Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eastside Dems to Hold Endorsement Meeting on Monday

Dear Candidates and Eastside Democrat Members,
The Eastside Democrats will be having their endorsement meeting Monday April 2, 2012 starting at 5:30 PM. The event will be held at El Paso Community College ASC Board Room located at 9050 Viscount Blvd. El Paso, TX 79925.
Candidates are expected to arrive and be present during their scheduled time (please see Endorsement Schedule below).
The voting ballots will be made available at 5:30 PM and will close at 7:45 PM (No Exceptions). The endorsement event is open to the public however ballots will only be available for current ESD members (According to our bylaws for a member to be eligible to vote at the endorsement election they must have been a member for thirty (30) days prior to the election). ESD members will be required to sign for their ballot.  

Endorsement Schedule

5:30 PM United States Representative
Sylvestre Reyes
Ben Mendoza
Beto O’Rourke

5:45 PM 8th District Court of Appeals
Marcos Lizarraga                                                       
Thomas E. Stanton

5:55 PM 41st District Court (Civil & Criminal Court)
Annabell “Anna” Perez                                              
Dolores Reyes

6:05 PM 448th District Court (Civil Court)
Regina B. Arditti                                           
Ray Gutierrez

6: 15 PM County Commissioner Precinct #1
Carlos Leon                                        
Liza Montelongo
Jaime Romo

6:30 PM Tax Assessor Collector
Victor A. Flores                                 
Armando Rodriguez

6:40 PM Constable Precinct #1
Robert White                                     
Robert Vasquez

6:50 PM 388th District Court (Family Court)
Lucila Flores Camarena                                             
Philip “Phil” Mullin                                                    
Laura Strathmann
Donald L. Williams

7:10 PM State Representative District 75
Mary Gonzalez

7:15 PM Criminal District Court #1 (Civil & Criminal Court)
Diane Navarrete

7:20 PM 243rd District Court (Civil & Criminal)
Luis Aguilar

7:25 PM 383rd District Court (Family Court)
Lisa Aceves Hayes

7:30 PM County Attorney
Jo Anne Bernal

7:35 PM Constable Precinct #4
Peter “Pete” Melendez

7:40 PM Close

7:45 PM Voting is Closed

Our Political Endorsements according to ESD Bylaws

ARTICLE VII – Political Endorsements

a)      The date, time and location of the Endorsement Event shall be determined by the Political Endorsement Committee and Executive Committee ;
b)      the Eastside Democrats will only endorse candidates that run for office in the Democratic Party Primaries. We reserve the right to endorse or not endorse candidates during non-partisan elections.
c)      to be eligible for endorsement consideration a candidate must submit a letter of consideration to the Executive Board no later than thirty (30) days before the organizations endorsement elections;
d)     for a member to be eligible to vote at the endorsement election they must have been a member for thirty (30) days prior to the election;
e)      at the endorsement election all eligible candidates will be given 5 minutes to present their qualifications to the membership. A panel consisting of three Eastside Democrats  members will ask appropriate questions for the candidates to answer;
f)        to secure an endorsement a candidate must receive a majority vote. In the case of three (3) or more candidates where a majority vote is not present a run-off will take place among the two (2) candidates with the highest number of votes;
g)      all voting at the endorsement proceedings will be conducted by paper ballot. This process shall insure the integrity of a private (Australian) ballot.
h)      We reserve the right to conduct a candidate forum i.e. city, county, municipal and school board elections. 
Thank you
Oscar Baeza
ESD Chair

Patsy Lopez
ESD Co Chair

Marek Swiderski
ESD Treasure

Art Fierro
ESD Secretary

Political Endorsement Committee

Patsy Lopez
Chair of Political Endorsement Committee

Marek Swiderski
Panel Member

Sonya A. Saunders
Panel Member

Jaime Abeytia
Panel Member

Mayela Mejia
Time Keeper

Good Luck to all of our Democratic Candidates

Texas Bar Action Against Caballero/Leeds Follow-up

One thing to consider in this whole conversation about the action taken by the Texas Bar Association against Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds is the range of possible punishment in the event that Caballero and Leeds lose.

But sanctions from the proceedings can be anything from a public reprimand to suspension, or even disbarment. Given that information, I think that would mean that if the law license was taken from Caballero, that she would not be eligible to be the judge of the Criminal District Court #1, which is the office she is currently pursuing.

Now I'm not entirely sure if that is correct, but that it is my reading of it, though I'm not a lawyer. Any lawyer reading this is feel free to school me in the comment box below.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Remembering the Fallen

Announcement from Ray Gutierrez Campaign

Announcement from the Dora Oaxaca Campaign

Open House Invite

Caballero Case Lands in Arditti's Court

File this under Strange But True -

You aren't going to believe this and you don't have to take my word for it, so just check the County website. I assume this is going to be changed, but the case of the Commission for Lawyer Discipline V. Theresa Caballero has landed in the 448th District Court.

The case stems from action taken against prominent El Paso attorneys Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds during the high-profile case involving Judge Regina Arditti. They represented Arditti in the case and she was ultimately acquitted of the charges.

The 448th District Court is presided over by Judge Regina Arditti. Again, I assume this case is going to be assigned to another court or another judge will preside over the case because it would be pretty hard to believe that the individual they were representing in the case that led to the action taken against Caballero would be allowed to preside over the case.

The Cause Number is 2012DCV03254.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chente Quintanilla Campaign Announcement

March 28 Invite

Blanche Darley is at it again...

And email was sent out to the membership of the Tejano Democrats that said, "In lie of the March Meeting, please take not that the site has been moved, only for this special presentation..."

The announcement goes on to say, "The Tejano Democrats Paso del Norte wil host and sponsor a presentation, along with the El Paso Democratic Party on March 27th, 2012 on organizing the Hispanic Vote for the General elections and beyond."

Certainly a great idea and its easy to see why that is an important presentation.

Two problems.

#1 - There was never a vote for the El Paso Democratic Party to sponsor the event. I guess she just decided that was going to happen. Darley seems to ignore rules unless they are in her favor.

but problem number 2 is more problematic for her.

At the end of the announcement there is a blurb at the end that says, "This special presentation is only for the Tejano Democrat members and credentialed precinct chairs, NO EXCEPTIONS. Media must contact Blanche Darley, Chair TDPDN...for Media Credentials." 

That leads to problem

#2 - If the meeting is co-sponsored by the El Paso Democratic Party, Blanche Darley is not authorized to restrict attendance to Tejano Democrats or credentialed precinct chairs. In fact, no one has that authority. According to the rules set out by the TDP, the Texas Democratic Party Rules state:

"B. General Rules 1. At all times and at all levels of the Democratic Party, no secret ballots shall be used, no fees shall be charged for voting, and the meetings shall be open."

So bottom line is, if the event is co-sponsored by the El Paso Democratic Party, any Democrat can attend the presentation. Which, makes sense because who in their right mind would want to horde valuable information that would benefit the entire Democratic Party?

At what point to people in the Party stop accommodating her actions and agenda?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hey, Look What I'm Reading...

Its called the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party.

Turns out it is a great source of information and more than a few things need to be addressed. This should be interesting.

If YOU would like your own copy, feel free to download it here...

Campaigning: Dirty v. Negative

One of the parts of campaigning that makes people most uncomfortable is dirty campaigning.

But people will often say something along the lines of, "Oh, I just hate negative campaigning." Well, there is a difference and I want to help underscore the difference because it is often the topic of discussion and was even mentioned in a recent debate.

First, lets talk about the differences between the two.

NEGATIVE is highlighting something bad about your opponents track record, candidacy, policy position, business or professional association or time in office.

DIRTY is fabricating something, bringing up something about a relative, or something salacious that isn't related to the campaign. Its almost always something that isn't issue-oriented.

I raise this point because this campaign has been pretty sharp between candidates. Normally its just the main headline race that has the sharp barbs at one another. But since there are so many hotly contested races in this campaign season, the blows are flying all over the place.

I'll go over a couple of attacks that are negative, but not dirty. I highlight these two examples because they were specifically characterized as something as dirty or personal.

Example number 1 - Ray Gutierrez's recent attack on the fact that Arditti still took a full salary as judge when she was suspended from the bench while she was facing the charges she ultimately was exonerated of. The reason someone called it dirty was because of the fact that Arditti was acquitted. Yes, that is true. But thats the not the point of Gutierrez's attack.

What he is doing is underscoring the fact that Arditti took the salary while not working for the tax payers of El Paso County and the tax payers had to foot the salary of another judge to come in and do Arditti's job. His line of attack isn't about the disposition of her case. He's criticizing the fact that she still took a salary. Critics will say that its not right to take a salary for work you didn't do. Supporters will say that she would've been doing the job but for the fact that she was suspended and that was out of her control. Both sides are valid arguments, but I think its ridiculous to call Gutierrez's attack dirty.

It isn't. Its tough and its issue-based, but its not dirty.

Arditti is asking for another term. The heart of the debate for any incumbent judge, or elected official for that matter, is whether or not they deserve to be sent back to their office for another term.

Gutierrez delivers and sharp, but fair critique in my opinion.

His first attempt at attacking Arditti was feeble and Arditti spoke with me at great length to explain her courts numbers. She was right, he was wrong.

Now she has a different issue to deal with. Its fair in my opinion.

The other example is something on video. I posted this video last week of an exchange between Vince Perez and Chente Quintanilla.

As you can see in the video, Perez makes critiques of Quintanilla's track record in the legislature and raises the question as to why Quintanilla is seeking the office of County Commissioner.

Incredibly Quintanilla calls it a personal attack and actually finds himself defending former County Commissioner Willie Gandara in his response. Even Dora Oaxaca doesn't put herself in to the position of having to defend Gandara so I am baffled as to why Quintanilla felt it necessary to do so.

Later Quintanilla characterizes the critique from Perez as "personal". This is a perfect example of a mischaracterization of an attack. Quintanilla's main selling point to voters is that he has been an elected official in the region for years and what he has done for the community. In fact, he even mentioned the fact that the El Paso Times laid out some of his accomplishments while he was State Rep and  he uses it in literature.

He is marketing his experience to voters. He is therefore open to a critique of his record as a State Rep. Its fair game and its not personal.

But the reason that Quintanilla and others have found that kind of criticism something that makes them uncomfortable is because they have never faced it before previously.

Those are just two examples, I could analyze more but I think its important that people understand what is really going on beneath campaign rhetoric.

But, on the other hand, people who engage in negative politics run the risk of voters not being happy with it. Its always a bit of a risk when candidates go on the attack because it can sometimes leave them open to a counter attack or make their opponent a martyr. Candidates have to be careful to not let negative campaigning define their candidacy and have to provide a mixture of critique of the other candidates along with a strong dose of what their plans for the office are.

Still a long way to go people, more than 40 days until early voting...

El Paso Times Piece on County Comish Races

I read the piece in the El Paso Times yesterday about the County Commissioner races and was excited to see the fact that they sent out a questionnaire asking for stances on issues. Especially because I'm expecting to see one big flip-flop.

Hopefully I'll be wrong.

But four years ago when candidate for El Paso County Commissioner Precinct 1 Carlos Leon was running for Sheriff, he had a steady campaign message.

Family values.

Its actually conspicuously absent from this go-around of campaigning. But then again, he's not running against a candidate who's sexuality he can call in to question. Four years ago, it was a different story.

Anyone in the gay community can tell you that the line about family values was code for saying the opponent is gay. Somehow implying that straight people have family values and gay people don't. But its the dog whistle stuff that gives someone room to say that they are not saying what we all know they really are saying.

In fact, when have you ever heard of someone raising family values in a sheriff's race?


But it was used so much by Leon that I finally decided I was going to flat out ask him. Of course, if someone was really trying to use another candidate's private life as a campaign issue its not like they would come out and admit it. But nonetheless, I asked the question four years ago.

In fact, four years ago there were some fliers that were put on cars at a forum that said something along the lines of "Do you really want a gay sheriff". They never found out who had that done but I mention it to give context to the sentiment going around that race.

At a recent forum hosted by the El Paso Stonewall Young Democrats, the question of domestic partner benefits was posed to the candidates and all of the candidates, including Leon, answered that they would be in support of domestic partner benefits.

Lets hope that when the El Paso Times releases the answers to the questionnaires that no one flip-flopped.

I also noticed in the Times' piece that Leon alluded to his motorcycle accident.

That was a tragic turn of events and I'm sure was a life-changing moment for Leon. Many people prayed for his recovery, myself included.

He was able to over-come his injuries and is healthy enough to campaign now.

But seriously, how many times is he going to mention it? It is starting to sound like pandering or a ploy for sympathy. I am much more interested in Leon's track record, leadership experience, and policy positions than I am hearing over and over and over and over and over about the accident.

Stanton's Web Video - That is How its Done!

The challenge of any judicial race is how do you get people to pay attention and care about your race.

Well, either you get people to understand how important that court is to your every day life (good luck with that).

Or you get people to buy into you as a candidate. As a rule, people who run for the bench are pretty dry, boring types. Not always, but generally speaking.

But give credit where credit is due. Tom Stanton's campaign found a way to get people to buy in to him as a candidate and in a very meaningful way.

This is bar none, the best web video I've ever seen. Huge names in the video are just a start. And when I saw big names, I mean it.

Alicia Chacon.

Ouisa Davis.

Mary Haskins. (Yes, THAT Mary Haskins, who is a beautiful woman by the way.)

Allow me a moment to get a little geeky here. I love the the cinematography of the video. The score is awesome and that is one sign that it was done by some real pros because amateurs over-look the importance of a good score. The video has a great flow to it and the messaging behind it is strong.

Best part about the video? It was done by family. A father is always proud of their kids, but Stanton has the double bonus. He can be proud because its great work by his progeny, but also because it is genuinely a great campaign tool.

Pay attention people, because this is how its done. (BTW, its 3:00 minutes long. Its a web video, not a TV commercial, though you can see where it can be edited to be a TV commercial. His opponents should be put on notice, Stanton is for real.) 

Why the Reyes Family-gate is Bad for Beto

Before this stuff about Reyes and his family members receiving campaign money broke out, there was some tangential conversation about it on last weeks debate tour. I didn't like it then and I spoke with a friend about how I thought it was going to ultimately be a very negative thing for O'Rourke.

Trust me, I'm right about this one.

Let me explain.

During Monday's debate, Luis Torres introduced a new critique of O'Rourke I hadn't heard before. They talked about O'Rourke voting against housing for the disabled and voting against x number of jobs.

The jobs thing had something to do with Boeing. O'Rourke never responded to the charge during Monday's debate. By Wednesday's debate, O'Rourke had an answer ready for the charge. In his answer, he went after Reyes and said that he was defending Boeing because they donated large sums of money to Reyes through PACS were awarded a contract and hired all three of his children.

Later in the week the story came about about campaign money going to his family.

Ultimately this is going to hurt O'Rourke more than Reyes.

Here are a four things to keep in mind about this whole situation

#1 - There's nothing illegal about paying family members. Yes, it appears that Reyes has paid more money to family members than any other member of Congress, but there are a lot of names on that list, including Ron Paul.

#2 - We are talking about campaign money, not tax dollars.

#3 - Its not illegal. If you want to have a conversation about ethics that's fine, but its a different conversation. And its not like they are just handed money for the hell of it. The people mentioned both have big roles in Reyes' campaign and in the case of his brother, is probably his closest political adviser. Veronica Cintron is his chief fundraiser. After how events in this campaign have gone down, its pretty well known that I am not Chuy Reyes' biggest fan, but even I have to admit, he works hard for his brother. Anyone who knows Cintron cannot possibly doubt her value to the campaign, her work ethic, or her motivation for helping the campaign.

#4 - and probably most importantly, its bad political karma to go after family members. Family members are non-combatants unless they have an independent political role in El Paso politics. In the case of Chuy Reyes and Veronica Cintron, they are fair game because they are part of El Paso's political class. But Reyes' kids? I think not. They are not part of politics in this town. Never around, never really connected to the Party and have a very low profile. But if you start picking on family members, then you make it okay for people to go after your family members.

I think by now people in this town pretty much know, you don't mess with the Reyes family members. But the reason O'Rourke will ultimately suffer from this is because of the inevitable comparison it will raise between family members. And I assure you, O'Rourke loses that comparison all day long and twice on Sunday.

Think of the comparison, family members who work for the campaign and and awarded with a salary paid for by campaign donors versus O'Rourke's mother's company's legal situation.

I hate having to be the one to mention it first, but you know its coming. Hell, I bet Morris Pittle already had this one drawn up on the white board anyway and its now probably going to be a commercial sooner rather than later.

This will be a huge self-inflicted wound on the part of O'Rourke because now the Reyes will likely start pushing the conversation about Charlotte's which is owned by his mother. Worst part about it for O'Rourke is, well, he started it.

O'Rourke has benefited greatly from the fact that the media hasn't really done any critical analysis on that issue in this campaign. But I can assure you that at some point, they will have to.

And the conversation about family members and PAC money does absolutely nothing beneficial for O'Rourke. Let me see if I understand the comparison correctly, O'Rourke is alleging the Congressman is defending Boeing because they donated money to him through PACs and hired his kids? But the money funneled to O'Rourke from his father-in-law (who maxed-out individual contributions to O'Rourke's campaign) through a Super PAC is somehow different?

I'm not sure I see anyone being able to claim the ethical moral high ground here.

Frankly, I'm pretty pissed about the whole situation. This campaign has not solidified in to a conversation about the important issues facing El Paso like poverty, health, illiteracy, investment in infrastructure, or immigration reform.

Instead it has become a conversation about Beto partying at the Tap, where he went to school, who paid for his school, legalization of marijuana, donor money etc -or Reyes lack of votes, lack of bills, not showing up to debates, donor money, and family connections.

Guess what isn't being talked about in this race, by the candidates or the media?

Stuff that really matters.

Anybody else getting tired of that?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

O'Rourke, Torres, Tilghman Shine at EPCC TM Debate

Beto O'Rourke, Congressman Reyes' Stand-in Luis Torres, and Jerome Tilghman traded blows in a debate that at times became very spirited.

I know a lot of you take issue with the fact that Reyes hasn't been at several of the forums lately. Frankly he's in a no-win situation. If he doesn't show up, they say he's ducking the debates. If she does show up, they say that he's campaigning instead of doing his job.

Bottom line here is that it was a very interesting debate. Well, the parts with the three of them were. The other people in the debate were more of an after thought.

I would be really interested to see what a debate between the two Republicans looks like. There was a point were Carrasco made some sort of remark about Iran having a navy and making it a point that her opponent, Corey Roen had said otherwise.

No one really understood what that was about. I asked a question about the 14th Amendment and Carrasco clearly had problems understanding it. Roen did and answered the question very clearly.

(Update: I realized I cut off the last 20 minutes. I will post it under another piece after I finish editing the video).

Gutierrez Line Raises Questions about Arditti

I try to be as observant as I can when I am around candidates. I notice things like their shoes, weight gain/loss, sunburn, etc. I'm always looking for indicators from candidates and their staffers.

I especially like to hear candidates talk to voters. In fact, if they are talking to me and a voter comes up and wants to talk to them I excuse myself so that they can do their job...earn votes.

So I listen to a lot of candidates talk to would-be voters and listen to their pitch. I over-heard Ray Gutierrez, who is running against Judge Regina Arditti while he was speaking to a group of seniors the other day. He spent most of his time listening, but eventually the senior started talking about how things were getting tight in the pocket-book and she was having to skip doses of medication in order to make them stretch.

Gutierrez politely listened to the senior until she finished. She eventually got around to asking him about what he was running for and why. Gutierrez started giving his pitch and explaining what the court does, etc. He then mentioned to the lady that he believed that people like her should be getting their tax dollar's worth out of their elected officials.

This is where things got interesting. He said that while she was skipping doses of medication to make them stretch, Judge Arditti had taken a salary from the tax-payers of El Paso County while she was suspended from the bench, to the tune of over $100,000. He went on to explain that not only did Judge Arditti take the salary while she wasn't working, but that the tax-payers had to foot the bill for another judge to come in and run the court.

I have to admit, thats a pretty effective line. It addresses her court case, without talking about guilt or innocence. It doesn't leave Arditti much room to counter with the fact that she was ultimately acquitted.

If that is something that Gutierrez is consistent in using, I think people will now start to ask about Arditti receiving the salary while she was suspended from the bench and if she plans on returning the money.

Arditti has been graceful on the campaign trail so far but Gutierrez clearly got under her skin in the last forum, so it will be interesting to see how this one goes over. There is still lots of campaign time...

Barraza Shines, Marquez So-So at 1st Debate for HD 77

For the third time this week, I was pleasantly surprised at the performance of a candidate in a debate. This time the surprise performance came from Aaron Barraza, candidate for HD 77 who is taking on the incumbent State Representative Marisa Marquez.

I know you people think I have my favorites, but I call it like I see it and I was very, very, very surprised and impressed by the performance of Aaron Barraza in the debate. I'm told "he has a lot of teachers working with him right now" by a source close to the camp.

They should pat themselves on the bat because they took a kid who was completely unprepared for public office and knew absolutely nothing about substantive issues relating to the seat when I first met him a few months ago and turned him in to a candidate.

Extremely impressive turn-around. Barraza should take a bow as well. He obviously internalized a lot of information. And its not easy sitting up there trying to remember all the information, trying to think on your feet, paying attention to what you opponent is saying, listening to the panel, watching the audience, and oh yeah...the blogger guy is there with the infamous video camera.

So, job well done on the part of Barraza.

It wasn't all perfect for young Mr. Barraza though. He showed up with a posse and there were at least ten people in the audience wearing his campaign shirts. He also planted questions with a lot of people that were obviously meant to stick it to Marquez. In the video you can actually see some of the plants reading from a script. This wasn't unexpected either. Its straight out of a former State Reps playbook. A strong visual and vocal presence (they cheered over-zealously about policy answers. It was kind of funny because no one feels strongly enough about a bill to cheer like they are at a football game) to intimidate your opponent and give your candidate some confidence by creating the illusion of over-whelming support. Sharp questions that are pre-scripted to be asked by your supporters, etc all of that is classic and straight out of an old playbook.

In fact, if anyone should've seen it coming its Marquez.

Barraza also got in trouble a couple of times when he forgot something and had to look for it in his notes and he has a confrontational edge to his demeanor when someone pushes him or disagrees with him. You can see it when the drug thing came up. He has to fix that because its too easy to use against him.

I don't want to take anything away from Barraza because he had a very impressive performance. I do want to add one thing though. He benefited greatly from the fact that he put his opponent on defense right away and she didn't appear to want to play offense at all.

Once I saw that there were plants in the audience with scripted questions I asked a pointed question at Barraza for the sake of balance. He gave a crappy answer, but that wasn't important. What was important was that he gave AN answer. Clearly it was scripted and he was ready for it. I wasn't concerned so much with the content of his answer, but more so with his demeanor. He did well with it.

Marquez can still stomp a debate mudhole in Barraza any time she wants to. But for some reason, she didn't appear to want to. She seemed like she was holding back the entire time. Its harder for an incumbent because you have to be preoccupied with everything the challenger is preoccupied with, along with the fact that you have to be aware of how you are perceived. Its not fair, but people expect a more stately presentation from the incumbent and the challenger can get away with more.

Marquez didn't do poorly. In fact she did okay, but clearly she is capable of a stronger performance and a more focused delivery. She shouldn't cut him any slack. He's in the Major Leagues now, she should act accordingly.

So getting to the substance of the debate, Barraza had a lot of information about votes Marquez took, so I am going to look them up. In fact at one point, both candidates were pretty adamant about some information that I am going to look in to myself to see who is right and who is wrong.

Time to do some fact-checking, so it might take me a few days to get to it, but I'm working on it.

Here's footage.

Women Blast Perry's Facebook Page

There is a reason the saying "Hell hath no wrath like a woman scorned" has stuck around for so long.

Because its true.

Women are rising up against Governor Rick Perry's statements and policy stances and have decided they were going to unleash their fury on his Facebook page.

And boy did they! Lot of questions about menstruation...

This is a perfect example of the extremism of the right and what it often leads to, the War on Women.

Here's the article that shows the Facebook posts on his wall.


EPCC Board Adjusts Non-Discrimination Policy

Normally when I attend a meeting of elected officials during public comment I beg and plead with them to do the right thing. Then they don't, and then I talk smack about them the next day.

So it was kind of weird for me yesterday when I didn't have to do any of that.

The El Paso Community College Board of Trustees voted to add a provision for transgender in their non-discrimination policy. The room was filled with people wearing white shirts with a big equal sign on them.

I was proud of the fact that they made that adjustment to the non-discrimination policy and it goes to show you that there is much more acceptance of modern social justice issues like gay equality in El Paso than the Bishop Brown's of El Paso would lead you to believe.

Bravo EPCC Board of Trustees.

HD 75 Debate - EPCC Valle Verde

If Mary Gonzalez has an Achilles heel its consistency. Up and down performances from one day to the next and that was clearly at play during Monday's debate with Hector Enriquez.

Let me be clear about my next sentence because it will surprise some of you.

I thought Hector Enriquez gave an impressive performance.

Maybe I've been setting the bar pretty low for a few candidates, but I don't think that is the case. I think these candidates are genuinely stepping up their game.

Gonzalez has been everywhere and almost every event under the sun. She's been pushing for debates for a long time, like the smart kid in class who just can't wait to turn in their paper.

Enriquez has kept a pretty low profile until recently and after my first interview with him, I realized he didn't know anything. He was absolutely not ready for office. That was in September. Then he showed up to another forum in February and frankly, he still wasn't ready. He was better because he had a script in front of him, but he was still not ready.

I asked him in September and he was asked again in March, a very basic question about what committee he would seek to serve on. He didn't know in September, he didn't know in February.

After several months...he FINALLY answered the question. Took him long enough.

But the bottom line here is this, Enriquez looked pretty damn good.

Gonzalez wasn't bad, but she was just so-so.

Gonzalez had the chance to go on the attack and really deliver a knock-out blow to her opponent and she didn't. She didn't even attempt to, which surprised me. Even with a script, she has deeper policy knowledge that Enriquez. She was on a college campus, so she was in her environment.

She should've cleaned his clock. She didn't.

Again, not a bad performance, but just nothing to write home about. Enriquez didn't really answer a single question, but he was much better than I've seen before. He's either had some coaching or he did one hell of a job studying. Whatever the case, he was a different guy that we've seen before.

Gonzalez needs to tighten up the screws and her team needs to invest in some debate prep.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Congressional Debate - EPCC Valle Verde

This is footage of the debate on Monday between the Congressional candidates at the Valle Verde campus. It includes two of the Republican candidates as well as a new face you probably haven't seen, Paul Johnson.

Mr. Johnson is running as a Democrat. He has voted Republican for most of his recent past and is from The Valley. He previously ran as a Republican against Chente Quintanilla for his state rep seat.

I spoke with him yesterday after the Congressional debate at the Transmountain Campus and since I've interviewed all the other Democrats on the ballot I am going to interview him soon.

Absent from this debate were Jerome Tilghman and Ben Mendoza.

Highlights of the debate:

Luis Torres (Congressman Reyes' surrogate) unveiled a new opening and a new line of attack on O'Rourke having to do with voting against bringing some jobs to El Paso. Turns out that had something to do with Boeing. Torres isn't the candidate, but as a wonk, I rather enjoy the debates between O'Rourke and Torres.

O'Rourke had another strong and steady performance. He prosecutes well. Since he was on a college campus, he actually made it through an entire debate without getting beat-up over the legalization issue.

The inclusion of the Republicans is tiresome. I understand why they are included, but really they should have their own debate. They aren't going to win any support and they aren't very impressive. Carrasco, who was previously pretty good has steadily declined. She seems distracted at times and struggles to make her point unless its something from her standard playbook of Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Freedom of Religion, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare.

Roen, the other Republican is hurt by being in a field with a bunch of Democrats. If he had her in a one-on-one debate he could start to draw more of a contrast with his opponent. What ends up happening is that they both speak like they are running against the Congressman.

They aren't. They are running against each other. But neither of them seem to have figured that out yet.

But I totally understand why they want to be included in these debates...its the only way a group of people will listen to them. Otherwise they are speaking to small crowds that can fit in a living room.

One of them has to actually win, that way we Democrats have someone to trounce in November. They haven't realized that the high-water mark for Republican performance was 2 years ago. They aren't going to do as well as they did back then, which is why I think they will get less votes than Tim Besco did.

Announcement for Aaron Barraza Campaign

County Commissioner Precinct #3 Forum - EPCC

Before we go any further I just wanted to say something. I have been to probably more political forums than anyone else in town over the last 5 years or so. I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I've seen a bunch of moderators and have been a panelist and moderator. Its not an easy job.

So please take what I am about to say seriously because I know what I'm talking about here.

In my opinion, Lynn Davis, who is a professor of Political Science at El Paso Community College, has done the worst job of any moderator I've seen at a local forum.

I'll dedicate an entire post with video footage of specific examples of what I am talking about later. I think it deserves an entire post of its own.

Now, back to this debate.

Listen to the candidates and its pretty clear that Perez comes across as the most effective communicator of all the candidates in the race.

But I was honestly pretty impressed with Chente Quintanilla's response to Perez's critiques. He's tougher and better on his feet that I gave him credit for.

I'm not sure one of his answers hold water, but I did find him pretty impressive. I've never seen him debate before and honestly he's never really had to so I guess I sold him short. Shame on me for that.

Oaxaca seems to be running her campaign on emotion. That's a bad thing. Emotional candidates have a big problem with burn-out. Being an emotional candidate is taxing on the individual and can lead to burn-out. Its also taxing on the voters who get burned-out on all the emotion. Hillary Clinton had a short-term benefit when she showed a little emotion in the last Democratic primary, but it was only about a one-month bump.

Most emotional candidates end up being like the weird Republican guy in the viral video or Howard Dean. Dora has been on the edge of tears or angry in every speech I've seen her give this campaign season, other than her campaign announcement.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oaxaca states Gandara "was an absent Commissioner...absent boss..."

In a 180 degree turn around, El Paso County Commissioner Precinct #3 candidate Dora Oaxaca stated that her former boss, Willie Gandara, Jr. was "an absent Commissioner" and "an absent boss".

Thats a complete turn-around from the position she took in a televised news interview with KVIA earlier this year when questions were first raised by fellow candidate Vince Perez about Commissioner Gandara's attendance record.

Both Gandara and Oaxaca were interviewed for the piece and if memory serves I think they both talked about how the needs of the community and constituents were a priority. I think both were actually interviewed in the field for that interview.

Don't get me wrong, it makes sense that Oaxaca is now trying to distance herself from Gandara, but I don't think any expected such a drastic turn. Although, she doesn't really have a choice at this point. After the arrest for allegedly trafficking drugs Oaxaca doesn't really have any other option but to try to put some distance between her and the Gandara clan.

Its not likely that she will benefit much at this point. Gandara introduced her at her campaign kick-off in Socorro. He made statements that basically made it impossible for her to put any real distance between her and the Gandaras.

But here is video of Oaxaca trying to put a little political daylight between her campaign and the Gandaras...

Marquez at the El Paso Young Democrats Meeting

State Representative Marisa Marquez spoke to the El Paso Young Democrats last night.

Bottom line is, everyone behaved themselves. The El Paso Young Democrats have never mistreated a guest to the meetings and asked tough but relevant questions of Representative Marquez while maintaining decorum.

To her credit, Representative Marquez attended a meeting that she knew was going to have a lot of her most vocal critics but still attended and took questions. Her opponent, Aaron Barraza would not take questions when it was his turn to be a guest speaker.

One observation is that the El Paso Young Democrats did something that I haven't seen happen in local Democratic organizations in the past. They invited someone they don't see eye-to-eye with to be a guest speaker and the person was treated with respect. That wouldn't happen in other clubs. The invitation would simply never be given.

The El Paso Young Democrats set the example last night.

That being said, Marquez had to earn her pay last night. Nobody tossed softballs to her and she stood her ground and answered every question.

EPYD and Marquez both deserve credit for setting a new standard last night.

This puts a lot of pressure on Aaron Barraza. He has to now step up and be a real candidate. He has to be tested and be ready to show some substance. Marquez sent him a message last night. She showed up in force with strong support.

I think Barraza was hit with a little dose of reality last night.

The two will debate on Wednesday at Transmountain Community College. It will be a big day for Barraza. It will either be the day that he puts himself on the map, or it will be the day that his inadequacies are exposed.

Labor Group Recognizes Marquez with Legislator of the Year Award

State Representative Marisa Marquez is being recognized by the International Association of Fire Fighters (AFL-CIO) with the Legislator of the Year Award.

The ceremony will take place later this morning at the Fire Fighters' Memorial Park located in Overland and Chihuahua.

A press release from the union says the award is given at the end of "each legislative session to legislators that go above and beyond to champion the needs of firefighters across the state". The press release goes on to state the following:

"Representative Márquez is unique among legislators in that she immediately understood the needs of fire fighters across Texas, and more importantly she took definitive action to make sure that legislation affecting our health and safety receives priority consideration,” said Guy Turner, President, TSAFF.  “It is indeed an honor and privilege to be associated with Representative Márquez and we look forward to continue working with her on issues important to fire fighters and the people of Texas."

"From the time she first took office, Representative Márquez has proven to be a champion for working people across Texas. Although this isn't just about fire fighters, we recognize that Representative Márquez has gone above and beyond the call of duty, demonstrating through her actions as well words her concern for the safety of the men and women who daily put their lives in jeopardy to protect the citizens of the state of Texas,” said Mike Higgins, Chief of Staff, TSAFF.

Dear Voters of Sunland Park, New Mexico

What the hell is wrong with you people? Stripper videos, cover-ups, PIO masterminds, and the Chief of Police relieved of duty.

Now bribery?

I resent you people taking away El Paso's crown for crazy, stupid, corrupt elected officials and masses of voters who obviously don't pay attention to the news. I resent even more that you people have done all of that in a matter of weeks while it has taken El Pasoans years to cultivate and refine that level of stupidity. Who do you people think you are?

Oh well, at least we still have our ace in the whole...the majority on Vinton Village Council...

Monday, March 19, 2012

And in this Corner...

If there was ever a meeting of the El Paso Young Democrats that you wanted to attend, tonight is the night.

State Representative Marisa Marquez will be the guest speaker. Her opponent told me he would be in attendance tonight and apparently he is asking people to attend to lend him some moral support.

Which is weird because when he was guest speaker he refused to answer questions from the audience.

I think it is really going to be interesting if Marquez attends the meeting which she knows isn't going be the most welcoming crowd, and is willing to take questions, which she probably knows will be sharp, while her opponent didn't.

I'm expecting Barraza to show up with a lot of his supporters and to have a bunch of his signs there, also something never done at a YD meeting before. (Not that people haven't had signs, but that no opposing candidate has attended a meeting and posted signs when their opponent was the guest speaker.)

Fight, oops I mean meeting, starts at 6pm at G&R Restaurant on Nevada. Should be interesting. The two will actually square off at a debate at Transmountain (Community College Campus) on Wednesday as well. I assume both candidates will be in attendance.

I looking forward to seeing the two side-by-side.

Family Court Judges Debate

I've often said this group of lawyers are such bad communicators that they should come with a warning label because they are so boring that you shouldn't operate heavy machinery after listening to them.

They did MUCH better this time.

They didn't bore me and I found that at least two of them, Don Williams and Laura Strathmann had strong performances. Williams keeps using this military court line that hasn't and isn't going to work for him, but he apparently is very fond of it.

Mr. Mullen never ceases to surprise me. I was pretty surprised when he mentioned that he was a big fan of Metallica. I was more surprised when he mentioned that it was good to be back in his "hood". Hilarious and unexpected.

Debate Dust-up in Judicial Race

Judge Regina Arditti has been poised and in control so far in this campaign season. That is an accomplishment in and of itself considering the storm of controversy that has surrounded her first term as judge.

But her opponents really haven't picked a fight with her or engaged her in any meaningful way on the campaign trail. In fact, most people wonder where the hell her opponents are. So far, I hear they are trying to court the attorneys which is a mistake. Attorneys don't win elections, but that's another post.

Anyway, this is the first time I saw a candidate even flirt with taking Arditti on.

And it didn't go very well. She showed she could be rattled and she clearly looked defensive.

What's interesting about that is the fact that her opponent, Ray Gutierrez, sorta fumbled the attack on Arditti. Maybe he was just probing to see how she would react, but things got heated. As you can see at the end of the video Gutierrez went to shake her hand and she didn't shake it back.

The audience noticed it, but Arditti says she didn't see him reach out to shake hands with her. Arditti's daughter and campaign staffer stopped her after she got off stage to let her know that he tried to shake hands with her.

They had a bit of an exchange in the back of the gym and hallway after they got off of the stage. I think they were debating the numbers that Gutierrez was using to say that Arditti isn't clearing cases very quickly.

That is a long story and something I will address in another post. I have seen his numbers and spoke with Judge Arditti about it, I'm just checking their homework before I post about it.

Rep Marquez to Speak at El Paso Young Democrats Meeting Tonight

State Rep Marisa Marquez will be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the El Paso Young Democrats.

Dear Candidates,

60 days to early voting.

Are you doing what you need to be doing to win? Clock is ticking, better get to it.

Going to fundraisers and other candidates' events isn't what is going to win you the race, so I sure hope some of you are doing more than just that, though a big portion of you candidates aren't.

Which reminds me, for those of you that are doing what you are supposed to do to win, use some common sense.

I got a very disturbing report from a voter who had someone knock on their door ever the weekend. It was a campaign volunteer who was a female and under 14 years old. Apparently by herself.

I'm not gonna bust out the campaign for doing that, but that is very dangerous and should never happen again. Use common sense people, safety first!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Passing of a Matriarch

I spend a lot of time being critical of Republicans on my blog. But today is a little different. Today I want to acknowledge the passing of an El Paso political icon, the matriarch of the Haggerty family, Eleanor Haggerty.

The Haggerty's have been involved in El Paso politics for many years and from the story I read the other day in the El Paso Times, they clearly were influenced by their mother.

There are more Haggerty's in El Paso politics than there are Gandara's. In fact, they have served in almost every level of local government. A few of them are now Democrats, but they are most known for being the face of the El Paso Republican Party for many years.

I never had the chance to meet "Ma Haggerty", but I wish I had. One look at this vintage campaign commercial featuring the El Paso icon shows the trademark Haggerty streak of toughness that she passed on to all of her sons.

If you've never been to a Democratic Party event, you would be surprised to know that the Haggerty's frequently get more cheers than many of the Democrats. Again, I disagree with some of their politics and Commissioner Haggerty could use a better internal filter before he says things, but one thing is for sure. They Haggerty's are known for being tough and likeable.

A dangerous political combination.

Clearly they got it from Mrs. Haggerty.

As El Paso's most prominent Irish family, I guess its fitting that the news of her passing broke on Saint Patrick's Day.

God Speed Mrs. Haggerty. You leave a void in the El Paso political scene that will never be filled.

Here's an Old Irish Blessing in her honor:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Aceves-Hayes V. Herrera Debate

Footage of Lisa Aceves-Hayes and Judge Herrera debating at last week's forum.

I stepped away from the camera to film a conversation between two other candidates that looked like it was getting heated and so the camera is on the wrong candidate a couple of times.

My bad.

Campaign Announcement: Liza Montelongo

Candidates, as I have said before, send me your announcements and I will post them. Here's one from Liza Montelongo's campaign:

Cervantes, Perez, Reyes Debate

Here is video of Mike Cervantes, County Commissioner Anna Perez, and Dolores Reyes debating at Burges High School last weekend.

President Obama's Campaign Video

Its game time Republicans!

Barraza Sends Letter to Westside Democrats

Aaron Barraza, who was not present to seek the endorsement of the Westide Democrats earlier in the campaign has recently sent a letter to membership regarding his absence and raising criticism of his opponent. I think that might be a first in El Paso where one candidate loses the endorsement and then sends a letter seeking to "foster a relationship" with the membership.

Barraza missed the endorsement meeting but his campaign manager Mathew Lowery asked to speak in his stead. If memory serves Lowery didn't show up until after the HD 77 portion was already completed. So Lowery waited until after meeting was over and then just shouted from the back of the room about his candidate.

Several of the people in attendance thought for a moment that he was an Occupy El Paso person doing a mic check.

Barraza's letter goes on to make a sharp and well-founded critique against Marquez about her contributions from the Texas for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) and breaking from the party to vote with Republicans on several issues.

That is a strong a fair critique that Marquez will have to answer. She will also have to answer what appears to be a pretty cozy relationship with State Representative Dee Margo.

Its a smart move on the part of Barraza to go after Marquez's voting record because that is where she is vulnerable to critique. The only problem for Barraza is that its exposes a huge weakness on the part of Barraza. The fact that he's never voted.


The cozy relationship with Margo is also something that Marquez will have to address. Again, that is another potential line of attack for Barraza but yet again, he is his own worst enemy. Its easy for any candidate to point to a cozy relationship with Margo as a solid critique of Representative Marquez. But the fact that Margo is the only campaign Barraza has ever worked for takes the bite out of the criticism.

Its hard to point at Marquez for being cozy with Republicans, which she is and should rightfully be criticized for it, when the only political campaign work you've done in El Paso is for a Republican. Its especially hard to argue Democratic values when you have never actually voted Democrat in your life and you worked for a Republican to defeat a Democrat.

I posted a picture of Marquez last week that I think underscores the dilemma for Barraza. At a time when Marquez was working for an El Paso Democrat, Joe Moody, Barraza was working for an El Paso Republican, Dee Margo.

State Reps Pickett, Moody, Marquez, Martinez-Fisher

Kinda makes the critique of "Republican ties" of Marquez when Barraza's only political work in El Paso was working against the Democratic Party and for a Republican.

Nonetheless, Barraza does raise some very troubling connections regarding Marquez and I think she needs to be held accountable for it. I intend on getting comment from her, on the record, regarding some of the issues raised by Barraza.

Barr A

EP Dems Need a Parlimentarian

I've been replaying the stupidity of the events the other night at the El Paso Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting and I realized one of he major problems that contributed to the circus.

Obviously selective rule enforcement is one.

But the other thing is something that can be fixed. We need a Parliamentarian a a Sergeant-at-Arms. Obviously we have constables that fill the role, but we need people officially tasked to fill those rolls.

My understanding is that Ray Mancera was appointed to advise the Chair on rules at the last meeting, but all the procedural questions were answered by Sebastian Martinez, not by Mancera. Mancera didn't speak at all during the meeting.

But in fairness to him, it was a job he had for the night and it was a charged meeting.

The point is, if we had a Parliamentarian and a Sergeant-of-Arms then meetings would run much more smoothly.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Contreras & Hicks Debate

This is video of the debate between Richard Contreras and Judge Hicks at the Burges High School / City Rep Acosta Debate.

What is noteworthy about this debate performance is the noticeable difference in the presentation of Richard Contreras. He was pretty negative earlier in the campaign and it wasn't well received. He was a much more positive candidate in this debate, which might be because his opponent in the primary wasn't in attendance.

Judge Hicks seemed a little uncomfortable and uptight at first but he seemed to eventually hit his stride and ended with a very strong closing statement.

Judge Hicks seems like a nice guy, but I'd be lying to you if I said I think he'll win. He won't. He's going to lose.  The Republicans hit the high water mark with Judge Antcliff when he lost to Judge Lizarraga 2 years ago. He came within striking distance of Lizarraga, but there's a reason that happened.

Antcliff has been running every two years for at least 6 years now. It took him that long to build a critical mass of name recognition. Furthermore, two years ago was a different election. I think two years ago was the high-water mark of the Tea Party and represented the best performance a Republican will have in El Paso County. He's spent a lot of money, time, and effort building his brand.

Hicks has a long way to go. Which is why he'll lose in this go around.

But he seems to be a great judge and I've not heard a single negative thing about him from the courthouse.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lisa Aceves-Hayes Fundraiser

Commissioner Lewis Gets $150k Contract from the City

El Paso County Commissioner Sergio Lewis was awarded a contract by the City of El Paso that is worth a pretty nice chunk of change.

I'm a little torn by this.

First, he was on the EPISD school board when a lot of the corruption stuff went down. So he should be extra-vigilant for that reason alone.

Plus, after all the crap that is going on at the County that has affected the public's trust in government, it makes it an imprudent choice.

But on the other hand, if it was an open and competitive process and he won fairly, then what is the issue. Actually, Paul Strelzin said it best on his forum today, "he is on commissioner's court...the contract is with the bid on it and was the lowest bidder...where is the problem? it was all out in the open."

Apparently it was no big deal with Willie Gandara Jr, who was the deciding vote on the Farah Project was able to profit from the project as a subcontractor. If people don't have a problem with that, then I don't see how they would have a problem with a project with an entirely different government body.

All in the Family...

Came across an interesting tidbit today.

Turns out Mary Gonzalez, candidate in HD 75 and Liza Montelongo, candidate in County Commissioner's Court Precinct #1 are actually distant relatives.

Gonzalez is some relation to Montelongo's niece or nephew.

That might make things a little awkward at the next big family reunion.

Turns out Gonzalez' campaign team is headed by Getsemani Yanez and his wife Diana Ramirez. As I previously wrote the two were briefly on opposing teams in the Congressional race, Yanez with the Congressman and his wife with O'Rourke.

Well, they are both working together not only with Gonzalez, but they are also working the campaign for Carlos Leon, who is Montelongo's opponent in the race for El Paso County Commissioner in Precinct 1.

Quijote (Yanez and Ramirez) had better become master jugglers because they are playing key roles in three competitive races in El Paso.

They are certainly making a name for themselves in town. For a long time it was basically just Forma Group and Tow Ton.

Reyes to Speak at City Rep Noe's Community meeting

City Representative Dr. Michiel Noe will be hosting a community meeting Saturday, March 17, at 9:30 a.m. at the Gary Del Palacio Recreation Center, 3001 Parkwood. Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Dist. 16, will be the guest speaker. 

