Friday, July 29, 2016

Lesser Not Seeking Reelection; Bring on the Crazies

So Mayor Leeser announced that he's not going to run for reelection and you can expect a big crop of candidates to come out of the woodwork.

I'll go into some of the names that have been popping up but that is a post for another day.

When there is a municipal election El Paso produces several "types" of candidates. The community candidate, the business candidate(s), the religious conservative, and the crazies.

I'm expecting a lot of the crazies and community type candidates to run this time. I hate to be the dream crusher, but most community candidates, and all the crazies should stay home and not bother.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a community Chicano/a type candidate run and win. But the problem is money and field.

You can win an election with a ton of money and no field, like how Niland beat Dagda.

But most community candidates don't have money to run. And it takes a lot to run a campaign because you need materials. As much as a lot of people erroneously believe, you can't Facebook your way to a win.

This is especially true of the crazies. How many times have you seen them run and never break more than a small percentage of the electorate? The answer is always.

Jaime O. Perez, has that guy every done anything significant in a campaign? He doesn't really even shape the debate in a meaningful way. Same thing for the Manny Hinojosas, Ben Mendozas, and Daniel Lopezes of the world. They aren't serious candidates but still run and ultimately accomplish nothing more than making a few fun blog posts. They almost never even offer concrete ideas. They usually just have a big word salad during their speeches and campaign by attending forums.

Since its an open seat, I think we are going to see more of these type of candidates that we have in the past.

And El Paso will not be the better for it. Although I will find it thoroughly entertaining.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

EPSOA Scores Big Win Against Wiles

The El Paso Sheriff's Officers Association won a big fight with Sheriff Richard Wiles in arbitration over an effort by Wiles to change a few uniform positions to civilian jobs.

Last Monday commissioners court partially funded the purchase of tasers and body cameras, with the SO paying a portion of the purchase through savings on the civilianized positions.

There's no indication how that money will be replaced so far but it certainly will have an impact on that purchase. 

Essentially arbitration said that the Sheriff was in violation of the labor agreement between the County and the EPSOA. The Sheriff will not be able to change those position to civilian jobs as a result of the decision. Getting an independent third party to side with them was recognition that the SO was breaking their contract with the EPSOA

Adherence to a labor agreement is not only a legal issue but contracts between labor and management are good for accountability and efficiency. 

This is a big win for the EPCSOA after a string of bad political decisions that has resulted in a pretty big waste of union dues on candidates that have lost winnable races. 

The win is also the first big win for the new leadership team at the EPSOA. 

The question is in an election year, how much damage does this do to Sheriff Wiles? 

Frankly the answer depends almost entirely in their ability to leverage the outcome to voters. The EPSOA have dug a hole for themselves that may be a pretty big uphill battle to effectively leverage the decision against Wiles.

On the one hand, protecting the contract terms against the Sheriff in an election year is a big deal. A Democrat going after something that would violate a union contract defies political logic. With Democrats being so pro-labor it's almost the unforgivable sin. 

Except for one small problem.

Attacking unions is usually a Republican move. Ideologically Republicans are opposed to unions and they have codified their opposition to the existence of unions in many states, including Texas. 

The GOP is mostly famously against unions of public employees, like a Sheriff's office association. It wasn't long ago that they were leading a charge to take away the right to organize in some states. 

Well, in an unbelievably strange decision by the EPSOA, they are actually SUPPORTING a Republican for Sheriff.

Seriously, I'm not making that up.

Supporting a candidate who's party wants to end your existence as an organization makes as much sense as an insect endorsing RAID. 

Or Latinos voting for Trump.

It's just a bad idea that just isn't going to end well.

The other thing that makes leveraging the win over Wiles problematic is because Wiles' effort to make those civilian positions is actually a cost-saving move for tax-payers.

Which is funny because if you look at the Republican challenger Tom Buchino's response, its almost comical how he steps on the EPSOA's message:

If you can't read it Buchino essentially complains about playing dress-up because he doesn't think Wiles wears the uniform enough and calls out Wiles for not saving tax payer dollars, which is exactly what Wiles' move does, although its against the union contract.


So the union can't call it a Republican attack on unions because they are supporting a Republican and they can't spend a lot of time really harping on it because it will raise the point that Wiles' way saves taxpayers money. 

The support of a Republican candidate is not only completely short-sighted and counter-productive, but it might be the most efficient way to blow a ton of union dollars other than piling it up, throwing some lighter fluid on it and tossing a match into the pile.

Seriously, where's the path to victory here?

How long do they think they can realistically hide Buchino's Party affiliation? Raza is gonna turn out big against Trump and the Democratic Party is going to use the tool that the GOP uses in the rest of the state and ensure a big straight-ticket push. 

Do. The. Math.

There aren't enough Republicans in town to be competitive to begin with - even considering how terribly we Latino Democrats under-perform in elections. Add to that the fact that the GOP isn't united under Trump. Add to the fact that Buchino has zero name ID and essentially no campaign money other than what he's gonna get from the EPSOA. 

When you go all in - and then lose a madre, you completely weaken your strength and undermine your power as a union. 

Hell the union doesn't even have a majority of their membership as regular voters! Don't believe me? Look it up guys.

Even if they did, that represents a few hundred votes. For the sake of argument, let's say they exceed every effort they have ever done before and turn out 4xs the number of members and their families. That's still a feeble number of voters. 

Another problem for the EPSOA is the fact that other unions, like teachers and fire fighters, operate in non-partisan elections. Easier and more predictable group of voters to deal with. Plus, and this is key, they have seasoned and experience campaign people help with a strategy and execute a game plan.

And what does the SO have?

Chris Acosta? Talk about being in a bad spot. Her go-to source for money in all the campaigns she loses is against her boss. Talk about awkward. Thats like playing Cards Against Humanity with your in-laws!

The EPSOA writes checks and stages a little Election Day event where a few of them get together and go vote in front of cameras. That's it. That is the extent of what they do.

Even though they have added the wrinkle of adding campaign art to their vehicles and some Facebook posts.

Actually that isn't fair, Buchino has some of the cheesiest YouTube videos I've ever seen. You remember that last one right? The "straight shooter" one where he fired a pistol at some unknown target off camera?

Well, just when you think that cinematic gem couldn't possibly be topped...

I mean you gotta love a commercial for a Republican candidate that ends with a tight shot on a cowboy's ass. Am I right?

They got a big win, but now they can't leverage it because they undercut their credibility by endorsing and supporting a Republican in a year Trump is on the ballot.

Election night is going to be really ugly and they aren't going to be on the winning side. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Copywritten, So Don't, Copy Me

So file this under stuff you didn't know about me or really care about but I really dig the Carpool Karaoke segments that are part of the Late Show with James Corden.

I've never actually seen the show, but I have never missed one of these segments because he posts them on YouTube.

The latest is with First Lady Michelle Obama and note to the rest of the world, our First Lady is cooler than yours.

I found one particular part unintentionally funny. Missy Elliot joins for one part of the video and they do her song, Get Ur Freak On. Hip hop fans will recognize the classic hip hop number and will likely remember the video, although Missy herself has probably dropped 100lbs.

There are plenty of parts to the song, but I thought it was hilarious that FLOTUS is rapping the part that says in part, "copywritten, so don't, copy me..."

If only Melania Trump had seen this video BEFORE her speech. Since she admires FLOTUS so much, she might have avoided some embarrassment.

Any who, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The GOP Circus & Plagiarism

Every good circus has elephants as a main attraction and this year folks in Cleveland can not only celebrate their NBA Finals win, but they can gleefully cheer, "The circus is in town!"

Here's a not so ironic pic of Jr celebrating killing the symbol of his Party while his dad will likely actually kill his party in this election cycle.

I almost don't know where to start but I guess the obvious choice is Natasha, er Melania Trump's speech on the first night of the convention. Up until her speech the most notable thing about the convention was the fact that it was the least-diverse convention the GOP has ever had. That is backed up by stats by the way. The GOP has fewer minorities as delegates than they have had in the most recent conventions.

Not that there were ever a lot. I mean Klan meetings are more diverse than the GOP pool of congressional interns.

So until Melania Trump spoke I was tweeting a bunch of one liners about how many angry white folks I saw in the audience.

Here are a few of my gems:

I haven't seen that many angry white people since Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

I haven't seen that many angry white people since they recalled Blue Bell Ice Cream.

I haven't seen that many angry white people since the Alamo.

I haven't seen that many angry white people since they canceled Seinfeld.

I haven't seen that many angry white people since OJ was acquitted.

and my personal favorite...

I haven't seen that many angry white folks in an arena since Texas Western beat Kentucky in '66.

For those of you that are pissed right now, calm down. Its not a diverse group of people so keep your tanga on.

If you read this article from the Washington Post, it underscores my point. Twelve years ago there were 167 black delegates at the GOP convention.

This year there are 19. No, not 119.

Just 19.


Okay before we go further, lets understand something. Melania Trump plagiarized a portion of her speech from Michelle Obama. No matter what ridiculous spin you hear from the Trump campaign, or in my case from someone who I thought was a smart guy on Facebook, its plagiarism. Plagiarism is taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own.

It has nothing to do with % of work or quoting someone.

People quote other people all the time in speeches. Or they quote books, very frequently the Bible. But guess what, by definition, that isn't plagiarism because its giving someone else the credit for their work.

Frankly, Melania Trump's speech was a bomb save for the portions she jacked from Michelle Obama. Otherwise it was a pretty terrible speech. She missed the mark she was supposed to be aiming at. She was supposed to humanize her husband. But she didn't. She didn't really give any insight into who he was as a husband or a father or any of the other facets of the Don that they were hoping for her to be able to do. Seriously, if you can't tell at least one cutesy story about your husband, even if English is like her 3rd language, you fail.

Trumps kids did a good job of showing that side of him though.

But the bigger problem with Melania's speech being lifted from FLOTUS is the fact that it undercuts two really important things about Trump. First, the thing that appeals to people about Trump is this idea that he's "authentic". That he shirks political correctness and says things the way he really feels. In the parlance of my generation, which is gangsta rap, Melania Trump's "jacking beats" from Michelle Obama undercuts the genuineness of Trump.

The other thing it undercuts is Trumps criticism of Obama. Trump spends all this time telling the American people how bad Obama is and here is his trophy wife jacking rhymes from Michelle Obama.

The Cover

When a negative story comes out, I like to watch the communications staff. I enjoy watching how they try to cover for a situation and breaking down what they put out. Anyone who does communications with Trump needs hazard pay because that shit is a full time job because of the stuff the guy says.

The cover on this has been everything from talking about how beautiful the speech was to invoking My Little Pony and House of Pain.

And you can tell Trump himself helped with the statement because it lmsoynded like his typical word salad.

Actually if you take a deck of cards from the game Cards Against Humanity and shuffled them up, and then randomly drew 10 cards, you could arrange them in an order that sounds like a Trump speech. 

I for one, am surprised they know 90's rap.

The Trumps have done everything except one important thing - take responsibility for it. And that I think more than anything else, is what will stick with Trump.

People forgive stupid shit like this if you admit and move on. But denying culpability for anything has become habitual for the Trump camp. And its a problem for them because they represent the so-called party of personal responsibility.

Yet the Trump campaign has become identified with shirking responsibility for stupid things that are said and done. Trump has refined it to an art form. And because its so nonsensical, he lacks the unity of his own party champions.


Which leads me to the final point. Trump still has work to get his own party to back him. Look the truth is Hillary Clinton is going to have to deal with a revolt from Sanders supporters who will want a roll call vote that they will lose. But that race has always been contested and Sanders just recently wrapped up his campaign. Trump closed the deal a long time ago and STILL can't get heavy-hitters to show up to the convention. None of his opponents with the exception of Christie and Perry have shown up. Most notable conservatives have stayed away from the convention. In the past they at least had big stars who up like Clint Eastwood.

What do you have this election cycle? Chachi, a duck hunter, and soap star? The only previous Republican candidate for president to show up was Bob Dole?

Did the GOP get big-timed by Mr. T, the chamois guy, and the guy who does those tae-bo tapes or what?

Wait, never mind.

That would be far too many people of color for this version of the GOP...No wonder they stuck with Charles in Charge.

What I'm Really Saying About EPPD & Twitter

The problem with communication in any form is that it at least partially relies on another party's ability to comprehend.

Apparently David K at Refuse the Truth has a bad problem with comprehension.

Just kidding, he doesn't. He's a smart guy, he's just deliberately lying to you about me (because about 90% of what he writes these days is about me) and what my point is about the El Paso Police Department and Twitter.

So let me break this issue down to Barney-level in case I wasn't clear (I was) in my last post. My issue with the El Paso Police Department is the fact that the people who are managing the account have apparently been pretty arbitrary in how they manage who does and does not get blocked from their account. Once I saw that there has been a rash of people who have been getting blocked from the Twitter account, for basically no reason I might add, I wanted to know why.

Frankly, we should all want to know why. Especially considering the City of El Paso has a really bad problem with transparency.

And David Karlsruher at Refuse the Truth apparently has a problem with the truth as well. For example, in his latest piece about me he makes this statement:

Abeytia claims he has a right to post questions on the police department's feed - a first amendment right! He does not.  You have no first amendment rights when it comes to Twitter the company who owns the application nor the users who have Twitter accounts.

Uh...No I didn't.

At first I thought David was just stupid and for some reason misunderstood my questions about what policies governed the selective blocking of Twitter followers on the Department's account with an argument about first amendment rights. But then I realized that he knew exactly what my complaint was and is just doing what he usually does...lies.

This isn't about the first amendment. This is about transparency.

Here's the difference. I have a first amendment right to say David Karlsruher is a fucking idiot. I'm not arguing that PD's Twitter manager is somehow impeding my right first amendment rights by blocking me from Twitter. That's ridiculous.

What I am asking questions about is the fact that the PD Twitter page is an extension of a publicly-funded department of the City of El Paso and as such, I wanted to know what their policy was on blocking twitter users was, what is the threshold, who manages the account, and who makes the call of what does and does not get a user blocked.

Abeytia and Paredes both have access to the Twitter feed if they simply logout of their respective accounts and search for the EPPD feed.  Their access to read is not blocked.  Their ability to spam their Twitter feed has been blocked.   If you'll notice, the EPPD feed has no posts from citizens on it.  It's just the EPPD giving information and retweeting other police departments, TxDOT and relevant news sources.  It would seem it's not a place where two way discussion are their intention.  And because they don't want erroneous information on their channel, they don't let people like Abeytia and Paredes spam their feed.  It makes complete sense to anyone with half a brain.  

Here's another example of David K lying. I point it out because if he's going to make his blog about me, he should at least do me a solid and not lie. So this paragraph starts with a nonsensical argument of logging out of Twitter to read the EPPD feed. Well the fact that I, or any of the many other people who have been selectively blocked would have to logout of twitter to see their info is the whole fucking point.

We shouldn't have to just because we where either critical or asked questions about their blocking policy. Which is the whole ever-loving point.

DK then says that EPPD feed has no posts from citizens on it. I'm gonna chalk this one up to DK just being ignorant of how Twitter is used and not say he's lying. Its entirely possible he just doesn't know what he's talking about on this one rather than out-right lying. But here's a screen shot I had to get from someone else in order to prove my point. I blurred out the user's names and pics, but if you aren't blocked from their page, you can find these pretty easily.

Oh look, what is that I see? feeds from citizens on PD's twitter page:

My favorite part is where DK sticks his foot in his mouth and declares that it makes sense to "anyone with half a brain" that the page isn't a place for "two-way discussion" and how they don't let people "spam their feed".

I guess he doesn't have half a brain.

Especially when DK pivots at the end to making some comment about police being killed and we are whining about twitter. As though the two have anything to do with one another and implying that we are okay with violence against police.

So just so that people like David K understand, I don't know anyone that condones violence against police. And David K is a special kind of asshole for implying that I do simply because I had questions about transparency and policies relating to twitter blocking of the public.

The reality is that this isn't an argument about ORR's for tweets from PD. This isn't an argument about violence against police. This isn't an argument about the first amendment.

This is an argument about yet another systemic problem the City of El Paso has with transparency. And frankly, the Mayor letting transparency constantly be a problem from the City is something he can't continue to ignore. It won't get fixed until Mayor Leeser makes it a priority.

The City has been busted - repeatedly I might add - not releasing information to media that they were required to. The City allowed Rep Noe redact information from an open records request BEFORE it got to the City Attorney's Office and released it, which it isn't supposed to do (that's right, I haven't forgotten). Lets not forget Acosta's effort to target certain members of the public from having access to public documents, an authority the city doesn't even possess in the first place.

And now the City allows people to be inexplicably blocked from the same access to information that other twitter users have access to, for seemingly no consistent reason.

Transparency is a problem at the City. And this situation gives the appearance, especially with the examples I posted above, that as long as you post something really nice about PD, they allow it on their feed, but if you asked questions they don't like, not even anything critical - just basic questions, they can, will, and have blocked users.

That is the argument, not all the bullshit David K is saying. The question I have is why is he going out of his way to so severely distort what is a pretty clear argument about openness?

Look, I'm not saying that PD should allow a free-for-all on their twitter page. People that troll on a public page can be super annoying. But you simply shouldn't be blocked, and it gives a terrible appearance to the public, when asking simple questions.

Personal accounts is a whole other argument. If someone is trolling me, fuck'em. If I choose to block them, as Bobby Brown says, its my prerogative.

But I'm not a publicly funded government entity. PD is.

And hell, I've spent a lot of time trolling Donald Trump. Asking PD basic questions isn't trolling.

This is trolling:

Donald Trump isn't a government entity either. He can block me if he chooses. Hell, I'd consider it a feather in my cap if he did.

But if its a government entity, there should be an identifiable standard and procedure followed to do so, above the terms of service issued by twitter because the government is also accountable to the people.

Friday, July 15, 2016

El Paso PD's Problem with Censorship

Frankly, I'm tired of talking about Chief Allen. You either think what he did was right or you think what he said was wrong.

But what I'm writing about is now separate from the Chief Allen controversy and is something someone in a leadership should absolutely do something about. 

Its the level of censorship being applied by a publicly funded entity - namely the El Paso Police Department. 

If you recall the other day I wrote about how PD's twitter page and social media was quick to put down dissent. I was blocked merely for raising opposition to comments made by the Chief and you can go check out the screen shots that show a sample of what I was tweeting on the previous post. 

I wasn't obnoxious, disrespectful, or belligerent. I even posted screen shots of other people that were blocked from the department's twitter page as well for seemingly no reason other than being critical of the Chief.

I obviously had questions about the department blocking members of the public. Its not that I don't think they lack the right to do so, I just wanted to know under what circumstances, who made the call, what policy governed it (if anyone).

The first time I was blocked it was using my @TheLionStarBlog twitter handle. But I have another, @ThatVatoJaime that I use for personal stuff. Mostly about boxing and other sports. 

So I used my personal account to send this tweet in which I asked the basic questions that I wanted to know. As you can see I did so this morning. 

Here's what their page looked like shortly after I sent the tweet with questions:

I figured they were busy and it would take a while to get back to me and the answers to my questions so I figured I would check back in with them again a little later in the day. Again, the tweet I sent to PD was just about policy. 

I didn't mention Allen, I wasn't critical of anyone, I didn't mention Black Lives Matter, and I was belligerent. 

And surprise, surprise... guess what happened?

Now both of my accounts have been blocked. 

I don't know the legal particulars on whether or not its even legal to block someone from the public from a government entities twitter account without good reason, but I'm pretty damn sure asking a simple question isn't a good reason.

What is going on with PD and what is with the heavy-handedness with the community for asking very basic questions?

If you go back to the pre-blocked twitter page of the EPPD you'll see I drew attention to the fact that it says "Keeping you updated on major events..."

What are the ramifications in terms of public safety of blocking people from access to that information that everyone else who didn't get on their black list has?

This city has gotten way to comfortable with secrecy and hiding things from the public. 

And guess what?

Even after I've made this particularly egregious account public, no one within the city's leadership is going to do a damn thing about it.


I feel like the kid that has piojos at school that gives it to everyone else. Apparently someone was blog, for asking if they would be blocked! Seriously, you can't make this shit up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Council White Washes Chief's Divisive Comments; PD Blocks Criticism

I've never been more disappointed at a local government entity that I am today. The El Paso city council played to a few loud people that were in the room and completely missed a golden opportunity to hold the Chief of Police Greg Allen accountable for irresponsible comments.

Before we go forward it is important to understand a fundamental truth. The criticism surrounding Chief Allen's remarks are not at all about free speech. That is a complete, pardon the pun, cop out. The Chief is absolutely allowed to exercise his free speech. No one is, or has said, he's not allowed to have an opinion.

What people are critical of is what he said. No one said he didn't have the right to say what he said, they said it was irresponsible, divisive, and inflammatory.

The same First Amendment that protects Chief Allen's right to say divisive rhetoric, is the same First Amendment right afforded to those who protest. If you honor the lives of the fallen police officers, honor the right they were protecting.

And because people disagreed with what Allen said wasn't an affront to Allen's ability to say it. So stop that ridiculous narrative.

Leadership isn't easy and far too many elected officials have gotten comfortable with serving in office and always looking for the path of least criticism. And that is something that plagues our city council. They so often lick their thumb and put it in the air in order to ascertain the political winds and hide that behind "reflecting" as nearly every member of council has said.

Well guess what, sometimes leadership is hard. Sometimes its unpopular. Sometimes you have to be willing to say that thing that isn't popular but is right.

And today our council pandered to the audience that showed up to the city council meeting. This will not be popular, but the reality is that the people that spoke today were mostly white and mostly conservatives. Hell I thought I was watching a meeting of the El Paso Republican Party. Go back and watch the video if you don't believe me.

Every member of council that spoke took the easy way out and repeated all their glowing remarks about the Chief as though what he said didn't happen and wasn't bad for this community. And too many of the city reps and individuals in attendance think that being critical of one cop is being critical of all cops. Perhaps they should've listened to the words of President Obama when he spoke today at the memorial for the Dallas Police Officers.
"With an open heart, police departments will acknowledge that just like the rest of us, they're not perfect. That insisting we do better to root out racial bias is not an attack on cops, but an effort to live up to our highest ideals." - President Obama
Again, most of the people that were at the meeting were white and conservative so that might inflame them even more. But there

It takes courage to stand up and speak truth to power. The easy thing is to look the other way and make apologies for institutional failures. But some of the most important leaders of the last century showed that strength to speak up for what was right. People like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Dolores Huerta, and Cesar Chavez almost always had to speak up against institutions.

That courage is lost in many of today's leaders. Again, President Obama said it best today:
"When all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights act, We cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid. We can't simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in hurts. Surely we can see that. All of us." - President Obama
Council members couldn't wait to turn the page and push everything under the rug because its uncomfortable. And in doing so, they failed us as a community. What they fail to understand is the fact that those that are critical of police are critical because they are almost never held accountable when they are wrong.

No one was even remotely critical of what Chief Allen said today. Not one member of council. Council failing to even speak critically of Allen's obviously wrong statements, and then going so far as too make excuses for them, reinforces the idea that cops are never held accountable. Forget taking any formal action to show that Allen's inflammatory remarks aren't a reflection of the values of this community, this council didn't even have the balls to be critical of his statement in their remarks.

Which brings another part of the President's speech into even sharper focus.
"If we can not talk honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those that look different than us, or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle. In the end its not about finding policies that work, its about forging consensus and fighting cynicism and finding the will to make change." - President Obama
And frankly, I felt like President Obama more directly addressed the fundamental failings of Allen's remarks in a more meaningful way than any single member of council has. I felt like he was speaking directly to our LT Governor and Chief of Police and other voices that have made irresponsible and divisive remarks.
"With an open heart, we can abandon the over-heated rhetoric and over simplification that reduces whole categories of our fellow Americans not just to opponents, but to enemies." - President Obama
What council failed to understand today wasn't that people critical of Allen's rhetoric are upset just because they disagreed with it, but they wanted accountability because it was divisive, inflammatory, and potentially put his officers and this community in more danger. That, more than anything, is what many were expecting council to do.

Instead they took the easy way out. To make matters worse, some actually turned against the leaders that had the political courage to stand up, despite it not being a popular move, and speak to their city council about the gravity of Allen's statements. The easy thing for those that penned the letter was to turn a blind eye and let the city (not) handle the situation. It would be easy to hide behind their office and say, well its not my problem. I don't represent the city. Let them handle it.

But knowing this is a law enforcement town, and knowing it is not the politically easy thing to do to be critical of law enforcement, they showed the political courage to face criticism in order to voice their concerns publicly about the rhetoric of Chief Allen.

Its consistent with this quote from President Obama's speech today.

"I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice, more peace." - President Obama 
What is even more concerning about the Allen is the posture he has with the media and the public, and they way the department is attempting to stifle criticism.

Which is even more ironic when you consider the fact that everyone is tripping over themselves to say that the Chief has the right to express his opinion. He does, but apparently the Department doesn't want people to express theirs if its critical of the chief.

Here's what I mean.

Take a look at this screen shot from the El Paso Police Department's page. I'm quite certain I'll be blocked from it shortly after I post this piece, but there is something interesting you should take note of.

There are now over 700 comments. And wouldn't ya know it, almost none of them are critical of the Chief. I've seen a couple and gone back a couple hours later to check up on them and they are gone.

So much for free speech right?

Here's a look at a couple of tweets that I mentioned the El Paso PD twitter handle.

I'm critical to be sure, but not abrasive or harassing anyone. Wouldn't ya know it, a few minutes later, this happened.

So much for free speech right?

I wasn't alone. Several other people I know where also blocked by PD.

So much for free speech right?

But this next example is probably one of the more egregious examples of the heavy handedness of the EPPD twitter manager. I don't know this person but checked to make sure I had permission to post the tweet that got him blocked by EPPD.

So much for free speech right?

And yet today the Municipal Police Officer's Association President said that PD was open to talking to everyone.

Then problem with all of this is that people are blocked from the page because of their political beliefs rather than bad conduct. What rational reason do they have from blocking dissenting opinion? That they are being bullied by the public?

More importantly, what about the inherent safety issue. More and more people get their news from Twitter. The police department Twitter manager arbitrarily blocks people from potentially life-saving information because they don't like people being critical of the Chief? Is there seriously a policy about this somewhere?

Look, I get it. Sometimes you have to block people because they are just out to harass someone and they can take people away from more important tasks. Hell I used to block Ali Razavi's fake name twitter account because the mostly used it to harass me. I took him out of the penalty box a while back but I certainly see the need to block idiots. But an institution charged with public safety should have a better threshold.

And finally, I really try hard not to feed the trolls but I have to address David K and others like him. David K has a strange obsession with me that is mostly funny. But he and his ilk have been trapped in their echo chamber so long that they think every single move is some politically orchestrated portion of a larger plan. Which is silly because as a friend of mine once said, "there is room for coincidence in the universe".

But it underscores a fundamental truth about David K. He doesn't have any idea what social justice values are has no idea what if feels like to be driven by a sense of justice. When you grow up wealthy and with every advantage in life, of course you have that mentality. But not everything is a political operation.

Sometimes people stand up for what is right. And that God we have people that are principled in leadership positions in this town. I just wish there were more than a couple of them on city council.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

EPPD Chief Allen Makes Divisive, Inflammatory, & Inaccurate Remark Ahead of Peaceful Event

El Paso Police Department Chief Greg Allen made a remark that was inflammatory, divisive, and inaccurate on Friday and potentially made a bad situation worse.

Before I go forward, I realize what I am going to write isn't popular and will likely make me more of a target than I already am.

But frankly, I don't care. Someone has to speak truth to power.

So before we go further, I'm not anti-cop. I'm anti- bad cop.

In fact, we should all be anti bad cop. The loudest voices against bad cops should be the over whelming majority of good cops.

On Friday civic leaders in El Paso held a press conference to discuss the events of the last week, both the unnecessary deaths of two black Americans that were killed at the hands of police and the deaths of police that were killed at the hands of a mad man.

El Paso Police Department Chief Greg Allen made a remark that was not only completely inconsistent with the facts, but it underscores the fact that Chief at least appears to have a confrontational and hostile attitude toward a group of people who will be holding a vigil on Sunday. 

"Black Lives Matter, as far as I'm concerned, is a radical hate group and for that purpose alone I think the leadership of this country needs to look into the this group. The consequences we saw in Dallas are due to their efforts.'' - El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen

You can see a story done by Courtney Schoenemann of KFOX (Channel 14) about the remark:

Frankly in this day and age of access to information, it is unconscionable that Chief Allen is that misinformed about the Black Lives Matter Movement. His comments are potentially dangerous not only to the community, but to his officers. 

BLM actually issued a statement on the shootings in Dallas that Chief Allen should read.

"Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday's attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman,... To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us." -BLM Website

Chief Allen's comments were the exact wrong comments to make, at the exact wrong time to make them, and came from the city's highest law enforcement professional. How can anyone at the vigil (its not even being called a protest) feel safe under Allen's watch when he makes comments that are that hostile toward BLM?

In fact, hostile is the word I'd use to characterize Allen's demeanor throughout the news story. If someone being pulled over by Allen had that same hostile demeanor, I wonder would happen?

Allen's remarks and demeanor reflect negatively upon this community. Meanwhile the Chief of Police in Dallas who is also black had an entirely different and measured tone about the tragic events that unfolded in his city. And he made it clear that the gunman was unaffiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Before the shooting happened there were police walking along side the protestors and DPD was even taking and sharing video of the event.

It was a lone gunman who was deranged and evil. Period.

It wasn't a coordinated attack from a hate group. And anyone who demands accountability for bad officers isn't responsible for the acts of a mad man. It is our civic duty to engage our government and demand accountability. Yes Chief Allen, lest you forget, you work for us.

What I don't understand is why he even went to a press conference if he wasn't going to speak in the first place. Allen had an opportunity to say SOMETHING to the community that his department serves and protects and rather than address the community, he remained silent. That isn't leadership.

And when he does say something, he does the opposite of leadership and makes inflammatory comments that undermine the public's trust.

Thankfully Sheriff Wiles didn't echo his sentiments and in fact disagreed with Allen's characterization. Wiles gave the right message and delivered it in the right tone. It was the kind of thing the community needed to hear.

But where are our other elected officials? Particularly those from the City? The Chief answers tot he City Manager and not all of council, but individually they are all free to express their opinion. I certainly hope that Allen's remarks aren't reflective of what the City of El Paso feels toward peaceful protestors.

Until they say otherwise, Allen's remarks are the only ones from a city official. And that is sad because his remarks are not indicative of this community.

It was a bad person who killed those police officers who stepped up to protect even those who were critical of police. And it was bad cops that killed two black men this week.

We as a community should demand justice and accountability for all the lives lost.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Good Ol' Fashioned Valley Payback...

For those of you not in the know, State Rep Mary Gonzalez wanted a former staffer (a staffer at the time) to run for County Commissioner against Commissioner Vince Perez a couple of years ago, according to a source in her office.

Eventually, according to the source, Gonzalez pulled the rug out from under the would-be candidate and so it never happened.

So it raises a few eyebrows down here in the valley at the revelation that one of Rep Gonzalez's staffers is sending signals of his intent to run for office against another political rival of Gonzalez. Josh Carter is a Gonzalez staffer and in apparently the worst-kept secret since Commissioner Escobar wanted to be Judge Escobar, is sending signs that he is going to run for the El Paso Community College Board of Trustees.

I've written it before but when someone is going to run for office, or is running for office, they will suddenly start going to meetings they didn't go to before and start posting staged photos that are meant to look like they are not staged on social media. They also start cleaning up their social media and become more mindful of what they are posting. Always trying to look like a leader.

So what does that have to do with good ol' fashioned valley payback?

He would be running against Gracie Quintanilla.

Yes, she's Chente's wife.

For those of you not keeping score at home, Chente ran for his old seat against Mary Gonzalez in the primary.

Chente originally helped Gonzalez in her original bid to replace Chente when he retired from the state legislature to run for County Commissioner against Vince Perez about 5 years ago.

In the last cycle when Chente ran for his old seat, he and Forma Group turned up the heat a bit against Gonzalez through a series of negative mail and television ads.

Not sure if she intends to allow Mr. Carter to continue to work for her office once the session starts and his campaign would be in full swing, but if she did it would not be out of the ordinary. Several elected officials have previously allowed their staff to run for office while they maintain their employment.

Gotta love politics in the valley...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mayor Leeser is Right

Mayor Oscar Leeser is right, the budget can be done without raising taxes.

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez is tasked with presenting a budget to council and what he presented called for a tax hike. Mayor Leeser said that he wouldn't raise taxes.

The Mayor should stick to his guns. I think the mayor is hip to the little movida of why taxes were raised last year and didn't need to be and is going to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

But in all of this budget talk, I want to the employees to take note. Remember last year when all of a sudden there was this extra money and instead of giving you raises, they tossed you a bonus. Remember how all the of the city reps and the mayor waxed poetic about recognizing your hard work and excellence?

First thing on the chopping block?

Your raise.

Maybe if your slimy little enanito union rep with stank breath of yours hadn't burned so many bridges with members of council, at your expense I might add, you might have someone who could advocate on your behalf and remind the city reps of the commitment they made to you.

But since he's spent the better part of his time as your union rep trashing members of council on social media and on the microphone during public comment because he wants attention, you don't have the stroke with council that you should have because of him.

Members of council should honor their commitments to the workers of the city of El Paso. Its a slap in the face to the people who work for the city that the first thing you all want to put on the chopping block is their raise.

Tommy Gonzalez has an obligation to the employees he's always throwing under the bus to develop a budget that doesn't raise taxes and honors council's commitment to the employees. If there is anyone that Tommy should be going to bat for in this budget, its the employees.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Major Vehicle Problem for Valley Residents - #ThanksMaryGonzalez

The Mexican government recently designated the Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry as the location where they will accept import of used and junk cars for sale in Mexico. They have also reduced the number of vehicles they will accept daily at the POE.

Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry (TPOE) is also the largest POE in an unincorporated area along the US-Mexico Border. 

All other POE’s are either in an incorporated town, or are much smaller than the TPOE.

As a result of the policy change by the Mexican government, about 2,500 vehicles are parked along the road in the area waiting to enter Mexico. The line has extended to over 2 miles of vehicles on both sides of the road and has encroached on residential areas. 

Think I'm exaggerating? Well, lets go to the video!

I shot this yesterday morning and it literally took me almost 6 minutes to drive through all the traffic

And the County of El Paso is virtually powerless to help the residents. Just how powerless are they? Well the County can not only not do anything about the traffic, but if someone were to go out there and decide they want to start trap shooting out there, there is nothing anyone can do to stop them because the County doesn’t have the power to restrict the use of firearms in unincorporated areas. 

That sounds safe, doesn’t it?

They have State Representative Mary Gonzalez to thank for that because she quietly killed a bill in the last session that would have given more authority to the county along the corridor from the TPOE to I-10. 

The bill was on the County of El Paso legislative priorities and Gonzalez was pressured by wealthy families in the area to kill the bill because it was in the financial best interest of those families to ensure the County maintains little to no authority in the area.

Had the bill passed, the County would have had the ability to develop policy remedies for the situation, but since Gonzalez killed the bill, the County can’t help the residents and farmers in the area. There's no way for Gonzalez to spin this situation otherwise either. That bill would've given the County the ability to help protect people and property. 

As you can see in the video that I shot earlier this morning, it took me almost 6 minutes to drive through the area just to document the sheer volume of vehicles in the area. The vehicle is virtually impassable for large farm equipment that frequent the area making their way from field to field. 

Since the Mexican government is only allowing 40-80 vehicles through per day, the bottle neck just keeps getting worse and worse. People stay with the vehicles so that they can be moved as the Mexican authorities allow vehicles to cross, but its a process that now appears to take days to complete. As a result, there are a lot of people just hanging out near their vehicles. Trash is already accumulating and it is a matter of time before trash and debris end up in the adjacent fields, causing a potential hazard to people and equipment. 

Having that many vehicles just parked along the border is also a major security risk and a safety hazard for local residents who are essentially being held hostage by traffic in the area. This was also an issue previously in Santa Teresa, but that is in New Mexico and close to two municipalities. TPOE is further out from the metro area. Sources in the media have indicated that there have been fist-fights in the Santa Teresa area because of people trying to cut in line. Lets hope that, or worse, doesn’t happen at the TPOE.

The POE and traffic problem is actually in the part of Fabens known locally as La Isla. There have been efforts by the local residents in Fabens at beautifying and improving the unincorporated community and their efforts will likely be undercut by this situation in La Isla. 

This was a situation that was 100% avoidable but thanks to Rep Mary Gonzalez caving to special interest, the problem is going to get worse before it gets better. 

And what is even more annoying is that I have documented previously how whenever there seems to be a problem in her district State Rep Mary Gonzalez is either no where to be found, or out partying somewhere. 

So where was Mary Gonzalez when her district was facing a problem (because she quietly killed the bill that could've helped prevent the situation)?

At the L & J. Seriously someone really needs to pull her aside and explain to her the optics of her being out partying while her district is facing major problems. 

These are the real world implications of policy choices that are made because of political pressure at the expense of the people. Politics should never come before people. 


On the bright side her office has adopted a portion of the highway in Horizon City for periodic clean-up. Maybe they could do the people of Fabens and Tornillo a solid and adopt roads in La Isla. 

Rep Gonzalez’s office can be reached at (915)790-2299 or (512)463-0613.