Monday, October 31, 2011

Judge Patrick Garcia Announces Re-Election Bid

Judge Patrick Garcia, who is pretty much the HVIC (Head Vato in Charge) of the Courts in the County Courthouse has announced his bid for re-election.

I'm sure there is a more technical description of the head of the Council of Judges, but I think HVIC pretty much sums it up. Plus, Council of Judges sounds like a title of a Harry Potter book that never got published. Harry Potter and the Council of Judges.

Sorry to get off track. My kids have been watching a lot of Harry Potter because of Halloween. Anyway, here is his announcement:

Buzz on Judicial Races

For a couple of reasons, there is going to be more and more buzz around judicial races this year despite the fact that they are usually so boring that even I don't really follow them that closely.

But because of questionable acts and convictions of members of the bench, judicial candidates are going to be under more scrutiny than in past years. Plus there will be more hotly contested races this go around.

So there is buzz all over the place. For some reason one of the things people have been buzzing about is whether or not Yvonne Rodriquez will stay in the race for the 388th. Despite repeated rumors to the contrary, I spoke with Rodriquez over the weekend and she indicated that she is a candidate for the 388th. There has been talk about her pursuing a Court of Appeals seat, but thats not gonna happen. She has everything printed for the 388th already. She did not completely close the door on pursuing the appeals court job, but she did indicate that it was not likely and that she was pretty firm in her race for the 388th and reminded me that that is the race she filed to run for already.

Apparently there is another candidate, who I believe is a municipal judge that was appointed, that may jump in to the 388th. Buzz around the courthouse is that he sought out a legal opinion as to whether he would have to resign to run for the position. Sources say he would not have to because its an appointed position.

Interestingly, his last name is Rodriguez as well.  Its already a crowded field which would give an unfamiliar name on the ballot a disadvantage and having the same last name as another candidate doesn't make him any more viable. We'll see how this one develops.

The other buzz was whether Judge Regina Arditti would run for re-election. I had heard shortly after the verdict in her trial that she was in fact running for re-election. The question is not IF she'll get an opponent, but HOW MANY opponents she will get. Ironically, the more people in the race, the easier it will be for her to win re-election. Obviously headlines over a large portion of her term hanging over her head are a major factor in her vulnerability. If you remember she spent a lot of money in her bid to win the seat and I think I remember something about a second mortgage or something along those lines.

Speaking of Judge Arditti, one of her attorneys in the nepotism case is also rumored to be running for a seat on the bench. Buzz around the courthouse is that Theresa Caballero is looking at running for a judicial seat. If she's going for the seat I think she is going for, there may be another prominent attorney eyeing the same seat that has countywide campaign experience as well. I'm still confirming details so I will have to update you all later.

There is also some buzz about a sitting judge pursuing another judicial seat. Again, I am still in the process of confirming if that is true. I don't remember the case of a sitting judge leaving one seat to pursue another so I don't know how it would be received in the legal community or if they would even be a concern.

Thats all I have for now in the judicial races.

Redistricting Hearings Cast Shadow Over EP Congressional Race

There is an important round of redistricting hearings set for this week that will play important role in the race for the Congressional race in El Paso.

Well, on the Democratic side anyway. On the Republican side it doesn't matter. Whoever the Republicans nominate is going to get beat like they stole somethin'.

Here is an article that gives you some background.

You may not know it, but redistricting plays a huge role in the El Paso Congressional race. District 16 is one of the districts in question. And the question is whether the Republicans purposely created the maps in such a way as to discriminate against minorities and whether any part of the map diminishes minority representation.

(Quick side bar - In my opinion, hell yes the Republicans created the maps to discriminate against minorities and diminish our ability to elect candidates of our choice. Its a big part of the reason why Republicans have such a hard time appealing to minorities. Its also our fault. They know that they can distribute minorities in to districts based on raw population numbers and because of our shitty voter turn-out they know we will almost help them screw us. Plus, they can then turn around and make up rules that will further affect our ability to elect candidates of our choice through things like voter ID, etc. Don't like it? Its simple, vote. And DON'T vote Republican until they start valuing minorities in their party instead of just using them as tokens. Trust me, there are a lot of tokens that practically beg for attention to be the good little minority for the GOP. Don't believe me? Just ask the head of Somos Republicans that just ditched that "dump".)

Anyway, the reason this matters to El Paso is that if the map is kicked out (Texas has to get their maps approved by the feds because of historical issues involving minority representation, as do several other states), then the maps have to be redrawn.

The way the map of the 16th District of Texas is drawn now, under the Republicans, is the best case scenario for a Congressional bid based on the demographics of El Paso and past performance of the Congressman in elections. In short, the lines give O'Rourke the absolute best chance for to win, primarily because most of the Lower Valley is no longer in Congressman Reyes' district.

The Republicans felt like it was more of a community of interest with San Antonio. Yes, that's sarcasm, but its also their argument.

Its still a huge uphill battle for O'Rourke, but the current lines give him the best shot.

If the feds say the lines need to be redrawn, you can bet that people from the Lower Valley, the state Democratic Party, and probably the Congressman will push to put the valley back in his district. If the Congressman picks up even a moderate part of the valley in his district, it will likely be the deciding factor in the race.

Its not that there is huge turnout in the valley, but in a Presidential race it will be pretty big and will likely break largely for the Congressman.

This won't be something that is decided for quite a while yet, but its a big deal because it means both sides have to be careful about where they target resources, advertising, block-walking, phone banking, etc...

I think more than any position either candidate has, where the lines are drawn will determine the winner...

Judge Regina Arditti Announces Re-Election Bid

Judge Regina Arditti has announced that she is running for re-election.

This is the invitation to her announcement. Analysis to follow later.

Friday, October 28, 2011

O'Rourke's Mailer

Here is the mailer sent out by the O'Rourke campaign that I wrote about earlier in the week.

Fun Halloween Event TODAY!

The Business Professionals of America Club at Mission Early College High School is planning a bon fire and Halloween event for all ages. 

Admission is just $2 and there will be live music, food, games, and a haunted house. The campus is located on the campus of Mission College Branch of El Paso Community College. The address is 10700 Gateway East Blvd., El Paso, TX

Thursday, October 27, 2011

O'Rourke's First Mailer is out...

