Saturday, February 13, 2016

Almost 50% of Beto O'Rourke's Top Expenditure Went to Suzie Byrd

In 2015, Almost 50% of Beto O'Rourke's Top Expenditures  Went to Suzie Byrd
U.S. Representative's Cronyism and Self Dealing; $81,152 in 2014

According to, in 2015, almost 50% of the Beto O'Rourke's top expenditures went to former City Representative, Suzie Byrd. 

In 2014, 24% of the representatives top expenditures went to Suzie Byrd, although the total amount was larger: $81,152.00 (made in 47 payments).

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "cronyism" as: "the unfair practice by a powerful person (such as a politician) of giving jobs and other favors to friends."

For 2015, Open Secrets lists the top expenditure to vendors / recipients, and of those top expenditures, there is an amount for $21,000 divided in to 12 payments, and a seperate amount for $10,500 divided into six payments, for a total of $31,500. The payments are made to Moxie Communications and Consulting, which is owned by Byrd (Note 1). 

Full Link:

Looking at all U.S. Senators and Representatives, O'Rourke is the only one to "use" Moxie's services, or at least pay out a check (see Open Secrets for 2014).

In 2014, as you may remember, Byrd was "spokesperson" for the El Paso Childrens Hospital, but as things got messy with the hospital, she was no longer mentioned as "spokesperson."

Are Payments to Stanton Street Technology Self-Dealing

In both 2014 and 2015, O'Rourke profited from his political contributions, shifting money to Stanton Street Technology Group. In 2014, he paid his own company $39,063 (11.7% to top expenditure) and in 2015, he paid his own company $1,335.

Why So Much on "Communications" During a Non-Contested Primary

The curious thing is why the Congressman needs to pay Byrd so much money when he already had a "Communications Director." According to The Sunlight Foundation, "John Meza" is listed in this position (Note 2). 

It could be that Byrd is used in his re-election bid, however, O'Rourke had no serious opponent in the last election cycle. In a straight-ticket Democratic-voting district, why would Byrd need to be paid so much money?

Note 1 - see "Rep. Susie Byrd believes in success through hard work and listening to the community". 

Note 2 - Several sources point to this. See  and'Rourke-%28D-.-TX16%29


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Close Look at Rep. Beto O'Rourke's Financial Reports

Corporate Contributors Make the Bulk of Beto O’Rourke’s Gifts in Recent Report

According to the last report filed by Representative Beto O’Rourke, his top contributors include:

82% of his contribution came from large individual contributors.

For being a Democrat, he received no contribution from organized labor.*

*Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on Monday, November 16, 2015.

In regard to what industries gave to the representative:


Monday, February 1, 2016

Should El Paso City Gov’t Require “Affordable-Housing Impact Statements”?

 Should El Paso City Gov’t Require “Affordable-Housing Impact Statements”?

Other Cities are Ahead of El Paso in Requiring Developers to Measure Effect on Affordable Housing

 In Brentin Mock’s recent article, “The Growing Trend of Affordable Housing Impact Statements“ it describes how developer must do environmental impact statements; basically “if it would make it hard for certain native bird or plant species to live there” an impact statement is needed.

However, this is not done for humans. Why not?

“But what if those condos would make it harder for certain people native to that area to live there also, namely by reducing the level of existing affordable housing?”

With rental costs spiraling out of control some cities, New Orleans in particular (the focus of the article) has introduced a bill requiring “’affordable-housing impact statements’” for any proposed ordinances or applications for new zoning or land use changes.” 

In looking at New Orleans, the author says that “28 percent poverty” exists throughout the city and that there has been a “50 percent rise in renting costs since 2000.” 

The author states that in NO, “More than 70 percent of all household …spend more than a third of their income on housing.”

New Orleans has tacked this buy making a 10-year strategy to “create 5,000 affordable unites by 2021.” What has the City of El Paso done in this regard?

Among the cities that have passed similar legislation have been Atlanta, Austin, and San Diego. The article states that Pittsburgh is considering one.

The author describes a 1994 executive order from President Clinton that “requires federal agencies to consider the effects on low-income families before issuing building permits.”

Nevertheless, the author is pessimistic, as enforcement has been “shaky.” 

But at least these cities are ahead of the game. El Paso is still running the first lap.