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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: 52 min 44 sec ago

EPISD getting smaller faster

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 5:27am

EPISD is shrinking even faster than before.

A recent report to the board of trustees indicated that total enrollment as of August 27, 2018 was 57,103 students.

Enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year was 61,151

2015-2016 school year was 60,066 a decrease of 1,085 students

2016-2017 school year was 59,750 a decrease of 316 students

2017-2018 school year was 58,549 a decrease of 1,201 students

With the August enrollment at 57,103 they will have another decrease of 1,446 students this year.

Will we see their budget getting smaller?

We deserve better

Brutus

 

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Librarians are angry

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 5:00am

City council recently voted to build the new cultural center as an attachment to the downtown library.

It seems that the plan is to confiscate portions of the library and re-use them as part of the cultural center.  According to one speaker at the city council meeting the plan is to take almost half of the library.

Several librarians spoke before council and complained that they had been “blind sided” by city staff and were not aware of the impact of the plan until the proposal was posted on the council agenda.

The librarians have long memories.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Nicholas Vasquez–candidate district 8

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 5:00am

Nicholas Vasquez is running for city representative district 8.

He sent this in:

Hi Brutus,

hope alls well.

Names Nicholas Anthony Vasquez,

here’s what I’m offering http://www.votingisimportantand.fun allocations towards projects that will benefit all of El Paso while having the ability to reduce the burden property owners face when providing for public services. I will also be more than glad to answer any questions that are not on my website as well as other ones coming from any Users. let me know thanks again for giving us better info.
Categories: Local Blogs

Take it or leave it

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 5:00am

Unfortunately we are seeing a customer relations trick that is designed to stiff-arm the consumer more and more.

The other day I asked a Netflix employee to transfer me to his superior.  The employee was not willing to solve the problem that Netflix  had created.  I suspected that the employee was following company policy so I wanted to move the issue up the chain of command.

The Netflix employee told me that he was not allowed to transfer my call to anyone up the chain.

I fired them.

Also last week I heard two UTEP students talking about difficulties they were having with different administrators at the school.  They told each other about having been denied the ability to speak with someone higher up the management chain.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Aerial tramway

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 5:11am

Our aerial tramway has been closed.

According to an article in the Times:

The decision came after an engineering analysis that was conducted as part of a deferred maintenance project that was planned to begin later this fall, a news release stated.

The tramway has been operated by the state for 17 years.

It is disturbing that this came as a surprise.

Many of us think that this issue should have been on the state’s radar for years and that the needed improvements should have been made short of shutting it down without notice and without a plan to re-open it.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Good start

Sat, 09/22/2018 - 5:16am
Categories: Local Blogs

Its time to fix this

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 5:00am

The ongoing problem of excessive overtime at the police department is in the news again.  The KVIA published this piece  after this El Paso Times article came out

The KVIA piece points out the case of a sergeant that made over $60,000 per (each) year in overtime in both 2015 and 2016.

This is simply poor management.  The department has a lot of “brass” (lieutenants and above) on the payroll.  Either they are playing favorites, or they are not paying attention.

Most of us can understand the need for some overtime.  Unfortunately there are individuals that are gaming the system and their bosses are not stepping in.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Just plain dumb

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 5:00am

Can this be true?

******************************

According to the Examiner, O’Rourke’s campaign had rented out a Veteran of Foreign Affairs Hall for a campaign rally in Navasota, TX, and requested that the VFW Post 4006 Commander Carl Dry take down the American flags in his building ahead of the event.

From the Navasota Examiner:

“I do not normally attend rental events, but I attended Saturday to make sure things ran smoothly,” said Dry, who noted there were only two requests he could not allow at the VFW Post. “They wanted to open the doors (to the Flight Deck Lounge) and I couldn’t allow that and they wanted to take the flags down, I didn’t only say no, I said hell no, you don’t take the flags off the wall. I can’t believe any American would ask us to do that and I don’t know why he wanted them down or what he was going to put up instead.”

*****************************

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

A note from Dylan Corbett

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 5:00am

Mr. Dylan Corbett is running for city council district eight.

He responded to our invitation to send in a post.

******************************************************************

Dylan Corbett is running to be El Paso’s City Representative for District 8.

 

Anyone familiar with local El Paso politics today is overwhelmed by a dreadful feeling of intractability.

Whatever the issue, we’re consumed with backbiting and the inability to find common ground, and it feel like we’re just a day or two away from backsliding.

There are problems aplenty.

No one can deny that our roads and infrastructure are in less than great shape.

Our exploding debt tops out at over two billion dollars, more than Austin and Fort Worth. Crippling budget overruns for Quality of Life projects are the order of the day. Property owners and renters are paying a higher percentage of the city’s budget, an unsustainable prospect for the veteran, retired couple and young family our city needs.

Now that our population has flatlined and the gold standard of economic development has become Top Golf, the promise downtown redevelopment held that El Paso would attract investment and living wage jobs is on shakier ground.

The crisis we face, however, is not financial but one of leadership. Our current political class is straitjacketed by a narrow vision of development, one that privileges short term gains over sustainability and political job security over the common good.

Some of our elected leaders have been corrupted not so much with money as by overly cozy relationships with developers eager to advance private agendas. Their disconnectedness has been funded by low voter turnout. Our city council is overwhelmed by a city manager more intent on burnishing his resume than on laying the foundations of stable growth that will benefit our children. And subtle racism and dismissive attitudes have generated self-inflicted political wounds like the Duranguito and Mexican American Cultural Center fiascos.

Our city’s destiny shouldn’t be small horizons and endless knife fights over checks signed years ago. What is needed is humble leadership to bring our residents together to address the challenges of tomorrow.

We need new revenues to fund our core commitments, but that will require building a sustainable economy for the long-term. We can rethink the meaning of quality of life, build on our unique strengths as a border community, leverage our assets like our open space, and invest in our historic communities south of the highway.

We also need to overcome ancient rivalries that continue to poison our democracy. To do that we’ll need compromise and dialogue with all our city’s residents but we also have to address the real problems of injustice, prejudice and inequality that still grease the wheels of our economy and politics.

Politicians lose their legitimacy when they’re no longer able to compromise. And when they’ve become indifferent to the community.

The good thing is that none of our problems are really intractable. We just need to vote for leaders up to the challenge.

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

EPISD–a parent’s comments

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 5:00am

A loyal reader sent this in:

I simply must express my deep disappointment with EPISD’s instructional technology.  I’m a parent with one still in EPISD.  I have expressed concern about the technology with my AP, but things don’t get fixed. Technology is fragmented:  My HS student and I use too many different online services.  Teacher specific websites with notes (mostly on Weebly), Schoolology and online textbooks, 3rd party smart phone apps like Remind used by some but not all teachers, Parent Portal for grades and attendance, services like https://www.commonlit.org/ for an English class, emails from teachers with handouts/policies (one attachment per email due to EPISD rules means my inbox is flooded with emails and attachments vs. those being housed and organized online), plus more.  Can’t this school district get a single integrated online learning system like Canvas or Blackboard? If not, then something else but this fragmentation of learning supports must end. The free computers are starting to break.  But when they do, the family is charged for repairs like broken screens.  Well, kids do need to be careful with their belongings and pay for negligence.  But, accidents do happen and I wonder why families must insure the equipment at their cost (about $200 for a repair of a two year old laptop I think).  I tend to think that if a child is required to carry a laptop then the authority who required such is responsible for upkeep and replacement; the child doesn’t have money and parent didn’t make a decision to issue laptops; this was an EIPSD decision.  I wonder what happens when a family can’t afford the fee to fix a broken laptop.  I’m not against technology, but this computer centric initiative was rolled-out without enough thought. Finally, and this isn’t a total technology issue, the active learning really is not working – listen up EPISD – I’m telling you that active learning, no matter how good in theory, is not working.  You are hurting some kids with this ill conceived approach.

The Wizard
Categories: Local Blogs

Constitution day

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 5:00am

September 17 is Constitution Day.

On September 17, 1787 the delegates to the constitutional convention signed their finished document.

We hope that our teachers will take a moment to explain this to their students.

Originally the Constitution had seven articles.  Articles 1, 2, and 3 described the powers and working of the three branches of government.

We hope that our citizens will take a moment to remind our elected officials that the Constitution exists.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

Categories: Local Blogs

What’s this about?

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 5:00am

It seems that one of our city representatives wants at least one of our city facilities to pay for itself.

From the Tuesday, September 18, 2018 city council agenda:

30.4. Discussion and action to direct the City Manager and City Attorney to draft an ordinance requiring the end user of the Eastside Sports Complex to be charged a fee no less than the amount needed for operations, maintenance and capital improvement of the park, not covered by the PID & TIRZ and to tie the collection of the fees to the existence of the PID & TIRZ.     Representative Michiel Noe, (915) 212-0005

 

It would be nice if we could get him to pay attention to the situation over at Sun Metro and maybe while he’s at it he could require that the proposed arena pay for itself.

We deserve better.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

The tax man cometh

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 5:00am

The two slides below came from a presentation that was on the August 14, 2018 city council agenda.

The first one tells us that city staff believes it would cost one billion dollars to repave all of our city streets.

Staff indicates that on average a street needs to be repaved every 25 years.

Their arithmetic concludes that the annual cost of repaving the streets should be about $39 million.

How are they doing?

The second slide tells us what has been happening.

Yet we continue to spend money on niceties.

The tax man cometh.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Call for information

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 5:00am

The candidates for city council have been quiet.

Do any of our readers have some input?

We would be interested to hear what the candidates have to say and if they send us a post we will publish it (as long as it is tasteful and not personal).

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Watch your school taxes go up next year

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 5:32am

We wrote about how your EPISD debt service (interest and sinking fund or I&S) rate will have to go up next year in EPISD–some real numbers.

The district wants the voters to approve lowering the I&S rate from 24 cents per hundred to 14 cents per hundred and then adding those 10 cents to the current maintenance and operations rate of $1.07 thus making that rate $1.17 per hundred.

The district knows that they will actually need an I&S rate of 31 cents for 2018-2019.

Some will tell us not to worry because raising the I&S rate from 14 to 31 cents next would trigger a rollback election.

Wrong!

This Texas attorney general opinion tells us that they can raise the rate up to the maximum allowed (50 cents) without triggering a rollback election:

“There is no ceiling or limit on the debt rate for the purposes of the
rollback rate calculation. See TEX. TAX CODE ANN. § 26.08(n)(2)(A)(iv), B(iii) (Vernon SUpp.
2009). Any increases in the adopted debt service rate necessary to pay a school district’s debt
increases the “current debt rate” component of the rollba.ck formula and the combined rollback tax
rate. See id. ; see also COMPTROLLER GUIDE, supra note 6, at 13-14 (“The portion of the overall rate
used to retire debt may rise as high as necessary without triggering the threat of a rollback.”).]]”

They are not telling us the whole story.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

False argument

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 5:00am

We have heard talk around town to the effect that the recall petition (of the mayor) being circulated will not be effective even if the required number of signatures are collected.

The theory is that the petition will not be submitted until after the deadline for placing items on the November election.

The city charter required council to pass a recall ordinance back when the charter was approved by the voters.

Council did pass the recall ordinance (number 008066 ) on June 5, 1984.

It reads:

“If the petition shall be found sufficient, the City Clerk shall submit the petition to the City Council without delay, and the City Council, in the event the officer fails to resign, shall order that the recall election be held at the next permitted election date under the laws of Texas.”

If the petition does not make it in before the cutoff for the November election then it will have to be considered at the next election date.

The next “Texas uniform election date” after the November election  will be the first Saturday in May, 2019.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

17 years ago

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 5:00am

We must never forget the events of September 11, 2001.

There are people out there that want us dead.

Yet we involve ourselves in partisan nonsense instead of uniting against a common enemy.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Straying from their job

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 5:00am

A local teacher and loyal reader had the note below sent to us.

It is from the national president of the American federation of teachers.

Friend,

We’re in the middle of the fourth day of the Kavanaugh hearings, and it’s worse than I could have imagined.

At every turn, Republicans have attempted to block the public and Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats viewing essential Kavanaugh records. This is yet another departure from the norms established for reviewing Supreme Court nominations. The lack of disclosure was so bad Sen. Cory Booker took the unprecedented step of releasing some of these records, so we could see that Kavanaugh believes racial profiling might be ok and Roe v. Wade is not settled law. And in response, Republicans threatened to expel Booker from the Senate.

Can you believe that? Booker is working to expose very real threats, but Senate Republicans are so intent on hiding anything damaging to Kavanaugh that they’re willing to try to expel Booker to keep it hidden.

While Senate Democrats are the minority, they rallied to back Booker. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chris Coons, Richard Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Mazie Hirono and Sheldon Whitehouse have all said they’re with Booker and should be expelled too, if the GOP goes that route.

This is a pivotal moment. Everything is on the line, because Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court will be for a lifetime. But despite new, damaging evidence, Republicans are moving forward.

Senate Dems need to know we back their efforts to ensure the public understands Kavanaugh’s record. Republicans need to know we want all of these documents to be public and the hearings to be halted until people have time to review them.

So much has come out in the last few days. First, Kavanaugh refused to say if he had discussed the Mueller investigation with the lawyers involved. We already know he would likely decide to protect Trump if he were on the court, and his non-answers yesterday made that even more clear.

Then there’s news that, even though he’s assured senators he respects settled law, in the past he’s said there’s no such thing. That means he’d be willing to overturn things we take for granted—like marriage equality, Roe v. Wade and our right to join a union.

During the questioning, Kavanaugh also refused to say he would uphold protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

And now, it looks like Kavanaugh misled the Senate while under oath in 2006. He told the late Sen. Ted Kennedy that he had no part in a confirmation hearing, but newly released documents contain emails that show he did. Telling the truth to the Senate while under oath is not optional.

Today, one of our members, Melissa Smith, a teacher from Oklahoma, will testify about our concerns over Kavanaugh’s positions on school vouchers, educational equity and privatization of schools.

This hearing, much like so much in the Trump administration, has butted our democracy. The American people need to have faith in the Supreme Court and our justice system, but the Republican Party is undermining that system by playing games with this nomination.

This is a lifetime appointment. Don’t Americans have a right to know Kavanaugh’s views on protecting healthcare and pre-existing conditions? On whether LGBTQ people will still be able to marry the person they love? On protecting the constitutional right to vote? Will this judge follow the constitution and hold the president of the United States accountable, or will he enable the president to be above the law? These are legitimate, nonpartisan questions we need answers to before any vote.

The Senate Democrats are standing up to this absurd process. Please take a moment to thank them, and tell Senate Republicans that this is a disgrace and it’s time to hit pause so the American people can examine Kavanaugh’s records.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten

*********************************************

Many of us would have thought that the president of a national teachers union would work on issues related to education.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Full load

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 5:00am

Traveling on Mesa at 8 AM the other day I saw a BRIO bus that had it’s marquee set to “FULL LOAD”.

In fact the bus was full.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Off key

Sat, 09/08/2018 - 5:00am

I heard someone observe the other day that people seem to do a better job singing our national anthem than they do happy birthday.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs


by Dr. Radut