Thursday, January 12, 2012

El Paso City Reps. Niland and Ortega to Move to Arizona as Part of Western Refining Realignment

AP Associated Mess
Above, Rep. Ortega (second from the right) and Niland (right) announcing their move to Arizona.

El Paso City Reps. Niland and Ortega to Move to Arizona as Part of Western Refining Realignment
Niland's move to drastically affect women's shelters

Associated Mess

EL PASO (TX) -- In an event that stunned the city, at this morning's El Paso City Council meeting, Representatives Cortney Niland and Steve Ortega said they would be moving to Arizona as part of Western Refining's realignment.

In November of last year, Western Refining stated that it would move 50 employees from its El Paso headquarters, to Arizona.

Niland and Ortega announced this morning that they will be included in the 50 employees moved to Arizona.

“We have received our orders and we will comply as will our other co-workers,” said Ortega at this morning's meeting.

City Attorney Benji A. Bogado stated that his office is looking into the legalities of the move, as representatives must live in the district they represent.

“This is something new for us,” said Mayor John Cook, “whether a city representative can live in another city and remain a city representative is yet to be seen.”

Bogado does not anticipate much change. “I think it's more of an issue for Rep. Niland than it is for Rep. Ortega,” says Bogado. “Other than trying to close women's shelters in Segundo Barrio, Niland rarely steps into other parts of her district than The Willows.”

“Ortega's situation is far more complex,” Bogado elaborated. “If anyone, he's an expert at representing areas of town other than his own district, so his move is no big change.”

“And I think he's use to representing carpetbaggers, scalawags, and robber barons,” continued Bogado, “and that's something he can do from anywhere.”

How the corporate move will effect Rep. Niland's efforts to close every women's shelter in the city remains to be seen.

“I was focusing on the shelters owned by Mexicans first,” stated Niland, “but I think the Arizona air will help me clear my head and help me make better judgements so that I don't go throwing poor battered women out onto the streets during Christmastime.” “I'll wait until after the New Year,” added Niland.

For Ortega, his coming move to Arizona leaves several projects unfinished.

As for the use of eminent domain in El Paso's Lower Valley to build a Port of Entry, Ortega stated, “I was under the impression that land was owned by Billy Abraham. Now that I know it is not,” continued Ortega, “the Port of Entry does not fit into my plans to take all of Abraham's land and buildings.”

As for bridge wait times, “Right now, it is entirely too slow to smuggle marijuana into the country,” said Ortega. “How are we going to handle this when drugs are legalized?”

But Ortega was unmoved at criticism that he would be unable to represent his district from another state. Nevertheless, he admitted some issues like bridge wait times may have to be taken up by others.

“Speeding up the wait times that drug smugglers face to bring stuff into El Paso is something Beto O'Rourke will have to look into when he's elected U.S. Representative.”

Follow Associated Mess reporter Satira Sinverguenza on Twitter.

Read More

El Paso City Council Changes Name of San Jacinto Plaza to “Paul Foster Plaza”

Saving ASARCO's smokestack to create “superjoint” to cost $14M

El Paso County Sheriff's Office linked to Fast and Furious