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

Archive for May 20th, 2009

NPT Capitol: Voter ID looming in House – but where are the votes?

This morning, sixty Democrat House members including El Paso reps Moody, Pickett and Chavez gatecrashed the Speaker committee room, which had been reserved by pro Voter ID Republican Betty Brown, for their own impromptu press conference. [link]

The Dems gave a vociferous defense of their position on Voter ID, essentially promising a bloodbath if the Senate’s Voter ID bill made it out of Calendars committee. The bill is rumored to hit the floor by Friday or Saturday.

The question is though, if the Republican manage to churn out the bill, do they have the votes?

The House is split 76-74 to the Republicans, meaning a straight vote on party lines would mean it passed. But Speaker Joe Straus has said he does not plan to vote on the bill (Speakers usually do not vote on bills.) With state Rep Ed Kuempel, who cosigned a pro voter ID letter earlier this month, recovering from health problems, that takes the tally to 74-74, meaning the bill would die on a tie vote. (And that’s assuming all the Republicans vote for it – Delwin Jones and Tommy Merritt voted against similar legislation in 2007)

Where could the needed votes be then? The “WD40″s – (White Democrats over 40s with sizable conservative populations in their constituencies.) Might the Republicans (of whom at least 71 of the 76 are publicly for Voted ID) be able to peel enough WD40s to make it pass?

Consider these: 1) Joe Heflin, a panhandle WD40, voted to send the bill out of the election committee, paving the way for it to pass to the floor. 2) While 60-odd Democrat gatecrashers in the Speaker’s committee room is impressive, 70-odd would have been a lot more impressive…

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Drug War: CNN calls EP ‘this year’s border hot spot’

CNN calls El Paso “this year’s border hot spot”

“No other country in the world has a greater impact on the drug situation in the United States than Mexico does,” said Arabit, who heads the DEA’s office in this year’s border hot spot, El Paso, Texas.

A December 2008 report by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center revealed that Mexican drug traffickers can be found in more than 230 U.S. cities.

Stakes rise as drug war threatens to cross border, by Ann O’Neill,, May 18, link

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 20, 2009 at 11:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT City: Robinson out of NE Forum

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 20, 2009 at 11:08 am

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NPT Capitol: Chavez clarifies: She was trying not to do the thing she did

State Rep. Norma Chavez sends an email yesterday trying to explain her last-minute amendment to the El Paso County ethics bill. You can read it for yourself, but right off the bat, what stands out is her assertion that she isn’t trying to spread “rumors or innuendo.” Which is good, because, you know, if you stuck something like that in the middle of a contentious, highly publicized process and copy the media, you might, you know, be spreading rumor and innuendo. So it’s good that she’s not trying to do that.

Read the e-mail from Chavez, which was in response to one from County Commissioner Anna Perez after the jump. Below the Chavez-Perez e-mails is one from state Rep. Marisa Marquez, in which she declines to accept the Chavez proposal.

The ethics bill, SB 1368, is on the House Local Calendar for Friday.

–Sito Negron Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 20, 2009 at 11:04 am

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NPT Border: Local cops in DC, including EP Sheriff Wiles: Federal immigration program fails

News release just came across the desk:

Law Enforcement Leaders to Discuss How Local Immigration Enforcement Challenges Public Safety Mission

Press Conference to Feature Findings, Implications of Groundbreaking New Police Foundation Report

WASHINGTON, May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The federal government’s failure to secure the borders and reform the immigration system has created tensions between communities throughout the country and pressure on state and local law enforcement to control unauthorized immigration, most notably through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program of deputizing local and state police to perform immigration enforcement activities. In a report released today by the Police Foundation, local law enforcement executives, however, say immigration enforcement by local police undermines their core public safety mission, diverts scarce resources, increases their exposure to liability and litigation, and exacerbates fear in communities already distrustful of police. The report and its implications will be the topic of a press conference on Wednesday, May 20 at 2 p.m. EDT at 2226 Rayburn House Office Building. Participants include: Hubert Williams, President, Police Foundation; Chief Harold L. Hurtt, Houston, TX, Police Department; Chief Theron Bowman, Arlington, TX, Police Department; Chief Ronald Miller, Topeka, KS, Police Department; Sheriff John W. Anderson, Baltimore, MD, Sheriff’s Office; Chief Bernadette A. DiPino, Ocean City, MD, Police Department; and Sheriff Richard Wiles, El Paso, TX, Sheriff’s Office.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 20, 2009 at 10:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized