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

Archive for May 6th, 2009

NPT Capitol: Pickett in the lead

From the Houston Chronicle, Transportation crisis not on front burner:

Texas House Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, is hoping to jump-start a proposal to allow local communities to raise money to fund local transportation projects.

Pickett’s proposal likely would give all communities the option of deciding whether to increase local gasoline taxes.

The idea is a broader version of legislation that earlier passed the Senate to allow voters in certain areas to raise taxes or fees for local projects. Harris County wasn’t included in the earlier measure. Both proposals are tied to a proposed constitutional amendment to end diversions from the gasoline-tax-fueled state highway fund. Pickett’s idea also would amend the constitution to allow the local-option taxes. Amending the constitution requires a two-thirds vote of lawmakers and statewide voter approval.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT: Swine flu fears put halt to passport process at the County Clerk’s office

UPDATED: The District Clerk Passport Service will likely resume processing U.S. Passport applications on Monday, May 11.
Pending Commissioners Court approval, the Passport Service office will work extended hours to provide the service to working families who can not applying for a passport during regular business hours. The proposed working schedule for Monday, May 11 is from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Additionally, a series of Passports Fairs are being planned to be held on Saturdays before the June 1 deadline.

Due to the outbreak and spread of H1N1, the passport book and card processing service at the El Paso District Clerk’s office has been suspended. “We are taking this precautionary measure because we are concerned for the safety and welfare of the public and our staff,” stated El Paso County District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez in a press release.

For those who are adversely affected by the closures and fear they won’t receive their documents by the June 1 deadline, the Passport Service Division will have extended business hours once it reopens, Sanchez stated.

For background on the new passport regulations affecting border travelers, click here.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 6, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: Election night parties

Here’s one. Anyone else out there?

Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega
Election Night Party!
Celebrate or Commiserate!
Join us as we celebrate four great years of service to El Paso and cross our fingers for four more.

DATE: Saturday, May 9
TIME: 7 P.M. to 11 P.M.
LOCATION: Sunset Terrace at Doubletree, 113 West Missouri, Downtown
MORE: Green Leaf Pedicab will be driving folks from parking to the hotel

Music by Radio la Chusma

Political Ad Paid for by Susie Byrd for City Council
Esther Perez, Treasurer
2701 Louisville
El Paso, Texas 79930

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 6, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: Quintanilla: For medical school, ‘They went around the delegation’

NPT asked state Rep. Chente Quintanilla if the debacle over stormwater bills exposed what was wrong with the delegation. After all, if a simple bill which everyone agrees with can’t get passed because of egos and infighting, what chance does the delegation have of passing the big stuff like funding for a third building at the Medical School?

Quintanilla said that the Medical School funding had been secured in the past despite the delegation, not because of it.

“For years we were having a problem as to who was going to get credit for the medical school funding,” he said. “Finally I think in the end, the leaders in El Paso were able to work with the Governor and work with the Speaker to get the funding for the medical school.

“They went around the delegation because the delegation was having some infighting and I think the speaker at the time understood that we were having problems.”

A little speechless, NPT asked the state Rep where El Paso went from here. This session will see modest increases in funding for UTEP and EPCC, some expansion of CHIP and Medicaid funding, a new interchange at I-10 and loop 360. But those things have more to do with the Obama stimulus package than the delegation.

Is infighting El Paso’s Achilles heel in Austin?

“I don’t know if this problem is inherent to El Paso, I think Houston and Dallas have their own problems,” said Quintanilla. “You know there are 150 egos in the House of Representatives.”

Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized