Monday, October 31, 2016

Staffing Moves

There have been several staffing moves of interest lately so I thought I'd bring people up to speed of the staffing changes that I know of.




The first one is Audra Tellez. She is no longer with State Rep Mary Gonzalez's office. She got bent out of shape over a piece I wrote about the fact that she was asking for block walkers for a Republican candidate. If she thought that posting something like that wasn't going to put her ex-boss in a tight spot then she's pretty politically naive. No one twisted her arm to post it but she had the nerve to get upset about it. I'm not sure how she figured that people not knowing she wasn't with Gonzalez's office anymore but still posting about a Republican candidate wasn't going to get noticed by Mary fans was gonna happen, but several Wiles supporters from the valley weren't happy about it and thats how I found out.

SIDEBAR: This really goes for anyone that takes issue with anything I write. Next time you take issue with something I write, I'm the person you need to talk to, not anyone else. No one is responsible for what I write but me. (915) 694-5714 or thelionstarblog@gmail.com if you have an issue. 

I stand by what I write and have no problem talking anything I write over with anyone who has an issue with it. I don't use a fake name or anything and I make my contact information public.




The next one is LarryJohn Porras. He went from State Rep Cesar Blanco's office to State Rep Mary Gonzalez's office. No word if there were any draft picks involved in the trade or any salary cap issues, but LarryJohn is a good guy and smart. He's totally worth a couple first-round draft picks if it was part of the trade deal. 

--------------------------------------------



Moving on to the City of El Paso - City Rep Jim Tolbert is losing one of his staffers, Chris Hernandez. He is going to be leaving Tolbert's office to run David Saucedo's campaign for mayor. Hernandez ran Tolbert's campaign for City Council and managed to win that seat without a run-off despite having a crowded field of candidates.




He will join Ernesto Bustillos who is doing some work with Saucedo's campaign from what sources have indicated. Bustillos worked with one of the candidates that was challenging Tolbert for his council seat in the last municipal election. 

Chris Hernandez and I may be the last two people in El Paso that want to see Tony Romo in the huddle for the Dallas Cowboys. But only one of us is a Cowboy fan...





City Rep Peter Svarzbein is losing a key staffer as well. Alex Duran, who also ran his campaign for office leaving to pursue another career opportunity. He's been offered a dream job. Can't fault a guy for leaving politics to go sell beer for a major company. Duran will be a hard guy to replace for Svarzbein because he was a good staffer. Smart, low-key, and politically savvy. Ernesto Bustillos also worked on the Svarzbein campaign. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Anti-Bond Ad Draws Criticism

A few folks I know that are Jewish called me about an ad they saw yesterday on the bond opposition page. They know very well that I am opposed to the EPISD Bond but they wanted me to see the image. I hadn't seen it until it was sent to me but they feel that the image is anti-semitic - playing on a well known stereotype about Jews and money.


As you can see the image is stacks of money with EPISD Board President Dori Fenenbock's face on them and a play on words calling them "Fenenbucks".

Its not the first time the page has posted an image of Fenenbock on money. Here is one from a couple weeks ago:


I have no idea if this was done intentionally with the thought of being anti-semitic. I don't think the average El Pasoan knows Dori Fenenbock is of Jewish heritage and I don't think a lot of us in El Paso are well-versed on recognizing a Jewish last name.

But I will also be the first to admit that if someone had done something that was a play on a stereotype of my culture, I'd be the first one to lose my mind over it.

Intentional or otherwise, this image comes off as anti-Semitic and the Jud Burgess should apologize and remove the image. The people of El Paso should be voting on the merits of the bond, to which he and I are both opposed, not distracted by something that even if unintentional, has no place in local politics. I'm against the bond and I know a lot of people that are. This doesn't reflect our opposition to the bond and isn't something many want to be associated with.

We are better than that.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Buchino Shows He's Not Qualified

The boys from the Sheriff's Officer's Association love to tag me on Facebook with updates from the Buchino campaign.

But I happened to see this sponsored ad last night and it crystalizes how incredibly unqualified Buchino really is for the office.

"If our taxes keep going up, then there are no savings!"

That would be a great line if it were true!

But it's not.

That is the Trump-style communication playbook of saying something so ridiculously stupid and simple and hoping people will buy it. Mr. Buchino demonstrates very clearly in this post that he doesn't understand the mechanics of the county budget, much less that of the Sheriff's Office.

First lets talk about cost-avoidance. Mr. Buchino fancies himself a businessman and should understand that cost-avoidance is a savings. Not sure if he actually gets that, but just about any businessman on the planet knows this.

But cost-avoidance aside, Buchino doesn't understand that the county budget is more than just the sheriff's office. Wiles has made cuts that have made tax dollars go further. That is saving money. As I have said before, I have issues with federal prisoners and I have been critical of Wiles for that policy because I think it would save even more money for tax payers, but I also acknowledge that he has saved the county money and allowed his budget to go further.

Now put all that aside.

Buchino's ad counts on the audience to be ignorant. Maybe Buchino doesn't actually know this, but his basic premise for his sponsored ad is actually...in the words of Trump...

WRONG!

The county has adopted the same tax rate for the last three years. So taxes - at least at the level of government that the sheriff operates at - have NOT gone up.

In fact, since some property values have gone down and the tax rate has remained flat, some homeowners have seen a REDUCTION in taxes.





Having a fundamental lack of understanding of something as important to the department as the budget should be a disqualifier. It shows he hasn't done his research.

So he's either lying on purpose to deceive voters or he's ignorant to the facts of the budget at the county over the last three years.

Speaking of Buchino - I found it ironic that all this talk about Wiles having an event at the home of someone who has a felony from more than 20 years ago came up because of a dust-up in Tornillo.

Where was the dust-up being the gentleman in question and the members of the union?

At a homecoming parade they weren't supposed to be in in the first place.

Gotta love the boldness of the hypocrisy.

--------------------------------------------------
Mary, Mary, Why Ya Bugging'?

That is an old school hip hop reference that probably only a couple of you will get but its funny to me.

Rep Mary Gonzalez posted this endorsement for Sheriff Wiles last night on her FB account:



This was likely a response to a posting by her now-former staffer who left employment with Gonzalez's office earlier this week. Her staffer had left employment from Gonzalez's office the day before this post soliciting people to be paid to block-walk for Buchino.



Speaking of staffing moves, I am going to do a post tomorrow to bring you up to speed on some staffing changes of a few different local elected officials because there have been some interesting changes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ah, Soco Loco During Campaign Season

Leave it to Socorro to be the epicenter of crazy during campaign season.

Not that that is anything new.

Apparently Lorenza Fraire, the former city manager is running a slate of candidates so that she can get her old job back as city manager in Socorro.

Leave it to Lorenza to single-handedly get all the campaign workers kicked out of Las Ventanas. And it's for the usual campaign stuff that happens every election. People are pushy with voters, they electioneeer beyond the area they are supposed to and stuff like that.

So apparently Fraire's behavior was so egregious that everyone was kicked out. That location is private property so they can give people the boot any time they want to.

But seriously, how annoying do you have to be to get booted in Socorro?

Well the cops were called on Day 1 of early voting.

And that ladies and gentlemen is why it's called Soco-loco.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Guess Who Voted in Socorro...

I knew this was gonna happen and I got wind of it yesterday but I had to wait until the county released voter data today to confirm it.

Little Jessie Gandara voted in Socorro. They have a mayor's race, councilman at-large race, and a city council race going on in the county's second-largest municipality.

Gandara has a felony conviction and as far as I know isn't even eligible to vote anymore because of the felony.

That apparently didn't stop him.

There is also the sheriff's race to consider. Gandara HATES Sheriff Wiles.

Any bets on who Gandara supported for sheriff?



Final Thoughts on the EPISD Bond

The biggest argument for the bond by supporters is actually one of the problems with the bond. The argument is that its behemoth size (2/3 of a ba-ba-ba-billion dollars) is that there is tremendous need in the district in terms of infrastructure improvements.

The problem is this bond doesn't distribute the funds equally. An editorial cartoon broke it down nicely by showing that a huge chunk of the money is divided into two schools, one on the westside (shocker right?) and Burgess. The remaining amount of money is split among nearly 80 schools.

As I've mentioned, the district is contracting.

Next door in YISD, a bond was passed in which the lion's share of the bond money goest to Eastwood High School. In fact the bond had to be revamped to account for the extra students in Eastwood High School.

Where are the students coming from? You guessed it, EPISD.

Burgess is actually closer to Eastwood High School than it is to Jefferson High School which is the next closest EPISD school. I know, I didn't realize Burgess was kind out there on its own either until a friend and Burgess alum pointed it out.

Burgess as you probably know, is in a pretty affluent area of the eastside. EPISD knows that students there have the means to attend another high school and YISD loves to poach kids from EPISD. Its all a numbers game with attendance and funding.

So yes there is need district-wide in school improvements but funny how you don't see the big investment in places like Irvin, Austin, or Andress like you do at the school that borders YISD huh?

And that is what frustrates people about the bond...

--------------------------------------
Show Me the Money

Sure are a lot of rich fat cats dumping big loads of cash into the bond race isn't there?

--------------------------------------
Speaking of Money

I don't think the opposition has realized that at some point most of them are going to have to file campaign finance reports because they are spending money against the bond as well. Certainly not nearly as much as the pro-bond folks, but certainly enough that you can easily see expenditures above the reporting threshold that would trigger the filing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm for their opposition to the bond and I think some of their sponsored ads are pretty exceptional, but they are indicative of the fact that they has been money and resources invested in that cause that need to be reported as well.

I'm looking at you Facebook James No Bond guy...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Downtown Arena Part 3

The railyard is a bad location for the stadium because it screws the valley.

The stadium doesn't have to be downtown. The ordinance language says it does, but not the ballot language. An ordinance can be changed, therefore council could decide that downtown isn't the best place for it.

Frankly, it is the best place for it.

Now back to the railyard.

Union Pacific is willing to sell the railyard spot to the city but there is some major horse trading involved. In traditional form, it's a deal that would screw the valley. And that's not hyperbole, it would be a major screw job to the valley.

Thankfully the two valley reps drew a line in the said and protected their constituents.

At stake is a master plan that Union Pacific has for closure of 31 crossings. That is their ultimate goal in order to maximize the use of their fancy new Santa Teresa railyard facility. UP is planning to double, perhaps triple the train traffic in and out of the hub. UP is sort of treated like a political subdivision in that they have right-of-way and eminent domain powers as well. I know, that seems weird but it's left over from the days when rail was king.

There was some dealing done for right-of-way and other stuff between the City and UP for the ballpark. UP's trains have to slow up when they approach a crossing. They are also responsible for the maintenance of the crossings. As you might guess, overhead eats into profit. Slowing down impacts their efficiency. Overhead impacts their profitability. So they have a really big stick to negotiate with over that parcel of land.

If you take a look at where the tracks are located, where would the lion's share of the crossings that UP wants closed?

The Valley.

Closures would mean that the trains don't have to slow down as much and they don't have the maintenance costs, but the valley gets screwed in the process. Closures of railroad crossings mean that the valley would literally be cut off from the rest of town in certain areas.

It's not just added commute time, more gas, and more time to get around, but it is also a major problem for first responders. The police station in the valley is north of the tracks. There is one hospital south of the freeway and none south of the tracks.

UP told multiple officials at the city that crossings would be on the table for a stadium land sale bid.

The railyard location would negatively impact thousands of El Pasoans. Interestingly one of the places that is most coveted by UP for closure is the crossing at Zaragoza. I can't begin to tell you what a major problem that would be to life and business in that area.

So when you take a look at the bigger picture, the reason for the unanimous vote for the current location comes into focus and makes complete sense.

Council collectively made the right choice for the city, and it's been a while since I said that and meant it.

Sheriff Candidate Buchino Didn't Comply with Texas Education Code

Republican Sheriff Candidate Tom Buchino participated in the Ysleta High School Homecoming Parade. Buchino is in the cowboy hat and you can clearly see his campaign signs and Ysleta High School in the background.

According to an internal document in the Ysleta ISD, the district's general council "reviewed Texas statute and determined that the candidate's participation in the parade was inappropriate and did not comply with Texas Education Code..."

This however is not the first time Mr. Buchino may have violated the Texas Education Code that forbids Unlawful Use of Public Funds for Political Advertising (Texas Education Code 255.003). Earlier in the year Buchino participated in the Del Valley High School Homecoming Parade.

Violators of this portion of the code are officers of political subdivisions or employees thereof that allow the Unlawful Use of Public Funds for Political Advertising and are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. It is unclear if the participants (Buchino) are also guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

Homecoming parades are school activities even if they are not conducted in their entirety on school grounds.

The internal document not only acknowledges that the district was aware of the participation before the start of the parade but failed to pull the candidate from the parade, but it also acknowledges that this occurred previously at Del Valle High School.

Other points of note from the document include:

- the district conducting an inquiry into the process utilized to establish participation in the parade
- initiation of an investigation into whether staff ignored a previous memorandum on this matter
- looking into whether the Buchino campaign submitted the proper documentation to participate
- the sending of a letter to the Buchino campaign notifying them that it is inappropriate to use school district resources, including events to promote his candidacy.


The next document shows the Superintendent actually sent a reminder to employees BEFORE the second violation very clearly reminding employees what they can and cannot do as it relates to campaign activity.


EPISD is being very careful with political activities right now because of the bond election.

It appears from social media that campaigning at local high schools is a particularly favorite practice of the Buchino campaign. As you can see from these screen shots from his own campaign Facebook page, Buchino has not only participated in other homecoming activities but has used Canutillo, Franklin, and Coronado High School for the purposes of taking photos to promote his candidacy.

So it is possible that EPISD and CISD may also consider taking action in the wake of the Ysleta Homecoming Parade incident.












Thursday, October 20, 2016

Downtown Arena Part 2

Hold your horses people, wait til all the information comes out before you start lighting your torches and finding your pitchforks.

I still have questions about the ballot language and the ordinance language but that is sort of irrelevant at this point because the vote on Tuesday was a first step, not a last step.

Now the city can start negotiating with the property owners for the parcels of land that they are wanting for the arena.

Personally I think they are doing a terrible job of getting the facts out to the public and media, but the reality is this is really the first step and not the last. I think the city needs to clearly articulate what their plans are for each parcel of land and explain how many property owners, commercial and residential, we are actually talking about here.

Eminent domain isn't at play yet. They are attempting to buy the property first. So there is a good chance that the homeowners especially, are going to make a bit of a profit. Maybe a handsome one.

Eminent domain doesn't happen until much later in the process and only after a land owner has declined the offers. Its very litigious to actually engage in eminent domain. I don't know if the city is really looking forward to that big hassle.

At that point, the property owner is given fair market value for their property.

But that is a long way away and frankly not even likely.

-------------------------------------------
The Rail Yard

There is a reason I think the rail yard would be a terrible location for the arena.

In my next post I'll explain why I think its a terrible idea and why thousands of El Pasoans would be screwed in the process.

------------------------------------------
History

Lets keep some things in perspective here. Its been known that there was going to be an arena in the downtown area since its passed several years ago. That isn't a new thing.

Historical designations should've been made then, but the history folks keep getting caught with their pants down. And that surprises me considering those history folks seem to focus on the downtown area and ignore the other parts of town.

Remember when a Trost building was torn down in Fabens a while back? Where were the history people then? Because it wasn't a building in downtown, they didn't even know it was a Trost building or move to do anything about it until after the property was sold to someone else and torn down.

Ooops.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Downtown Arena Part 1

I'm gonna make this quick because the downtown arena is obviously the thing every one is talking about lately.

We have known there was going to be an arena downtown for years, since we first approved it.

So issue number 1 to clear up is that council didn't just suddenly come up with this, we as voters approved this several years ago with the QOL bond.

Issue number 2 to clear up is that it has to be downtown. It is part of the ordinance language.



But....

Its NOT part of the ballot language as a friend of mine points out.

Some will argue that ballot language is general because there simply isn't the space to put the entire ordinance language on a ballot so they just include the big stuff like amounts and what the projects are - you'll notice the Westside pools aren't mentioned by site in the ballot language either.


So whether it indeed needs to be downtown is now in question. However I don't think that is the real issue at this point.

Here is where the city gets itself in trouble with the people - they didn't disclose to the public the exact location of the arena until Thursday and then voted for it on Tuesday.

The real issue for me is that the city apparently has learned nothing from past controversies and in their haste to get things done that they almost always screw up.

Its that rushed stuff that gives the appears to the people that this was a done deal, they have no say, now swallow it and like it.

Whether the ballot language does or does not say it needs to be downtown doesn't matter as much as the fact that it doesn't say the community gets to decide exactly where to put it.

Just because that isn't in the ballot language doesn't mean that the community can't have some say it where it goes. Good government would dictate that you give the community ample time to weigh-in on the location of the site and two business days just isn't sufficient by any measure.

This is a self-inflicted wound on the part of the city that was completely avoidable. Unless someone can explain why it was necessary to reveal the location on a Thursday and vote on a Tuesday, it just seems like the city unnecessarily rushed the vote on this one.

That is what gets on people's nerves. That is the kind of thing that makes them not trust their local government.

I want a new arena. I knew what I was voting for and knew it was going to be somewhere downtown. Since downtown is only so big, I'm wasn't ignorant to the fact that something was going to have to be moved, bull dozed, or eminent domained for it.

This kind of move, especially one that could potentially displace the people that it is easiest to victimize (poor brown people who can't afford a lawyer), is what undermines the faith of even people like me who support a strong and vibrant downtown.

Frankly the timing of this issue couldn't be worse for EPISD because it wouldn't surprise me one bit if people took their distrust out on the bond because they will be leery about another high dollar public investment that always seems to be problematic.

The reality is we voted for it and it needs to be downtown somewhere. The longer we wait on this project, the more it is going to cost us.

So we need to pick our poison at this point.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Buchino Dwarfs Wiles in Cash; Unions in Big

Republican candidate for sheriff Tom Buchino had a significant advantage in fundraising over incumbent Democratic candidate Sheriff Richard Wiles.

Buchino raised more in one report that Wiles has raised in the entire campaign so far. In his last campaign finance report Buchino raised $40,583 and his total contributions for this election so far are at $58,571.

The El Paso Sheriff's Officer Association and Municipal Police Officer's Association with are both mart of CLEAT contributed $14,500 on this report. When you add that to the $10,500 they have contributed on a previous report, that brings their total investment in the Buchino campaign to $25,000.

That is more than they have ever contributed to a single candidate in an election cycle.

For comparison, the unions gave more to the Republican candidate than the Republican Party of Texas, West El Paso Republican Women, Midland County Republican Women, and the Republican Party Chairman...combined.

In the 30 Day report Wiles raised only $12,740. The total amount of contributions he's raised for this cycle so far is $37,765.33; totals for both candidates are really small considering its a countywide race.



Most of the noteworthy contributions are on Buchino's campaign report.

The Republican Party of Texas actually kicked in a decent amount of money. They almost never kick in a large amount of money into local Republican campaigns so its noteworthy that they did in this election cycle.

Republican women auxiliary contributions aren't a new thing, but it was interesting to see Midland County's organization kick in some money to the Buchino campaign. That demonstrates a certain level of confidence from the GOP in Bucino's chances, however unfounded it may be.

Almost as interesting, but much more inside baseball, was another contribution that I saw on the report from Michael Surratt. He comes from a farming family down in the valley. On the Make Fabens Better Facebook group he had been acting as though he was an objective arbiter for Fabens to get a town hall meeting of the two candidates. Turns out he had given the largest contribution to the Buchino campaign from an individual donor even before they were calling for a debate (check the date).

Ruh-roh, busted!





He's also the guy that says the crime in Fabens is comparable to that of Chicago. Even though that event was likely an ambush, I still think Wiles owes it to voters to have a debate with Buchino.

Since no one in the media is asking, a debate would be an excellent time to bring up Buchino's stance on immigration enforcement. For all the videos he's released, there is no indication on how he stands on that issue other than to tout the family's endorsement of the late Leo Samaniego.

He's even including Samaniego's image on his campaign material now despite the fact that he passed away several years ago.

A couple of other interesting contributions on the Buchino report were from Jim Fashing (used to work at the county) and Yvonne Rosales' (recent District Attorney candidate) law firm - the contribution is in the name of the law firm but not her individually - and several members of the sheriff's officer's union. I didn't add their contributions to the total of the union donations.

Wiles' campaign report showed contributions from the usual political contributors like Enrique Moreno, Ralph Adame, Dusty Henson, Queta Fierro, etc.

Notable contributions included a contribution from Bobby Bowling IV and the El Paso Fire Fighter's Association.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

EPCSOA Campaign Stunt

Sometimes I watch a story on TV and my eyes just roll in my head, but a recent story about Sheriff Wiles left me scratching my head.

Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) has sent a letter to commissioner's court to ask them to investigate Sheriff Richard Wiles.

Frankly it sounds more like the union wants the sheriff to do something that is impractical, inappropriate and probably illegal. I'll get to that later. Lets start with some context.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Officer's Association is all-in for Republican candidate for sheriff Tom Buchino. To date they have donated more than $10,000 to Buchino's campaign, which is the majority of the political contributions he has received. Even more if you count the individual members of the union that have also contributed to his campaign.




And that figure is just as of July. When the 30 day report comes out, the EPCSOA will likely make up an even larger portion of his campaign contributions.

Thats important context because now CLEAT is now trying to get El Paso County to participate in what is basically an overtly political act. In a letter dated October 12, 2016 CLEAT is calling upon Commissioner's Court to investigate Sheriff Wiles for violating an employee policy.

The reason you know its a political stunt from the Association is the fact that there exists no authority for the Commissioner's Court to order an investigation of anything. An attorney would know that. The Commissioner's Court has no law enforcement authority in terms of ordering or conducting investigations.

HOW IN THE HELL DOES A LAW ENFORCEMENT UNION NOT KNOW WHO DOES AND DOESN'T HAVE AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION?

Most especially for an office policy. That Code of Conduct policy manual that they are asking the Court to intervene on also covers stuff like dress code, being tardy, missing JP court without an excuse, cheating on a spouse or person you're in a relationship with, using profanity, chewing gum and being rude.

Seriously, I'm not making that up.

So not only are they asking the court to do something they don't have the authority to do, they are also asking the court to essentially intervene on labor dispute issues, which is a big no-no. That would violate the union contract.

One of the ways that county government is different than city government is law enforcement. At the city, the Chief of Police answers to the City Manager who serves at the pleasure of City Council. At the county, the Sheriff doesn't answer to an administrator or to commissioners court. The sheriff answers to the voters of El Paso County and no one else.

Commissioner's Court has no role in investigations and its pretty scary that the union would be even asking for them to intervene in the first place.

Now if the union believes that a law was broken, they should know they have an avenue for a remedy. They simply need to contact the DA or any range of other law enforcement entities like the FBI or Texas Rangers.

So the question is simple. Why haven't they done so?

Well there are two answers. The first is simple, even they aren't alleging a law was broken. The second answer is that when you make a complaint to law enforcement to conduct an investigation they generally don't make it public.

However, sending a letter a couple of weeks before early voting starts to commissioner's court will get some media to bite and it helps the candidate to whom they have donated large sums of money.

________________________________________

Union Assertions

At issue is Sheriff Wiles' attendance at an event in a home in Tornillo. The home turned out to be that of Ricardo Hernandez, a community leader in Tornillo. Hernandez has a felony drug conviction for weed going back 21 years ago.

 There are some claims made by CLEAT and some union supporters on social media and the blogosphere that are shockingly inaccurate to the degree that you can't help but think they are purposely trying to mislead the public. First, the assertion that event was a fundraiser for Sheriff Wiles. I don't know of a fundraiser ever being held in Tornillo.

Ever.

Like in the history of Tornillo.

No one has ever uttered the sentence, "You know where would be a good place to raise some campaign cash? Tornillo, amirite?"

The event was a community meeting. The very type of event he was being criticized for not attending on the Make Fabens Better Facebook page for a couple of weeks because the administrator of the page likens the crime rate in Fabens to that of Chicago.

Seriously, I'm not making that up either.

Is it fair to criticize Wiles for attending a community event in Tornillo instead of Fabens? Sure, if you feel Fabnes is more important than Tornillo then absolutely people should question why he went to one and not the other.

The second thing the Union and supporters have been asserting is that Wiles violated a policy that his own deputies have been fired for violating.

If that were true, how come the union can't come up with a single example of that ever happening? If anyone would know, its the union because it would be their job to fight that termination. Can the union produce a single example of that occurrence? Can anyone? Even you anonymous employee commenters. Do you guys have one single example of that ever happening?

Your lawyer alleges people have been terminated for violating this policy in his letter calling for an investigation.

Crickets.

_____________________________________

The Policy

Lets take a look at the actual policy that the union is asking for an investigation to be ordered from a body that doesn't have the power to order an investigation in the first place, shall we?


That is the section referred to in the letter from CLEAT. Now the fact that the lawyer from CLEAT specifically mentions Mr. Hernandez's criminal record is an indication that they were specifically referencing 3(b). Other parts of this policy were referenced but are vague and don't mention criminal records, 3(b) is the only part of the policy that actually does.

Sidebar - I'd like to point out that the union's lawyer uses the phrase "widely disseminated over social media" as back-up for his assertions. Other things "widely disseminated over social media" include the fake death of Sylvester Stallone, pictures of a sick child or animal that try to guilt you into typing the word "Amen", and Facebook invites to events you aren't the least bit interested in attending.

Anywho, back to the policy...part "a" is so ridiculously broad that it should be reworked into something tangible. Frankly, I'm more upset at that part of the policy handbook than anything else because it could so easily be massaged into basically anything. You could really railroad an employee with that policy and the union should fight to get rid of that portion or reword it into something less vague.

Part "b" is the operative policy and its important to read the policy, you know, like lawyers are supposed to. I underlined two words that are really important to the policy. First, you have to have knowledge that the person you are associating with is in custody, on probation, on parole, or under indictment or bond for any felony. If you don't know, you aren't violating the policy.

I'll get to why this is so important in a minute.

The other operative word in that policy is the word currently. Mr. Hernandez's crime was more than 20 years ago, which is hardly currently.

Now, back to why the part about having knowledge of the aforementioned circumstances is a critical part of the policy. How would anyone have knowledge of given person's record? Well the only way to know would be to do a background check on the person. Essentially the union is advocating for the sheriff to run a background check on everyone he meets, stands next to at a public event, or is in the same restaurant with.

The Secret Service doesn't do that for the President. If POTUS decides to duck into a 5 Guys, no one knows anything about who is in that restaurant at the time.

Its completely impractical to run around doing background checks on people all day to see if they sheriff or deputy can interact with that person. Its also an improper use of tax payer dollars to waste all those man hours doing background checks on people just so the union doesn't have a reason to gripe. But I'd argue, its also illegal. You generally need to meet some legal threshold to even run someone's background.

We don't want a sheriff who will arbitrarily just look people up for no reason. We have personal liberties in this country and law enforcement doesn't get to invade our privacy without a reason.

The last line I underlined in blue is there because it shows that exceptions to the provision can exist and that the approving authority is...

wait for it...

the sheriff.

So I don't know that this policy would even apply to him in the first place. Especially because he's an elected official and answers only to voters.

By the union's logic, their own members that feed an online publication who's author freely admits to multiple felonies rumors and gossip, would be violating said policy. They wouldn't actually be violating it unless he was currently under indictment for a felony by the way, but you get the point.

The Person

The win-at-all-costs mentality of the union that is ultimately going to do more damage to the credibility of the union than anything Maruffo ever did when he was running the show is becoming embarrassing. Its one thing to blow union dues on candidates that have no business being in office like Dora Oaxaca, but its a whole other thing for the union to be disparaging a resident of El Paso County in the process.

I don't know Mr. Hernandez well enough to speak to his character as a person so I'm not going to defend him other than to comment on what is public record. Not "widely disseminated on social media" but public record. Hernandez has a felony drug conviction. I don't know the amount it was, but I know it was weed and I know he did a year in prison for it. So that means it was likely a very small amount of weed, but enough for it to be a felony.

He served a year in prison and got out and hasn't committed another felony since then, which is now more than 20 years. Hernandez has a home, I assume pays his taxes because I have no reason to believe otherwise, and votes regularly. Your voting record is public - you can't see who you voted for but you can find out when someone did and did not vote. Mr. Hernandez is a regular voter and has been for some time now.

When you have a felony, your right to vote is taken away. Only after you have completed your sentence are you able to go through the process to have that right reinstated. Mr. Hernandez has.

And he serves as a leader in his community. Having done a lot of work in Tornillo I can tell you I have seen Mr. Hernandez take a leadership role in a range of issues from school board to parks.

Essentially, Mr. Hernandez is the ideal ex offender. He stays gainfully employed, contributes more to his community than most people who have never gotten a speeding ticket, and participates in the electoral process and responds to jury duty calls like a good citizen.

Isn't that what we say we want out of people released from prison? I'm still trying to figure out why the union thinks a crime that was paid for by Mr. Hernandez more than a generation ago is more relevant to voters than an alleged assault by their candidate against another citizen after a car accident just a couple years ago.

I mean lets be real, its not like he was running drugs like a Gandara or something. And this is the guy that the union tries to vilify?

And lets talk about why this is even a subject in the first place...because some off-duty union officers got pissed because he took pictures of them and their vehicles in a public place at an event open to the public and confronted him about it. That is by CLEAT's own admission by the way.

Sounds like an intimidation tactic by off-duty guys against an old man because they didn't like him doing what he's allowed to do, take pictures in a public event on public property.

In conclusion, the union really messed up on this one and they are really trying hard to destroy any credibility they had left by this latest stunt. Commissioner's Court doesn't have the authority to order an investigation of an elected official, much less for violation of the employee handbook. The union's lawyer should've told them that they can go to another law enforcement agency if they think wrong-doing has taken place, they could even try an ethics complaint if they felt they had grounds.

But instead, they ask commissioners court to do something they don't even have the power to do and have never done before in order to score political points for their candidate.

This move wasn't just silly, its scary. We should be worried when law enforcement officers want the power to arbitrarily run checks on people.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurd Enough

In one of the most competitive congressional races in the country Texas District 23 Congressman Will Hurd has finally tried to put a little daylight between himself and the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump following his comments about grabbing women by the genitals.

That is commendable, but too little, too late.

And frankly, the only reason he is doing it now is because Trump is tanking and he's likely to take Hurd down with him.

The fact that Hurd has been so silent on his party's nominee's rhetoric is reprehensible when you consider the people of District 23.

The district is almost 70% Latino. When Trump was making disparaging remarks about Mexicans and immigrants - silence was Hurd.

When Trump implied that a judge wasn't qualified to hear a case because the judge's parents were Mexican - silence was Hurd.

Congressional District 23 district has parts of two major military communities (El Paso and San Antonio) with over 45,000 veterans. When Trump mocked those in uniform and POW's - silence was Hurd. The deafening silence from Hurd on Trump's remarks is even more significant when you consider Hurd is a veteran himself.

There are 99,170 Texans with disabilities in District 23. When Trump mocked the disabled - silence was Hurd.

Congressman Hurd is a member of the Information Technology Subcommittee. Now that news has broken that the Russians have been involved in hacking an American political party - silence is Hurd.

Hurd is also a member of the National Security Subcommittee as well as the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee. When Trump went on television and invited the Russians to commit espionage by influencing the American political system - silence was Hurd.

Unbelievably, Hurd waits until he realizes that yet another damaging statement from Trump was made in order for him to finally distance himself from Trump just days ahead of the start of early voting.

Women make up 50.4% of the electorate in his congressional district. And the congressman is finally Hurd...just days before early voting starts. Hurd is touting the fact that he's the first Texas member of congress to call for Trump to drop out.

Hurd's recent statement says that he "cannot in good conscience support or vote for" Trump.

Interestingly he comes to this revelation just days before early voting. The timing of his statement leads me to believe that when Trump said bad things about raza, POWs, the disabled, and spoke highly of Putin and Russian espionage in the United States, Hurd must've thought Trump was still someone Hurd could "support or vote for". After all, he was silent when Trump made all those statements.

Javier Gamboa of the Democratic Congressional Committee stated it best, "Will Hurd's desperate and politically-calculated maneuver to try and save his political career comes way too late...is not bravery, is not principled, and it is not worthy of Texas voters he's supposed to serve."

So Re-Pete after me, we've Hurd enough!

Pete Gallego is the clear choice in District 23.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Third Party Flop

I don't do much national stuff because there is plenty of that out there in cable land. But I'm writing this piece today because of an unexpected development.

I have a lot of libertarian friends and they aren't going to like to hear this, but third party candidates proved to be a big flop.

First, you need to know that libertarians love to paint themselves as some ideal best-of-both-worlds party that has the liberalism of social issues but conservatism of constitutional issues. That my friends is a bunch of crap. The reality is that libertarians differ on their views about national issues that are polarizing to the rest of us as much as any party does.

Abortion is an example.

Gay marriage is another, although on the whole they tend to be okay with gay marriage and take a similar position that I take, gub'ment don't belong in marriage.

The universal truth about Clinton and Trump is that they are polarizing. That is to say they are hated a  madre.

If there were ever a perfect storm, a perfect opportunity, the ideal circumstances to attract attention from voters and get them to look at you in a somewheat credible manner, it would be this election. A large chunk of voters are scared off by Hillary and her problems with honest. An even bigger Trump are scared of Trump and his ego, mouth, lack of knowledge, rhetoric, hair, etc.

Oh, and then there is pussy-gate. Although truth be told, Gary Johnson was actually the first candidate in this election to drop the pussy bomb. He called Trump a pussy, memmur?

So if ever there were the kind of thirst and hunger from the electorate for a viable alternative party, this would be it. The libertarian ticket is polling around 9%. The Green Party ticket is even less, polling at 2%.

Of course its easy to say that the reason is because of Johnson's Aleppo moment. Well that certainly didn't help matters much, that is true. And it completely undermined any faith a potential voter would have in that ticket. But the truth is, they never really polled very high to begin with, even before "What's Aleppo?"

There was the opportunity to appeal to some disgruntled Bernie supporters after the convention but libertarian policies are innately too conservatives for most liberals.

I mean other than weed.

Mainstream Republicans who didn't want Trump as their nominee never gave the libertarians a serious look.

Taking a look at the electoral map, according to the Financial Times, Clinton has about 260 and needs 270 to win. The 260 is counting states were she has a solid lead and are states that are usually Democratic. Trump as about 165 counting the states he's leading in and that are solidly Republican. So that means Clinton is 10 short right now. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are in play. Minnesota and Maine are also pretty close. All she has to do is win one of those states with the exception of Nevada, Maine, and Iowa, and she wins. Nevada, Maine, and Iowa have less than 10 votes in the EC and she'd need to win more than just one of those states.

And if you look at the national polling, you'll see how even less significant the "other" tickets are.

If you look at this chart that shows an average of national polls, you'll see that the libertarian and Green Party candidates combined number is only slightly higher than the number of people who would rather write someone's name in.



That is essentially saying that people have more faith in a write-in person than the other party candidates. And that means you aren't delivering a message to the American people that they like or have faith in. And if you can't do it in this election, when can you realistically expect to?

Which is probably why so many of libertarians just join the GOP. (You never hear an expression like the libertarian wing of the Democratic Party by the way).

Essentially the libertarian and Green Party candididates COMBINED are polling at HALF of what Ross Perot was able to get when he ran as the Reform Party candidate.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trump, Buchino, & The Mayor's Race

A few things to cover so I wrapped them into one post.

Trump

Look, you all saw the video and heard Pussy-gate. He's imploding and lost a lot of support from GOP leadership. Since people got mail-in ballots last Friday, I thought Hillary Clinton missed a real opportunity to deal a death blow to Trump by going after him in the debate and making him lose his shit completely.

I mean more than he did on his own. But she didn't and Trump was able to act like a fool, which is just the kind of stupidity that his basket of idiot supporters like. And instead of the Party just completely abandoning him and leaving him to hang out to dry, Hillary's lack of a death blow gave Trump an opportunity to try to find his footing again.

People have ballots already in some states, including Texas. Its too late for the GOP to try to get another candidate. Had she dealt the death blow Republicans all over would've been screwed.

Buchino

I'm anxiously awaiting the campaign finance reports so that I can see how much union dues was blown on a Republican with no hope of winning. I'm betting the El Paso Sheriff's Officers Association is AT LEAST 80% of his contributions, if not more.

If you take the total number of union members, hell lets be generous, take the whole number of DO's, deputies and civilians working for the Sheriff and divide Wiles' win number by that amount and you will learn that the EPCSOA has to get an astronomical amount of voters out per person to pull off an upset.

So as I have said to a couple of people, I don't see Buchino winning a single precinct south of I-10 from Downtown to Tornillo.

But hey, those stickers amirite?

The EPCSOA has the best sticker distribution system this side of Abundant Living, EXA, and My-Kid-Is-An-Honor-Roll-Student.

Acosta

At this very early point in the race it is essentially between Dee Margo and Emma Acosta. I realized that Acosta was low-key shrewd about the races she's been in. She's always been smart enough to have little to no competition for each of her campaigns. This is by far the biggest race she's ever attempted to run and she's gonna have to work for it.

And its WAY above Dora's pay grade so it'll be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Teaching David Karlsruher A Lesson

So my buddy David K wrote yet another piece on his blog about how I am allegedly involved in a grand scheme to elect a mayoral candidate. If you haven't read that piece, stop what you're doing and click here so you can read it. Otherwise the video below will make no sense to you.

He's convinced himself that there is a plot in place for myself and others to run a candidate for mayor. Here's what you have to understand about David K, the truth doesn't matter to him. He just wants anything that will support his narrative. Supporting his narrative is what is important to him.

I found out about the post because someone sent me a text and asked me who I was running. He told me he saw it on The Juice, so I went and checked it out. It annoys me when he does that because we've known each other for going on 10 years and if he'd just ask me, I'd tell him whatever he wants to know.

So I sent him a text and told him basically that it was well played. He wrote a piece he knew was utter bullshit but he included a line to give him cover when it came out that it was bullshit. And then he would turn around and write a piece about how it was planned, but it was scratched because he wrote about it.

Thats the world he lives in.

As you can see if you click here, he was so adamant about his narrative of a plan for me to run a mayoral candidate that he even did the rare two-blog-posts-in-one-day thing.

This time David K exposed our plan!

He went into detail about how we were going to use the Democratic Party Machine in town to finally elect a mayor!

He named names!

His sources are amazing!

Just kidding. He was catfished!

Click play and you'll see how I taught him a lesson about writing things that are not true.



Now he and the silly fools in his comment section can have lots of fun.

Class dismissed bitches.

Rep Blanco: "That Mexican Thing"

(Editor's Note: This was posted on social media by Texas State Representative Cesar Blanco, who is my State Representative in the Texas House. I thought it was an important message and I'm reposting it here.)

My grandfather immigrated to this country from Mexico in search of a better life. 

A good education, military service and hard work allowed me to advocate for my community as a Texas State representative and as interim director for Latino Victory Fund.

But it is my grandfather's sacrifice and the values my parents instilled in me that make me so proud to be a Latino and the grandson of an immigrant. 

My story is similar to that of many other Latinos, who with blood, sweat and tears have persevered and forged a better life for their families. 

Perhaps this is why when, during last night's debate, after Trump’s VP candidate, Mike Pence, dismissively said "that Mexican thing" as a way to avoid talking about his campaign’s behavior towards all of us, not just Mexicans, and downplay the hurt that his running mate’s rhetoric has caused us, our courageous and resilient Latino community did not stay quiet.

Instead, we turned his words into a way to share our stories, to pay homage to the sacrifices made for us, and to celebrate our achievements and our strength.

THAT MEXICAN THING is the sacrifices our parents and grandparents have made so we could have a voice and a vote in this country.

THAT MEXICAN THING is recognizing that when we use our voice and cast our vote, we are a force that will determine the outcome of this election.  

THAT MEXICAN THING is the everyday  work of Latino Victory Fund, harnessing the political power of Latinos to make sure our community is represented in government. 

THAT MEXICAN THING is making history this November when we help elect a HISTORIC roster of Latino candidates to office.

This November, we have the power to elect to the U.S. House of Representatives: the first Puerto Rican out of Florida, the first openly LGBT Latino, the first Dominican American, and the first Hispanic out of Nevada. We can also elect the first Latina(s) to the U.S. Senate.

Let’s make sure "That Mexican Thing" won’t be easily dismissed on Nov. 8. We must act.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

EPISD Has To Be Honest With Seniors About Tax Freeze

One of the strategies that the pro-bond people are utilizing is telling senior voters that if they are 65 or older, that their taxes for the bond won't go up if its approved by voters. I know because I did the same thing with the YISD bond.

But they have to be completely honest with voters otherwise they are just preying on seniors that don't know the full story. (We - my block walkers and I - made sure we were completely honest with voters when we knocked on their door for the YISD bond.)

They should tell them that their taxes CAN be frozen and won't go up, they shouldn't tell them it WILL be frozen and won't go up.

If they haven't gotten the door knock yet, they likely will very soon, and probably some mail as well, that will tell seniors to vote yes on the bond and their taxes won't go up because of their age.

But that isn't true.

Unless and until those eligible seniors take the step of contacting the Central Appraisal District and apply for it, their taxes are going up.

The way the pro-bond PAC has been framing it to seniors it would be easy for them to think it happens automatically.

Well it doesn't happen automatically and the pro bond people aren't divulging that information to voters. If you don't take the step of going to CAD for the freeze what will happen is you'll vote for the bond and your taxes will in fact, go up.

So what you are going to have is a district people already don't trust, telling seniors their taxes won't go up and not telling them they have to actually go to CAD to make it happen, have a bunch of upset voters after the election when their taxes go up.

These folks are on a fixed income, you have an obligation to be completely truthful about the tax freeze, its just the right thing to do.

Also, they should make sure that seniors don't think all their taxes are frozen. Its just the school district portion of their tax bill, although the EPISD portion of their tax bill is by far the largest.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Why I'm Voting for Artalejo

I mean this with all sincerity, unless a better candidate gets in the field, I'm voting for Jorge Artalejo for Mayor.

The reality is I don't see anyone else worth voting for right now.

Dee Margo - A Republican that doesn't reflect the values of this community who has voted for a lot of bad things, most especially huge cuts in education.

Emma Acosta - She has huge problems with transparency and has to wear her support for the City Manager and her defense of Romero all over herself in this election.

Carl Robinson - He wouldn't confirm or deny the fact that he's running. Which means yes, he's running. Because if he wasn't he would've said so. Mayor Robinson...Jesus, really?

David Saucedo - Never ran for anything before and he's most notable for trying to bring Lou Holtz to El Paso after very controversial remarks at the GOP convention and for going to bat for the city manager.

The Rest of the Field - Yawn.

There's really no one to vote FOR. There's people to vote AGAINST, but not really anyone to vote FOR.

Since no one appears to have any meaningful direction or plan, they are essentially all alike to me. Since they are all alike and it doesn't really matter which one you elect, I figure it's time to cast my ballot for Jorge Artalejo. Hell, when you think about it, he's had as much of a positive impact on El Paso as anyone else running.

If it weren't for Artalejo, Sergio Lewis would still be commissioner. But because Artalejo pulled a pretty significant number of votes in a couple of precincts, it kept Lewis under 50% and forced a runoff that David Stout eventually won by a couple dozen votes.

Hell, I may even help Artalejo. I think he needs a catchy slogan, cuz ya know, that's what matters, amirite!

How about these:

Jorge Artalejo...cuz council is cray-cray anyway!

Jorge Artalejo...what do you have to lose?

Jorge Artalejo...cuz why not?

Fuck it....Jorge Artalejo!

Jorge Artalejo, cuz if Trump can be President, why can't he be mayor?

Jorge Artalejo...how much worse can it be?

Jorge Artalejo...it's his turn.

Jorge Artalejo...cuz even the Red Sox eventually won the World Series again.

Jorge Artalejo...c'mon, it'd be fun.

Jorge Artalejo...wait, what?

Jorge Artalejo...no worse than the rest.

In all seriousness, I've known Jorge for several years and he's a nice guy with a good sense of humor.

And yes, I'm serious, I'm voting for him unless something changes.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Mayoral Rumblings...

Take this with a grain of salt because its just things that I'm hearing and not anything that I have had a chance to independently verify but these three things have been floating around so I thought I'd mention them.

Buyer's Remorse -  Word on the street is that Mayor Leeser is having a little buyer's remorse about not running for re-election. I've heard this rumor since they day he let it slip that he wasn't running for re-election. And this rumor has had a ton of different incarnations - everything from lamenting about it aloud, all the way to reconsidering his decision and getting ready to announce that he is going to run again. I don't know if that is true or not, but there are several rumors about Mayor Leaser's decision circling around El Paso politicos.

Mr. Robinsons' Neighborhood - A couple of friends of mine went to a meeting in the Northeast this weekend and Robinson and Mayor Leeser were in attendance. According to the people in attendance, Leeser all but announced Robinson's intent to run for Mayor. Robinson is termed out and currently represents the Northeast on city council. I don't know that I'd call this a rumor considering it was from eye witnesses but they also indicated that Robinson neither confirmed nor denied any mayoral plans. If Robinson has mayoral aspirations (and its an IF until we hear otherwise), he would joined his colleague who is also termed out, City Rep Emma Acosta as a candidate hoping for a promotion. Interestingly the two members of council vacating their seats because of term limits will be opening the door for the most-contested races in recent history. The winners of those seats will shape El Paso probably more so than whomever wins the mayoral race.

X Marks the Spot - Word on the street is that community-type mayoral candidate is thinking about entering the race for the city's executive post. The candidate has tons of street cred, has a pretty good squad of organizers, but as with any candidate, the question comes down to campaign financing. More on this later as/if it develops.

Farewell Vin Scully

I'm an Arizona Diamondbacks fan and have been ever since my hometown got the franchise. As a consequence, the Los Angeles Dodgers are major rivals and I have learned to have that special place in my heart for the Dodgers reserved only for other things I don't like, like molé, macaroni and cheese, people who take too long to get to the point, people who talk too much, people who talk during movies, and the Dallas Cowboys.

Just kidding, I don't hate anything as much as I hate the Dallas Cowboys.

But, my dad was a lifelong Dodger fan and up until the day we got a franchise, I used to bleed Dodger Blue.

I grew up in a great time to be a Dodger fan with a lot of great players like Steve Sax, Mike Scioscia, Pedro Guerrero and of course #34, the one and only, Fernando Valenzuela. We had Fernando Mania like you couldn't believe. Every Chicano kid that ever picked up a bat or glove in the barrio wanted to be Fernando.

My kid brother would mimic his delivery for hours, only to get yelled at by my dad for being a pitcher and taking his eye off the plate. Real Dodger fans get that.

The truth is we were hand-fed baseball since we were old enough to walk and for that entire time, Vin Scully WAS baseball too me. Whether it was crackling through the AM station on the radio driving around town with my dad, or coming out of the boom-box while my dad was under a car fixing something on a Saturday morning, Vin Scully's voice was what painted the picture of the game for us.  You could almost hear the color of the grass or the grit of the infield dirt in his voice.

Dad couldn't really afford to take us to Chavez Revine for a ball game and a Dodger Dog, but we listened religiously, whether we wanted to or not. That silky, gentlemanly voice of Vin Scully was like a throwback to the ol' timey announcers of baseball days long gone.

Back to Dem Bums from Brooklyn.

We didn't understand that then, but I understand and appreciate it now.

For a kid growing up in my generation, the best memory I have of Vin Scully is when he was calling the first game of the 1988 World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers. My father believed the most important Catholics on the planet were Pope John Paul II and Tommy Lasorda and certainly not in that order. Kirk Gibson was the soul of the Dodgers that year and hadn't been playing that game because he had to bum legs.

And then 2 outs and the bottom of the 9th happened. The DH spot came up. Limping up the stairs with his bat in his hand was Kirk Gibson.

"And look who's coming up!" Vin said.

All of us boys and by dad, started cheering and making a raucous. The crowd at Dodger Stadium went crazy. And Vin did what any good broadcaster is supposed to do. He shut up and let the moment happen. Hearing the crowd lose it, only made us more anxious.

"All year long they looked at him to light the fire and all year long he answered the demands until he was physically unable to start tonight with two bad legs." Vin had set up the at-bat.

Did I mention Gibby was facing future Hall of Famer and one of the best closers of all time, Dennis Eckersley?

Eck was working the outside of the plate, trying to prevent Gibson from having something he could pull. Gibson got behind 0-2 early and eventually battled back to a full count.

"Gibson shaking his left leg, making it quiver like a horse trying to get rid of a troublesome fly" Vin explained about Gibson trying to get over a troublesome hamstring injury.

Mike Davis had stolen second base during the at-bat and that meant the Dodgers didn't need a home run, they just needed a base hit to score Davis from second base. The tension was building to a crescendo.

The payoff pitch was coming and Scully remarked, "Sax waiting on deck, but the game right now is at the plate."

Eck started his wind-up and it was an outside pitch. Gibson was like a coiled snake unleashing, reached over the plate and made contact. The minute he started his swing, my dad went from sitting on the floor to jumping up and down. He'd seen enough baseball in his life to know even before Gibby made contact.

CRACK!

"High fly ball into right field...she is..GONE!" is how Scully called it.

I have it memorized. I played it back in my head a million times. It was one of my most vivid memories of childhood. My dad was running around the living room exactly like Lasorda running out of the dugout. Gibson pumps his fist at waist level as he limped by second base. The crowd and the Abeytia boys all collectively lost their minds.

And Vin Scully was masterful. Again, he didn't say a word after calling the home run. Gibson completely made his way around the bases and the team met him at the plate. Vin let you hear the crowd and just marinate in the moment. He didn't step on the moment by talking over the crowd.

"In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened."

Scully summed it up completely in one sentence.

So perhaps its fitting that calling his last game for the Dodgers turned out to be another walk-off home run. This time for the Dodgers to clinch the NL West.

Turns out that was the last year that the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series. Throughout all the years, like a loyal Dodger fan, Vin Scully was there, painting the picture with his voice.

Could this be the year that Dem Bums recapture a World Series? Probably not. They don't have the bullpen and bats to go too deep into the playoffs.

But maybe, just maybe, spurred on by the retirement of the guy that has been their voice for so many years, they can come down with a little Dodger Fever in the playoffs. And maybe Dem Bums can do what Vin said back in '88 - make the impossible happen.



Since my Snakes are out, and my youngest daughter is a rabid Dodger fan herself - just this once, this Diamondback fan will say something he hasn't said since he was in high school...

Go Dodgers.

Farewell Vin Scully, thanks for the memories!