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

Archive for August 24th, 2009

Mental health services waiting list, other county updates

From the NPT Inbox, a review of the county meeting provided by the county PIO office:

Court Informed about New Guidelines for MHMR

(El Paso, Texas) – Due to lack of funding, the state-designated Mental Health/Mental Retardation Authority for El Paso County will close its doors to new consumers and establish a waiting list for services affecting 1,500 people with mental illness.

El Paso MHMR officials explained to the court about their hope of receiving monies from the state during its 81st legislative session to prevent a waiting list, but albeit legislative efforts no additional funding was granted.

As a result, selected consumers will no longer be receiving services such as medication and therapy beginning September 1, 2009.

During this morning’s update, MHMR officials assured Commissioners Court that teams are working to determine which consumers will be released from services. Those patients to be released are individuals who have been stable and have been receiving services for a long period of time.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

PSB chairman resigns effective Aug. 31

From the NPT Inbox:


EL PASO – The Public Service Board meeting this Wednesday, August 26, will be the last for Chairman Ruben Guerra. After nearly six years of service on the PSB, Guerra has decided to resign from his second term effective August 31, 2009. In addition to giving an enormous amount of his time to El Paso Water Utilities, he is also President and CEO of Guerra Investment Advisors, a family run investment advisor firm.

“This is a very important time for me personally and for my business and for the further development of the next generation of leaders within our firm. I am firmly committed to their success,” said Guerra.

Guerra adds that serving on the PSB has been an incredible experience, and it gave him the opportunity to give back to the community he cares so much about. He complements President and CEO Ed Archuleta, and his colleagues on the Board for all of their accomplishments.

“We have accomplished so much together. Thank you so much for asking me to serve as your Chairman for the past two years,” said Guerra.

Guerra will attend this Wednesday’s Board meeting. The Board will decide at a future meeting whether to appoint a new chair or to allow current Vice Chair Fermin Acosta to serve in the interim. Guerra’s seat was set to expire in December of 2011.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Chico’s Kiss in context

The Chico’s kiss incident was one of several in the U.S. that caught some national attention. Around the same time there was a “kiss incident” in Utah, and then there was the Rainbow Lounge incident in Fort Worth. Here’s an update on that, from last week’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rainbow Lounge bar check was caused by ‘flawed policy,’ Fort Worth police chief says:

FORT WORTH — Police Chief Jeff Halstead said Tuesday that “flawed policy” led to a controversial bar check at the Rainbow Lounge in June and that a new policy being implemented will ensure that such an event never happens again.

“I am apologizing for the actions and the reflection that this gave our community because they perceived it as a bar raid, and all our interviews with our officers and the other agents, they never, ever intended this to look that way,” Halstead told Fort Worth City Council members Tuesday morning during a progress report on his department’s investigation.

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Shapleigh, Marquez on ethics commission: Do it

From the NPT Inbox:

Márquez And Shapleigh Urge County to Implement Ethics Bill Hard Fought County Legislation Ready for Local Action

EL PASO, TX- State Representative Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso) and State Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) held a joint press conference today urging citizens, governmental agencies and especially the El Paso County Commissioners Court to act immediately for effective reforms that will combat public corruption. Next week, El Paso County Commissioner’s Court will work to implement the El Paso County ethics bill, which becomes effective on September 1, 2009, but requires further action from the county to become effective in El Paso.

“We all have a stake in building a better El Paso and reforming the way government goes about its business. Capital and talent will not come to a community that carries the brand of corruption.” said Shapleigh. “Let’s start now by creating an effective ethics commission at the County of El Paso.”

The county ethics bill, SB 1368, which is the legislative companion to HB 2301, a contentious bill that State Representative Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso) authored and passed through the Texas House of Representatives, uses the power of state law to create a special authority for El Paso County to establish an independent ethics commission. The commission will have subpoena power and will adopt, publish, and enforce an ethics code governing county public servants. The commissioners court can either adopt an order or call a county-wide election to create the ethics commission.

“This bill paves the way for real progress in El Paso County, a way for us to become transparent, responsive, and accountable. El Pasoans deserve clean government and I am proud of the coordinated efforts of the Commissioners Court, Sen. Shapleigh and our offices in getting this important legislation passed. Now is the time for El Paso to lead the state once again and adopt the first ever county ethics commission in Texas,” said Marquez.

The ethics bill is unique in being the first bill to allow a county to create its own ethics commission. Under the new law, the county could create a ten member ethics commission that would review complaints and impose civil penalties of up to $4,000 for each violation. The County has scheduled a Special Session of the Commissioner’s Court to act on the Ethics Bill at 9am, September 1, 2009, at the Commissioners Court.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

August 24, 2009 at 10:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized