Just taking some extra time to work on other projects this week. Next week all the fun begins again.
I hope the Cowboys lose by 50.
I know there's a lot going on right now, but I have Christmas to tend to and when you have a child, or children, it becomes one hell of a task. My hat is off to all of you mother and fathers who have been doing this for years! All tips and tricks for navigating the holidays with a little are welcome.
I knew about the Dan Haggerty stuff a long time ago. I know even more than what has come out. Many people have come to me with the stuff Haggerty has done in the past and my response has always been the same - call the FBI and tell them. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't.
When I ran against Haggerty in 2010 I ran a clean race. I didn't go negative because I wanted to win in the spirit that I was the best candidate with the best ideas, not the guy who was the alternative to the deadbeat. There is no personal honor in being the lesser of two evils.
A lot of people made a lot of fun of me for getting next to zero votes in that republican primary. It was quite funny to see me do so badly and it made for lots of joy for those who had been in my gun sites in the past. I failed miserably - the most embarrassing moment of my entire life... but - a real big BUT - I knew this day would come for Haggerty. I knew that no matter what I wouldn't be listed in the text of federal indictments and that he would be. I may have not received your vote (or anyone else's), but my name is clean and clear and his is not. All the people who voted for Haggerty must wear all of his alleged misdeeds around their necks. They can not complain about corruption because they had a chance to vote for an alternative and chose not to.
The five or six people who voted for me (my mom, dad, wife, cousin and two people who got confused and marked the wrong spot) can hold their head up high knowing they didn't support the guy who would do what Haggerty has been accused of doing.
I sleep well at night. I always will.
The study of the City's economic development efforts is very interesting. I'm reading the report (don't rely on the El Paso Times to tell you what's in it, they've been told what to say and how to say it by outside sources) and making notes.
When I get back I'll have some words on the subject. I think there are things you need to know and I think you'll be surprised at how all of this works.
I was surprised the professor didn't just write "get rid of the corrupt city council members, the anti-business city council members and replace them with fiscal conservatives." That's pretty much how you solve the problems of economic development in El Paso.
There was something else... I forget - anywho... I'll see you guys in a week or so.
Oh yeah - send Tamales!!!! Never thought I'd miss something so much in my life, but I miss Tamales.
I'm sure all of you know by now that former County Judge Anthony Cobos was arrested at his house this morning. The arrest was over his link to a contract he was allegedly bribed into helping get awarded to a company named LKG. The inevitable happened - no surprises here.
So how come I'm almost indifferent to the arrest?
I guess it could partly be that all of the ruckus around the corruption started at about the time Cobos and his buddies were peaking power and influence wise. To see people acting with such bravado while I knew the secret truth behind their rise really fueled my desire to see them burn.
The rest of you were just excited to see some action, a fight. It's the El Paso way, you guys love to see a fight and you love your gossip. Here was the sitting county judge being accused of all kinds of dirty dealing and you couldn't wait to see him set on fire for your enjoyment. And set him on fire we did.
By the time Cobos left office he was a shell of his former persona. He went from a county wide elected populist to a sad joke who battled with then Commissioner Escobar over every little thing in an attempt to salvage his name or at best strike some kind of revenge. All he managed to do with his outbursts and wild surprise agenda items is further the image of a corrupt politician unconnected to the reality that everybody knew his game and what he was trying to do.
The joy of one day seeing Cobos "frog marched" to jail started to fade when I realized that he was so broken that there was probably nothing worse that could happen to him - at least in his eyes. He was convicted in the court of public opinion long ago - all that awaited him was the official sentencing by a judge and it looks like he might get just that. The shocked look of a devious mastermind being arrested in a surprise sting has escaped the anxious crowd of the righteously indignant. A broken man was led away from the only place on earth he might have had a respite from the harsh judgement of the public. If I say I felt sorry for the guy you'd call me a sympathetic wimp, but it's not that simple. Any lesson he needed to learn has been learned and the possible jail time in his future is just part of paying the devil with his soul.
Some of the furious calls for Cobos' head died down after the initial announcment of the corruption investigation due to the other people involved. People who didn't mind publicly convicting Cobos of all the things he allegedly did were soon rendered quiet when his "co-conspirators" were revealed. The people caught up in the scandal were friends, and family member - people who you'd never expect... although many of us had always suspected those very people and many of us were not shocked at all by their indictments. Well, we were shocked - shocked they weren't indicted years ago.
For many people in El Paso the corruption scandal was realization that there are a lot of bad people that pretend to be good people and they ripped us off to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Some of you may even have the clarity to realize that the corruption is still going on and that there are corrupt people in elected office right now - some of them even have designs on higher office. The whole spectacle is no longer something that evokes an angry response, but a somber one. It's a realization that El Paso leadership may have a cold, dead black heart.
The arrest of Cobos isn't a victory of any kind. It's a reminder of what ails El Paso and it's ongoing negative impact on the community.
The worst part? Most of the corruption is within the ranks of the municiple employees - a far less sexy group to investigate and arrest. Expect their racket to continue unhindered for years to come.
The overwhelming tone of the emails I have received on the post in response to their response to Blaugrund's op-ed (can you follow that?) has been angry. All of the emailers want to know why I didn't point out one major issue with the lying in the paper and the upcoming quality of life bond issue - do you trust people who'd lie to you in print with $200,000,000 of your money?
The answer is = NO.
The people who signed that letter are very much the same people who will be in control of the money taken from taxpayers in the next big bond issue (if it passes). They have no problem misleading the public now, so I imagine they don't mind lying later. The big problem with this is that they will serve as the only people overseeing the spending of those bond dollars. How will we know the money was spent as promised? You can't trust the signers of that letter to tell you the truth after they took the time to lie to you in a very public way.
If you're not getting nervous yet, I wonder what it will take to make you nervous.
You had to know that Stuart Blaugrund's op-ed in the El Paso Inc. would get answered at some point. You only had to wait week until the El Paso Times ran an "open letter" in response. You can read it HERE.
I really had no idea it was in Sunday's paper until I received an email from one of my biggest fans. And by "biggest fan" I mean a person who has dedicated their life over the past few years to telling anyone and everyone that "David K is lying asshole who is responsible for Katrina, the Holocaust and the Designated Hitter rule." To say this person doesn't like me is to say that a couple of people in El Paso might like the Dallas Cowboys - it's a severe understatement.
I was very surprised to recieve the email in the first place and more suprised by the fact that it only said "you were right." I didn't initially know what I was right about and it bothered me. Here's a person who has spent the last three years telling everybody that I was wrong and now they were telling ME that I was RIGHT!
So I asked them "about what?" They sent me the link to the "open letter" in response. I read the letter and was still confused. Nothing in the open letter pertained exactly to something I had made a statement on recently, so I had to ask "about what - exactly?"
That's when they followed with a longer, angrier (not at me for once) email about how I was right when I said that the El Paso Times was in cahoots with the PDNG and their desire to rip-off taxpayers for a new arena and that the paper would never cover the story openly and honestly.
I do remember saying that! And the fact the paper let an op-ed from those arena people run in the paper that lacked a single verification of the facts stated in it was more proof of my claim.
I know that op-eds aren't news stories and the rules are different. However, a real news source knows that the rules governing the declaration of fact apply to all sections of the paper. In this case they let the author/authors mislead their readers and it was obvious and obnoxious. Let's rip it to pieces.
The letter opens with a not-so-thinly veiled attempt at painting Blaugrand as an "out-of-towner" from Dallas who doesn't know his ass from his elbow about El Paso. I find this to be funny since a few names on that list refuse to hire anyone but people from Dallas, Houston and all points not named El Paso to work for them. Legendary Real Estate tycoon, Bill Sanders hired next to no one from El Paso either as employees or consultants. He gave most people the impression that the people who lived and worked in El Paso were not smart enough to work for him or his company. So it's funny that they start out attacking a person they'd probably find to be more qualified as a lawyer than others in El Paso based on the location of his domicile on the location of his domicile (read four times, it makes sense I promise). The fact is that Blaugrand is from El Paso and he did represent clients who were wary of having their property confiscated by the government and handed over to other private individuals for next to nothing. Can you blame him for gloating a bit when it seems property rights have been upheld for five years?
The next part is funny because they use the "revitalization" of a part of downtown Dallas as an example of how things "take time." It should be noted that Dallas' reunion arena was deemed almost worthless after about 12 years of operation - that was in 1990. For the next 12 years it descended into even worse condition and it was finally in too poor of shape for even the most fly-by-night sports team with short finances - that was 2002. In 2009, having come to recognition of failure that was the entire revitalization of the area, they blew up the building and along with it the dream of revitalization of that part of town. The true story is that it was a massive failure compared to the wonder worked in Ft. Worth, which followed a completely different model than the one touted by the open letter. Using that example for revitalization is like using Fukashima as an example of how safe nuclear energy is.
The whole mention of the Dallas project is an attempt to throw-off readers and to hide the fact that they don't have much to brag about. Take out the side trip to Dallas revitalization and the letter is pretty short... pretty short on honesty as well.
The open letter states:
"The recent restoration of El Paso's architectural treasure, the Mills Building, is now complete.
Next door, the Centre Building has been completely revitalized. And north of both buildings is an adjoining 800-plus unit parking structure.
These efforts are substantial, and represent the beginning of a complete revitalization focus on the Mills Plaza District, the official "heart" of Downtown."
This was in no way a part of the downtown revitalization plan submitted to the public five years ago. This was Paul Foster using his money and his ideas to do what HE thought ought to be done downtown. I hear that privately the original downtown revitalization group was furious with Foster for "going it alone." Foster may have signed this letter, but that doesn't mean what he did with those buildings had anything to do with the plan submitted five years ago. For those people to take credit for what he did is an egregious lie that should have been edited by the El Paso Times. I have no idea why Paul Foster would have signed this letter...
Their next claim:
"What people will also see as they look around are businesses moving into the Downtown area. Two banks -- United Bank and Banamex -- have opened or are moving new corporate offices and headquarters into Downtown."
Two banks moved downtown? How many have left? How was this a part of the downtown plan? On what page of the submitted plan was the moving of two companies a stated goal? While they were throwing mud at the wall, they should have just claimed that Occupy El Paso, a regional arm of an international human rights organization, had moved their corporate headquarters to downtown El Paso as well.
The local nonprofits who already owned space downtown due to rich folks leaving it to them got in on the action too:
The Paso del Norte Foundation and the El Paso Community Foundation have both built new offices and meeting spaces in Downtown El Paso.
Pretty much one in the same when it comes to these two entities. The community foundation runs the theatre downtown, so they're pretty much married to the location. As for the Paso Del Norte Foundation - take the number of employees they have and add 10 and you'll get 15. Probably not a big enough number to qualify as a one of the top migrations of jobs to a downtown ever recorded.
Next we get a very vague claim including the age old "I'm about to tell a lie" qualifying statement of "too many to list here."
A substantial number of EI Paso companies, too many to list here, have relocated their headquarters in Downtown.
Martin Yung of JDW signed the letter. He works with State Representative Dee Margo (of the original JDW fame) who moved the company downtown from a building that was already basically in downtown. A net gain of zero if you're counting. The other "companies" referred to are all crammed into the Chase bank building and aren't all that large. I think claiming "too many to list" is just a way of saying - "please don't ask us, we're embarrassed by the real number." I think this group needs to provide an accounting of employees that have moved downtown. I can tell you that a significant amount have moved out and they worked for two of the signers of the letter.
Then they get real brave mentioning what one council member described as a "rip-off":
The old Holiday Inn has been totally rebuilt into a first-rate hotel, now a Hilton DoubleTree property.
Jim Scherr, prominent attorney and most notably the biggest democratic fundraiser in El Paso, worked directly with democrats on city council to broker a sweetheart deal to polish the turd that was Hotel Baghdad. Not only was this not a part of the downtown revitalization plan submitted by the PDN five years ago, it was done in spite of them! Scherr's hotel had nothing to do with the plan and I demand someone tell me on what page of the plan they mentioned it on so I can go reference where they said Scherr would get the deal of the century. Then I can blame them for Scherr coming up short on this end of the deal by not hiring as many people as he said he would.
Housing? Sure they mention housing.
In addition, The Lofts and the Magoffin Villas, both representing the first new housing in more than 50 years in Downtown El Paso, have been built or are under way. There is also planning under way for upscale condos in the Mills Plaza District area.
If the sales at The Lofts were any indication of how "upscale condos" are going to do at Mills Plaza, the future is not bright. I commend the guys who did The Lofts - awesome job, but in no way a part of the downtown revitalization plan put forth by the PDN group. For them to take credit for that is a slap in the face of the two brothers who put it all on the line to get it done.
And it wouldn't be complete if they didn't completely stick their foot in the mouth:
And the number of restaurants and entertainment establishments in our Downtown area has grown substantially, with more being constructed at this time.
I'm sure you can name more restaurants that have moved out of downtown than in (Ruli's anyone?). The same old spaces see the same old turnover of tenants. The biggest complaint you hear from people who work downtown - there's nothing to eat! The Union Depot has added restaurants, but that wasn't a part of the plan. That was the hard work and ingenuity of local entreprenuers trying to make a buck in a unique location. It's wrong for these people to take credit for their hard work.
Of course the letter ends with a pitch for the arena and takes a parting shot at Blaugrand:
Civic leadership in El Paso will result in the revitalization of our Downtown. It will take a strong and lasting commitment from the public and private sectors, including investment and thoughtful planning. It will also take intelligent patience.
"It will take a strong and lasting commitment... including investment" - anybody see what they did there? Bond issue! The very people who wrote this letter and took credit for the hard work and investment of others downtown want you to give them $200,000,000 to play with. They've had five years to something and have done nothing. They'd now like you to pay for their dreams because they believe so little in them that they won't put their own money in.
At the center of their latest plan is an arena... just like the one in Dallas. Do you want to see how that ended? Do you want to see how it will end for El Paso as well? Click HERE.
The parting shot? What do you think they mean by "intelligent patience?" Are they calling Blaugrand stupid? Why would they do that? Calling people names is for bloggers, not distinguished business leaders.
Because the El Paso Times is dishonest they let this op-ed ride unedited when they should have protected themselves and had them deal only with the facts. Too bad the integrity of a news and opinion source isn't important anymore. Their readers are much too dumb to know the truth, and to be honest much to intellectually challenged to even read the opinion page. So I guess it's a toss-up in the end.
We'll see if the paper can pull off helping pass the bond issue without getting themselves in trouble for advocating in an election. Free column space in collusion with any kind of campaign is against the law even in the case of a bond issue. Maybe they should learn something from all of this recall hoopla before it's too late.
This was sad. Makes me happy I go out... but then I'm still sad for those I know there...
Here's what I see...
There are lots of signs that the Sun Bowl is circling the drain, but none bigger than the this years slated half time performer B.J. Thomas.
He's 70 years old. I'm 33 and I've heard his name before, recognize about six of his songs and don't particularly like any of them or think they really fit into the spirit of half time performances. I'm pretty sure nobody under 30 has any clue who this guy is at all. He must have been picked because he was cheap and that's not a good sign.
And let's not forget that it's no longer who the Sun Bowl committee wants to play in the game, it's who they think will say "yes." Georgia Tech and Utah? Snoozer.
I say you guys ban football from ever being played in that stadium again and get UTEP a baseball team to play in it. You'll win 50 NCAA baseball championships if that move was made. There's more baseball talent in El Paso than anywhere else I've ever been and it's untapped because those boys can't leave home and go far away. Let play in El Paso, at UTEP - you'll be very successful.
Another example of El Paso not playing to one of its major strengths.
Shon Huckabee's arrest and incarceration in Mexico is making the news all across the country. People are pretty shocked that he was tortured... I guess I lived on the border so long, I'd be more shocked to hear that he wasn't tortured. That's a sad attitude to have.
I do like how the media outside of El Paso portrays Huckabee as just an innocent kid driving down the road in Mexico with a buddy and out of nowhere he was framed for a crime. The perfect nightmare to play out for unsuspecting news viewers in Kansas who want to believe that Mexico the hell their preacher has been telling them about.
The truth? I think anyone who has lived in El Paso for a while knows what probably really happened... we'd just rather not say it.
Congrats on the lowest crime rate again! Too bad you guys kill people by the dozens each week in car accidents.
