Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Bad News About the Mayoral Election

The funny and sad thing about this election is that it might be the first time that the mayoral candidates were so shitty that they suppressed voter turnout in other races.

Seriously, how bad are things when a guy who has never won an election like Jeremy Jordan is actually getting paid to be a political consultant? I mean what would you pay the guy for, being douchey and not knowing anything about campaigns? If they pay people for not knowing anything about campaigning then they should hire Daniel Lopez.

Anywho, I was thinking about who I am going to vote for in the mayoral election since early voting has started. After long thought and deep consideration I have finally made up my mind.

Willie Cager.

He's the only candidate I can vote for and still look myself in the mirror. Emma Acosta has a demonstrated track record of being bad for El Paso - and now calling the undocumented "illegal" has sunk her to a new low.

No self-respecting Democrat who believes in the values and principles of the Democratic Party should vote for her after that.

Dee Margo, two words - Freedom Fence. Two more words, Riff-raff and illegals.

David Saucedo - dangerously unqualified, arrogant, out-of-touch, and a failure at anything related to finance of large sums of money. Of all the candidates, he's the worst for El Paso.

Elisa Morales - hasn't really lived in El Paso in her adult life. You shouldn't vote for people that just moved back to El Paso or the district for the sake of running for office.

So why have I decided to vote for Cager? Simple.

The kids.

See what I did there? Just kidding. I'm voting for Cager because all the candidates suck, they are an embarrassment to El Paso and I'd seriously hate to see any of them sitting in the middle at council meetings.

At least I can say that Willie Cager has done something positive for El Paso. Also, he let me see his two rings.

And now here is the point to the title of this post. The bad news (scary if you ask me) is that while its pretty much universally agreed that this pack of mayoral candidates are the worst to run for anything, including a Socorro mayoral election...

...someone has to actually win.

Holy shitty candidates Batman, someone has to win!

It honestly keeps me up at night knowing one of these fools is going to be the mayor.

I don't think I can stomach that. And I have a lot of stomach.

And now, fun with signs.

This first one is just funny.

Also, you can't put up a campaign sign on anything funded by the public.

You too Dee Margo, Riverside Middle is also funded by the taxpayers.

Morgan's Mammoth Mistake

Sam Morgan really messed up and then compounded the mistake by messing up even worse.

And frankly, it doesn't bode well for his demeanor which is already a major problem on council.

District 4 candidate Sam Morgan appears to have paid his rent for his business using campaign funds according to a recent article in the El Paso Times. To read the story, click this link.

The problem is that its a violation of campaign laws to do so if he indeed did you the campaign funds to pay for his rent. However, if he rented an entirely different space that just happened to be in the same building, that would be a different story.

It would lead to questions about why he didn't indicate it was a different office in the same building on his report, and a reporter might have asked to see a copy of a lease or something, and he might have had to explain why it was only two months rent when leases usually aren't made for two months, but its also not unheard of.

But instead he did something worse - he tipped his hand that he at least thinks something might have been wrong with what he did because when he was reached by the reporter, "Morgan declined to comment and hung up when asked if he used campaign money to pay himself rent."

Its hard to see how he had a legit campaign office at his business in a separate suite at the same location when his business isn't even in the district he's campaigning to represent. I don't recall someone setting up a campaign headquarters that isn't in the area they are running in.

El Paso Mayoral candidates don't have their campaign headquarters in Socorro. Although they do mail to Socorro apparently.

Morgan hanging up and refusing to answer questions about the issue was literally the dumbest thing he could have done. Its entirely possible that he rented another room there at that building. I've been there, its entirely possible.

But refusing to answer and then hanging up isn't what someone does when they have rented another suite on the up-and-up. Morgan missed a real opportunity to explain to the people he wants to represent what the deal was with the expenditure.

Now he's given his opponents something concrete to use to tag his integrity. And trust me, after how Morgan pushed a story against Diana Ramos not having lived in the district very long, I doubt she's gonna pull any punches now that she has something to hit back with. Trustworthiness has been a big issue to voters in the northeast after the string of recent scandals at city hall.

Morgan - in yet another example of candidates screwing themselves with self-inflicted wounds - has given voters something to question. He had been walking a bit of a tightrope since he decided to cut his hair to run for office. He loved the media attention that day, which was probably the most blatant way to pander to voters that I can recall in a local election in years.

But he also was rolling the dice with his credibility when he came out agains the downtown arena location due to pressure from people like Max Grossman, while simultaneously implying his support for Emma Acosta by referring to her as "future mayor" and taking a now-controversial campaign donation from Dee Margo, both of whom support the current location of the downtown arena.

This issue draws a bright red line underneath credibility now. Especially because hanging up on someone isn't the act of a steady, even-handed leader. Its something my teenaged daughter does when she's mad at one of her friends. And Morgan's temperament has been seething from day one - I wrote a long time ago about the tone his attack on Diana Ramos and how he seemed annoyed anyone had decided to run against him for the D4 seat.

And it was avoidable. All Morgan had to do was simply answer the question and the story would've been a short blurb no-one remembers.

The question for his opponents is what do they do with the mistake? I'd expect it to be on a piece of mail out to voters before election day.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is political karma coming back to haunt a candidate...

Saucedo Takes Mayoral Debate on Xtra

Margo on the defensive. Saucedo said something stupid (shocker). Emma referred to the undocumented as "illegal" (genuinely a shocker).

Thats pretty much how the debate on ABC 7 Xtra went last night. Not a lot of time to get through a lot of information with three mayoral candidates but the result was interesting nonetheless.

Emma Acosta's presence was almost forgotten. Several times during the debate I forgot she was there until they changed the camera angle. That is her job as a candidate to make sure she's at least putting up a fight and chiming in on issues. She completely failed at that and ended up using the word "illegal" to describe the undocumented.

It was shameful and embarrassing. And you can tell all the apologists for her on social media because they are the life-long Democrats making excuses for her use of the term - taking away our ability to be critical of those candidates that have used that ignorant term.

But with Margo and Saucedo in the race, maybe her strategy is to shut up and let those two talk because they more they say, the worse they sound.

Both Saucedo and Acosta were effective in attacking Margo for his comments on the border wall, or as he likes to call it, the Freedom Fence. I thought Margo did a good job early trying to reframe himself as someone who is against the extremist type positions often seen from the GOP on immigration, however he was unquestionably on the defensive trying to explain his comments.

And as I have said several times before - in politics, when you're explaining, you're losing.

Before I go on, let me state clearly that I think David Saucedo did what he set out to do, which was go after Margo and paint him as two things, a) a racist and b) paint him to be ineffective.

I think Saucedo is completely unqualified for office, incompetent and wouldn't have a job if it weren't working for his family, and completely incapable of taking responsibility for mistakes while being quick to take credit for something. But - I think he did what he was set out to do and why I think he did the best of the three candidates.

But he wasn't without his major mistakes. The biggest of them was trying to downplay an obviously devastating story to his campaign, which was the story about the campaign finance and filing problems he has, which I'll get into in another post.

The story came out in Sunday's edition of the El Paso Times - front page, above the fold on the day before early voting starts. By any measure, that was a well-played story drop.

Saucedo also made some nonsensical remark about how the El Paso Times endorsement doesn't mean anything, actually calling the endorsement the kiss of the death. Apparently no one in his camp is able to stand up to him and tell him the Emperor Has No Clothes.

Saucedo really opened a can of worms when asked about the Boys & Girls' Club incident. He tried to turn the question around to Dee Margo and challenge his philanthropy by asking where his donation to the Boys & Girls Club.

Wait a minute...he asked Dee Margo whey he didn't try to help fix Saucedo's fuck up? I'm no Margo fan but that guy gives a lot of money to charity. I know Saucedo likes to have a camera follow him around and stage shots in Segundo Barrio to give the impression he spends a lot of time there but if there wasn't a camera man around, Saucedo wouldn't be able to even find Bowie Bakery. Margo has a huge coat drive every single year and has been doing it for years. And that is just the project he spearheads. I know he gives a lot of money to charity around town, so it was a stupid and emotional response on the part of Saucedo.

