Shock yourself. Rep. Reyes spends almost $1,000,000 on staff each year. Do you think you're getting your money's worth?
Shock yourself. Rep. Reyes spends almost $1,000,000 on staff each year. Do you think you're getting your money's worth?
There seems to be this feeling that much of El Paso is suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome" when it comes to their elected officials.
Not sure what "Stockholm Syndrome" means? Here's the definition:
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed.
We keep electing the same people over and over again and even before someone officially announces for office, the captive media along with a large group of citizens immediately discount the chances of that person. We've grown to be protective of the people who hold us hostage.... so much so even free thinkers like Sito Negron lean towards the idea that nobody can be beat unless there's a major scandal.
Since I have shown interest in running for office I have had some support, but many people are telling me "you can't do it!" I can't? Really? Why wouldn't they encourage me to at least try? Do they tell their children not to play in Saturday's baseball game because they're playing the best team in the league and might lose? I hope not.
The El Paso Times (more on them in a minute) had an op-ed today decreeing our higher than average poverty rate. It's no coincidence that our representation hardly ever changes and our problems seem to get worse. For some odd reason when someone like me wants to replace a part of the problem, the media and public alike starting listing all the reason why I can't possibly achieve success in my endeavor... Well that's a nice attitude to have. They don't like their world, but they're not even willing to consider changing the formula that created it.
People tell me all the time "you can't beat Haggerty or Reyes." I ask them if they are happy with their representation and they all say "no." My second question is always the same, "then why are you telling possible challengers they can't win?" They always answer "'cause you can't!"
Well if we all had that attitude then we'd never get anything done in this world. Fearing failure is the first step in never succeeding. If all you're worried about is losing, then you're not thinking about winning.
When brave men signed the Declaration of Independence and took up arms against a world super power for their freedom, the odds of their survival weren't very high. A simple comparison of numbers easily showed the British coming over and wiping out our ragtag army and executing the entire roster of signers of the Declaration of Independence with little effort.
Remember that - the only reason you are reading this post right now is because our founding fathers were "can do" people unlike you folks who are "defeatists" in this town. Just think about where you'd be today if they gave up because the numbers didn't look good.
Don't tell me that effort and perseverance can't bring people to victory - it happens all the time. I question anyone's patriotism when their goal is to encourage people not to participate in our democracy out of fear that one may not have their ideas ratified. You can't win if you don't show up.
If you don't vote, you can't complain. If you don't run for office, you can't complain at the top of your lungs. I give plenty of candidates guff for their views or their missteps on the campaign trail. However, I've never told them not to run for office.
I spent years handicapping congressional races with the absolute best in the business. We literally had the job of setting the lines like the odds makers do on football games. Washington would bet on the winner according to the findings of these odds makers. We had the inside track with all the numbers neatly compiled to prove our case. The hitch there was that no one ever called up a candidate for office in Jackson, Mississippi and told them "You can't win. We've done all the numbers and and you're a sure loser. Quit now." Nope, that never happened because we believe in principal made popular by sports and it's summed up by the phrase, "that's why we play the games."
Don't know what that means? Sports analysts use that saying on Monday to explain why the underdog won on Sunday. They spent the entire week before going through the X's and O's giving their best educated guess of who was going to win the game on Sunday, but it doesn't matter until the game is actually played. Better on paper doesn't always translate to better on the field.
Here's some recent examples locally of people who could never win - that won.
1. Marissa Marquez took down a 500 year incumbent. She took out a guy who was in the Texas Legislature since Sam Houston roamed the lands of Texas. Nobody gave her a chance in hell. They claim now that they new it all along, but the entire delegation minus Norma Chavez threw their weight behind the dead-weight of a legislator that was Rep. Paul Moreno (notice our Stockholm Syndrome is encouraged by our other elected officials - do not change anything!). Many will now claim that they knew she'd win all along. I will not claim that I knew it. Nobody gave her a shot other than Chavez. She won. Against all odds - she won.
2. Dee Margo takes out Rep. Pat Haggerty. Margo had lost to Shapleigh in a little too close for comfort race for the democrat. Haggerty, who was said to be very popular and unbeatable, was beaten handily by Margo. I'm now being told that Haggerty's less popular and much more controversial brother Dan is unbeatable in the Northeast - really? I guess the lessons of Pat Haggerty haven't been learned. (I happen to really like Pat Haggerty a lot and think he's one of our greatest assets. His brother... not so much).
3. Rachel Quintana was little known, trashed often in the media and a sure loser against a well funded business backed Jimmy Suerken. Nobody was more shocked than I when she gained title "Representative" in front of her name. Nobody gave her a chance. She won anyway. No matter what you think of her - she's done something haven't and she deserves respect for that.
4. Joe Moody was the son of a Judge and a democrat in a republican district. A district that had been red for quite some time. He faced a well funded opponent who had just slayed a popular incumbent in a primary. Things did not look good for Joe. Somehow, someway he won when most didn't think he would.
That's just four recent triumphs proving that a little determination and perseverance goes a long way in having your ideas ratified by the voters.
I may run and I may not. The key here is that I'm not scared of my ego being hurt because I went out and asked the voters to back my ideas. There is no shame in putting up an alternative to the poverty stricken reality we live in now. If people want to continue living this way, I will let them. However, there's a group of us who are going to offer them a chance to move in another direction.
There is no shame in losing an election. To run and to have lost makes you a better American than all of those wimps who express their complaints from the peanut gallery because they're too scared to put their money where their mouth is. The next time someone writes "you're going to get an ass beating," they deserve one themselves for being too much of coward to encourage democracy.
Those who discourage others from running for office are cowards and do hate freedom. Don't be one of them.
In closing, I haven't decided whether or not I'm running, but I'm not going to be secretive about my intentions. I have other brands in the fire that might require more attention in the long run. Some of those brands are going to rock El Paso's world... hopefully.
Now for the El Paso Times. I've been in the truck a little more than usual the past few weeks, which means I get to listen to talk radio a lot more than I usually do. Inevitably that means KHRO 1150 does get some play on my speakers. Inevitably I get to hear some of the dumbest radio in the history of radio.
The past few weeks the hosts of the various shows have been pooping their pants over the El Paso Times' coverage of one issue or another. They scream that the paper is terrible and bias and they're never reading it again. They claim that nothing they write can be trusted and they are part of some conspiracy theory to control the minds of El Pasoans.
The next day they are reading from the El Paso Times... word for word... line by line...
Do they not think that their listeners notice that on Tuesday they claim the paper is useless and on Wednesday it's their sole source for news on an issue? How can you trust the hosts when they aren't even consistent on the issue of whether or not their news is honest and correct?
One host in particular is the laughing stock of El Paso media. They all joke how he lies and claims he has canceled his Times subscription and then two weeks later says, "when I went out to get the paper this morning..." The guy can't even keep his lies straight!
These people lack credibility when they only champion a news source on days it reports or opines on things they agree with. They are like children... at least mentally.
Good thing their audience is small.
Cafe Central was the site where the coconspirator County Judge of ours had his fundraiser yesterday. It was quite the gathering from what I hear.
He was introduced by none other than Congressman Reyes' brother Chewy Reyes (it's okay to laugh). Looks like when it comes to suspected criminals, the Reyes family turns a blind eye. Well, that's not true. Congressman Reyes worked day and night trying to get Cobos a Schedule C appointment in the Obama administration shortly after the election. Somehow the president's HR office found the federal indictments falling down all around Cobos just too much to overlook.
side note: Once again a local politico isn't trying to help YOU get a job in Washington or paying for YOUR out of town room and board for college. Our politicos either serve themselves or other suspected criminals (and yes I meant that sentence to read exactly how it reads). They couldn't care less what happens to you given they've done nothing to help us out of the poverty we've been in for a century.
Back to the fundraiser.
Commissioner Dan Haggerty, who said he knew all about the corruption all along and did nothing about it, showed up to support his friend Cobos. We are happy to report he was not beaten and robbed by tattooed Mexicans last night.
Haggerty who is confident that he will beat all comers this time around doesn't seem to get how this works. His brother was popular - he is not. If I do decide to run against him, he's going to have to pretend like he gives a shit for at least ten minutes during the campaign. Running around with coconspirators isn't something out of the normal for this guy, though. We have him working with former Commissioner Teran to kill votes to recommended vendors and hand them to those who had paid Teran to get the projects instead. We know, because we were asked to make certain contributions for certain work. We didn't pay - we didn't get to play. Haggerty is an accessory to the crime in my opinion because he made sure he wasn't in the room or voting how Teran asked him to. Who knows, the FBI might agree with me after they get all the facts.
Cobos told the crowd that he didn't know yet if he was going to run for reelection. He said he'd have to talk it over with his wife.
That may seem weird to you. I understand why. Why would a guy have a fundraiser if he isn't going to run for office? Good question, I'm glad you asked.
You see, Cobos has been paying his legal defense out of his campaign funds. He needs a lot of lawyering right now and it doesn't come cheap. He may have one shred of reality left in his tiny brain and know that he can't win if he runs again and he's just collecting cash for a legal fund. Then again, this is Cobos you're talking about - he probably thinks he's a shoe-in.
I guess he has to sell influence until he can sell it no more. He's nailed and he knows it. He's going to need the money to keep form going to jail for 40 years. The storm is coming and he can't get the roof patched quick enough - I do not pity him.
I'm sorry that I have been absent for the past few days... Work gets in the way of fun sometimes.
Here's what's up -
Norma Chavez is so damaged that she has resorted to describing any bad press she has received as an organized conspiracy orchestrated by a hodge podge of newspaper executives and private citizens named David "K" Karlsruher.
I hate to break it to the fight fan, but we're just no that interested - (look out for some kind of resolution for our local boxing hero coming right out of Norma's office. Don't be surprised if Shapleigh hasn't given the young boxer an award as well - both will take credit for his boxing ability and success.)
She's still under the impression that the only wrong doing going on is the fact that we keep reporting her wrong doing. She won't stop doing unethical things; she wants us to stop reporting them. All this yearning for transparency really screws up her ongoing scams.
The good news is that she is slated to lose at least one, if not both, of her powerful committee assignments. The probable speaker doesn't need to have a woman who takes cash from lobbyists under the table sitting in a committee that moves their legislation. That never looks very good for the person in charge.
The bad news is that Norma has intimidated away any competition for her seat and will coast to a victory. That's good news for me - I'll have something to write about when Cobos is gone!
Council is taking up the trucks in the left lane issue again. They're poised to take another anti-business stand through faulty logic and plain moronic advice.
You think it's hard enough to get on the freeway now with on guy going 85 mph and the next going 42 mph? Try it when you have trucks back to back for 13 miles in one lane.
All this is going to discourage truckers from going through, around or anywhere near El Paso if they can help it. Don't count on the bypass being built in your lifetime either. The economy has all but played "Taps" for the funding we needed for that project.
I'd like to see a city that doesn't have a commercial bypass (i.e. loop) that has implemented this effectively. You won't find it. Nobody has studied El Paso's truck traffic because we're the only city in the nation with our unique geographical location coupled with our obvious geological obstacles. You can't use other city's data because they're oranges and we're apples!
Besides, if every other city jumped off a bridge would we be obliged to follow?
The health care crisis has turned into a crisis for the democrats. Fat taxes, barriers to doctors and a huge question on how much it will cost has hurt democrats more than they can account for right now.
The assault on personal liberties is almost too much to take for this guy in front of this keyboard.
I think I may have to step up to the plate. There are things more important than the odds in life - even if they are stacked against you, you must try - you must never give up. The men and women before us didn't give up, neither should we.
I reported last week that Mayor Pro Tempura Acosta had put herself as chair of the Environmental Services Legislative Research Committee. I also mentioned that she had run that department into the ground and had some friends go to jail for the way they did business with her department (I now hear the Scary Larry was involved with the imprisoned scapegoats).
I guess I got people to thinking and Rep. Byrd ended up chairing the committee.
I guess it could have been the fact that the little wee little lady from Segundo (she doesn't live in her district) tricked the mayor into giving Scary Larry his third conquistador award this decade. Probably not, though.
We'll see how this progresses. With Rep. Robinson truly playing the role of Maverick and Ms. Tempura not getting her way, the voting blocks are not solid winners yet.
I like Rep. Robinson. I respect him, but he sure isn't as good looking as Melina.... I sure do miss her!
Newspaper Tree is on top of the Larry Medina Conquistador award story. You can read it HERE. Apparently the award is given to the biggest ethically challenged asshole in the city - Scary Larry has won it three times! For the same thing!
I get the feeling Mayor Cook feels a little used on this one. His Mayor Pro Tempura Acosta pulled a fast one on him. The award has garnered lots of press for the Weirdo from Segundo.
The only thing more pathetic than this award now is Scary Larry's idea that he might be elected to office.
We're short 800 million apartments, or something like that, for the troops who will one day move here. They were supposed to be here last year, but apparently they're coming some time in the future. We don't know exactly when, but they're coming.
Too bad city council is considering a plan to make developers douse themselves in gasoline and set themselves on fire on a bed of dry hay if they want to build new subdivisions or housing.
Nothing says sky-rocketing real estate prices like too many people and not enough housing!
Why council doesn't want to widen it's tax base so it can fund a bus system that serves -6 percent of the population, is beyond me.
The media just figured out that Ft. Bliss isn't messing around when it comes to amenities on base. Somebody announced they were building a mall the size of the Pentagon on base and they aren't going to let non-military folks shop at it. That pisses these locals off!
GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! Is all we seem to know these days. You should have heard Special Ed bound radio show host Barbara Perez squawk about it. God knows she needs to spend her money earned by unethically lobbying for Big League Rip Off after she got her ass handed to her by the most unpopular guy in the city.
You people wanted it. You wanted more troops and a bigger base, so suck it up and shut up.
And while you're at it - tell a soldier "thank you" and buy him or her a beer next time you are out.
Regina Arditti's latest campaign filling is quite the financial moron. I'm not the best with money - you can ask my wife, but I'm not as dumb as Arditti.
She took out a $150,000 home equity loan to run for office! She claims she only spent $75,000 on the campaign and banked the rest, but it's still insane.
But... Don't you have to tell the bank what you are going to do with the money? It is secured debt and works a lot different than credit cards.
Then comes the question about her taking it as a tax deduction even though she spent it on campaign expenses and not on other accepted tax deductible efforts like home improvement. She could be committing tax fraud.
She's a democrat and nobody will notice anything... We're backwards and we'll always be if we don't makes some changes.
Her buddy Judge Barraza should be coming up for trial this fall from what I hear. That's a miracle considering that other politicos haven't gone to trial in nearly two years for much lesser crimes. Can anyone explain this to me?
I have a big project I'm working on - may not work, but then again may be the best thing we've seen in a while as far as media goes.
In the El Paso Times' comment section there appears a comment and I have put it bellow for your extreme enjoyment. The guy's name is Aaron Medina and he claims to be Larry's cousin. He also put his email address as proof.
Get a beer and read this - it's too good!
(copy and pasted from the EP Times - errors aren't mine for once)
Aaron Medina wrote:
"Haha this is ironic. This guy or also known as my cousin gets this award, primarily for his anti-smoking efforts. Yet, he is the biggest smoker there is. He smokes at his home and sometimes in public. I can attest to this cause I am his cousin. Remember "buddy boy" when you would go with your handy man Mr. Phil Loera to buy supplies at Home Depot and would even ask him for some smokes. You are pathetic and a transero. You will always be a transero eventhough you have claimed in the Times before you are not. Why do you claim something you are not huh? Obviously you are that is why you are trying to make people believe you are not. I know the real Larry Medina, the none brownnoser. I know the **** hole who degrates his employees and especially his female employees and regards them as...well those of you know Lorenzo know what kind of ladies man he is. No suprise he has been married multiple times and divorces as many times. Maybe he should have gotten an award for best theatrical performance at a 7-eleven...hell the guy deserves an Oscar for that not a Conquistador award. Thank God I do not work for this transero anymore and contributor to hiring of illegal aliens. The man sure deserves awards but for:
- hiring illegal aliens to do his dirty work.
- for beating up his wifes.
- for insulting and cussing at his girlfriend in public places.
- for watering his backyard on non-watering days.
- for insulting and cussing at his employees in public and in front of customers.
- for driving around in his Yukon with expired registration stickers and emission stickers.
- for hanging out with individuals who are currently on the scope of the FBI investigation...hope he is one of them.
- for taking "county business" trips when he was a lame duck Commissioner when in reality they were personal trips.
