Monday, May 6, 2013

Are Steve Ortega & El Paso Times “Collaborating” to Influence the Mayoral election?

Are Steve Ortega & El Paso Times “Collaborating” on Stories In An Attempt to Improperly Influence the Mayoral election for Ortega’s Benefit?
Is a part-time divorce lawyer qualified to be Mayor?

Updated: 10:46pm MST, 5/06/13

Guest Post by Eddie Torreal

The El Paso Times and Steve Ortega’s campaign share the same office building and sources are reporting they are collaborating on news stories in an effort to help a few special interests protect their financial investment in their funded mouthpiece -- Steve Ortega.
Once again the El Paso Times attempts to derail the mayoral campaigns of Oscar Leeser and Robert Cormell.
In the most-recent effort, the El Paso Times attempts to chill voter enthusiasm for superior mayoral candidates with a proven track record of success in creating jobs, revenue streams for El Paso, and community investment in El Paso’s future – the children.

Long before stepping up to run for mayor, both Cormell and Leeser have made tremendous personal and financial investments in moving the community forward for many years. Both have attained significant levels of advanced education, are innovative, and have a proven track record of success.
Steve Ortega has blamed all the past mayors for not moving El Paso forward.
Unfortunately for Ortega and the El Paso Times, all the past Mayors in the last 35 years have had college degrees so clearly by Ortega’s public statements, level of educational attainment is not a factor.
In addition, the Mayor is no longer CEO of the City. The City Manager is, and that office in unfortunately in the hands of Joyce Wilson.

If Ortega and the El Paso Times really believed education and experience matter, then they both would have endorsed candidate Hector H. Lopez.

So how useful is Steve Ortega’s Law Degree?

It is natural for the public to presume that lawyers know and therefore follow the law. Unfortunately -- as we have seen in the public corruption cases -- this is not true (see "Disbarment of Former County Judge Luther Jones Final" and "Raymond Telles guilty of fraud").

Is Steve Ortega a wannabe career politician?
Following in the tradition of lawyers, like Luther Jones, who became career politicians, Steve Ortega has used his legal education to circumvent the public interest and laws in place to protect the public interest.

Here are a few recent reminders:

  1. Steve Ortega conducted City business using his personal email account to circumvent the Texas Open Records Act and has refused to release those emails in spite of specific direction from the Texas Attorney General;
  2. Ortega voted to use taxpayer money to hire outside attorneys to sue the Texas Attorney General in order to delay and avoid releasing his emails regarding City business. Even the El Paso Times has called for a release of these emails which is why voters should strongly question the integrity of the El Paso Times endorsement and apparent pass on accountability they have given Ortega;
    Click to Enlarge. Email from
  3. Steve Ortega relies on City Manager Joyce Wilson’s emails during City Council meetings to tell him what motions to make (see caption above). At a minimum, shouldn’t we require our elected officials to at least have critical thinking skills?
  4. Steve Ortega disregarded his fiduciary responsibility to his constituents as well as El Paso at large by failing to disclose the expected Western Refinery valuation and negative budget impact in August 2012. You can read the details here;
  5. Steve Ortega lacks the legal prowess to understand the City Charter. He allowed a referendum to go to a public vote in 2010 and then we were told in 2012 that the City Charter does not allow a referendum vote;
  6. Steve Ortega supported discrimination against a poor ethnic group to benefit his special interest funding sources. You can read the details here.
  7. Steve Ortega disregarded public sector employment prohibitions for elected officials in the City Charter and State law by teaching at EPCC during his first term in office.

Steve Ortega is a part-time divorce lawyer. 

Ortega states he has experience working with children as an attorney. Seriously???

Click to Enlarge
El Paso County records show Ortega has only filed in nine years.

El Paso County Court records show (see caption above) Ortega has only filed 10 cases since he was licensed in 2004 (that 10 cases in a 9-year period).  Of these 10 cases, the majority were divorces with no children and only 2 involved children which appear to be child custody.
Refusal to Represent the Best Interests of Children in District 7
In fact, Ortega has refused to represent the best interests and safety of the children and residents in District 7.
Recently he voted to approve placing all the railroad crossings in his district on a potential closure list jeopardizing public safety by limiting emergency routes and hospital access to just Yarbrough Drive.

Additionally, these closures would cost all Ysleta Independent School District taxpayers an additional $300,000 per year – money which should be used in the classroom for the education of children.

In May 2012, Ortega voted against helping YISD improving crosswalks in front of and near Bel Air High School.
Voter’s at the Cathedral forum got it right – Strong Moral Character and Public Trust matter and Steve Ortega is not qualified.