Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Oaxaca Endorsement

Perez and Loya at an event earlier in the campaign
The question on people's mind about the El Paso County Commissioner's race for precinct #3 is who will Dora Oaxaca endorse in the run off?

Personally, I don't think its much of a question. There's no way in hell she ever endorses Vince Perez. She will either not endorse anyone or she will endorse Quintanilla. From the sound of her election night interviews it sounds like she is going to endorse Quintanilla.

The two candidates running on a reform or change message were Rudy Loya and Vince Perez. Loya immediately endorsed Perez. It makes sense considering they were pretty like-minded in terms of their platform.

Oaxaca used to work for Quintanilla in the past so it wouldn't be a shocker if she endorsed Quintanilla.

Theoretically if you added Oaxaca's numbers to Quintanilla's numbers it would be enough to give him a win. But that would be predicated on every single Oaxaca supporter went back to the polls and voted for Quintanilla. That's not likely in a run-off election.

Stay tuned.

The Martha Dominguez Mystery

Things are a little cloudy following the election for the State Board of Education. Martha Dominguez apparently won solidly with 55% of the vote.

Which is weird because she basically did no campaigning for the job at all. And no one can seem to find her. She's pretty much disappeared.

The reason that raises eyebrows is because word on the street is that Dominguez may have actually sent a letter  indicating she was dropping out of the race prior to the election.

But I don't think its actually possible to drop out after the filing deadline, so the question would then become whether she would actually accept the nomination to take on Charlie Garza in the general election.

I'm trying to track this one down so stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorable Quotes from the Campaign Season

These are in no particular order, just stuff that was running through my mental camera today.

"I really like Metallica, do you have any Metallica?" - Phil Mullin

"Its good to be in my old hood." - Phill Mullin

"...Cuz when you're with a Quintanilla, shit gets done!" Matthew Quintanilla (Note: I'm not breaking my resolution about cursing on my blog because I'm quoting someone else!)

"I have never voted." Aaron Barraza

"I am not associated with any of them." Carlos Leon

"Willie Gandara was an absent Commissioner." Dora Oaxaca

"He just shuffled papers for the Congressman." Chente Quintanilla

"What did you have for breakfast?" Reporter to Beto O'Rourke

"I'm a Baptist-Catholic" Ben E. Mendoza

"I am unapologetic about that because this community deserves better. And I intend to fight for these people that have been for too long, taken advantage of by a cycle of failed leadership" Vince Perez

"I think we should annex Mexico." Ben E. Mendoza

"We need more nourishment for our brains." Jerome Tilghman

"I'm gonna go drink some Dr. Pepper and pound away on my lap top" Jose Landeros

"I thought you were an idiot for supporting her." Jose Landeros to me

"Good...good." Hector Enriquez on what is platform for HD 75 was.

"Jesus loves you" Hector Enriquez to me

"Joe Bob Martinez is my new favorite candidate" - me

"I'm not text yelling at you." A friend of mine. It happened the other day and it still makes me laugh.

"You already have a bench. Greedy!" - Pat Haggerty to Marcos Lizarraga

"Dora Oaxaca is not my friend...she is my family" - Willie Gandara

"Jaime, te voy a dar $20 to hold my sign and let me take a picture" Chente Quintanilla joking with me at Carolina.

"I wanna feel sorry for you but I don't." Tony San Roman to Mary Gonzalez

Thats all for now. I'll add more later.

Reyes' Statement

Press Release Release-05!30!12

The Reyes Loss

Quick thoughts on the Congressional race.

To Reyes supporters - I know its going to take awhile, but the Congressman lost. Process it and move forward. Don't be bitter. Its politics, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

To O'Rourke supporters - Reyes isn't the devil. He never was. And lets not pretend that he didn't make a big contribution to El Paso because he did. Don't gloat, its not going to win you any friends.

I am surprised at how many Republicans appear to have turned out to flip for O'Rourke. I didn't think that would happen and it apparently did. When O'Rourke's Democratic credentials were challenged it probably made it a lot easier for Republicans to cross over.

The Reyes campaign showed exactly why you should never run a campaign by committee. Too many people debating minutia. And it is also a lesson about social media. The Reyes people really flipped out online.

Calling City Representative Susie Byrd a p$%* on Facebook just looks crass and low-brow.

That was a big mistake because its hard to control messaging when you have people going rogue and screwing up your message all over Facebook by being bat-guano insane.

Yes, yes, I know - some of the O'Rourke people were pretty bad themselves. I get it. I acknowledge it. Hell Susie Byrd sent a couple of pretty messed up emails herself. There were no where near as bad as the stuff the Reyes camp was doing and Byrd maintains that she was simply calling out a couple of people for what she says were lies.

But the point is people should really learn a lesson from this campaign. Social media will be a powerful tool when its harnessed properly. But until them, aren't we all a little tired of watching campaigns self-destruct on the internet?

Pittle did well with his hands being tied behind his back. He did a great job refreshing the Congressman's image. But the extremists in the Reyes camp that wanted to make it a war rather than a contest of ideas undid a lot of his work.

O'Rourke is the Democratic nominee now. Democrats should support him. That doesn't mean we shouldn't hold him accountable for some of his positions, particularly on labor. But there is already an empty threat of people saying that they are going to support Carrasco in the general.

If you do that, you are an idiot.

Because no self-respecting Democrat would ever support an extremist Republican like Carrasco. Listen to her policy stances. She doesn't reflect the values of El Paso. She does not deserve the support of good Democrats just because you are bitter about a loss.

Think I'm wrong? Just wait til you hear here positions on immigration.

So don't support Carrasco out of spite. Plus, most of you are just talking smack anyway. When you get in to that polling place you won't be able to vote for someone like that. The most you'll do is undervote.

And for those of you that are talking smack about the Congressman allegedly hiding out, stop a think for a minute. He lost a hotly-contested race. He's been a Congressman for a long time. No one likes to lose and it wasn't an easy race for him. His wife was pretty ill for a while. Most people don't lose their jobs in public and have people talk smack about them for months.

I'm just saying, have a little compassion. Whether or not you agree with his positions or votes or whatever, he's still a human being. Not too many of you would wanna have to answer questions from a reporter after something like that.

At the end of the day, the ground game wasn't sound for the Congressman. When a fighter hasn't fought in a long time and hasn't trained hard, well they have their Mike Tyson / Buster Douglas moment. The congressman should've done some block walking of his own. He should've made some personal connections and this would've been a different outcome.

Especially if he hadn't lost Vince Perez as his voice. Perez was able to effectively manage media relations. I can guarantee that most of the hits Reyes took in the media, and he was a real pinata at times for the media, wouldn't have happened if he'd kept Perez. It wouldn't have been an adversarial relationship.

The failure wasn't just the Reyes camp. It can be shared with the local Democratic Party. Reyes had the most-popular Democratic President since Kennedy come and endorse him. He had the sitting President endorse him. And he still lost.

Without a run-off.

Only one direction to go in now.


The Castration of the El Paso Democratic Party - Observations from the Field

The local El Paso Democratic Party has been castrated. I say that as a loyal member of the El Paso Democratic Party.

Lets just rip the band-aide off here. We are completely ineffective. We have lost our connection to the people and that happened because the people stopped being the priority and power started being the focus. The only real power comes from the people.

The local Democratic Party is incapable of getting anyone elected. We are completely ineffective on that front.

Endorsements from the Democratic Party mean nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The party itself doesn't work. A few of the clubs do, but the party itself is a mess.

A hot mess.

And the hope for a new direction in the Party was Butch Maya. And somehow Maya lost. Rick Melendrez will want to take credit for guerilla campaigning but lets be honest, he won because of his name. Butch had a long name that sounded white on the ballot.

Melendrez is not liked within the party. Actually, that is putting it lightly. He is despised within the Party. He has made no effort to build relationships with anyone within the Party either.

So we, as Democrats have a choice. We can be part of the problem or part of the solution. We can either have a dysfunctional relationship with the new chair or we can have a productive relationship.

I think that depends greatly on the actions of the new chair.

But one thing is for sure, we are completely ineffective and dysfunctional right now. I don't like that and I want that to be fixed.

Candidates don't need us to win elections. The candidates that the party has gotten behind have pretty much all lost.

We have no power. We have no credibility.

Its like the end of a bad relationship. Its going to suck really bad before things get better.

This is what the bottom looks like.

And That's How Its Done People...

It wasn't supposed to happen. He wasn't supposed to do it.

He's not “valley enough”. He's not “Mexican-enough”. He looks to young, he's too skinny, he doesn't have money, he's not connected to power factions in the valley, he doesn't come from a political family.

Oh, and he doesn't speak Spanish.

And yet, Vince Perez was able to end up in a run-off election against State Rep Chente Quintanilla for the El Paso County Commissioner Precinct 3 seat.

He was able to defeat two valley candidates. He was able to beat someone with more name ID. More money. More political connections.

How did he do it?

By running the most efficient campaign in town. Vince Perez along with Jose Landeros and Jorge Reyes ran the most effective campaign I've seen in a long time. From day one Perez had strategy in place. He had, hands down, the most effective message discipline of any campaign. More so than either of the Congressional candidates.

They made every resource they had go as far as they possibly could. They squeezed everything out of their campaign. Every mailer counted. Every message and advertisement was carefully crafted. Every piece of data that could be analyzed was examined. He moved his pieces around the chess board.

And their analysis was exactly as predicted. Once the run-off is over I will go over some of it in more detail, but Perez and Landeros nailed it.

They showed how its done.

Even his team of volunteers was different. You never heard anyone say, “boy those Perez workers are really rude” or anything like that.

And I think I know the moment when I felt the race start to turn in his favor. It was at the Socorro debate. Perez stayed on issues the whole time while the other candidates complained about negative campaigning. Again, I think its ironic that there were those complaints coming from candidates from the valley. They valley has refined negative campaigning to nuclear grade capacity.

At that debate Perez was being pounded on by his opponents. He didn't bring a sting of cheerleaders with him to clap after everything he said. He was basically there alone. I cannot begin to articulate how intimidating that can be. Especially in the valley.

But he stayed on message and demonstrated he had the deepest knowledge of the issues. And when the candidates all got in their last dig on Perez during the closing statements, Perez unleashed the best and most-effective closing statement I've seen in a local race. It was so good that one of Dora Oaxaca's supporters stood up and gave him a standing ovation.

That is how its done people.

I always knew he was going to be a formidable candidate. He had been the well-dressed, well-spoken voice of the Congressman. He's almost always the smartest guy in the room.

But there were times along the way that I wasn't convinced he was going to be able to pull it off.

And the race has changed greatly. When the race started he had just left the Congressman's office and Willie Gandara was in no real danger of losing. The Congressman's committee tried to talk him out of running. But he stood by his decision to run.

He led off the campaign with a blistering critique of Gandara's attendance record. He eventually chased Gandara out of the race.

Then Quintanilla and Oaxaca jumped in the race. They changed the race the minute they got in. Two powerful valley candidates. Both with the ability to raise money and both with strong name ID.

Things started to look a little rough.

And along the way, Vince Perez lost his grandmother. I went to the funeral.

I remembered thinking how no one would blame him if he decided to get out of the race. I remember I was devastated when I lost my Nana.

And a group of us all stood together dressed in suits on that sunny day. It was me, Alfredo Longoria, Jose Landeros, and Hector H. Lopez. None of knew his grandmother but we were all Vince's friends. As I looked around at everyone I remember the look on Vince's face. I remember thinking how difficult it would be to go through something like the loss of the family matriarch right in the middle of the campaign.

But he kept going. He kept pushing.

He kept block-walking.

And most of the time the campaign was pretty much just Perez and Landeros. Eating sandwiches out of a cooler in the back of a car.

They lost a couple vehicles in car accidents along the way.

Things got pretty crazy.

But the duo of boy geniuses kept going.

And at 7:02pm last night when the early voting numbers were released, a big fat gasp of surprise went through the valley. They surprised everyone.

Except themselves. Everything was pretty close to what they projected.

Oaxaca didn't take it well from what I saw on television. I called Rudy Loya and he was the same happy-go-lucky guy he has been the entire race. He thanked his supporters and was glad to have their support. I asked him about the run-off and who he was going to support.

He said he was going to support Perez.

Perez called Quintanilla (a phone call facilitated by Mattew Quintanilla, Chente's grandson) to congratulate him on being in the run-off and the two chatted for a few minutes. 

The guy none of them took seriously out-worked, out-organized, and out-hustled everyone.

Now there is a run-off. There is no top-ticket race to draw people to the polls so its now a matter of who can get their people back to the polls on election day.

Its too early to tell what that is going to look like but it will come down to organization and messaging.

Both things the Perez team excels at.

Not too bad for a vato who wears suits and doesn't speak Spanish. Que no?

Rudy Loya Throws Support to Vince Perez in Run-off

Former El Paso County Commissioner Precinct #3 candidate Rudy Loya threw his support behind Vince Perez last night.

I spoke with Mr. Loya last night and he confirmed he would be supporting Perez in the run-off election against Chente Quintanilla.

"I'm going to support Vince Perez. You can quote me on that."

More details to follow.

Marquez Thumps Barraza

State Rep Marisa Marquez soundly defeated political new-comer Aaron Barraza last night, getting over 60% of the vote.

Clearly Marquez is more popular than others would have you believe. It took a tough campaign for her to defeat former State Rep Paul Moreno and she had to go against almost the entire political establishment to do so. A campaign against a new-comer shouldn't have been all that difficult.

And it wasn't.

But I do have to give credit where credit is due. As a candidate, Barraza really improved along the way. When I first met him, he didn't know anything. But he clearly was able to bone up on issues and improved as a candidate greatly.

The problem for him was that the campaign itself didn't improve along the way the same way he did. He needed experienced campaign people guiding him. Not his best friend. (BTW, Matt has a future in politics too, this was a learning experience. No one does anything well the first time.)

The fact that Barraza did as well as he did was surprising. And bear in mind, he's in his early twenties. Think about that. Most of you reading this did not have your act together in your early twenties. This guy ran for state rep.

Kudos to him.

But lets keep this in perspective. Marquez did exactly what she was supposed to do. She soundly defeated an opponent who was supported by some former political heavyweights. I'm betting they will try again soon.

Barraza gave a pretty solid statement to the media and basically said he might give it another shot. Next time, hire experienced campaigners and put your money in to the field instead of billboards. They are glorified yard signs. Those billboards could've been mailers or paid walkers. 

But with Marquez getting more than 60% of the vote, they better find someone well-funded, who knows the issues, has a solid base of support, and has an experienced campaign team.

Marquez's victory sent a statement. She's gonna be very difficult to defeat and barring any major controversy or bad vote, she's gonna be around for a while.  

Gonzalez Shatters Glass Ceiling

Its usually the most unlikely person that ends up making history. An older black woman in the South who refuses to “know her place” and move to the back of the bus. A skinny middle-aged Hindu who leads a peaceful revolt against the British Empire. Or a young Chinese man staring down a tank.

The most unlikely people making change happen.

And now...a college professor who is at heart a country girl from Clint has shattered a huge glass ceiling in El Paso County.

No woman has ever been elected to a major valley seat before. Alicia Chacon was elected County Judge, but that was a countywide seat. A valley-only seat has never been occupied by a woman. That is until now.

Mary Gonzalez was elected to represent House District 75 over her two opponents Tony San Roman and Hector Enriquez.

She won the race by the book. She had a well-funded successful ground game. She had a team of consultants around her helping her out. But give credit where credit is due. None of that could've happened without a quality candidate. And make no mistake about it, spending one day on the campaign trail shadowing her it was immediately apparent that she was calling the shots.

And Gonzalez did a lot of stuff on her own. Remember, she wasn't always a well-funded candidate. There were times the twenty-something questioned her decision to leave a successful career in education to run. There were times where she doubted herself. There were times on the campaign trail that her message was disorganized, when she was winging it alone, when she missed things she should've attended, and when her performance wasn't all that great.

But in a testament to perseverance, she hung in there. She had to suffer personal attacks about her sexuality, which I guess shows that even though a glass ceiling was shattered, women still have to deal with things their male colleagues don't have to.

Early in the campaign I questioned her motives. I called her a carpet-bagger. I questioned her connection to voters. I complained about her not living her adult life in the district.

And I was wrong.

She proved me wrong.

She proved a lot of people wrong.

Her life is about to change. She is going to be pulled in a lot of directions and people are going to want a lot out of her. They are going to want her to be a lot of things...some of which are things she just isn't.

The challenge for Gonzalez is to stay connected to who she is. The oldest of 11 children from Clint who lost their home in a fire, had to find places to shower, and yet somehow managed to stay on track in school, graduate and go off to pursue higher education.

Her district has a lot of needs. More so than most of the other districts in the County. Gonzalez needs to remember the people that elected her. She needs to remember the community that shaped her. She needs to remember that the most important phone calls her office will get aren't going to be the ones from Austin lobbyists. They are going to be the ones from her district.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Congressional Candidate Loses Campaign Manager on Election Day

Sorry, I know the title gets everyone all excited, but its not a credible candidate for Congress. Its one of the Republicans. Sources close to the campaign indicate that Barabara Carrasco, one of the Republican sacrificial lambs in September, has parted ways with her campaign manager. Apparently the cover story is that he left for health reasons. Yeah right. Sources indicate that there were no health reasons and that the departure came about because of something else. Sadly, this is probably the most exciting thing that is going to happen to her campaign, other than being this year's also-ran. That reminds me...that vato owes me Cattleman's...

Judicial Candidate Rant

Sorry about this piece. Doesn't really have a point, but I'm ranting here.

So here we go.

What the hell is up with Arditti's opponents. They decide during early voting to start campaigning hard? You don't win an election during early voting if you know what you are doing.

What the hell happened to Cervantes? I haven't seen him on the campaign trail in months. Literally. I got some text messages, but the candidate hasn't been seen by me in months. Anna Perez and Dolores Reyes have been working it pretty hard. During the first couple of days I saw some of his family campaigning, but thats it.

Standing at street corners is not productive. I don't know who the hell started telling people that standing on a street corner during early voting was a worthwhile venture, but it isn't. It is an INCREDIBLE waste of time. Yes, more people will see you at a street corner. But that doesn't mean more VOTERS will see you.

Think about it, a small percentage of the people who will be driving by will actually be voters. A smaller percentage will see you. An even smaller percentage will even grasp who you are and what you are running for. If you are a candidate and its early voting, get the hell off of a street corner where you MIGHT see a small percentage of registered voters and take your butt to a polling place, were 100% of the people that go there are going to vote.

That is an easy one. I don't know why people find that so hard to figure out. I was going to write about this sooner but I wanted to see how many candidates would continue to do it. Hell I even pulled over and told a candidate that their time was better spent at a polling place (he wasn't a judicial candidate).

Anyway, no point to this, just a rant.

Monday, May 28, 2012

If you are still undecided and are going to vote tomorrow...

I would encourage you to check out my YouTube channel. There is PLENTY of stuff there for you to look through.

I have interviewed just about every candidate who is running for anything. If I didn't interview them, I at least posted video of their speeches or debates.

Take some time and watch whatever you find useful. Make informed choices, its your patriotic duty as an American.

Election Night Candidate Events

Okay media types, here is were some of the candidates will be on election night.

If you need contact info for them, contact me and I'll hook it up.

Congressman Reyes - Doubletree Hotel

Beto O'Rourke - The Garden

Mary Gonzalez - Mammacita's (it's in Clint, across from Cotton-Eyed Joe's)

Anna Perez - Playa Azul 9515 Gateway West

Dolores Reyes - The Lunchbox

Laura Strathmann - Geogeske's (Cincinatti)

Don Williams - The McCall Center

Lucila Flores Camarena - Chicago's Street Food (on Mesa by UTEP)

Liza Montelongo - Vista Hills Country Club

Carlos Leon - Radisson (Airport)

Rudy Loya - Del Rio Hall (11380 Reid Road, Socorro)

Those are the only ones I know about right now. I asked candidates to let me know, so if any others contact me I will update this piece, so check back from time to time.

I still don't know where Aaron Barraza, Hector Enriquez, Rep Marquez, Vince Perez, Chente Quintanilla, Dora Oaxaca, or any of the other major candidates are having their events but again, I'll update it if I find out anything new.

Gonzalez Poised to Make History

All the local coverage is focused on the 16th Congressional District in El Paso. It makes sense, its the largest and most hotly-contested race the county has seen in many years – possibly ever.

But I think the biggest story is being missed by most people. The biggest story in El Paso is going to be the race for Texas House District 75.



Because despite the fact that we are more than a decade in to the 21st century, there has never been a woman elected to a major seat in the Lower Valley.

Mary Gonzalez is poised to do just that. She is poised to shatter the biggest glass ceiling in the county.

Her opponent has tried to highlight her sexuality as an issue and her election would also be historic for the LGBT community.

But I think its more of a story about women. The valley is almost entirely Latino. Women hold a special place in Latino families. They are the glue that binds the family. They are the first leaders in a family. And yet, there has never been a woman elected to a major seat in the valley.

Women make up a slightly larger portion of the electorate in the valley than men.

But the story of Gonzalez is significant, should she pull out a victory on Tuesday night, because she didn't run on being a woman or being part of the LGBT community.

She ran on issues. Other than Vince Perez, she took the biggest pay-cut of any of the candidates in the field to pursue office.

Current County Commissioner Tania Chozet represents the area on Commissioner's Court, but she wasn't elected by the people. Dora Oaxaca is pursuing the office of County Commissioner Precict 3, also a valley office, but a Oaxaca victory is a long-shot given the fact that there are four candidates in the race.

By contrast, Oaxaca did run on being a woman. She really tried hard to connect with voters on that level. She sent out a women-oriented piece of mail thanking women for being “woman strong” and the piece was pink. Her logo was ordained with stylish line designs that gave it the feel of a Scentsy candle ad rather than a political piece.

At the polling places she would tell women voters, “Dora Oaxaca tu servidora, arriba las mujeres.”

She pushed the fact that she is a single mother.

Tomorrow night the media is going to be talking about the Congressional race. But they are going to miss the real story.

The night that a glass ceiling was finally shattered in the lower valley.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Election Night Parties

Okay candidates, the media is going to call me and ask anyway, so lets make this easy. Send me an email, text, or comment below the location of your election night event.

Then I'll make another post on Election Day with the location of everyone's election night shin-digs so that it will be easier for them to send out their crews.

A Day in the Life of a Candidate: Vince Perez

I had another opportunity to shadow a candidate earlier this week and it was Vince Perez. Perez, who was formerly the Press Secretary to Congressman Reyes is a candidate for El Paso County Commissioner Precinct #3.

The day started at 8:00am at his home near Bel Air High School. I'd been to the home before and it has been transformed. It is now a giant campaign headquarters for his campaign, with signs, walking lists, and other campaign materials all over the place.

If you haven't met Perez its important you understand who he is. Vince Perez is a nerd. I don't mean it in a derogatory way, what I mean is, he is the text-book example of what you think of that nerd you went to high school with that is all grown-up now.

He is successful, incredibly intelligent, and he is a little awkward. He's lanky and tall. Dresses in nice suits when its necessary but is most comfortable in western shirts, a pair a boots, and jeans that look uncomfortably tight. And he's a very nervous guy. He's a worrier.

In an almost compulsive manner, Perez is data-driven.

There's a backroom that was used at some point by his mother for some other purpose and is now Perez' war room. Where Mary Gonzalez is a ball of energy with papers all over the place, Perez is the picture of efficiency. He and his campaign manager, Jose Landeros, are a case study in efficiency. The duo make better use of technology (lap tops, tablets, and smart phones) than any other campaign I've seen. And yes, I'm including the Congressional candidates in that assessment.

Landeros is almost the polar opposite of Perez. He's also egg-head smart and analytical, but he is the calming influence in their odd couple relationship. Nothing bothers Landeros. He fears nothing and looks at everything as a problem that has a solution. He's usually cracking jokes, downing Dr. Pepper, and pounding away at his laptop.

The campaign is very Texas. Both wear boots, Landeros proudly details little known facts about Texas like explaining that Dr. Pepper is a Texas product, and they are usually listening to country music on Spotify. The small refridgerator in the corner of the room is well-stocked with Dr. Pepper.

Perez and Landeros look at data daily and make decisions based on cold analysis. Not hunches, intuition, or a gut feeling. They look at the data and move the pieces around the chess board accordingly. On Saturday, his home was completely full with campaign volunteers. Every common-area room had a few phone-bankers stationed inside to make phone calls from refined phone-banking lists based on, you guessed it, the data analysis of the team.

As I was with them going over the final early voting numbers and the numbers turned out almost exactly as they had projected, almost down to the decimal point. These guys have it down to a science. After the data analysis is down from the previous days early voting numbers, Perez makes changes in phone-banking and block-walking strategy accordingly.

Perez is constantly checking his iPhone for information and shuffling through papers. On a personal level, Perez does extremely well with voters. He's well-mannered and seniors seem to love him. Perez has been working on his Spanish and has it down pretty well. Even the family members of his opponents begrudginly find him likable.

And the Perez volunteers are absolutely drama-free at the polls during early voting.

Vince's parents each take on their own individual roles according to their strengths. Mrs. Perez usually poll sits at Carolina or Pavo Real. Mr. Perez spends his days fixing signs, puting signs up, and feeding volunteers.

After some poll-sitting in the morning, it was off to the County to go get even more data from the Elections Department. Perez talks things through to Landeros as they make the drive back from the downtown area back to the Precinct. Landeros is already extracting and analyzing data.

Since they take advantage of techonology, Landeros is already breaking down the data and printing out lists, charts, and tables. The campaign printer was taken along on the trip for the exact purpose of being able to print out and distribute the most accurate and up-to-date lists to the poll sitters and block-walkers.

Thats what I mean, efficiency in action.

The rest of the day is devoted to meeting with voters and doing some block-walking to voters that hadn't made it out to the polls yet. And then the end-of-day activities start. The signs start coming down and the planning starts for the next day. Perez never really unwinds, he just sort of downshifts.

The end of the day comes well after dark and he spends time with his girlfriend watching some show that he's not really watching.

He's staring at the tube but his mind is clearly somewhere else.

He's thinking about that chess board.

He's thinking about strategy.

He's thinking about his next move.

By all rights Perez shouldn't even be a viable candidate. He's from the urban part of the district. He's not fluent in Spanish, he doesn't come from a wealthy family, he doesn't come from a politically connected family. He's the ultimate underdog in a race in the valley.

And yet, you just have this feeling that Perez will be in the run-off.

Perez was masterful at deploying a blistering messaging attack on Gandara from day one. He chased him out of the race. He has CLEARLY gotten in to the head of Oaxaca by making her lose control at forums, debates, and at the polling places. Perez then focused his attention on Quintanilla who is now having to look over his shoulder at the former congressional staffer.

And when Perez is in the run-off, I'll call it - Revenge of the Nerds.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rodriguez Drops Bombshell on Flores

If this is accurate, I think the media is going to be asking some very difficult questions to Victor Flores, the County Tax Assessor Collector. Armando Rodriguez, his opponent, has been requesting documents through open records and was finally able to "connect the dots".

Here's what he came up with:

Date Correction on Gallegos Event

The correct date is the 23rd.

Pete Gallego Invitation

Gallego Invite


Complaint Details Multiple Violations of State Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws

Alexis Reza filed another ethics complaint against Candidate Hector Enriquez for failing to report campaign activities required by Texas campaign finance laws.

“I just want to know what else is he hiding? We have had enough of corrupt politicians who think they are above the law and routinely lie to the public about their finances,” Reza commented.

State representative candidates are required to pay a $750 filing fee with the Texas Democratic Party.
The complaint points out that at a minimum, the campaign failed to report that payment, in addition to another incomplete expense entry and failing to properly report Cash on Hand amounts on 1/13/2012, 1/23, 2012 and 1/25/2012. Enriquez also spent more money than he reported raising in his finance reports, indicating unreported contributions.

Reza said, “Enriquez must have either been too busy running his same old tired smear campaign to follow the law or just didn’t care enough to tell the truth. But the public still has a right to know. It’s alarming that Enriquez has already become a habitual violator of ethics laws.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Reyes Spot

Hector Enriquez's 8 Day Report Raises Questions

Hector Enriquez never ceases to amaze.

According to his 8 day report, he neither captured any money nor spent any money.

8 Day Report

And yet he ends with a balance that is $12,000 less than what it was for the previous report. Uh, that doesn't add up.

I think Mr. Enriquez should realize that he actually had to "swear, or affirm, under penalty of perjury..." that the information in the report "is true and correct."

Or maybe he is just really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, bad at math.

Its a non-stop sequence of blunders with this guy. I think I will now actually be offended if Gonzalez doesn't beat him without a run-off.

That's okay Enriquez. Just remember what you told me the other day at Pavo Real...

"Jesus loves you."

Physical Scuffle at Carolina

A shoving match broke out at Carolina. I actually had to get involved. I'll post more about it later but it was between camps of rival judicial candidates Regina Arditti and Ray Gutierrez. I was a witness so I can say that from what I saw, the Gutierrez worker was 100% at fault. Mario Arditti recorded the audio. Which makes you wonder what the vato was thinking considering there are some pretty big guys there like Jose Landeros, Matt Quintanilla, and myself. Judge Arditti showed up as it was dying down but it flared up again. Details later ...

Camarena Coming on Strong

Lucila Flores Camarena is coming on strong in this race. She got a real bounce from her Times endorsement and her spouse has apparently spent all his free time putting signs up over the last week. I don't know if they did any mail at all, but she has really upped her campaign visibility. There were a few times when it appeared that she was hard to find. But she's got a definate higher profile than before. Couple that with the fact that she's the only Hispanic female and it makes it hard for me to really call who is going to be in the run-off with Strathmann.

Odds & Ends - Shadowing, Enriquez, & Poll Sitting

Shadowing Okay, I'm shadowing another candidate for the day. This time its Vince Perez. Don't complain about who I'm shadowing because I issued a blanket invitation and they are the ones that responded so far. Offer still stands if you are interested. Clarifying Enriquez & Perry Donation I've been having a conversation with someone on Twitter about Mary Gonzalez and Hector Enriquez. This person and I, (I don't know if the person is male or female) agree on more than 90% of everything, except HD 75. Their issue with Gonzalez is the Austin money. My issue with Enriquez, other than not knowing much about issues, is that he donated to Rick Perry, three different times and in my opinion there has not been a worse Governor for El Paso than Perry. So maybe I haven't clarified why its such a problem. Enriquez donated to Perry on more than one occassion. Enriquez counters that he's been a life-long Democrat and donated a $1000 to the TDP. In fact I think Enriquez said on Twitter once that he has been a Democrat longer than Gonzalez has been alive. So for the sake of argument, lets assume thats true. That leads me to this question. Why does a life-long Democrat and someone who has been a Democrat longer than his opponent has been alive, not know better than to donate to Perry? Seriously, you'd think someone like that would know better. And lets not forget something else. Enriquez is a former school board member. How does someone with that background provide financial support to Perry, and not the Democratic opponent, considering his abysmal record on education? I'd really like to understand that one because it perplexes me. And the alleged uber-Democrat has something else to answer for. If he's such a big Democrat, why was he circulated material, that he PERSONALLY handed to me, that features a picture of Enriquez and Republican President George W. Bush? Now he's all up on the Clinton band wagon, but he made no mention of Clinton at his announcement. He only mentioned Bush. And, he made sure he drew attention to it. And don't even get me started on something else...when exactly was the contribution made? Enriquez floated the story that it was at an Hispanic Chamber event. But the HC says that didn't happen. And why would he write three different checks? Something just doesn't jive. Staying Cool at the Polls People are doing everything they can to stay cool at the polls. Some of the set-ups are starting to remind me of Occupy El Paso. Just an observation. No real point to that.

Cervantes Camp Tries Text Campaign

Mike Cervantes is one of the judicial candidates vying for a seat on the bench. This campaign season has seen more than a few candidates try new tactics in social and electronic media.

None of which is really ground breaking, but it does show a growing acceptance and implementation of social and electronic media in a town that is still decidedly old-school when it comes to campaigning.

But for the first time that I can remember, this campaign season has seen the implementation of a text messaging campaign. To my knowledge, thats the first time its been done. The O'Rourke team had it as part of its campaign roll-out.

Their text messaging campaign started with a universe of zero if I understand it correctly.

Cervantes was the first candidate to actually buy in to an EXISTING text messaging universe. The reason I am commenting on it is because I am pretty familiar with what he did, seeing as I was one of the people who managed the texting community at Entravision, which is where he purchased the campaign. (Sorry, there are various uses of the term in this piece, but its an advertising campaign)

Entravision has x amount of users that have opted-in to receive text messages from the various TV and radio stations under the umbrella. The opt-in is usually centered around a contest to win tickets or receive scores from high school football games, or some other project designed to grow the universe.

Then, advertisement can be sent out to all or part of the community. I am part of all the communities and I received a text message in English that said, "Don't forget to vote. Punch 80 and vote Miguel Cervantes for Judge of the 41st District Court. Political ad paid for by Miguel Cervantes."

Moments later, I received a Spanish message that read, "No olvides votar! Oprime 80 y vota por Miguel Cervantes para juez de la Corte del Distrito 41a. Anuncio politico pagado por Miguel Cervantes."


Its a customized message that is sent to a pretty decent sized universe and it can be multi-lingual. It is also sent directly to a users phone and as long as they don't delete it, they will likely be able to have it with them when the go in to vote.

The ads can be timed. Personally, I thought the timing sucked on this particular ad, but not bad for a first try. I would've purchased it the first day of early voting and I would've purchased multiple ads. Along with Election day. I also would've asked for a multi-media message and sent a video.

There is a huge upside to this idea because so many people are going away from landlines. I don't think I've had a landline in a decade.

So the really treasured numbers are cell phone numbers. The first political consulting firm that is able to figure out how to effectively capture cell phone data of high-efficacy voters is going to make a pant-load of money.


You have NO IDEA how much of the universe are registered to vote. You have no idea if the messaging worked at all. You have no idea what are they live in either. So it could be really effective, or it could be a huge waste of money. There's just no telling.

At any rate, its the first innovative thing I've seen on the campaign trail in quite a while. Even more impressive to me that it came from judicial candidate. I'm not sure I think it will be effective at all, but I do think that the potential is there if the idea is tweaked and improved.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Prediction Update

After spending a great deal of time in the filed during early voting I think I need to modify a couple predictions. First, based on what I've seen, I think the Congressman may be in some trouble. There are a lot more voters that are heading to the polls than expected. And they aren't people that regularly vote in the Democratic Primary. Even down in the valley it is pretty close. That's bad for Reyes because he needs to take the valley vote by a wide margin. Dolores Reyes had to clarify to she was running in a different a Spanish dominant voter. And in the constable race down in the valley, I think Javier Garcia is going to win that one pretty handily. You can tell they worked it pretty hard.

Elections & Data Staff in Serious Need of Customer Service Training

This isn't a problem for the staff that work in the Elections Department at the county, but it is a big problem for the staff out in the field. Seriously, they need some customer service training. It doesn't cost anything extra to be nice. It requires no additional effort. It looks like they went out of their way to find some of the most sour people to be election workers and data people. It needs to get fixed.

Diary of a Candidate: Mary Gonzalez - HD 75

As I previously wrote, I offered candidates a chance to have me shadow them for a day so they could take me through a day in the life of a campaign.

The only one who took me up on the offer was Mary Gonzalez, who is a candidate for State Representative in HD 75. After spending a day with someone, you start to get to know them pretty well. I spend a lot of time with the candidates in general and I try to be as observant as I can along the way. But a day with Mary Gonzalez was eye-opening and I now understand why she does some of the things she does. I'll explain that later.


We met at 7:00am at Cotton-Eyed Joe's, which is the place to hang out in Clint if you want to talk politics. And the food is pretty good too. The restaurant is pretty much another campaign office for the young candidate.

I arrived a few minutes before she did and she sent me a text to let me know she had arrived. I went to meet her at her truck and she was already multi-tasking. She was on speaker phone with someone about the campaign, she was applying a quick coat of lip stick or gloss (I don't know which is which really) and she was digging through some papers.

Mary is a whirlwind of activity. all candidates right about now...she lives out of her vehicle. There's walk lists and phone lists and campaign literature all over the dash board, although she knows exactly where everything is at. They are empty water bottles, some snack wrappers, heels, pants, a make-up bag that looks like a pouch of gold dust blew up in it, and other clothing around as well.

We go inside and Mary knows exactly where she wants to sit. She wants to be able to see everyone that walks through the door while we eat huevos rancheros. I hate sitting with my back to the door, so I was uncomfortable as all hell, but she's the candidate. So we start talking about the returns at the polls, which is what she is worried about for the morning. 20% of the people that voted in HD 75 are 1-D's going back to 2006. In other words, they are people that don't vote often and were probably not ever contacted by any campaign.

I told her to relax, that it was probably because of the Commissioner's race for Precinct #3 and that she shouldn't be too worried about it. My guess is that they are people who live in the homes of triple D's and only voted in the State Rep race in 2006 because that was the Gandara V. Quintanilla race, which was a valley shoot out.

I have NOTHING to back that up with, its just a hunch.

As we continue to go over that topic, people start to flow in. And thats when my first revelation about Gonzalez occurred. I've been critical of Gonzalez as a public speaker primarily because of her inconsistency. At times she's brilliant, but other times she's pretty average. But one-on-one...thats where Gonzalez shines. She greats every single person there, most of them by first name. The wait staff, which is all female, love her and call her "mija". Well, actually most people refer to her that way now that I think about it.

She's the touchy-feely type of person. Its very authentic and very disarming. The older gentleman seem to love the attention she gives them. She doesn't talk about politics with them. She talks about them. The conversation is never about her. She gets it. She understands rule #1 in campaigning. In order to get them to vote for you, they must first like you.

And they do. All day long that same scenario was replayed in one form or another.

So we saddle up after breakfast and jump in to her truck and head out to Fabens. We get off the truck and immediately the poll works are glad to see her. She goes around and greets each poll worker. She was checking to see if anyone needed anything. We only stayed for a few minutes and then it was off to Tornillo to get something from her dad. We walk in to her dad's work and everyone refers to her as the State Rep. Again, people are drawn to her and they pay attention to everything she says. Its different here though because they've known her forever.

One of the guys at the counter was someone who actually has a very interesting connection to her. He was one of the fire fighters that responded the night Mary's family home was burned to the ground. He remembered details about the situation. He shared that it was really cold that night. Gonzalez looked like she was starting to tear up a little and then her dad came out from the back.

After a few minutes visiting we hop back in the truck to check on her signs (they'd been vandalized recently) and we had to make our way to her home in Clint. Mr. Gonzalez is still her dad after all and he sent her on a family errand.

As we made our way to Clint, we turned down dirt road next to a pecan farm and made our way up the road to her home. And thats when the other revelation occurred. I know get why Gonzalez's has always had such a rural message in her campaign, which I still think is a mistake by the way.

But I understand it now. She's a country girl. Thats who she is. Its imprinted on her DNA. She could no more stop being a country girl than I could stop being barrio boy. We go inside her home and as you walk in the door to the left, there is a saddle. Its clearly a rural piece of property. There are calf hutches along the road up to her house.

So despite the fact that she's dressed up in a blouse and some dress slacks and shoes with a small heel, she invites me to the back. We make are way around the house and we are greeted by a black and white working dog that looks straight out of a national ad for Purina dog food. One blue eye, one brown eye.

We walk back to the stables where the horses are kept. Gonzalez introduces me to each horse and tells me what kind of horse they are and other information I can't process because, well, I'm a barrio boy.

She spends the most time with the last two horses in the stable. A mother and her colt. Gonzalez is very attached to the pair. I ask a few questions about what things lying around are for and what is the purpose of a small fenced in area and then we make our way back to the truck. All along the way Gonzalez was opening fences and moving stuff around that would take someone who isn't a farm girl a long time to figure out and I'm more amazed at how she seems to do it with ease given her small frame.

We hop back in the truck and we are off to Subway to buy sandwiches for the Fabens poll workers. The entire time we are in the truck commuting from one place to another, Gonzalez is fielding calls from campaign people, consultants, labor contacts, etc. She really tries to maximize her time.

When we arrive at Fabens, the poll workers start chanting her name. Literally. And that's before they saw she bought lunch.

We then left to head over to her campaign office to take care of some thank you letters and pick up some phone banking lists. The headquarters office was staffed by two volunteers when we arrived. One was in route and then the GOTV guy was out in the field with the canvassers.

The campaign has really got the ground thing rolling now. Gonzalez's demeanor changes completely in the campaign office. She is all business. She asks for the status on a range of issues and starts issuing statements about what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and by when it needs to be completed.

Then its off to get fruit for the workers at Pavo Real. She wants them to eat healthy for some reason. So we spend way more time an Ranch Market than either of us really wanted to and scored what she was there for. We made our way to Pavo Real and the fruit was distributed. One of her opponents, Tony San Roman was there at the time, along with Vince Perez, a candidate in County Commissioner Precinct #3. So she and San Roman exchange some polite conversation and she offers him some fruit. He teases her about her signs and about the debate the previous night. He remarks how he never eats fruit. They rib each other a bit and she walks off saying that "your not the one I'm worried about anyway Tony".

Sas! is what ran through my head. But she's right.

And San Roman is actually a really funny guy. He has a great personality. Next time he runs for something he needs to harness that quality and he'll get more traction.

Gonzalez was off to find some shade under a tree and start phone banking. So far, I've only seen a couple of candidates actually having the sense to make sure they had someone doing that. In the case of Gonzalez she not only has her volunteers doing it, she likes to do it herself. She was going to be on task with that list, which is a couple hundred calls every day, for a couple of hours so I slipped away to check out another polling location.

When I come back, San Roman is there eating fruit. Gonzalez's fruit. I joked with him about it.

And then...their other opponent showed up. It was Hector Enriquez. By they way, Hector Enriquez has one sweet pick-up. Its awesome.

Enriquez waves at me from far away but he's not pleased with some of my writing and he had a little fit about it. Whined like a baby and then left. But as I walked away he yelled "God Bless You" to me, so I yelled "God Bless You Back" and he said "Jesus Loves You" and I said, "Yeah, I know."

Enriquez just can't seem to help himself. He just rubs people the wrong way and his lack of authenticity makes Gonzalez's that much more palpable.

After the poll-sitting is done, its off to the campaign office to debrief. Again, Gonzalez is back to business mode. She cracks the whip and gets down to business. We are there in the office for a couple of hours while she wraps things up. Then, its back on the phones as we head back to Clint. She takes some more calls, but clearly they are less business-oriented than before. She's back to being a twenty-something wonk and is playfully harassing another candidate on the phone about who he is supporting for State Board of Education.

Its nearly ten before we part ways for the evening. She has a couple of hours of work ahead of her that night and then tries to get some shut-eye before she starts all over the next day. Such is the life of a candidate.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Comments on my Facebook Page

Just a quick note here. I have been asked by a few people lately about other places to comment on material posted here on the LSB.

Yes, people can and do comment on my personal or LSB Facebook pages as well. So if you prefer to do so there, feel free. Send me a friend request or "like" my LSB page on Facebook. Very simple.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Guest Post-- President Barack Obama: A Courageous and fearless Man, Mitt Romney? A Bully

President Barack Obama: A Courageous and fearless Man
Mitt Romney? A Bully
By Joe Olvera ©, 2012

I believe that President Barack Obama’s support of gay marriage is one of the most courageous acts I’ve ever seen any President exercise. He could’ve waited until he is re-elected, which he will be. But, no, he took a plunge that will have far-reaching repercussions in making our nation the most liberated and visionary in the world. Knowing that gay people still face murder, persecution, discrimination and hatred for their sexual proclivities, he said that he will accept gay marriage as part and parcel of what makes this country great. By legalizing, in his mind, marriage between gays, he is opening the hearts and souls of Americans, whether they agree with him or not. As you all know, only five or six states have legalized same-sex marriage. The issue is still contentious and Obama’s support could suffer as a result of his action.

But, at least we know where Obama stands. And, you, Mitt? We know that you, the presumptive Republican candidate for President stand against gay marriage because, don’t you know, you believe that marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Well, yeah. But, your moral stance is off-center because we know how you feel about gay marriage, but, do we know how you feel about gays in general? No, we don’t. At least, I don’t. Now we hear that when you were in high school you were baiting gays, you were the class bully. But, of course, you call them childish indiscretions and you’ve apologized profusely in case you hurt anyone by your actions. What a crock. We all know how the entire GOP fees about gays, but, you are still a mystery. Guess you’re still trying to make up your mind. Should you toe the line as a conservative Republican, or should you show some guts and come out in favor of equal rights for all Americans. You see, Obama has already told us how he feels, at the risk of his presidency. That, Mitt Romney, takes courage.

Obama wants equality for all Americans, whether they are brown, black, white, yellow, women, gays, lesbians, or what have you. All Americans deserve to be treated equally and with respect. After all, this is the 21st Century. But, actually, when you ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994, you did come out in support of gays and lesbians. You specifically supported gays in the military and supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which banned discrimination against employees based on sexual preference. But, today? We don’t truly know where you stand. We know that the GOP, in general, is anti-gay.

Such groups as the National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, and the Family Research Council have opposed repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. But, Obama doesn’t agree. He believes that gays should be allowed to openly serve their nation. They also are opposed to the non-discrimination act in employment. In other words, they want gays and lesbians to disappear from the face of the earth. Don’t believe me? Then tell me why you didn’t come to the defense of your openly gay spokesman on foreign policy, Richard Grenell. You just stood there, Mitt, letting the social conservatives lambaste the man, pushing him out as an undesirable. Haven’t you learned the cold, hard facts that gays are human too, that they are as intelligent, as visionary, as important to our society as anyone else? No, I’m sure you can’t see beyond your patrician nose.

There’s another element in which the two men don’t see ojo a ojo. There’s an old joke about a Mexican who goes to see a baseball game. When he returns to Mexico, his friends ask him about how he was treated in the U.S. “Oh,” the guy says, “the U.S. is a wonderful nation. Before the game started, everyone was concerned whether I could see the game or not. They all stood up and sang, ‘Jose, can you see….’” When it comes to immigration, Obama has tried to make it easier for undocumented immigrants to become residents of this nation. The obstructionist Republican Party, however, has undermined every one of his efforts. The Dream Act? Obama wants it, Romney doesn’t. Comprehensive immigration reform? Obama has been fighting hard to make it a reality. The GOP eschews such an effort, making it contingent on securing our nation’s borders, as if that isn’t happening already. No, the reality is that the GOP, and you, Mitt, don’t want any Mexicans and OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) here – period.

But, I’m somewhat confused about your disdain for Mexicans, Mitt. You won’t bend an inch in paving a road for the 11 million or so who are here illegally to remain in the country. You’ve even said that you will veto the Dream Act. That’s the policy that would allow young people who were brought to this country illegally by their parents when they were very young. If they serve in the military, or if they graduate from college, they will be allowed to remain. Obama has already come out in favor of the Dream Act. Albeit, the GOP blocked it. You, Mitt, want people to self-deport. Have you ever heard of a more asinine policy? Do you think, Mitt, that a person who is here illegally, but who has citizen children, will deport himself or herself and leave the children defenseless? How stupid. How ridiculous. Are you for real? Is this the best the GOP can do? You even supports Arizona’s harsh anti-immigration law and you want the entire nation to follow it. You and Joe Arpaio make a wonderful tandem.

Let me ask you this, Mitt. Did your ancestors self-deport themselves from Mexico to the U.S. when they lived in a polygamous commune? Mitt is a descendant of Miles Park Romney, who came to the Chihuahua desert in 1885 seeking freedom to escape from U.S. anti-polygamy laws. This man was your great-grandfather, who, had four wives and 30 children. Together with about three dozen of his relatives, ole Miles Park carved out a prosperous life for himself, free from what he considered U.S. tyranny. Did Mexico kick them out? Was there an outrage from the Mexican government against the sect? No there wasn’t. So, explain to me why you can’t reciprocate? Why can’t you accept Mexicans and OTMs to live and prosper in the U.S. Even your father, George, was born in Mexico. So, tell me Mitt why your family should’ve been allowed to stay in Mexico, but, not the other way around. I know, I know, your family was escaping a law they felt was unfair. Well, isn’t that what Mexicans are escaping – a country that doesn’t provide for them, a country that is murderous, where there is no education, where corruption is rampant? Besides, Mitt, Mexico once owned a large portion of this land –half of it, as a matter of fact. You remind me of the movie, “A Day Without Mexicans.” Only, Mitt, you would like many days without Mexicans.

I don’t understand you, Mitt. I understand politics, and I know that you’re only playing political football with peoples’ lives. But, it seems to me that you’re still a bully and that you haven’t outgrown your childish indiscretions. You’re still a bully against gays and you’re a bully against Mexicans. I wonder how your great-grandfather would feel if he knew your anger and hatred against Mexicans. Would he approve of your high-handed ways when it was Mexico that allowed him religious freedom? Que gacho vato eres, Mitt.

