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.


Anonymous said...

True once one enters public office your life is no longer private especially in this era where "gotcha" is the headline not issues.
Divorce affects evertyone differently. Some tough it out , some don't. My guess is Courtney is a sensitive person under the public bravado so I imagine her life was a living hell with all the bad pr.

I used to tell others if someone doesn't like you, you can do no right. If someone likes you, you can do no wrong. My point is there are people with an agenda and they accomplished the goal of getting her out of office.

I may not like some politicians but I don't envy them for going thru the wringer. It takes a lot courage to campaign for office and hold the position. There will always be some one unhappy with the vote. It doesn't matter if it's self inflicted. Politicians don't have the luxury of correctly errors privately. One of the loneliness positions is that of being a leader. Remember the picture of JFK looking out of Oval Office window, staring and in deep thought.

Jaime, you took a severe thrashing and are doing your best to continue but that's you.

Let her go and let them have some privacy.

The Lion Star said...

Thanks for the comment. I only take issue with the last part. I'm not invading anyone's privacy. She's a public figure and I wrote about her public resignation.

Alfredo said...

Not arguing with you on the Segundo Barrio vs Upper Valley dynamic at play, but I want to get your opinion. District 8 doesn't just cover Segundo Barrio and Duranguito in South El Paso. It covers a huge swath of South El Paso right up to the med school, not to mention a pretty significant portion of Central El Paso around Sunset Heights and El Paso High. Do you think a halfway decent candidate could win by appealing that that base? I know the money's in the Valley but my gut tells me the population is far greater in the other areas of District 8.

The Lion Star said...

Right, I sorta lumped all of that into Segundo, but yes it covers that area. But if you look at voting data in the area, there just aren't enough voters there to really make a difference. In a previous post I actually looked up the turnout from all those Segundo/South El Paso Precincts and compared them to the rest of the district. There's a reason why Segundo Type candidates never make it.

If you ask me, they don't belong in District 8 to begin with. They aren't communities of interest. Segundo and the Willows don't belong in the same council district. Segundo/South El Paso belong in a D2 district.

Anonymous said...

Yes, SB and Chihuahuita belong in D2, but thanks to Niland and Morgan-Lilly's collusion, it was dumped in D8 to dilute those voters. Talk about discriminatory redistricting. Unfortunately, because it's based mostly on income, DOJ wouldn't step in.