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Sleight of hand

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 08/02/2019 - 6:17am

City council voted to set the preliminary tax rate increase at 4.6 cents per hundred dollars of valuation on Monday, July 29, 2019.  That would raise the rate to 88 cents per hundred dollars.

Monday?  Aren’t city council meetings normally held on Tuesdays?

Could it be that council move the tax increase issue to a special meeting so that the public would have a harder time attending?

Or were they just trying to be nice and not bother us with trivial issues like how much tax we pay?

You should decide for yourself.

The next day the city published a tax increase notice in the Times informing us that they instead plan to raise the rate to 90.73 cents per hundred, the maximum allowed without triggering an opportunity for us to call a rollback election.


Evidently just in case they feel they actually decide to go for more.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Joe Biden Is Not A Friend To Immigrants

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 08/01/2019 - 10:00pm
The last two Democrat presidential candidate debates have clearly proven that Joe Biden is not a friend to […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Busy week - Subjects to Come

Refuse the Juice - Thu, 08/01/2019 - 12:29pm
Sorry so silent - lots of stuff going on. I see none of you know how to react to straight ticket voting going away. I would expect at least one of you to suggest the candidate with most patient voters... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

The Border is Safe....

Max Powers - Thu, 08/01/2019 - 9:37am least one-side of it is. Per your paper, Juarez is up to no good AGAIN. I recently read THIS! You really start to wonder if this is all one big fucking game and that the drugs and migrants are all just a sideshow of what is really going on.... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs

Do they have an editor anymore?

ElPasoSpeak - Thu, 08/01/2019 - 5:00am

The editorial in the Saturday, July 27, 2019 Times was reprinted from the Daily Camera (Boulder, Colorado).

The Camera’s title was “An administration of temp workers” and spoke about the turnover in the current administration.

The Times reprinted it with a modified title, “An presidential administration of temp workers”.

Do they even bother to read what they print”

I suspect that somewhere around the fourth grade most of us learned that the correct article would have been “A” instead of “An”.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Joe Biden is Done

EPN - Border Analysis - Wed, 07/31/2019 - 10:00pm
The great takeaway from the second CNN debate last night is that Joe Biden is done. As expected […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Spending disconnect

ElPasoSpeak - Wed, 07/31/2019 - 5:00am

The proposed 2020 city budget tells us what they think about our chances for economic growth next year.

The adopted 2019 city budget included $2,140,000 for commercial building permits.  This year they are projecting the collection of $2,000,000.  In other words they expect commercial construction to slow down.

On the residential building front they are lowering their expectations from $2,250,000 last year to $2,125,622 this year.

They anticipate increasing spending by 6% anyway.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Beto Survived the CNN Debate

EPN - Border Analysis - Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:00pm
El Paso political observers are likely rejoicing that Beto survived the CNN debates last night. The El Paso […]
Categories: Local Blogs

No More Straight Ticket Voting - Lonely at the bottom... of the ticket?

Refuse the Juice - Tue, 07/30/2019 - 11:41am
It's odd to me that those with political crystal balls aren't really taking into consideration the new reality that is Texas voting - no more straight ticket options. This is going to be a big deal going forward for folks... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

Just another citizen

ElPasoSpeak - Tue, 07/30/2019 - 5:00am

This is another letter to the editor of the Times:

After reviewing the projected costs for the $1 billion bond which the city is putting in the hands of the voters, I sat dumbfounded and wanting a better explanation from our city leaders regarding the $90.6 million they are requesting for the Police Headquarters. How in the world is it going to cost $90.6 million to renovate that old building on Raynor Street? The new WestStar tower is costing Weststar/Hunt $85 million and they are getting an 18-story state of the art facility. Seems like they could build a brand-new building with a parking lot in Downtown for that cost. As taxpayers, this should concern us all.

Larry Chaparro

East El Paso

Well how about it?

Even if they plan to build a new building instead of remodeling the one in Five Points how do they justify the $90.6 million that they are asking for?

Wouldn’t they have to hire a whole bunch more policemen to sit around in offices to justify an 18 story building?

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso and Immigration

EPN - Border Analysis - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 10:00pm
Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter for a national publication. The reporter asked me a question that […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Shame on them

ElPasoSpeak - Mon, 07/29/2019 - 5:00am

Well our school situation has hit a new low.

It looks like some of our school district superintendents and some of their board members attended training sessions held in San Antonio last month (June).

According to articles in the El Paso Times two of our local superintendents got into an altercation at 1 AM on Thursday, June 13 that ended up with one superintendent being flattened to the ground and the police ultimately handcuffing the one on the ground.

Also according to the Times a San Antonio police officer’s report indicates that the fallen superintendent appeared to be intoxicated.

It also seems as though some school board members witnessed the event.

What happens in San Antonio stays in San Antonio

The Times also reported that one of the school board members said:

” We took off as quick as we can get the hell out of there because I knew that both you guys were going to be charged. Let’s go. That’s all I wanted. That was my objective. That was my objective. Don’t bring this back to El Paso. We swore that us guys over there, we said we were going to let it stay there, and for the most part it did stay there.”

A school board member’s goal was to see to it that the folks in El Paso did not learn about their behavior.

So much for the idea of public service.

Party time

According to the Texas Association of School Boards’ web site registration for the conference was to begin at 7 AM that same morning.

What were these public servants doing out at that hour, especially when their meeting was to begin is less than six hours?

Are the taxpayers going to pay for their late night activities?  Where had they been before the incident?

If we have to pay for these people to go to out of town events shouldn’t we expect that they show up to the meetings ready to do their jobs?

Even if you could still manage to be out and about at 1 AM on a Thursday morning wouldn’t you think that you owed the taxpayers better performance?

The poor example that these people (superintendents and board members) have set for their students is shameful.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

Two Examples Proving Immigration Laws Are Designed To Be Gamed

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 07/28/2019 - 10:00pm
There were two things last week that clearly showcases how the U.S. immigration legal system is designed to […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Our changes don’t count

ElPasoSpeak - Sun, 07/28/2019 - 5:00am

This graphic came from the city’s proposed 2020 budget presentation.

The chart shows the number of people allocated to the city manager’s office.

Note that even though the 2019 numbers are different from the 2020 numbers the increase/decrease column still shows zero.

The include the city manager’s budget in the “High Performing Government” category.

We deserve better



Categories: Local Blogs

RumpToons No: 143

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 07/27/2019 - 10:00pm
I hope you enjoy RumpToons No: 143!
Categories: Local Blogs

Saturday open topics

ElPasoSpeak - Sat, 07/27/2019 - 5:00am

What’s on your mind?

Saturday is the day where our readers pick the topics.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD will require measles immunization proof before school begins

Borderzine - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 8:12pm

By Sophia Navarro

El Paso Independent School District students will have to show proof
they’ve taken both doses of the measles vaccine, or they won’t be allowed
to attend school in the fall, a spokesman said.

The move comes after the six cases of measles have been confirmed in
the El Paso area as of early July, said Gustavo Reveles, a district

“Students must provide proof of immunization compliance upon
registration,” Reveles said. “At this moment, whatever is set in place for
now for the 2019-2020 school year is the procedure we are following.”
The district expects parents to comply and does not anticipate a drop in
attendance due to the new requirement, Reveles said.

The district will comply with a recommendation from the El Paso
Department of Public Health to drop its provisional enrollment policy and
require all students to show proof of both doses of the MMR (mumps,
measles, and rubella) vaccine before being able to attend school, Reveles

The El Paso Department of Public Health, 5115 El Paso Drive, is one of three clinics offering low-cost MMR vaccines with extended hours as the school year approaches. El Paso Independent School District is requiring all students to have both doses of the vaccine prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

It was not a surprise that after 25 years measles have returned to El Paso
since other states have seen a return as well, said Dr. Fernando Gonzalez,
lead epidemiologist at the El Paso Department of Public Health.
More than 1,148 cases of measles have been confirmed in 30 states since
January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prior to this school year, the district allowed students to enroll with only one
dose of each state-required vaccine with an agreement that the subsequent
doses be completed as soon as possible. Due to the current
circumstances, that provision has been eliminated for the 2019-2020
academic year.

Exception forms allowing students to attend classes without immunization
will still be accepted for religious and personal beliefs. Exemptions are
verified and allocated by the state, Reveles said.

The city is urging everyone to get vaccinated and look into their current
vaccination status to be sure they are protected, Gonzalez said.

Immunizations are being offered at three city clinics at $10 per child for one
vaccine and $15 per child for two or more vaccines under the Texas
Vaccine for Children program and Adult Safety Net according to a news
release from the city of El Paso. The clinics will have extended hours, from
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and remaining open during lunch hour, in order to make
vaccines more convenient.

A sign at the Henderson Health Clinic shows the recommended vaccines for young children. The El Paso Department of Public Health is urging area school superintendents to require both doses of the MMR vaccine prior to the start of the school year, and to remove the provisional enrollment policy for the 2019-2020 school year.

Measles is an aggressive disease that happens mostly in youth, but also in
adolescents and adults and can pose a serious health threat, Gonzalez

To prevent measles, the two-shot immunization MMR is required by the
state to enroll in school. The first shot has a 94 percent effectiveness
rating, according to Gonzalez. Combined with the second dose, the
effectiveness climbs to 97 percent.

The first dose is recommended at a year old. The second dose is
recommended after the age of four.

There is no scientific evidence that MMR vaccine causes autism or poses
any serious threat to an individual.

A young boy shows off his Band-Aid after receiving a shot at the Henderson Health Clinic on July 25, 2019.

People who don’t have access to the MMR vaccine and to protect children
too young to receive the vaccine, people should wash their hands often and
avoid areas where measles cases have been reported, said Registered
Nurse Jaimi Zona at the El Paso Public Health Department’s Henderson
Health Clinic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 90 percent
of people not MMR-vaccinated will become infected. Symptoms appear
seven-14 days after contracted and infected people can spread measles to
others from four days before through four days after the rash appears.

Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing and the disease usually begins with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. Measles can live in an airspace where an infected was, for up to two hours.

If showing signs and symptoms of a measles infection, people should visit
their medical care provider or call 2-1-1 to receive further instruction.

This story was produced as part of the Journalism in July 2019 workshop for high school students at UT El Paso.

Click hear to read EPISD will require measles immunization proof before school begins

Categories: Local Blogs

Yoga health benefits for all ages

Borderzine - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 7:46pm

By Triniti Faulks

People often find it amazing that at 45 years old, Robin Crociata, a mother
of five, is as fit as a 20-year-old. Several times a week she leads students who
are spread out on purple, blue, and grey mats as they reach for their toes and lift
their chins up to the sky.

“I feel that the one thing yoga does do is it gives somebody that inner
strength,” said Crociata, a yoga instructor and owner of Aloha Yoga and
Wellness Studio on the far west side of El Paso.

She came to El Paso nine years ago from Hawaii, after graduating with a
psychology degree from Chaminade University in Honolulu, and has been
teaching yoga for five years.

”Make sure you’re going to a teacher that actually is certified,” Crociata
said. She explains that when practicing yoga with someone who is uncertified
you might get hurt.

She started yoga while she was pregnant with her second child 21 years
ago. “I was very athletic and I was looking for something that’s still engaging with
the body.” she said.

She thought it wouldn’t be as hard as working out in the gym. “But I
learned otherwise.”

Robin Crociata, yoga instructor and owner of Aloha Yoga and Wellness, helps her younger class of yoga students plant flower seeds on July 24, 2019,

Yoga is a great way to improve endurance, it isn’t just sitting on a mat, her
website explains. Yoga will help your body relax while stretching, strengthening,
and lengthening the muscles you were just working on.

Yoga is a process of moving the body, finding the proper breathing
exercise, and meditation. “I want people to enjoy this moment and then feel good
about it when they leave the mat.” Crociata said. “It really doesn’t matter what
age you are.”

Crociata has worked with all age groups, from toddlers to senior citizens.
“It doesn’t matter if you can take your foot and touch your head or you just move
your arms slightly,” she said.

Her five kids from ages eight to 24 all do yoga, not as frequently as
Crociata but yoga is an impact in her family’s life. “They’re all very independent
and very kind,” Crociata said.

She believes, yoga helps the soul in a way that eases tension, and
promotes the health and well being. Practicing yoga often will help improve and
perfect posture and outlook on life, she said.

Yoga students stretch into child’s pose as instructed by Robin Crociata at Aloha Yoga and Wellness July, 24, 2019 during an afternoon class.

Yoga not only helps improve the body and its condition, but also helps with
mindfulness and meditation, her website explains. It is important to take a break
from daily life and technology in order to focus on yourself.

Focusing on your breath during practice is key to staying in tune with mind
and body, she said.

Crociata teaches a form of yoga called Hatha, which means sun and
moon. When practicing Hatha it’s a full rounded practice which focuses on
breathing, meditation, and engaging the body.

“It’s one of the most traditional practices we have in yoga,” Crociata said.
As the yoga class comes to an end, everyone rolls up their mats, stands
up gently, and leaves with a smile on their face.

