|Morales (L) Ramos (R)|
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.