Wednesday, July 15, 2015

MPO - The Politics

It was pretty sad to see that Chairman Houghton was getting recognized for bringing billions of dollars to the El Paso region for mobility on the very same day that a conversation about the inability of the city to get their shit together happened.

But lets rip the band aid off and get right into the politics of the MPO. The MPO is competitive and the city of El Paso has always enjoyed a big advantage on the MPO by having the most members of any entity. The only other entity that has a number close to the city is the County of El Paso.

Lets deal with a reality. Most of the city representatives don't think regionally. They think of their districts and pretty much nothing else. Occasionally they might get together on something and think in terms of the city but that is pretty rare.

So amidst all the bullshit coming from the city folk that sit on the MPO is a steady drum beat of what basically amounts to whining because they game isn't 100% rigged in their favor anymore. You heard it yesterday when they all talked about how the rules are different now and how things have changed at the MPO.

So here is what the city is doing. They screwed up $40 million and are pointing over to Rep Ordaz and Commissioner Perez and saying, "Oh look, they are kissing" and we are all supposed to fall for the distraction.

The reality is that the city of El Paso has had a built-in systemic advantage at the MPO for years and now they are upset because someone has flipped their little house of cards.

This is a growing region and El Paso is no longer the only place people live, work, and do business. Socorro, Horizon, and other areas are growing at a fast rate and the infrastructure needs are great in those areas. So reforms have been set in motion over the last year or more to create a more, as Representative Niland put it, "a more level playing field".

All the other municipalities still only have one member to the MPO, but things are getting a little more equitable and the city now has to do something for transportation dollars that they have never had to do before, compete.

They didn't have to compete before and previously there was some leeway given, from what Rep Niland said yesterday anyway, and she called it "wiggle room". Now the city has to be treated like everyone else and they are screaming to the heavens that they are being treated differently.

Boggles the mind.

Yes, Commissioner Perez is the Chairman of the MPO. If memory serves he made Vice Chair within his first year of being elected. He and others on the MPO have guided through some reforms to level the playing field for the County of El Paso and other outlying communities.

And the city doesn't like not having all the advantages.

Essentially they are pissed because he did his job as an elected official and for the communities he represents. God forbid right?

The city is mad because Perez plays MPO better than they do. I'll also let you in on a little secret most people outside the MPO don't know. Oscar Leeser was supposed to be the Vice Chair of the MPO before Perez. The city and State Rep Joe Pickett had a little movida set up to make that happen and it was derailed when State Rep Marisa Marquez nominated Commissioner Perez.

And so because they can't win, they turn on his girlfriend on council? Real mature city of El Paso.

Does Ordaz want to be on the MPO? Well according to her statements yesterday she does. Who the hell sits on city council or commissioner's court that DOESN'T want to be on the MPO?

She, along with several other members of council have asked to be on the MPO and were denied by the mayor.

That leads to another line of bullshit they are trying to sell. They would have you believe that this is all a conspiracy against Niland to get her off the MPO. Okay, for what advantage? Is she such a force on the MPO that she needs to be eliminated? No, she isn't.

Ordaz was pretty clear what she was trying to do. She raised the issue that Rep Acosta basically didn't understand, that the bylaws allow for a minimum of three appointed members of council and that wasn't the maximum amount allowed. So she thought why not replace operational appointees with an elected official. And her argument is based on what this community has shouted from the roof tops that it has wanted.

Accountability.

Operational members of the MPO don't need to actually sit on the MPO. They mayor can make them go to the meetings and sit in on everything and they can advice the mayor and other elected. There is essentially no good reason to have someone who is not accountable to voters sit on a policy making board.

None what so ever. So Ordaz wasn't trying to get on the MPO at the expense of any of the elected officials.

Ordaz asked to be on the MPO and the Mayor said no.

Ordaz asked to be on CAD and the Mayor said no.

The mayor assigned her to some bullshit committee and took her off that one and ultimately put her on some committee for resolutions for the Texas Municipal League.

That leaves me to a point my buddy David K made earlier today about being careful not to piss off her allies.

Lets keep things in perspective. There is power on the council and there is public support. Two different things. Ordaz was reelected with a really strong mandate. Larger margin than anyone else.

And she's younger than everyone else. Time is on her side.

If you really believe she's going to lose allies over this then you don't understand city council. There are no allies. No one trusts anyone there. Its a fucking shark tank over there.

Its straight-up Game of Thrones.

Trust me, within a couple of weeks the little temporary alliance of the Mayor, Niland, Noe, and Acosta will splinter. That is the new norm for council. Rather than clearly defined voting blocks there are temporary alliances that ebb and flow based on what shit storm the city is dealing with next.

That leaves me to the conspiracy theorists. Look everyone in the world knows Ordaz and Perez are together. Its not a secret and they have been very open about it. News stories have been done about it. Hell, Perez went to public comment and brought in mariachis for Ordaz during a council meeting.

Its not a secret.

Perez's term ends on Friday. Hate to break it to you all but there is no plot to make the city look bad in order for him to get a second term as chair of the MPO. The city does that all by themselves and SPOILER ALERT... the new chairman of the MPO will be....



Mayor Oscar Leeser.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You were right on your prediction of the new MPO/TPB.

Good forecasting!