Certainly not a mayoral temperament.

When the Boys & Girls Club got into some trouble, the board members opened their wallets to help out. They each made personal financial commitments. Did Saucedo? What has he even contributed to them during the last ten years he was a board member?

And remember how he said everything was all sunshine and rainbows when he left? Well I spoke to yeah ANOTHER former member of the board who tells me that there was a mass exodus of 5 members of the board when Saucedo started pushing for his friend and fellow Cathedral Alum Dr. Joseph Villescas to be the Executive Director. 5 board members resigned in one day.

What Saucedo seemed to be trying to do was to compare himself to the two opponents and say they are part of a system problem we have in this town of failed leadership and what we need in this town is new blood. He should have rattled off a few of each of their failures in office and talk about how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result and that the only choice in this election is do we continue on the same path of failed leadership provided by Margo and Acosta, or do we blaze a different trail with new blood.

That is how they should've been framing his candidacy from the beginning. Now its too late too, but if they start to frame him that way, I should send them an invoice.

Monday, April 24, 2017

D7 Race Analysis

The D7 race was the last one live streamed on KTSM and it was interesting because it exposed Henry Rivera for being extremely weak on policy. Rivera rarely makes forum appearances, I have been looking for the guy to show up at a forum but his new wife Dora Oaxaca keeps him under pretty tight wraps.

When he has a scripted answer Rivera is able to stumble and stammer his way to an attack on Limón but his presentation kills his own attack lines. It was painful to watch. When he's asked a question Dora hasn't given him the script for, its a disaster and he never knows the answer. The comment section was great because Rivera's supporters were all over it, although I was disappointed that I handed my number out and none of them called me like they said they were...

Anywho, I saw that he and Emma Acosta's campaign were teaming up in the valley over the weekend (Dora Oaxaca runs both campaigns) and trying to leave material for both campaigns. That is the dumbest thing an organizer can do. It never works and it usually leads to disaster. Each candidate is automatically perceived to be part of a "ticket" and you take on the baggage of the other campaign. Point is, its hard enough to get your message to "stick" with a voter during your very limited time at the door with them, its even harder when you have to try to do it for two people.

Its usually a sign of desperation or laziness.

That being said, Rivera sent a really effective mail piece recently that was pretty negative toward Limón. The biggest problem for Rivera to try to overcome is the fact that he has low name-ID. He's tried to remedy that by posting signs all over the place but I think someone should show him where the district boundaries are because he has a lot of them that are pretty far out of the district.

Get a map Dora, they are pretty cheap at the courthouse.

Bottom line is yes, Limón is vulnerable. She's got some issues that should concern her campaign, but she's in a one-on-one race with someone with no name ID and his union didn't even endorse him. Watch for early voting numbers, if Limón is ahead, look for it to stay that way throughout the night.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why No Endorsement Makes Sense

I don't understand why some of you got your chones in a bunch over the fact that the El Paso Times chose not to endorse candidates in a couple of races. It makes no sense. Do you people live under a rock?

Pretty much the only people on planet earth that don't understand that prevailing thought of most of the electorate is that all the candidates basically suck is the Saucedo campaign.

The mayoral candidates are basically un-endorsable. Lets do a quick run through of the major candidates:

Emma Acosta - she's accomplished basically nothing other than to advocate for an obscene pay raise to City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, led the push for Larry Romero to keep cashing a tax-payer funded pay check while he was out on a golfing trip even though he wasn't going to work anymore and tried to make government less open to the people. The one factor that is getting her any votes, she's a Democrat.

David Saucedo - Seriously, there is a level of dumbfuckery in his campaign that can't even be articulated. How many issues does one candidate have to have related to money before the electorate wake-up and realize how insanely unqualified for the office the guys is?

Dee Margo - Two words, Freedom Fence.

There are other candidate in the race but none of them are viable based on things like name ID, campaign funds, etc. so its not surprising that none of them were considered for the endorsement. Hell Jaime O. Perez has so little traction in this race, even by his very, very, very, very low standards that even I haven't taken the time to even write about him.

And when even bloggers don't write about you...you're seriously hard up for attention - which is why he is now resorting to campaign for office by protesting. Although one guy showing up and complaining about not be included in debates probably isn't much of a protest. Its more of just the ending of the movie Say Anything.

District 7 had no endorsement either. Its easy to think its a shot at Limón because she's the incumbent. But its actually says a lot more about Henry Rivera more so than Limón. Why? Because even having an investigation hanging over her head right now, Rivera still can't convince people that he is even remotely qualified for the position. Not only did his own union not endorse him, but the Times didn't endorse him when his opponent has an active investigation going on. The fact that he has almost no understanding of policy what so ever was PAINFULLY obvious during the debates streamed on Facebook by KTSM recently. Any question that Dora Oaxaca hadn't scripted an answer for Rivera was a complete disaster. Think about it, in District 2 Tolbert also has an investigation hanging over his head and the Times had no problem endorsing someone else.

Which leads me to the endorsement of Alexsandra Annello over Jim Tolbert. Think about it, Tolbert has been in office a short time and has taken a huge a huge nose-dive in popularity in such a short time. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't have been in office long enough to have pissed anyone off to not deserve the endorsement. It'll be interesting to see what is crack team of communications specialists comes up with next.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ay, Ay!

In one photo the reason people think Saucedo is a cocky douche-bag is perfectly captured.

I don't recall a mayoral candidate ever doing this before.

It underscores that his entire campaign is centered around his ego and narcissistic attitude.

Whether it was his boxing commercial with the weird luchador, this magazine cover, or how he constantly refers to when he gets elected, not if he's elected, he will be the youngest in the history of El Paso and the youngest Latino mayor of a major American city.

Me, me, me, me.

And that crystalizes my frustration with this election. There is no candidate who's basic message is you, you, you, you.

We need a people-centered mayor, not an entitled child of privilege with a messiah complex.

Tolbert's Lies & Weird Mailer

Its the most bizarre mailer I've ever seen. One side, is downright creepy. The other side is downright silly.

Embattled City Rep Jim Tolbert, who may end up being re-elected despite a cloud hanging over his head with an on-going criminal investigation by law enforcement.

Okay lets start with the weird side. What is with putting a picture of your opponents, and then not putting a picture of your opponents by blurring them out? Thats not me blurring them out by the way. It was sent out like that!

Also, how much of a hypocrite is Tolbert? He was a blogger himself!

What are they in the witness protection program or something?

So weird.

This is when campaign staff should save the candidate from themselves.

Then there is the other side.

You should wear boots to protect your feet from all the bullshit falling off of that side of the mailer. For the life of me I don't know how he can say some of the stuff he says with a straight face. Several times he talks about factions, not being a puppet, and how someone else was recruited to fill someone else's agenda.

Can we just tell the truth here?

He talking about Susie Byrd.

He's mad because Susie Byrd isn't supporting him anymore. Now when he ran last time he was perfectly happy to take her help and be part of her "faction". That support isn't there anymore and NOW he has a problem with factions and agendas? Seriously, that is some next-level hypocrisy.

I can't even comprehend how he can go there.

But it gets better...

If you'll take note of the part that I circled..."has been and always will be in full compliance with all transparency rules..."


It takes a lot of balls to have the title be The Truth & The Facts and then proceed to put a lot of stuff that is just flat-out false.

Seriously Jim...everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but YOU ADMITTED YOU DELETED TEXT MESSAGES. We don't have to wait for the investigation by law enforcement to know that you haven't been and always will be in full compliance blah blah blah...because you yourself admitted you did something that is not in full compliance with transparency rules.

Thats not counting the fact that there are text messages that show, allegedly, that you were made aware of how many members of council were at that now-infamous meeting...and you still wanted to be there.

And its not counting the video of you all going into city hall and the mayor's office.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Morgan's Margo Money

Morgan took $500 check from Republican Mayoral candidate Dee Margo
For some reason candidate for mayor Dee Margo donated money to Sam Morgan's campaign. Sam Morgan has listed as his top achievement the rebirth of the Northeast Democrats. He has been endorsed by the Northeast Democrats and the Black El Paso Democrats.

The donation to Morgan's campaign wasn't the only donation that a Democrat has received from a Republican. Its quite common-place in El Paso. That, in and of itself, its that much of a big deal.

But what does underscore the controversy of the donation is that Margo is running for mayor. Morgan is in the back pocket of Max Grossman and his Do-ruhn-geee-toe click, but Dee Margo is 100% in favor of the downtown arena. That is interesting, but still not the most controversial thing about the donation.

The most controversial thing about the donation is that he hasn't given it back to Dee Margo yet.

Sometimes an unsavory person donates feria to your campaign. Happens all the time. The Gandara family, or G-Unit as they are affectionately known these days, donated money to Congressman Reyes when he was in his last campaign. Shit hit the fan with Willie Jr and they were gonna return the money, eventually. Recently Hanks ISD trustee candidate Leila Melendez took a contribution from a vato that bribed Sal Mena in the public corruption scandal (then said she didn't know he was in the scandal) and said she was have to think about it but would probably return the money. Point is, its common place to return money depending on the circumstances.

Here is a screenshot of the donation from Margot on Morgan's campaign finance report.

The fact that Dee Margo referred to the border wall as a "Freedom Fence" as some magical and whimsical structure that practically sings when the air goes through it was an insult to this community.

I, along with many other Chicanos, was offended by the sheer ignorance of the remark, followed by the use of the term "illegal".

How a minority candidate and Democrat like Sam Morgan decides to keep a donation from Dee Margo after those ignorant and shame remarks is beyond me. I've been thinking about it and the fact that he hasn't returned that contribution after Margo made such a terrible statement is unacceptable.

Jaime Barceleau also took a contribution from one of the Margo's but I don't know if its Dee or his kid that said Dee was too good for El Paso. But if you if Barceleau took a contribution from Margo and hasn't given it back, PEOR! Lol, just kidding. This is exactly the kind of crap I expect from Barceleau.

Sam...come on vato...think about all the Latinos you're aspiring to represent. Return that donation and send the message that you don't stand with that type of ignorant and divisive rhetoric.

I can't believe someone has to even bring it to your attention. Should be a no-brainer.

Interesting Endorsement for Barceleau

I was checking out Jaime Barceleau's website and I came across a list of people that have endorsed him. I mostly thought it was funny because he did what I expected him to do...he listed his spouse as an endorsement.

I wonder if the endorsement still stands?

But as I looked more closely I noticed something that was actually pretty damn interesting to me. As you can see in this screen shot I highlighted the name of Senator Jose Rodriguez. Well Rodriguez and his wife are pretty opposed to the downtown arena. Carmen Rodriguez is one of the main people circulating a petition against the arena.

The senator has come out against it. One of his staffers wrote an editorial piece about it last week calling for it to be moved somewhere else.

But Barceleau is one of the very few people running for office who publicly supports the arena in the current location. He's been pretty adamant about it.

How adamant?

Remember this video?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ana Dueñez..Speaking of Bad Candidates

If you've never seen her in action, it is a sight to behold.

She's such a bad candidate....

(How bad is she?)

She's so bad of a candidate that you would think she was running for mayor!

Ba-dump-bump chhhhhh.

I start with a joke because Dueñez, as an elected official is a total joke. She has plagued the school board in Ysleta for a long time with petty crap and has taken some really bad votes.

Here's what I mean. She has a clique of friends that actually script questions for her to ask during a meeting. If you watch video of meetings, you can see her read off of her script. She berates staff in public and does so to embarrass them. That has had a tangible impact on morale around the district office and throughout the district.

Which is unfortunate, but the real impact has been on the Riverside area.

During the last bond, Eastwood, Bel Air, Ysleta and Parkland areas all go significant investments in their infrastructure. Riverside got significantly less.

Dueñez has gone on television to talk about the conditions of schools in the Riverside area, highlighting that some of them might not be structurally sound. Which is admirable on her part, but here's the kicker...she voted against the bond! That makes no sense that she would identify a need in her district and then proceed to vote against the bond to address the needs in the Riverside area.

Riverside didn't get much in the bond because Dueñez spends so much time fighting with people, berating district and school staff, and reading (with great difficulty sometimes) her scripted questions.

Why does this matter to you? Who cares about a small school board race in the lower valley besides those of us who live in the valley?

Because Anna Dueñez sits on the Central Appraisal District board. She's the YISD rep on CAD and she takes her madness on a roadshow that affects anyone that owns property in El Paso. And her behavior on CAD is the same as it is on the YISD school board.

These small elections have bigger implications that we sometimes think about.

Gettin' Gangsta....Even the District Clerk

Well with Early Voting starting next week we are starting to see things heat up and some people are gettin' ganagsta with it on the campaign trail.

Expect to see things heat up in every race this week.

It ranges from just a little competitive campaigning, to sharp messaging, to a spouse and elected official unleashing a personal attack on her husband's opponent.

Here's a shot of Shane Haggerty block walking, which I assume was recently. Even when he's trolling he's polite.

Team Man-Bun is gonna be pissed, but I was able to get my hands on what looks like a draft of a mailer that has or will soon, be hitting mail boxes.

I don't know if this is one or two different mailers. At first I thought the bottom one was a picture of Jim Tolbert, but its actually Dee Margo with a little tiny baby Trump on his shoulder.

The El Paso Democratic Party and the Tejano Democrats also got into the mix and created an ad that is floating around social media that apparently shows that pic of Dee Margo is pretty popular.

But the most gangsta of all was last night during the D3 debate on Newschannel 9. Norma Favela, spouse of Jaime Barceleau chimed in to attack her husband's opponent during the live stream. That was a really big risk because she pretty much pulled a Chris Hernandez and asked a question knowing full well everyone knows she's the spouse of a candidate.

I was surprised that an elected official would take a shot like that at a candidate in a race they aren't a part of. Its just opens a can of worms when you do something like that, especially when you're the District Clerk...you know, the person with access to all kinds of legal documents...not smart. Should've had someone else plant that question. And it would have saved me from trolling directly under her question. Those of you in the know think thats funny as shit right?

If you haven't figured it out, she was referring to D3 candidate Cassandra Brown. I guess they haven't realized that going to the dark side this late in the game often back-fires. Its also bad political karma. Favela had some potentially ugly personal stuff leveled at her the first time she ran, so I'm surprised a woman would to that to another woman, especially one that has been through it before. Another avoidable mistake and self-inflicted wound by an elected. But hey, like they say...all is fair in love and war.

Or so they say...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

First D8 Candidates Emerge

Two candidates for the seat left vacant by Cortney Niland have emerged. There will likely be more, but in the mean time Gilbert Guillen and Cissy Lizarraga are both considering a bid for the seat once the filing window opens.

What is interesting is that both candidates have the capacity to raise money, or self-fund. Its been a while since a Latino candidate in the area could do so.

Both names are probably familiar to you, Gilbert Guillen is one of the key property owners in the on-going controversy over the downtown arena location. The challenge for him is that he has to have a message other than just Duranguito, Duranguito, Duranguito, if he wants to really get the support of voters on the westside to vote for him.

Cissy Lizarraga is the spouse of Judge Marcos Lizarraga and has been active in the local Democratic Party for years. Lizarraga beat an Hispanic female for his seat the first time and the campaign was a family affair. So Lizarraga has campaigned before and has a frame of reference when it comes to campaigning.

Expect a lot more candidates to throw their hats in the ring.

Slogans & Shitting on Your Endorsements & More...

Lots of odds and ends today and lets do this one potpourri style.

First, Jud Burgess is a big baby. If you missed Channel 9's debates they are doing on the municipal candidates, you should watch them on FB. They are great and they are really making an effort to cover local campaigns in a way that TV in town has never really been committed to, so kudos to them. Every day this week they will be doing a different race, so last night was D2 - tonight is D3 - tomorrow D4 - and D7 the next night.