- for surviving a plane crash and still making peoples lives miserable.
- for neglecting his one and only son.
- for not paying his taxes and telling people in the Times that it is not of their business if he pays taxes or not.
- for having employees without insurance licenses as required by the Texas Department of Insurance.
- for doing additions and renovations for his buildings and rented homes without city licenses/permits and having his mojaditos work in the weekend so he doesnt get caught.
- I could go on and on....
But yes whenever you people see the buddy boy, or Larry or Lorenzo or however you wish to address as. Be on the lookout, he might be smoking outside the Home Depot or Lowes when buying supplies to renovate his buildings or rented homes. Or when he goes to Teddy's Lounge or to the strip club..this mostly happens when he gets in fights with his girlfriend. This is how he might be dressed: wearing a baseball cap, wearing a Pan American tshirt or polo, black jogging pants, shorts and tennis shoes.
Oh and Larry if none of this isn't true you know where I live you can pay me a visit or you can tell your tio when you see him.
Newspaper Tree is the first print source to go ahead and report that the lobbyist quoted in the EP Times' story last week has basically retracted her statement to Brandi Grissom. You can find the post HERE on NPT's blog.
The lobbyist, Claudia Russell, broke the number one rule of lobbying - YOU NEVER TALK ABOUT LOBBYING TO OUTSIDERS! More on this in a minute.
What I read from the letter is that this woman told Brandi Grissom what she told her and is now backing away because she just ruined her career as a lobbyist. Don't jump Grissom for doing the story - she has three sources for the story and that's two more than most reporters get for a story like this.
Lobbyist never go on record saying they paid for a party - IT NEVER HAPPENS! The fact that Russell was willing to say what she said to a reporter was enough to have the story put on the front page. Any legislator receiving an unreported gift of any kind is a news story. It's even a bigger story when Austin watchdogs agree that her party was a little over the top compared to their normal birthday parties they do for each legislator. The ice sculpture was too much to go unreported.
Oh wait - and her staff was on the phone collecting the money which is something you don't want the public knowing. Using your elected position to get cash for anything other than campaign expenses is technically illegal. If anyone could match up a vote for one of the attendees of the party who paid the $150 or more, you could have a good case for corruption. Yet, we don't know who paid. Chavez won't tell us.
After the story comes out Russell all of sudden claims she was confused. I'm sure the nightmarish phone call she received from Chavez was a big part of her decision to retract her statement.
We don't know if this woman actually gave money to Chavez for the party or not. Most lobbyists give it out of their own personal accounts and then get reimbursed for the expenditures through an expense account later. It works the same way as a sales rep taking a client to dinner.
We will probably never know if she actually did give money for the party and is now lying, or didn't and was actually confused. Only one person can help us with that and it's Norma Chavez.
The problem for Russell here is that she broke the unwritten rule for lobbyists that reads: "Never tell anybody what you do for a legislator."
You see, to be a trusted lobbyist you have to be a person who will take an elected official to a strip club where you pay for him to get sex in the back room and you don't tell anybody about it. A successful lobbyist is one that can be trusted to never tell anyone about what goes on in that world.
When Ms. Russell told a reporter, of all people, that she gave $150 under the table to a legislator for a party, she became persona non grata in Austin. No elected official can trust her now. She knows her career is about done. The retraction is damage control, but it's not enough. She's now trying to lie her way out of it to save her career and it just isn't going to happen. Nobody will meet with this woman for fear she will talk to the press afterwards.
I hate to paint a nasty picture of what goes on in Austin and many other state capitals, but it's the truth.
The issue is all but dead, I guess. Anytime the EP Times does a cartoon about an issue, it usually signals the death of that issue.
I'm watching the city council meeting where Larry Medina was given the "Conquistador Award" today. That award is apparently given to the guy whose most likely to have the absolutely most disorganized, self aggrandizing and moronic speech after receiving the award.
He just called himself a hero. He's an asshole.
The guy barely speaks English.
He calls himself a business guy (PSB issue), but he's happy he cost bar owners thousands after his smoking ban. Guess what? Hasn't changed a thing! He did take rights away from business owners, though.
The guy called himself a hero!!! What an idiot.
Why doesn't he talk about his role in the FBI investigation? Why doesn't he explain his threats to business owners who sought contract with the city? Why doesn't he talk about his fishing trip to Mexico with architects who were asking him to give him city business?
Give it up Larry - if you're a hero... then we don't need anymore "heroes" in El Paso.
Our newest city council person isn't anyone's teammate given his votes so far. Rep. Robinson throws the voting block into some disarray by his autonomy on the issues.
So what gives? Where's he going to be? How are we to know?
This is the most exciting thing to happen since Lozano was on council!
Now we have a reason to watch the more controversial votes.
I now pronounce you Mr. Robinson - "The Maverick."
I'm not sure whether or not Norma Chavez has been put under the care of a doctor or shipped off to Canada by her few remaining supporters, but she managed not to have a meltdown today to my knowledge.
I received a great call from a guy who is a wealth of information on her district and he told me that people have slipped from her grip like they have never before. He says they are most upset when they figure out that they paid for her college. Anyone running for that seat needs to drive that point home, he says.
We'll see if anybody gets out there.
I working on a piece about our local inclination to identify what we think is a problem and immediately try to solve that problem with government. I think we have some great examples of why this isn't the best way to proceed.
We will dive into that very soon.
Sorry I have been a little quiet - the wife is out of town and I'm reminded of how much she does when she's around. And get this - we each do our own laundry and dishes. That's the easy stuff!
If you're married, go grab your wife and tell her "thank you" and don't forget to tell her why!
That's the question people have been asking me a lot since the EP Times broke the story on her graduation party last week.
Let's see... She's called into at least two radio shows raging mad and even threatened to have Morris Pittle investigated by the FBI. Sources close to her say she's fuming and is as nuts as ever.
But why? What's so wrong with taking some money from lobbyists who want to throw you a party. Or should I say - what's wrong with making lobbyist pay for a party you want to throw?
After all, nothing has wrong has been done. This kind of thinghappens all the time in Austin, so it's okay. Yes, some Austin watchdogs thought the party was quite lavish compared to the average shindig (Grissom's word not mine - great word though), but what's the big deal - everybody is doing it so it must be legal.
Then again there's the case of State Representative Ismael 'Kino' Flores (D - Palmview) who was indicted six separate times for everything from failing to disclose gifts to failing to disclose property he owned. You can read the info HERE.
God knows Norma has to know about Rep. Flores' problems. She also knows exactly how much money has been gifted to her by lobbyists throwing her parties. Does she need to report these gifts? Probably.
I think she's very worried that the right question has been asked - "who gave you what and how much?" If she were to disclose that information, I think she'd have some very real troubles in her future.
Her actions are indicative of someone scrambling because they are cornered - trapped. Her wild flailing is only pushing the smoke from the fire higher above the treetops. What are we onto that has her so worried that she'd embarrass herself on the radio twice in one week?
While she's calling for the FBI to investigateof Morris Pittle, maybe she should be gearing up for her own.
When is the last time Norma had good news come out about her? She's imploding. People have noticed.
She went from wanting to run for congress to having at least one opponent if not more. Talk about a meltdown.
And do not listen to my buddy Jaime Abeytia and those guys who tell you that she's undefeatable - there's a poll out there that proves them flat wrong. She's not done yet, but she's definitely has some explaining to do about her behavior.
You might check out the agenda for this coming Tuesday's council meeting. Mayor Pro Tempura Emma Acosta has put Mumbles the Plane Crash Survivor up for the "Conquistador Award." If you're not sure who "Mumbles the Plane Crash Survivor" is, it's Larry Medina. You may remember Larry Medina's other nickname - "Friend of Tony Dill who plead guilty to corruption."
I don't know what the Conquistador Award is, but if Larry Medina is getting it - it must be some kind of token for losing a bunch of elections and being an all around asshole and pillar of ethical decay in this city.
Larry is collecting awards and board appointments as resume builders for his run for County Judge next year. Larry doesn't know when to quit when he's behind.
Scary Larry is currently serving his second term on the Civil Service Commission (yes my mother is on the same board and was appointed by Rep. O'Rourke) and he manages to show up to half of the meetings. He is frequently either not there or late. Being an asshole for a living keeps a guy busy.
I guess Scary Larry the Plane Crash Survivor thinks he can scoot into the Judge's seat and show up whenever he feels like it. I think the voters will politely tell him to go to hell and stay there again this election.
You see that Larry? You see that dot you're chasing on the horizon? That's Veronica Escobar's ass as she sprints to the finish line for County Judge next year. Good luck and do us all a favor - hire Jaime O. Perez as your campaign manager.
By the way - I know the Mayor technically gets to pick the next Conquistador recipient, but we all know he does favors for members of the council. This is a favor for the Mayor Pro Tempura.
Mayor Pro Tempura Acosta also picked the teams for the new LRCs (legislative review committees). Besides reading and being confused as to where they are on the agenda, Tempura gets the job of putting people on LRCs.
She ended up allowing herself to oversee the Environmental Services committee. You might remember that she used to run that department when it was being defrauded of millions of dollars by Emma's friends who are now in jail. She won't disclose why she abruptly left the city with all of your tax dollars going to a ridiculous retirement. I bet she did something naughty, but implicated other naughty people in the scam as well and got a payment for life from us because of it.
Anywho - Ms. Tempura hates Ellen Smyth who oversees the department now and has spent the last few years fixing all the stuff Tempura broke. Expect Tempura to try and screw with Smyth out of jealousy.
Norma Chavez beat a retraction out of the county's lobbyist over this party her staff threw for her by extorting money out of lobbyists in Austin.
Chavez is ever the wizard at distraction tactics.
We can't see her list, so we're left in the dark.
I bet her list will show that she collected much more than $3,500 from lobbyist and that the money can not be accounted for. The IRS might want to know what happened to that extra dough.
Of course, the Queen of Mean could just show us the list and put all of our minds to rest. That would be too easy, though.
I checked her campaign expenditures in latest filling with the Texas Ethics Commission. She buys a lot of breakfast tacos for the staff and pays for her vehicle out of campaign funds along with renting a car in Austin for the session. She spent $28,000 stuffing her and her staff's face last session and she couldn't bump $3,500 for her graduation party?
Somebody needs to tell her that Obama's new health care system is going to take her twinkies away!
Let's discuss one thing first.
I'm glad you visit this blog. I'm very happy you're reading these words right now. It's an honor and I treat it that way. However, if you read something on this blog and you go and communicate it over the airwaves - say on an AM radio show - and you don't give me credit - that's chicken shit.
Especially when you site something very specific that this blog was the only one to pick up on. You may not like me. You may even hate me. At least give me credit for my research.
Don't think for a minute that your ten listeners aren't also readers of this blog. They know where you got the info and can only question your integrity when you make up a story of how you got your information.
Norma Chavez got spanked like a child with his hand in the cookie jar before dinner today. The El Paso Times grew a set and went after the scourge of El Paso politics. A woman so opposed to ethics that she tried to block an ethics bill!
You can catch the piece HERE.
So while those in Norma's district have to pay room board for their own children to go off to college, they have to pay for Norma as well. Remember - she wouldn't be in this mess if she had not abused taxpayer's dollars to pay for her room and board while in Austin attending classes. Her per diem was used to give her an advantage that the rest of us don't have. She was sent to do one job for the people and chose instead to work on something solely for her own gain. How nice... how El Paso.
(off topic note - I'm starting a grassroots ad campaign to bring light to just how backward El Paso can be. Stay tuned!)
So Norma decides to throw herself a party because she graduated from college... at age 48. Oh but she's a "CHICANA!" Because there isn't an American woman of Mexican descent that has ever earnedher diploma in 25 years of trying... Nope - Norma is the first hispanic woman to ever get a college degree.
Actually, she just likes attention. She has a couple extreme personality disorders that drive her maniacal behavior. She's no different than any other power crazed megalomaniac hell bent on improving her own image with no care for what she's actually supposed to improve. In fact, she's just like Senator Shapleigh. They could be twins!
Ya'll should mosey on down to the capitol some day and meet some real success stories from the Rio Grande Valley. We have some representatives who are young and who have overcome a ton of adversity to get their degrees, start their businesses and then serve their constituents. And they did that without extorting money from lobbyist along the way.
Norma had her staff call and collect money for the party that featured some gaudy trimmings like a longhorn ice sculpture. I bet not all that money went just to the party. There's no records or accounting of the amount collected, only a number for the party itself. We know that at least one lobbyist gave $150 and we have no idea how many others did the same.
Do you see what I'm getting at here? Norma reported that lobbyist paid $3,529 for a party. What else did they pay for? Room and board for her family? She said she forked over $1,600 for that, but do we really believe that? No, we don't. She didn't pay for college, why would she pay for that?
The issue here is that we'll never know how much money exchanged hands in this deal. There are no records to read!
While Planned Parenthood was sinking into oblivion in El Paso, Norma Chavez was shaking down lobbyist for a party on her behalf. Planned Parenthood offered free mammograms to women who could not afford them. How many women in her district could use a free screening? How many screenings could Norma buy for $3,500? When is Norma going to stop thinking about Norma and start thinking about her district?
Have the Tiguas asked Norma if that generous Indian tribe in Oklahoma, who gave her a $1,000 to fight legalized gambling in Texas, gave her $150 for her party? I bet if we saw that list of donors we might be a little curious as to what favors she owes to whom in the way of votes and tags (calendars committee).
Her actions are irresponsible and without consideration for a single person in her district. Her position are representative has only been used to further the cause of Norma Chavez and no one else. Funny, sounds like a few other folks we know in El Paso.
I don't want to get into this very much, but the Chico's owner spoke to the press finally. He indicated that the Fab Five were being idiots and got kicked out. They were being so dumb the security guards called the cops. The Fab Five called them too. Somebody isn't telling the truth and since the Fab Five's story has changed several times, I'm inclined to say they are lying.
The big news here is that the statement countering the idea it was just a kiss isn't being covered very well. We were ready to march in the streets over this and have forgotten that every story has two sides.
Mayor Pro Tempura Batter, Emma Acosta took the first big vote in front of council since being named Tempura and sided with the voting block who gave her that title.
Yep, she did exactly what Lozano did when they handed him the title. He scratched their back.
I told you that she was given the position to make sure that she kept a majority on council safe.
Everything has a purpose. It's all connected to a strategy. Nothing happens by chance in this town - nothing.
I completely get the aesthetics argument that many opponents of billboards put forth. Although I question their ability to judge what is beautiful and what is not. God forbid we drive by their house and it's painted bright pink or canary yellow. How would they feel if there was a meeting held to tell them that their property was ugly and they were going to be forced to change it at their cost?
Emboldening these folks isn't a good thing. The next thing you know the definition of "blight" will be anything the Coronado Homeowners Association doesn't like. Property rights are set to go right out the window... if they haven't already.
There's a bigger issue here that really struck me when I saw Bill Burton speak to council. Burton is the "Burton" in Mithoff Burton Partners, an advertising giant in El Paso. He buys lots of billboard space for his clients and is probably the biggest purchaser of that space in town. He stands to lose revenue along with the owners of the signs - all except one.
Clear Channel Outdoor owns the majority of the signs around town. Nobody comes close to competing with them. There are several other legitimate small business in town that own signs, but none of them are buying jets and sailing around the horn of Africa on their yachts. They get by like most small businesses do.
When no more signs can be built without putting the bulk of the ones you already own out to pasture, there will only be on game in town - Clear Channel Outdoor. They will buy up the signs from the small guys in town and relieve them of their burden. After all, the local government has told them that they do not want their business to grow. Clear Channel is big enough to absorb the cost of doing business this way.
You can add the small sign owners to the growing list of unfavorable legal businesses in El Paso that our elected officials have attacked. ASARCO, downtown mercados and strip bars have all been where the sign owners are going.
Once Clear Channel Outdoor's owns all the signs in town they can set the price to advertise on them. A true monopoly. Guess who won't be able to afford their rates? Local companies like car dealers and non-profits.
The signs will be priced to rent to major national corporations whose advertising firms are located everywhere but El Paso. Our local billboards will be owned by out of town companies who can afford the rates.
The local bottom line will be affected tremendously. Advertising firms like Mithoff Burton Partners will have to adjust their staff for the lost revenue. Smaller firms will just go under. Advertising for small businesses will be something they don't do as much because once the billboards go up, the print and TV ads will too. They all work in conjunction with each other.
I'm not sure council realized how far reaching this aesthetics ordinance really was. The mayor can veto the measure, but I doubt he will. That would cause a war with his voting block and might hurt future attacks on businesses in El Paso.
I'm watching this debacle we call a City Council meeting on line right now to see just how nutty this thing is going to get.
I noticed people are adding to the pain here by breaking the unwritten rules of speaking to City Council. Here are the unwritten rules - written.
1. Taking two minutes at the beginning of your allotted time to explain that you are going to be quick is a sure sign that you aren't going to be quick. The best way to make a quick comment is not to preface your comment with a promise to be quick. Just talk.
2. Do not thank council, the mayor, staff, Yogi Berra and God when you get up there. They HAVE TO LET YOU SPEAK and they're not really happy about it. You may be thankful, but you are not welcome. (council members will disagree with me because it's politically incorrect, but they know in their hearts that I'm right)
3. Do not insert crap you want to brag about into your comments. Just because you have a captive audience, that does not mean you can waste their time bragging about how much you travel to other cities or that you have a sick kid. Make sure you have a comment that is informative and interesting to everyone, not just yourself.
4. Do not mention Lady Bird Johnson under any circumstance.
5. Do not write your comments down beforehand. Once you hear the staff and other experts speak, as well as other commenters, you'll want to change what you want to say. This always ends up with you trying to read your original comments while inserting your new thoughts. You always sound like a schizophrenic having a personality conference in front of a live audience.
6. The black thing sticking out of the wood is a microphone. Put it close to your mouth, or your mouth close to it, which ever works for you. Do this if you want to be heard by the people who sincerely don't want to hear you.
7. Do not mention Mulberry trees when talking about freeway signs. Stay on topic. Nobody is listening to you and it just extends the amount of time they have to consciously ignore you.
8. Do not show up to the podium and let them know you are a "private citizen." They know that. If you happen to be a non-private citizen please give me a call tell me what that means.
9. Be ready. When your name is called be ready to approach the podium. Nothing hurts your case more than moseying on up to the podium. Council members are inclined to make exactly three seconds of eye contact with each commenter. The faster you get up there, the quicker they can pretend to recognize you and go back to sending dirty jokes back and forth via email.
10. The word "essentially" is a qualifier that is not needed when speaking in any situation. Essentially you are wasting our time by saying it over and over during your presentation.
11. Do not grab the podium with both hands and lean forward with your ass sticking out. It's not a machine for stretching your hamstrings, it's a machine for boring us to death with your opinion.
12. Do not promote your business at the podium. They don't care what you do for a living - they make next to nothing an hour and can't afford to shop at your store or purchase your services. Focus on pertinent information when sharing your opinion no one cares about.
13. Do not clap for other speakers. This isn't a play, a sporting event or your child's graduation. When you clap you are only encouraging city council to see you as a child who does not understand what is happening inside those chambers. If you agree with someone try keep your hands at your side and away from each other. Nod your head up and down if you approve. Your quiet celebration will be appreciated.
14. Do not tell the council that you know some of them personally. They can see you - they recognize you and are unhappy that you are wasting their time bitching about stuff during a council meeting when you could be doing it over a beer.
15. Do not enumerate your former elected positions to council - they do not care. The only elected officials who matter are sitting in a semicircle ignoring you.
16. Never tell council that you "had a dream." You are not Martin Luther King and nobody cares about your dream. Your dreams are just that - your dreams. Keep them in your little pocket and share them with your family members who are obligated to hear them.
17. If things "have already been said," let them stay that way. Do not repeat points we have already heard. It's like seeing a bad movie twice.
18. Do not tell council that you are a "constituent,"they don't care. More than 85 percent of their constituents do not vote. Want to impress them? Tell them you are an FBI agent. Offer them new underwear after saying that - it's proper etiquette.
19. Do not give example of things the city council could be doing other than passing or defeating the issue at hand. What they could be doing is screwing around in their offices far away from whiny people like yourself. Stay on topic - we've already talked about this.
20. Never read from a sheet paper with more than one statistic on it. Reading numbers is useless. That dazed look on council member's faces is not amazement, amusement or attention - it's the thousand yard stare developed over many years of listening to people throw out tons of irrelevant numbers at them. Numbers belong on paper. Give them a handout with your numbers on it. They like paper. It allows them to write notes to each other when their computers are down.
More to come!
CNN decided that 1,000 dead just mere inches from the United States border was worth reporting... again. You can catch the story HERE.
Looks like Juarez has responded well to the major influx of Mexican soldiers that came to town at the beginning of this year. They manage to double the murder rate from last year! Never accuse Juarez of not trying to improve itself every year.
I bet they will soon have more dead than we lost in the entire Iraq war.
These reports don't help the open borders folks who currently sit in our local elected offices. Nobody is going to tear that fence down with all that violence going on over there either. Do not expect any sympathy from the rest of the country who see Mexico as hell next door. Money for a new bridge? Not happening!
It's sad that we've all but forgotten about the violence to the south. We don't even get excited over the idea of mass murder taking place just yards from our border. We're more interested in civil rights violations at taco shacks. A whole generation of men are dying over there. The effects are not just immediate, but also long-term. We'll be asking where the old men of Juarez are in 20 years - there will be none. All of them victims of a vicious fight for control of a drug trade driven by greed and lack of opportunity.
I hope each dope smoker and snow blower realizes that while he or she is enjoying a high, there are thousands of men in Juarez dying to keep them that way.
While we were all screaming about our appraisals and wondering how the CAD came to their numbers on our property, they were holding their cards tight hoping you wouldn't notice that they had the ace in the hole.
They've claimed that the don't have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and simply guess what your house is worth via photos from the sky.
They're lying and we're stupid.
I was looking at the commercial recorder today and noticed that the prices of home sales were listed right there with the names of the people and business making the transaction. The CAD doesn't need the MLS or a magic photos from the sky to value your house - they simply got a subscription to the commercial recorder.
The best thing is they didn't tell us that. They let us think they were guessing - they're not!
It's a slow news day in the borderland. I was hoping ot read some exhilarating reporting on stuff I didn't know about... too bad I guess.
Everything on the national level is popping. Being a syndicated columnist these days is like being the Yankees' top draft pick - lucrative. People are eating up the back and forth on health care, taxes and foreign policy. Some may say that President Obama is the worst thing to happen to America, but I think the conservative pundits would disagree. They are trucking the cash off to the bank daily!
The liberal bomb throwers have had to sit by quietly and support their guy. It doesn't do them well to have their guy in power - you can't light him up every week and then write a book about it like you can when the enemy is in the White House. They're just resting and they'll be back in the future - things are going to change again soon, I can feel it.
The gay Chico's thing will be completely dead soon enough. The media can only prod it along for so long until they realize that their coverage isn't bringing them any of the bottom line dollars in. It was not a "boom," but a small "pop" instead.
Expect more convoluted arguments on the sign ordinance for tomorrow's city council meeting. The group of stakeholders isn't very large, but obviously very well armed. Should be an interesting fight.
If you're bored go visit my friends over at FamousDC.com.
The El Paso Times got the statement from the security company and it doesn't match up at all with the story we heard from the five gay guys. (funny there's a famous burger joint in northern Virginia named "Five Guys" and it's an awesome place to go when you're done partying.)
The security company says their guy never told them to leave and that their behavior was textbook drunken idiocy that goes on after hours at a pig out place like Chico's. I do give their statement some merit.
By now the security company has spoken with a lawyer. Any lawyer worth his mustard would tell them that no matter what they do, don't put out a public statement that is a lie. If this thing goes to court, and it will it looks like, that statement can be used against them and it completely dissolves their credibility.
If they had said nothing and publicly fired the security guard I'd be 100 percent on the side of the Fabulous Five. That didn't happen and they obviously feel like they have some evidence to support their claims. We're talking security video, witnesses etc...
The fact that Chico's has said next to nothing specifically about the case shows me that they are putting their defense together methodically. The family that owns Chico's has enough dough to bring in the biggest bad asses in crisis management in the country - I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't already done it.
Could that Fabulous Five had been drunk and dancing in the restaurant? Sure. We've all been there a time a two ourselves and I can tell you that my friends and I were asked to leave the Chico's on Montana about 11 years ago because we were being drunk idiots. It may have saved our lives because as we were leaving a flotilla of cholos were just showing up to kick our asses.
Could the Fabulous Five had one member who wanted to make a federal case out of being asked to leave or even reprimanded for his behavior? Sure. We all have that drunk friend who starts screaming "I know my rights" the second anyone tell him to shut up and behave. That's the friend who always ends up in the back of squad car after the cops warn him or her dozens of times to leave. Don't pretend you don't know this guy or gal - you do.
As for the cop? Give the guy a freaking break. So he screwed up and said he could arrest them for something he couldn't actually arrest them for. He didn't invent the law, he just quoted it. And it's on the books still. Lay off.
We love to pick on cops every chance we get. However, when they come save our asses we're all of a sudden their best buddies and biggest fans. In this case we're making a federal case out of something that was an honest mistake and no action was taken. The Fabulous Five were not arrested for being gay and the security guards took no action to file a report etc... They were free to go sleep off their drinks and live to eat Chico's another day.
That cop and all the other cops in town don't approach disturbance and trespass calls like they are thenext big constitutional fight to taketo the Supreme Court. I'm sure all they wanted to do was make sure the guards were happy and the Fabulous Five left the scene without incident. God forbid they were busy and had to go catch some real bad guys out there or answer a call where a woman was getting beat by her drunk husband who skipped Chico's and went straight home for some fighting and sex.
I think we are going to find that we jumped the gun here. I hate to say it, but not all claims of discrimination are valid. Drunken idiocy knows no sexual preference and if that's what was actually going on - then some apologies are to be made.
I'm not talking about some kind of sick cartel stunt. I'm talking about the mob justice we're seeing in relation to the Chico's Tacos saga.
hmm... I don't like "Chico's Tacos saga" as a name for this crisis. It is, after all, a crisis. It's the biggest thing happening in El Paso right now. In a few days there will be folks marching in the streets (there's already some protesting going on) and national news coverage. Heads will be served up to the public on a platter. Somebody is going to pay for this.
The easy thought here is "Taco-gate," but that's just too easy and expected. I can't really think of something that rings for a name. Your thoughts?
I have some book titles working:
Besos and Tacos - Innocence Lost Over a Double Order
Intestinal Discomfort, Civil Rights Violations and Other Reasons not to Eat at Chico's
Rolled Tacos and Gay Kisses - Mexican Recipes for Gay People by Chico's
Somebody is going to take it in the ass - How I Lost My Dream Job as a Security Guard at Chico's
I have to stop there because my mind is working toward offensive book titles and we don't need to fan the flames toward that gas can.
I talked to a city council person yesterday and we agreed that this could get ugly. I also put forth my opinion that this shouldn't become the major topic of Tuesday's city council meeting. I'm speaking on an agenda item and don't want to spend 10 hours down there while they have a one-sided fight about this. However, I am hoping to see some pissed off trannies.
Too bad I won't get my way... I expect an agenda item to pop up today.
Let me warn everyone about something. About the future. About how we are going to look.
At some point an opposition to the gay supporters is going to rear its ugly head. At some point the worst of what we have to offer is going to get in front of a camera and set us back 50 years. I've done enough PR and political organizing my life to know that when issues like these come into public view, there's always an asshole too close to a microphone. We will all lose and nobody will be a winner.
We stand to expose what I know is an ugly, nasty truth about our community.
On another note... I think it needs to be said again because the people writing about this episode don't know the law very well. I don't care how many signs you post saying you "have the right to refuse service to anyone," you can't actually do that by law. You can not refuse service based on gender, race, sexual orientation etc.
The sign should read "we have a right to refuse service to anyone we can prove in a court of law is hurting our business."
I'm finding out how dumb some people are in this city. Just because you see a sign everywhere doesn't make it the law, or correct for that matter. Repetition of wrong does not make it right.
I'm so disjointed today... hungover, really.
Part of this whole story might be good for Chico's - the more you read about it, the more people crave it!
I also see this becoming an issue where race can come into play. At some point people will rush to defend Chico's saying that an attack on Chico's is an attack on their heritage. Don't believe me? Let's bet. I know this city so well it scares me.
So much for the sign ordinance discussion!
There's only one man who can mend this situation. There's only one hero we can call on to make this all go away - Alex Lozano! and his mustache!
The big news in tacos and sex these days is the gay couple kissing in Chico's Tacos the other night. You can get the whole truth, nothing but the truth and a cool video of people eating Chico's Tacos HERE. (thanks NPT)
Unclear to me is whether it was the security guard who decided to kick the Smooching Sams out of the restaurant or was he instructed to by Chico's management. I have a feeling that they can blame the guard and move on. Then I also have a feeling that there will be more action on the issue by the gay community. They have a right to intestinal discomfort and explosive diarrhea just like every other American so says our infrequently amended constitution.
I've already heard some people claim that the restaurant was within their right to kick them, or anyone else, out because of the oft seen sign that says "we have the right to refuse service to anyone." It's a nice thought, but it's not constitutional. Frankly, you can't refuse service to anyone unless you can prove their presence is hurting your business.
I don't think the sight of Adam and Steve kissing is the thing most likely to deter people from eating Chico's. It would be that big heaping glob of death they serve that would most likely hurt business. Of course, the five cholos in the corner with tear drops tattooed to their faces for each of their murders tends to deter folks as well.
If you want the skinny on the "right to refuse service" signs, you can click HERE.
Bottom line - Chico's couldn't legally kick them out without proving they were hurting business. If 100 customers refused to enter and order because the ambiguously gay duo all of a sudden became unambiguous, they then could kick them out. I still think the law is not on the famous Chico's Tacos side here.
So what's going to happen to Chico's popularity with the yippies here in town who swear it's the coolest thing ever and that our tourism should be based on it? I hate to pick on my NPT friends, but I've seen a lot of hoopla from their publications about how cool the place is. Is it still cool knowing that the alternative lifestyle folks aren't welcome there?
Have the yippes learned a lesson about our "culture" they had refused to see before? It's no secret to me that the culture here isn't as gay friendly as other cultures. South of the border they are even more intolerant of the "gay thing." I've known this all along. How can you not miss it?
What was the first thing I was called when people disagreed with me on the radio? Gay. Local Democrats who disagreed with my conservative outlook called me "gay" as an insult. They went as far as to sign me up for gay dating sites and use my picture to solicit gay sex on-line. Apparently, in El Paso, the only thing worse than being an icky conservative is being gay. I wonder what the gay community thinks about their lifestyle being used as a put down - as a shameful way to be. By the local democrats no less.
On this blog right now there's a comment accusing me of being one of the gay men kicked out of Chico's Tacos for kissing (comment by "Melindo"). There's some kind of disconnect here that I can't reconnect. Republicans are supposed to hate gays, not democrats. So what gives? This town is 80 percent democrat and I sincerely hope that's not the amount of people who hate gay folks. Then again our President is a democrat and he's not for gay marriage either. Their leader is a poor example to follow.
So what's going to happen? Are the yippies who have tried to transform Chico's into a trendy hometown eatery now going to boycott their project? Are the yet convinced the eatery shouldn't be the first place you take an out of town guest?
Or, will life go on and their desire for a "double" wipe away this ugly mess?
I do know that the people who eat at Chico's because they like it, and not because they want to brag about how "cultural" they are, will still go. They don't care, they're just hungry.
I suspect that this too shall pass with the yippies never admitting they were wrong.
Notes on the "gay thing."
I know all of you think that I'm supposed to hate gays and want to load them into cattle cars and ship them off to their own island off the coast of Nowhere. I hate to disappoint anyone, but you're wrong.
I don't go out of my way to embrace gay people and I don't go out of my way to avoid them. I frankly don't care what they do with their bodies. I don't care what straight people do with their bodies either.
As a true conservative I believe in personal freedoms. Your sex is your business as long as all parties are willing and of age. I have better things to do than think about what you are doing in your spare time naked. (yes, this even goes for Melina Castro)
I believe that marriage is a religious event sanctioned by the religion you have faith in. The government did not marry me, nor do I care if they recognize my marriage. I'm not a religious man, but I do believe that I was married in the eyes of God looking through his Catholic glasses. If the United States government ceased to exist tomorrow - I'd still be married.
I believe that in some cases, and with some parts of the gay community, they go overboard trying to make people accept their lifestyle. However, I do believe that their outrage at their treatment is often correct and warranted.
We are all equal. Not in ability. Not in size. Not in intelligence. Not in many ways. But... We should all be born with the same shot at freedom no matter what that freedom means to each of us. It can be sexual, artistic or even financial in nature, but well should have the chance to achieve what we consider freedom.
Oh yeah and I have lots friends that are gay - so there!
The latest irritating issue to come up here in El Paso is the Central Appraisal District and its operating budget. You can thank Lisa Turner for starting this particular revolution.
I agree there budget is stupid. There's no doubt that you can find that in any governmental entity's budget. So why are we so adamant about the CAD's budget?
First of all, the local politicians have to do something to please their constituents when it comes to the rising hatred for the CAD. They can't shut them down. They can't hang'em in the public square, either. They can, however, pick on their budget.
It's a symbolic gesture that doesn't save taxpayers a whole lot of money. It does allow us to feel better about ourselves knowing we showed the CAD who's boss... at least on this issue.
We hate the CAD. We blame them for our high tax bill. And wee're right and we're wrong in that thinking.
The elected people in this town know that the CAD is setup to keep politics out of their day to day activities. They also know that the CAD is helping them spend more and more money. The higher the appraisals go, the more money they have to please constituents. Constituents demand things that cost money - you have to raise money to keep them happy!
That's the dirty little secret - the politicians love the CAD and everything they do to increase appraisal prices. It gives them the advantage of passing large budgets that are full of boondoggles while appraisals make up the difference in tax monies.
The politicos are slapping their (CAD's) hand in a gesture made to make you think they care. They don't. Only you are in the dark about the need for the CAD to reappraise your property. Everybody else already knows the game.
Commissioner Perez and Representative Lilly both sit on the CAD board - that's why the subject of their budget is their agenda item. If it was Gandara and Holguin who sat on the CAD board, they'd be bringing it up. It's how the unwritten rules are written.
The fake temper-tantrum over the CAD's budget is nothing more than posturing.
Ugly Truth #1
If you want your appraisal to be lowered or never change, you're going to have to stop asking for services from the city and county.
No more bitching about streets, drainage or weeds in parkways. No more asking for parks, free security for festivals or plaza renovations. No more anything. We can't afford it if we don't raise the appraisals on a certain class of El Pasoans.
You see, we are very unique as a Texas community. We have a lot of properties that can never be valued any higher than the $25,000 to $50,000 they're valued at. Some local experts say that nearly 40 percent of housing in El Paso can not be resold for more than $50,000. I think the number is closer to 25 percent. The law isn't on the CAD's side when it comes to these houses. If they tried to raise the prices they'd never stick. They're smarter than that. Why bleed the turnip when you have a tomato?
The people in these neighborhoods pay a very small amount of taxes locally, but use a tremendous amount of resources. To say they aren't paying their fair share is the understatement of the century. I will let your imagination run wild as to exactly what they get that you pay for, but these places are older neighborhoods that need millions of dollars of infrastructure to bring them up to par. And that's just the infrastructure needs - let's not talk about health care etc. that comes out of your local, state and federal taxes for these neighborhoods.
In many cities these areas are condemned and taken over by the government and resold to people through strict FHA home loans that guarantee they will be refurbished and lived in by the mortgage holder. The idea here being that their value will be raised and thus the local community will get a tax boost from them. Instead of being a tax sucker, they'll be a tax provider.
Here's the problem with these neighborhoods in El Paso - they are uninhabitable. Once they are vacated they would have to be knocked down. You have to start completely over. The FHA designed the program for old brownstones on the east coast, not the adobe huts and pieced together housing I'm speaking of here in El Paso. Annexation comes to mind as an issue here.
The reality is that the people in those neighborhoods aren't going to pay their fair share and you can't move them out of there. They won't move on their own, either. The burden has been shifted to those of us who can afford better houses.
Which brings me to...
Ugly Truth #2
The city and county need more tax dollars and you are expected to make up the difference. The politicians know the details of exactly what I posted above and they will not be happy I shared it with you.
Those who don't pay are told by politicians (democrats) that they will get whatever they want because the rich people in the nicer neighborhoods are going to be forced to pay.
Those same politicians turn around and tell us in the nicer neighborhoods that they sympathize with us and that they are doing all they can to reign in the problem. In fact, they attack their (CAD) budget! On our behalf!
Any of you voting for democrats are voting for continued higher appraisals. They want power and they'll achieve that power by busing those people from the poorer neighborhoods to the polls. With the help of those of you who vote for them from the nicer neighborhoods, they're almost unbeatable.
Bottom line - you're paying more than your share and nobody gives a damn. Even worse, you may be doing this to yourself.
Ugly Truth #3
Property taxes punish the wealthy and reward the poor. The tax is "progressive" as some would describe. The opposite of a "progressive" tax is a "regressive" tax. Senator Shapleigh invented the idea that taxes are "regressive." That means that the poorer you are the more you pay in taxes. It's a lie.
The only tax more "progressive" than a property tax is an income tax. If you mix a property tax and an income tax, you get a situation that punishes employment and owning property. This encourages citizens to seek welfare or unemployment and live in government funded housing.
It all comes down to the fact that the CAD is a part of a bigger conspiracy to punish you and reward others.
Ugly Truth #4
Your current appraisal explosion is a Republican's fault. Governor Perry used to be a democrat and conveniently switched parties when he needed to. He never shed his liberal habits. Texas was looking at budget shortfalls when became governor and he worked a deal (with the limited power he has) to have all CADs start pushing appraisals up.
Before that, most CADs in Texas held home appraisals in a holding pattern. He saw a way to squeeze more money out of us and they've never looked back since.
I hope you have a better understanding of everything now. Start your bitching and complaining below.
Don't forget to read the post below - I know some of you hate when it post twice in a day.
So I read David Crowder's usual report the Tuesday City Council meeting. You can read it HERE.
Pretty mundane stuff until we get to idiotic woman who brought her children in to try and turn us into a socialist city. Okay - I'm going a little far with that, but you get my point.
The lady doesn't want storage units next to her house. I can understand that. But the lady didn't have a very good argument.
It's private property and the owners have gone through the process to have the zoning change made. The city staff recommended the change because they vetted the plans and thought they were just fine. Or the guy paid them off and they had a cup of coffee and a good laugh - JUST KIDDING! (not really - probably happens more than you think).
Crowder does a good job in the article of relating the council's thoughts on the issue. The lady and her children simply didn't make a case and Representatives Holguin and Robinson had done their homework. Case closed?
Not so fast.
The lady says the political system doesn't work because she didn't get her way. Are you kidding me? This is why El Paso can't have nice things - morons like this lady.
Her kids wanted open space and the commenters have already jumped on the "but the kids" band wagon. Nobody is going to stop and think about the money the owners of this property invested in the land. They're just going to ask that he plant grass, put up park equipment, provide security and maintenance because they think he should. Because a couple of little brats said so.
Of course the commenter (sean) is such a communist that he or she thinks it's up to city council to demand that private property owners build whatever they say. What kind of leftist loser is this guy/gal? Seriously!
If that lady and her neighbors don't want storage units there then they should buy the land turn it into whatever they think is fitting for the place. Of course, if they did buy the land and then realized that they could build storage units on it and bring in over $100,000 a month in easy money, they might reconsider how badly they want a park there.
Freedom is almost dead in this city. Almost dead.
My buddy Jaime Abeytia has another installment of his "Lion's Den" up on Newspaper Tree today. His topic is media and politics. I don't want to really get into that because it's a complicated subject that would take thousands of words to do it justice and I simply don't have that much give a shit left in my tank today.
However, I do want to help him with a question he had about media coverage and candidate forums.
Jaime couldn't understand why there was no coverage of these forums. I happen to understand the issue.
Candidate forums are first and foremost about the host's ego. They are the star of the show and the seekers of attention, power and connections. He who holds the biggest forum, holds the key to the kingdom!
"Miss my forum and you are as good as dead in the political world!" they exclaim loudly whenever candidates are within earshot.
The reality? Rachel Quintana went to about zero of them and was elected to office. So much for the power of the forums, right? (Rachel, I'm not making fun of your or trying to hurt your feelings. I'm just pointing out that you had a different strategy and who am I to argue with that strategy since it worked - please don't kill me.)
Turns out that they really aren't that important - at all. Nobody has ever tallied the larger share of the votes on election night and turned to their supporters and said, "It was really that candidate forum in August that put me over the top."
So, we know that the forums are about the people who organize them, not the candidates. It's also about the people who go to all the forums and experience the "Cheers" type of euphoria where "everyone knows your name." I count Jaime among those who go to every forum almost out of a sense of belonging. There's nothing at all wrong with that, either. It just means that the audience never changes, which means the message is useless.
I hate to pick on my ankle biting friends, but they are the only ones who go to these things. The general public never ever ever shows up.
I almost forgot - the candidates' supporters pack the room, which feeds the organizer's ego. Nobody in the room is "undecided" on anything other than exactly how disgusted they are that their question wasn't answered to their liking. The audiences are always always always planted by each candidate.
There is simply no real learning going on in these forums. They change the minds of exactly zero of the attendees every single time - a perfect record I might add.
The last part is that candidates don't say much worth reporting. They are so vague on exactly what they are going to do and how they are going to accomplish it that it's all a waste of time in the end.
For years candidates have thrown around the buzzwords of the time - "quality of life" is my favorite. They always roll out their quality of life plans when put in a corner. It's as if they are saying, "I want you to have a quality of life, but my opponent here wants you to be whipped daily and forced to do hard labor. I'm bike lanes and he's gulags - the choice is so easy."
Believe me, nothing ever gets said that is either new or based in reality at candidate forums. Maybe the crowd gets lucky and someone like Lozano invents a new word or an argument breaks out. None of it is important in the long run.
Jaime just needs to realize that most news outlets understand that and their audiences understand that. What may be the coolest thing to you, is the biggest bore in the world to others.
Here comes the part where some of you start freaking out because I hurt your little egos. Get over it.
I've put on just as many forums as you have, if not more and they all sucked. I even had over 1,000 people show up to one at UTEP in 2000. So don't give me your crap about how your forum rocks - mine rocked harder and it didn't even rock that hard to begin with. If my forum was Jonh Tesh, yours was Kenny G or Yanni at best.
Have I ever wanted to do another forum? Yes.
Back when Keith Mahar owned a bar that wasn't too far and I had a car... okay, that was uncalled for.
When Mahar had a bar back in the day I wanted to put together a little forum deal on Thursday nights for the drinking crowd, which is a group of folks who don't make it to the 7:00 a.m. Village Inn breakfast forums. But he sold the bar and that idea is dead.
So there you go.
Oh yeah, and don't give me this crap about EPISO. It's run by the liberal jackass part of the Catholic church and has no business sticking its nose into politics. Besides they have no sway over voters. Hell, local catholics vote democrat two to one even though they are begged no to do so by the guy in the big hat and the smoking tea pot he waves around in defiance of local indoor smoking laws.
The Bowling's errand boy, Ray Adauto, was allowed to air some of his frustrations out on the EP Times' editorial page this past weekend. You can read it HERE.
Apparently Ray thinks the city should open some pools that aren't currently open. Ray has left his ideals behind somewhere. Where's the guy who fights so that home builders and developers don't have to include open spaces in their new development? Where's the guy who screams for the local government to stay out of business' business?
Looks like he lost ideals and has contradicted himself here. His need to float around in a public health hazard (AKA public pools) has turned him into the most liberal of democrats who demands that the government provide what he can not provide for himself - a pool.
I hope Representative Byrd uses his piece against him the next time he calls her liberal or bitches about government interference. The hypocrite has done himself no favors. Maybe he should stop making public comments unless approved by the Bowlings first.
I'm a huge fan of a new commenter on this blog. He or she calls themself "voiceofdoom." Recently voiceofdoom pointed out that he or she heard some bitching on the radio and it reminded me of when I had tuned into the local talk and heard some bitching as well. It's a major problem here and the precise reason many people don't want to get involved in politics. Let's review.
voiceofdoom was specifically talking about the zoo fees and how people were calling into a show to bitch that they were going up. His or her point was that most of those people don't visit the zoo, so what's the point in bitching about it? Exactly. That old sayings ending in "the price of tea in China" applies here.
Nobody uses the zoo therefore they have to charge more per person to keep it funded. It's a simple concept, but it brings out the bitchers and complainers.
Those same bitchers and complainers failed to wake up and realize that impact fees are going to drive up their taxes by increasing the values of all new homes in El Paso. Of course, that in turn drives up the price of all existing homes. Buy hey, they really showed those homebuilders and developers, right? Nope - they increased their own taxes.
Speaking of home prices... I tuned into Strelzin the other day to see if he was going to continue to hang himself with his own words. To my surprise he had the lady on from the CAD. Guess what happened? The 15 morons he counts has listeners each called in with their own little sad tale of how their house or their neighbor's house went from being valued at $1,000 to $3 million in just one year. Half were making the shit up as they went along.
I exaggerated the numbers, but one guy in particular was a real estate appraiser and talking about houses in a neighborhood near where I live. The increase in value of his neighbor's house that he was bitching about was exactly in line with ever single house I looked at in that neighborhood when my wife and I were searching for our home.
These assholes whine and complain that their house isn't worth that much and it's highway robbery to increase the price of their home. If they had to sell their house tomorrow they'd have it listed for higher than what the CAD listed - I guarantee that on my grandfather's chat covered grave.
For literally 20 years nobody's appraisal moved an inch. The local leaders at the time were not tax happy fools and owned significant acreage of their own they wanted to protect. Sometime in the last six years that all changed and it was time to match the property values to today's reality. I know for a fact that people paying $350,000+ for homes on Broadmoor (Coronado Country Club) had their houses on the tax rolls for $125,000 in 2004. There are still folks they haven't gotten to.
If you don't want your property values to go up, make sure your neighbors don't put their house on the market for more than your house is currently appraised at. The more they ask, the more you pay. You yourself should ask next to nothing for your home when selling it if you are really really really worried about appraised values.
The problem with El Paso is that we bitch about high taxes, but then we want the government to provide everything. The upcoming budget session is a perfect example of the bullshit that goes on in this city. I'm going to call Emma Acosta and Susie Byrd to the carpet on this one.
Every single time they do a budget the city staff recommends they cut some senior center services. Acosta and Byrd will hear nothing of it. Basically the senior centers get used as free daycare for old folks when there is already federal dollars set aside for them to go to an actual adult daycare. Instead, we pay for these people twice to have daycare services. We pay through the nose for services at our senior centers that no senior center in the country would offer - they would tell you to put your grandma in a nursing home rather that provide the enormously expensive services we provide. The old people have taken advantage of the system and your tax dollars have to cover it twice - once locally and once federally.
As the budget process goes along you'll notice that Acosta is a total bitch about the process. She worked for the city for 30 years and allegedly helped many a person defraud the city out of millions. A little research on Hector Villa will show just how bad she was. Acosta hates city staff and is jealous of them and decides to give them a bunch of shit during the budget process to throw her circus midget weight around.
This costs you money.
If you want to complain about high taxes, then you need to stop voting for democrats. I have some very good friends that are democrats, but they will solve all your problems by spending your money and it's wrong.
If you don't want appraisals, fees etc. to go up, start doing something different than you are doing or stop complaining.
All we do here is complain.
The bridges are too slow
The bridges are too expensive
The bridges are in my backyard
The traffic is terrible - do something about it
Don't do anything to the roads - it's too expensive
We need more police!
The police are out of control!
You have to let the kids have fireworks!
We need better neighborhoods!
Don't tell me how to live in my neighborhood!
Ft. Bliss sucks!
We need more troops!
We need a top notch university
We can't pay that much for a top notch university!
We need parks
Why the hell are we spending so much on parks?
stop the flooding!
Stop charging me for stopping the flooding!
I think you get the point. You can't have it both ways. Anything you ask of the government costs you money. If you don't want higher taxes, stop asking for more stuff.
Oh yeah - and just get rid of EPISD because they're don't care what you want, they just spend like drunken fools.
It seems not even Obama's huge nonprofit give away in the stimulus could save El Paso's Planned Parenthood offices. It looks like some private money could have helped.
Here's the problem - liberals love Planned Parenthood. Liberals don't give money to charity in any sizable amounts. Don't believe me? Take a look HERE.
Democrats tend to rely on the government to fund their nonprofits making them victims of political wrangling. Republicans give generously out of their own income to their favorite charities and they survive. Look behind some of the most successful charities in El Paso and you'll find they are all funded by those Republican assholes in town we love to hate.
If you're a love of Planned Parenthood you need to be asking why your representatives didn't step in an kick-start a fundraising effort for the program. That's going to be the premise of my next big article I think.