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No big deal

Brownfield Empire - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 11:57am
I caught this story in the Los Angeles Times radiation leak at WIPP 

I thought it was interesting.

Categories: Local Blogs

People in El Paso voting with their feet

Brownfield Empire - Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:53am

The wife and I went out shopping for furniture and spent most of Saturday out at different furniture stores. We stopped by one fancy joint and the sales lady knew my wife from her architect days in Mexico. She told us quite a bit about how bad things are here in El Paso for honest people. She said that she has worked with many of the people indicted/convicted/sentenced under the public corruption investigation. Her opinion was that corruption was so common in the construction/architecture world that it was impossible to make an honest living here. Now that her kids have graduated college and moved on, she is leaving for Houston because many El Paso Ex's have told her Houston is the place to be with her education and experience.

I guess more people than I realized see that voting is a waste of time and they vote with their feet. I think the elected officials of El Paso should take a bow for the envirnment they have helped foster.
Categories: Local Blogs

Why do they do it?

Brownfield Empire - Fri, 02/14/2014 - 11:35pm

After reading more comments about the campaign in El Paso for this upcoming primary I have one question to the candidates. Why on Earth do you subject yourselves to the vicious attacks that come when running for office? I cant imagine putting myself or my family into the public square to be humiliated and embarrassed. Elective office is so important to you that you would sacrifice your family to satisify your ambition? Incredible. I know they would say "it's a burning desire to serve people", yeah right, I'm sure.

I feel sorry in a way for the pols, because I guess they really believe they can do something for the people. That is pretty hard to do when the entire system has been perverted to do just the opposite. Volunteer campaign workers crack me up because either they want a job working for the candidate should they prevail or they are dumb enough to think that if their candidate wins something good will trickle down to them via good policy. Yeah good luck with that.
Categories: Local Blogs

No horse in the race

Brownfield Empire - Tue, 02/11/2014 - 4:22pm

Early voting is about a week away from what I hear. I didnt bother to research it since I do not plan on voting. I know it is going to get really ugly in the El Paso blog scene and I really do not want to be a part of that. So...I am taking a little break until the primaries are over.

The election cycle is coming to an end and you will see candidates begin to sling mud and avoid any questions on policy. It will all be personal attacks. I enjoy discussing policy, but with an election so close the opportunity to find anyone willing to discuss policy is nil.

As a reformed compulsive gambler (especially pari-mutuel aka horse and dog racing) I know when I dont have a horse in the race.

When I get back we can discuss Dodger baseball or if anyone is willing....El Paso duststorms which usually begin in late Feb or early March...and yes, politics too.

As Gomer would say, "Good Luck to you and yours".

P.S. I appreciate all the nice things you guys say about me on this blog and elsewere. Nobody is forcing me to take a break, it's something I want to do. Besides I am nearly at 10k page views since my return and that was sort of a goal of mine.10 percent are probably mine, but I will take it anyway. I am sure other blogs get that in a week, but for me I feel good about getting more clicks, but not so good about which posts are popular and which ones are not.
Categories: Local Blogs

My Opinion on stuff...weekend edition.

Brownfield Empire - Fri, 02/07/2014 - 6:47pm
The story that Marty Schladen had in the El Paso Times earlier this week was an important one in my opinion.  The story was about Paul Foster apparently attending a political strategy meeting of rich dudes hosted by the Koch brothers who are big time political contributors to all causes conservative. The reason the story was important is because it shows the blatant hypocrisy of Mr. Foster. The Koch brothers hate government regulation and any interference in the free marketplace. All that is fine, the problem that Mr. Foster has is if he is such a free market guy, why has he asked for and received government subsidies to build a strip mall (that is what it looks like) next to a real mall and of course the ball park. I am quite sure he could have found financing in the free market, especially with his wealth. Instead he asks for the taxpayers to "help" him. Seems hypocritical to me.

Paul Foster is a private citizen sure, but when you seek government money that makes you less private. How so? Think about proposals for mandatory drug testing for all the unemployed and welfare recipients. I wonder if the Koch brothers and Mr. Foster support those proposals? You know what I think....of course they do. The rules only apply to poor people. Folks like Mr. Foster and the Koch brothers hate government until they need a handout.

The city got Mr. Foster to promise to give away his profits from owning the team ( and we taxpayers are footing the bill for the ballpark) to charity, yet his books cannot be looked at by the city per the agreements. Which of course makes it a toothless promise. Remember when Western Playland refused to open its books to inspection by the lease holder of his amusement park? The lease holder was the taxpayers of El Paso county and they/we had a right to see them. Pat Thompson the owner, promptly took his park to Sunland Park New Mexico, and left us with a former employee Betti Flores as a county commissioner. Years later she plead guilty to public corruption charges. Thanks Pat!

Am I saying that Foster is a criminal for being a hypocrite? No. As far as I know what he does is perfectly legal, which is why DC is hated by average people because we all know the game is legally rigged. That brings me around to the way the term progressive is used in El Paso. Progressive means you support Hunt, Foster and Bill Sanders.... all huge republican donors. No crime in that, but the term progressive was meant for people LEFT of the democratic party. Bernie Sanders is a progressive. Paul Wellstone (RIP) was a progressive. Beto, Vero and all the rest run as progressives for election purposes only.

It's not like the term progressive hasnt been hijacked before. Barack Obama took more Wall Street money than John McCain and ran as a progressive. We saw how that turned out with the big bank bailout and lack of prosecution on Wall Street.

Lastly, the subject of the appointed El Paso ISD board has been mentioned to me. People upset at who was appointed and crying about all the republicans on the board. Guess what? That is how Washington runs, and how all the states run as well. People who give huge amounts of cash to the administation doing the appointing are the ones who get appointed. That is why you will never see a teacher appointed to a school board, they do not have the money to make the consideration list. Money talks and qualifications walk, it's just that simple.

Categories: Local Blogs

My opinion...Dirty El Paso Blogs

Brownfield Empire - Tue, 02/04/2014 - 8:51am
Apparently the El Paso blogs are as corrupt as our politics. I suppose it's really one in the same since El Paso politics is allegedly the culprit in terms of financing certain blogs to whack candidates that are not clients of the FORMA GROUP and it's big local contributors. In this piece HERE you will see that it all makes sense now. Why has MAXPOWERS of the max powers blog and David K of the DAVID K BLOG buried the likes of Norma Chavez who is running against Noami Gonzalez who is a FORMA candidate, Lyda Ness Garcia who is running against FORMA candidate Marissa Marquez and Armando Rodriguez who is head of the Canutillo School Board who tunred down the FORMA group when the district was in legal trouble over it's dirty former superintendent Damon Murphy.

We all should have known this was the case, but sadly other than fellow blogger Martin Parades none of us were able to connect the dots. As we all know, Mr. Foster and Mr. Hunt are big fans of Texans for lawsuit reform aka CAPS on lawsuit damage awards and apparently that is all hooked up with the FORMA group. I am certainly not saying that this info all of a sudden makes Norma Chavez, Lyda Ness Garcia or Armando rodriguez perfect, it doesnt. It does however explain why these people have been targets of those blogs. As we all know DAVID K is a lobbyist by his own admission and Max Powers it seems now is most likely a lobbyist as well.

I guess now I can understand the hatred Martin Parades generates among the political geek faction in El Paso...he is on to their game. I would say that Martin has been hooked up with some bad people, former County Judge Anthony Cobos for one. So he isn't exactly clean in all of this and maybe that is why a small group of people like my blog, I may be stupid but I am honest and do not hold back on certain candidates and attack others. I am an equal opportunity hater of all forms of political scum.

Oh and lastly, I found it simply funny that MaxPowers and David K all have their shorts in a knot over Maria Garcia of KVIA and her alleged bias...yet not one word from either over the cheerleading for the ballpark by KVIA's Darrnt Hunt.

All of the above is just my opinion based on my interpretation of the facts in the public square. Feel free to disagree.
Categories: Local Blogs

Philanthropist, Businessman, or Corporate Welfare Creep?

Brownfield Empire - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 9:26am

The front page of the El Paso Times had a huge article about Woody Hunt and his support for a school privatization. The headline called him a philanthropist, as in Philanthropist Woody Hunt. That seems to be an editorial choice in my opinion. They could have called him a businessman, a developer, a corporate welfare beneficiary, or a political kingmaker. Woody is advocating that the taxpayer finance alternatives to public education. He can talk all he wants about a failed system and yada yada. The fact is that this is just another way for private business to stick its nose in the public education trough.

Look at public school testing, why are we taxpayers paying for private test companies to design tests for our students? We have tons of professors in this state that your tax dollars help pay for. Maybe they should write the tests as part of their job? That would seem more efficient to me. Sadly, we do not do that, not because government is evil, but because of the corrosive impact of money in the political system. The system is the  way it is so that people who get those contracts can make a ton of money off the public dime and in some cases become philanthropists. Why can't university professors design textbooks for use in the public school system? Because the textbook business is big bucks. Now they want to shift our tax dollars from the public school system into the private business sector thanks to philanthropists like Woody Hunt.

This issue is already showing in the district 76 race for the Texas State House of Representatives. The current office holder Ms. Gonzales (of the drunk driving case where she allegedly was more concerned about her political career than the victims of her irresponsible actions) is the candidate of choice for Woody Hunt. She has embraced the ideals of this new political action committee. The other two candidates correctly saw through this issue and do not support the PAC's agenda.

Another point on this issue is that by shifting more money into the private sector we will begin to see a downward spiral in teacher salaries. It will be another race to the bottom in order to obtain "efficiency". It seems to me that maybe the private sector might want to look at executive salary/compensation when trying to become more efficient. Of course that will never happen because making the little guy suffer seems to be so much more fun for the philanthropist crowd.

Before you comment on this blog post........Keep in mind that Ken Lay of ENRON infamy was known as the top philanthropist in Texas before his demise.

Categories: Local Blogs

I guess I live in an interesting part of town

Brownfield Empire - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 3:04pm

I got a mailer from Marissa Marquez who apparently is my State House Representative. Prior to this mail we have always been in district 78 who is represented by Joe Moody. I do not recall being sent anything to announce the change. Since moving into my house we have been in 2 different city council districts, 2 different EPISD districts and now 2 state house districts. I find it kind of strange that we were never officially notified of any of the changes.
Categories: Local Blogs

I saw our congressman

Brownfield Empire - Fri, 01/31/2014 - 1:44pm

Yesterday while at work I saw Congressman O'Rourke in front of the building I work in getting his picture taken with some of the staff and management. Apparently it was announced he would be here, but that didn't trickle down to usual. Since I wasnt in a suit and tie I decided to avoid it. What surprised me was how many employees didnt know who he was by sight. Apparently they do not watch the news or read the paper.

So far I have contacted his office one time and got a call back from DC by someone in his office who really tried to understand the issue I was concerned about. In past when I dealt with the office of Congressman Reyes I always got a letter back and in one awesome case got some from FAA HQ in Washington to personally apologize to me and to tell me everything I wrote was 100 percent correct. They fixed the problem too.

I wished that I had a chance to speak with Congressman Reyes in person to thank him for passing my concerns on to the proper people in DC and in the case of Congressman O'Rourke I would have liked to explain how my profession is in peril due to budget issues, but that wasnt in the cards. Probably for the best anyway because if he ever read my blog I would doubt his desire to help me.

Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso Blogs and Elections

Brownfield Empire - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 4:15pm

Another depressing election is at hand. The democratic primary is upcoming and like always the El Paso Blogs come alive with new zest. Keep in mind most of the local blogs are hooked into one side or the other in the local primary. Maybe some are from paid political operatives, maybe some get business from their candidate winning office, maybe some are on the payroll for certain business interests in town and tear down one candidate while lauding the other, maybe some are kissing the behind of a certain candidate in order to get a job when that person wins elected office. The only thing I hope for is that the readers think about potential conflicts of interest and use your head if you decide to waste your time and go vote. Keep in mind that the average "viable" candidate doesn't care about the common man and is only concerned with having their butts kissed by people seeking favors and auditioning for a job as a lobbyist.
Categories: Local Blogs

State of the Union

Brownfield Empire - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 1:31pm


Apparently the President will speak about the issue of economic inequality. Keep in mind he is also working on fast tracking more free trade agreements. This means that American labor will face increasing competition from workers in 3rd world countries who made a fraction of what we make. He probably will not face any questions in the future about this apparent hypocrisy, heck Bill Clinton doomed many manufacturing jobs when he signed NAFTA including the garment industry here in El Paso and this town thinks Billy was great.

National security continues to be a euphemism for fascism and hardly anyone cares. USA citizens face spying on the level of what the infamous Stasi  did to it's citizens of East Germany. We continue to support corrupt regimes around the world that crush democracy and the basic cry for freedom from it's citizens. We have expanded the drone program so we can kill with impunity in the most cowardly way. We continue meddling in the Middle East to secure "our" oil and energy.

Apparently the upward mobility of the workforce is so bad that the President is considering a raise of the minimum wage. The only way workers can advance is via government policy making employers give their employees a raise. Meanwhile the one percent cries about outrageous taxation and over zealous government regulation. Yeah, those poor billionaires on Wall Street, I weep for their suffering every night.

This speech could be given by Mitt Romney or John McCain. The corporate interest trumps all.

Bottom line is that the state of the union is far worse than we have been lead to believe, not only are we fiscally bankrupt we are morally and ethically dead. Who will save us? Hillary? Chris Christie? It is like a nightmare, it just keeps on getting worse.

We can only hope that the next State of the Union address either gets a title sponsor or is cancelled due to budget cuts.

Categories: Local Blogs

Norma Chavez and EPISD

Brownfield Empire - Tue, 01/21/2014 - 12:06pm
We all know that Norma is running for the District 76 Seat in the Texas House. A seat she held for 14 years until getting knocked out of the box by the current Rep Naomi Gonzales, she (Naomi) of the drunk driving incident where she was more worried about her political career than the people involved in the crash. I have met Norma once or twice and she was very nice to me, but that doesnt excuse this Q and A debacle I will show below.
From the El Paso Times

Q School cheating: Do you believe the state has adequately addressed the school-cheating scandals unearthed in El Paso County and elsewhere? If not, what more should be done?

Norma Chavez Answer.  No. The recent audit by the US Department of Education is proof that we need to tackle this problem head on in the next legislative session. Cheating is a problem that harms all students. It harms the student who has worked hard and studied because his work is exploited. And it harms the student doing the cheating since it robbing him or her of what is being taught. I'm committed to working with teachers, administrators, parents and community members to further address the cheating issue with vigilance and determination. I believe the problem in El Paso is a problem statewide.


My comment....

The answer she gave shows she doesnt understand the cheating scandal at all. No kids cheated. No teachers cheated.

That is a fact.

The cheaters were six figure salaried employees such as principals, assistant principals and high level administrators in the district. There were two parts of the cheating scandal.

1. EPISD principals and administrators "promoted" kids from 9th grade to 11th grade who were weak in English proficiency to avoid "benchmark" testing in 10th grade for the state of Texas accountability standards.
For whatever reason 10th grade in state testing is more important and thus weighted more heavily for accountability standards. A program called INOVA was purchased by the district in order to predict which kids had a chance of passing and those who would not. If your child was at a priority school (aka facing state takeover) and was identified as likely to fail, most likely your kid was told to transfer to another school or they just dropped out via being unable to register thanks to bureaucratic resistance at the campus level. Most of these kids had parents who had no idea their right to register is codified law. The El Paso Times has done some limited follow up on those kids and where they are now. A few of them are now trying to get their high school diploma, although its more difficult now as 20somethings with a job and a family to raise.

2. Graduating kids who had no business getting a diploma. The principals did this by eliminating absences in order to make kids eligible for gradation and also doing a lame credit recovery course of 2 weeks in order to give students a full semester worth of credit in a course the principal or designee was unqualified to teach. They did this for 2 reasons...1. in order to help them meet graduation standards for the state and 2. to get their bonuses.

So her answer in my opinion reeks of either ignorance or just plain laziness in not studying the issue. Better to have left it blank. This is why I do not bother voting, its not like any elected official really cares about some poor kids from the barrio. Politics and elected officials are for rich people.

Categories: Local Blogs

Thank you KFOX TV NEWS

Brownfield Empire - Fri, 01/17/2014 - 7:46pm

For this story tuberculosis

Without this report I would still be in the dark regarding my staff's exposure (I would be the most likely to have been exposed out of all my staff, but I really don't care about my health all that much). Nobody bothered to tell me, a lowly contract supervisor, what was going on. The facility manager apologized to me after I sent a late night e mail to him after seeing the report ONLY ON KFOX. For all the BS they spread about us being part of the team, this tells me that we are sub human in their minds, if we even enter their minds at all. When the custodian came in I asked him if he was aware and he said he saw the TV report, but nobody has contacted him. So, I went to the front office and let them know that they need to talk to him about the briefing we had via a video conference with FAA Southwest region this morning. Hopefully the city health department (who is the lead agency in this case) will do a better job than the feds have.

After the scare about the contract being cancelled due to budget cuts and then being saved at the last moment thanks to the HUB managers at places like ATL, DCA, JFK and ORD...this isn't something I needed in terms of confidence in the program. At least the HUB managers seem to recognize our contribution. Too bad I do not work at one of those facilities.

God, if you are reading my blog, please answer my prayers and get me the hell out of El Paso.


P.S. I really appreciate the report KFOX did on this story. Good job!
Categories: Local Blogs

Taking sides

Brownfield Empire - Thu, 01/16/2014 - 11:57am

 A letter to the editor in this morning's El Paso Times shows how blind the vast majority of citizens who bother to vote have become. The writer acted like he is a spokesman for the RNC. Sad to see citizens so blinded by the lies from DC. Neither party is working for us.

The Times also had an article about the mandatory reporting for candidates in the upcoming primary, the primary here in El Paso is the defacto general election since only "Dems" win. The biggest item in the report was who gave money, and it was the typical suspects Mr. Hunt, Mr. Foster and Mr. Jobe. The status woe will continue as long as the same people are the major sources for campaign funding. People should forget the slogans and speeches of a campaign and instead focus on where the money comes from. That tells you who the candidates are and what they represent.

OK, now go back to the other El Paso blogs and choose a side. I know you won't listen to me.
Categories: Local Blogs

I demand a recount!!!!

Brownfield Empire - Wed, 01/15/2014 - 1:33pm

El Paso in it's never ending propaganda dissemination mission has pointed out we are the 2nd ranked city for being animal friendly.

Anyone remember Sissy the elephant?

El Paso beats Elephants

My question is who was 3rd?
Categories: Local Blogs

Visit to Juarez

Brownfield Empire - Tue, 01/14/2014 - 9:56am

Despite my proclamation not to cross the border ever again, I was put in a position where I had to. It was sunday morning and at 7:45 the alarm clock in our bedroom went off, I got up and immediately cursed the clock and shut it off. I noticed my wife and dog were not the in the room so I went downstairs to see what was going on. The wife is getting herself together in front of a big mirror we have in the family room and the dog is asleep on the sofa. I ask her why the alarm was enabled and what was she doing up? She tells me that her mom and dad are flying out of Juarez at noon today and I am welcome to come down and say goodbye.

My sense of self preservation tells me that I better go or the wife is going to retaliate. So we drive into Mexico carrying our Passports as we need these to get back into the USA. Before we enter Mexico the USA has some kind of traffic block with those big rectangles in the road to make you deviate from a straight course. They took a bunch of pictures of the cars and of course agents looking at you like you are a felon. We get into Mexico and are greeted with the RED REVISION light. Meaning I have to stop and get out of my car so the agent can look in my trunk. I thank him in English after he removes his big snoot from my trunk  and he snarls at me letting me know I am welcome in Mexico.

We drive onto Ave De Las Americas and are struck by the abandoned storefronts, broken windows and a lot of SE VENDE signs. No pedistrian traffic at all to speak of. The city looks dead. We continue south past the old ballpark and I take note that the barbershop that has been there at least 15 years is gone. Finally we arrive at my in-laws house. The roof is looking really worn, but the inside is nice. My wife takes me on a tour of the house to see all the new stuff they have installed since we last visited. I think she did this because she was embarrassed to see Juarez in the shape it is.

We sit around and chat for a bit and then head down to the Juarez Airport. The drive down is depressing. Lots of small businesses that we knew of are gone. Empty storefronts line the main avenue we are on and then you can see down the sidestreets to incredibly dense worker shacks all lined up rather neatly. My brother in law is now driving and he tells me that some of the workers are living on 30 pesos a week after taxes. He asks the car or anyone listening the question on his mind as he sees this striking poverty "why are they not seeking a revolution?" Nobody answers in the car, instead we are silent as we look out the window. We drive by a long wall, about 3 blocks long with trees on the other side. He tells us that is Mr. Zaragoza's property. I guess he is one of the winners in the free trade game. Cetainly the people working there arent winning a thing.

We get to the airport 2 hours early for their scheduled departure time. Unlike the ELP airport we have time to sit down and have breakfast together at a pretty nice airport restaurant. The food was excellent in my opinion and the service was top notch. After we ate we went back down to the first floor and checked in the baggage which was very easy to do. The wife and I were able to talk to some of the airport employees and come to find out the airport is run by a French Company. I kept seeing these signs for OMA...and it aint Omaha Nebraska, its the initials of the company that runs the joint. I would say the operation looked efficient, but I have no idea if it was well run or not. Anyway, as usual ....everyone was really nice to us.

The flight we are wating for is a Volairis Non stopper between Cancun and Juarez. I was shocked that the aircraft type was an Airbus 320. Heck, ELP only gets the Juarez is in high cotton with that level of service. The flight is delayed an hour allegedly due to weather, but I went back and looked at MMUN...aka Cancun weather and nothing looked bad at all. So, I guess that was a lie.

