Monday, July 31, 2017

Escobar's ORR Policy Purely Political

I wrote a while back about how the County of El Paso has lost their damn mind creating a policy to start charging for the time necessary to do open records requests.

And now that I have gone back and watched the debate, I'm even more convinced that this policy was not only bad for transparency, but appears to be a policy that has one purpose and one purpose only, to help County Judge Veronica Escobar further her political career.

That should infuriate everyone and it undermines the faith people have in openness with government.

Let me explain my opinion on this. The County, and by County I mean the Judge, will argue that this policy makes sense because all other governmental entities charge a fee and that the County's fee is nominal and far less than any other level of government.

Probably true - but completely irrelevant.

I didn't realize until I went back to watch the debate that during the discussion of the item there was little to no mention of why the issue all of a sudden was a problem. Here's the bottom line - the County of El Paso is not inundated with open records requests.

The County Judge's office is inundated with open records requests. And yes, its completely political and Dori Fenenbock's campaign is behind it. They are putting in a bunch of requests to dig up whatever dirt they can on the County Judge.

Is that wrong?

No.

At best its an inconvenience and can impede the efficiency of government.

Is it shitty for Fenenbock's office to do? Sure. Its freaking really excessive. According to the County Judge, who acknowledges in the meeting that this was essentially about one person's requests, which she says started July 2nd and have been every day since. She says 5 to 12 different requests every day including weekends.

If you didn't read the media coverage of the issue you'd have no idea that this was essentially about a campaign issue.

The judge, nor anyone else, EVER actually articulates the nature of the requests. Only Commissioner Haggerty questioned the policy. On the agenda the item says it came from the County Administrator, but make no mistake, it came from the judge.

Lee Shapleigh says, "It is not a problem we have ever had before." So if it has never been an issue before, and is only an issue now, with the judges specific time frame she stated, why is County policy being changed for sake of requests coming from one individual, to one elected official's office?

So when you really look at this issue, how can you see this any other way than County Judge Veronica Escobar using her position as County Judge to make a policy change that essentially gives her a political campaign cover.

That is NOT an appropriate use of her office, the authority of the County Judge, or government for that matter. County Government does not exist to provide the County Judge with political air cover.

Understand that this is a major policy change. But for all her talk of transparency, she had the opportunity to disclose to the Court and the public the nature of the requests (because its absolutely germane to the policy change), and made the conscious decision to not disclose the nature of the requests.

For all of her talk of the county should be taking their time and double checking data when it came to the jail contract, she damn sure didn't ask for any data has to how many ORR requests the County gets nor how they relate to requests her office gets.

Where's her desire to "do a deep dive"? Where's her data showing that this is such a major issue for tax payers that they need to change the policy?

You know, because "no one is infallible".

So review the basic facts.

* One office has been getting excessive requests from one person.

* That person works for a congressional candidate, Dori Fenenbock.

* Judge Escobar hasn't announced, but she's taken meetings to discuss her candidacy and there is a PAC in place that is already soliciting support for her campaign.

* County policy was then changed as a response to the requests.

How in the hell is that an appropriate use of her office?

This begs a question that I really now want to know, were any of the requests delayed in order for time to be permitted for a policy to be created?

If so, that would be really bad.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Socorro Blame Game; Reps Vote to Violate Law

Say it with me again y'all:

ONLY IN SOCORRO!

If you miss a city council meeting, its like missing an episode of Game of Thrones. You have to binge watch their YouTube channel to catch up to all the drama!

City Representative Yvonne Colon-Villalobos was the subject of two complaint letters sent to the City of Socorro due to alleged behavior and legal infractions during the early voting period of the last round of elections in Socorro. In an email I obtained, Rep Colon-Villalobos blames the Elections Department.

The complaint was centered around the behavior of Colon-Villalobos and her tag-team partner City Rep Maria Reyes, and covered a range of things from their behavior of yelling and fighting with other campaigns, to being told repeatedly by County and Election staff to not enter the polling place.

The duo are supporting Colon-Villalobos' work subordinate Ivy Avalos for mayor.

I'll get to why she blames the Elections staff shortly but first, walk with me.

There was some discussion at a recent Socorro City Council meeting over whether or not there needed to be a run-off election. Colon-Villalobos and Reyes were against a run-off election, obviously because they both supported Avalos and she had the most votes of the plurality of candidates.

But there are a couple more interesting, and ironic, reasons they didn't want a run-off election. One of the arguments they tried to float was that the City of Socorro's charter says you just need a plurality to win. Which would be fine if it weren't for a basic legal tenant that Texas law over-rules local charters. If murder is against the law in the Texas Constitution, allowing murder in a city charter doesn't magically make it legal. State law has precedence.

The other, and much more hilariously ironic hypocritical argument Reps Reyes and Colon-Villalobos had the audacity to make was that it would cost too much money for the taxpayers of Socorro.

THEY ARE THE REASON AN ELECTION WAS EVEN HELD IN THE FIRST PLACE! They railroaded former Mayor Gloria Rodriguez out of office without even having the respect for the community to state why. The vacancy they created triggered the special election that they are talking about in the first place!

NOW THEY CARE ABOUT TAXPAYERS?

Even by Socorro standards, thats a bunch of hypocritical bullshit.

Reps Reyes and Colon-Villalobos were advised by the city attorney that state law takes precedence, but the two ignored state law and voted to circumvent state law in favor of their political candidate. They'll spin it differently but if you know the back story of who they are supporting there is no way you can spin out of the fact that they were willing to take a vote on the record that would violate state law just to get their candidate elected.

There's a reason for that, which I'll get to later but it makes you wonder what in the blue hell City Rep At Large Rene was thinking when he recognized Reyes for ethics of all things.

In this email sent to the entire council, the city manager, and the city attorney, Colon-Villalobos indicates that the complaints leveled against her by the Elections Department were actually their fault and cites an ambiguous (and unsubstantiated) "power issue" with the judges.



The email doesn't make mention of the other allegations of "fighting" and "yelling" and behavior that was characterized by the Elections Department staff as "an absolute embarrassment to the community".
---------------------------------------------------------------
High Stakes

So why all the intrigue and heightened emotions about a city council race in Socorro?

You know the answer, its Socorro and therefore there is some sort of movida happening.

Reps Reyes and Colon-Villalobos are part of a faction that is led behind the scenes by ousted former City Manager Lorenza Fraire who was such an issue that even the Gandara clan didn't want her to be city manager and they got rid of her. Fraire has been focused on getting back into her old job ever since. She's so intent on doing so that she has been running candidates for years in an attempt to get a majority that are beholden to her so that she can get her old job back.

Multiple city employees have come forward talking about how Fraire spends a lot of time in the offices and has introduced Avalos as their new boss before the election was over.

The faction wants to remove the current city manager and city attorney, which is surprising given the fact that they are the first city manager and city attorney in my memory that haven't been a controversy magnet.

There are 4 district reps, one at-large rep and a mayor in Socorro. You have an uneven number of voting members of council and the mayor only votes in cases of ties. That almost never happens because 5 is an uneven number. Currently the Fraire Faction consists of two, and three if Ivy Avalos is elected, which doesn't really help Fraire because its just the mayoral position.

But the district 2 seat will now also go to a run-off election, but their candidate, which was actually the key to the coup, didn't come in the top two, so to the Fraire Faction, it doesn't matter who wins that race.

And now, to add another interesting wrinkly to the novela that is the City of Socorro, City Rep Maria Reyes is up for reelection in November...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fenenbock's Feria Part 2

The El Paso Times recently did a story about the amount of Republican contributions Dori Fenenbock has received. I wrote a piece about it and the short of it is that surprise, surprise, the vast majority of the contributions were from Republicans.

As you may recall, I mentioned Fenenbock's spouse being super excited on the Election Night for the bond because it was in November. I mentioned he was giddy about Trump winning and a lot of the people that attended were really annoyed.

Fenenbock has almost no voting history, and she's basically done nothing for this community before she ran for school board, which she is still in the middle of the first term of. But the voting history she does have, as I've mentioned before, is Republican.

And her husband donates a lot of money to Republicans. I've mentioned that before, but let me show you what I mean...

Because its a lot of contributions.


So in terms of federal contributions, the Fenenbocks gave to 13 different Republican political campaigns and one Democratic campaign.

And we aren't talking middle-of-the-road Republicans. We are talking hard core nuts like Ted Cruz, Tom Leppert, Paul Ryan, and Cornyn.

At this point, after seeing Fenenbock's voting record and the campaign donations of her spouse, if you still think she's really a Democrat then there is something wrong with you.

You can't expect voters to trust you if you can't be honest with them about who you are and what your political beliefs are.

Oh wait, you clearly can. After all, we have a President who banked on that.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Commissioners Wrong on Open Records Requests

The County unanimously voted to impose a fee on persons submitting certain open records requests. And they were unanimously wrong for doing so.

Some might say I'm sensitive about open records because of the bullshit Emma Acosta and Mike Noe pulled on me a little over a year ago. I'll accept that.

First, lets address the elephant in the room. And by elephant, I mean the Republican Dori Fenenbock. The reality is that this decision by the Court was in response to the fact that the County Judge's office is getting a shit ton of open records requests from Fenenbock's campaign.

The Judge is in the congressional picture and of course Fenenbock is going to try to go through her long public record. Thats a consequence of being a sitting elected official and having a long history. People are going to go through it.

I resent having to pay for public documents out of principle. They are public, which means they are mine. Why do I have to pay you, for my shit. Government things they are a fucking bank, the only other people I can think of that have the audacity to charge you for your own shit.

The reality is that this is a short-term problem and the commissioner court found a way to find the shittiest solution to a short-term problem possible.

The reality is that the fee can't be so much that it serves as a deterrent from making the request of the records. So by definition, this is a policy that is going to disproportionately affect people who aren't wealthy but still want to engage their government.

And sorry to crush the dreams of the Judge's staff, but the fee won't even slow down the Fenenbock team's bid to dig for dirt, which is what the open records requests are all about. They have a shit-ton of money, they can afford any request.

So the only people it disincentives from sending in requests are the people who can't afford it.

Way to go commissioner's court, use a cannon to kill a mosquito.

Now their going to justify this by saying that other entities have charged more for less. Which is true. But, what problem is being solved by enacting this policy? Its not like that amount of money pays for your average county staffer's time.

They are also going to say that other entities charge for the information then why shouldn't they? Well if you weren't charging before, is there a compelling reason to change that policy that doesn't involved the congressional race?

Exactly.

This is feel good, do nothing policy.

Also for those you wondering, the resign to run law doesn't affect school board members, which is why Dori can run around talking about her campaign while still holding her seat as a school board member. The Judge still has to whisper.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bad Behavior in Socorro Leads to Increase Fees?

Word around the water cooler in the county courthouse is that there is likely to be an increase in filing fees to run for office in Socorro because the County is likely to require security at the polling places.

I can't underscore how big of a deal it is that you have to have security at a polling place to keep order. This is on the heels of a complaint sent from election officials to the City of Socorro about on-going behavior and violations of election rules at polling places in Socorro.

The very sad point of the complaint letters was the fact that it identified at least two members of council, Maria Reyes and Yvonne Colon-Villalobos, along with their mayoral candidate Ivy Avalos.

Its shameful that polling places aren't seen as secure places, especially in places like Socorro. Socorro has a frightfully low voter turnout and this turn of events, with a couple of their city leaders being the alleged cause, doesn't encourage people to vote in that community.

And to be clear, its important to make this point. All of Socorro leaders aren't out of control. All of their leaders aren't emotionally unstable. Most of their leaders and staff members in the City of Socorro are good people with the best of intentions and just want to do the right thing for the community.

But a couple of them have some real problems. Its clearly getting out of control.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Election Officials Make Complaints About Socorro Officials

File this under that really full folder called Only in Socorro...

Once again City Reps Maria Reyes and Yvonne Colon-Villalobos find themselves in the middle of controversy - and their mayoral candidate Ivy Avalos (Colon-Villalobos' subordinate).

I've heard reports of their behavior during the campaign, but Soco is particularly Loco during election season. And if you've never campaigned in the valley, its something of a contact sport. Its very confrontational and in your face. Socorro has refined this to nuclear purity.

Do you know how bad your behavior has to be to get complained about in Socorro? The police are often at polling places in Socorro.

So if something rises to a complaint in Socorro, its especially egregious.

Its even more egregious if its the actual elections personnel making the complaint. Normally they are the people that you do the complaining to.

Instead, they sent letters of complaint to the City of Socorro because their behavior was so bad.

This demonstrates a real lack of stability among the people mentioned in the complaint. And here's the REALLY shameful thing about it. The people that were participating in this bad behavior were...wait for it...ELECTED OFFICIALS!

And a mayoral candidate.

Here's a screen shot of one of the letters. This letter is from Sandra Ramirez who works in the Elections Department at the County. Ramirez says in part,

"It is an absolute embarrassment to the community to see them fighting with each other and yelling things back and forth to each other."

She goes on to say that they were non-compliant, disregarded the rules and likened their behavior to "children".



Here's another letter from even more election officials.


The Election Judge and the Alternate both identified the same individuals as the elections department staff member identified.

There is not only a general lack of self-control and instability, but it also speaks to a level of entitlement - they think the rules don't apply to them because they are elected officials in Socorro.

The questionable activity doesn't stop there. There's more, but I'll get to that in another post.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Courthouse Follies

Heard about a couple of funny things that have happened in the courthouse.

Okay, not funny. Troubling is probably a better word.

I'm still getting the details but I'll give you the basics of what I know on an incident involving a couple of judges. There is a lawyer that has cases in two courts on the same day, at the same time. That is a common in the court house and these learned individuals typically act like adults and work this shit out.

But once in a while, they get in pissing matches. So one judge is pissed that the attorney isn't there and - there are two versions to this story so I'm trying to verify which one is most accurate - either went down to the other court in his robe, or sent his bailiff, to go get the attorney. The attorney was in jury selection in the other court.

I'll give you names and everything once I get the correct version of the story. I mean judges have a pretty fucking sweet work schedule. Go to any court almost any day of the week and it'll be a freaking accident if you run into an actual judge. Hell some of these people think so little of justice that they have hearings over the phone!

I mean God forbid you get into your fancy car, put on your robe and your powdered wig and do your job amirite?

But do you believe that shit? Those are JUDGES acting like that. Doesn't that just piss you off?

Well if it doesn't, this one will.

There was a court that was set-up to do primarily family law. They have other cases they hear, but it was mostly a family court. It was mostly certainly a family court with the judge first ran for office.

And now, almost inexplicably the judge no longer wants to do family law and is pushing those cases out to other courts so that the court can focus on other areas of the law.

What kind of shit is that?

It apparently is screwing over a LOT of people, staff, courts, and attorneys. They gotta pick up the slack because a judge just basically said, fuck it, I don't want to do this anymore. 

I'm working on finding out what is the deal with that move and as soon as I find out, I'll pass it on to you.

Bishop Blasts Immigration Policy; Sheriff at Commissioners Court

The Bishop of the El Paso Diocese Mark Seitz penned a letter condemning draconian immigration enforcement. Republican Catholics are going to be challenged by what the bishop wrote in his letter because it runs contrary to their politics

But there was on particular line that drew my attention, "We must continue to denounce the evil of family separation, the militarization of our border communities, for-profit immigration detention, the mistreatment of asylum seekers, and the disparagement of our Muslim brothers and sisters."

For-profit immigration detention.

Essentially that is the policy we practice in El Paso County, right now, as you are reading this post. Its an embarrassment and shameful policy that people think is somewhere far off, or some corporate jail facility.

Well if you listen to what county leaders say, it describes El Paso County perfectly. We even expanded the jail annex to accommodate even more.

Today Sheriff Wiles will be in front of County Judge Veronica Escobar and the rest of commissioners court as part of the budget hearings that are just now getting started. THIS is the time that commissioners should be discussing this issue.

And frankly, this is the time for the County Judge, Sheriff Wiles, and Commissioner Stout to put up.

A few weeks ago when Commissioner Perez raised the issue of the county jail contract with the federal government to house undocumented immigrants in our jails, rather than stick to principles she's professed for years and be an advocate for those immigrants and fix a very broken policy, she instead took a different road.

She was very snarky when she said that as much of a genius as Commissioner Perez is, "no one is infallible". She tried to undermine the confidence of the research his office had done on the issue. Based on what?

Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

So now is the time that they should be discussing this issue. Now is the time that the Judge should come forward with whatever she feels calls Commissioner Perez's data into question - otherwise it was just a political maneuver to save face because its as a bad policy that happened entirely under her watch.

The hypocrisy is unbearable.

Now its go time. The County Judge now has to either show how Commissioner Perez was completely off his fucking rocker when they conducted their analysis (of the County's own data mind you), she has to fix the problem, or she has to go against what she has professed as an immigration reform advocate for years.

Why is it so important now?

Because of this article in USA Today yesterday that also ran in the El Paso Times, which is where I saw it. The article basically says that there are less deportations happening under the Trump administration because there are more apprehensions and there is now a bottle neck.



The fix is to this is really interesting. Its in the last paragraph of the article. It says that Attorney General Sessions dispatched 25 more immigration judges to the southwest and will likely add more.

So more are going to be incarcerated for a longer period of time until that bottle neck is fixed.

But Escobar's argument has been that getting rid of the jail contract isn't going to fix our broken immigration system. Thats a total cop-out. We can all do something.

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." 

Robert F. Kennedy said that. People don't talk like that anymore, but I like to believe that they still believe like that.

Sheriff Wiles? Well he says the policy of local law enforcement housing the undocumented creates jobs, so he's totally cool with it. So if your argument is that it creates jobs, then El Paso is absolutely profiting off of this bad policy and you can't hide behind that talking point anymore.

And let me close with another quote from the Bishop, "Our broken system of immigration is a wound on this border community. It is a scandal to the Body of Christ in El Paso."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fenenbock's GOP Feria

Dori Fenenbock raised a ton of money.

Seriously, its a lot of money she raised and she raised it really early. Its so much money, I'd say she's the front-runner at this point. That amount of money puts a lot of pressure on County Judge Veronica Escobar and her super-secret bid to replace Congressman O'Rourke.

Why?

Well when an opponent raises that kind of feria so early, its gonna mean that Escobar is going to have to hit the ground running. She was never going to wait until the filing deadline anyway, but now I'd expect her to resign her seat as County Judge to start campaigning in full force for congress.

It also puts a lot of pressure on Escobar to make a decision about PAC money. Beto doesn't take it, but I don't know that Escobar has the ability to raise that kind of scratch to keep up with Fenenbock.

So in that sense, its a big deal.

There are some other interesting things, some of which are going to be problematic for Fenenbock, that are in her report.

First, David Karlsruher - who can't stop talking shit about Susie Byrd, Escobar, the non-existent Shapleigh campers, and Yours Truly - is completely on the take and you should remember that.

And interesting thing from the analysis done by the El Paso Times, which you can find by clicking here, was the revelation that the Karlsruher family are major donors to Dori Fenenbock.



Almost maxed out, not quite yet, but they likely will be at some point soon. So while he's busy acting benevolent and holier-than-thou, just know that he's a massive fucking hypocrite.

Now it makes sense why he's obsessed with Susie Byrd. Expect him to be completely in Dori's pocket from now until the primary is decided.


The Times' analysis indicates that a whopping 47% of her campaign donations come from Republicans. That is far more than any other source.

Only 17% of her contributions come from donors that are bonafide Democrats.

Fenenbock has been accused of being a Republican in Democratic clothing and of trying to buy a congressional seat.

Well that is the reason why. Republicans don't drop the type of money they have dropped on her because they legitimately think she's a Democrat. There's a reason they feel comfortable making it rain like that on her campaign.

This is going to be a major problem for her because Fenenbock may actually get Escobar's haters in the Party to get in the game and support the Democrat. Even Dee Margo made his rounds with the local Democratic Party groups, so its unlikely that Fenenbock will be able to avoid attending those events.

Which means she is going to be confronted about all that Republican money. There's no way of ducking it.

And frankly, based on her social media advertisement, I baffled why they would be framing her as someone who can reach across the aisle. Democrats don't want that. That's a general election message and a shitty one. You'd think with the fancy consultant she got from the Castro brothers that they would have a more Democratic-centric message.

She's picking the wrong election to sound bi-partisan. The advantage of running this cycle is that its a gubernatorial cycle and Republicans turn out big in those elections. But Democrats are going to be motivated especially with Trump in the White House. It is a terrible strategy to sound like a Republican in this cycle.

But hey, money buys a lot. She's gonna have all the bottom-feeders on her payroll.

Socorro City Elections - Still Loco

Up for Reelection in November
Soco is still loco.

Ivy Avalos won the mayoral campaign last night and will be the new mayor of Socorro. She was pushed really hard by City Rep Yvonne Colon-Villalobos, Maria Garcia, and former Socorro City Manager looking for her job back, Lorenza Frairie.

Here is what is interesting about that.

Avalos is actually a subordinate to Yvonne Colon-Villalobos in their regular workplace. Yes you read that correctly. Mayor Avalos is a subordinate of Yvonne Colon-Villa lobos at work.

So now you have this strange situation in Socorro where the mayor is literally beholden to her boss, who actually sits on council.

Let's see how many conflicts of interest this little "Only in Socorro" scenario makes.

Imagine if a few years ago Oscar Leeser ran for city council instead of mayor and won a seat. Now imagine one of his employees ran for mayor and won. You don't think there would be some major problems with that?

Avalos was pushed by Lorenza Fraire, Maria Reyes and Colon-Villalobos for the office. The office was vacated by a push from Representative Maria Reyes to remove her from office as part of a long-time obsession Reyes has had with paybacks to Gloria Rodriguez.

Without any explanation of allegations leveled against Rodriguez, she was railroaded out of the mayoral position which led to the vacancy.

Colon-Villalobos and Reyes are engaged in an effort to secure a majority on council and many in Socorro believe it is to secure the position of city manager for Lorenza Fraire.

There has been allegations from community members that the trio have said they want to get rid of the current city manager and the city attorney in favor of their cronies.

Which is why it would make sense that they would get someone to run for mayor who ultimately has to answer to Colon-Villalobos.

One problem with their little scheme. The mayor of Socorro is even weaker than the mayor of any other town in the county. They only vote in the case of a tie, but there are 5 members of council so that is rare, and they have no veto power.

The next election coming is in November. Maria Reyes will be fighting for her political career because she will be the only seat up on council and they need to ensure her reelection to ensure the status quo.

The trio were trying to secure a majority on council but former Mayor Jesus Ruiz won the District 2 seat and is now a voting member of city council, which prevents the trio from having their majority.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Oh Hey, Speaking of Rainbows...

Remember that big press conference that County Judge Veronica Escobar had for the transgender woman who was arrested by ICE in the courthouse while she was trying to get an order of protection?

Well she's still being incarcerated. She's a victim of that bad policy that Judge Escobar and Sheriff Wiles support. She's being held on an ICE detainer.

No press conferences for her anymore though.

But here's where things get really, really, really sad.

When I tell you what I'm about to tell you, you're gonna say, "hey, that sounds familiar. I've heard that story somewhere before."

Well you probably have. Especially if you watch Orange is the New Black because it sounds exactly like a story line from a couple seasons ago. Here's the dirty little secret:

Sources indicate that the transgender woman is being held in segregation in the county jail.

And my source also indicates that she's not being given her medication (the hormones she needs and everything else).

Thats not a Netflix script, that is the reality of a bad policy.

So yeah, the win on Saturday was big.

But so is this.

Revenge of the Rainbow

Saturday was a big come-from-behind win for City Rep-Elect Cissy Lizarraga in the District 8 race. Robert Cormell was poised to win coming out of the general election and heading into the run-off.

The win is a win for the gay community as much as it is for Lizarraga - not because she ever really positioned herself as an advocate or anything - but because of what Robert Cormell promised he'd try to do, repeal domestic partner benefits.

Cormell was anti-gay and holds some extremist positions. He thinks its a mental illness. He thinks you can cure the gay. He thinks it undermines marriage.

Which is why the win is so notable and it mobilized the gay community and allies.

But there's one more thing that made the win notable.

The best thing Cissy Lizarraga could've done is fire her previous field team and upgrade to Mike Apodaca.

Apodaca devised and implemented an effective field program and GOTV op.  Why is that a big deal?

Because Michael Apodaca is gay. There's a healthy dose of poetic justice that it was a gay man that engineered the defeat of an anti-gay candidate. Apodaca actually puts it best in this Facebook post last night.



There were other people who helped on the campaign that played important roles, and Norma Chavez handled mail.

But make no mistake about this, a tight race in which Lizarraga was behind in early voting but overcame and pulled ahead over the night, was indicative of a field win. Field is what brings you from behind to the front, not mail - and the two people most deserving of credit for this win are Lizarraga for making the call to bring in Mike, and Mike for pulling it off.

So as you know, sprinkles are for winners. Michael Apodaca is not only Homeboy of the Week, but he gets all the sprinkles.

Bright rainbow sparkly sprinkles.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Chicana Candidates Trend in Judicial Seats

Well we are rounding our way toward the next election season and you will certainly notice a big trend - the year of women candidates.

Two prominent El Paso lawyers have already made their campaign intentions known. Judge Monique Velarde and Patsy Lopez are starting early and going after seats currently held by male judges.

Word around the water cooler in the courthouse is that Judge Spiezney is going to retire and that is the seat that Patsy Lopez is pursuing. There are rumors that Gonzalo Garcia is also considering retirement but I'd bet money he isn't. "GG", as he is known around the courthouse has no shortage of critics in the legal field, primarily based on how he runs his court, his demeanor on the bench, and some pretty light sentences on repeat DUI offenders and Jesse Gandara.

Personally I think Esparza's office is just as guilty for Gandara getting a light sentence as anyone else, but that's another story.

To be clear, Lopez is not taking on an incumbent but she along with Velarde are both young but experienced Chicana lawyers that have invested in securing experienced campaign teams that are focused on strong field work.

Now that there are metrics in which to - no pun intended - judge the judges, I'm expecting a changing of the guard type of cycle on the bench. I bet you'll see a lot of Chicana candidates taking on the older Hispanic male establishment. Those metric numbers are going to make a lot of them very vulnerable.

More to follow...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fenenbock's Fix

I love high stakes elections because every appears to completely lose their shit during campaigns. So here is what you are going to see people say over the next few months:

1. Despite the fact that I have been the only person critical of Escobar on a policy matter (which I am about to get even more critical of her about because I am almost done with my "deep dive" on the issue) - everyone else is just critical of her for stupid personal shit - I will still be told that I'm favoring Escobar in the congressional race.

2. At some point, someone is going to say I'm critical of Fenenbock because she's Jewish. They will have nothing to actually base this on of course, but trust me, at some point someone is going to say that. The reality is I'm critical of her because I don't think she is qualified for the position, I think she has a lot of questions to answer, I think she's not really a Democrat, and I resent the fact that she's trying to buy herself a seat. I don't give a shit who or what she does or does not worship.

3. Conspiracy theories. Lots and lots of conspiracy theories. It'll happen and they will likely be the stuff of legend.

Okay, back to the original point of this post since I got distracted with social media.
Remember all you people that were pissed about what I wrote last night about the Fenenbock Flop (I know, it sounds like its the newest line dance sweeping the quinceƱera scene in Canutillo)? Y'all got so pissed that I was grasping at straws and that there was nothing wrong with her website, I just didn't know how to read?

Lol, okay.

Well looks like her website got a new look since I wrote about it last night.

Here's a screenshot (there's always a screenshot, right?):



Gone is the (are we sure we want to say this?) line.

Gone is the weird picture that had  'Fuck Trump' and annihilation of Jews sign.

Gone is the pic of the kids from Burges.

Gone is the 11 foot ladder. It was replaced by a 13 foot ladder.

Although I will say she did ad an American flag, an obligatory picture of a brown kid, and she still totes trolls Susie Byrd by including her in pictures on her website. I'm sure the Kelly Ann Karlsruher is texting her frantically to tell her to remove Byrd because he's still sore his buddy Jim got his ass handed to him in the last council election.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fenenbock Stumbles Out of TX16 Starting Blocks

*Stunt Double, not actually Fenenbock
Kelly Ann Karlsruher has his work cut out for him...So lets see how big of a stinky pile this one ends up being....

Dori Fenenbock, candidate for Congress who inexplicably doesn't want to be called a candidate, recently launched her campaign website. And its chock full of fun, including some awesome low-key racist remarks!

And lets be honest, who doesn't love low-key racist humor against Latinos in El Paso by rich westside white folk, amirite?

I detailed her voting history in a previous post and it was basically exclusively Republican until the last primary in which she suddenly became a Democrat. Well as I read her website it looks like she's still having a hard time figuring out what our side of the aisle advocates on some issues - including my latest topic - comprehensive immigration reform.

There's a genuine lack of authenticity to the tone of the website. Its very saccharine and has a turn-key fill-in-the-blanks kind of feel to it. When you look at the substance of the policies she discusses, she absolutely sounds more like a Republican than a Democrat in her positions.

But there is something else that makes the website feel inauthentic and contrived...Take note of the yellow highlighted portion. It almost makes you miss the fact that she is talking about prosecuting people who hire the undocumented (I'm sure the small business community and the Chamber of Commerce are just going to LOVE that answer by the way), but it appears that she or someone else left in a parenthetical remark about whether or not it was wise to use that line.

No, seriously. I'm not joking.

Check it out:



I mean talk about someone's authentic views amirite? Don't we all want someone in congress representing us that will figure out where they stand on issues on the fly? Seriously, having a clearly defined set or values or policy positions is soooooo 2016, amirite?

Its the Trump era of make shit up as we go along!

Either she launched her website with her parenthetical notes by accident (revealing she is still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to say), or she really is that inauthentic of a candidate.

She should probably not take campaign advice from Kelly Ann Karlsruher who wants her to sound like a Republican and run as a Democrat.

But for us humble little Latino folk here in the 16th Congressional District of Texas, our favorite part has to be the section in green! Does she think Latinos are so dumb that they wouldn't figure out that you need a ladder that is higher than the wall to scale it?

The Maya were advanced in mathematics, I'm pretty raza can figure out you need a 13 foot ladder to scale a 12 foot wall Mrs. Fenenbock!

But hey, whats humor if its not low-key racist, que no?

This race promises to be lots of fun. I mean who in Washington PACs wouldn't take a Democratic candidate who sounds like a Republican, who has voted Republican more than Democratic, who's spouse is still a Republican, and has pics on her website that include profanity and some weird reference to the annihilation of Jews seriously?



Kelly Ann Karlsruher

You need the vision of Stevie Wonder to see that David Karlsruher is once again willing to shill for a candidate that he is close to.

This cycle, its Dori Fenenbock. DK is going to try to make a woman who's claim to fame is being a school board trustee embroiled in controversy as some sort of proven leader.

So far, the only thing she's proven is that she doesn't seem to care too much how often the EPISD super isn't at work or what it costs the tax payers for him to not be in the office.

Anywho, he posted a bunch of shit the other day that turned out to be more wrong than a Klansman with dreads. (Saw it on Facebook, hilarious shit).

The first one you know is bullshit is the complete lie he made up about me being Escobar's district director. No one has said that. Ever. Not even joking around. David K lies, its what he does. It was never a plan or a conversation and will never be a plan or a conversation.

But like he clearly writes in his post, he's a sell-out, not me.

The other thing he said that turned out to be a total lie is that Fenenbock would out-raise everyone, even Beto O'Rourke.

As you can see in this article on The Hill, Beto raised a million dollars in the last two months. David K was right about how much Dori earned in her first cycle, with is barely 1/3 what O'Rourke raised in the same cycle. This article is kinda old news. So DK had access to the figure that O'Rourke raised in advance and Dori's number as well and STILL told a lie about it.

But hey, he's basically campaigning on her behalf so what do you expect? He's gonna be Fenenbock's Kelly Ann Conway.

Significant numbers to be sure coming from Fenenbock, but it feeds into the narrative that she plans on buying her congressional seat.

Obviously a number that large has got to be giving Escobar something to think about. And by think about, I mean full-panic mode because $300k is a fuck ton of campaign cash. Buying the seat was always Fenenbock's plan, I mean how else can a less than one-term school board candidate be considered a contender for a congressional seat with basically zero personal investment in this city in terms of public service?

Three-hundred large buys a lot of negative mailers against Escobar about giving herself a raise, the children's hospital and the issue of housing undocumented immigrants locally without adequate recompense from the feds.

Speaking of that issue, the next post will be about another news article relating to the jail contract and some interesting commentary. Stay tuned for that one.

Oh, before I forget - I have it on good authority that David K was seen riding a unicorn eating a Pittle Patty from his favorite food truck in Austin earlier today. Just kidding. Thats a lie, but hell if he can just make shit up, so can I.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Questionable Campaign Activity by Former Socorro Judge?

Elia Garcia - Mayoral Candidate & Former Municipal Judge
I don't know how many times I'm going to write the words "only in Socorro" before you get tired of reading about it or before the people of Socorro get sick of it happening, but here we go again.

Mayoral candidate Elia Garcia, who was previously the municipal judge of Socorro until she asked for an amount of money that was more than double her salary, along with close political ally Ralph Duran, appear to have some questionable campaign activity.

At issue is the placement of construction zone signs and barriers in the Socorro area that advertise their campaigns.

At the very least, these signs don't have the legally-required disclaimer.

But more importantly it gives the impression that its a sign related to a construction project on a public road. Any reasonable person would assume that its a public project, especially given that its on a major road - so clearly the intent is for high visibility.




Anyone driving through Socorro knows that there is MAJOR construction projects happening on almost all of its major roads due to unprecedented investment in infrastructure, so there is no shortage of construction barricades and signs.

The signs are all strategically located on roads with major construction projects either currently happening or recently completed.

Their placement along side the roads also appears to be an issue.

You'd think an attorney - Ms. Garcia is a lawyer - would've checked out the legal issues first.




These signs give the impression that its a public entity, either the City of Socorro or TxDOT, is endorsing the candidates.

Regardless of the actual legal issues, its misleading the voters intentionally.

Its unethical.

But in Socorro, that sorta thing is common place, like the time the city was putting in driveways to only the constituents who voted regularly.

This is why the people of Socorro are so cynical of their leadership.

One last thing, it'll be interesting to see what construction company owns the equipment and if they do business with the City of Socorro. That might also be another hornets nest of legal and ethical issues, especially if they are a company that does business with the city, using their resources to endorse a mayoral and city council candidate.

Once again, "ONLY IN SOCORRO".

Friday, July 7, 2017

Escobar Says Wiles Would've Been Lost As Plaintiff ...

This one apparently slipped through the cracks, but it is a really important conversation for this community to have locally about Sheriff Wiles.

County Judge Veronica Escobar has indicated that the reason that the County of El Paso DID NOT include a constitutional challenge to ICE detainers as part of its lawsuit against SB4 is because Sheriff Wiles would not have been a plaintiff had they done so.

Thats a major news story that had gone previously unmentioned. Especially for a sheriff in a border community. The County Judge made the admission in an online debate we had on the issue of the hypocrisy of the County being against SB4 because it would turn local law enforcement into defacto border patrol agents, but apparently having no problem at all with that same local law enforcement having a contract with the federal government to house those immigrants.

Sheriff Wiles has long been seen as an ally to the immigrant community and has been awarded - rightfully so - for his leadership on immigration.

But if he's going to be recognized for his work in the area, he should equally be scrutinized for a position that appears to run so contrary to what he has been recognized for.

Other sheriffs have signed on to their county's lawsuits against SB4 that did include a constitutional challenge.

But Sheriff Wiles has not.

Why?

Well we don't know why because he hasn't been asked. Perhaps he enjoys having a cooperative relationship with the federal government, but that cooperation means we are using our local tax dollars to subside the federal government - to the point that Wiles called for taxpayers to spend $45 million to expand a jail that wasn't really needed.

Now Wiles is shutting down 4 of the 8 floors that house inmates which saves the tax payers about $1 million and he's getting a pat on the back. Forget about shafting the tax payers for $45 million, ICE detainers, and a losing contract to house federal inmates at local expense - but hey, a million dollars amirite?

The Judge praises him pretty often and thanks him, but the bottom line is that Wiles' insistence on housing federal inmates is what appears to have led to him saying that the jail was full and we needed a new expansion, but yet he didn't know that 70% of them were detained for simply being undocumented? Hell at least Joe Arpaio knew who he was jailing and that guy owned it.

The county judge later changed the story a bit (she says its not changing the story, its adding to it) and said that losing Wiles as a plaintiff was not the only reason they chose not to pursue the constitutional issue of ICE detainers as part of the lawsuit. You'll have to check with the other commissioners to find out the details on that, but she also indicated that there was a court decision that basically made the issue moot, but that decision didn't come out until after the County filed their lawsuit.

The main point is that according to the county judge, Sheriff Wiles didn't want the constitutionality of ICE detainers challenged.

The media should be asking, why? The Judge says she's happy to give detailed answers about this and puts her office number down for people to call, so (915) 546-2098.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cormell Views on Homosexuality a Real Threat

Robert Cormell has some seriously flawed views on homosexuality and its a real issue. He's implied you can cure the gay out of someone.

He's said that marriage between same sex couples undermines marriage as one of the pillars of our society. I guess all the divorces people have and all the two week celebrity marriages don't undermine marriage, but two people expressing their love and commitment to one another somehow does?

And he's also said that homosexuality was viewed as a mental illness at some point, which is accurate, but a level of dumbfuckery that is beneath a city council representative.

And here's the scary thing. He's probably going to win unless something serious changes. During his previous bid for mayor he promised to repeal domestic partner benefits. He's very close to getting into office and there are no indications that he has changed his mind since he ran a few years ago.

So this is a real issue.

Its not something to brush off.

He is going to be in a position to push forward that ultra-conservative and hateful agenda. This isn't a manufactured red herring, this is an actual policy change Cormell has promised he would pursue and should be taken seriously.

Let me wrap this up with a personal note about this issue. As many of you know, I have a gay child. I resent the hell out of religious conservatives that attack the gay community. We must be reading out of a different book, because the Jesus I know doesn't preach hate. He word is love, not hate.

He preached about the importance of love, family, reconciliation, forgiveness, and being good to one another. He spoke about the evils of adultery and greed. But you know what He never said anything about?

Homosexuality. If it were something bad and some horrific "abomination" you'd think He would've taught about it right?

Be He taught a whole lot about love.

If you follow the religious premise that God doesn't make mistakes (which I do), then my child is not an abomination, she's God's child.

The most dangerous thing about bigotry is that much like the devil himself, it was learned how to hide. It has learned to wrap itself up in a nice suit and slick rhetoric.

Don't let the small-minded conservatives put this guy on council. Get out and vote, ride your skateboard to the polling place if you have to, this is a serious issue.