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

Archive for March 12th, 2009

NPT DC: Mayors John Cook and Jose Reyes Ferriz to be honored as part of annual Border Issues Conference in D.C. next week

News release from the office of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes:


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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Drug War: Hear the experts tell us we’re safe at Acosta’s meeting

News release from the office of District 3 city Rep. Emma Acosta: The community meeting will be held at Chihua’s Restaurant located at 9135 Gateway West on Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 10 a.m. The community meeting will feature a panel of experts to discuss the Juarez Violence & El Paso Safety. The Panel includes: FBI Special Agent In Charge David Cuthbertson, Chief of El Paso Police Department Greg Allen, DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph Arabit and Consul General of Mexico in El Paso, TX Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez. They will provide District #3 resident’s information on the magnitude of the violence in Juarez and the safety in El Paso. The meeting is open to the public and there will be a question and answer segment. Public and community participation is highly encouraged.

An editorial comment from our friend Al Soto, who sends a regular email to a list of varying sizes: Unfortunately…this panel is NOT a balanced panel…too many law enforcement…not any human rights people…and honest media types to counter this “overburdened” law enforcement panel…that will only give their views…

While Soto is right in terms of the overall debate on drug policy, on the other hand, the topic IS fairly specific to the panel’s area of expertise: Juarez Violence & El Paso Safety.

Either way, folks ought to make plans to attend.

Sito Negron

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Fed dosh: It’s not sexy but it is stimulating

This week, El Paso state Reps made the case for more stimulus money coming to El Paso. The two project proposals, weatherization and sewage, aren’t very sexy but they bring home the bacon. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Weatherization.

State Reps Joe Moody and Norma Chavez claim that “Between $240 to $350 Million will come to Texas” for weatherization projects (up to $6,500 per home.) Chavez and Moody want a generous slice of this to come to El Paso.

“Job creation and energy conservation will help El Pasoans earn more and save more,” said Chávez. “Homeowners get the benefit of federal dollars to make their homes more energy efficient, while at the same time helping to get our local contractors working during a bad economic period,” said Moody.

2. Waste water management.

Chavez also came out batting for the EPWU, (El Paso Water Utilities) who want to construct a new 36-inch sewage siphon and fix up three older ones. (Estimated to cost around $20m)

Chavez, in a letter to the Texas Water Development Board, said the project, “should qualify for the extra funds that have been provided to the Clear Water Revolving Fund as a result of the passage of the American Recover and Reinvestment Act.”

Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT DC: Reyes’ fit farm

“Democrat Silvestre Reyes can lay claim to representing the fittest district, as 64.6 percent of those residing in Texas’ 16th District exercise for at least 30 minutes three or more times a week, nearly 15 percentage points higher than the national average.” — read the full story at

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Biz: Martie Jobe book: Business law battle plan for entrepreneurs

marjoriejobe_header_bgLawyer Martie Jobe has written and published “Business Law Battle Plan for Entrepreneurs: Protect Your Company from Lawyers, Lawsuits and Legal Disasters.” The event is 5-7 p.m. Monday (March 23, 2009) at Star Canyon Winery, 2601 N. Stanton. The author website is

Jobe said in a brief interview that the book took 18 months to write and four to produce and publish.

“It’s been a very interesting journey,” she said, one “basically wrapped around my career. … My message, borne out by my practice — I’ve been a lawyer for 22 years — is that businesses need to stay out of the courthouse, whether as a plaintiff or defendant.”

Sito Negron

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 8:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Drug War: Guzman’s wealth, according to Forbes

From Forbes via Reuters, Mexico drug lord on Forbes rich list with $1 bln:

Mexico’s most wanted man Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, blamed for thousands of deaths in a drug war, has made it onto the Forbes Magazine list of the world’s richest people with an estimated $1 billion fortune. Forbes placed Guzman at 701 on its list, tied with dozens of others worldwide with riches of some $1 billion.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 8:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Chavez: Voter ID bill “will disenfranchise many El Pasoans”

State Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, has spoken out against the Voter ID legislation the Senate is poised to pass and hand over to the House next week. The Senate spent 23 hours jostling over the Republican backed bill on Tuesday/Wednesday, it being voted out of committee along party lines.

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of senior citizens in El Paso have been voting for decades at places such as the Chelsea Senior Center, Pooley and Buen Samaritano. Many of them do not have driver’s licenses or state-issued photo identification cards,” Chávez said in a press release yesterday evening.

Chavez cited research by the Brennan Centre for Justice that said, 16% of Hispanic voting-age citizens, 18% of over 65s and 15% of citizens earning $35,000 or less do not have a photo ID: “These citizens would not be able to vote should SB 362 become law,” said Chavez. The press release also cited research that found, “states with voter ID laws had a reduced turnout overall by 3%, 10% among Hispanics and 5.7% among African-Americans.”*

“Requiring citizens to pay for state-issued photo identification is a modern-day poll tax,” said Chávez.

*Chavez’s press release said the research was, “prepared by Rutgers and Ohio State Universities for the Federal Election Assistance Commission.”

Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Senate pulls all nighter, calls it Democracy

The Texas Senate will vote on a Voter ID bill next week after a bitter committee battle raged through Tuesday afternoon, evening and into Wednesday morning. The bill, authored by Sen Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, would require citizens to show a photo-ID before being able to cast a vote on election day.

The bill was referred to the committee of the whole, meaning all Senators were present at the hearing. Democrats, who are uniformly opposed to the measure, used every trick in the book to delay and draw out the process, which took a whopping 23 hours in total. [link] [link]. Eventually the bill was voted out of committee by a margin of 20-12. The vote was along party lines: 19 Reps to 12 Dems with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst vote with the ‘ayes’ as well.

The bill will now hit the Senate floor on Monday, no doubt accompanied by vociferous debate and procedural intrigue. The reason is simple. The Republicans have the votes to pass the bill. This is because in January, they forced through an amendment to Senate rules allowing Voter ID legislation to be passed by a simple majority rather than the 2/3rds needed for every other bill. [link]

As such, the Democrats have only two options come Monday: stall and ball. They will pursue both.

They will stall by exploiting grey areas and loop holes in the Senate procedural rules and by filing amendments galore. Because the Republicans have the votes, each amendment and point of order will be rebuffed.

Because of this, they will ball. The Republicans have already made the debate on Monday a laughing stock, so the Democrats will attempt to turn it into a beauty contest. This will be achieved by using hours of mic time to make what are essentially campaign speeches, and by using amendments to make rhetorical points about Republican priorities.

Senator Shapiro, R-Plano, said the bad-tempered and completely futile marathon committee session was “democracy at its best.” Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, agreed. [link]

I am inclined to disagree.

Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 12, 2009 at 8:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized