The Inner Loop: 9.28.07
by Owen White
Posted on September 28, 2007
Fund-raiser Thursday evening for Bill McCamley, a Dona Ana County commissioner who is running for Congress against Republican Steve Pearce. Interesting because this re-enforces the regional approach taken to development of the El Paso-Juarez-Southern New Mexico "borderplex."
The hosts were Mayor John Cook and City Council members Susie Byrd, Steve Ortega and Beto O'Rourke, who wrote this note about McCamley: "Bill is a bright, progressive county commissioner in Dona Ana who is running for Congress in southern New Mexico. He understands our region, realizes that El Paso is a crucial component in its success, and I think would be an additional strong advocate at the federal level for the unique needs and opportunities here. I also think he's going to win -- he raised $140k in his first quarter of fundraising, has been picked up on the national radar, and will be very competitive financially with the current officeholder. I think this fundraiser could be a big step towards clinching the primary and then winning the general election in '08."
This was nicely put: "an additional strong advocate." The primary strong advocate at the federal level, alas, was not present at the fund-raiser; nor were any members of his staff.
Seen and heard: Brian Kennedy at El Jacalito on Myrtle about a week ago talking to a group of people looking like money. Kennedy confirmed he had lunch with a group of people, but when asked about his political plans said only, "it's an interesting political season, isn't it?" In case you're wondering, he lives in state Rep. Paul Moreno's district.
Plastic city: A sharp reader noticed an offhand El Paso mention in a recent Austin American Statesman article about cities banning plastic bags. The article stated that El Paso was considering a ban on plastic bags; they're also known in El Paso as spring flowers (you know, they grow on cactus). Anyway, it's true, the issue is under discussion at City Hall.
The city is not settling with former City Attorney Lisa Elizondo. A 35-minute discussion in executive session resulted in a 5-3 vote Tuesday to continue negotiations. Voting against continued discussion were reps Byrd, O'Rourke and Ortega. Guess Rep. Ann Lilly didn't get the memo.
Speaking of O'Rourke, he voted on the set of incentives designed to spur investment in Downtown El Paso (remember the Downtown Plan?). He's abstained on previous votes, but in this case, an opinion from the City Attorney's office gave support to his ability to vote. O'Rourke's wife works for La Fe, which owns property in South El Paso, and his father-in-law, Bill Sanders, is an investor in the Borderplex REIT, which is buying property Downtown. Essentially, the argument is, voting on general incentives for which anyone could apply does not confer a special benefit, and therefore is ok. Read the opinion here, and discuss amongst yourselves. [link]
More winning candidates on Fernando Parra's client list (see entries in previous Inner Loops): city reps Eddie Holguin and Melina Castro, Mayor Cook, county clerk Delia Briones.
Speaking of lawyers, the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso has hired a lawyer to defend itself against the lawsuit from former CEO Pablo Salcido, who also is suing HACEP board chair Kenna Ramirez individually. The board gave approval Wednesday to hire Walker Crowson to represent both the Housing Authority and Ramirez in the case.
Downtown Revitalization: It was a busy Thursday for Democrats Downtown. Three other fundraisers took place that evening: Judge Patricia Macias at the Plaza Sky Garden; Judge David Chew at the El Paso Club in the Chase Tower; and Judge Mike Herrera at the Uptown Lounge at the Camino Real. Judge Patrick Garcia also had a fund-raiser at a home on the West Side.
Newly retired Police Lt. Gabriel Serna will run for sheriff, with an official announcement to come Monday. That makes two former members of the El Paso Police Department -- former Chief Carlos Leon the other -- to announce for the position. Also in the race is Al Patino, a former U.S. Marshall. Still to come, potential announcements by former Deputy Chief Robert Almonte, who retired from the department in 2004, the same year as Leon, and current Chief Richard Wiles, who is considering a run but would need special dispensation from the city if he were to run but not retire. Or maybe he'll just get a better offer.
Inside the tinfoil hat: Oct. 8 is when the county takes official action to approve the budget. Imagine the turmoil if members of the court weren't there to approve the budget. Once it's approved, though, the effect on county operations might not be so severe, were anything to happen to members of the El Paso County Commissioners Court. Just a thought.
Previous Inner Loops
-- 9.27.07: This week, we take you inside the tinfoil hat, featuring a cast of thousands: Lee Trevino, The Strelz, Asarco and Quintana, a Shapleigh sitdown, Reyes, Leon, Wiles, fundraisers and more. The Inner Loop avoids traffic by circling around the urban gridlock of El Paso politics.
-- 9.14.07: Getting loopy this week with Richardson, Esparza, Shapleigh, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Tenet, Parra, Aguilar and Moreno, just to name a few. Is there a voter rollback in Ysleta? How about candidates for district courts? Read on for questions, answers and mass confusion.
-- 9.7.07: Theresa Caballero and Jaime Esparza, plus other campaign contributions. Margo and Haggerty, Tilghman and Reyes, Rosenbaum and Quintana, Samaniego, Cobos, Perez, Friends of the El Paso School District, Hunt, Hicks and Pickett, Marquez and Moreno, and so on. To paraphrase a comic genius, El Paso, we have met the enemy, and we is us.
-- 8.24.07: Pushing the polls has begun, the city is facing "one tough lawyer" (but not that one) in the Elizondo case, a city appointment dilemma (hint: Holguin wins on one, but will the mayor get his Jobe?), and Shapleigh, Chavez, the Republicans and more. By the way, where'd Ann Lilly get off to?
-- 8.17.07: It's election season, and here are a few dates to keep. Also, some fund-raiser updates, a TIRZ tidbit, some FBI fallout, a lawsuit over construction at the UTEP Garden Inn, Glass Beach and more.
-- 8.10.07: Moreno’s challengers emerging, and a few other answers about candidates for Chavez’s judge seat and Teran’s county seat. Also, an intriguing City Council board appointment, a high-level Hunt resignation, a major Margo move, and more morsels for you political junkies.
-- 8.3.07: Notes and quotes about Reyes, Perez, Teran, Moreno, Lozano and more. Plus tidbits about CF Jordan, the Children’s Hospital, and finance reports. A new NPT feature.
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