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

Archive for April 13th, 2009

NPT DC: DHS Secretary Napolitano in EP on Weds

News release from the White House:


WASHINGTON—U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano plans to travel to the Southwest border on Wednesday to survey border operations in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and coordinate with state and local law enforcement officials as part of a major effort to disrupt illegal arms and cash smuggling, and to curtail illegal immigration.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT: U.S. Atty Johnny Sutton resignation announcement, news conference

UPDATED: Sutton will have a news conference in El Paso on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

News release from the U.S. attorney’s office. Please discuss:


United States Attorney Johnny Sutton has announced that he will resign as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas effective at midnight April 19, 2009.

Mr. Sutton was nominated by President George W. Bush and was confirmed by the Senate to serve as United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas on November 30, 2001. As United States Attorney for one of the busiest districts in the nation, Sutton oversaw 300 employees, including 140 attorneys, and an annual budget of over $27 million.

Protecting the nation’s border from the threat of terrorism and aggressively prosecuting drug traffickers and illegal aliens were his top priorities. In his seven and a half years as United States Attorney, prosecutors in his office convicted over 40,000 defendants of felonies. Operation Streamline which was created and run out of Sutton’s Del Rio Office is responsible for over 37,000 illegal aliens being prosecuted for illegal entry into the United States since its inception in December 2005. Under Mr. Sutton’s leadership, the Western District of Texas led the nation each year in the number of drug prosecutions (a total of more than 15,000 cases brought) and was second in the nation in the number of illegal alien cases prosecuted.

Weeding out public corruption in the Western District of Texas was another top priority of Mr. Sutton.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: The future of big-time transportation

The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority is meeting Thursday. Click on the link below for the agenda. Looking for a way to figure out what it means? Hmm … to put it in terms you might understand, it’s kind of like the PSB for transportation. Interested now?


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: Ortega’s existent fund-raiser

An interesting quote from city Rep. Steve Ortega in a Saturday El Paso Times article about campaign contributions: “I haven’t had a single fundraiser. This money is coming from people who believe in my record and the things I have done in the last four years,” Ortega said. “My goal right now is to evaluate the race and move the money to areas where I feel I can be more effective.”

But how can that be? Remember this blog posting about … an Ortega fundraiser?

On NPT Live this morning the Lionstar, Jaime Abetia, asked Ortega the question. Ortega said the quote was partial and inaccurate, because he meant that he had not had a fundraiser until now. He said he was asking for a correction.

Gustavo Reveles Acosta, the author of the Times’ story, said the quote was accurate but agreed that it needed some context. First, he said, it’s true that Ortega qualified the quote later in the conversation by calling the recent fundraiser the first. Acosta also said that Ortega maintains he still has not had any fundraisers, because the recent event was organized by others on his behalf.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: Election endorsements from the Building and Construction Trades Council

The El Paso Building and Construction Trades Council has endorsed Mayor John Cook and incumbent city Reps. Susie Byrd, Emma Acosta, and Steve Ortega in the May election.

That’s it.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: (Second to) last chance for the Tiguas today

chav-and-paizState Rep. Norma Chavez clarified for NPT over the weekend that there is still a chance for Tigua gambling in the session- but time is running out and the odds are slim.

According to Chavez, Paiz’s criminal history was at the heart of the reason why the Tigua-only legislation has failed to make it out of House committees. [link] Using the logic of Paiz criminal history being to blame, two options remain for the Tiguas.

Option 1:On Monday, gaming interests will meet with House Licensing Chair Ed Kuepel R-Seguin, to try and hammer out language for an omnibus gaming bill. While the Tigua-only bills are dead in the water, Chavez is still hopeful that language authorizing the re-opening of Speaking Rock casino could make it into this omnibus bill.

But according to Chavez, this would be conditional on Paiz walking. If Paiz was gone before an omnibus bill is reported out of committee, the Tiguas could be included in the party, Chavez said.


The Tiguas are useful to the bigger gambling interests (Racinos and Casinos) because the tribe represents the human face of the industry, which can be used in any debate in the legislature or public sphere. But Paiz, due to his background, jeopardizes that usefulness, instead making the Tiguas a liability to the big gambling interests. [link] Therefore if Paiz remains Tigua Gov., they would not be included in an omnibus bill.

With Racino and Casino interests remaining hostile to each other, bill language deliberations could drag on, giving the Tiguas a little extra time. But what if a bill leaves committee before Paiz? Cue Option 2:

Option 2: If Paiz stepped down or was voted out after an omnibus bill left committee but before a bill hit the House floor, then Chavez could try to amend any omnibus gaming bill on the House floor.

Chavez confirmed to NPT that both options were possible and that she remained hopeful. However, she also stressed that decisions regarding Paiz were strictly tribal matters and that she believed it was not her place interfere with their decision making processes.

D.O.A. anyway?

It is also worth noting that, because of the level of hostility between Racino and Casino interests, and because the votes for any omnibus gambling legislation might not be there this session, the Tiguas may lose nothing by keeping Paiz (for now). After all, why sacrifice your governor to get your language included in a dead bill?

Any constitutional amendment proposal will require 100 House votes and 21 Senate votes (2/3rds of each chamber) to be placed on the ballot in November. It is by no means certain that those numbers are there. Chairman Kuempel told NPT last week it was “pure speculation” to predict whether or not the numbers were there right now.

Besides, even if Paiz did step down, there is no certainty the big boys will let the Tiguas play…

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 13, 2009 at 11:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized