Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mary Gonzalez Has You Fooled

It is beyond belief that State Rep Mary Gonzalez has the support of so many legislators and advocates for education, equality, and social justice.

I have already written how the incumbent state representative, who was previously bank-rolled by PACs that empower women, has somehow managed to be the only member of the Texas legislature to open a district office on land where women don't have a voice in their own most local form of government.

Well I guess she doesn't subscribe to Madeline Albright's school of thought about there being a special place in hell for women that don't help other women.

But its social media updates like this one below that really bother me about State Rep Mary Gonzalez. I frankly can't understand why Rep Gonzalez has gotten such a pass on her record. Before we go further, I could give a damn about her sexuality. I don't care who she sleeps with. I'm the parent of a gay child, so don't come at me like this has anything to do with her sexuality.

And her sexuality doesn't make her immune from critique or analysis.

Gonzalez likes to portray herself as some sort of transformational figure. Aside from how presumptuous this Facebook update is, it is absolutely inconsistent with the facts about her record. If Rep Gonzalez wants to change the world, she should start with important issues in her own back yard. The reality is its easy for her to post updates like this, but fighting for legislation in the state house is a much more difficult.

Gonzalez wants to change the world, as long as she doesn't have to work hard, face any criticism, or rock a boat in the process.

Let me lay out this issue-based critique issue-by-issue and show how Gonzalez says she wants to change the world, but won't fight for legislation that can represent real improvement for the people she represents.

Lets start with an issue that has plagued our community for far too long, corruption and lack of transparency.

A recent bill having to do with the Emergency Service Districts. The ESD's were in an almost-comical state of what many believe was the perfect storm of corruption and ineptitude.

The ESD's were operating as their own political subdivisions and it lead to a laundry list of corrupt activity. When the county supported a bill that would make the ESD's more transparent and accountable to the tax-payers, Rep Gonzalez had a problem with it and was an obstacle to its passage. The activities of corrupt entities disproportionately affects the lives of the poor. Its their tax-dollars that are aren't being put back into services that they would enjoy. Rep Gonzalez didn't side with the average tax-payer that was being fleeced by corruption. She sided with the ESD's, the very institutions that were involved in corrupt practices.

Why is she getting a pass on that important issue?

Her issue is that it was a local bill. Apparently the fact that it was a local bill was more important to Gonzalez than getting rid of corruption and ineptitude.

But apparently local bills are something of a sore spot for Gonzalez.

She unnecessarily attempted to kill a bill about an issue that is more important to Texas than any other state, water. It was a local bill that didn't affect El Paso in the least bit, but because politics was more important to Gonzalez than people, she tried to kill the bill.

Housing Authority Bill

A couple of years ago there was an attempt to solve a big problem with the El Paso County Housing Authority. It was and is a very small housing authority that only served a minimal amount of people in the county. Essentially the County's Housing Authority is made up of two complexes in Fabens and a smattering of HUD properties here and there.

But there are housing needs in communities other than Fabens. San Elizario, Clint, Montana Vista, etc all have need for housing. Not to mention Canuttllo, Vinton, and Sparks.

There was a bill that would provide the ability for the city and county housing authorities to merge. This bill was a big deal because it would have allowed small housing authorities like El Paso county's the ability to access more housing grants. This provides an avenue for more people to be helped and get the housing authority to be more than just a Fabens-only entity.

Storm Water Bill

This is another example of Gonzalez interfering instead of advocating. There's a lot to the storm water bill but what Gonzalez essentially did was take the teeth out of the bill and create a separate bureaucratic process to create a plan that already existed.

It was her way of killing the bill and was yet another example of Gonzalez having the chance to fix a problem but instead opts for taking the easy way out.

San Elizario / Socorro Annexation

This might be the perfect example in my point about how there is very little difference between Gonzalez and her opponent former State Rep Chente Quintanilla. Its also an example of everything that is wrong with valley politics.

When the Gandara-led junta in Socorro were trying to annex San Elizario it was a time of turmoil and it really brought the community together. The important thing to do in a situation like that is to be completely open and honest with the community about what was going on and what their options were.

So Commissioner Perez held a community meeting with the people of San Elizario and explained what was going on and what their options were as a community and what were the legal options of the County. What he didn't want to do was give people false hope. He wanted to be candid with them so that they had a full understanding of what was in front of them.

Gonzalez shows up to the meeting - uninvited - and wanted to speak to the audience. Since there was absolutely ZERO that could be done at the state level there wasn't a need to bring her in. But she showed up to the meeting, late of course, after Perez has just laid out an honest and realistic picture of the situation to the community.

And what did Gonzalez do? She did what valley politicians have done to the community for years. She stood on the stage and filled them with false hope. She promised she was going to file a bill that would essentially make it impossible for Socorro to pull off the annexation.

The bill had zero chance of passing, and now that I think about it I'm not even entirely sure she even ever filed a bill on the issue, and even if they bill had been written and passed, the annexation was just a matter of weeks away.

Ultimately there was a solution that involved legal action from the county and hands-on campaign work to rid Socorro of the Gandaras and allow Socorro to elect new leadership. Then the new leadership had to give permission to San Elizario to pursue annexation within their ETJ. Then it took coordination and organization to ensure that San Elizario was ready to pass a measure to pursue incorporation. Then it took organization to actually make sure the measure passed, which it did by more than 90%.

Did Gonzalez have a hand in any aspect of that hard work to protect the oldest community in the county?

Hell no.

But it didn't stop her from grandstanding and making promises that were basically just telling the crowd what they wanted to hear.


And a lot of this goes back to a point I have been making for a long time about Gonzalez and Quintanilla. Chente opposed most of the bills I mentioned above as well.

In fact, Chente was even more opposed to the Housing Authority bill than Gonzalez.

Both of them have failed the Mission Valley in their lack of leadership. Both of them.

We are better off as a community with someone other than those two choices. The valley deserves the chance to vote for a better option than just a male and female version of the same politician.

The valley needs an advocate that is more concerned with the needs of the community than showing up on MSNBC or getting a title back.

Changing the world? Try changing your community first! Try changing their lives in a measurable way first, then tell us all about how you're going to change the world.

But alas, it won't be this election cycle that they get the chance to make that choice. This election they just get to choose between 6 of one or half a dozen of the other.


Donna Herron said...

So are we basically screwed whichever gets elected?

Benjamin Sanchez said...

Jaime, this is Ben Sanchez commenting on only one statement that is mentioned which I believe is totally WRONG! That comment relates to the first meeting that Commissioner Perez had with us. The only option that he provided San Eli residents was to allow Socorro to annex what they wanted thus Socorro was assuring us that they would allow us right to incorporate the rest of San Eli. We said no way Commissioner; that will not work for us. It wasn't until Commissioner Perez found out that he was been misled by Socorro that he changed his tune. The one and possibly the only thing that State Rep Mary Gonzalez did for us was to arrange a meeting up in Austin so we could plead our case on a state level. You weren't a part of ll of us that made that trip to defend our position. Thanks again. Ben Sanchez


The Lion Star said...

Sorry Ben, but your recollection of what happened is completely inaccurate.

I recorded the meeting. That first meeting we told you guys what was going on and what options there were. What he did was lay out an honest characterization of how things were at that time. There were basically no options.

It wasn't until after the AG came out with an opinion about the extension in office that the County had a chance to do something.

I know my characterization is 100% accurate. I have the audio recorded. I can post it if you want.