Monday, December 31, 2012

Headlines

I think I saw a piece somewhere about headlines that the author wished he or she saw but didn't. I thought I'd offer a few local headlines I wish I'd seen but didn't over this last year in El Paso.

So here's what I came up with:

PUBLIC CORRUPTION SCANDAL FINALLY OVER

UTEP FOOTBALL HAS WINNING SEASON; GOES TO BOWL GAME

PROPOSITIONS PASS WITH FLYING COLORS; STADIUM OPPONENTS FINALLY GET OVER IT

DR. GARCIA CONVICTED OF WRONG-DOING AND GETS A HARSH PUNISHMENT

CITY OF EL PASO DECIDES TO MARKET ITSELF; CHOOSES FIRM AND CAMPAIGN THAT DOESN'T SUCK

SAN ANTONIO REALIZES ITS NOT THE GATEWAY TO MEXICO, APOLOGIZES TO EL PASO

USC TROJANS HONORED TO BE IN A BOWL GAME; GRATEFUL ITS IN EL PASO

CITY OF SUNLAND PARK TURNS OVER A NEW LEAF; CITIZENS PROUD OF THEIR CITY AGAIN

SOCORRO - SCANDAL FREE FOR 2012

L*B WINS BEST BLOGGER - BEATS BLOGS ABOUT CATS AND VEGETABLES

TRIPLE A BASEBALL TEAM DROPS LAME PADRES NAME - LETS FANS PICK A BETTER ONE

VILLAGE OF VINTON RESIDENTS STORM CITY HALL, KICK OUT THE MAJORITY & GET SEWAGE SYSTEM THEY DESERVE

DAME LA MANO ANNOUNCES IT WILL NEVER EVER, EVER, MAKE WOMEN STAND OUT IN THE HEAT TO PANHANDLE AGAIN

FBI SPOKESMAN ANNOUNCES "EVERYTHING IS COOL IN EL PASO RIGHT NOW"

GOVERNOR PERRY ADMITS HE'S AN IDIOT, APOLOGIZES TO EL PASO FOR LYING ABOUT CAR BOMBS EXPLODING

EP CITY MANAGER SPEAKS NICELY ABOUT CITY OFFICIALS IN EMAILS



The Most Important Election in El Paso You Never Hear Of

The men of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo will gather at the Tus'la (not 100% sure on the spelling) tonight to hold elections for their Governor and other positions.

This isn't an office people campaign for and it is usually closely tied to family alliances and feuds. The elections are important to the region because the leadership determines the direction of the Pueblo and its relationship with the rest of the region.

Hopefully word will get out tomorrow as to who the leadership will be for the Pueblo. The terms are a year long and there is no indication that the Tiguas will go in a different direction than the one they are going in now, but these elections are very unpredictable and there's no telling what is going to happen.

Again, only Tigua men older than 18 are allowed to vote or attend. Also there are no electronic devices allowed at the meeting either.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Suck It!!!!

As El Paso's unofficial biggest Redskins fan, I just want to send the Dallas Cowpies a warm heartfelt goodbye to the playoffs!

Suck it Cowpie fans!

How to Win an Election in El Paso

I have to confess, as a blogger I have always loved city elections the most. Yea, they aren't as fun in terms of policy as state and federal elections where I can feed my inner wonk, but everyone loves a good train wreck.

And candidates for city elections have a tendency to be walking train wrecks. Its the place where the ankle-biters, weirdos, nutcases, and the eccentric try their hand a politics.

But since this is the holiday season, I feel like being generous so I'll tell you exactly how to win an election in this town. This is a total freebie people. And don't worry, I'm not giving away the nuclear launch codes here. I'm just telling you what has worked for WINNING campaigns.

#1 - Timing and opportunity. Politics is 100% about timing and opportunity. If these two things don't line up, do not pass go. And an open seat is not opportunity. You're ability to WIN and open seat is opportunity. Or running against a vulnerable candidate.

#2 - Money. Generally speaking the rule is He who has the most money, wins. But if you don't manage the money properly that is an advantage that can be overcome. Just look at Chente Quintanilla and Mary Gonzalez. Those are perfect example of how having a ton of money and not spending it properly will ensure you lose, and how having all the money in the race and spending it properly will ensure you win.

#3 - Messaging. You have to have a message that will resonate with voters. You have to be able to deliver that message in a way that they will understand and which will result in a desired outcome. This part isn't easy and is one of the areas where candidates trip up the most.

#4 - Targeted Universe. If you don't know what this term means then you have no business running because you are going to get trucked. This is the other area where the wheels fall off of a campaign. You can pay political operatives all the money in the world, but if they don't know how to identify a strong, effective targeted universe of voters, they aren't worth a double order from Chico's. They should be tweaking the universe based on any available election data they can get a hold of. A perfect example of this is Jaime Romo. He ran for County Commissioner in Precinct 1 earlier this year. He was young and progressive. Genuinely nice guy that people would vote for. The problem? Bad targeting of voters. He knocked on the door of every voter in the precinct (thats what he said anyway). Huge mistake. My tocayo should've been knocking on the door of LIKELY voters and should've done so more than once. El Pasoans like meeting their candidates one-on-one. They like sizing them up. They like people to ASK for their support. They want to be talked to, not talked at.

#5 - Effective Mail. Your mail has to effectively deliver your message. Its that simple. It needs to be short and make an impact. Sending big long Luther Jones style mail pieces do nothing for you. Mail should be as targeted as your block-walking. And despite the fact that so many people say they don't like negative campaigning, its still effective.

#6 - Commitment. If you aren't committed to winning, don't bother running.

#7 - Effective Media Relations. For the most part, the media in town isn't going to cover your race. Unless you are in trouble, or you can find a way to make them cover it. Media is biased towards one particular candidate or another. Act accordingly and hope you are that candidate.

There, you just saved yourself some money. Now you have to be able to execute. And thats the hard part. Thats the part that determines who wins and who loses.

Mayors Race Will Be a Snoozer

The last election showed very clearly that despite a few loud voices out there, we are not a divided city. We are a city that pretty much agrees on the direction of El Paso.

The results of the proposition measures show that pretty clearly.

And thats exactly why the mayoral election is going to be one giant snoozer. Come back in May and read this blog post again and you'll see I'm right about this one.

City Rep Steve Ortega will be the next mayor of El Paso. Make no mistake about that. There is no one even remotely poised to be a credible challenger. Steve Ortega is exactly what El Paso voters love in a candidate. He's young, smart, dynamic, and progressive.

Take a look at nearly all of the races in town and really in the county for that matter over the last few years and you will see what I mean. I've made the point over and over that given the chance, El Pasoans will choose the younger and more progressive candidate.

I'm sure there will be an effort to make someone who isn't a credible challenger look like a credible challenger, but trust me there is no one out there right now poised to beat Ortega. You'd need a lot of money and no one else has started working yet. You'd need much more time to take out someone as formidable as Ortega and I just don't see anyone getting off their butt to do so. Plus, you have to have a candidate voters would prefer over Ortega.

Not gonna happen.

The only other person out there that I can think of that has articulated a desire to run for office doesn't appear to actually be doing anything significant. And don't give me the "its still early" argument. Its never too early. Especially when you are trying to defeat someone from a faction that is basically undefeated.

Get used to the idea people, you should get used to calling Steve O, Mayor Ortega.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dear USC Trojans

Welcome to El Paso. You'll find we are a very warm and welcoming city...to those that deserve it. But for those that smack talk about our little town, well you can kiss our collective nalgas.

I'm an El Pasoan by choice, that is to say I wasn't born here but I am an El Pasoan just the same. We are no LA, that is to be sure. But lets face it, almost every Latino in LA probably has family in EP.

There is a character about this city. We do our share of fighting with one another, but nothing brings people from Chucotown together like some idiot talking smack about our home town. Just ask the last guy from Oklahoma how that worked out for him. And lets be honest, you have to be certa-effin-fiable to be from Oklahoma and have the nerve to bad mouth El Paso.

You are going to find everyone in this town to be very friendly. Unlike the cesspool of humanity that is the LA area, we still say Buenos Dias when we see strangers, we stand up for seniors on the bus, and we hold the door open for ladies. Being from a big city is no excuse to be a classless idiot, although you guys from LA seem to have refined it to nuclear grade capacity.

Frankly, you guys are going to be treated like kings. You'll be wined, dined, and thoroughly taken care of in this town. We don't have fancy stuff like other towns but we have what you people don't have. Good, genuine, salt-of-the-earth people.

And no one, and I mean no one, parties better than people from El Paso. And we have more hot women per square foot than any other town in the country.

But we won't forget what your linebacker Tony Burnett had to say about our fair town. When you are in restaurants, bars, and attractions around the Sun City you are going to taste good ol' El Paso hospitality. But when he enters the stadium on New Years Eve, well, don't be surprised if he meets good ol' El Paso hostility. After all, when you talk about where someone is from, you are pretty much talking about their momma.

And everyone knows those are fightin' words.

Trust me, I wanted to really rip your whole team a new one for what was said about El Paso. I was going to have a post filled with snarky remarks like the fact that the most popular Trojans in this town come in box that is held behind the counter at a convenience store, not your mascot. Although the ladies around town tell me that if you take your helmets off that prevents a pregnancy just as well as the Trojan in a box.

But I'm not going to do that. I'm gonna go out of my way to be as friendly as I can to you all. I'm gonna kill you with kindness like everyone else in town.

Except when Burnett enters the stadium. I'm gonna boo him like crazy.

Forget Texas, Don't Mess with Chuco.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

On behalf of the entire staff here at The LionStar Blog, (which is just me) I'd like to extend my warmest wishes to you and your families during this holiday season.

I am grateful to have had such a large and devoted base of readers over the years and for that I am truly appreciative.

May all of you, even my haters, have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

Feliz navidad!

Socorro Special Election?

A frequent reader of The LionStar Blog in Socorro reminded me of something the other day. I mentioned the sudden resignation of Trini Lopez as mayor of Socorro as one of the top political stories of 2012.

My reader reminded me to ask what what is going to happen to replace former mayor Lopez? I haven't heard a peep as to what the process is going to be to replace him. Are they going to have a special election to replace him as the mayor of Socorro?

If so when and what is the process going to be like?

And frankly it wouldn't surprise me if some old names popped up yet again. When and if there is another election for mayor down in Socorro I assure you that you will see the same old names recycled again. My only hope is that some good candidates jump in the race.

Socorro is in need of good, strong, ethical, and progressive leadership.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Just in case the Mayans were right...

My buddy Jose Landeros and I were sittin' around shootin' the breeze, which means drinking beer, and we got in to a conversation about what we would do if the Maya are right about the world ending. (Yes I know, thats not really what the calendar says, don't be a douche. Just go with it...)

So we compiled a list of people we'd like to shoot the breeze with before the Mayan-Zombie-Pole-reversal-Planet-X-Solar-Flare-Apocalypse. See if you can figure who picked each item.

People We'd Like to "Shoot the Breeze With"

All living presidents. So we can tell them where they went wrong. And cuz, lets be honest, who doesn't wanna have a night on the town with Bill Clinton?

Ron Paul & Arch Bishop/Duke/Jedi Knight Tom Brown - see we can tell both of them how silly and irrelevant they are.

Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards - Because we both like Top Gun. I want them to help me sing "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" to Estela Casas. Jose wants to buzz the tower with them. "Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full."

Vicente Fernandez - cuz no one understands me like Chente.

Dierks Bentley - cuz no one understands Jose like Dierks.

Captain Kirk - Cuz he kissed a green chick and made out with Uhura.

Spock - because is logical.

The Pope - just communion wine.

Sting....the wrestler, not the singer. He wears face paint. Chicks dig mystery.

Stone Cold Steve Austin - Cuz he said so.

Julio Cesar Chavez - He's my childhood idol and he could kick Chuck Norris' ass.

Salma Hayek, Carrie Underwood, Penelope Cruz, Rachel McAdams - have you seen them?

Tom Hanks - Jose's favorite actor. A man who's lived alone on an island for that long as got to have some good stories. And we hear he's met a few presidents too.

George Strait - Because he's George Strait.

Richard Rodriguez - He makes cool movies and Salma Hayek is his comadre.

Edward James Olmos -I want to have him record my voicemail message.

Morgan Freeman - Because he's God.

Little Joe - I've drank with him before and I want Jose to experience how cool it is.

Obi Juan Kenobi - Because the Force is strong with him and everyone knows he's handy in a bar fight.

Daisy Duke - Innovator of our favorite shorts for women.

Jorge Ramos & Anderson Cooper - Clearly they were separated at birth and we'd like to reunite them.

Lou Diamond Phillips - Ritchie! (We want to show him what Mexicans are really like.)

Kim Jung Un - to tell him to lighten the hell up.

George Clooney and Brad Pitt - in suits in a Vegas Casino. Cuz if the Oceans movies can have Chinitos, why not Chicanos? (Relax, its an accurate term. The character was small and Chinese.)

Tommy Lee Jones - We're Texas Democrats and he's is therefore a God to us.

The Swedish Cook from the Muppets - Our theory is he'll make sense if were drunk. Plus, Jose and I have really spent an afternoon chopping turkey nuts. But its cool cuz it was charity.

Prince - Who else could you listen to all night long?

Gene Simmons - We know he doesn't drink but...we do.

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg - so we can hear their music and they'd be good to have around if anyone wants to start some shizzle with us. Hey even Obi Juan Kanobi needs someone to give him 'squina.

Carlos Slim - the richest man in the world. He's Mexican and loaded. And after all the people on this list, we're going to need someone to pick up the bar tab.

Updated info on Romero

So my friend Jackie ripped me a new one for "poor fact finding" on the District 2 Candidate Larry Romero. I usually am the one that whacks people around here, but she thumped me pretty good so I have to take it like a man.

She posted a comment on the last piece I wrote about Romero but since she whacked me pretty good on getting facts wrong, I thought it deserved its own post. He's her uncle and if someone got facts wrong about my uncle, I'd correct them to.

So here it is:

He was a big part of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has relatively well rounded connections with our current representatives in El Paso. He used to work at the City in the Economic Development office, before he left to become a small business owner, not a bookkeeper. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even provide bookkeeping services. He previously ran for the El Paso Community College Board of Trustees when he came back from his position with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, so he does have campaign experience. So no, there isn't going to be a "steep campaign learning curve."

Honestly, Jaime...Slacking on the information gathering? I mean, you have almost everything wrong about him. There is a pretty sweet thing known as Google and his LinkedIn profile is there for all to see.


Now then, let me respond to just a couple of things she wrote. Having run for arguably the most inconsequential office in town, and lost, doesn't necessarily mean he has campaign experience. Well, not the right kind anyway. This is an entirely different ball game and with all due respect..he lost. So yes, there is going to be a steep campaign learning curve. I stand by that part.

The rest of what I wrote, well she was right to whack me and I deserved it. 

Jackie 1 - LionStar 0

Nothing is Going to Happen, & the World is Not Going to End

Okay so apparently every school in West Texas is closing early, increasing security, or taking some other over-reaching ineffective steps to prevent some act from happening at our area schools.

Nothing is going to happen. Not even teenagers are stupid enough to post a warning on FB that they are going to do something like that. And teenagers are pretty stupid.

Hell, they can't even organize a flash-mob without some help. Nothing, I repeat, nothing is going to happen.

And the world is not going to end tomorrow. Although I am going to do a piece about stuff I want to do if the world was really going to end.

But it isn't. And anyone who takes the word of a group of people who couldn't foresee their own demise needs their head examined.

Relax people and have a cup of cheer.

District 2's Other Candidate

I keep forgetting to write about this guy named Larry Romero.

He's another candidate for District 2 and he is a book-keeper or something like that. From what I'm told he was previously going to run for the District 2 seat in the last go-around. For whatever reason he chose not to, which tells me he is at least a strategic thinker.

Word on the street is that he has some money saved up for the bid and has the ability to raise more if necessary. I don't recall him ever running for anything before so there is going to be a steep campaign learning curve.

Not sure if he has a campaign manager yet either.

He's an older guy and has some ground to make up in terms of name ID and a platform but having money is a good equalizer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Byrd Endorses Candidate in Precinct 2 Race

City Representative Susie Byrd has thrown her support behind a candidate in the race to replace her in City Rep District 2.

In a text message sent to me earlier this afternoon, Byrd said "I'm 100% behind Jim Tolbert. He's been a great neighborhood leader and advocate for smart growth."

This is exactly the sort of thing that Tolbert needed to be competitive in this race. If he ends up getting some money as well, then I think Yanez and Apodaca need to start worrying because he's from the same neighborhood that has owned that seat for nearly a decade.

The public sign that she's behind Tolbert changes the tone of this race greatly. This means if you aren't in the race yet, you should probably sit this one out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LSB's Top Political Stories of the Year

Its been yet another wild and crazy political ride in El Paso this year. And yet again, we've had our share of scandal, laughs, sadness, and every once in a while, some good news.

I compiled a list of what I think are the top political stories of the year. I was going to rank them but its hard to figure out a way to rank which ones were more important than others. Some are obvious but others make it difficult to distinguish which is more impactful than the other. So here they are, in no particular order.

Changing of the Guard

Beto Beats Reyes - This is one of the obvious ones. The first Chicano congressman to represent El Paso was defeated by a young, dynamic politico from a rival faction. Congressman Reyes had the sitting President and the most popular Democrat this side of JFK endorse him and he still lost. For the first time in a decade and a half, El Paso has a new rep in congress. That makes the story a big deal.

Vince Beats Chente - There have only been three people represent Precinct 3 in the last 50 years. The last couple left a cloud of controversy because of the FBI Public Corruption Scandal and a drug bust. Vince Perez had every political disadvantage thrown in front of him, from his old boss the Congressman to contributions to PACs to his opponents, to being out-raised and out-spent and yet still managed to find a way to be a household name in the valley. It was part of an election of change and that makes the story a big deal.

Mary Beats Nobody - The race was over before it started because other candidates ended up not getting in this race for the House District 75 seat that was vacated by State Rep Chente Quintanilla in his bid for the Commissioner's seat. State Representative-Elect Mary Gonzalez beat a weak field of candidates and effectively utilized her advantage in fundraising and ground ops. That doesn't mean the race was easy. Gonzalez was running against history more so than her opponents. There has never been a woman elected to represent a major seat in the valley. Ever. Gonzalez not only made history by being the first woman elected to a major seat in the valley, she did so by being open about her sexuality. She made national news and became a rock star in the LGBT community for declaring she is pansexual. She even was mentioned on Jay Leno. She broke two cielings and that makes the story a big deal.

More Government Scandals

I guess El Paso led the way in corruption scandals over the last few years and this year the outlying communities were not going to take being left out of the picture. Actually if it wasn't for Sunland Park and Vinton, this list would be all about Socorro.

Soco-Loco - The city with the biggest potential in the region, and I would argue the city making some of the most visible progress in El Paso County, has been plagued with taking two steps forward and one step back. In fact, it should be called the Socorro Two Step. They had three scandals that make the list - the scandal involving travel with members of council, the scandal involving members of their police department, and the sudden resignation of Mayor Trini Lopez. I don't know how one town can have so much progress and so much drama all at the same time.

Weed with Willie - Its not just a song by Toby Keith anymore. Former El Paso Precinct 3 County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr was convicted of drug charges. Apparently El Padrino had quite the weed operation going on. Ironically he was popped at the same check-point as Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg. I'd like to say thats just me being witty, but reality is better than fiction.

Sunland Park - I guess our friends in the Land of Enchantment were tired of Socorro hogging all the headlines. Sunland Park had such a broad and sensational year that it made Socorro look like it was a seminary. I'll see your travel and police scandal and I'll raise you a alleged lap-dance and alleged political extortion. And that's just the start of the scandal there.

Vinton - Seriously I think my daughter's third grade class makes better government decisions than some of the members of that city council. The people blocking progress need to be voted out. I said it before and I'll say it again, I am willing to help if anyone wants it.

State Level Stuff

Moody Beats Margo...Again - State Rep-Elect Moody beat soon-to-be former State Rep Dee Margo in the third of their trilogy. Education took center stage in this race and for some reason Dee Margo left beaucoup money in his campaign account. In the last round you're supposed to leave it all in the ring. He apparently left it all in the bank.

Et Tu? - I can't talk about the Moody-Margo race without mentioning the fact that two Democratic members of the delegation supported the Republican candidate over Moody because it was personally better for them. Citing how great the delegation was getting along, the two did more to damage unity in the delegation by supporting the Republican over the Democratic candidate. They faced a lot of heat from other members of the legislature for what they did but it helped Moody raise more money as other members of the delegation and legislature rallied to Moody's support. Interestingly I received some calls from Austin lobbyists that asked me "What is up with your delegation? We though the drama was going to be over when Norma and Shapleigh left."

Redistricting - The 10 year mandate to redraw political lines caused yet another cluster in elections. Talk about a major political story! It made every campaign have to work harder and spend more money. That helped some, that hurt some. Some candidates jumped in races, some stayed out. It changed a lot of races. It impacted House District 78 and House District 77, which may be part of the reason that Marquez chose to endorse Margo over Moody. Moody was drawn out and had to move back in to the district he'd previously represented. Its biggest impact though was in the Congressional race. The new lines made the district much more winnable for Beto O'Rourke and took a big chunk of Reyes's support out. There was also an impact in the 23rd Congressional district which was ultimately one by Pete Gallego.

Leads & Caballero - The two are facing action from the State Bar for conduct relating to their court cases defending former Judge Regina Arditti. The outcome of this race is going to be important to the city as a whole in terms of how things operate in Courthouse.

EPISD

Its not just in the headlines lately, its been an on-going story and it seems to never want to die. But there are two parts of the story that are especially significant and thats why they make the list.

Dr. Garcia - The minute he started at EPISD the rumors of his weakness for women started flying around town. Interestingly it was getting caught funneling a contract to an alleged mistress that not only led to his indictment but to the revelation of a cheating scandal that is still being sorted out.

Board of Managers  The same state entity that originally cleared the EPISD of any wrong-doing then turned around and said the trustees weren't doing enough to fix what they had cleared them of originally and appointed a Board of Managers and a Conservator to oversee the district. There are a lot of unanswered questions about what happens to the election in May for 4 of the 7 members of the Board of Trustees.

City Stuff

Baseball Stadium - This is another one of those stories that really got the blood pumping in this town. Until the election anyway. There was a perception that there was significant opposition to the baseball stadium and the propositions. Based on the results of the election, there clearly wasn't significant opposition to the stadium and propositions. El Paso showed its ready to move forward - and that is significant.

Document Dump - Emails will get ya busted every time. The document dump is now keeping government workers on their toes about what they say in email. The revelation of the documents is a victory for transparency and therefore a victory for the people and that's why its a big deal.

Corruption Scandal on the Road to Resolution

Chilo Madrid Conviction - This one is pretty self-explanatory. Chilo Madrid, who is politically connected to many current and former elected officials in this town was found guilty. For the first time former Judge Dolores Briones was officially named, and several key figures pleaded guilty to corruption.

This story has been going for many years and it really wasn't until this year that things started to look like they were going to be resolved.

Beginning and the End

Steve O's in - Lets start with the beginning. City Rep Steve Ortega announced the start of his Mayoral bid. This is a big deal because if he wins, which he will, it will mean that one political faction will control almost every level of government in El Paso with Beto O'Rourke as the member of Congress, Jose Rodriguez as the State Senator, and Veronica Escobar as the County Judge. If there is a play for EPISD, then it will be every level of government in town.

End of the Road - Pachanga-gate. Because of this last election season we have probably seen the end of political pachangas as we know them in this town. Its what happens when a good idea gets out of hand. Giving away bikes to underprivileged youth and having food and beer for their parents is one thing. Having lavish events at night clubs and giving out high dollar electronics and cold-hard cash is a whole other story. All it took was a little public attention to these types of events for people to see them for what they are. Thankfully we have seen the end of those particular style of pachangas.

Honorable Mention

The Honorable Mention goes to Martha Dominguez. The only significant campaign activity she did for her bid to be the next, and eventual, member of the State Board of Edcuation was to try to drop out of the race. Yes, only in El Paso can someone who didn't appear to want the position and damn sure didn't campaign to win, actually win and be our representative to the State Board of Education. That's weird even by El Paso political standards.

Thats the list. I know there are others that you think should've been included, so post them in the comments below. I chose what was the most significant locally in terms of policy, media coverage, or general impact on the community. There are others that could've been included, like the fact that a Presidential candidate made a campaign stop in El Paso, but since he wasn't viable and it didn't have an impact to the community or politics in El Paso it didn't make the list. I'm sure you all have others. Should be an interesting discussion.

District 7 Buzz About New Candidate

Word around the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's mercado last night was that current El Paso Community College Trustee Nico Dominguez is considering running for the District 7 seat. The seat is currently held by City Rep Steve Ortega who is termed-out and is making a bid for Mayor of El Paso.

Obviously this is still unconfirmed but my source indicates that Dominguez is already trying to line up someone to replace him on the board of trustees.

Dominguez is a long-shot at best and I'm sure my buddy David K is going to have a field day with that race. Dominguez, a long-time friend and political ally of the Gandara family, most recently went to the sentencing of Willie Gandara, Jr to speak on behalf of Gandara.

Gandara was being sentenced for drug trafficking. That's gonna look really great on a mailer.

God I love El Paso politics!

Monday, December 17, 2012

District 2 Race Clarification

Okay so let me clarify some points in the race to replace current City Rep Susie Byrd on city council. I've been hearing from people asking me about what, if any, collaboration there is between Susie Byrd and Precinct 2 candidate Mike Apodaca.

I'll make this plain. There is none.

Do I think Byrd is going to back someone, absolutely. Any smart elected official will want to get someone in that they feel will pick up where they left off. I think this might have started was because of the back and forth between Byrd and another District 2 candidate Getsemani Yanez.

Byrd's comments challenging Yanez's community involvement clearly got under his skin. I guess people then interpreted that as support for Apodaca. Because other politicians would typically support ANYONE running against a political rival doesn't mean that they are all that way.

As of now, the big candidates in the race are Apodaca and Yanez. Tolbert is there in the second tier, and the rest are pretty much also-rans that will get votes from family and friends and force a run-off but not much more than that.

Here's the deal with Tolbert. He has the potential to make a run-off because he's from Newman Park and that neighborhood has had a head-lock on that position for years. But...he's perceived as a one-trick pony. He's perceived as one-dimensional in terms of issues. The issue he's been closely associated with is the environment.

I think he has a chance to be a factor in the race if he's able to get two things, both of which Byrd can help with. First, money. Second, someone who knows how to run a campaign.

Yanez and Apodaca are the only two candidates in the race that have won races. Until someone else that can actually make a splash gets in this race, its going to be between the two. Plain and simple.

Byrd is not going to endorse either of them. And she's not going to run against Marquez.

There is no connection between Byrd and any of the major candidates for District 2.

Fun Facts on Comish Court Today

Unless there's an emergency meeting, today was the last meeting of Commissioner's Court for Commissioner's Anna Perez and Tania Chozet.

They were given some caricature portraits today during the meeting. Didn't get a photo though, sorry. As penance I have included this picture of Commissioner Perez's husband Art Fierro when he played football for Burges High School. I'm told he was one half of their very own Pony Express.

Commissioner Perez is now heading to the bench to serve as a judge. She was first elected to Commissioner's Court in 2008.

Also, another fun fact...the first blog I ever wrote here on The LionStar Blog was about the Precinct 1 race, ultimately won by Commissioner Perez.

Commissioner Perez will be followed by Commissioner-Elect Carlos Leon and Commissioner Chozet will be replaced by Commissioner-Elect Vince Perez.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Management Board of EPISD – Why This Must Be Fought


Lets start with some realities. From day one of this scandal, the school board didn't act boldly or quickly enough. Maybe it was the shock of what was coming out despite the fact that the very organization that appointed a Board of Management failed EPISD twice by giving them a clean bill of health, or maybe it was an over-abundance of caution and wanting to be deliberative in their actions.

It could have been a lot of things, but lets all acknowledge one important fact. The EPISD school board messed up.

Reality Check

Lets also acknowledge that the EPISD Trustees SHOULD have apologized. It was only out of pure arrogance that it wasn't done. I'm looking at you David Dodge. I don't care if you are a Master Trustee, you should master the art of acknowledging a mistake then then work like hell to fix it.

None of that was done.

They started taking decisive action later, far in advance of the Education Commissioner's appointment.

But the reality is this - the EPISD Board of Trustees were dead meat in the May election. 4 of the 7 Board Members were up for re-election. Thats a majority of the board and all 4 were all going to get beat and get beat badly. 

Hell, for all we know, they may not have even chosen to run for re-election. The community was going to fire them, no doubt about it.

Questions for the Class

I don't think I'm fully up-to-speed with the EPISD management board but I have a few questions to throw out there for the class.

First question, how long are they going to be in place? Since this stuff still has to get approved by the Department of Justice I assume that is going to take a couple of months at a minimum. Assuming its not contested. If its contested, I'm assuming it might take a little longer. So that would put us around March time frame before its approved by DOJ at the earliest.

The election to replace 4 of the 7 members of the EPISD board is in May. Second Question, is that still on or are these people going to serve longer? All four members of the board that were set to be on the ballot were going to lose, so a voting majority of the board was going to be replaced by voters in May anyway. Third question, so are we still having an election or not?

If not, then I think we have a major problem on our hands and this is where the media steps in.

#MediaWin, #MediaFail

Without a doubt the media have played a role in the EPISD cheating scandal. Not just a role, a HUGE role. Had it not been for the media, and specifically the El Paso Times, major parts of this story would never have been revealed to the community.

For that, they should take a much deserved bow for doing their job right.

But here is where I think there is a media fail. I don't think I've seen it discussed anywhere, but the fact is we live in a representative democracy. No matter who we vote in to the EPISD Board of Trustees, even if its City Rep Susie Byrd, they won't have any real power. The election will be meaningless.

And another thing, I haven't seen any critical analysis of what the implications of the Board of Managers are.

FACT: An out-of-town Republican appointee created a Board of Managers. We live in a state that seems to cherish the idea of local control but we get someone who doesn't live in El Paso who was appointed by a Republican Governor who doesn't know El Paso, choose people to manage the board that WE THE PEOPLE are supposed to elect? And there's no critical analysis of this?

The Education Commissioner is not directly accountable to the people of Texas. Much less to the people of El Paso. Yet he is able to make a decision and no-one stands to ask the tough questions about this?

And what happens if they are still in place come election time? What happens to the people the community decides they want on the Board of Trustees? Do the knew Trustees become just titular? Will tax payers have to foot the bill for a special election at some point? Are their terms going to be staggered?

How does all of that stuff work?

Anyone know?

The Big Question

The biggest question that no one in the media seems ready to ask is, why do we need a Board of Managers in the first place? Why the sudden urgency? What facts and/or circumstances have changed that make that necessary?

Once a Conservator is in place, she can undo anything from the Board she so chooses. So why the need to put in a Board of Managers? Why hasn't this been examined? These are reasonable questions the media should be asking.

Is the Board of Managers Reflective of the District?

A big problem with an out-of-towner who doesn't know El Paso appointing a Board of Managers for this community is the fact that they don't have a frame of reference for the make-up and dynamic of this community.

Instead of representation determined by the parents, stake-holders, and voters of the community, we have a group of people forced upon us that may or may not reflect the district they are about to be in charge of.

I'm not saying any one of the appointees are bad people or shouldn't be on the board. Well, honestly I question one of them, but I'll get to him later. But what I am saying is that I don't feel the Board of Managers reflects what the district looks like and I certainly don't feel the media is doing enough to challenge that make-up. The community relies on journalists to ask the tough questions and thoroughly flesh-out what is being done.

FACT – Three of the five people appointed come from affluent parts of El Paso, the westside and Memorial Park area. Again, they are not bad people. They are not bad people because they are affluent. But 3/5 of EPISD's school childrendon't live in their type of world. Though I hope 100% of them aspire to.

Where is representation for people from Segundo Barrio and other parts of the district? I don't think this was done purposely by the Commissioner, but its a big problem with having an out-of-towner appoint people and not have the community decide.

Have you heard a peep about this in coverage of this issue? Neither have I.

Going from 7 elected members of the board to 5 appointed members is by definition, a watering-down of the people's voice.

Community Voices on the Board of Managers

I went to the last EPISD Board meeting because I was pepo and wanted to see how things were going to play out. I doubt I'll ever go again. It lasted until the next morning. Literally.

The Board spent most of the meeting taking shots at the media and the El Paso Times in particular. The Board needs to understand that having a contentious relationship with the media is not in their best interest. They are going to have to wrap their head around the fact that the public does have the right to know about things and the media is supposed to ask critical questions.

Do I think the whole story is being told? No, I don't. I saw at least two big positive stories that are absolutely newsworthy but there was little or no coverage of it.

But I don't think the media is the devil either.

I found the public comment portion of the meeting the most interesting, and not just because there was some weird moment when someone went to the mic and spoke about something I didn't understand but declared she was a Buddhist.

There was only ONE person who spoke up during public comment that expressed support for the Perry-appointed Commissioner of Education's actions.

Just one. Only one.

City Rep Susie Byrd.

As you can hear in the audio clip below, Representative Byrd asked that the Board “accept with grace and without complaint the TEA's dissolution of the Board and replacement of the Board by a Conservator and the Board of Managers...”


The other speakers, were all in favor of the Board of Trustees to fight the appointment of the Board of Managers. I think thats pretty telling because there was an email sent out by Representative Byrd to get people that were like-minded to show up to the meeting and yet she was the only one who spoke in favor of the Board of Managers.

I tried to get interviews with a few of them but was only able to catch one before he left, Antonio Williams. Yes, his mother is EPISD Board President Isela Castanon-Williams, but he raises interesting points as you can see in this video.


So I don't think this issue is about supporting or not supporting the members of the EPISD Board of Trustees. They messed up. No one is defending them.

This is about supporting, or not supporting, our local ability to choose our leadership. I firmly believe this is a choice that should be left to El Pasoans. If the exact same people want to run for school board, then so be it. If they win, more power to them. They will be there because the PEOPLE of El Paso, not some Rick Perry-appointed out-of-towner chose them.

They will have the consent of the people.

Let El Pasoans choose who represents them.

(Its not always easy being me when I write stuff like this. I have personal and professional relationships, or potential relationships, with multiple people on both sides of this issue. I fully realize that when I write stuff like this its going to piss off some of them. But as I say all the time, "its politics, its not personal". But just like you, sometimes you agree with your friends, sometimes you think they're idiots. I can't let my relationship with any of them, Susie, Antonio, Vince, or anyone else stop me from giving my opinion. If that bothers you, then you shouldn't read my blog. I've also said that a million times. If you want journalism, go to a legitimate news site, which this is not, again something I've said a million times. Giving my opinion is just what I do. To paraphrase Muhammad Ali, birds fly, grass grows, I blog.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

50 Things I've Always Wanted to Say About El Paso (area)


Okay, this is one of those pieces I've waited to write until I was certain I was gonna wind down the L*B. There's just some things I've always wanted to say about El Paso and people in it that I have never said. I need to get them off my chest.

Before you go on. Don't take this too serious or get your panties in a wad about anything posted here. Its just my opinion. You have your own, and I respect your right to be wrong if you disagree with me.

  1. The Mighty Eastside is the best part of El Paso to live in. That's probably why its the major population center. I know its not the hipster part of town or the hoity-toity Kern Place or the all-powerful Westside, but it really is best part of town to live in.

  2. The Valley is better than the Westside. The people are just nicer and more down to earth. Am I making a generalization? Yes. In general I like people from the valley much more from the Westside.

  3. I think the media and policy makers are too centric on the Westside. I don't see whats so great about it anyway. Its not as cool as the eastside and there's not as much fun things to do as in the valley. Whatever the Westside has in terms of retail, there are probably two or three of them on the Eastside. And they are probably more conveniently located anyway.

  4. Its pronounced Chel-see, not Chel-suh. I'm not gonna call it Chel-suh because I need to sound more El Paso for you just because someone mispronounced it somewhere along the road and their friends were too lazy to correct them. I however frequently say Airways instead of Airway.

  5. Hipsters who hang out on Mesa annoy me. I want to take their look-at-me-I-don't-care-about-anything-in-the-world-so-I-have-sloppy-hair-that-takes-me-an-hour-to-get-it-to-look-like-I-don't-care hair do's and comb them. I also want to tell them that skinny jeans on a vato are just wrong. They look ridiculous. Even more so when they try to sag them. Women should be the only ones wearing skinny jeans. And God bless them for doing so.

  6. Botas picudas look ridiculous. Almost as bad as skinny jeans. And so do those hats folded like a taco. However I'm perfectly okay with loud shirts. Even ones with blinged up images of the Virgen de Guadalupe on them.

  7. I still like Tres Flores. Don't judge me. I am a product of my environment.

  8. Mike Price is and always was, over-rated.

  9. I secretly love the El Paso Libertarians.

  10. I secretly hate the El Paso Libertarians.

  11. I've had a crush on Estela Casas since I moved here.

  12. The El Paso Democratic Party sucks. Has for years. I don't see it getting any better. And Republicans should stop calling it a “machine”. It isn't. If it was, its a busted down, broke-ass, rusted piece of crap nobody wants. American Restoration couldn't fix it.

  13. I think the Tap is over-rated. Its a dive bar that white people and hipsters go to, which means its not classically cool. Its as “cool” as a Chia pet and “blue blockers”.

  14. I wish that parachute pants would make a come back.

  15. I still have a crush on Estela Casas.

  16. I hope that Alejandro Lozano never leaves El Paso politics. His entertainment value can never be replaced.

  17. I wish the baseball team had a name better than the El Paso Padres.

  18. Fresas annoy me. When the anti-Christ comes, it will be in the form of a hipster Fresa.

  19. The Dallas Cowboys suck.

  20. So does UTEP football. But unlike the Cowboys, I actually hope it gets better.

  21. The Sun Bowl Parade is awesome and I, like thousands of other people, like to drink booze while I watch the parade. And football games, so score one for UTEP this year. I was getting tired of smuggling in the booze (like everyone else).

  22. I think the plazita should be preserved forever. I think Cohen stadium should be blown up.

  23. Village Inn menudo comes from a can.

  24. I love menudo, even if it comes from a can.

  25. I think it sucks that we don't have an aquarium and Albuquerque does. I also think its sucks that their zoo is better than ours.

  26. People that think El Paso should be part of New Mexico are stupid.

    Photogs are usually much cooler to hang out with than TV reporters because they are from El Paso and the reporters usually aren't. Although the reporters are much hotter. I'm looking at you Viri and Brenda. (sorry Oscar from KINT).

  27. I hate blogs about cats and vegetables.

  28. Chicos Tacos after last call is still the bomb. But you already know that.

  29. The sign ordinance forbidding electronic billboards in El Paso is stupid. I like the electronic ones better. And they don't get tagged.

  30. Media has a bias because reporters are human beings. Act accordingly.

  31. The El Paso Republican Party is a bigger joke than the El Paso Democratic Party.

  32. I want to win the lottery and become the next Woody Hunt. There I said it. I want to fund candidates of my choosing and opponents of candidates I can't stand and then make it rain like a vato on a lap-dance binge at Foxy's celebrating a divorce.

  33. I love restaurants on Alameda. I hate the bowls they serve menudo in. Serve me in a real bowl damn it.

  34. Round-abouts are stupid and annoying.

  35. I know I'm not supposed to, but I dig shooting off fire works on Montana on the 4th of July. But I always clean up after myself. True story.

  36. I don't care for most clubs downtown. If I want to drink with kids, I'll go to a baby shower in Anthony.

  37. Ranch Markets are better than Albertson's. It will remain that way until Albertsons starts selling horchata, limonada, or agua de melon.

  38. I go to the Bronco on the regular and I like it. I'm not ashamed.

  39. McKelligan Canyon needs cell phone towers.

  40. The bathrooms at the County Courthouse look like a truck stop. For Pete's sake people, take care of your stuff. Thats why we can't have nice things.

  41. How the hell could I lose to blogs about cats and vegetables? Seriously, what the hell?

  42. Nothing says classy like metal detectors at a hospital emergency room.

  43. ABC 7 Xtra should be an hour long.

  44. El Paso history is more than just about white cowboys. But for some reason you'd think that was the only thing that every happened here. And you'd think that there were no brown people in a border city.

  45. People who don't vote regularly shouldn't complain about people that vote straight ticket regularly. Vote regularly before you start pointing the finger.

  46. People that threaten recall don't realize how empty their threat is. I find that entertaining.

  47. During a dust storm there is no way to tell the difference between Fabens and Tatooine, unless you can see through the dust storm enough to see the sun. Fabens is the one with only one sun.

  48. Truck nuts. El Paso, for the love of God, please stop buying these things. Nothing screams compensation for low testosterone and a small penis like a big shiny set of truck nuts.

  49. The people that market El Paso to the rest of the country suck. There's no reason San Antonio should own the idea of being the gateway to Mexico. They aren't. They are the gateway to South Texas.   

    VIVA EL PASO! (By the way, I'm not leaving El Paso. I don't know how that rumor got started but its not true.)

Douchebag of the Week

The guy that committed that horrible act in Connecticut today. Not a single parent that dropped off their kid at school today imagined something like this would happen.

You expect your children to be safe at school.

Its horrible.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Almost Forgot...

One of the most interesting quotes in the email exchange between Joyce Wilson and City Rep Ortega is the line where Ortega says, "I agree with you, this was a campaign ploy in which the Mayor was complicit in assisting."

He was referring to an event with the Congressman and the Mayor to reduce border wait times. You can read more at KVIA (for some reason I think they are the only English language media outlet that has covered this story).

Too bad Ortega hasn't given up his moral high ground on this one too. You could look at a lot of the city council agenda items during the campaign or leading up to it, that were pretty clearly, in my opinion, campaign ploys in which multiple members of city council, including Ortega, were complicit in assisting. I wrote about it back then.

Just saying...what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Whatever the hell a gander is...

Quick Thoughts on Joyce Wilson's Latest Email-gate

I've written about the fact that Wilson's emails were inappropriate and what action I think city council should've taken in a previous post.

They gave her an improvement plan. Whatever that means.

But before the next round of people (myself included) start calling for her political head on a platter, we should consider something.

If any one of us had an open records request for our emails, if we were ever in such a position, I'm sure they'd find a lot of embarrassing stuff. Admit it, we've all done it at some point. We've all said something bad about a boss, coworker, family member, friend, ex, or current squeeze.

We do so because we assume there is a level of privacy. There isn't. But honestly you've said something you wish you hadn't. You've probably forwarded a chain email, saved a few naughty pictures (don't lie, you know you have. Ladies included), passed along an inappropriate joke, or done something you'd otherwise be pretty embarrassed about.

I know I have. You see how much smack I talk on my blog so you can only imagine the crap I say in my email! Good thing I don't work in any government capacity were someone would need to see my email. If I ever do, I will remember the Joyce Wilson rule. Don't send anything that you don't want other people to see.

The latest email problem is a big deal. Congressman Reyes sent official correspondence to the Mayor about it and makes some pretty solid critiques of Wilson.

He uses the word "disturbing" to describe the communication between Wilson and City Rep (and mayoral candidate Steve Ortega) about the Congressional race.

To bad he might have given away his moral high ground on the issue. His critique would be a lot more solid if he people weren't saying its "disturbing" how little he's allegedly helped with a transition to a new Congressman. Word around DC is that he hasn't helped much, if at all, with the transition.

Don't ya just love El Paso!?!?!


Rep-Elect Gonzalez to Hold Staff Meet & Greet

Representative-Elect Mary Gonzalez will hold a meet and greet event to introduce her staff to the constituents in House District 75. The event will be December 19th from 5-6:30 at the Cotton Eye'd Joe's Restaurant in Clint, Texas.

Gonzalez says the event is so that the community can put faces to names of the new staff for the district. The district was previously represented by Chente Quintanilla for a long time so having a chance for the people to meet the new staff will be important.

I know one of her hires, Arlina Palacios. She's originally from the Fabens area and is a great community advocate. Good hire.

The address is 1591 N. FM 1110 Road, Clint, Texas.

I-10 east to the Clint Cut-off. It'll be on your right hand side of the highway across from Mammacita's.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Travel & Per Diem

Since we're all in the spirit of being mindful of government expenditures with all this talk of a fiscal cliff lately, it got me to wondering something.

Are our out-going state reps still using travel and per diem? Thats money they are entitled to collect from tax payers as part of their duties as state representative. I think they are allowed X number of days per month when the legislature is not in session.

I'd be interested to know if they are still conducting business, what is the nature of that business, and if they are still collecting travel and per diem.

Down Goes Margo, Down Goes Margo

Let me make yet another boxing analogy with politics if I may. In their back and forth matches, State Representative-Elect Moody has now defeated Representative Dee Margo in two of their three match-ups. When you combine that with his previous senate run, Representative Margo has now lost 3 out of the 4 campaigns he's been in.

With that kind of record in boxing, most analysts and promoters would be telling a fighters team, its time to hang'em up. But like most fighters, they don't listen. Actually a fighter is the last to know when his career is down. They are the last to realize that they aren't as quick as they used to be. They get caught with shots they didn't used to get caught with. They cut a little easier. Its harder to make weight. They tire earlier in the fight and their legs are gone.

Pick your fighter and they all have pretty much made the same mistake. They hung around too long. Ali, Foreman, Chavez, De La Hoya, Jones, Leonard, Hearns, Tyson, Carbajal, and yes, PacMan all have lost fights to fighters that they should've beaten. Well in PacMan's defense, Marquez is a great fighter and was robbed of a couple of victories earlier in their series.

The point is, Margo needs to know when to hang'em up. The driving issue, much to my surprise I might add, in this last campaign was education. Both candidates made that their main issue. Margo came up short.

Ironically, someone who voted for massive cuts in funding education, and lost an election in which his education policies were at the forefront, is now appointed to the EPISD board of managers by a Republican gubernatorial appointment.

Maybe Margo was right, its not what you know, its who you know.

Margo's appointment to the board means one thing for sure. He won't be running for mayor so all of you that have been calling me and asking me if he's running for mayor can rest assured that he probably isn't going to run for mayor.

Do I think he'll run for State Rep again? I have no clue but I think he'd be inclined to. But I have to admit, he'd be well positioned for a run a city council. Hell, he may decide to look at Commissioner's Court when Haggerty retires.

There are still lots of options out there. I honestly don't think we've seen the last of Dee Margo's name on a ballot.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Candidate Profile: Michael Apodoaca - Candidate, City Rep District 2


Name: Michael Apodaca

Hometown: El Paso

Education (Please include elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary education): 

Rusk Elementary, Bassett Middle, Austin High School, University of Texas El Paso 2007 BA

Military Service (Please indicate branch, years of service, rank achieved, and military occupational specialty):

None.

Occupation: Small-business owner

Professional Experience: business owner, Consultant

Community Involvement: 

2009-2012 – Organizing for America
2002-2006 – Precinct Chair, El Paso Democratic Party
2004-2010 – State Democratic Executive Committee
2012 – Texas Democratic Party State Treasurer
2005-2007 - Texas Young Democrats President
2012 – EPISD Redistricting Committee Chair
2000-2002 – Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership

Though it’s a non-partisan race, please indicate your general political persuasion:

Democratic

What are your priority issues for the district?:

Our district, like our city, is in a period of a Renaissance. Yes, our parks and streets have been improved, but our district continues to seek progress beyond communal necessities. It is no secret that our government is not as open or accepting of different opinions or options, which exclude certain areas of our community. These will be the priorities for District Two:

1) Our district is perfect to grow small businesses. I will work towards making District a small-business incubator of our city to grow small businesses in our area and promote the current ones in the district.

2) I will continue to work to expand our public transportation priorities and push for a plan to bring a citywide light rail project.

3) I will create a plan that will encourage movement back to District Two, which will include filling in vacant properties in areas that can use new smart growth development, and creating programs with other entities that will help redevelop communities.

What are the first three acts you would undertake as a member of Council?:

1) Within the first 40 days of my term, I will promote a series of conferences with community/business leaders and anyone who is interested in forming initiatives for the next eight years in our district.

2) I will reach out to our outgoing city representative to ensure a smooth transition. I need to make sure that any outstanding case work and projects that are being worked on at the moment of transition period are followed through.

3) I will seek to further expand on our ethics rules to further close the “culture of corruption” by placing a limit on campaign contributions to council members, candidates, and PACs per election cycle.

How often have you voted in elections in El Paso? (going back ten years): I’ve voted in every election that I know of. The only one I have missed, which I just learned, was the 2010 EPISD Bond because I was out of the city at the time.

Aguilar Likely to Take Office Before January 1st

While most of the people who won elections in November take office in January, Judge Luis Aguilar will likely take office sooner than that date.

Its a unique situation because Aguilar's seat was the unexpired term of another judge who still had a couple years left on his term. Governor Rick Perry appointed Judge Bill Hicks to fill the position and according the the Texas Constitution, the appointed judge serves until the next general election, which is why the office was on the ballot in this election cycle, this election cycle being the next general election.

So since the election took place on November the 6th, it appears that Aguilar was able to take over the seat on the bench following the states' official canvassing of the vote. That is typically held 30 days after the election.

Which would be today.

Its still unconfirmed but it appears that Aguilar is required to take office today under the Texas Constitution. The seat will be up in again in two years in accordance with its regular term cycle.


Former Rodriguez Campaign Manager to Head Gallego Office

Cesar Blanco, who was at one point the campaign manager for Ciro Rodriguez when he ran against Quico Canseco in 2010, has been tapped to be the Chief of Staff for Congressman-Elect Pete Gallego.

Blanco has also been Ciro Rodriguez's Chief of Staff and District Director. Blanco is a native of El Paso, Texas.

Rodriguez and Gallego faced off in a tough Democratic primary that had Gallego pretty far behind going in to the run-off. Gallego ultimately pulled out a win in the primary and general elections to win the 23rd Congressional District which extends from El Paso to San Antonio.

“I’m excited to have Cesar on board,” said Congressman-elect Pete Gallego. “He doesn't need a learning curve. He brings experience and a deep familiarity to this job. He understands the unique makeup of the district, knows the people, has managed a Congressional office, and knows the key players. All these things benefit the constituents of District 23. He will be an exceptional public servant.”

“It’s an honor to serve my community in this capacity,” added Cesar Blanco, the incoming chief of staff. “This is a big responsibility. We will run an extremely effective congressional office that puts the needs of the constituents and the district first. Our office will work around the clock with the goal of making our constituents proud.”

Most recently, Cesar served as the Arizona State Director for Obama for America during the 2012 Presidential Election. Previously, he was the Western Region Political Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), serving as the Democratic Party’s principal liaison and political advisor for the West while working with 13 state parties and coordinating with the White House, Cabinet members, and the DNC Chair and Vice Chairs.

Sharp guy...and he's from Chucotown.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

District 3 Challenger for Acosta

Word around the LionStar water cooler is that Alejandro Lozano is going to run for City Representative in District 3...again.

I guess the massive ass whoopin' he took from Emma Acosta last time wasn't bad enough and he wants some more.

Let me take this time to remind you readers that Acosta ended up with 70% of the vote last election. She waxed him.

I guess now that Betti Flores has pleaded guilty and he's a Republican now, he must think he's somehow going to do better this time? Uh, no. He's going to get beat even worse. Why?

Because Flores pleaded guilty and he's a Republican now!

Lozano has been one of the anti-stadium people. Well its not like Acosta has been pro-stadium, so I don't know what his angle is.

But, it doesn't matter. He's not going to win anyway. It just sucks that David K is going to have all the fun by himself with Lozano in the race. I had such fun last time. Memmer that interview when he called Hillary Clinton a bad name in Spanish?

Good times, good times.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Odds & Ends of the Day

Real quick, I just remembered on more thing to add for the candidates. Understand that you are running for city council.

Media isn't going to cover your campaign announcement. Its not really that big of a deal when you announce and thats why they don't care. Maybe if you're a compelling candidate for mayor or something then you'll get coverage, but odds are you won't get anyone to show up. The people that are able to get media to show up do so because there is something compelling about their candidacy or the circumstances and thats why media shows up.

Being a weirdo isn't enough.

Hell, I rarely cover a campaign announcement anymore. So don't get your feelings hurt if media doesn't show up.

BTW, some quick numbers that I found interesting about my blog. I've had over well over 1.67 million page views on this version of the L*B. This is my third version of it and I didn't track the others so I don't really know how many I have total. I've uploaded 391 videos on my YouTube Channel, although I've only had 86,699 views which is significantly less than page views to my blog.

Thats a lot of work over the years. And to think I offered UTEP and EPCC archives of my video and couldn't GIVE it away. Makes you shake your head and wonder.


City Rep Candidates - Things You Need to Know

Consider this a freebie from your friendly neighborhood LionStar (with apologies to Spiderman for jackin' his line). I've been watching several of the campaigns flounder around for a while like a fish that just got yanked in to the boat. I feel bad for you so let me help you out with a few things.

I realize that city council races are like amateur hour around here. Think about it, its where the weirdos usually get their start...before they decide they want to be weirdos and run for Congress. So its like the Triple A of politics. You get to see them before they get an actual audience and embarrass themselves and El Paso on a bigger stage.

But seriously, can you people at least try to act like a real campaign? Oh, and while I'm ranting, media people, please stop calling the anti-baseball people "grass roots". They aren't. Grassroots is a compliment and it implies organization and effectiveness. Neither of which they are.

Sorry for going off on a tangent.

Here are some do's and don'ts to help you out.

Do's

Do get a campaign manager. You don't have to pay a lot of money but you should certainly pay them what they are worth. And you should get someone who's actually won an election.

Do listen to the campaign manager. I've seen plenty of good campaigns go out the window because the candidate doesn't freakin' listen. There are a lot of people who should be in office right now if they would only have listened to their campaign manager. They didn't so they aren't.

Do raise money or do spend your own. Guess what? Most of the time, he who has the most money, wins. So raise some money.

Do dress like you're going to be a city rep. For some reason, candidates in El Paso are a strange breed. You'd think dressing professionally would be a no-brainer but if you've ever done any amount of people-watching in El Paso politics you know what I mean. Don't show up in shorts and chanclas and expect to be taken seriously. Yes thats really happened. Don't dress like a weirdo or show up with props. Also really happened. And I'm not being sexist here, don't dress like a hoochie-mamma. Booty shorts and low cut shirts are not appropriate attire for a candidate. As much of a fan of booty shorts and low cut shirts as I am, you aren't going to get taken seriously dressed like that. But you will get checked out. Probably by me. Don't get mad at me though, you know what you are doing when you wear that stuff so don't be offended when I look at what you are showing. Just saying.

Do have an understanding of what city council does. They deal with street lights, stop signs, speed bumps, zoning, code enforcement, parks, etc. They do not have anything to do with education, other governmental bodies, bad drivers from New Mexico, or auditing the fed. Sorry Libertarians, I pick on you guys when I'm bored and you do it to me too, lol.

Seriously, you really need to understand what the job deals with. Nothing makes you sound less informed, and therefore less electable, than saying you're going to do something you are completely incapable of doing as a member of a given body.

Dont's

Don't spend all your time "campaigning" on Facebook. That's not campaigning. Stay the hell off of Facebook. There is nothing to gain by playing around on Facebook. Go knock on doors.

Don't depend on a website. Very few people will go to your website. Trust me, I learned the hard way on that one.

Don't run if you are not physically well. And by that I mean don't run if you are not able to block-walk regularly or if you have some diagnosed mental condition. I shouldn't have to write this one, but its El Paso and I therefore must. Sad but true.

Don't wait until January. For most of you reading this, its already too late. The idea that people aren't paying attention because of the holidays is just silly. You want to win, you have to work for it. You have to walk when you're opponent is sitting on their butt eating tamales and empanadas for the holidays. If you're serious about campaigning and winning you can't realistically expect to wait until 90 days before early voting. Not if you a running to win. If you are running to make a point, well no one is going to care anyway so spend as little as you can, play on FB all day, and go to every candidate forum and debate.

Don't feel like you need to go to every forum or debate. Guess what, you're going to see the same people at every forum. And most of the time the candidate's family and entourage outnumber the people in attendance. Most of the time everyone in the room already has their mind made up. So go out and block walk and talk to people who's mind you can change.

Don't align yourself with losers. You know the people. The bitter contrarians angry at the city for fill-in-the-blank problem.

Don't worry about endorsements. If it doesn't come with money then don't even be concerned about it. Unless its the El Paso Times. That one you should care about.

Don't forget to make sure your signage is right. I write the same piece every election cycle and always bust someone for their signs not being in compliance. You'd think you people would get it right by now. You must have "for" the office you are running for, you must have the disclaimer. And no, it can't have just the number 4 instead of the word. I'm looking at you Ernesto Villanueva!

Don't run over and over. If you lost a couple of times, take the hint. The voters don't want you.

I'll post more if I think of anything else.

The Juice Nails the City Hall Demo Initiative

David K wrote a piece on Refuse the Juice that hits the nail on the head about the ballot initiative meant to "save city hall".

There's nothing I can really add to what he wrote so why bother. Go read it if you haven't.

But I do have some comments for the Save City Hall People. For God's sake, take the hint...you lost.

It was a fair vote. There was no conspiracy. El Pasoans, by HUGE margins voted in favor of the propositions. Its a freakin' mandate. They want baseball and they want it downtown. The stadium discussion, from day one, has always been about a downtown location. No other site has been floated around by the city. Its been about downtown from the start.

The fact that there is likely to be a dug-out near the current spot where city reps actually cast votes has also been discussed from day one.

I know in that little echochamber most of you exist in you think you are some sort of heroes but you aren't. You're about to waste tax-payer money on yet another ballot initiative that was probably hastily and incorrectly written...again.

When I was a kid and you got in a street fight, you took your ass whoopin' like a man. If you fought hard and did your best you could still hold your head up because you didn't back down. Once it was over, it was over.

I don't know when exactly it was in this country that it happened but for some reason we now live in a country where when you lose, you no longer "take it like a man". Now, you stomp your feet, cry, threaten to secede, or try to get a court to give you what you want because the people said NO!

When the news broke about the petition the other day there was one sound you could hear across the city. The sound of people rolling their eyes all at once.

At what point will you realize that the people of this city want to go in a certain direction. No one took your vote away, no one took your voice away, no one took anything from you. You just lost.

Personally I really wish a certain few city reps would stop encouraging these people. The election is over. Ya! Let it go. You lost, get it through your head.

And stop acting like you really care about that city hall building. You don't. No one does. There isn't some historical value or significance to the structure. Its not a signature building. Its neither particularly beautiful or ugly. Its just a building.

You don't like how the deal was done. I get it. I didn't either. But there was a vote and El Pasoans voted overwhelmingly in support of the propositions. Its time to move on.

Statement from Canutillo ISD Board President

Here is a statement from Armando Rodriguez of the CISD.


CANUTILLO, TEXAS (December 3, 2012) – Canutillo Independent School District Board President Armando Rodriguez issued the following statement:

“The Canutillo Independent School District has received preliminary information from its legal counsel and internal auditor staff regarding certain matters. We expect an audit report on those issues to be completed and presented to the Board on Thursday

The agenda posted tonight is written in a manner that will allow the Board to act accordingly if it is determined action is necessary.

Until that time, I cannot comment any further on this matter.”

ANALYSIS - Sounds like someone's losing their job.

Yanez Responds to Rep Byrd

If you haven't seen the back and forth between the two, look further down on my blog to get yourself caught up.

Getsemani Yanez felt it necessary to respond to Rep Byrd, so here is what he sent me:


It is unfortunate that Representative Byrd has chosen to attack my candidacy due to differences in political opinion.  The facts still stand; Representative Byrd appointed me to City boards on three separate occasions. I admittedly missed a significant amount of meetings this past year due to conflicting schedules with my company’s client needs and my Master’s courses at UTEP – a major reason for having resigned.  However, I have not been removed from any civic organization; that is a lie.  In regards to her statement suggesting I padded my resume, I can only thank her for tapping me for these positions.  The knowledge and understanding I gained, thanks to her appointments, has given me a better understanding of the needs that exist in our community.

While I respect Representative Byrd immensely, she should focus on her constituency instead of my candidacy.  The Fort Blvd. Business Association has, in the past year and a half, requested help with City issues to which we have not received a single response. 

I hope she is able to put our differences aside for the benefit of the community we both love.

Respectfully,

Getsemani YaƱez
Candidate for
El Paso City Council, District 2