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

Archive for May 18th, 2009

NPT Capitol: Pickett and Shapleigh to lock horns in conference?

The Austin American Statesman guessed Monday that both state Rep. Joe Pickett and State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh will be on the Conference committee for the TxDoT sunset bill.

Conference committees are appointed to iron out differences between Senate and House bills that tackle the same subject – such as the TxDoT sunset bill. The Statesman posit that Shapleigh, who sits on the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security committee, was “likely to be a counter-weight to his long-time El Paso rival, Rep. Joe Pickett.”

But whose counter-weight will Shapleigh be?

Last week NPT reported that Pickett and Shapleigh were arguing over a Pickett amendment to the TxDoT sunset bill regarding the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority. [link] Pickett is a de facto co- author of the TxDoT bill after rolling his own Hb 2589 into it during the House committee process which he presided over as House Transportation Chair.

Should be an interesting scrap. Could it be that Sen. Hegar, a Republican who authored the Senate’s version of the the TxDoT sunset bill, wants to use Shapleigh as a battering ram against Pickett and his more ambitious (and status quo bashing) version of the bill?

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 18, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: EPPD deputy chief may be leaving for a chief’s job in Iowa

El Paso Police Department Deputy Chief Tom Whitten has received a job offer to be chief of police in DeWitt, Iowa, the newspaper there reported today.

Whitten still must undergo “a series of physical and psychological testing before his hiring becomes official,” according to the report in the Quad City Times.

Reached by telephone, Whitten, 45, said that he was looking forward to the challenge. “I’m excited,” he said. He has not yet left his El Paso job, and the Quad City Times reported that Whitten could be on the job by July.

See more at NPT’s Home Page.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Capitol: City, county stormwater exemptions: Glass half-empty?

UPDATE at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning: 874 passed Tuesday morning, and 1522 is on the Local Calendar for Thursday, said state Rep. Chente Quintanilla.


After the kerfuffle over bills exempting the county and school districts from stormwater fees earlier this month, it would seem the issue could be (half)resolved tomorrow.

Senate bill 874 is on the local calendar, meaning it should pass without trouble.

However the bill only exempts the County from stormwater fees. Senate Bill 1522, which exempts school districts, is still stuck in the Local Calendars committee. There is nothing to say it won’t emerge quickly but what is strange is that both bills, which left committee at the same time, don’t make the floor at the same time.

Might one pass and not the other? Check back for updates…

–Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT: School district backs off: Neighborhood schools to remain open

For background on the issue, click here. Here’s the news release just sent from the EPISD:


Officials from the El Paso Independent School District announced today
that Houston and Zavala elementary schools in Central El Paso and
Schuster Elementary School in Northeast El Paso will remain open for at
least two years. District officials indicated that there has been a
significant amount of support to keep the schools open and that they
want to give an opportunity to the supporters to help identify and
implement solutions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: Bike lanes

News release from the city:

Community Meetings: Bike Paths on Various City Streets Project

WHO: The City of El Paso in conjunction with AIA Engineers, LTD
WHAT: Will host a series of community meetings
WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday May 19th 6:00 pm Clardy Fox Branch Library 5515 Robert Alva; Wednesday May 20th 6:00 pm Irving Schwartz Branch Library 1865 Dean Martin; Wednesday May 27th 6:00 pm Judge Marquez Branch Library 610 N. Yarbrough
WHY: As part of the Transportation Policy Plan incorporated in the City Council Strategic Plan, the expansion of existing bike lanes in the Bikeway System and the creation of new bike paths are critical factors providing for opportunities of comprehensive mobility in the community. This phase of the project consists of evaluating the installation of bike lanes, bicycle routes or a combination system network at several proposed locations to include:

1) Viscount from I-10 to Bellrose; 2) Montwood from Trawood to Sunfire; 3) Trawood from Yarbrough to Montwood; 4) Trowbridge from North Loop to I-10; 5) Hunter from Viscount to North Loop; 6) Delta from San Marcial to North Loop; 7) Yarbrough from Pebble Hills to Montana and from Loop 375 to Montwood; and 8) Riverside/Thomas Manor area.

The meetings will provide an opportunity to elicit community input as part of the project design process. All interested individuals are encouraged to participate.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 18, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: Pickett targeted the CRRMA. Who? You should know. Go Wednesday.

Like I wrote here, “There are a few big-money pieces on the political board. Water and transportation are two of the biggest. ” In El Paso, water is the Public Service Board (mostly). Transportation is divvied up a little more, but big-picture projects are coalescing at the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority.

State Rep. Joe Pickett filed an amendment to a state transportation bill that would allow the City Council to serve as the board of the CRRMA. He wrote this about it.

State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh wrote a piece in which he spanked Pickett, calling Pickett’s action an immature and destructive attack on El Paso’s transportation future. See that here.

Now, click below to see the CRRMA agenda.

crrma 84_agenda_05-20-09

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized