Friday, January 30, 2015

Gandara Trial Postponed Until April

Old Photo Taken from KTSM Website
Jesse Gandara's trial has been postponed as expected, until April of 2015. Little Jesse was set to go to trial at the end of January but asked for a continuance and new council.

Gandara, who is a member of a family that was likely the most affluent in Socorro at one time, is now declared indigent and will have a tax-payer funded attorney. Although, that appears to have been Gandara's plan all along. Gandara was originally indicted while he was still a member of the Socorro city council and his faction of city council at the time voted to have the tax payers of Socorro pay his legal fees.

A judge later found that his faction was in office unlawfully and a special election was ordered. He was booted out of office by the voters in the special election and the new city council quickly voted to take the burden of Little Jesse's legal defense off the backs of Socorro tax payers.

At that point, Gandara had to pay for his own legal representation. He petitioned the court for new council because he is now indigent.

Now all the tax payers of the County pay for his legal defense. Gandara is facing several charges relating to theft and bribery.

Not sure if he's still facing the weed charges or not.

Gandara will now be set to go to trial in April. Guess he'll still play on his little facebook page until then...

Coming Up on the LSB: Punching Back

A couple of things to look forward to on the LSB today. In fact, it will be one of the busiest days on the LSB in a long time.

But there's a couple of posts in particular I want to high light. One is a post from a friend and former colleague of mine that I saw on Facebook. It was a response to the recent actions of Christian right-wing extremists who made quite the spectacle in Austin during a peaceful event held by the Muslim community. I was very moved by my friend's post, who is a devout Christian himself, and I asked permission to post it here.

And later today, or maybe tomorrow, I am going to post a special response to Martin Paredes. Look I don't know if he is diagnosed with anything, but the vato is straight up crazy. He's known for writing some pretty crazy outrageous, unfounded, and usually incoherent conspiracy theories on his blog. Today, he wrote arguably the dumbest conspiracy theory he's ever written, even by his standards. Normally I ignore the fool, but I'm a little tired of turning the other cheek. Especially when someone, who's not an American, challenges the patriotism of a veteran.

That and much more to come on the LSB today...

Julio Diaz: "I'm not running for anything right now..."

I spoke with Julio Diaz yesterday and he informed me that while he fully intends to run for office in the future, he has decided to focus on work and family right now and not pursue the office of city council for District 1.

"I'm not running for anything right now. While the opportunity is tempting, I am going to focus on the military, my business, and my family right now" Diaz said in a phone interview.

Diaz said he's received a lot of calls, texts, and other messages following my last piece and he decided that he wanted to make his intentions for the short-term clear. "I want to see some good candidates get in that race. I don't want to interfere with anyone else who wants to run for that seat at this time. I thought it was best to make my intentions clear very early in order to give other candidates a chance to decide if they are going to run or not."

Having indicated that he is definitely going to run for an office in the future, Diaz didn't indicate what office he'd be pursuing. When I continued to try to establish what office in his area he was considering Diaz indicated that he was willing to move to another area to run for office so it is unclear what his exact plans are politically.

Diaz later sent me a message stating that he was going to continue to work on his graduate studies, family life and engage the business sector and elected officials on a range of issues in the mean time.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I'm Feeling Silly Today

Someone told me that former Commissioner Sergio Lewis was gonna dip his toe into the blogosphere.

I saw this in a book I'm reading and thought of the Commish...

"...while man and the beast celebrate.."

Another EPISD Administrator...I Couldn't Help Myself

So another administrator from EPISD was just sentenced today. Her name is Myrna Gamboa.

I saw this post on FB from RUben Ramirez from the El Paso Times. I guess U is his favorite letter and thats why he capitalizes it. (Just kidding, I made that up. I have no clue why he does it. #justsaying)

My first thought was "Zas, way to leave the kid behind!"

But then I thought, "Hey wait a minute! I've seen that image before..."

Mind blown.

Screwed in Tornillo Part 2

Allow me to editorialize for a moment if you will. I saw the news coverage on KVIA and KINT of the issue with Tornillo not having a school nurse in the district. I was floored when I heard the comments of Superintendent Jeannie Mesa-Chavez about the situation.

I'll get to that in a moment, but I wanted to talk about why I did the piece in the first place. I don't have any relatives that live, work, or go to school in Tornillo. So there are plenty of people who probably read what I wrote and said to themselves, "why doesn't he mind his own business?"

I suppose I could, but shouldn't the welfare of kids in our community (and the welfare of tax dollars) be our business? Aside from that, I hate to see the most vulnerable populations have to endure corruption, ineptitude, retaliation, racism, or classism like I've seen in school districts across El Paso county. So community members come to me from time-to-time because they are afraid. They fear retaliation against themselves, their friends, or their families if they rock the boat.

I can assure you after covering school districts in El Paso County for the better part of 7 years now, it ain't easy being the squeaky wheel in a small town. I get nothing out of doing stuff like this but criticism. I damn sure don't make any money out of this. But every once in a while I'll get lucky and a problem gets fixed. Thats why I do this.

There is a palatable culture of fear when it comes to Tornillo ISD.

Now...back to the news coverage.

In the KVIA piece, Dr. Jeannie Mesa-Chavez refused to go on camera. The first question one asks themselves is why? I don't have a good reason why she would give an interview but not go on camera other than perhaps she was embarrassed. But if this is an issue the district has had to deal with for more than a decade, and she's been the superintendent since last year, then this issue shouldn't have blind-sided her.

But fear not Dear Readers! Dr. Mesa-Chavez, who's bio doesn't mention any formal medical training or experience, is going to teach her faculty and staff first aid until they get a nurse on board. Well, I feel so much better now, don't you?

I seriously couldn't believe that was her response. Thats the proactive steps she plans on taking to make the medical situation there better? Please tell me this is all a joke and Ashton Kutcher is going hop out of the bushes with a film crew and tell us we've been Punk'd...

I'll bet money she had the reporter email her the questions in advance too. Anyone wanna take me up on that one?

KINT was able to get an on-camera interview. The KINT piece also had an interview with a community member who mentioned her husband, Dr. Jesus Chavez of Bowie High School infamy, was in nursing school. Dr. Chavez, the wife, said that Dr. Chavez, the husband, nor any of her relatives were interested in the nursing position. There was also a point made about the position requiring a certain amount of experience to be hired as well.

And there's the rub. People have seen case after case of people from EPISD pop up in other school districts. Hell its a problem across the state of Texas where a bad administrator in one part of Texas ends up in another part of Texas. Its like whack-a-mole.

So of course the community is going to be suspicious. Especially since they've all seen Dr. Chavez, the husband, around Tornillo and the very long public thanks Dr. Chavez, the wife, gave Dr. Chavez the husband at the graduation ceremony at the end of last year.

I know, I was there.

Sure, the RN position requires a certain amount of experience, but of all hiring factors that is one of the easiest to overcome. Furthermore, and perhaps more relevant, is the fact that school districts, especially small ones, have a reputation for massaging job requirements out of necessity.

In fact, I'm now inspired. I'll do an open records request to see if any requirements like experience have been massaged, overlooked, modified, etc in order for someone to get hired.

If I can't find a single instance of that happening under Dr Chavez's tenure, I will issue a public apology, never blog again, and get Dr. Chavez's, the wife, not the husband's, name tattooed on my forehead.

Thats how confident I am that I know I'm going to find at least one (if not more) incident like that. Which means that the experience requirement is not really an obstacle.

Hell, I don't really have to look all that far when you think about it. If you refer back to Dr. Chavez's bio, you'll see her experience listed. From what I have been able to find out through some phone calls to EPISD, Dr. Mesa-Chavez doesn't appear to have any experience as an assistant superintendent prior to her selection as superintendent. Although Dr. Lorenzo Garcia did select her to serve as the Director of Secondary Personnel and Recruiting while they were both at EPISD along with Dr. Chavez the husband. But that was a directorship, not time as an assistant superintendent.

I'm not implying that she doesn't have the qualifications for the position, is incapable of serving as the superintendent, or lacks the educational background. I think she is good to go on all accounts. Except for the fact that I'll bet that the school board passed over other candidates that had assistant superintendent experience in favor of Dr. Mesa-Chavez. In fact I know they did. I  know that because the valley is a small place and administrators frequently apply at different school districts and like I said earlier, I've been doing this a long time.

The reality is that its hard for the outlying school districts to attract good talent. Its competitive out there. You have to offer perks to get people to come out. Hell, Ysleta used to give their superintendent a house to live in remember? (Search my blog, I wrote about that a few years ago too).

Its not an impossible situation to overcome and not an excuse to not fill the position.

The point is that its unacceptable that the district has gone so long without an RN. The fact that Tornillo is so far from a hospital underscores the necessity of having an RN on staff. If you're having problems getting someone to come all the way out to Tornillo to work, then there are common-sense solutions to that issue.

Pay a better wage to lure talent to your district. Offer perks like mileage or flexible work weak, or use of a district vehicle. You're telling me that this has been a problem for 10 years and no one has explored that option?

Not having an RN in the district is a colossal liability to the board and tax payers. They have no leg to stand on if God-forbid, something really bad happens to a student, parent, or faculty member, and the district gets sued.

Dr. Chavez and the Board have an obligation to protect the children under their care. They have an obligation to protect the financial interests of the tax payers of Tornillo ISD.

Parents trust that their kids are safe when they send them to school. The superintendent should make finding a school nurse for the district her top priority.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

American Flag in Canutillo

I'm just gonna rip the band-aide off.

Screw the Home Owners Association. 

Paint Reyes school as red, white, and blue as you possibly can. I have my issues with the former congressman but thats his community and he is a Vietnam veteran and a patriot.

In fact, Canutillo should man the hell up and make it a theme at the whole school. We need to stop bowing down to HOA's. Its ridiculous.

And before you crazies out there start talking about smart code, thats not the issue. Canutillo is unincorporated to begin with, but this is about an HOA gone wild. 

We aren't talking about an offensive image, we aren't talking even about a religious image being shoved down someone's throat. We are talking about the American flag. The same flag the kids whos parents run the HOA pledge allegiance to every weekday morning. 

Canutillo ISD better show some freaking backbone and not back down on this one. Its a public display of the American flag in a community that has a strong tradition of service. I hope every veteran's organization in the county shows up to support Canutillo ISD on this one. 

So Dan Longoria is in...

Word on the westside is that Dan Longoria, the Mattress Firm guy, is definitely going to be a candidate for city council in District 1.

Even with the domestic violence thing still out there he is apparently still going to run. He's loaded so I guess his assumption is that a ton of money will over shadow the other thing.

He may be right. I'm also told he's going to be a Forma candidate. So I'd expect them to roll out the wife and have her go to bat for him and talk about how everything was a big misunderstanding and that there's no problems in their marriage.

If thats the case, good for her and good for them. Family stuff is none of our business.

The question is, will voters buy it?

Put your money on "no'.

That race is gonna get rough. Forma likes to play rough, so they'll go on the attack. The other candidates are going to have to respond in kind.

Who loses? The family unfortunately.

And if a female candidate gets in the race, its really going to change the dynamic.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Former Diaz Campaign Manager is Mexican Congressional Candidate

Julio Diaz's former campaign manager is now a candidate for the Mexican Congress.

Alma Lopez-Molinar has been active in Mexican politics and with the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) for quite some time now. She is currently a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District of Chihuahua. 

The PAN is the Mexican equivalent of the Republican Party with a strong emphasis on Christian Conservatism as you can see echoes of the Party line in her Twitter account. 

No indication as whether she will return to American politics if her congressional bid is unsuccessful. 

Lopez-Molinar is currently seeking her party's nomination as the candidate for congress. It's similar to our primary election.

YISD - Good Intentions, Bad Execution

I know I seem to be on a rant about school boards lately and I certainly don't want this blog to become a blog about school boards. Politics is my thing and I'll keep it there. But school boards in town have a lot of horror stories going on and since they are the biggest part of the tax bill, well someone needs to keep an eye on them.

Ysleta ISD had an agenda item last week that was very well intentioned. They decided that instead of throwing out food, to give it away to the needy. Why waste it if its already paid for right?

I think we can all agree that is a good idea.

The only problem I have with the idea is the fact that I think the food should go to students in the district first. Arlinda Valencia, who heads the Ysleta Teachers' Association actually summed it up best. There are students in the elementary level that get a cheese sandwich for lunch if they don't bring their lunch money or if their families don't have money to pay the bill.

High school students in the same predicament frequently just go without.

Teachers have asked for the non-perishable left-overs to be stored in their classrooms so that they can give their students in tutoring a snack. Why that specific policy is not reversed right now is beyond me. We are tax payers, we pay for that food. There is no legitimate reason that excess non-parishables are not kept for kids in tutoring. Any parent with a kid knows that when a kid comes home from school, they first thing they do after tossing their backpack in the middle of the floor instead of putting it away, is head to the 'fridge.

From a policy perspective, that makes much more sense. Take care of our own first, and if there is any left after that, then give it away.

Congressman O'Rourke's Townhall

The Congressman's town hall has be moved due to circumstances beyond their control.

My guess is Bill Belicheat and Tom Shady had something to do with it.

Here are the new details:

Congressman Beto O'Rourke Town Hall Meeting
*Thursday, January 29, 2015*

General Town Hall
El Paso Community Foundation Room
333 North Oregon Street, El Paso, TX 79901
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Screwed in Tornillo Part 1

Tornillo ISD is the school district furthest away from a hospital in El Paso County. Tornillo ISD has gone without a school nurse the entire school year.

A Tornillo community member alleges the reason why is that the position is being held open for a particular individual to finish the nursing program at UTEP. The community member indicates that the individual in question is the spouse of the Tornillo ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Mesa-Chavez.

Her spouse is Dr. Jesus Chavez. If you recall, Dr. Chavez was the principal at Bowie High School during the now-famous cheating scandal at EPISD. Here's an article from the El Paso Times that should refresh your memory about Dr. Chavez.

According to this document, the Texas Education Agency filed a petition with the courts to revoke his teaching credentials.

The matter has not yet been resolved in fairness to Dr. Chavez.

I questioned the veracity of the claim because I assumed there are nepotism rules in place that would prevent such a hire. But I wanted to first see if Dr. Chavez was even in nursing school in the first place. I called Dr. Jesus Chavez to confirm if the allegations from the community member were true. Specifically I asked him if he was enrolled in the Nursing Program at UTEP.

"Uh, why is that important, or what?", responded Chavez. I explained that I was following up on a tip from a community member in Tornillo, to which he replied, "Uh, its just uh, I'm just not open to answering any questions. You can call my attorney if you want."

Dr. Chavez then hung up on me before giving me the name of his attorney.

Aside from the issue of who the nurse would be, lets discuss just how bad of a situation it is to not have a school nurse.

A common occurrence in schools, especially elementary schools, is an outbreak of lice. There are protocols to follow that the nurse has to implement to contain the spread.

An RN is also necessary because you need someone who can actually dispense medication.

Have a student who takes ADD medication to help focus in class? Sorry, no one to administer the medication.

Getting over an ear infection and have to take antibiotics a couple times a day? Sorry, can't do that either.

In an economically distressed community like Tornillo, the school nurse is often the extent of any medical coverage they receive.

I checked with an official with Life Ambulance who has the contract to provide ambulance service for El Paso County. They indicate that the response time is around 15 minutes to Tornillo from the time they receive a call.

The closest facility for medical care to Tornillo, Texas is located in Fabens, Texas. But that is just a UMC clinic. The closest hospital to Tornillo is Del Sol Medical Center and Sierra Providence East. Both facilities are about 30 miles away. That is a 1/2 hour drive without traffic, after the 15 minute response time. So in the case of an emergency, its likely to be about 45 minutes before the individual even arrives at a hospital.

It not only makes good sense from a policy perspective to always have an RN on staff, but its actually a requirement under the Texas Administrative Code [Title 19, Part 2, Chapter 153, Subchapter CC (a)(D)]. I won't bore you with the entirety of the language but you can look it up with the link I just provided, but essentially it says the district has to have an RN on staff who license is in good standing in the State of Texas.

The district currently has one Certified Nursing Assistant performing the functions of an RN position. The CNA covers all four schools in the district. The district currently has 1,276 students and 192 employees. The last school nurse left the district in June of 2014.

There is no contact information for any of the board members on the Tornillo ISD website so I was unable to reach them for comment at the time of this post as to why the position has remained vacant.

I submitted an open records request to find out how many applicants have applied for the position since last June and will provide an update when that information is provided by the district. This screen shot shows the opening but appears to have only been open since December 18, 2014. The annual salary range for the position is $52,664.00 - $70,983.12. There is no information available as to why the position was only opened in December 2014 if they have been without a school nurse since June 2014.

(NOTE: For the bilingually impaired, "tornillo" means screw in Spanish. Thus the title of this piece.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

City Council Rumor Mill

So there have been few candidates that have actually filed for the upcoming city council races so far, which is a huge mistake on their part.

I'm gonna assume that everyone on council wants to keep their job and will be running for reelection. 

Since no one has actually started a serious campaign other than the one person who has filed, there are a lot of rumors floating around about people who might be running.

Three names keep popping up. I've made attempts to confirm with them but was unable to reach any of them.  

In the valley the name that keeps coming up is Dr. Anna Perez. She'd be taking on Rep Claudia Ordaz who won last spring in a special election. Perez was formerly the interim Superintendent of YISD.

Rosa Arrellano is rumored to be considering a run for city council against Dr. Noe who represents the eastside on council. She runs the non-profit organization Dame La Mano.

Julio Diaz has hinted on social media that he may be a candidate for another office. He lives in district 1 on the westside and that is an open seat, so that may be a race Diaz is interested in pursuing. He recently ran for commissioners court in the area, so he's already walked the turf and voters already know him. That's a plus for him.

Speaking of district 1, Dan Longoria is also rumored to be a candidate. He owns the mattress firms in El Paso. When you google his name an arrest for domestics violence a few months ago is mentioned in an El Paso Times piece but the story is no longer available on the news site so there is no indication if charges were filed or if the case is still pending. The media will likely report the details once he becomes a candidate so you'll have more details then.

I imagine activist Rick Schector will also run but no one is really talking about him as an actual candidate yet.

EPISD Imperial Board of Managers

School closures is one of the main topics going on with the freak show that is EPISD.

No one is going to want their favorite school closed, but as one of my homies is fond of saying, you gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelet.

I'm not going to delve into the school closures, but I do have two things I take issue with. Since I cover a lot of local government, I see a lot of public comment. People that serve on boards have a tool at their disposal to stifle public comment.

That should infuriate you as a member of the public. Boards are supposed to be responsive to the individuals that elected them. Unless you're a board that wasn't elected, so you basically can tell everyone to go fornicate themselves.

I will tell you this and its the straight-up truth. We should all be suspect of any group that screws with public comment unless they are making public comment longer or making a minor change to accommodate a large group of speakers.

EPISD's new Board of Imperial Managers has all but dissolved the Old Republic if you get my Star Wars metaphor. Public comment is now at the end of meetings. So they completely gotten rid of even the appearance that they give a damn what the public thinks. After action has been taken on their agenda items, then they allow the public, who ever has decided to stick around that long, to give public comment. should be asking why. Members of the Imperial Board, you should stop acting like you really give a damn about the community you're supposed to be serving.

I'll be I know why public comment was moved, which leads to the other thing I take issue with. EPISD has one of the biggest health care contracts in town. HUGE potential for profit for anyone in the insurance business.

EPISD Imperial Board of Managers is headed by Darth Margo...oops, I mean Dee Margo. Anyone remember what kind of business he's in?

Three guesses, but you'll only need one...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Demonstrating Gandara Politics

So little Jesse Gandara has been belly aching around Socorro and on his anonymous Facebook page everyone knows he runs, about how much he, and I assume the rest of G-Unit, hates the term Gandara politics.

So I thought I'd give an actual demonstration of what Gandara politics looks like and why it was so easy for the voters to kick him out.

First some background. I spoke to little Jesse after the debate in Socorro featuring all the candidates for Precinct 3 Comissioner's race a while back. I asked him who he was supporting and he wouldn't tell me but he did express to me his displeasure with then-candidate Vince Perez's coining of the phrase Gandara politics.

So I'll tell you what he told me. Since I recorded the conversation, I can tell you verbatim what he said. I guess little Jesse never really figured out how many people record conversations with him for their own protection. Well, he knows now for sure, lol.

"It sorta pisses me off. I mean he's painting my family with a broad brush. We all aren't corrupt like my uncle or my cousin."

Ironic and funny at the same time.

Remember a while back when I wrote about the forensic audit done by the City of Socorro? As I previously wrote, there was mention of the Public Works Director raising the issue of public dollar construction happening beyond the city's right-of-way. The audit says that when the Director raised the issue he was called by little Jesse and told that he wasn't to be involved in the project anymore.

