Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rep. Cesar Blanco Uses Political Contribution to Pay Membership in Borderplex Alliance (aka Paso del Norte Group)

Rep. Cesar Blanco Uses Political Contributions to Pay Membership in Borderplex Alliance (aka Paso del Norte Group)
Oppressive Group Well-known for Involvement Corruption
 by Ike and Ben

If any organization in El Paso has hurt people of color and the poor more, it has been the Borderplex Alliance (aka Paso del Norte Group). 

Texas Representative Cesar Blanco has used contributions to pay for membership in this organization.

Even taking it out of that realm, every taxpayer in El Paso who has a complaint against the City of El Paso’s mounting debt, lack of transparency, rising property taxes, the Borderplex Alliance has a connection to it.

Beto O’Rourke’s father-in-law William Sander founded the Borderplex Alliance, then known as the Paso Del Norte Group. 

Its first executive director was Myrna Deckert, whose emails to Joyce Wilson and Steve Ortega during the Downtown Ballpark scandal showed the influence of the Paso del Norte group in pushing this money pit on El Paso taxpayers. These emails were exposed in the Chucoleaks cache of email obtained via the Texas Open Records Act.

According to the Downtown Scam timeline, the Paso del Norte Group was founded by in 2003: “In El Paso, Bill Sanders founds the Paso Del Norte Group, using the Commercial Club of Chicago as his model. The PDNG is made up of more than 350 business and political leaders from both sides of the border. On the El Paso side the group includes his son-in-law City rep Robert O’Rourke, Army housing developer Woody Hunt, and Chris Balsiger who was indicted by the FBI for an alleged $250,000,000 coupon fraud scheme.” El Paso Downtown Scam 2003. See Timeline for more information information

On February 15, 2005, the City of El Paso contracted with the Paso del Norte Group: “City of El Paso votes approves contract with PDNG to create downtown redevelopment plan. City Council grants them $250,000. Some of this is federal money in the form of HTGB grants.

The El Paso City Council, under mayor Joe Wardy, voted to approve contract with Paso Del Norte Group to create a downtown redevelopment plan. Before the vote took place, however, a series of questions emerged about the scope of the project.”

The exploits of this oppressive organization are well known, but the focus of this article is Representative Cesar Blanco using political contributions to pay for membership in this organization. 

The least would have been for Blanco to use his own money to pay for this membership. But maybe the $1000 membership dues is a bit steep on a Texas representative's salary.

The most egregious is the Paso del Norte Group push to demolish Segundo Barrio as part of the Downtown Plan, their support of the Downtown Ballpark, and the demolition of Duranguito.

Blanco should be ashamed to be a member of this organization.

This is truly unfortunate as Blanco has been seen has a rising star in politics in El Paso, being outspoken for many causes for the poor.

In looking at Blanco’s contribution report more closely, Blanco is increasingly being funded by PACs. We will focus on this in another article.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

City Puts Only One Early Voting Site South of Sunland Park Drive

City Puts Only One Early Voting Site South of Sunland Park Drive
Did the City of El Paso Violate the Voting Rights Act in Selecting Early Voting Sites

There are five early voting sites for the City Council runoff for District 1 and District 8. 

The El Paso City Council has clustered  four of the five in the Westside, along the I-10 corridor between Sunland Park Drive and Artcraft Road.

Only one early voting site is south of Sunland Park Drive and that is the County Court House which is Downtown. 

This is the only early voting site serving people living between Sunland Park Drive and Fonseca Drive near Ascarate Park. 

To our knowledge, the city or county does not waive parking fees to the County Courthouse's parking garage if you want to vote there. This, in a way, imposes on voters a type of poll tax.

The City has put no early voting sites east of Downtown. None south of Shuster Drive other than Downtown. District 8 flows all the way east through South El Paso to Fonseca Drive. From Fonseca Drive to the County Court House, it is 5 miles depending on the route you take.

However, the four early voting sites on the Westside are between 1 1/2 to 3 miles apart. Two early voting cites are only 1 mile apart from each other. 

Why are there no early voting sites south of Sunland Park Drive? Why are there no early voting sites east of Downtown? Early voting sites could have easily been set up at any of the housing units in South El Paso or any of the schools, community centers, or churches.