Let’s remember who John Cook actually is before we get started here. He is one in a long line of bumbling idiots that have represented the northeast part of town for the past 30 years. The long line is evidence that there are legitimate reasons to restrict people from casting a vote. Seriously – what moron votes of Carl Robinson? Northeast morons, that’s who.
Anywho… back to the task at hand.
Cook ran for mayor because Wardy was slapping him around on council. Cook isn’t smart, but he’s a shameless self-promoter (remember the BBQ sauce stunt?). When Wardy was running the city as it should be run, the takers like Cook couldn’t continue to take. Cook decided that he should be mayor to solve the taking problem (I have a whole piece I’m doing about the takers in El Paso). Actually, Senator Shapleigh decided he should.
Wardy lost because there is such thing as a “perfect storm” in elections. He should have waltzed to victory, but a few small things added up to one big thing and Cook pulled it off. To this day people below the freeway think the mayor of El Paso has the power to send their teenage boys to the war in Iraq. Why? Because that’s what Cook’s benefactors told them during the run-off in an underground whisper campaign that played on the fears of the poor and uneducated. Shapleigh was at the height of his power at that time and was abusing his status in the community in some awful ways. This is back when white men had full control over the Democratic Party in El Paso, mind you.
Far from being a dynamic leader of the city, Cook relied heavily on the newly hired city manager to do everything. Cook liked the attention, but hated the work. He spent four years abdicating his responsibility to the city manager. He didn’t meddle where he shouldn’t and was docile to the business community, so they let him have a second term. What did it matter? The mayor was powerless under city manager form of government. As one very prominent businessman put it to me after my radio show one day, “a monkey could do that job – and we’ve got a monkey we like doing it.”
You’re pretty aware of all the shenanigans he pulled in his second term, so I won’t rehash them here. He cost himself three quarters of a million dollars trying to extend his $46,000 a year job. He is not smart.
So now he’s a lobbyist for Jim Scherr. Scherr is the liberal Bob Hoy. A kingmaker for the takers. Scherr saw that Cook needed a job, so he put him up to this lobbying gig for a new hotel. Why both of them didn’t know that this wasn’t going to work is beyond me. The ordinance pretty damn clear on what can not be done by a former elected official.
I hear Cook was told privately by both staff and friends that he risked getting into trouble for trying to pull this off. Cook obviously didn’t listen and you have what happened during council last Tuesday. It is flat out embarrassing that such thing would have to take place in a public forum. El Paso’s elected class will break the rules for everyone and their mother to see and they don’t give a shit because voters in El Paso think that’s a good quality in a politician. It’s just so very sad.
Cook is full of shit when it comes his talking to Mayor Leeser about the non-profit (made up for his own benefit) border mayors association. As the executive director of this fake entity he is not “lobbying” the city for anything different than Project Arriba does (and Project Arriba is a political entity that receives money from the city – more on this next week). He is also not their lobbyist – he’s their executive director. The ordinance relates to people who are paid for lobbying. Mayor Cook knows this because he didn’t try to sign up as a lobbyist for his fake border mayors coalition, but he did do it for his work for Jim Scherr. He can chat with the new mayor and council about anything not related to something he’s being paid to lobby on. He can especially talk to them about any subject that isn’t pending council action. The only thing he can’t do is lobby for Jim Scherr – until 2015.
Don’t buy into his first amendment bullshit or his claim that he can’t talk to Mayor Leeser about his fake coalition. He knows the rules, he just thinks he’s above them.