Which is strange when you consider its the Public Works Director's job to oversee public works.

That's a big deal because municipalities are not allowed to use public dollars to improve private land. The forensic audit specifically mentions the residence of little Jesse Gandara having more concrete driveway construction than was intended for the public as part of the project.

So I was in Socorro the other day and happened to be driving near little Jesse's house. This is a perfect example of what Gandara politics means and why people area tired of it.

This picture is of little Jesse's house. You may recognize it from the news coverage of the raids by law enforcement on his property to collect evidence.

The red line shows the approximate right-of-way of the city. Public dollars cannot be expended beyond the city right-of-way. The red arrow points to a concrete slab that was allegedly installed using public dollars on his private residence.

That is a physical manifestation of Gandara politics.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Last Night's Socorro City Council Meeting

Last night's city council meeting was as fun as they normally are.

It was the first meeting that included Anthony Gandara, Socorro's newest member of council. His first agenda item and major policy push? The re-introduction of Mauro Rosas Park. Under the previous Gandara regime the council ear marked almost $2 million for the park. Even on the eve of being kicked out of office the previous regime was trying to push through some expenditures that a recent forensic audit called into question.

The new Representative Gandara used the same rhetoric to try to sell people on the park that the old Representative Gandara used, right down to sayings how people would "be able to see the rings of Saturn" and how the park will make people in Socorro smarter.

Essentially the agenda item the newest member of G-Unit was pushing would've been one giant do-over. After the old Gandara regime was vanquished, the clean council went in and reprogrammed a large portion of the money that was going to go to the park and directed it toward other projects.

Last December the current council went in and allocated $300,000 toward the park. But apparently that wasn't enough for Gandara. He was trying to bring up the funding back to the level allocated by his cousin Little Jesse.

Earlier in the meeting that city council had allocated some funding for street paving. Mayor Jesus Ruiz explained to Anthony Gandara that 180 streets in Socorro could be paved with the amount of money the Gandaras were wanting for the park.

And let's be clear about just where this park is located. It's not like this is a park off of Dindinger in an underserved part of Socorro. The park is next to a newer subdivision. Oh you remember the subdivision, it's the one that the Jesse Gandara council named all the streets after themselves. Interestingly enough, little Jesse had the longest street in the subdivision named after himself.

The park project at the more conservative funding amount would already be started if it weren't for the fact that the previous contractor that was selected for the project, who is allegedly a good buddy of little Jesse, closed its doors. He allegedly wasn't receiving as much work now that little Jesse was kicked out by the voters.

Once the agenda item was read, Representative Rene Rodriguez made a motion to deny the item. It was seconded and after discussion the item was voted down. Only Anthony Gandara voted in favor of the item.

Rodriguez explained that the commitment to the community was to focus on infrastructure first and then work on quality-of-life further down the road. "We owe it to our constituents to do the right thing and keep the money in infrastructure projects".

Representative Victor Perez explained to Gandara that focusing on a park when Socorro has so many infrastructures needs is like having a house that's falling apart and then buying a pool.

I was sorta expecting to see little Jesse at the meeting but he was not in attendance. His buddy Refugio "Fugi" Orta was there for a little while. But left a few minutes after I arrived so I didn't get a chance to ask him about Jesse or say hello.

The thing I was wondering the whole time was what was the urgency of having a budget amendment for a park? I mean I really enjoy the investment the city made in Bulldog Championship Park. My daughter loves that park and we go regularly, especially in the summer. But why couldn't this conversation take place during the budget session? What was so pressing that it had to be dealt with now?

So I asked Mayor Ruiz after the meeting.

Football Pools

I'll be brief with this one. While we are all for law and order, surely there is a better use of the sheriff's office resources than taking down the societal "scourge" of football squares.

I don't know too many people that don't participate in a little Super Bowl $unday fun. 

You can probably start in law enforcement offices, the county, the city, and every school district in town.

Good luck with that.

You're going to have to go after a big part of this town if you do so. If not, let's just be honest and say it's a witch hunt after certain people.

It'll be really interesting for all the folks that live out in unincorporated parts of the county. Those resources would really be appreciated in patrols out there. 

But hey, I guess $uper Bowl $quares investigations are a higher priority for the community...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

City of Socorro Fails to Comply With Open Records Request.

I made an Open Records Request with Sandra Hernandez of the City of Socorro.

She is the City Clerk. I made two requests. One requesting the video surveillance of the administration building. Since the public funds that system, I didn't think it was out of line to request the footage. I was looking for it because I saw Jesse Gandara go into the building with his cousin and I wanted everyone to see that they are aligned with one another.

I also made a request for the policy regarding signing in to the building. Gandrara just walks in like he owns the place. We the common folk, have to sign in. I wanted to see what the city's policy had to say about that.

The City has UP TO 10 days to respond to the request. It's been more than 10 days and I have received no answer from the City. Not even a denial of the request.

I called the office two days ago to see what the status of my request was and I still haven't received an answer.

Socorro needs to tighten up the screws... The public should not have to face difficulties in making requests.

What is Art Fierro Running For?

I've noticed Art Fierro (El Paso Community College Board) at a few events lately and it got me to thinking that he might be considering a run for another office.

He was poised to run for State Rep for HD75 a few years back and even had an announcement event. But redistricting put him in a different district and so he ended up not running.

Then I thought he might be gearing up for a run for city council. He lives in Lily Limon's district so unless there's a recall that race seems a bit far off. I wouldn't rule it out, but I think I figured out what he might be interested in.

Since he's been all over the place lately, both in and out of the city limits (mostly the valley), I'm guessing he's gonna run for something countywide.

Probably something like Tax Assesor Collector. Word on the street is Victor Flores won't be running again and may be looking to retire. If that's the case, it'll be an open seat. So maybe that's what he's thinking about.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Socorro Forensic Audit Point to Gandara Actions

I'm a little late to the party on this one because I had forgotten about it until I saw something the other day on Facebook and I decided to check it out.

Back when Jesse Gandara and the rest of G-Unit were kicked out of office by the voters, there were a lot of rumors floating around about alleged wrong-doing. One of the first acts of the new city council was to implement a forensic audit.

What I find most remarkable about the audit is that they mention on more than one occassion that the scope of the investigation is limited to things that are (were at the time and may still be) under investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

The results of the forensic audit are posted on the city's website. There were some interesting findings regarding the now famous drive-way project along with some other findings. One of the allegations leveraged against Jesse Gandara was that the driveways were only for registered voters. Jesse flat-out told me that, but he has since denied it publicly. At any rate, it turns out the forensic audit turned up a couple of things.

The audit says that not only was the idea that Gandara was pushing for the project for political favor but that Gandara indicated that all citizens were on the list to receive a driveway. The audit showed that 89% of the driveways went to registered voters. Oopsie...

But of course, there is more. Another issues raised in the audit was whether driveways were being constructed on the city right-of-way. That is important because public dollars can not be used to improve private property. That is a big time no-no.

For those of you who live in the valley and see the pump trucks come and pump water out of the roads after a big flood, but wonder why they don't pump out water from vacant lots or private homes, that is the reason.

The audit says that the Public Works Director for the City of Socorro Sam Leony never received a request from the contractor for the right-of-way limits and therefore inspected one of the driveways to ensure that the driveways weren't unlawfully being built with public dollars on private land. While he was taking pictures of the alleged violation, the audit says Jesse Gandara got wind of it and called Leony to ask him what he was doing. According to the audit Gandara then instructed Leony to stop taking pictures and to not have anything more to do with the project.

Thats right, Gandara didn't want the city's public works director to be involved with a public works project.

Leony went to his boss about the issue, Manny Soto who has the city manager at the time, and informed him of what Gandara had instructed. The audit indicates that Soto also instructed Leony to not have anything to do with the project. This call all be found in the first paragraph of page 6 of the audit.

The audit also indicated that close Gandara allies Refugio "Fugi" Orta, Jose Alvarez, and Jesse himself received oversize driveways that "exceeded the city's street right-of-way".

Sadly, that is just one of the issues that was outlined in the audit. There's more....

Friday, January 9, 2015

What is Next for Forma Group?

Things have been a little rough for my friends over at Forma Group lately and it got me to thinking about what is next for them.

Things haven't been going so well for them over the last few election cycles and then they have been starting to get pushed aside from campaigns that normally would've been theirs.

That's a big problem for them because how it works for them is they are gate keepers to some big money people. You get the big money donations, but Forma has to get some of the business whether its consulting fees, web design, mail program, etc.

Others have done a great job of giving candidates another option. Now the varsity team just gives Forma busy work to keep them on the bench but they aren't getting the big dollar stuff they used to. Dee Margo is gone, so there's no big fat dollar-rich race to work with there.

Naomi Gonzalez lost and she ended up placing third in a group of three. But it didn't surprise me, when I was block walking in the valley I saw Naomi lit on doors with the wrong polling location information on it. Tisk, Tisk, major mistake.

They lost Steve Ortega's race. I'm sure there were a million things that went wrong there but I'll bet people that live in Socorro were wondering why they had mail in their mail box for an El Paso race. Sounds like someone's mail universe wasn't too tight.

Perhaps the saddest depth of their woes lately has been losing a municipal race to Lily Limon. I'm mean seriously, how they hell could they lose that one? Well, maybe it was that ridiculous Top Gun logo. Maybe people expected Tom Cruise in a flight suit instead of Tania Chozet in platforms to come knocking on the door. Or maybe it was GOTV mail that landed at my friend's house after the race was over.

At any rate, they've been on the down swing as of late. To say nothing of the fact that they got elbowed out of the judge's race, which they probably would've made a ton of money on or the Stout race which was even funnier. They wouldn't give the vato the time of day from what I'm told and once he was in a run-off, thats when they came a-callin'.

So what is next for them since they've lost a major account to people that are able to work off of a kitchen table or a garage, lost two big state lege seats, lost a mayoral race, and lost a winnable city council race?

I guess poach judicial candidates. They usually don't know any better. They usually haven't run for office before, they usually haven't analyzed mail before, they usually have money they can spend, and hell, they usually don't know any better. How would they know if any political consultant showed them a piece of mail that was basically like several other pieces of mail with just images and text swapped out here and there?

And since there are always a crop of them running, it seems that would be a safe source of revenue.

Or they could work for Dan Longoria when he decides to run for city council. That race is coming up.

At any rate, they need some wins because things have been looking gloomy for them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fabens ISD Fun Fact

Hey since we're talking about Fabens ISD, I was really upset about missing a little tidbit a while back. I didn't catch it until I was trying to reach Fabens ISD Board President Orlando Flores for comment about the post from earlier today.

I came across this person on their website.

I knew the name and face were familiar but I couldn't quite put it together. A friend actually put it together for me.

She is the same lady that was in an article in El Paso Times earlier this year about a lawsuit filed against Justice of the Peace Enedina "Nina" Serna in which the former JP Rosalie Dominguez is alleging voter fraud. That case is still pending and Dominguez allegation is just that, an allegation and there's been no finding of fact as of yet.

Essentially the lawsuit is asking a judge to throw out the election results, order a new election, and award Dominguez $400k in damages.

Ms. Alvillar, a sitting member of the Fabens ISD, is alleged to have been a major player in the alleged plot.

Again, it is just an allegation at this point and it is a civil lawsuit. There have been no criminal charges filed nor alleged.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

She said the mail out ballots in her district increased from 24 in the March election to more than 70 in the runoff, but only in certain areas like Fabens, Socorro and Tornillo. Roy Davis, the lead investigator, said even though he could not confirm that dead people voted in the election, he was able to uncover that the applications and the mailed in ballots were mishandled.

Davis said it took eight investigators, including himself, five weeks to complete the investigation.

He said Dominguez waited until the completion of the investigation to file suit. Investigators interviewed 40 people, of whom 35 provided sworn statements, Davis said. The statements are attached to the lawsuit.

"During the 2014 Election, I voted in person for the primary election. For the runoff, Mr. Quintanilla and Aurora who works for the school brought me all the paperwork for absentee voting. They took the paperwork, including my ballot, with them. Mr. Quintanilla filled out all the paperwork and I just signed it," states one of the sworn statements.

"These were actual voters who were willing to step forward and be truthful about the process that occurred during the election period," Davis said.

Dominguez said investigators did not find enough information to link Lujan to the alleged ballot fraud, but he had to be included in the suit because after he found out about investigators interviewing voters, he started to threaten people who were giving statements.

Davis said complaints have been filed with the Texas Secretary of State and the Attorney General's Office. Officials with the Texas secretary of state and the Attorney General's Office were not able to confirm if they have received the complaints.

Correcting the Blog About My Blog (Again)

As I said, correcting Maxi Pad can be freaking exhausting and well, I must do so again. Il Douche wrote a piece about my piece about Forma Group pushing the idea of Moody for DA because they want their client Dee Margo to have some office to fill.

While I'm at it, I'll also answer some feedback from some other folks about Margo as well.

But first, lets deal with Il Douche, Maxi Pad. Its unclear exactly where Maxi Pad thinks I was wrong but it looks like he takes issue with the fact that I said all it takes is a female candidate not named Theresa Caballero to beat Esparza. Even Il Douche agrees with that.

I guess where he's saying he's correcting me is creating a list of female electeds and saying none of them can beat Esparza because they aren't attorneys.

Well no shit. I didn't think I had to actually say attorney because you have to be one to be DA anyway. Interestingly he mentioned two people in his list that are actually attorneys, Forma Group clients Naomi Gonzalez and Tania Chozet.

Ooops. But hey, we both agree neither of them have a shot. Lets be real, if Forma couldn't get Chozet elected of Limon there's no way she's viable for anything else.

Then he comes up with some stupid idea that I have Judge Anna Perez in mind to run. No freakin' clue where he came up with that idea. He's the one coming up with fantasy candidates against Esparza, not me. But since he mentions it, why in the hell would a judge step down from the bench and become DA. Seriously, do you think before you say some of the shit you say?

Maxi goes on to imply that women are afraid to be DA's because "you are basically a cop sans a gun". Let me correct Maxi Pad yet again. DA's and assistant DA's for that matter, can pack heat if they so choose.

So back to my original point, Moody has nothing to gain from running against someone who's actually hired him a couple of times.


Now for the feedback I received on Margo from some friends and other readers of the LSB.

No, Dee Margo is probably not going to run for Mayor. Why would run citywide when he's obviously not viable? He's too well-known as a Republican and while the electorate in municipal elections is arguably slightly more conservative, he's still toast. Leeser is running for re-election and even if he wasn't, Margo just isn't viable outside of the westside.

No Dee Margo is not ramping up another senate bid. He was beaten once by Shapleigh for the seat already. And while he had a better than expected showing, he was still beaten soundly. The idea that he'd do any better against Senator Rodriguez is just silly.

Lets face it, there are only three places Margo can run. City council on the westside, state rep on the westside, or county commissioner on the westside.

Thats it.

Frankly Andrew Haggerty is the one that needs to be looking over his shoulder.

Fabens & Fabens ISD

Fabens ISD Board President Orlando Flores is facing criticism from members of the community of Fabens for a range of issues dealing with funding and possibly even football.

Residents in the close-knit unincorporated community have alleged that several coaches were let go from their positions in a dust-up that was at-least partially related to Flores' son's playing time on the football field.

Flores supporters say that the Board President held firm against expenditures wanted by the coaches and allege that the coaches took it out on the young student-athlete.

There are many that are afraid to come forward because of fear of retribution. Fabens is a small place, many people are related to one another, so I'm sensitive to that. I'll give you as much as the details as I can track down.

Here's what I'm able to track down so far.

In early December (last month) seven coaches were sent a non-renewal letter for next year. In other words, they were fired. Other coaches were given this letter pertaining to those that currently have coaching positions with Fabens High.

When several of the coaches attempted to inquire with administration as to why they received the letters and all the changes, they were allegedly given no explanation.

At any rate, something happened to make the district make such a big change in coaching so abruptly.

Don't get me wrong, coaches getting fired his hardly noteworthy. Seven coaches at once and several others shuffled around in a district the size of Fabens IS noteworthy.

Sources in Fabens also indicate that the coaches that were let go were all connected to the football program and allege they've had issues with Mr. Flores.

I atte,Peter to reach Mr. Flores for comment via phone at the district office and his residence. I also sent hi, an email. He has not replied.

There are other issues the community has expressed concern about, more to come.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What's Next for Dee Margo?

I've been wondering what is next for Forma Group's second most famous client, Dee Margo. His term as being the Over Lord at the entity formally known as EPISD is coming to a close, allegedly.

So after closing a bunch of schools, whats next for Margo?

Well he could always run for city council but that seems beneath him. Plus, it would depend on the field, although he'd be very difficult to beat.

Anything countywide is out of the question. He'd get thumped.

The only option for him is state representative. But lets be honest, thats not going to happen as long as Joe Moody is still around. So what is the solution?

How do you get Moody to WANT to leave his current state house seat? The answer is simple, dangle something else in front of him.

That is why the idea of Moody running for District Attorney is being floated around. Why fight a fight you can't win if you can get your enemy to vacate the field and you can move right in.?

They'd much rather have Moody go for that office and leave the HD 78 seat open for Margo. I'm not sure if they have played this movie out to the end yet, but why in the hell would Moody even leave the legislature now?

The DA seat isn't up now and what is in it for Moody to go after Esparza?

Sure, Esparza is more politically vulnerable now than he has ever been in his political career. He went from the heir-apparent to Silvestre Reyes' congressional seat to praying he doesn't get an opponent. All it takes is a female Hispanic candidate not named Theresa Cabellero to run against him and he's toast. Why would Moody bother getting mixed up in that bloody mess?

Time is on Moody's side. He's still very young. He's better off letting Esparza ride off to pasture and then going after the job if its even something he's considering.

The problem with their logic is the fact that the election math is only right during gubernatorial years and every year that passes that districts get browner and more Democratic. They are now four years away from another showdown where the math works.

Good luck with that...

Quick Hits - The City

I'm gonna cover a few things here all in one piece. Let me start by saying that watching city council meetings is still as tortuous as I remember. Its almost as bad as watching judicial candidates debate each one another. Almost.

Seriously, I hope every newsroom in town kicks in a few more bucks to their beat reports that have the misfortune of having to cover city council meetings.

Okay lets get started -

Mayor Leeser

Trust me, the vato is running for re-election. Why the hell we are even talking about it is a function of the fact that he is already running around making sure he doesn't have opposition. Sources in city hall indicate that he's already had or planning a fundraiser and has let various members of council know about it.

Remember that the dynamic on this city council is weird to say the least and the political fulcrum of power on council does not reside with Leeser.

Carl Robinson

Half the time he's comic relief in his confusion, the other half of the time its just annoying. I swear someone should start a twitter feed of just stupid stuff the guy says. I'll say this, since Sergio Lewis is no longer in office Robinson has been promoted to the top spot in terms of elected officials that waste the most amount of time on a board or commission.

Homeless Shelter

Since I'm the only blogger other than DK that doesn't actually get paid to post shitty items I'll kick it to you straight. The homeless shelter item was one of the few times that you actually see a scenario were everybody wins. Homelessness is a problem and without people like the Rescue Mission performing a very necessary function, we'd be blowing huge wads of tax-payer cash dealing with a range of issues that come with the homeless. Everyone played nice with each other and Dr. Noe offered a friendly amendment to put the property up for sale asap so that taxpayers can maximize the cash they'll get. For a city council that can take all day to figure what they want to order at Starbucks, they actually got through this one pretty painlessly.

Constituent Issue

I usually only talk back to a screen when I'm watching wrestling (screw you elitists, I like wrestling y que?) and when I'm watching my Redskins play. Yesterday's council meeting had me screaming at my iPad because I was so frustrated. I'll say what no one else will say publicly. Sometimes constituents don't know whats good for themselves. Not because they are stupid, but because they don't have all the information available to them or don't understand the policy implications of a given vote.

I blame, at least partially, Carlos Gallinar. I like Carlos, really smart vato. But he confused everyone on planet earth with his explanation of two policy choices relating to zoning. Its not his fault, as one of my homies put it to me yesterday, planners and engineers don't have people skills. Sometimes you have to be aware of your audience and a school-boy explanation goes directly over the head of everyone in earshot.

Go back and watch the video of the constituents and council. It was like watching Who's on First.

Representative Acosta did the best job of breaking it down to Barney level. But the constituents were confused by all the other stuff and didn't know what recommendation to follow.

Thats were I wish Acosta would've just pulled the trigger and advocated for the constituents best interests, especially in light of their confusion. The flaw in the Eddie Holguin-JOP school of thought is that sometimes the constituents don't know what they want, don't know whats best for them, or don't understand. Thats why they elect someone, so that they will do it for them.

I get it, its easy to put in the position of "well I can't go against what my constituents want". Yes you can. No constituent ever wants their taxes raised, but that happens all the time. Constituents will be more forgiving if you take a vote because you feel its the right thing to do then take a vote you know is wrong, but are doing it because they are asking for it. Maya would eat candy all day if I let her, sometimes you have to say no and do whats best for them even if they don't think it is at the time.

Let me be clear, Acosta was in a bad position because this entire situation is a big cluster fudge. The CPC voted 7-1 against the proposed ordinance. Staff recommended passage of the ordinance. That almost never happens.

Oh, if you're wondering what ended up happening...nothing. It was tabled until next week to give the constituents time to get more confused.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

More on G-Unit

So last week when I stopped by Socorro admin building and I saw Jesse Gandara strutting around with his cousin and newly elected City Rep Anthony Gandara, it was also the day of the swearing-in.

You would've thought Jesse Gandara and his crowd just won March Madness. He attended the swearing in, as did another Gandara acolyte, Refugio "Fugi" Orta. They have kept a pretty low profile
around Socorro since they were arrested so some were surprised when they showed up to the swearing in. Yet another ominous sign for Anthony Gandara.

A friend of mine said she overheard Orta tease another city rep saying, "I thought you said the Gandaras would never get elected again".

The reality is that the election didn't change the math on the Socorro city council so there was no organized opposition to the Gandaras. Jesse probably hasn't put that together yet. But think about it, that seat has been a Gandara seat for a long time. Jesse should've won re-election in a cake walk. He's younger, has more name ID, thinks he's smarter, etc. But nope, he got a beat down from a man in his 80's with an anglo last name. That happened because of one of two reasons. Either Bowling was super organized, or Jesse was just that reviled. Probably a combination of the two.

So not sure why G-Unit is celebrating.

But the fear everyone now has is if Anthony Gandara is going to be the second coming of Jesse.

If Jesse is going to be an influence he will have the good sense to keep his distance. I wouldn't expect to see him show up to city council meetings and such.

Oh well, hopefully I'll run into him at a city council meeting or something. I have lots to ask to Jesse about...

Monday, January 5, 2015

Tiguas Elect New Governor

The Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo elected a new governor on New Years Eve. In a ceremony that is held in the Tusla located in the Ysleta area the voting members of the tribe gathered for the annual vote for tribal leadership.

Voting members of the pueblo consist of men only, an issue that became somewhat of an obstacle the last time there was a legitimate chance at passing a gaming bill. The term for most of the offices is one year.

Sources within the pueblo indicate that former governor Frank Paiz basically stepped down and chose not to run for reelection.

The pueblo then selected Carlos Hisa as the new governor. He was formerly the long-time Lieutenant Governor of the tribe. Hisa has been the steady hand behind the tribe for many years so representing and serving his people is not something new for him.

While the pueblo has generally been pretty isolated in years past, Governor Hisa has been active in the local political scene for many years and has been the most visible member of the tribe. Governor Hisa's first event was a dinner thrown by Representative Gonzalez earlier this evening that was held on the reservation.

Representative Gonzalez's district office is located on the Tigua Pueblo.

With the selection of Governor Hisa I'd expect to see the tribe to continue to engage more freely with local entities. Hisa has the right mix of youth, experience and political acumen to be an effective leader for the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.

The Pueblo Governor is the administrative leader of the tribe for most governmental activities. The spiritual and traditional leader, and really the ultimate authority of the tribe, is the Cacique. The Cacique is selected among the tribal elders and serves for life. Other traditional offices include the War Captain and Aguacíl.

Jesse Gandara's Little Hobby?

The Gandara family is the most well known family name in valley politics over the last twenty years. Mostly because so many of them have served in various public positions. But lets just be honest, they are also well known for the fact that one, two, three, four have been indicted or did time for offenses ranging from being on the take to drug trafficking.

Perhaps the most reviled, at least from what I can tell, of the Gandaras is Jesse Gandara, Jr. He apparently has been keeping himself busy, according to many in Socorro, by running a little facebook page while he is awaiting trial on the corruption charges he's facing. 

I have another background piece I'm going to do on Jesse soon so that you have all the background, but for now, lets start off with a family tree. I've done this before but I know not everyone keeps up with these things.

So there are four main Gandara's that everyone knows and since I've dealt with almost everyone on a personal level, I'll give you my own opinion of each of them. The patriarchs are Willie Sr and Jesse Sr. Well Guillermo and Jesus to be exact, but the Gandara's a big on nicknames. Willie Sr. and Jesse Sr. are brothers and they are brothers that mostly don't get alone. Their sons were their proteges, you guessed it Willie Jr. and Jesse Jr.

The other two Gandaras are less known and they are Gary Gandara and Anthony. Gary is perhaps the most politically savvy of the bunch. To be honest, I like the guy. Even after a couple of rough campaigns he's always the first to come over and shake hands. He's a guy I'd have a beer with sometime. He's a board member of SISD, as was his father, but for the most part keeps his head down and is basically non-controversial. He's loyal to his dad and brother. Say what you will about Papa Willie and Junior, but the loyalty Gary shows is what family is all about. Anthony is younger and honestly I forget who his dad is. He took on Willie Sr. for Mayor a few years back but Mayor Gandara found a way to throw him off the ballot. That used to be a pretty common tactic in Socorro. I saw him the other day with Jesse at city hall, but I later saw him in the parking lot speaking with another member of council so I have no opinion of him one way or another yet. 

Willie Sr was mayor of Socorro and the only elected official in the county to actually be recalled (fun little trivia there). He was also a long-time member of the Socorro Independent School Board. Gregarious, proud, and broad-shouldered man. Thick handed and the type that slaps on your back and calls everyone "mijo" when he meets them. Frankly, its hard not to like him. 

Jesse Sr was superintendent for school districts in California and thats where he got busted. In meeting him you'd never think he was a school superintendent. He has none of his brother's people skills. In fact, from the minute you meet the vato you find yourself looking at the time and wondering how soon you can leave. 

Willie Jr, well you all know him. He was a county commissioner when he was busted for drugs. You know the story, he was "The Godfather" who was pushing a lot of weight between El Paso and Chicago all while maintaining the imaging of a pillar of the community. He was his own narcocorrido. On a personal level, he was always very nice for whatever thats worth. 

Jesse Jr is, and this is purely anecdotal, the most universally reviled member of the Gandara family in the valley. I mean seriously, people can't stand that guy. Jesse was a member of the Socorro city council but wielded far more power and influence across the city of Socorro than any of his relatives that were mayor ever did. He understood tactics in a way that the other Gandaras just didn't get. So as a result he was able to accomplish more and have a much bigger footprint than the other Gandaras. And his footprint was money. According to people in Socorro, Jesse never met a public dollar he didn't love to spend. While his constituents frequently skipped a daily cup of coffee to make ends meet for their modest homes, ol' Jesse was a regular at Starbucks on Zaragoza and it was almost always on the tax-payer dime. Jesse spent money on parks and improvements to Socorro that the people could see. He knew that constituents never actually get to visually take account of money not spent and they aren't every happy anyway. But if he could spend their money on projects they could see, they would at least get the idea that someone was doing something for them. Then along came a project for driveways. I'll tell you more about that one later...

So Jesse faces trial this month. Since he was charged in two separate incidents, I'll be honest and tell you that I'm not exactly sure what he's going to trial for this month, if the cases are being heard together, or if they are being heard separately. Ill go into those particulars in a later piece. 

But lets talk about how Jesse has been keeping himself busy. First, let me start off by telling you that of all the Gandaras, Jesse is the one I know the most about. Mostly because I've dealt with him the most and probably more so because I know him as an adversary and in politics you must know your adversary well. Jesse likes attention and likes to have his opinion expressed. Hell, all elected officials are like that no matter how humble they try to come across. Jesse's gift is the inside pitch. He loves to corner his prey off and get them alone and make a pitch. Frankly, he's pretty good at it most of the time. His favorite thing to do, aside from taking someone to Starbucks on the taxpayer's dollar (which by the way, he never actually tells the other person. The other person usually thinks Jesse is paying for it out of his own pocket), is taking them on drives. He loves to pack a person or two up in a vehicle and he along with a yes man will go on these little night tours of Socorro where he will showcase whatever it is he's trying to work into his pitch. Then he goes in for the kill. Its text book Zig Zigler sales tactics. Give a shit-ton of one-side information, deal with any obstacles, and get a commitment before they leave. He has always believed that communication is his biggest strength.

We will all soon see how it will be his downfall very soon.

But what does a guy with all of that do once the voters booted his ass out of office and while he's sitting around waiting for trial. Well he used to blog. 

Yes, thats right. Jesse Gandara used to run a blog that tried its best to look like an official city of Socorro site. Which was smart, until he started trying to get cute with video. He started using video to bully the opposition at meetings and set it all to music. Then he tried to do the same thing when he got in a public pissing match with Sheriff Richard Wiles over a couple of detectives. Also set to music.

He's probably been advised by his counsel to keep his pie hole shut, so thats why he isn't blogging. So what does he do next, well if you believe the word on the street in Socorro, he now runs a facebook page. The page only has 61 followers and if I gave the name of the page away it would double his audience (at least) and I'm not fond of doing his work for him. But I've monitored the page for close to a year. Its so obvious its Jesse that its almost painful to watch. 

But its also hilarious. Mostly because when people think they are anonymous they say things they really believe, but wouldn't say so in public. If thats the case, then it appears that Jesse isn't too fond of the gay community in my opinion. But hey, don't take my word for it, lets look at some screen shots.

Gandara hates the fact that Jesus Ruiz is the mayor and that Rene Rodriguez is the city's at -large representative. Those were his primary adversaries along with the late Chito Bowling who gave him a massive thumping and unceremoniously kicked Jesse out of office.  

Here's what the author of the page, that many in Socorro say is Jesse Gandara, has to say about Jesse Gandara's rivals. 

Yes he calls him Tutti Fruitti. Either the author is saying Mayor Ruiz is a big fan of Little Richard or he's making a remark about Mayor Ruiz sexuality. You'll note in the text several references to things like El Nuevo Pri and Los Stooges. I told you the Gandaras were big on nicknames...(also I don't recall the last time Pilo backed a winner in Socorro, although its interesting to note that the use of another political sign for a different political message is actually prohibited. Way to go Pilo.)

But wait, he doesn't stop there.

He did it again in another post. I guess he thinks people in Socorro are concerned as much about the Mayors sex life as the author of the page is. 

But the authors macho ego-trip doesn't stop there. On no, he's got candy for everybody. Check out this little gem.

As you can see here now the author resorts to referring to the Mayor as a she and implies that Gandara's other rival Rep Rene Rodriguez, is gay too. 

So what if Mayor Ruiz or Representative Rodriguez were gay? What would that have to do with anything? Sounds like a macho trip to me. 

But as a point of fact, last I heard Mayor Ruiz has a girlfriend and Representative Ruiz has a wife and a few kids. 

Now for months people have commented on the page, or complained to me that their comments weren't published or were quickly deleted, that Jesse Gandara is the author of the page. 

What I especially find interesting are the very pro-Gandara posts on the page. On several occasions the author of the page practically loses their mind over how the Gandara family name has been run through the mud. Well to the author of the page, whether it is Jesse or not, I'd say that the Gandara's did that themselves vato. Four of them have been indicted and three of the four have been convicted or admitted guilt. Thats not someone running their name through the mud, thats just simple math. 

Anywho...where was I? Oh yeah, the pro Gandara stuff. Here's a recent one that isn't doing Anthony any favors.

Well if that doesn't sound like a family member defending their family then I guess I just don't know what is. But the author doesn't stop there. Oh no, there's more...

Who ever is the author is not doing Anthony Gandara any favors.

But wait, there's more...remember when I told you the Gandara's are big on nicknames? We all know that Willie Jr is called "The Godfather", well the author of the blog apparently refers to Jesse Gandara by a pretty ominous nickname as well. He calls him, "El Teflon". Sounds a lot like the Teflon Don John Gotti.

Newsflash to the author of the page, the last thing the Gandaras need is more references to mafiosos. Although I must admit, I find calling them G-Unit mildly amusing.

Now getting back to the driveway entrances I mentioned earlier. I myself have been on one of those little night time rides with Jesse Gandara, thats how I know them so well. One of the things he pointed out was the drive-way issue. He was very proud to show off the drive-way project. I didn't get it at first but it eventually became clear to me later. First lets hear what the author of the page had so say about it.

What the author is alluding to is an accusation that was leveled against Jesse Gandara's counsel that only registered voters were getting driveways. The author of the page is correct, there are far more registered voters in District 4 than there are driveways. That is 100% accurate. 

But having actually block-walked a lot of turf in Socorro (and I mean a lot, way more than Jesse ever has), I can tell you that it eventually became easy to identify high-efficacy voters. You see block walking in Socorro is harder than a lot of other places because the addresses often don't make sense. They aren't sequential, a lot of homes don't have their address clearly marked, and they will just arbitrarily jump to another set of numbers in the middle of a street. 

So here's a tip for all you block walkers that get stuck walking turf in Soco-Loco. If you're having a hard time finding that targeted voter, just look for the new driveway entrance. I can't tell you how many times that was helpful in the last couple of elections we block walked that turf. I'm not giving you an opinion, I'm telling you what actually happened. 

But I saved the best for last. 

This little gem right here, if it wasn't written by Jesse Gandara himself, then its one hell of a coincidence. 

Only Jesse Gandara would actually take credit for that. The reality is this post is at least partially right. If Jesse and his council hadn't attempted to seize San Eli, then yes there would be no City of San Elizario now. 

But what the author doesn't get is the fact that Jesse Gandara was SO DESPISED by people that it was an easy sell. Think about it, when was the last time you saw 90% of people agree on ANYTHING? 

More on Jesse Gandra soon. 

The page in question will now likely see more traffic that it has ever seen so far. No pun intended.

Your welcome.