Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Socorro Movida

If you think the City Manager position is controversial in El Paso you obviously don't know much about Socorro.

In Socorro the City Manager position has always been controversial and under previous regimes it has been used to dole out favors and do some pretty crappy things. Essentially the biggest problem with the city manager position in Socorro in the past has been the fact that there is no continuity with the position. When one new regime gets elected in Socorro the first thing they wanna do is replace the city manager.

The clean regime that swept out most of G-Unit a few years ago didn't do that. They kept the city manager for the sake of continuity.

But for several years, an ousted city manager has been wanting to get back into the job. Her name is Lorenza Fraire. Fraire is quite the colorful character. If you ask her, she's the campaign genius who put Vince Perez into his seat on Commissioner's Court. The reality is that she never had a single thing to do with Perez's campaign and no one involved in the campaign has ever seen her around the campaign at all.

Any who, Fraire has been relentless in her quest to get her job back. She has been trying for years to get back the job by cajoling or conniving with various members of council and other colorful community members. But this is the first year she has been pretty obvious about her intentions. She is running a slate of candidates for office. She's probably hoping that if she has enough of them elected then she would have the votes to get her back into the city manager's office.

So she has a slate of candidates including Maria Reyes, Jesus Daniel Martinez, and Rodolfo Ortiz, of candidates that she's running. She either isn't very slick, or she doesn't care who knows who here candidates are, but the giveaway is in the filing forms.

As you can see in this example, she's the notary that endorses the form.

Fraire is someone to watch because she was controversial during her time on council and she fired a lot of employees. Apparently it was so bad at one point that it affected the city's insurance deductible from $5,000 to $50,000.

That is a huge impact to tax payers of the county's second-largest municipality and nothing to overlook.

Little Jesse Gandara Trying to Influence Socorro Special Election

There's a lot you need to understand about Jesse Gandara to fully grasp what a massive douchebag he is.

The first thing you need to understand is his ego. I know a lot of arrogant people in the world. I've seen some really world class egos, but nothing compares to the ego on Little Jessie Gandara. Let me give you an example of just how bad his ego can be.

I went to his trial for bribery. He was convicted of attempting to bribe the Licon family in San Elizario. During his trial, this massive tool saw me sitting in the audience and actually had the audacity to send me a text and ask me to testify on his behalf during the sentencing phase.

Seriously. I have the screenshots of the conversation because I knew they'd come in handy one day. What is hilarious is that when I got the text I asked who it was and at the time he told me "V for now.". That eventually because V for Vendetta and ultimately Vendetta915.

You see Jesse can't shut up about Socorro politics even though his name is now a political punchline. He just can't understand that he's done. Even though his case still stands in an appellate court, he still thinks he has an ounce of dignity.

He doesn't.

But now he's become the "source" for Martin Paredes. The irony is almost comical that a guy who sees corruption in everything like a crazy person who sees Jesus in a potato chip, is now being fed information to allege corruption by someone who was actually convicted of corruption.

So Paredes has begun to echo the narrative created by Jesse Gandara that Maria Reyes was involved in some sort of wrong-doing. The reality is that under the Jessie regime, that council did everything they could possibly do to minimize her ability to represent her constituency. Remember that dumb shit El Paso city council was thinking about doing to prevent people from putting things on the agenda by requiring a certain number of people to go along with it? Socorro actually did that.

And let me remind you, Jesse's big problem with Maria Reyes is that she wouldn't go along with his little schemes like making driveways for regular voters only, having the taxpayers of Socorro pay for Jessie Gandara's little Starbucks fetish, or having the tax payers foot the bill for his and his cronies' legal expenses.

So what Jesse and his cronies decided to do was try to use the justice system against Reyes and make up a bunch of bullshit. Gandara has beef with the sheriff for obvious reasons so he created the conspiracy theory that the SO refused to investigate Reyes. Once he didn't get his way, they created an ordinance that alleged Reyes did something wrong.

Seriously, they made an ordinance. That is the level of abuse of authority that was routine under the Gandara regime.

But since we are talking about Socorro politics, in the next piece I'll expose a little movida about who is trying to run a slate of candidates and why...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Remember That Thing I Said About Temperament? Cortney Niland Is An Example

City Rep Cortney Niland is a textbook example of why temperament is important for an elected official. Essentially she told the people of El Paso and her colleagues that she doesn't care about the rules.

I don't know if its a sense of entitlement because of her wealth or because of her position, but her actions at the last city council meeting warrant action against her from her colleagues.

First, let me state very clearly that I think elected officials should have access to their devices during meetings. We live in an information age and our elected officials owe it to us to give us that latest and most accurate information available. That shouldn't even be a question.

If you got a question about whether or not a rep is communicating inappropriately during a meeting, then do an open records request. The ones with any amount of trustworthiness well gladly hand over their records. Hell, they may even take the extra step of retrieving anything that may have been deleted in the interest of transparency.

The nefarious ones will read and delete. And you'll know who they are when they turn over records that are severely redacted or say that don't have any records.

Also, she's a parent. If you aren't a parent then you basically have no understanding of how important it is to have a phone near you so that you can communicate with your child to coordinate rides, give them a quick pep talk before a math test, or be available in the case of an emergency.

You know, like all of you who use your cell phone during the course of your work day to communicate with your kids.

And besides, its not staff that is paid by taxpayer dollars responsibility to coordinate pick up and drop off of your kids or any other responsibility of a parent.

But where I disagree with Niland is in her apparent disregard for the democratic process. In the democratic process you have votes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But the system is predicated on the fact that the will of the majority of the body is followed. When you suddenly decide, because you don't like the scoreboard at the end of the game, that you don't want to abide by those rules, the whole system breaks down.

In fact, why even serve as a member of city council if you aren't willing to abide by the outcomes of the votes? It shows a blatant disregard and disrespect for the democratic process which we cherish as a country.

Its undignified, unbecoming of an elected official, and decidedly un-American.

City Rep Cortney Niland's inability to control her temper and her demeanor on council has now become something that her colleagues and this community can not afford to overlook any further.

There are plenty of avenues in place when you don't like where a vote is going. There are plenty of maneuvers should could have, and should have, attempted prior to losing the vote. She chose not to. But you should never put an item on the agenda you aren't prepared to lose.

When you lose the vote you act like a dignified adult and go on doing the work the people of your district elected you to do, but you don't get to act like a spoiled entitled little brat who is upset that she didn't get her way. Thats not our process.

There should be no desire to make excuses for her behavior either. She knows exactly what she's doing. That is why she kept asking the city attorney what the consequences would be if she chose to ignore the rule. Once she found out that there is essentially nothing that can be done about her flagrantly ignoring a rule set forth by the body, she acted with impunity. So it wasn't a question of whether or not ignoring the rule was the right thing to do, it was whether or not she would get any punishment out of breaking the rule.

And that tells you a lot about Niland's character not only as an elected official, but as a person. There was a time that the whole "Honey Badger" thing as was considered cool because well, Honey Badger don't give a fuck.

That's all well and good when you're talking about advocating for a bold agenda. But when it comes down to the posture of Honey Badger Don't Give a Fuck when it comes to the rules of council and the outcome of votes, that is an entirely different story.

Her actions - and its been a series of them since she's been on council - demonstrate a lack of emotional stability. That is a terrible trait in any decision-maker, but downright dangerous in someone who is supposed to make decisions for the masses.

Elected leadership cannot pick and choose what rules they want to follow. The sad truth is she's likely been circumventing this rule for awhile now anyway. If you pay close attention to any of the video from council meetings you'll note that she has an apple watch. She can send and receive messages on that device.

So making a big deal about this agenda item and then publicly declaring that she doesn't care about the outcome of the vote and is going to do it anyway is a blatant disregard for the democratic process. You would think someone who only won by a razor thin margin would be a little concerned about giving someone a reason to recall her, but basically giving a big "fuck you" to council and the public is certainly something that might encourage someone to start a recall against her.

Many would say that her emotional instability has been a problem for a long time.

My response would be, "if the shoe fits".

Its time for Honey Badger to start giving a fuck.

Now that I think about it, where the hell is Barbara Carrasco on this one? She apparently loves to initiate ethics complaints having to do with cell phone communication. Lets see if she does so on this one...

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Ay Te Wacho" Lou...

There's a reason you never mix sports and politics - because just because you like your player or coach doesn't mean you like their politics.

I'm an Irish fan myself, but how dumb could the organizers of El Paso's Academy for Upper-Crusters be for inviting someone who's made controversial comments about immigrants to a Catholic school on the border?

What's worse, how in the hell does the former Promotions Director for the flagship Spanish language television station KINT Canal 26, Abel Rodriguez, think it was a good idea?

Rodriguez has made a rather substantial contribution to this community's Latino community, even I acknowledge it and I don't much care for the vato or his stooge with the halitosis problem. That is why it blows my mind that he'd be involved in inviting an anti-immigrant Trump supporting speaker to Cathedral's big event.

You'd figure if ANYONE were going to stand up and say it wasn't a good idea you'd figure it would be Abel.

Which brings me to rumored mayoral candidate David Saucedo. A young Cathedral grad who's never run for office before and decides to take a shot at being mayor...where have I seen this movie before? At least with Hector H. Lopez the guy is at least a Democrat.

Saucedo not only sounded pissed about losing Holtz as a speaker in the El Paso Times but he sounded he was trying to have it both ways. On the one hand he sounded like he was trying to distance Cathedral from the coach by saying that they started talking with him before he made the statements at the RNC.

But in the same article he makes the very good point that our community takes a back seat to the conversation of immigration reform and actually implies that Holtz was going to be brought here to debate the immigration issue.

Lets be real, thats not why he was coming. He was coming so that rich people would pay top-dollar to listen to Coach talk about the good ol' days of Irish football and Touchdown Jesus.

The problem for Saucedo is he hurts his own mayoral bid when he's involved in something as controversial as this issue... and he's a supporter of Rick Santorum.

I bullshit you not.

Also, Google the term "Santorum".

You probably shouldn't do it on a work computer though. Fair warning.

Morgan Candidate to Replace Robinson

Businessman and Army veteran Sam Morgan is a candidate to replace City Rep Carl Robinson on city council in the next municipal election. 

Robinson is termed out and cannot run for the office again. 

Morgan could be facing former Mayor and NE City Rep John Cook, who has mentioned a couple of times that he was considering a run for his old seat. 

I saw this event advertised on social media this week so its pretty clear that Morgan has formalized his long-rumored candidacy for the seat. 

Traditionally the Labor Day breakfast normal is the starting pistol for races in the primary cycle but it looks like it has become the springboard for candidates in the next municipal election. Don't be surprised if you start hearing about more and more candidates throwing their hats in the ring. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Its a lot of fucking money. That sticker price is huge and its going to be really hard to get voters to look past it.

I think it'll lose.

Now take what I say with a grain of salt because I don't live in EPISD. But I know a thing or two about passing a bond considering I recently helped a bond pass in YISD after the previous attempt had failed.

Part of the reason the previous effort failed was because of the sticker price. Another, and more important reason, was the fact that it wasn't messaged properly and there was no real field effort to speak of.

Once we targeted the right voters with the right message and implemented a field op, the budget passed with flying colors. And it really helped that we weren't asking for the same amount the voters had just said no to the previous election cycle.

But EPISD has bigger issues and I'll go ahead and say what no one else has probably said to the Super and members of the Board of guys have trust issues with the community!

How are you gonna ask the community to pass a budget that large (it would be the largest in the history of El Paso County by a significant amount) if you still have active cases involved with the cheating scandal? You guys haven't built enough trust with the community to go back to them with a price tag that large.

And then there's the thing about hiring an out-of-town firm to do the campaign work to pass it. My buddy David K wrote a piece about this issue and if you haven't read it, click here to read it.

His friend Morris Pittle did a logo for another project and Morris thinks he was ripped off because the logos both use rays and say something about rising.

Well if that is the case, then Morris Pittle ripped off the state flag of Arizona because it also uses rays.

Shit, if you really want to take this to its illogical conclusion you could say that they both owe the Cohen brothers because they made a movie called Raising Arizona.

Either way, the idea that Pittle stole from the Cohen brothers or that Pittle was ripped off are both absurd.

Like the idea of asking voters to approve that damn much money.

Whether or not its true, the impression a lot of people have with EPISD, aside from not being able to be trust, is that they are top-heavy at the administrative level. Any bond that has more money for admin in the form of facilities is going to anger voters.

But lets deal with realities...most people will not vote in that election. So EPISD and their consultants, if they are smart, will target older voters who can have their taxes frozen if they have a homestead exemption, and tell them that they can have their cake and eat it too. They can vote for the bond and NOT pay higher taxes.

Then you get all the parents in the district to vote for it.

Don't bother with 18 year olds. They aren't going to come out in big numbers to vote for the bond. They don't vote for anything in big numbers because they don't vote.

Only dumbasses like Ali Razavi actually buy the bullshit that 18 year old students are targeted to vote in bond elections.

You want to get them to vote? Make every polling place a Pokemon gym or a place where there are rare Pokemon and make voting the requirement to get the ultra rare I-Don't-Give-Fuck-a-saurus.

Otherwise, its really hard to see how a historically high bond gets passed without a field program.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Its always been an important issue when considering casting a vote, but given the Trump candidacy its been underlined in a big fat Shapie pen that would make even the most ardent chola proud.

When you're an elected official your temperament is important because it shows how you deal with stress and conflict.

Now if you're a work horse and get things done, you can afford to be a little rough around the edges. People will allow for temperament issues with some people if they get the job done. But, its always dancing with the devil when you have a hard time with temperament. It will eventually make you look unstable, contrarian, and difficult to deal with.

That isn't a quality you want in a leader.

Its why Donald Trump is going to get his ass kicked by Hilary Clinton who is a candidate that 60% of the American people say they don't trust. And that tells you a lot about how people look at temperament.

People that have a difficult time with temperament are seen by the electorate as unstable, petty, ego-driven, and in short, fucking crazy.

Those aren't the people you want to see in charge of shit like our nuclear arsenal, bond projects, or tax dollars.

Temperament is going to be an on-going topic for me over the next few weeks because of elections coming up. But also, because of our local leaders and their temperament.

We've had a lot of leaders/characters that have had issues with their temperament in town much like Donald Trump - Dee Margo, Norma Chavez, Marisa Marquez, Eliot Shapleigh, Anthony Cobos, Tania Chozet, Chief Allen, Cortney Niland, we certainly aren't immune from the problems related to temperament by any stretch.

In most cases its not that serious. Its just a case of people that are assholes to the public, media, or staff. But sometimes their temperament creates a public spectacle that hurts El Paso. Sometimes it gets in the way of them doing their job.

Sometimes, it should get in the way of someone voting for them. We'll talk more about that in the coming days when I demonstrate some problems with stability. Stay tuned...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Socorro Mayor, Rep At-large File for Reelection

Mayor Jesus Ruiz and At Large Rep Rene Rodriguez have filed to run for reelection. 

Both were elected in a special election to replaced the previously disgraced regime that was booted out of office by a judge.

Under their administration Socorro has seen unprecedented growth and millions of dollars in infrastructure projects that benefit the entire Socorro community. 

Under the Gandara regime project work was largely district based and when to supporters and cronies. 

Ruiz and Rodriguez spearheaded an initiative to allow the community of San Elizario to incorporate into its own city. The Gandara regime attempted to annex San Elizario and that ultimately led to the bribery attempt made by Jesse Gandara.

Gandara was convicted and sentenced to 10 years probation. He has appealed the ruling of that conviction with the 8th Court of Appeals who are expected to rule on the conviction soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The County Raise

Since there is a lot of misinformation going around I thought I'd finally chime in and explain a few things about the raise the El Paso County Commissioners Court gave itself recently.

First let me be clear about one thing. And I want to say it while I still have your attention because sooner or later one of you fools is going to screw this up, so here goes:

I thought the raise was too much at one time and should have been phased in. 

I underlined it and italicized it because you people have a bad habit of changing what I say to fit your own narrative sometimes.

Now let me hit you with some facts that some of you clearly don't understand.

1. There is no way the raise could have been voted on by the public. The ONLY way the Texas constitution allows a raise for commissioners, or any of the other El Paso County elected officials, is by vote of Commissioners Court. So for all of you saying it should have been taken to the voters, it couldn't have by law. You might want to stop demanding something that the law doesn't allow for. Especially if you are a City Rep like Cortney Niland. You just make yourself look ignorant of process when you call out another entity for something that you yourself actually want. In short, Commissioners Court doesn't have the AUTHORITY to take it to the voters.

2. El Paso was, and still is, the least paid commissioners court of the urban counties. Yes, that is true even after the raise.

3. There was an actual calculation that went into establishing the salary. They took the median salary of the urban counties and subtracted 30% to mirror El Paso's economy, meaning EP commissioner's make only 70% of the median salary of urban county commissioners courts. And that is AFTER the raise. By contrast, the city's process for establishing how much of a raise to give Tommy Gonzalez, which was more than double, close to triple the amount the commissioners got, was basically Rep Acosta calling some other cities and asking what they paid and then Rep Niland created a list of reasons why he deserved it. So at the very least, there was a method to how they established the number at the county.

4. Low salaries mean El Paso elected officials don't look like El Pasoans. This is an important point and it explains why our electeds don't reflect our population. When such an important job pays basically nothing, then the only people who CAN AFFORD to run are the people that don't need the money. That is not El Paso. So think about city council. You have mostly really old or really wealthy people who are making the decisions for everyone else because they are rich or have a pension. Of the members of council that aren't wealthy and look somewhat closer to your average El Pasoan, none of them even have children.

At commissioner's court you have a wealthy guy, a guy with a pension (those were the two no votes because they don't need the money) and you have two lower middle class guys and one upper middle class woman. And a majority of the court has minor children. Much more reflective of El Paso than the city which is essentially made up of upper-cruster elites and retired old people. For some on council like Cortney Niland, a raise just means a new Coach bag or Prada shoes, but for others it would make it a position worth seeking. Lower salary means less talented people vying for office. Look no further than El Paso City Council to illustrate my point.

5. The notion that there was no notice to the public is absolute bullshit. And frankly a terrible story on KFOX is partially to blame for putting forward this narrative. Commissioners Court publishes their agenda online. That device you're reading this on is the same device you can access the agenda. They are required by law to give the public 72 hours notice of any official action they take from closing a road to approving a raise. Also, the commissioners court has been holding hearings on the budget for WEEKS.

But I get it, maybe you don't have time to take off work and go sit in one of those meetings. Well, the County has a solution for that. They stream the meetings online you can watch from everywhere, including on the toilet where you are probably reading this post. But I get it, maybe because of work and other obligations you can't devote your entire day to watching the live stream because your boss won't let you or because you gotta get shit done. Fear not, the County has a solution for that too. The meetings are archived and you can go back and watch any or all of the meetings at your convenience. Now, if you choose to binge-watch Game of Thrones or Ballers instead of keeping up with your local government, well the County can't help you there. If the public didn't know its because most of the time they are blissfully ignorant and don't take it upon themselves to actively monitor their government.

Oh yeah, before I forget, the KFOX thing. There was a KFOX story done on this and one of the elements of the story centered around the ridiculous notion that the public didn't have adequate knowledge of the proposed raised. Despite all the methods of notifying the public I outlined earlier, the reporter from KFOX chose, of all things, County Judge Escobar and Commissioner Perez's twitter feeds as his measuring stick for public notice. He made the very dramatic point that neither of them had tweeted about the agenda item! Cue the Law & Order sound effect. The problem is, they never tweet about agenda items before a vote. Its not used as a notification system. They reporter just completely made that shit up out of the clear blue sky. Frankly, I think Escobar and Perez should grow a pair and call that guy out for it, but thats just me.

Bottom line is that with all the methods of notification that are utilized by the County, and the media attention that happened before the vote (that was actually on MONDAY, not last week, if someone didn't know about the proposed raises, its because they failed as a citizen.

6. Commissioners, after the raise, now make an amount similar to what the Fleet Manager and the IT Help Desk Manager make for the County. The County has done a great job of taking care of their employees which is why county jobs are so much more sought out than their city counterparts. Think about it, the County Clerk, District Clerk, County Manager, and almost every department head, who's budge the Court is responsible for, make more money than the commissioners. Significantly more. Even after the raise. Seriously - CONSTABLES have more more money than Commissioners. And there are just CONSTABLES!

7. Every level of legislative government has the power to either give themselves a raise or put it on a ballot similar to what commissioners court did, and what Congress does ALL THE TIME.

8. In the private sector, businesses pay more for better talent. Its part of business. You want the best talent available? Offer a competitive wage and give the talented people a reason to compete for the job.

More on the raises later...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fun Family Fact

We all have that relative that we hate talking politics with, am I right?

I was listening to NPR this morning and heard a familiar name in a story about Trump's Wall. The reporter interviewed the Chair of the Hudspeth County Republican Party, Maria Guadalupe Dempsey.

The name might ring a bell to you as well. 8 years ago she ran as a Democrat for sheriff along with enough other candidates to field a little league baseball team. 

Dempsey was speaking about how she's pro-Trump and anti- immigrant in the story and underlining why she felt it was important to have a wall along the border. 

This isn't just interesting because she flipped parties or because she's from El Paso. It's also interesting because of who her daughter is...

El Paso County Democratic Chair Iliana Holguin.

Holguin is an ardent Hillary supporter and known and very well respected for her work in immigration law with the Diocese of El Paso and now in private practice. 

So you have a mother and daughter in neighboring counties that are both chairs of a political party - one Democratic and one Republican. 

In case you're wondering - I'm the relative that my family hates talking politics with. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

PD Twitter Feed is Open Again

I heard from a couple of city hall people that Tommy Gonzalez was pretty pissed at the Chief of Police for the whole Twitter-blocking caper.

Someone asked me earlier today if I was still blocked by PD and so I checked and it turns out, I'm no longer blocked. It'll be interesting to see how long that lasts. I bet there's an even chance I get blocked again today.

But the greater question for me is whether there is now a specific policy in place that makes sense and is a guide for PD Twitter account managers for future use.

Its a good thing that they ultimately started to unblock people. So if you are one of the many people that were blocked, you should check to see if you still are blocked.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Margo's Mayoral Miscue

El Paso has a history of electing old white guys. That isn't anything new for the Sun City.

Dee Margo's non-announcement announcement was typical Dee Margo. I want to announce, but not really officially announce. Essentially he wants to make sure that other people that the money guys might back won't get in the race.

Margo's a different animal and it doesn't surprise me in the least that there will be a desire to overstate his candidacy. So let me tell you some real problems for Margo that people are trying to gloss over.

First, lets talk about math. There aren't a lot of Republicans in El Paso. Sure, the municipal electorate is a bit more conservative in general than other elections, but it doesn't even begin to close the gap for Margo in a very partisan town like El Paso.

Wait, I know what you're thinking. This is a municipal election and party affiliation means nothing.

Hahaha silly goose. Its an entirely different animal when you're an old white guy who is KNOWN as being a Republican. He's been a Republican state representative for the westside and has a voting record. Do you guys not see how badly the GOP brand is going to be damaged by Trump's presidential bid? Are you guys seriously that out of touch?

So before you all get all excited over-stating Margo's chances, here are some important things to keep in mind.

#1- Margo has already lost on a race more comparable to the mayors race and he lost decisively. And that was BEFORE he had a voting record.

#2 - When Margo did win it was under the most narrow of circumstances in a gubernatorial year in a district carved out for him to win.

#3 - The westside votes at a higher proportion than the rest of town, but you'd have to be ignorant to believe that the westside alone carries any citywide race. Especially when you consider that...

#4 - Ted Houghton is also an old white guy. He would also do well on the westside. But for the sake of argument, lets say that Margo's name ID gives him the edge on the westside and he takes it 60%-40%. Thats only 60% of the vote on the mighty westside? That severely limits his chances because lets be do EITHER of them relate to people in the near east, far east, central, or the valley? I don't think either of them do that very well.

And don't underestimate the value of appealing to those parts of town just because you think they don't matter in election math. They do. Especially because the valley and central vote so solidly Democrat. You think they won't remember Margo? Shapleigh is also an old white guy. But he is a guy that can relate better because he speaks Spanish fluently. Houghton and Margo sound like bad Tommy Lee Jones impersonators.

And the two will duke it out over who the other rich white guys end up funding. That opens the door for a Latino candidate. But it has to be one that is universally liked considering we tend to be very tribal in the Latino community and it has to be someone who can likely self-fund a race or has a good household name.

Which leads me to the big rumor we have all been hearing but no one has really taken very seriously lately... Estela Casas.

Someone like her would be ideal because like Mayor Leeser, she's a household name and doesn't need to introduce herself to voters. She's relatable, Latina, bilingual, smart, poised, etc...

She'd win hands down. What's Forma gonna do, negative campaign Estela Freaking Casas?

No way.

Margo's big problem is what a lot of people in the GOP whisper but won't say aloud...he's not well liked. Its the Theresa Caballero rule of politics, before they vote for you, they must first like you. He's going to suffer the same fate as Steve Ortega. A big name everyone knows that the electorate doesn't particularly like (although I personally like Steve O).

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bad Bid & Haggerty Haggles

If you missed the Commissioners Court meeting on Monday there was a dust-up which essentially was the Public Works Director's screw-up that led to a vote that Commissioner Haggerty never should have taken.

Before we go further you should understand that most people don't fully grasp that words like "corruption" and "nepotism" have to meet specific circumstances. But all too often the public throws them around incorrectly. That'll make more sense in a minute, walk with me for a second.

Here's the short of it, staff recommend approval of a bid that never should've been recommended because the Public Works Director Pat Adauto missed a major flaw in the process - the cost of transporting materials.

Public Works has some of the best employees I've never seen and worked with. Like any organization you have some that aren't stellar, but the vast majority are good employees. Somewhere along the line someone completely overlooked the cost of transporting materials into a bid and staff made a recommendation on incomplete information.

What followed was a big cluster eff of a presentation with county staff and department heads not know answers and contradicting one another. 

It was pretty embarrassing.

That mistake falls on the department head, Pat Adauto, who is supposed to review that stuff before it goes to commissioner's court.

Jobe was essentially pissed because they didn't get the bid and went to the meeting and raised hell about it. 

Jobe was right.

And since he was right, the court voted to go against the recommendation of staff, which is pretty rare in a bid because of all the structural solutions they have built into the process to avoid previous funny business.

The problem is that Jobe has contributed to every member of the court. Obviously they aren't required by law to recuse themselves just because of the contributions alone.

But members of the court can CHOOSE to recuse themselves if they feel there is an APPEARANCE of a conflict.

County Commissioner Andrew Haggerty not only has received contributions from Jobe, but his uncle is Jobe's lobbyist.

He should have abstained from voting. It's the small avoidable things like voting on an item like this that slowly chips away at public confidence. Especially because he didn't have to vote on it.

It's a little quirk of government most people don't catch, but the city and county vote differently on items. The city uses an electronic method and they all vote at once. The county does so by roll call vote and for whatever reason the order isn't 1,2,3,4 and then the County Judge. It's predicts 3,1,2,4 and then the Judge. Either way, Haggerty is always the last Commissioner to vote and already knows the outcome of a vote. 

The vote to go against staff recommendation was 4-1, with Judge Escobar sticking by staff's recommendation. No clue why, but she did. 

Anywho, the point is to rebid the contract, Haggerty didn't have to vote. He knew Jobe was a contributor, he knew his uncle was Jobe's lobbyist and he knew they had the votes to rebid. 

But he CHOSE to vote anyway.

Not illegal, but it does cause a reasonable person to question the need to vote on the issue.