For many years now, I have been documenting the ethical malfeasance of the El Paso Times and therefore it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Bob Moore leads the El Paso Chusmas lineup. The leadership of Bob Moore has not only allowed public corruption to infest local politics but, in many instances, it has enabled it to continue.
In yesterday’s article by Cindy Ramirez in regards to city council authorizing the search firm to enter into contract negotiations with Tommy Gonzalez for the city manager position, the title of the article alleged, “council may have violated open meetings act”. To be clear, it is my understanding that the author of the article, in this case Cindy Ramirez has little to no input in naming the articles she submits. That function is delegated to the individual that lays out the paper for the printers.
I do not know this however, I strongly believe that Bob Moore has input in the titles of certain articles. Years of following the catastrophe that is the paper has showed me clear and convincing evidence that he is involved in the direction the paper takes in public policy issues.
Ramirez’ article goes on to detail how it appears that consensus by city council on who to offer the position was reached during unscheduled and unpublicized deliberations. Ramirez then writes that the council’s actions may have raised “questions on whether that decision should have been made in an open public meeting”.
According to what we know at this point, city council reached a consensus about offering the job to Gonzalez without meeting and voting in public. The city attorney’s office has argued that city council does not have to publicly deliberate about the selection of a new city manager by quoting a section of the law that allows council to have a closed meeting (Sec. 551.074) in order to address employee issues.
I have many questions about the process however today I’m focusing on the El Paso Chusma also known as the El Paso Times under the tutelage of Bob Moore.
My issue with Ramirez’ article is not the content or the writing, but what I see as hypocrisy emanating from the local paper.
There are many examples of the paper’s and Bob Moore’s hypocrisy when it comes to protecting certain public officials that advocate a public policy that Bob Moore clearly embraces.
Consider the following.
A former city representative who coincidently was defeated by the current mayor has admitted to having public records in his possession that he refuses to release. The public records in Steve Ortega’s possession are about the largest controversy El Paso has recently experienced. The controversy, the ballpark, involves public monies and questions about how the process was conducted.
The company that Bob Moore works for benefited from taxpayer funds by selling their building to the city. The issue about Steve Ortega refusing to release public records in his possession center squarely on the basis by which a newspaper is to operate; access to public information.
You would expect the paper to be writing editorial after editorial about how public officials should always err on the side of government transparency. You would expect Bob Moore to be at the forefront of litigating the public’s right to know what is in Steve Ortega’s documents that he refuses to release.
Instead, what you get from Bob Moore are editorials poking fun at those who question the process.
Bob Moore’s demand for access to public information is selective in that he uses it when it targets individuals that do not espouse the public agenda created by Ray Caballero. When government transparency may expose malfeasance about Ray Caballero cronies, Moore is conspicuously silent. Bob Moore had no problem allowing articles and editorials attacking those wishing to recall Larry Medina in 2002.
You remember Larry Medina, don’t you? He is the person who was thanked by Marc Schwartz on an FBI wiretap for the numerous “things” he did while at the city. The “things” haven’t been identified but we know that Larry Medina pleaded guilty to public corruption and along with the other evidence we know we can safely assume that the “things” Medina was thanked for were likely corruption related.
Yet, Bob Moore encouraged articles denigrating those attempting to recall Larry Medina for his political shenanigans. To me the reason for that was that Larry Medina was supporting the Ray Caballero public policy agenda. We now know that Larry Medina was corrupt and although many said he was, there was no “proof” at the time. Moore, rather than seek the truth out instead went after those that questioned Larry Medina’s integrity.
We know that integrity is not something Bob Moore inspires at his paper. For many years, Bob Moore allowed the notion that his paper uncovered the National Center for Employment of the Disabled (NCED) fraud. The fact is that the fraud was uncovered and exposed by The Oregonian, a Portland based newspaper. That is a fact Bob Moore wishes no one knew so that he could keep up the fantasy that it was his paper that uncovered Bob Jones’ fraud.
Likewise, when Theresa Caballero proved that the county’s medical examiner, Paul Shrode was a fraud, Bob Moore did everything he could to keep that a secret. Moore allowed articles to be written that created the notion that everything was under control while keeping Theresa Caballero’s role in exposing the fraud under wraps. Because it was politically expedient for a Ray Caballero benefactor, Veronica Escobar, rather than Bob Moore’s newspaper leading a charge for protecting the community from a rogue medical examiner, Moore allowed the perception that the allegations were being blown out of proportion. It wasn’t until after other communities, who had already gotten rid of Shrode, started demanding accountability and after it was safe for Veronica Escobar’s political future that Bob Moore allowed his paper to publish articles about the Shrode fraud, even then watering it down to nothing more than an exaggeration of a resume.
The inconvenient truth that Bob Moore conveniently ignores about the Paul Shrode affair is that the justice system of the US is based on accepting the integrity of certain judicial officers. Key to this is the testimony of the medical examiner who testifies on how a victim died or was injured. How the medical examiner testifies determines how a defendant is charged with a crime and how they sentenced if convicted. A medical examiner’s testimony literally means the difference between the death penalty or not.
We knew Paul Shrode lied to get his job at the county. Yet, Bob Moore’s paper not once questioned how Shrode’s lies could have affected the lives of defendants and victims alike. From the paper’s posture, it was nothing more than a lie on a job application completely ignoring the elephant in the room, that Paul Shrode was a liar.
I would not at all be surprised to see article, after article and editorial after editorial about how the city may have violated the open meetings laws while deliberating to offer Gonzalez the city manager position. They may well have, but that’s not why Bob Moore would posture about it.
Joyce Wilson benefits from controversy about extending the job offer. Steve Ortega benefits from focusing on Oscar Leeser’s city council. The paper gets to posture about how they are advocates for government transparency. The paper may even nominate themselves for another award for investigative reporting on the appointment. Maybe even for demanding government accountability. Yet they are selective.
Where are they on government transparency when it comes to Steve Ortega withholding government records from the community? Where are they when it comes to accurately reporting on Stephanie Townsend Allala’s legal fight to demand government transparency? More importantly, why is Bob Moore not on the forefront defending the public’s right to know what Steve Ortega refuses to release?
It is because Steve Ortega is a disciple of Ray Caballero, and as such, Ortega can do no wrong in Bob Moore’s eyes. It is just as Larry Medina was not corrupt when many individuals were trying to hold him accountable.
Because the El Paso Times, who masquerades as a newspaper, continues to take on the role of advocate for the Caballero public policy agenda, to the detriment of the community’s taxpayers, Bob Moore’s paper is easily the designated hitter for the El Paso Chusmas.
This is because had Bob Moore supported, mentored and encouraged ethical journalism then the rampant public corruption would not have cemented itself so squarely into the community’s public entities fabric. Without the newspaper’s support, public corruption could not have flourished in the city as it has.