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City of El Paso debt=$2,670,400,000, county and school district debt=$1,600,000,000. Total $4.27 billion. Your share $19,350
Updated: 38 min 51 sec ago

Thinking that money grows on trees

9 hours 50 min ago

You may have seen these on Airway Boulevard:

Hmmm.  If you wonder how much we spent take a look at this:

How very unfortunate.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Martin Luther King Jr.

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 6:00am

Today we pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. a leader in the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Did they do this purposefully?

Sun, 01/19/2020 - 8:01am

This chart is part of an upcoming presentation to city council:

What is the funding source of the green 53%?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

Sat, 01/18/2020 - 6:00am

It’s Saturday.

What’s on your mind?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Taxing our food

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 6:00am

The city has hired a concessionaire for the four new water parks.

Take a look at this:

Yes, now the city will get to tax you on the food you eat at a city park.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

No need to tell the truth

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 6:00am

Elrichboy over at elchuqueno.com wrote an illuminating post about changes in our city manager’s employment contract.

You can read it here.

He points out that the city manager’s original employment agreement (May 20, 2014) listed 14 reasons why the city manager could be fired for cause.  City council can fire the city manager at any time but without good cause the city would have to pay the manager an extra year of pay.

When the contract was renewed on December 11, 2018 the list of specific causes shrank to seven.

Read elrichboy’s post to see all seven of them.

One that got my attention was:

Conscious misrepresentation of material facts to the Council or other City Officials in the conduct of the City’s business.

That explains a lot.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Gasoline prices

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 6:00am

I went through Alamogordo, New Mexico last weekend and paid $2.02 for unleaded gasoline.

When I returned to El Paso that same day unleaded gasoline was selling at $2.56 a gallon at the local convenience stores.

The state of New Mexico charges 17 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes while Texas charges 20 cents per gallon.

Can any of the readers explain why gas in Alamogordo was so much cheaper?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Crisis of confidence

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 6:00am

Take a look at this chart taken from a report about  a March 2019 survey of EPISD personnel.

The report shows that at the time of the survey the district had 8,307 employees.  Evidently 3,371 elected to participate in the survey.  According to the report the survey responses went directly to the Texas Association of School Boards.

Only 36 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement “I believe that district leaders are honest and trustworthy”.

Whoa!

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Danger at night

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 6:00am

This came in from Helen Marshall:

I am increasingly reluctant to drive at night, and one reason is the growing number of bicycle riders, joggers and walkers who are out after dark in all-black gear, no lights on their bikes or helmets, not even a white sock or scarf.  Do they think that because they can see my car I can see them?  Last night someone in all black clothing ran across Mesa, not far from the Brentwood intersection where he or she would have been able to cross with a traffic signal.  If I had hit that person it presumably would not be my fault…I was traveling under the speed limit…but I’d have nightmares about it for the rest of my life. If you are one of these invisible persons, or know someone who is, PLEASE tell them to carry something bright, put a light on their bicycle, SOMETHING! Maybe the bicycle riders groups could discuss this…. *********************************** We deserve better Brutus
Categories: Local Blogs

Hurry up and wait.

Sun, 01/12/2020 - 6:00am

I went to pick up someone from the airport around 8 PM the other night.

The lighting and holiday decorations were beyond nice–they were impressive.

Unfortunately my passenger and his fellow travelers had to wait 55 minutes to receive their luggage.  When he asked why he was told that the airport had only one baggage crew on duty that night.

There was a time when your bags would be on the conveyor before you could walk from the gate to the luggage area.

That left a favorable impression on people about El Paso.

I don’t know who the baggage handlers work for.  If they work for the airlines the airport should require them to staff adequately.  If they work for the airport then the airport managers should see to it that passengers get their bags quickly.

Airplanes arrive on a schedule.  This should not be hard to figure out.

It is hard enough for us to get out of town business people to come to El Paso.

This would be a step that would help.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

Sat, 01/11/2020 - 6:00am

What’s on your mind?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD–no limits to their spending

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 7:57am

Take a look at this EPISD report:

The voters authorized bond sales of $452 million.

At the beginning of 2019 they had issued $200 million and had spent $42 million.  That left $158 million unspent.

In 2019 they spent another $72 million leaving $86 million unspent  going into 2020.

Why then did they sell another $252 million in 2019 when they had $86 million sitting around?

Interest

When they sold the $252 million of bonds they were able to put the money into interest bearing accounts.  So far they have generated almost $12 million from  interest.  The taxpayers are paying interest on bonds that have not been spent on construction.  The district is getting interest on our unspent money.

The net effect is that they have been able to add $12 million to their budgets.

Unfortunately that is not enough to cover their planned spending.

The report shows that even after getting the extra $12 million from us they are still $13 million short.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

A little bit of tax relief

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 6:00am

For those of you who were facing the requirement to make your first RMD (required minimum distribution) withdrawal from your retirement account in 2020 please be aware that the law changed in December.

Evidently now if you had not reached the age of 70 1/2 before December 31, 2019 the new age trigger will be 72 years old.  This lets you keep the money working for you an extra year and one half.  If you were 70 1/2 years old before January 1, 2020 the law stays the same.

The new law also allows people over 70 1/2 to continue making contributions to their retirement accounts as long as they have “earned” (payroll) income.

Contact your tax adviser to see if this applies to you.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Truth to power

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 6:00am

There has been considerable discussion on the blog lately about commenters posting anonymously.

I wonder how knowing the commenter’s identity would change the discussion.

The Washington Post published this back in 2018:

… anonymous publication has been an essential feature of American democracy since its beginning. It has long allowed vulnerable voices to participate in public politics and speak truth to power. Indeed, anonymous debate was at the center of the revolutionary politics that led to American independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which enshrined the press freedoms that continue to protect anonymous speech today.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

More disrespect from city council

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 8:03am

Aaron Montes of El Paso Times recently wrote this article about the district 6 city council representative.

It has been a while since we have seen this kind of reporting in the Times.

Thank you Aaron.

None of us can know what the city representative’s motives were.

From the outside it does look like she was using city money to promote both her and her husband’s political careers.

There evidently is a long standing city council rule that requires city representatives to get city council approval before spending their “discretionary funds” and in this case it appears that she spent the money without approval.

Some questions come to mind:

Why the heck do city representatives get any discretionary funds?

Does she have a city credit card and can thus spend money without going through purchasing?

If she did go through purchasing why wasn’t this caught?

Why doesn’t council do something about this?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Sun Metro continues to shrink

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:53am

Sun Metro has not been publishing their quarterly fixed route numbers so I made a public information request.

Their response was quick, the service was good.

They provided me with their year end report for FY2019 as I requested:

They claim having more than a million riders for the month of August 2019 and more than 12 million for all of FY 2019.

Unfortunately their records show another 6% decrease in ridership between 2018 and 2019.

Also please take a look at their cost per trip.  In August 2019 they show it as $5.00 per passenger trip.  The most a passenger can pay is $1.50.

Their records show that passengers paid $11.59% of the cost of operating the service in August 2019.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Stop the spending

Sun, 01/05/2020 - 7:16am

Here’s another idea to reduce city expenses:

Don’t do this:

Discussion and action on the award of Solicitation No. 2019-909 Bicycle Connectivity Infrastructure, Phase I to Horizone Construction I, Ltd for a total estimated award of $1,898,160.80. The project consists of the re-striping of Alabama Street, Viscount Boulevard, Resler Drive, Robinson Avenue, Fort Boulevard, and Los Angeles Drive. The project also includes roadway improvements at the intersection of Alabama and Fred Wilson.

They propose to create bicycle lanes on Alabama from Atlas to Arizona.

Do they plan to have an EMS truck nearby?

Robinson is already a nightmare.

These are luxuries.  We need to pay our past bills.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Open line Saturday

Sat, 01/04/2020 - 6:00am

What’s on your mind?

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

On the other hand

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 6:00am

What person or organization do you believe did the most to harm us here in El Paso this last year?

As always please keep the conversation civil.

We should be able to disagree without being vulgar or resorting to personal attacks.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Let’s talk about something good

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 6:00am

What person or organization do you believe did the most to improve our lot here in El Paso last year?

We will probably see some disagreement between the readers of this blog.

Please keep the conversation civil and not personal.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs


by Dr. Radut