Eventually we had to let them go thru security and customs alone as apparently the security there does not allow people to assist with the elderly/infirmed. Luckily my wife knew one of the passengers and she promised to help them get onboard. The lady who was going to help her parents lives in Casas Grandes and told my wife a sad tale about what happened to that town. She said that 30000 people have either been killed or left the town. Meaning that roughly 50 percent of the population is gone from just a few years ago. She spoke of the rebels in Michocan and hoped that maybe they would spread to other places so that people would feel safe again. I have no idea if those numbers are accurate, but from what we saw of Juarez it sure seems like a lot of people are gone...either by travel or unnatural causes.

Anyway the plane eventually came and we went back to the house to get my car and head back to El Paso. Shockingly the wait was less than 30 mins to enter the USA and the customs agent was actually pleasant. I remember Sunday's at the bridge to be a 2 hour wait, but apparently people arent coming down anymore and I cant blame them...Juarez is dead.

All I can say is that the propaganda about some kind of revival in Juarez is completely false. The city is dead and is nothing more than a place for greedy industrialists to take advantage of desperate people. The trip left me sad.

Categories: Local Blogs

New planes seen at the airport!!

Brownfield Empire - Fri, 01/10/2014 - 12:06pm

In case you haven't noticed (and looking at the recent downward trend in our passenger count, you havent) ...the airport has seen some replacement aircraft come into passenger service recently at ELP.

First off... American used to only use MD-80 aircraft for it's non-stop service to and from DFW. We are now seeing a mix of the old MD-80s and some new Airbus 319's. Here is a comparison of the two aircraft via a hyperlink MD80 VS A319

The other change in equipment is American Airlines non-stop service to Chicago O'Hare International (ORD). American Eagle was running this route for AAL using the CRJ-700 until recently. Now the route is run by Republic Airlines as a contract to AAL. This has resulted in a change from the CRJ 700 to the Embraer 170 or known as E-170. This link is a comparison of the two aircraft types.... CRJ 700 VS E170

If you prefer the CRJ 700 to ORD you can still book flight via United Airlines and get that aircraft. The "united express" to ORD is run by Sky West Airlines.

Categories: Local Blogs

Money Quote that sums up politics beautifully from El Paso State Representative Joe Pickett

Brownfield Empire - Thu, 01/09/2014 - 3:33pm

The quote below was taken from the El Paso Times website.... EL PASO TIMES



According to the Texans for Public Justice report, Pickett received $3,500 from payday lenders between 2009 and 2012. He didn't apologize for taking the money and he said it didn't buy his support for the industry's agenda.

"There are lots of people who make contributions so they can approach you," he said.



Of course Joe, of course. That is why it is silly for people like me to write to my representatives locally or in DC. What for? We all know its pay to play and this quote only confirms the worst of our fears. We have to pay to get a listen. Nice. Thanks Joe for setting the record straight. 

I wonder if Joe or any polihack would take money from let's say... pornographers of america? If not, why not? They aren't trying to buy your support, they just want to approach you. I remember a filmmaker doing a spoof on this they created a group called abortion doctors for Buchanon. They sent in a check to the Buchanon presidential campaign and of course it was cashed.   

So much for putting your money where your mouth is.
Categories: Local Blogs

Tennessee Bandolero, Money management and the money store

Brownfield Empire - Wed, 01/08/2014 - 3:28pm

As some of you may know I am a degenerate compulsive gambler who has been in recovery and clean for 15 years and 4 months. Back in my youth I was as sick as they come when it came to parimutuel gambling aka Horses, Greyhounds and Jai Alai. I made some really bad decisions during those times especially when it came to money. The story I am about to tell is about a friend of mine and me, we went on a gambling spree and had nothing to show for it in the end. I am telling this story because of the recent controversy about the city of El Paso passing an ordinance regulating payday loan joints.

First of all, in order to protect the innocent I will not use the person's real name. Instead we will call him Tennessee Bandolero. Why this crazy name? Glad you asked. In my line of work sometimes we have to give information over the phone and then end it with our initials and we are to use the military alphabet (alpha, Bravo, Charlie etc) to do so. Thus in my case I end my calls with Whiskey Romeo Bravo. Well, one time I heard him end a call with Tennessee Bandolero...and of course I can hear the other end of the line crack up laughing. So I choose that name because I wanted to tell you that story. Hope you enjoyed it.

