Friday, May 27, 2016

Ali Razavi's Many Faces

I got a phone call from Thomas Dorman who asked me if I'd participate in a fundraiser for charity. 

His idea was a boxing match between myself and Ali Razavi, the guy who can't come to grips with the fact that his name isn't really Max Powers.

I guess this stems from some post he put on his blog about me blocking him from Twitter. 

What a fucking baby. 

His little feelings got hurt because I blocked him? 

Then I'm told he followed by posting a screenshot of County Judge Veronica Escobar having blocked him from Twitter.

I guess that is somehow the ultimate dis for children his age.

Frankly, I'm surprised the judge hasn't taken some action with law enforcement based on how much he has harassed her. Especially after that last email he sent her. So maybe Ali should just count himself lucky that all he got was blocked.

SPOILER ALERT - he's probably going to post everyone who has him blocked. If he did that every day, he'd have nothing else to post between now and sometime after the general election because the guy is an ass and no one can stand him. 

Seriously he's been blocked by a lot of people. Since he's the common denominator, 9 out of 10 dentists agree he's an ass.

But as I've said before, everything about the guy is a lie. From back stabbing his boss and feeding a negative story about text messages to her enemies and the media to telling people his Chinese knock-off solar panels are American made. 

Well here's something to add to the guys laundry list off bullshit.

Guess who has NEVER been blocked from my Twitter account?

This asshole: 

I think he has a problem separating fact from fiction, which doesn't surprise me. I'm sure the guy grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons in some dark classroom with a creepy math teacher because of his inability to get people to like him so I guess I shouldn't blame the guy.

But sorry Ali, you aren't really a fictional character named Max Powers. Maybe up your meds, that might help. 

In closing, in terms of the charity offer, truth be told, I'd very happily whoop his ass for free. But I'm a nice guy, and I'll be glad to help out a charity. 

Come on Ali/Max or whoever one of the many characters your puppet master asks you to be , let's do it. What do you have to lose? I'm just an old fat guy that gets winded in the whataburger parking lot right?

Don't be afraid, what's the worse that can happen?

Your Pal, 


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Election Day

No predictions other than to say that two of the three major local races will be really close. 

The Tax Assessor race doesn't seem like it will be close but truth be told, that race was over a long time ago. The wrong campaign got tapped and there were several really big and expensive mistakes.

That was a winnable race too. A reflection of the campaign team as much as anything else. 

Unless Rocha somehow pulls out a miracle. 

In the DA race, what can I say that you don't already know? An incumbent in a run-off is usually in trouble and almost never win. If the DA retains his seat, it will be the campaign effort of the last decade, if not longer.

Right now, Rosales had a lot of advantages and the race was hers to lose the minute she made a run-off. 

For the 8th Court of Appeals I'll be straight up with you all, I voted for Palafox.

Ramirez just does not have the temperament or respect for due process during her time as a municipal judge, to have earned my vote.

But I've gotten more touches from Ramirez. She's the ONLY candidate to have block-walked me and I have received more mail from her. Since that is a race no one cares about, it's likely that her strategy was effective. 

It'll be interesting what early voting numbers look like.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ali Razavi's Crass Email & Forma

So I was told that Ali Razavi sent a pretty nasty email to County Judge Veronica Escobar over the weekend which represents a new low even for a guy who was circulating negative stories about his then-boss while he was working for her and very happily continuing to take a pay check for being her employee.

But if you know him, that shouldn't surprise you. The guy is a walking hypocrite.

The email came out the night that the Siria Rocha story came out, in fact just a few hours after the information was dumped to local media but before it had been published. Now for a long time Razavi has really gone out of his way to pretend that Razavi isn't connected to Forma, even having gone so far as to write about it a couple of times to dispel the allegation.


Because it was hurting Forma candidates because the donors were getting pissed. Rocha was at one point in this election cycle, a Forma candidate. Since Marisa Marquez is the talent scout for Forma, she would no-doubt have a relationship with Rocha.

So here is the email Razavi sent to the County Judge:

I know, classy right?

Say what you want about me, and you cowards that comment but wouldn't dare say anything about me to my face frequently do, but I've never sent an elected official an email like that. But again, not something new for Razavi. How long has that guy's obsession with the County Judge gone on now?

Well, about as long as her falling out with Marisa Marquez.

Coincidence? Of course not.

Well interestingly enough, Ali will probably have to start writing those posts about how he's not affiliated with Forma again because he probably got the firm in trouble with their donors again. And lets face it, they don't pull the strings, they get their strings pulled by the donors. The minute the money guys go away and choose a different option than Forma, is the minute their firm ceases to exist.

So the email about Rocha was sent out a little after 4pm. Here's the time/date stamp and the email that was sent to the media and myself.

As you can see, the time stamp on Ali's email to the County Judge, which was before the story was published anywhere, it says 8:21, same day.

So I'm betting Marquez gave him a heads up about the info release because I confirmed with the Gonzalez campaign that the info was not sent to Ali Razavi aka Max Powers.

Since Forma basically hasn't won a race in a while they may have been banking on Rocha to an extent, even though she only used them during part of her campaign, to get back in the win column. Perhaps after finding out about this shit storm of bad info had come out, and it being a Friday night and Razavi has been known to drink pretty regularly, he was probably several douchey craft beers into the night and sent that email to the County Judge.

The give-away?

The fact that he posted the email himself so quickly. Maybe he had a moment of clarity from the fog of some micro-brew and realized he fucked up, so the best way to try to deal with the situation would be to release the email himself.

The judge has been pretty open about her support for Ruben Gonzalez after all.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe someone else gave Ali a heads up. Maybe a person in the media sent it to him?

All he would have to do is post the email.

But he won't, because that isn't how he got the heads up.

Like I said, there are two types of bloggers in this town - me and those that blog about me. And of course, true to Forma, oops I mean true to form,  I was mentioned in his little cyber assault on the County Judge which is why I feel it necessary to point out Razavi's hypocrisy.

He asks why Escobar hates women, as though she only is opposed to female candidates for some reason. Are you people stupid? Have you seen Escobar's track record of work when it comes to women?

Do none of you bottom-feeders realize that most department heads at the county are women?

Have you not noticed all the female candidates she's supported, assisted, contributed to, mentored, etc?

Anna Perez
Joanne Bernal
Tania Chozet
Naomi Gonzalez
Lina Ortega
Georgina Perez

Marquez and Forma just ran a pretty damn ugly race against Mary Gonzalez. Yet I don't hear Maxi Pad bitching about the war on women from Marquez.

Ah, and one more thing especially for the little click of haters out there. Do I support Judge Escobar? Yeah, actually I do. I think she's done a great job and taken a leadership role that was absent at a critical time in community. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work she does.

Do I agree with her on policy all the time? No, but its fair to say the vast majority of the time I do.

Some of you idiots don't recall when I've been critical of her because it doesn't fit your narrative. I've been critical of every elected official in town, but I'm issue-based. Sorry, but asking an elected official how someone else tastes just isn't my style.

Frankly I don't know why the County Judge hasn't explored some legal recourse because of that email.

So lets get this straight, I write what I want to write, when I want to write it, for the reasons I want to write it. All of you guys should gather the tin foil you hear on your heads, flatten it out and make a big giant mirror. Then stand in front of that mirror and say hello to the dumbass you're staring at if you think ANYONE can control what I say or do.

Ask Norma Chavez if its easy to try to control me...

Friday, May 20, 2016

County Documents Reveal Serious Issues with Siria Rocha

According to documents obtained through an Open Records Request, County Tax Assessor Collector Candidate Siria Rocha was apparently reprimanded for several serious issues, including something she accused her opponent of doing in multiple pieces of campaign material, while she was an employee at the County. 

A resident of El Paso County, Joachim Schalk, requested documents relating to reprimands of Siria Rocha while she was an employee of the County of El Paso.

Rocha was allegedly reprimanded for issues relating to asking an employee to check a license plate for her personal use, misuse of county resources, job performance failures, sending sexually explicit emails, her behavior with co-workers, and ironically, campaigning and soliciting contributions on county time. 

The 56 page documents contains several “exhibits” including emails containing pictures showing both males and females in various stages of nudity, male and female genitalia, and one photo of a male performing fellatio on himself allegedly sent on the County of El Paso email system. 

I will do a more in-depth post later, but this is an absolute crisis for the Rocha campaign because it highlights the fact that Rocha has made campaigning on County time her biggest issue knowing full well that she had been reprimanded for not only campaigning on County time, but for soliciting campaign funds. 

In a statement release to The LionStar Blog Rocha stated the following:  

"Its true that in my youth I made some mistakes, like we all do, and I acknowledge them. Forwarding jokes is something that probably every viewer or reader of this story has done at some point. In the lens of almost two decades later, I see that it was poor judgement that is typical of someone in their 20’s. 

I think most voters will see this for what it is, my opponent is attempting to distract from his own mishandling of public tax dollars so that he can park in the shade. 

This is a sad reflection of Ruben Gonzalez and indicative of the win-at-any-cost attitude of my opponent. 

The people of El Paso deserve better."

CAUTION: The link contains not only the documents in question but it also contains sexually explicit material. Proceed at your own risk. 


Important election for the 8th Court of Appeals and the District Attorney's races. 

Oh yeah, the Tax Assesor Collector is on the ballot too. It's not important, but if you're voting anyway, you might as well vote for that one too. 

So go out and vote today or Tuesday and take some friends and family with you. I'm talking to all of you reading this. Be a good citizen and go out and vote!

Except you Jesse Gandara. You can't vote. 

Ya no llores!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

When Your Lit Comes Back to Haunt You

For those of you that don't know, written campaign material that you get at a polling place, mailed to your home or left on your door is referred to as "lit". 

Short for "literature", which is a bit misleading because they often aren't finely crafted prose.

I was all set to write about the negative piece the Yvonne Rosales campaign sent that landed in mailboxes yesterday against her opponent, incumbent District Attorney Jaime Esparza until I saw the piece sent out by Ruben Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is in the runoff and he's facing Siria Rocha for the Tax Assessor Collector seat Gonzalez was appointed to by Commissioners Court.

The first thing I thought of when I saw it was "gacho"!

Here's a look at the English version of the piece. I was sent the Spanish version, probably because I live in the valley.

I point this piece out because it's an example of how if you aren't careful, sometimes your lit becomes a boomerang. 

A while back I wrote about something that I TOLD you was going to come back to haunt Rocha. It was a major campaign screw up on the part of her consultant, Ernesto Bustillos. 

In the lit they were using, they implied that voting for Rocha would mean stopping tax hikes. 

That lit contained more bullshit than a farm in Fabens. 

The tax assessor office has zero to do with the tax rate. It's not just an exaggeration, mischaracterization, or wrongly phrased sentiment.

It's a straight up lie. 

Ultimately it's Rocha's mistake too because as she says of Gonzalez and his $10,000 expenditure just so the vato can park his nice truck in the shade, he ultimately is the person who signed off on it, even if it wasn't his idea. So she's guilty by the same rationale. 

Rocha and Bustillos recently sent out the negative mailer against Gonzalez. It's the one I called "capirotada". 

Here's a pic of Bustillos ordering capirotada.

The mailer tried to through everything negative but the kitchen sink into it. But the biggest problem with the piece is that it never said who to vote for or when.

And now, because of Bustillos huge tactical error in the lit, he has opened up his client to a negative piece that undermines her credibility. 

That mistake just got even worse because it gave Mike Apodaca something to hit Rocha on that will resonate with voters. 

So to put this in layman' terms, Bustillos had the lead by a touchdown, threw a pick-six and then fumbled the ensuing kickoff inside the 5 yard line and the other team recovered and have a chance to punch it in for the win as time expires.

Either way, that's a shitty way to lose the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Former City Rep Lily Now Political Operative

According to one community activist, former City Rep Ann Morgan Lily has been acting as a political operative in an effort to garner public support for embattled city manager Tommy Gonzalez, apparently going so far as to encourage and prepping people to speak during public comment against newly-elected City Rep Jim Tolbert and in favor of Gonzalez. 

Lily has also been making a series of public information requests lately, again in an apparent effort to shore up support for Gonzalez. 

"She called me and told me to talk bad about Jim...she really wants Tommy to keep his job...when I found out he (Tolbert) used to be a priest and is a really good person, I changed my mind and didn't speak bad about him, but she (Lily) was trying to get me to..." swim community activist Sarah Garcia stated in a phone interview yesterday.

"They played me for their own agenda because they knew how much I cared about getting the pool." she went on to say.

Garcia has been a pivotal member of the swimming community that has lobbied very hard to ensure that the flagship pool that was part of the Quality of Life bond that was passed by voters in 2012 is completed and funded properly. 

The immediate question people will have is, what's in it for Lily? 

Apparently Garcia has been approached and manipulated by several political figures in addition to Lily. Garcia indicated that Jeremy Jordan, former legislative aide to City Rep Niland has also worked her over pretty good. 

Garcia's understanding of the Quality of Life bonds was based on the explanation of Jeremy Jordan. During our phone interview it became abundantly clear that, if Garcia's account of her conversations with Jordan is accurate, that Jordan either straight-out lied to her or gave her information that was completely slanted to the point of not even being rooted in fact. 

What I can't figure out is all this angst aimed at Tolbert. In addition to the alleged effort on the part of Ann Morgan Lily on his very first day, current City Rep Michiel Noe also gave Tolbert a bit of a chinga-su-madre to his new colleague. During Tolbert's swearing in, Noe was the only member of council I could see to not give Tolbert a standing ovation following his swearing in. 

Obviously Noe isn't obligated to do so, but he seems to be the only member of council that is actively trying to take shots at his colleagues. 

He posted a negative article about his colleague on his Facebook page the other day. Trust me, there are no shortage of negative articles about members of city council over the last couple of years, but no matter how intense things have gotten on council, I've never seen any of them, except Noe, break decorum to the extent Noe has by sharing a negative article about a council rival.

Let me give you all a measuring stick.

Remember the whole I-don't-want-to-sit-next-to-her situation a couple of years ago between Limón and Niland? It got pretty bad between them. 

But I don't recall either of them trying to trash their colleagues on social media. Not sure what is going on with that guy but since he's termed out and will never be on a ballot again, I guess he no longer cares about decorum. But he still has quite a bit of time on council with his new colleague, doesn't seem wise to start things off that way.

Maybe its because both Noe and Lily are big supporters of Gonzalez and Tolbert filed the ethics complaint. 

I guess it leaves us all wondering just how much more intense its going to get on council. Just when you thought it couldn't get more dysfunctional and embarrassing right?

Noe kidding.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Maria Garcia's Story on P-Cards

For those of you that think that paving roads and Gandara-like credit card purchases is just something that happens in Socorro, you should watch this story done by Maria Garcia from KVIA on P-cards. 

Those are cards that are funded by taxpayers and issued to city council representatives and their staff members intended in lieu of petty cash. 

The web story is VERY different from what was aired last night. Mostly because in the story that aired last night there was basically no discussion about what the Mayor's office spent on the cards.

I'll get to that in a minute, but before I do, let me cover a couple of other things.

First, the story mentions Rep Svarzbein as having spent the least amount of money in 2015, which is the year they compiled data for in the story. Well I should hope so, he was only in office for half the year!

Put that in the "duh" category. Had you extrapolated his spending out over a year he wouldn't have been one of the lowest, but he certainly would still have been one of the lowest. Garcia also erroneously implies that Svarzbein and Ordaz have been in office a similar about of time, which is inaccurate.
Next, I almost died laughing when I heard City Rep Acosta, who was the second-highest spending of tax-payer dollars use the word "frugal" in her explanation of her spending. 


Only in the alternate reality in which Acosta lives does that statement make any sense. 
And how about that Jeremy Jordan huh? I think the real story is how much food that guy would buy on his card, at your expense. Very Jesse Gandara of him. 

But Niland, who has spent the most money, gave a rather interesting response to an expenditure on the card for Jordan's personal cell phone bill. She said Jordan "accidentally" paid his cell phone bill with that card but he paid the money back.

I heard he was audited and that is why he paid it back, but that is another story. The real interesting thing is how that was "an accident". Was he walking along a street downtown, tripped over some streetcar railing and his wallet flew out of his pocket and his p-card landed in his hand and his phone dialed his phone company and entered the digits themselves?

Because that is a pretty amazing "accident". 
The Mayor and his assistant spent almost $38 grand on their cards. I don't necessarily have a problem with that because after all, he's the Mayor. He represented the entire town, not just a district. 

But I have a MAJOR problem with his assistant Taylor Moreno spent close to $24 grand herself. I get that the mayor needs to travel a lot, but what in the blue hell is Moreno spending all that money on as a staffer?

David Karlsruher's Little Secret

There are two types of bloggers in El Paso politics.

Me, and those that blog about me.

For some unknown reason David K has decided to drag me into his little Uber debate. I've watched it from afar but haven't commented on it because I don't really know much about it, other than David K appears to completely misrepresent what Austin's vote was really about.

