Friday, December 30, 2016

The Obscene Hypocrisy of Max Grossman

There's a great scene at the end of the movie Tombstone where Wyatt is talking to his old friend Doc Holiday on his deathbed. Holiday had just been visited by a Catholic priest, presumably giving him his last rights.

Doc Holiday who had led a less than godly life utters a famous line, "It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds."

I wonder how many times a day Max Grossman must do the same thing, or if he even cares how much of a complete hypocrite he has become.

Grossman participated in the closed-door meeting that very likely violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (ironically abbreviated TOMA), and yet had the AUDACITY to cry foul on social media about former Mayor John Cook!


NOW Grossman cares about gross violations of Texas law? Where was his concern for gross violation of Texas law when he was participating in a meeting that was not open to the public, held in secret, and there was a conscious effort to try to side-step TOMA?

Again to quote 90's hip hop artists Onyx, "but, but, but wait it gets worse..."

Here is a screenshot of Grossman actually THANKING Billy Abraham!

First, two things in this post that are interesting before I get to the thanking Billy Abraham part. Remember when I wrote that there were no historical designations for the buildings in the footprint and all you people got butt hurt that I said that and were saying how wrong I was about that? Well, this proves I was right. And the other day when I wrote about how everyone wins with the new venue EXCEPT the people that the City was trying to protect in the first place? Well...there goes Max protecting the buildings.

Exactly like I said would happen.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the part where Max Grossman thanks Billy Abraham.



I cannot begin to tell you the levels of hypocrisy that reaches. Ask around town who historians and city and county leaders feel is the biggest problem when it comes to the deterioration of historic buildings downtown.

How many news stories have been done on buildings that aren't kept up and how they have become blight?

Yes Max Grossman, there apparently doesn't appear to be too much you won't do to save buildings. Apparently your hypocrisy really does know no bounds...

Monday, December 26, 2016

How the New Arena Location Screws Over Duranguito Residents

Way to go Chicano activists, you just screwed over the very people you were trying to protect.

And that is what you get when you get for allowing yourselves to be used by Max Grossman so he can save what he really cares about, buildings - not people.

Walk with me, I'll explain.

Grossman got a lot of miles by lying to people about a little ol' lady that was being kicked out of her place because of the location of the proposed arena. He very frequently made it sound like the City of El Paso itself was kicking her out.

What really happened was the landowner saw the potential to make money even though he was outside the proposed footprint.

The City was already going to help residents within the footprint and the agenda item for the last meeting was all set to expand that assistance to residents outside the footprint.

We already know that given the chance the landowners will try to make a profit when and where they can and the arena provides that opportunity.

So council participates in a meeting that not only likely violates the letter of the law for open meetings act, but most definitely violates the spirit of the law, and the very same members of council that were in the meeting come out and voted to move the arena location to another site.

The same group of activists that have been bitching about the lack of transparency in the process are some of the same people that participated in this shady backroom deal. Had this been the ballpark and a shady meeting that the public didn't have access to, they would've been bitching to high hell about it. Seriously, can you imagine the hell they would be raising?

Now the location is likely going to be the convention center, because we have to be able to be eligible for the state money or we are going to take a serious financial bath not his one. The only place left is the convention center.

You know, the one we just spent a grip of feria renovating?

What happens to the events that are already booked?

How long does our town go without a convention location while the arena is being built?

We are going to lose out on revenue and do what all of you people were complaining we did for the ballpark, tear down something we just spent money renovating.

But eventually the arena will be built. And the landowners in the area will be thinking about making a profit. Who are the land owners in the area? The same Durganito landowners that we've been talking about all along. And here is what is going to happen. They are going to keep their properties. Max Grossman is going to scramble to actually get a historical designation on the building he cares about.

Oh yeah, no one has reported that. All this talk of historical buildings in the area and none one has mentioned that there really wasn't a historical designation on any of the buildings in the area yet everyone was screaming about all the history we were losing. Well Bill Clinton spoke in the parking lot of the Big 8 on Montwood and Lee Trevino - are we going to make that parking lot a historical place too?

The "historic" buildings will stay. They landowners will keep their buildings.

Everybody wins right?

Wrong. (You will forever read that in Donald Trump's voice)

The people - you know, the ones Max Grossman allegedly gave a shit about - are the ones that are going to be hurt.

The only ones.

And now the city isn't going to help them because they don't have to now because of the change in location.

Way to go guys, stand up and take a bow. Poor raza are still going to be evicted from their homes and you took away the only assistance they were going to get.

All of you were oh so proud of yourselves when you thumped your chest and held up your sign at public comment. Be proud of yourselves. You engaged in a shady backroom deal that will now mean that the arena site will be at the convention center. Those property owners in Duranguito will now start kicking people out of their homes once the convention center is destroyed and the arena goes up so that they can cash in on more profitable tenants or sell their buildings at a profit.

And the people will lose their homes. And they won't have any assistance to move somewhere else now.

And guess who won't be anywhere to be found to protect those people?

Max Grossman and the Chicano activists.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Saucedo Bombs Interview, Campaign Crippled

Shout to to KTSM who has been killing it for local television coverage lately. They've done a few really interesting packages lately and last night was no different.

Republican Mayoral candidate David Saucedo bombed an interview with a reporter and the story surrounding his involvement with a local non-profit that is allegedly in financial ruin under his watch is probably going to mark the end of his viability for mayor.

Which was always far-fetched to begin with considering his Rick Santorum-like voting record.

Here's a link to the interview and trust me, you're going to want to watch it over and over because there is just so much awkward hilarity in the video. I haven't seen that much awkwardness in a video since the time City Rep Peter Svarzbein had to go because his mommy was calling him.

Let me give you some back story before we go further so that you can fully appreciate the hypocrisy and TERRIBLE PR failure on this one. And let this be a lesson to mayoral candidates, make sure someone one your team has an inkling what to do about media relations.

According to the story Saucedo has been with Boys & Girls Club for pretty much the last decade and was the Board President up until earlier this year. When he's asked about the financial problems at the organization his answer was, "I was just as blind-sided as everybody else...I know nothing about that...and I, I , I have no idea what thats about."

What? You were the Board President up until earlier this year and you were with the organization for almost a decade and you were blind-sided? That's your answer and you want to be mayor????

You're shitting me right?

But you're the same guy that released a statement asking voters to end the "culture of disrespect, pandering, and false promises" on the very same day that you're ducking questions?

So here is the big PR screw up - the Saucedo campaign obviously wanted to change the subject when it came to Saucedo because of the B&G story and so they released a statement about the move by council to change the location of the downtown arena.

Talk about pandering!

An email was circulating by Duranguito people actually thanking David Saucedo for his support for their cause. Saucedo sent out a statement to media and also put out a sponsored post that contained the same information. Thats where I saw it.

Check it out:


This is taking pandering to the next level.

But back to the interview.

Saucedo was interviewed at his campaign HQ. I'm told the location is supposed to be a secret, I guess like some CIA black site. No idea why the location is a big secret, but you can hear an echo in the room in the audio of the interview. I grabbed a few screen shots from the interview and it appears its just an empty room with his campaign banner put up on the wall in the background.

Look:






Nothing on the walls, no furniture, nothing.

It looks like the kind of place Bin Ladin would use to film messages to Al-Qaida! I keep expecting to see a bearded man in a camouflaged jacked and an assault rifle.

Weird.

So let me get this straight, you send out a statement to the media and you say your campaign is about transparency but when you're asked questions about your financial dealings while the head of a local non-profit, you duck the questions?

Multiple times?

Thats your idea of transparency?

Then you pause the interview to go to another room to try to come up with a better response and you some how manage to come back with an even WORSE response?

Holy shit man, are you for real?

Its a political attack? Its funny that it comes out after you declare your candidacy? Of course it came out after you announced your candidacy, because why would anyone care about your alleged inability to manage funds until you're asking voters to give you the chance to manage their public funds?

This is how NOT to handle a crisis ladies and gentlemen.

This guy undermined his own message in his actions and words. Calls for transparency, ducks questions and has a super-secret campaign bunker. Says council is pandering, but tries to pander to secure media attention and get it away from the financial problems at B&G.

And this is the guy that is being packaged as a "young progressive Latino"...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Rich Old White People Gettin' Gangsta

My nation of haters love to call me a thug. I don't know if its the tattoos or the barrio thing or what, but its one of their favorite things to say about me.

But you've NEVER heard of me trying to get gangsta with it over politics in a restaurant.

So at Thanksgiving everyone advised that we should refrain from talking about the election to avoid a family fight.

In El Paso, we apparently have to avoid talking about the arena at Christmas in order to avoid a family fight. (I'm still going to, and I'm going to piss off a lot social justice people. When I laid this out for you hopefully it will teach you a lesson about getting coopted by Grossman)

Anywho, KTSM and the Times ran the stories on what happened with the altercation between the Mayor and former City Rep Ann Morgan Lily's husband. You've seen or read the story so I won't bore you with a retelling of the story but a few quick observations.

#1 - Never touch another man's wife. That entitles the husband to whoop your ass. Pretty sure that is in the Texas constitution. I think I heard about that when I was in County Jail.

#2 - But seriously Mayor, the guy is older than Yoda, what are you doing? I'm gonna have to confiscate a lot of man points for this one.

#3 - Mayor Leeser, who is loaded, insulted the Lily's by calling the husband a "rich boy". First of all, I guess calling someone a "rich boy" is an insult amongst old rich white guys. But seriously, when was the last time Rutt Lily was called a boy? I'm gonna venture a guess it was circa The Great Depression.

#4 - The Lily's clearly have anger control issues. They should stop trying to resort to physical violence. Osteoporosis is a serious issue and one of you has to take care of the other one if you mess around and break a hip.

#5 - Someone is going to have to check Lily to see if she has some gangsta tats with all the violence she's connected to since being a city rep. People in the barrio want to know if she has a tattoo tear she covers up with concealer, or maybe a cross tat on her hand between her thumb and forefinger, or "Mi Vida Loca" or "Thug Life" tatted in old english lettering on her back.

I just have visions of her in a doo-rag, with some lip liner, breaking a beer bottle pointing it at a city rep and asking about funding streams during budget hearings at The Tap.


Are You Kidding Me?!

Seriously, what in the blue hell is going on with this city council and apparently, alum?

This council has become the biggest joke of an elected body in the county - and this is a county that includes both Socorro and Vinton.

And this is a council that is even worse than the one that had a member of council allegedly give a hummer in a Hummer!

First things first.

Jim Tolbert.

That is the fastest political fall from grace I can think of this side of Willie Gandara. Straight-up nosedive, face-plant fall from grace. As if the Ruth's Chris Steakkouse Rachel Quintana-esque letter wasn't bad enough...

What is frustrating about elected officials is when you find out they are idiots like the rest of us and do and say things they shouldn't. But here is the problem, God love the guy, but what Jim Tolbert did was wrong and completely indefensible.

I don't know if it is the Trump-ification of American politics or what, but we have very quickly grown to expect very little out of our leadership.

And when you expect very little, you get very little from them.

The reason elected officials are held to a higher standard is because we expect more from them. We don't expect them to be great, but we do at the very least, expect them to display a modicum of decorum and respect.

They should be the main people modeling the decorum and respect that should be the standard.

For those of us who watch public comment, it can be incredibly frustrating. More often than not it is a parade of people that are ill- or misinformed and they are up there for attention and to hurl insults. I've seen it plenty of times. A lot of elected officials tune them out (there's no requirement that they pay attention), and when they are paying attention they are usually the recipients of a hail of insults from folks at public comment.

It sucks.

Hell I remember Jack Bradford make an overtly racist comment to Commissioner Perez about flooding and menudo. It was offensive and of course no one likes that stuff. They insult your family, your name, your looks, your weight, your hair, call you corrupt and a whole slew of other things. And electeds are supposed to sit there, take it, and not respond.

But the City is a god damn free-for-all. Almost every single elected opens their yap the minute they are insulted or someone at the mic says something they don't like.

So yes, sometimes the people at the microphone can be assholes. No doubt. And MOST of the speakers on the arena item were misinformed and annoying. Including Max Grossman who is apparently going for a JJ Abrams look lately.

I wanted to call a lot of the people speaking assholes.

But that is NOT Jim Tolbert's place.

Its not for him to do and its unbecoming of a city representative.

He owes the gentleman in question, the people of El Paso, and the people of District 2 an apology.

And we shouldn't make excuses for his behavior. An elected official should never talk to a member of the public that way, even if they are the incarnation of Donald Trump himself. They should sit there respectively while their boss is on the microphone and keep their mouth shut. They need a healthy ego check to remind them that the people are their boss. And you don't ever talk to your boss that way and expect to keep your job, unless you're Stone Cold Steve Austin.

And come on man, don't talk about social justice and call someone an ass in the same damn sentence. That is a level of douchedom that is Jedi-level. Cesar Chavez, MLK, Harvey Milk, etc fought for social justice. Calling someone an ass and talking about social justice in the same sentence is just an embarrassment.

On the other hand, all of you that were completely okay with Trump talking about grabbing a woman by the p*$$y should also sit down and shut up.

The guy in question has been wrong during public comment. His misled people and flat-out lied. But that doesn't entitle Tolbert to speak that way of him and it lowers the bar for public discussion. Hell public humiliation for the guy showing his recall petition against Niland so far consisting of only enough signatures to fill half a page should be enough for that guys stupidity.

Tolbert owes the man an apology because he insulted him as a person. He owes District 2 an apology because it was a poor representation of them (and they just got rid of another one), and he owes this community an apology because that kind of activity serves to discourage public discourse on important issues.

Jim Tolbert was wrong and no one should make excuses for him.

And worst of all, we are talking about Tolbert's behavior instead of what we really should be talking about...how Max Grossman and all the raza he coopted and spoke at the meeting probably just REALLY screwed the people of the Durango neighborhood.

I'll tell you how they screwed the people over in another post.

Next up...old rich white people gettin' gangsta at hoighty toighty restaurants...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

KTSM Story on Saucedo Money Woes at Non-Profit

Republican Mayoral candidate David Saucedo was the President of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of El Paso until early October of this year. The organization is now facing serious financial troubles and according to a recent news report, most of it came under Saucedo's watch.

Click this link to watch the story.

Word of problems in the organization surfaced yesterday swirling around the allegation that they weren't able to meet payroll. The situation was apparently so bad and out-of-control that the CFO was let go two weeks ago for financial reasons.

Let that marinate for a second. Their financial situation was so bad, that they couldn't afford to pay the person in charge of their finances.

As of Monday, the Executive Director Dr. Joseph Villescas was let go and in a statement from the organization the only explanation was that the Boys & Girls Club was "...going in a different direction..."

Some would say that is a polite way of saying Villescas was fired. I attempted to reach out to Villegas for more details and give him an opportunity to tell his side of the story but he declined to comment.

Sources in leadership within the organization indicated that Villescas was hired at the behest of Saucedo who was adamant to the board that Villescas be selected as the Executive Director. The source indicates that last year Saucedo told a joint board meeting between the B&G Club and the B&G Club of El Paso Foundation Board (that is the fundraising arm of the organization), that he intended to hire Villescas as the Executive Director because of his experience and community outreach and assured the foundation board that all was well.

B&G run on an annual budget that runs January to December, not a fiscal budget that runs October to September - meaning most of the financial woes happened under the Saucedo - Villescas leadership team.

According to my source, grant funds were that were meant to be used for programs were allegedly used for operations until those funds were depleted. Villescas then allegedly began laying off accounting staff, and allegedly went on vacation while payroll checks were allegedly bouncing.

Ouch.

Another joint meeting is scheduled for this afternoon - December 21st, to discuss the financial situation in greater detail. Among the possible outcomes are closure, letting another youth agency run the programs, or forcing the Club Board to raise the necessary funds to run the operation. The board members are not happy about this situation and several of them want Saucedo held accountable. One board member went so far as to tell me they feel that Saucedo and Villescas used the Boys & Girls Club "for their personal ambition" and "ends up driving it to the brink of closure".

Looks like Saucedo was ducking the reporters on the Channel 9 story, which is counter-intuitive for a guy that is running for mayor and running basically entirely on his business acumen. It defies logic that he wouldn't want to give his side of the story on a situation that makes it look like he's incapable of managing money. What will likely happen is that Saucedo will throw Villescas under the bus and try to wash his hands of the situation.

As you can see on his campaign website, Saucedo is rather proud of his tenure as the President of the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club and advertises it as part of his qualifications for the office.


Hard to tell voters you should be in charge of the tax payers' checkbook when your organization is allegedly bouncing payroll checks, but maybe thats just me.

In an interesting twist to the entire situation, Villescas appears to have had a close advisor that accompanied him to meetings with government officials. You all will recognize the name Jeremy Jordan.

Jordan was Niland's staffer until she let him go following his arrest on domestic violence charges though I believe those charges were ultimately dropped.

UPDATE: Thank you to a faithful reader for reminding me to include some context about Villescas. He was formerly with the Silvestre Reyes reelection campaign the cycle that he lost his seat to Beto O'Rourke and Villescas also previously ran for city council district 3. He came in 3rd place to Emma Acosta and Naomi Gonzalez.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Mayor, 4 City Reps

According to an email from the City Attorney, an Ethics Complain has been filed against Mayor Leeser and City Reps Svarzbein, Tolbert, Limon, and Niland.

The Ethics Complain was filed by Jud Burgess, the guy from the James No-Bond Facebook campaign. Interestingly that is a guy who is probably open to an Ethics Complain himself for not filing a campaign report properly on the amount of money he spent in his campaign against the EPISD Bond. (Gotta love El Paso politics)

The complaint is relating to the closed-door meeting they had with Max Grossman and others regarding the proposed location of the downtown arena. The problem is that the Ethics Commission doesn't have authority of open meetings violations that I am aware of.

I think its more of a law enforcement or DA issue and I'm betting it will get kicked out fairly quickly.

Stay tuned for more details. (Media, feel free to use the screenshot, but make note of where you got it)




Financial Woes for Local Non-Profit Tied to Mayoral Candidate?

Word in the barrio is that a local non-profit is facing some tough financial times, even possibly not being able to make payroll of $6,000 this week.

Right before the holidays too.

The interesting thing is that the nonprofit is tied to a mayoral candidate.

Hard to argue you should be in charge of the city's checkbook when you can't make payroll for the nonprofit you work with.

More on this as it develops...Ho ho ho!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Recall - The Empty Threat

There has only been one successful recall in El Paso County - and that was in Socorro.

Recalls are really hard to make happen unless you're strategic. And recalls are almost never strategic because they are almost always done out of emotion.

Just like this one.

This recall makes no sense, unless you believe there is something else at play. Here's what I mean.

Why would you recall a member of council that has to give up her seat to run for mayor soon anyway? All you're gonna do, best case scenario, is cost tax payers more money for a special election. Thats if you get enough signatures.

But with Niland all set to run for mayor, why would you even bother? She has to resign to run anyway. Sorta pointless, except for grandstanding. She's gone anyway, focus on the replacement.

Unless...

The movida isn't to get rid of her seat, but to get rid of her chances at a mayoral run, which are slim to begin with.

Its probably giving his team a little too much credit, but David Saucedo is the guy who benefits here. And his campaign team just so happens to be the guys behind Josh Dagda, who came close to upsetting Niland in the last mayoral round.

If you read Saucedo's recent newsletter, you would've thought the vato was running for District 8 ins team of mayor. He spent a lot of time talking about Niland's area. And word around the water cooler in City Hall is that Saucedo has been submitting a lot of open records request and Niland has been the target.

Comes with the territory now that Open Records Requests have been politically weaponized. The point is, its undeniable that Saucedo benefits from the recall more than anyone else, not because it has a practical impact on Niland as a city rep but because it has a practical impact on her candidacy. And that is important for a Republican like Saucedo who has to split a westside base with Dee Margo and Niland.

The only difference is, both Niland and Margo have been elected in the westside.

Antonio Williams Announces Candidacy for District 3

Prominent immigration lawyer Antonio Williams has announced his candidacy for District 3, the seat currently held by City Rep Emma Acosta who is term limited and running for mayor.

Williams is currently the State Democratic Executive Committeeman for the El Paso County Democratic Party.

Williams has been an active member of the community around Cielo Vista for many years in addition to being an outspoken party activist.

In addition to being one of the brightest and most-articulate speakers in town, Williams has a strong reputation for his work ethic.

Interestingly he lives in the same neighborhood as fellow District 3 candidate Jaime Barceleau.

Williams announced his candidacy formally last night at a Democratic Party event.

This race, that also includes Cassandra Brown, will pit two young progressive candidates against an older self-described, "conservative" in Jaime Barceleau.

This race may still end up with other candidates and will most assuredly result in a run-off.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Breaking: Recall Petition Against Niland Filed

Don't have a lot of details but apparently there has been a notice of intent to recall City Rep Cortney Niland, possibly others, regarding the downtown arena.

This letter was signed by someone named Michael Patiño and lists a downtown address.

A source indicates that there may be petitions filed against all city reps and that there is a press conference planned for tomorrow.

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The TRUTH About Downtown Arena

Its almost like a scene in a movie where I now have white people challenging my barrio card because of the downtown arena because they've been like sheep and bought into the narrative of another white guy.

You know, because we all need white people to tell us whats best for us, like all the minority kids that are saved by that white teacher who comes to the hood to make a difference.

So to set the record straight, I don't give a shit where you put the arena, so long as its not at the rail yard because that would mean closures in the valley. That would screw over more poor brown people and no matter how much frosting you put on that shit cupcake, I ain't eating it. I'm not going to apologize for being the one that says that screwing over a larger group of poor brown people is right for the sake of saving some building that Pancho Villa may or may not have taken a piss on in the last century.

You could put it directly on top of Rosa's Cantina for all I care.

But lets set the record straight on some things about the downtown arena that are flat-out fabrications. The people that are spreading what I am about to clear up are either lying or stupid.

#1 - Eminent Domain is NOT being used. (ED is set forth in the constitution and is completely legal. Land isn't just taken away without compensation either. You have to be paid fair market value. Most of the people that bitch about ED are people that essentially tried to cash-in big at taxpayer expense and make a handsome profit and were upset that the profit wasn't high enough. Though not all people that complain about it are because of that reason, I acknowledge that).

For ED to be even considered, it would have to go back to city council to be voted on. Three members of council are running for reelection and its doubtful that any of them would vote for it. And oh yeah...Mayor Leeser has said on multiple occasions that he would VETO it if it came across his desk.

#2 - The City of El Paso is NOT evicting anyone. Why? Because they don't own the freaking buildings in the first place! Landlords are (allegedly) evicting people. Landlords can do that because they own the place. That is true of anyone in any apartment building or rented home in America. At any moment, for any or no reason, a landlord can choose to start evicting people. So long as their process isn't breaking the law or a lease, they are allowed to do with their property as they wish. So you can't advocate for property owners' rights because of eminent domain and at the same time say those property owners don't have the right to do what they want with their property. Its a massive hole in your logic.  From all the published coverage, the city is going to HELP the people displaced.

As my friend Victor Cruz (92.3 The Fox) pointed out on his Facebook page earlier today, apartments get demolished and people gotta move out if they don't own the place.



What's different about the apartments on Airway than the people displaced downtown? Nothing really, except that the ones downtown are going to get help moving in to a new place. You haven't heard anything from the history people about the Cielo Vista Apartments though have you? Those people had to find another place to live.

I'll bet there were even a grandma or two that lived in that apartment complex. And I'll bet they were predominantly Latino too. Hell there were MORE people displaced by that apartment bulldozing than will be by the proposed arena.

The city didn't help those folks move. But they are helping those in the arena area.

Do I think its shitty that the landlords are using this situation to kick people out? Of course I do.

Is it morally right to do so (allegedly) during Christmas season? Of course not.

As I've written in the past, conveniently forgotten by my merry band of haters, the arena doesn't even have to be downtown. It is only in ordinance language (that can be changed at any time) that it states downtown.

So when you hear people talk about the big bad City of El Paso using eminent domain, stop those people and fix their ignorance.

And when you hear them say that the City is evicting people, tell Max Grossman and Rich Wright that they are lying.

Dori Exploring?

Its pretty much an open secret that EPISD Board President Dori Fenenbock views the school board as a stepping stone for another seat. 

And frankly, that makes a lot of sense. YISD Board President Shane Haggerty is running for District 4 in the next round of city council races and after several years of being on the school board the experience has positioned him as the front-runner for the seat. Big budget experience, knowledge of the legislative process, he took over a dysfunctional board, fought for transparency, passed a bond, etc. All of that is really good experience and looks great on campaign material. 

Oh yeah, and he's a Haggerty in the Northeast. Its not like that hurts or anything. People in the Northeast have been represented by a Haggerty in nearly every possible level of government from State Rep on down. 

Fenenbock is a different and more interesting story. She went into the job with the whispers of a run for another office already murmuring. Haggerty spent a lot of time as a member, sometimes as the only sane and rational human being on that board, before he contemplated a step up to city council. 

But the talk in political circles about Fenenbock is much bigger than stepping up to run for either District 1 or 8 depending on where she lives on the westside. 

No, its not even talk of running for mayor. 

Sit down for this one because its going to surprise you. 

According to sources knowledgable of the situation, Fenenbock is contemplating a future run at congress. While jumping from a school board seat to a congressional seat makes a cool ending for an after school special, I don't know too many people that think Fenenbock is viable for a congressional seat. 

Certainly not against Beto O'Rourke. Whenever Beto retires, there is going to be bloodshed for that seat. A school board president who's one major accomplishment is passing a 2/3 of a BILLION dollar bond and her second biggest accomplishment is somewhat resembling Trump's campaign is not exactly the stuff congressional dreams are made of. 

Obviously she's not viable at this stage of the game. 

But to be honest...I sorta dig the ambition. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

County V. City?

The County and City have had a pretty palpable beef for a few years now. I mean we aren't talking Tupac V. Biggie or anything, but Ray Charles could see the two levels of government often have issues with one another.

The MPO, the Police Chief's comments recently, and some are wondering if the downtown arena is another one.

The MPO beef is because they compete for money for projects so its natural that there will be a little blood shed. Several elected officials, mostly from the County, chastised the city for not doing anything about the Chief's comments earlier this year.

So how does that lead to the downtown arena?

Simple. Max Grossman.

Grossman, as I have now chronicled over an extended period of time - often uses his title from the county and letterhead from the El Paso County Historical Commission to send out opinion-based documents to the public that are often factually inaccurate or exaggerations, that give the impression that it is the official position of the county.

And the fact that the County fails to act upon it to clarify their position or get Grossman to stop doing so, further substantiates the idea that they are okay with his actions. Thats problematic for an organization with so many elected officials that went out of their way to say that they spoke independently as private citizens against the comments of Chief Allen.

Here's what further complicates things - Commissioner Stout sent out an invitation using his Precinct 2 email address to attend the "informational tour of the barrio" led by Max Grossman. I watched that tour via Facebook Live video and Grossman used the "informational tour" to give his personal opinion about the downtown arena.

Grossman has been using the County title and letterhead for a long time now, going back to the historical survey beef with the City. No one stopped him back then, even though the issue was raised. I've lost track of how many times he's sent out an email doing the same thing since the historical survey issue and its only gotten worse since the arena stuff started to unfold.

And Commissioner's Court has done nothing about it.

I have checked things out and I can't find a single instance where another member of either a City or County board or commission has acted in a similar matter.

Its unique to Grossman and the County.

It would be pretty unprecedented for one of the two major entities to be openly undermining, or giving the impression that they are, another entity's projects.

And levels of government undermining each other's projects is bad for the community and could lead to MAJOR problems.

Turns out, according to one of my readers anyway, that several members of the Historical Commission are up for re-appointment. Bernie Sargent sent a letter to Commissioner's Court asking to be reappointed and it turns out, so is one Max Grossman.

The Commissioner's Court has to address Grossman's actions in some fashion or it will give the impression that they are taking a position on a City project. Personally, if Grossman has been using his title and the County Historical Commission's name for furtherance of his own political beliefs, I don't know how they could reappoint him.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Join the Historical Commission- Save us from Max Grossman

The El Paso County Historical Commission is seeking members. Follow this link to read a story on the issue in the El Paso Times. 

Please, please, please consider joining. That commission is supposed to tell our story but the commission is made up of people that don't look like El Paso.

Seriously it's whiter than the Trump Administration.

And the fact that it doesn't reflect the community it's supposed to represent is a travesty that needs to be fixed. That is why the story of El Paso is disproportionately about freaking cowboys as opposed to all the other important history of our region.

Also, we need counters to Max Grossman. He's emotionally reckless and spouts off at the mouth to the wrong people, talks shit about electeds (even friendlies) impulsively and then has to go back later and apologize and delete something he said on Facebook. 

Here's a pic I took yesterday of a building in south El Paso that was being demolished. Guess who you haven't heard a peep from about it?



That's right, Max Grossman and his little bullhorn.

But mostly I'm annoyed that he co-ops raza like he gives a shit about us just because he wants to save some buildings in the downtown area. And raza activists, looking for any port in a storm very happily allow this guy to do so. If he cared about raza he would use his position on the historical commission to give a more accurate depiction of our regions history than white cowboys and building owners. And if he really cared about raza, he'd stop trying to push the damn arena project to the railyard. The railroad would screw the valley in the process.

Grossman keeps sending out stuff on the El Paso County Historical Commission's letter head like its the official position of the County. Commissioner's Court should not allow him to give people the impression that he speaks on behalf of the County of El Paso. In fact, he includes his title with the County's Historical Commission to give him standing in the conversation about the arena.

And while I'm at it, let me set the record straight on the use of eminent domain. Grossman is running around using that word as an effort to scare people. He's either painfully ignorant of the process, or willfully and strategically misleading people.

Eminent domain is a last resort and isn't even being considered at the moment. But Grossman wants to scare raza so he keeps repeating it like the city is the Death Star getting ready to use eminent domain on Alderaan or something.

The city is doing what they are supposed to be doing, meeting with the community and offering solutions for the residents, most of whom are renters. Renters are always in danger of being kicked out of their place. Only now, the city is offering them assistance in securing housing somewhere else - something they would NEVER be able to get if the property owners decided to sell their buildings or simply raise the rent.

I'm usually a pretty reliable critic of the city because they generally can't empty sand out of a boot if they had instructions written on the bottom of the heel, but I actually think the city has managed to not royally screw this one up yet.

They are doing everything methodically and you don't even see a fraction of the opposition that you did for the ballpark. Sure, there are a few people that don't live in the district but hate Cortney Niland that are capitalizing on the issue, but seriously those people are frankly even worse than Grossman.

So get this straight, they aren't anywhere near the use of eminent domain. They would have to go BACK to council to even consider eminent domain. You have three current members of council that are going to run for mayor - do you think there is a scenario where they would support use of eminent domain before a mayoral run?

Hell no. Not even Emma Acosta, who was for the ballpark, then against it, then for it, then against it, and then regularly uses the VIP box at the games, would support the use of eminent domain in an election year.

Oh yeah, and then there's Mayor Leeser. He REPEATED his opposition of the use of eminent domain during Monday's meeting. I think him doing so hurts the city's leveraging power in negotiations, but he was clear that he would veto the measure. And then he went so far as to get up and walk over to the handful of protestors that attended Monday's meeting (the vast majority of whom don't live in the area, which is something no one ever talks about) to tell them individually of his opposition to the use of eminent domain for the downtown arena.

The County Judge and Commissioner's Court need to act now on Grossman, otherwise he's going to continue to mislead the public, which is exactly what he is doing, using the County's commission. 

Just a reminder, here's how to contact the complaint department of the LSB (915)694-5714 or thelionstarblog@gmail.com






Monday, December 5, 2016

Plazita Lights: A "White" Christmas

I fully expect to get a lot of Hateraide for this post, so if you've got beef with what I'm about to say, once again my phone number is (915)694-5714 and you can email me at thelionstarblog@gmail.com.

That being said, I'm not a fan of the lights at the plazita.

They are beautiful.

They are very nice.

There are a lot of them.

But they have absolutely no soul.

The decorations at The Fountains have more soul than what we have at the plazita now.

I took my kid out to the tree lighting event and it was great fun. The city went all-out and even have an ice skating rink downtown now!

All things to be proud of.

I've never really bought-in to the idea that business leaders in El Paso were trying to make downtown less brown. I just figured that they wanted to drag El Paso kicking and screaming into the future and a lot of the griping was just people who don't like change. But the plazita is almost unrecognizable from its former self, which like many of us El Pasoans had its flaws, wrinkles, and love handles - but had a tremendous amount of down-to-earth character and appeal.

But it is undoubtedly an improvement, even if I miss some of the old stuff.

San Jacinto Plaza was redesigned for over-priced coffee drinking, skinny jeans-clad, man-bun, horn-rimmed glasses-wearing, bearded, pseudo intellectual hipsters who listen to indy music 'cuz they think they are cooler than us and order PBRs not because they are old school but because they are hipsters. Aside from the fact that those participation ribbon, lets-focus-on-my-feelings generation of people annoy the shit out of me - those people are the type of people the plazita appeals to now. Hell its not even really called San Jacinto Plaza anymore, the city calls it "SJP".

You know, like that kid who was named Guillermo but went by Billy because he was embarrassed his parents named him something so ethnic because it was his great-grandfathers name or something.

But going to the plazita for the lights this year was the first time that I felt like I could understand the folks that think that downtown is making a deliberate effort to look less "Mexican". Gone are the colorful, bright, maybe a little tacky, but deliciously festive lights and displays of the past. Frankly, that was the character and soul of El Paso at Christmas time.

The manger with the baby Jesus, the big tree with those huge bulbs, the colors of the season...that is what drew people downtown. Who didn't love bringing their out-of-town family downtown during that time to walk around, take pictures, and enjoy some champurado?

Now the lights are almost all white.

And the plazita now feels "all white".

It doesn't feel like El Paso's plazita holidays anymore. It feels like some corporate set-up. Like holiday decorations at an outdoor foodcourt at an outlet mall.

And thanks to ridiculous tax-payer funded toy train set to nowhere, parking was even more of a headache this year than in years past.

I think what the city needs to remember is that Christmas is about traditions. Its about tamales, menudo, and posole. Its about family and everyone squeezing into your abuelita's tiny house. Its about decorating your tree with old heirlooms and often child-made ornaments. Its like my family's Christmas tree. There are new editions to it every year, but its mostly a collection of stuff my siblings and I made as kids, and now the grandkids. Macoroni Christmas trees on a paper plate, hand prints, or toothless elementary school pics in the center of an ornament. Its a big gaudy monstrosity and we love it.

Because its family and tradition.

When a family doesn't have traditions it has nothing. And when a town doesn't honor their own traditions it no longer feels like that great big family that El Paso has always felt like. We lose our soul.

Again, its not that the lights and decorations don't look great, they most certainly do. I took a lot of pics and I'm sure I will as I visit downtown periodically during the holiday season.

But it doesn't look like El Paso.

Remember, even those douchey hipsters that the plazita was redesigned for - still like tamales at abuelitas house on Christmas Eve.

We can't, and should not, be ashamed of who we are as a community. I hope the city brings back some of the decorations, especially the nativity scene, from out of the boxes stored in the attic. Lets keep the fancy new stuff and incorporate it into our traditions - but lets not forget Nana's Christmas in the process.

Lets not forget we are El Paso. And that is something to be proud of.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Judges Garcia & Herrera Involved in Finger-Flipping Incident

Two colleagues getting into it in a parking lot at work is hardly earth-shattering. I know I've personally flipped off at least a dozen co-workers at some point in my life. Who am I kidding? I was in the Army for 7 years, its probably more like a hundred.

The very obvious difference is that Judges Ricardo Herrera and Patrick Garcia are not a couple of GI's in the field arguing over who is going to pull the next shift of guard duty.

They are members of the judiciary, a profession that commands a particular amount of respect and reverence. There are strict rules and a certain decorum expected in a courtroom. For God sakes, you're supposed to stand when a judge enters and exits the courtroom.

But if you read the article in the El Paso Times, that apparently was thrown out of the window one particular afternoon at the courthouse. The Times reports that the incident occurred around lunchtime in the parking lot at the courthouse. Herrera was with a couple of other judges he pals around with along with Mike Izquierdo, the administrator for the Council of Judges.

I'll cut to the chase here, the ones that look bad in this story are Judge Garcia and Izquierdo. Apparently Garcia was upset about Herrera allegedly busting a plea deal for a case in Garcia's court, but doesn't say how that happened. Garcia was allegedly pissed and there was an altercation that ended in Garcia allegedly giving Herrera the ol' one-finger salute to Judge Herrera in front of Herrera's colleagues and Izquirdo.

Frankly it shows a lot of character and backbone on the part of Herrera to take the issue to the authorities. The easy thing to do was to blow it off or flip him off back or drop a few expletives. Instead Herrera showed the restraint and clear-thinking that one would expect from someone in a robe and handled the incident the right way.

If things went down the way they are reported to have, then its one of those stories that makes El Paso look like a joke. And lets reflect on what flipping the bird to someone means. It certainly isn't something nice. So if one judge disrespects a judge, why should anyone? At least thats the message I hear.

And Mike Izqueirdo's quote... what. the. hell?

He allegedly didn't give a report to authorities because he "did not witness a criminal act". Since when is a report based on you witnessing a criminal act? The report to authorities is what you witnessed go down, not whether or not it was criminal. You either saw what happened or you didn't.

Period.

But for those of you that lack context, Garcia was pretty much Izquierdo's boss for several years while he was the head of the council of judges.

You put that one together people.

Competing for the PD Union Endorsement

I am forwarded material all the time from readers and every time the Saucedo campaign puts out a newsletter a couple of my readers are kind enough to send it to me.

The latest newsletter is focused on police as "square one in quality of life" in a pretty obvious attempt at securing the endorsement of the police union.

Here's an excerpt from the newsletter.



Hopefully the police union is being smarter than their sheriff brethren and will think twice about endorsing a Republican when opposition to unions is part of the GOP platform. But frankly that is pretty irrelevant.

Why?

Because the PD union endorsement is very likely going to City Rep Emma Acosta if Mayor Leeser doesn't rethink retirement.

How can I be so bold in a prediction so far in advance of the election?

Simple.

Dora Oaxaca, Acosta's controversial staffer, just married Henry Rivera about 10 days ago in a Vegas wedding according to the Clark County website. Rivera is the money guy for the PD union.

Congratulations to them both by the way.

(I know, this might confuse some of you in political circles because she was in a 6+ year relationship with Jay Desai, Acosta's appointee to the City Planning Commission. According to Jay Desai, she ended the relationship Labor Day weekend. She apparently found love immediately and tied the knot a little over 2 months later. Good for her, some people go a lifetime looking for the right person.)

Anywho, Dora's married to the money guy from the police union so its pretty hard to see how Acosta doesn't have that all sewed up. Actually now that I think about it, how badly would that reflect on Dora if she COULDN'T make that endorsement happen at this point?

With campaign money being a premium in a race like this, especially with Acosta's many vulnerabilities, she's going to really need a key endorsement like the PD union. Not only because of the money that will come with it, but also as an effort to blunt the negative messages that are going to rain down on her from the other campaigns.

I'll say this for Saucedo, his record shows he's solidly Republican, but if there is anything authentic in that newsletter he sent out, he's breaking ranks from the rest of the GOP to a degree. So I give him credit for that.

NOTE: I normally don't talk about people's personal lives. But Dora is super gossipy about my personal life and has been for the more than a decade that I've known her. She's gone so far as to actively get involved in my personal life (yes Dora, I know about it), so she's the one exception and her, her ex boyfriend, and her new husband are all part of the political scene in El Paso.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mayoral Confirmations & Special Elections

Okey dokey, I keep getting this question asked of me about Cortney Niland and her rumored mayoral bid so I'll go ahead a write a bit about it.

Yes lots of people have heard that she may run for mayor and you get two versions of it - she's dead set on doing it whether the money guys like it or not, or she will only do it if she can manage to still keep her seat.

The talk of her mayoral bid has become so loud that a lot of people are starting to look at who is going to replace her on council if she does.

So here's the deal with the whole resign to run thing. Her announcement, if it happens at all, will likely not come until it is too late to order a special election to replace her. Essentially what COULD (not saying it will) happen is that Niland can wait until the last possible minute, there won't be enough time to order a special election, and it will just go on the November ballot a little less than a year from now.

She would absolutely have to resign to run because of the length of time still left in her term. BUT because of the Texas Hold-over Clause, she would remain the city rep until there was an election to replace her...in November.

Smart move on her part because it guarantees that she will still be on council after the mayoral election.

Funny thing is you would have three sitting members of council running for mayor at the same time. All three would have more name ID than all the also rans.

If you throw Niland in the mix and think objectively, you would basically have three tiers of candidates vying for the office. This is what those tiers look like to me right now, 1 being the most likely to win, two having a shot at a run-off and three, not gonna happen:

Tier 1 -

Emma Acosta. End of tier. This is probably the hardest tier to be in because when you're the favorite everyone is gunning for you and the race is yours to lose. Am I saying that she is not vulnerable? Hell no, she's extremely vulnerable for a lot of reasons, votes, she'd be weak on the westside (although with a lot of westside-pleasing candidates on the ballot that particular point will be minimized), and because of Dora Oaxaca. She's gonna have a hard time raising money too. But she is the only woman in a field of men, she has name ID, and she can appeal to parts of town that others can't. The real question for a lot of people that are in the know, not the electorate, is do you really want Dora Oaxaca in the mayor's office?

Tier 2 -

Dee Margo. Yes, he's Darth Freakin Vader of local politics. But he has a larger base of support than anyone else running because his former lege district is bigger. He will have the lion's share of the rich white people money and Forma is going to pour everything they've got in to the guy. Its hard to see how their mail program won't be 100% geared to all of Acosta's many bad positions. Frankly it wouldn't shock me to see her little stunt to make the city less transparent in a piece of mail. Again, she can thank Dora Oaxaca for that one. Margo would like it a whole lot better if Niland's name wasn't even being mentioned at all because he needs to consolidate that westside base in order for him to be a real threat to win. With Niland in the race, he stays bogged down in Tier 2 status.

David Saucedo. I toyed with the idea of putting him last of the three candidates in Tier 2 because he doesn't have a base of support and essentially has to try to rely on getting noticed. But I remembered that he has part of the team that almost (BUT DIDN'T) beat Niland in her re-election bid. What he won't have in this election that was the major reason Niland almost lost to Dagda (Sorry field guy) is a big push from fire fighters. But a field presence beats no field presence and coupled with the fact that Niland will be splitting her westside base with Margo, Saucedo gets the second slot in Tier 2. Also because he's Latino. He needs a lot of help to make a run-off. If he sneaks in a run-off with Margo, it will be an interesting match up of Republican versus Republican in a Democratic city.

Cortney Niland. Left for politically dead after narrowly defeating a weak candidate with no money, Niland has slowly crawled (with the help of a really weak field of candidates) her way back from No Way in Hell to Well Almost Anything Is Possible When Emma Acosta is a Front Runner. There are a lot of questions for Niland and frankly if you held my feet to the fire, I'd probably confess that of the current field of candidates, I think she'd likely do the best job as mayor. Again, of the current field of candidates. Where's she gonna get the money? Will she self-finance or will she peel away some of the money guys? Who is going to run her campaign? Forma already has a date to the dance. Will she actually run a field program this time? She didn't last time and she almost lost. But you have to give her this, she's the most resilient of the field and you may see the ol' Honey Badger live up to her name again.

But not likely.

Tier 3 -

Carl Robinson. He has the highest name ID of all the other candidates that don't have a chance in hell of winning.

Willie Cager. Nice guy. El Paso treasure. But no base and I don't think he has the health and money to effectively wage even a feeble attempt at the office.

Ghosan Gus Haddad. Maybe some people will think he's Gus Haddad.

Jorge Artalejo. Until someone else runs, he has my vote. So that's two...

Anna Romero Zaidle. Never heard of her. No money, name ID, or base. At least Artalejo has been on a ballot before.

Charles Stapler. Wrong time, wrong race.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Draft Leeser Idea Picking Up Steam

You've probably heard this around the water cooler yourselves if you work in government or in the downtown area but the notion of drafting Mayor Leeser to run for another term is starting to pick up more and more steam.

At an event in the valley this weekend Mayor Leeser along with several other elected officials were in attendance and the buzz among attendees was getting the Mayor to run for another term because of the current field of candidates.

Mayor Leeser has presided over a council that did a lot of fighting amongst themselves for a while but seems to have come together as of late.

Obviously Mayor Leeser would be a favorite for re-election considering he has higher name ID than any other candidate running, and is the only candidate running that has already demonstrated the ability to win a citywide election.

Oh yeah, and he's loaded. He doesn't have to go hunting for cash because he already has a lot.

A Leeser re-election bid would completely change the race. When he first ran, I completely underestimated the impact of his name ID and money. Plus, to be honest he's done a decent job his first term. Brought in some jobs, and did his best to maintain order in a pretty turbulent time.

His reelection bid would likely force a few people to drop out and he'd probably wipe out the rest because their money will dry up pretty quickly with Leeser in the race.

At least one person mentioned the idea of drafting Leeser to run for another term for the good of the city.

They mayor didn't react one way or another.

::Mental note - never play poker with Mayor Leeser.::

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Partisan Elections & the Mayoral Race

Well known El Paso artist Ho Baron had a letter to the editor published in the El Paso Times recently about switching to partisan elections for city council.

The idea isn't a novel concept, its done in several major cities including New York, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and Houston among others.

But it got me curious about the impact of partisan elections (hypothetically) on the mayoral race. As we all know El Paso is a Democratic city - overwhelmingly. Parties are about governing values - which is the primary way in which they are distinct.

One candidate in particular has had my interest, David Saucedo, because of his love for ultra right-wing conservative Rick Santorum. He was also the person who was the driving force behind bringing Lou Holtz to El Paso for a fundraiser following some very controversial remarks about immigration.

I checked all the voting records of the announced or rumored mayoral candidates for the upcoming municipal election. Basically there was only one surprise - David Saucedo. I wasn't surprised that Dee Margo's voting record is solidly Republican, and I wasn't surprised that Saucedo had voted as a Republican before as well.

But what did surprise me was just HOW Republican Saucedo's voting record really is. The bottom line here is that Saucedo has the most solidly Republican voting record of any candidate in the race with the exception of former Republican State Rep Dee Margo.

Seriously, its not even close.

Here is a screen shot of his voting record. I highlighted the times he voted Republican in red. As you can see, in ever election since he was old enough to vote, Saucedo has voted Republican. The races that have no highlight are general elections or non-partisan elections.

Now he can probably say he voted for the Democrat in the general elections but if you believe that there is a way that a guy with his voting record in Republican primaries decides to magically vote for a Democrat in a general election then I have bridge over the railroad tracks on Zaragoza to sell you.

So he's being portrayed as a "young progressive Latino" to voters by his campaign team. Well good luck with that. Based on his voting record (and attempt at bringing an anti-immigrant, pro-Trump speaker to El Paso), he's exactly as progressive as Dee Margo.

The values he and Dee Margo vote for are the values they would govern by. The same as any solidly Democratic mayoral candidate would govern by their party's values.

Lets put this in perspective. Mayor Leeser is often mentioned as a "Republican Mayor". Here's his voting record. I highlighted all the partisan elections he's voted in - blue for the ones he voted Democratic and red for the ones he voted Republican in. Have a look for yourself:

Yeah, you're looking at that correctly. Leeser has only voted in one Republican primary (that was the
big Tea Party revolt by the way) and has been solidly Democratic for at least the last decade. 

The talk of City Rep Cortney Niland running for mayor is growing louder and louder as well. So if you look at her voting record, its almost identical to Mayor Leaser's.


But just to demonstrate just exactly how Republican the voting record of Saucedo really is, take a look at Dee Margo's voting record:


Nearly identical to Saucedo's voting record.

So like I said, Saucedo is as progressive as Dee Margo.

Interestingly he was also appointed to the Texas Board of Nursing by Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Texas' party system is a little unique in that you don't register with a party, you are affiliated with a party based on your voting record. So in addition to his solid Republican voting record, the governor felt so confident in Saucedo's Republican values that he appointed him to a board.

I'm still trying to figure out who I'm going to vote for in the mayoral election. There is no one in the current field that I think I could vote for, so #TeamJorge still looks like my alternative.

Terán Facing Major Campaign Hurdle

I'm not sure if this was previously reported or not, but Monica Terán is the former Justice of the Peace in the Lower Valley and was defeated in the last election by the current Justice of the Peace John Chatman.

There has long been talk about Terán running for her old seat again when Chatman faces reelection.

Well that just became an even steeper hill for her to climb. I was looking for an alleged mug shot of a state lege staffer with political aspirations. This staffer was apparently involved in a DUI.

I stopped looking for his when I came across this one:

Photo taken from KVIA website


Ms. Terán is innocent until proven guilty and will obviously have her day in court to deal with the issue, but the point is this mugshot is a nightmare for her ability to regain her seat on the bench.

It should also serve as a reminder to us all during the holidays to get a ride home instead of getting behind the wheel.

This is something that could happen to any one of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Local Election Losers

And now for the losers...

El Paso County Sheriff's Officers' Association

You know up until Election Day I thought most of the employees were anti-Wiles. But as I made my way around the county from polling place to polling place and I spoke with poll-sitters, it was then I realized that a lot of them were deputies and their families. The union made it sound like "all the badges" were against him.

The EPCSOA are the undisputed champions of losers in this election not just because how incredibly bad they lost the election, but on how they did it. At first the reaction in the labor community was confusion as to why a labor organization would support a Republican in the first place. But eventually that turned into anger as the election wore on because the sheriff's union and municipal police union supporting a Republican ultimately undermines the rest of the labor unions in town.

This election is an opportunity for the union to take a long hard look in the mirror at what they have been doing the last few years. The new administration in the union actually managed to do even worse than the previous administration in elections. Fellas, let me kick it to you real for a minute...you wasted a lot of hard-earned dues money on backing the wrong candidate in the wrong election. Membership should be really upset with how their money was handled in this election.

It wasn't just losing that was bad for the union, it was the manner in which many of the membership - certainly not all - conducted themselves in this election. President Horstman needs to call some of his guys on the carpet for their conduct. It got ugly. It got personal. And if Horstman did anything about the conduct of his membership, its a big damn secret. Some of his guys were harassing Wiles supporters. One of his guys was texting his ex-wife and really berating her for supporting Wiles (Horstman, if you want the screenshots just let me know). But the thing that really made the union look bad was feeding filth to an online outlet that can't even spell the word sheriff correctly. I mean it got really ugly and there was apparently no one telling them to behave.

Now that really wouldn't matter if it weren't for the fact that President Horstman sent out this sponsored Facebook post after the election that calls on the sheriff to be professional before he calls on his own guys to be professional. He apparently hasn't seen his boy Marco Camarillo all over Facebook during this election.




I'm sure Sheriff Wiles will be professional with the EPSCOA. But I think the EPSCOA needs to understand an important political lesson. Elections have consequences and when you spend thousands of dollars trashing an opponent, and then lose, don't expect that opponent to think very highly of your organization.

Had you guys taken Wiles on in a primary election and had a candidate with an ounce of experience in law enforcement, I probably wouldn't have made a peep. I finally got to meet Mr. Buchino on election day in Tornillo. Nice man. Very cordial and polite and it turns out, we've chewed some of the same dirt in the Army.

He simply wasn't a good candidate. He wasn't qualified. You guys went shopping for a candidate instead of letting qualified candidates come to you, vetting the properly, and having a plan for how money was going to be spent for maximum result.

But worst of all, and its really magnified by the Facebook post, is that the EPCSOA made it personal with Wiles and dragged even his family into it. That is a mortal sin in politics, you don't drag non-combatants into the field of fire and you most certainly never, I mean EVER bring kids into the fight. So when you have the conduct of some - certainly not all - of your members, coupled with bringing the Sheriff's kid into the mix, its pretty hypocritical to be calling on professionalism from the sheriff.

Not to mention all the money you guys spent to buy a new guy to sign your labor contract. Time for a serious internal conversation about how you guys handle your political activities. I don't know how much longer your membership will tolerate the EPCSOA blowing their hard earned dues like has been the norm for the last several years.

The Anti-Bond Crowd

I don't live in EPISD but would have voted against it if I could have so I would have to include myself in this one.

But the James No-Bond guy should have reported his expenses and is open to a fine for not doing so. In addition to one being sexist and one being anti-semitic, his one-man advertising show certainly passed the $500 threshold.

Daniel Lopez - that guy jumped in front of the cameras when there was a photo op to be had and then basically campaign against the bond as well as he campaign for his city council bid. Show horse, not a work horse.

AFT Union Boss Ross Moore - Never in my years of being around local politics have I seen a guy on the winning side of an election burn more bridges with people. Seriously. Oh, and so much for your promise to the membership that Forma wasn't going to be involved.

Jaime Barceleau

The guy is an announced candidate for city council, uses the EPISD bond to overtly further his political career and then...wait for it...

the bond loses in his own precinct!


Its hilarious to me that he couldn't deliver his own precinct, of which he JUST became precinct chair, to the cause.


Assorted Valley Losers

There are a lot of big loses in this election cycle of races in the valley but I'll lump them together for the sake of context.

Jack Alayyan who is the general manager for Lower Valley Water, his biggest ally is gone and the make-up of the board is now different. This will get interesting down there.

Lorenza Fraire - the former Socorro City Manager who was let go under the administration of the new Mayor-elect and then City Rep Gloria Rodriguez tried to get three of her candidates elected. She was looking for a majority on council so that she could be hired back at the City of Socorro as City Manager again. Only one of her candidates got elected, so so much for her failed coup. I bet she was madder than the people on the Make Fabens White Again page following the election.

Honorable Mentions

Marco Camarillo from the Sheriff's union...that guy would tag me every day in some video or post about Buchino. Since the election, its been nothing but crickets.

Jaime O. Perez loses again. Not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination but its now gotten to the point that his supposed running for elections to force a debate on issues isn't even true anymore. No one even pays attention anymore.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Winners - The Local Election

I'll get to the national stuff in another post, but as they say, all politics is local so I'll start there and the next post will be the losers.

Sheriff Richard Wiles

This is obvious, it was essentially the biggest race of the night after the presidential race - and it was over early. Wiles completely demolished his opponent winning 184 of 191 precincts in El Paso County. Like I told Marco Camarillo - probably the loudest smack-talker for the sheriff's union, Buchino didn't win a single precinct south for the freeway from downtown to the freeway. Hell Buchino almost didn't win a precinct anywhere east and south of the New Mexico state line. More on the sheriff's union in the losers section...



I've been critical of the sheriff on matters of policy - and some of you may have forgotten that it was his department that actually conducted the investigation on me when I went through my divorce. I worked for an elected official that had a somewhat adversarial relationship with the sheriff. So if there was anyone out there that could've been the guy to spend all day hammering the sheriff, it'd be me. But through my interactions with the department, particularly watching him advocate for his department and his deputies, I grew to respect him as an administrator and leader of his department.

El Pasoan's overwhelmingly made the right choice last night. His margin was so large that it sent a very loud message about the level of support he has in this community.

State Rep Joe Moody

In another beat-down, State Rep Joe Moody also won last night, by an even wider margin. His district swings a bit more red during gubernatorial elections, but his support from the westside has congealed and that seat will be blue for as long as Joe Moody wants to hold that seat. May change if there is a weaker Dem one day, but Moody is young and has a long legislative career ahead of him. Pickett will one day pass the baton on to him.

Westsiders also sent a clear message about their satisfaction with their state representative.

Congressman O'Rourke

He was in the neighborhood of 90% of the vote with two opponents. Granted one was a Green Party candidate and the other was a Libertarian, Jaime O. Perez who probably didn't even carry the Libertarian vote.

Overwhelming support for the Congressman. He should stop all this silliness of running for US Senate and continue to serve this community. Also, I take back what I said in the past about Jaime O. Perez should quit running for office. He should keep running as long as possible. I rather enjoy watching this community completely reject him. Oh and I take back what I said about Beto being as viable for US Senate as Jaime O. Perez was for Beto's congressional seat. Beto would certainly break single-digits. And carry more of the Libertarian vote now that I think about it.

EPISD Bond

El Pasoans voted for the largest bond ever attempted in the history of El Paso County. There will be some real belly aching going on as this bond gets going because people are going to see the huge disparities in how the money will be spent, but thats something they are going to have to just swallow. You can't say it wasn't a majority of the voters who passed it because it clearly was. You can't say it was just a small portion of the electorate because it clearly wasn't. It passed and it is a mandate.

Dori Fenenbock took a big political gamble by being the face of the bond. She and the bond came out on top. So in that sense she's a winner. But we all know she has future aspirations and there is a bit of sobering news for Fenenbock that she needs to understand. Of the 21 precincts where the bond failed,  13 of them were on the westside. So yes it was a victory but 2/3 of the losing precincts were in her back yard.

But the clear winner from the EPISD Bond, and trust me there were some losers, was Mike Apodaca. Its quite a feather in his hat to be able to say he passed the largest bond ever attempted in El Paso County.

Took the title from another vato I know.

From a strategic perspective, Apodaca probably would've preferred this election to happen in any other election cycle than this one because it would've been easier to predict who was going to come out to vote and easier to target those voters. This was essentially the exact worst election cycle to run a bond of that size. There was significant opposition to the bond and quite frankly there is no way in hell the bond would've passed without Apodaca's field work.

I've seen this movie before, the board members, and committee members, and the superintendent will all strut around like they are the reason the bond passed, but the real reason it passed was because of a low-key experienced field guy who over works his canvassers and has a weird fascination with his pet turtle.

Just kidding Mike. (about the turtle anyway) Great job.

Socorro

The Rodriguez's are the winners in Socorro last night. Current Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz lost his bid for reelection to current City Rep Gloria Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a political survivor and worked hard.

Councilman At-Large Rene Rodriguez also won last night and will continue to serve in that capacity. Under Socorro's form of government they have a Mayor that only votes during ties but represents constituents across the city and a Councilperson At-Large that represents the entire city and votes.

Fabens

Fabens is a big winner because they re-elected Orlando Flores to the school board. He's an experienced and intelligent board member who makes thoughtful decisions. He made easy work of a race I thought might be closer. He won with a mandate and the community of Fabens will be better off for it.

Customers of Lower Valley Water District

This one is really inside baseball but if you know anything about water issues in the lower valley, nearly every bad water situation in that part of the county has something to do with that, what many call dysfunctional, entity. It provides water and trash service to communities like Socorro, Clint, San Eli, Sparks and a few other colonies.

Water districts and school board races are way more important than people really understand because they have far more to do with your daily lives than what happens in DC.

There 5 candidates running for 2 seats on the Lower Valley Water District - 4 of the 5 were named Dave.

David Carrasco who has held several positions at LVW will return to the board and Dave Armstrong was defeated. That is a development that should make General Manager Jack Alayyan a little nervous. One guy is an adversary and the guy that lost was an ally. Sources indicate that there have been several issues related to conduct by Mr. Alayyan that have cost the water district money including an alleged sexual harassment settlement.

At any rate, the customers of Lower Valley Water are winners in this election.

Constable

In the only remotely competitive constable precinct in the county, Constable Angie Sommers defeated King Merritt.

Canutillo ISD

Armando Rodriguez won another term on the CISD Board of Trustees. Despite having a negative story (really, really, really bad one) on the front page above the fold, he somehow won reelection. Most of the time a story like that one ends someone's political career, even if it is just a school board race.

Forma Group

They made a lot of money off of the EPISD Bond that AFT Union Boss Ross Moore swore to his membership they wouldn't be involved in...

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The Big Unknown

Village of Vinton

With the departure of Mayor Praino, it is unclear what direction the small hamlet on the westside of the county will choose for itself. But it looks like a brand new slate of elected officials in Vinton of who have a big job cut out for themselves. Mayor Praino has left a mark on that community and this county. She was a steady hand in an often turbulent town that at times made even Socorro blush.

And whatever their proposition was, it only won by 5 votes! I'm on a mission to find out what it was.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day - Go Vote!

Today is Election Day. It is not an understatement to say that this is the most important election of my lifetime. Americans have an important decision to make about the path of our future.

The candidates have decidedly different views about almost everything.

Vote today.

If you don't know where to vote, click this link and you can find out.

If you aren't sure if you are registered to vote, click this link and you can find out.

If you want to study the ballot before you go vote, and want to follow election night results, click this link to see all of that.

If you need a ride to vote, call me and I'll point you in the right direction or arrange a ride - (915) 694-5714.

Also, there will be a lot of campaign volunteers out there. Even if they are for candidates that you're opposed to, be nice to them. Its going to be windy out there and standing outside in the sun all day isn't a lot of fun. So be nice, its the El Paso way.

Speaking of which, shout out to all the campaign volunteers. It takes dedication to stand outside and advocate for you candidate, like this guy is doing.