Now to the story. One day back in Phoenix I was on day one of my THEN typical long weekend and went over to visit my friend who also was.... and is.... a compulsive gambler. So I come inside and begin to read his old man's bloodhorse magazine and I ask if he wants to go to Turf Paradise for the afternoon and to the Phoenix Dog track later that night. He tells me he is tap city. I have my usual 300 on me (that was the max we could get from the ATM machines back then). He asks for a loan, but I know there is no way I can afford to loan him anything knowing that I have about 25 races to bet in my immediate future and figuring between $20 and $40 a race, I would need every penny to stay in action all day. Tennessee decides to "borrow" the TV from his parents home and get some quick cash from the pawn shop. Keep in mind his father was a legend for being a large player, in fact so large he did federal time for stealing ID's to obtain fraudulent credit cards. That is another story for another day.

So we take his truck and head to the pawn shop, but first we stop at a local 7-11 so I can buy 2 racing forms for the horses and 2 programs for the dog track for later that night. We unload this heavy TV and get some money, not much, but enough for him to have action, and if he wins early we can play all day and night. We were running behind because of the extra stop so I am flying down I-17 at about 90 mph so we can be on time for the first race at 1 o'clock. Because his old man is a whale (whale is slang in the gambling world for a big player) we get to park in the horsemen parking lot and free admittance to the turf club as well as lunch.

The first race is for quarter horses going 350 yards. We make our bets and when the horses cross the line I have the quinella and exacta and Tennessee misses his exacta box by running 2nd and 4th. No sooner do they post the unofficial results, the dreaded inquiry light comes on. All the numbers are now blinking meaning that at least one of the potential fouls is against the winner. After about 20 minutes the winner has had his photograph taken in the winners circle and the horses are probably back in their stalls having a beer, guess what? Bob Weems the track announcer comes on "ladies and gentlemen" I am like "oh !@#$, I am coming down." Bob continues" we have a double disqualification, the winner is disqualified for interference in the stretch and placed last, additionally the 3rd place finisher is disqualified for interference at the start and placed 8th." I am like..."!@#$ blanking typical". Meanwhile Tennessee who had the 2nd and 4th place finishers moved up to first and second now gets to cash his exacta. It pays over $400 for a $2 wager. Tennessee is in the chips and I am losing.

I should have known right then to follow Tennessee Bandolero's bets all day, I have never known anyone before or since to win via a double DQ. I end up down to my last 100 by the end of the afternoon, meanwhile Tennessee is up about 500 for the day. So, now we head to the dogs in South Phoenix. In the one box in race 1 is Kadoka Joe....a rail running monster. I drive like a bat out of hell back down the I-17 to make first post. I illegally park in a red zone at the track to get my bets in..and just barely made it thanks to my free admission card (i got that because I was a big enough player to get comped) I was able to avoid the line. I bet 96 dollars....$8 1-all quinella wheel =$56 and $40 win on 1. Total bet $96. The starting box opens and I dont see the one. Where the !@#$ is the one? I look back at the box...and I see a tail wagging from the one box....He got turned around in the box before the box opened. No refunds for me...just another loss. I look over at Tennessee and he is laughing, I am like "what is so funny you like himed too"!!! He smiles, "I got shut out" meaning he didnt get his bets in and thus didnt lose a thing. Now I have to go back and get my car and park it properly and then find Tennessee.

Back inside the track I sit and do a slow burn, so angry at myself and jealous of Tennessee. Tennessee gives me a few bucks to keep me quiet and I continue to lose. Toward the end of the night the other strong play in our minds is the 8 SS bambi who loves the outside and has had a string of inside boxes prior to this start so the past performance lines look bad on the dog. Tennessee wheels Bambi on top of the trifecta and sure enough she wins and the trifecta is a signer..meaning you have to fill out IRS paperwork in order to collect. Since I am now tap city I ask him to let me sign and for him to give me the standard 10 percent for doing so. He agrees so I get about 80 bucks and he gets over 700.

Right there I just made a huge mistake I had a good income at that time and Tennessee was so broke he was living at home with mommy and daddy. I stuck myself with another hit at IRS time for a lousy 10 percent. Why? Because I was making horrible decisions, sorta like people who go to loan stores for money at crazy annual interest over 300 percent. Wait! There is more..... one bad day for me...not the end of the world. Meanwhile Tennessee is up over a thousand for the day. I ask him if he wants to head back to the pawn shop and he says no. He cant go home because the pawn shop is closed and he doesnt want to deal with his parents and the missing TV. He says "let's go to Indio California tonight, they have an off track betting center there and I really like the card at Santa Anita Tomorrow." I am like ok, why not? I will be working in CA next week anyway out in Blythe. So we drive all night and get into Indio in the early morning hours. I am filling my gas tank and belly with my only plastic...a Texico card...meanwhile Tennessee is flush. We are driving around looking for a hotel/motel to stay in until first post out at Santa Anita the next day. Turns out the Bob Hope classic is going on in nearby Palm Springs and not a hotel room to be found. So I am like.."let's go back to blythe california, it will be cheaper. So we head back about 2.5 hours to Blythe and get a room, turns out this room is infested with bugs. So we leave and go back west...again towards Indio. We get into Indio again and decide to have breakfast and look over the form for the upcoming races. Tennessee is telling me he likes this new bet in California called the rolling pick 3...meaning you attempt to pick the winners of races 1 2 and 3....2 3 and 4...etc...all the way to race 10. I decide to go conservative with my new 300 hundred from the ATM as its a new day in my banking account and only play win and place.

The pick 3 allows you to use as many horses as you like in each leg of the sequence....for example if you like 4 horses in the first leg...3 horses in the 2nd leg and 4 horses in the 3rd leg the cost is 4 x 3 x 4=48 combinations x the dollar amount of the this case $ would cost $96. The track condition that day was listed as muddy, in other words it was deep in dried mud. Tennessee who has been playing the horses since elementary school due to his upbringing from his whale dad, knew quite a bit about mud breeding. He gives me his top selection in each race and I decide to bet those to win and place. Turns out he didnt give me one winner...yet....incredibly....he swept the pick 3's. I mean all of them. Every single pick 3 that day...he hit...and they paid large.

The manager notices the amounts he is betting (they increase throughout the day) and invites US (ugh) to stay for the upcoming harness races from Cal Expo. So he takes us to the back room where it is like a scene from the Godfather....freakin joint is full of mafioso's and cigar smoke. I am down 600 dollars now..and really depressed. So Tennessee makes his first bet....and plays 500 to win on an even money shot..and of course hits...and after that he stayed pretty much even for the night. Im sitting there drinking cokes while Tennessee is enjoying the attention of the waitresses and enjoying MOBTALK with the fellas. I am thinking yeah great for him, but what about me?

Anyway the manager gets us a couple of rooms on the house and Tennessee agrees to play again tomorrow. Tennessee stays up really late playing cards and winning another thousand. He is up over 6K from his TV pawn escapade. I get up in the morning and tell him I have to go back to Blythe soon to begin working. He says no problem that he is going to fly back tonight, but he wants me to stay for the day as "good luck". I am completely tapped out and do not want to borrow money from him or hit my atm for more gambling. So of course Tennessee bets a cold $40 daily double in race one...and pays for $78.00 for a $2 wager.  which brings him in another 1500 plus dollars in profit. The guy is now a legend...the tellers are all talking about him. Horse players who are way older than we are come to our table and begin asking him for tips / advice etc. It was incredible. Anyway he loses a little bit back over the course of the day, but stays well ahead. He decides to fly to Reno to ski and gamble while I drive back to Blythe to work the following 3 days.

After 3 days in Blythe I get a call from him at the Reno Airport wanting me to wire him money for a plane ticket home. I was like are you kidding me? Nope he replied, I lost it all even the ticket I bought for back home. I am like in 3 blanking days? Are you !@#$ing me? Nope...was his reply.

Anyway his dad had to get the TV back. I loaned him the cash to get him home. He is the kind of guy who uses the money store, the loan store, and floats checks. I remember one time when he went ballistic that his pay from a job I got him was a day late..he was like I am going to bounce 10 checks. He would go to the store and buy a can of tuna and write a check (10 times) for like 50 dollars over, which was the max back then if the store didnt know you real well.

In amount of legislation is going to save someone from addiction or pure stupidity and this was a good topic to use one of my gambling stories which tend to get a lot of laughs. Hope you enjoyed a trip down memory lane!!!
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Neat deal

Brownfield Empire - Fri, 01/03/2014 - 2:22pm

I got a nice e mail from my 6th grade math teacher about the Sooners big win last night. He was the one who got me into OU football. As usual I wore all my OU gear leading up to the game and I am not sporting any OU stuff. That's the way I roll.

I also got a call from my Dad to congratulate me on the game and to tell me he has been reading my blog. I was really humbled when he told me that I am a good writer. Considering my parents are both college educated as well as my two brothers that feels pretty darn good to a high school numbskull.

#great day, Hi Dad
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by Dr. Radut