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A lesson in life

ElPasoSpeak - Tue, 03/24/2020 - 5:00am

I wonder if our sudden difficulties will help younger generations understand that what we have can be taken from us without warning and that they should not expect life to always be easy.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

My Debt Moratorium Proposal As A Stimulus Package

EPN - Border Analysis - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:00pm
America and the rest of the world is an economic crisis. Most of us understand this. For the […]
Categories: Local Blogs

A message from Max Grossman

ElPasoSpeak - Mon, 03/23/2020 - 5:00am

This came in from Max Grossman:

Dear Friends, As long as the media refuses to report this, I will keep repeating this information every few weeks. On December 10, Moody’s Investment Service announced that in the event of a recession of similar severity to the 2008-09 downtown, El Paso will be one of four cities (including Detroit) in which “adjusted net pension liabilities will rise by more than 100% of revenue.” Data-Z, a subsidiary of Truth in Accounting, whose mission is “to educate and empower citizens with understandable, reliable, and transparent government financial information,” claims that “El Paso is a Sinkhole City without enough assets to cover its debt.” Just look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average today. At one point it sank to 20,387, down from the February 16 high of 29,569, a difference of 31%! The talk among the pundits is no longer about whether we are heading into a recession because of the world health crisis, but about how severe it will be. QUESTION: What will our City do to avert the financial calamity which Moody’s, one of the top financial reporting firms in the world, has explicitly warned El Paso about? I have stated it many times and will state it again. The City Manager, Mayor, and City Council Representatives have placed us on a financial path that could lead to disaster. Even as our homestead tax burden is second only to Detroit, and even as world markets are plunged into chaos, they still insist that our government should be in the entertainment business, providing us with stadiums and waterparks! Max ******************************* We deserve better Brutus
Categories: Local Blogs

The Age of COVID-19

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 03/22/2020 - 10:00pm
We are amid major changes in the global economy and the way we live our lives. Those of […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Open line, this time Sunday

ElPasoSpeak - Sun, 03/22/2020 - 10:48am

What’s on your mind today?

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

RumpToons No: 177

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 03/21/2020 - 10:00pm
RumpToons No: 177 under the Corona pandemic.
Categories: Local Blogs


ElPasoSpeak - Sat, 03/21/2020 - 5:00am

Let’s postpone open line this week to Sunday.

There are a lot of employees and businesses hurting right now.

I ask that you consider going to a local restaurant and ordering curbside–they certainly need the business.

Please feel free to send us names of restaurants that you intend to support.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Social distancing to slow coronavirus is hard for a border culture used to hugging, togetherness

Borderzine - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 11:10am

The Trejo family has been careful about handwashing and using hand-sanitizer to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but when it came time to part ways near the Paso del Norte international bridge, they hugged each other.

“As we were hugging, I thought, ‘Oh no, we should have given each other a little elbow tap,’” said Blanca Trejo, the 65-year-old grandmother and matriarch of the family.

Her 15-year-old granddaughter Ruby Lerma Trejo said she tried not to hug too tightly but said of keeping her distance with family, “oh that’s hard.”  Her grandmother, aunt and young cousins were headed back to Ciudad Juárez. She and her mother and sisters were going back to Horizon City.

The Trejo family said goodbye after a recent visit as part of the family headed to Horizon City and the rest stayed in Ciudad Juárez. Hugs and kisses are part of life on the border, presenting a challenge in combating coronavirus. (Angela Kocherga/El Paso Matters) Learning to keep our distance

Of all the directives to stop the spread of COVID-19, medical experts have said social distancing may be the most important. But it may pose the biggest challenge for borderland residents who not only greet each other with handshakes and hugs but also  in some cases the customary kiss on the cheek that is popular in Mexico and other parts of Latin America.

“If we’re really going to reduce the risk of this epidemic of spreading in our community, we’re going to have to learn how not to do that,” said Ogechika Alozie, an infectious disease specialist in El Paso and chief medical officer at Del Sol Medical Center

Alozie acknowledged that changing cultural norms is not easy.

“It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s something we’re going to have to work on, something we’re going to have to continually remind our community, our friends, our families, our children,” he said.

Limiting gatherings to the recommended 10 or fewer people will be especially hard for border residents with large extended families and ties that stretch across three states and two countries.

With the weather warming up, El Pasoans will have to forgo large backyard cookouts or carne asadas.  And many parents who would have relied on grandma to take care of the kids while schools are closed now have to find a backup babysitter to ensure they protect elderly members of the family who are most vulnerable to coronovirus.

Habits hard to change

While some are hunkering down at home, others who crisscross the border to work, shop or visit relatives are trying not to let the coronavirus disrupt their daily routines too much.

“Obviously we’re taking precautions, but we’re also not panicking,” said Lucia Cardoza, 36, a Juárez resident. She came to El Paso to do some shopping with her 76 -year-old father. “We have to continue living life as it is. Just wash your hands and no kissing,” said Silvestre Cardoza, her father.

Plenty of older residents did not heed the advice of health authorities to stay inside and avoid public places. Miguel Hernandez, a retired maintenance worker in his early 70s, scoffed at that idea and said he was relying on his faith to protect him.

“Whatever is coming is coming,” said Hernandez. He lives in Ciudad Juárez.  His 98-year-old mother is in California, one of the hotspots for the virus in the U.S. “We’re a family that takes things as they come.”

Hernandez wanted to offer a handshake, insisting he would not do the elbow bump, and then coughed. “I get this cough every winter, every winter,” he said. He did not use the crook of his arm as recommended to cover his cough.

A contrast in U.S. , Mexico responses

While travelers returning from Europe complained about their health concerns after being stuck in line at crowded airports waiting to be screened before going through U.S. Customs, long pedestrian lines have long been common during peak hours at border land ports of entry.

“There are people who sneeze,” said Ciudad Juárez resident Yadira Aleman, 39.

She crossed into El Paso with her husband and 6-year-old son to shop for clothes, shoes and toys. She was surprised to see El Paso had run out of many items at grocery stores.

“In Juárez we still have bleach and toilet paper,” she said. Juárez stores also are out of hand sanitizer, she said.

Mexico has far fewer confirmed cases of COVID-19 than the United States, but President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has faced criticism at home for not setting the example with social distancing. He continues to meet with groups of supporters, hugging people, even kissing a baby.

He did this even as the federal government shut down all public schools through April 6 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Other countries in Latin America have closed their borders to non-residents, including Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Honduras, Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama and Haiti.

A top health official with the Lopez Obrador administration during a recent press conference said Mexico would consider closing the country’s borders if and when necessary.

“What good would that do?” asked Trinidad Zambrano, 56, a Juárez resident. “The virus is here in the environment. That would just hurt people who have to go to work.”

Zambrano was in El Paso visiting her son, who asked her to bring some toilet paper from Juárez.

Cross-border public health efforts

When it comes to the coronavirus, the border region is not at a higher risk than other regions of the United States, according to health officials.

“Being on the border does not make us more susceptible to coronavirus or not,” Alozie said.

El Paso has three presumptive cases. All are travel related. Two are men in their 40s who visited California. The third case is a University of Texas at El Paso student who returned home from “extended overseas travel” according to UTEP.

Ciudad Juárez on Tuesday confirmed its first COVID-19 case. The 29-year old man had traveled to Europe and is now in self-isolation, according to the Chihuahua State Health Department.

More testing once available will help authorities know how widespread the virus is in the borderland region. Health authorities in El Paso, Ciudad Juárez and Las Cruces already work closely on a range of public health issues.

“We’ve been able to integrate, collaborate and coordinate properly so that those challenges aren’t driving worse healthcare outcomes,” Alozie said.

The virus is not life threatening for about 80 percent of people. Children and young people experience few or much weaker symptoms. But they can be carriers and COVID-19 poses a serious risk for people over 60 with chronic health conditions. Those over 80 are especially vulnerable.

A song in the time of coronavirus

Leonardo Alvarado, a singer-songwriter who goes by the stage name Gavilan Norteño, said at age 87 he is worried.  “The coronavirus is dangerous,” he said. But that didn’t stop him from leaving his Juárez house to visit El Paso.

He was eager to talk about all the songs he has recorded and even belted out one of the corridos he has written. “Maybe I should compose one about the virus,” he said before heading back across the border to Ciudad Juárez.

This article first appeared on El Paso Matters and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Click hear to read Social distancing to slow coronavirus is hard for a border culture used to hugging, togetherness

Categories: Local Blogs

Hand sanitizers

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 03/20/2020 - 5:00am

I wonder if there will be any negative effects of our current frequent use of hand sanitizers.

I remember learning that not all bacteria are bad, that some help us.

Can any of our readers enlighten us?

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

A Decentralized Workforce Is The Future

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 10:00pm
If the Corona emergency has proven anything it is that companies need to be ready to deal with […]
Categories: Local Blogs

All Latinos don’t vote the same way – their place of origin matters

Borderzine - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 9:37am

By Eliza Willis, Grinnell College and Janet A. Seiz, Grinnell College

Joe Biden won Florida’s 2020 Democratic primary, capturing a majority of the state’s Latino voters.

Polls have been tracking the Latino vote in Democratic presidential primaries, and many analysts are trying to predict which candidate Latinos might favor in November. Interest in Florida has been especially strong.

Observers commonly speak of “the Latino vote” as if Latinos make up a distinct and unified interest group. This both overstates and understates Latinos’ uniqueness. Latinos are a highly diverse population, beginning with where they and their families are from. For many Latinos, political events that affect their places of origin significantly influence their electoral preferences.

Given the uneven geographic distribution of Latino communities, these differences may be consequential in certain state elections, as seen most clearly in Florida, where Latinos make up 20% of the eligible electorate.

Since Florida is an important swing state, these voters’ choices can make a difference to national election outcomes.

Breaking down the Latino vote

As a group, the nation’s 32 million Latino potential voters are somewhat more likely than non-Latinos to lean Democratic. About 62% identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 34% affiliate with or lean to the Republicans.

Their policy preferences align broadly with those of their parties, but the partisan gap tends to be smaller than among U.S. voters as a whole. In a 2019 Pew survey, for example, 82% of Latino Democrats and 51% of Latino Republicans believed government “should do more to solve problems.” Among non-Latinos, the corresponding figures were 79% and 22%.

An important way in which Latino voters differ from non-Latinos, and vary among themselves, relates to where they or their forebears came from.

Voters who identify as Latino vary in their places of origin. The ancestors of some lived in North America long before the westward expansion of the United States; Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens after the Spanish-American War; and millions of others immigrated from nations throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

Mexican Americans are the largest group, at about 60% of eligible Latino voters. Puerto Ricans come second, with 14%, followed by Cubans at 4%.

Cuban Americans and Florida

In our research on the recent wave of migrants from Central America, we highlighted the problems, from economic insecurity to the prevalence of violence, that motivated people to undertake the often-treacherous journey to the United States.

Our present work examines how the voting preferences of some Latino migrants continue to be shaped by political events and conditions “back home,” even decades after leaving.

The persistent power of the place once called home to shape electoral choices is most apparent among two groups, Cuban Americans and Puerto Ricans. Both have large communities in Florida, giving that state a unique demographic profile.

Florida’s Cuban American voters have long made toppling the communist government of Cuba a priority in presidential and congressional elections.

Unusual among Latinos, Cuban Americans have historically favored Republicans, although this preference is declining. Still, in 2016, Donald Trump got more than half of Florida’s Cuban American vote, compared to only a quarter of non-Cuban Latino votes. As a rough estimate, about half a million Cuban Americans voted in the Florida election. Trump won the state by only 112,911 votes.

Many Cuban Americans have pressed their elected representatives for more aggressive U.S. policies aimed at ousting both the government of Cuba and the pro-Cuban socialist government of Venezuela. These voters are joined in this by many in the state’s growing Venezuelan community, as well as residents of Colombian and Nicaraguan heritage.

These communities’ influence can be seen in the strong language Florida’s congressional Democrats use to criticize the autocratic governments of communist Cuba and socialist Venezuela.

In recent decades, Cuban Americans’ attitudes about regime change in Cuba have become more divided. Polls reveal emerging splits between those who left Cuba before 1980 and those who left more recently or were born in the U.S. The younger voters and more recent migrants favor a friendlier stance toward Cuba: ending the U.S. embargo, lifting travel restrictions and deepening diplomatic relations with the island.

In a 2019 Florida International University poll of Cuban American adults in Miami-Dade County, home to almost half the Cuban Americans in the U.S., only 8% identified policy toward Cuba as the top issue influencing their votes in 2018. Domestic policy issues may take precedence, but concern about conditions in Cuba endures.

Growing presence of Puerto Ricans

As the role of place begins to change within the Cuban American community, a new politics of place is becoming evident among Puerto Ricans.

After Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, tens of thousands emigrated to the mainland, with at least one-third going to Florida to join the million Puerto Ricans already living there. Puerto Ricans might soon match Cuban Americans among the state’s eligible voters, though not yet in turnout.

Historically viewed as reliable supporters of Democrats, Florida’s Puerto Ricans have begun breaking old patterns. For example, many voted for Republican Rick Scott in his 2018 senatorial bid, a fact partly attributable to the multiple visits Scott made as governor to their hurricane-ravaged homeland.

In a 2019 survey of Puerto Rican likely 2020 voters in Florida, more than 90% said it would be important to their vote that a candidate offered “specific solutions for the economic recovery and well-being” of the island.

Final considerations

The pull of family roots also matters among other Latino communities. And “home” is clearly just one of the demographic factors that shape Latinos’ electoral choices. Gender, age, income and education are also influential, as they are with other American ethnic groups.

Moreover, the weight of “home” tends to decline over time. Surveys of people who identify as having Latino heritage have revealed that successive generations report lower levels of attention to politics in their country of origin.

However, to the extent that many Latino voters remain highly motivated by concerns about conditions “back home,” candidates seeking their votes will do well not to ignore this aspect of diversity.

Eliza Willis, Professor of Political Science, Grinnell College and Janet A. Seiz, Associate Professor of Economics, Grinnell College

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Click hear to read All Latinos don’t vote the same way – their place of origin matters

Categories: Local Blogs

Superintendent of the year?

ElPasoSpeak - Thu, 03/19/2020 - 7:01am

This has not happened yet but it appears that EPISD staff thinks very highly of their superintendent:

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Trickle Down Economy

EPN - Border Analysis - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 10:00pm
One of the controversial things about neoliberalism that Ronald Reagan championed, and that NAFTA embraced is the debate […]
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SISD less 75

ElPasoSpeak - Wed, 03/18/2020 - 5:00am

I saw this item on the Socorro Independent School District site:

A. Consider approval of Notice of Separation Incentive
INFO **The Department of Human Resources will offer a separation incentive in the
amount of $500.00 to the first seventy-five (75) classroom teachers, administrators, or
other professional exempt staff assigned to a school site, who submit a Notice of
Voluntary Separation effective at the end of the 2019-2020 contract year to the
Department of Human Resources on or before 5:00 p.m., on Friday, March 31, 2020.

Is this something that they normally do?

Are they downsizing?

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Take A Break From Corona

EPN - Border Analysis - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 10:00pm
Let’s take a quick break from the doom and gloom of the Corona Virus pandemic. Today, I just […]
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Evidently it isn’t bribery if the government does it

ElPasoSpeak - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 5:00am

This may turn out to be good news for teachers at EPISD.

This recommendation is part of a budget presentation to be made at the Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Board of Trustees budget workshop meeting”

It is recommended that the Board of Trustees approve the proposed End ­of Year Employee Stipend in the amount of $3,537,726.00 to
eligible employees at the end of the Spring Semester for the 2019-­2020 school year, as presented.


I don’t begrudge the teachers the money.

Unfortunately as part of the district’s effort to get voter approval of $668 million in bonds the district promised the teachers two bribes, a 750 dollar bonus last year and a 500 dollar bonus this year.

The district needed the votes of the teachers.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Americans Have Lost Confidence In Their Government

EPN - Border Analysis - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 10:00pm
Yesterday we looked at what I have dubbed the toilet paper economy. In my post I opined that […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Public charter school attendance effect on local school district revenue

ElPasoSpeak - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 5:00am

There have been some comments about how public charter schools take money from our local independent school districts.

In fact they do.

If we look at EPISD this year they will get about 560 million dollars in funding.  Roughly 379 million will come from state and federal funding.  Another 182 million will come from local property taxes.  About 32.5 percent of the district’s funding comes from local property taxes.

If a child leaves EPISD and goes to a public charter school the district loses their state and federal funding for that child.

However it keeps the local property taxes.

While the district loses about 66% of their total funding for that child they get to keep the 32.5% that comes from local property taxes.

Since the child no longer attends the district this is free money and actually helps pay for things that the remaining children in the district get.

We deserve better



Categories: Local Blogs

The Toilet Paper Economy

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 03/15/2020 - 10:00pm
The Corona Virus has exposed a very American fear – the fear of running out of toilet paper. […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Whither Sun Metro

ElPasoSpeak - Sun, 03/15/2020 - 7:24am

The other day in The BRIO is being used  we were pleasantly surprised to see the buses almost full.

With Sun Metro’s ridership declining every year and the BRIO increasing that should mean that their other routes are losing many riders.

Will we see an adjustment in their service offerings?

Will we finally see them moving to delivery methods that fit better with demand?

We deserve better


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by Dr. Radut