Monday, February 27, 2017

Picture Perfect

David Saucedo's mayoral campaign is hilarious. Its one disaster after another and it never stops entertaining me.

I found one picture that perfectly captures Saucedo.

He's a Republican and had an event were he tried to take the page of an old school Democrat, FDR.

He set-up a fire-side chat event.

It perfectly captures how artificial the campaign is - a Republican, taking a play from a Democrat and then...even the fire is FAKE!



It never stops giving!

Council Races Are What to Watch

I know everyone is paying attention to the shit show that is the mayor's race, but since there are no candidates worth a damn in that race, and since we have a weak mayor form of government anyway, the real races to watch are the city council races.

And its a lot of interesting drama when you think about it. D3 and D4 (Eastside/Ascarate and Northeast) are open seats. D2 (central) features a candidate that rode into office on an ethics complaint and is now the subject of an investigation by the Texas Rangers against a field of candidates.

The winners of those races will do more to change the direction of council than a mayor will. Personally I think the qualities to look for in this race, especially given the carnival freak show we have at council now, are financial management experience and temperament.

Financial management is pretty obvious, we have big dollar issues facing us and we need to make sure we have people sitting at the table that know what the hell they are doing when it comes to money.

But more important than ever is temperament. These people have big personalities on council and their bickering has gone public on more than one occasion. Its an embarrassment to El Paso when they do, but frankly though couldn't give a shit less about that if they tried.

I'm not saying you want people that will go along to get along. And I'm not saying that you don't want a strong advocate for your district either. But what I am saying is that you don't want an asshole elected. Council has reached their quota of assholes and adding another one isn't going to make things any better. So when you are watching forums and media interviews of candidates, pay attention to who is being an asshole and think twice about voting for them.

Also, pay attention to voting history. People that really care about their communities are regular voters. You have a few people that should have long voting histories because of their age and haven't even voted in a city election. That is not a good situation.

Friday, February 24, 2017

El Pasoans Should Vote Against Saucedo & Margo

The anti-immigrant wave that has washed over America since Trump took office, happening even in our own courts in our own back yard, has created an even bigger urgency in the mayor's race in my opinion.

Immigrants in communities across this country are worried about being separated from their families.

This community needs leaders with the courage to stand up to Trump's policies and actions. That is why party matters...because of crap like what is happening right now.

Saucedo has never voted in a primary that wasn't a Republican one. He's a big fan of Rick Santorum. He defended anti-immigrant rhetoric of Lou Holtz.

Saying he's against the stadium doesn't wash him of the anti-immigrant stain. Its just his transparent gesture to try to guess the direction of the political winds and try to go with it in order to patronize voters.

He could've come out against the Holtz, Trump, and Santorum rhetoric but he hasn't. He made a video about the border that never really said anything and just seemed to be more like a commercial for his boots, which are really nice by the way. The point is, Saucedo has already had a chance to push back against that anti-mmigrant hateful rhetoric and rather than doing so, he actually defended those with the hateful rhetoric. So we already know what he would do as mayor - he'd not only capitulate to the Trump agenda, there's no reason to believe he wouldn't fully embrace it.

Hell, he went to the Lincoln Day Celebration that the local Republican Party puts on every year just the other day. Here's a pic if you don't believe me:


Dee Margo is a career Republican, much like Saucedo. He's always voted the Republican Party line in the legislature.

The bottom line is that there is no reason to believe that either of them would ever stand up to Trump's agenda - and with more and more policies hitting home, its more important now than ever that we have a strong leader that will stand up to Trump.

Las Cruces' city council came out against the Trump administration's tactics of targeting immigrants. Do you honestly have any faith that as things escalate that Trump and Saucedo would ever stand up and be the voice of their community against the cacophony of the Trump administrations anti-immigrant platform?

Saucedo wouldn't even take responsibility to the mess that happened under his watch at the Boys & Girls Club. He threw his buddy under the bus. Dee Margo didn't stand up to the GOP leadership for El Paso in the legislature.

What makes you think either of them will stand up to Trump, push back on raids in this community, and truly be the voice of El Paso?

You think its gonna be the guy who plays boxer dress-up or the guy who made a career out of toeing the Republican Party line?

But frankly, they aren't the only ones that the electorate needs to be aware of in terms of voting record. Take a look at this chart put together by the El Paso Democratic Party:

The people highlighted in red have solid Republican voting records. You should know that when they come knocking on your door asking for your vote. Some of the candidates have the audacity to ask for your vote and have never actually cared enough about city issues to ever have voted in a city election.

But they got the nerve to ask you to send them to city hall to represent you.

Knowledge is power.

Make wise choices, our community depends on it.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Video: D4 Candidates at Northeast Democrats Forum

Okay I won't bore you with the video of all the debate for the D4 candidates, I just thought I'd post the Morgan thing I mentioned yesterday and a round of all the candidates answering a specific question.

I chose this question because I thought it was the best question from the panel. They asked the candidates to name two things they have done specifically for the Northeast. I think its the single question that gives voters the biggest insight into the Four for Four.



And here is the Sam Morgan closing I was talking about.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Northeast Democrats Candidate Forum Run-down

Sam Morgan, Shane Haggerty, Jose Placensia, Diana Ramos
I have video to follow, but its a lot and takes forever to edit, render, and upload. And contrary to what my haters think, I do have other things to do. After all, being in all the conspiracy theories you shut-ins accuse me of is time consuming.

I'll paint with some broad strokes here for this post and get to the video later. The main event of the night was the District 4 race, which is the northeast seat that is soon to be vacated by City Rep Carl Robinson. Surprisingly, there wasn't a single D2 candidate in attendance.

If you recall, debates in the northeast are a lot of fun. Mostly because they reflect the northeast - raucous, a huge chip on their shoulder, loud, and a obnoxious. Basically like any night at a bar on Dyer - complete with people who may or may not be slightly intoxicated being loud and rude.

Mayoral Candidates -

Only two candidates showed up, but interestingly Republican candidate for Mayor Dee Margo didn't, but will be addressing the group next month on his own. Dee Margo at a Northeast Democrats meeting...THAT should be fun!

Wille Cager and Emma Acosta were the only two candidates that showed up, so for those of you keeping score at home, the tallest and the shortest candidates in the field.

Nothing exciting. It was basically everyone's first candidate outing for this year's election cycle so they almost all had to work on their game. Emma's voice kept quivering and she makes the argument that she's the only candidate that has been working for the people over the last 8 years. Problem is, Antonio Williams argued for Emma's candidacy better than Emma did. And apparently Dora came up with this years' little rhyming slogan for her candidate... remember she's the one who came up with Chente por la gente, and she had two for herself - Voten por Dora su servidora and another one she jokingly told me once, Don't vote for caca, vote for Oaxaca. So if you're wondering, its this:



Cager is an El Paso treasure and a great guy. Really focused on the kids. The guy literally helped but El Paso on the map. But he's not a serious mayoral candidate. Every answer contained the phrases "plain and simple", "smooth", and "for the kids".

You didn't miss anything with these two candidates.

D3 in the NE

I don't know why any of them showed up to a debate in a part of town where no one can vote for them, but it was a pretty clear result. Antonio Williams wiped the floor with them. He took them to the deep end of the policy pool and drowned them.  He's the only candidate that spoke about policy and he called out Jaime Barceleau for basically having nothing but general statements and board platitudes.  I don't agree with some of Williams policies, but I haven't seen a candidate do a better job of articulating his position and making it connect to voters in a long time.  Wait for the video on this one.

District 4

The first words out of my mouth were "what the hell"?

I don't know what got into Sam Morgan, but he wasn't the same guy I know. Seems like he cut off his dreads and became a different vato. There was a palpable tone with him that was not the normal, likable, approachable, and really cool guy I always knew. I don't know if its the Chris Hernandez influence, but Sam's tone was really sharp. He's been that way in his social media lately too. He seemed almost annoyed that he had opponents.

Watch the faces he makes when his opponents speak when I post the video.

He's straight up annoyed.

Which I understand, he was a handful of votes from winning last time and so I can understand the feeling like this is his time.

But he spent most of the debate insulting his opponents, talking about his security clearance and his book, and almost no time talking about policy. He went on a pretty strong rant against Diana Ramos for running because she basically just moved to the district and he kept alluding to who was behind her candidacy.

I think they fact that she just moved to the district and is already trying to represent a district she has no roots in is absolutely a legitimate argument against her, but I think people were paying much more attention to how he was saying things as opposed to what he was saying.

He has to understand its his job to communicate better. The audience wasn't confusing passion for anger. He was genuinely pretty pissed. Morgan has gotta tighten the screws, adjust his fire, and he'll be fine. He bolo'd this time, but he's got another chance to qualify. (Morgan and most vets get what I'm saying).

Haggerty

Haggerty did what Haggerty always does, he gave an even-handed description for what he's done for the Northeast as the President of YISD. At one point, Morgan actually changed his tone from he's-just-a-guy-running-on-a-Haggerty-name, to giving Haggerty "props" for what he's done.

But Haggerty looks really stiff and uncomfortable. That might have been first-fight jitters or the way Morgan started the night off, but he looked noticeably nervous. He's got to find a way to be more memorable to voters. Morgan has the bigger personality, so Haggerty has to find his sweet spot because he's the more qualified of the two candidates. He's gotta communicate that and get voters to remember it.

Jose Placensia

I like his politics. He's really liberal. Took guts for a Green Party guy to show up to Democratic Party event, and he's got pretty good sense of humor. He trolled me trolling him on Twitter and it was hilarious.

He's focused on issues, but he doesn't connect well. I think its delivery. He seems timid and if you want to be a leader, you can't be timid. And its hard for him because the other two guys in the race have years of leadership experience and with one being a Green Beret and one being a Fire Fighter and he's a chess teacher, well its a different approach to say the least. But his strength is gonna be his team and knocking on doors.

Diana Ramos

For someone being recruited and supported by the Congressman, she's really pretty unimpressive. I think she's going to come in a very distant third, but not because she's not likeable. She's very nice, dynamic, polite, and an O-K speaker, but she's in a field were she doesn't match the experience level. Based on her team, I was expecting substance and it just didn't seem like it was there. It might be because Morgan came after her so harshly and I wouldn't blame her if it rattled her a little bit because it was pretty excessive, even for the Northeast. She was put not the defensive from the start because it was Morgan's home field.

So I'm gonna withhold judgement and chalk it up to her being nervous and it being the first time out. I'd like to see her go on the offensive next time with policy. She should take the fight to the other candidates and see who can have a deep policy conversation. She might be able to expose some weaknesses in her opponents.

But that whole just moving to the area thing is going to be a really tough hill to climb. The Northeast has the biggest chip on its shoulder and they really don't like outsiders.

I tried to interview all the candidates but I wasn't able to get one with Ramos despite the fact that she agreed to. I tried to get her attention to interview her but was unable to and I had to leave.

Municipal Judges

Okay I didn't stay for the whole thing and the Northeast Democrats have to run a better forum. It dragged on for too long and I don't know if anyone was actually keeping time. They all just seemed to go on and on and on and on and on...

But from what I saw - and I need to see more of them before I can give any really good analysis - was that the candidates that stood out to me were Morales and Anchondo.

I need to hear more of the candidates and I'm sure I will so I'll probably dedicate a post to just them.



