Thursday, October 29, 2015

Douchebag of the Week

Trust me when I tell you this isn't something trivial despite the award given. 

Rep Svarzbein has been targeted by some dumbass anti-Semite out there. Svarzbein's galley was targeted for graffiti and there was some hateful language used. 

If the assailant knew he was a Jew, then he knew he was a city rep too. This isn't something that should be taken lightly and is an attack on a public official. 

It's a hate crime plain and simple.

I hope it's not political. Because there is no room for that in political discourse. I have my disagreements with Rep Svarzbein and many elected officials in town but this kind of hatefulness has no place in politics.

This is something that should offend us all.

Elected officials all have their haters. It's part of the job. I have several of my own. It's hard enough to try to do your job without some hateful assholes out there with nothing better to do that fuck with you.

I know, I have a couple of them myself right now like Martin Paredes and Barbara Carrasco.

But they basically just make me laugh and motivate me.

The crap this person is putting Svarzbein through is intolerable in a community as welcoming as ours.

I hope this is given the attention it's due. It's a hate crime and it's against a public official.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wrestlemania: The City Council Edition & Poll Question

By now you have likely seen this latest cartoon in the El Paso Times and its pure genius. It captures city council pretty well right now although conspicuously absent from the cartoon are Reps Svarzbein, Romero, & Acosta.

And it shows the Mayor as the exhausted guy who has no ability to control the action. Pretty accurate if you ask me.

Not sure why Ordaz is coming off the top rope but maybe she's gonna pull a Jimmy "Super Fly" Snuka.

It would be really awesome if Mayor Cook come running down the ramp, slid into the ring, started dropping Stone Cold Stunners, flipped off the crowd and left a ring full of city council members knocked out while he climbs the ropes and drinks a beer.

Just sayin'.

My greater point is that I have to give Svarzbein credit. I watched Sicario. I can't believe he managed to get people to engage in a conversation about how the movie makes El Paso look when the movie has basically nothing to do with El Paso.

Seriously, like nothing.

No violence takes place in El Paso in the movie. None. The movie doesn't portray El Paso in the least bit negatively.

But the constant Battle Royale at city council...that does make us look bad.

Any who, it led to my latest poll question. Feel free to vote on it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Week at Council

Oh those zany kids that are doing marketing at the city have been busy marketing city services and projects lately.

As you've seen previously city council has been participating. Well so has City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. 

Word around the water-cooler at city hall is that this ad was 100% his idea. 

So adopt a pet instead of buying one. You're not only gaining a pet but you're saving a life.

Also, this ad could double as Mr. Gonzalez's Halloween costume. 

I asked him if I could be Goose to his Maverick. 

His response was "Negative Ghost Rider"

Not really.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Niland, Svarzbein Show Sense of Humor

I've been pretty critical of City Reps Nikand and Svarzbein lately, although the critiques are fair and issue-based. I don't do personal. 

But, I wanted to pass on some funny stuff from the last week that I thought you'd get a kick out of and shows that the two have a sense of humor.

First let's start with City Rep Niland. She posted this Back to the Future meme on her Instagram account and I found it hilarious. Good for her. I've seen it ther places but the first time I saw it was on her account. 

The next this I want to share is from Rep Svarzbein. I ran into him last week at a political event and he had a gift for me. It was an attempt at humor and probably a bit of a "fuck you" to me. 

Gotta respect the moxie.

If you recall I posted a video of him acting pretty silly as part of an effort by the city to promote their intranet to their staff. 

Now I can't stop playing with the damn thing.

Well played Svarzbein, well played.

Former EP Repub Running for DFW Lege Seat

Former State Board of Education member Charlie Garza is running for the state legislature again according to a recent tweet.

Garza has run for state rep in the El Paso are previously against then-State Rep Chente Quintanilla. 

He didn't fare well in the election running in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.

He then ran for SBOE a couple of years later and won. 

As you can see in the tweet he would be taking on State Rep Chris Turner. It will be difficult for Garza because he hasn't lived in the area very long but the Republican Party in the area is more rubato and better-financed than in El Paso.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Homegirl of the Week: Lily Limón

She didn't have to do it because she wasn't wrong in the first place. But she did it anyway.

City Rep Limón's public apology for her reaction to an outburst accusation from Rep Niland was the classiest thing to come out of city hall in a really long time.

What I thought was great about the apology is that she was very specific about apologizing for how she reacted to the accusation from Niland that she was recording her, but held her ground on other issues.

Limón was unfairly blamed for the altercation at a recent city council meeting and trying to expect City Rep Noe to play umpire and expect him to be a fair arbiter was unrealistic and he predictably took the side of his council ally.

But, that didn't mean Limón had to respond the way she did, although one could certainly understand her frustration after having to deal with an adversarial relationship for so long. Limón lost her cool and she admitted it. She's a career administrator and educator, so she should be better at managing classroom sophomoric antics.

Heres some free messaging advice to all you politicos out there. I've made this comparison before. When Ali had Foreman backing up and hurt in the Rumble in the Jungle, he threw the knock out punch, and then very gracefully and artistically stepped aside and let him fall. So when your opponent or adversary is losing their shit, acting a fool, or a hot mess in public (pick your metaphor), step to the side and allow them to fall. You look classy and it further underscores their flaws. There are countless examples of how that hasn't happen locally when it should've, but you'll thank me for the advice one day.

Limón isn't everyone's cup of tea. Hell, she's not always my cup of tea either. But lets be real for a moment, how many other members of council would've actually stepped up to offer an apology?

Frankly I think the community is owed an apology from the rest of council. I think they all need to take some time to sincerely reflect on their actions and how they have neither contributed to a better El Paso nor portrayed Chucotown in a positive light.

I hope after than sincere reflection that they apologize to the electorate and commit themselves to being more professional. Personal bullshit shouldn't impede the work of City Hall.

Instead of worrying how the movie Sicario makes El Paso look, maybe our city council needs to reflect on how THEY make El Paso look.

Limón showed she was the bigger person. Good for her, and good for this community. It takes that time of leadership to right the ship and get back to the business of the people of El Paso.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Recall Attempt Ends Abruptly

The recall attempt of City Rep Larry Romero has ended abruptly.

Here is the withdrawal of the recall effort.

For those of you keeping score there was talk of the recall. Then Rep Romero allegedly started asking around about Gurrola (the person doing the recall). Then Tuesday Gurrola files the paperwork for the recall. Now on Wednesday he inexplicably withdraws the intent to recall.

Many recall efforts have started and stopped in the past, but none has ever ended this quickly and without explanation.


You do the math.

Fernando Chacon on Municipal Courts

I sat down with prominent El Paso attorney Fernando Chacon, affectionately known around town as Fernie the Attorney, to talk a little more about the article on BuzzFeed that featured problems at the El Paso Municipal Courts.

Chacon played a prominent role in getting the courts to change how they punished people for tickets several years ago, which is why BuzzFeed consulted him on their article.

City Council will be taking this issue up and I wanted to pick his brain on what he thought would be good policy recommendations to city council regarding the issue.

Chacon also explains in more detail what the actual procedural problems there are with the municipal courts in addition to policy suggestions for City Council to consider when they take up this issue in the near future.

(SIDE NOTE: This interview was done on video but its time to replace the old stand-by, she's starting to go out on me. Luckily I learned to record audio separately because its usually better quality than what a video camera picks up, so I at least have the audio. Its raw and unedited but I found the conversation interesting so I left it "as is".)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Intent to Recall Filed Against Rep Romero

Sources at city hall have indicated that an intent to recall has been filed against City Rep Romero. I don't have any other details yet but it was likely filed by former city rep candidate Adam Gurrola.

More details to follow as they become available.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Commissioner Perez Fundraiser

The Valenti PR Push

Many of you have heard the local push for a rehab of Valenti's public relations.

I know, it might be the most clueless political message this town has ever seen that didn't come from David K's blog.

What everyone wants to know is who is the person that is trying to actually feed people this garbage that Valenti is some sort of savior to this community.

Multiple sources have indicated that the person behind the effort is Dr. Hani Annabi. The good doctor from what I am told, is quite the Valenti cheerleader and is a doctor at UMC. He gave that away when he wrote a letter to the editor the other day. I don't know if he's employed by UMC or has some sort of contractual relationship.

Point being, he's a total homer for Valenti.

The PR push that has consisted of radio and print publications so far. Both are pretty expensive. But since they are not connected to a political campaign, there is no disclosure requirement.

Look, I wouldn't put it past Valenti to have come up with the idea himself in order to try to limit the damage his future employment opportunities might face when he tries to find a job somewhere else. Its a great way for him to tell a future potential employer, "See, the community wanted me to stay".

But Valenti is almost as hard to believe as David K at times.

Valentin isn't exactly a straight shooter with commissioner's court if you'll recall. He once said he had something like 75% of the doctors on his side. Then he said that the layoffs of a bunch of employees wasn't about performance. Then he said it was.

There's been a lot of tall tales coming out of that office.

I'm told Annabi thinks the organization can't survive without him.

If that is true, then UMC really is in a shit load of trouble because no well-run organization relies on one person. The institution needs to be able to thrive without the CEO if its really a stable organization. Any organization that relies on one person is inherently weak.

Wow. Just wow Svarzbein.

Every once in a while even I am surprised by something in El Paso politics. So since its Monday and everyone hates Mondays I thought I would bring a little joy to your hearts today. 

I'm not sure who told him this was a good idea but after telling a constituent you can't answer a question because you have to talk to your mommy and then being the only Jewish member of council and being passed up on a trip to Israel, why worry about a little thing like dignity?

I don't know if he thinks this stuff makes him look cool, but someone should tell him that it underscores people's concerns that an artist wouldn't take the job of city rep seriously. 

I think he should call for a community forum on the topic and invite people to come and talk about how this video portrays El Paso. Its clearly a priority for him. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Source: Romero Inquiring About Potential Recall Opponent

A source at the city tells me City Rep Romero has been looking into the attendance record of one of his rumored recall challengers.

Adam Gurrola was on two city boards at one point and according to my source Romero recently started digging around to find out if his young rival missed any meetings.

First, let me state there is absolutely nothing wrong with Romero digging around. Anyone would do the same if they were also on the hot seat for the city managers raise and streetghazi. 

The problem for Romero is that if he found dirt on Gurrola it would have to be some pretty freaking big dirt to overcome the negatives Romero is dealing with right now. So it makes sense that he'd dig around. 

The other problem for Romero is that Gurrola will likely not be the only opponent he faces. If, and it's a big if because it takes some manpower and commitment to get the required number of signatures within whatever time frame allowed, there is a runoff, it is likely that other people also take a stab at the race. 

Luckily for Romero he has deep pockets because he's gonna need all the money he can dump in a race if there in fact ends up being a recall. No one wants to be the first person in the county who's last name isn't Gandara to face a recall.


In case you missed it last night on the news or in today’s paper, there was even more bickering at city hall yesterday. 

I know, shocker right?

During the meeting Rep Niland spontaneously spouts off about being recorded by City Rep Limón during the meeting. 

went a step further than requesting text messages. Through the Freedom of Information Act I requested a copy of Rep Limón's cell phone video. I have obtained a copy of the cell phone footage that Rep Limón recorded of Rep Niland during yesterday’s council meeting. 

Here is the exclusive footage:

Who knew Niland was such a Britney fan?

Obviously I’m kidding about the video. But it reminded me of something from a few months back. 

A few months ago big shots from the Chamber of Commerce went in front of city council and argued (with a straight face no less) that revisiting the city manager’s raise was an “embarrassment” to the community.

Well, it wasn’t an embarrassment. It was a responsible and necessary conversation.

I hope those same business leaders will go to city council and chastise them for their constant bickering, because that is the real embarrassment to this community. 

This time even David K can’t blame Rep Ordaz for this one. Lately he pretty much blames her for everything wrong from the death of Bevo to the lack of offense from the Dallas Cowboys. 

City Council’s constant bickering came to a boiling point again yesterday during the city council meeting. I think most of this town is now sick of Rep Niland’s constant whining about Rep Limón. 

Rep Niland started to complain about being recorded by Rep Limón during the city council meeting. Maybe Rep Niland’s staffer Jeremy Jordan should send an intern to spy on the IT department to see if the meeting is being streamed and recorded and then report back to his boss. 

Or maybe she can turn to her left and look at all those fancy devices standing on tripods. Those are called cameras. They record things. 

There has been a definite change in the Honey Badger since her narrow re-election. Now she’s more like Honey Bother since everything seems to bother her and eventually leads to another public tantrum. 

No elected official has had such a sudden public redefinition of themselves in such a short period of time that I can recall. When she was a passionate advocate for the tax payer leading the fight against utilities was when she was really in her groove. Thats when she earned the name Honey Badger. Now she has made a conscious effort to stay away from taking the lead on anything controversial and has gone from passionate to whiney. 

But my question is simple. 


Its not like she has a shot at another office anymore after narrowly defeating an ill-prepared candidates with plenty of baggage while having a huge fundraising advantage.
The latest tantrum just makes her look unstable. Like she is cracking under the pressure of leadership. 

Limon stated she wasn’t recording Niland and even held up her two phones and state that they were off. Why do you have two phones on your desk if they are both off was my immediate question.

But that doesn’t really matter. Its a public meeting. Almost every news media outlet in town is at the meeting. The meeting is being broadcast and streamed. You’re already being recorded. What in the blue hell bothers you about being recorded in a public place?

Here’s a link to KVIA’s website that shows the entire altercation. Niland tries to call a point of order and eventually the city attorney tells her there is nothing that covers Niland’s concerns. 

As easily as Niland becomes rattled it reminded me of an old video from a Britney spears fan years ago. 

Seriously, if people want to talk about what is and is not an embarrassment to this community maybe they shouldn’t be talking about a discussion of revisiting a raise to the city manager because that conversation should begin and end with the conduct of some members of city council. 

That is what is truly an embarrassment. 

And Rep Niland knows it too. Normally you can’t keep her away from a microphone. But she wouldn’t comment to KVIA on the story. 

But lets all keep this in mind about Rep Niland. As it is clearly stated in the video, "you're lucky she even performed for you bastards...anyone who has a problem you deal with me. Because she's not well right now!"


Thursday, October 8, 2015

How the Honey Badger Stole Christmas

In what is turning in to the longest public works project this side of Pharaoh's pyramid, the plazita downtown has hit yet another delay. Which means there is no guarantee that the plaza will be open by this Christmas.

Which if you buy what the fancy new city hall decorations say about accountability then we should all be holding City Rep Cortney Niland for yet another delay in the project that was already a campaign issue since her re-election campaign.

Well thanks a lot Honey Bader, no Christmas in the plazita again this year. Looks like we will be doing another Christmas at the library. Yay.

Seriously, Honey Badger may have really screwed up big time.

If you caught Tuesday's council meeting you'll see that Rep Niland was in rare form about a couple of items but lets talk about the plazita first because its going to be the one that probably causes her, and the average El Pasoan, the most grief.

Watch this video of a KVIA story that aired yesterday and you'll see exactly what I mean:

Did you catch it?

Yep, thats right. City Rep Cortney Niland admitted the city has "culpability" in the delay of San Jacinto. She even repeated it dramatically as she turned toward the media.

She just compromised the City's legal position and it may end up costing the taxpayer a pretty chunk of change in the process.

Remember that the contractor was assessed a fine of $1000 per day for every day that the project is delayed. That was probably the only redeeming factor in the delay of such a high-profile project. And now, we can probably kiss that money goodbye because Rep Niland said the city had "culpability".

Its bad enough she admitted culpability, its worse that it was during a city council meeting, and its even worse that she sorta performed the political hari kari in front of the media.

So now the project will almost certainly be delayed beyond Christmas because the project's new delays will likely be more than just a canopy. The project will now almost certainly be delayed by legal proceedings.

Sal Gomez will probably be Mayor of El Paso before this project is done.


Okay, lets get to the other stuff she said during Tuesday's council meeting that caught my attention. If you read this article in the El Paso Times yesterday you'll notice some rather interesting quotes from the Honey Badger herself, Cortney Niland.

"Instead of focusing on we can move and advance this community, focus on leading our individual districts, some members of council are more focused on the 'caught you,' and thats very sad," she said.

And by "some members of council" does she mean her own office? Because it reminded me of her former intern who came forward stating that he was instructed by her staffer, Jeremy Jordan, to commit a little "caught you" of their own. You memmer, member?

She goes on to say in the article, "The climate is one that is not collaborative. Its more focused on nasty texts about people's appearance, nasty texts about what people are doing with their discretionary funds, nasty texts or emails or open records requests, instead of focusing on their job at hand," she added.

Really Honey Badger? Let's talk about focus. Aren't you the same city rep that made a public spectacle about where you were sitting for like 6 months? That's collaborative?

In order to have access to budgetary data, which is the primary function of people in charge of our tax dollars, City Rep Limón has to resort to open records requests to get information that should be readily available to anyone making decisions about tax dollars? Is that the collaborative environment of which you speak?

Or how about all that talk of you wanting to help a recall effort of your own colleague, the very same Rep Limón? You think that is a collaborative climate?

I'm sorry Rep Niland but you don't get to complain about a lack of a collaborative climate when your own office has been busted in the political espionage ploys that have been going on.

The amount of bullshit in the last city council meeting stacked so high it reminded me of, well...Pharaoh's pyramid.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rep Romero Recall Rumblings...

Ever since city council voted to give the city manager a raise the talk of recall began to swirl around City Reps Romero and Niland.

In general I look at recall talk as sort of political terrorism. Its an extreme measure meant to accomplish nothing more than to blow shit up. And the talk of recall against Niland was probably at least partially attributed to the fact that she limped in to reelection by barely beating a candidate that was handicapped by not having any money, any name ID, a criminal record, no presence in the community and being associated with Hector Montes and Stephanie Townsend-Allala.

And he still almost won.

Niland still has to be in office for awhile before anyone can realistically move against her, although there has been plenty of talk of her trying to engineer a recall effort against Rep Limón. Well, until the city manager raise vote. Then that all seems to have gone away but the chatter was she had a candidate and a budget ready to go.

Any who, the real recall talk has surrounded Rep Romero as of late.

In this Facebook post by Adam Gurrola, he is digging up a campaign piece from when he ran for the seat against Romero a couple years ago.

I know what you're thinking. Was he going for the Arizona flag, the Japanese flag, or the Virgen de Guadalupe? Not sure, but when I saw him post it, I hit him up to see if he was trying to send a message with the post.

Gurrola indicated that he was "gearing up" for a run.

Obviously a few things have to happen before he can do so, and the biggest obstacle is getting the required number of signatures.

News flash - it's not that hard.

All you need is signatures and anyone who has ever done a field program knows its a hell of a lot easier to knock on someone's door and get them to sign a petition than it is to get them to come out and vote.

Gurrola will likely face some other people if the recall becomes a reality, including Jim Tolbert and Michael Apodaca. And Gurrola didn't have money last time. But he has a higher profile now than he did before.

But someone has to take the lead in getting signatures before anything else happens.

The reality is candidates are gearing up. Sure, all those guys lost to Romero last time. But that was a different race. Romero had all the money and it was a race for an open seat. So money plays a bigger role in a race for an open seat.

But you know what those guys didn't have that they have this time?

Something to campaign against.

It was an open seat to replace Susie Byrd and it was during the mayoral race. So the campaign talk was all philosophical. Now they have a message they can leverage with the raise, the roads, and the brother's contract work with the city manager.

Those are all incredibly easy to leverage.

Where the recall people are going to run into problems is the Keystone Cops Effect. They would have to work together to be most effective and getting campaign rivals to work together is a tall order.

They are all going to be hurting their recall efforts if they all get in because they make it easier for Romero to survive a recall attempt. And let me remind you, most recall efforts fail.

Hell the only successful one in the county had to have a Gandara in it in order for it to be successful.

To my knowledge there hasn't been anyone willing to step forward with an actual recall effort for signatures yet. Until that happens, its just political maneuvering.

But the fact that at least one candidate is already putting himself out there is an interesting development and one to watch. Especially if the others start to make a go of it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Campaign Announcement Almada

Remember that I post all campaign announcements that are sent to me, so if you see me and ask me why I haven't posted your event, ask yourself if you sent it to me. 

Sending it to Don Williams is not the same as sending it to me. 

This guy sent it to me. 

Norwood, Valenti Both Gone in the Same Day

There are so many ways in which the County differs from the City and yesterday was one of the clearest distinctions between the two entities. 

Where the City is dealing with in-fighting and staffers engaging in black-ops against other city reps and the City is struggling to get major things done, the County certainly showed they move with a purpose. 

While the City struggles with their chief administrator and all the headlines he seems to make, the County just ripped the band-aide off and fired theirs seemingly out of no where. 

It actually reminded me of something Rep Niland said when she went on the air a couple of weeks ago the day after it came to light that her staffer Jeremy Jordan had recruited and instructed interns to engage in negative political activities at the city. She said that a lot of that stuff was just an effort by the county to distract from all their problems. 

Which is interesting if you're keeping score. 

The City raised your taxes and gave their administrator a big fat raise because he's so great and they don't want to lose him. 

The County has 4 taxing budgets it approves - theirs, UMC's, and ESDs 1 & 2. 

So while the City of El Paso only has one - and they raised your taxes, neither the County, UMC nor the ESD's raised taxes. 

In fact the ESD's lowered taxes. 

There was no indication why Norwood was let go officially but Commissioner Haggerty mentioned him having some personal issues that required the change. That means he's probably been warned about what they personal issues were before and it continued to be an issue. 

What ever "it" is. 

Or was I should say. 

Valenti - Gone but not gone

While many people will be happy that he is resigning, he is not exactly leaving right away. He's just not seeking another contract as the CEO of UMC. He's going to finish out his current contract which I think means he gets a big fat... you guessed it... BONUS. 

Gotta respect his game. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Riddle Me This...

In case you missed it there was an article in the Times last week that showed that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez was aware of the street paving projects that were part of pave-ghazi.

You know, the one were Rep Romero was trying to get his own street paved. Well that would've happened but the plug was pulled when everything came to light. 

Now we hear a story that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez hired Rep Romero's brother to help him out with his consulting firm.

Back when there was the desire to revisit the raise for the city manager a series of big shots paraded in front of city council and said how great Gonzalez was and how it was, to use the words of a couple of the big shots, "an embarrassment".

So riddle me this Batman...

Still think it was a bad idea to revisit the raise or are you still okay with it?

In other news...

This is a pic of what's hanging up at city hall.

I thought the inclusion of "integrity", "respect", and "accountability" to be particularly interesting. 

It'll be interesting to see if that's actually practiced...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Only Svarzbein...

No wonder he lacks credibility.

As if the Archie press release wasn't enough frivolity from the new district 1 rep, he topped it with a press release about a movie.

I'm sure when you think leadership, you think press releases about movies. 

I guess it could be worse. At least he's not trying to pave the road he lives on or anything. 

Anywho, here's the funny part about his press release.

He invites people to watch something he doesn't think they should be watching. 

And then later they are gonna talk about all the negative stereotypes they just paid money to see. 

Gotta love the logic.

Good thing he's already taken care of all the important things in district 1 so he can focus on art again. 

Cultural Center Victim of Personal Politics

Nestor Valencia has a great plan for the Hispanic Cultural Center. It's smart, makes sense, cost-efficient, and good for the tax-payer. 

Therefore it's dead on arrival.

But it's not gonna die for the reasons you might think. 

Word around the campfire in city hall is that city reps are saying it's going to die because some reps don't like Limón asking questions and poking around on things.

There is an idea that she needs to be involved in relationships with council members in order to get anything passed.

In others words they want her to kiss their ass.

That's not new to politics by any stretch of the imagination but it underscores exactly how this current council acts.

No wonder so many are displeased with them. 

It's no longer about who has the best ideas. It's about a certain majority wanting their collective asses kissed. 

Who cares about what's best for the city right?