Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Conflict Controversy & Perez's Perception

Alyssa Perez did an interview with KTSM yesterday about the fact that the Council of Judges asked the County Attorney to give them an opinion on a potential conflict of interest with candidate for the 210th District Court Alyssa Perez.

The seat is currently held by her uncle, Judge Gonzalo Garcia.

So here is the situation, Perez represents CLEAT, which is the law enforcement union. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I'm a union guy myself and I can tell you Perez has always done a great job and has good reputation acting in that capacity as far as I know. Never heard a single criticism about her as the union lawyer and if I ran a union, she'd be the one I'd hire to represent my members.

She's also a part-time fill-in jail magistrate. Honestly, I don't know anything about whether she's doing a good job or a bad job at that. She's a fill-in, so how much harm could she possibly do. You usually hear about the bad ones, so since I haven't heard anything about her being a magistrate, I'm gonna assume she does well.

I gather from her comments at the Eastside Democrats that she's also a criminal defense attorney in private practice. From what I was able to dig up on the county website, it looks like the vast majority of her work comes from "appointments". By her own admission judicial appointments are a "substantial part" of her practice.

Appointments are when someone can't afford an attorney of their own, so an attorney is appointed to represent that person and the tax payers pay for it. There is no issue with that, appointments are an important part of the judicial process, especially in a community like El Paso.

Independently there is nothing wrong with any of those lines of work.

The problem potentially is when you put them all together. So law enforcement goes to a court and asks for a warrant, or brings in someone they have arrested to the magistrate to have their rights read to them and bond is set. At that stage of the process, she represents the officers that are coming before her, and she's acting as a judge. Remember, she works for CLEAT, and the CLE part of CLEAT stands for Combined Law Enforcement. As in all of them as an organization, irrespective if she represents them as individuals.

If that isn't a blatant conflict, it is at the very least, the appearance of a conflict. I don't think there is any rational human on the planet that wouldn't think that there isn't at least an appearance of a conflict in that situation.

Then, she is appointed to represent the indigent, who were arrested by law enforcement. Law enforcement conducted the investigation that led to the arrest of the person she's supposed to be representing. Alyssa Perez is simultaneously serving as legal counsel for the law enforcement members AND serving as legal counsel for the person they are accusing of a crime.

At the same time. I don't see how that could NOT be a conflict. But again, it is at the very least, the appearance of a conflict.

And therein lies the problem for Perez with voters. If this is any demonstration of what she thinks is okay, then voters are going to be really turned off by her. The only thing we lay people who didn't go to law school have to judge a candidate on, is our vague interpretation on whether or not we feel they will be fair.

I don't know anyone that thinks this type of situation would be fair. Seriously...she LITERALLY has the PD union head sitting at her desk...IN THIS INTERVIEW!

Theres no problem with her being a union lawyer.

Theres no problem with her being a part-time fill-in magistrate.

Theres no problem in taking appointed cases.

There is a big problem, in my non-legal opinion, with all of them going on simultaneously.

So lets just take a quick breath for a moment and go back to what I said about there isn't even supposed to be the appearance of a conflict. I could quote the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct 1.06 through 1.09 (pages 27-37) if I wanted to, but hey I'm not a lawyer right?

So lets hear from an attorney, far more learned of an individual than I.

Lets hear from Alyssa Perez HERSELF about avoiding even the "perception that something is not correct" in the KTSM interview, shall we?



Based on Perez's own words on the matter, I think she clearly underscores there's at least a perception problem, and if that is the case, then she shouldn't be defending the indigent or acting as a magistrate.

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

But now lets talk about the politics of all of this.

First, I don't get where she comes off acting like its a problem that she is facing scrutiny. If you didn't want a healthy examination of your candidacy, which is a NORMAL part of any campaign, you shouldn't have run. And the fact that her uncle is the current judge and he held off filing until she could file at the last minute didn't go unnoticed, so of course a perceived effort to bequeath a seat to a relative is going to garner some attention.

If she didn't want the scrutiny, then maybe politics isn't for her.

Second, she questions the timing of the issue with the Council of Judges. She may have a point. I can't understand why this hasn't come up before because it seems like such an obvious problem.

Hell, I'm surprised the tax payers have't had to foot the bill to defend a lawsuit on this issue yet. Seems like an attorney would certainly call this into question and probably could have a lot of potential clients who have found themselves in a bad spot because of this situation.

But lets look at the other side of what she's saying when she questions the timing of the issue. To me it sounds a lot like she's saying that she's entitled to special treatment because she's running for office, as though her running for office should take precedence over whether or not the taxpayers of El Paso County are in a compromised position because of the possibility of a conflict.

"Politics as usual" is something Perez said she hopes this isn't as she was referring to the Council of Judge's action to ask for a legal opinion from the County Attorney's Office. She's kinda implying that it is "politics as usual" by that statement, and when you listen to the entire interview, she makes that point a little more sharply in the full interview. I'm not sure how the other judges are going to feel about the implication.

But the mere fact that she says "politics as usual in the courthouse" is a pretty significant claim that things in the courthouse are politicized.





The interview in its entirety was posted at the bottom of the story, so I missed it the first time I read it. But you should watch it in its entirety because there's some interesting stuff in it - which is where I got the portion of the first video I posted.



I'm sure there will be some fall out because of all of this.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tejano Democrats NEW Meeting Location TONIGHT

Tejano Democrats are meeting at their NEW location tonight, so spread the word.

6pm at Carnitas Queretaro on the Eastside, 9077 Gateway West.

Its NOT at Taco Real anymore, so tell your friends before they end up going to the old location. Also, the Hawkins exit is closed so traffic in the area is cray-cray right about that time, so give yourself a little more time to get there.

Luckily for some of you, being able to say the name of the restaurant isn't a requirement to get in.

I wrote this in case you didn't get all the emails and text messages Eddie Holguin sent out reminding people its at a new location.

And mark my words, someone will go to the wrong place and be mad and say they didn't know.

LSB Blog Poll: Congressional Race

Its been a REALLY long time since I've done a poll here on The LionStar Blog. So I think its high time that we did another one.

So on the left column, just above my twitter feed, you can weigh-in and take the poll about who you are voting for in the congressional race.

A few things before you vote: This isn't remotely scientific, nor is it meant to be. Like Fox News, its for entertainment purposes only. The candidates are listed in the order in which they will appear on the ballot. Has nothing to do with anything else but how they show up on the ballot. Next Monday is the deadline to register to vote, so I made that the last day of the poll.

Have fun.

Monday, January 29, 2018

243rd Candidates

Embattled Judge Luis Aguilar, who is on the ballot but has asked for voters to not vote for him, has three opponents. Here is a look at two of the three the night they appeared at the Eastside Democrats Forum.

I have other video of the candidates and I'll post that when I get a chance.



Herrera & the Other Council of Judges Issue

For the life of me I can't understand why anyone supports Mike Herrera, but its even more mind-boggling now.

There was apparently another big problem discussed at the Council of Judges meeting last Thursday and that is the absence of Judge Mike Herrera.

Word around the courthouse is that Herrera isn't handling anything that looks like a complicated family law case, and some allege because he's spending more time campaigning than working. Apparently there is a budget that is set for a visiting judge to hear cases.

Sources indicate that several members of the Council of Judges are really upset that the vast majority of that budget is being depleted by Judge Herrera's absence.

One of the judges even questioned why Herrera wasn't even at the Council of Judges meeting to explain the depletion of funds.

This is why you should pay attention to the judicial races. If you look at Alyssa Perez and Judge Mike Herrera, they are text book examples of the fact that the more you learn about a race, the more involved and engaged you have to become as a voters because you get a sense of the consequences of judicial elections are.

Bottom line here, Herrera is costing you even more than you think for his decision to run for another salary.

Speaking of the Perez race, I have more interesting stuff I've dug up on that issue with her representing cops, being a magistrate and representing the indigent. I'll get to that later.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Perez Conflict Issue Goes to CA Office

Sources at the County indicate that in a meeting of the Council of Judges yesterday the judges decided to ask County Attorney Joanne Bernal for a legal opinion regarding fill-in magistrate Judge Alyssa Perez.

At issue is whether there is a conflict for Perez to serve as a magistrate, represent law enforcement personnel as the staff attorney for CLEAT, and take appointments as council to indigent defendants.

The sources also indicate that Perez will not be assigned until the issue is resolved with the County Attorney's office.

The sources were unclear whether that means that Perez won't be a magistrate or represent defendants as a court-appointed attorney until such time as the County Attorney has rendered a decision.

However another source familiar with the situation says, "The issue will likely mean they err on the side of caution in situations like this and its likely that Perez will not be able to fulfill either role until the County Attorney comes back with a legal opinion."

I questioned a potential conflict based on something Perez said at the Eastside Democrats endorsement meeting. In the video below, which is an excerpt from her comments that day, she mentions being in private practice and being an attorney for law enforcement.



Some county officials have expressed concerns over potential lawsuits against the County of El Paso, in which case the County Attorney's Office would have to defend the County, so I'm not certain if they also are asking the Attorney General's Office for an opinion as well, which would make sense.

What I'm not understanding is why a room full of judges with all kinds of legal specialities of the law is asking for a legal opinion for in the first place. They are elected to interpret the law in the first place, so I can't for the life of me understand why they aren't addressing and ruling whether or not their is a conflict, or appearance of a conflict that might undermine confidence in the system, of a lawyer who represents law enforcement also representing defendants.

It defies logic that they aren't addressing that issue.

To bring you up to speed, here is the question at hand. Alyssa Perez who is a candidate for a judicial seat that is being vacated by her uncle who waited until the very last minute to not file for reelection in what looks like an attempt to bequeath his seat to his niece, represents law enforcement as the attorney for CLEAT.

She apparently is also on "the wheel" at the court house to take appointments to represent indigent clients. And she serves as a part time magistrate, which is why she includes the word "Judge" on her campaign materials. But hey, if you work part time at Subway, I guess technically you are a "sandwich artist".

A magistrate can sign warrants, admonish people who are arrested, and set bail for them. So she's sometimes a magistrate, always represents law enforcement, and is assigned cases to defend people who cannot afford an attorney.

See how that works? Now to you, me, and voters who are not lawyers, that obviously doesn't seem fair to the defendant when the lawyer assigned to defend you, also represents the law enforcement agency that investigated you, sought and obtained a warrant for your arrest, and arrested you.

So in the same month, Perez is cashing in a check from the tax payers for being a part-time fill-in judge, and a check from the tax payers for defending someone who can't afford an attorney.

The big problem isn't just the fact that she represents The Fuzz and the defendants, which seriously, who is that fair, but there is a big fat whole in policy.

Real jail magistrates aren't allowed to be appointed to cases. Judicial appointments used to be a real racket too until recent reforms. There was a real problem with a certain class of lawyers being assigned the lion's share of the cases of indigent defense. It was problematic for poor defendants because there were some pretty egregious incidents of clients meeting a lawyer once for a few minutes and taking a plea just so they could get out of jail and back to work.

Anywho, real jail magistrates can't take those cases. So if it is recognized that the real jail magistrates can't take those cases, why is it okay for the fill-ins to do so?

The policy fix for that seems simple, either don't be a fill-in magistrate, or don't be on the wheel to take cases.

So for someone like Ruben Nuñez, who is also a candidate for a judicial seat and a part-time magistrate, this could potentially impact him as well. He's facing Ruth Reyes who is running for one of the County Court at Law seats.

But for Alyssa Perez, the bigger issue is representing law enforcement and the indigent accused of a crime at the same time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sierra Pro-Fenenbock Charter Ties to GOP

A pro-Fenenbock PAC run by the notorious and controversial GOP political operative Carlos Sierra has ties to the Republican Party.

Keep El Paso Honest is the PAC behind an anti-Escobar ad that looks like a really, really, bad South Park Episode.

Documents I have obtained show a direct link between the Keep El Paso Honest PAC and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

For context, read this recent article in the El Paso Times about Carlos Sierra's connection to the PAC called Keep El Paso Honest.

Carlos Sierra is a Republican and works for Republican candidates, at least until his past comes to light. But he's pretty much lock-step with the Trump Republican establishment.

And the documents I obtained illustrate Sierra's PAC's connection to the NRCC.

This first screen shot shows the contract for the media buy for the commercials from the Keep El Paso Honest PAC. As you can see in the document, it shows Keep El Paso Honest




Also listed on the document is Del Cielo Media.

In this document, Del Cielo is identified as the agency doing the media buy for the PAC.




And here is a check from that agency to the station.



So the connection between the Keep El Paso Honest PAC and Del Cielo is pretty clear and concrete.

A cross check of finance reports shows that the only two expenditures Del Cielo received this cycle came from the National Republican Congressional Committee.




As you can see, the money totals just under $200,000.

There's no money from any other source. There's no money from the DCCC or the DNC. They didn't buy media for anyone else but Republicans.

Del Cielo is a subsidiary of Smart Media Group. Who is Smart Media Group? Well, follow this link and you'll learn that they are a Republican firm. And I don't mean that they are a firm that does a little work with the GOP, or even most of their work with the GOP. They do ALL their work with the GOP.

What races do they list as their highlights? Well they were the official media buyers for the McCain-Palin ticket and the RNC. They even boast that in 2008, the year Obama was elected, that "one in five political dollars were planned and purchased through SMG".

So to tie this all together the National Republican Congressional Committee donates money to Del Cielo, Del Cielo is the agent that does the media buy for Keep El Paso Honest PAC, of which Republican operative Carlos Sierra is a member, for ads in favor Dori Fenenbock and against Veronica Escobar. Carlos Sierra frequently boasts of his campaign experience and works with...wait for it...Arizona Senator John McCain.

Dori Fenenbock's voting record is overwhelmingly Republican. Thats not an opinion, that is a documented fact.

Interestingly the teacher's union that represents teachers in EPISD (the American Federation of Teachers), where Fenenbock was a trustee, announced their endorsement of Veronica Escobar today. Later this evening she has a fundraiser with one of the top 3 Democrats in congress, Steny Hoyer.

Interestingly Hoyer and Fenenbock campaign Chairman Silvestre Reyes were very close at one time.

More to come...

Weird Stuff 'Round Social Media

Here's a collection of things on the internet involving local politics that amuse me today.

Lets start with HD75 and the race between incumbent State Representative Mary Gonzalez and her opponent from the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, Mary Sue Femath.

Or as I call it, Mary Edna V. Mary Sue.

Mary Sue has a Facebook sponsored ad that is a little creepy. Okay its creepy after you watched a scary movie earlier on Netflix, you're up at 3:30am and scrolling through Facebook and see a political ad with no faces.


Its just really weird. You'd think with all that money in her campaign she could've gotten release forms signed or Forma could have actually purchased an image that had faces. But hey, thats what happens when all your money goes to consultant fees and doesn't end up in the field.

I warn you people every election cycle but you no one listens.

Speaking of warning people...I told you old Norma would be back and I wasn't wrong.

Okay, so to be fair to her, she hasn't yelled at a staffer in public or called anyone a lesbian gay woman yet (I emphasize yet), but she is already going back to some of her old habits.

Namely, blogging and temper tantrums.

Why on earth she thinks blogging as a candidate is good idea is beyond me. But one thing Norma isn't good at is listening to people around her that try to protect her from herself. Back in the old days she used to call talk radio and fight with the hosts in the middle of a campaign, even when they were generally supportive of her. I even told her staff, when I was on the air, to take her cell phone from her, duct tape is closed, put it in a box, wrap that up in more duct tape, climb the bigger tower at Asarco, and drop that damn thing in there so she can't get it until after election day.

So Norma is blogging and its about as smart for a candidate like Norma to do as you think it is. She mostly whines about not getting endorsements from the Democratic Party clubs, complains about how people have already pledged their support to someone else because she got in the race literally at the 11th hour, and then whines some more about entering the race within the statutory limit (no shit Norma, you wouldn't be on the ballot if you hadn't).

And apparently menudo fundraisers have now replaced pachangas. Now Norma is doing a menudo fundraiser, which is kinda hilarious that Norma is following Fenenbock on that.

Speaking of hilarious, I've been catching candidates commercials. There's a judicial candidate running in this cycle and he has a commercial in which he's wearing a short sleeve shirt that looks like a Ducks Unlimited shirt.

I usually see him in a suit so I didn't recognize him at first and assumed it was a Republican running for something until I realized he's running as a Democrat for a judicial seat.

A couple weeks ago John Chatman sent me a friend request on FB. Well, actually I doubt it was John Chatman himself. But most of you know what this is hilarious to me. For those of you that don't know, John Chatman is the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 5 in the lower valley. He's the guy who apparently now thinks his first name is "judge" and has like 5 pictures of himself in his court.

I'm not exaggerating. The guy loves pictures of himself.

He also likes carrying a gun. There was an issue with that, but I'll write about that another day. Anywho, I doubt it was him that sent me the friend request for his new Facebook page because a) he sent me a friend request and b) whoever runs it can't spell his name correctly.

I declined the request at first, but then said "what the hell, why not?" and sent a request back after initially declining it.

Anywho, the person running his page can't even spell his name correctly. Its since been fixed, but its still funny.




Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Dori: A Name You Can Trust?

So it looks like Dori's in-law Michael Gopin (yeah, that guy) is doing Fenenbock's commercials now.

Yep, just when you think things can't get more strange, add a personal injury lawyer doing commercials, amirite?

Fenenbock's new commercial is a bunch of kids repeating her name, mostly making reference to the Disney movie, Finding Dori.

Which is actually what the media calls it when they need to get comment from her - but anywho, back to my point.

The commercial ends with "the name you can trust".

Now, cut to the other day at the Chamber of Commerce forum. Apparently there was a little dust up between Dori Fenenbock and Enrique Garcia over whether or not Dori Fenenbock is in fact an attorney. Apparently she was waving a card to show she was an attorney.

As I've written previously, I checked all 50 states and Fenenbock does not have an active license in any of the states. She did have a law license at some point in the state of Colorado, but her status was inactive.

Since I heard she was waving around a card indicating she was an attorney, I naturally assumed she'd renewed her license. But as President Reagan once said, "Trust but verify".

So I did.

I called the Supreme Court of Colorado, they are the ones who maintain the records of who is and is not, a licensed attorney in their state. I called yesterday afternoon. I recorded the phone call, lest anyone not believe me.

You can hear for yourself, she still isn't allowed to practice law.



I jumped on their website too, just to be thorough. Turns out they actually remind attorneys that if their status isn't active and current, they can't practice law.





She also said that she was going to reign in spending as a candidate for trustee, then turn around and pushed for the largest bond in the history of El Paso County.

And she claimed to be an Eagle Scout.

So what was that about the name you can trust again?




Aguilar Says "Don't Vote for Me"

I broke this a couple of weeks ago but embattled Judge Luis Aguilar of the 243rd Judicial District Court wants off the ballot. Well, he can't get off the ballot now, so he has take the unusual step of putting ads in the local papers saying that he doesn't want to run and flat-out asking voters not to vote for him.

It was an ad that includes the campaign disclosure information at the bottom.

Aguilar won't comment to the media and the one thing missing from his plea to voters to not vote for him is really important...

And explanation.

Quite frankly, Judge Aguilar owes this community an explanation.

About a month ago he sent his bailiff to the Democratic Party Headquarters to file the paperwork necessary to run for reelection. I was there when it happened.

Less than two weeks later, Aguilar is calling around trying to get off the ballot. In his plea to voters to not vote for him, Aguilar expresses that he's been honored to serve and was grateful to the voters for putting him in to office.

That is an appropriate sentiment to express.

It would be even more appropriate to honor the voters by giving them an explanation as to why he no longer wants to serve, why he doesn't want them to vote for him.

The voters deserve to know what was such an important development or change that occurred in such a short period of time. I think Judge Aguilar owes an explanation to the community he expressed his love for in that ad.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Greed

Making a terrible situation even worse, District Judge Mike Herrera has taken the step of removing his Associate Judge Jesus Rodriguez from all cases from Herrera's court because they are opponents in this primary for a County Court seat.

The whole reason Rodriguez is a judge at all is because there is a backlog of cases in family courts. His boss is Mike Herrera, who is a District Court judge. Herrera is pursuing a County Court seat for one rather obviously and seamless reason, he wants to double-dip.

Why this isn't a news story that a judge with a public reprimand from the State Commission on Judicial Ethics is going after another court seat to double dip, is beyond me. I think the media is failing this community on this one.

But Herrera's move, which became official just late last week, makes the backlog of cases even worse now. If you think Herrera is going to work that much harder now because of his own selfish moves, you're probably gonna be disappointed.

Herrera has been seen around town, during what most people would consider normal business hours, waving at street corners.

Your tax dollars at work ladies and gentlemen.

Now look, I'm sure there are people that think Herrera is a great guy. And maybe he is. Its messed up that it appears he used his position as a judge to gain an advantage in his own divorce, but I'm sure there are Herrera supporters. But objectively speaking, you'd have to admit that its pretty greedy to go from one family court position to another for no other reason than the ability to double-dip.

Seriously, its egregious.

And I don't disagree with him taking the cases away from Rodriguez, frankly I think he should've been moved out from under Herrera the minute Herrera decided to run against him. But the move underscores all the consequences to the tax payer for Herrera's greed.

A bad problem is now worse because Mike Herrera wants another taxpayer funded paycheck.

And this is why people so often have their faith in government shaken.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Congressional Candidates on Charter Schools

Here's video from the Our Revolution candidate forum on Saturday. This particular part is an interesting exchange between Dori Fenenbock and Veronica Escobar over charter schools. Fenenbock comes out against charter schools - which is kind of news to everyone because she's always sounded very pro-charter, and she went on the attack against Escobar about the CREEED guys being behind Escobar.

Escobar replies with a line about how Fenenbock asked for CREEED guys support and they told her no.



But a couple of interesting things about that exchange. A sources tells me Fenenbock indicated that she supported in-district charters during a meeting with Richard Castro of CREEED and flat out asked Castro to go back on his support of Escobar in favor of her.

Apparently Castro told her no.

What is more interesting is this screenshot (I always have screenshots, right?)

This is a tweet from February last year.



What are Kipp schools? Well I'm glad you asked. Here's a screen shot of what they are in their own words:



In other words, they are a charter school entity. Does that sound like someone that is as against charters as Fenenbock sounds in the video?

And that is why Fenenbock has a problem with authenticy and why people have a problem with her pandering.

District 23 Candidates

District 23 is one of the largest congressional districts in terms of land area, in the United States stretching from San Antonio to El Paso.

It is also one of the few swing districts in the country and is currently held by Congressman Will Hurd.

Two of the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination were in El Paso on Monday and I had a chance to visit with them.

Gina Ortiz Jones and Judy Canales were both at the Eastside Democrats candidate forum on Monday and so I was able to ask Ortiz Jones some questions that night. I interviewed Judy Canales a few days prior.

Here are the interviews...



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Central Labor Union Endorsements

There are a lot of people that are pretty upset with the central labor union over their endorsement process.

Apparently they did a terrible job of letting candidates know that they were even holding endorsements. Not all the candidates got an invite or the word that there was an endorsement process going on, as evidenced by the fact that so many of them found out at the last minute and just sorta showed up to try to compete for the endorsement.

Not sure if there is a fix for this, but labor needs to get it right. There was a time when CLU endorsement was the crown jewel and labor was the backbone of the Democratic Party. Now the collective CLU no longer holds the status it once did and the individual labor unions like the Fire Fighters and Teacher Associations have been carrying the fight for the labor movement in town.

Seriously - we need to fix this.

Stacked Deck? Alyssa Perez & 3 Jobs

I feel a little late on catching this but Alyssa Perez, who signed up to run for the seat held by her uncle Gonzalo Garcia in a coordinated last-minute maneuver, said something at the debate on Monday night that made me curious.

I've got no beef with Perez personally, I just don't like the way it looks like a sitting judge was trying to bequeath his seat to his niece. Seems wrong, but hey, I don't think we voters are qualified to pick judges in the first place, so what do I know?

But back to my query.

Perez has three jobs. She's a part-time jail magistrate, so she fills in on shifts that the permanent magistrates aren't able to take. Magistrates sign warrants and read you your Miranda rights when you're arrested. She's also an attorney in private practice, and most of her defense work comes from judicial appointments from what it looks like on the county website. And, she's the staff attorney for CLEAT.

And therein lies the rub.

So she's a magistrate AND she represents law enforcement...AND judges appoint her to defend the accused?

Seriously, how is that possible? If she's the staff attorney FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, how does she ever get appointed to defend someone? CLEAT is the law enforcement union, so she represents law enforcement offices from a range of agencies.

Has no one in the courthouse ever raised this question?

Look, I'm sure that as the magistrate there is a system in which she can't be appointed to cases in which she was the magistrate. The fact that she wouldn't get an appointment to a case which she acted as the magistrate is an acknowledgement that there's an issue of fairness. Ruben Nuñez is running for office, he's a magistrate, and he gets appointed to cases, as well.

But he does't represent cops too.

Let me back up a second and explain what appointments are. You know that part in every cop show where they arrest a vato and tell him he has the right to remain silent and has the right to an attorney? Appointments are the attorney part. In El Paso County if you can't afford a lawyer but you're being accused of a crime you can either have a public defender, or the court can appoint an attorney to represent you.

Remember that whole wheel controversy were a few lawyers with cozy relationships with judges were making a ton of money off of that system? Thats what we are talking about here. That system has gone under reforms, but the point is, attorneys are appointed by a judge to represent a defendant in court.

Now I'm obviously not an attorney, but neither are most voters, and something just doesn't seem fair about all this. So there is a system in place to not allow a part-time magistrate to be appointed to a case that they were the magistrate on. Why? Well because its not fair. Its a conflict. You can't have someone who was the magistrate at your arrest, or signed the warrant for your arrest, turn around and be the person who is assigned to defend you.

So how the hell can you have someone who represents law enforcement, who conducted the arrest, and possibly the investigation that led to your arrest, be assigned to defend you?

More to the point for voters, who's only way of judging whether or not someone makes a good judge is the voters' belief that the candidate will be a fair judge, why does an attorney who represents law enforcement even take defending someone in the first place? It seems like anyone's sense of justice and fairness would preclude them from even taking the case.

How does it work for defendants? They gotta go meet their lawyer at the CLEAT building? Actually, now that I think about it, is the fact that she's the lawyer for CLEAT ever disclosed to the client?

If you're a judge or defense lawyer reading this and I'm wrong here, please set me straight. But this just seems like the deck would be stacked against a defendant if someone who is a jail magistrate (even if they weren't the magistrate on their case), represents law enforcement, and then is supposed to defend you.

I know that the full-time judges aren't allowed to take other legal work, so this just seems really problematic. If I'm wrong here, someone set me straight. If I'm wrong here, I'll write about it and explain how I was wrong.

But I don't think I am...

HD75 Marys Debate at Eastside Dems Forum

The Marys from the Valley where both at a candidate forum early this week.

Mary Edna and Mary Sue both attended the Eastside Democrats forum on Monday.

Mary Edna being State Representative Mary Gonzalez and Mary Sue being Mary Sue Femath, her challenger from the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.

They are both vying for the seat held by Mary Gonzalez that represents the far eastside and the Mission Valley.

Here is video of Mary-Mary.

No one asked them "Why ya bugging'?" (If you don't understand that quote, shame on you for not understanding classic rap lyrics)




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Our Revolution Congressional Forum

So normally a forum on a Saturday night during the Wildcard Round of the playoffs is a terrible idea. But I was pleasantly surprised that the first forum to feature all of the Democratic candidates for the 16th congressional district on one stage at the same time was well-attended.

In fact, very well attended.

I'll post more video of the event once I've had a chance to edit it all (its a lot), but for now I wanted to focus on one question in particular. The organizers had a lottery system for the audience members to be able to pose a question to the candidates, which is actually a pretty smart idea because you allow questions from the audience, but it doesn't become a free-for-all and who asks the questions becomes random chance.

Luckily, my number got pulled. Which everyone had quite the laugh about.

Most of the night everyone complained about President Trump, even the Republican candidate that went to a small degree.

Since the Democratic candidates were all anti-Trump, I thought I would ask a question to see if anyone actually agreed with Trump on policy.

Turns out, one of the Democrats did.

Spoiler alert, its Dori Fenenbock.

The question I asked was whether they agreed or disagreed with President Trumps controversial decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

All the Democrats disagreed with it, through Norma Chavez seemed to be very careful with what she was saying, but ultimately said she disagreed with Trump. Fenenbock said she agreed with Trump's decision and explained why.

That drew boos from the audience members.

When she was done speaking, someone from the crowd yelled, "Free Palenstine!" which drew several cheers.

Dori Demo Diss

Things appear to be really falling apart in the Fenenbock campaign.

Last night at the candidate forum for the Eastside Democrats, which ended up with a crowd similar to that of the Westside Democrats, Dori Fenenbock was a no-show.

Frankly, it was a bit of a surprise because Fenenbock has prided herself on having good relationships with a few party leaders and I think they all took it for granted that she would clean-up with all the party endorsements.

Except she hasn't.

The one Party endorsement she has so far is the NE Democrats endorsement which had a tainted process because her field guy Chris Hernandez let it slip that they were supplied with the questions in advance when he was more or less complaining that the questions for Dori were too hard.

The Westside Democrats endorsement didn't go the way she wanted and Escobar won that endorsement. That turned out to be a bit of a surprise to the Fenenbock camp, but I'll get into the ironic reason why shortly.

I'm pretty sure she is not going to show up to another one until Tejano's because she probably thinks she has that one in the bag.

So last night when she was a no-show, Chairwoman Ybarra-Williams received a text message and email, and Democratic Party Chairwoman Holguin was cc'd, from the Fenenbock campaign after the debate had already started, but before the congressional candidates spoke.

Thankfully I was able to acquire a copy of the email and attachments.

The letter says they felt that the process wasn't fair to Fenenbock because one member of the panel had donated to Escobar, which is true. They didn't specify in the letter who it was, so as you can imagine all the panel members appeared insulted and embarrassed that a candidate would insinuate that they would not be fair in the endorsement process.

The panel included El Paso County Democratic Party Chair Illiana Holguin.

But worse for Fenenbock, the entire membership was insulted and didn't react well when moderator and Vice President of Eastside Democrats Don Williams read the letter to the membership explaining why Fenenbock was not in attendance.

Here's the letter sent from the Fenenbock campaign:



And this is why Dori's campaign has so many problems. No one in that camp appears to have any sense about optics. They pretty much dissed the Party Chair at a club event that was well attended, even if it was unintentional. Ruh-roh, she's married to the Chair of the Tejano Democrats...(y'all might want to get on the phone with Chairwoman Holguin and start apologizing...)

But more importantly, they insulted an entire club by implying that the process wasn't going to be fair.

Which is why Dori looks like such a hypocrite all the time.

Let me explain to you why.

As I said previously, she participated in the Westside and Northeast Democratic candidate forums. At no point did any of the candidates refuse to participate because they felt that the process wasn't going to be fair. The candidates showed up and competed for the endorsement.

Why is that such a big deal? Well because Fenenbock's little foot-stomping tantrum about the Eastside Democrats looks really bad on her when you consider that the Chair of both the Westside Democrats and the Northeast Democrats came out to publicly support Fenenbock well before their endorsement processes.

But hey, don't take my word for it, ROLL THE TAPE!



This guy was Team Dori from the gate. This was recorded at her campaign kick-off event. He would later moderate the NE Democrats Forum. Where was Dori's sense of fair play then? Where was her desire to "participate in a truly neutral, non-biased forum" as she stated above?

Sounds a lot like Dori wants to have a set of rules for her - and a different set of rules for everyone else.

Now, thats a pretty high level of hypocrisy wouldn't you say?

Well it gets worse because its not the only example.

Here's my friend Ken Sutherland endorsing Fenenbock when she went down to officially file on the ballot.



Last week he moderated the Westside Democrats endorsement meeting.

I complained about he berated people that didn't attend, but you know who didn't complain about the Westside Democrats not having "a truly neutral, non-biased form"?

Dori Fenenbock.

Apparently having forums in which the chair of the organization is the moderator is completely "neutral" and "non-biased" so long as you think you're gonna win in the wonderful world of Dori.

To say that Party members were infuriated at the insult is an understatement. I think Fenenbock has finally realized she doesn't have the monopoly on the Party she thought she had.

I should be clear here - the Westside Dems event wasn't anything like the NE event. No one appears to have questions in advance, the candidates were sequestered, and Ken didn't seem biased at all to the candidates that were in attendance. He was rough on the ones that weren't, but if you were there, he was fair to you.

I interviewed Don Williams, Vice Chair of the Eastside Democrats about the email from Fenenbock's campaign, which wasn't sent to the organization until after the event had started.



Gotta love how this campaign is morphing into the Reyes / Saucedo campaigns...

Actually, more like Trump. Refusing to attend events, calling things Fake News, and having an explanation for things that is completely divorced from reality...

Monday, January 15, 2018

Incumbency & Judges

I think I figured out why Aguilar doesn't want to be on the court anymore.

Shocker, its about money.

I'll get to that in a minute, but walk with me while we talk a little about the power of incumbency as a judge.

It is hard running against an incumbent judge because for the most part, lawyers use the fact that they practice in a judge's court as an excuse not to donate to opposition. Frankly, the implication never speaks well of the opponent because it implies that they fear retribution if they contribute to an opponent.

Some are actually genuinely afraid of retribution.

Which makes things interesting for 3 courts on the ballot right now - the 243rd, 210th, and County Court at Law number whatever.

I forget the number and honestly it doesn't matter anyway. Its the race that has a sitting District Court judge running for the seat.

Aguilar is getting all the attention, and rightfully so, for having a pretty hard reprimand from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Well now that he is on the ballot, but not really running, the money should start to open up. Problem is, no one can afford to be the lawyer tied to Aguilar at this point because it would work against them.

Oh yeah, the reason I think Aguilar isn't running anymore has to do with being a visiting judge. Folks in the courthouse tell me that if he loses, he can't be called back as a visiting judge. But if he were to retire from the bench instead of lose, he'd be able to be called back as a visiting judge.

But what no one has talked about is the fact that he's not the only judge in an election year dealing with the same issue. Judge Mike Herrera, a sitting district court judge, has a reprimand as well. It was issued as a result of complaint lodged against Herrera for having his own divorce case in his court.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, we regular voters simply aren't qualified to make a good decision about who should be on the bench. We lack the education and frame of reference to make a truly informed decision about who should be running the courts. But its the system we have and so we are stuck with it.

As a result, the only thing we have to go on as voters is some gut feeling about who we think would be the most fair on the bench. Which is why these 3 judicial seats in particular are so interesting.

For Herrera, the fact that his own wife, in my opinion, couldn't get a fair shot in his court, makes me question his impartiality and basic sense of fairness and justice. Seriously, a judge that hold his own divorce in his own court is something you don't even see as a plot line in a bad episode of Law & Order.

Yeah, I know you just heard that sound effect in your heard.

Its egregious.

But here's the really infuriating part of that dirty secret. NONE of his opponents are holding him accountable for it. I have yet to hear a single one of his opponents raise the issue. Seriously, c'mon man that has to be one of the most egregious acts I can recall from a judge and all of you are too damn scared to to even bring it up?

You wanna beat this guy?, you have to raise the issue. Why? Because voters deserve to know about it and the only way they will know is if you all make the decision to educate the voters on Herrera. And while you three are at it Jesus Rodriguez, Danny Razo, and Kirsten Romero, talk to voters about why a sitting district court judge would feel the need to go from one court to another.

You think they are just going to magically know that Herrera's movida is to double dip on retirement and have tax payer's foot the bill for his lifestyle? Seriously, who the hell do any of you drop the ball like this, much less all of you?

All we voters have to go on, is our sense of how fair someone will be on the bench.

That will be my next post...

Fenenbock's Fantastic Fibbing

Dori Fenenbock's campaign is slowly morphing into the recent David Saucedo mayoral bid.

It just seems to be an endless stream of a comedy of errors, blunders, pandering, and fish tales.

And the video on this one is hilarious, so sit tight.

For someone who came out of the gate attacking her opponent on telling the truth, Dori Fenenbock seems to have a relationship with the truth that reminds me a lot of President Trump more every day.

The other day at the Westside Democrats of El Paso endorsement meeting Fenenbock made a claim that I just let go without comment because it was just so silly. She indicated that she had spoken to nearly every family in EPISD. Do I believe its possible that she spoke to a lot of families in EPISD? Sure, I'll buy that. Lets, for the sake of argument, say that she's the most engaging school board member in the history of EPISD and in between all of her out-of-town trips funded by the taxpayers in the school district, she devoted every waking hour to meeting families, then yeah, sure, I believe she could have spoken to a lot of families.

But nearly all of them? Really?

REALLY?

See this is the Trumpification of American politics. There was a time when public figures made comments like that - blatantly untrue - they would be held accountable. Untruths used to mean the end of someone's credibility.

But Trump has made telling the truth something that is casually glazed over.

***Fenenbock's camp at one point allegedly claimed to have had the endorsement of the teacher unions in EPISD - that turned out to be untrue.

***Fenenbock said they needed to reign in spending when she was a candidate for EPISD School Board of Trustees, then proceeded to pass the largest amount of public debt ever attempted in El Paso County.

***Fenenbock claimed to be a licensed attorney. Yet when I checked with all 50 states there was no record of her being a member of any of their Bar Associations and only one state (Colorado) had a record of her ever having a law license, but it was inactive. Meaning when she says she's a licensed attorney, well not really.

***Fenenbock claims "We have 92 schools in EPISD and I have been in homes of almost every family..." 3:40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01flxWe0cn8

***She's also been all over the place on charter schools, but that is another post that I'll address by itself.

The bottom line here is that Fenenbock and facts are a lot like Trump and facts...not exactly a strong track record for believability if ya feel me.

So the other day at a forum when the candidates were asked about their positions on the environment, I was floored when I heard Dori Fenenbock claim that she was an Eagle Scout.

Yep, you heard me. She said she was an Eagle Scout.

For those of you that don't know, Eagle Scout is the achievement or rank you can receive in the Boy Scouts of America. Its an award that is over 100 years old and only 4% of all Boy Scouts ever achieve making Eagle Scout. If memory serves, even one of our former presidents was an Eagle Scout, Gerald Ford I believe.

I was a Boy Scout when I was a kid but never got anywhere near being an Eagle Scout. Takes a lot of commitment to scouting to make it. A buddy of mine is an Eagle Scout though.

So fun fact about being an Eagle Scout...there are no girls who have ever achieved making Eagle Scout.

Why? Well because its an achievement of the BOY SCOUTS! Duh.

But this year Boy Scouts will start accepting girls and they can start to try to earn Eagle Scout in 2019.

But apparently Dori Fenenbock has done so already. Well, thats how she tells it.

But hey, don't take my word for it, roll the video!



Now normally this would be something that her campaign consultant Christian Archer would dismiss as "fake news", even though there's video of her making the claim.

But thats not gonna happen. Know why?

Cuz word around the ol' Boy Scout campfire is he left the campaign a while ago...

Okay, somebody play the Fleetwood Mac song now...

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Other Congressional Candidates

Here is video of the other congressional candidates that attended the Westside Democrats of El Paso forum last night.

Like I said, Ken Sutherland berated the people that didn't show up, so I should mention here that Enrique Garcia didn't attend last night, which is why there is no video of him.

Also, Norma Chavez TIED with Jerome Tilghman for number of votes in the endorsement. I know I mentioned it before, but it just surprised me that they tied. You'd think she would have done much better considering all her years in the public eye.

For those of you that have been waiting for her to go back to the old Norma, she's been very disciplined about not doing that publicly and her message is mostly focused on her. Everyone expected her to start through bombs at Veronica Escobar, especially because she spent so many years personally attacking Escobar on social media after Chavez's demise, even going so far as to modify Escobar's first name into something no feminist should ever call another woman. But alas, Chavez has been dignified and issue-oriented. You can't help but think that if this more mature Chavez was the one running against Naomi Gonzalez, Chavez would still have had her seat and could have actually been more viable in this election.

Chavez does take the occasional jab at Beto O'Rourke, who she used to call Bay-toe O'Rourke. She talks about bringing back hope (I didn't know it left) and a few other jabs, but nothing like the old days.

Honestly, I'm impressed with this Norma. Solid message. Not the greatest delivery, but a solid message and she's disciplined.

Jerome...well Jerome is Jerome. Nothing has really changed from the last time he ran. Still basically a Facebook campaign and now that there are bigger names in the race, he's gonna get even less of the electoral pie that the other times he's run. But you gotta admire his tenacity and he's entertaining. He gave the line of the night, "It doesn't matter what the question is, education is always the answer", which is a cheesy empty platitude, but his delivery is awesome.

His answer about why he voted Republican was terrible and frankly made no sense. I think I'll ask him next time I'm at a forum.

John Carrillo is a nice guy. Seems to have a decent understanding of what he wants to convey, but his problem is similar to Jerome Tilghman, no money, no name ID, no support base, etc.





Westside Democrats Endorsement Forum

The Westside Democrats of El Paso held their endorsement meeting last night and I got video of most of the candidates running for office. I'll post video of them by individual race along with a little bit of analysis. We will start with the congressional race and then move on to the other races.

Before we do, some quick thoughts about what I learned last night. I learned the following:

If you don't show up to a westside Democrats forum, Ken Sutherland will berate you and speak badly of you to the membership. He did that pretty much all night. People were getting annoyed. 

I learned that all those people with the flu and an enclosed, hot room is guaranteed to spread that stuff like wild fire. 

I learned that it was announced the Norma Chavez only got 1 vote, but she actually received 8 votes, which put her in a tie with Jerome Tilghman for 3rd place. 

I learned that being VP of the organization doesn't guarantee a win, Alyssa Perez won with only a handful of votes. 

I learned Norma is really sensitive about filing at the last minute because she repeats to everyone that she filed within the statutory requirement, as if that matters to anyone. 

I learned that Laura Enriquez appears to REALLY hate working with men. And she cried. And she was the first person to post on facebook, #MeToo.

I learned that the westside Democrats have asked the strongest questions of judicial candidates of any forum so far. Except for the family court race, I think those questions could've been much better. 

Okay, on with the show.

Former County Judge Veronica Escobar won pretty handily, not needing a runoff despite the fact that it was the race with the most candidates in it. Escobar had 50 votes, Fenenbock had 37.

Jerome Tilghman and Norma Chavez tied with 8 votes.

John Carillo had 1 vote.

Here is video of the main candidates and I will post video of the also-rans later.

You can review how each of the candidates did and decide for yourself who did the best. Here they are by the order in which they spoke.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Westside Dems Debate Tonight

The Westside Democrats will hold the first debate of the New Year tonight. This is a big one for the congressional because the westside plays such a big part of countywide races. Its also where Veronica Escobar and Dori Fenenbock are probably strongest and where newcomer Norma Chavez is weakest.

But none of that matters now that they are on the debate stage. That'll be the main event but there will be some other interesting debates as well. The County Judge candidates will be featured so hearing from them will be interesting.

The Westside Democrats debates are known for being run pretty smoothly, although I expect there to be some old school embarrassing behavior because it will be the first time some explosive personalities will be in the same room and there is likely to be something interesting that happens.

Don't worry, I'll be there with my camera to film the whole thing.

The debate starts at 6 and is going to be held at the Galatzan Rec Center (Polly Harris) 650 Wallenberg.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Lewis Paints Himself in Corner

Former County Commissioner Sergio Lewis has a FB ad that I saw a couple of times and I saw it again today and watched it all the way through this time, which is why I am writing this post today.

You can see the video below. His message in this video is kind of all over the place, weaving through some personal family tragedy that occurred during the last election, then talking about Precinct 2 being "entitled" although I'm not clear on what exactly he was speaking about, and the raise that Stout voted for.

Frankly, he should have just made the ad about the raise and it would have been more effective, but hey maybe the guys at Forma billed him by the second on this video. Anywho, I think the raise is a strong issue for Lewis to run on. Its a perfect campaign issue because it forces Stout to defend the vote and there's no way for anyone who voted for their own raise that was that large, to not sound like an absolute douche defending the vote.

At best, you look like an opportunist. The reality is that for whatever reason we expect a lot out of elected officials but God forbid we actually pay them a decent salary right? No we naively feel better about ourselves by ensuring that they basically earn nothing and we expect them to always be on the job, no matter how terrible the job pays. We also expect them to know everything and be thoughtful in their votes. We expect them to meet all of our needs and find money to do so out of the clear blue sky. And we want them to do that for free.

Which means that only the retired and independently wealthy can afford to hold office - which most certainly doesn't look like the average El Pasoan.

So that pay raise is an issue that you can leverage very effectively.

But here's Lewis' problem.

He's critical of the raise. If he wins, which I believe he will, then he can't turn around and take the pay raise he says he was against.

If he does, he will look like an even bigger douche than that guy who voted for his own raise because he'll be the guy that campaigned against the raise but very happily accepted it.

That isn't being honest with tax payers and its hypocrisy.

But I know what some of you might be thinking right now, "Jaime, that isn't fair. Why should he do the same work as other commissioners but not make the same amount that they do?"

Congratulations, you now agree with the commissioners that voted for their own raise because that is essentially the same argument that they made for the raise - why should El Paso commissioners make less than commissioners in other parts of Texas?



Friday, January 5, 2018

BREAKING: Aguilar Wants Out

Controversial 243rd District Court Judge Luis Aguilar wants off the ballot.

I confirmed with El Paso County Democratic Party Chair Illiana Holguin that Aguilar has been trying to see if there is a way to remove his name from the ballot. However, that is not a power that rests with a local party chair.

Had Aguilar acted sooner, there was a small window that would have allowed him to take his name off the ballot, however that time has expired.

The only long shot for Aguilar to be removed from the ballot would be for him to pursue legal action to compel the Party to remove him, though it is not clear there are any actual grounds to do so.

Holguin confirmed that Aguilar does not want to be on the ballot, does not want voters to vote for him and will not serve if he is somehow reelected.

Chairwoman Holguin indicated that she consulted with the Secretary of State's Office after reading the relative statutes and they agreed with her interpretation of the statue in which she concluded that she did not have the authority to remove an otherwise qualified candidate.

Holguin did not indicate why he wanted to be removed from the ballot but sources in the courthouse indicated that Aguilar told some that it was due to an unspecified health issue.

The big winner in all of this is probably Selena Solis, who is the only Latina candidate and best-positioned in terms of campaigning. She's been the most willing to do what everyone else has been scared to do, which is define Aguilar and talk about his record. The last time Aguilar faced a Latina female opponent that was willing to take him on directly it was now-Judge Maria Salas Mendoza.

This will likely start to free-up the money from attorneys in the courthouse that have been reluctant to contribute to any of the candidates because of concerns about donating to any of the incumbents opponents.

This is what I was talking about earlier today by the way...

Dori's Daily D'oh

As if the menudazo debacle wasn't funny enough, it gets better.

Turns out that the big Fenenbock Freebie for folks in the valley turns out to be a bit of a waste of menudo for Fenenbock.

Some of the precincts that were walked and had the menudazo invitations delivered to their homes...wait for it...aren't even in Congressional District 16! Not exactly sure how deep they went into District 23, but I can confirm that they ended up inviting voters that live in Congressman Hurd's district.

But, there's a chance that it was actually some gamesmanship on the part of Fenenbock.

Maybe she invited folks that live in Hurd's district to the menudazo at the VFW hall that is ALSO in Hurd's district, for a reason.

Think about it, it makes sense. Those voters are already represented by a Republican. Maybe it makes Dori feel more at home to invite people that live in a Republican congressional district to a menudazo that is also held in said Republican district.

Well played Dori, well played.

Dubious Distinction for District Judge

Judge Luis Aguilar who was recently in the news for receiving a more than 60 paragraph thumping from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that outlined a series of complaints from threatening to issue a bench warrant against an attorney who wasn't properly notified of a hearing because she was on maternity leave, to berating prospective jurors, has another issue on his hands. 

Aguilar, who presides over the 243rd Judicial District Court and is currently seeking re-election, landed on a list compiled by a Texas publication for people in the legal profession, Texas Lawyer

The end-of-year list was called "The 2017 Top 10 Troubled Lawyers and Judges in Texas List” and was released in late December. You can see the list in its entirety by clicking this link

The list was mostly attorneys but three of the individuals profiled were judges and Aguilar was the only judge from El Paso to make the dubious statewide list. There was one other attorney from El Paso that made the list as well. 

Aguilar's inclusion on the list got the attention of one of his three opponents for the March primary, Selena Solis, a prominent El Paso attorney who has been practicing criminal defense law as a public defender in the federal courts. 


“This is embarrassing for our community, troubling and yet another black-eye for El Pasoans and the judiciary,” Selena Solis said. “I think voters deserve to have a better option in front of them and Judge Aguilar’s conduct undermines the public’s confidence in the judiciary and is a big part of why I stepped up to be a candidate.”

In a statement released on the matter by Solis, she continued, “As an attorney I am troubled by all the complaints outlined by the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, but as a mother, threatening to jail a lawyer who wasn’t given proper notice because she had just given birth is particularly egregious,” Solis commented. “The Texas Code of Judicial Conduct requires that judges be ‘patient, dignified, and courteous’ to all that appear before judges. That includes jurors with limited English and new mothers.”

In addition to Selena Solis, Judge Aguilar faces Felix Castañon and Roberto Ramos in the upcoming primary. This is the second time Judge Aguilar has received a public reprimand from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. 

Aguilar has faced strong opposition before and weathered the storm when faced with a challenger. In his last election, Aguilar defeated Alyssa Perez, who is seeking another judicial office in this election cycle. 

Controversial Comment Canned

I swear I'm not trying to write about Fenenbock every day, but it seems like lately her campaign is on quite a roll. Trust me, something else is gonna break later today about a judge and that is what everyone will be talking about.

So here's the latest funny thing about the Fenenbock.

She apparently has FINALLY decided to remove a controversial phrase that has been in her website for months.

Apparently the change happened yesterday afternoon.

If you recall I posted a picture of Fenenbock and put a comic book speaking bubble and a thought bubble. In the thought bubble, I included a quote from her website that included a controversial statement where she very proudly bragged about defeating Hispanic candidates.

So she deleted it.

Thats not the funny part. The funny part is two different things. 1) That she would ever include it in the first place. I guess she was trying to convince donors that she's viable against a Latina but why she would use her website to leverage that message is beyond me. And 2) that she waited until now to finally remove it. Its highly unlikely she deleted it because of lil' ol' me bringing it up every now and then, and seriously - how bad does your campaign have to be to be reacting to the blogosphere? Personally, I think she's scared of Norma, which should bother Escobar a little when you think about it.

Fenenbock has been acting like some kind of Huertista for several months, going back to her announcement and now Doloes Huerta is Norma's treasurer, so I'm gonna guess she wants to stay off of Norma's radar because the last thing that woman could handle is Norma going all Norma on her.

Anywho, that quote in the thought bubble was something I literally cut and pasted from her website yesterday morning - as you can see here:


But just a few hours later, something magical happened! She uttered the magic words, "Alakazam, menudo from a can!" and poof!


Now there's an Amber Alert for "Hispanic".

So now begs the question, why was it removed? If there was nothing wrong with it in the first place, then why take it down. If there was something wrong with it, why did it take so long to take it down and on what was the move predicated?

Someone in the media should call her and ask her.

Oh wait, she's never available and Archer will say, "fake news".

But hey, menudo, amirite?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Menudazo Time!

Sometimes candidates do things that make you shake your head. And sometimes candidates need to be saved from themselves. No, I'm not talking about David Saucedo. Hell I think this stunt would even make him blush.

In a campaign event that harkens back to the old pachangas that have thankfully gone away, Dori Fenenbock is having a Menudazo this weekend and I was invited!

I feel special because apparently the invite was block walked to voters in the lower valley because I came home to a door hanger and an invitation to the event.

And we all know Mexicans in the lower valley like the words "free" and "menudo", amirite?



There is apparently no end to the amount of pandering Dori will do to get a vote. Its embarrassing at this point. Seriously, are there no Latinos in the decision-making huddle that stood up and said, ya know this might not be such a good idea for a rich white lady from the westside to be dangling free menudo to lower valley raza. It might be a little offensive and a tad condescending.

Apparently not.

Now calm down white people - I'm not saying you guys can't eat menudo. I know damn well that there are a lot of you reading this that love menudo. Hell I've eaten menudo with some of you. I like to think its our gift to the world.

But its seriously the ultimate act of pandering. I don't believe for one second that Fenenbock is a regular consumer of our people's weekend morning staple and cure for la cruda. Mostly because of, well, la pata.  

Whoever the Latino is that is in her huddle that didn't speak up to say it was a bad idea, should at the very least, speak up and let Dori know that menudo can be 100% beef, but it very often has pork. I mean, my mom only used pork for la pata.

I joked on social media that I thought Dori might show up to the Feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe at the mural on Alameda and Zaragoza dressed as a matachin and serving champurrado last month.

I think that might still be a stretch, but I see a folklorico dress with two crossed ammo bandoliers across her neck and a shotgun while riding a horse as a very real possibility.

Remember, this is the same lady who is still bragging on her website about defeating Latino opponents in her school board race "handily".

But hey, this event should be fun. I mean what are they gonna do, kick me out or not let me in? Come on, I got an invitation and everything.

I also love that this event is going to be held in the shadow of Speaking Rock. That is the location of Norma Chavez's famous free food giveaways. I feel like that is some next-level trolling of Chavez.

You just know she's gonna attempt to speak Spanish at this event too, which should be content gold! I wonder if she furthers the Norma trolling by doing a Si se puede chant again? Which brings me to what I'll end this post with, I love that the lit left on the door says "hablo Español", which makes sense in the valley...but the lit message was in English.

No word on whether there will be tortilla or pan served. Also, no indication if it will be pan bolillo or francesitos.

I'm gonna be really sad when this campaign ends. Its gonna be hard to find funnier stuff than this.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fenenbock Fibs

Dori Fenenbock is a direct result of the Trumpification of politics. She's saccharine, a fake substitute. Something packaged to look like the real thing, only not.

Over the holidays I've been watching to see how campaigns are going and since Norma Chavez got into the race, Fenenbock's campaign seems to have come to a screeching halt. Maybe its because of the holidays or maybe its because they don't know how to deal with Chavez or whether she's going to be a factor.

Personally I think they are scared to death of her.

But there was some social media activity that caught my attention. Trump has taken lying to a new art form when it comes to politics, to the point that he feels he has to do it to get attention and we have just become accustomed to it.

And that is dangerous for America.

Well check out two interesting posts from Fenenbock that she really shouldn't be allowed to get away with saying.

The first one is about being made a "compañero" in the Democratic Party.



The implication is that this is some honor bestowed upon her by the El Paso Democratic Party and it is an attempt by her campaign to legitimize herself as a Democrat.

Here's what the truth actually is.

She literally bought the designation. You become a "compañero" in the local Democratic Party after you donate $120. Thats it. That is all you have to do.

Don't believe me? Okay I have a screenshot. (LionStar always has screenshots, right?)



See, you just buy your way in.

Which is Fenenbock's desired result. She thinks her money can BUY legitimacy as a Democrat and she uses social media posts to further than goal.

But wait, there's more to this Fake Fenenbock fiasco.

And frankly this is one that the media should be holding her accountable on. At the very least they should be calling her so that Fenenbock can avoid them, put Christian Archer on the phone, and he can further the Trumpism by calling it fake news...

So in this screenshot read what Fenenbock says her campaign is doing...




She alleges she is cleaning up El Paso. This is Trump speak. The only thing missing is her saying she's gonna drain the swamp.

Its one thing to exaggerate or "spin".

Its another to flat-out lie. And unless by "we are cleaning up El Paso" she means her block walkers are walking around with garbage bags picking up trash, then she's absolutely lying.

I'd love to hear someone stick a microphone in front of her and ask her exactly how she's cleaning up El Paso. I seriously can't think of one thing she's doing that indicates she's cleaning up El Paso.

Thats a narrative she wants to put out, but its a flat out lie. In reality, the facts say something vastly different. The facts indicate that the opposite is actually the reality.

Dori Fenenbock advocated and voted for a bid that later appears to have been rigged by her buddy Juan Cabrera at EPISD. You remember EPISD, the school district that gave El Paso a black eye because the superintendent, among other things, rigged a bid for someone? Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Cleaning up El Paso? She didn't even clean up EPISD. She knew Cabrera had hired Himmelstein at a staggering cost to tax payers of $1,500 per day. I don't know about you, but if EPISD gave me $1,500 today it would really brighten my disposition.

Fenenbock signed off on Cheddar Bob Cabrera's first-class travel and then endeavored to make EPISD less transparent by trying to control who speaks to the media from EPISD.

The facts show she made EPISD less clean and less transparent.

Talk about a campaign song coming back to bite you!

Regardless of a Trump presidency, facts still matter Mrs Fenebock.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The County Judge Race

Happy New Year to you if you're reading this today. I hope your cruda isn't too bad and that you've cuddled up to a nice warm bowl of menudo to help you recover from last night.

(Also, I didn't write this today, I wrote it yesterday. I'm probably headed to mass wondering why I'm up and how soon I can take a nap.)

So lets start this new year off by talking about the races since its not a dead sprint to Early Voting.

I chose to start with the race for County Judge. Its like a redo of the mayoral race - not a lot to be excited about in terms of talent, although I think one of the candidates will learn quickly and if elected could be a good county judge.

No one appears to be campaigning too terribly hard and don't look now but Early Voting is 50 some odd days away.

But somebody has to actually win first, and frankly none of them really look like they have been doing too much campaigning. Nothing strategic anyway, mostly just throwing up a bunch of signs or wrapping a vehicle with campaign stuff.

So lets go over the candidates that were left when all the dust settled. First things first, the great thing about the candidates in this race is that they are all very personable people. I find them all to be extremely likable people.

Former El Paso Mayor John Cook is obviously the candidate that is going to have the most name recognition. He's been around El Paso politics for a long time frankly that is a bigger liability to him than it is an asset.

Problem is, he apparently doesn't know it. If you have seen his social media sponsored ad, he actually highlights it as though its an asset. Voters hate career politicians. Mayor Cook should repackage himself.


Richard Samaniego's problem isn't money. He appears to be the candidate that is going to throw the most money into his campaign. His problem is talent. Word around the Party is that he doesn't have a field person and that its basically campaign by committee over there. Ask ol' Silver Reyes how well that works out for a campaign. He's gotta get someone to help and do so quickly because the clock is ticking. He's gotta stop blowing money and spend it on the right stuff.

Sidebar - heard some buzz about a field person having their spouse be kind of a front field person so that they could work multiple campaigns. I'll try to track down more info on that and write in more detail soon.

Laura Enriquez was my sleeper candidate in this race. I thought if she worked hard and had some things go her way, she could be a real factor. If she's really working it hard on the downlow, then what I said will be true and she'll surprise people by making a run-off. Frankly, with the right effort I think the race is hers to lose and she could go in the run-off with the most amount of votes. But I'm not seeing it if she's really working it hard.

The race everyone is watching is obviously the congressional race, but I'd argue that the race for County Judge is far more important to El Pasoans. And here's the problem I have with the current field of candidates - I don't know where any of them stand on anything.

Your County Judge has for more impact on your tax bill and daily life than the member of congress does. The Commissioner's Court oversees a big part of your tax bill. They oversee the jail, the courts, public safety, Ascarate Park, the County Coliseum (that is contracted out and was Commissioner Lewis' worst vote next to voting against the clinics), and basically all services in the rural and unincorporated communities.

It would be real nice if we knew where any of them stood on any of those issues, right? I think we need to focus on that race and the policy issues around that race probably more than any other race, otherwise we are going to put and untried candidate into office. This is going to determine the future direction of the Court and that isn't something that we should ignore.

Everyone says they want to hold the line on taxes and I'm 100% certain that is what this field of candidates is going to repeat. That is an easy thing to say and most certainly a sign of a candidate with absolutely no plan unless they can include some specificity with the broad platitude.

Here's why you need specificity. The County doesn't run like the City. The City has a vertical chain of command that consists of the Mayor and Council at the top, the City Manager, and then all the department heads that answer to the City Manager. The County is much harder to manage. At the County you have several glorified department heads that are actually their own independently elected officials.

At the City when a budget is formed, the department head has to make due with what they end up with. At the County, no department head ever goes before Commissioner's Court and says, "give me less money, give me less staff.

That just simply doesn't happen. They all bitch about not having enough and always want more money or staff. And quite frankly, rare is the commissioner that halls the balls to tell them "no".

Why does that matter? Well it matters because you have to say a lot of "no" in order to hold the line on taxes. You know what else it means? It means that people who live outside the city limits (which is happening more and more because the only place El Paso can grow is to stretch out east) will not get roads paved, pot holes patched, lights, sidewalks, or park space without some really fucking creative budgeting.

Those of you that are reading this and hear the County Judge candidates tell you that they are going to hold the line on taxes, ask them why they think you shouldn't have access to park space, sidewalks, and drivable roads.

Unless they are going to make cuts somewhere else. So where do you make cuts? The easiest places to cut are where there is a lot of fat like the sheriff's department and the courts. We don't have enough patrol units and we have the highest paid jailers in the state of Texas. And thanks to the jail contract with the feds, you taxpayers have made jailing people really, really lucrative.

At your expense of course.

Oh yeah, here's another good one. Listen for the candidates that complain about the stadium downtown when they talk about holding the line on taxes. Those are the ones you really gotta pose the tough questions to because guess what? We pay roughly the cost to build the ballpark EVERY YEAR to operate the downtown jail. Its bloated, inefficient, old and therefore expensive to fix.

What are the odds that any of the candidates for County Judge are going to articulate a position on that issue? What are the odds any of those candidates are gonna stick their necks out and take a stand on that to save you the taxpayer a shit-ton of money and ease your tax burden?

UTEP has a better chance at making a bowl game next year than any of them doing so.

But those are some of the tough choices that our next County Judge will face when they take office.

We owe it to ourselves to ask the tough questions now, instead of later when its too late.