Beto O'Rourke is already sending mail out to voters.

Its really early for mailers and I'm not sure voters are really dialed in for it yet, but it might be helpful to be this early. Which tells me he is going to be campaigning really hard. Which makes sense because he is going after a long-time incumbent.

I've asked around and it looks like it was a targeted mailer, meaning it went to certain voters, either in a geographical area (which is most-likely voters on the westside), or based on voting record in key precincts.

But it looks like it was a westside mailer. Which makes sense because that is O'Rourke's base.

I didn't get the mailer myself but I was told it was a tri-fold piece in letter format. My source's copy was sent to Current Resident, which is a little strange because my sources is a regular voter.

I'm told the piece was basically an introductory piece that started to lay out his platform. I'm told O'Rourke mentioned his father in the piece.

O'Rourke's father was a former County Judge in El Paso and interestingly was a Republican.

My source says there was mention of ports of entry that they found interesting.

The piece was in black and white.

That's all I know for now, but I'll try to get a hold of one and see if there is anything else noteworthy.


This is a blog and therefore largely opinion. 

But I do try to get my facts straight and I was wrong about some facts and I want to publicly set it straight. I was told by Don Williams that the Party Chair Danny Anchondo was in fact present at this fundraiser. I got there at 5:40pm and it started at 5:30pm so he must have showed up and left in those 10 minutes. 

And Jan Engels, 1st Vice Chair of Tejanos was also there for a short while I was told. So I was wrong with my facts about the Chair being absent and no leadership from Tejanos being in attendance.

Don also explained that some judges were out of town due to a judge's conference and that a couple of elected officials had called him to explain why they wouldn't be in attendance.

But it was only a couple. 

I do stand by my comments and those of others, that say that Don Williams has done more for the Democratic Party in a year than the Chair has in his two terms. 

And I also stand by my opinion of the Chair's inability to manage a Facebook Page.

Commissioner Anna Perez NOT Running for HD 75

For some reason political rumors tend to swirl around County Commissioner Anna Perez. Every time I turn around, I hear a new alleged political aspiration for Commissioner Perez.

But a few people have been curious about Perez and what her future plans are. So I called and checked with Commissioner Perez on Wednesday morning and she confirmed that she is running for re-election and not for the state rep seat.

So things are still pretty much the same in terms of candidates in that race, Hector Enriquez has announced and Hector Lopez will likely announce within the next week to 10 days.

The reason people are asking is because Perez has had a campaign event but signs have not been posted. Well there are a couple of reasons for that. Number one, its too early. Normally at this stage of the game there have been several candidates announce for a range of seats, but for some reason in this election people tend to be waiting around. I think it will start picking up around mid November.

And reason number two, she doesn't have an opponent yet. I've heard rumors of a couple, but so far no one has filed. So there just really isn't even a reason for signs to be up yet.

City Rep Acosta Confirms Interest in Mayoral Run

I spoke with City Representative Emma Acosta the other day at a fundraiser and I asked her if she was still interesting in running for Mayor.

Rep Acosta was pretty hush-hush about it but did confirm that she is still thinking about.

"I'm seriously considering it, yes."

Rep Acosta did not indicate if she was interested in running in the recall election or for the next regular election.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Barbara Carrasco Announces Republican Congressional Bid

Republican Businesswoman Barabara Carrasco has announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for Congress for the 16th District of Texas. 

She touts endorsements from State Rep Dee Margo and State Board of Education Rep Charlie Garza. 

Carrasco sent this email out:

It is with great pleasure to announce that I have filed paperwork to run for the United States Congress in District 16, located in El Paso and I hope to earn your support.

The citizens of El Paso need an advocate in Washington.  We need someone who understands the challenges we are facing here at home and someone who is willing to fight to give us a voice, even if it means standing up to the establishment.

The American people are losing faith in government. It’s time to reclaim the American Dream and restore the greatness of our country for our families and our communities. I am a twenty-one year resident of El Paso and a small business owner and it is my deep love for family and my country that motivates me to become involved in El Paso politics and to really make a difference.

When I am elected to represent El Paso in the United States Congress, I will be your champion. I will work to make Washington more accountable to the citizens of this country, promoting policies for El Paso, and not politics from Washington, D.C.  I will fight for an aggressive plan for job creation, solutions to our challenges along the border and advocate for the implementation of a lean, accountable federal government that works for the people.

Please visit my newly launched website to learn more about our campaign to put El Paso citizens first.

I have an aggressive, focused campaign strategy that will lead to victory. However, I cannot fulfill my campaign goals without your help—I will need your support.  Please support me financially in my election with a donation of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or a maximum individual donation of $2,500.  You can immediately donate online by clicking here.

If you are unable to donate, there are other ways you can help through your endorsement, volunteering to host an event, or making phone calls to your networks to help spread the positive message of my campaign.  Please click hereto complete the volunteer form on our website.

Thank you for your consideration of support and the opportunity to serve.  Please contact me directly at 915-329-3415 or through our website by email if you have any questions or want to learn more about my race.


Barbara Carrasco
Candidate, United States Congress
District 16, El Paso

  Paid for by Barabara Carrasco for Congress.

I Visited the Occupy Event Again Last Night

After the Don Williams Fundraiser I took a stroll over to the plazita with a few friends to check out the Occupy Movement.

A view from inside the Tee Pee that has been erected.

They were in their general assembly and it looks like things are starting to get a little more organized there, but after all this time, they are still debating over their big statement.

It's been over a week and they still don't have that hashed out. That is a problem.

But it appears that they get side-tracked by stupid arguments. Yesterday an attorney and big time community garden activist brought over a bunch of plants so that they can have a community garden. Hell, I think you could argue they aren't even a community yet.

That guy isn't one of the over-nighters, but I guess he decided he wanted them to do the community garden thing. Which is complicated because they don't have a way to water the tomato plants that were bestowed upon them.

The other big debate of the meeting?


If they were going to get it and who was going to unload it.

And they keep doing this human microphone thing that is pretty ridiculous. Look I understand you can't have amplification and you want the whole crowd to hear you, but seriously, its over kill. Everyone there can hear the person talking, but they do the human microphone thing anyway.

They waste a lot of time and energy debating things that aren't worth the fight. In fact I saw this piece and thought it might be helpful for a few of the people there to read it.

But on a serious note, they are getting better and becoming more organized. They still have the druggie and homeless problem, but they self-police pretty well and you can't help but feel that there is an energy there along with an abundance of good intentions. I hope everything eventually congeals in to something worth while.

But in an effort to better understand things, I am going to make it a point to spend the night there one night. I will take along my flip cam to document what happens.

Award Time Again...

Easy call this week.

Homeboy of the Week is really easy. Lauro Garza who left the GOP because "There is no place for Latinos in the Republican Party"

The Douche Bag of the Week is a tie between all the elected officials who have benefited from one of Don Williams' slide shows of their event and then didn't show up. You guys/gals are all douche bags. 

Look in the mirror, waive and say hi to the douche bag waiving...

Don Williams Fundraiser

The Don of the Democratic Party, Don Williams held a fundraiser and campaign kick-off event this evening that was well-attended by several judges, prominent attorneys, a couple of members of El Paso's legislative delegation, and a large number of the Democratic Party leadership.

Biggest surprise attendee of the evening was State Democratic Executive Committee Woman Yolanda Clay. The fact that she showed up for the event was important for Williams.

Conspicuously (but not at all a surprise) absent was El Paso County Democratic Chair Danny Anchondo. Its a major dis for the Chair of the Party to not show up to an event involving one of the SDEC's. But again its not a surprise given the fact that so many people within the party were supportive of Don Williams to be the next Chair of the El Paso Democratic Party. In fact, many in the part believe Don Williams has done more for the Democratic Party in one year than Anchondo has during his entire tenure as the Chair.

There were several officers from the various Democratic Clubs in attendance as well including the El Paso Young Democrats, Stonewall Democrats of El Paso, West El Paso Democrats, and the El Paso Young Stonewall Democrats.

There was not a single member of leadership from the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats in attendance.

This race is one of the judicial races that people will be paying attention to. I am interested in this race for a couple of reasons. First, because I think the two front-runners are very compelling. And by front-runners I mean Don Williams and Yvonne Rodriguez.

The other reason I am paying attention to this race is because the candidates are showing some class. That is a refreshing change from the past. I've seen judicial races get pretty rough and this one is all class. So take notes future judicial candidates, this is how adults act.

Yvonne Rodriguez made an appearance to his fundraiser, reciprocating Williams attendance to her fundraiser earlier this month.

But there was one thing that bothered me about the event. There were some people that weren't in attendance that I think are ungrateful.

I'm not taking a side in public on this race because I like both of the front-runners, but I can't pretend that I don't acknowledge the work Williams has done not only for covering Democratic Party events, but for covering just about any major political event in town.

He sends out emails to over 3000 people that feature announcements about future events and photo slide shows of the events. Those slideshows are not only fun, but they are a valuable political resource. And frankly its not his job to do any of it, but he does it anyway.

To be honest, its the Chair of the Democratic Party that should be ensuring that there is some sort of historian to compile photos of events. But Danny Anchondo in my opinion doesn't appear to be too concerned with that. And from my first-hand experience, he doesn't appear capable of even managing the El Paso County Democratic Party's Facebook page. (Yeah I said it, y que?).

I'll tell that story some other day...

Anyway, Don Williams covers a lot. He's a one man political archive. Between my videos and his pictures, if it ain't covered, it didn't happen. (Okay thats an exaggeration, but you get my point).

Just last week, Don covered to events on opposites sides of town in one night. He went from his opponents announcement to Vince Perez's fundraiser, took care of his large family commitments, went home, edited the photo show and had it out to people before they woke up the next morning.

Frankly, politicos have been spoiled by the coverage. Hell I've heard people say that they wanted to attend an event but couldn't for whatever reason but said, "Oh well, I'm sure Don went and I'll see the slide show".

He not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk.

So to conclude my rant...I think its pretty shitty that some of you out there, especially Democrats, didn't show up to his fundraiser. He supports just about everyone else's events, and the thanks he gets is people not showing up?

You know who you are (and so do I) and I hope you feel pretty shitty about yourselves. If it were me, I'd just say screw it and cut you people off.

You're lucky Don Williams is a better man than I, because we both know he's still gonna show up, still take and publish the pictures, and never ask for an explanation why you didn't show up.

...but I might...

Texas Latino Republican Leader Quits GOP

"There is no place for Latinos in the Republican Party", said Lauro Garza who heads Somos Republicans which is the largest organization of Latino Republicans in Texas.

That is a statement people have been making for years but it is of particular note when its a Latino Republican of the largest Latino Republican organization in Texas that makes the remark.

Garza sited several reasons for leaving the Republican Party to become an independent, but pointed to current GOP front-runner Herman Cain's recent remarks about electrifying the border fence. Here is an excerpt from an article published in the Huffington Post:

"What Cain said contradicts the Constitution and shows how we were infiltrated by nativist ideas highly hostile towards Hispanics and immigrants," said Garza, who made his decision and spoke to The Huffington Post on Friday. "I am not going back to that dump until the party goes back to the principles held under Ronald Reagan."

But Garza didn't stop at calling the GOP a "dump". He went on further in the article to say:

"They don't want Latinos in the party or in the country. They don't want immigrants or the undocumented,” Garza, a retired police officer and detective, said of the party. “They think that step by step, they can make [Latinos] disappear like in Arizona, Georgia and now in Alabama."

And Garza concluded by saying:

"The Republican Party has turned radical and unreasonable," he said. It was unacceptable, he added, that party members applauded and GOP leaders did not condemn Cain's remarks when Cain twice defended the the idea of killing of innocent migrants while discussing his an electrified border fence proposal GOP leaders did not condemn the remarks.

I know, I know, the Latino Republicans are probably going to shit themselves when they rid this and cry foul because its in the Huffington Post. So here is a link to an actual audio interview from a news site where you can hear Garza himself.

The audio also features a quote from Cristi Parker, spokesperson for The Border Network for Human Rights.

I checked the Latino National Republican Coalition's website for a comment, press release, or statement, but neither the state or local chapter's website had a statement on the departure.

Although I did see that the LNRC has a new head of the local chapter, George Rodriguez Stolz. He ran for El Paso County Sheriff a few years ago against Richard Wiles.

My take on this is that it will be downplayed by the GOP. From what I've seen, the GOP likes to prance Latinos out in front of people when its to their benefit, but when it isn't, many Latinos find being in the GOP difficult.

At any rate, the fact that the head of the largest Latino Republican organization in the state of Texas decided to leave the Republican Party is a significant development.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is Why Reyes Team Hired Pittle

Its just a poster for an event, but it shows exactly why O'Rourke losing Morris Pittle of Two Ton Creativity was so dangerous for his campaign.

I know you might not think its a big deal, but I'll tell you what it means. This is probably the coolest art the Congressman has ever been on. There is no way the previous firm that was handling the art could've developed something as cool.

Its old school meets new school. I don't know if that was intentional, but it looks that way.

I know, it seems pretty inconsequential, but the cool factor means a lot, especially when most races don't usually penetrate the top ten things people care about.

From a campaign perspective, the thing Congressman Reyes needed most was a refreshed image. With a poster like this, I can only imagine what the rest of the campaign roll-out will look like.

A refreshed image will help him be re-introduced to younger voters.

But that only goes so far. There still has to be a plan in place to make it happen on a grassroots level. If the Congressman's team has that in place, then this will actually come down to what I hoped it would come down to...a debate about their respective records and stances on the issues.

Socorro Early Voting Begins

Early voting started for the Socorro mayoral election. After doing some leg work, it looks like there is not a single Mayoral candidate that is in compliance with election code as it relates to signage.

I've done so homework on the candidates in that race and will give some more information on the clients tomorrow. I'm looking for some video from a Socorro City Council meeting that I think would be helpful in your decision-making process if you live in Socorro.

More on Resign to Run on the Constitutional Amendment

Here is some more information regarding the Constitutional Amendment that is on the ballot. BTW, early voting is already open for that election.

When Should I File for Office?

New Legislation May Trigger Resign-to-Run Provision

By Nanette Forbes/ Texas Association of Counties Legislative Staff 

Recent changes to the state election laws and a proposed amendment to the state constitution will affect the time for filing for office in the March primary election.

A county official who intends to run for a different office in the March primary election should not file as a candidate before Dec. 2, 2011 and until the state canvass of the constitutional amendment election has occurred.

As currently written, Article XVI, section 65 of the state constitution (known as the resign-to-run provision) forces a vacancy in office of a county officer who becomes a candidate for an office other than the one he or she currently holds when more than one year remains on the officer’s current term of office. In the past, county officials have been able to avoid being forced to resign by delaying filing for office until Jan. 2 preceding the primary.

A recent change in the election code removes this option, however. Senate Bill 100, adopted during the last regular legislative session to accommodate federal laws related to overseas military voters, moved the filing deadline from Jan. 2 to the second Monday in December. This year, the deadline is Dec. 12. This earlier deadline would cause an officer seeking a different office to run afoul of the resign-to-run provision.

In an effort to overcome this problem, the Legislature has proposed an amendment to Article XVI, § 65. If adopted by the voters at the Nov. 8, 2011 constitutional amendment election, Proposition 10 (SJR 37) will extend the one-year “safe” period by an additional 30 days, enabling an officer to comply with the new December filing deadline without automatically resigning from office.

However, even if the voters approve this change to the constitution, the amendment will not become law until the returns of the election are canvassed by the governor. This year, the state canvass will occur between Nov. 23 and Dec. 8.

If Proposition 10 is approved and the governor canvasses the returns on or before Dec. 2, a county official may file for another office on Dec. 2 without triggering the resign-to-run provision. However, if the canvass occurs after Dec. 2, the officer should wait until the canvass to file for a place on the ballot.

Constitutional Amendment Election: Nov. 8, 2011
State canvassing period: Nov. 23, 2011 – Dec. 8, 2011
If canvass occurs on or before Dec. 2: Filing on or after Dec. 2, 2011
If canvass occurs after Dec. 2 Filing on or after canvass
Last date for filing: Dec. 12, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupy El Paso

There's no doubt about what question I get asked the most lately...people are asking what I think about the Occupy Movement. I have refrained from commenting on it because I have been going back and forth on it and have bee waiting to see things develop and how the movement deals with it.

I was also waiting to comment until I had spent some time with the people in the movement. So I dropped by a couple of times over the last few days to check it out.

There is a big part of me that is skeptical of the movement. Mostly because it lacks a leadership structure. No matter what, somebody has to be in charge to make key decisions or to at least make sure things run smoothly. The fact that from what I have seen there are a lot of hippies who believe in some kind of utopian movement where everyone gets along and no one is in charge is what has made me skeptical.

Since I have only been to the El Paso version, I will frame my comments around those folks. There are a couple of groups in the plazita right now. There are the folks that stay over night and a group that floats in and out.

Trust me when I tell you that with very few exceptions, the floaters have a much stronger handle on things than the over-nighters.

I talked with a few of the Occupiers early in the week and made it a point to talk to people I've never seen before. From their chatter, it appears a lot of them are from out of town, though I didn't get to find out from where or why they were in El Paso. But one thing the over-nighters seam to have in common is a general lack of understanding of politics, government, finance. One thing is for sure, their passion and commitment can't be questioned.

There was a solidarity even on Saturday afternoon which was meant to bring other groups together with the Occupiers. There were environmentalists, teachers, La Mujer Obrera, immigration reform advocates and peace advocates. I also saw a couple of people from OFA (Organizing for America, an offshoot of Obama for America) as well.

A couple of Congressman Reyes' staffers, Legislative Director Luis Torres and Interim Communications Director Claudia Ordaz, attended the rally and took the protestors some water and fruit and told them that the Congressman's Office was in solidarity with their protest. Judging by the condition of a few of the protestors, I'm sure the fruit will help them ward off scurvy...

Several of the protestors demonstrated their ignorance of policy by basically going after the Congressman through Luis Torres. Apparently they don't understand that most of the policies that were were upset about were policies that the Congressman voted against.

But for all their angst against the Congressman, they sure didn't mind drinking the water and fruit provided by his Office. From what I understand, taking the food and water is a daily thing for the Congressman's office.

I actually felt a little bad for Luis Torres. If you know him personally, then you know he's a very liberal vato and would probably be out there with the protesters that actually know why they are there if he didn't have other obligations. He's more liberal than I am and yet he gets shitted on by a bunch of know-nothings.

My daughters wanted to go with me on Saturday to check it out because they have heard so much about it and a couple of their teachers have talked about how it was historic. Turns out, there were lots of teenagers that showed up to check it out. If it did nothing more than spark political awareness or interest in a few youngsters then I consider it a success. We need more of that in this country.

One of her classmates actually spent the night the previous night. He's 17 and didn't know anyone there but is really in to the cause. Honestly, I was proud of the young man. (Until I noticed him floating around my daughter for too long, at which point I wanted to push him in to oncoming traffic.)

In terms of the issue-based activists that showed up for the solidarity event, I knew most of them or have seen them around at other liberal events. They know their stuff and their issues. Former State Rep Norma Chavez was also in attendance. She wasn't there to be seen, she wasn't trying to get attention. I think she will always be around political events, whether she tries to get back in the game or not is another story, but she cares about political issues and you just can't turn it off like you turn off a TV.

(Sidebar - in other cities there have been clashes between law enforcement and the protesters. In El Paso, law enforcement brings the protesters pizza. One of the occupiers told me that El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles showed up earlier in the week and delivered some pizza to the protesters.)

But lets be honest, they were just there for the event. They aren't the actual occupiers. Of the actual occupiers, I knew about 4 of them.

Only two of them that I knew there were people that I think had a clue about why they were there and what they were trying to accomplish. Those guys know what they are doing and are extremely organized. Specifically, Xavier Miranda is probably one of the most experienced grassroots people I know and certainly one of the top in town. Luis Ruiz, formerly of HomeBoy Friday's is documenting the event and has been very passionate about it.

But the rest of the over-nighters, well...

When I was a private in the Army, some buddies of mine and I had a three-day pass so we took a trip to Chicago. One of our buddies was a hippie born about 15 years too late. But he was a huge Grateful Dead fan. As luck would have it, the Grateful Dead were playing at Soldier Stadium that weekend. So there was the big ass mobile commune of Dead Heads that follow them around near the stadium. It was a group of former hippies that never adapted back to the real world, a lot of white people with dread locks who needed to bath more often, a shortage of deodorant and an abundance of drugs.

Walking around the plazita with the Occupiers has a similar feel. Only without music and with the voice of the preacher that is always in the plazita. He has been occupying the plazita long before anyone else.

And on Saturday I noticed there are several people that are very obvious drug users and probably homeless that have melted in with the protesters. I should've grabbed video, but I was trying to listen to the speakers at the time. After most of the floaters left, there was almost a fight between one of the tecatos (looked like a heroin user but I don't know for sure) and a hippie on a skate board. It would've been hilarious if it weren't such a sad scene.

Drug users destroy everything they touch, including movements.

There were some older guys from Sunland Park that said they were there to observe but it eventually came out they were conservatives that wanted to come see what all the fuss was about. I ended up getting a little caught up in the moment and debated (very civilly I might add) with one of them. He was kicking the crap out of Comrade Anarchy when I first got there and since the kid didn't know the issue at all, I eventually jumped in to the conversation completely uninvited.

I know, I'm an asshole sometimes but Comrade Anarchy didn't know what the hell he was talking about and it was embarrassing. He should stick to leading chants and marches and leave the debating to people who know the actual issue.

And later I got in to it with a few of the Occupiers. To the point were Xavier Miranda asked me why I was so pissed.

Well frankly, its frustrating to see these kids out there occupying the plazita when they should be occupying the ballot box. A lot of what they are upset about are things they can do something about if they actually went to the polls and voted.

Some of us fight the good fight on the regular and that's why I am so conflicted about their movement.

But in the end, its a good thing. If you don't recognize that, take a look around. Its all over the news and social media. Of course, so were the OJ and Casey Anthony trials, but these people have the opportunity to get elected officials to notice them and address their issues.

Of course if they really wanted to get the attention of elected officials to their issues, instead of bitching about the system being broken and sitting on the bench, they should get some skin in the game and actually get off their ass.

They should understand that elections have consequences and the Tea Party Douch Bags really messed things up a couple of years ago while these kids were worrying about getting the latest i-Phone, downloading Justin Bieber's music, or watching American Idol.

They should organize their communities. They should phone bank to voters and elected officials. They should use social media to advocate for their issues.

Or better!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lagartos on ABC 7 Xtra

Great show.

I thought Miguel Juarez and Rep Ortega did well.

I guess this is a sidebar to the actual conversation but I have one question for Rep Ortega.

WTF is up with those socks? Never wear those in public. They look ridiculous.

Dame La Mano Part 2

I wrote this piece about Dame La Mano back in July. As you know, El Paso can be hell's waiting room in July and Dame La Mano has their people collecting donations during the hottest part of the day at various street corners across the city during those times.

Canal 26 ran a story about how Representative Niland had a shelter shut down recently allegedly because of the conditions and other allegations that if true, would probably be against the law. From what I gather, I think there is some sort of connection between the shelter and Dame La Mano.

Interestingly the very next day, this comment was posted on the piece I wrote in July:

Each year Dame La Mano continues to advance its mission of empowering homeless women in crisis become a positive asset in society, by improving the quality of life through meeting the physical, emotional, psychological needs through self- sufficiency. I welcome you to visit the shelter and become aware of the urgent needs, we are happy that last year we where able to obtain state funding from the Emeregency shelter grant , if it hurts you that the director drives a nice BMW is that she is a educated hardworking individual with a masters and works for the united Methodist as pastor and is doing her PhD, as the state law in Texas non-profit could have the privilege to apply for a city permit to solicit funds and provided free pregnancy and STD education and educate the community, our plans our to extend our shelter and that is the reason you see us in the streets we our in the process of building our new shelter.

I know what you're thinking, most of the comment doesn't make sense and those are two of the longest sentences ever written. 

I was especially drawn by the part of their comment where they say, "I welcome you to visit the shelter and become aware of the urgent needs..."

Well...if that is a legitimate invitation...I accept. Please send me an email with details. My email address is I will be happy to give you my cell phone number and talk to a real live person as well.

I trust it will be okay to bring a video camera and still camera and that I will be able to speak with some of your clients of my choosing and without staff present. If the allegations are false, I'll be the first to set the record straight.

But if they aren't false...

The Next Democratic Party Chair

Who is going to be? I have heard a few names and things just fizzle out.

I really had hoped that Don Williams would've ran for chair. He is exactly what the Party needed to mobilize during a general election, but another opportunity came up and he chose to run for another seat. You can't fault a guy for that...

Its getting late people, and we really need someone to step up to be the next chair. I have heard a couple of names that seem like pretty good prospects but nothing as some to fruition.

I've heard of at least one name that is a complete non-starter and if this person really does try to become chair, I am going to make it my personal mission that people know what they are in for if that person had the balls to try to be the chair.

For Pete's sake people, somebody step up. I am about to start a draft-a-chair movement for one particular person I have in mind if somebody doesn't step up to the plate soon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Perez Holds Fundraiser; Takes on Gandara & Quintanilla

Vince Perez held a campaign fundraiser last night at La Hacienda on Gateway. During remarks made to the supporters in attendance, Perez struck back at his opponents who have been critical of the upstart leader.

Perez laid out a strong, issue-based critique of his opponents and their track records.

This video is the portion of the remarks relating to his opponents.

I am also including the introduction of Perez. He was introduced by his father, who is a retired law enforcement officer. As a career cop, one assumes they have seen so much over a career that they would develop an emotional callous that would shield them between their life and the world they work in.

My dad was the same way. A tough old man. But as you can see in this video, when it comes to one of his kids, he's a little soft and gooey inside. Mr. Perez mentions his son's opponents as well, and like any dad, swells with pride when talking about his son.

Looks like he chokes back emotion as he introduced his son. I include the video because it reminded me how parents are proud of their children. I thought that it said something about both men, father and son. I thought Perez could've chosen some well-known politico to introduce him, but instead he chose to honor his parents.

Occupy El Paso Solidarity Event Planned

Here is some info from El Paso Grassroots about a solidarity event planned for this weekend regarding the Occupy El Paso Movement:

You are requested to attend our solidarity event on Saturday, October 22 at 1 PM.  

The Occupy El Paso movement is growing exponentially, securing the support of various community organizations and unions. Our intent is to express a unified voice that calls for reform and equity in our community, be it in the realms of labor, education, veterans' affairs, environmental issues, and immigration.

Many of you have supported our movement through in-kind donations, holding signs, and writing editorial letters. However, the next phase requires us to take more tangible actions that educate our community on how financial decisions affect us. For example, we ask for accountability in the following :

  • When our schools face state budget cuts, escalating student:teacher ratios,culturally diluted curriculum, stagnant salaries; disclosure is needed regardingWestern Refinery's lack of financial support for our school districts;

  • Why do we have such high unemployment and foreclosure rates in our community when the Federal government provided funds to local banks via theCommunity Reinvestment Act? We ask for immediate public disclosure.

  • We ask that folks transfer their bank accounts to credit unions (of which have successful history of reinvesting in local businesses, lower foreclosure rates, and creating employment). Realizing that the process requires jumping through numerous hoops, we ask that you take the time to do so by November 5. This would demonstrate our immense influence as responsible consumers.  
Our local movement is a grassroots effort, but it is only as strong as your involvement. We now ask for your participation through teach-ins, exchange of narrative, and bold proposals that have personal follow-through. It's an all-inclusive community that will make a difference.

On November 1, Dia de los Muertos, The Border Network for Human Rights, will be holding a press conference at their office, and then marching to the Plaza de los Lagartos, joining the Occupy El Paso movement at approximately 4 PM. An estimated 150 participants are expected to join the folks occupying the placita.

The following organizations have been invited and tentatively plan on attending on Saturday, October 22 at 1 PM.

Mujer Obrera
Centro los Trabajadores Agricolas Fronterizos
The Border Network for Human Rights
American Federation of Teachers
Socorro Education Association
Franklin Mountain Wilderness Coalition
Sheet Metal Workers Union
Burning Man

Looking forward to seeing you.


Xavier Miranda
El Paso Grassroots 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Williams Campaign Launches Social Media Push

Continuing with the growing trend of utilization of social media, State Democratic Executive Committeeman and former Visiting Judge Don Williams launched his internet push today.

Looks like its also the unveiling of his campaign logo and website as well.

What's unique about Williams' push is that he is the first judicial candidate in El Paso to have a multifaceted digital roll-out. Only a handful of other candidates (in any race) in El Paso have done the same and Williams is the only judicial candidate to do so.

Williams launched a Facebook page, website, Twitter feed, and a YouTube Page.

All of which are either free or of a minimal cost. Pay attention candidates, this is how you create a digital campaign presence in the 21st century.

Williams website url is

This is just awesome. No Way to Improve on the Sentiment...

Westside Democrats to Host First Dem Congressional Debate

In what will likely be the first debate of the Democratic Congressional primary, Congressman Silvestre Reyes and challenger former City Representative Beto O'Rourke will face off at an event hosted by the Westside Democrats.

The location is still being determined, along with a few other details. There will be a panel with will ask questions of the candidates. Since the organization is still trying to get commitments from the other panelists its probably too early to mention their names, but I have been asked to be a panelist.

The date is November 21st, which is a Monday. The event will be an early morning debate with an early start, which will likely be around 7:00am.

More details to follow as they develop...

Fundraiser's Today

There are a couple of fundraisers happening today that I thought I would pass on to you. BTW, that reminds me, if you have a fundraiser or something you would like me to pass along, email it to me.

Vince Perez, candidate for County Commissioner's Court Precinct #3 will be having a fundraiser this evening from 5:30 to 7:30 at La Hacienda, 9515 Gateway West (Gateway west approaching Viscount).

The other fundraiser tonight is for former Probate Judge Yvonne Rodriguez who is running for the 388th. Her fundraiser starts at 5pm and is at The Garden in the Entertainment District in downtown El Paso.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Take the New Poll on Republican Presidential Candidates

Just curious to see what support from my readers looks like for the various GOP presidential candidates. Weigh in.

Award Time for the Week

Okay, time for the awards...

Douche Bag of the Week - Herman Cain. What an idiot. Calls for an electrified fence on the border. Then tries to say he was joking, then said he didn't want to take the idea off the table. He almost deserves a lifetime achievement Douche Bag award for that one.

Homeboy of the Week - Jose Landeros. He gets the award because of the greatest story I will never blog about. But in a word...AWKWARD!

Candidates Not Taking Advantage of Opportunities...

I noticed something at the EPYD meeting.

Despite the fact that there was a room full of candidates in the room, none of them had campaign materials to pass out.

Frankly, that is a big time rookie mistake. This year's race feels like its Amateur Night at the Apollo! Go to an event, shake hands, pass out materials and give people a reason to take your seriously!

Seriously, this is starting to feel like its such a weak field of candidates that I might confuse it for a municipal election!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Republican Train Wreck Blows Through Vegas

With all the class of tramp stamp, the clown car that is the Republican Party's presidential candidates took their road show to Vegas.

If you missed it, here is a wrap up. Apples and oranges, and all the candidates gunning for Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney was gunning Rick Perry. Oh, and that fossil Ron Paul once again struggled to remain relevant or anything more than a punch line.

Honestly he entertains me. He's always pissed. He looks like an old man that keeps yelling kids to stay off of his grass.

At several points during the debate they chose to yell over one another and it had all the dignity of a debate in the Lower Valley or a Socorro City Council meeting.

Cain might be the flavor of the week, but the other candidates know what time it is. They were all gunning for Romney which shows they know who the Alpha candidate is in this race.

Perry is really interesting though. I told my friends long ago that Perry was a Democrats wet-dream of a candidate because we know how weak he is. Now America does. They guy was booed several times during the debate. And the pizza guy is the flavor of the week.

You can't make this shit up.

Rodriguez Staying in 388th Race

Word on the street was that former Probate Judge Yvonne Rodriguez was going to change the judicial race she is pursuing soon.

But according to Rodriquez, she is staying in the race for the 388th family court and has already had her materials printed.

Rodriguez will be joining several other candidates, most notably the SDEC and former Visiting Judge, Don Williams.

Rodriguez will be announcing her candidacy on the 20th of this month.

El Paso Young Democrats Host Congressman Reyes

Congressman Silvestre Reyes sounded like a different man according to several attendees of last night's meeting of the El Paso Young Democrats.

In what was the largest turnout ever for an El Paso Young Democrats meeting, Congressman Reyes spoke to the attendees about what he's done in Congress and what his plans are for the future.

One long-time political observer noted, "...he was on fire last night. It was a different Reyes. He was funny, he had energy, and he seemed like he was already in campaign mode. I don't think I've ever seen this side of him..."

I'm a member of the El Paso Young Democrats but I have taken note of the fact that there is clearly a shift of influence within the Democratic Party. Its early in the campaign season, but so far, the El Paso Young Democrats have had the political event of the season so far in terms of turnout and who was in attendance.

Congressman Reyes was introduced by Alejandro Guzman, who is the organization's Vice President of Finance and managed the evening's event said during the introduction, "...anyone who says the Congressman hasn't done anything for El Paso either hasn't done their research or is a complete idiot..."

Which probably would've been quote of the night if it weren't for the fact that Congressman Reyes was standing by President Obama and going on the attack with the GOP. After laying out several of the bad policies of the GOP, Congressman Reyes asked the crowd if they were "...tired of getting screwed..."

The El Paso Young Democrats will host Beto O'Rourke at next month's meeting.

Several prominent elected officials and candidates (along with rumored candidates) were in attendance including:

County Commissioner Anna Perez
EPCC Trustee Art Fierro
Judge Patrick Garcia
Judge Herrera
Vince Perez, Candidate for County Commissioner's Court Precinct #3
Hector Lopez, rumored candidate for State Rep HD 75
Dora Oaxaca, rumored candidate for State Rep HD 75
Hector Enriquez, candidate for State Rep HD 75
Don Williams, Candidate for the 355th Family Court
EPISD Board President Isela Castanon-Williams
Sheriff Richard Wiles

along with a host of other school board members judicial candidates, etc. Like I said in a previous piece, I left my notes somewhere and I had a big list of all the attendees, but those where the only ones I remember off the top of my head.

If you are on Don Williams' email list, (and if you aren't you should ask yourself why you aren't) he has a photo show with most of the attendees. Noticeably absent were Chairman Danny Anchondo, SDECW Yolanda Clay, and any of the leadership of the Tejano Democrats...

Here are a few photos from his slide show:

Little Joe, Radio La Chusma Headline Reyes Announcement

 A Tejano legend teams up with El Paso's flagship band in November for Congressman Silvestre Reyes' campaign announcement.

The event will mark the official kick-off of Congressman Reyes' campaign for re-election. The announcement was made at last night's meeting of the El Paso Young Democrats.

Photo by Ryan Ramos
Congressman Reyes and the Tejano legend go way back. Little Joe played an event celebrating Reyes' appointment as Sector Chief during his Border Patrol days. Reyes was the first Chicano to achieve that position and is also the first Chicano to represent El Paso in Congress.

The kick-off event will be November 11, 2011. I wrote down the location and ticket information but left my notes on a table.

I tried repeatedly and through multiple sources to reach the Congressman's staff to get the information but they have not responded.

*UPDATE- The event will be at the Convention Center downtown and tickets for the announcement/concert/dance are $10 available through ticket master or at Congressman Reyes' campaign headquarters at 2004 Montana Avenue. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

He Wasn't Joking, Don't Be Fooled

The flavor of the week for the Republicans, Herman Cain said something he is trying his best to walk back now. He said he would have an electrified fence at the border. He also talked about militarizing the border with "real guns with real bullets".

Cain is now claiming it was all a big joke and we misunderstood. Republicans will likely start blaming the "liberal media" for the remark any minute now (if they haven't already).

And mark my words, there will soon be a counter movement within the Republican Party that will push back and attempt to really make an electrified fence a reality.

Here's video of the comment.

Whats interesting about the video is the fact that he even defends the remark later in the same speech.

It wasn't a joke. You can see with your own eyes. He was dead serious. Pun intended.

But for the sake of argument, lets pretend he was actually joking. The joke brings up a very big concern for the Republican Party.

How does the "party of life" think its okay to joke about killing people? I'd love to hear a Republican explain that one to me.

Then again, I'm still waiting to hear one explain that a Perry-supported vaccination is "intrusive big government" but the sonogram bill somehow isn't....

(Crickets chirping...")

This is why people legitimatley fear the GOP. Comments like Cain's make me think, to borrow and modify a phrase from the Occupy Movement...This is what stupid looks like...

Another Paso del Norte Controversy Brewing...

Frankly I am unable to wrap my head around why so many elected officials want to be members of the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats at this point.

I'd expect them to start distancing themselves as long as Blanche Darley is their chair.

From The Lion Star Blog by Jaime Abeytia
The latest controversy is once again over email. Apparently an email went out from Chairwoman Blanche Darley to membership announcing the next meeting. Normally thats not a big deal, but Darley included a line about working "to assure that El Paso will once again carry the Straight Democratic Ticket..." and then she went on to mention the re-election of a candidate.

Two problems with the statement. #1 she mentions re-election of a local candidate that has a primary challenger. In a contested race I'm sure its against the bylaws of even the Tejano Democrats to endorse a candidate before the endorsement process has taken place. Which is made even funnier by the fact that later in the email Darley mentions the fact that the 2nd Vice Chair, Raul Rodriguez is in the process of planning the endorsement meeting in JANUARY. So the Darley endorsement, which I doubt the candidate even wants, is about 3 months premature. 

The other problem with the statement is that it makes no mention of the President. As a Democratic Auxillery, she is obliged to support the President. Get over it, Hillary lost and there are no more superdelegates to wait around for. She made no reference to the President despite the fact that he is a) a Democrat, and b) unopposed in the primary.

This underscores something several members of the Tejano Democrats have expressed to me. They have a distrust of Blanche Darley as the chair and believe she will not be fair. 

Perhaps sensing that there might be issues with fairness in the club, Don Williams sent an peremptory email to the Chair and leadership of the organization notifying them that he was having a fundraiser the same evening as a the regular monthly meeting. He had attempted to get it done on a different night, but due to scheduling conflicts with the venue, the only date available happened to be the same night as the meeting. 

Here is an excerpt from the email:

Below is a copy of page 2 of my proposal from the DoubleTree concerning my Campaign Fundraiser. I had three dates in the last week of October to hold the event. My 3 choices were Wednesday, October 26, Thursday, October 27 & Tuesday, October 25, in that order. I requested them in that order as not to conflict with the PDN Tejano Meeting. Unfortunately, the only date that was available was Tuesday. While I do not owe you an explanation I do believe it is fitting to clarify and ward off any possible innuendo or misunderstandings.
In an effort to accommodate any of your members who want to attend the fundraiser, may I suggest that you start your meeting at 6:30pm instead of 6:00pm so that full participation can be had by both functions.
In the meantime, as a member of the Tejanos, I request that you send the notice of my Fundraiser to the Tejano Membership list as you did for Yvonne Rodriguez (the candidate). Thank you for your kind consideration.

5:30PM- 7:30PM
600 N. EL PASO
Contributions/Donations Welcomed

Generally requests of this nature are routinely sent out to membership. Lets see if this one gets sent bet is that it won't be...

How to Win a Democratic Primary in El Paso

I've been keeping on eye on several campaigns and rumored candidates now for a few weeks to observe what their campaign activities look like.

If I could, I would try to do that with every candidate, but I just don't have the resources to.

Honestly, I am baffled at some of the stuff I see. And don't see.

So I thought I would write down some free advice to any candidate out there that is interested. Take it for what its worth.

#1- Get off your ass. We are approaching mid-October. If you seriously think you are going to be able to win an election, you should've started by now. If you haven't, what the hell are you waiting for. You are burning daylight...

#2 - Make sure you have the right team and money. If you don't have both of these things, it ain't gonna happen. There are only a few people in town that know how to run a campaign. You need someone who knows how to develop and deliver an effective message to voters. But above all you need someone who knows how to do the tough grind work of the actual campaign.

#2a - I can't emphasize this enough. LISTEN TO YOUR CAMPAIGN MANAGER! Seriously, they will save you from doing stupid stuff. As a candidate, its very easy to lose objectivity when making decisions. Make sure you tell your campaign manager EVERYTHING they need to know. Even if its embarrassing, you need to have that important talk with your campaign manager. They can't advise you how to effectively deal with a bombshell if you don't tell them about it ahead of time. Remember, like in boxing, its the punch you don't see coming that is usually the one that means "lights out".

For example, I wrote previously about HD 75 candidate Hector Enriquez recently and how he was passing out a "white paper" that featured a picture of Enriquez with President Bush. If he had a campaign manager, he probably would have advised him to not pass it around because its a) a Democratic Primary, b) Bush is not only a Republican, but the most unpopular one since Richard Nixon c) the headline isn't something teachers would like too much.

3. Know why you are running and be able to effectively communicate why you are running in a couple of sentences.

4. Know the issues affecting your district. You need to connect with voters and you have to be able to show that you know what the job entails and what policies they influence. Often you hear candidates talk about things that are not something they have influence over in their respective offices. Nothing screams "unqualified candidate" like a city council candidate that talks about education. City reps don't do anything having to do with education. That's just one example, but you get my drift.

5. Act like you are trying. I wrote about signs recently and the one thing you can notice about them right away is that they look homemade. There are lots of designers in town, so pay for a professional design. There are lots of things you want to convey with campaign designs and there are legal requirements that must be met. Its not worth the hassle to try to do it yourself. Plus, if people see you are half-assing your signs, what does that say about you as a candidate?

6. Ask questions!If you don't know the answer to something. Ask someone who might know. You should always have someone that will tell you like it is to bounce stuff off of. The more brutally honest they are with you, the better.

That's all I have right now. Except for one last thing. I know everyone likes to think that they can go after people that don't traditionally vote. That's not a bad idea, but frankly, you don't have the time to at this point. The time to get those people engaged was a long time ago. New voters are hard to get to the polls, unreliable, and cost a lot of money.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Things Republicans Cheer and Boo...

I posted this thought on my Facebook wall today and I thought it would be better if I post it here on my blog. 

Okay if you are keeping score at what lines have received applause at Republican presidential events this year, they are a) a hypothetical guy dying because of no insurance, b) the number of people the state of Texas executes every year, c) an electrified fence at the southern border, and d) military at the border with "real guns with real bullets".

Oh, and they booed an American soldier. 

This is what stupid looks like.