By Robert Ruiz, El Paso Metro
The El Paso Fights Back Coalition was torn apart Saturday morning by the announcement, through the El Paso Times, by Bobby Fonseca that he was considering not turning in the petition. “I am not depressed…angry…simply disappointed, “ he told the Times reporter Laura Cruz. The anti-tax coalition organized an eleventh hour push for signatures Saturday at the Wal-Mart on Trans Mountain Road in the Northeast. The El Paso Fights Back Coalition was formed to oppose the Caballero administration’s 11.8% tax increase. Theresa Caballero was elected spokesperson for the group and it brought under its umbrella, Citizens for Good Government (COG), United Taxpayers of El Paso (UTEP) and Citizens Against Corrupt Government Officials (CICO).
The latest count on the El Paso Fights Back Coalition website (elpasofightsback.com) was of 26,160 validated signatures. As of Friday night, 645 more signatures had been validated according to Bobby Fonseca bringing the total to 26,815. An additional batch of signatures were submitted by Citizens for Good Government by 8 pm on Friday.
Jaime O. Perez, coordinator for Citizens for Good Government, reacted immediately through a press announcement that Bobby Fonseca would be “violating the public trust” if he failed to submit the petitions. He added, “It is not his call. He does not have the right to hold tens of thousands of citizen voices hostage.” In an open letter to Bobby Fonseca published in ElPasoMetro.com’s politalk forum, he asked that Bobby Fonseca turn in the petitions whether 26,200 or 2,600 signatures had been collected. “You do not have the right to deny me my voice as articulated through my signature. Nor do you have the right to deny the voices of as many people as signed those petitions.”
The withdrawal from the Coalition by Citizens for Good Government came with an admonition by Jaime O. Perez that, “Silencing the voice of thousands will forever destroy the credibility of the coalition’s leadership. Who will ever again support any initiative under such leadership, if it fails to follow through and blatantly disrespects the people’s will. I strongly urge the coalition to reconsider the decision. Failure to do so will cause irreparable harm to its credibility and political standing in the community.”