Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Democratic Party Releases Commercials

I'm by far the biggest critic of the El Paso County Democratic Party. And I'm okay with that because I work hard at supporting Democrats and recruiting more Democrats so I'm cool with being able to critique my own party.

So I have to also be able to give credit where credit is due. The Democratic Party has certainly upped their game since the new Chairman Rick Melendrez took over.

There is material to give out to voters encouraging them to vote straight ticket. Slick design, and more importantly  a strong effective message.

They also have released commercials. Good stuff too.

Well done team.





Democratic Party Veteran to Resign Precinct Chair, Leave EP Democratic Party

A longtime fixture in the El Paso Democratic Party Rita Sarinana has indicated she will tender her resignation as a Precinct Chair for the Ranchland area. Ayle Sarinana, Rita's daughter, informed me of her mother's intentions yesterday evening while I was at Carolina.

Sarinana has served as a Precinct Chair and delegate to county and state conventions. She campaigned for Republican Dan Chavez in the 2010 election against Jose Rodriguez and is supporting Chavez again in this election. Sarinana is also now supporting the Republican candidate for Congress What's Her Name.

El Paso County Commissioner Anna Perez says that her office at the County recently received a robo-call featuring a recorded message from Rita Sarinana in support of What's Her Name.

She is also featured in this commercial supporting the Republican candidate after previously supporting Congressman Reyes during the Primary Election.



El Paso Democratic Party Chairman Rick Melendrez visited Carolina Center on Saturday and saw that she was poll sitting for the Republican candidates. Witness state that Melendrez indicated that he was going to take action to remove her as the Precinct Chair for doing so.

Carolina Center is the early voting location that Sarinana most-often frequents. She also teaches citizenship classes at the location. Rita Sarinana is a member of the El Paso Democratic Party Hall of Fame. There is no indication as to any impact her resignation and support of Republican candidates will have on her status in the Hall of Fame, if any.

Melendrez also took strong action against Representatives Marquez and Gonzalez for their support of a Republican over a Democratic candidate.

The vacancy means that the Chairman can appoint a replacement to serve out the rest of Sarinana's term.

Since Sarinana has served the Party for so many years I wanted to get her side of the story as to why she is now leaving the Party to become a Republican. She expressed frustration at the fact that after serving the Party for so many years that no one called to check on her or visited her the last couple of times she was hospitalized.

She felt unappreciated and the Republicans appreciated her. Sources indicate the reason she previously supported Dan Chavez was due to an alleged insult to her from a family member of Senator Jose Rodriguez.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paul Sadler Nabs Another Endorsement

Senate candidate Paul Sadler, who is the Democratic Party's nominee to replace retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, has nabbed yet another endorsement for a Texas newspaper.

The El Paso Times endorsed Sadler over the weekend. Though still an underdog, Sadler has been collecting a series of endorsements across the state of Texas for his candidacy.

Sadler will benefit from the strength of El Paso's Democratic voters and I hear he might be making a stop here in El Paso before the end of early voting.

I'll post more information about his visit once it becomes available.

EP Republicans WRONG on Straight-Ticket Voting

I've heard a steady drum beat from Republicans in El Paso that I think is pretty damn offensive. In various settings I've heard them say things along the lines of "people in El Paso are Republicans, they just don't know it."

Well I suppose you can have cancer for a while and not know it too.

But thats not the point.

They also talk about how voters are "lazy" when they go to the polls and vote straight ticket. Funny how they only mean the ones that vote straight Democrat. The ones that vote straight Republican are "informed voters".

Their premise is an insult. It is basically saying we are stupid and lazy.

Thats right, Republicans in El Paso County think we are stupid and lazy.

Let me explain something. The idea that we are Republicans and don't know it is truly the height of stupidity. People are largely Democrats in this town because its what they BELIEVE in! Republicans would realize that if they actually ever spoke to a significant amount of voters in this town.

But they don't. They only speak to the ones that live in their little echo chamber. Then again, I don't think they would know an average voter in El Paso if they were bit in the ass by one. Republicans in El Paso County conduct very little, if any, direct voter interaction.

The GOP as a brand is damaged goods in El Paso. Thats why people would rather vote for Democrats. We aren't stupid. We just don't buy your particular brand of elephant dung.

And lazy?

I watch voters all across this city come out to the polls. They are usually older people. Hell I think there is probably close to an equal number of people voting in the valley that need assistance walking with a cane, walker, or wheel chair, as people that don't need assistance.

Representative Holguin's grandmother is recovering from a broken hip and came to vote. A BROKEN HIP!

We compliment players on TV for playing hurt, but an elderly woman with a broken hip exercising her civic duty is truly playing hurt.

Don't tell me people like that are LAZY!

Thats the exact elitist mentality that turns people away from the GOP.

If they were lazy, they wouldn't come and vote at all.

You wanna talk lazy? Talk to all the people 40 and under that care more about being a freakin' hipster, drinking latte's, partying all night, and playing on Facebook rather than doing their civic duty.

Those are the lazy ignorant ones. Not people who come out and vote.

So listen up Republicans, voters in El Paso aren't Republicans that don't know it and they aren't lazy by voting straight Democrat.

They know what they want.

And its not you guys.

Antcliff, Hicks Likely to Out-Perform Rest of GOP Slate in EP County

In terms of campaign mechanics, the GOP locally is a joke. Other than the Margo campaign very few people  in the GOP locally know anything about campaigning.

Its why they always end up with sub-par candidates and get waxed in elections. But...there are a couple of candidates that the GOP should be paying attention to.

Justice Chris Antcliff and Judge Bill Hicks. Both candidates seem to "get it". Antcliff has spent several election cycles investing in his brand. It helps that he's running for a position on the bench and not a policy position, but he is far better at convincing people to cross-over to vote for his candidacy than say the GOP nominee for Congress, What's-Her-Name or their senatorial sacrificial lamb Dan Chavez.