Constable Debate @ Burges High School

Here is footage of the debate between the candidates for Constable at the Burges High School/Emma Acosta debate. These aren't races that usually get a lot of attention but they are still important.

Constable Bernal is in this video and he, along with Constable White, are very popular Constables within the Party. They are also the two longest-serving constables.

Constable Bernal had a campaign kick-off event a while back he had more people attend his event than a County Commissioner candidate had at his event.

Tejano Democrat President Uses Profanity at Dem Meeting

Yet again the El Paso Democratic Party is embarrased by the conduct of the president of the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats, Blanche Darley. During last nights' meeting of the Executive Committee of the El Paso Democratic Party Darley used profanity when speaking about other Democratic Party clubs (other than the Tejanos).

And frankly, I don't understand how the people who wear the black robes, esteemed judges and members of the court, along with elected officials, can continue to associate themselves with an organization that has Blanche Darley as its head.

You people are referred to by the title "Honorable". But I ask you publicly, where is the honor in condoning the behavior of Blanche Darley?

At last night's meeting things got out of hand again. And once again, the source for the circus atmosphere was Blanche Darley. She basically throws the rules out and does what she wants. But she is only able to do so insofar as her conduct is tolerate by leadership. People call points of order and she continues her conduct.

No one stops her.

She is a member of the Democratic Party Hall of Fame, a former Super Delegate, a Precinct Chair and head of the Tejano Dems. Is that type of leadership that represents the El Paso Democratic Party???

She is afforded conduct that other precinct chairs are not. And it is tolerated by leadership. In short, the clashes would not take place if Darley was forced to conduct herself in the same manner as the rest of the membership. Without Darley as the chief catalyst, then moving forward would be much easier for the entire party.

Its simple, you treat the cause, not the symptom. Reaction from other members would not ever need to occur if there were appropriate conduct from the start. Its that simple. When decorum is not respected, the body is not respected.

The whole argument was over the recognition of the Presidents and Vice Presidents (Chairs and Vice Chairs) of various Democratic Party auxilleries in the Executive Committee. Before I get in to the the argument of why they should be included, let me first ask these rhetorical questions.

If we believe in the values of our Party and want to push those values forward, why would we NOT want the maximum amount of participation in the process? Do we have TOO many Democrats? Do we have TOO much participation? Have we TOO many volunteers? Is there an OVER ABUNDANCE of talent and treasure in the El Paso Democratic Party?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", then everything is fine and we should win every election by two touchdowns.

But if the answer is "no", do we not benefit from increased participation?

But that really isn't the point is it? Its not really about the Party for some is it? In fact, its more about titles and turf for many isn't it?

Let me get to my argument for inclusion of officers of auxilleries. I think most people who have spent any significant amount of time around the El Paso Democratic Party know one thing for sure. The average Precinct Chair isn't doing their job. Its that simple.

I don't mean all precinct chairs because there are some hardcore rockstar Precinct Chairs out there. But they are the exception to the rule. In fact, truth be told, our Party is such a failure that a significant number of Precinct Chairs are vacant.

In fact, 65% of precinct chairs in El Paso County are vacant!

We have 173 precincts in El Paso and yet 112 have no precinct chair. And somehow we have the nerve to call ourselves the Democratic Stronghold of Texas.

In start contrast to the average precinct chair, officers of clubs like Ken Sutherland, Victor Salas, Alfredo Longoria, Jay Desai, Oscar Baeza, Antonio Williams, Don Williams, and now Ana Martinez all do things that your average precinct chair doesn't do.


Expand the base.

Increase participation in the El Paso Democratic Party

Advocate for the Party's Agenda

Raise the profile of the El Paso Democratic Party

Raise money!

In short, the worst officer of any club has done something more meaningful for the betterment of the El Paso County Democratic Party than your average precinct chair.

The El Paso Democratic Party hasn't hosted any candidate forums, which boggles the mind. The clubs have given the candidates support for places to speak and people to talk to. Its the clubs that raise money. Its clubs that do the work. Its clubs that organize. Its clubs that volunteer. Candidates seek out the endorsement, assistance, and advice of club leadership.

And yet, a group of around 20 precinct chairs, many of which don't actually work (they just want to hold the title like its a Lordship) do not want Club Officers to have a voice at the Executive Committee.

That is an embarrassment.

How can we call ourselves the Stronghold of the Democratic Party of Texas if we discourage the participation of good Democrats? If we seek first to exclude rather than include? If we allow individual agendas and turfism to take priority over the needs of the Party?

Enough is enough.

Moody Comes Out Swinging

Judging by this first email sent out from the Moody campaign, it looks like Margo is gonna have a lot of 'splainin' to do about his record and the last session.

I looks like Moody is going to make this election a referendum on Margo's votes in the last session. Its going to be a long road to November for Margo...

We Know What You Did Last Session

Congressional Debate - EPSYD/ESD

I didn't realize until last night that I had not posted footage of the Congressional debate sponsored by the El Paso Stonewall Young Democrats and the Eastside Democrats.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CCC PCT #1 Candidates on Leon Position

Two the candidates for El Paso County Commissioner in Precinct 1 answered a question related to a position Carlos Leon took during the debate hosted by the El Paso Stonewall Young Democrats/Eastside Democrats last week.

If you watch the previous video of the debate you will see the position taken by Leon relating to the question posed to the candidates during the Saturday debate at Burges High School.

Montelongo clearly draws a contrast between her campaign and Leon's on the issue. Interestingly the Republican chose not to answer the question.

Keep an eye on this one because I think its going to be a big point of contention throughout the rest of the race.

Labor & The El Paso Democratic Party

I'll make this quick. As I've said, my dad was a union organizer, so labor issues are of particular interest to me.

Here's what really pisses me off about El Paso candidates. They say that they are pro-labor, but very few of them pass even a basic litmus test.

Take a look at all the campaign literature that you can get your hands on from local El Paso candidates. How many of them actually have a union label?

Very few, if any. In fact, the ONLY one that I have come across is from Mary Gonzalez's campaign. As you know, she's running in HD 75. I found a piece of literature and looked for it and was shocked to actually find it.

Its close to Cesar Chavez Day and since its an election year I'm betting more than a few candidates suddenly become pro-union and will show up for an obligatory photo-op here and there.

If they do, as to see their literature. Look for the union label.

If its not there, ask them why not? The answer is something stupid like, its cheaper with out it.

Which is hypocritical of them. They want union support at the ballot box, but they aren't willing to support unions financially by ensuring that they put their campaign money where their mouth is.

For those of you Democrats, who are the champions of labor, that are running around without the union label, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

More importantly, if you are a union and are considering who to support, you should start with check out who is supporting unions. I'm looking at you CLEAT, COPS, Fire Fighters, Teachers, etc...

Viva La Huelga!