First, if you think Chairman Maya saying "don't fuck with me" makes the El Paso County Democratic Party look bad, then you don't know the local party. The party has been a total mess for years and it is on the fast-track towards regression back to the dark times. Butch hasn't been running the party for the last year and a half following his health issue. Iliana Holguin, George Ybarra and Michael Apodaca have been running the show.
Here's a link to video I took of Chairman Maya before the health issues. He's obviously not the same guy and it bothers me that he's been dragged into all of this.
Last night's meeting was like the second-coming of a Blanche Darley Tejano meeting and its only going to get worse. More on that in a minute.
Tony Quintanilla's Play
Quintanilla stated that he plans on appealing the ruling of the Court of Appeals which would require the Supreme Court of Texas to hear the case. The ballots, in order to comply with federal election laws for overseas military personnel, need to be printed out and sent out soon. And by soon I mean like today.
So Quintanilla's lawyers have to not only get the Supreme Court to hear the case, they have to get an injunction to not go forward with the printing of the ballot, and the Supreme Court has to rule on all of this in time for the ballots to go out to military personnel overseas.
Essentially its the fourth quarter with under a minute to play and they are out of time-outs...And Tony Romo is their quarterback. You just know its going to end badly.
Around the 2 minute warning when they had the ball, the El Paso Democratic Party and Quintanilla's lawyers were the ones trying to run out the clock. They wanted yesterday to come and go so that no matter what the 8th Court of Appeals ruled, they ballots would already be printed and shipped and he'd be on the ballot, even if they ruled him ineligible.
But Team Perez drove the length of the field and scored. Now they are up and the clock is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
Quintanilla is hoping for a Hail Mary pass. And the Democratic Party isn't going to help him because they already sent in a letter indicating they are going to comply with the decision of the 8th Court of Appeals.
Wait, what do you mean even if he's ineligible?
Oh yes, you read that correctly. Because even in the most ridiculously unlikely situation that Quintanilla is still on the ballot, but ruled ineligible to hold office, and some how for the sake of argument, won the election - that plays to a certain group's advantage.
Let's pause there and I'll circle back and tie up that loose end. Stick around, it will be worth it.
I was talking to a couple of buddies the other night and I realized something about the Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats.
They are essentially our version of the Tea Party. They are collection of mostly older people that were once pretty influential and haven't come to grips with the reality that they are no longer in charge around town. So they have become angry, bitter, loud, and dramatic. And like the Tea Party they are extremists who don't really understand the values of their own party but none the less have become like pirates on a ship. They've taken over the ship, in this case the local Democratic Party, for their own benefit and frankly, to the detriment of the ship.
And I don't feel sorry for them. They chose this course of action when they elected Eddie Holguin as their chair. How are you going to try to pass your organization off as the flagship latino-based Democratic organization of the El Paso Democratic Party when your chairman supported a white anti-immigrant extremist militia sympathizer in the last city election over a Latina Democrat that worked for both former Congressman Reyes and former Senator Shapleigh?
Obviously not all of the Tejanos are at fault here. There are some really good and well-meaning Democrats still left in that organization. But they are really in the minority. Its up to them to right their own ship.
And they can start by asking some questions, especially because the Tea-jano's "endorsements" are coming up.
I put "endorsements" in quotation marks because Tea-jano votes are the stuff of local legend. I've lost track of all the controversies and allegations and counter-allegations of shenanigans relating to an endorsement of the Tea-janos.
Most of the time the general consensus among politicos around town is that you already know how an endorsement is going to go before anyone even shows up.
For those of you that are holding on to some naive notion that its any different now, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the following portion of this blog may come as a disappointment to you.
Once Eddie Holguin, spouse of Iliana Holguin the current Secretary of the El Paso Democratic Party who is running unopposed for the the Chair in the March Primary, took over the Tea-janos he implemented a new notification system to membership of meetings. So in addition to sending out a monthly reminder letter to members, and an email notice, they also send out a notice via text message.
Thats pretty smart and other clubs should adopt it if they have it in the budget.
So like clock work every month a reminder about club business is sent out. Reminders of club fundraisers or meetings are the only messages that have been sent out. That is until December.
In December the Tea-janos sent out a text notification for the "Campaign Kick-off to elect Tony Quintanilla County Comm. Pct. #3" The message was sent out December 21st at 8:15pm. There is no indication who approved the message to go out.
But as you can see in this screen shot that shows the messages from the Tea-janos over a period of time, they haven't sent out this type of notification for a specific candidate before or after an endorsement previously and haven't done so since.
Just for Quintanilla. And you'll see that multiple officers in the Tejanos have ties to the Quintanilla campaign.
Yes, as you can see, multiple members shared this with me and are not happy about it. Be mindful of the timeline here. There was already a question as to Quintanilla's eligibility and the Tea-janos still sent this out.
This is what undermines their endorsement process.
The Loose End
I know I probably should've led with this part but I needed to walk you through the rest before I explain the tying of the loose end I mentioned earlier.
Remember I said that there were some that probably wanted Quintanilla on the ballot even if he's ineligible?
Let me explain why. If Quintanilla's name stayed on the ballot and he was found ineligible to hold office and by some miracle of circumstance actually won, the Party would be in the position of not having a nominee for the November primary and the Chair of the El Paso Democratic Party would get to select the nominee. Since there is no Republican running, the Party Chair would basically get to select the next commissioner for Precinct 3.
Anybody remember a certain valley politico from Precinct 3 that recently expressed a desire to be in county government?
Thats right, Eddie Holguin.
And if that however unlikely scenario arose of the Party not having a nominee, who would pick the Party's nominee and by default, the next commissioner?
That's right, Eddie's wife Iliana Holguin.
Like I said, its far-fetched and completely unlikely to happen. And I don't even know that its their intent. But you can't deny that there are plenty of connections of the Tea-Janos to Quintanilla that I alluded to yesterday. Most of Holguin's officers have some connection.
Isela Castañon-Williams is Quintanilla's treasurer.
Dr. Ana Perez is Castañon-Williams good friend and she is the one who engineered the attempt to remove Michael Apodaca from office last night.
Chris Acosta works for the sheriff's office, and the Sheriff's Officer Association are major financial supporters Quintanilla. Most of the time that she works a campaign, the SOA are financial backers of that candidate. A local operative who is a friend of mine says that they were asked by Acosta to help out with Quintanilla's campaign.
All of them are officers in the Paso Del Norte Chapter.
This is why people don't want to be a part of the El Paso Democratic Party. Its this kind of stuff that undermines the credibility of not only the Tea-janos but the rest of the party as well because people start think all the organizations are like that.
"Real Democrat" Rhetoric
I've pretty much kept quiet about Quintanilla so far because I was sort of entertaining the idea that this was all really just one big joke. Because when you think about it, its comical.
There are a couple of political operatives that are now pretty infamous that are in the shadows (for now) on this campaign. But their fingerprints are all over the place on Quintanilla from his website, to his newsletters to his social media and down to his "real Democrat" rhetoric.
And this is the kind of thing that really hurts the credibility of the Tea-janos in addition to all the other crap. When they get behind people like Quintanilla and call them "real Democrats" or "true Democrats" or "proud Democrats".
If you were any of those you wouldn't feel it necessary to constantly remind people that you are. Here's a look at what I mean on his lit. (Its also interesting to note that the images in the back are of Precinct 2, you know, where he was registered to vote until a few weeks ago)
Here's the truth about Quintanilla.
Technically, its really hard to even say he's a Democrat.
Yep, thats right. You heard me.
There's been a lot of discussion about Quintanilla's voter registration and voter registration address change but there hasn't been talk of his voting history.
You see in Texas you don't register with a party. You are free to vote in any primary you like. You can vote in the Democratic Primary one year and the Republican the next cycle. You are only associated with a party based on your voting record.
And the dirty little secret about Quintanilla is that he doesn't have one of those.
Here's a screen shot of his voting record in VAN. You see all those empty boxes? If he was a voter, those would be populated with codes indicated what primary he voted in and whether he voted early or on election day.
He's never voted.
So let's recap - he was not only not a registered voter of Precinct 3 before the deadline, more importantly, he doesn't even vote! Two of my children have better voting records than this guy. Hell my 12 year old is more politically active.
If Quintanilla is a proud Democrat, why hasn't the proud Democrat voted before? You'd think at the very least he'd have voted in the Obama-Hillary wars right? Or supported Democrats in the federal and state elections right? Maybe been to a convention or two?
And you guys think that Vince Perez is afraid of that guy? Have you seen Perez campaign? Perez is the same guy that went into a debate in Socorro basically all alone in a hostile room of supporters of all his opponents and proceeded to demolish all of them and you think he's afraid of Tony "No-Vote" Quintanilla?
Have you people forgotten who he was facing in that election? A ten-year sitting state rep in Chente Quintanilla and Dora Oaxaca. Dora would eat Tony Quintanilla alive and you think that guy scares Vince?
This guy held a fundraiser a couple days before Christmas. Who the hell told him that was a good idea?
And this guy is supposed to be able to handle a campaign...in the valley???...during a Presidential cycle?
There was a ground-breaking on $100 million of infrastructure projects to the valley and far east (both Precinct 3) yesterday. That is unprecedented investment in infrastructure that Commissioner Perez made happen when he was chair of the MPO and you think Vince is afraid to run on his track record?
Against a guy who isn't from the valley, couldn't get his registration right, and has never voted?
And you think the SOA is the magic bullet? C'mon man, really? They couldn't beat Vince when they spent $14k on two different candidates that were actually from the valley and known in the valley.
Vince taking Tony No-Votes to court is about protecting the integrity of the electoral process not this ridiculous idea that he is afraid of competition.
Actually Vince's attorney Enrique Moreno says it best in the court documents:
"Quintanilla ventures far beyond Maya’s errors when, in his Response, Quintanilla endorses scofflaw-candidates. Quintanilla Resp. 12. That is, Quintanilla encourages the Court to ignore legislative statutes and judicial precedent and, instead, permit the people to elect scofflaw-candidates, individuals whose election would violate the very rules they seek to enforce. This position detrimentally runs against the “only legitimate foundation” of our government: respect for, and obedience to, the rule of law.