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

Archive for March 24th, 2009

NPT Drug War: Perry to Obama: good but not good enough

perry2Gov. Rick Perry reacted today to the Obama administration’s decision to send more resources to the U.S./Mexico border. The new push will include extra customs officers and X-ray units in order to increase the supervision of southbound traffic, thus stemming the flow of weaponry from the U.S. into Mexico.

Perry said Texas was “pleased” that the federal government recognized the important of “securing the U.S.-Mexico border” but what the state really needs are more troops. Perry has requested an extra 1000 troops be sent immediately. He added that Texas would have to “continue to fill in the gaps until the federal government provides adequate resources.”

For Background, try CNN’s report on the Obama administration’s plan here here or the U.K.’s Manchester Guardian report here here

Read Perry’s full response after the jump.

–Ben Wright Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Drug War: Despite rhetoric, “The sky is not falling”

From NPR, a story titled Mexico Violence Not Spilling Into Texas Border Cities:

“The sky is not falling,” said McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez, who disagrees with Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to ask for troops. “What’s happening right now is we’ve got rhetoric that’s driving the policy.”

Some police chiefs of border cities are planning to share their concerns about having troops on the border with Perry at the Texas Homeland Security Conference on Tuesday. The conference includes law enforcement representatives from around the state and across the border.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Gov. Perry’s ‘pot of gold,’ and a response from Rep. Chavez

From the Dallas Morning News, Some question Perry’s transfer of funds to Texas A&M:

Gov. Rick Perry’s office used $50 million intended to lure new businesses to Texas to fund a new research facility at his alma mater.

Texas A&M University’s National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing will help researchers advance production processes for new vaccines and drug therapies. But some lawmakers are voicing concerns with the way Perry’s office funded it – moving $50 million from the state’s deal-closing fund into an account used for new technology programs.

While this grant appears to be a done deal, some lawmakers say they may try to pass legislation to bar such fund transfers in the future. Meanwhile, Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, has filed a bill to heighten reporting requirements for the Emerging Technology Fund. Pitts has signed onto the measure.

“Here’s this big pot of gold going to the governor with nobody questioning it,” Chavez said. “The taxpayer needs to be protected.”

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT DC: Reyes comments on President Obama’s Drug War strategy

From the office of U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes:


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Silvestre Reyes (TX-16), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement in response to the announcement by Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinburg, and Deputy Attorney General David Ogden on the Administration’s comprehensive strategy to address drug-related violence in Mexico and enhance border security:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 11:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Will there be a special session?

An interesting trade off between State Rep Sylvester Turner and Appropriations Jim Pitts just took place on the floor of the House, raising the question of whether or not the Legislature will need to go into a special session.

After asking a series of technical questions about where stimulus money and/or freed-up general revenue will appear in the state budget, Turner made it clear that he does not believe an appropriations bill is ready to come to the floor of the House. (Earlier, Pitts declared it would be ready to go to the printers by Sunday).

But Turner disagreed and implored Pitts to slow the process down in order to maintain transparency – even if it means a special session. Pitts denied the need for a special session saying that he and the rest of the Appropriations committee were working overtime to make sure the budget would be brought to vote during the regular session.

Turner, a veteran lawmaker who had been on Appropriations for many years until booted this session (he was a Craddick D), said he would not vote on an appropriations bill if it was rushed through. When he said this, there was a significant amount of applause on the House floor.

–Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 10:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NY Times: Drug War duo: Op-ed defends Mexico, series explores violence

The Mexican Evolution: Our national institutions function. The army is (and long has been) subject to the civilian control of the president; the church continues to be a cohesive force; a powerful business class shows no desire to move to Miami. We have strong labor unions, good universities, important public enterprises and social programs that provide reasonable results.

Thanks to all this, Mexico has demonstrated an impressive capacity to overcome crises, of which we’ve had our fair share. They include the government’s repression of the student movement of 1968; a currency devaluation in 1976; an economic crisis in 1982; the threefold disaster of 1994 with the Zapatista rebel uprising, the murder of the P.R.I. candidate for president and a devastating collapse of the peso; and the serious post-election conflicts of 2006.


Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over, Alarming U.S. (first in a series): In the past few years, the cartels and other drug trafficking organizations have extended their reach across the United States and into Canada. Law enforcement authorities say they believe traffickers distributing the cartels’ marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs are responsible for a rash of shootings in Vancouver, British Columbia, kidnappings in Phoenix, brutal assaults in Birmingham, Ala., and much more.

United States law enforcement officials have identified 230 cities, including Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston and Billings, Mont., where Mexican cartels and their affiliates “maintain drug distribution networks or supply drugs to distributors,” as a Justice Department report put it in December. The figure rose from 100 cities reported three years earlier, though Justice Department officials said that may be because of better data collection methods as well as the spread of the organizations.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 9:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Pickett, Chavez team up on tax relief (or sticking it to the city/PSB, depending on your point of view)

News release from state Reps. Joe Pickett and Norma Chavez:


The bills would exempt El Paso County and school districts from a stormwater fee

AUSTIN – Today, State Representative Norma Chávez and State Representative Joe Pickett will
present House Bills 2172 and 2173 in a hearing in the House Border and Intergovernmental Affairs
Committee. Each of these bills exempt property held by El Paso County and El Paso County school
districts from storm water fees. These bills would not only provide tax relief to El Paso County, but
also to small-business owners as well as individuals that are homeowners.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 8:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT County: Public info, meeting highlights

So sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Aracely Lazcano, the county public info officer, has been putting together notices and meeting highlight updates for some time now. Click here to see the latest, and follow the jump to see the meeting highlights released from yesterday’s session.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 24, 2009 at 8:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized