Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Oh look, that nice Republican lady is pretending to be a Democrat for Halloween!

How festive!

Seriously, give her props. She can only pull this off twice a year.

April Fool's Day and Halloween.


Monday, October 30, 2017

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard

I've heard local leaders say some really dumb things to defend stupid, crooked, unwise, etc political or policy decisions.

Seriously I have a notebook full of dumb quotes from people locally that I have been saving for later use when appropriate.

And the dumb things I have heard from elected leaders in Socorro could be its own book.

But If you watch this story, this is possibly the dumbest thing I have ever heard an elected official say to justify a really, really, really stupid political move to score points with voters.

First, here's a video of a news story done the other day about changing the name of a street in Socorro. Click this link to the story if it doesn't work.

Here's the short of it - Socorro has major mobility problems and in an effort to fix those problems Commissioner Vince Perez and Former Mayor Jesus Ruiz and current Councilman At Large Rene Rodriguez worked together to push through some projects that will help alleviate those problems. That is why you are seeing so many street projects in Socorro as of late including Horizon Blvd, North Loop, and Old Hueco.

There used to be a dirt road that ran from were Eastlake connects to the I-10, south between a few fields and eventually connected to paved roads in Socorro. So in a big project that would make that a major connecting artery to I-10, the Eastlake extension project was born and it would get that road paved and widened to continue Eastlake down from the I-10 and go almost directly south until it curved around a church and connected to Socorro at North Loop.

But Socorro City Rep Ralph Duran was recently narrowly elected and has to face a November election as well. So in an 11th hour attempt to appeal to voters, he pushed forward a street name change. He made some argument that it protects the integrity of Socorro.

I know what you're thinking. Changing a street name protects the integrity of a city? That has to be the dumbest thing I ever heard. 

But sit tight, it gets much worse.

Aside from the fact that Duran says the vote was unanimous when it wasn't (there was at least one member of council that wasn't even at the meeting, so it by definition was unanimous, but Duran says something else that defies logic.

When asked about the cost of the name change, Duran says the following:

“The amount of money that will be spent on a name change is negligible, considering the amount of money we will be getting back in taxes and sales tax,”

I was floored by the audacity of that statement. Duran either is lying to his constituents with a straight face, or he is completely ignorant of policy. Frankly, I don't know which is worse.

First of all, it will cost the tax payers in Socorro around $10,000 for this last-minute name change that  serves no purpose other than vanity. Second, the amount of money that Socorro is going to get from taxes and sales takes of properties in the area is something that will happen in the future, but has NOTHING to do with the name change.

In a community the size of Socorro, $10,000 of taxes pays for a lot. That is a lot of potholes that can be fixed or improvements to parks that will be forgone so that Duran can tell people in the November election that he pushed a name change to protect the "integrity" of the City of Socorro.

Socorro tax payers should be fit to be tied right about now. Duran had nothing to do with securing those projects and the future tax revenue that will be captured by his own admission. That was actually done by the guy he's running against in November.

But all he did was unnecessarily add an expense to taxpayers at the 11th hour. So he's the guy that comes in right before a home is ready, changes the color of the paint, and then wants people to thank him for the entire project.

More importantly, what is Duran gonna tell people when inevitably there is a problem with first responders being delayed because of confusion over the location of places along the road? There is a plan for streets throughout El Paso and the County to prevent streets from being referred to as different names in different places in order to avoid this very scenario.

Duran saying that $10,000 unnecessarily spent on a vanity name change was "negligible" because of possible tax revenue capture in the future is seriously the dumbest thing I have ever heard from a local elected official.

Even in Socorro.

Union Boss "Angry" Over Endorsement Claim

American Federation of Teachers boss Ross Moore is pretty upset over an alleged claim of an endorsement coming out of the Fenenbock camp. The incident is alleged to have happened at an event featuring the Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party when he made a recent trip to El Paso. 

At issue is a claim alleged to have been made by Anna Dominguez that Fenenbock had received the endorsement of various locals of the American Federation of Teachers. 

It is unclear if Dominguez works for the Fenenbock campaign in an official capacity or is just a strong supporter of the Fenenbock campaign so its hard to say if this is a claim being made by the Fenenbock campaign or by someone who is just a supporter of the campaign.
It is also unclear if the claim was, as Moore describes it, "intentionally or inadvertently disingenuous". In order to dispel the rumor, Moore fired off an email to a group of leaders and to members of his local to clarify that the endorsement process of the AFL-CIO affiliated organization has not yet even begun. Below you will find the content of the email sent out. Moore doesn't mince words and makes the point very clearly that any claims that Fenenbock's camp has about having the endorsement of the local are inaccurate.

You might be wondering why Moore is so upset about the alleged claim by the Fenenbock camp. Well its likely because the claim of having the endorsement before an endorsement process has even taken place undermines the memberships faith in the process. The email Moore sent to membership is essential the same as the one below but does have a couple of lines in it to membership reassuring them that the endorsement process is up to them as members and not some pre-ordained conclusion. 

Membership is likely going to be pretty pissed that someone is saying their endorsement is in the bag if it isn't. So the ramifications of this situation are pretty serious. Its not so much that Fenenbock must have the AFT endorsement so much as she really can't afford for Escobar to end up with the endorsement. 

Why? Because it would be a really bad message for the Fenenbock campaign to not secure the endorsement of the teachers of the district she is a trustee for. It would be a pretty sizable rebuke. 

Also, for those of you still claiming that Fenenbock didn't use the bond to launch her congressional bid, take a look at this photo I stumbled upon when I was working on this post. Look at the language Fenenbock uses in the caption.

She talks about being proud to have the endorsement of several unions. The endorsement was for the bond as you can clearly see in the image, but her language makes it sound like she was personally receiving an endorsement from labor, when the reality is it was an endorsement for the bond. 

Here is Moore's email:


One and All,

I need to dispel a rumor/false statement made by the Fenenbock Campaign, last night.

I have been advised that last night, at the meet and greet with Gilbert Hinojoso, a worker for the Fenenbock campaign (Anna Dominguez) told a Texas AFL-CIO VP, a person I consider quite reliable, that AFT had publicly endorsed Dori’s candidacy.  The person who that advised me of that followed up with questions, but Ms. Dominguez was adamant the American Federation of Teachers had endorsed her. 

This is false.

I have been in consultation last night and today with my state and national AFT leadership as well as AFL-CIO leadership on this matter.  As I advised both Ms. Fenenbock and Ms. Escobar Wednesday, the EP AFT/TX AFT/AFT endorsement process has not begun, let alone a decision made.  Ms. Dominguez’s remarks in that meeting were inappropriate and inaccurate, and may have created a false impression that EP AFT/TX AFT/AFT has endorsed her.  Whether her remarks were intentionally or inadvertently disingenuous is unimportant, they were made.

As we both know, the only thing that travels faster than the speed of light are ill-founded rumors.  I must nip this ill-founded rumor in the bud.  In that light:

  1. I ask that Ms. Fenenbock’s campaign to immediately cease inaccurately portraying the EP AFT/TX AFT/AFT position on her candidacy.  It doesn’t exist, yet, and as Randi Weingarten stressed to me this AM, “you at a local and state level make this decision”.
  2. I will be advising my membership, my Local’s elected officers, the El Paso State Delegation, Mr. Hinojoso and my fellow AFL-CIO and AFT Local Presidents of this incident and the inaccuracy of claiming an AFT endorsement.  
  3. The endorsement decision will be made by the members of my Local, and my sister Local in Socorro through our COPE process, as previously described.



p.s.  I am exceptionally angry about this action.  Those of you who know me, know I don’t like someone putting words in my mouth or my Local’s.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Race, Religion & the 16th Congressional Campaign

This is gonna make some of you very uncomfortable, but I pride myself on discussing what others typically won't, even if it bothers some people. Pretty sure the comment section on this one is gonna be pretty active.

Up until recently, race and religion were a subtext to the campaign for the 16th congressional district campaign between front-runners Veronica Escobar and Dori Fenenbock. It is very often whispered by supporters or non-supporters of either candidate and usually in the context of their candidate being unfairly criticized because she's Latina or she's Jewish, depending on who you are talking to.

Hell, every time I mention Fenenbock I get someone call me antisemitic and a lot of racist things are said about Mexicans. So much so that I had to actually start following what was always a disclaimer in my comment section and now I require a handle for someone's comment to be posted.

But lets look at the reality of the political landscape in El Paso. We are a community that is about 85% Latino. Yet, we very often elect leaders that aren't Latino. Previously it was because we had no choice. For generations El Paso's political establishment was white. All you have to do is go to city hall or commissioners court and look at all the pictures of previous mayors and county judges and you'll quickly seen that for well over a century, white folks were in charge. Hey, don't blame me, I wasn't even born.

Somewhere around the 70's & 80's it started being more and more common to see Latinos in leadership positions though there were the occasional pioneers a little earlier.

Now we have come full circle and the Latino electorate in El Paso frequently elects candidates of their choice. So we have a white mayor, most of EPISD Board of Trustees are anglo, and there are a couple of white commissioners.

But no one runs on race, or religion, in this town. At least not overtly.

Don't get me wrong, people absolutely say and do racist things in politics in this town. And Dori Fenenbock has absolutely been the target of anti-semitism while she was a trustee at EPISD.

Remember when Judd Burges and his weird alter-ego were passing out "Fenenbucks"? Absolutely, and overtly anti-semitic. So I fully acknowledge that she's had to deal with some ignorant antisemites.

I guess thats why edits on Dori Fenenbock's website seem so strange to me. Here's a screenshot I took just this morning from her website.

Here's an isolated view of what got my attention.

I'm used to the food fight in comment sections about race and religion, but I was surprised to see an actual candidate go there.

Especially one that tries so hard to patronize Latinos. Have you seen this social media post?

Memmur when she was using "Si se puede" slogan at her campaign announcement? You memmur, memmur?

I was at this particular event. Both major congressional candidates were there. Fenenbock had a couple of people following her around to take photos, appropriately timed to make it look like she's having a meaningful connection with Dolores Huerta.

And then she parked herself directly in front, again for the purposes of her photo ops.

Truth be told, I knew Fenenbock was going to try to latch on to Dolores when she was here. I knew she as going to try to acculturate "Si se puede". She has to look like she knows El Paso and has to appeal to Latino voters.

Even if it means that she has to mention the phrase Yes We Can being used by Obama - but some of you have forgotten that she didn't actually vote for Obama. She voted against him, and I don't mean Hillary.

She voted for the Republican. Just go back to that voting record I've posted several times.

But what did surprise me was the fact that she mentioned actually defeating Latino candidates. She uses the word Hispanic, which further underscores her lack of knowledge of our community.

I can only assume she mentions that to try to put to rest concerns from donors about her viability as a white woman against a Latina. But this is where Fenenbock being inauthentic comes into play again.

Yes, she beat Latino candidates but they were candidates that no one knew and only put in about $500 into their campaigns. Of course she won against them.

Its just really interesting that Fenenbock would mention race in such a strange context. I don't know that anyone has ever actually done that in local races.

Monday, October 23, 2017

What The Hell EPISD?

Someone please explain to me what Juan Cabrera and EPISD are doing right now. I read this article in the El Paso Times and I almost lost it!

So you have someone, Kristine Ferret, who was admittedly part of a wide-ranging cheating scandal that pretty much targeted poor brown kids...

and you promote her?

And there was a process in which other actual human beings, all of whom attended a university that conferred upon them degrees, that thought it made sense to not only keep her employed - but to give her a promotion?

What am I missing here? Is this some kind of joke?

Did MTV decide to make an epic comeback of Punk'd and Ashton Kutcher is gonna come out of some bushes with a camera crew and say, "Gotcha El Paso, you've been Punk'd".

Because if he is, thats really cool.

But if he isn't, then I have to question why the hell Juan Cabrera is still the Superintendent.

