So I get this email from what appears to be a throwaway account and it tells me to click on the links:
So I get this email from what appears to be a throwaway account and it tells me to click on the links:
Everybody has some kind of gripe with the San Jacinto Plaza construction debacle by now. You're either upset at the way it was awarded (mostly me and other contractors), the time it's taking to complete (those who have to pass by it daily) or the lack of places to legally and tactfully relieve yourself (everybody).
I think the problem here started a while ago when the local Chicano racists decided that they didn't want to take up a private developer's offer to design the park for free. The idea being that it would match the adjacent development and provide a nice look and feel for downtown - "synergy." The racists decided that they would hi-jack the design and lay the cost on the taxpayers. The number of stupid ideas for the design of the park was very very high. It's amazing how many dumb ideas one group can have. Once you get stupid going, it's hard to stop it.
Had the developer been able to pay for the design, there would have been world class facilities... er... at least somewhere to pee. In the private world things like bathrooms take precedent over fancy hand rails. In the government world teak handrails take precedence over bathrooms.
Had you seen the plans for this project you would have seen that there are a ton of very expensive cosmetic features in the project (it is likely that the current contractor bid so low thinking he could substitute cheaper materials than specified in the plans - this faulty logic comes from a contractor that does vertical construction and has no park construction experience). The nonfunctional, aesthetic features of this park run the cost of the project up at least a million more than it could have been built with regular materials. A very nice bathroom could have been built if the city had been a lot less interested aesthetics.
I'm sure the pretty teak handrails will still be enjoyable to the eye even as your olfactory senses are raped by the smell of warm piss.
The El Paso Times was kind enough to provide their readers with their public surrender HERE this morning.
You couldn't find a more vague agenda if you tried. Combine that with the fact that some of their goals aren't even related to powers reserved for the state legislature and you have one of those beauty pageant "world peace" moments. You know, the hollow answer they always give that is now nothing more than a joke they don't even know they are in on.
I forget which member wanted to save Ft. Bliss by going to the state legislature, but it was kind of funny. Trying to save Ft. Bliss (which doesn't need saving at all) by petitioning the state legislature is like ordering a taco from your bank teller.
The paper does mention the fact that the local delegation is made up Democrats who are in the extreme minority in the Texas legislature. In a subtle way they were letting you know that it doesn't matter if they even travel to Austin this session. In past sessions some Democratic votes were needed to pass some legislation. That is no longer the case. Democrats in the Texas legislature are no more valuable to the process than someone watching from the gallery.
The fact is that most of the bills that will go anywhere have already been filed and are already being primed to be passed. There will be no surprises. Your local delegation already knows exactly what is going to happen, they just don't want to tell you quite yet. Instead, they hold a press conference and make meaningless, nonsensical promises about what they will do in Austin so you'll keep pulling that straight ticket lever.
El Paso's delegation is headed to Austin for the free booze and food. They are otherwise useless in the process. Your job is to write your legislator letters during the session reminding them to take a cab and hit the gym before going out at night. Be sure to copy me on those letters.
My friend Jim Tolbert is not happy
Council appointed the third rated candidate for the PSB slot - Bradley Roe. Roe is a civil engineer who recently sold his business to a guy named Steve Morgan. Roe's name is still on the door and apparently does some work for them. The deal is that Steve Morgan does a ton of water and sewer work. Is this a conflict?
Bradley Roe is an okay guy. I've known him for years. He's definitely a developer type of guy who made a ton of money over the years doing that kind of design. He's clearly a pick that will vote to sell all of the PSB land to home builders in tiny parcels so that parks don't have to be included... among other amenities. Smart code is out the door with this guy.
The top rated candidate was David Nemir - everybody not on council was pretty high on him. Nobody seemed to have a problem with him... other than council apparently.
Limon offered him up and everyone else followed. The fix was in. Council is trying take over the PSB and funnel the money into their pockets. It now doesn't matter if you support things like the stadium or not - we're all on the same team when it comes to stopping council from destroying the PSB.
You got a little rain in the desert and it got messy and you demanded there be immediate justice. Well, it's going to cost you. Read about the many fees you're about to pay HERE.
Because you people can't stay inside for 24 hours when it rains cats and dogs, you demand that all drainage problems be fixed right this minute. Right now costs a lot more than the normal pace of construction. Your council demanded everything be fixed right now and you're going to pay for it.
Is the extra money worth it looking back? In the middle of the storm I'm sure you were willing to pay $1,000 month a more not to have to see a drop of that wretched water. However, once you got some time and perspective away from the event you realized that it wasn't all that bad. All of a sudden $5 a month sounds like highway robbery!
Be careful what you wish for when you are angry - you just might get it.
Also, this is why there should be a charter amendment to keep council away from the PSB/EPWU. If they got a hold of the management of the EPWU, they'd raise your rates quarterly to pay for things like staff assistants and other perks under the guise of a water shortage. El Paso would go from having the country's best water utility to something that resembles UMC. Somebody step up and demand that they codify the separation of council and EPWU.
Drunks around the nation have been happy to keep everyone around them safe by using the ride on demand service Uber. I know better than anyone the kind of trouble driving drunk can bring to others and yourself. ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO MITIGATE THIS PROBLEM OF DRIVING DRUNK SHOULD BE DONE.
Now, I'm sure the folks over at Uber don't want to be known simply as a car service for drunks, but that's pretty much what they are for most of their customers. Taxi cabs are few and far between and God forbid you are black, brown or not going somewhere convenient - they won't give you a ride. Uber has none of those problems.
In El Paso you have a serious, serious, serious - really freaking serious DWI problem. A ton of people die each year in alcohol related car accidents in El Paso. Many of them are young folks who haven't had a good crack at life yet. It's heartbreaking. Anything that can be done to give these folks an option other than driving drunk should be considered. Hell, it should be put in place without some bureaucracy jumping in the way because they are jumping in the way of someone living or dying.
All of that brings me to this article from KFOX 14 news. Here I thought Representative Emma Acosta had turned things around and was legislating as friend to El Pasoans instead of a friend to special interests. I guess I was wrong. The El Paso taxi cab union/business owners have gotten to Acosta and now she's willing to impede YOUR KID'S SAFE RIDE HOME for some cheap political points. It should be noted that El Paso's taxis will not pick you up 99 percent of the time if you aren't at the airport. They, as an industry, completely fail to offer El Pasoans an alternative to driving drunk from a bar to their house. In all the years I spent at bars in El Paso - I had one taxi show up when I called. I had called them probably 50 times. I have never seen them lined up outside popular bars. I have never seen them outside events that feature alcohol. Looking at the registration in El Paso, there aren't enough cabs to service on area of town on a Friday night, much less the 15-20 hotspots we all know of. That fact doesn't apparently concern Emma Acosta - she wants to shutdown the only alternative to a cab and send the drunks back out on the street behind the wheel.
Uber has been operating in El Paso for months without a single problem. Why would the city jump in now and start screwing with them? Why fix something that is clearly not broken?
I'll tell you why - political aspirations. Acosta wants to run for mayor. Well, she won't get far when her opponents post pictures of those killed in alcohol related car accidents on mailers and send them out to voters.
Fact is - Uber is working well in El Paso. I personally know dozens of people who get a safe, sober ride for a reasonable fee when they go out now. Not only are the roads safer, but jobs have been created. I think it's just typical that in El Paso a politician would jump in to stop safety and job creation.
Unlike Martin, who is a tiny man driven by jealousy, I don't mind linking to outside sources when they are pertinent to the conversation. I also like to remind Martin just how much more traffic I have than he does. I'm sure it just kills him to know that the's the fifth or sixth most read blog in El Paso - meaning he has nine readers and that includes me.
Go read his research on what the city spent on outside legal council so far this year HERE.
That's a ton of taxpayers dollars spent to defend the city from frivolous lawsuits filed by Martin Paredes' buddies. Every single one of them has been thrown out. That includes Four Names Allala's BS intrusion into the Abbott vs. El Paso issue that was settled for less than $7,000 in legal fees before she became involved. She and Martin cared so much about the taxpayers, that they kept pressing this battle until it cost the city $135,000 to get the attorney generals office to basically say to the judges "we think this is stupid, please kill this now and force the morons intervening to pay all the legal fees." In fact, so stupid and careless was Four Names action that it set a precedent with the attorney generals office - never had they been so mad that they begged the judge to stick a private citizen with the bill.
Then there's that has been mayor, Salazar, who should have been run out off office and into a jail cell 40 years ago when he pulled a quick one with the old city hall. He sued for no reason and cost the city a bunch of money answering the BS he wanted. His cause was thrown out of court, but not before it cost taxpayers money.
As you go down the list you'll see that Martin has supported every single one of the frivolous lawsuits that he cites as a waste of money. Martin just doesn't get his own hypocrisy.
Everyone knew at some point that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez was going to shape the city command structure to his liking. New managers get to put in new lineup as they see fit.
So, what did he do?
By eliminating most of the Deupty City Manager positions and renaming the other positions, he basically took those employees out of the gunsights of council. Council has long been suspicious of the Deputy City Managers mainly because of their title. The council and mayor are the ones who get to pick the city manager. By giving that title - even in a deputy role - it became an irritant to council members. It also provided more tragets to aim at when council found themselves looking like fools.
Side note: When council members do something stupid they always blame staff. They never say "My bad, I didn't attend meetings and the ones I did attend I wasn't listening, so I'm sorry I screwed my vote up." Nope, they just blame staff.
This restructuring puts everyone well below the city manager so that all the finger pointing lands on him. It's a good strategy. Council members won't tangle with a guy that smart very often.
As for the one Deputy City Manager position left - it's just to make the unions feel like they are dealing with someone important.
Do expect more firings/retirings. I hear that the days of "girl power" over actual work product are over. The protected class is no longer protected. Perform or die!
Some guy named Azerbaijan, or something like that, has spoiled the party for District 1 hopefuls by jumping in the race before Christmas. There won't be many voters going to the polls in 2015. That means there isn't a lot of wiggle room for late announcers to grab voters.
The players are as follows
Rick Bonart - it's his to lose. The guy knows everyone and is just the type of pain in the ass voters may be looking for when it comes to questioning what's going on at the city. Veterinarians, Doctors and Realtors are tough to beat because they know everybody. He's good with the greenies, the neighborhood association folks, the hippies and some of the business folks.
Dan the Mattress Guy - Looks like he'll get the Forma support, which means the Forma backed money. Rich, good looking and also rich - he's got that going for him. However, he's got some black marks and there will be enough candidates running in the district that at least one of them is going to bring them up all the time. His crowd is the Niland crowd - young and affluent child of the old and affluent El Paso old guard. Can he get them to leave the country club or fly back into town to vote?
All the others - I think Lyda Ness may run. We've got this Uzbekistan guy alreayd in and I hear there are others. We have slots for the following that need to be filled
The La Raza Candidate -
The small business guy angry about property taxes -
The small business guy angry about construction -
The small business guy angry about everything -
The anti-ballpark candidate -
The pro-ballpark candidate -
The idiot who will run on an education platform -
UTEP student looking for extra credit -
Norma's horse -
Did I miss any?
Word is that my rantings about the "Resiliency Officer" position steered it back on track to the point they didn't hire the political guy they had in mind. Instead, they hired some lady who nobody in town is all that impressed with. The real kicker is that she's going to be working on her master's degree while you pay her as much as the city manager to carry out some third party liberal agenda with your tax dollars.
I did hear that she's easy on the eyes.
No word on where the money is to pay her. The next time you have to wait in line at the city, remember that they hired a single person whose only job is to stop construction of everything in the city for the price of what would hire three people to solve your problem.
If mayor and council want people to stop calling them names, they ought to stop hiring "Resiliency Officers" when they are raising taxes. Giving this woman $180,000 to do nothing is worse than the bonus to Valenti.
I'll tell you what a small world it is. I used to run into this guy at lunch in DC at my favorite lunch spot every week. We got to chatting and it turns out that he's THE GUY when it comes to the Padres farm system. He has a great knowledge of the game and the men who play it. If you want to know who is moving up (or down) you need to follow him on twitter and his blog.
On Twitter he is @madfriars and his sight is madfriars.com.
Make sure you encourage others to follow him as well.