I have been busy finalizing my book; “NarcoWar; the Rise and Fall of the Mexican Cartels” which is scheduled to come out next month and therefore I have been neglecting my blog. But unfortunately for my friends in El Paso the corruption continues to perpetuate across the city rather than it being eradicated.
So, although I am supposed to be thankful and looking for the good in the community this season, El Paso’s own ineptitude continues to boggle my mind.
First is El Paso’s own wikileaks dump of city council communications between city council representatives, local community members and the city manager. The email documents made public by the stadium fiasco demonstrates various serious problems with the city’s administration. The media and the blogosphere have documented and commented on the obvious ones – the disrespect of the electorate and other members of the city council by sitting representatives and the city manager.
Disrespectful comments have no place in city business communications especially when directed at the electorate. But in the haste to document disrespect a very important nexus to democracy has been lost in the discussion and it is one that is paramount to eradicating corruption in the city.
When the city was discussing the conversion from a strong mayor form of government to a city manager driven one the argument centered on the notion that a city manager would provide continuity to city business while the politicians would be allowed to direct public policy for the constituency. The idea was that the city manager would implement the public policy direction of the city as determined by the elected officials.
The city manager’s job was supposed to be and should be the implementation of public policy as determined by the elected officials. For democracy to succeed in the city this notion is paramount as the architects of the public policy can be held accountable by the electorate through the polls.
In fact, a city manager setting public policy is tantamount to a dictatorship.
The emails exchanged between the city council and the city manager unambiguous demonstrates that Joyce Wilson is not only injecting herself into crafting public policy for the city but she is actively driving it.
She has crossed the line of implementing policy into setting policy and this cannot be allowed to stand. Should it be allowed to stand then why bother with the expense of electing representatives for the electorate, if they are to be only figure heads?
One of Wilson’s biggest supporters on city council is Steve Ortega who recently announced he would be running for the mayor’s office. My question is, as mayor will Steve Ortega actually design and direct public policy or will he be more comfortable rubber stamping Wilson’s direction?
Hmm, it is no wonder that corruption continues to permeate El Paso.
As if that wasn’t enough, and even worse is Veronica Escobar. Consider Veronica Escobar’s acceptance of $2,000 in contributions made via cash from a public corrupt individual, on one on hand she pontificates about honesty and integrity while at the same time accepting a cash contribution from a corrupt individual.
Escobar ran on a platform of public integrity and honesty and she continues to pontificate about honesty in government. There is a saying Spanish; “Dime con quién andas y te diré quien eres” that is very appropriate. “Tell me who you associate with and I’ll tell you who you are.
I realize some will argue that it is not fair to blame someone for other’s transgressions. I’ll accept that up to a point. In my research for my book, one of the underlining elements needed to allow the transnational drug organizations to continue to operate is the notion that people look the other way as they continue to line their pockets with money that has no explanation as to where it came from or the individual doesn’t seem honest. There comes a time where you have to make a personal decision as to whether the facts fit the individual that purports to be your business client of friend. There is a moral obligation to business dealings and friendships.
In the case of Veronica Escobar, she acknowledges through the media that the $2,000 in cash are not a proper contribution and rather than say, I want nothing to do with it; she tells the corrupt individual offering it to make it “legal” by giving it to her through an in kind contribution.
How is it that $2,000 in cash is “illegal” but changing it into beer, wine, or whatever it suddenly becomes legal? Isn’t that what money laundering is all about?
Escobar goes on to state that it is not a bribe because Tellez did not get something in return for it.
Really? Luther Jones and Gilbert Sanchez are sitting in jail, in part, for an attempt to bribe someone for a contract that was never issued by the County of El Paso. No one ever benefited from the contract they tried to bribe sitting officials for, yet the jury found them guilty and are sitting in jail for it.
According to that legal precedent it is not the fact that someone benefited from the bribe but the fact that it was offered and accepted.
Under that legal theory, Veronica Escobar should be investigated and indicted for accepting an illegal contribution. Her own statements to the media provide two important elements to present to a grand jury; one, she knew two thousand dollars in cash were illegal and, two, instead of declining it she directed that it be converted to something else so that it would be ‘legal’ for her to accept.
But what do I know; I’m just one of those ‘crazies’ out there?