Last night Jud Burgess was having his way with Jim Tolbert. He nailed Tolbert and the station didn't let Tolbert get away with that they have been telling people at the door about how there's no problems with Tolbert because the ethics complaint was thrown out. They put that issue to rest pretty well, though I fully expect Tolbert to go back to that message at the door when no one is looking. Burgess even did a good job of nailing Tolbert on the fact that he destroyed public records when he deleted text messages. Hard to talk about being the champion of ethics and transparency when you're under investigation by the Texas Rangers and have admitted to destroying pubic records.

I asked a question on the FB feed and that is when Burgess showed he's a little baby that shouldn't be taken seriously. He had a total fit when I asked a question about the city manager. Burgess basically answered any question that had anything to do with experience or city policy with an "I don't know, I'm not the city representative" cop-out. It doesn't surprise me that he doesn't know the answers, hell he's never actually voted in a municipal election before so he may not have even mastered voting for himself yet. And he clearly doesn't know finance law. Or what to do about the city manager or the discretionary funds budget, a whole host of other things. So its good that he admits it, its just a giant cop-out to say you don't know because you aren't elected yet. You don't know because you haven't researched. Anywho, his little tantrum was classic and its indicative of his temperament. Jud, we both know you're reading this. I get it, you like to be critical of everyone else and have really thin skin and don't like when you're scrutinized, but understand this...you're supposed to be. You're a candidate for office. So I'm supposed to ask you tough questions and be critical. You volunteered for this, no one put a gun to your head. Now man-up and stop being a big baby...there is still a few weeks until election day so you're undoubtedly going to be somewhere that I get to ask you a substantive question in public, so get used to the idea. I've been doing this over a decade, I ain't going no where buddy.


Slogans are stupid and people spend way too much time thinking about them when they become candidates. Everyone thinks a slogan is going to take them to the promised land and insist on putting their dumb slogan on everything. Slogans take up valuable real estate on signs and are a complete waste. I once saved my friend Mayela from the all-time worst slogan when she ran for city hall - "unity in the community".

I know, awful right?

Well some of the candidates running have some pretty bad ones this go around. I normally save this for award season after the elections, but spoiler alert: Chris Anchondo is in the early lead for a really stupid slogan.

I mean even for judicial candidates, its a terrible slogan.

"Let justice prevail"

What the fuck? What does that even mean as a campaign slogan? I hope that was some back-of-a-bar napkin idea that happened somewhere before last call and after some shitty nachos at that over-rated shithole hipster dwelling called The Tap. At least then I could understand its origin.

Next in line, Sam Morgan. "A New Northeast Vibe". Thats not a campaign slogan, its a really cool name for a Jazz band. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sam Morgan and the New Northeast Vibe! Sam's a bud and an Airborne brother, but I don't know what he was thinking when he came up with that one. Doesn't convey a message at all.

And then there is the Grand Poobah of shitty campaign slogans - Jaime Favela. Its not that his are bad, he uses traditional stuff like "leadership you can trust" and "commitment" and "character".

Again, its not that they are bad...its that he's the last person that should be using words like trust, commitment, and character. I know a lot about that guy, have it in black and white, I assure you that the word trust, commitment, and character don't belong in the same sentence with Jaime Barceleau unless there is the phrase "devoid of any" before them.

Here is what his last mailer should have really said:

Shitting on Your Endorsements

At the mayoral forum today David Saucedo said something very funny...He said since we don't pay our police officers enough, that is why the creme de la creme got to CBP and other federal jobs and we're left with what we have." Zas, thats gacho.

Not exactly a compliment to our boys in blue...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Burgess' Ethical Dilemma

This is an almost cyclical story, but there must be some sort of District 2 curse. The field if candidates in District 2 isn't stellar either. Not as bad as the mayoral field, but there are some problems for all three candidates.

Jim Tolbert rides into office on an ethics complaint. As soon as he is in, he's involved in a series of controversies right away - steakgate, assholegate, and then ends up in a position worse than Larry Romero and he's now the subject of an investigation by the Texas Rangers.

One of his opponents Jud Burgess, is trying to do the same. He's trying to ride into office on, you guessed it, on an ethics complaint. The ethics complaint turned into an on-going investigation by law enforcement.

But the Curse of District 2 apparently has struck Burgess. In the recording I aired last Friday, Jud Burgess admits he spent $1000 fighting the bond.

And that means that Jud Burgess failed to properly disclose his political expenditures - leaving him open to an ethics complaint that if history repeats itself, means he will be facing a pretty stiff fine from the State Ethics Commission.

For his part, Burgess completely denies he has any obligation to report his political expenditures. Now that means one of two things - he either knows the requirements and is purposely trying to hide what he spent, or his completely ignorant of the reporting requirements. In either case, it should be a big red flag for voters.

Burgess and I had a really great back-and-forth in the comment section of the post in which he admits he spent $1000 opposing the EPISD bond. Since he seemed to either not know he had to report, or not willing to report (something I questioned during the bond election) I thought I would do the leg work for him.

So, if you click on this link you will find the Campaign Finance Guide put out by the Texas Ethics Commission.

Burgess argues that he doesn't have to report any expenditures because he's a private citizen. I checked the legislation and I can't find any provision of an exception to report political expenditures because someone is a private citizen. Burgess appears to have fabricated that from thin air.

But don't take my word for it, here's his comment:

Well the state of Texas says different. The state basically says that if you are spending money to oppose a candidate or ballot item and your expenditures exceed $500, you have to file a treasurer and file a campaign finance report. Hell in most circumstances there is even a waiting period before you can make an expenditure of a political nature. Again, don't take my word for it, you can read it right here:



As you can see, the state is pretty explicit when it says that you become a political committee by your actions, and so Burgess was acting as a political committee as he very clearly and conveniently explained in his own words above.

In the video he admits to spending over $1000 in opposing the EPISD bond. In fact he brags that he was up against PACs - although he pretty much admitted he was acting as a PAC. Spending over $1000 is fully twice the legal threshold requirement for reporting. Again, don't take my word for it:

So far we know that by his own admission Burgess a) spent more than $500 and b) was acting as a political committee. 

And so there is clearly a legal requirement to report what he spent opposing the EPISD bond, and he has failed to do so. 

The failure to do so is an issue because it leads him open to the District 2 curse, but more importantly its an issue because it demonstrates the danger of electing someone who doesn't understand government and how it works. I explained to Burgess he had a requirement to report the expenditures during the bond and he blew me off. So he had knowledge that it was at the very least, potentially a violation. 

He filed the ethics complaint against Tolbert and I told him that he should file it with the law enforcement...and he blew me off again. What happened there? The ethics complaint got dismissed because...wait for it...it was supposed to be filed with law enforcement. 

Again, he had knowledge ahead of time and chose to ignore it in favor of a course of action that was either easier or afforded him more public attention - instead of doing what was right. 

Is that was you want in an elected official?

Now the other nonsensical argument Burgess makes is that my blog is no different than what is opposition to the EPISD bond was. For the record, I was opposed to the bond myself. But, I don't spend $500 on this blog much less in anything I write for or against any candidate, bond item, council or county item, federal or state legislation, in a specific race or any current event I write about. That is completely ridiculous. I write a blog about a range of issues. He took specific action on a particular item, and spent over $500 in expenditures of a political nature for a specific desired result.

And lest I be unclear about the potential results of failing to file - lets take a walk down memory lane and revisit the last time someone failed to file a campaign finance report despite making expenditures more than $500...

The We The People group, which actually went a step further than Burgess and had a treasurer filed, failed to report their expenditures in an election.

So as you can see, the state is serious about violations of this nature and the legislation exists so that people can see who is spending money an election. The public has a right to know. Even if Burgess wants to engage in spending dark money, being a private citizen doesn't absolve him of his obligation to report what he spends. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Uh-Oh, Busted!

This isn't illegal.