This story was produced as part of the Journalism in July 2019 workshop for high school students at UT El Paso.

Click hear to read Yoga health benefits for all ages

Categories: Local Blogs

Pay, misinformation about city’s safety makes recruiting doctors to El Paso difficult

Borderzine - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 6:45pm

By Angelina Steel

El Paso has substantially less than the doctors it needs for a city its size, limiting patient’s choices for specialists and lengthening waiting times for patients as doctors are accepting jobs in higher-paying markets, two medical professionals said.

“El Paso has 128 physicians per 100,000 per capita.” said Dr. Luis Urrea, an orthopedic surgeon. “The state level is 184 doctors per 100,000 per capita. That gives you an idea on how far we’re behind. The national is 208.”

The United States is expected to be short 122,000 physicians by 2013, according to a recent study.

“Right now we have about 24 providers. We’re short about two providers. We could use a couple of more. In fact we just lost another dentist,” said Robert Gonzales, chief operating officer of Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe Inc.

Robert Gonzales, chief operating officer at Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe Inc, smiles as he explains his job.

One reason behind these staggering statistics is that the city can’t compete with larger cities that have higher salaries, Urrea said. Physicians in El Paso can make up to $342,000 annually, according to, but Dallas physicians can make up to $402,000.

Additionally, potential recruits sometimes believe El Paso is not a safe city because of violence across the border. However, El Paso is ranked the second safest city in the nation according to Austin’s KVUE. El Paso’s border city – Ciudad Juarez – is ranked the fifth most dangerous city in the world, according to the Washington Post.

Juarez, Mexico, with a population of 1.3 million, and El Paso with about 800,000, makes it by the biggest border area in Texas.

Luis Urrea an Orthopedic Surgery surgeon at El Paso Orthopaedic surgery group, discusses the shortage of doctors in El Paso.

“It’s difficult to recruit people here on the border, particularly the last 10 years or so with the things that have occurred in Mexico, and the stories that you hear today,” Urrea said.

“This is the biggest border area there is,” he said. “El Paso and Juarez are bigger than anything else in Texas. So a lot of our problems are expanded because of our size, and Juarez’s size.”

Some doctors are signing contracts to work in El Paso, and back out at the last minute, Gonzales said. “The issue of moving to the border has become a problem. We had one guy that signed a contract once,” Urrea said, and the doctor backed out shortly before he was scheduled to start.

“Then he got married and his wife said ‘I’m not going there. We’re not going there.’ Because she heard about what’s going on in Juarez. Politicians always talk about how dangerous it is, but the truth is we’re the second safest city in the nation. I’ve always been safe here.” 

With the shortage of doctors, it becomes harder for patients to see doctors. Lines become longer, and it becomes harder to find a specialist that they’re in need of. They may have to go to another city to see a specialist, Urrea said.

Gonzales said: “We see people here at La Fe that have such chronic diseases that are hard to treat because there may not only be one issue that they have. They might have high blood pressure, with obesity, with diabetes. Those are chronic conditions that all need to be addressed separately. So it does make it difficult.”

In addition to patients being widely affected, doctors are impacted by this concern as well.

“If you’re a PCP (primary care physician) it’s a little more difficult to find somebody who’s a specialist to take care of your patients in a timely manner.” Urrea said. “It’s overwhelming the amount of people that need to be seen. It’s also a silver lining because there’s a lot of people that need to be taken care of. Which is what I signed up to do. But it does make it more difficult.” 

Officials at Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, and Texas Tech are utilizing more physician assistants and registered nurses who can see patients on their own.
“The recruitment of our providers is a tough deal to address. We work with Texas Tech to establish a core of providers here in the border area. Because we have different issues than what Dallas, or Austin might have,” Gonzales said.

This story was produced as part of the Journalism in July 2019 workshop for high school students at UT El Paso.

Click hear to read Pay, misinformation about city’s safety makes recruiting doctors to El Paso difficult

Categories: Local Blogs

Charging us to use our own streets

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 07/26/2019 - 5:28am

The proposed 2020 city budget has been published.  You can see it here.

It shows that they plan to charge our own city water company over $19.8 million dollars in franchise fees.

Actually the $19.8 million will get added to our water bills.

They are charging us to use our own roads and other city property.

Next will we see the fire and police departments getting the same treatment since they both generate some revenue.

The franchise fee is nothing but another tax.

We deserve better


Categories: Local Blogs
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