Mayor Leeser Not Seeking Congressional Seat

In another surprise, Mayor Oscar Leeser announced on Monday night that he would not be seeking the office of the 16th Congressional District in El Paso.

Congressman O'Rourke has indicated that he will be taking on Texas Senator Ted Cruz and will be leaving his seat in Congress. That has created a pretty big seismic shift among local politicos and everybody and their abuelita are lining up to make their next campaign move.

Leeser has been going back and forth about not running for reelection, then running for reelection, then not running, then running for congress, then not running for congress, then running for mayor again, then not running again, and now apparently - not running for congress either.

Leeser made the announcement at the Northeast Democrats candidate forum that was held Monday night. I spoke briefly with the mayor after his announcement and was supposed to find out why he wasn't running but he hasn't called me back yet.

In the mean time, here's video of the announcement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Limón Opponent Withdraws

A source at city hall indicates that district 7 candidate Gerardo Chacon has withdrawn his candidacy. Sources also indicate that he withdrew in order to support fellow candidate Henry Rivera.

Rivera recently married Dora Oaxaca, Emma Acosta's controversial staffer and the architect of the now-infamous, now-defunct Gandara family political dynasty.

Rivera is taking on incumbent City Rep Lily Limón, who is running for reelection after upsetting the front-running Tania Chozet in a close run-off election.

Rivera is still a policeman with the El Paso Police Department and he was the money guy for the police union.

Both Rivera and Chacon filed shortly before the filing deadline.

It'll be interesting to see how Dora is going to be able to run his campaign and help her boss in her bid to become mayor. Its hard to manager a high-profile mayoral race where your candidate can't raise any money and a competitive high-stakes council race against a popular incumbent.

Barceleau Big Bucks Blunder...Part 2

All you big money people that donated big bucks to help out Jaime Favela in his bid to become the next city rep should know how poorly your money is being spent.

Memmer when I told you he actually spent money to tell potential rival candidates that there was still time to file against him?

Well it gets worse...or better depending on your perspective.

I'm probably helping him by writing this, but its straight up amateur hour at his campaign and I know they don't know this, other wise they wouldn't have screwed up so badly....

...but a big portion of the mailers didn't reach houses in District 3, which is a good thing for Jaime Barceleau-Favela...

...but he actually sent them to voters who don't live in District 3 anymore.

So since the Barceleau-Favela campaign obviously doesn't know this, I'll point them in the right direction. You geniuses didn't realize that there was redistricting done a while back and since you guys are obviously trying to cast a REALLY wide net with voters, you didn't adjust for the precinct changes.

So not only did you send a piece of mail that was hard to read for seniors, didn't really say anything other than Jaime might as well take Norma's last name or hyphenate it since he's relying so much on her, but you sent it to a big group of people that don't live in the district.

You're welcome, now go fix your list. Your mail is still gonna by shitty, but hey, at least the right people will get it.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Barceleau Blowing Big Bucks

District 3 main money candidate Jaime Barceleau appears to not know how to spend campaign money...and I find it hilarious.

I got a hold of his first mailer he sent out and boy is it hilarious. There is a lot wrong with this piece of mail, but as a very close friend often reminds me, I need to stop giving out free advice to candidates.

So I'm not going to tell him how to fix this crappy mailer, but I will have a little fun with it. First of all, take note of the fact that he actually spent a lot of money to send this out to voters. This landed in mailboxes around February 8-10.

The reason the day it landed is significant is pretty funny, but I'll get to that a little later.

I've been making the point pretty often that his only redeeming quality as a candidate (hell as a person for that matter) is his wife, the District Clerk Norma Favela. Frankly, she's a great lady and the only reason anyone knows him is because he's her plus one to events.

And he's clearly going to ride that for all its worth. This guy actually paid money to have a mailer sent to voters that gave his marital status. I'm not making that up.


That isn't even the biggest problem with the mailer. I just found it funny.

What should concern donors and voters, is the way he blows through money. Remember when I told you to make note of the day the mailer landed? Well it turns out that Jaime, for some unknown and illogical reason, decided it was a good idea to spend money sending a mailer to voters that included the last day to file to run for office!

Seriously...what an idiot! Why would you spend your campaign dollars to a bunch of voters, many of home could be potential opponents, reminding them of how much time they have to file? Don't believe me? Look:



This happened because he is doing his own mail. There's no way he paid a consultant for that, if he did then he's less qualified than I thought. This is what happens when you don't have any substance as a candidate but you have a boatload of money and want to send something to voters so you need some filler information.

A full week before the filing deadline. Seriously, my sides are hurting from laughing at how comically bad he is at spending campaign dollars.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tolbert Admits "May Have Deleted" Text Messages

In a story that should have all El Pasoans worried about government transparency, and makes you wonder were Stephanie Townsend Allala is when you need her, City Rep Jim Tolbert may have gotten himself in even more hot water. Potentially more legal hot water.

A story on KTSM last night broke down a major problem that the City of El Paso has with city representatives having to do with text messaging. They may have actually busted them in the infamous "read and delete" operation.

Click this link to watch the story. The first part of the story talks about something that should infuriate everyone - lack of transparency. And they weren't the only station to catch it. KFOX also caught on to something that should be the biggest issue this community - your city electeds are doing business on their cell phones and deleting the messages to keep them from the public.

In separate interviews with separate stations Rep Tolbert and Rep Niland all but admitted to deleting text messages. Rep Tolbert actually admitted to it. As if he didn't have enough election problems, now he has this issue to explain to voters. And if memory serves, Tolbert promised an audit of the open records function and never delivered. The irony of the fact that he's conducting city business via Facebook Messenger and deleted text messages looks really, really, really bad.

But...here's what the media and public should be demanding from their elected leaders. They should put them on the spot. Ask them all to use software to recover the messages. It exists. They know it does. They should use the software to recover their messages and show the community they are transparent. 

So they have the means to do so. If they choose not to, then that tells you all you need to know about their integrity. It also tells you they aren't smart enough to learn from the past.

The stories also shed light on something even more disappointing about city government - the fact that the city attorneys office doesn't appear equipped to handle open record requests properly. Remember when the I made an open records request from Noe and Acosta's office about text messages? I got back records that were redacted like a classified Cold War document. It had been redacted by a computer and by hand. When I inquired why, it was because the city reps office had done the redacting, not the City Attorney's office. Big no-no.

Now media is making requests and some records are being released to stations and others aren't, but when another outlet makes a similar request, the records that weren't provided to the first station seem to be provided to another. Clearly, someone doesn't know what they are doing.

They mayor says he turns over everything but the city attorneys office doesn't give it to the media, which means either the mayor isn't accurate, or the city is withholding documents that are releasable.

If the media can't reliably have access to public documents, how can the public reliably believe that their government is being open and transparent?

Leeser To Announce Re-election Bid Today


Sources close to Mayor Leeser's private email address he got caught using for city business say that the embattled mayor will file for reelection today.

Leeser, who is the subject of an investigation by the Texas Rangers will join the rest of the clown car of candidates vying for the City's Mayoral Office.

Leeser is no longer viable for Congress after TOMA-gate, and would have a tough time winning reelection to his seat if it weren't for who is in the race and their field programs.

So he'll announce today, cuz, well, what else is he gonna do at this point?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Council Candidates, Deadline Looms

The filing deadline is just days away and a few candidates have thrown their names into the mix. If they are just now throwing their names in the mix, their chances of winning aren't very good unless they have a hell of a ground game that they are throwing into action now.

District 2

Rep Tolbert is in some trouble. He's taken the sharpest nose-dive in popularity of anyone I've ever known in local politics and now he has competition - two of which could be very problematic for him, both of whom happen to be veterans

Jud A. Burgess - If he were running in District 3, the name alone would be helpful to him. But he's not. He always seems angry and is going to campaign via Facebook memes he makes or maybe print out a bunch of literature, hopefully not low-key anti-semitic this time, to people who may or may not be voters. He's going to make a lot of noise on social media, but the fact that they guy has never voted in a municipal race is going to really hurt him. Not much of a threat other than he likes media attention.

Alex Burnside - Hands down the biggest threat to Tolbert. He's a veteran, young, and played a big part in the Bernie Sanders campaign. He knows field organization is important and knows how to run a field op. The big obstacle for him is money. If he can get enough of it, he can be a big problem for Tolbert. He's the guy that is going to make Tolbert's field guy Chris Hernandez the most nervous.

Raul "Scoop" Valdez - Normally I wouldn't say that a musician is a political threat, but Scoop's not your normal musician. The guy is somewhat of a local legend, probably most notably known from his time with Radio La Chusma. He's a decorated veteran himself and the vato knows a lot of people. And he knows a lot of young people. He's the kind of guy that can be a sleeper because he can attract non-traditional voters to the polls that probably won't be targeted by a campaign because they have little to no voting history. He's the dark-horse, but if he's smart and surrounds himself with people who have won campaigns before, not just people that have worked on a campaign or two, then he can definitely be a player.

Quick side bar: The reason I mention Chris Hernandez is because he is in a difficult spot, mostly because of this race. He's getting paid a lot of money by David Saucedo to run his field program. And frankly given all of Saucedo's problems, his only prayer is a good field program, so it has to be a full-time focus. But Hernandez is Tolbert's former staffer and he and Susie Byrd pulled the Tolbert win without a run-off. Tolbert doesn't have Susie Byrd's support anymore. So Tolbert's only hope is Hernandez, and I'm pretty sure Saucedo isn't going to want Hernandez moonlighting on another campaign, much less Sam Morgan's in District 4. On the other hand, Hernandez has a lot at stake in the Tolbert race though, pride being a big part of it. Its going to be interesting to see how this one shakes out for Hernandez, heart versus pocketbook.

District 3

In one sense, almost anyone is a better city rep than the current occupant of the seat.

Cassandra Brown-Hernandez - Smart, young, qualified, and gets the big picture stuff. I think as long as she has money she will do well and has a chance at making the run-off.

Jaime Barceleau - On his campaign literature he lists that he's married. There's a reason he does that, she is literally the only thing that Barceleau has that comes close to being a qualification for office. He has all the money in the race. And I mean un chingo. He's spending it as well as I thought he would. I mean when a guy puts his marital status on his lit its a dead give-away that he doesn't know what the hell he's doing. There's more to that lit, but that is a piece for another blog.

Elias A. Camacho - Never heard of him.

Antonio Williams - Smart, young, qualified, an attorney and has a lot of political street cred with the Democratic Party. He's another one that as long as there is the money, he can make a run-off. Its refreshing for voters to have the choice between to really smart qualified candidates like Brown-Hernandez and Williams.

District 4

An open seat that is going to be an interesting race. Sam Morgan came within a few votes last time. In order to not lose anymore votes, he shaved his trademark dreadlocks. He will likely be in a run-off versus Shane Haggerty, the YISD Board of Trustees President and the only candidate in the race with any real experience. Lets break it down.

Sam Morgan - Came within a few votes of unseating Carl Robinson in the last election. Its easy to say that the reason he lost is because of dreadlocks, and I'm sure that might have been part of it, but its certainly more deep than that. He lost because he didn't have the organization and money in place to be effective in a run-off. That may change in this election cycle, but again, Chris Hernandez who is running his field program, is in a tight spot. He simply doesn't have the time available to run three city campaigns, and only one is paying him. The other two wouldn't pay for a part-timer, so its a big catch 22 for Hernandez. Morgan is a business owner and a veteran, which plays well in the Northeast. He's a shoe-in for a run-off.

Diana Ramos - "Who?" That is what most people in the northeast say when I ask about her. Why? Because she hasn't lived there very long, if at all possibly. She's most notable for something negative, she has an ethics complaint filed against her already. If by some chance she actually is able to get passed the ethics complaint, it merely underscores her biggest problem, she hasn't lived very long in the district and has no base. She's gonna rely on being brown and female. Thats not enough in the northeast. Its the most diverse part of town. Even if she's Beto O'Rourke's candidate, its not nearly enough to make her a factor.

Shane Haggerty - He's the only candidate to have run a big tax-payer funded budget. He's saved the district millions, he has a base of support in the northeast, he's leveraged millions in tax dollars to the north-east from the bond that would have otherwise gone to another part of the district, he's fought for transparency on a school board that was against transparency, and was the only candidate to actually fight against meetings that violated the Texas Open Meetings Act. He's a retired fire fighter. And oh yeah...he's a Haggerty in the Northeast. He'll meet Morgan in the playoffs.

Jose Placencia - He's the other guy running.

Mayoral Race - This list is getting really long and just to make the shit-show complete, Jaime O. Perez threw his hat in the ring. I know, shocker. Although truth be told, this is the best shot he will ever have. I'm not going through all of the candidates, just the ones that matter.

Emma Acosta - Dora Oaxaca is a huge liability and no one can actually make it look like Acosta accomplished anything while on council. That is a big hill to climb. Especially after her bid to make the city less transparent. She's broke and she can't raise any money. But since she's been in office for the better part of the last decade, and in the news a lot, she'll make a run-off.

David Saucedo - Raised a lot of money up front, blew threw it and will have to self-finance the rest of the way. Long shot to make a run-off, but if people hate Acosta and Margo as much as I think they do, he still has a outside chance.

Dee Margo - God help us all, but is looking more and more like he's going to be the person to beat. I still don't see how he appeals to people in central or basically anyone south of the freeway, but if he does well in west El Paso and the northeast, he has a shot because of his money. He will likely be in a run-off with Acosta.

Jorge Artalejo - You guys think I was joking, but I'm not. I'm voting for Artalejo because he's as good a choice as any and has more experience with local government than Saucedo.

#TeamJorge

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Well today being Valentine's Day and all, and being the cuddly hopeless romantic that I am - I thought I would send out a few Valentine's poems to El Paso politicos today. I realize I'm no Sergio Lewis, but here goes...

EPISD

Roses are red,
Sweet & delicious is flan.
Got no money for teacher raises,
But they somehow found money for Juan.

Teachers helped pass the bond,
but their salad got tossed,
Cabrera gotta raise,
but you didn't...talk to your union buddy Ross.

City Council

Roses are red,
El Paso has the best weather.
City Council is a mess,
When are you people going to get your shit together?

Svarzbein & Tolbert

Roses are red,
And so are signs that mean stop.
Seriously man,
How many times are you two gonna flip-flop?

Roses are red,
Jim likes his steak, and loves political theater.
His reelection is in doubt,
Cuz Susie won't be there when he needs her.


Mayor Candidates

Roses are red,
Gold and sweet is honey.
David Saucedo's not mayor material,
He's just blowing lots of money.

Roses are red,
D.O.'s heart is dark as ash.
Emma Acosta won't be mayor,
She unpopular and can't raise any cash.

Roses are red,
Dee Margo is sour.
People hate talking to him
Cuz a minute feels like an hour.

Commissioner's Court

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
J-Rod thinks he has to chime in on everything,
And apparently Commissioner Stout, so do you.

Roses are red,
Wrestling gave us the Four Horsemen,
But they weren't and big and annoying,
As the ego on Max Grossman.







Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sticking With The "Good Boy" - You Can't Make This Up

Well hell, when you're both being investigated by the Texas Rangers (not the one with the Adrian Beltre playing 3rd base) you might as well stick together, amirite?

I wonder what kinda sweet deal he got on this purchase? Come on Jim, you mean the Mayor didn't come outside and help out with the sale? Thats disappointing, you'd think he woulda hooked it up for the homie. Hard to believe he wouldn't help out a colleague on council.

Or maybe it was just a coincidence that Mr. Ruth's Chris purchased a vehicle where it just so happens the mayor owns the dealership?


Okay trolls - I'm well aware there is nothing illegal about buying a Hyundai (but it outta be, hey-yo!) I KID, I KID. Its just funny to me, relax people.

Actually, now that I think about it, that would be an interesting story. Just how many people at City Hall have purchased a vehicle at the Mayor's dealership since he's been elected?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ethics Complaint Lodged Against Diana Ramos

A complaint was filed with the city ethics commission yesterday against a candidate for District 4 that is supported by Congressman O'Rourke and a few other prominent people.

Ramos was a staffer for O'Rourke until sometime late last year. She moved in to District 4 less than a year ago, presumably to run for the District 4 seat.

Ramos is from another part of town and graduated from El Dorado High School. In a previous interview Ramos indicated that she has always maintained her permanent residency in El Paso, however it is not clear if that actually complies with the rules set forth in the city charter or the verbiage included on the candidate application form she signed.

Here is a link to the entire complaint document.

Frankly, its a pretty in-depth complaint and there is a lot of back-up for the complaint. It appears the biggest problem for Ramos is the application she filed to run for office. Here is the link to her application to file for office and I've included a screen shot of an important part of the document.




I highlighted in green a couple of points of interest. First near the top of the screen shot I highlighted the text that reads "length of continuous residence as of date application sworn". The operative parts to pay attention to are continuous and as of date application sworn.

Next I circled the amount of time she indicated. Which says 8 months.

And finally I underlined the date the document was signed.