He's also utilizing Spanish language media. What's-Her-Name does so but in a clumsy way. I've seen stuff that says she's going to help Hispanics and owns a Hispanic business. (If a flower business is a business and sells flowers, and a cell phone business sells cell phones, then a Hispanic business - oh forget it, my head hurts.) Antcliff doesn't try that appeal. He just markets himself and his message in Spanish.

Since he has better name ID, I think he'll out perform the rest of the ticket in El Paso County. I still think he loses El Paso County, but he's in a multi-county race. He out-performed the rest of the field in the 2010 election as well. I expect that to continue.

Bill Hicks is taking an entirely different approach. He's a Republican, but honestly, the vato campaigns like a Democrat. Hicks has poll sitters and is working the Valley pretty hard. He also had a mail program and from what I've seen, its a pretty effective mail program. He sent targeted mail to a specific universe of voters. It was a negative piece about his opponent that targeted women voters.

From the reception of voters at Pavo Real, I would say it was an effective piece of mail. Since women voters vote at a higher rate than men in El Paso County, I'd call that a win for Hicks.

I don't think he has the ability to overcome the election mass in El Paso County and I think ultimately Luis Aguilar will win the seat, but I'm betting Hicks also out-performs the rest of the Republicans.

Someday the GOP will stop being the Keystone Cops of El Paso politics and get their act together and field credible candidates for a change.

Someday...

Thankfully that is probably a long way off and gives us a chance to reshape the Democratic Party in El Paso in to a more effective organization.

Gallego Campaign Manager Says EP is the "key for Gallego"


“El Paso could hold the key for Gallego.”  – San Antonio Express-News 
Fellow El Pasoan,

Congressman Quico Canseco, who is supposed represent part of El Paso County, has had it out for us since he was elected during the 2010 Tea Party wave.

He's fought for his friends in the banking industry, the lobbyists who pay for his lavish vacations and the political extremists who put him in office. Neither you nor I nor anyone in our community were anywhere on his list of priorities.

But here's the good news - you have a chance to help defeat Canseco and replace him with Pete Gallego, whom the El Paso Times endorsed by saying, "This is a chance for El Paso to have two U.S. representatives with El Paso ties, and with El Paso's needs on their agenda."

Here are four ways you can help:
  • Go vote! Click here to find your early voting poll site
  • Volunteer! Sign up to volunteer to help us make phone calls or knock on doors in El Paso
  • Make a contribution. Any amount you can give will be very much appreciated and put to good use in getting out the vote.
  • Forward this email to a friend.

National media have called this race "one of the fiercest battles for a house seat in the country," and there is a very good chance it will be decided in El Paso.

Having grown up in El Paso, I took it personally when Canseco said car-bombs were going off in El Paso, when they most definitely were not. I was even more offended when I watched him tell a reporter at a debate that his mistake was a “technicality;”and then questioned FBI statistics that rank El Paso among the safest in the country.

Canseco’s comments are not only untrue and outrageous, but they hurt businesses on the border and the economic livelihood of the families in El Paso.

Support Pete Gallego who we can count on to stand with El Paso in Congress.

Sincerely,                  

Anthony Gutierrez,
Gallego for Congress
Campaign Manager (TX-23)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Breaking: The Butler Did It - Two Top EPISD Officials Out!

Moments ago EPISD released two statements that are going to be a big deal, so pay attention.

According to the releases, two key administrators from El Paso Independent School District will no longer be with EPISD. Former Bowie Principal Dr. Jesus Chavez, who was hired by former Superindentent Dr. Lorezo Garcia, has turned in a resignation.

The resignation is effective immediately. Chavez has been working in the central office at EPISD since April.

There was a separate statement released by EPISD Board President Isela Castanon-Williams that indicated that the former Director of Title I under Garcia is an agenda item on a special meeting of the trustees this week that is set to "take action on the termination, suspension, and/or non-renewal".

I'm no Sherlock Holmes but in case you haven't figured it out, it looks to me like the new EPISD Superintendent Vernon Butler, who has less than a month on the job, was probably gonna whack him and Chavez probably tendered a resignation to save face.

That means that person is getting whacked too.

So on the heels of the special meeting meeting on November 1, which is Thursday, it looks like EPISD is doing some house cleaning. With two people getting whacked, I think they should've had the meeting the following day, November the 2nd.

Dia de Los Muertos. Because clearly, the Bulter did it.

Pretty productive first month on the job for Mr. Butler.

Here are the releases:


CONTACT: ReneƩ de Santos, 915-230-2562
RELEASE DATE: October 29, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


STATEMENT BY EPISD INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT VERNON BUTLER

EL PASO – El Paso Independent School District Interim Superintendent, Vernon Butler, released the following statement this afternoon:

"Today, I accepted the resignation of former Bowie High School principal, Dr. Jesus Chavez, effective immediately. Dr. Chavez was hired by former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia in 2008 to lead Bowie High School and was reassigned to EPISD central office in April of this year.

"In the 28 days since taking charge of EPISD, I have been working to fulfill my commitment to ensure accountability at all levels of the District's leadership, and we still have much more work to do. In my prior efforts to reform Bel Air High School from an underperforming campus to a National Blue Ribbon School, I know that change doesn't come easy, but I am optimistic that EPISD will emerge from this tragedy as a stronger district that the community can be proud of once again."

# # #

CONTACT: ReneƩ de Santos, 915-230-2562
RELEASE DATE: October 29, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


STATEMENT BY EPISD BOARD PRESIDENT ISELA CASTANON-WILLIAMS

EL PASO – El Paso Independent School Board President, Isela Castanon-Williams, released the following statement this afternoon:

"On Thursday, November 1, the EPISD Board of Trustees is scheduled to take action on the proposed ‘termination, suspension, and/or non-renewal’ of the Former Director of Title I under the previous Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia.

"As I have previously indicated, the El Paso Independent School District is working diligently to restore the public’s trust that was lost as a result of Lorenzo Garcia’s actions. In the short time Mr. Butler has taken charge of the District, with the support of the Board of Trustees, he has been leading efforts to take corrective actions inside EPISD to ensure accountability and prevent this tragedy from occurring again.”


# # #


Gonzalez - Support for Margo Likely to Encourage Opponent

Of the two Democratic state reps that endorsed Republican Dee Margo over a Democratic opponent and former state rep, Representative Naomi Gonzalez is likely to be the one that feels the most impact from the move.

She's actually done a great job of keeping a low profile since the public support for Margo.

Quick sidebar: The pair seem to want to make the distinction that they didn't endorse Margo. Well they were on his mailer, gave permission to be on his mailer, and provided positive quotes for the mailer. Saying it isn't an endorsement is not only a cop-out but unnecessary.

Despite the fact that Marquez seems to have taken more of the public heat for the move, its likely that Gonzalez will actually be the one most vulnerable for the move. Rep Gonzalez's district is more Democratic and there is already talk of people interested in taking on Gonzalez.

Obviously they smell blood in the water.

And rightfully so. In the last primary Representative Gonzalez actually received less votes than under votes in the race. What the means is that of the 7466 people in her district that voted, only 2871 people voted for her. That means 4595 people skipped voting FOR her. AND NO ONE RAN AGAINST HER!

If you haven't noticed, and I'm sure Rep Gonzalez has, there's a city representative who has a large portion of his district in her district. City Representative Eddie Holguin was recently re-elected with 70% of the vote. He'd be a big threat to someone like Representative Gonzalez.

As far as I know he's never articulated that he's interested in taking on Gonzalez. But for that matter, he's never said he wasn't either.

And I know there are others that are expressing interest in taking on Gonzalez. Wouldn't it be ironic if she found herself in a multiple candidate race that would guarantee a run-off, much the way she won her seat in the first place?

Actually, to paraphrase her buddy Dee Margo, wouldn't it be "ironical"?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Republican Comish Candidate Fred Chavez Violates Sign Code


Frankly if I didn't write about the guy I don't think many people would even know he was running, but I noticed something today that I thought was interesting.

Apparently a couple of Fred Chavez signs have gone up down in the Valley. I guess he decided that he was going to put forward some semblance of a campaign now despite the fact that its late in the game. But hey, better late than never right?

Anywho, I think they are signs for Fred Chavez's campaign. Its hard to say for sure since they pretty much only say his last name. They aren't Dan Chavez signs, another Republican candidate that is going to get beaten pretty badly as well. Dan Chavez's signs, poorly done as they are, are in compliance with the sign code.

Fred Chavez's signs are not in compliance. Oh oops, I mean Judge Fred Chavez as he is fond of saying. He was a long time Justice of the Peace as a Democrat. I accidentally wrote Republican the other day but I meant to say Democrat. I was tired. I was in the sun all day, sue me.

You'd think a judge would be compliant with the law woudn't ya? I mean I know its sort of a Valley thing for candidates to apparently not give a crap about the sign code and basically do whatever backyard or garage sign project they feel like, but this is a race for student council at Clint High School.

You're actually supposed to comply with the sign code. One would think a judge would know that.

I can't begin to tell you how badly this sign is out of code. It doesn't say his first name, it doesn't identify the office he's running for and it doesn't have the disclaimer. Upon close inspection, its a corrugated plastic sign and looks like it was one of his signs from a previous race for Justice of the Peace. So at least its his OWN sign that he used.

Looks like he pulled a Jerome Tilghman and just cut off the name of the previous office he was seeking.

Oh hey, speaking of Fred Chavez, I saw something pretty interesting on his campaign finance report. He must still be getting used to being a Republican because he doesn't appear to be much of a fiscal conservative yet. It looks like he spent over $700 for a tune-up. I looked online and couldn't find a single shop in town that offered a tune-up for that much.

Maybe he went to the dealer. God knows they have a reputation for up-charging. 

If you haven't seen the debate between Chavez and Perez, you can check it out here on KVIA's website. Trust me, its pretty entertaining.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fred's Follies

Fred Chavez is running against Vince Perez for County Commissioner in Precinct 3. Like pretty much every other Republican in town, he's going to catch a massive political beat-down at the ballot box.

Okay, its not a box its a computer. But you get my point.

Normally I would've been all over a guy like Fred Chavez. He's running around calling himself "Judge" Chavez because he was a Justice of the Peace.

He's running as a Republican after spending his entire elected career as a Republican presumably because he didn't want to campaign in the primary.

I feel bad for him though. Vince is going to clean his clock. And rightfully so.

I'm told people should tune in to the debate on ABC 7 this Saturday morning. I hear Perez and Chavez put on quite the show.

Speaking of entertaining, I saw this on Facebook and it made me laugh. Apparently Chavez decided to cut and paste the same Facebook update that the Perez campaign did on Monday.

Here's Perez' update from Monday:


And here is the update from Fred Chavez posted yesterday:

A cut and paste job and then he added a sentence. One problem, yesterday wasn't early voting. Guess ol' Fred isn't one for details or facts. 

Hey, maybe he really is a Republican!

Voting "NO" on Prop 3 Means Voting to Tax Yourself

Based on everything I've seen and hearing it straight from a city rep who voted AGAINST the stadium, if voters vote down Proposition 3, they are essentially voting to tax themselves for the ballpark. Voting against Proposition 3 is NOT voting against the stadium. The people telling you it is are either mistaken or lying to you.

The question before voters on Proposition 3 is how it will be financed. Period.

I've included some video of a Representative Acosta's community meeting just last night in which I posed the question personally. There is an argument that is made by those in opposition to the ballpark that is made consistently, and I was able to get video of Stephanie Townsend-Allala and former State Representative Norma Chavez, both opponents to the ballpark and propositions, making the argument.

Representative Acosta and Ms. Arrieta (city finance staffer) respond consistently that Proposition 3 is not about the ballpark.

The argument made by opponents to the ballpark and proposition 3 is that the question before voters is about the venue and if they vote it down it will mean the end of the stadium. They don't present any data, evidence, or official legal opinion from the Attorney General's Office to support their claim, so its basically just an argument on their part...for now.

I saw for now because they may ultimately be right, but the only way to know if they are right, at least from what I can tell, would be to litigate after the fact.

