El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

Archive for February 11th, 2009

NPT Capitol: Texas Broke? “Not true,” says Rep. Garnet Coleman

All this talk of Texas being broke and having to buckle down seems to be getting on Garnet Coleman’s nerves.

Speaking at a press conference at today, the Houston state rep made clear he thought there were no excuses for not expanding critical services, like mental health in this session’s budget.

“There’s this idea that Texas doesn’t have any money…it’s just not true,” said Coleman, citing the $9bn rainy day fund and the projected $24bn in federal stimulus aid Texas could receive in 2009/10. “As we move forward people ought to ask what the need is out in the community.”

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 11, 2009 at 6:07 pm

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NPT DC: Clyburn Amendment up in the air

The Senate passed an $838bn version of the stimulus package (HR1) yesterday, and congressional members from both chambers closed in on a $789bn conference committee compromise this afternoon. [link]

BUT…the Clyburn Amendment, along with Title I in its entirety, was struck out from the Senate version. The amendment, which allows for stimulus aid to be requested by state Legislatures (if the governor gets stroppy) was slipped into the House version of HR1 by Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, after Republican S.C. Governor Mark Sanford hinted he might not request the money.

The amendment would effect Texas considerably, in light of Perry’s open hostility toward HR1 and Texas lawmaker’s subsequent willingness to file requests for federal money in spite of him. [link][link]

However the Clyburn Amendment, or something similar, may end up in the final stimulus package…we’ll have to wait and see…I’ll keep you posted!

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm

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NPT Capitol: Houghton, a Perry guy, waiting on TTC decision

ted_houghton_jr_2El Paso’s Ted Houghton is one of the five members of the Texas Transportation Commission, one of the most powerful appointed boards in the state. His term ended Feb. 1, and Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t made any announcement about his status. That means he continues to serve until formally reappointed, or replaced.

The next TTC meeting is Feb. 26, Houghton said, and he plans on attending, “unless told otherwise.” And while the jockeying now between Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison might put El Pasoans who have backed Perry for several years in a bind, Houghton said, “It doesn’t put me in a tricky spot at all. I’m a Rick Perry guy.”

Houghton did say that the commission may have a special meeting to discuss the federal stimulus package and its transportation funding. That decision is pending Congress’ coming to an agreement between the House, Senate and President Barack Obama.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 11, 2009 at 11:02 am

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NPT Capitol: Pat Haggerty: “Never say never”

I caught up with former State Rep Pat Haggerty this morning, who seems to be enjoying life as a lobbyist here in Austin. I asked him if he would ever consider running for his old seat, now occupied by Joe Moody, after Haggerty had lost the 2008 primary to Dee Margo, who in turn lost to Moody.

“Never say never,” was Haggerty’s response implying more of a philosophy of life than a statement of intent. Nevertheless, that would be an interesting race wouldn’t it…?

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 11, 2009 at 11:00 am

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NPT Capitol: Moody’s first audio address


State Rep Joe Moody, D-El Paso, released the first edition of a promised weekly audio address today.

“I expect the days to be long and the pace to be quick…locally I’ll be focused on helping our disabled veterans, pursuing new economic development opportunities, and looking out for the best interests of El Paso,” said Moody, while epic brass music played in the background.

You can listen to the address here.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 11, 2009 at 10:51 am

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NPT Culture: The Denver devil horse v. El Paso’s big guy

ob-dc011_denver_d_20090206131655Think we got problems with a horse sculpture? All ours does is represent conquest and brutality in the course of European expansion. And it’s really big. At the Denver airport, a Luis Jimenez sculpture is causing controversy over art. In a nutshell, a Denver developer started a petition to take it down, realized it wouldn’t happen, and now is turning her efforts toward educating visitors: She envisions brochures in the Denver airport, articles in in-flight magazines, and plaques describing the artist’s style and intent mounted along concourse walls. She’d even like to hold workshops for taxi and shuttle-bus drivers so they can respond to startled comments from visitors coming across the mustang for the first time. Her goal: Instead of being scared, “when people see it, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’ ” she says. [link]

180px-donjuan_deonateThat’s Denver. Here, it’s just about another project that was sprung on the public, went way over budget, and pissed everybody off. Mostly. There was some good discussion about identity as well, and maybe a smattering of thought regarding the place of public art. Here is a piece from former NPT publisher Anthony Martinez, and here is a piece by artist and writer Richard Baron.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 11, 2009 at 10:50 am

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NPT Capitol: Rick “Che” Perry’s new website

Governor Rick Perry has begun a new website called:
The website calls on Americans to “Join the fight” against the “bailout mentality that has seemingly taken over our federal government” by signing the petition.

“With a few simple keystrokes, you have planted your flag on the side of fiscal restraint, common sense and good old fashioned American self reliance,” the site tells you (once signed up). The website has a real old time populist feel to it, complete with blurry masses, an old wooden protest sign and even a melting U.S. flag.

2-10-2009-5-56-12-pmBut you could be forgiven for being confused. How is America “melting” through federal action? How are Kay Bailouts…sorry government bailouts…detrimental to the nation? And how does giving your email address to the Perry campaign equivocate with “tak(ing) action now?”

No need to worry brothers and sisters of the struggle! The website explains with clarity and precision the significance of of our endeavors!

By signing up, “we are dumping tea into a digital harbor in hopes that federal lawmakers will stop the madness and find sensible approaches to our nation’s financial challenges.”

Viva la Revolucion! Storm the Bastille! (PS vote for Perry in the primary)

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 11, 2009 at 8:10 am

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