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

Archive for February 20th, 2009

NPT Media: Drug War coverage of Juarez police resignations, Mexico travel advisory

Drug War coverage of two major events (aside from the ongoing violence). Missing is any coverage of the bridge closures. If you got a good link, send it over. Regarding the resignation of the Juarez police chief:

CNN: “We have not blinked,” Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said. “We will continue to fight organized crime… he has done a good job, but we will find someone else.”

LA Times: Roberto Orduña Cruz, the city’s public safety secretary, said he didn’t want to risk more lives. An officer and a jail guard were shot to death earlier Friday, two days after handwritten signs were posted saying a policeman would be killed every 48 hours unless Orduña resigned. “Respect for the life that these brave officers risk every day on the streets for Juarez residents obliges me to offer my permanent resignation,” Orduña said.

Regarding the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory:

Washington Post: “Recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades,” the advisory reads. “Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area.”

— Regarding the big picture: Wall Street Journal: On the one hand: “Beyond the headline-grabbing violence, Mexico is stable. It has a thriving democracy, the world’s 13th-largest economy and a growing middle class.” On the other: “Every day brings a new horror. In Ciudad Juarez on Friday, gunmen killed a police officer and a prison guard, and left a sign on their bodies saying they would kill one officer every two days until the city police chief resigns. He quit late Friday. Analysts and diplomats worry that drug traffickers may increase their hold on Mexico’s political process during midterm congressional elections scheduled for July.”

Sito Negron


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 20, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Houghton reappointed to Transportation Commission

ted_houghton_jr_2News release from the governor’s office. For background, click here for an NPT interview with Houghton, and here for his comments regarding the Sunset Commission recommendations on TexDOT.

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry has reappointed Ted Houghton of El Paso and Fred
Underwood of Lubbock to the Texas Transportation Commission for terms to
expire Feb. 1, 2015. The commission oversees the Texas Department of

Houghton is self-employed in financial services, executive benefits, and
estate planning. He served on the School Land Board, El Paso Water
Utilities Public Service Board, and El Paso Electric Company Board of
Directors. He is also past president of the Sun Bowl Association and a
member of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee. Houghton received a
bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 20, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: Lobbyist Gutierrez explains the PSB review contract

Hector Gutierrez, the lobbyist and consultant who was hired to do a study of the Public Service Board, is being paid $46,000 for the work, he said during a brief interview in Austin. [Click here for background] He said that the two-and-a-half month job includes a must-call list of 110 people, including elected officials, former PSB members, and El Paso residents. Those include fierce critics Jimmy Janacek and city Rep. Eddie Holguin, he said.

He also responded to two questions of potential conflict: He has represented the El Paso Water Utilities, which is governed by the PSB, in the past. And, he heads the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee, which likely will end up taking a position on the issue of what to do with the water, sewer and stormwater utility governance and management. He said he last represented the utility five or six years ago, and that if the chamber takes a position, he will recuse himself from discussions on behalf of the chamber.

Comments, anyone?

Sito Negron

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 20, 2009 at 10:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Juxtapose: Public transit: New bills; hollow words?

Germany Rail StrikesFrom the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Perry’s concern that a bill aimed at creating a North Texas urban rail system would have implications across the state: “The local-option bill would allow counties to choose different ways to finance transportation improvements (i.e. rail) and to call elections to get voter approval for the plans.” [link]

From El Paso City Council’s state legislative agenda:“The city of El Paso has the goal of becoming the least car dependent city in the Southwest.” [link]

Might El Paso be one of those counties Perry is worried could take advantage of this legislation if passed, and so locally fund quality rail and metro service, thus becoming the Southwest’s public transport poster-boy?

Probably not, seeing that in July the City Council committed a generation of El Pasoans to a billion dollars worth of new road projects.

Taking advantage of the nation-wide, state felt, fed-funded momentum toward alternative transport? “Least car dependant city” in the Southwest?

Agenda-schmenda, says El Paso…again.

–Ben Wright


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 20, 2009 at 10:44 am

NPT Capitol: Moody minute 2.0

moody1State rep. Joe Moody released his second “Minute from the Capitol” audio spot this week.

“Now the house is ready to move forward with the important business of Texas,” said Moody who also expressed satisfaction with his appointment to the Criminal Jurisprudence and Border and International Affairs committees. (Both of which he asked for.)

“These are two committees on which I know I can make a difference for El Paso,” said Moody.

You can listen to it here.


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 20, 2009 at 10:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: A picture paints a thousand words

1-dollarThe Texas Industrial Areas Foundation, a conglomeration of church-based progressive groups, held a press conference at the capitol on Wednesday calling for the expansion of CHIP. I mean, who wouldn’t take a buck for only 28 cent investment?

TIAF’s argument, summed up by Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, was that expansion was a moral imperative that made good economic sense. If the bible was the basis of the former, federal matching funds was the basis of the latter.

The group cited Obama’s signing into law of the federal SCHIP law which will provide $2.52 for every $1 Texas contributes towards covering families earning below 300% of the federal poverty level: $66,150 for a family of four.

“I’m not a banker, but that seems to be a prudent investment…I hope that we in Texas are not too proud to take this money,” said one pastor. Another, accused the state of “moral failure” citing, Texas’ 1.5m uninsured children as reason enough. That’s quite a combination, theology and math. That said, the governor is yet to agree to meet with them, showing that it is easier to speak truth, than it is to speak truth to power.

–Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 20, 2009 at 9:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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