Friday, February 27, 2015

Last Day to File - Ordaz, Cabrera (Arrellano), Pickett, Weisenberger File

You people can stop hounding me now.

Claudia Ordaz is in.

I don't know why she took so long to file the papers, but District 6 has been neglected for long time and there is probably a lot to do. I know, I live in District 6. But as you can see from this Facebook post yesterday, Representative Ordaz is running for re-election.

She apparently has an opponent. His name is Michael Pickett, no relation to Joe Pickett. He was at one point, Eddie Holguin's hand-picked successor when Holguin resigned his seat to run for County Judge. He is one of those Jaime O. Perez acolytes.

District 6 is bisected by the I-10, so its the Lower Eastside and the Mission Valley.

Before I go any further, I want to repeat something I said previously. If you are trying to mount a serious threat to an incumbent, why the hell would you start late? You make your job much harder. You will need more people, more money, and are working with less time. Not a smart move at all.

Frankly, this race is easy to call. Ordaz is going to crush Pickett. She's still sitting on a bunch of money from the last campaign, there are still a ton of signs that were left over from the first race so she doesn't even have to spend money on that.

Pickett has no base to work off of, won't be able to raise money, and if he follows what JOP tells him to do, he's going to get creamed even worse.

Ordaz won every precinct last go around. She has a far better team than anything Holguin and JOP can muster. In fact, I don't even know if Holguin is going to support Pickett this go-around. But if he does, it'll likely just be another letter he sends to voters. That hasn't worked the last three times he's sent one out.

Ordaz will likely win every precinct in District 6...again. Even if another candidate jumps in the race today, Ordaz wins without a run-off. This one is over before it starts.

Take that to the bank.

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District 5 (Upper Eastside and Far East)

Representative Noe is facing Rosa Maria Cabrera who also uses the last name of Arrellano. She runs a local non-profit, Dame La Mano.

Cabrera (Arrellano) has far more credibility than most of the other candidates in the city other than the incumbents. She runs a non-profit, she's bilingual, young, Latina, has been on the radio and honestly, very attractive. As a candidate, she's a pretty good package.

The knock on her is going to be her politics. Actually now that she's a candidate, I don't think she's allowed to be on the radio anymore or Noe has to get equal time. Something like that.

I found some bio information on her and on her application to be a candidate it says she has a Master's Degree in Education (M. Ed). Her Facebook page says she has a Master's in Counseling from UTEP and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. It also indicates that she's in the PhD program for Clinical Psychology at California Southern University. I couldn't find the Masters in Education on her bio, but its pretty smart because Dr. Noe is an MD. She wants to have M.Ed after her name on the ballot, so maybe thats some political gamesmanship. Smart move if it is.

Her bio also sais that she is "the Executive Director of Dame La Mano Center that assist (sic) victims of domestic violence and children whom are also victims of sexual abused (sic), undocumented immigrants who also suffer abused (sic)..."

From what I've seen on social media she's pretty anti-Obama and very conservative. She has several pictures of her with conservative leaders, at conservative events, and supporting conservative causes. That might play well with Republicans in town, but there aren't enough of them to get her elected. If her conservative credentials are made an issue, she's going to have a tough time.

Here's an example, this is a picture of her with Lt Governor Dan Patrick. He's arguably the most extreme anti-immigrant leader ever elected in Texas. Ms. Cabrera (Arrellano) non-profit is based in Segundo Barrio and as mentioned previously, serves the undocumented.

Stuff like that will be problematic.

That being said, there is a possibility that she could use her conservative credentials to raise money. Even though its a non-profit race, those conservative organizations she supports would likely jump at the chance to throw money at a viable conservative candidate.

There are conservative pockets on the eastside, but Representative Noe is not exactly a super liberal guy himself. He's pretty much a middle-of-the-road Democrat.

He delivers babies and makes no secret that he's pro-life. So they agree on that issue and its not a city issue anyway.

Not sure what her position on city issues are or how they differ from Dr. Noe's so we will see how that pans out.

She's going to be a formidable opponent for Dr. Noe depending on what her message shapes out to be.

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Albert Weisenberger threw his hat officially in the ring yesterday as well for District 1. He's an attorney and had a car dealership at one time.

Generally speaking the electorate likes younger candidates. He's an older guy and he's getting in really late.

Who ever is advising him is giving him some really bad advice. He's jumping in too late. There's already a business type candidate (from what I can tell that is going to be Bertha Gallardo's angle) and she's far younger and Latina.

I think they appeal to the same voter and will likely split those folks.

Lets see if any more candidates jump in the race...

What's Up Magazine - Best Elected Official

The nominations are open for the Best of the Best thing that What's Up Magazine does every year.

There are nominations listed, but you can submit other nominees still. In the category of Best Elected Official there are a few nominees that are already listed, but again you can nominate others.

So far the nominees are:

Congressman Beto O'Rourke
County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal
City Rep Lily Limon
District Clerk Norma Favela

I came across the nomination form on Facebook because Favela had posted it on her wall. She's won 4 years in a row. She campaigns harder for it than she has to for her own election. She loves to win that award. She has the sticker of every year she's won on the door to the District Clerk's office.

I'm betting she wins again. She's smart because she takes a whole posse of people to the voting event and I think she has her staff go to.

If there is an elected official you'd like to nominate, here is the link to the nomination page. Its under Local Legends section.

http://whatsup.upickem.net/engine/YourSubmission.aspx?contestid=160456

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tornillo ISD Finally Gets a Nurse

Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez will try to spin it otherwise, but the reality is that the community won major victory last night at the Tornillo ISD meeting.

She was forced to recommend a school nurse.

Dr. Chavez is trying to frame it as though she proactively dealt with the issue and came forward with a plan to secure a school nurse on her own.

But that isn't the truth. The truth is she made no real effort to attract a school nurse until after the district received negative press about the lack of a school nurse. Even after the first stories came out, Dr. Chavez made no effort to put an item on the agenda to entice candidates for the nursing position or to even discuss the issue. Instead her plan was to teach the teachers first aid.

And then a student with special needs was seriously injured after her hand-picked administrator observed the student and sent him back to class.

Once that became a story, it was then and only then, that Dr. Chavez took any meaningful act towards securing a nurse.

Those are the facts. And if anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying.

If there is anyone that deserves credit for getting a school nurse, its the community members that pushed so hard for it. The ones that had the courage to stand up and speak with the media. That might sound like an easy thing to do but its not when you live in a small community.

Particularly the parents of the student that was injured. Those two more than anyone else should be credited with the district finally getting a nurse.

Before I go on, I have to credit the school board for unanimously voting to offer the school nurse position to their candidate. That was the right vote and that was a vote in support of the community. Job well done.

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Now lets talk about the crazy.

There has been a narrative going around, and its typical when you deal with small towns that don't like outsiders, that everything was just fine in Tornillo. No problems, no division.

One lady, who is actually the spouse of a board member, was passing around the little note a posted a while back to parents after school that had that narrative. Interestingly if there was no division there would be no need for the note, but I'm sure she didn't think that one through.

She spoke at the meeting last night. She had all the drama of a protestant minister and a telenovela star wrapped in one. Frankly, it was the most interesting part of the night for me. She used the children, she walked around with the microphone, she mentioned the baby Jesus, and she dramatically walked up to a board member and leveled an allegation against the board member of divulging information about what is discussed in executive session.

She didn't offer any proof, just made the allegation for dramatic impact I guess. It also left me wondering how the wife of a school board member would even know about what is discussed in executive session if no one was divulging that information to her...

But the craziest thing I saw was people defending Dr. Chavez, which truth be told, wasn't many. But the point is, I don't get how people didn't understand what a major failure in leadership on the part of a superintendent it is to go well over half the school year without a nurse.

The fact that the district went a long time without a nurse before her isn't a defense. In fact, that just makes the board look even more inept. The single most important job of the school district is to ensure the safety of the students. There is nothing happening in that school district that is more important than that basic responsibility.

There is a palpable culture of fear in the Tornillo ISD. Parents and faculty are in fear of speaking up because they fear retribution from Dr. Chavez. But Dr. Chavez doesn't realize that there are more leaks in Tornillo ISD than the Titanic. Slowly but surely the faculty and staff are developing the courage to step forward.

Don't believe me? You'd be surprised at how many grievances are filed in Tornillo ISD.

At this point, Dr. Chavez might want to try to work things out with her staff. The last thing she wants to do, especially now that the state teachers union has Tornillo on their radar, is to go to war with the teachers. The teachers are far more popular with the community than the superintendent or the school board.

Dr. Chavez can't afford any more negative press and neither can the school board. Last night a community member raised the issue of ISS students (the kids in trouble) being put in the same classroom as the special needs students. That is a MAJOR no-no. That is a career-ender no-no.

That one falls on the administration, not the teachers. And the board is only gonna tolerate so much heat because of Dr. Chavez before they decide its not worth the effort anymore. Or...the teachers union could decide to put some money into the elections and just change up the board.

So Chavez is in a weakened position at this point.

Chavez was questioned during the meeting about the allegation of the ISS students with the special needs students. She said it was the first she'd heard of the situation. That drew a very negative reaction from the crowd and several people shouting "mentirosa". She then rephrased the comment to say something to the effect that it was the first time she's heard of it in that forum.

Whatever that means.

At any rate, the school district now has a nurse and parents were happy that was done.


Okay Fine, No One Else Is Gonna Say It So I Will...

There's a story in the El Paso Times about Marty Reyes not running for office again at Ysleta ISD.

They have this quote from her about turning over the reigns and spending more time with family, blah blah blah.

I have no reason to believe that isn't all true.

But you know what else is true? The fact that she was the loudest voice at YISD against having transparency with campaign financial reporting.

This is the first election cycle for her that candidates for school boards will have to file financial reports.

And she's not running.

You do the math.

Other City of El Paso Elections - The Incumbents

From the way I've been writing you'd think the only election happening is in District 1 but that isn't the case. Districts 5,6, and 8 also have elections.

They have incumbents; City Reps Noe, Ordaz, and Niland respectively.

For some reason Ordaz hasn't gotten around to filing yet. That is the main reason still think she's not going to run.

At any rate, none of them will get serious challengers. If they were serious in their intent to unseat an incumbent, a smart challenger would've started a long time ago.

Its unlikely they end up with any challenger and if they do its not anyone for them to be concerned about.

The incumbents should rightfully take that as an endorsement of their individual agendas by the electorate they each represent.

The Children's Hospital Fiasco

How bad are things when even the UMC Board thinks you have bad leadership?

Hell, UMC Board gave a big fact bonus to Valenti after letting go of a bunch of employees because they didn't have the money to pay them but could pay a fat bonus to Jimbo.

And that Board has to take over your crappy board?

Dayum. That's like the Titanic being operated by Malaysia Air.

I saw news coverage that said Susie Byrd's contract to be the Children's Hospital spokesperson ran out on Monday. I saw an interview with the County Judge that said she thought the Children's Hospital filing bankruptcy was a bad idea.

When you no longer have allies, your days are number. Sorry Children's Hospital, but you guys are going to be under UMC...

Yet Another Candidate Files for District 1

Like I said a while back, the field for District 1 is the size of a small kindergarten class. A new candidate filed papers yesterday. His name is Daniel Lopez. I know zero about him and have never met him. But at some point I'll interview all the candidates in the race. Even the ones that don't want me to like Manny Hinojosa.

But yesterday someone commented on the piece I did about District 1 and asked me a few good questions that I answered but I think I'll go ahead and address here, especially because David K writes a very entertaining piece about Peter Svarzbein on his blog yesterday. You can find it here.

The person who commented wanted to know why I refered to Richard Bonart as Susie Byrd's candidate, why I thought Svarzbein has a shot at the run-off, and who do I see as winning the race and why.

So let me break it down for you.

As far as the Susie Byrd thing goes, I guess I could've called Bonart David K's mom's candidate too because she's his treasurer. Either way I guess neither characterization is really far. Bonart is his own candidate. I mentioned Susie because she's helping his campaign and introduced him at his campaign kickoff event. Susie Byrd is the only, and I repeat only, reason that he has a shot at making the run-off.

DK doesn't like Svarzbein for whatever reason but I can pretty confidently say it has nothing to do with his mom. Mrs K is a very nice lady and everyone usually wonders how a lady that nice lady could be David K's mom. My mother gets the same questions about me. If you read David K's stuff  he's been pretty critical of Bonart. Actually far more so than any one else. David K's really the only
one who had him in his radar.

Now here is where DK and I are going to differ. I think everything another candidate gets in the race the more it helps Svarzbein and Bonart. They are the only two candidates that have, or will have, anything that resembles and effective ground game. When you have a crowded field of candidates, voters are going to go with the names they are most familiar with. Since there are no household names in the race (Don't say Weisenberger is because he isn't), then the names they are going to be the most familiar with are going to be the ones that make contact with the voter. If you don't get that, then you don't understand how campaigns work.

Let's not forget the general trend in voting in El Paso either, all things being equal El Pasoans typically select the younger, more progressive candidate. So in that case, the advantage is to the Class A Milenial. That being said, one of the last times there was an election that bucked that trend was when Ann Morgan Lilly was reelected to that position.

As far as the way Svarzbein filed, I think it's DK trying to make a spark catch fire. No matter how hard you fan those flames, Svarzbein didn't do anything illegal. I don't know why he filed the way that he did and it seems stupid to me, but it's not like he broke the law or anything. You're allowed to file that way. And let's be real, voters don't know/understand/give two shits how someone files their financials unless a law was broken.

Who do I think will win? Way too early to say. I think Bonart and Svarzbein have the best shot today. That could change. But right now Bonart has Susie Byrd and Svarzbein is the only candidate that has actually been campaigning.

Bertha Gallegos has an uphill battle but she could be a big factor. She has to introduce herself to voters, but if she can raise money she might do well. Weisenberger is not the next Oscar Leeser. he's not a household name and unless he's willingr to dump a lot of money in the race I don't see him making too much noise. I think as of today they are your second tier candidates and both could make themselves top-tier candidates very easily. Their biggest problem is getting in the races so late.

More to come



Tornillo Girls Hoops Go Undefeated

You've probably heard more about Tornillo in the last few weeks than you have in years and it's mostly bad.

I'm not one that thinks I need to write something good about a community and pretending everything is hunky dory when it isn't just for the sake of "balance", but there is something pretty noteworthy I want to highlight before you hear more of the ugly truth about Tornillo later today.

The girls basketball team went undefeated this year. One thing you should know about Tornillo is that in athletics they have a tradition of winning. Their trophy case is bursting at the seams with trophies. Real sports trophies too, not like lame-ass Cathedral High swimming championships or being tennis team captain at Bel Air. I mean real sports like football, basketball, etc.

Last season the Lady Coyotes were pretty awful. They were 1-9. This year they turned it all around and finished undefeated. Tornillo isn't an affluent community. They typically play much more affluent communities were mommy and daddy have the money to put their kids in clinics and camps and all that stuff. Tornillo doesn't.

And they still kicked butt this year.

Good job Lady Coyotes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tornillo ISD in Violation of Texas Open Meetings Act?

According to a handbook put out by the Texas Attorney General's Office it appears that Tornillo ISD may be in violation of the Open Meetings Act. You can read the handbook here.

Section VII B (starting on page 27 of the handbook) states that Section 551.043(a) of the Texas Code indicates "The notice of a meeting of a governmental body must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times for at least 72 hours before the schedule time of the meeting, except as provided by Sections 551.044-551.046"

That means that the written notice has to be physically posted where the general public can have access to it, for at least 72 hours before the meeting. At least meaning not less than 72 hours. According to residents in Tornillo, the notice was not physically posted within that time period.

However Tornillo ISD does satisfy the posting requirement if they continuously post the notice on the internet during the prescribed period. In English that means that they satisfy the notification requirement if they post the notification / agenda on the internet for 72 continuous hours before the meeting.

As you can see from this screen shot, this is the practice normally done by Tornillo ISD.

Unfortunately as you can see in this screen shot from Tuesday morning, a little more than 24 hours before the meeting, there is no meeting posted for February.


Again requirements for posting the meeting are laid out in Texas Code. As you can see in this screen shot from the Texas AG's Open Meetings Handbook, there is also a requirement for the meeting to be posted online. 


The violation could mean that if someone filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Office and it was taken up by an entity, that action taken by the board during the meeting could be voidable.

Depending on what happens in the meeting then there could be other penalties, although violations like a walking quorum or a majority of members meeting in private carry the stiffest penalties.

Rumored District 1 Candidate - Al Weisenburger

Word around the westside is that Al Weisenburger is going to join the race for District 1.

Don't know much about him other than he's an older guy that used to own a car dealership or something.

So if he's rich, obviously that is helpful. But much like the other candidates who've never run before, he needs a good campaign team. I just don't know who's out there to help him out. Most everyone is either already married up or committed their support to a candidate already.

Filing deadline is Friday, so lets see who else throws their hat in the ring. I'm surprised Rick Schecter hasn't done so yet to be quite honest.

Stay tuned...

District 1 Race Candidates

As you can see from this screen shot, things are getting interesting in district 1. Bertha Gallegos (I wrote about her a while back as a probable candidate) is in. 



She changes the race in a meaningful way and virtually ensures a run off. 

Interestingly Dan Longoria is still listed. I'll check with the city and find out if that's a mistake or if something needs to happen for him to be taken off before the ballot is finalized. 

If he stays on its going to cause a lot of confusion.

The question is who makes the run off?Peter Svarzbein has a good shot to make the run off as does Susie Byrd's candidate, Rick Bonart. 

Manny Hinojosa doesn't have the support to make a run-off but whatever votes he gets will be a few less votes the other candidates will get and further increase the likelihood of a runoff. 

It'll be really interesting to see what Gallardo's campaign team looks like because this will come down to who has the best ground game as most campaigns do. 

This one is gonna be fun.


Ordaz is Running for Re-Election

A lot of people have been asking me so lets put it to rest. Representative Ordaz is running for re-election.

She has not filed yet and that is the reason why there have been so many questions floating around about whether or not she was going to run again. So I contacted Representative Ordaz and she stated, "Yes I am going to run!"

No other candidate has filed to run for the seat as of yet. 

Representative Ordaz is currently serving the final portion of the unexpired term of former City Rep Eddie Holguin who resigned his position to run for County Judge. 

The final date to file to run for office is this Friday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Clint / Tornillo School Board Meeting Tidbits

Clint ISD met last week and one of the topics of conversation was $80 million in bonds they will be taking to the voters.

I reached out to Clint ISD and they said that the breakdown in spending would be $30,528,000.00 for Montana Vista area, Horizon City will get $32,224,000.00 and the Clint area will get $17,172,000.00.

Clint ISD also indicated that the projects have been approved by the Clint ISD School Board and will not change.

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Tornillo ISD will have their school board meeting tomorrow night. The Board and Superintendent know that the community is not happy so expect to see some fireworks. School boards like to move public comment around when things get uncomfortable for them, so it wouldn't shock me if that happened as well.

At any rate, the media will be there. I hear there has been a petition circulating in the community calling for Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez's removal as superintendent.

Stay tuned.

School Board Candidate Shake-Down

There's an entity calling itself the Creed Group that has been shopping around for EPISD school board candidates.

From what I've been told by several sources, its kind of a shake-down. They interview to see if they want to support you and if they do, you get campaign money.

The catch is you have to use the campaign consultants they want you to use and no one else. For obvious reasons that raises a lot of eyebrows. There is potentially a huge tie-in that I'll discuss in a later piece.

Three guesses who the consulting firm is...

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Four Most Important Bodies You Know Nothing About

While most of you are focused on city council, the state legislature, and commissioners court as the place for all your "I hate the government" angst, there are actual entities that are as important, and in some ways more important, that you don't know anything about.

Here's a quick countdown:

4. The Council of Judges - I know it sounds like something out of a DC comic but the COJ oversees several important court functions and sets a variety of policy. The stuff about indigent defense a while back made some people hip to its existence and their desire to sorta-kinda-when-its-convenient operate like its subject to the Open Meetings Act.

Its not.

Judge Patrick Garcia is the head judge right now. It wouldn't surprise me if they went in a different direction.

3. Your Local School Board - Yeah, this one you should know but lets be real, you don't know the name of the school board representative for your area. They leverage millions of your tax dollars, are responsible for the largest part of your tax bill, have the biggest policy impact on the day-to-day lives of your children, make some of the worst decisions possible, are usually incompetent with a budget, and have been involved with a range of scandals. Yet you don't learn and either vote the same fools back into office, or worse, don't vote in their elections at all. Many local school boards have elections coming up.

2. Water Boards - this one (along with Emergency Service Districts) doesn't apply to everyone, but they are nonetheless extremely powerful entities. They are usually as inept as school boards, but they control a very valuable resource...water. They are mini kingdoms and no one watches what they are doing and no one cares until there's a screw-up. Basically as long as no one messes up, they can pretty much do what they want.

1. The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) - The MPO determines what mobility plans get funded and do more to shape the look, feel, and mobility of the region than any other body. Members are appointed from the state, county, and municipalities in the area, both in Texas and New Mexico. They leverage millions of dollars. They stream their meetings and honestly they are pretty boring unless you're a transportation nerd that likes that sort of stuff.

The Problem with MACI

I saw ABC 7 Xtra last night and I have to say that City Rep Lily Limon is spot on in her advocacy for the Mexican American Cultural Institute. We shouldn't just settle for table scraps on this project.

Limon mentioned visiting another in San Antonio and said that El Paso's facility needs to be world class. That is exactly the type of vision we need in driving the creation of a MACI. Other cities embrace their Latino culture like Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Tucson, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Antonio. For some reason, El Paso which is pretty much the capitol of the border, runs away from it and has for years.

What are we ashamed of? How the hell does San Antonio, literally located hundreds of miles from the border come off calling itself the gateway to Mexico and we have some sort of inferiority complex about being brown.

We need the biggest, best, and most impressive cultural center of them all. And it needs to be downtown, or in Segundo. But all the other reasons we should put all the cool bond stuff downtown apply to the MACI. Its all about the Benjamins.

Now for those of you reading this that are saying, why does it have to be Mexican? I don't need a culture center to teach me how to be who I am.

Shut up. Stop being a condescending ass. Thats not what this is about and you know it.

But a MACI is doomed to have a lot of problems. First, it will be the freaking name. We are going to end up being paralyzed by the same old argument that is going to leave the door open for us to be divided and conquered (again).

The argument is going to be over what we call ourselves. If we can't agree on that, we aren't going to agree on what to call it. I identify as Chicano, but others identify as Xicano, Hispanic, Latino, Mexican-American, Mexican, American of Mexican descent, indigenous, etc...

For all of you that are going to kick, scream, stomp and hold your breath over the name, you people should shut up too.

This stupid bickering that we do among ourselves is exactly what holds us back. If we can't get that right, I can't even imagine the fight over content...

You know what else is a problem? That fact that we got blind-sided with the under-funding. Thats our fault, We dropped the ball and we need to be honest with ourselves about that. Being a Latino leader doesn't mean just showing up for a photo-op when Little Joe or Dolores Huerta comes to town. It means being in the room and making key decisions. The fact that the process has gone this far and we are only now just realizing the screw job that happened is primarily our fault.

