Thursday, May 3, 2012

Having Your Torta and Eating It Too: Reyes, Bridges, Agents, Rhetoric, The Status Quo, and No Evidence Of Any Alternative Solutions From The Man Who's Been In Charge Of This Issue All Along

While reading this morning's edition of the El Paso Times I was left muttering, yet again: whoever it is that is in charge of helping Congressman Reyes with his message while on the campaign trail, really needs to step it up. Congressman Reyes needed some help last night after another blunder boiled over yesterday with the comments he made at a community meeting that was organized by the Ysleta Independent School District regarding the prospect of a new international bridge being built near Yarbrough Dr. in El Paso, Texas.  Here's what the Congressman said and what the El Paso Times reported this morning:

"They don't want you to know the facts," said Reyes, an eight-term Democrat running for re-election. "And as long as I'm your representative, I'm going to block the effort to get a presidential permit."

. . .  Former city Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is trying to unseat Reyes in the primary, has said a new bridge is necessary to protect and increase international trade.

 . . . Without it, [O'Rourke] says . . .  El Paso stands to lose thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.

. . . But Reyes has said the bridge is not needed. Instead, he says the problem is a lack of customs agents.

. . . Both candidates agree that staffing should be the first priority.

"There are plans in place to find alternative solutions," Reyes said. "We shouldn't have to move one single family to create another congested corridor that we don't have staffing for."

Wow, let's walk through this syllogism:

[1]   El Paso stands to lose millions of dollars in trade and thousands of jobs if it does not improve access to trade and travel between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, according to Congressman Reyes' challenger, and former El Paso City Councilman, Beto O'Rourke--quite frankly, it's awful right now.

[2]   But Reyes says that the solution is not a new bridge; but rather, more customs agents at the bridges we currently use.

[3]   Except that Reyes--who has been in Congress for 8 terms (almost 15 years)--has not been able to secure funding for more customs agents at the bridges that are currently being used in El Paso and which have been understaffed for more than 10 years--despite the tremendous number of connections in Washington D.C., Congressman Reyes says he has, and the extraordinary seniority he enjoys in Congress as an 8 term Congressman who has been the Chairman of at least two major Congressional Committees (Veterans Affairs and Intelligence), and who has recently received the endorsements of Presidents Clinton and Obama.

[4]  Despite the lack of a solid plan of action to solve this crisis or a viable alternative solution, if re-elected, Reyes says that he will continue to block any effort to build another bridge in this area.

[5]  And with regard to the immediate international trade and commerce crisis at our international ports of entry in El Paso,  Reyes has--at the very least--told us to rest assured, because there are, "plans in place to find alternative solutions."

Point 5 of the last part of the syllogism is the worst part of Congressman Reyes' response to this issue. Having "plans in place" to "find alternative solutions" could be anything; such as:

[1]  Planning to think about solving this issue over coffee tomorrow morning; or

[2]  Planning to use the internet to Google key phrases about this issue; or

[3]  Planning to ask your mom about it when she gets home this evening; or

[4]  Planning to ask his staff about what their opinions are about finding alternative solutions to this issue while enjoying lunch with them at Chicos Tacos this weekend; or

[5]  Planning to read the newspaper about this issue this Sunday after a great game of golf.

My point is that having "plans in place" to "find alternative solutions" is extraordinarily and intentionally vague, because the Congressman knows himself that he does not have a solution for this issue, but has to come out saying something. It's empty rhetoric, not a plan of action. Geeez, whoever is feeding the Congressman these talking points is doing an awful job.

When you are an incumbent in a tough election, and choose to take up a controversial issue that could have been solved during your term, you aren't going to win your race with a harsh criticism about the change your opponent is allegedly offering, while offering absolutely no evidence of your own efforts to successful solve the problem you've chosen to criticize your opponent about wanting to solve about that issue during his campaign against you for the office you currently hold.  

The reality here is that Congressman Reyes is the problem--that's why the community surrounding Yarbrough Dr. is having to have a meeting about the prospect of their lives being disrupted indefinitely; because Congressman Reyes didn't solve this issue during his 8 terms in office in the first place while he was in office--but is still asking you to trust him today to solve this issue, next year, the 9th term around.

To view the El Paso Times article referenced in this blog please go here:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

House District #75 Candidate Hector Enriquez's Shameless Whispering Campaign: An Old-Skool Shout-Out to Compa-Style Politics As Usual In The Valley

Feel free to chalk up Candidate for Texas House District #75 Hector Enriquez's strategy for winning his race as yet another shameless play from the pages of the typical El Paso County Democratic Party establishment, good 'ol boy, compa-style political handbook.

Earlier this month Mr. Enriquez coupled an aggressive whispering campaign dragged along the dusty roads of House District #75 with a desparate flurry of messy tweets and messages strewn over facebook, twitter, and the blog sphere in a shameful effort to sway the valley against his opponent, Mary Gonzalez, by attempting to call her gender, youth, sexual orientation, and decision to pursue an undergraduate and graduate education out of town, into question.

Hector Enriquez knows he can't beat Mary Gonzalez on credentials, experience, or on the issues, so a profligate negative campaign about Mary Gonzalez's intimate life has been thrust into the center of his strategy for swaying voters in the valley toward his campaign's direction with the best lie he's probably ever told anyone in his life:

A young, well-educated, gay woman, who was born and raised in the valley and finished college with a graduate degree and an extensive amount of leadership experience and academic credentials throughout her career is the wrong choice for House District #75; because she's young, she's a woman, she left town for her education, and she's gay.

Since when was running conservative on a hetero-chauvinistic Republican-style platform the ticket for winning a seat in the Democratic Stronghold of Texas?

Quite frankly, I don't know what's more offensive for the lower valley of El Paso, and the surrounding communities of San Elizario, Soccorro, Tornillo, and Horizon about the way Hector Enriquez is running his campaign:

[1] The idea that Hector Enriquez thinks that the lower valley and surrounding communities in House District #75 would buy into a campaign that suggests that women, people who are gay, or young people who leave town to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree are not qualified for and should not run for office in that district, or

[2] The idea that the lower valley of El Paso and surrounding communities are not sophisticated enough to elect the most qualified candidate for State Representative based on the the candidates' experience, education, leadership skills, and proven ability to get the job done.

Hector Enriquez's smear campaign against Mary Gonzalez is typical among traditional establishment politicians in El Paso County; preying on and exploiting the perceived prejudices they hope the people of El Paso County have against people who are different--such as people who are not Hispanic, or who are women, or who are gay, or who are young and are running for office. 

Shame on them and shame on Hector Enriquez for thinking he can win a race for State Representative in District 75 this way. El Paso County can and should put a stop to bigoted politicians who use unethically offensive tactics such as these to win races. El Paso County deserves better. 

For a glimpse at some of Hector Enriquez's tweets and messages check out Jaime Abeytia's Lionstarblog here:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reyes' Response to Beto O' Rourke's Veterans Ad: A New Low For A Hard-Pressed Campaign

Veterans' issues are always a very personal and sensitive subject. Every American has a personal connection to a veteran. Many of our veterans are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, boyfriends, husbands, wives, girlfriends, ect. The list can and does go on and on. That's why veterans matter. They laid their lives on the line for our country and their families, so that we can all be safe. 

In light of this obvious observation, I'm disappointed with the way the Congressman's press release was written in response to Beto O'Rourke's ad. The lack of a VA hospital in El Paso aside, why on Earth did the author of the Congressman's press release feel that it was appropriate to respond to this political add with the following statement:

The ad "shows what seems to be a man sporting a marine corps. (sic) patch in an attempt to exploit the struggles of our veterans to score cheap political points against the Congressman." --El Paso Times, citing Congressman Reyes' press release in response to Beto O'Rourke's ad.

There is a lot wrong with the aforementioned statement. A high school freshman-level rhetorical analysis of the press release statement would easily reveal how disrespectful the comment is to the brave marine in Beto's political add who was willing express his frustrations publicly about his struggles to receive care as a veteran: 

The add shows what "seems" to be a man "sporting" a marine corp patch in an "attempt" to "exploit" the struggles of our veterans to "score" "cheap political points" against the Congressman. Wow. How incredibly disrespectful this comment is to our veteran. 

The entire criticism of the veteran made by the Congressman's press release suggests that the veteran in Beto's ad:

[1]  May be lying about being a veteran;

[2]  May be willing to display a patch he doesn't really own or may not have earned;

[3]  May be choosing to take advantage of his alleged status as a veteran to score a deceitful win against the Congressman; and 

[4]  Should not be trusted or taken seriously, because he's spoken out against the Congressman.

That's absolutely awful, disrespectful, and perhaps typical of what one can expect from some of the people the Congressman has chosen to help represent him in his office and in his campaign. 

I obviously don't believe that the Congressman wrote this comment in his press release himself, but I do believe someone who is on the Congressman's payroll that is financed by us, his constituents, did.

Were I the Congressman running for re-election in a close race in a district that has one of the largest military bases in the country and one of the highest number of retired military veterans in my state, I would fire the person who wrote this press release. This comment alone would have had the potential to sink my campaign.

Our veterans in El Paso, regardless of who they vote for, deserve to be treated with more respect than this.

The El Paso Times article that reported this issue can be found here:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Coming Clean & Keeping It Classy: 1001 reasons why Beto could have backed out of El Paso Young Democrats' invitation to speak, but didn't.

Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending El Paso Young Democrats' fundraiser/cocktail mixer held for Beto O'Rourke, who is a Candidate for the 16th U.S. Congressional District, currently held by Congressman Reyes.  From the beginning, quite honestly, I didn't expect a lot of people to attend the event for a couple of reasons:

[1]  The event was held the week of Thanksgiving;

[2]  The event was held at the same time as Judge Mike Herrera's fundraiser--who is a super well-respected Democratic Family Court Judge in charge of one of the busiest most well-respected family courts in El Paso County and the State of Texas;

[3]  The event was billed as a cocktail mixer--which was a clear contrast from the formal dinner Beto's opponent, Congressman Reyes, received from the same organization, for the same reason, at the same time, at the same venue, the month before;

[4]  The event was advertised as the "Poshest," "Hippest," event of the campaign season in spite of the fact that it was held at a small family-owned Mexican Restaurant (G&R Restaurant) that was ill-equipped to host a cocktail mixer and an allegedly internationally renowned Electronic Music DJ (There is no dance floor at G&R Restaurant, and their bar space is a polite formality that barely honors its intended function);

[5]  The event lauded a fictional DJ with false credentials, "DJ Notorious Boom Boom," on every invitation that was sent out for the event--which is an ethical issue that isn't easily resolved with the justification that it was just a joke (DJ Notorious Boom Boom is a fictional DJ that does not exist; Jaime Abyetia, who is a contractor that works for "My El Paso DJ," was the DJ for the event); and

[6]  The event's invitation never mentioned what office Beto O'Rourke was running for--which is an amateurish move that could easily be construed as intentional, given the experience El Paso Young Democrats has in hosting political events such as these and the tradition it has in honoring a few of the most basic principles of political courtesy and protocol--both of which are credentials the organizer of the event, Alex Guzman, El Paso Young Democrats' Vice President of Finance, takes great pride in having.

In reality, there were at least a 1000 other reasons why a serious candidate for Congress should have never accepted the invitation to speak to an organization that didn't think enough him as a candidate for United States Congress to advertise the position he is running for on their invitation, but that did take the time to laud the false credentials of a fictional entertainer on their invitation instead.

Regardless, Beto O'Rourke, Candidate for U.S. Congressional District 16,  kept it classy. He attended the event--despite the casual hostility implicated in the way the event was planned for him by Alex Guzman-- and spoke elqouently about Border Security, Immigration Reform, Congressional Term Limits, the justification behind legalizing Marijuana; as well as, about Congressman Reyes' record--which Beto alleges is that of a legislator that has only authored and passed 6 bills during the almost 15 years he's been in office.

Quite honorably, I might add, Beto also made a good faith effort before and after the event began and ended--and despite the loud music blaring in the background--to speak to each person in attendance at the event at each table. (Perhaps he really did believe there would be an opportunity to mix with the guests in attendance and speak with them one-on-one the way the invitation indicated.)

In sum, despite the odds that were stacked against him politically at this event in the way it was planned, billed, and executed; and despite the fact that any other serious candidate for any office would likely have declined speaking at an event planned this dishonestly, by Alex Guzman, Beto O'Rourke maintained his credibility as a man of his word by attending the event and also showed us just how Congressional he can be in whatever situation he is placed in--which, quite frankly, appeared to serve him more justice than I think the organizers of the event may have intended.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Blog of My Own

After a lot of thought and consideration, I've decided to write a blog of my own about state, local, and national politics that touch on or affect the El Paso area.  The name of my blog, "EP-Headnotes," is inspired by summaries about the law that are offered at the top of almost every legal opinion published by two of the most successful legal research databases used by lawyers, advocates, and practitioners  in the United States (Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw).

The idea of "headnotes" (or accessible summaries of major areas of the law) I thought lended itself fairly well to my own inspiration behind creating this blog: a space that parametricizes popular issues arising out of state, local, and national politics that affect the El Paso area--hence the blog's name, "EP-Headnotes." Although it is not my intention for this blog to serve as any kind of legal resource--and it shouldn't--I do intend for this space to serve as a space that provides an intelligent analysis about political issues that affect El Paso.

As a matter of housekeeping, it's really important for the readers of this blog to know--if there are any--that the views of this blog are not intended to represent the views of any other organization in which I am a member of or am affiliated with; instead, the views expressed in this blog are my own personal views and should be strictly construed by any reader of this blog as such. In light of as much, I completely intend to exhaust every opinionated resource I have to discuss issues of substantial interest and importance in El Paso.

Similarly, I hereby cordially extend an invitation--to anyone that is interested--to discuss anything they find of interest on this blog with me or with anyone else who reads this blog. With that having been said, let's let the good times roll. --Antonio Williams, J.D.