If Proposition 3 fails.

But based on the questions and answers last night, its pretty clear. Proposition 3 is not about whether or not we are going to have a stadium. Its about who's going to pay for it. If you vote NO on proposition 3, you are probably going to vote to ad more taxes to your bills or they will have to cut services to pay for it.

Those are the facts.

Latinos - Vote Democrat!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview with Beto O'Rourke

I did a quick post-debate interview with Congressman-elect Beto O'Rourke following the last debate of the season last night at Burgess High School.

A couple of quick thoughts.
 - Clearly O'Rourke is the rock star of the race. After the debate people stood in line to meet O'Rourke, shake his hand, and take a picture with him. No one really did that with What's-Her-Name.

- What's-Her-Name is trying her level best to not sound like an extremist Tea Party Republican. Mostly because the Sore Loser Democrats that are supporting her are telling her, and rightfully so, to soften her positions. I have actually been pretty impressed with the fact that she tries really hard to sound like a Democrat on the DREAM Act, going so far as to say that it doesn't cover enough people. Funny thing about that is that no one in the media has really pressed her more deeply on her immigration policies. I think someone should ask her, other than the DREAM Act, what other changes to immigration policy would she propose in terms of militarization, enforcement, Visas, guest workers, pathway to citizenship, local enforcement of immigration law, etc.

We live in a border community and I think its a damn shame that we haven't had a more thorough examination of that issue. I'm hoping local media does something about that.

- So I decided to get some idea of O'Rourke's position on immigration reform. I interviewed him, in what will likely be my last chance to interview him before the election. We talked about policy and what his favorite blog is. Apparently the cleaning crew were having a contest on who could make the most noise during the interview. I think they all won. It was one big loud tie.

- Coronado students get all the attention in town, maybe because they are on the westside, I don't know for sure, but frankly I think the Burgess students have been doing it better.

But regardless of which student body does it better, I find it refreshing that schools are now actually a regular stop on the campaign trail. So bravo to both Coronado and Burgess for making that happen. You, your schools, and most importantly, your parents should be very proud of you.

I love that you ask questions fearlessly. I hope you never learn to be afraid to ask a tough question. Many journalists have, so I'm glad you haven't learned that bad habit yet.

So here is the interview.



Oh yeah, I'll post the entire debate later.


Demo House Leadership to Visit EP in Support of Moody

No word on whether or not she will be visiting with Reps Marquez and Naomi Gonzalez when she's in town, but check this out:


STATE HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER TO JOIN EL PASO REP-ELECT MARY GONZALEZ &
OTHER DEMOCRATIC LEADERS IN SUPPORT OF JOE MOODY


EL PASO – On Saturday, Jessica Farrar, the Democratic Leader of the Texas House of Representatives and co-chair of the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC), will join state Representative-Elect Mary Gonzalez; Democratic Nominee for Texas House District 101, Chris Turner; and Rene Lara, Texas Democratic Party Secretary, at a press conference in support of Joe Moody, Democratic Nominee for Texas House District 78.

The press conference will be held at the Pavilion at Veterans Park and will begin at 10am.

WHAT: Press Conference Supporting Joe Moody
WHO: Hon. Jessica Farrar, Leader, Texas House Democratic Caucus & Co-Chair, Texas HDCCMary Gonzalez, State Representative-Elect, House District 75Hon. Chris Turner, former colleague and Democratic Nominee, House District 101Rene Lara, Secretary, Texas Democratic Party

WHEN: Saturday, October 27; 10:00am 
WHERE: Veterans Park Pavilion, 5301 Salem Drive, El Paso

Following the press conference, Farrar, Gonzalez, Turner and Lara will join campaign volunteers as they knock on doors and talk to House District 78 voters.

Guest Post: I Found Where I Belong

By Alexander Mckibbon


I've been into politics since I was 9 years old. During the Bush years, I considered myself a democrat. I was against the "PATRIOT" act, torture, the Iraqi War and a lot of other crap that went on during his tenure in office. I have always been for marriage equality, fiscal conservatism and a woman's right to choose.

At the start of the 2008 campaign, I supported Barack Obama right from the start. I remembered his keynote speech at the 2004 convention and his name stuck in my head ever since. When he delcared his candidacy in Springfield, I was so stoked! As the campaign progressed, I became more and more convinced that this was the guy that would return America back to her greatness and restore her image around the world. I remember thinking "Why are the republicans even trying?"

When Obama got the democratic nomination, I remember I went outside and starting screaming his name with my friend Stephanie. I held signs and spoke to others on behalf of his campaign. Even though I wasn't old enough to vote at the time, I was determined to do everything I could to ensure Barack Obama be elected the 44th President. 

November 4, 2008. Barack Obama was elected. I remember sitting in front of the tv and watching people's reactions here in america but what stuck with me the most was the reactions and celebrations around the world. It was refreshing to see people celebrate america rather than protest against her.

A few months into his current term, I began to lost enthusiasm for our new President. I wasn't seeing the change he promised. I saw no hope for the future. The economy showed no signs of recovery after the $787 billion stimulus was put into place. It was a huge waste of money. I saw much more partisanship. After much deliberation and personal reflection, I decided to give the Republican party a try.

For the 2010 midterms, I held signs for republican candidates for office. I met some awesome people that day. As we know, republicans swept many races across the country. The Tea Party was the driving force behind it all. 

In January, I got a call from Russell Booth, Dee Margo's district director. He offered me an intern position and without any thought I accepted. I had always wanted to work in politics. But I never thought I would be doing it at the age of 18. It was awesome. My official title was District Aide. I learned a lot of important things and met some important people.

Come 2011, the Presidential campaign slowly but surely started to kick off. I was unsure of all the candidates at the time. Cain, Pawlenty, Santorum, Johnson and Paul participated in the first GOP debate. I didn't know who to support. Then came Governor Rick Perry. I signed up to volunteer for his campaign right away. 