One last thing...I'm calling bullshit on Bernie Sergeant. I like the guy, but he was full of it on Xtra. He called for a cultural center that is "more inclusive". Sergeant chairs the El Paso County Historical Commission and its nearly all white. How the hell a historical commission in El Paso ends up being almost all-white is another failure of Latino leadership. But Sergeant tried to dodge that point last night and frankly I'm not letting him off the hook. As recently as last year there was only one member of the commission who was even 1/2 Latino. If there's a couple more now thats news to me, but its still nowhere near a reflection of our community.

Yes, its true that he doesn't appoint the members, but as the chair he's uniquely positioned to be able to connect members of the court with people that would be interested in serving and making the commission look more like El Paso.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Black El Paso Democrats Awards Dinner

The Black El Paso Democrats will celebrate their 32nd Annual Political Awareness and Award celebration on Saturday night.

The BEPD dinner is one of the main political events of the year and this years' keynote speaker will be Congresswoman Sewell who represents the 7th congressional district of Alabama. 

That district includes Selma.

The dinner will be held at the Wyndham Airport Hotel. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Security Expert Seeks School Board Seat

Al Patiño, who once ran for El Paso County Sheriff and served as a law enforcement consultant for the City of Socorro, has declared his candidacy for the EPISD school board.

“I am running for EPISD School Board Trustee because this Board is going to have significant challenges and I want to put my experience to work solving them,” explains Patiño. “Since returning to El Paso after my military and federal law enforcement careers, I got involved in various levels within the school district and now have a 14 year investment to make sure that the right thing is done.  While I clearly understand that the Board has to consider the needs of the children, we also need to consider the taxpayers and the investment they are making in the school system.”

He would be running to represent District 6 which includes the Franklin High School area.



5 Senatorial Candidates

Well we've all be speculating about the next senator after Jose Rodriguez since the rumblings of his future retirement have surfaced.

So I've been sitting around and thinking about who are the 5 people in town with the best shot of winning the seat. I have no clue if any of them are actually interested in it (okay maybe a couple of them are) and there would be a bunch of other variables that would come in to play.

But lets talk the top 5 in no particular order...

The Delegation

I think there are two natural front-runners from the state delegation that would be really strong candidates for the job, State Reps Joe Moody and Cesar Blanco. Young and bright and both have wide appeal. Other members of the delegation are controversial or difficult to get along with, but these two are the most formidable from the delegation and would have no problem raising money. If Moody can be DA, he can damn sure be Senator. Blanco is new but the Force is strong with him and he has all the boxes checked for a long career. If there's one member of the delegation that you just know is going to have a the brightest career of them all, its Blanco.

The City

Cortney Niland. If she can win a mayoral race, I think she could win countywide. The mayoral job is her's whenever she wants it but she's got relationships all over the state and has no problem with campaign money.

The County

The County Judge is positioned for Congress or the State Senate seat. Whichever she wants is hers for the taking. She's won countywide on more than one occasion. She knows what it takes to win.

The Wild Card

Sheriff Richard Wiles. Still a popular elected official. Never done anything on the policy side but he's a pretty strong candidate and with the right field of candidates could win.

So those are my top 5 that would have the easiest time winning. There are other candidates that are interested no doubt and others with aspirations that given the right circumstances would be contenders.

I'm sure this will generate enough content from the others for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rep Lily Limon is Right on Hispanic Cultural Center - Homegirl of the Week.

I caught some of Representative Lily Limon's comments about the funding of the Hispanic Cultural Center and I have to say she's 100% right.

Bravo for her. When I think someone is wrong, I say so. When I think they're right, I do the same.

I am not always her biggest fan, but she's right on this one.

El Paso is a border city that is 80+% raza and we are one of the largest cities in the country without an Hispanic Cultural Center. That blows my mind. If we won't respect, honor, and value our culture, then who else will?

The fact that we've gone so long without one is a failure on the part of Latino leaders we've had in the past. But hell, you can barely get any of them to show up to a Cesar Chavez march.

We have to keep our soul.

The fact that a freaking swimming pool is so well funded but an Hispanic Cultural Center has to fight for scraps is - as we say in the barrio - gacho. The pool is for spoiled rich kids that go to private school. Not the rest of use that learned to swim at the public pool, in the rio grande or in arroyos.

Economically speaking, far more people will go to a cultural center than a pool for synchronized swimming.

If a community full of raza can't figure a way out how to adequately fund something that educates our future on the roots of our past, then how can we expect it to be done anywhere else?

Every last member of city council with a Spanish surname and identifies as raza in any way, shape or form, wake up. You have an obligation to the people you represent, you have an obligation to those who paved the way before you, and you have an obligation to those who will follow you to honor our culture. Do the right thing.

This one should come natural.

Representative Limon, you're my Homegirl of the Week.

David K Betrayed Our Secret Blogger Group!

First of all I can't believe DK threw us all under the bus by revealing that we in the Blogger Justice League of El Paso are part of a super secret organization controlled by the CIA, MI6, and the Knights Templar, who are in turned controlled by Paul Foster, Woody Hunt, and La Llorona! http://refusethejuice.typepad.com/thinkaboutit/2015/02/hypocrisy-the-martin-paredes-story.html

Is nothing sacred man? 

I'm not saying DK has a Code Red coming to him, I'm just saying that if it does happen, I wasn't anywhere near Gitmo when it does, er, if it does.

Yes it's true, we were thinking about jumping Paredes into our group of secret bloggers but there were several other issues in the way other than Paredes' little tantrum about Max using Martin's Match.com profile picture without permission.

Really the biggest issue was the fact that we already have a Llorona in the group. No need for two.

So David K was completely off base.

But he is right that Martin gets really touchy when people use his shitty paint-by-numbers Photoshop work. 

He rather enjoys taking pictures of people and then altering them so that it looks nothing like the real person but just a really shitty shadow of the real person. Like he did here:



What's that you say? That's really him? Oops, my bad. But you get my point right? 

Personally I was was flattered at the logo he made for me.


I mean so what that he ripped off a hit movie about sexual dominance and equated it to my sex life? 

That's not weird at all!

Hell truth be told, sometimes I think my performances should be written about. They are the stuff of legend after all. 

Well maybe not always...

But sometimes.

Perhaps occasionally... 

Like if I concentrate really hard...

There are times when...Okay fine, I'm not a machine damn it! 

I for one, am flattered that Paredes cares so much about my sex life. I don't find it creepy at all that a guy with that grin on his face who lives several hundred miles away thinks of me whenever he thinks of a hot sex scene involving role play, leather, restraints, duct tape, a dominant male, and a safe word. 

That's totally normal right? 

He even did a video for little Ol' me...

I mean yeah, my girlfriend was a little jealous because she wanted to know who that female voice was that kept calling me "slave" (it's sorta our thing) and she thought it was weird that he got the male and female roles backward. Neither of us can figure out who told Paredes I dig role play by the way.

But the truth is, while I know it might seem like he's interested in the big Lion Daddy dominating him and teaching him some lessons, I think Paredes was just trying to be part of our reindeer games. I don't think he's actually interested in me that way. 

It was probably more a cry for attention. 

But just in case he is interested in me in that way, I'm sorry Martin but I'm spoken for. 

And no, you cannot know what my safe word is. 

Okay fine, I'll tell you. It's "powdered sugar."

See what you did David K? Now I'm betraying super secret blogger club secrets too. Thanks a lot! I'm totally getting Code Reded for sure now. 

That's it, I'm leaving. I could really go for some Kool Aide right now...

Two New Candidates in District 1 Race

To be more accurate, one more candidate and one rumored candidate.

The rumored candidate is Bertha Gallardo. I attempted to reach her yesterday and was unsuccessful. I left her a voicemail with my name and number in order to confirm with her but haven't heard back from her yet. 

On paper she's a very formidable candidate. She's an Hispanic female professional. She works for a local hospital, chairs the board of a local agency, and has some experience with the Chamber. Her candidacy pretty much ensures a run-off election.

I haven't checked her voting record yet so I don't really have an indication of her politics. Based on what I know of her career so far, I'm willing to bet she can raise some decent money. The question is who ends up in the run-off. 

The other candidate that has already filed is Manny Hinojosa. That name may be familiar with those who live in district 1 because he's run for that seat before. He also recently ran for District Clerk so his name has been on the ballot a few times already.

Hinojosa will be the fiscal/social conservative in the race. He consistently ran on a platform of saving money and he previously pledged to "instill positive values". 

To be frank, Hinojosa will have a steep mountain to climb. He probably won't be able to raise much money to run for office which means he will have a tough time getting his message out. He will therefore rely on going to every function he can make it to, but that will only give him exposure among a limited number of actual voters. He's never really been able to capture a significant portion of the vote so he doesn't have a base to build on.

That being said, being Latino against two white guys helps. Well, not as much in District 1 as it does in other parts of the city. And with Gallardo in the race, that may be further negated. 

On my YouTube Channel there is an archive of almost every interview I've ever done and you will find some of Mr. Hinojosa. 

Here's part one of an interview I did with Mr. Hinojosa the last time he ran for city council. 

Tightening the Screws in Tornillo

Well it appears that Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez supporters are feeling the heat from the community members and apparently from the news coverage and are tightening up around her.

Yesterday afternoon after school, Lupe Lopez handed out these flyers to parents that were leaving the school with their children.

Basically the flyer is imploring the community to support the Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez and to not believe the slander and lies. It also states that the parents have the power to make a change. The rest says our superintendent is here to educate our children. At this moment she our support to meet the educational goals of the Tornillo ISD. Remember, support her. She's always available to listen

Lupe Lopez is married to Tornillo ISD Board Member Hector Lopez. Mr. Lopez is a relative of Dr. Meza-Chavez's husband, Jesus Chavez.

The flyer was handed out by Mrs. Lopez near where the crossing guard stands to assist students and parents when crossing the street. There is no indication as to whether this flyer was produced with district funds or if this is an independent effort. The document itself doesn't indicate on who's behalf or authority it is being distributed either.

While the flier implores the reader to not believe the slander or lies, it gives no indication as to what specifically the flier is referring to.

Multiple news stories have been done on the lack of a school nurse in the district and a follow-up story was also done about an incident involving a special needs student that was ultimately diagnosed with a concussion.

Since it is a fact that the district does not employ a school nurse and that the boy needed treatment at an emergency room, it is unclear as to what the slander and lies referred to in the letter are specifically.

There is also no indication as to whether or not this was done with the knowledge or permission of Dr. Meza-Chavez.

More to follow soon regarding some financial concerns raised recently...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Replacing Flores

Just to clear on some confusion I checked out how the process to replace Victor Flores, the County Tax Assesor/Collector is going to go. Flores is retiring due to illness.

Flores will still be the Tax Assessor Collector until a replacement is appointed by the Court because of the Texas Hold-Over Clause.

First lets kill all the ridiculous rumors that start every time the judge has a position to appoint. For as power-hungry as people make her out to be, the rumors of who she is going to select for a position are never true. So no, don't expect Susie Byrd or the former city manager, or Steve Ortega to be appointed to replace Flores.

Its the entire court that appoints this position by the way, not just the judge. That being said, when it is the judge's pick, she always picks someone that isn't going to run for the position and always picks someone you've never heard of before.

I'm pretty sure the rest of the court will not want to pick someone who's interested in running for the position. So all of the ass-kissing that was about to commence will have to wait.

The Court directed the Chief Administrator to get with HR to come up with a list of qualifications, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Once they get that, then applicants that fit the requirements, both internally and externally, will be able to apply. It appears the court did this, which is above and beyond what is required to hold the elected office, because the person selected would serve almost 20 months of the term. That is a lot of time to screw up, so they want to make sure that the person appointed won't screw something up.

Guess what that means?

Don't expect the names you've heard of to get the job. Don't expect a lot of hard-ball political lobbying for the job. It'll likely be some person you'll have to Google when they are announced.

Now whether or not that person runs is likely going to be asked during the interview process. The person could genuinely have no desire to run at the point of the interview but might like the job so much and later change their mind and run.

The bottom line is with 20 months left to serve the office, its really difficult to have a good sense if someone is or is not going to run. That is a long time for someone to change their mind.

Steve Ortega flat out told me he'd never run for mayor and he changed his mind. Tonya Chozet flat out told me she wasn't running for city council. She changed her mind.

It happens.

Either way, don't expect the people with big names to be in the running for Flores' job.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fabens Group Resurrects Cemetery

Its been known by many names over the years. The Baptist Cemetery, The Protestant Cemetery, etc. But most recently its been known as the Forgotten Cemetery.

It was burial land that was used back in the old days for people that couldn't be buried at the Catholic burial grounds.

It was actively maintained until sometime in the early 1970s. After that time, there was no one left to maintain the cemetery and slowly it was forgotten. Vegetation began to over-grow the area and it came into disrepair.

At some point the land around the area was platted for development. Limited development has occurred in the area but mostly it was used for ATVs to go joy riding.

A group of residents in the Fabens area that had relatives buried there decided to get together and see what could be done to make improvements to the cemetery.

Unfortunately there is some major confusion as to who actually owns the cemetery. It was owned by a church with a particular name for many years. That church is now defunct. There is another church by the same name here in El Paso now, but they have documented that they don't own the cemetery.

So there doesn't appear to be anyone around that is in charge of the cemetery, which is how it went into disrepair.

The son of one of the last caretakers of the land organized some volunteers, though he and his family did most of the work themselves, organized a group to clean up the area and make some improvements. This is a project they worked on for several months and there was a rededication ceremony for it last week.

I was unable to attend, but wanted to give the Bidwell family and the volunteers that made it happen a quick shout-out for getting the job done.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tornillo ISD Makes Key Hire!

I know what you're thinking...

The finally hired a nurse right?

Nope.

But Dr. Jeannie Meza-Chavez did make a hire for herself recently. Apparently she has a new secretary. Glad to see the priorities are straight over there in the central office.

If I'm not mistaken, the new secretary is a sister of the business manager for the district. 

In fairness to Dr. Meza-Chavez administrative support is a lot easier to come by than nurses are and the hire may have been really necessary.

But when the community is in dire need for a more important position and the superintendent hires more support staff for herself it just comes across as tone-deaf to the needs of the community.

It's a little Marie Antionette of her. They need a school nurse, but let them eat cake!

Sadly there are even more troubles in Tornillo ISD. More to come...

Luring Business to El Paso

My buddy David K was calling for the head of Claudia Ordaz the other day over the fact that Ordaz, Niland, and a few other members of council raised questions about the deal to bring a business to El Paso through incentives.

Let me begin by saying that I'm not a fan of this idea.

Its like paying for sex.

In principle I think we should be looking for ways to invest in our community that make us attractive to businesses without having to pay them to come here through the form of incentives.

But I recognize its competitive out there and the city has to do what it has to do. But what is wrong with our leadership doing their job and trying to get the most we can get while paying the least amount of money for it.

Frankly, I don't buy the idea the Detroit analogy either. I don't buy that we will lose out on these high paying jobs if they are in Santa Teresa as opposed to west El Paso. I really give a damn if the business sets up its shingle in Santa Teresa over El Paso because exactly where do you think they are going to draw their employees from? And once those employees get hired, where do you think they are going to spend their money? You think a worker, who will likely be an El Pasoan, is going to drive to Cruces for their groceries or to gas up?

Hell no.

City Rep Claudia Ordaz rightfully made the point that a single mom could qualify for public assistance on some of those wages. Which is fine if that is what the company wants to pay, but why the hell should we taxpayers subsidize a low-wage job?

Am I the only one that thinks that the math is wrong when we subsidize a job that the employee could then turn around and get public assistance (which we all so pay)?

Thats like paying for sex and taking a hooker out to dinner.

Look at any major metropolitan area in the country and there are companies that are located in suburbs around the city but the presence of the business contributes the the regional economic development. I mean do I really need to give examples like Houston, Dallas, Austin, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Antonio, etc...?

Interestingly while DK makes the very valid point that most of the members of council do not have business experience, if I remember correctly it was the city representative with business experience, Larry Romero, that actually made the motion to table the issue. DK might have missed that.

The reality is that several members of council questioned the issue but Ordaz was singled out. At first I thought it was because she has to run for reelection in this election cycle, but then I realized Representative Niland raised the same questions and is also up for reelection.

But while DK called for Ordaz's head, I think he fails to realize one key point.

Who in the hell are you going to get to run against her?

Young, smart, attractive, and a pretty strong track record already. Oh and she's not bat-shit crazy. Good luck finding someone to run against her. I live in District 6 and I was thinking of several scenarios I can't honestly think of a viable candidate. She won every precinct in the election. She still has a ton of money. She has a strong base north of the freeway and she lives south of the freeway. Which doesn't matter because, as I said before, she won every precinct.

Seriously...someone come up with a name that would be remotely viable.

Just one.

Go ahead...I'll wait...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Opinion: Jeannie Meza-Chavez Tone Deaf to Tornillo

Last night this story aired on Canal 26. http://www.kint.com/2015/02/11/falta-de-atencion-medica-y-presunto-caso-de-acoso-escolar-en-secundaria-de-tornillo/

I wrote about this issue yesterday so check it out if you haven't already. Just keep scrolling.

I read the comments from the Superintendent of Tornillo ISD in the KINT piece and I am stunned at not only the lack of empathy from Dr. Meza-Chavez but from the complete absence of a sense of urgency.

Basically she said the administration followed their protocols. So their protos call for a head injury to not be looked at even by their CNA? 

Their protocols consisted of monitoring the student for 30 minutes and sending him to class.

An 11 year old special needs student is slammed to the concrete striking his head during PE and no one even thinks that maybe the only medically-trained employee in the district should at least give him a once over?

What has to happen for the Superintendent and Board Members to to take steps necessary to incentivize a nurse to come work for Tornillo ISD? 

Would she send her own children to schools that lacked a nurse?

What about the potential liabilities to the district from a lawsuit?

If Dr. Meza-Chavez hasn't made this issue a priority then the school board members are the ones that should be accountable. 

Imagine the ramifications to the student had his parents taken the principals word for it that the student was okay. He wasn't okay. He had a concussion. Hell the NFL doesn't let you even get back on the field with a concussion but the principal sent that young man back to class.

Maya is 11. Imagine if this happened to your 11 year old.

Dr. Meza-Chavez found a way to make someone a principal without the requisite experience. Clearly she's shown that she's willing to make an exception when it's necessary, so she has set precedent. Something needs to be done about this.

A good superintendent is responsive to the needs of students, faculty and staff, and the community.

The apparent lack of urgency from Dr. Meza-Chavez-Chavez shows she is tone-deaf to the needs of the students of Tornillo. 

Shame on her. She is entrusted with the safety of the children by the parents. 

And shame on the school board for not fixing this problem. 

You have all failed the children. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Screwed in Tornillo Part 3

I've written previously about how the Tornillo ISD lacks a school nurse. I wrote about how bad of situation that is for Tornillo ISD, the parents and the students.

Well call it Murphy's Law, but there was an incident at one of the schools that once again brings this issue to the forefront.

An 11 year old student with special needs was hurt during PE last week. He is in the 5th grade at Tornillo Intermediate School. He sustained a serious injury and will likely need a CT scan next week.

I spoke with Daniel Rivera, the boy's father who told me that he received a call from the school on the day of the incident. They explained that there was a situation that resulted his son being slammed to the ground but that he was okay and was back in the classroom.

Mr. Rivera called his wife and asked her to go check on their son at school. When his wife arrived at the school she was allegedly met by the Principal of the school, Mr. Guerrero. He allegedly told the boys mother that he hadn't seen a school nurse because they don't have one but that he observed the student for 30 minutes before returning him to class. It wasn't until then that she was allegedly informed that her son's head actually hit the concrete after being slammed to the ground.

The Riveras made the decision to take their son home from school because his mother noticed that he was quiet and not himself. He was in a lot of pain and so they drove into town so their son could be seen in the emergency room.

Mr. Rivera says that his son was diagnosed with a concussion. He indicates that the concussion was confirmed at a follow-up appointment with the family physician and that a CT scan will likely be ordered next week.

Tornillo ISD superindent Dr. Jeannie Mesa-Chavez previously indicated that training for faculty and staff in first aid was to start in February as a stop-gap measure until an RN for the district was hired.

Mr. Rivera says that the nursing assistant that is employed by the district never saw his son and he doesn't even know if she was ever even made aware of the situation. So it appears that the only medical evaluation that was provided was observation for 30 minutes by Principal Guerrero before returning the student to class.

Sources indicate that Mr. Guerrero was elevated from teacher to Assistant Principal in October of 2014 and was made Principal of Tornillo Intermediate School the following month. According to requirements of the district the position of principal calls for two years experience as an assistant principal.

Interestingly applicants without the requisite years of experience was part of the reason cited for not having a school nurse in Tornillo ISD. Clearly the superintendent has set a precedent by overlooking the experience requirement for other important positions within the district so one wonders what will be the next course of action for hiring an RN.

The Rivera family has filed a grievance with the Tornillo ISD over the issue. Again, the lack of an RN in the school district is an issue that is potentially a huge liability for the district. Any future payouts would be funded by tax-payer funds.

These leaves me with two very important questions.

1) How long before the superintendent and board members make the safety of the schools their top priority?

2) What steps have been taken to ensure that the district can get an RN in the district soon? (Has the superintendent suggested changing the requirements, raising the salary, or coming up with other incentives to lure talented applicants? Has the Board articulated to the superintendent that this is a priority for the district?)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Martin Paredes, Useless Pendejo

Normally I don't write about the other bloggers because I'm the one they blog about. I lead, they follow. Thats the pecking order.

But every once in a while I find the need to comment on something and today that something is the crazy train that is Martin Paredes. Long ago he referred to be as a "useful idiot". Well if I'm a useful idiot, then Paredes is certainly a useless pendejo.

Martin Paredes talks, but never says anything.

Martin Paredes is a conspiracy theorist. I know a lot of Libertarians and so I know a crazy nut-ball conspiracy theorist when I see one. Even by Libertarian standards, Martin Paredes is out there. He's conspiracy theorist Rob Lowe. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if he actually did think the government puts listening devices in cheese. And by government, I mean Veronica Escobar.

To hear Martin Paredes tell it, Veronica Escobar is part of a vast conspiracy that started years ago under former Mayor Ray Caballero. Actually to hear Paredes a whole log of people were allegedly involved in a conspiracy involving Mayor Caballero including people who were literally in diapers when he was the mayor.

Even Truthers and Birthers realized they had to come up with something that remotely resembles a rational and coherent thought. But not Martin Paredes. He makes a video and posts it on his blog proclaiming some sort of conspiracy but never articulates what the conspiracy is.

The video is of County Judge Veronica Escobar and Susie Byrd talking about how they along with Congressman O'Rourke, Senator Rodriguez, and Steve Ortega were working toward a "very important agenda".

Escobar says the agenda was about a vibrant downtown and excellent mass transit, about being competitive with other cities, and drawing talent, not losing it.

Thats a bad thing? Maybe Paredes would like El Paso to be an old backward thinking town that was content with mediocrity. Meanwhile, there is a new spirit in El Paso and people are actually excited about El Paso actually being on the road to fulfilling its potential.

But wait, it gets better. For dramatic impact, he shows the old city hall being torn down. Ooooooohhh.

The next screen says "What is next for their agenda?" Followed by "Can it be stopped?"

Well the crappy city hall building was replaced by a stadium that has been my nearly every mark, a success. It has been a big impact to downtown. More people will continue to visit the downtown area and contribute to our economy which will ultimately take some of the burden off of homeowners and put more of it on businesses. Families love and enjoy the ballpark. Its probably the best thing to happen to El Paso that I can remember.

So if that is their agenda (forget the fact that Escobar and Rodriguez didn't have any part of that city project) then I hope the answer to what is next for the agenda is something just as great, if not better than the ballpark.

As for can it be stopped?

Hell, based on how much better things are, I hope not! But just look at the score board Martin. You're out of touch with the people of El Paso.

Well Escobar says it best when she says "candidates running against good stuff, the community needs to reject that. Its up to the community to say, 'we still have a set goal. We're not there yet and we're not gonna let you drag us down.'"

And the voters have said just that. The group of leaders that are lumped in with Escobar have lost one election recently. The rest they have won and usually pretty handily.

Face it Paredes, the community happens to live that "agenda" they are pushing. They've had many opportunities to reject it at the ballot box and instead of rejecting that agenda, they have supported it and the leaders who are making important policy initiatives.

My favorite part is when he mentions the upcoming elections (None of the people mentioned in the video are on the ballot by the way) and that its time to "take back your city". He apparently channeled is inner Tea Party nut with the whole "we want our country back" sentiment. Take it back from who? Did it suddenly get invaded by a foreign country when no one was looking?

**********************************

This part is sort of a personal rant about Paredes and his silly little conspiracy theories. The other day self-describe "border blogger" who doesn't live anywhere near the Mexican border, alleged that I was part of some conspiracy having to do with the American flag design at the new Reyes Elementary School in Canutillo along with Woody Hunt.

Again, no proof was provided whatsoever. Apparently one of the voices in his head just came up with that idea. Or maybe the cheese whispered it to him.

Here are the facts. I wrote about the flag controversy before anyone else. I was, and am, pretty furious about it. I said Canutillo ISD better not back down and said that every veteran's organization in this town should raise holy hell if they do. I also said they should go a step further and bling the building out in red, white, and blue just to send a message.

Apparently because I didn't write about it again, Paredes jumps to some conclusion that I was basically flying air cover for Woody Hunt. First of all, I didn't even know Woody Hunt was the developer.

Not all of us are as cozy with those folks as Paredes is.

Second of all, I thought it was a homeowners association issue, not the developers.

Third of all, I DON'T KNOW WOODY HUNT. I never met the vato. Never been in the same room as him that I know of. The closest I get to Woody Hunt is passing some building named after him near Ysleta High School on my way to mass on Sunday.

I mention this because Paredes is a complete moron and because I get irritated when people challenge my patriotism. And trust me, when you allege that I back down from an issue because I'm flying air cover for a developer I've never met over a controversy having to do with the flag, you are absolutely challenging my patriotism.

I'm a veteran. I served my country and I'm patriotic. I volunteered for the Army on my birthday which happens to be the 4th of July. People who know me know that I stand for the national anthem no matter where I am when it plays. If I'm all alone at home watching a boxing match on tv and it comes on, I stand. I make my kids stand too. If I'm at a restaurant, bar, friends house, etc and I hear it, I stand. Most of the time, I'm the only one standing. And guess what? I don't care.

I stand for the flag. I stand for what I believe. Thats just how I was raised.

I care far more about the flag than I do a rich developer I've never met.

Unlike you, I'm not for sale vato.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Clint ISD Board Member is Lying or Mistaken

You may recall that I wrote about a member of the Clint ISD Board of Trustees not taking office until 6 months have passed in order to get around a nepotism rule at the district.

The El Paso Times did a story on it today. You can find the story here: "Nepotism concerns delay Clint trustee's swearing in"
http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_27487506/nepotism-concerns-delay-clint-trustees-swearing

Hilda James is the board member in question. The Times article indicates that James says no one has raised concerns about the delay.

She's either lying or mistaken. Channel 26 did a story on this issue back when they were sworn into office. They had a news crew at the meeting.

You're telling me that a trustee from a very small town that almost never has news crews in town didn't notice there was a news crew at the meeting?

Talk about pulling a Brian Williams!

26 probably covers more issues in the valley than any other station because so many of their viewers are Spanish-language dominant.

James acknowledges that the optics are such that some would find it "suspicious" that she's not serving on the board.

This is yet another blow to the public confidence of Clint ISD.

Noe Says Yes

City Rep Michiel Noe is saying yes to reelection.

Noe filed the necessary paperwork to run for reelection today at the city. So far he has no opponent although there may be one depending on her decision.

Typically city council races have a number of people sign up to run but this cycle looks really quiet so far. Two candidates in District 1, one candidate in District 5, and presumably one in District 6 so far.

That's it.

For the races with an incumbent, it's a bad tactical move for any prospective candidates to have not started campaigning a long time ago. So I have doubts about viability of opponents, unless the person running is a big name with money.

There are only so many of those in El Paso.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Longoria Fumbles Bow-Out

Man, I feel bad for the guy a little. Dan Longoria was out of the race as quickly as he was in it.

I suppose it's for the best, especially if the Times article is what tipped the scales. I mean let's be real, it wasn't that bad and could've been a lot worse.

I'd heard the rumor he was gonna bow out from a few places before I said anything but the confirmation came from his website.

But he kept putzing with his resignation all day long. 

Here's what it looked like when it first came out.


But there were changes to it. In the second version that I caught about an hour and a half later, this is what it looked like.


Gone was the definitive language that he was going to exit the race and now there was mention of overwhelming support.

At 10:56 there was ANOTHER version posted. 


The clarity of withdrawing from the race was now back in the statement. 

There really was no urgency to get it up. They should've just waited and put it up once it was a final product.   

This is why you have political advisors to help with stuff like this.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Resigned: County Tax Assessor Collector Victor Flores

Long time County Tax Assessor Collector Victor Flores has resigned this morning at the Thursday meeting of Commissioners Court.

Flores, a Vietnam Veteran, has been with the County of El Paso around 40 years and has been an elected official for the last 20 years a source at the County indicated.

Commissioners Court will decide who fills the position in the interim. Individual members of the Court are replaced by the County Judge but all other electeds are replaced by the full court.

County Judge Escobar usually picks people who will not run for the office when she's had to replace a member of the court. It may be an entirely different ballgame when its up to the whole court.

Flores resigned due to health reasons. He soldiered through a serious illness last year.

(Update) Confirmed: Dan Longoria is out

As quickly as he was in, he is now out according to multiple sources.

Dan Longoria is allegedly going to bow out of the race at some point today or tomorrow. Longoria was a candidate for the District 1 city council race and is the subject of an article in today's edition of the El Paso Times.

The article briefly mentions a couple of brush-ins with the law.

More details to come...

UPDATE - Dan Longoria has confirmed on his campaign website that he is out. 




Cortney Niland Announces Re-Election, Flexes Street Cred

City Representative Cortney Niland announced her re-election bid on social media recently and I thought there was something that was particularly noteworthy about it.

The first people to jump up and support her were not the people many in El Paso would expect to see support Niland, South and South Central El Paso.

Why?

Because homegirl has street cred. In fact, she has more barrio street cred than City Rep Lily Limon. Why? Because street cred is about getting stuff done for the barrio, not just having Little Joe in a radio commercial.

Cortney Niland's district is by far the most economically polarized in the city, perhaps one of the most economically polarized in the country. I still have no idea how in the hell Segundo Barrio, Chamizal, and Chihuahuita are considered communities of interest with The Willows, but they are in the same district. Yes, one of the poorest zip codes in America is in the same district as The Willows.

I've block walked both areas and for the life of me I can't figure it out. The areas couldn't be more different.


The Facebook account thats in the screen shot belongs to Cruz Morales. He's the Head Vato in Charge of the Chamizal Neighborhood Association. You know, donde esta La Bowie. He is also president of El Barrio Sports Club.

Tuesday night she was honored by the Southside Neighborhood Association for her advocacy for that community. Southside Neighborhood Association is in Segundo Barrio.

Let me back up for a moment to give you some context on why I think this is important. You hear a lot of noise from the crazies, most particularly the Florida Crazy Martin Paredes (when he's not working on crappy photoshop jobs to make people look their absolute worst because he thinks it underscores the point that one of the voices in his head is trying to make or not birthing another crazy conspiracy theory) about Niland.

I myself was EXTREMELY skeptical of Niland when she first took office. I probably called her an elitist, but I know for sure that I had zero faith in her advocating for the poor barrio areas of her district. And I had good reason to be concerned. Chamizal, Segundo Barrio, and Chihuahuita areas don't vote. Many residents are not eligible and very few actually vote. From that stand point, they have zero influence. Any one who represents the area could easily be justified in ignoring the area especially when there are probably plenty of retired folk in the more affluent areas of district 8 that have nothing better to do than call the city and complain about their hoighty toighty neighborhood not being hoighty toighty enough.

And also, truth be told, I didn't think a rich gringa would care.

I've been called by many of my ever-growing number of critics, a militant Chicano. I know they mean that as an insult, but its a title I wear proudly. Damn right I'm a militant Chicano. I was raised in the barrio and come from an activist family so I'm not ashamed of that one bit. Segundo Barrio, Chamizal, and Chihuahuita are the heart of the barrio in El Paso. Some of the most impoverished areas but also more culturally rich than anywhere on the westside. So yeah, those areas are important to me and a lot of Chicanos in El Paso.

Niland holding plaque from Southside Neighborhood Association
I didn't think a rich gringa could, or would, advocate for those communities. Not only because of the political realities of impoverished communities with low voter participation traditionally having zero influence but also because I didn't think rich gringas cared or understood the barrio. She's from Houston and lives in the Willows, what does she know about what its like for families with lots of kids, very little English, few opportunities, but an abundance of heart and culture?

I've written previously about how surprised I was that she even campaigned in Segundo Barrio in the first place.

And yet, she's built a stronger track record for advocating for the barrio of El Paso than any member of council sitting on the dais right now. She's brought movies in the park to two areas in her district, none of which are on the westside. She had them in Segundo and Chamizal.

She got $400,000 for Armijo Park in the heart of Segundo Barrio. She made sure the trolley route didn't just stop at Paisano like originally planned and will service Segundo and Chihuahuita. Poor people ride mass transit more than rich folk. Don't believe me? Get on a city bus.

She ensured that there will be minimal intrusion to Chihuahita by the Border Highway extension. Have you seen any of my militant Chicano brethren fighting to protect the integrity of that neighborhood from the extension?

Chale.

So its pretty significant that she's used her office to advocate so tirelessly for those who don't have a voice. There will no-doubt be people who will throw rocks at her and find fault with something having to do with her efforts in those areas. Hell Martin Paredes is probably hatching a conspiracy theory and firing up his photoshop as we speak.

But it says something when the people who actually live in those areas recognize her for her work and are the first to support her re-election. Not all rich gringos are bad (I know, I had to say it several times before I believed it myself). Some of them believe it or not, do stuff because they are good people. Despite being rich gringos.

That is just the stuff she does in an official capacity. But she does other stuff most of you will ever know about. One is particularly important to me. She pays for uniforms for kids in the Bowie area that play city league ball that can't afford it out of discretionary funds.

I mention that one, and there are plenty more things she does, because I know what its like to be a poor kid who just wants to play sports. There is probably no bigger point of pride for a young boy playing sports than putting on that uniform and lacing up your sneakers or cleats. Makes a kid feel good. Having crappy or no uniform hurts a kid's pride. Especially when they play against richer teams. I know what that feeling is like. Paying for uniforms for kids is probably an expense that doesn't have the slightest impact on her office budget, but it means the world to the kid that has the uniform. He doesn't stand out as the kid thats left out. It helps him feel like he belongs.

Representative Niland doesn't speak Spanish. Many of her southside peeps don't speak English. Yet the work gets done and the constituents are pleased. There are policy positions Niland has taken that I don't support or agree with her on. But one thing I, nor any other militant Chicano who knows the facts, can't say is that she doesn't advocate for the barrio.

Because the barrio says she does.

¡Orale!



Clarification on Longoria

Looks like The El Paso Times wrote a story about Longoria's entrance into the City Council District 1 race and mentioned his brushes with the law.

My source was correct about the DWI arrest but the charge was dismissed. The El Paso Times also wrote that the domestic violence charges were dropped and that there was 10 hours of counseling that was completed by Mr. Longoria. 

I previously wrote that it was community service because that was the information I was given. I have no reason to believe that the El Paso Times report is inaccurate. 

A DWI arrest from the 90's that was dismissed, a traffic ticket, and a domestic violence arrest that was dismissed. Frankly, nothing to see here. Everything was dismissed and a traffic ticket is just a freaking traffic ticket. They guys not Satan and you can indict a ham sandwich as the saying goes. Granted the DV thing while sponsoring an event to support women and children that are victims of DV is problematic, but I guess its not the end of the world.

But, he totally pulled a Pete Carroll by signing page two. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More Potential Legal Woes for Dan Longoria & the Seattle Seahawks

Very reliable sources have indicated that in addition to the arrest earlier this year for Domestic Violence that he ultimately agreed to do community service for in exchange for dropping the charges, Dan Longoria allegedly has some other legal woes going back a few years.

He allegedly has a DWI from way back when. Not sure if it was even in El Paso, but its supposed to become public pretty soon.

Personally, I don't think he'll take a big hit on a DWI from when he was younger because people do dumb stuff when they are younger.

Or drinking.

And lets be real, there are a lot of DWIs in this town and I've lost track of how many elected, judges, candidates, business people, lawyers, and local celebs I've seen trashed and get behind a wheel, so don't get self-righteous about it.

But...if someone got hurt or there's more to the alleged incident then it could be a big deal. We will have to see when it becomes public. Not sure when that is supposed to happen, but my source is reliable.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Dan Longoria must have channeled his inner Pete Carroll. As David K wrote earlier today, Dan Longoria decided to completely hog-tie himself. He signed the page of the treasure packet that says he's not going to raise or spend more than $500 on the entire campaign.

Talk about "D'oh"!

Its mostly funny, but its also a colossal mistake. Not sure if it was his fault or the treasurer, but ultimately its his responsibility.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dan Longoria Website:"I'm in!"

Prominent El Paso businessman Dan Longoria is making it official. He launched a website today that declares "I'm in".

He now joins Peter Svarzbein in the race for District 1 that will soon be vacated by City Rep Ann Morgan Lily.

Longoria owns the Mattress Firm stores here in El Paso.

The campaign website URL is www.DanforDistrict1.com

The website features pictures of Longoria and his family and touts his business and philanthropic endeavors in the community, which are substantial. Several worthwhile charities and events were mentioned in the website including the Susan B. Kohmen Race for the Cure. "El Paso has made great progress these last four years, and its imperative we elect leaders with not only the vision but the experience to keep our city moving forward.", states Longoria on his website.

According to the El Paso Times Longoria was arrested for Assault Family Violence in April 2014. Last week court records indicate Longoria agreed to perform community service in exchange for a dismissal of the charge.

Ironically Longoria's company, The Mattress Firm, was one of the major sponsors for the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event that is run by the El Paso YWCA. This link shows the sponsors for the event. They sponsored this event while Longoria was facing domestic violence charges. The Mattress Firm has also been a sponsor to that event in years prior to Longoria's arrest.

According to the YMCA website the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is "an International Men's March to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence in our community...gentlemen symbolically put themselves in the place of women for the purpose of raising awareness of the dire effects of sexual and domestic assault in our community."

The website indicates that funds raised go to funding programs to help women and children that are left homeless due to domestic violence.

Sponsorship of the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event was not listed among his philanthropic work on his campaign website.

Election Day is May 9th, 2015. Early voting is from April 27th through May 5th.