I think this is where she might not be eligible to actually be a candidate based on the documents provided in the complaint. Also, I don't think the complainant actually caught this since he doesn't mention it.

Blas Hermosillo is the person who filed the complaint and he included several documents. Two of his documents are relevant to the application. He included a narrative of a conversation he allegedly had with the candidate at a forum. Here's a screen shot of the portion of that narrative that comes into play:


In the narrative he says he asked her how long she had lived in the district and she indicated last month, or October. Obviously that is just hearsay unless he has the text message he alludes to. But he does include another document that corroborates the October time frame. Its a screenshot of over voter registration change.

According to this document she just recently changed her voter registration and it lines up with the narrative provided.

I think everything will hinge on what the definition of "continuous" is with the city. You can maintain for residency in Texas for purposes of voting and such if you are an employee of a member of congress from your home state. But for purposes of eligibility, I'm not sure that is going to fly.

Based on the narrative and the voter registration document, it doesn't appear that Ramos was accurate when she stated she had lived in the territory elected from for 8 months as of date application sworn. The document also has a provision, right above the signature line that states that the applicant swears that the "foregoing statements included in my application are in all things true and correct."

At best, according to these documents, it looks like she only lived in the district 3 months as of the date application sworn. I think that would be enough to get her kicked off of a ballot.

To complicate matters for Ramos, Hermosillo included documents that show that Ramos actually voted by absentee ballot in the November election.


I also highlighted the address listed for Ramos. According to records from the Central Appraisal District's website, she nor her husband are the homeowners. So they probably rent, which is no big deal and certainly not the violation of any rules when it comes to running for office.

The owner of the property is listed as a woman named Vanessa Lara. Again, no problem with renting and running for office.

But there is an interesting issue if you look at the CAD record with the property owned by Vanessa Lara - and this is a problem for Lara not necessarily for Ramos per se.



Lara lists a Homestead Exemption. In order to do so, that property has to be your primary residence. So unless Ramos and her spouse live with Vanessa Lara in the same home, then Lara is improperly claiming a Homestead Exemption.

KVIA previously ran a story on this issue before the complaint was filed and they mention that Ramos checked with the Texas Ethics Commission on her residency before she filed. However, the requirements set forth in the City Charter are different than what the Texas Ethics Commission covers in terms of election eligibility. The TEC may have said she has enough eligibility in terms of time living in Texas because she worked for a member of congress from her home state. Ramos mentions in the interview always living in El Paso but the video never actually includes whether or not she lived in the district an adequate time to be eligible for this race.

I'm not sure what the status of the ethics complaint will ultimately be, but its not good for a candidate to have one hanging over their head while they are trying to get elected in a district they've only lived in for a few months.

I'm actually more surprised that her candidacy hasn't been challenged based on lack of residency.

The False Martyrdom of Sargent & Grossman

I'm not sure if people are just stupid, or if there is a concerted effort to mislead the public, I suspect the later because Grossman is quite the propogandist, but Sargent and Grossman are not the martyrs that they are being portrayed to be. 

Sargent and Grossman weren't reappointed to the El Paso County Historic Commission...and we should be thankful. 

Here's the truth, they weren't let go because of the fact that they were pro "Durangito". That is complete bullshit and is their way of trying to make themselves martyrs. 

Anyone who thinks or says that is a liar or stupid. 

Probably both. 

What they don't want people to know is the fact that they are a huge liability and have been for, by their own admission, basically as long as they have been on the commission. 

How do I know that? Because it as a unanimous vote. For those of you who don't know, a couple of members of the Court are against the site of the downtown arena. If the dynamic duo were truly being let go because of the arena, you'd think that one of the commissioners would have been against them not being reappointed. 

But no, the court spoke with one voice. Why? Because they have become a liability. 

Here's the short of what they did - they sent out emails to vote on an agenda item. They acknowledge that they did it. They are blaming the county for the fact that they weren't trained on the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) - but let me remind you that Grossman is a PhD and Sargent has been on the commission for about a decade. 

So these guys aren't stupid. But speaking of stupid, I don't know why they keep hanging their hat on the alleged violation being "unintentional". Not having an intention to break the law is what pretty much everyone says when they are accused of a crime. 

But its not a legal defense. 

Speaking of that vote, Max Grossman has been saying - even as late as Sunday in an email, that there was unanimous consent on the part of the commission to oppose Durangito. But news reports on KTSM indicate that Grossman's claim is false. They did an open records request of the aforementioned emails and guess what they found out?

There were 19 members of the commission not the the 21 he says. 10 voted in favor of opposing he site, 8 didn't respond, and they can't account for another. 



That is NOT unanimous. I only bring this up because I really can't buy anything Grossman says. 

In order to believe that the two were not reappointed to the EPCHC because of their stance on Durangito, you have to believe that they are now somehow negatively affected in terms of their ability to advocate for their position on the stadium location. Well, on the contrary, the two are even more free to advocate for their position. Hell they are now free to call anyone a pussy that they want to. 

Also in order to believe that the two were somehow martyrs to the stadium location they would've had to have been the only two people that weren't reappointed. 

Whoops. They weren't. There were others that weren't reappointed, they were just the two that jumped in front of cameras. I know, shocker right?

One last thing, there are some people that have commented on this issue that really don't know that they are talking about so I'll set the record straight - the El Paso County Historic Commission did in fact deal with money. They had a bank account that for whatever reason, and I'm sure that will get straightened out, wasn't going through the County auditor's office. That's a big time no-no. 

These guys aren't martyrs, they are a liability. How do I know? Well mostly because Grossman pointed it out in that same Super Bowl Sunday email, although Bernie Sargent has said so a couple of times in other interviews as well. 