Every time I watched a debate, I was wary of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. I was convinced that their ideas would be the undoing of the nation. Instead of letting the RNC think for me, I decided to do some research. What I came to realize shocked me. Boy was I wrong!

I came to realize that both parties are basically the same thing. Both support more war, more spending and less freedom. The only difference now was the party in control. It shouldn't matter what party you're in, the constitution is the constitution! 

Both parties are at fault for the deterioration of our country. I find it hilarious when one party tries to blame the other for our current situation. The facts are there, you just have to look for them.

I got a lot of criticism for becoming a "Paultard" but I'm proud I did it. Ron Paul helped me realized the truth. Being a part of the R3volution means something. It means more than any political party could ever hope.

People keep saying that come the end of Dr. Paul's term come next year, all this "hype" will die. WRONG. Ron Paul has always said that the R3volution has always been about more than just him, it's about the ideals that will make america great again. Being part of the R3volution means more than any political party, even the Libertarian party.

Now that I have awoken and I know the truth, I will do everything i can to further the ideals that will make america awesome again. I have never felt more comfortable with my political identity. I've finally found where I should be. I'm a Libertarian.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Marquez Attends Education Protest - Why I Find that Funny


State Representative Marisa Marquez was at a protest at the El Paso Independent School District Board Meeting yesterday and wagged her finger at EPISD for their many short comings.

Two things occurred to me when I read this article in the El Paso Times and saw her photo.

First – She would have a whole lot more credibility on matters of education if she hadn't publicly supported Republican Dee Margo who voted for HUGE cuts to education. Sorta takes the wind out of her sails. And by that I mean, it makes her look like a big hypocrite. Why would anyone take her critique seriously when she's supporting someone who didn't show support for public education. She endorsed someone who will make it harder for EPISD to serve the students.

Nice.

Marquez giving lectures to EPISD after supporting Margo is like me telling someone they need to exercise more and eat more vegetables. I could say it, but who would take me seriously?

This is just one of probably many instances were here credibility on an issue will be compromised because of her support for someone who has totally different values and priorities than those of her Party.

The other thing that occurred to me was why Senator Shapleigh hasn't said anything about her support for Margo. Shapleigh ran against Margo. He knows all the reasons why supporting Margo is a bad idea and yet he's silent about Marquez's suppport of Margo.

Strange.

District 2 Candidate Yanez's Opinion on Bonds

Jaime:

In this season of competitive politics, it is important for candidates and observers alike to put our competitive natures aside when voting for bonds and considering the future of our city as well as the next 30 years of budgeting.  It is also important not to demonize one side in an attempt to win short-lived political points. There are good people on both sides of these issues and, though I believe mistakes and misunderstandings have been made on both sides, the people involved are passionate about El Paso and want the best for our city.


On the issue of this year’s quality of life bond, I will be voting in favor of two out of the three propositions.  I believe the first two bonds, issuing a specific amount of general obligation, are important to help our city improve aesthetically and culturally.  However, the cloudy process with the third proposition looms in what might have been an easy sell had our citizenry been involved from the onset.  I still have many questions regarding the contract, the blank check we are being asked to sign, but most importantly, disappointment in the process taken. 

Strike One.  I feel the City of El Paso evaded discussing the specifics of the negotiation process with the people they are supposed to represent. Some of the Representatives signed a non-disclosure agreement in order to participate in the discussions with Mountain Star Group. Only those Representatives who signed the agreement were informed of and invited to the meetings. I do not believe keeping dissenting Representatives out of the negotiation process was a transparent or strategic government practice. I understand Mountain Star Group’s confidentiality concerns, but they are dealing with a public entity and all governing officers must be involved. Perhaps executive session would have been a better and more transparent meeting method. Council already has the right to engage in discussions closed to the public that involve all of the council members. Items to be discussed during executive session are posted on the agenda as to give notice to the public but not the details of the discussions. However, when our own Representatives and the public are unaware of such negotiation meetings, it breeds uncertainly and lack of trust in our government.  One, then, must question whether the non-disclosure agreements create a conflict of interest with their duties as representatives of the people of El Paso and the oath of office they swore to uphold (below).  

"I, ________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office ________________, of the City of El Paso, State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and Laws of the United States and of this State and the Charter and Ordinances of this city; and I furthermore solemnly swear (or affirm), that I have not directly or indirectly paid, offered, or promised to pay, contributed, nor promised to contribute any money or valuable thing, or promised any public office or employment as a reward for the giving or withholding a vote at the election at which I was elected, or if the office is one of appointment, to secure my appointment. So help me God."  

Strike Two. We were initially assured that a non-compete clause had to be included in the contract in order to secure the team.  This caused a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of the Diablos, their location, and the Tiguas’ ability to continue funding them.  After a few dissenting voices attracted a significant amount of support, the City and Mountain Star Group retracted that requirement.  The once imperative non-compete clause was no longer necessary to move forward.  This also bred a lack of confidence from the community in our city officials and the negotiation process.

Strike Three. Council was pressured into taking votes quickly or “lose the team.” However, these urgent deadlines kept getting pushed back and the process went on for months. This made it obvious that Council was being rushed for unspecified reasons.  I do not blame Mountain Star Group for wanting the best deal and I do not blame the elected officials for believing in a process based on equal gain for public and private interests.  However, I cannot help but feel skepticism for a process that could have been negotiated better. Additionally, at this point in the process, proposition 3 still does not offer taxpayers a specific amount we are committing to.  The language is basically asking voters to sign a blank check which will be covered by the hotel occupancy tax and fees.  If, after taking money allocated for fee services, the City cannot cover those costs, money would be taken from the general fund and our tax rate could be increased. 

Many of us attended town hall meetings with City Representatives who said their vote was “a done deal,” and there was nothing we could do about it.  On the contrary, municipal code section 334.021 under subchapter b. states,
               “Resolution authorizing project – A county or municipality by resolution may provide for the planning, acquisition, establishment, development, construction, or renovation of a venue if: …3) the resolution is approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the municipality or county voting at an election called and held for that purpose under section 334.024.” 

Section 334.024 goes on to say,

                “the governing body may order an election on the question of approving and implementing the resolution.  b) The order calling the election must: 1. Allow the voters to vote separately on each venue project; 2. Designate the venue project; 3. Designate each method of financing authorized by this chapter that the municipality or county wants to use to finance the project and the maximum rate of each method…” 

More important still is section 334.0082 which points out our special circumstances as a border community where we must still implement the above mentioned 334.024 – where after,
              
               “1. [governing body must] authorize the municipality to plan, acquire, establish, develop construct, or renovate a convention center and related infrastructure in the city limits of the municipality as part of an existing or previously approved sports and community venue project, regardless of whether the convention center is located on the premises of the existing or previously approved venue project; 2. Impose a tax under subchapter H at a rate not to exceed two percent of the cost of a room; and 3. Authorize the municipality to finance, operate, and maintain the venue project described by subdivision….If the resolution is approved by a majority of the votes cast in the election, the municipality may implement the resolution.”

As you can see, the City’s meetings complied with the code and carried out most of the necessary motions with Mountain Star Group. However, the most important vote will be taken by El Paso voters in the next few days. Only if voters approve proposition 3 can the city enter into a contract with the sports group.  The ballot language for proposition 3, which can be found on the city website, states:

               “Venue Project and Hotel Occupancy Tax Proposition – Authorizing the City of El Paso, Texas to designate the minor league baseball stadium project as a sports and community venue project within the city in accordance with applicable law and to impose a tax on the occupancy of a room in a hotel located within the city, at the maximum rate of two percent of the price paid for such rooms, for the purpose of financing such venue project.” 

As you can see, proposition 3 issues two action items—one of which ratifies the City Council’s previous votes by way of defining this public private partnership a “sport and community venue project” and another by voting on the method of taxation.

Again, we are not dealing with good or evil here.   We are simply dealing with what I believe are astute for-profit business negotiators and well-intentioned public officials.  However, voters are still in control of the driver’s seat. It is up to each of us to decide if we want our city to move forward with the ball park under these terms.

For more information on my stances as a candidate for El Paso City Council District 2, please visitwww.chooseyanez.com.

Thank you!

Getsemani Yanez
Candidate for 
El Paso City Council, District 2

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Countywide Republicans Poised for Nov Loss

I know, I know, I'm fiercely Democratic and none of you are shocked that I think all the Republicans in countywide elections are going to lose.

But regardless of my own political beliefs, I can look at numbers just like anyone else can. Except apparently the poor souls that sign up to be campaign managers for these candidates.

I actually like many of the candidates that are running in countywide races, I disagree with their policy, but I find most of them likeable enough. Of the ones I personally know anyway.

But the point is, they are going to get their butts handed to them. All of them are going to catch a political beat-down.

The main reason?

NUMBERS!

Do the math people. Voters are creatures of habits and all you need to do is look at voting trends and its easy to see how badly things are going to go for Republicans countywide.

In 2008 there were over 76,000 people in El Paso County that voted Democratic. There were under 24,000 that voted Republican. That was a year Democrats over-performed.

So lets look at a year in which Republicans over-performed. Even at their high-water mark in terms of performance in El Paso County, Republicans were only able to manage around 15,500 votes to the Democratic Party's 31,000 votes.

Do you see what I mean here?

The math just doesn't work. Even at both extremes as examples, there is not path to victory for any Republican.

I know what you're thinking. What about the Sore Loser Democrats that are supporting What's-Her-Name for Congress? Surely they will play a factor.

WRONG!

Voters are creatures of habit. Anyone who knows politics understand this and thats why GOTV strategies are what they are. You might get a person to flip occasionally, but PEOPLE are different. Seniors are the most reliable voters and if they have been voting either Democratic or Republican for years, its not likely they are going to flip to the other side without the most unique or compelling of reasons. Anybody see that happening?

I don't.

Translation?

Like I've been saying all along, no GOP candidate will win countywide. In fact, ANY Republican that wins countywide would be a MAJOR upset. But that isn't going to happen.

Sorry guy-I-bet-Cattleman's-with, you're gonna have to pay up vato. Don't forget, booze is included.

The only real debate is who is going to win with the biggest margin. Here's what I think. Not scientific in the least and I did no research on this. Just mostly based on general campaign knowledge and educated guesses.

So the following races are ranked in order of the candidate who I think will have the greatest win margin over their opponent:

President Obama over Mitt for Brains

Luis Aguilar over Bill Hicks

Martha Dominguez over Charlie Garza

Vince Perez over Fred Chavez

Carlos Leon over Lendermen (Sorry, I'm an eastsider, politically aware, and I don't even know his first name, lol)

Senator Rodriguez over Dan Chavez

Beto O'Rourke over What's-Her-Name

Yvonne Rodriguez over Justice Antcliff

So what this list means is the candidates closer to the top are going to win by a larger margin, the ones closer to the bottom are still going to win, but by not as big as a margin as the others. A couple of side-notes to this list though. Dominguez-Garza and Rodriguez Antcliff are races over multiple counties. O'Rourke - What's-Her-Name is a race that is not quite countywide.

Remember, Antcliff came pretty close in the last election (although that was an anomaly because it was the best performance for the GOP and is not likely to be anywhere near the same in this election).

Antcliff, of all the Republicans has the best "branding" of the GOP class along with good qualifications and great reputation. Thats while he'll be the best performer of the Republican candidates.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Republicans and the Ballpark

So I've been to a couple of gatherings that had a lot of Republicans present over the last few days that mentioned the ball park.

For some reason the general consensus among those Republicans was that the ball park was some sort of hippie liberal thing.

It isn't.

I almost stood up in one meeting to remind the room that Paul Foster and Woody Hunt are in fact, Republicans.

The three members of City Council that are opposed to the stadium, Reps Acosta, Holguin, and Robinson, are all Democrats.

There are Republicans and Democrats in support of the stadium. There are Republicans and Democrats opposed to the stadium.

Just wanted to clarify that point.

Early Voting Locations in El Paso County

I know what you're thinking, you want to early vote in El Paso County but don't know where to go or what times they will be open.

Relax, I got your back. Here's a list of early voting locations in El Paso County.

Early Voting Locations General Election

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dem Precinct Chair on Party Platforms

This is being circulated around the Democratic Party and I thought she made some very strong points so I'm posting this. I didn't get her permission to post it, but its being shared by Don Williams so that means just about every email inbox in the County has it by now:


The State Party Platforms of the Texas Democratic and Republican Parties are available online – look them up.  The platforms are credos, a statement of beliefs developed by concerned citizens across the State who choose to actively participate in the democratic process. 

They are born in school cafeterias, fire houses, and other local polling places when any citizen who has voted in a primary election attends their precinct convention and puts forth a resolution to be considered for inclusion in the platform.  They make their way through county conventions and the ones that survive form the basis of the platforms adopted at the respective State party conventions.  Platform development is contentious and involves debate, petitions, campaigns, and voting.

When an individual declares his or her self “Republican” or “Democrat”, it is because they believe in the credo of that particular Party.  And when they go into the voting booth, they choose candidates based on whether or not that candidate sees the world as they do.    

Why do we continually vilify and nullify that process?  It is the very core of our democracy.

When the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party voted to “admonish, rebuke, and censure” Representatives Gonzalez and Marquez, it was not because of their democratic credentials - their voting records are clear.  But, as individuals who declare themselves “Democrats”, there is a greater commitment.  Obviously, any one, regardless of party affiliation, will work in what they believe to be the best interest of El Paso.  But “Democrats” are also interested in electing people who will advance the platform.  We are interested in seeing that credo advanced all the way to the White House.

When Mr. Margo labeled our action as “immature”, he, too, minimizes the democratic process.  Of course we expect our elected officials to work together in a bi-partisan fashion.  But working in a bi-partisan fashion once elected is NOT the same thing as working to help elect members of the opposite political party.  Republicans work to get Republicans elected. Democrats work to get Democrats elected.  Independents try to figure out which candidate is closest to their personal credo.  And when elections are over, everyone should come together and work in a bi-partisan fashion. 

In lending their name to campaign literature intended to help a Republican over a Democrat, those reps betrayed the trust of every Texas citizen who toiled in their local, county, and state conventions to develop the Party platform, a credo Mr. Margo has voted against on several occasions.

It’s true; no one political party has a monopoly on all the good ideas.  But there are certainly differences, STARK differences, in the Democratic and Republican Party platforms.  Again, this is why people claim a party affiliation and work hard to get their candidates elected. 

I am not certain when this assault on political parties began.  Can’t we go back to respecting each other’s differences?  If you are not a fan of Party politics, can you at least see the action of this Executive Committee for what it was – a reinforcement of our credo – and not resort to name calling?

Christina Fenstermacher
Democratic Precinct Chair, 55

Moody Fundraiser Postponed Due to Passing of Senator Gallegos


Friends,  Due to the passing of Senator Mario Gallegos, One Texas has decided to postpone this event in El Paso to a later date. We apologize for any inconvenience and we look forward to re-scheduling this for another date in the near future. 

Best wishes,
Jakob Stewart
Executive Director, One Texas PAC

O'Rourke Has Commanding Money Lead

Frankly I've been saying this for a long time now, O'Rourke is in no danger of losing. His Republican opponent will likely get around, or possibly even less, than the previous Republican candidate Tim Besco.

Her support has been over-stated due to the fact that a few Sore Loser Democrats can't come to accept a loss. I think most of those folks have started to peel off and will likely do what they normally do, vote straight ticket.

The financial reports came out and said exactly what everyone thought they'd say. O'Rourke has a commanding lead in fundraising over his opponent. Thats a big deal because you are talking about a countywide race.

Sure, on a small scale with the right team and the right set of circumstances a campaign that raises less money can defeat the campaign with more money, but frankly the circumstances and the tool box just aren't there for the Republican nominee.

Oh yeah, and then there's the thing about how no one from the faction O'Rourke belongs to (I don't even know what to call it any more because Shapleigh is no longer in office, but you know what i mean) has ever lost an election in El Paso.

Ever.

As in never ever.

Part of me wants to write that this race is already over. But I can't.

Because I just can't honestly say there ever really was a race after the primary.

Republican candidates outside of District 78 just can't raise money because even Republicans in town back who they think is going to be the winner. Don't believe me?

State Representative Dee Margo is going to raise MUCH more money than the Republican Congressional nominee. Talk about embarrassing. The reason that is the case is because Republicans feel like they can win that race. They feel its in play. So donors, groups, and organizations will make contributions.

The Republican Congressional nominee apparently doesn't inspire that enthusiasm from donors, lobbies, groups, or organizations.

Same thing with the senatorial race. Dan Chavez inspires no confidence in terms of his elect-ability, other than from his campaign manager who will be taking me out to eat at Cattleman's when all is said and done.

Ya gotta have the feria to get your message out to voters. The serious candidates will be getting their message out.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What the Heck? Beck's on Deck.

Sorry, that was my lame attempt at an old-timey news headline.

Anywho, Edward Beck is the latest District 2 City Rep candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the position soon to be vacated by Susie Byrd.

Early voting for the general election hasn't even started yet but as I mentioned before, expect a classroom size field of candidates for this race.

He joins Getsemani Yanez who has already pre-launched his campaign and has a social media presence as well.

Click this link for Beck's Campaign Facebook Page.

"Margo's Mentiras" Video is Released

One Texas has released a video outlining some of the more controversial votes State Representative Dee Margo has made during his tenure as state representative.

The video is called Dee Margo's Mentiras and was sent out as an email from State Representative Trey Martinez-Fischer. 

The video takes some of Margo's own words and uses them against in as they go point-by-point outlining the votes Margo has taken. 

There are also a couple of not-so-subtle jabs at State Representatives Marisa Marquez and Naomi Gonzalez in the video as well. 

Fred Chavez - Truth in Advertising?

A frequent reader of the LSB sent me an email pointing out that Fred Chavez, the Republican candidate running for El Paso County Commissioner for Precinct #3, has a Facebook page that contains some questionable representations.

As you can see in this screen shot of the candidate's page, Chavez appears to be wearing a judge's robe.

Turns out we have 36 mutual friends too. Neato.

The next part is where things get interesting. In his "About" portion of his FB page, it states "Judge Fred Chavez for County Commissioner"

It goes on to instruct the reader to touch #163 or #5. I presume #163 is his number on the ballot and #5 is to vote straight ticket Republican. Which is also interesting because Mr. Chavez is actually listed in Texas Voter Action Network database as a very reliable Democratic voter based on his voting history.

Turns out Mr. Chavez isn't actually a judge. Although at some point in the past he was a Justice of the Peace.  He actually makes that point on his Facebook page. Again if you look at the image above you will see that he clearly states former Justice of the Peace. Yet on his About Fred portion of this page he uses the term "Judge" not once, but twice.

Turns out he might not actually be breaking any rules but presenting himself as a judge. In this case, which is the closest similar case I could find, it looks like a retired judge used the term "Judge" on campaign material and wore a robe as well. Although the facts of the case are somewhat different considering it was a retired judge running for another judicial seat, not a former Justice of the Peace running for a Commissioner's Court seat, so it might be different.

At any rate, he is not a judge. His profile represents him as such. Even on my own FB profile I post that I am a former talk radio personality. I don't want people thinking I still am when I am no longer on the air.

But I guess representing himself as a former judge wouldn't be that big of a deal if it weren't for this post on his FB page from a few days ago:


Its a little problematic when you say you want people to help you "bring honesty to county government" when you are representing yourself as a judge when you are not a judge. Its also hard to say that with a straight face when you are running as a Republican but your voting history has been one that shows Mr. Chavez to be a reliable Democratic voter.

And its further complicated by the fact that if I'm not mistaken, his wife is the same Linda Chavez that was on the Ysleta ISD Board of Trustees and recently pleaded guilty to public corruption-related charges. According to this article in the El Paso Times, Chavez and Mickey Duntley admitted taking bribes for their votes.

Although in fairness to Mr. Chavez, that was what his wife pleaded guilty to and I have no reason to believe that he would engage in those types of acts.

Dignity in Fair Verona...er...Socorro

I often find myself quoting Shakespeare when discussing politics in the Borderplex. Perhaps because our region at times is quite the tragic comedy.

But its particularly true of places dear to my heart, like Socorro. For those of you that never visit, you should. Despite its often legendary political dysfunction, it is a city filled with rich history and culture. Genuinely good people who great each other on the streets and honestly care about their neighbors.

There's a saying in the Army about Privates complaining. "If soldiers ain't complaining, they ain't happy." In other words, complaining is all they do. Its their nature. Well Socorro appears to have the same philosophy when it comes to political in-fighting.

Its the stuff of legend.

Its often the stuff of Shakespeare.


“Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.”


That is a quote from Romeo and Juliet that seems to sum things up down there pretty well.

I'm writing this piece because I for one am pretty baffled as to why there is a piece about the former Mayor of Socorro Trini Lopez in the paper today. I don't see what was so newsworthy that it warranted another piece. The piece is essentially a rehash of what has already been written, except to add that the former Mayor is says he's going to continue to try to force the city in to a Charter Election.

But that got me to thinking.

Wouldn't Lopez be better positioned to do so as the sitting Mayor of Socorro as opposed to trying to do so from the outside?

The timing of his resignation doesn't seem to fit the circumstances of the Charter Election. I can see why he would've resigned months ago if that was his motivation. It would've made more sense had it happened at that time.

Its only my opinion, but I think people are right to be skeptical and wonder if it had more to do with the fact that there was going to be an agenda item critical of the now former Mayor of Socorro.

With an investigation hanging over the heads of members of council and city government and now no mayor, something is certainly amiss in fair Socorro.

The next election is going to be critical for the people of Socorro. It may do more to define the region than any other vote in recent history.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Margo Education Townhall: "...Shameless Exhibition of Political Pandering..."

State Board of Education Member Charlie Garza (R-El Paso) pulled no punches in an interview with The LionStar Blog yesterday when he spoke about fellow Republican and State Representative Dee Margo's education townhall yesterday.

Garza, who will be facing Democratic challenger Martha Dominguez in the November primary, stated that the event that included a visit from the Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams "was a shameless exhibition of political pandering for the purpose of getting Dee Margo re-elected."

Garza indicated that protocol wasn't followed be either Representative Margo's office or the office of the Commissioner. Garza said he first found out about the visit last Friday while at a high school football game through an email from the El Paso GOP. Garza personally called the Commissioner on Sunday evening to find out the details about the trip and to question why he was coming to town without notifying the member of the State Board of Education, which is technically higher up on the education chain of command.

Garza says that Commissioner Williams, who previously visited El Paso in support of Margo when Williams was the Railroad Commissioner, indicated to Garza that he was making the trip at the behest of Representative Margo. Garza said he questioned the Commissioner about who was going to pay for the trip to El Paso and Garza says Williams' response to him was "I am a political animal'. To which Garza says he replied, "No sir. You are the Commissioner of Education."

According to Charlie Garza, the State Board of Education gave the legislature $3 billion to close the gap in funding for education. Garza wants to know what happened to that money.

Garza went on to state that he feels that Representative Margo is "prioritizing politics before children."

"Dee Margo has shown no previous interest in education" according to Garza who went on to ask me rhetorically, "Do you know how many times Margo has called me to consult on education issues? Zero. Do you know how many times he's called me to consult on the education budget? Zero."

Garza indicated that he has already spoken with the Chair of the State Board of Education and plans on raising Williams' trip at the next meeting. "I intend to get answers...I don't intend to drop this issue. He does not work for the legislature, he works the children of Texas."

When asked if he planned on endorsing Moody over Margo in the manner in which Reps Gonzalez and Marquez have endorsed Margo over Moody, Garza replied, "I have no dog in this fight. my priority are the children of Texas."