It's just straight-up stupid amateur kid games.

This is a recording of an altercation between campaign staff that involved the camps of Tolbert and Annello but Jud Burgess was largely the catalyst.

The consultant for David Saucedo / Jim Tolbert / Sam Morgan, Chris Hernandez got busted posing as a concerned citizen at a forum and didn't disclose that he was actually an operative of Jim Tolbert. I'm told he did the same thing for Sam Morgan at a candidate forum in the northeast in which he led an attack on Diana Ramos.

The game being played here is an old one. You plant someone in the audience to ask a softball question for your candidate or to whack the opposition. Not illegal, just sorta dirty pool.

But mostly, it's just stupid. Normally you get someone no one will recognize, not an operative that loves attention. Which is Chris' problem. He forgets the candidate should get the attention, not the VAN monkey.

So here's what happened - Hernández tosses a softball to Tolbert and pretends to not know Tolbert. When Jud Burgess starts to answer, Hernández cuts him off and basically calls him a failure because the ethics complaint that he filed against Tolbert was dismissed.

Which is complete bullshit and Hernández's bullshit is going to bite Jim in the ass. Hernández implies that it was dismissed because the complaint lacks merit. Uh, no vato. It was dismissed because Burgess was alleging a crime. I told Burgess publicly that if he felt so strong about it he should take it to the DA, but he basically wanted to pull a Tolbert and file the ethics complaint for attention.

But, ultimately it went to the DA and now Jim Tolbert is the subject of a criminal investigation. No matter how Tolbert's Spicer tries to spin it. The Texas Rangers don't investigate expired parking meters or jaywalking. They want people to believe it's not a big deal, but it's way more than what Larry Romero was accused of doing. And more importantly, it could lead to a vancancy in office and a special election at your expense.

During their back and forth, Commissioner Stout's staffer Alberto Halpern called out Hernández for his little movida. Halpern is dating Alexsanda Annello, an opponent of Tolbert. Hernández briefly worked for Stouts campaign until Stout upgraded to the varsity team.

In the back and forth between Hernández, Burgess, and Halpern you can hear Hernández deny that there is on on-going criminal investigation of Tolbert. Listen for yourself, you don't have to take my word for it.

And the spin from Tolbert's camp? He hasn't been interviewed or charged yet.

As if either of those points means that there isn't an investigation.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Take note of when shit hits the fan. You won't hear a peep from Jim Tolbert. He'll bitch about not getting a free steak, calling a constituent an asshole, and not getting enough credit for something, but when he and his operative are busted...cricket, cricket.


Friday Fun With Mail

Well I made fun of yet another mail screw-up by Forma a while back, and one done by Jaime Barceleau as well, so I guess its only fair I mention everyone's.

Shocker...its David Saucedo.

Someone explain to this genius that the city has PD and the County has the SO.

But hey, maybe Saucedo is giving up and has his eye set on County Judge or something. Why else would his campaign team pull a Forma and send mail outside the area he's running in?

Yep, unless he's running for Mayor of Socorro, they screwed up. And by they, I mean whoever did his mail universe. The Easter "Bun"-ny. See what I did there?

What makes it more funny is that he addresses the mail piece, "Fellow El Pasoan".

I wonder why he didn't use "World-Famous West Texas El Pasoan"?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Margo Calls Border Wall "Freedom Fence"

Republican mayoral candidate Dee Margo referred to the border wall as a "freedom fence" last night when asked a question about President Trump's proposed border wall during KTSM's broadcast of the debate hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

In the same answer Margo also refers to "riffraff" and "illegals".

Calling the border wall a "Freedom Fence" is a level of ignorance normally saved for a White House press briefing. Its right up there with "Holocaust Centers".

Margo also referred to Mexicans tangentially as riffraff, although refrained from calling them street rats. Sorry, I have kids, I often make a lot of Disney references.

A lot of conservatives love the term illegals and use it like some kind of racist badge of honor, but really its just being ignorant. The term illegals is incorrectly used to try to dehumanize the undocumented. No human being is illegal because its not illegal to exist.

There are lots of things people do that are against the law - but the term illegal is exclusively applied to the undocumented. Why? Because racism, thats why.

And the way Margo makes it sound like such a great and magical wall that whimsically makes music as that West Texas wind Marty Robbins talks about makes its way through the fence.

As long as it ain't Mes-kins, amirate?

The Margo gaff is potentially a pivotal point in this election. Under most circumstances it would be the end of a candidate, but the unique nature of this field of candidates means that Margo's demise is not exactly a foregone conclusion.

Under any other circumstance a wealthy white Republican with a drawl that would use a negative term against the undocumented while running for mayor of a border town would be toast. But this election cycle has a terrible field of candidates, which is how Margo was ever in the driver's seat in the first place.

Margo isn't polling in the 40's on the strength of Republicans. He doesn't get that high without a significant number of Latinos and Democrats willing to support him despite his Republican pedigree. But they were holding their nose to vote for him because lets be honest, no one trusts Acosta and Saucedo is an arrogant douche.

But Margo's comment will make it a whole lot harder for those people to hold their nose for Margo. Anecdotally I've talked to a lot of people who basically gave up on voting for Margo when they saw the forum last night.

And that is actually something that is pretty key. Margo is very lucky that the remark came after the televised broadcast ended. The remark was made during the Facebook Live stream portion of the debate. But sources at KTSM tell me that their traffic was very high during the Facebook Live feed.

The point is, video of it exists. A remark like that is a negative mailer waiting to happen. Frankly the only one that can leverage the message right now is Saucedo. He's the only one with any money left to slap that on a piece of mail and send it to everyone with a Spanish surname in the 915.

Actually, if it were my candidate, I would send that to voters with reliable Democratic primary voting history and reliable municipal voting history - that would give me the most bang for my buck. I wouldn't waste a single piece of mail on this topic on anyway without Democratic voting history.

Margo was already a bit of a lightening rod and was drawing protests. Now its gonna get much worse. The electorate is thirsty for someone brown that they can like and right now, they really don't have that candidate since Saucedo and Acosta are doing so poorly. But Margo gave them the next best thing...someone they can despise.

So who benefits most from any fall-out this might create. Well, there are a big group of people who will probably just sit this one out - and maybe you can get them to come out for the run-off.


Saucedo has never come out against the border wall himself. He brought Lou Holtz, an anti-immigrant Trump supporter to town and when it was reported Saucedo called the backlash political correctness run amuck.

And oh yeah, he's just as much of a Republican as Margo. Hell that guy is on a plane right now to go get him some Dallas big-oil money as we speak.

So what about Acosta? Well, how the hell is a two-term city rep and only credible Latina candidate running in a field of Republicans in a Democratic city like El Paso end up running third in the polls? Because people don't like or trust her.

This mistake on the part of Margo has the potential to be the turning point, but the candidates have to leverage it effectively and tick-tock...time is running out...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Leila Melendez & Bad Money

Candidate for Ysleta Independent School District Board of Trustees Leila Melendez was featured in an article by the El Paso Times recently that centered around her contributions.

Specifically a check she took from someone who was in the public corruption scandal, Bernardo Lucero, Jr.

Lucero was involved in the bribery movida with Sal Mena.

Click on this link to go to the story in the El Paso Times.

As you can see, there is this really interesting little tidbit in the article.

In an interview with the Times on Friday, Melendez said Lucero is a friend of her husband's. She said she didn’t know about the corruption case.
There's a few things that should be of major concern in those couple of sentences. First, her husband is friends with a guy involved in a bribery scandal?

And second, and much more disturbing about a school board candidate...she didn't KNOW about the corruption case?

Are you kidding me? I don't know whether to be angry or laugh. This lady is trying to say with a straight face that she feels she's qualified to sit on the Ysleta Independent School District Board of Trustees - but she DOESN'T KNOW about the biggest scandal to hit this town in the last 20 years?

A scandal that undermined public trust in almost every level of government from school boards to the County. She wants to be on the school board and she doesn't know about a bribery movida that happened primarily at the school board level?

That fact along should be a disqualifying factor.

She's either lying, which should be a disqualifier, or she's painfully uninformed about a major issue that has had an impact on the office she seeks.

There's no defense for it. None what so ever.

As if that wasn't bad enough, she goes on to say in the article that "I think I'm going to have a conversation about this and likely return the funds..."

Ya think?!?!?!?!

What is there to think about? Are you so ethically challenged that you have to actually think about it? She was better off just returning the money without comment.

And what does Lucero have to say about it? He says he gave her the money because he thinks she's "the best qualified."

Seriously, someone convicted for public corruption thinks you're "the best qualified"?  That should set off a lot of red flags.

But what is worse than that?

A school board candidate that wants to be elected to represent constituents that pay taxes for public education supports charter schools. Seriously, who thought this lady was a good candidate?

Paul Pearson needs to be replaced, no doubt about it. But not by Melendez. Not by someone who is connected to someone in the public corruption scandal, or didn't know about such and important issue, and supports charter schools.

Thats why I am supporting Cruz Ochoa. Ochoa made a run off last time and almost beat Pearson. He's the right person for the position.

The "Carton of Milk" Candidates

Morales (L) Ramos (R)
I wrote the other day a short line about how there are a few candidates that are on this ballot, or on an upcoming ballot, that haven't lived in El Paso very long - or doesn't at all in the case of one of them.

Frankly, I don't think I really did that topic much justice and I think it needs it's own post.

Two of the candidates that are running in this current election that have a major problem with how long they have been in the area are Elisa Morales who is running for mayor and Diana Ramos who is running for the seat in the Northeast area.

Both candidates have benefited from the fact that no one has really called them out about this issue. Well one of the Chris Hernandez slate of candidates, Sam Morgan, has tried to but he's done it so sloppily and aggressively, and hasn't done it in mail, that he's almost helped Diana Ramos gain sympathy.

Before I go on, I should say that both Ramos and Morales are solid candidates and I don't believe that either of them have an malicious intent. Both very smart women and dynamic and I think they genuinely want to do by El Paso.

But that doesn't get them off the hook for a real troubling problem - people who haven't been here very long wanting to lead a community that they haven't really been a part of for very long. I was thinking about this the other day when Morales, myself, Shane Haggerty, and SBOE Rep Georgina Perez were chatting while waiting for the ballots to be counted at the Tejano Democrats endorsement meeting. I forget what the joke was but I think Haggerty was giving me a hard time about not being from El Paso. Hard to argue your El Paso cred with a Haggerty, so I didn't bother - especially because even when most of the Haggerty's were Republican, they were still far more liked in the Democratic Party than I am. Now they are all Democrats except for Commissioner Andrew Haggerty.

Anywho - Morales sais something about "its an El Paso thing" following the punchline of whatever it was Haggerty had said. To which I fired back, "I know, I've lived here longer than you".

I was joking, but the more I though about it, the more I realized it was a growing problem.

Morales has all those qualities I mentioned, but she just got back to El Paso. She's another Mary Gonzalez - left as soon as she was of age and came back to El Paso for the purposes of getting an office. And trust me, Gonzalez still spends as little time in El Paso as possible and still - YEARS LATER - hasn't troubled herself to even change her cell number to an El Paso number.

Seriously, its been years.

An even more egregious example is Diana Ramos who is a candidate in the Northeast. She has NEVER lived in the area she now wants to represent before moving there in October. Aside from the address problem (the address she lists of where she lives belongs to a woman who is claiming the home as a homestead, which is illegal if you don't actually live in the home, so either that lady is living with Ramos and her spouse or the lady is committing fraud), she's only lived here since October.

Maybe October - there's doubt as to whether or not that is actually true. But for the sake of conversation, lets say its really October. You have to ask yourself about the audacity of someone knocking on a door to ask a voter to represent a community with the biggest chip on its shoulder, and trust me - no part of El Paso has a bigger "poor us" chip on its shoulder than the Northeast, who hasn't even spent their first summer there yet.

And that becomes a question of leadership. How can either Morales or Ramos actually believe they can represent a community that they don't really know. Sure, you were born here, or you were born in another part of El Paso, but seriously...how can someone feel like they can honestly and faithfully represent somewhere they haven't lived in before, or haven't lived in steadily as an adult?

I'm not a native El Pasoan. I'm an El Pasoan by choice and I'd be insulted if someone who never knew the valley just suddenly decided to move into the area and run for office and they hadn't been through their first kermez season down here, doesn't know what its like to be awakened in the middle of the night by a loud ass train barreling through a residential neighborhood, or couldn't find La Pila on a map.

You can't represent a community you don't know and sure, block walking goes a long way towards getting to know a community, but can't say you know a community well-enough to say you can honestly represent it when you moved there to run in the first place and haven't even been there one year yet.

And their opponents have done a terrible job of highlighting this issue.

And you don't have to take my word for it...take these words of wisdom from a legend in the Northeast... Ma Haggerty.

When Dee Margo pulled a Morales/Ramos ... Ma Haggerty starred in this classic commercial.

"I have a carton of milk that has been in the district longer than he has!"

EDITOR'S NOTE: Alexsandra Anello is another candidate that doesn't have much time in El Paso. She's a candidate in District 2 against incumbent Jim Tolbert who is under the cloud of an investigation by the Texas Rangers. She was unintentionally left out, but she has more time in the district that the other two aforementioned candidates.

Dee's Nuts

It was beyond stupid to hold a fundraiser anywhere near the proposed site of the downtown arena. I don't know who's idea it was, but Dee Margo should fire whoever the idiot was that came up with that one.

There is a sleepy undercurrent of people that are opposed to Dee Margo and having an event in that location did nothing but galvanize his opposition. The question is, was this the spark to something Margo should really be concerned about?

Time will tell, but I doubt it. If anyone were going to benefit from this incident it would be Acosta, but Acosta is for the arena downtown, then against it, then for it, then against it, then for it....

You know, like she is with every other issue.

Saucedo could benefit from it too, but Saucedo has a trust issue with voters. They never know what to believe about the guy. Why? Well every time he is in the spot light about something he flips and tries to rewrite history. The Lou Holtz thing, when it first happened he dug his heels in and dended Holtz, now tries to brush it off and his team alleges that Saucedo has come out against the border wall. Still haven't actually seen that anywhere.

Then there's the City Manager's pay raise. He was all for Gonzalez getting an obscene raise that was twice the annual salary of the average El Pasoan. Hell he went to city council and spoke in favor of it.

Now he says he wouldn't renew Gonzalez's contract. Wow, what bold leadership!

The bottom line is that even when it looks like Margo is trying to lose this raise but doing something crazy like hold a fundraiser in a building owned by Gilbert Guillen, it still won't likely hurt him.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

All In The Family...Just Kidding

Since I've been having fun with signs today I thought I'd post another fun sign.

I got a tip from someone that I didn't believe until I saw it for myself.

At first glance of this photo, it's nothing special. It's just someone who supports mayoral candidate Dee Margo.

The tip I got was that the sign is in the yard belonging to the home of a relative of another aspiring mayoral candidate. That's right, even though the home owner is related to another mayoral candidate, David Saucedo, they are supporting Dee Margo.

When your own relatives aren't supporting you for mayor...that is, as we say in the Valley, GACHO!

One more thing, Saucedo lost his grandmother. That's a terrible loss and I was a total mess when I lost my Nana. People grieve in their own way and I certainly won't criticize him for how he grieves. It's a long and painful process and I'll never really be okay with losing my dad.

But making a sponsored Facebook ad on your campaign page during an election? Come on man. That doesn't work in real life, it's just a script in House of Cards. 

Emma Acosta's Campaign Be Like...

I don't know who's idea it was to post her sign on this fence in front of this burnt-out home, but if there is a better representation of the current state of Emma Acosta's mayoral bid, I haven't seen it!

Monday, April 10, 2017

A List of Dumb Things I've Heard/Seen

There's a lot of dumb things I've seen/heard in this election cycle and most of them aren't connected to one another so I figure the best way to tie them all up is put them in one post.

I hate responding to dumb shit David K says because it would be too time consuming but his last post was particularly stupid, even by the Juicy One's standards, so I guess I'll start there.

Anytime David K has a candidate he supports (he lies and says he doesn't) and someone writes anything about them, he loses his shit. And then has to come up with some conspiracy theory that almost always involves a list of about 5 people. Sometimes its all of the following people, sometimes its just combinations of a couple of them, but its me, Susie Byrd, Veronica Escobar, and the Perez's.

What he doesn't tell you is that he does exactly what he accuses everyone else of doing. He's writing about the elections because his family business has a vested outcome in the elections. That is why he always talks about them and if you don't believe me? Just go look at campaign finance reports going back years...count how many times you see the name Karlsruher. Now he's mad that I wrote about Fenenbock outing herself as not fluent in Spanish. Wonder what the likelihood is that his mommy's name is on her campaign finance report somewhere. I'd be pretty high considering how many they are on.

Hell, start with this election. Thats an easy way to see who DK is supporting. Okay, enough about his dumb shit. Lets get to the list, in no particular order.

Paying Jeremy Jordan for campaign work.

My buddy Jose Enriquez invited me to have lunch with him a few years ago to talk about politics and campaign work. He was really interested in helping out and learning as much as he could about campaigning. I met him and he had a guy with him there. It turned out to be Jeremy Jordan. I listed to him talk for over an hour and realized within about the first minute that the guy knew absolutely nothing about campaign work, he was just a good bullshitter. He was trying to "teach me" about local politics and campaigning. He obviously didn't know who I was but I spent the next 59 minutes wondering when he was going to stop talking long enough for me to make up an excuse to leave. I've forgotten more about politics than Jordan will ever dream of knowing. So it surprised me to see that he was getting paid to do campaign work for Saucedo. Yet another example of Saucedo's poor judgement.

You know how I know Jeremy Jordan doesn't know shit about campaigning? I spoke to Cortney Niland during early voting in the election she almost lost to Josh Dagda and she asked me what I thought of her chances. So I asked her, well what does your GOTV look like?

She didn't know what I was talking about. And neither did Jordan. And they almost lost. Saucedo should just go full rich-guy douche and start lighting cigars with campaign cash, it would be useful doing that than paying Jordan to do campaign work.

Dora's not getting paid to do campaign work. 

Dora Oaxaca's name is not anywhere to be found on anyone's campaign finance report. Y'all expect me to believe Dora isn't getting paid this election cycle with her boss and her new husband both running for office. If you believe that, perhaps you'd like to make a bid on that bridge in Horizon City I was talking about last week...

The Texas Ranger investigation is no big deal.

Whether its David K or Chris Hernandez, they both have been downplaying the Texas Rangers investigation into their boy Jim Tolbert. I would just like to remind you people that they don't bring in the Texas Rangers for the hell of it. Those guys aren't investigating expired parking meters. The District Attorney, who has been AWOL on public corruption issues for the last decade finally took action on an issue, so its not something you can just blow off.

Running to Represent El Paso in Congress when you live in Houston. 

Nicole LeClaire is a woman who lives in Houston and has indicated that she wants to run for Congress to represent El Paso. Yes, you read that correctly...she still lives in Houston and wants to represent this community. That is kind of a growing movement of women who have little to no recent history in the area wanting to run to represent all or part of El Paso including Diana Ramos in District 4 who has lived in the district since around October, Elisa Morales who moved back to El Paso recently, and now LeClaire who doesn't even live here yet.

LeClaire is a Democrat and I'm sure I'll love her platform, but there is something really troublesome about people that represent an area they can't possibly know all that well just because they lived here at one point in their life.

I'm against Saucedo because he's a Republican and I'm secretly supporting Dee Margo.

I know, you would think that the title along would be a clue to these idiots of how dumb they sound. For those of you keeping score at home, Saucedo and Margo are both Republicans.

I'm against Saucedo because he's not qualified to be mayor. I think its important everyone know Saucedo and Dee Margo are Republicans.

Don't you people ready my blog? Forma is Dee Margo's consultants. Have y'all not being attention to what I write since - well ever?

I don't like Forma very much. They don't like me. Its a mutual thing.

In the greatest diss track of all time, Tupac's Hit-em Up, he has a line in there about his rivals from Bad Boy Records in which he says, "...fuck Bad Boy as a staff, record label, and as a mother fucking crew...."

So with apologies to Tupac, Fuck Forma as a staff, record label, and as a mother fucking crew.

Moving the arena to Cohen

Stop saying that, you sound stupid. Its not going to happen. It would take years and involve litigation.  I know that there are people that are grasping at any straw they can, and worse there are candidates that will tell those people what they want to hear, but the reality is that its not gonna happen. Talking about the idea is a distraction to an important conversation this town needs to have about what to do with Cohen that will get it off the city's hands and in to the hands of private developers so that we can start collecting taxes on that land.

The other dumb thing I keep hearing is the idea of turning it into a farmer's market. You hippies don't understand that farmer's markets are small and unsuccessful. Look at all the community garden projects that suck. The County put money into a community garden in San Elizario. Total failure.

The Ethics Complaint against Tolbert was dismissed so its no big deal. 

This may be the dumbest of all. The reason it was dismissed wasn't because Tolbert didn't do anything wrong, although that is what his camp would have you think. It was dismissed because because it accused Tolbert of committing a crime and the city attorney, properly or improperly, said that isn't the purview of the city to deal with. Tolbert and his crew are essentially misleading the pubic when they act like being dismissed is the same as a finding that absolves him of wrong-doing.

Running for school board while being in support of charter schools

There's a candidate in YISD that I'm going to write more about who was Joyce Wilson's former staffer at the City of El Paso, that is running for school board to represent the Hanks area that says she supports charter schools. She's running against one of the only two candidates I am working with in this election cycle (both YISD school board candidates). There's more to discuss about her, but seriously - if you're supportive of charter schools why in the hell would you run for school board unless you want your motives challenged. But more on her tomorrow.

Fenenbock's "Cochina" Video

Well, word around the campfire is that Dori Fenenbock has been trying to reassure people's she's bilingual since I posted last week that she doesn't habla. For some reason, that really got under her skin.

Maybe its because her counterpart in YISD, President Shane Haggerty, actually IS bilingual.

He started his remarks at the Tejano Democrats event in Spanish - and even had a little Selena moment when answering a question from KINT anchor Hector Urrutia. I'll post video of that later, it was pretty funny.

Well this is what happens when you tell people you're bilingual and then you out yourself. And this wasn't a slip of the tongue, because once everyone reacts to what Fenenbock says, she asks "is that bad?"


Because she doesn't speak Spanish and didn't know if it was bad.

But it was funny.

So without further delay....the cochina video...

By the way, that is fellow trustee Susie Byrd laughing in the background. She was the first person to catch it.

Finance Reports - Quick Hits

Okay so the finance reports were released and I'll go over what they mean to local elections - and trust me, there are even implications with school board contributions. I'll get to that one later...

Lets start with the mayor's race. Here's what you need to know - the mayor's race and contributions - its pretty much the same as every poll I've heard about...Margo way out front and Saucedo and Acosta distantly behind. I've now heard of polls from 5 different sources, 3 of which are tied to campaigns. They vary a bit, but most of them have Dee Margo in the 40's and the nearest competitors in the low to mid 20's and all but one of them have Saucedo in second, followed by Acosta. One has Acosta second.

Margo is in a good place with money. He raised a ton and still has $90 Large sitting in the bank. Expect he and the boys at Forma to start filling mailboxes pretty soon. The scary thing for the other candidates is how much money he is still sitting on.

Saucedo and Acosta are in big trouble, although Acosta is in much more trouble. A two-term city rep is way behind and so broke she had to borrow money from family. Lots and lots of money. It's hard to see how she even makes a run-off at this point. And frankly, that tells you just how unpopular she really is. No one has hit her, and she's only had one negative story in the El Paso Times this election cycle - which was a self-inflicted wound. She essentially got caught telling a tall tale about her retirement and my camera happened to be running when she said it. Other than that, no one has hit her and she was already far behind. And she's a Latina Democrat in El Paso losing to two white Republicans.

Okay, one and a half. Dee Margo is rolling his "r" and talking about his Latino heritage lately.

The point is, the fact that she's so far behind in support and can't raise any money while facing those two candidates is a big indictment of her.

Think about how much of an indictment this is about Acosta. She's an Hispanic female, plenty of name ID, 8 years on council, in a very weak field of candidates. Probably the weakest we have ever seen run for mayor, and she can't raise any money or find any support. She's just not liked.

Saucedo is bleeding money to consultants...still. But a healthy chunk of that is going toward a field program, which is the one hail mary he has to force a run-off. That is Edgewise, or Chris Hernandez.

However he's feeling the heat and is doing something I've never seen done by a mayoral candidate. He's going to an entirely different town, Dallas, to have a fundraiser for his campaign. I guess if folks in your own town won't support you, then go somewhere that they will. All candidates take out of town money, I've just never seen a mayoral candidate have an entire fundraiser out of town before. Obviously they are feeling the heat.

Another weird thing, not of any real consequence but still strange, Saucedo didn't put addresses of any of the people on his expense report. Looks like they just blew it off, probably because they were trying to scramble to get it done.

Edgewise (Chris Hernandez) has a slate of three candidates running - David Saucedo, Jim Tolbert in District 2, and Sam Morgan in District 4. He had a candidate in District 3 as well, but she let him go many months ago.

Saucedo is by far paying him the most and is obviously the most difficult campaign to run, not sure how he has time to give 100% to the rest of the slate of candidates, but he's most definitely putting in time for Jim Tolbert. We'll talk about that another time though.

Thats all for the mayoral stuff for now. I'll do something on the finance reports for the individual city council races later, like an interesting tidbit about who one mayoral candidate donated to in the city council elections...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Niland's Resignation

Okay now that the dust has settled we can talk about the Niland resignation and what it means.

I've been admonished by some political friends about talking about her personal issues. I don't know how many times I have to repeat myself that I don't do personal. Trust me, if I did a political blog on all the personal stuff I know I wouldn't lose best blogger ever year to a blog about cats or vegetables.

But I will talk about her career, the reasons she gave for resigning, the impact, and ridiculous quotes from Mayor Leeser. First, what you guys have to know is what is already public record - this isn't the first time there was a divorce filed. I don't need anyone to tell me how shitty divorce can be, especially one in the public eye. I know her kids and they are smart, handsome, and really big guys. One of them is going to play college football for sure. And Jack, honestly I love the guy. Really cool guy, personable, great taste in music, and a genuinely good guy.

When I was at my lowest, I remember who was there for me. I remember who called me, texted me, checked on me, and cared about me. Jack Niland was one of those very few people and I have a long memory. I don't have a single bad thing to say about Niland and her family.

But Niland has used the divorce to kinda work the media into backing off of her before so if media is cynical about her departure, I'll bet that is part of the reason why.

Leeser & Niland

I guess I have to be the one to rip off the bandaid and talk about what every one else seems to be tip-toeing around...what is with Mayor Leeser lately? Why is he all of a sudden her press secretary and are we just gonna ignore that his daughter purchased Niland's home and then the mayor purchased the daughter's home? We just gonna pretend that doesn't deserve scrutiny?

Okay. Well I guess we shouldn't talk about all the new Hyundai's people at the city seem to be driving lately either huh? Okay, that's cool.

But I have a serious question for Mayor Leeser. What do you mean the media was responsible for her marriage going south. Pardon my French but what the fuck are you talking about? Elected officials use their relationships with media all the time when its to their favor, they have to take the other side of that coin too from time to time. A marriage doesn't go south because of the media, there are always a lot of other reasons marriages go south. Can media coverage cause an argument or stress in a relationship?

Sure, absolutely. But to blame a divorce on media coverage is flat out silly. And Mayor Leeser is the last vato in the world who should be complaining about media. I guess some of you forget I used to work in a newsroom, Mayor Leeser's BFF is David Candelaria at KTSM.

Mayor Leeser has a huge advertising budget at his disposal. He's cut news publications off from advertising dollars in the past. Does it have anything to do with coverage he doesn't like? I don't know, I'm not the mayor or work at any of those publications. I'm just saying he's the only elected official in town with an advertising budget since Sergio Lewis left office.

So save us all the sob story about the media Mayor because you're the last guy that should be delivering that message.


Well like I said yesterday with a short turn-around the advantage in the race to replace Niland is going to give a big advantage to someone with a lot of money and name ID in the area. They don't need to spend as much time and effort to get people to know who they are and now is the time that the electorate is starting to actually pay attention to the municipal elections.

The Little-Candidate-That-Could candidates are at a disadvantage because it takes time and money to get your name out there to potential voters. There will be one or two Segundo Barrio/Duranguito candidates that throw their hats into the ring but they will quickly learn that the demographics of Segundo and Duranguito don't begin to be enough to carry someone across the finish line in D8. That is why wealthy white people have held that seat since Beto O'Rourke.

And trust me, the names are all over the place right now. Dori Fenenbock, Gilbert Guillen, the recall guy with the pony tail (sorry I can never remember his name but he's the guy Tolbert called an asshole), Josh Dagda (who has already announced he's not going to run), and my personal favorite...Omar Yanar. Not sure how he's gonna explain away his record at the charter school he runs but he is the kind of candidate that is in the mold of David Saucedo and Joseph Villescas.

I'm sure that only scratches the surface of people that are interested in the office.

Niland's Career

I've said this before and I don't mean this characterization as an insult to either politico, but Niland is the wealthy westside version of Norma Chavez.

Relax, before you people lose your shit, walk with me while I explain.

Norma and Niland have a lot in common. Most everyone, friend and foe alike, will describe their passion for their work and their work ethic. Both have had their spells where their tempers got the better of them and they both had rocky relationships with the media.

And I've seen both of them be incredibly good, humble, and empathic leaders capable of tremendous generosity that most people never even new about. When Las Mujeres Obrera where having problems, Norma gave them work at a campaign fundraiser. She didn't give them a handout, she gave them a job and I can tell you I saw some of the women cry at the end of the night when Norma was handing out checks.

Niland would routinely whip out her check book and pay for uniforms for entire youth teams so that they could have uniforms they could be proud of during their seasons.

I've also seen both of them implode from petty, self-inflicted wounds in public that were beneath them as people and their office.

And both of them accomplished a lot while having a reputation as fighters.

The difference? I never saw Norma Chavez give up on anything. She went out on her shield. There is no quit in Norma Chavez and after a rough time she was given a second chance and made the most of it by going out on her terms.

Lots of people have trouble in their personal lives. Lots of elected officials I know do. I can think of at least 10 different current or former elected officials reduced to tears because of the pressure of office.

But they don't quit their office.

They don't walk away from the promise they made to voters.

And unfortunately for Representative Niland, that is the legacy she will leave behind. She will be the leader that gave up and walked away.

And frankly, she was never the same after her reelection. Her narrow win over a sub-par candidate with terrible communication skills, no knowledge of issues, and no money really shook her confidence. Before that campaign, she was the Honey Badger. She took on the utilities and kicked them in the teeth on behalf of tax payers. But after her narrow win she was a wounded political animal. She seemed defensive and incapable of getting along with her colleagues.

That affected her ability to get things done.

Niland is gonna leave from El Paso first chance she gets, no doubt about it. But if she's ever looking for redemption, she should look to the example set by Norma Chavez. The former state rep had been humbled by her loss and made the effort to reach out to folks she had run-ins with and tried to get to a better place with them. It was admirable.

And now Norma has redeemed herself and she's got her groove back.

The Honey Badger could learn a thing or two from The People's Rep.