They essentially (allegedly) brag about breaking the TOMA for years. Well whenever something is improperly voted upon by a body, anyone can come forward and challenge the result of that vote. Do you have any idea how many historic markers are now in jeopardy of being challenged and what that cost is to the County? 

What is the likelihood of that happening? Probably not high, but certainly not impossible and doesn't make them any less of a liability. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Conspiracy Theorists Should Be Forced to Learn Government

I see a lot of really dumb conspiracy theories posted online - and I'm not talking your run-of-the-mill chem-trails, illuminati, Tupac is alive, we-faked-the-moon-landing stuff either. I mean industrial grade local stuff.

Like today's vote on the members of the El Paso County Historical Commission membership. People should be required to know what they are talking about before they create conspiracy theories to fit their respective narratives.

Max Grossman and Bernie Sargent aren't being singled-out because of their stance on Duranguito. They'd love nothing more than to play the martyr here, but the reality is the criticism I have leveled is based on what has been covered by the news.

Oh wait, let me guess, the media is in on it too right?

Grossman and Sargent and others are under investigation for a possible violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act - not because of the secret close-door meetings, but because they allegedly conducted a vote via email. Had something like that happened in Socorro and there was a subsequent investigation, no one would have had an issue and everyone would have said, "well, that's Soco-loco for ya".

Frankly, where are all the ballpark crazies on this one? Aren't you the big advocates against government secrecy and emails and shit?

Oh that's right, cuando les conviene...

And because of the actions that are under investigation, the historical designation of some important sites has been at the very least, delayed, at worst jeopardized. You can't say you care about history and then be okay with the fact that their ineptitude means that places like La Isla Cemetery in Fabens, or the old cemetery in San Eli don't have historical designations.

Those are important living sites, for lack of a better phrase, for people that live in the valley. People still visit their family members there. They still decorate the plots, they still hold Dia De Los Muertos events there. Its not just some empty building owned by some rich white guy downtown that Pancho Villa may have took a piss on one time or another.

Anywho, for those of you that don't know, or don't recall me mentioning this since like December, the members of the EPCHC were up for reappointment. They have to do that every odd-numbered year. Check your calendars kids, its an odd-numbered year.

And its all members of the commission, not just the two that are trying to make martyrs of themselves.

The Court is supposed to reconvene in a few minutes so we will see what the ultimate action of the Court is...

Friday, February 3, 2017

Don't Forget Young Mr. Margo

This is seriously a disastrously weak mayoral field as most of you reading this already know. Other than people being paid by campaigns, I doubt there are many people that are actually excited about a mayoral candidate.

And frankly, how could they be? Top to bottom its the biggest clown show this side of Ringling Brothers.

The reality is I'll never vote for Emma Acosta under any circumstance. Any person that wants to make government less open is certainly not worthy of a vote. Not to mention the $60 million in lost project money because of the city's ineptitude on the MPO that happened under her watch. And do I really need to remind you that she's the lady that pushed for an obscene raise for the city manager while also defending Larry Romero?

Seriously, she's the lady that wanted Romero to still keep getting tax-payer funded checks while he was just not coming to work and said he had no desire to.

Saucedo. Lol, does anyone take a double-talking saccharine candidate like him seriously? The guy not only shot, but released a video of him staring himself as Rocky. Any ego that big should not be in the mayors office.

I thought that was the funniest thing I'd seen, but to watch his two campaign consultants winning hearts and minds on social media trying to explain how a guy who has NEVER voted in any primary other than a Republican despite having plenty of opportunity to do so, and a guy who is a big fan of Rick Santorum, and who totally screwed up Cathedral's big fundraiser by bringing in an anti-immigrant speaker, and then defended it, is somehow a "true blue" "progressive". Now that is some funny shit. Don't worry, if you haven't seen it yet, it'll repeat itself on social media probably daily until election day.

There's no reason to vote for Saucedo, so I won't.

Which leads me to Dee Margo. You guys know how I feel about Margo. But I will say this, at least he's not afraid to be who he is. He's a Republican and he doesn't need over-priced consultants to speak on his behalf to try to make himself sound like someone he's not. He's unapologetically Republican - and for that reason alone, I can respect him.

But lets not forget the fact that his son thinks daddy is too good for El Paso. Remember the little Leave-Britney-Alone tired Don Margo went on after his dad lost for state representative? Well in case you did, here it is. You're welcome.

DEE MARGO WAS TOO GOOD FOR EL PASO by Don Margo


"I came out to vote for Barack Obama. That's really the only reason I came…I don't really know much about (the Margo-Moody race), but I voted for the Democrat”(El Paso Times, 11/5/08). This quote is the epitome of straight-party voter ignorance in El Paso. Joe Moody thinks that the voters of District 78 voted for ‘change’ when he was elected on November 4th, but Joe, you and I both know that you represent the same kind of politician El Paso has always sent to Austin; the same kind that will make certain we remain the Texas pariah, the laughing stock.

Joe, thanks to ignorant voters, your job was done after you made certain a D appeared next to your name on the ballot. You could have saved yourself a lot of money and avoided besmirching a good man’s name with lies had you known this sooner.

Joe, it doesn’t matter that you’re a wise-cracking kid that ridicules the military. It doesn’t matter that you promise to stop special interests in Austin while at the same time you spend hundreds of thousands of trial lawyer dollars to run false ads. It doesn’t matter that “campaign finance reform will be (your) number one priority” while El Pasoans continue to pay astronomical property taxes. Hell, it doesn’t even matter that you’ve never owned property so you have no clue what it’s like to feel the sting of a property tax bill! It doesn’t matter that you falsely accuse a businessman that employs and provides insurance benefits for nearly 100 El Pasoans AND their families of conspiring to raise insurance rates and thus his own cost of doing business. It doesn’t even matter that you’ve never attracted business or hired anybody or made the difficult decision to fire somebody or really done anything overly productive in the El Paso community. What matters Joe, is that you’re a Democrat! Congratulations!

All I can say El Paso is that you deserve what you get. As for me, although I’m a fifth-generation El Pasoan, I’ll stay in Miami for now. At least here when we elect politicians that are a joke, I can go laugh about it on a beautiful beach. When I opined this to my dad, he admonished me saying he didn’t appreciate comments like this about his city and he vowed to continue to work on El Paso’s behalf. Sorry dad, but I don’t have the same patience or unconditional love you do for this city.

Please pardon my cynicism, but El Paso you certainly don’t appreciate and you damn well don’t deserve a fine man like my father, Dee Margo.








Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mayor Leeser Imploding

You can call this a tale of self-inflicted wounds. But you could also call it a tale of avoidable mistakes.

Mayor Leeser, in the span of just a few short weeks has seriously, if not fatally, jeopardized any chances he ever had at ascending to the congressional seat soon to be vacated by Beto O'Rourke. Hell, if there were an actual good mayoral campaign and not this clown car of candidates we have now, he would be hard pressed to get re-elected.

But the mayor has an investigation by the Texas Rangers hanging over his head right now for a possible violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Despite what some of my colleagues might try to tell you, that is a big deal. That's one piece of negative mail right there. And trust me, voters in El Paso are very sensitive about having leadership they trust.

Now the stories come out that Mayor Oscar Leeser not only did a douchey move that was David Saucedo-level of douchedom, he personally called the Chief of Police to help him in his little altercation with an octogenarian, but now the recording of the altercation somehow doesn't turn up.

I know, there was a lot going on in that sentence, so lets break it down. First, who gets in a tiff with an 80 year old? Can we just stop and think about that for a second? The mayor of the 5th largest city in Texas gets into an altercation with someone who was born during the Great Depression? And then has to call back-up? Thats another piece of mail.

Keep going...the mayor calls the chief of police personally, not for something like a bank robbery in progress, a murder, or even a car accident...he calls him for back up at the - and I stole this from someone in the media - The Tiff at Tyme Matters? Another piece of mail.

Seriously, isn't that like the mayor of Gotham City calling Commissioner Gordan and asking him to send up the ol' Bat Signal to tell Batman to bring beer to his place because they are running low and the Super Bowl is this weekend?

Please tell me the mayor had a better reason for the deployment of police resources than a scuffle with Father Time...

And then you're telling me that the mayor said publicly to the media, and officially to police, that he had a recording of the incident, but then doesn't turn over the recording?

If you haven't read the link to the Times article earlier in this post, you should. There's an interesting explanation in there about pressing the city attorneys for the recording. I'll give you the cliff notes - either the mayor lied about having a recording or he's refusing to turn over the recording to authorities and the press.

Both scenarios are not good for Mayor Leeser. Yep, another piece of mail.

Unless he thought he had a recording but was mistaken, which would beg the question, why hasn't he said so?

Sit tight kids, this situation could get worse. Remember, he's a good boy. He runs a car dealership and has a lot of ad dollars to spend in this town. Hopefully businessman Leeser doesn't ever decide that he's sick of negative media coverage and try to leverage his business advertising dollars to influence media coverage of his public job. That would be really really bad for the mayor.

But frankly, the mayor doesn't seem like he'd make a mistake that big. No one is that politically stupid.

Hopefully for the mayor's sake some good news comes along the way soon because his popularity can take a Jim Tolbertesque nose dive. Which reminds me, I heard a rumor about a Tolbert opponent that could be interesting. I'll post more when I get confirmation, but things are about to get interesting in D2.

El Paso County Historical Commission Needs New Leadership

I'll rip the band-aid off here, the current leadership team of the El Paso County Historic Commission has made some very bad mistakes.

Mistakes that have sparked an investigation by the District Attorney's Office and have stalled historic designation for sites in the Mission Valley including the cemetery at La Isla in the Fabens area and the cemetery in San Elizario and other projects.

The delay is because of the way the Commission voted on their issues. It was a violation of the Texas Open Meetings act.

And now, incredibly, Bernie Sargent (head honcho of the Commission) says he's putting together training curriculum for the board members to avoid that from happening again.

Are you kidding me? He's the guy who conducted the vote improperly in the first place. And according to this article in the El Paso Inc, has been doing so for years! Guess what, anyone who wants to can now go back and challenge any historical designation that was done improperly. That is a huge liability to the County of El Paso.

And it would be irresponsible on the part of the County, for Bernie Sargent and his faithful sidekick Max Grossman to continue to be on the Commission. So the conversation shouldn't be about whether they are able to train their board, the questions is why are they still serving on it.

Especially considering there is an active investigation of the commission's votes going on right now. Here's the Times' article that lays it all out.

As far as I know, members are up for reappointment. It would defy all logic if they got reappointed. Especially after the track record the duo has built up of straining relationships with elected bodies, giving the impression they speak on behalf of the County of El Paso, and oh yeah, calling two city reps pussy's (sic).

The County Judge, the County Administrator, and just about every other department head at the county are women and a lot of the participated in recent demonstrations about women's rights.

Last Thursday when there was a conversation about limiting the actions of appointees, the guys who normally jump in front of every camera in sight, Sargent and Grossman, didn't have the stones to show up to Commissioner's Court and instead three other gentlemen had to face the Court and apologize for the actions of Sargent and Grossman. The fact that there had to be an apology of their actions by other members of the EPCHC alone should be a disqualifier.

But hey, now that we are talking about it, what is the word you use to describe someone who is too scared to do something like face Commissioner's Court for their actions? Hmm, its right on the tip of my tongue, but I just can't seem to remember the appropriate word.

What's the word I'm looking for here? Somebody help me out here...