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City manager’s legal expenses

ElPasoSpeak - 13 hours 14 min ago

A reader sent this in:

For your call to open topics, I wanted to point out  that the recent decision by City Council to retroactively pay for Tommy Gonzalez’s attorneys’ fees (from past ethics claims and his defense thereof) violates Texas law.   The Texas Constitution prohibits retroactive payments for past services to public employees, meaning City employees.  For support of this concept, see this web site and the sources it cites to https://fmx.cpa.texas.gov/fm/pubs/paypol/general_provisions2/index.php?section=retroactive&page=retroactive. When City Council recently decided to go back in time and pay Mr. Gonzalez for something in the past that was not previously agreed upon in regards to his past defense of ethics charges, they made a retroactive payment of the type prohibited by law.   The lone City Rep who was alleged to have leaked this deal was doing the public a favor, but no one seemed to notice that the payment was prohibited by law.   Not even the new City Attorney.  Just food for thought.
Categories: Local Blogs

Anti-Wall GOP Rep. Will Hurd: 'There's a Thing We Care About in Texas Called Private Property Rights'

US Immigration Reform Forum - 19 hours 5 min ago
Anti-Wall GOP Rep. Will Hurd: 'There's a Thing We Care About in Texas Called Private Property Rights'

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Categories: Local Blogs

The Lost Children of the Trump Administration

US Immigration Reform Forum - 19 hours 5 min ago
The Lost Children of the Trump Administration

Why can?t the government account for how many children it separated from their parents at the border?
Source: [url=https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/family-separation-border-tru...
Categories: Local Blogs

Roadkill hazards go beyond initial impact

Borderzine - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 11:28pm

Roadkill is not an uncommon sight along the rural roads and highways of the borderland. Yet, many people may not be aware of the hazards animal-vehicle collisions can cause.

Lois Balin, an urban wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Urban Wildlife Program helps the El Paso community with professional planning guidance, management recommendations and research associated with wildlife. She said animal and vehicle encounters are not only traffic hazards, but can also pose health problems for a community.

“After a certain amount of time they are going to be filled with maggots and hopefully nobody is collecting these animals to eat,” Balin said.

Touching roadkill presents several health risks including contracting bacteria and viruses. Animals both big and small are a threat to safety on the road for automobile drivers.

“There is direct danger when they hit a big animal that they’re going to have an accident. People also swerve to avoid hitting animals and then they can hit another car or another person,” Balin said.

Texas Department of Transportation public affairs officer, Jennifer Wright agreed that swerving to avoid small animals can put road travelers at greater risk.

“If you’re driving along I-10 in this urban area and you see a dog or a cat on the highway, it pains me to say this, it’s safer to hit the animal than it is to swerve around it. As an animal lover it grieves me that that’s the consequence,” Wright said.

Proximity to the Franklin Mountains can bring encounters with larger animals, such as mule deer, in the city’s Westside neighborhoods that are close to the mountains. Dogs, birds and smaller mammals are the more common roadkill in the city. Birds tend to fly across roads, smashing into windshields.

“Snakes get hit a lot on the road. Even amphibians and other critters are searching for an area for food or water they may not have where they are so, they will cross the road looking for it somewhere else,” Balin said.

In a joint effort to mitigate habitat fragmentation and practice habitat conservation, the El Paso wildlife program and the Texas Department of Transportation worked together to build an underpass adjacent to Tom Mays Park near Transmountain Road. The area includes some fencing to try to direct wildlife to the underpass so that they can safely cross the highway.

During the spring and summer months, most animals begin breeding season, which can lead to greater road risks.

“In the breeding season the animals are probably going to be searching greater areas to get their food resources met to feed their young. So, they may be traveling more,” Balin explained. “Then after the breeding season, young animals cannot often occupy the same home range or territory as their parents so they have to find their own place to live,.”

TXDot helps with the cleanup of roadkill along Texas roadways.

“In rural areas when we come across animal carcasses, we will dispose of them by burying them in our right of way right along the side of the roadway,” Wright said.

To report roadkill on Texas highways, call Texas Department of Transportation at (915) 790-4200 or go to TxDot. The City of El Paso environment services department provides dead animal pick up for a fee. For more details, visit their website.

The post Roadkill hazards go beyond initial impact appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

RumpToons No: 116

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 11:00pm
I hope you enjoy RumpToons No: 116!
Categories: Local Blogs

Love Letter to Sunset Heights mural highlights border history

Borderzine - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 10:45pm

It took three years to bring a love letter to El Paso to life in the historical neighborhood of Sunset Heights.

Pearl Properties unveiled the mural, Love Letter to Sunset Heights, during the neighborhood’s annual tour of homes last fall. The mural is painted on the side of the Pearl apartment building at 220 Yandell, which overlooks I-10.

Sunset heights residents, city representatives and Pearl Properties staff gather for the unveiling of the Love Letter to Sunset Heights mural in El Paso, TX. on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. The mural took three years to come alive and was painted by local artist Alejandro Lomeli. Photo credit: Eddie Velazquez

The Pearl’s owners commissioned Alejandro Lomeli as the artistic director in charge of the painting, but the project didn’t happen overnight. Lomeli, who has lived in three different Pearl buildings – including the one where the mural is now – went off to work as a steelworker in Albuquerque for a while as funding for the project was secured along with permission from the El Paso Historic Landmark Commission.

“The Sunset Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association were our main partners,” said Stefanie Uribarri, manager of the Pearl apartment building. “We reached out to them with the idea to see if the community would approve and they were very supportive. They helped us with the process to apply to the Historic Landmark Commission.”

Sunset Heights resident Dolores Henderson gets her first look at the preview of the mural in El Paso, TX. on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Henderson said she has been a longtime resident of the neighborhood and the mural will help visitors know about El Paso history. Photo credit: Eddie Velazquez

Uribarri attributed the idea for the mural to District 1 City Rep. Peter Svarzbein.

“Before he was a city councilman Peter was doing interventions in other buildings and he said ‘you know, the side of that building would be perfect for a mural’ and that was the origin for this concept,” Uribarri said. “That was five years before we even talked to Alex about the mural.”

The concept for the painting itself stemmed from one of Lomeli’s favorite hobbies. “I love collecting postcards of El Paso,” Lomeli said. “I was going to make a painting out of one and I suggested it as the idea for the mural.”

Lomeli said the first dr

Alejandro Lomeli works on detailing the mural in El Paso, TX. on Thursday Oct. 11, 2018. Lomeli said that his shifts working on the mural ranged from 8-12 hours a day. Photo credit: Eddie Velazquez

aft had more downtown buildings had a sunset as its main element before he decided to focus on Sunset Heights.

“I am a big supporter of local history and historic buildings so I thought it was great if we kept it Sunset Heights and added some historical figures from the history of El Paso,” he said.

Mexican revolutionary hero Pancho Villa and renowned architect Henry Trost, both believed to have been Sunset Heights residents, are featured on the mural.

Lomeli said that his favorite part of the mural was the color scheme.

“I think the buildings coming up and building art are just too drab,” he said. “That’s why I think adding some color is good. And to me, it matches what the neighborhood is like.”

Svarzbein said the high visibility of the mural is a bonus for the community. “For all the cars driving by to be able to see this and for all the people to walking from Sunset Heights to downtown to see this history come alive is beautiful,” he said.

Lomeli hopes the project helps make a broader impact on passers by.

“I want the mural to show that El Paso has talent, that it is not just a mediocre city and I want it to make El Paso stand out,” he said.

The post Love Letter to Sunset Heights mural highlights border history appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

Explicit lyrics in Latino music worries some, but simply reflects popular culture experts say

Borderzine - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 8:59pm

The Dominican Republic recently decided to ban certain Latino music due to obscene language, sexual content, and lyrics that talk about drug trafficking and consumption. Critics in other Latin American countries are claiming that explicit music is having a negative impact on the their culture.

But some scholars say the content that offends one generation is just part of a normal evolution for popular music and society. Roberto Avant-Mier, a professor of communication at the University of Texas at El Paso specializing in popular music and film explained that music and society have a reciprocal relationship.

“I know for a fact music has an effect on society but also, society has an effect on music. I think it goes both ways in other words,” he said. “People can affect music, music can affect people. I think it’s all a relationship, like a back and forth relationship.”

Curtis Tredway, a music professor at UTEP, said explicit language and content has always been around and it is just becoming more mainstream as society’s standards are changing.

“The truth is, people have been using interesting language forever, maybe we don’t always use it on television, or records, or movies or things like that, but it’s always been there. And to say that it hasn’t is just putting on blinders. So, I think that artists today want to just be more real in what they do,” Tredway said.

Avant-Mier said that this is a reflection of how people’s perception changes over the years. “If you put it in a context of history, what we are seeing now at the moment would seem like it’s too much for us, but in 20 or 30 years, they will be like ‘that was nothing,’” he said.

Different genres of Spanish music, including Mexican regional, and Urban Latino like the ones shown in the photo have been banned in some countries due to their content. Photo credit: Roberto Saenz

Mexican regional music, like the corrido, is very popular in the border area. And while it doesn’t necessarily use strong language, the content dealing with topics like the drug cartels and violence, developed songs into what is known as “narcocorridos.”

Corridos were more political when the style began – telling stories about oppression by the government, Avant-Mier said. Now they reflect more popular culture of romanticizing outlaws.

“I think beginning in the maybe late 80’s, early 90s, it became about glorifying narco, narcotrafico,” Avant-Mier said. “If you look at narcocorridos now, they glorify violence, they glorify money, the drug trade. They’re too easily glorifying the drug trade.”

Mexico has forbidden many artists that sing narcocorridos from performing certain songs due to their content, as officials claim they incite violence and justify crime.

Tredway said that the public also plays its own role in refusing to support performers who go too far.

“With any kind of censorship, then it just gets to be, where do you draw the line. And there have been lots of cases that just kind of say, maybe every individual has to draw the line for themselves. If an artist is performing that kind of stuff, then you have to decide not to go to that concert,” he said.

The rise of urban Latino genres, like reggaeton, have become more vocal about previously taboo topics like sex. Avant-Mier said that can be seen a way for young people to act out against the standards of older generations and showing they won’t be repressed by society.

“The way you get kids to do something is to ban it. If you tell kids ‘Don’t listen to reggaeton because it’s too sexual,’ they’re gonna go for the very thing that the parents don’t want the to do because it’s a form of rebellion,” he said.

If parents are concerned about the impact of explicit lyrics on their children, Tredway suggests there should be a way for music platforms and retailers to communicate or to let the people know what content they are putting out for sale.

“Even though I’m pretty open-minded, as a parent, I want to know what my kids are listening to. And, so I think that there needs to be some kind of way to inform the adults that this is the content of this. Whether that’s a red flag, or something, I don’t know,” Tredway said. “There needs to be some kind of communication.”

The post Explicit lyrics in Latino music worries some, but simply reflects popular culture experts say appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

How to make a career change into the tech industry before leaving college

Borderzine - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 5:48pm

College is the time to figure out what you’re good at and who you are as an individual, at least in my experience. I changed my major twice in four years and finally ended up with a career path I found to be enjoyable.

I found a passion for web development and design during the summer of 2017 when I was studying for a degree in multimedia journalism. I was taking a digital audio and video class and our professor had us create a basic website for the content we created in the classroom.

While I already had a WordPress site, I was trying to make my web page look interesting and less like a generic template. I was playing around with plugins but it still did not have the “look” I wanted. My brother, a Java developer, suggested I create my website from scratch, which meant I would have to code it myself. He helped me out by introducing me to the fundamentals of HTML and CSS.

My brother and I spent a full week putting my website together. I designed my layout and he helped me build it and add all my content.

After that, I was hooked.

I decided I wanted to explore the world of web development by taking courses online through Udemy and Udacity. The first course I started was The Web Developer Bootcamp Course with Colt Steele. I still remember those nights staying up late and getting excited when I would figure out a coding problem all by myself!

It wasn’t long after that that I decided I wanted to pursue web development as a career. I quit my job as a public relations specialist to focus on learning JavaScript.

I soon discovered the El Paso community has several resources to offer, including web development classes. Fab Lab El Paso offers classes to people of all ages who want to learn how to code. I took an Intro to Web Development class with them.

In the class, I met very interesting people from different backgrounds, all trying to immerse themselves in the tech industry.

Networking for Tech Success

When transitioning into the tech world, it’s important to make connections with people who have experience. I was fortunate to network with PHP and Ruby developers from Spectrum Technologies, Stanton Street, and Singulution.Even though I’m brand new to the world of web development, these contacts will be important when I have enough experience to work with these companies.

Another tip: it’s important to tell people you are interested in web development or programming. That way, they will remember you when they see there’s a job opening for a tech position. Shortly before I graduated, one of my professors recommended me for a web design position solely on the basis that I told him I was interested in web design. I now get to practice coding and work on web design projects.

Also, adjust your website or portfolio to meet the standards of the position you are applying for. Whether it’s computer programming, information technology, or user experience design, list the skills employers are looking for.

Lastly, and most importantly, learn every day. Becoming a web developer requires learning on your own and solving problems. I worked to make my website better and add content to showcase my skills. I’m also added app development to my repertoire of programming skills.

Just like everything, programming is difficult at first. There will be days when nothing seems to work and you feel like throwing in the towel. Remember to be patient and don’t let your frustration prevail. Soon enough you’ll have learned the in’s and out’s of computer programming and have successfully made your transition into the tech industry.

 

 

The post How to make a career change into the tech industry before leaving college appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

About 40% of H-1B Jobs Give Employers a Tidy $40,000/Year Discount

US Immigration Reform Forum - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 12:52pm
About 40% of H-1B Jobs Give Employers a Tidy $40,000/Year Discount

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A new report shows that while employers and their lobbyists talk about ...

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

ElPasoSpeak - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 5:00am

It’s open line Saturday.

Tell us what you are thinking.

Keep it clean and please don’t get personal.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Trump's Favorite 'Prayer Rug' Immigrant Story Seems Like Fake News and Shoddy Journalism

US Immigration Reform Forum - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 12:05am
Trump's Favorite 'Prayer Rug' Immigrant Story Seems Like Fake News and Shoddy Journalism

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Categories: Local Blogs

Audio of Recent Federalist Society Teleforum on Sanctuary Cities

US Immigration Reform Forum - Sat, 01/19/2019 - 12:05am
Audio of Recent Federalist Society Teleforum on Sanctuary Cities

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Categories: Local Blogs

New Bill Would Swell H-2B Program to Over 100,000 Annually

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:06pm
New Bill Would Swell H-2B Program to Over 100,000 Annually

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Sen. Thune's "Prioritizing Help to Businesses Act" (S.135) would ensure that em...

Categories: Local Blogs

Jon Meacham Misuses a Reagan Anniversary to Preach the Gospel of Open Borders

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:06pm
Jon Meacham Misuses a Reagan Anniversary to Preach the Gospel of Open Borders

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author's open-bord...

Categories: Local Blogs

Blue Flue at TSA and Elsewhere in DHS?

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:06pm
Blue Flue at TSA and Elsewhere in DHS?

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There can be no excuse for letting the American public down; what's happening is not their fault. D...

Categories: Local Blogs

Honesty is the best policy, but not always effective

Refuse the Juice - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 10:06am
My friend Mr. Grossman was none too pleased that I mentioned his contradictory existence as a libertarian that is against private property rights. He accused me of not being against the arena... or at least not being enough against it... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

Property tax cap

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 7:59am
This came in the other day: Brutus.      [P]  Here is another website you might consider adding to your list — since in this ongoing Texas Legislative Session — legislators will be looking at reducing the property roll back cap trigger down from it’s current trigger level of 8-percent  to a 2-percent trigger cap.  See — https://www.gregabbott.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/PropertyTaxReform.pdf      [P]  Our local legislative delegation members will fight against lowering the cap — and Sunday night on the KVIA TV News Extra program — Senator Rodriguez indicated he is against it.  As he goes, the other members of the delegation will follow.  In addition, the city, county, UMC and school districthired lobbyists — will also raise objections and fight against any lowering of the cap.  The reality is — individual voters’ and property taxpayers — do not have hired lobbyists and others fighting for their interests.  Bottom line — that’s where your blog can create an impact!      [P]  The 2-percent level is most likely too low — so that cap trigger level may possibly be only a negotiating point — so legislators can compromise at a 4 or 5-percent trigger cap.      [P]  Since many of your faithful blog followers’ and creatively blunt posters — are pissed about always rising local property taxes, plus associated stupid spending — here’s a chance for them to get their ‘oars in the water’ — and let those state legislators outside El Paso who are pushing this issue — know there are El Paso voters’ and property taxpayers — who approve, plus appreciate and support their efforts. ————————————  Old Fart. POST SCRIPT:  Since you keep your blog updated each day — with a fresh topic for public thought and discussion — it is certainly better than the stale blogs of David K, Max Powers, Zorro and some of the others.  Therefore, it certainly seems you have a daily opportunity — to make your blog an action site — by posting interactive web links as you have just started to do. ************************************************* He is of course right. We need to speak up and let the legislators know how we feel. We deserve better Brutus
Categories: Local Blogs

The Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Families Than We Thought

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:24am
The Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Families Than We Thought

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Categories: Local Blogs

2 Big Reasons We Don't Need a Border Wall

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:24am
2 Big Reasons We Don't Need a Border Wall

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Categories: Local Blogs

Trump Worsens the Border Crisis

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:24am
Trump Worsens the Border Crisis

It?s not about drugs or crime. It?s about the government?s failure to adapt to an influx of asylum seekers.
Source: Trump Worse...
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by Dr. Radut