And for God's sake do thank your police department and sheriff's office for being a major reason why we are so safe.
And while you're at it, pat yourself on the back too - you're doing a good job being good people who are friendly and welcoming to everyone. You might not all have your politics and principles in the right place, but you are damn good folks.
Raise your hand if you can tell me who is running for State House seat 75 and the lower valley county commissioner seat without taking a breath. Hell, I bet you can't get it right without a flow chart and power point presentation.
Good to see all those new faces running for office...
Don't count Antcliff out. Bigger district, even more support from the legal community than last time (if that's possible) and the belief that there is a God and he rewards those who are wholly good and don't give up no matter how many times they are encouraged to quit.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard from lawyers a variation of "we're lucky to have Chris Antcliff in El Paso, he could go anywhere else, work five years and retire to the beach. Best judge I've ever been in front of and I knew I was going to get a fair shake."
Talk about integrity - he could have run as a democrat and won easily each time, but refuses to lie to YOU and himself. What must one think of a judge if his first act is to lie about his party affiliation? Can you trust anything he says or does after that?
that's all i have... stuff to do
Several of you have emailed me asking what's the news with the DC "occupiers" and their "day of action." Here's what's going on...
Yesterday they caught some people off guard and managed to disrupt a few lunchtime fundraisers for members of congress at very nice restaurants around town. Nothing that would make the news since these "disruptions" take place all the time in DC. Protests are a daily occurrence here. Nobody sees them as unique.
Believe it or not, DC has been home to the "occupy" movement since the 60s. That's why they're about the only group that hasn't been ousted from their campgrounds - DC has made camping in parks by bums not only legal, but has encouraged the practice. Nothing new to us.
After the various disruptions at the fundraisers, the word got out that these people will be pulling more of these kinds of stunts the next day (today). DC political types are very cynical and don't tend to really pay attention to something until it's screaming in their face - it's just the way things are here. It doesn't matter how many times they are warned, they don't take it seriously until the people have already crashed through the front doors and start turning over tables and slinging chairs around. Yesterday's actions provided them with enough of a scare to think about today's possible activities (for once).
In a stroke of genius by the "occupiers" they published their plans in-full on the internet. It pretty much gave all the lobby firms, trade associations and everyone else the chance to lock down their buildings before the "occupiers" could carry out their "invasions" of those offices today.
Every building on K-Street and the surrounding streets was locked down and you could only get in if you had the proper ID badges etc. When the "occupiers" went to start entering buildings trying to protest inside, they found locked doors and big burly security guards in front of those doors. They had to resort to another means of throwing a hissy fit.
Their alternate plan was to screw the 99 percenters who have to travel the streets of DC at some point to provide food and shelter to their families by blocking traffic. Cabies, delivery trucks, bike messengers, construction workers and a whole plethora of other people who aren't rich, aren't political and precisely the type of people "occupiers" are trying to stand up for were left completely stranded in traffic as these morons blocked the street.
The "one percenters" watched from their offices high above the street laughing and pointing at the idiocy below. Most offices had lunch brought in by their building's caterer (very common here for every building to have a full kitchen and catering capabilities for its tenants) and went on about life as usual. Screwed by the catered lunches were the restaurants and their cooks, waiters and bus boys who had empty dining rooms today. Again, the "occupiers" screwed the 99 percent in some weird attempt to prove something to the "one percent."
And let's not forget - many of the "occupiers" were arrested for their efforts on top of screwing those they sought to protect.
All in all - a good day was had by some.
Stuart Blaugrund wrote the piece I link to below for the El Paso Inc. I have some thoughts, but they aren't contrary to his findings. Please read and we'll discuss later.
Stuart Blaugrund piece HERE.
The real interesting part of the whole recall effort is the fact that the time-line for running for mayor has been moved up - significantly. Who is ready? Who isn't? And who might show up on a whim?
Nobody is ready to run for mayor at this moment. Nobody has a team in place and fundraising started. Maybe a few people in town are having "what if" conversations with the monied folks, but they (monied folks) don't believe the mayor is any trouble (even though he's 100 percent done for - whether you like him or not).
Well, I shouldn't say "nobody." I hear former state Senator Eliot Shapleigh is considering a run and current councilwoman Emma Acosta is as well. Shapleigh has the best chance of the two. I'm not saying he'd beat an Oscar Lesser or Beto O'Rourke (considering he loses his congressional bid), but he'd beat the pants off of Acosta. Any of you who know about Cook's rise to the biggest office on the tenth floor, know that Senator Shapleigh played a vital role in getting him there. He knows something about running for mayor and running county wide. However, this isn't going to be a two person race between Shapleigh and Acosta, so it's not worth it to handicap this race with them as the only players.
I remember the first time Beto O'Rourke considered running for congress in 2009. It came down to him having to literally resign at a council meeting with all of about five days notice beforehand and two of of those days fell on a weekend. Cortney Niland had expressed an interest in running for O'Rourke's seat when his term was up. Her "expressed interest" had to turn into "I'm running" in a matter of hours once the rumor of O'Rourke's impending resignation hit the political gossip circuit. I remember her being at council ready to announce if O'Rourke resigned. Our conversation was interesting because she really had to just commit even though she wanted to give herself months to think about running. I think she figured that she'd back others out of the race if she was the first to announce. Turns out that she didn't have to make the decision early. However, it did position her as the candidate early on and pretty much set the tone that she was the person to beat in that race. And you must remember, this was a time when Jay Kleberg was coming off of a strong showing in a primary battle against Dee Margo and his backers wanted him in O'Rourke's seat. Her readiness really paid off.
I think it's important to see how Niland benefited from the time to ramp up when O'Rourke didn't resign. Any candidate pondering a mayoral run needs to decide no later than ten minutes ago that they want to run for mayor and start doing so. They need to go talk to the monied folks, a campaign outfit like Two Ton Creativity and start acting like the next mayor of El Paso. You can't "wait and see" in this type of volatile political environment.
You know that Pastor Brown will run someone for mayor. That person won't win, but her or she is guaranteed at least 15 percent of the vote if not more. That's a huge problem when you're trying to avoid a run-off. The key here is to make it a race between you and Pastor Brown's person. If you don't scare all other comers off now, you'll be in a 52 person race for mayor and you might not win because you'll get lost in the mix.
Here's the groups that might have a candidate:
1. PDNG will have some kind of candidate who will carry the water for their arena. This will not be the "business candidate" because the real business community no longer really participates in PDNG. It's just an arm of "La Red" now and we all know the "wink wink nudge nudge" thing going on with them, right?
2. The business candidate will be backed by the legitimate business community and you can bet he or she will be a westsider and have lots of funding. I truly believe this person will win.
3. The traditional democrat candidate will be an affable member of one of the bigger factions of the local democrat party. Could be a female, might be a male, but surely Hispanic. This person is in general a decent candidate who could easily win Acosta or Ortega's seat, but not city wide. This person will be anti-city manager form of government.
4. The non-traditional democrat candidate will actually be a flaming liberal who has been shunned by the very conservative democrat factions in El Paso. This person will be the "bomb thrower" and will spend most of his or her time relentlessly attacking the front-runner. I love this candidate for the sheer insanity they bring to the table. This person will be anti-city manger form of government.
5. Pastor Brown's candidate will be what you expect... no need to get too far into who they are, but you know they will get good a segment of the nondenominational church vote. This candidate will lean toward anti-city manager form of government.
6. The ankle-biter candidate... well there might not be one because it's kind of expensive to run for mayor and let's face it, the ankle-biters want to change things, but not at the cost of starting at the top. This person's only issue will be the city manager and how she needs to be arrested and charged with every crime ever written to paper.
7. The young up-and-comer candidate is always fun to watch. Usually a male who got an education and some work experience outside of El Paso and is completely confident that they now know what's best for El Paso because they once live in Seattle. These are the guys who think Segundo Barrio's biggest problem is not having access to free wireless internet service. This candidate is so laughably disconnected to the people and issues of El Paso that what starts out as funny become crushingly sad in the end. Usually these people have their souls ripped from their bodies and they move onto something else and frequently it's located somewhere other than El Paso. Although, sometimes their loss inspires them to go find their "Chicano roots" as kind of a research project on why they are so out of touch with the every day El Pasoan (that should be the name of a magazine!).
Any factions I missed?