Sin Fin            

More on Fabens Toilet Gate

I just posted a line in the previous piece about the problem with using the toilet at the Fabens polling site. Its at the Roads and Bridges building, which is a county facility. Roads and Bridges didn't want poll sitters to use the restroom.

Some please explain to me who the hell the idiot is that made that executive decision. And then tell me why they still have a job.

So Rudy Loya, candidate for El Paso County Commissioner Precinct #3 decided to come up with a solution to the problem. He decided to organize, as they say in the valley, a "collecta" among the other candidates to get a port-a-john for the site.

Mary Gonzalez and Rudy Loya are now going to split the costs of renting the unit and it will be serviced daily. From what I understand there is now a problem with where they can put it.

Props to the two for finding a solution, but that's not the point. There is no reason that they should have to come up with a solution for a problem that some admin pendejo never should've made in the first place. I don't understand how that was tolerated.

Texas Association of Business Responds to TSTA

So it looks like the Texas Association of Business is sticking up for their guy, Hector Enriquez. They sent me this document in response to the Texas State Teacher's Association Press Release from earlier in the week.


Diary of a Poll Sitter

Props to the poll sitters out there. I've been keeping an eye on the Eastside and Lower Valley polling places. I love to go to them because they are so intense and all the fun stuff happens there.

Some are paid to be out there. But it isn't a lot. Most are just family, friends, and supporters of the candidates. Either way, being out there can be taxing. People pass the time by talking with the other workers. But every once in a while, the competitive nature of the campaign flares up and there are some spats that break out.

The valley, as usual, is the hot bed for this type of stuff although it happens every where. I think I've figured out a general trend in terms of the culprits.

Not all the time of course, but most of the time, when there is a flare up - it involves family members. Paid poll workers and volunteers are there to support their candidate but in general they aren't as passionate about the candidate as family.

Family has skin in the game.

And when you have some skin in the game, well lets just say you are more likely to throw some elbows when you are going up for a rebound. So all the confrontations that I have seen so far have involved family members. That same passion that makes them, generally speaking, the best poll sitters because they will stay longer and be more enthusiastic than the other poll sitters, is also the passion that often can get them in to some trouble.

The vast majority of the time out here at the polls (I'm at one right now), has been pretty peaceful and the volunteers are really cool with each other. In the valley, (Carolina, Pavo Real, Fabens) the candidates are all pretty cool with each other. But there is still some palpable bad blood between people.

At Carolina there was a couple of dust-ups an cops have cruised the parking lot a couple of times. My homie Jay Desai, who is a pretty big guy and looks intimidating as hell, is actually pretty good at calming things down. He's really mellow for a guy who looks like a bouncer.

Turn out has been higher than expected, but there are still long periods of absolutely nothing happening. Lets see what week two brings...

A quick side note for the elections department. Customer service training for the election people would be beneficial. A few of them are pretty rude. Its not necessary for them to have a confrontational relationship with the poll sitters. Elections workers have a job to do, poll sitters have a job to do.

And straighten out the restroom situation in Fabens. They should be allowed to use the restroom.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Congressional Exit Polling

I know, I haven't written as much lately as I normally do. Been a little preoccupied with some other stuff but time to get back in to the swing of things.

So, here's the deal with the Congressional exit polling. I said it was going to be really close. It appears to be pretty close too.

But lets keep something in perspective about that polling. I actually observed the pollers for about 40 minutes on the first day of voting. The polling is being done by high school students. I'm not sure what their sample is going to be like but I couldn't recognize a pattern in the time I was there.

Don't get me wrong, the Coronado students are awesome. Really bright and motivated kids. Seriously, they will impress you if you get a chance to talk with them and their instructor deserves a pat on the back for his work.

But they are teenagers. They tend to socialize with one another when they get bored. Or text or play around on Facebook. All I'm saying is that I wouldn't read too much in to the results.

Also, I haven't seen any of them at Carolina or Pavo Real. Carolina is still in the 16th District and Pavo Real is just out of the district but would likely have a lot of voters living in the 16th.

Just pointing out what I noticed.

Another Gonzalez Sign Vandalized

Apparently this happened last night, but as you can see Mary Gonzalez's campaign sign was hit again by another act of vandalism.

No word on whether the campaign filed a police report.

Enriquez in Hot Water with Teacher's Union over New Retweets

Hector Enriquez has apparently stepped in it again with his retweets. This time he has apparently upset the Texas State Teachers Association, which is now a good thing for a former school board member.

In this press release sent out a few minutes ago, the TSTA takes issue with Enriquez retweeting and promoting an effort to "repeal educational standards".

The entire press release is at the bottom.

Arlina Valencia, president of the Ysleta Teachers Association, issues this pretty stinging statement. “I can’t imagine why an El Paso candidate would align himself with private charter operators who seek
to eliminate public education standards instead of supporting the legal effort being waged by our local
school districts,” said Arlinda Valencia, president of the Ysleta Teachers Association.  “El Paso needs
better state support for our local schools, and we won’t get that from people seeking to enrich
themselves by cramming students into overcrowded classrooms with untrained, unqualified ‘teachers.’”


Somebody better do Enriquez a favor and take the keyboard away from him. He seems to keep making things worse and worse for himself.

The last retweet incident generated coverage around the state. This one is likely going to end up making its rounds with educators.

TAB Enriquez

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Caballero Campaign Woes

Yesterday at the Carolina Center, Theresa Caballero got in a verbal altercation with a voter that did not want to vote for her. The confrontation, which got the attention of all the poll workers stationed at the lower valley polling place lasted about a minute.

The exchange lasted for about a minute and eventually got pretty personal.

Caballero also went on the attack against her two opponents, Jose Castillo and Diana Navarette alleging that they are campaigning on county time in an email sent out to her supporters.

"That is absolutely false and is a libelous statement!", Castillo stated when asked for comment.

Castillo was referring to this statement that is part of the email sent out: "Both of my opponents, with their limited experience manage to draw over $100,000/year in salary and benefits of taxpayer money while campaigning openly during work hours."

So Caballero is making a statement about both candidates that they deny doing and she offers no proof. I'm pretty sure that is going to come back to haunt her.

In fact, I bet my buddy David K will get a kick out of that one.

Caballero also states that at least on of the candidates is backed by Republicans. Which is funny considering on Theresa Caballero's new campaign Facebook page, Bishop/Pastor Tom Brown expresses his support for her and says he's going to vote for her. 

Caballero also makes some weird claim about how both candidates "ignored your cries for justice and simply cashed their government paychecks year after year."

Yet Caballero has, year after year, cashed her government paycheck courtesy of the tax payers of El Paso County. You see, Caballero also gets a healthy serving from the "government trough" she has previously mentioned. She made a pretty substantial amount of money from El Paso taxpayers in the form of court appointments. SHE HAD NO PROBLEM CASHING HER OWN GOVERNMENT PAYCHECKS YEAR AFTER YEAR.

What was that about ignoring cries for justice again?

Her final statement is the most-hard for me to buy. She says, "protect your families and vote for Theresa Caballero."

What? Protect your families from what?

Protect your families, unless you were one of the retirees and other people affected by the policy that Tom Brown put forward. Their group was represented by Theresa Caballero.

Here's where I actually agree with Theresa Caballero. "Who do you want presiding over your cases"?