Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Saucedo Takes "Stance" on Border Wall

Saucedo's campaign is the worst campaign I can recall in terms of communications - my only question is whether its intentional or strategic.

He'd hardly be the first stereotypical politician to talk but never say anything. But he seems to have mastered that ability to master's level. But again, I don't know if that is because his communications consultants just really suck, or if its an effort to try to get media attention without actually taking a position.

But if you read his statement, which I've provided in its entirety below, he doesn't actually articulate a stance. He never comes out and says whether he's for or against the wall and Trump's 20% mordida to pay for the wall.

And yes kids, he even included another video. Frankly, I'm disappointed the lucha libre guy isn't in it, it would make more sense to be in this video.

So since he never actually says what his actual position is, I'm gonna help you guys decipher it based on his previous identifiable positions. First, lets consider Saucedo's voting record. He's only voted Republican. I've posted his voting record previously.

Second, he's a big supporter of Rick Santorum, a Republican Party extremist.

Third, and this one is really important, he was the guy spearheading Lou Holtz coming to El Paso to speak. Holtz was a big Trump supporter and supporter of his idea of a ...wait for it..a big border wall. And remember, when he was asked about it, Saucedo defended Holtz. If he was against the border wall concept, he had an opportunity to go on the record and say so.

He hasn't.

So absent an actual articulated position from Saucedo one has to assume that he's lock-step with his fellow Republican Donald Trump.

Here's his statement (I can't independently verify if he was actually wearing his boxing robe when his consultants made the statement for him):

BORDER WALL STANCE

The Mayor is often cited as merely being a figurehead, but in reality, he is the largest advocate to speak on matters affecting El Paso nationwide. I want to be the first Mayoral candidate to take an official stance on President Trump’s Border Wall and proposed 20% Import Tax on products from Mexico.

This is a non-partisan race and so is this issue. This problem is about El Paso’s economic and cultural future, our historical stability and our rich bi-national relationship with Mexico. Now, more than ever, we must unite and focus on promoting our region as a whole, including our neighbors in New Mexico.  By capitalizing on our geographic location, and expediting our border crossings, we will directly ameliorate our trade, local economy and provide much needed jobs.

Indeed, we understand the importance - and complexities - of border security as the efforts of our law enforcement agencies continue to keep El Paso atop the safest cities in the United States. However, our priority must be aligning the economic, technological and infrastructure agendas of our regional partners and making the case to the rest of the world that El Paso can lead with sound policy solutions to a “problem” that is inherently familiar to those of us that live here.

If elected Mayor, I’ll work tirelessly with our lawmakers in Austin, Washington, D.C., and the state of Chihuahua on highlighting the significance of our region and the ongoing opportunities for economic development.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Esparza Declines Prosecution of Octogenarian Re Leeser Restaurant Incident

Jaime Esparza declined to prosecute Father Time.

Leeser shouldn't have called the cops because an old guy was disrespecting his wife. He knew they would respond because he's the freakin' mayor.

He should have man'ed up and dealt with it like any other man would handle it when another man disrespects his wife.

Seriously, if the mayor can't handle an old man, give me a break.

Thats all I have to say about that.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Two Ethics Complaint Filed Against Jaime Barceleau

In a pretty serious early blow to his campaign, District 3 candidate Jaime Barceleau will likely have to go before the city ethics commission and answer questions as to why he didn't file his campaign finance report on time.

The complaint was filed by Cassandra Hernandez-Brown, a fellow candidate for District 3. The full statement follows (I drew attention to her quote by making it bold to make it easier to find). What makes this unique is that the ethics complaint was filed not only with the state, but with the El Paso Ethics Commission that is also hearing complaints against the Mayor and members of council for alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act and complaints against the City Attorney for not referring those complaints to outside council.

Barceleau came in with the most amount of money by far. He's bank-rolled by the rich ruling class to a greater degree than any of the other candidates - to include the mayoral candidates.

I think her quote summed up the situation nicely - with all the issues going on at the city, its important to have people that understand the very basic tenants of being entrusted with the people's voice.

****************************************

El Paso, Texas January 28, 2017. Today Cassandra Hernandez-Brown, candidate for City Council, District 3, submitted complaints with both the Texas Ethics Commission and the El Paso Ethics Commission against one of her opponents Jaime Barceleau. Ms. Hernandez-Brown asserts that Mr. Barceleau violated requirements to file timely campaign finance reports, failed to file electronic reports as required by City Code and falsely claimed an exemption for the requirement to file electronically.

"City leaders are mired in unprecedented disfunction that threatens the progress of our community. We've seen that those inside City Hall are incapable of following even the basic obligations of the Open Meetings Act and the Open Records Act that help maintain the trust and confidence of the public. There will be no public trust until we have leaders who understand the basics of governance, leadership and transparency.  We can't waste our votes anymore on people who don't take the time to know and follow the law and who are not honest with the public. It is for this reason that I have chosen to file these complaints and to make these concerns public, especially to residents of my district," says Cassandra Hernandez-Brown.

Campaign finance reports required by State law are critical tools that allow voters to know who contributed to a campaign and how campaign funds were spent. Candidate Jaime Barceleau filed his Semiannual Report on January 18, 2017, one day after the reporting deadline set by State law. He filed handwritten reports even though the City of El Paso's Ethics Ordinance requires that the reports be filed electronically. Mr. Barceleau also falsely claimed an exemption to the electronic filing requirement by filing an Affidavit for Candidate or Officeholder: Electronic Filing Exemption where he swears that he has "not accepted more than $20,000 in political contributions or made more than $20,000 in political expenditures in a calendar year." This sworn statement is false. He raised $35,140 in contributions  from the reporting period covering 7/1/2016 to 12/31/2016 well in excess of the amount that would trigger electronic filing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Poisoned Process

At this point, I don't care where they put the downtown arena. Its only a downtown arena because of an ordinance and that can be changed, so put it at Cohen stadium for all I care.

But this is a post more for the activist community. There's an important lesson to be learned from this debacle.

You can't have the moral high-ground and defend a corrupt process. The bottom line here is that the meeting in secret with the members of council, the mayor, and Grossman has poisoned the process.

The big corruption scandal was called Poisoned Pawns, so this should be called Poisoned Process.

The more that gets revealed about the events surrounding this meeting, and trust me there are more things that will come out, the more you can see just how shady it was.

The Texas Rangers just don't investigate things for the hell of it, no matter what anyone else tells you.

Obviously there needs to be a solution to the issue. No one wants little viejitas moved. So tell the landlords not to move them out. But good luck getting landlords to want to make LESS money. Hell you have owners in the area that basically don't care about the conditions of their properties, you think they have a moral bone in their body?

The best solution is to move the least amount of people possible and get them the most amount of help in finding a new place. Unless you can get the arena moved out of the downtown area until an existing parcel of land that doesn't have anyone living on it, like Cohen. Then you'll hear people argue that it doesn't make financial sense to do it there.

But that is a different conversation.

A solution that involves a tainted process like the one we have seen is no solution at all. And lets kick it real for a minute, had this been a meeting about a public project and it was a majority of city council members swapping in and out of a meeting in city hall on a day it was closed to the public and it was grainy video of Paul Foster and Woody Hunt instead Svarzbein, Grossman, and Tolbert, you vatos would be outside of city hall on the daily with torches and pitchforks!

You can stand by your values and be against a corruption in the process at the same time.

And you should. Otherwise, what are you really accomplishing?

Ethics Commission Meeting

If Judd Burgess was paying attention to the meeting last night, then he knows all he has to do is slightly reword his ethics complaint to allege that there was an ethical violation or violation to the city's ethics ordinance and the Ethics Commission from the City of El Paso can hear his complaint that was dismissed by City Attorney Firth.

If you want a good wrap-up of the meeting last night, KFOX did a good job of summarizing the meeting and you can see the report here.

Basically, Firth was under fire for most of the meeting.

The Commission was already deliberating some changes that they wanted to recommend to council and voted on those changes. What will be interesting to watch is how those recommendations are going to be treated at the council meeting in which they are to be formally adopted by city council. The very people that are going to be affected by the changes proposed by the ethics commission are the same people that will vote the changes up or down.

You see what is going to happen right?

The main highlight of the meeting was the fact that pretty much everyone on the commission thought a) Firth should've not touched the case at all because she has a conflict, which she freely admits she has and notified the members of council on, and b) that the case should've been referred to them.

Among the members of the Commission, currently Republican Chair Adolfo Telles argued pretty clearly that under the current process that you basically need to be an attorney to file and ethics complaint in order for it to be heard and that they are tasked with hearing the ethical issues that need to be address, independent of the legal issues addressed by a "finder of fact". Former Democratic Chair and Acosta appointee Danny Anchondo was pretty much the only member of the Commission to agree with Firth's position.

Ethics Commission Chairman Schwartz, also an attorney, argued the most vehemently against Firth's position on whether the Commission could hear the complaints and why she didn't recuse herself from the process completely due to a conflict of interest.

Firth indicated that she was upset that the Commission had "roughed up" her deputy and that she felt it was "unfair". The Commission may end up hearing another ethics complaint that was filed by Burgess on Monday relating to Firth's decision to not recuse herself because of a conflict of interest.

BOTTOM LINE: The ethics complaints against he Mayor and Council and dead and there's no way to bring them back. Burgess has to refile. There are changes that are heading to council for approval that will prevent the issue from happening again, but that is all predicated on the very group of people impacted by the changes having the huevos to actually vote in favor of the changes. And finally, the dismissal of the ethics complaints has no bearing on the investigation by the Texas Rangers of the mayor and members of council.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What Firth's Punt Means

City Attorney Sylvia Firth's actions on the ethics complain make zero sense. Actually, before I go on let me make something clear if you haven't figured it out yet - Judd Burgess is taking a page from Jim Tolbert's playbook. He's using an ethics complaint to get in the public eye to launch his bid for Tolbert's council seat. Maybe that isn't is ONLY reason for doing it, but its certainly part of it.

And that is how Tolbert got elected.

Which I have to admit, is pretty ironic and kinda brilliant. So the whole, "arrest me" and ethics complaint stuff should be seen from the lens of a guy who is running for office and free press goes a long way for a political candidate.

Kuddos to Burgess for doing more than just complain on social media, the guy went through the trouble of actually filing the ethics complaint. I questioned him as to why he didn't take it to the DA right away because he was alleging that council actually broke the law, but looks like it eventually got there.

In fact, its really smart when you consider the fact that Burgess has never voted in a city election according to records prior to his current effort to run for office. Here's a look at his voting record and as you can see, he votes in general elections pretty regularly but doesn't appear to have voted in any municipal elections in El Paso so far. Actually now that I think about it, doesn't look like he's voted in any school board elections either, except for the school board election and the quality of life bond elections that were held in November.



But hey, maybe recent events have inspired his participation in the process.

Anywho, Burgess appears to be okay with City Attorney Firth punting his ethics complaint to the District Attorney's office. But it leads to the question of why Firth has been acting the way she has during this ethics complain situation.

First let me ask the obvious, why did it take so long for her to come to this conclusion? And frankly, the bigger question for me is why in the blue hell was she not prepared last week if her intent was to punt? Media has been doing very exhaustive open records requests on the possible violation of the TOMA. Firth's office reviews those requests and compiles the relevant documents. So her office has most certainly gone over all the documents.

Why would it take so long to come to this weird conclusion of hers? To me the only answer can be because she has politicized this issue.

Why didn't she give the chair a heads up before the meeting that she wasn't prepared? Why did they have to wait to find out until the actual day of the meeting?

Burgess' ethics complaint is probably the most meaningful complaint to go before the ethics commission with the possible exception of the Romero complaint. Firth's reason for dropping the issue doesn't appear to make any sense.

What Firth's decision means is that the city ethics committee is not going to deal with the complaint. It isn't a finding of fact, which is what some people believe. What she is alleging, is that because the complaint is about something that may be a violation of the law, that the ethics commission shouldn't hear it because its effective above their pay grade.

That is a point of debate among some as to whether or not her interpretation passes the common sense test. So tonight we will see what happens with the ethics commission on this issue and what action they do, or do not, take.

Burgess' other ethics complaints are also very interesting. That complaint is the one that I think ultimately will have the biggest impact because there is going to be an outside counsel called in to review a complaint about the city attorney not using outside counsel.

Gotta appreciate the irony!

So You Marched on Saturday...

I'm just curious about something.

A bunch of folks marched on Saturday to send a message to President Trump about how he treats women among other issues.

Lots of female leaders from various sectors in town attended. Teachers and activists and union members and business leaders, lawyers, local celebrities, and yes, elected officials. I know my feed was full of pics and video of people from the march.

So help me understand...

If you were so motivated to march about those issues, then why aren't any of you pissed that Bernie Sargent, a member of a local government commission in El Paso, Texas, referred to two sitting members of council as "pussy's"?

What am I missing here? Activism starts at home people you won't stand for Trump but you're apparently okay with it in El Paso...

Monday, January 23, 2017

El Paso Historical Commish Chair Sargent Calls City Reps "Pussy's"

In a conversation between El Paso County Historical Commission honchos, EPCHC Chair Bernie Sargent referred to two El Paso City Representatives as “pussy’s (sic)” according to a recent article in the El Paso Times

That label was aimed at City Representatives Mike Noe and City Representative Carl Robinson. 

Not sure what the ladies on the EPCHC or County Judge Veronica Escobar feel about how that phrase reflects upon the commission or the county, but it is certainly problematic for the duo of Max Grossman and Bernie Sargent. 

Talk about making things a little awkward the next time he runs into those gentlemen during lunchtime in the downtown area...

The text messages were outlined in a story by the El Paso Times.

Here is a screenshot of the part of the story that mentions them. 


Sargent and Grossman were speaking about the vote to move the proposed arena from the Union Plaza area to the convention center site and Representatives Acosta and Ordaz voted no. Representatives Noe and Robinson didn't vote, which is presumably why Sargent called them "pussy's". 

Frankly, its a good question why Noe and Robinson simply didn't vote no.

Grossman and Sargent, but more so Grossman, have been at the center of the controversy surrounding the now-controversial downtown arena. Grossman has normally been pretty talkative via email and jumps in front of any microphone he sees but has clammed up since the news broke on Friday that the Texas Rangers were investigating possible violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act between 4 members of council and the mayor. 

The State of Texas puts out a handbook in which they layout the responsibilities of the County Historical Commissions. Section 1 talks about the role commissions and their members. There is even a section about actions to avoid as a member. 

Apparently Max Grossman has never read the section or thinks its a how-to. 



I’ve said from day one that I thought Grossman was coopting raza for his own little movida of just saving buildings. Buildings that have no ACTUAL historical designation by the way - he never mentions that part. 

But as the stories keep coming out, I’ll be Grossman was the guy behind it all. I’ll bet he will be caught manipulating members of council to do his bidding just like he has manipulated the Chicano activist community. 


Also, I keep hearing from a whole lot of people that “Durangito” was fabricated by Grossman. At least that is what I was told by people who have lived in El Paso a whole lot longer than I have. 

Another important point to consider when discussing the arena and the role played by the El Paso County Historical Commission - aside from really restraining relationships and credibility when you're calling elected officials "pussy's" is that the EPCHC is also under fire for potentially violated the TOMA by conducting a vote via email. 

Since Trump made pussy a household word, I guess some people think they are free to use it all the time. 

Welcome to Trump's America. Where Bernie Sargent doesn't know the difference between multiple vaginas and the possessive form. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Speaking of Egos...City Hall Amirite?

Okay enough with candidates that play dress-up. All hell is breaking loose at city council and its going to be a big couple of news days from what I've read so far.

Talk amongst the media folk in town is about how they are all dropping open record requests at city hall. The feeding frenzy is about to begin and you're going to probably see a lot of city officials ducking and dodging the media.

KTSM broke the story last night during their 6pm broadcast and they were followed by KFOX and the Times. Here's the story on KTSM and the Times because they seem to do the best job of putting it all together in a comprehensive manner.

Am I the only one here wondering how stupid can members of council be at this point? Have you people learned nothing from Textgate? In fact, that may ultimately be an issue and I'll talk about that at the end so stick around.

So now that you've read the stories, here are some things that stand out to me - intent, public perception, and City Attorney Sylvia Firth.

Firth things Firth - how in the blue hell is the City Attorney NOT prepared to go forward with the ethics complaint. She's had plenty of time to prepare and I for one am not getting caught up in the bullshit debate over her interpretation of what days means. In parts of the charter it makes the distinction between days and business days. Well...in the portion of the charter that discusses the ethics commission it says days.

But that is a bullshit argument meant to delay the issue.

The reality is she doesn't HAVE to take the full amount of time. Just like ORR's don't HAVE to take 10 days either. Personally I think she's stalling on purpose to fly air cover for her clients, the city reps in question. There should've been an outside council appointed from day one because she can't serve the commission charged with investigating ethics complaints and also defend the people alleged to have acted unethically.

That is a flaw in the system.

A big fat one too.

Why wasn't the Ethics Commission notified before the meeting that Firth's office wasn't going to be prepared to go forward? That seems like a pretty easy notification to make to the Chair. At the very least, its unprofessional of Firth.

Intent

There are messages in the KTSM story that mention a meeting with the mayor, the meeting being moot and the mission being accomplished. Read those.

To me, that shows there was a plan in place that was trying to be executed. Two of the city reps acknowledge, before the meeting, the issues with a quorum. One rep tells the other that if he wants to go, that she will step out to avoid the quorum.

That is as much of a smoking gun as you can get in my opinion. They knew the possible issue with the TOMA and showed their intent to attempt to side-step the quorum violation by making it a walking quorum.

One of the reps, for apparently no other reason than ego, is apparently so driven by not wanting the mayor to take credit, goes to the meeting anyway. Personally I think that is the best characterization of what is wrong with city council.

Ego.

Public Perception

That leads me to public perception. There is something wrong when your driving force, at least in the communication we've seen so far, is public perception and who is getting the credit, rather than being solution-oriented. That is a problem that has to get fixed.

According to social media posts from KTSM staff, more is coming later today at the 5 and 6 broadcast and they mentioned thousands of emails. So some dirty laundry is gonna be aired.

In their story KTSM had to make a correction about who texts were originating from because - big surprise - the city didn't really label them all that well. And this is where things I think will get interesting.

If you're requesting communication between several city reps via text message and email. each of them should have a record of that communication because they are public documents. So all parties involved should have the same records right? If they don't, then someone deleted a public record.

That ladies and gentlemen, is a crime.

Walk with me so I can illustrate what I'm talking about. Say me and my homeboys Tony, Flaco, Georgie, and Pepe are all elected officials. Say someone requests the text messages between us. Well they can only get whatever is public business. So any text messages talking about how much the Dallas Cowpies suck aren't public business and don't have to be released. But, say we are talking about an agenda item that says El Paso wants to succeed from Texas because the Cowboys suck so bad, then our text messages about that city business should be released. And all of us should be able to provide the same messages that were exchanged between us. In short, if there was a group message between the 5 of us and its public record, there should be 5 identical records of that conversation. But if an open record request comes back and only one person supplied the conversation between all of us, even if it is accurate, it shows that 4 people either didn't turn it over or deleted the record.

Which is against the law.

So since there is confusion about who is saying what in the messages, a request should be made of each official. Then there is no confusion about who said what, and you know that no one is reading and deleting. And the beauty of all of this is that they can go back and request the texts again because you can't destroy the records because that would ALSO be against the law, so they can see if that is what happened. And even if they DID "accidentally" delete the messages...we know that software exists to recover deleted messages now, don't we?

In conclusion...I'm most anxious to see the role that Max Grossman plays in all of this. Something tells me he's not gonna come out of this looking too good, but we'll see...

David Saucedo & Ego

David "There is no Tomorrow" Saucedo
I feel a little bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burns for writing a blog about David Saucedo's ego when there is so much important news happening at the city with the arena.

I'll get to all of that, so for now, fiddle I shall.

Surely with all the consultants surrounding Saucedo there had to be a voice or two trying to save the candidate from himself. I've been around a lot of candidates and a lot of them have some pretty silly and narcissistic ideas run through their head. A good team will step in a save the candidate from themselves when necessary.

But the fact that the video ever made it beyond a cocktail conversation gives you insight into just who David Saucedo is as a person. It tells you a lot about Saucedo. Mostly it tells you about his ego, his arrogance, and how he sees himself.

He sees himself as some sort of hero. Like he's a costumed hero that is out to save El Paso.

And that isn't just a crazy level of douchedom, its scary. Its scary because whenever people have a savior complex and get into positions of authority, problems happen. The last thing you want to do with an ego that big is feed it power.

Since he enjoys playing dress-up so much, he might as well put on a Batman suit and campaign as the caped crusader. Hell, as much as he's paying consultants, he might as well pick the one who he is paying the most and make him dress up as the Boy Wonder and follow him around saying things like, "Holy Downtown Arena Batman, there's the Joker!" and by Joker, I mean Max Grossman.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Barceleau Fails to File Finance Documents

Jaime Barceleau, candidate for El Paso City Council District 3 has failed to file the campaign finance reports before the deadline.

Campaign finance reports are required by law for transparency purposes so that the voters have a clear understanding of who are the financial bakers of a given candidate. 
Fellow District 3 Candidate Antonio Williams only recently filed for a treasurer and was not required to file a financial report during this period. 

Cassandra Hernandez-Brown has filed her campaign report in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Texas Ethics Commission. Her reports indicates that she raised about $6,300 so far. 

This screenshot from the City of El Paso website shows all of the candidates that have filed their financial disclosure documents and conspicuously absent is a report from Mr. Barceleau. 


This is a screenshot of the candidates that have filed a treasurer so far. As you can see, Barceleau's name is present in this section. 


Barceleau has had a couple of campaign events in which money was spent. He also has a person running a field operation, which may be someone working on a volunteer basis considering the guy has almost no real campaign experience, but there are definite expenditures that have been made and not reported. 

Violations of reporting and transparency can be reported to the Texas Ethics Commission. 

Saucedo Blowing Money...

Well as if the Boys and Girls Club financial disaster wasn't bad enough for Saucedo's fiscal conservative message to voters...

Take a look at how he's blown through his campaign cash. He better hope he hasn't tapped out his cash flow because he's gonna need a ton of it for mail against Dee Margo if he's smart - and he can't afford to blow it on consultants.

Saucedo has basically spent the vast majority of his money on consulting fees and campaign video. How much? Well he spent a total $30,832.20 so far on consultants. That is about 64% of the total amount of money he raised and it was spent on a staggering 10 different consultants.

That is a higher percentage of his campaign money than even Forma charges.

But I guess its not so bad if it produces good results right?

Well get ready to LOL!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the stupidest fucking campaign ad I've ever seen.

I mean ever.

Seriously, I didn't make this myself and I'm not screwing around. He actually spent money on this.



I almost don't know where to start, but I have questions. What in the world is up with the lucha mask? Did he really spend money on a getting his campaign logo put on boxing silks? What did they drink the night before that made them wake up the next morning and say, "Ya know what would be a good idea for a campaign commercial? Taking the jogging video from the state rep race to the next level. Can we rent a boxing gym?"

Also, let me be clear. It was beautifully shot. Good job on production. He looks like an even bigger douche now, but it was great production.

But seriously, who the fuck thought this was a good concept? Who ever it is, should never be paid to do political work ever again.

Unless Sly Stallone decides to run for office.

Finance Reports: Saucedo in Lead; Acosta Broke

Its shocking to me how little money there is in the mayoral race so far, which may be indicative of the fact that the money guys aren't happy with the field of candidates.

There is a lot to go through with the campaign finance reports but the major headline is that Saucedo has the early money lead and is spending a lot of it on consulting fees.

A lot.

And City Rep Emma Acosta's campaign is in lots of trouble early. Basically she's broke and based on the news story I saw last night, it looks like she spent a lot of money on her fundraiser last night. Last night's fundraiser won't go on this latest report, but when you figure what she paid for the location, food, mariachis, etc she better hope she raked in the cash last night because her latest report shows she has around $700 left.

That is an embarrassingly small amount of money for any race, in fact it appears to be the least amount of money on hand for any credible candidate for any of the city council races as well. She filed two reports, one as an elected official and one for Mayor. Here's a link to her report.

Ouch.

By contrast, Saucedo came in with about $48k and has already spent about $37K. If he has more money where that came from, that is a pretty solid showing, but if he tapped out all his contributors this early, and blew through the money (mostly on consulting fees but I'll get to that in another post) then he might also be in trouble. Here's a link to his report.

Also, whoever wrote out the individual contributions on his finance report has great penmanship.

Surprisingly, Dee Margo had a pretty terrible showing in this report as well. He had one contribution for $100, but had some campaign money lying around still and appears to have loaned himself $15k. Here is a link to his report.

In my next post, I'll post some pretty interesting stuff about the individual candidates' finance reports. Some interesting stuff there.

Now more than ever, its clearly anyone's race.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hey Jaime Barceleau...

New Balance shoe company called.

They want their logo back.



Actually upon further review...

His logo looks like the New Balance Logo had an ugly illegitimate child with the Cuban flag. Maybe he's just a fan of Fidel Castro.



I also think its hilarious that he had the nerve to put the phrase "Leadership you can trust" on his campaign signs.

Pretty soon, you'll know why I think its hilarious.

County Historical Commission Under Fire

The El Paso County Historical Commission is under fire as of late and you can see a couple of news stories on the issue done by KVIA and the El Paso Times.

According to both reports the EPCHC allegedly violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) when board President Bernie Sargent allegedly polled the members of the County Commission on their position toward the site of the proposed downtown arena.

TOMA requires that if a government entity or body takes an action on an issue that the public be notified and it be done at a meeting open to the public.

The action that was taken was to oppose the site of the city's arena location. They then publicly opposed the arena site and frequently used their titles as members of the EPCHC in doing so.

Its pretty hard to see how this was not a BLATANT violation of the TOMA.

And then...

They participate in a meeting with members of council that appear to be trying to skirt the TOMA by rotating members of council participating in the closed-door backroom deal.

There's another blogger that throws around the word "corruption" all the time to the point where no one even listens. I mean the Tolbert Steak-gate wasn't his best decision, but to call it corrupt is just plain silly.

Which is remarkable when you consider you have actual government entities, like the EPCHC allegedly openly and flagrantly violating the TOMA. Make no mistake, this isn't just a gathering of a group of well-intentioned do-gooders who's only crime is they love El Paso.

They love white El Paso history and Trust buildings. And they exploited brown people to interject themselves in an official capacity into one of the most important public conversations we've had as a community since the ball park.

What is shocking is that no one pushed back against the email from the chair. In other bodies, Shane Haggerty comes to mind at YISD, when a member feels like there is a violation of the TOMA, they simply get up and leave and refuse to participate in a possible violation.

It appears that level of integrity is missing from this group of folks.

As a friend of mine very poignantly put it, if this was the all-brown city council of Socorro or San Eli doing this kind of thing, we would be having a very different conversation.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Margo to Hold Fundraiser at Peter Piper Pizza

I know what you're thinking, that LionStar is just poking fun at one of those two Republicans running for mayor again.

Well I'm not.

Okay, I am.

But I'm not making this up.

You'd expect a fringe candidate or one of the crazies to hold a campaign reception and fundraiser at a place like Peter Piper Pizza. But in his effort to not look like an entitled wealthy white guy, Dee Margo is going to be one with the people and have a campaign reception and fundraiser at everyone's least favorite place to hold birthday parties for 5 year olds.

Honestly, this is way out of Margo's comfort zone. Remember the last time he ran for a race this big he spent 3/4 of a million dollars so its a stark contrast for Margo to be holding a fundraiser and reception in a place that sells beer in a pitcher, has game tokens, a lot of kids running around.

I think this raises a serious ethics question. Are those red tickets from skee-ball something that has to be reported as in-kind because they have no cash value, or do you have to report them after you turn them in for the Voltron, Defender of the Universe Night Light?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

O'Rourke Shuffles the Deck

Let me begin by saying that I am a big fan of our congressman, but he doesn't have a snow ball's chance in Phoenix of winning a race for the United States Senate.

I'll vote for the guy because its an easy choice over either of our two current senators, but he apparently hasn't looked at election math.

It ain't gonna happen and he's going to be the next election cycle's version of Wendy Davis.

That being said, he will shuffle the political deck in town in a big way. Basically the vacating of his seat will get a lot of people to toss their hat in the ring including a likely group of people like Mayor Oscar Leeser, County Judge Veronica Escobar, State Rep Cesar Blanco, and probably several more people that could be considered viable.

And that is not counting all the crazies that will run.

But Beto's jump may open up several other seats that will likely change the face of local government in a very meaningful way.

So stay tuned because things are likely to get really interesting around town as a result.

Haggerty's Split on Immigration

Shane Haggerty (L) - Andrew Haggerty (R)
If you haven't figured out yet, the Haggerty's come in blue and red. El Paso's biggest political family has been a fixture in Northeast and Westside politics for years. In fact in some parts of El Paso, a Haggerty has represented the area in almost every single level of government including school board, constable, justice of the peace, city rep, county commissioner, and state rep.

If we elected dog catchers, they'd win that election too.

These days, most of the Haggerty's are Democrats and only one of the elected Haggerty's currently in office is a Republican. That would Andrew Haggerty, the County Commissioner that represents mostly the Westside and a sliver of the Northeast.

The rest are Democrats.

Commissioner Haggerty took a position on a meaningless resolution from Commissioner's Court the other day - I'll go on a my rant about resolutions in a minute - that President Haggerty of YISD disagrees with strongly.

The Commissioner voted against a resolution rejected an anti-immigrant sentiment that seems to be sweeping across the nation. The Commissioner's Court wanted to send a message that they supported comprehensive immigration reform and Andrew Haggerty took some heat for voting against it. Some called him racist. I don't think he's racist, just completely out of touch with this community, but that is a blog for another day.

Perhaps one where Commissioner Stout is actually in El Paso (good luck with that).

YISD President Shane Haggerty issued the following statement when news of his cousin Andrew's vote against the Commissioner's Court resolution:

"As a life-long resident of this beautiful border community, I applaud the efforts of Commissioners Court and City Council to push back against the politics of hate as a policy issue. We are a nation of immigrants and need common-sense solutions to the complexities of immigration. As a Democrat, resident of a border community and a Catholic, I support comprehensive immigration reform."

Shane Haggerty has signaled his intent to run for City Council in District 4 (NE), which is the race to replace out-going City Rep Carl Robinson who is term-limited.

Resolution Rant

Resolutions are non-binding. They are basically meaningless.

Too many people confuse them with actual policy and do one of two things - pump up a resolution like it really fucking matters, or get their panties in a wad like it really fucking matters.

The bottom line is when it comes to resolutions - it doesn't fucking matter.

I wish they would change the name to ceremonial resolutions or something that would be more indicative of their true nature so people would stop getting all worked up about them.

Also, I wish there would be a cap on how many resolutions you can do in a year. Seriously a couple of members of Commissioners Court have resolutions on every single agenda of the year. Like their week isn't complete unless they hand out a worthless piece of paper to someone. They like handing out worthless pieces of paper so much you'd think they work at a career school!

Or maybe there should be a running tally off efficiency with members of Commissioner's Court. Lets see the report that logs all the meaningless shit they put on an agenda. That would be fun.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mayoral Race Shift - Why Margo Won't Win

I could make this really short and say that he won't win because he's white and Republican.

But let me illustrate my point a little more clearly because the people blowing up Margo's chances of winning are comical to me.

City Rep Cortney Niland was going to run for mayor and backed out at the last minute. I think she could've beat Margo. Yes, you read that correctly. The rep that almost lost to a weak candidate was a stronger mayoral candidate than Margo.

Walk with me down memory lane for a moment, shall we?

Dee Margo has run in a race that encompasses the entire city of El Paso previously. A little over a decade ago he ran against Eliot Shapleigh when the senator was politically at his weakest.

At the result? Margo got his ass handed to him:



He didn't even warrant getting an Adelante Con Ganas Award from Senator Shapleigh following the loss.

Mind you, that was 11 years ago, before anyone really was introduced to Margo in the electorate. Now he's been a Republican State Rep. He's headed an unelected school board in a controversial move by the state and was appointed to the position because of his Republican connections.

The point is, people are going to naively try to brush the last election result under the rug by saying this election (the mayoral) is non-partisan and therefore Margo's money and name ID make him viable.

His name ID is a liability. Oh, and he has a voting record.

Sure, with Emma Acosta and fellow Republican candidate David Saucedo in the race, its a pitifully weak mayoral field, especially now that Leeser has made it clear he's not gonna save El Paso from these candidates, but Margo is still at a big disadvantage.

Because not even money is going to save Margo's name ID liability.

Here's what I mean...

According to campaign finance reports Margo's campaign spent $733,175.33 to try to win a senate seat. When he didn't have a voting record. That's a chingo of feria to spend on a campaign.

There is no way in hell there is going to be that much money at play in the mayoral race. Seriously, there isn't going to be anywhere near that much money on the table. And if 3/4 of million dollars a decade ago couldn't do it for him then, what facts would anyone base his viability on now?

How do you get anyone south of the freeway in El Paso to vote for Margo?

Mayor Leeser showed his cards already and isn't going to run for reelection. Saucedo's two campaign guys (now famous for their cameo - the frustrated look and the bun - in Saucedo's shit-down-his-pants interview on KTSM) are now ready to spike the ball in the end zone.

Saucedo is the biggest beneficiary of Beto O'Rourke's unbelievable stupid idea to give up his congressional seat to run for US Senate. They know that. All they have to do is protect Saucedo from exposing his weaknesses (basically speaking) any further and watch Acosta implode and Margo struggle to gain traction.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Leeser Considering Congressional Bid

check out KTSM website for breaking news story on Mayor Leeser considering a congressional bid. Very different from his mayoral race where he was last to enter the race.

Details to follow.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

So Are We Just Gonna Ignore Another City Screw-Up?

One of the most annoying things about the City of El Paso under Tommy Gonzalez has been their refusal to take responsibility for their actions whenever there is a screw-up.

And there have been lots of screw ups.

But kudos to the El Paso Times and their requests for information from the City. The fact that the City of El Paso has screwed up so many times, just on releasing (or not) releasing information is a story that should bother all El Pasoans just by itself.

Now add what they are finding.

Remember when the City got scammed out of almost $3,000,000 as part of the Choo-choo Train to Nowhere? First thing the City did was point the finger at someone else and throw them under the bus.

Not only did they do that, it appears they want to use that as an excuse to take over the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority. Right, because the City does such a great job running everything else it touches...A power grab?

During this situation? Give me a freakin' break!

Anywho, the CRRMA's director is Raymond Telles and that was the vato the City tried to throw under the bus for the screw up. Problem is the more and more the El Paso Times digs on this story, the more shit they find.

And by shit, I mean the fact that Telles questioned the scam a long time ago. He did his job and the screw up, at least based on the emails uncovered by the El Paso Times, was at the City.

The fact that the City's general posture toward openness with the public and the media has been awful should be a concern to the everyone. Kim Jong-un is more forthcoming with information at times than the City of El Paso.

We should be asking City leaders what really happened and what they are going to do to fix this. Who even knows if the Choo-Choo Train to Nowhere is the only project the City has been scammed over?

Bad news story that isn't going away and City Rep Emma Acosta, the only member of council to officially signal a run for Mayor, will have to start answering questions about it...


Monday, January 2, 2017

Douchebag of December? (Poll)

Man December really was a rough month for local politicos and several of them have done some really douchey things this month.

Its been a Hall of Fame month for douchedom in local El Paso politics really.

So it has necessitated a new poll for the biggest Douchebag of December.

Your nominees are:

Republican Mayoral Candidate David Saucedo - Talk about a douche! Been with an organization for the last decade but says he was "blindsided" by their economic collapse. The day before he was dodging media because of the story but the following day he sends out a press release to try to change the subject. He was critical of council for changing the venue, but was publicly thanked for his efforts in supporting a change of venue by Max Grossman.

Only in El Paso.

But what earns him the nomination is having a super-secret bunker of a campaign headquarters that has basically nothing on the walls, conducts an interview there with his two campaign consultants, dodges a question about the Boys & Girls Club debacle 4 times and then...has to ask for a break in the interview to go speak with his consultants - who have never worked for B&G on how to answer a question about the organization he has been with for a decade and was the President of the Board for the last year.

And then shits the bed with an even worse answer!

Max Grossman - You guys know me, I love to use mafia terms. So you've heard Cappo dei tutti Capi, or boss of all bosses in Italian. Well I think Grossman's pubic rhetoric makes him Ipocrita di tutti gli ipocriti Hypocrite of all hypocrites as our Italian friends say...

I told you from the get-go I thought Grossman was just trying to save his buildings, never really gave a shit about the people, and co-opted raza for his efforts to save buildings - which that alone deserves a nomination - but his latest social media gaffe clinches it.

The guy THANKED Billy Freakin' Abraham for putting a historic monument up. As if that wasn't bad enough, he claimed former Mayor John Cook was involved in "a gross violation of Texas law" shortly after he was involved in a closed door backroom meeting with city reps that appear to have been side-stepping the TOMA.

He should get an honorable mention for pushing the local term that I hope gets left back in 2016 - "Du-ruhn-gee-toe".

Rutt Lily - The guy gets into some sort of physical altercation with the Mayor of El Paso in a westside restaurant because the Mayor doesn't to use eminent domain for the arena and then turns around and talks about the "little people" who run for office in El Paso. I always thought that was just some sort cliche term that rich people didn't really use but was attributed to them in caricatures of rich white people.

I guess I was wrong. Rich white people apparently can be that damn douchey.

City Rep Jim Tolbert - Talk about a bad month. First the news of his Steakgate problem breaks and then he gets into a spat with a member of the public in which he lets a guy get under his skin and mouths the word "ass" to him.

A terrible reflection on the city.

So there you have it, the nominees for the December Douchebag. Take the poll on the left side and pick who you think was the biggest douche in the month of December.