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January 04, 2012


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Santa Fe New Mexican (New Mexico) April 22, 2001, Sunday Anti-SLAPP law: freedom from fear for citizens

Los Vecinos developer's case filed against the Greater Callecita Neighborhood Association, two of its officers and three Santa Fe city councilors. That "classic" SLAPP suit was blasted by then-Attorney General Tom Udall for its "chilling effect" on citizens wanting to talk to their city councilors and having their say in the civic process. The era of intimidation by SLAPP suits is over. From now on citizens, lawyers and judges will treat as SLAPPs all lawsuits that are aimed at First Amendment-protected rights of speech and petition, whether brought as tort, conspiracy, or defamation actions.

Since a SLAPP victim can collect legal fees from the SLAPPer if his case is thrown out, people who cannot afford to pay will now be able to get lawyers to take their case. Above all, since SLAPPers must reimburse the victim's legal fees, SLAPP lawyers will think twice before going to court. SLAPP suits will soon stop because they are no longer financially worthwhile. As a result, people will feel free to speak up without fear of being SLAPPed down for participating in the political process and for exercising their First Amendment rights. Fred Rowe is vice president of the Greater Callecita Neighborhood Association. He coordinated the No-SLAPP Alliance which pushed for enactment of this bill. Rowe is chairing a Neighborhood Network forum on the new law an Monday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Southwest Room at St. Vincent Hospital.


Texas doesn't have a SLAPP law otherwise I would have used it.

plus - this doesn't fall under slap since it's a planned and repeated attack by one group of people on another.

SLAPP is based on First Amendment, I did not say Texas has that SLAPP law eg like CA state does and NM and FL State but Texas Constitution Art 1 or 3 covers this, Texas cases even say our Constitution gives more free speech rights than federal counterpart.

The lawsuit is poorly drafted and I suspect it will be amended shortly.

The private actors defendants had a 1st Amendment right to speak out etc to the city.

And as in one of my fav quotes: The logic or reason behind exercising a Bill of Rights eg the Motive can never be a factor in judging merits ie it does not matter if motive is cash, love or hate or Revolution.

Anti-slapp,Citizens Participation Act,was signed into law in june of 2011 in Texas.To late for you since it was not retroactive.

I have two points I would like to make here:

1. How is it legal for a city or a neighborhood association to deny a potential business owner the right to open a business on a commercially zoned piece of property? I mean, I hear the complaints of the neighborhood people about their concerns for loud noise, violence et al, but aren't there laws that these bar owners and their patrons have to follow when it comes to that sort of thing? Seems like the city an neighborhood folks are putting the cart before the horse here because they don't like David Cooper...which brings me to my next point...

2. Why is it when I hear anything about Mr. Cooper, it has to do with his sex life or the fact that he participates in an alternate life style regarding his sex life? Almost seems that they (the city and neighborhood association) are biased based on his particular (and totally legal) lifestyle choices. I think they call that discrimination? (sorry, I don't have sarcasm font on my computer)

I have personally known Mr Cooper for over a year, I have met his wonderful family and have been invited multiple times to stay in his home. He demands honesty and integrity from his employees and forces Texas and TABC laws down their throats. I know because I used to work for him at Dallas Nights and bore first hand witness to the actions that destroyed his business. It is a travesty what this city and a few whiny neighborhood people have done to berate and slander this hard working business man, furthermore it is criminal what they did to destroy his livelihood.

Rep. Acosta has gone on television and talked about the people she is fighting for, how they spent thousands of dollars on their homes. Mr Cooper has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in his businesses only to be harassed by people in the city. Sad.

Thanks Thomas, the issue is interesting, also there may be a new law attached to new law you cited ie the new TX law loser pays atty fees law, however and rightly so it does not apply when you lose suing government...only corporations and private actors. I dont know Mr Cooper, I have not seen eptimes video on him or read all press, i just briefly read lawsuit once...I think Mr Cooper may have a case...my 2cents is just that he needs to plead it better eg amend complaint. When I say the private parties have a right, what I mean is they have a 1st Amendment Affirmative Defense should they choose to use such tool.

Would the Texas SLAPP law apply to a lawsuit filed in Federal Court based on Federal Laws? I don't think it would and I don't know if Congress has passed any SLAPP legislation.

Its a good question, if the suit properly plead a state law pendent claim to the fed claim then yes, if not no.

Its good Texas passed anti-slapp but of course its untested, whereas say CA state slapp has been litigated much and either watered down or strengthened.

As good as anti-slapp is its basicly just any 1st Amendment defense.

My point was that the members of the Cielo Vista neighborhood association maybe covered.They have a right to go before their elected officials and complain about problems they seen in their neighborhood.Can't get more free speech than this and that their concerns be addressed.Now this will not cover the CC members if they wrongfully acted and abused their powers in manipulating local law enforcement to harass the bar owner just because the CC had a disagreement with the bar owner.


What the suit alleges that the neighborhood association did goes far beyond "complaining." Besides, they aren't being told they can't speak - so the SLAPP is out.

This is not a free speech issue, it's actions taken against someone's constitutional rights.

The neighborhood association is going to be shown to be in clear violation of Cooper's rights.

I think you are wrong here the actions were taken by the CC and local law enforcement.I am tell you the neighborhood association are going to walk on this.
Remember David any time a citizen goes up against government they have stepped onto an unlevel playing field.If Cooper has a lot of money he maybe able to level that field.I'm not saying what is being done to Cooper is right but real world and a court of law are to different things.As you should know the courts are not nessarily about the truth but who has the best mouth piece to spin the best tale.
For me I hope Cooper wins but I can see the many stumbling blocks he faces in getting a win in El Paso.

The difference between UTEP/cincy and hawkins/montana is simple. One is owned by the government and the other is not. The land 3LM is on is owned by the airport authority. It is not owned by private interests. The land will never be needed for airport exapnsion, so I think it should be sold. As should all airport property that is not required now or in the future for operational purposes. The idea of the airport running a rent/lease/land development vehicle is insane.

The government entities in El Paso should do what they are required to do, and no more.

Then you have the mayor... This guy is named in the suit and I have to wonder if anyone on the Cielo Vista neighborhood association has any connection to him that would have made his thoughts on this whole issue sway violently to one side. I wonder... I really really really wonder... What if there was someone at the city that is close to this neighborhood association and is in a position now to carry out their will? Would that be a conflict? It wouldn't be, I don't think - but it wouldn't look good. Especially if there was deference given to this person by a person in power... a person who might not need the negative press given the existence of a premature election fight in their future. It would not be good for the city, or anyone connected to it, if it came out that some neighborhood association had a "person on the inside" this whole time.

On Tuesday, City Representative Cortney Carlisle Niland spearheaded one of the most embarrassing resolutions in El Paso’s history. The worse part is our city council voted unanimously for this embarrassing resolution asking our Texas State Comptroller, Susan Combs, to assist in the efforts to allocate State funds to improve El Paso’s infrastructure at our ports of entry, the city council also suggested implementing toll fees at the Cordova Bridge. The problem with this resolution is that they addressed the wrong branch of government for assistance, this is a federal issue not a state issue. The bigger blunder if the state was responsible for El Paso’s ports of entry, the city council would still be addressing the wrong department, the State Comptroller’s office has nothing to do with the state’s infrastructure or the state’s capital investments; the Department of Transportation handles that. The Texas Comptroller’s office is the state’s chief tax collector, accountant, revenue estimator, and treasurer. In other words, that means they write the checks and keep the books for the multi-billion dollar business of our state government and it is not within the comptroller’s purview to allocate funds for capital investments in the state’s infrastructure. The comptroller’s responsibility is to be the steward of the state’s revenues and assure funds are applied accordingly to the approved state legislative budget.

When it comes to El Paso’s International bridges, they are federal infrastructures, involving international treaties between the U.S. and the country of Mexico. The International Boundary & Water Commission must approve any type of infrastructure improvements or modification for El Paso’s International Bridges along with the U.S. Deparment of State. The Bridge of the Americas, The Stanton Street Bridge, The Paso Del Norte Bridge, were renovated or built after the U.S & Mexico signed the 1963 Chamizal Convention Treaty and in article ten of the treaty it stipulates that he Cordova international bridge "shall be toll free unless both Governments agree to the contrary.” This discussion of instating toll fees was addressed in 1993, when the Cordova Bridge was replaced and it is recorded on the 1993 Cordova Bridge replacement minutes in article-four that to be Consistent with the stipulations of article 10 of the Chamizal Convention, the replacement bridge will continue to be toll-free. The minutes go as far as to explain that an internal consultation that took place with respective governmental levels and representatives of the different sectors of El Paso and Juarez communities, interest was expressed that the bridge should remain toll-free in the spirit of the 1963 Chamizal Convention Treaty.

In the past, our current city council has passed some dumbfounded resolutions. For example, Rep. Susie Byrd's resolution to free a convicted carrot top freckled boy who had contradicting allegations of being tortured at the Juarez Cereso Prison. At least that ridiculous resolution was addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, not the U.S. Postmaster. Another preposterous city council moment when Rep. Beto O’Rourke, called a press conference at an international bridge only to politically grandstand by pretending to present President Obama with a Manifesto to legalize drugs, eventually becoming his radical platform for his congressional candidacy, but at least he addressed the appropriate parties. It would have been more of a colossal joke if he had pretended to address a Texas Park Ranger of Texas Parks and Wildlife. However, yesterday’s resolution reached a schismatic level that is blasphemous to El Pasoans. Only to find out that next day, Veronica Escobar, of the I heart Beto O’Rourke Campaign sent out an attack e-mail using this humiliating resolution, while the rest of us are being tainted as the city of babbling idiots.

These unsophisticated and incompetent resolutions are an insult to the founding fathers of our great country who established the foundation of our current branches of government. This blatant political grandstanding by certain city elected officials is only perpetuating El Paso as the cradle of ignorance and idiocy. I am imploring our city council members to put your political ambitions and ulterior motives aside. An for the city council members who simply just trusted their fellow council members of doing what is right for El Paso, I ask you now please be vigilant of their ulterior motives. Remember you are a representation of the good people of El Paso and the majority of us do not want to be stereotyped as renegades who are insular to our country’s branches of government.

Council seeks funding to reduce wait times at international bridges

1963 Chamizal
Convention Article 10.

1993 Renovation minutes that continues to reference to Article 10 of the 1963 Chamizal

Beto O'Rourkes Statement on Yesterday's Council Action

I think a number of these 'feel good resolutions' are mostly paper tigers, they have no real bite or teeth. I think their contracting the State Comptroller is just a way of cry or outcry, it does not matter who you contact up the line, if your right, each sworn government constitutionalist, is suppose to direct your complaint to proper 'higher ups' or proper 'jurisdiction'.

I agree with above poster the issue is largely a fed one re preemption, nevertheless CC can as the local CC raise hell, shout and try to make this a issue for any reason be it political or the common man trying to cross the bridges.

I dont think CC thinks it can unsurp the feds on this, i dont think they are saying look its our bridges, they know there is some fed control and they are just crying etc.

Now when and if the city decides to file a lawsuit re the bridges then that is when the bridge issue will get interesting and talk turn into actions.

Council just doesn't the idea of security. They want the drugs, the counterfeit goods and children for the sex trade to flow freely through El Paso in hopes of getting a few pennies in taxes.

You misunderstood the resolution council passed regarding the Texas Comptroller's office. They want a study done - the Tx CPA does studies. It's not to find money and fund - it's a study.

Yep, Beto needs all those rich Mexicans(cartel members too) crossing quicker so they go buy furniture at Charlottes and give mom some mo cash.

Rick, you lost. Get over it.

Back on topic, Emma Acosta is a mean woman. She thinks pandering to a few neighborhood people will win her the mayor's job? Does she think all of the people she has treated like poop will forget what she is like? Has anyone asked the cost for having her picture put on her business cards? Have you seen the huge picture of her in her office window? She may be short but her ego is huge. And the neighborhood people have slandered Mr. Cooper. And their president is planning on running by Emma's seat. Hope you eastsiders are smarter than that or God help us all

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