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

Archive for June 15th, 2009

Perry signs eminent domain abuse bill; voters to decide the issue in November

News release from the office of Gov. Rick Perry:

SAN ANTONIO – Gov. Rick Perry today joined lawmakers in highlighting the importance of House Joint Resolution (HJR) 14 that allows Texans to vote on a constitutional amendment to strengthen land owners’ rights. The amendment, which will be voted on in November 2009, would achieve unprecedented protection of private property by placing protections against abuse of eminent domain directly into the Texas Constitution.

“Land ownership is an essential part of Texas’ culture, and we owe it to our citizens to protect their rights as landowners and members of the community from government entities that overstep their bounds and abuse eminent domain,” Gov. Perry said. “The Legislature has moved us in the right direction with the passing of HJR 14, which will give Texans the right to vote in November to protect their homes and property from being taken by the government and given to someone else.”

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

June 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Clean up and boost your home’s value! Or, you could just pay the fine.

Ok, so the headline is obviously meant tongue-in-cheek. Still, there’s a tough nut to crack wrapped in there. On the one hand, focusing on crappy-looking neighborhoods could be seen as discriminatory and heavy-handed on the part of the city. On the other hand, property values can easily be tied to the tidiness of a ‘hood, and generally, it sucks to have a bad neighbor whose property is an eyesore while you’re out trimming the trim on a hot weekend. How do those two ideas come into play here? Let us know in the comment section below. Here’s the city news release:

Code Compliance Targets Weeds, Trash and Debris; New Monthly Program Aims to Increase Community Awareness of Laws Addressing Bligh and Nuisances

June 10, 2009 – The Code Compliance Division of the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department announced today that beginning this month it will highlight a violation to increase community awareness of code enforcement issues.

The division works to protect the environment, as well as the safety, health and welfare of our citizens by enforcing laws addressing blight and nuisances. The violation showcased this month is Weeds, Trash and Debris, as defined in 9.04.340 of the El Paso Municipal Code.

Under the code, the property owner or occupant must keep and maintain their properties and abutting sidewalks, parkways and alleys free of accumulations of waste. In addition all grass, weeds or uncultivated plants should not be allowed to grow taller than 12 inches. Maintenance of vegetation in parkways and alleys is also the property owner’s or occupant’s responsibility. Violations are punishable by a $270 fine.

Anyone put on notice for a code violation should correct the violation by the compliance date on the notice. If the property is not in compliance at the time of re-inspection, the property owner or occupant will be issued a Class C citation for non compliance. In addition, the City may request a court order seeking permission to access the property to correct the violation.

If the City cleans up the property, the cleanup costs will be passed on to the property’s owner or occupant. A lien will be placed on a property if the clean up costs are not paid.

Citizens my report code violations by visiting or by calling (915) 774-4500.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

June 15, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

NPT Media: NY Times: Is Nuevo Laredo, peaceful but still owned by the Drug War, the future for Juarez?

Story this weekend in the NY Times. Click here to read it. Below is an excerpt:

Tamaulipas State, where Nuevo Laredo is located, used to be ground zero in the country’s drug war, with convoys of criminals riding through the streets as if they owned them and one of the highest murder rates in the country. That distinction has since shifted farther west along the United States-Mexico border to Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, where soldiers patrol the streets by the thousands. But Nuevo Laredo’s transformation from war zone to regular town is not necessarily what it seems. Organized crime has gone underground in Nuevo Laredo, still feared, still thriving, but no longer in charge.

That uneasy peace may well be the best outcome Mexico can extract from its consuming drug war, so Nuevo Laredo could be a glimpse of the country’s future. Government officials acknowledge that their realistic goal is not to eliminate the outlaws, but to weaken them to the point where something resembling everyday life can resume.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

June 15, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What’s that school bus doing on my tail?

Heading to work a little late this morning, I moved over into the left lane of I-10 headed Downtown doing about 65 and knowing that wasn’t fast enough for the lane I was in.

But what did I see barreling down on me in my rear view mirror? An 18-wheeler with Louisiana license plates? No, an El Paso ISD school bus full of kids. Not what I expected. I sped up to 70 to get some distance on the tailgating bus and began looking for an opening to change lanes and get out of the way. The bus matched my speed, and there we were, clipping along 10 miles an hour over the speed limit, me in my Jeep and that yellow bus full of unbelted kids on a field trip to the East Side or something.

Compounding the danger, I know, I pulled my camera out of my pocket, aimed it into the rear view mirror and snapped a picture of bus No. 4. Here it is, in reverse, of course. Then, I moved over and let the bus zip by me. The woman at the wheel didn’t give me a second glance. Hope they made it on time.

David Crowder

Tailgate 2

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

June 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear El Paso County case against border fence

Story from the Associated Press.

Statement from the office of El Paso County Attorney Jose Rodriguez:


County Attorney José R. Rodríguez announced today that he was notified this morning that El Paso County’s appeal to the United States Supreme Court in its border fence case against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was denied.

El Paso County Attorney expressed his disappointment with the decision. “We are disappointed but not surprised by this outcome. While we feel that we had a strong case, competition for space on the Supreme Court’s crowded docket is high,” Rodríguez said.

“This decision now ends our pursuit of this case. El Paso County would very much like to thank Mayer Brown LLP of Washington, D.C., for their defense and support in this case. Mayer Brown litigated this case without any cost to the county,” said Rodríguez.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

June 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized