Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Know, I Always Gotta Be That Guy...

But seriously...

I thought the Superintendent of EPISD had some sort of medical condition that was so bad that he had to sit in First Class seats on the public's dime because he pulled a Cheddar Bob and shot himself in the leg or something...

But he's apparently okay to literally, "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes"?

I've done this event.

Walking around in heels around an area in downtown freakin' hurts. So help me understand this...


Before you Dori bots lose your shit, I'm not minimizing the charity. I'm not minimizing the issue, like I said, I have personally participated in this event. Thats how I can tell you with full confidence, that it is freaking painful. It is just a surprise to me that a vato that has to fly First Class because of medical issues can do this event.

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Speaking of EPISD....

I wrote about Dori being a no-show to meetings and it having an important impact. Well, aside from the fact that I don't think there was a legal requirement to resign to run, I also thing its interesting that keeps getting forgotten...if Fenenbock were truly being altruistic in her resignation to avoid the appearance of impropriety, then why was she fundraising for the job for several weeks before deciding to resign to run?

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Still speaking of EPISD...

Interesting fact - and I'm not saying its a good thing or bad thing in and of itself...but does anyone actually think the EPISD Board of Trustees look like the community they serve?

Because there is only one Latino trustee, Al Velarde. And Velarde is the guy that was originally going to be the EPISD President to succeed Fenenbock until he called for an audit and was screwed out of the position in favor of Trent Hatch, a close political ally of Fenenbock.

Just an observation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fenenbock's Absence Stops Travel Budget Cut to Cabrera

An effort to reduce the travel budget of the El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Juan Cabrera following controversy around First Class travel, frequent travel, and travel to non-school related functions like the AIPAC convention in Washington DC, failed in a 3-3 vote of the Board of Trustees.

By Robert's Rules, when there is a tie on a motion, it dies. Trustees Dye, Geske, and Hatch (shocker) voted against the item. That means Trustees Byrd, Taylor, and Velarde voted to reduce the travel budget for the embattled Superintendent.

Compared to other Supers in neighboring districts, Cabrera travels significantly more and the amount of his budget that has already been spent on his travel, coupled with the amount of time he has been out of the office for that travel, has been the subject of criticism for Cabrera.

The reason it was a tie is because Trustee and Congressional Candidate Dori Fenenbock has not attended a single meeting of the EPISD Board of Trustees since resigning abruptly. Shortly after her resignation, controversy started to swirl around the superintendent and alleged contact between the super and someone competing for a contract.

Interestingly there doesn't appear to have been a legal requirement for Fenenbock to have resigned from office.

By contrast, Escobar did have a legal requirement to resign to run for congress and yet continued to serve under the Texas Holdover Clause, which also applies to Fenenbock, until such time as she was replaced.

So by the Texas constitution, you have an obligation to continue your service until such time as you are replaced.

Fenenbock quit and hasn't attended a meeting since.

And thats how her buddy the Superintendent, got to keep his first-class travel budget.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Congressional Candidate Finance Reports

You've no doubt seen the emails and social media posts from the two main congressional candidates about what they raised in this reporting period along with their respective spin.

So here is a no BS assessment of the reports.

Escobar raised a ton of money in a short period of time, about half of what Fenenbock has raised the entire campaign season thus far. Escobar did so in about a month. Escobar raised slightly more than Fenenbock in that roughly one month period than Fenenbock raised in a three month period.

Fenenbock spins it in a strange, but not surprising way. On her social media post they spin it as "Our supporters have donated twice as much as our opponent's."

Which is true.

Except that Escobar's supporters donated half as much in about a month than Fenenbock's supporters over several months. The two roughly raised the same amount in their first 30 days.

Which leads to the big campaign question for the two congressional candidates...who is going to be able to sustain the fundraising over the life of the campaign?

Click here to see Dori Fenenbock's campaign finance report.

Click here to see Veronica Escobar's campaign finance report.

The other questions is, who is going to make the most of their contributions?

So far, Fenenbock's campaign appears to be burning through campaign contributions like crazy, with most of the money going to consultants, airfare, luxury hotel accommodations and meals. Lots and lots and lots of dough going to consultants.

Escobar doesn't have many expenditures, which is likely a function of the fact that she started so late in the fundraising period.

One of the remarkable differences, and this may come into play when you think about sustainability, is the fact that about 3/4 of Escobar's contributions came from people that live in the district. Most of Fenenbock's contributions on her first report were from people who live outside the district.

So I'm expecting PAC money to play a big part of the remainder of the campaign contributions of this race. Escobar's PAC money so far has been from PACs that have the express goal of electing Latino candidates. Many Latino organizations want the seat to go to Escobar and have put in some money early. Expect that to continue.

Interestingly Beto O'Rourke, the outgoing congressman that is taking on Ted Cruz for the US Senate seat, has a no-PAC policy.

So I combed through each and every contribution and expenditure on both reports, which took awhile. Only one of the contributions actually made me stop and double check what I was reading and it cracked me up a little.




This is a contribution to Veronica Escobar's campaign.

Yes, it is a relative of her opponent.

In fact, all 4 of the $8,100 maxed-out donors are from the Gaddy family. They are in-laws to Fenenbock.


There's some Saucedo-level bad blood in the Gaddy-Fenenbock family. When you include Alison Glass into the total, Fenenbock's in-laws account for $37, 800 of Escobar's total. That is more than 10% of what Escobar has raised so far.

Gacho.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dori & Gun Control

I've been in an on-going back-and-forth with one of my commenters who at first took issue with the fact that he was I was "doxing" Dori Fenenbock. Thats when you publish private information about someone, which implies there is an intent to harm someone.

He's speaking of the fact that I have posted her voting record with a screenshot from VAN. If I don't post it, then no one can definitively tell that I am talking about the right person and, just for clarity's sake, her address is public. She used it on her filing documentation. Anywho, the guy never says anything about all the other times I've posted the same information about all the other candidates I have shown voting records or finance reports.

That coupled with a conversation about the fact that on her first finance report her largest expenditure was to an anti-gay activist who created a PAC against gay marriage following the SCOTUS ruling that made it the law of the land, led to a conversation, in his attempt to pretend she's not a Republican, about the fact that Dori Fenenbock has very few identifiable positions.

What cracks me up about that is that her supporters very often say, "talk to her, you'll see she's sincere and why we support her." But they never say you'll get an identifiable position out of her.

Case in point, gun control. And for me, it perfectly captures my general critique of Fenenbock's campaign. There's no substance.

Following the tragedy that happened in Las Vegas there was no shortage of politicians that wanted to comment on the issue. Fenenbock commented on the issue, but failed to discuss the underlying issue around the tragedy, the debate about gun control.

Personally, I like firearms, shoot often, and think the more minorities that have them the more likely there would be gun control laws. But you know what Dori Fenenbock thinks about gun control?

Does she think now is the time to start a conversation about an assault weapons ban?
Closing loopholes for sales at gun shows?
A national database?
Restrictions on the kits that turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon?
Further strengthening the second amendment to ensure law abiding citizens get to keep their fire arms?

I have no idea. And neither do you.

Why?

Because she never says anything about the position. She chooses the most politician way to get out of the debate. Here's what I mean. This is a screenshot of a social media post she made about the Vegas tragedy.


Very often I write blog posts and schedule them to post at certain times throughout the day but this one I am writing and posting as soon as I am done. I wanted to have the most recent screenshot available before I post it. Its about 10:30am right now on Tuesday morning of the 9th of October. Its exactly a week after she posted the Facebook update. She's asked directly by people what her position is on gun control. She's been silent on the issue.

My point isn't debating her stance on gun control. My point is she doesn't articulate a stance on gun control or basically anything else. Except one weird thing. I know some of you might think, hey she's a busy lady and she probably hasn't had time to get on to social media since then.

So I checked. Here's the weird thing she has taken a stance on, that she posted after the post about Vegas and after both of those very direct questions from the public about her stance on gun control.

Hamas?



There was an important issue that happened in America where dozens of Americans were killed and hundreds injured and when asked a direct question about gun control she responds with crickets. But she's concerned about a political appointment in another part of the world?

You can't make this stuff up.

I just went to Escobar's page to see what she said about the Vegas tragedy. She also posted about the issue. Here's her post.


She was also challenged about her position on gun control. But Escobar actually articulated a position.


Obviously its not much, but you at least come away knowing that she won't duck or dodge the issue and even if I don't necessarily agree with her, you know that she has a position on the issue.

Dori dodges.

On social media I posed the question to each of the candidates about their position on firearms. They all gave and answer, some where very specific, most were non-communal platitudes. But they all at least attempted to give their position on a timely issue.

Except Dori.

Why is this important? Well aside from the fact that they are running for a federal position and this is a federal issue that is current events, but there is also another reason...

Dori was recently endorsed by PD.

PD are generally in favor of more gun control because they are in the streets every day having to deal with the consequences of guns being able to be acquired so easily.

I imagine they might want to know her position on that issue, along with every other Democrat that has to cast a ballot in March.

Lewis Fundraiser Announcement

As previously mentioned, I post all campaign announcements sent to me as a courtesy to their respective campaigns. This is the latest from Sergio Lewis' campaign.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Ruben Nuñez Fundraiser

As previously mentioned, all candidates for office that send me their fundraiser or event info to post will have it posted. If you want yours posted, send it to me at thelionstarblog@gmail.com. Here's the latest:


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jack Alayyan Terminated from Lower Valley Water District

Hit the road Jack.

Controversial figure Jack Alayyan was terminated Wednesday night at a special meeting of the Lower Valley Water Development Board following what is alleged by some to be a sexual harassment allegation.

Alayyan was the subject of a previous allegation of sexual harassment which was eventually paid out in a settlement.

No official word on who will be Alayyan's replacement but he has been a polarizing figure since his days at El Paso County.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been contacted by over a dozen current and former employees who have expressed concern over working conditions and treatment under Alayyan.

The Lower Valley Water Development Board had to pay out a settlement to a previous employee because of similar allegations alleged against Mr. Alayyan.

His clique at the office is not going to be happy about the change...

Odds & Ends From My Notebook

Okay here's a few blurbs that aren't big enough to be their own post, but are still good enough to be mentioned.

As I previously mentioned, I went to the VAN training the other day and there were a few funny things that happened. The funniest thing was this big conversation about who got banned from using VAN and why. There were a bunch of conflicting rumors but since I had the low down I corrected some false stories.

The next funniest thing was some poor guy that was helping out County Judge candidate and former El Paso Mayor John Cook. He showed up late as well. I don't mean like 15-30 minutes late...I mean like HOURS late. I don't even know why he bothered to show up, it was a total waste and made Cook look bad, especially because a few people mentioned that very few people showed up to Cook's fundraiser.

That reminds me, let me know about your fundraiser and I'll post the info.

Anywho, the kid started talking about some social media push and I just sort of rolled my eyes about all the kiddos that thing they are going to social media their way to an election win.

Congressman O'Rourke had several staffers attend the training. He looks like he's very serious about the senate bid. Escobar didn't have anyone there but Mike Apodaca is running her field so she didn't need anyone there and Dori, well her field guy isn't allowed.

Judicial candidates Judge Monique Velarde, who is running against Gonzalo Garcia, Danny Razo, Jesus Rodriguez, and Ruben Nuñez attended the training along with Laura Enriquez who is running for County Judge. Richard Samaniego's campaign consultant Norma Chavez was also in attendance.

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JP Names Make it Official

Chavez, who was formerly the state representative for District 76, confirmed that she is not a candidate for Justice of the Peace. She's helping people run for office this cycle and will not be a candidate.

Rebeca Bustamante has indicated that based on feedback and support that she has received that she will be a candidate for Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4 on the eastside. She is an attorney, which is one main advantage she has over the incumbent judge, but also has a long history in the Party and will likely be able to raise the money necessary to win a ground-focused campaign. Urenda, the incumbent is in a tough position because if he doesn't get out in the field, he will not be able to knock on as many doors as Bustamante. But if he is in the field, he's going to face scrutiny for not being in the office full time.

This is certainly the year for female judicial candidates.

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Weirdness at a Fundraiser

I didn't personally attend and I'm waiting on some video but I'm told things got really weird at District Clerk Norma Favela's recent fundraiser, which is apparently fanning the flames of a rumored upcoming opponent. Attendees tell me that her spouse Jaime Barceleau got kind of strange when introducing Favela and referred to her as "our District Clerk". Apparently that was supposed to be some cue for her staff to shout the phrase "our District Clerk" as well and they didn't do so until Barceleau kept prodding them to do so.

Apparently Barceleau kept mentioning her election as favorite elected official as well. That is actually a bit of a sore spot for staff because they have said for many years, at least going as far back as when I was at the County, that they hated that time of the year because Favela pressured them to attend the event to vote for her, which is why she won so often.

She can't honestly think that people genuinely think the District Clerk, an office they don't even know about most of the time to begin with, is actually their favorite elected official.

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David Stout is absolutely running for County Judge. He's gonna hang on as long as he can to get that County pay raise he voted for himself. He has the best of both worlds right now. He can fundraise for Commissioner (wink, wink) and then at the last minute pivot to run for County Judge. With a weak field of candidates, he is absolutely going to do so. Until he comes out and rules it out, which he has specifically not done, consider it likely to happen.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Congressional Race: DINO Data

For those of you that don't already know this, there are two groups of Democrats in the active realm of the Democratic Party in El Paso. Those that are Democrats because of their values and principles - equal opportunities for minorities, women, the disabled etc, social justice, worker rights, a woman's right to choose, comprehensive immigration reform, healthcare for all, the preservation of civil liberties, and better opportunities for the poor - and those that HATE Veronica Escobar.

You need to know that bit of information because it explains why someone has artificial support within the Party. Let me explain what I mean by that - there's a clique that will support a candidate that is running against anyone they hate - and they are loud and most of the time, pretty obnoxious. But they aren't really supporting the candidate that is running as much as they are trying to send a message to candidates that they dislike.

Which leads me to voter data about individual candidates and what it means.

So the local Democratic Party had some training in the Voter Activation Network or VAN for short. It has a range of uses but pretty much anyone who has any credibility uses VAN for data management and field operations. VAN is a proprietary software licensed by the Democratic Party and originated in the Howard Dean campaign.

VAN is how I am able to check the voting history of candidates that I have posted periodically. While we were at the training, the trainer went over something that is a feature of VAN called Scores. That uses several data points and an algorithm that assigns scores to each voter listed, across a range of categories. Essentially this data measures how much of a Democrat or a Republican a voter is and what is the likelihood they will vote for a Democrat on the ballot and likelihood they will defect and vote for another party down ballot.

I knew what the scores meant, but since we were going over how to look up a voter at that time of the training, I asked several questions to illustrate my point to some of the folks in the room. There is one measurement called DNC Dem Party Support v2. Its based on a 100 point system. The higher the number, the more of a Democrat you are. The trainer said anyone who is belong 50 is a Republican. For context, my score is 96.30 - which is to say that there is a 96.30% chance that I am going to vote for a Democrat based on data points I mentioned earlier.

So when the trainer explained that someone under 50% was a Republican, I asked him (knowing the answer already) what someone who had a single digit score in that category meant, his response was "that person is super-Republican." He later added that "you shouldn't be talking to a voter like that if you're trying to elect a Democrat because that voter is a strong Republican voter."

There is another factor considered and it is called Down Ballot Defection Risk. It means the likelihood that you will vote for a Republican or opposite party in down ballot races on a given ballot.  Again for context, my score in that area was 4.00, meaning there is only a 4% chance I'd defect to the other Party in a down ballot race.

So that voter that is "super Republican" has a Down Ballot Defection Risk score of 23.10 - meaning that there is only a 23.10% chance that the candidate would defect from the GOP and vote for a Democrat.

There is also a score that measures the likelihood that a voter would volunteer to work for a Democrat and is broken down by if you're likely to walk or make calls for a Democratic candidate. The highest score possible is 100 and I included my scores for context. Thats the index essentially of those that walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

That inspired me to compile the same data for all the candidates running for congress and I put them on this table.

The voter I was talking about that was referred to as "super Republican" based on the scores was none other than Dori Fenenbock.

For context in the chart I added my scores on VAN. I listed the candidates by alphabetical order by last name. I also color coded it, so that hard core Republicans shows up as red, hard core Democrats as dark blue and the less Democrat in lighter blue.




Many of you have been critical of my characterization of Fenenbock as a DINO, or Democrat in Name Only. Now you have data to put into context what the data says, not what I say, about the congressional candidates. Also, I have screenshots of all the data from the candidates' scores on VAN so I'm happy to share them should any of you doubt what I'm saying.

As you can see Escobar and LeClaire are the most Democratic candidates according to the data. They both have a slightly higher rating than I do in terms of voting Democratic, which I attribute to voting in Texas longer than I have voted in Texas.

Tilghman is a Democrat, but the data indicates that he's significantly more likely to defect to vote for a Republican down ballot, with a surprising 54% likelihood of that happening. This is something that Jerome has acknowledged himself on his social media recently in this post.




He also was a featured speaker at the very first Tea Party Rally here in El Paso and sounded pretty Republican, though he's been talking up his Democratic credentials. Although a Democrat doesn't speak at Tea Party Rallies if ya ask me. And if you recall, the Tea Party was born in response to Obama's election, so Tilghman might not want to keep that conversation going.

There is only a 23% chance that Fenenbock, were she not running for office as a Democrat, would vote for a Democrat down ballot. There is only an 11% chance LeClaire would vote for a Republican down ballot and a 6% chance that Escobar would. I came in at 4%, meaning I'm least likely to vote for a Republican down ballot. In the era of Trump...I wear that as a badge of honor.

So now you know what the data says, not just me. So for those of you that run around the Democratic Party calling yourselves Yellow-Dog Democrats, you can't call yourself that if you're supporting someone who is only 8% Democrat over candidates that are 96-97% Democrats. Or just admit that you're not voting for her because of her values, or yours for that matter, admit that you're supporting her because you don't like Escobar.

And call yourself an 8 percenter.

So think of those scores like a report card.

Escobar and LeClaire are A+ students.

At 82.5% Jerome is a B- and as for Fenenbock...at 8%

...well, Fenenbock fails.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

LVWD General Manager Jack Alayyan on Administrative Leave

LVWD General Manager Jack Alayyan confirmed to a reporter, Kaylee Heck, from KFOX/KDBC yesterday that he is in fact on administrative leave relating to a charge of sexual harassment.

Lower Valley Water had to pay out on a previous employment issue in which a claim of sexual harassment was alleged against Alayyan.

This is now the second allegation against Alayyan raised that has risen to the level of the board.

The person who was the alleged victim in the first allegation that the board ended up paying out money on went to the special meeting last night. She told the reporter she was there to show solidarity with the other woman raising the issue even though she doesn't know her.

Alayyan told Heck that he would do an interview with her but was not at the meeting when the meeting started. He arrived only when the board had moved into executive session and he went in through a side door that had controlled access. He later tried to slip out of the building un-noticed but the reporter saw him and chased him into the parking lot.

Here is a link to the story online, but this is part of the video from the story that aired last night.



As you can see, Alayyan appears to have had a change of heart about the interview. He was visibly annoyed when he was asked about the previous claims leveled against him.

The Board has dealt with this issue on several agendas and it keeps getting tabled. When asked by the reporter about the item Board President and Founding Member Rosalinda Vigil repeatedly stated that it was a personnel matter and that she didn't want to discuss it but wanted to invite the public to a special meeting on the matter on October 4th. She was also asked how if the Board paid out on a previous settlement how Alayyan still has a job and Vigil repeated that she didn't want to discuss the matter.

The reporter also asked her about the public funds spent on the previous settlement and Vigil indicated that it wasn't public money that was spent. That doesn't appear to be accurate considering that Lower Valley Water is a taxing entity, which would mean that by definition, they are public funds.

The Board may have made a settlement offer to Alayyan and is giving him time to consider the offer. If Alayyan is fired, it may be costly for the Board which may explain whey they are taking this particular course of action - if they are considering letting him go at all.

It was interesting to see that Alayyan's normal spot on the dais was vacant and his name plate was gone as you can see in this photo.


Rodriguez, Luxury, & Gringolandia

I guess its bad timing for Senator Rodriguez, but an article I stumbled across in the Texas Monitor has a not-so-flattering mention of El Paso's senator which really put into perspective his recent comments regarding Duranguito and El Paso's city council in another publication, the Texas Monthly.

More importantly, it points out something that might be embarrassing for the Senator that spoke about how we don't want gringolandia in El Paso.

He is apparently totally cool with gringolandia in Austin.

This is coming off a scathing letter from most of City Council about his comments regarding gringolandia and the Senator's insinuation that they are being brought off by developers that have contributed to their campaigns.

Before I get to that, check out this story from KTSM about the letter. Check out Sito Negron's response to the news story. He's really not handling the media relations on this story well at all.

Okay, so back to Senator Rodriguez's remarks and the Texas Monitor's recent article. The article is called Announcing the ‘Living Large Index’ for the Texas Legislature and you can click on that link to visit the article. 

Look no further than the second paragraph of the article to get a taste of what the article is all about. 


"Incumbents tend to face weak challengers, if any, raising questions as to what is done with surplus lobby cash. The answer, as revealed by The Texas Monitor’s analysis of campaign finance reports going back a decade, is rampant spending on creature comforts with questionable relevance to serving constituents."

Rodriguez is in the top 5 of the Living Large Index. He's the only senator in the top 5 that is not a committee chair. 

He's the least tenured of the folks on the list. 

He's the 4th highest spender of "lifestyle spending" on the list. 

Rodriguez's surplus campaign cash was spent on an apartment in Austin that was $60,900 and a more than $20,000 lease on a Lexus. Thats much more than what many El Paso families spend on their home annually. 

That works out to paying about $875 month on his luxury vehicle and $2,500 on his apartment ... all from campaign contributions. Hard to listen to the senator lecture El Paso City Reps about being bought and paid for by developers after seeing this list. 

Of the top members of the legislators on the Living Large Index, most of them are...

wait for it...

GRINGOS!

Now what was that about being too many people that want to be like Gringolandia?

Remember Tolbert's "Asshole"?

Remember the guy that former City Rep Jim Tolbert called an asshole during a city council meeting? His name is Michael Patiño.

He was initially one of the most outspoken advocates on the issue. There was talk of a recall of then-City Rep Cortney Niland.

Well I was wandering around the Gringolandia - er I mean Do-ruhn-geee-toe - yesterday because well, I play a mean triangle. Seriously, I'm pretty freakin' good on that thing.

Think Hendrix playing All Along the Watchtower, but me with a triangle playing Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star.

Anywho, I saw that cool video on Facebook where Sito Negron and Max Grossman were having an impromptu drum session during the protest and I thought to myself, "Self, you know what that group is missing? The sound of your raging triangle."

So I put on some cargo pants and some Vans with no socks, threw on some shades and went looking to join the band.

What I found was more interesting.

Mr. Patiño owns this building in the Do-ruhn-geee-toe area:


Now I magnified the banner and put an arrow there so you could find it more easily but it says "Save Duranguito" and as you can see from the date listed - it was taken on May 6th of this year.

Which to bring it full circle, was the day that Tolbert lost his seat on council.

Well in my quest to join the boys in the band, I ran into something pretty interesting. I ran into this:




Okay, maybe you didn't catch it. But if you look closely, in almost the exact same spot the banner was that said Save Duranguito, now sits a different sort of sign. Kinda hard to make out though...

Lets look at a different angle:



Ruh-Roh Raggy...

Well thats awkward....it sorta looks like a For Sale sign..

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lower Valley Water District Special Meeting Tonight

There is a special meeting tonight of the Lower Valley Water District and there are two very interesting items on the very short agenda.

Both deal with Jack Alayyan and an allegation against him.

Click here to see the agenda item.

Item 8 deals with "discussion and possible action to address personnel investigation, pending personnel matter involving the General Manager, and status of General Manager's contract of employment."

Items 9 and 10 also appear to be possibly related. They will "discuss the evaluation of the Chief Deputy General Manager's evaluation". Ricardo Hernandez is the Chief Deputy General Manager. He was previously a consultant for the LVWD until the position of Chief Deputy General Manager was created. Because the two are so close its not clear if items 9 and 10 are some sort of discipline for Hernandez or if they are on the agenda in the event that the Board chooses to replace Alayyan with Hernandez.

As I previously mentioned, a similar item was posted on several agendas going back to 2014 with a different employee.

Lower Valley Water District provides water and trash collection service to about 20,000 homes in the Mission Valley areas of Socorro, Sparks, San Elizario, Clint, and Cuadrilla. They are also the largest wholesale customer of El Paso Water Utilities.

More to come.

Holguin Fundraiser


As I've said before, I post any campaign announcements that are sent to me. Chairwoman Holguin is having a fundraiser later this week. 

She's been the best Chair the Party has had in years and I doubt anyone would take her on. 

Also, reminder to anyone that wants the campaign events listed, all you have to do is email them to me at thelionstarblog@gmail.com








Monday, September 25, 2017

Gringolandia

Stop saying Senator Rodriguez's statement was out of context. You're lying or stupid because it wasn't. You know who says that their statement was taken out of context?

People who said something stupid and are taking heat for it, but don't want to apologize for it.

But if you want to talk context, then I have an even bigger beef with it. The context in which the senator used the statement was essentially saying the young people leave El Paso and come back and want things better and change things to "gringolandia".

First of all, how colonized is your mind that you think better means white?

But lets talk about the term gringolandia itself. There is no context in which it isn't meant in a negative way towards white people. No one in the history of saying the word gringo, meant it in a good way. Mostly because its not a word you use with the intent of meaning it "in a good way".

I had a friend on Facebook tell me "Gringolandia isn't racist for a simple reason. A statement, in itself, isn't racist." I spit out my coffee when I read it.

Nigger.

Spic.

Kike.

Take your pick of any ugly word used toward a group of people that isn't meant to be nice. Still think a statement isn't racist in itself? Think about the reaction you had just reading those words on the screen? Saying that a statement in itself isn't racist is implying that the words have no meaning. Words have meaning, by definition. They are how we communicate.

Now you can debate how the word is used from here to across the street but the reality is, its not used as a compliment.

Change Gringolandia to Beanerville and most of us would be outraged if a Senator used that statement. Most of you throwing rocks at people that have stood up against the senator's comments and have been calling them coconuts, as a racial statement, would be the first ones condemning someone white using Beanerville in any context.

There would be no acceptable excuse.

And frankly no one reading this would be surprised if some dumbass somewhere referred to a Mexican part of town as Beanerville. But because we are used to it being done to us doesn't mean its okay for us to turn around and do the same thing we complain about.

What Rodriguez and others haven't figured out is that this being a border community, there are a lot of people with mixed heritage in the border region. In fact, here's a perfect example of why Cassandra Brown was so offended by what he said. Her kids are half-white.



I think that was the perfect response to Rodriguez, mostly because it perfectly captures the reality of life on the border.

But lets go further into what bothered me more than the very obvious racial remark. It was Rodriguez implying, based only on the fact that they disagree with him, that council is bought off by developers. Well he's either implying that money is changing hands, in which case he has an obligation to report it to law enforcement, or he is saying that its payback for campaign contributions.

The problem with that logic is that some of the same people that have donated to members of council, have also donated to Rodriguez throughout his career.

Like I said, he implies corruption because he disagrees with them. His staff does that too.

What I find troublesome about the senator doing so is the fact that he his participating in the lowering of the dialogue on important issues. Its very Trumpian.

I get it, in Washington and Austin thats how the game is played. And we all see how effective those two towns are at getting things done, amirite? Now public debate is no different than a back and forth on Facebook where its no-holds-barred, no one's mind is changed, and almost always ends in some personal insults thrown around.

Do you remember when there was actual public corruption going on in El Paso? Memmur that day the FBI windbreakers showed up at the County Courthouse? Do you know who was the County Attorney at the time?

You memmur, memmur?

It was Jose Rodriguez.

He should know what actual corruption looks like. He should know the tangible damage it did to this community. Hell he routinely got into it with Anthony Cobos when he was trying to make one of his little tanzas happen. He should be more responsible about the accusations he throws around.

Thats why I am disappointed in that article in the Texas Monthly. He undermines the public's confidence in local government without any grounds and that is irresponsible. I've always held him in high esteem and frankly as a role model. He went from being a farm worker to a state senator.

But someone who spent a career being an advocate for raza and standing up when others would make racial comments shouldn't then turn around and use them himself. There's no getting around that, explaining it away, or making excuses for that.

Look, I'm not defending white people here. They have every institutional advantage possible in every aspect of life from business to education and everything in between. They damn sure don't need me to stick up for them.

But for me, this is about raza. I'm so sick of protesters acting like they are protecting people. They aren't. If they were, they would've been the first people wanting the tenants out of bad living conditions. They should have looked at those folks living there, seen their conditions, and if they had any humanity they would've looked at them like their own elders in their own families.

They would've been fighting for better living conditions.

Instead, white people in charge of this movement (hate to break it to you guys but a white guy is in charge of your little movement, which is the irony of all ironies) parade those folks in front of council for the news cameras.

And you helped him do it. If you picture those folks like your own grandparents or parents or any family elder, you helped him use them.

But since Jose Rodriguez wants to use the term gringolandia, lets do a quick review of the situation:

The person funding their effort is a gringo named Bryan.

The guy leading the effort and lawsuit is a gringo named Grossman.

The leading supporter of the cause on council is a gringa named Annello.

The leading support of the cause at the county is a gringo named Stout.

The buildings you’re trying to save, were designed by a gringo named Trost.

Don't look now Senator, but looks like you're in .... Gringolandia!


Friday, September 22, 2017

Why Fenenbock's Voting Record Matters

I've made mention of the fact that Dori Fenenbock has a mostly Republican voting history.

The way Democrats that are supporting her are trying to reconcile that is by saying that both candidates are taking Republican money. Which is true, they are. But there's an obvious difference when one candidate, Fenenbock, took a majority of her money from out-of-town Republicans and Escobar that got a modest amount from Republicans.

And to make matters worse, Fenenbock's biggest expenditure was to an anti-gay strategist.

So its no surprise to me that Sam Morgan is supporter her. He has Republican history, but its been mostly Democratic voting history.

Dave Jones is the Chair of the Northeast Democrats. He has been public about his support for Fenenbock, which is unique in terms of chairs of Democratic Party auxiliaries. None of them have endorsed a candidate yet because their chapters haven't held endorsements yet, so that makes Jones the only chapter boss that is already supporting a candidate.

The reason chairs don't do that is because it is seen as poisoning the well for the endorsement process.

So this is why I raise this issue. Sam and Dave are both African American and they are both supporting a candidate with more Republican voting history than Democratic. And her husband was a major financial contributor to Donald Trump.

But more importantly - she didn't vote for Barack Obama...

TWICE.

Look again if you don't believe me:




Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Piss Everyone Off in One Meeting

I watch government meetings on line and I often wonder why I torture myself. It is quite often the source of my aggravation and Tuesday's council meeting was a perfect example.

First of all, to the activists...stop saying your 1st Amendment Rights were violated. They weren't and you sound stupid as hell when you say that. The reason the general public usually ignores big protests and marches is because they think most of the people at the protests and marches don't know anything, and when you say you're rights were violated because you didn't get to speak at public comment, you're confirming it.

There is no right to speak at public comment. A government body in Texas doesn't even have to have one if they don't want to and its not a violation of anything. Seriously, learn what the hell you are talking about before you say dumb shit.

That being said, seriously City Council - get your head out of your ass. Override the Mayor on this bullshit cap on public comment. Mayor Margo, let me explain something to you. You give organizers something to agitate people on when you limit public comment. Is it illegal for you to do so? Of course not.

But its a dick move and makes council look bad.

Let the people that take time out of their day speak. What does it cost or hurt you? You all wanted this job and asked voters for it. No one twisted your arms to run for office. Sit there and listen to the people. Or don't listen and look like you are. But sit your ass in your chair and face the community. This shit show of the arena is made worse because your communications is non-existent, non-strategic, reactionary, and basically sucks. Let people have their say.

You realize its hard to sustain actions like this for organizers right? You realize that very few people can give up an extended period of time for protests and such right? Aside from the fact that our country was literally founded on the spirit of protest and dissent, you guys are making a situation worse for the tax payers and easier on the organizers.

Guess what happens when you guys let everyone take as much time as they want to have their say? The media and public stop paying attention after awhile. But when you tell them they can't, now you're making yet another story related to the shit show. And you're making their fears about the city's activities at the very least, plausible.

You know what else gives organizers something to agitate people about? Cops that are being dicks. That crowd was peaceful and social media proliferation makes it impossible to say they were violent when they weren't. There was absolutely no need for a cop to play Dikembe Mutombo and swat away a pizza meant for the protesters.

Do you know how bad of a visual that is?

That shit was completely uncalled for! And which one of you dumbasses went and took pizzas to the cops? They are well payed by tax payers and can afford their own god damn lunch thank you very much. Why are you feeding them when they were probably getting overtime to play Mutombo anyway?

I mean if we had a terrorist attack and lost one of our buildings and we had cops downtown pulling rubble out of the way to save people, then hell yeah, pop for some damn pizza. But this was playing fence babysitter for a bad situation the property owners created. If anyone should've sprung for pizzas, it should've been the property owners!

Organizers - seriously has no one ever professionally trained you? You don't need to fill the room with public commenters for council to get the message. Thats strictly ego masturbation on your part. You just want to see yourself on television and its all theater. If you're going to organize, do it right. Phone bank and email the shit out of the elected officials. Trust me, spending your time getting people from all over the city to call their city rep about the issue is far more effective than having you all caged in to one small area and far easier to sustain.

If you really want to be effective, you fight the battle at the ballot box. You MAKE electeds do your bidding by winning elections. But guess what? You tried, and the electorate didn't give a shit. Max Grossman isn't any better at leading campaigns than he is including property owners in TROs.

You can't even really say that you have the voice of the people on your side of this issue either because, well you don't. 70% of the people voted for the quality of life bonds. They wanted the investment.

If you're going to argue about how few people turned out for the election or how they weren't voting on a downtown location thats a losing argument. If people were against it, they would've come out and voted against it. You know what that means? It means something you already know because its your biggest problem as organizers...people mostly don't give a shit.

Which is why Mayor Margo is an organizers wet dream. A rich white Republican telling poor brown people they can't speak about a public issue. That is how you get people who don't care about an issue, to suddenly care. Because it stops being about a significant investment made by the voters of El Paso and becomes class warfare.

Wake up Mayor Margo, this is El Paso. Everyone can identify with the poor and the little guy. And in politics, the two things most likely to move someone on an issue are fear and anger.

You are hitting both notes very happily Mayor.

Border Network for Human Rights...seriously, just sit down. Seriously where the hell were you guys when the residents, you know the ones Max Grossman used at first but now aren't around, were living in terrible living conditions? Now its a community issue? Sorry but you guys lost credibility when you wouldn't even stand up for immigrants in our own county jail.

Bishop Seitz, with all due respect Your Excellency, but what is the Catholic culture issue involved here? I fail to see how its a Catholic issue for an arena but spending local dollars to incarcerate undocumented immigrants in the County Jail isn't - despite the fact that His Holiness has repeatedly preached about immigration reform and to the best of my knowledge, hasn't taken a position on El Paso's downtown arena.

Rant over. And get off my lawn!

The Story of a Judge's Voting History; Where's GG's?

I check voting history of candidates. Its usually the first thing I check when someone files for office.

I do that because you never know what you're going to find. Like the former appointed County Commissioner who had never voted in the Precinct she was appointed to represent, or municipal candidates that had Republican voting history, or Dori Fenenbock who has almost nothing but Republican voting history.

Oh yeah, fun story later today about that tie-in, but you'll have to come back later for that.

But this post is not about what I found in Judge Gonzalo "GG" Garcia's voting history.

This post is about what I COULDN'T find in Judge Gonzalo Garcia's voting history.

I couldn't find ANY voting history for GG at all.

Zip.

Zilch.

Nada.

That is extremely unusual for a guy who has been in office a really long time, but maybe not all that unusual considering he's never really had to campaign for the job. Now that he is in a campaign against Judge Monique Velarde for the seat, its going to be interesting to see how his lack of voting history plays out.

I checked every announced candidate or incumbent who's election cycle is up and this is a unique situation because he's the only candidate who fits this scenario this election cycle. Actually, he's the only candidate I've ever seen that fits this scenario and I've been doing this for a decade now.

This all started because the El Paso County Democratic Party also does the same thing now, which I think they probably started in the last mayoral election. So I came across this chart the other night that is posted on the Party website and I thought it was a mistake because its an excel table and not official data.


I just assumed it was an error in the chart and was gonna do the Party a solid and look him up on VAN and send a screenshot of his voting history so they could populate their chart.

That's when things got weird.

Here's a screenshot of a search I did of all the Gonzalo Garcia's in El Paso County. There are a total of 8 people with that name. This is the same search I always do. I start with the name and I verify I have the right person with the address they used to file or the phone number or their age.


Problem is, I can't find any address, phone number, or anything else to verify which is the correct GG. I know its not the guy in Tornillo for sure because, well its Tornillo and everyone knows everyone and I happen to know that Mr. Garcia. I also know the vato from Socorro. But their ages are way off, and I think all the above ages are way off. The closest I think is the gentleman that is 53, but I think that is too young to be the judge.

Nearest I can guess is that because he's a judge, he has had all of his personal information off the internet scrubbed. Judges can have that done and it makes sense, its a potential safety issue. I don't know of any other judge that has done so locally, but I know its something that can be done. I think cops can have it done too.

But the problem is we elect judges and when you run in an all Democratic town, well its impossible to get passed the question of whether or not you've voted Democrat in the past. I can't find anything to show that he has voting history in the Democratic Party.

This is where process gets interesting because the Democratic Party has been involved in legal proceedings in the recent past over whether or not someone should be on the ballot and the Party turned out to be wrong according to the 8th Court of Appeals.

Normally the Party verifies someone is a Democrat and is eligible to run as a Democrat by checking their voting history. Not sure if the issue was raised the last time he ran for office and at the time it was under the late Chairman Maya. It is quite possible this has never been an issue because he's never been in a contested race so no one would go snooping around for a voting history other than nosey bloggers like myself. And frankly, I didn't start checking Loddi Dotti and Everybody until recently myself.

So what happens when someone has no voting history or was previously a Republican? Well they have to sign a document that is basically an Oath of Allegiance. So it looks like GG will have to demonstrate his voting history or take the Oath of Allegiance.

Its not something he can't overcome or something that will prohibit him from being on the ballot. Frankly its a little thing.

But the optics are bad.

Voters will wonder if he is actually a Democrat with no voter history to look at. They will wonder if he every voted for himself, which I assume that he has, but without a voting record, you don't really know for sure.

Actually, why bother voting for yourself if you've never had an opponent. These are questions a reasonable voter will wonder about in the absence of anything that verifies he's got history voting in their Party. I mean of all the information you want to disappear from the internet, why would you want your voting history, as a candidate, to not be accessible?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Lower Valley Water District GM Under Fire

Lower Valley Water District General Manager Jack Alayyan faced a personnel issue at the last board meeting and the Board took no action on the item. Here's a link to the agenda item.

A source close to the situation alleges that there is an allegation of sexual harassment at issue. It was not clear what, if any, personnel action was taken against Alayyan.

A different source indicates that the Lower Valley Water District has allegedly already had to pay out more than $50,000 in settlements related to the Alayyan on another case related to sexual harassment.

The Lower Valley Water District is funded by the fees collected from areas they service including Socorro, San Eli, and Clint and other areas in the lower valley and a tax rate set by their board.

So their customers and tax payers are paying for this bill.

Lewis V. Stout II

So it appears that a rubber match may be in place for the County Commissioner Precinct 2 seat. Stout has been giving every indication that he is running for County Judge, mostly by jumping in front of anyone with a camera (including tourists) and commenting on just about anything under the sun that isn't in his lane.

But on social media he has a fundraiser titled David Stout for Precinct 2, although in the description he does leave open the door for a run at County Judge because he uses the phrase "next campaign cycle" instead of re-election and also talks about discussing "all the great work we've done so far in Precinct 2, as well as future plans..."

Also, if Stout isn't running for County Judge, that race just got even more boring - but coincidentally I hear a little rumor about another potential County Judge candidate that will change everything. More on that later.

Here's a screen shot I took from the Facebook event:


 

All the great work huh...

Apparently its going to be a short speech because I struggle to identify anything meaningful that Stout has accomplished. I mean he spent most of the term ducking around with Ascarate.

Lewis, well he has the same problem. What has Lewis accomplished?

Neither Commissioner Lewis nor Commissioner Stout have ever really been involved in a major policy initiative at the County, which is going to be a big challenge for them. Neither of them have a signature achievement while they were the Commissioner and suffered from being either in the minority or out-shined by other more effective members of the Court.

But now they both have a unique opportunity to articulate some sort of platform or policy direction, though I'm not optimistic that either of them will.

Here's a really succinct way to characterize the choice voters are going to have in front of them:

Commissioner Lewis that basically just said "no" to everything...

or

Commissioner Stout who basically just said "yes" to everything the Judge asked of him.

The problem for Stout is going to be where is he gonna go for campaign help? I mean he could probably go back to Chris Hernandez, but Hernandez is working on Fenenbock's campaign after leaving fellow Republican David Saucedo's campaign. Hernandez has no problem working multiple campaigns at the same time, other than winning them.

Being a sitting county commissioner is going to be hard for Stout to campaign because he needed every single minute of block walking to defeat Lewis last time.

Lewis doesn't know how to campaign effectively, so this race, if it actually materializes is going to be one of the more entertaining ones to watch.

Unless a Latino/a candidate gets in the race.

Then they are both screwed.

Lewis will have to go back to poetry and Stout will have to go back to the Kentucky club.

Breaking: Sergio Lewis Announces Bid for Precinct 2

Former County Commissioner Sergio Lewis has announced his bid to get his seat back on Commissioners Court. The seat is currently held by David Stout who is likely to run for County Judge.

Stout is holding out for announcing which seat he is going to run for, either County Judge or for re-election until closer to the filing deadline because of the resign to run clause. The Commissioner will likely want to get paid as long as possible.

Lewis’ press release cites holding the line on taxes, limited spending, and support for law enforcement as his successes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Socorro in Crisis; Mayor Tested

Socorro Mayor Elia Garcia
The City of Socorro is in a crisis of confidence with the community. It's as bad as the days of Jesse Gandara because the governance hasn't proved to be much different over the last year.

The floods that ravaged the town are analogous to their turbulent, and at times, destructive leadership in the County's second-biggest municipality over the last year.

They have a screwed up charter and ordinances because previous administrations have used them as tools to settle scores and minimize their opposition.

They have a new young Latina mayor who is an attorney, Elia Garcia. They have one more set of elections in November that will set the trajectory for the city for the next couple of years and there can finally be some common sense and strategic thinking in charge, or it can be more of the same failed leadership that has plagued that community for so long.

There is yet another agenda item that shows once again, the agenda for city council meetings is where people settle scores rather than think of common-sense solutions for the good of the community they serve.

I long for the days when I can stop writing about the circus of Socorro and the clown car that is their city council meetings.

Mayor Garcia has a unique opportunity to inspire a little confidence in the people that elected her by ensuring her political allies don't continue to use the city council meeting agendas as their personal tool for political payback. Because that is what is happening now.

Because of Jesse Gandara, the mayor's office has almost no power. They don't even have the power to veto and they vote only in the case of a tie, which almost never happens because Socorro has an even number of districts plus an "At-Large" City Rep, which means its usually an odd number and a tie is pretty rare.

But she can and should use the power of personal influence.

The agenda item reflects on her and looks like she is directing an ally to settle the score of an old contract she was competing for. An agenda item related to a contract she was competing for will be interpreted in no other way than political payback.

Socorro has had enough of that kind of government. Socorro needs to stop governing from emotions and vendettas, and govern from the stand point of common sense solutions to the many problems facing the community.

Socorro needs a strategic plan. Socorro needs a mutually agreed upon policy agenda and plan focused on problem-solving.

Socorro doesn't need more flawed personalities making decisions under the guise of being for the citizens when its really just a political payback. That is what has plagued that community for so many years.

Socorro needs change, not more of the same. Ralph Duran will have to face voters for once again in November for using the agenda to settle scores, but this is where the Mayor can right the ship.

And she has an obligation to, because she promised voters that she'd be different.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Three Candidates Thinking About Challenging Incumbents

So over the last two days I have heard that three different people might be considering a bid to take on three incumbents in the court house.

All three of the potential candidates are women.

Well one candidate probably drawing an opponent is in a court house, just not the main county courthouse. Rebecca Bustamante has been talked about as a probable opponent for Jesus Urenda, the JP out on the eastside. Bustamante is an actual attorney, which is rare in JP races. John John Chatman in JP 5 already has an opponent, also a Latina. Male JPs are going to be particularly vulnerable in the primary because a lot of women are going to be voting - primarily because of the congressional race which will mean that El Paso is going to have its first female member of congress.

Bustamante has been involved in the Party and in politics for many years and if she decided to run, you'd have to see her as a pretty strong favorite to unseat Urenda, who has been primarily worried about a challenge from Mayela Mejia, who recently confirmed she wouldn't be running against him.

I was annoyed that Judge Maria Salas-Mendoza was having a fundraiser when she didn't have an opponent because I have always looked at candidates that do that as selfish because there is only so much money on the table in El Paso elections. I didn't honestly think anyone was dumb enough to take her on because she's a young judge, smart, well-liked and her court is pretty drama free. Kind of the polar opposite of Judge Gonzalo Garcia who I'll be writing an interesting post about soon.

Anywho, word around the courthouse is that there is one candidate who is thinking of taking on Salas-Mendoza but that appears to be more of a personal beef. I think discretion is the better part of valor and after Salas-Mendoza's fundraiser last night, which was by far the biggest turnout I've seen in a while, the rumored opponent might want to sit the bench for this one.

Finally, Norma Favela is rumored to have an opponent as well. There have been morale issues in that office for years - they hate the over the top Halloween stuff they have to do every year and they hate that they get pressured to show up to vote for Favela in the favorite elected official category of Whats Up Magazine, which she proudly displays on the window to the entrance of the District Clerk's office. Come on, you didn't think people actually voted for a District Clerk to be their favorite did you? Of course she had people go and vote for her, most of you reading this don't even know what her office does and you're political!

Her opponent is still mulling things over but there's a budget waiting for the rumored opponent from what I'm told.

I'll drop more names as I'm able to confirm them.

Yawn...County Judge Race

Seems like lately there is a universal complaint about the lack of good candidates running for office. Hell that is pretty much all we heard out of the presidential race is a bunch of people, Yours Truly included, that held their nose for their candidate.

In the recent mayoral election I undervote because I just couldn't vote for either Republican, Dee Margo or Beyonce's stunt double David Saucedo...

Quick side bar - the minute he showed up at the protest at Duranguito the protesters started lighting up my phone about him showing up in those maaaaassss puuu sunglasses.

They couldn't understand why he was even there but once they saw him go live on Facebook they collectively rolled their eyes.

But those glasses David, come one man, no mames.

What I was REALLY surprised I didn't see and I found out later why, was Dori Fenenbock show up in the People's BMW with a bullhorn, the huelga flag, Bowie Bakery bread and some tamales from Gussie's for the protesters. I mean if you're going to be patronizing, go all the way I always say! Hell I'm expecting her to be wearing traditional Mexican dress, a sombrero, carrying a bottle of tequila today and haciendo el grito to show how much she loves our culture.

Anywho, back to the County Judges race. See, its so boring I can't even stay on the subject!

So Commissioner Stout is going to eventually resign to run for County Judge - or ambassador to Juarez, I haven't figured out which yet. But he will mistakenly wait until the very last minute to resign to run. Which will either trigger a special election or he'll do it in a way that someone he likes will have just enough time to slide right on in. In the mean time, he'll be visiting every girl scout lemonade stand and gathering of video cameras to jump in front of between now and then.

That leaves Samaniego, Cook, and the one I hadn't noticed until the other night, Laura Enriquez.

Samaniego seems nice, but he's 100% relying on name ID and that is actually a mixed bag. I haven't heard a single thing from him that sounds remotely close to a policy position. But its early and I haven't started interviewing candidates and haven't seen any forums yet, so the jury is still out on him.

Mayor Cook has a long track record in office. He was a great campaigner when he ran last time for mayor and he upset Joe Wardy. But you know what he's terrible at? Taking selfies! Geez, the Party should pay for some teenage girl with a bunch of selfies on her instagram to give them all a class on taking selfies. The only policy position on County Government from Cook was when he spoke during public comment and I didn't agree with his position, and County Government is COMPLETELY different from City Government, but I agree with him on some things too. Jury is still out on him too.

Laura Enriquez is the only woman running so far and I think women are going to be pretty successful in this primary. Her biggest issue is that no one knows who she is (in the electorate, not the legal community) and she's gonna have a hard time raising money. But if she has a decent field program, really works on messaging/policy and some name ID, she could be a contender given the field.

So far this is a snoozer race.

Commissioner Leon could have saved us from this torturous race! Someone start a Draft Leon bid...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hypocrisy: The Reyes Report

A frequent reader of the LSB sent me a screenshot that I obviously found very interesting. And by interesting, I mean hilariously hypocritical. Former Congressman Sylvestre Reyes posted this on Facebook and there were so many things that flooded into my brain when I read it.

First, the same people that were pissed that Beto O'Rourke used the name Beto instead of Robert are the same people completely okay with Dori Fenenbock using the term ¡Si Se Puede!

The same people that express pride in our culture, our raza, and our gente, the same people that want Latinos is positions of influence, are going to support a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, rich white woman.

Which is fine with me, but it makes me laugh when I hear them stroke themselves about how brown they are.

The other thing that makes me laugh is how he's not only blaming the demolition on Escobar, but how he talked about her handing out with Republicans. Now I'm not sure exactly what he's talking about, but this is the same guy who just a few days ago introduced Dori Fenenbock as a candidate for Congress and told Republicans to cross over and vote for her.

The guy who lost in part, because Republicans crossed over and voted against him.

The woman that has a mostly Republican voting record herself. And the woman who's largest expenditure was to an anti-gay consultant.

But the part that is most interesting to me was his use of one word...

CORRUPTION.

Why?

Because its more than a little ironic that a former congressman who left office amid the specter of an ethics investigation is leveling the claim of corruption against anyone.

Oh yeah, you memmer, memmer?

The then-Congressman Reyes was accused of a wide-range of things that would be considered corrupt including allegedly breaking federal law by allegedly holding "campaign meetings on House property", and allegedly "misusing campaign funds to pay for certain expenses related to his daughter's residence" according to this report from the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Click here to read the report and the supporting documents.

The Office of Congressional Ethics Board was made up of 6 members and by a unanimous vote they recommended that the House Committee on Ethics "further review the above allegation concerning whether Representative Reyes improperly used campaign funds to pay for certain expenses related to his daughter’s residence because there is a substantial reason to believe that a violation of House rules, standards of conduct, or federal law occurred."

The House Committee on Ethics never heard the case because the recommendation from the Office of Congressional Ethics Board came in November 2012. Reyes had already lost to Beto O'Rourke in the Primary and O'Rourke had already won the general election. 

Reyes and his supporters still haven't gotten over the 2012 loss. At this point they never will. 

So Ol' Silver and his congressional ethics investigation and Dori Fenenbock and the alleged bid-rigging scheme are kind of the last two people who should be throwing the word "corruption" around.

Next time you hear Fenenbock talk about a "change", remember who her campaign Chairman is. Remember that she did what Reyes did, she hired his family for her campaign. Thats not change, its just more of the same. 

Jaime Barceleau Replaced as Precinct Chair

Jaime Barceleau was replaced as a Precinct Chair last night. It was because he hasn't done anything for the precinct since he lost the election for City Council.

I told you that was going to happen.

I told you that he was only running for the seat because he was running for office.

All of you that he gave literature to and shook hands with when you were at the polling place and he was there making promises to you about how much he cares about the area...yeah, look how long that happened. Replaced just a couple months after the election by the woman who has been doing the work in that precinct for years, Isela Castañon-Williams.

Remember that about him. Because its part of the reason that no one trusts politicians. He swore an oath and he failed to fulfill the oath he took.

Downtown Demolition

Okay let me lay things out as I understand them about the downtown demolition that happened yesterday.

There was a court order that went into place on September 11th in the afternoon. That was a result of a court case filed by Max Grossman. The Court granted an 11th hour Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that would stop the City of El Paso from continuing with demolition.

So here is the part you need to pay attention to because there is definitely a screw up and definitely a bad guy here for everyone to be mad at.

The City of El Paso doesn't own the property yet. Its still owned by the property owners and the City is still trying to acquire the land. They property owners don't get paid for the property until the demolition is complete, which makes sense because its a cost savings for the tax payers and it avoids the scenario of there being some kind of court case that leaves the city stuck with property it can't do anything with and blighted buildings.

Grossman screwed up. He mentions the City of El Paso in the case, but didn't mention the property owners. The Court granted the TRO and the City had to halt their process and comply with the order.

But the land owners already had a demolition permit for their buildings. This is the part where people erroneously blame the City. The City probably doesn't have the authority to just revoke a demolition permit once its granted unless they had cause, otherwise the City would be getting sued all the damn time for pulling a permit because land owners put money into demolition projects.

Heres some basic facts and sequence of events:

***The property owners own the land, not the City. 

***The property owners had a demolition permit that was legally acquired when everything was green lighted. 

***A TRO is granted by the Court but the property owners aren't covered in the order because Max Grossman didn't enjoin them in the order. The central case he's making is that the City didn't comply with a Texas law before proceeding. His case wasn't against the property owners. He wasn't alleging they did anything wrong, he was alleging the City of El Paso did. 

***The City, probably knowing they didn't have the legal authority to stop the property owners (because this is Texas and property owners have a lot of rights to their own stuff) asked the attorney representing the property owners to halt demolition because the City was going to comply with the letter and spirit of the order. 

***The City asked because they didn't have the authority to TELL them. 

***The land owner, knowing there was a TRO in place, having been asked to not proceed with demolition, went ahead and started anyway. 

You know how I know that the City didn't screw up here and the screw up was with Max Grossman?

Because no one was held in contempt of court. 

As much as people want to read into the language of the order, the order doesn't say what it wants them to say. After reading news reports, which I highly recommend people do so that they get informed on the basic facts, the residents were originally part of the action that Team Grossman was requesting relief for, and somewhere along the line, Team Grossman or the Court didn't include them in the emergency ruling the Court issued on Monday.

Is the property owner that saw the big giant loophole and drove a front loader right through it an asshole? If you ask me, yes. It was a dick move to start the demolition, even though at the end of the day its his shit and he can do what he wants with it.

Was he violating the Court's order? Not if he wasn't named in it.

There is a rush for people to say, Well the City should have revoked the permit when they got the order and they didn't, therefore they are violating the order. 

Okay, under what authority? You want the government to just suddenly invent authority it doesn't have because someone else screwed up?

The property owner knew about the Court Order. The City advised the attorney representing the property owners that there was a Court Order in place and requested that the property owner comply with the order even though they weren't named.

The City explained they were going to comply and took the extra step of asking the property owner to comply.

The property owner knew all of this and proceeded anyway. Thats the guy we should all be mad at. And frankly, Lizarraga needs to do more than just put an item that revokes permits - thats already been done by the Courts.

She should put an item on the agenda making the property owner reimburse the taxpayers for the police they had to have there to maintain order.

Also, shoutout to the media that covered this story all day. I know its all the fashion these days to trash journalists but they reacted quickly to a breaking story and they used all the tools in their toolbox to bring you the stories throughout the day, including their social media.

Good hustle. I know that people on both sides of this issue think you're supposed to be their mouthpiece for their position, but if they are all pissed at you, then you're doing your job.

Also, shout out to former City Rep Eddie Holguin for bringing pizzas and water out to the protesters that were exercising their first amendment rights to free speech. He risked getting arrested to make sure he "fed the troops" as it were.

Also to the police for keeping order.

So now the correct order is in place. Now if the property owner proceeds, he will be held in contempt.

Commissioner David Stout...

We get it, you're running for County Judge...enough already...