But he was on the losing side of that vote so that doesn't surprise me.

Frankly, I don't really care much about the Uber debate because I don't take uber and I don't take cabs. I'm a regular guy, so mass transit doesn't scare me one bit. I enjoy it actually, ask anyone who's ever heard me rant about how great it is.

So let me cut right to the chase. The reason DK won't stop talking about Uber is because he represented them in some fashion here in El Paso. I assume he got paid to do so, but I'm not entirely sure.

But I know for a fact he was setting up meetings with members of various elected bodies.

Which is fine, but if he's going to drag me into his little venture, he should at least be clear about his motives.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Buzz Around The City

Here are a few notes of talk around some city races that are on the horizon.

By now you've all probably heard the word that Dee Margo, a former Republican state rep is going to run for Mayor. Forma once again is dusting off an old candidate and trying to resuscitate their career. Sorry but he might be loaded and all, but too many people remember he's a Republican. Yes it's a non-partisan race, but he has to wear the GOP brand all over him.

I just don't see how even Forma thinks he's viable. 

Personally I wonder if Shapleigh would come out of retirement to whack Dee Margo around one more time. Vindication from the EPISD scandal isn't a bad jumping-off point for a campaign. 

There is also talk of Ted Houghton taking a stab at running for mayor, which would also be interesting.

Since Emma Acosta isn't viable, never has been to be honest, but much less so now that she's and Noe are so closely connected to Tommy Gonzalez and Larrt Romero, you wonder if there are any Latino candidates that would step up.

Speaking of council, there is already buzz about who are replacing the candidates that are termed out. Perhaps the most interesting buzz around has been former El Paso Mayor John Cook talking about possibly making a run for his old city council seat. He apparently believes he has the ability to serve at least one more term.

He would join Sam Morgan as another person considering a run for the northeast seat.

There is one other person who is considering a run in the northeast who I think would be extremely well positioned if they ran but they haven't come to a decision yet, but there is still time so I'll circle back to that topic once a decision has been made.

In District 3 to replace Acosta, I know of two really exceptional candidates that are weighing their options and then Jaime Barceleau. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Friday Foul-Up

Mistakes happen in every campaign. But like I have been saying, a particular campaign team is more of a liability than an asset. 

Ernesto Bustillos and Josh Dagda have apparently struck again. 


Fresh off of a campaign in which they struggled to reach 15% despite having endorsements from major community leaders, the newspaper, and a fundraising edge on the last report for a Latina candidate in a border community, the dynamic duo have apparently struck again.

This is an expensive mistake too. And probably costly.

The text messages and phone calls started coming in Thursday afternoon. When I got home I confirmed it by checking my own mailbox.

What is the mistake? 

Apparently most of the mailers that went out for Tax Assesor Collector Candidate Siria Rocha where addressed to the WRONG NAMES! 

That is way up there with the time Forma sent out Tania Chozet's GOTV piece that landed after the election was over!

Depending on how big her universe was, that cost a lot of money to send out. The wrong names on the mailer mean the wrong targets received the mail, people who should have received it likely didn't, and many won't even read it. 

This is the one sent to my place. They got my address right. Now while my grandfather has a picture where he sorta looked like Javier Solis, we are in fact, not the Solis family. 

Huge, huge, huge mistake.

Especially because it's so difficult to even get someone to read a mailer in the first place! And, true story, even though I knew what the mistake was before I hit my mailbox, I still almost tossed the mailer because the mailer looked more like an ad for a product than a political message.

It was "capirotada". That's what we call a mailer that has a bunch of different messages all tossed in together. Great during lent, but terrible for a mailer. 

The message is garbled and ineffective. In fact that mailer is so busy throwing rocks at the other candidate, it never gets around to who to vote for or when.

There are ways to do negative mailers and ways to not do negative mailers. The only thing this mailer is good for is to demonstrate how NOT to do a negative mailer.

So maybe it's actually a blessing for Rocha that her campaign team screwed up and sent it to the wrong people. 

But man, I'll bet that was a lot of money. It wouldn't shock me if she took it out of their pay or makes them compensate her for their mistake. 

We'll see on the 8 day report, but these are the perils of getting a consultant that has more than one client in the election cycle and can't manage it.

Oh yeah, one more thing. When I was checking around to see how bad the mistake was, calling friends and sources throughout the county that I knew would have been likely recipients, I was mildly surprised that Michael Apodaca, aka Juro Duran, is still getting mail from Rocha's campaign. If I recall correctly that was her February D'oh!

I'm really gonna miss this election cycle!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Socorro and Jesse Gandara's Legacy

As I sit and ponder the thought of yet another Socorro City Rep accused of wrong-doing I start to think about Jesse Gandara.

The life after being booted out of office by the people of Socorro has to be rough on the guy. He's probably never held a job. His wife is really the man of the house as the breadwinner, although that has basically always been the case as I understand it.

He went from someone that ran the county's second-largest municipality to becoming not only the most hated guy in Socorro, but in the entire valley. 

Hell, other Gandaras try to distance themselves. That damn sure says a lot.

He's reviled for how he took advantage of his community under the guise of being a leader. 

I bet one of the things he hates the most is the fact that the taxpayers are no longer paying for his douchey Starbucks drinks. That was one of his favorite things to do, get his Starbucks fix for him and anyone else he was with on the taxpayers dime.

I bet he's also having a tough time with the conditions of his probation as well. Think about it, he loves to booze it up and now he can't. 

And then there's the alleged weed habit.

If memory serves they caught him with some pot when they raided his house and found the dead chickens. 

I mean on the positive side, he's had plenty of time to clean that place. I hope he's used his time to do so because, dayum!

Think about it, that has to be rough for a guy like Jessie, no booze and no weed for a decade! 

That's cray.

But what I think about is the legacy he's left on that community. Like a shamed monarch from England or Egypt whose successors have tried to literally erase their names from history, Socorro has pulled Gandara's name off of the street he named after himself.

But they couldn't undo the wasteful spending. Gandara often bragged to me about their spending habits.

"This City has money." I've lost track of how many times he said it to me. He basically had no regard for the tax payers of Socorro. 

I'd say he spent taxpayer money like a drunk sailor, but let's be real, it's an insult to call him a sailor. Sailors serve their country. He took advantage of his. It would be an insult to my fellow veterans to call him a member of the armed services. 

When he got in trouble do you think that guy decided to ante up and pay his legal expenses? Hell no, he continued his pattern of dependence on taxpayers. He was like the worlds most douchey welfare recipient. 

Thankfully that was reversed, but only for a short time because Gandara wasn't done being a burden to taxpayers. He then asked for, and was granted, a public defender. 

We had to pay for that guy's defense. 

And to top it all off, to show you just the level of fuckery that guy would stoop to, the complete and total lack of dignity or self respect, he actually texted me during his own trial for bribery and asked me to testify...get this...on his behalf!

I saved the text because it was so simultaneously hilarious and sad.

It's a story that is almost a cliché now. An impoverished community that is the least able to afford the price tag of corruption taken advantage of by a cocky, slick-talking huckster. 

The people of Socorro are rightfully upset that he got off with such a light sentence. Picking up trash on the side of the road or weeds at Concordia and having to give up booze and weed for a decade just don't seem enough of a punishment for what he did to that community. 

But maybe going from the guy who ran the town to being the embarrassment of the town is something the people of Socorro can take solice in. The hit to his ego alone was a big deal. 

But the community is now struggling with more Gandara-style politics with allegations of wrong-doing by another city rep. And it makes one wonder how long a community of such great, loving, and humble people, can endure what they have been subjected to. 

It's sad. They deserve better.

Jessie doesn't, but they do. 

Socorro Rep Avoids Deposition

Embattled Socorro City Rep Sergio Cox was supposed to cooperate with an investigation being done by the City of Socorro into the process in which public funds were spent on paving street projects in Socorro where Cox has a financial interest in property. 

The agenda item on last weeks regular meeting was to discuss the findings of the report but at the time of the meetings Cox hadn't given a deposition on the advice of an attorney.

When pressed as to who his attorney was, Cox refused to give his name. Eventually he agreed to undergo the deposition the following day and so the agenda time was postponed. 

In a not-so-shocking set of events, Cox was a no-show to the deposition.

It appears Mayor Ruiz is going to call for another special meeting to deal with the issue.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The District 2 Winners & Losers

I usually do a post after the election in which I break down the winners and losers of the election and the D2 special election had some absolute winners and losers.

First, the winners are the people of District 2 who will have an actual voice on council that they haven't had since before Christmas last year.

Good for them.

Before I go further I want to explain something - Jim Tolbert's election was a mandate. There will be people who tell you that the turnout was so low that you can't call it a mandate, or that only so many people voted and that is hardly a mandate.

Those people are stupid.

Voters that don't participate are sending the signal that they are fine with whatever decision is made by the people that do vote. If there weren't, they would vote themselves.

If you wanted to change the status quo or felt so strongly about who should win, then you should've participated. If you could vote and you didn't, frankly you don't matter.

Okay, lets go to winners:

Obviously, Team Tolbert. Call it vindication, call it a comeback, call it whatever you want - Jim Tolbert finally won. And he did so in convincing fashion, pulling nearly 60% of the vote in a race with 7 opponents. That is a big deal.

Friends and family alone, especially in a race with small turnout, should be enough to force a run-off, but that wasn't the case. Now the guy who has been the most vocal resident of District 2 over the last few years takes a trip to city hall.

Next, Susie Byrd. She was Tolbert's main campaign advisor and did what people expect her to do, win.

And finally Chris Hernandez. He finally got his first notable win. If adversity breeds character than he should have no shortness of character to go along with his confidence. Hernandez has been a bit like Charlie Brown for the last couple of years with Lucy always pulling the ball away at the last second. Before this weekend's win his claim to fame was an almost-win for Josh Dagda and being replaced on Stout's campaign. He did some OFA and Battleground Texas work but no one really cares about that work because its not related to a campaign, so its not something you can really take credit for.

But now, now he's got a legit win. Yeah he had a head start, yes he was facing inferior competition, and yes he had the advantage of more money and name ID in the district - but he was facing a BIG field of candidates. Hernandez crafted a good field program and did the thing that matters most, he executed.

Its not sexy, its mostly grunt work, and goes largely unnoticed, but its a specific skill set. Anyone who thinks its easy only thinks that because they have never done it. When everyone said it would be a run-off, including Yours Truly, Hernandez said they would win it without a run-off and they did. Yeah he loves to talk the talk, but this time he not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.

Well done.

The final winner is an Honorable Mention to Dolores Baca. She exceeded everyone's expectations and was breathing down CDA's neck for most of the evening. At one point fewer than 50 votes separated the two before CDA finally pulled away a bit.


There's no way to spin it, as I wrote weeks ago, CDA's liability was her campaign team. They not only failed to meet expectations, they did so in spectacular fashion.

A younger, well-known Chicana with massive street cred in terms of activism - who literally went from Homeless to Harvard - should've performed much better than a lousy 15% in a Latino majority district in a border community.

The fact that she didn't is a reflection of her campaign team.

Let me take a moment and address one important thing that her campaign team didn't have control over - her voting record. More accurately, lack thereof. Its possible they didn't know about it until it was too late to do anything about it, but it was certainly a big factor. But truth be told, she never got hit on it, which is why you can still blame her team. No media coverage was done on it, no negative message was leveraged against her for it. It basically came up in a debate once and that was about it. The only people that knew about it were people who were at the debate and people who read about it in my blog. In other words, not many. Since there was no one telling them about it, the average voter probably had no clue she had never voted in the district before. That isn't why they chose not to support her.

Is it important? Yes.

Do I think the people that did know about her lack of voting record forgave her and voted for her anyway? No.

But its highly unlikely that most people that went to vote even knew about it.

So this list has to start with Ernesto Bustillos, Josh Dagda, Ruby Ramirez, and Jessica Yañez. Struggling to reach just 15% with a fundraising edge in the last report and the endorsement of the El Paso Times and a laundry list of community leaders is inexcusable from a campaign perspective.

I know they are running a couple of other campaigns right now for the run-off and those candidates are probably really concerned about their ability to get the job done considering Saturday night's performance.

As well they should be.

For his part Bustillos has begun this inexplicable narrative that 74% of the district had their voices heard on Election Day.

How does he arrive at that number?

Well for some reason he adds Tolbert's total to that of CDA's 15%. Why? Because he said that when he spoke to voters, she was their second choice?

What the hell?

Following that logic, Donald Trump would be my second choice to whomever is the Democratic nominee in November? Are you fucking kidding me Bustillos?

The campaign team's job was to protect her from doing dumb shit like getting in a ring and sporting a lucha libre mask while she's trying to get people to take her seriously.

Or hey, how about a better GOTV plan than a party the night before the election or having your candidate ride around on the back of a motorcycle in Manhattan Heights yelling in to a bullhorn?

Yes, that really happened.

Noe & Acosta

Other losers in this election include City Reps Noe and Acosta. They have been the loudest and staunchest supporters of former City Rep Romero. They were the ones pushing for Gonzalez's raise, they were the ones that defended Romero when he got in trouble, and they were the ones trying to protect his salary from tax payers even though he had resigned.

They now have a colleague who is an absolute adversary to those previous positions. And it'll be interesting to watch Noe try to push him around or Dora try to start scheming against him.

Hector Montes & AFSCME Local 59

I would struggle to come up with a bigger liability to a union than Hector Montes. Especially a union who's success depends largely on their ability to work with policy makers. AFSCME apparently didn't learn in the last round of elections that Montes doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to cultivating political relationships on behalf of membership.

Its sad really because the employees deserve a voice with credibility, not someone who is universally looked at as a joke.

A little joke, but still a joke.

It would be one thing if the guy's relationships with council were strained or non-existent because he lacked the skill set to cultivate them. But in truth, its because Montes actually has declared jihad on some members of council.

He often tries to operate from the shadows, which is understandable because no one can stand the guy and his ego that clearly overcompensates for his SHORT comings.

The problem with that from a union perspective is the strained relationships you have if your guy goes all out, in the name of your union (which he runs through the mud every time he goes up and speaks during public comment) when he ultimately loses the election (on your behalf).

Want proof?

Watch how he not only co-mingles the union with his politics but he slowly escalates his rhetoric as steadily becomes unhinged during the course of a campaign. It starts off harmless and cordial and he very quickly devolves into insulting current and future members of council.

How much clout do you think your union has when he does stuff like that?

The answer is none.

My favorite part is where he says his neighbors generally agree with him on local issues. Thats funny because the precinct Montes lives in was Tolbert's second-highest performing precinct by percentage and yielded the most votes for Tolbert of any precinct over all.

Clearly Montes is even out of touch with his own neighbors.

And finally....

Whoever it was that pushed for CDA to get the endorsement from the Times. They should've checked her voting record first.

One name you will see that I didn't list as a loser in this election is CDA herself.

Why? Because she didn't fail because of who she is or her work. She's smart, passionate, and one of the few people in the world that give a shit about their community.

If there is any criticism directed at her its her voting record and the fact that she flat-out chose the wrong team.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Blow Out in the Duece!

Jim Tolbert won the District 2 Special Election with a mandate. It wasn’t even close. He won the overwhelming support of the residents of District 2. 

Well the ones that cared enough to vote anyway.

Grenada was less of a blow-out!

This should send a pretty clear message to the few that think people don’t care about the mess at city hall or the job the city manager is doing. Its pretty clear they do care.

The only thing close about the race is how little of a margin Cemelli De Aztlán had over Dolores Baca. It was shockingly close between the two all night, and Baca spent nothing on her campaign. 

There’s no way to spin it - CDA’s campaign team was a complete and total failure. 

Obviously CDA’s voting record, or lack thereof, was really a big factor as well. 

I’ll do a winners and losers piece later but for tonight, the people of District 2 sent a very loud and clear message by sending Tolbert to city hall with such a huge margin. 

Councilman-Elect Tolbert will be taking office soon and Romero will finally stop getting a paycheck for doing nothing. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Only in Socorro...

So last night at the Socorro City Council Meeting there was supposed to be a presentation of the investigation into how Councilman Cox got roads paved on a street he has property on without disclosing it to council. 

But that didn't happen.

Cox has yet to take a deposition. He indicated that he was instructed by his attorney to not do the deposition.

So when he was asked by council who his attorney was, he refused to say who it was. 

Which sounds suspiciously like he doesn't really have an attorney. 

As if that wasn't silly enough, he then later agrees to do the deposition today. 

So first his lawyer tells him not to do it, the lawyer he won't name, and then he agrees to do the deposition without consulting this magical lawyer?

It's like the revived the political ghost of Jesse Gandara.

Only in Socorro...

Did a Campaign Team Pull a Forma?

Probably one of the worst things a campaign consultant has done in recent memory happened when Forma Group, which had been hired by Peter Svarzbein decided to switch candidates and go work for the opposition in the same election cycle.

Total dick move.

Well it appears that may have happened again, but this time not involving Forma Group. Although in a strange twist of irony, the person who allegedly did it was part of Svarzbein's campaign when it happened to them.

It all started with this screen shot I came across on social media last night.

It obviously caught my attention for a couple of reasons, one because I knew that Daniel Lopez had a falling out with Nevarez and two, because I didn't know Josh Dagda had been hired to do Nevarez's social media and website.

It also caught my eye because of how they both responded to it:

I guess Dagda rethought his comment and he eventually deleted his comment.

Dagda is now working for Nevarez's opponent, Cemelli De Aztlán.

I inboxed Nevarez to ask him about the post and if it was true that Dagda had helped him out. He said yes and I asked if he could prove it.

He said, "its on my 30 day report".

I have to confess...I didn't even bother looking at his report. I wish I had, I would've seen three interesting contributions. One, he received money from John Mimbela, he's the guy who has bank-rolled the Villegas defense case. Two, former County Commissioner and not-so-subtly sexual poet Sergio Lewis also contributed to him. And three, former El Paso County Housing Authority Connie Vazquez. She's a Republican.

But sure enough, there was this expenditure listed, just like he said:

After talking with Nevarez, he indicated that his original campaign team was Daniel Lopez, Josh Dagda, and Ernesto Bustillos. That is really interesting for a lot of reasons. Bustillos, who is in the media in a Juarez station and who's family is apparently involved in Mexican campaigns and advertising, was part of Peter Svarzbein's campaign for D1. In that race, Svarzbein came in first, Lopez came in last.

Dead last.

Like behind Manny Hinojosa last.

He's since basically lost it and aligns himself closely with Martin Paredes. Speaking of which, Paredes is apparently taking "credit" for Nevarez's campaign money drying up but actually the credit belongs to CDA.

Her entrance into the race coincides with the drop in his contributions and also, the break-up of his team. Dagda and Ernesto Bustillos ended up going to the CDA campaign.

Can't blame them, they wanna make a buck and earn a reputation and they felt that CDA had a better shot against Tolbert that Nevarez.

They are right.

But still, you'd think Ernesto Bustillos would be hesitant to pull a dick move like Forma did to them. Especially because when you're a fledgling consultant trying to make a name for yourself, you don't want word getting out that you'll ditch a candidate if there's a better opportunity that presents itself.

For his part, Bustillos denies Nevarez's version of the story completely. Here is what he had to say.

"I sat down for coffee once with David Nevarez on a Saturday morning I believe. I said I was interested based on the information he gave me. I had never heard of him before. After I looked at some background info I found some things I found troubling but most importantly that had not been discussed much less explained in any reasonable way. I decided that this wasn't a candidate I wanted to work with. I asked Josh to tell them I had no interest in working in anyway at any time with them because I didn't think they were serious people. I had confirmation that that happened. This happened in a matter of 2 or 3 days. Nothing was ever put on paper. Money never touched hands between us. I cannot speak for Josh or the IT thing, I was surprised to hear he rendered a service before he knew Cemelli was running. I didn't know that. He is in the report in the way that he is because we are donating different services as itemized in our respective lines, and because we have different business structures. It makes more comparable sense for Intelia USA to quantify the 5 weeks as 125% of an account Intelia USA already has that has similar time demands—at the end of the campaign. Intelia USA charges by retainer. That is not unlike the way Intelia USA figures out rates for other clients. Cemelli is and has been aware since the time she announced , more so even, than I was. She was not surprised, but she was not pleased either when she saw that post."

As you can see, someone isn't telling the truth, but that is for you to decide. You have to very different accounts of what went down. On the one hand I was skeptical that Ernesto would even entertain the idea of working on his campaign because I figured he wouldn't want to work with just anyone considering he's trying to make a name for himself.

On the other hand, Nevarez had proof that at least Dagda worked for him by pointing out the campaign finance report and by sending me this money order receipt just this morning.

So who know what the real story is.

Bottom line, its interesting that at least one fledgling consultant goes from one campaign to another in the same campaign cycle, especially after what Forma pulled in the Svarzbein race.

FYI, I did attempt to reach CDA for comment and get her input but she failed to respond by the time of this post (which is actually over an hour longer than I told her it would be because I wanted to afford her every opportunity).

If Bustillos' characterization is accurate though, CDA is undesirably upset. That was a pretty big screw-up on the part of Dagda not to disclose that he worked for her competition in the same cycle. Even if it were only for $100.

Either way... Zas! Thats gacho!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Socorro's Cox Investigation Complete

The investigation into a street paving scheme involving embattled Councilman Sergio Cox is complete.

It is on the agenda for tonight's meeting at city council chambers on Rio Vista in Socorro. 

And if I'm reading the agenda correctly, it looks like they may be ready to move forward with action against Cox depending on the findings.

As you may recall, questions have arisen regarding why certain streets were paved despite having almost no traffic. Cox has a financial interest in one of the properties located on the street in question.

Several Socorro city residents are even raising questions as to how those roads ended up in the inventory of the City of Socorro in the first place because I'm the not-so-distant past, they belonged to private owners.

Given the fact that Cox tried to resign as part of a deal during the last special meeting it would not surprise me if he resigned, was recalled, or removed based on the findings of the investigation.

Nacho Nails It

Props to Nacho Garcia. 

The vato says more than I can saw in a week's worth of blog posts in a single image.

The Force is strong with him.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Just For Funsies...

I hate it when amateurs try to get ahead by bad mouthing people who actually know what they are doing.

At the White House Correspondents' Dinner over the weekend the President made a joke about some people not polling high enough to merit their own joke.

Well the President is a better person than I. I personally LOVE to confront my haters. Especially because most of the time in person they are too chicken shit to say a word to me.

Like Hector Montes for example. 

But Hector is a post for another day. Along with the campaign he's consulting for in secret.

Where was I? Oh yeah, amateur hour.

So there's this wanna-be operative who's claim to fame is alleging she was a part of Forma group at one point and using that to get work as a block walker.

Well she wasn't.

She's block-walked for a couple campaigns. She's not a strategist. She's not a guru.

She's a canvasser, at best. She's a good name-dropper, I'll give her that.

But you know what she's not good at?

Voting in the primary. Seriously you work for campaigns and get work as some sort of consultant for campaigns and you can't even help your own cause by voting? Jesus Christ. 

Stick to phone banking...

CDA Out-Raises Tolbert & City Clerk's Office & Other Stuff

If I were Cemelli De Aztlán I'd be raising hell about the fact that she actually turned her financial report in on time but the city clerk's office waited until almost the close of business yesterday to post it.

It unfairly gave the impression that she didn't turn it in on time. And that is the problem that seems to be systemic at the city, simple jobs aren't getting done or are failing to get done in a timely manner.

She should've taken a break from the special meeting for the municipal ID's yesterday and gone and inquired about why it was taking so long.

Personally I don't think if I were running her campaign that I'd have her at the meeting all day long, along with several of the campaign team, effectively losing a day of productivity during early voting to be at a meeting that was just posted as a discussion item.

Although now that I think about it, it may have been something they were really rolling hoping they could capitalize on. Her campaign guy kept posting on social media using the word "historic", clearly trying to create narrative that something big was happening.

There wasn't.

It was a discussion item on a Monday meeting. Or as I like to call it, the place were council puts stuff to make it look like they are doing something.

An entire day of productivity in early voting lost for something that didn't generate media coverage for the candidate. Maybe not the best choice.
CDA's Financial Report

Getting to the actual finance report, Cemelli de Aztlán out-raised Jim Tolbert. That is a big deal and should like a fire under Tolbert.

For those of you keeping score at home CDA received the Times endorsement AND out-raised Tolbert. And by a pretty considerable amount too.

So for those of you that aren't taking her seriously, just look at the facts. Those are two big factors.

CDA raised about $5,700 to Tolbert's $3,400. To be accurate, on the first report CDA raised almost nothing and Tolbert had a huge lead in money. In terms of what is left in their accounts, Tolbert has the edge. He has about $5,200 left in his account and CDA has about $1,400 left in her account.

When you read through her report, there are a couple of interesting things to note. The notable contributions came from Enrique Moreno who gave $1,000 (or about 1/6 of her total contributions), $500 from Carmen Rodriguez, $100 from County Attorney Jo Ann Bernal, $100 from Margarita Cabrera, $100 from Jose Limón (spouse of Rep Limón), and $50 from Diana Washington-Valdez.

Lets address the elephant in the room...Moreno's contribution. I've written about this a few times now and I think the Times should address the issue. Moreno is on the endorsement panel that determines in part who the Times endorses for races. I think he's a valuable member of that panel. You won't find many, if any, people brighter and more respected across the board than Enrique Moreno.

And he has a First Amendment right to support the candidates of his choosing.

But he shouldn't be allowed to do both at the same time. If he's being a financial contributor to a campaign it naturally draws scrutiny to an endorsement he participates in. Most especially because ethics is his watchword.

The optics are bad.

The optics are even more terrible when his contribution is about 1/6 of the candidate's entire budget.
Field Analyst

So here is something I found more interesting, an expenditure for Jessica Yañez for being a Field Analyst. I've been around campaigns my entire life and have done a lot of campaign work myself and I've never heard the title Field Analyst.

It got me curious because I know almost all the local field people and hand't heard of her before. Did some digging and found out she worked for Getsemani Yañez and Diana Ramirez. Getse ran for the D2 seat when Romero won. He and his wife Diana run a consulting firm called Quixote and Jessica was the data person for their firm.

Her association with CDA's campaign is separate from Quixote. She has an MBA and is pursuing a PhD in economics. So I'm guessing "field analyst" is either fancy word for "block walker" or she's getting paid to put her data together.

Not entirely sure which.

But...I did find this tidbit interesting.

Since David K called me out for not checking CDA's voting record I am not obsessed with checking everyone's voting record. So I checked her out. Turns out, she voted Republican in the March primary.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Six of Eight D2 Candidates Don't Comply with Campaign Finance Rules

Its somewhat surprising, through it shouldn't be considering this is El Paso, that six of the eight candidates to replace City Rep Larry Romero who had an ethics complain filed against him, are themselves not compliant with campaign finance reporting rules. Or at least it appears so based on this screen shot.

Abraham Monteros, Gordan Thatcher, Angel Del Toro, Rene Abilez, Cemelli de Aztlán, and David Nevarez all failed to file an 8-Day report with the City Clerk's Office.

You can file on-line so the Clerk's Office doesn't need to be open to file the report. Its possible they were filed (they are time/date stamped) and haven't been posted by Richarda Momsen's office.

So bear that in mind.

But at a time when the electorate obviously has trust issues with their elected officials you'd think the candidates would be doing everything they can to comply with transparency rules. Particularly those that deal with campaign finance.

Jim Tolbert and Dolores Baca were the only two of the candidates to file a report. Baca reported no money in and no money out.

Tolbert reporting $3,400 in political contributions. His expenses totaled $5,156.38 with $5,146.19 cash on hand.

Tolbert's notable contributions include $2,000 from Woody Hunt, $250 from Ted Houghton and $200 from Dr. Richard Bonart.

About $1800 of Tolbert's contributions have gone to field operations run by Edgewise Enterprises, LLC. That is Chris Hernandez, the same field guy that was used by Josh Dagda's campaign against City Rep Cortney Niland.

Niland narrowly defeated Dagda in the last round of municipal elections and now Dagda is consulting with Tolbert's main campaign rival Cemelli De Aztlán.