And lets be very honest about this, she was actually REPRIMANDED by TEA for her role in this. So there was some analysis of the situation by the TEA at some point that found that Ferret's actions rose to the level that there needed to be an actual professional reprimand, not something take lightly, and she was STILL promoted?

And seriously, someone talk to Bob Geske. Great restaurants, but how the hell does this guy say he trusts the people who trust her judgement? And Tamekia Brown, the Chief Academic Officer of Cabrera's cabinet, says Ferret has "credibility" with colleagues and parents?

What planet are you people living on? Two words no sane and rational person would use about EPISD for a long time, "trust" and "credibility". How can you say that with a straight face? The very scandal Ferret was reprimanded for being a part of had EPISD taken over by the state and you people have the nerve to use the words "credibility" and "trust"?

Especially coming from Geske, who voted to keep Cabrera's lavish travel budget. Where are the parents in all of this? You guys should be at the Board meetings with torches and pitch forks over this one. People that were part of the cheating scandal that led to a Superintendent going to the Big House are being PROMOTED?

Get the hell out of here!

Speaking of Cabrera & EPISD

So there is going to be a replacement process for EPISD to get someone on the Board since Dori Fenenbock resigned to run for Congress. The group We (Fillintheblank) from Coronado High School will be holding a forum for the people vying for the position, next Wednesday night at Coronado High School.

Three guesses who Cabrera wants to see selected?

Yep, that is Cabrera and some friends having a pizza party to celebrate a recent birthday. One of those friends is none other than Dan Longoria, who is one of the people vying to replace Fenenbock.

Use the search feature here on my blog if you want to refresh your memory of the guy.

He was going to run for City Council but dropped out of the race when there was scrutiny over a family related legal issue as I recall. He's the mattress guy.

Who ever is selected will serve until May 2019, which gives you an idea of how quickly into her school board term Fenenbock actually quit to pursue the congressional seat.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Too Early for Signs?

So I've been checking out something for the last couple of weeks and wanted to clarify for a few different groups regarding campaign signs.

There is a little contradiction in the law, but here's what it looks like near as I can tell.

If the road is maintained by TxDOT, you can't start putting signs along said road until 90 days before the election. So on Horizon Boulevard near Sparks there is a sign for a former JP candidate that is trying to get her seat back.

That sign can't be up yet because Horizon is a TxDOT road. The same would technically also apply to all the freeways in town. But it would also apply to some other roads that you might not think about when you think about TxDOT. Alameda, McCrae, Mesa, Montana, North Loop, Socorro, Yarborough, and Zaragoza are all TxDOT maintained roads.

Someone sent me an example of a Fenenbock sign in a median near Loretto. That particular example is never allowed. You cannot place a political sign in the center island or medians of a road at any time.

However, there are no restrictions for signs on private property. So if you have a supporter who lives along one of those roads, you can put up a sign there at any time.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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

But seriously...

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

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

I've done this event.

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

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


Speaking of EPISD....

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


Still speaking of EPISD...

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

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

Just an observation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fenenbock's Absence Stops Travel Budget Cut to Cabrera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fenenbock quit and hasn't attended a meeting since.

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Congressional Candidate Finance Reports

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

So here is a no BS assessment of the reports.

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

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

Which is true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a contribution to Veronica Escobar's campaign.

Yes, it is a relative of her opponent.

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

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


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dori & Gun Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have no idea. And neither do you.


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

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

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

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


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

You can't make this stuff up.

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

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

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

Dori dodges.

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

Except Dori.

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

Dori was recently endorsed by PD.

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

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

Lewis Fundraiser Announcement

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

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ruben Nuñez Fundraiser

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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jack Alayyan Terminated from Lower Valley Water District

Hit the road Jack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odds & Ends From My Notebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


JP Names Make it Official

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

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

This is certainly the year for female judicial candidates.

Weirdness at a Fundraiser

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 2, 2017

Congressional Race: DINO Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And call yourself an 8 percenter.

So think of those scores like a report card.

Escobar and LeClaire are A+ students.

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

...well, Fenenbock fails.