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Cross-border home ownership rate reflects El Paso, Juarez binational community dynamic

Borderzine - Sat, 12/28/2019 - 3:10pm

About one in every six El Pasoans say they own homes in both Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, according to a recent survey.

The Border Perception Survey asked border residents about topics ranging from education and health to the security and environment. The survey, a collaboration between the El Paso Community Foundation and Fundación Comunitaria Frontera Norte as part of an initiative called Building Broader Communities in the Americas, was conducted between August and September of 2018 and included 896 El Pasoans and 1,535 Juarez residents.

“The surprising thing was such a large number of people who actually are dual citizens, or are citizens of one side of the other but have homes on the other side of the border. And so that was an impressive finding,” said one of the researchers on the project, Josiah Heyman, director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies and professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso.

El Paso Realtor Daniel Lara said it is easy for anyone to own property in the United States, but not in Mexico.

“In El Paso, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen. As long as you can afford it, you can buy it,” he said.

But Mexico only allows Mexican citizens to own homes, Lara said, limiting cross-border home ownership to El Pasoans with dual citizenship.

While 17% of El Paso homeowners say they also own homes in Juarez, only 3% of Juarenses say they own a home in both cities. Still, about 60% of those surveyed say they have family on both sides of the border, reinforcing how deeply connected the two cities are.

“When we bring this out, then I start have people come up to me and say ‘Oh yes, you know, I still have my mother’s house in Juarez’ and ‘You know, part of my family is here and part of my family is there,” Heyman said. “We get all the stories of people who actually have residences in both countries. This tells us something to support the impression, the words, the imprint in the minds of people that this is a binational community.”

Fabian Hernandez, an electrical engineering student at UTEP, was born in Ciudad Juarez, but his family lived in El Paso on weekdays and stayed in their Juarez residence on the weekends. He grew up shifting back and forth between his homes on both sides of the border. Now he lives in Juarez with his wife and crosses the border to work and study in El Paso.

“One of the advantages of living in El Paso is that you can get like the best of the United States and the best of Mexico, but I consider Juarez more like my home,” Hernandez said. “I lived there most of my time, with most of my family and friends there. That’s why when I was living here in El Paso I went, when I could, I went to Juarez to go out with them.”

Heyman says a significant number of people regularly cross back and forth between El Paso and Juarez from both sides, but it is dominated by El Pasoans. The survey showed 63% of El Pasoans say they go to Mexico, but 75% of Juarenses never cross into the United States.

“Many people in Mexico don’t have permission to come to the United States and a very, very small proportion of them go without documents,” he said. “Vast majority just stay on the southern part of the border.”

Eva Moya, a co-researcher on the Border Perception Survey is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work and the College of Health Sciences at UTEP. She said a majority of Juarenses don’t see the border region as a binational community like El Pasoans do, but still recognize themselves as fronterizos.

“Their perception is we’re on the border frontier because it’s so clear, it’s divided, it’s marked. But they’re not binational, however they have interactions with binational communities,” Moya said.”The products that they consume – most likely – the clothing that they have, possibly the gifts that they receive, the medications that are moved. All these products are pretty international in nature. So, they’re connected.”

Commuters making their way to the U.S. border port of entry between Juarez and El Paso. Photo by Grecia Sanchez,

Heyman said one question in the survey that asked where a person lived until they were 12 years old gives insight because that is considered a key formative period.

“Official statistics only ask you where you were born, but a significant number of people from Juarez are born in El Paso,” he said. “And yet, spend their early years on the Mexican side, so they don’t get captured in the official statistics.”

According to the survey, 48% of El Pasoans spent their childhood in Mexico while 2% of Juarenses spent their childhood on the U.S. side. About 8% of El Pasoans said they spent their childhood in both cities, whereas less than 1% percent of Juarenses said the same.

Moya said she was intrigued with how the survey showed how people from both sides of the border perceived each other apart from their governments’ policies.

“Despite the differences and despite the walls and the barriers and the policies that have been put in place, Juarenses and Paseños referred to each other as brothers, sisters, as almost family members, as good neighbors, so this speaks volumes of the quality of the people that make this region,” she said. “Despite walls, we see each other as an economic driver, and we continue to understand that we are connected and dependent on each other. So, the success of one is the success of the other, the failure of the other is the reflection of the other, so we’re joined at the hip in many different ways.”




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Categories: Local Blogs

6 bands to see in the borderland before they’re gone for good

Borderzine - Sat, 12/28/2019 - 2:30pm

Whether you enjoy the lively bars in the Cincinnati District, the skyline views from the roofs of Downtown El Paso, or the laid-back atmosphere of the many dive bars scattered throughout the city, one thing you can find no matter what side of town you are on is great local music.

But, nothing in the known universe last forever and the same principal applies to the bands we love. We have all felt the heartbreak when a band we follow stops creating music. Or, even worse is discovering a band that has already broken up. As bands come and go here are six bands from the borderland you should see before they’re gone.

Ribo Ruckus

Photo by Viridiana Villa

Ribo Ruckus, ABF has been making waves in the music circuit since the summer of 2018. The band is a collaboration of musicians who work together to flawlessly fuse genres and make something new. You can hear jazz, rock, and hip-hop influences that come together to create a blend of sounds unlike any other. The band has been known to play the stages at some of the popular festivals here in the borderland, such as Neon Desert Music Festival and Chalk the Block.

Emily Davis and the Murder Police

Photo by Bobby Gallagher

Emily Davis and the Murder Police is an alternative folk / punk rock band that has been blessing the borderland with fun-filled shows since 2018. The band has already rocked stages across the country when they toured with punk rock legends Bad Religion. They have had a great year in streaming, racking up more than 138,000 streams on Spotify during 2019.

Dulce Mal

Dulce Mal is a fusion band from our sister city Ciudad Juarez. The band blends different genres such as reggae, ska, and jazz. The unique combination of sounds come from trumpets accompanied by acoustic guitars and electric bass. The band plays dozens of shows a year in El Paso. Look out for them at venues such as Neon Rose.

Texas Gigantism

Texas Gigantism is a melodic heavy metal band from the borderland who incorporate pop-culture into their music to have a unique presence. The band has opened for dozens of heavy metal bands at the Rock House and have gained a following by playing energetic shows that keeps the crowd pumped. They are embarking on their Plus Run Ultra tour where they will be playing in the states of Colorado, California, and Arizona.

La Chapuza

Photo by Ariana Martinez

La Chapuza has been playing in the borderland since 2008, The band is a mix of genres that include – but are not limited to – punk, reggae, cumbias, and surf. The band puts on great shows by incorporating trombones, saxophones and other brass instruments.

Jazz Over Easy

Jazz Over Easy has been playing shows in the borderland for the past 19 years and can be seen at a number of downtown restaurants including Pot Au Feu, 307 E. Franklin Ave. The band that plays smooth jazz can also be found playing at Dillinger’s, 303 E. Franklin Ave. In addition to catching this band on a stage, they can also be booked for local events such as weddings or birthday or business parties.


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Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

ElPasoSpeak - Sat, 12/28/2019 - 5:00am

It’s Saturday.

What’s on your mind?

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

City tax tricks

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 12/27/2019 - 5:00am

The city of El Paso charges a franchise fee to two of it’s own departments.

Both El Paso Water and the Environmental Services department (garbage) are assessed a fee.

The water and garbage customers see the fee getting passed on to them in the form of a bill.

The city powers maintain that the franchise fees are imposed to compensate the city for the use of city streets.

These are streets that we have paid for and are also paying to maintain.

The fees are not franchise fees, they are taxes.

The city has a few other departments that generate revenue.

Will we see them getting charged franchise fees?

Sun Metro buses travel more on city streets than any other entity.

El Paso Fire Department ambulances travel on city streets and generate revenue for the city.  How are they different than the water and trash departments?

All of these charges are wrong, they are simply taxes that the city would not normally be allowed to charge because of caps on their rate of tax increase.

The charges should be challenged in court.

We deserve better



Categories: Local Blogs

More vacation?

ElPasoSpeak - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 7:13am

The came in from our loyal reader EPKamikazi:

On the news tonight they announced city hall and administrative offices will be closed from 23 December through 2 January. Does that mean those personnel will be on paid status? ****************** We deserve better Brutus
Categories: Local Blogs

Merry Christmas

ElPasoSpeak - Wed, 12/25/2019 - 5:00am

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for your continued interest.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Be safe

ElPasoSpeak - Tue, 12/24/2019 - 5:00am

We hope by now that you have finished whatever shopping you have decided to do.

Traffic will be congested and accidents will happen.

Go home and enjoy the holiday.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Paydirt Promise provides tuition relief to UTEP students with income under $40,000

Borderzine - Mon, 12/23/2019 - 12:00pm

Pursuing a college education comes with many struggles, from exams and homework to figuring out how to pay for four years or more of tuition, fees, books, room and board or commuting expenses.

Last summer, the University of Texas at El Paso announced it would be offering some Texas residents who attend UTEP tuition-free college starting Fall 2020.

The Paydirt Promise allows a Texas resident whose family income is less than $40,000 a year to attend college without having to pay tuition. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the median income for an El Paso family is $44,431.

Along with the income requirement, a student must also complete their college education in five years. They must take 12 hours per semester, which can cost at an upwards of $7,629.68 for two semesters. The student must also maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

UTEP’s decision to waive tuition for undergraduates comes at a time when state and national politicians, including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have begun to promote tuition free college for all students, an idea in part prompted by rising tuition bills and mounting student debt.

In neighboring New Mexico, the governor recently announced it will provide free tuition to all college students at its public universities. The measure still needs to be approved by the New Mexico state legislature.

Along with The University of Texas at Austin, UTEP is among the first universities in Texas to offer free college tuition to qualified students.

UTEP Vice President of Student Affairs Gary Edens says the school expects thousands of students to qualify and participate in the new grant program.

Under a previous tuition waiver program called the UTEP Promise, about 5,000 students per semester received free tuition, he said. UTEP’s overall student enrollment this fall rose slightly to 25,151.

Edens said the process for applying for the tuition waiver is simple.

“They have to sign up for financial aid, and once financial aid sees that they make under $40,000, the student will automatically be put on the Paydirt Promise,” he said. Students will continue to receive the tuition waiver as long as they meet the grade and course requirements and complete their degree in five years, he added.

There is growing buzz on campus among students about the impact of the free tuition plan.

“I think it’s good for the families that do not have too much income so … everybody has the same opportunity to come to UTEP and to get their bachelor’s,” said Julia Hernandez, Biomedical Engineering graduate student.

Some students who don’t meet the income requirement are disappointed they will not be able to reap the benefits of the grant.

Freshman Carlos Rodriguez says although he personally will not benefit from the Paydirt Promise program because he doesn’t meet the income requirement, he believes, “it’s a really great idea for families of lower income, how it’s able to pay your tuition.” Rodriguez plans to pay for his college costs including tuition and books by taking out “a couple loans here and there.”

Anthony Beyers, a UTEP sophomore, said he and his younger brother, who will begin his studies at UTEP next spring semester, have both applied for tuition waivers.

“My family doesn’t make that much money. We are middle class but it is very hard sending my brother and I to school,” Beyers said.

“By my family qualifying… it makes it possible for me and my brother to go to school and receive the education that my parents want us to get…,” he added.

Applications for the grant are available until March 1st and will be awarded as part of financial aid.

Find information about Paydirt Promise here. I

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Categories: Local Blogs

Sinkhole City

ElPasoSpeak - Mon, 12/23/2019 - 6:24am

This came in from Max Grossman:

Friends, 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.” I guess we had better pray that the economy holds up and that the stock market does not suffer a major reversal, otherwise we’re toast! Earlier this year, State Data Lab, a subsidiary of Truth in Accounting, whose mission is “to educate and empower citizens with understandable, reliable, and transparent government financial information,” declared that “El Paso is a Sinkhole City without enough assets to cover its debt.” And that was based upon financial data from 2017! 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, they still insist that our government should be in the entertainment business, providing us with stadiums and waterparks. Lord help us. Max ********************************************** We deserve better Brutus
Categories: Local Blogs

Merry Christmas 2019

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 12/22/2019 - 11:00pm
I just want to take this opportunity to wish each of you a Very Merry Christmas if you […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Truth in advertising

ElPasoSpeak - Sun, 12/22/2019 - 7:55am

City staff recently made a presentation to city council on their new Strategic Regional Marketing Plan.

I think that their logo is kind of clever.

They start with the fact that three cities dominate the region:

Then they join them into one combined presentation:

In the spirit of truthfulness maybe the white square in the middle should be black to represent the economic black hole that we live in.

Their subtext could include:

  • Spend a night in El Paso, we have the highest hotel motel tax rate in the state of Texas.
  • Buy a home in El Paso, we have the second highest homestead property tax rate of the 50 largest cities in the United States
  • Come to Juarez, most people don’t get killed

Las Cruces is looking pretty good.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Rumptoons No: 164

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 12/21/2019 - 11:00pm
I hope you enjoy RumpToons No: 164!
Categories: Local Blogs

A sacred light in the darkness: Winter solstice illuminations at Spanish missions

Borderzine - Sat, 12/21/2019 - 11:38am

By Rubén G. Mendoza, California State University, Monterey Bay

On Saturday, Dec. 21, nations in the Northern Hemisphere will mark the winter solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year. For thousands of years people have marked this event with rituals and celebrations to signal the rebirth of the sun and its victory over darkness.

At hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of missions stretching from northern California to Peru, the winter solstice sun triggers an extraordinarily rare and fascinating event – something that I discovered by accident and first documented in one California church more than 20 years ago.

At dawn on Dec. 21, a sunbeam enters each of these churches and bathes an important religious object, altar, crucifix or saint’s statue in brilliant light. On the darkest day of the year, these illuminations conveyed to native converts the rebirth of light, life and hope in the coming of the Messiah. Largely unknown for centuries, this recent discovery has sparked international interest in both religious and scientific circles. At missions that are documented illumination sites, congregants and Amerindian descendants now gather to honor the sun in the church on the holiest days of the Catholic liturgy with songs, chants and drumming.

I have since trekked vast stretches of the U.S. Southwest, Mexico and Central America to document astronomically and liturgically significant solar illuminations in mission churches. These events offer us insights into archaeology, cosmology and Spanish colonial history. As our own December holidays approach, they demonstrate the power of our instincts to guide us through the darkness toward the light.

Winter solstice illumination of the main altar tabernacle of the Spanish Royal Presidio Chapel, Santa Barbara, California. The author first documented this solar illumination of the altar in 2004.
Rubén G. Mendoza, CC BY-ND Spreading the Catholic faith

The 21 California missions were established between 1769 and 1823 by Spanish Franciscans, based in Mexico City, to convert Native Americans to Catholicism. Each mission was a self-sufficient settlement with multiple buildings, including living quarters, storerooms, kitchens, workshops and a church. Native converts provided the labor to build each mission complex, supervised by Spanish friars. The friars then conducted masses at the churches for indigenous communities, sometimes in their native languages.

Spanish friars like Fray Gerónimo Boscana also documented indigenous cosmologies and beliefs. Boscana’s account of his time as a friar describes California Indians’ belief in a supreme deity who was known to the peoples of Mission San Juan Capistrano as Chinigchinich or Quaoar.

As a culture hero, Indian converts identified Chinigchinich with Jesus during the Mission period. His appearance among Takic-speaking peoples coincides with the death of Wiyot, the primeval tyrant of the first peoples, whose murder introduced death into the world. And it was the creator of night who conjured the first tribes and languages, and in so doing, gave birth to the world of light and life.

Hunting and gathering peoples and farmers throughout the Americas recorded the transit of the solstice sun in both rock art and legend. California Indians counted the phases of the moon and the dawning of both the equinox and solstice suns in order to anticipate seasonally available wild plants and animals. For agricultural peoples, counting days between the solstice and equinox was all-important to scheduling the planting and harvesting of crops. In this way, the light of the sun was identified with plant growth, the creator and thereby the giver of life.

The horse and mule trail known as El Camino Real as of 1821 and the locations of the 21 Franciscan missions in Alta California (click to zoom).
Shruti Mukhtyar/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA Discovering illuminations

I first witnessed an illumination in the church at Mission San Juan Bautista, which straddles the great San Andreas Fault and was founded in 1797. The mission is also located a half-hour drive from the high-tech machinations of San Jose and the Silicon Valley. Fittingly, visiting the Old Mission on a fourth grade field trip many years earlier sparked my interest in archaeology and the history and heritage of my American Indian forebears.

On Dec. 12, 1997, the parish priest at San Juan Bautista informed me that he had observed a spectacular solar illumination of a portion of the main altar in the mission church. A group of pilgrims observing the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe had asked to be admitted to the church early that morning. When the pastor entered the sanctuary, he saw an intense shaft of light traversing the length of the church and illuminating the east half of the altar. I was intrigued, but at the time I was studying the mission’s architectural history and assumed that this episode was unrelated to my work. After all, I thought, windows project light into the darkened sanctuaries of the church throughout the year.

One year later, I returned to San Juan Bautista on the same day, again early in the morning. An intensely brilliant shaft of light entered the church through a window at the center of the facade and reached to the altar, illuminating a banner depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe on her Feast Day in an unusual rectangle of light. As I stood in the shaft of light and looked back at the sun framed at the epicenter of the window, I couldn’t help but feel what many describe when, in the course of a near death experience, they see the light of the great beyond.

Only afterward did I connect this experience to the church’s unusual orientation, on a bearing of 122 degrees east of north – three degrees offset from the mission quadrangle’s otherwise square footprint. Documentation in subsequent years made it clear that the building’s positioning was not random. The Mutsun Indians of the mission had once revered and feared the dawning of the winter solstice sun. At this time, they and other groups held raucous ceremonies that were intended to make possible the resurrection of the dying winter sun.

Plan of Mission San Juan Bautista showing the church’s off-square orientation.
California Missions Resource Center

Several years later, while I was working on an archaeological investigation at Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel, I realized that the church at this site also was skewed off kilter from the square quadrangle around it – in this case, about 12 degrees. I eventually confirmed that the church was aligned to illuminate during the midsummer solstice, which occurs on June 21.

Next I initiated a statewide survey of the California mission sites. The first steps were to review the floor plans of the latest church structures on record, analyze historic maps and conduct field surveys of all 21 missions to identify trajectories of light at each site. Next we established the azimuth so as to determine whether each church building was oriented toward astronomically significant events, using sunrise and sunset data.

The azimuth angle is the compass bearing, relative to true (geographic) north, of a point on the horizon directly beneath an observed object such as a star or planet.
Pearson Scott Foresman/Wikipedia

This process revealed that 14 of the 21 California missions were sited to produce illuminations on solstices or equinoxes. We also showed that the missions of San Miguel Arcángel and San José were oriented to illuminate on the Catholic Feast Days of Saint Francis of Assisi (Oct. 4) and Saint Joseph (March 19), respectively.

Soon thereafter, I found that 18 of the 22 mission churches of New Mexico were oriented to the all-important vernal or autumnal equinox, used by the Pueblo Indians to signal the agricultural season. My research now spans the American hemisphere, and recent findings by associates have extended the count of confirmed sites as far south as Lima, Peru. To date, I have identified some 60 illumination sites throughout the western United States, Mexico and South America.

Melding light with faith

It is striking to see how Franciscans were able to site and design structures that would produce illuminations, but an even more interesting question is why they did so. Amerindians, who previously worshiped the sun, identified Jesus with the sun. The friars reinforced this idea via teachings about the cristo helios, or “solar Christ” of early Roman Christianity.

Anthropologist Louise Burkhart’s studies affirm the presence of the “Solar Christ” in indigenous understandings of Franciscan teachings. This conflation of indigenous cosmologies with the teachings of the early Church readily enabled the Franciscans to convert followers across the Americas. Moreover, calibrations of the movable feast days of Easter and Holy Week were anchored to the Hebrew Passover, or the crescent new moon closest to the vernal equinox. Proper observance of Easter and Christ’s martyrdom therefore depended on the Hebrew count of days, which was identified with both the vernal equinox and the solstice calendar.

Schematic of the four successive solar illuminations of the saints of the main altar screen of Mission San Miguel Arcángel, California. Note illumination begins at the left with the Oct. 4 illumination of Saint Francis on his Feast Day. The author first identified and documented this solar array in 2003.
Rubén G. Mendoza, CC BY-ND

Orienting mission churches to produce illuminations on the holiest days of the Catholic calendar gave native converts the sense that Jesus was manifest in the divine light. When the sun was positioned to shine on the church altar, neophytes saw its rays illuminate the ornately gilded tabernacle container, where Catholics believe that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. In effect, they beheld the apparition of the Solar Christ.

The winter solstice, coinciding with both the ancient Roman festival of Sol Invictus (unconquered sun) and the Christian birth of Christ, heralded the shortest and darkest time of the year. For the California Indian, it presaged fears of the impending death of the sun. At no time was the sun in the church more powerful than on that day each year, when the birth of Christ signaled the birth of hope and the coming of new light into the world.

Rubén G. Mendoza, Chair/Professor, Division of Social, Behavioral & Global Studies, California State University, Monterey Bay

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

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Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

ElPasoSpeak - Sat, 12/21/2019 - 5:00am

What’s on your mind?


Categories: Local Blogs

House passage of U.S., Mexico, Canada trade deal called victory for Texas

Borderzine - Fri, 12/20/2019 - 7:26pm

By Abby Livingston, Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House passed a major trade deal on Thursday that will reset the economic relationships within North America.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed with a 385-41 vote and will now head to the Senate, which is expected to approve it next year. The deal will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 1994 agreement that dramatically changed the landscape of the Texas economy. While the three countries announced the agreement a year ago, the deal hit some turbulence in the Democratically-controlled House.

Many Texas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged its passage, due to the state’s reliance on cross-border commerce with Mexico. Texas has more ports of entry with Mexico — or any country, for that matter — than any other state in the U.S. In a sign of the trade deal’s importance to the state, all Texans in the House voted in favor of it.

“It is a victory for Texas workers, businesses and communities, as trade between our home state and our North American neighbors supports nearly one million jobs, and results in billions of dollars flowing into our economy,” said U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin. “This agreement is about growth and certainty for our country, and it sends the message that we are going to lead the world.”

Approving the agreement has been especially vital to Texans who represent districts along the border.

“As a representative of one of the largest manufacturing regions in North America, a vote for an updated NAFTA is a vote for the more than 23,000 El Pasoans dependent on a prosperous border economy,” said U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso.

Should it pass the Senate, the USMCA will be the capstone of President Donald Trump’s economic agenda. Republicans from Texas praised the president for his administration’s work securing the deal.

“Let’s give credit where credit is due for the one who led the charge, who did the heavy lifting – our President Donald J. Trump,” said U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Lubbock. “In 2016, he was already calling out some of these trade deals as a rip off on American workers and manufacturers. While we saw a 400% increase in trade for agriculture products since the inception of NAFTA, it hasn’t been good all the way around, it hasn’t been fair all the way around, and it hasn’t been productive in terms of keeping jobs here in the United States.”

A number of Texans were closely involved in passage, thanks to assignments on the Ways and Means Committee and the number of Texans who represent the border.

The new, Trump-negotiated deal will have many similarities with the old agreement, but there are some differences. The changes that will most impact Texans include increased enforcement of labor and environmental laws and an increase in the threshold of how much of a car must be manufactured in a country to avoid tariffs.

It is unclear when the Senate will take up the legislation. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated in recent days that he would not address the matter until the conclusion of Trump’s coming impeachment trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not publicly determine Wednesday night when she would take the case to the Senate.

This story was originally published here at

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Categories: Local Blogs

What you should know about opening a franchise restaurant in El Paso

Borderzine - Fri, 12/20/2019 - 7:07pm

Bringing a franchise restaurant to a new city may seem easy compared to opening a business from scratch. However, being a franchisee comes with its own set of challenges.

“Some franchisees don’t realize how hard it is to get started and how hard it is to make it successful. It takes time and it takes a lot of work,” says Kirk Robison, chairman and chief executive officer of Pizza Properties Inc., which owns and operates 46 Peter Piper Franchises in Texas and two in Las Cruces. In September the company bought 10 El Paso Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar locations.

In order to be a successful franchise owner, franchisees have to study the business model of what they’re purchasing, the location they’re bringing the operation to, and finances says Chris Lyons, the owner of Jimmy Johns locations in El Paso and Las Cruces.

“Everything is on you to be able to reach profitability,” Lyons says, which is “something that the franchisor doesn’t have to worry about.”

Although it takes a lot of money to build up a franchise location, it may be less costly than starting a new business. “It makes financing easier to go with a franchise,” Lyons says. Banks are more likely to loan money to a franchisee when there’s a proven track record for the company. If a franchise has been successful in the past and there is market research for the new area, then there is less risk involved in lending thousands of dollars to the franchisee.

But owning a also franchise means giving up creative freedom.

“A lot of what it is to be an entrepreneur is to want to take control over what you’re doing,” Lyons ays. “You lose control of exactly what you want to do. I can’t decide how I want to decorate this building, I can’t decide what’s on the menu, I can’t decide almost anything.”

And, some franchise opportunities that seem promising may not do as well as expected.

“Some brands that I brought to the market, like Black Eyed Pea and Del Taco, were not successful, so they don’t always work out,” Robison says. “In business sometimes you invest in things, you keep some, you don’t keep others, and there’s just different strategies along the way.”

One strategy is for franchisees to look for outfits with business models they believe in, Lyons says, explaining how he came to choose Jimmie Johns.

“I absolutely came to the brand through the lens of both simplicity and through quality.”

Robison’s advice for becoming a successful franchisee is to follow two seemingly simple, yet crucial directives: “Number one you have to be able to finance whatever you do, you have to have the money and the debt and the credit to buy some sort of a business or build it,” he says. “Number two— which is the intangible— is you have to be 150 percent committed to working it and making it work. It’s not going to work if it’s just an investment.”

Lyons advice is similar that immersing yourself in the business is very important even before investing.

“I would suggest getting with somebody who’s willing to share all there is about the business with you to get your feet really wet on what it is first and work your way up with them,” he says. “Find anyway to get yourself in the door. You’re going to learn an incredible amount and you’re also going to learn whether it’s the right place for you.”


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Categories: Local Blogs

High School athletes now need digital presence to get noticed

Borderzine - Fri, 12/20/2019 - 5:56pm

As competition for talented high school athletes increases, social media is having a bigger impact in helping prospects stand out with college recruiters.

Athletes often put together their top films in one video that they make themselves and post them on social media. For others, their families pay marketing businesses to manage digital promotion efforts.

“I think it works for the kids who don’t know how to promote themselves through social media or whose families don’t know how to use social media”, says Margie Cortez, a parent and coach.

Another option is going the old school way and pay for recruiting services that can be very pricey.

Danny Cortez posing for a photo in a game, in College in Valley City, ND.

“Recruiting services are helpful if you’re really under-recruited in an area that really doesn’t get any exposure. But besides that I feel like there are other things to do besides paying to get recruited”, says Danny Cortez, a former football player from Del Valle High School in El Paso who is now at Valley City State University.

Recruiters now have their own sites that allow athletes to build their profiles for college coaches to notice.

“If you have good highlights, you know film doesn’t lie so if they think you can play off film, then obviously their gonna wanna give you an offer,” Cortez says.

College coaches may also be watching for signs of character, looking at a student athlete’s behavior on social media as an indication of how they will act on campus.

“It’s up to the athlete and the work that they out in and the film that they cut and how they promote themselves and behave themselves on social media that can effectively market themselves where a collegiate coach can discover them,” says Jesse Tovar, founder of Prep1 a business aimed at promoting student athletes.

Jesse Tovar founder of Prep1 on the sidelines taking video footage for the group’s Twitter page. Friday September 20, 2019 Photo by D’laura Herrera,

Tovar began his recruiting services while going through his own daughter’s successful collegiate soccer recruiting. He learned new skills and built up her profile online. After getting requests from other parents for help in promoting their children he created Prep1 and recruited his own team to help.


Click hear to read High School athletes now need digital presence to get noticed

Categories: Local Blogs

Better care, less cost

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 12/20/2019 - 5:00am

“Constructive” suggested the other day that the blog discuss areas where the city could cut services and expenses.

The fire department sends pumper trucks and sometimes ladder trucks on ambulance calls.

The justification that I have heard is that sometimes the ambulance crews need physical assistance.

Lubbock uses “fox trucks”.  They are pickup trucks equipped with medical response equipment that can arrive before an ambulance has time to get to the scene.  Pickups are faster than ambulances.  Ambulances are faster than fire trucks.

In New York city they call them “fly-cars”.  Paramedics in sport utility vehicles get to the patient and start rendering care while waiting for an ambulance to transport the patient.

The patient gets faster treatment, the city spends less money handling the call.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Nancy Pelosi – A Pocket Impeachment?

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 12/19/2019 - 11:00pm
Unless you are completely oblivious to politics then you likely know that Donald Trump is now the third […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Put the streets on a diet

ElPasoSpeak - Thu, 12/19/2019 - 5:00am

Further to “Constructive’s” idea that we list city services and expenses that could be cut, let’s address the width of our streets.

The city forces developers to build unnecessarily wide streets that eventually get re-striped and effectively get made narrower to traffic.

Among other deleterious effects:

  • Less land gets sold to homeowners and thus fewer homes are built on the land.  These lost homes would be paying property taxes to our local governments.
  • The wide streets eventually have to be repaved.  It costs more to repave a wide street than a narrow one.
  • Housing becomes less dense thus increasing the cost of public services because of the extra distances that have to be traveled.
  • The city has to paint more lines on the street in order to “calm” traffic

We deserve better



Categories: Local Blogs
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by Dr. Radut