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

Archive for March 23rd, 2009

NPT Capitol: Senators decry the “Toxic assets of Texas”

Senators Elliot Shapleigh, D El Paso, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, spoke out this morning against so-called “predatory lenders” who make “obscene profits” at the expense of families just trying to make ends meet.

“The time is now to restore transparency and fairness to Texas lending. For too long predatory lenders have had their way with Texas. Until the basic transaction is reformed, toxic assets will continues to be created in Texas,” said Shapleigh.

The three senators were speaking in support of legislation that would regulate such lenders more tightly and cap the interest rates they could charge. Such restrictions, are currently bypassed due to loop-holes in state and federal law, said Davis, author of SB 2131 which would close such loop-holes. Last week, the Senate passed SB189, authored by Shapleigh which caps interest rates on loans to military personnel and their dependents to 36 per cent. Shapleigh has also filed legislation, SB 248 that would extend the 36 per cent cap to all Texans.

“If it is not OK for payday lenders to prey on the military, then why in the world would it be OK for them to target some of our most vulnerable citizens?” asked Davis who supports the legislation. During the press conference, Shapleigh alluded to the deregulation of financial services over the last twenty years in the United States and in Texas. NPT asked Shapleigh to elaborate:

“Phil Gramm,” replied the Senator. Check out the write-up here

But is the situation that simple? NPT took a walk around downtown El Paso, where neon signs and fluorescent stickers advertise quick loans on every street corner. Check back later for the write up.

Update: Write-up here

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

NPT Capitol: County ethics bill meets committee

A news release from the El Paso County Attorney’s office. view related documents on the jump:


El Paso County Attorney José R. Rodríguez and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Anna Pérez will testify today in Austin before the Texas Legislature in support of a bill that would give the County of El Paso the authority to create an “Ethics Commission” with the power to investigate complaints and assess civil penalties.

On February 23, 2009, El Paso County Commissioners approved the language for a proposed legislation that would create an Ethics Commission with the authority to receive confidential complaints, investigate those complaints, with subpoena power, and with the authority to assess civil fines and refer cases to the appropriate prosecuting attorney in case of criminal violation of the ethics code.

The proposal was filed by Representative Marisa Marquez as House Bill 2301 on March 3rd, and by Senator Eliot Shapleigh as Senate Bill 1368 on March 4th.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Media: Support left-of-center right wing radio

Huh? Whadhesay? Look, I really wanted you to click on this one, ok? Send angry letters to Now, seriously, pony up for NPR:

El Paso, Texas—KTEP FM, El Paso’s public radio station, will conduct its annual membership drive March 28th through April 3rd, station officials announced.

KTEP-FM (88.5) is owned and operated by the University of Texas at El Paso. Because it is a public radio station, KTEP relies on its listeners for a large part of its support. Approximately one-third of the station’s annual budget comes from the annual pledge drive. Funds raised help pay for the station’s programming costs. This year’s goal is $190,000.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 23, 2009 at 8:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: East Side Civic Association candidates’ night; EPISO accountability session

Two election events coming up, one this week and one for which you have time to plan:

East Side Civic Association CANDIDATES NIGHT

DATE: 25 March (Wednesday)
TIME: 7 pm
LOCATION: Board room, Ysleta Independent School District Headquarters located at 9600 Sims.
1. Pledge of allegiance;
2. Candidate Night: Candidates for the following CONTESTED offices:
— YISD #1 School Board
— YISD #7 School Board
— Mayor of El Paso
— City Rep. #3
— City Rep. #7
— Municipal Court #4

Note: This list is not intended to represent the sequence of the candidates. There will be a Q&A period

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 23, 2009 at 8:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Drug War: O’Rourke and Acosta on CNN

On CNN this weekend, a story about decriminalizing marijuana, which quotes city Rep. Beto O’Rourke as saying: “It’s the least worst option to ending the cartel violence. I thought our drug laws were silly, but you don’t realize how big of a problem you’re facing until it really gets brought home for you in your community.” [link]

City Rep. Emma Acosta was quoted on CNN the previous weekend, March 14. Her office sent a news release stating this: “Acosta was quoted saying the violence is hurting the economy of both El Paso and Juarez. And if U.S. cities ignore what is going on in Mexico, it will only hurt the welfare of border cities like El Paso. ‘Just yesterday, I was talking to an entrepreneur in Juarez, where she used to employ 1000 people. Now that’s gone down to 100 people’. Acosta told CNN.”

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 23, 2009 at 12:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized