night. The guest speaker was former State Senator Eliot Shapleigh and he did pretty good.

A few candidates showed up to introduce themselves, but I'll write more about that in another piece.

The highlight of the meeting was when Aldo Lopez of the University Democrats stood up to complain about not getting recognition for his club. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what his actual point was, but he certainly didn't win any new friends at the meeting. He characterized the University Democrats as the most under-appreciated Democratic Party club in town.

Most of us looked around and thought they were more accurately described as the most under-achieving Democratic Party Club in town.

He came across as bitter and whining. The facts are that we are in a bit of a rebirth in terms of the power structure in the El Paso Democratic Party. Clubs are starting to flex their muscle and among the various clubs including PDN Tejano Democrats, the Black El Paso Democrats, West Tejano Democrats, Westide Democrats, Eastside Democrats, Young Democrats, Stonewall Democrats, and Stonewall Young Democrats.

University Democrats are basically non-existent and non-productive.

I seriously don't want to diss a group of fellow Democrats, but if you show up to a meeting whining about not getting respect, don't expect others to hold their tongue.

What exactly have the University Democrats actually done?

Go ahead...I'll wait.

Cricket, cricket....

I'll give you more time....

(Jeopardy theme song)

Okay class, lets see your homework.

If you answered "Jack shit", congratulations you got an "A".

If you lined up all the clubs in town that the Democratic Party Chair didn't appreciate and/or notice, then there would only be one club in town that isn't in the line with the rest of us.

University Dems in other parts of the state are actually active. They have things called "members".

I mean think about it, we are in the Democratic stronghold of Texas and I'm pretty sure UTEP has more College Republicans than has University Democrats. I'm pretty sure there are so few University Democrats that they could meet in a Volkswagen Jetta and still have room for a car seat.

University Democrats have to step up to the plate and do their job. Motivate people on campus. Register them to vote, educate them on the issues. Don't wait around for someone else to do it for you.

And for God sakes, put on your big boy pants and don't whine!

Beto O'Rourke Statement on the End of DADT

I'm glad that after almost 20 years congress finally came to its
senses and reversed a shameful policy that treated gay and lesbian
service members, who devoted their lives in service to their country, in a dishonorable way.

It shouldn't have taken this long and I wish we'd had leadership on this issue long before now, but I'm glad they
finally figured it out.

The Next Democratic Party Chair?

It looks like Danny Anchondo will not seek another term as chair of the Democratic Party in El Paso County.

There was talk that Don Williams was going to run for County Chair until a judicial position became open that was anticipated to be open.

Multiple sources within the Democratic Party state that they have been contacted by a familiar name that was allegedly considering a run for Democratic Party Chair had Don Williams decided to run.

The sources state that former State Representative Norma Chavez had indicated that she was interested in running for Chair if Don Williams was a candidate for the position.

Chavez has long been a standard-bearer for Democratic Party values and votes, but has also been known to cross the aisle when necessary. She has also been very outspoken in support of the recall effort spearheaded by Pastor Tom Brown as of late.

Gay rights and equality are part of the national platform of the Democratic Party.

There are strong indicators that Robert Grijalva (pictured on the right at a recent meeting)  would be a possible candidate for County Chair along with another blast from the past Rick Melendrez and perpetual candidate Jorge Artalejo.

Grijalva's possible candidacy would be very interesting because he would likely be supported by the "Old Guard" wing of the Democratic Party and the rest of the party would like look at him as a reasonable person that they could work with.

More to follow...

Things You Can't Do on a Campaign

Couple of quick notes for rookie candidates or candidates that just don't know what they are doing.

There are certain things you are not allowed to do.

For example, as I mentioned yesterday, you can't be a county employee and campaign on county time.

Another thing that can't be done is campaign on school grounds. My brother-in-law in Socorro tells me that a candidate down in the valley was working the concession stand at the Socorro homecoming game and was passing out campaign materials. I am getting the materials and will scan them and post them.

He didn't remember the name but he'll get it to me later and I will update you.

County Budget Meeting Going on Now, Gandara Absent...

The day after Vince Perez announced his candidacy and critiqued the incumbent County Commissioner Willie Gandara for having poor attendance, Commissioner Gandara is absent from yet another meeting.

There is a budget hearing that started at 9:00am today. They are talking about the valley right now. Commissioner Gandara is not in attendance.

You can see for yourselves using this link.

When asked about his absences yesterday by Marty Schladen of the El Paso Times, Gandra replied, "I've worked my tail off...I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week at being a county commissioner."

Commissioner Haggerty just made a comment regarding Commissioner Gandara's absense, "Willie's not here, we get a lot done..."

Congressman Reyes' Statement on the End of DADT

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) released the following statement regarding the Department of Defense's (DOD) effective repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

"As a combat veteran, I strongly believe that soldiers fighting for the freedoms of all Americans are entitled to the same freedoms that all Americans enjoy in the workplace.

“The Department of Defense’s year-long study confirmed what many of our troops have told me over the past years regarding ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’—which is that repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will not disrupt our military’s readiness, effectiveness, cohesion, recruiting efforts, and retention of personnel.

“As the report stated, in civilian society, there is no law that requires individuals to conceal their sexual orientation to keep their job.  Continuing such a policy in America’s military is simply inconsistent with our nation’s ideals of fairness, equality, and justice.

"Starting today, service members impacted by the law, along with those who have been blocked from joining the military, may serve in the armed forces with their dignity and integrity intact.”

Caballero V. Coronado?

Prominent and powerful attorney Theresa Caballero is said to be considering a bid for a seat on the bench as a judge.

There has been buzz for a couple of weeks that another prominent attorney and President of the Canutillo Independent School Board Sergio Coronado may also be considering a run for a judicial post.

Turns out, they may be considering a run at the same seat.

Coronado said he will make his decision very soon.

The bid by Coronado makes sense. He has pretty good name ID, he has run a county-wide race recently, and given his possible opponent, it is very likely that fundraising wouldn't be a problem for him.

Coronado has several options for his political future, including another judicial seat, so he will likely be very calculated in his next move, but he'd be a strong candidate for a judicial position in this election. Its a Presidential election so turn-out will be higher than normal.

Award Time Again

I haven't given awards out in a long time so I thought I'd dish out some hardware today. Let's start with the Asshole of the Week Award. I know most of you hate when I stop talking politics, but if you know me personally, you know the other thing in life I'm passionate about is boxing.

Its an easy pick this time, Floyd "Money" Mayweather. Not for the punches, I thought he was completely in the right and thought it was perfectly legal. Classless, and he looked like a leva for doing it, but legal.

Ortiz was getting his ass beat. I told my friends on Facebook that Ortiz was the victim of the boxing hype machine. They had to hype him up in order to sell the pay-per-view. Ortiz quit in the middle of a fight in the not-so-distant past and so the intentional headbutt wasn't a surprise. He was frustrated, like many fighters before him, about not being able to land clean punches on Mayweather. He lost his head, fought dirty, and Mayweather busted his ass for it. Ortiz had it coming, so you shouldn't feel sorry for him.

He's AOTW because of the post-right interview with Howard Lederman. How are you gonna try to hulk-up and talk shit to a man that makes John McCain look young? A little in-ring payback to your opponent for trying to intentionally head-butt your opponent is one thing, but trying to take out your frustration on an old man who is just doing his job is bullshit. Mayweather surrounds himself with people who tell him how great he is all the time and when someone has the nerve to not bask in his glory, Mayweather loses it.

Mayweather is a talented fighter and will go down as one of the all-time greats in boxing someday. But that day isn't going to come until he fights the best fighters, while they are still in their prime. He's got big wins in the sport, and at least two, possibly three wins that were gifts from the judges. But one thing is for sure, he hasn't fought a great fighter in his prime since early in his career with Diego Corrales. 

Time to stop fighting the greats while they have one foot in the rest home and cement his place is boxing history. Its time to fight Pacquaio and quit ducking him.

Homeboy of the Week goes to, you guessed it, Howard Lederman. Despite being berated by a pro fighter who showed no class, Lederman stood his ground and even made a claim we all know is bullshit. He told Mayweather he wished he was 50 years younger because he would kick his ass.

No he wouldn't. Lederman would get his ass kicked.

But the fire and courage he showed was priceless. And he told Mayweather what he needed to hear. Not only that, he turned around immediately to do an interview with Ortiz and was a real pro getting back on track right away. 

Good for him.

Busy Blogging Day

Okay, I am about to get started on several pieces today about a variety of political and current events, so you will want to check back in throughout the day.

But a couple of quick notes, word on the street is that someone thinks I don't know how to post video because of the video I posted as part of the Vince Perez announcement yesterday. Well, I am sort of known for video around here. I posted 1 second of video because I was in a hurry and didn't have time to convert the video image to a still frame. The person who said that, probably has no clue what the means, so they should really not comment on something they know about.

The point is, it was video documentation of a staffer attending a campaign event during what most people would consider part of a normal business hours on a day commissioner's court meets. This stuff happens all the time, particularly at the county, but it doesn't make it right.

Same person who was making comment about my video, was also making phone calls around to El Paso newsrooms yesterday too. They'll end up with egg on their face in the end, so I can't wait to watch that play out.

So stick around today, should be a busy morning on my blog...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vince Perez Announces Candidacy for Commissioner's Court Precinct 3

Vince Perez, who started off as an intern in Congressman Reyes' office before working his way up to Communication's Director, made his bid to unseat the current County Commissioner Willie Gandara, Jr.

Perez's announcement was framed within the various issues affecting the precinct and capped-off with a strong critique from Perez about Gandara's attendance record. "The valley needs a seat at the table, not an empty seat."

Perez cited the fact that Gandara has missed several County Commissioner's Court meetings. Perez zeroed in on a recent meeting at University Medical Center that led to an increase in taxes by 20% in which Gandara was not in attendance and called Gandara's absence "inexcusable".

Perez also stated that Gandara, who sits on the MPO board missed the first four consecutive meetings of 2010 and cited a policy of the board that states that after missing 3 consecutive meetings, a member actually loses their voting privileges. "Precinct 3, which includes the far east side and the valley is arguably the fastest-growing part of the County. We have very important transportation and infrastructure needs. The absence of my opponent on such an important committee is unacceptable".

Perez was asked about Commissioner Gandara's most touted accomplishment during his term, the Tornillo Bridge. Perez explained that its hard for Gandara to take credit for the project when there was a lot of work done at the federal level going back nearly a decade.

Commissioner Gandara was not in attendance, but one of his staffers was in attendance and was taking pictures and/or video of Perez's speech with her cell phone. Perez's announcement was made at around 9:20am, which is presumably during the staffers normal shift time on a day that Commissioner's Court meets, but it is possible that the she was using vacation time to attend the announcement.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yolanda Clay Possible Challenger to Robledo

Sources in the Paso del Norte Tejano Democrats indicate that Yolanda Clay has been speaking with elected officials within the organization asking for their support in a possible bid to be the Chair of the organization.

Clay is currently the State Democratic Executive Committee Woman and is Blanche Darley's neice.

Tejano Dems Chair Laying Down the Law

Kudos to Rebecca Robledo, Chair of the Tejano Democrats. She sent out the email below to membership and word on the street says that Blanche Darley is not too happy about it. Darley is known for sending emails out to Tejano membership on a variety of issues that may or may not be the official position of the Tejano Democrats. Most recently she sent out an email supporting the recall of the Mayor, Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega, despite the fact that gay rights and equality are part of the national platform of the Democratic Party.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia

There was some whispers last month that Darley had resigned as treasurer of the Tejano Democrats and that there was an effort to find an interim replacement until elections that will be held later this month.

And speaking of elections, apparently Darley is so upset about this email, that she is allegedly actively seeking an opponent for Robledo. Darley is also seeking re-election as treasurer of the organization. Darley has been an officer with the Tejano Democrats in some capacity for many years.

Here is the email sent out by Chairwoman Robledo:

Dear Members,

Hope you all are doing well. Please be advised that I will now be emailing you directly from this official Tejano Democrats Paso Del Norte email address. You should not be receiving any emails from anybody else. If you do, please be advised that it has not been authorized by me nor will it be considered on behalf of Tejano Democrats Paso Del Norte. Please pay careful attention to the email address as it does not have any extra letters or numbers before, in the middle or at the end of our name just in case you receive an email that has not been authorized. I know that Don Williams sends you lots of useful information and I will not clog your emails by sending the same information. By the same token, should you have any questions or comments regarding Tejano Democrats Paso Del Norte business, please feel free to send them to this email address.

A reminder that today is the deadline to submit your letter of intent to run for an officer position in order to be placed on the ballot. NO resumes are required! Please send your letter by email to this address or if you need to make other arrangements, please call me and I will be more than happy to accommodate you.

The election of officers will take place at our next monthly meeting September 27, 2011 @ 6:00pm at Su Casa, 2030 E. Yandell, so please be prompt.

Take Care and God Bless You All!

Rebeca B. Robledo, Chair
Tejano Democrats Paso Del Norte Chapter