City council is scheduled to discuss agenda item number: 19.1 that was postponed last week. The item, “Clarification of ethics rules/ordinances, including clarification on Council’s ability to interact with employees without violating ethics rules” was posted by Michiel Noe. It was originally scheduled for last week’s meeting, immediately after Claudia Ordaz’ emails were made public but was postponed by Noe. Noe stated that he was postponing the item because Emma Acosta was absent and had requested that the item be postponed.
The agenda item dovetails perfectly into the many public questions about corruption at city hall. Ostensibly, the item is to discuss city council ethics, mainly in relation to city council representatives going directly to city staff, bypassing the city manager, for specific projects. Larry Romero and Lily Limon were originally targeted by the discussion item posted by Noe.
However, subsequent to the posting, questions about Larry Romero’s street paving projects have risen to the point of whether there was corruption involved in the process. Noe, himself, has called the process corrupt in the news media. Claudia Ordaz’ text messages have clearly shown that she was coached during a city council meeting on what to say about the MPO issue.
Romero’s case needs to be addressed openly and transparently. El Paso is known for corruption and for him to pretend nothing inappropriate happened only deepens the thought that corruption is still rampant in the city.
Ordaz’ coaching at the city council meeting goes directly to ethics in government and especially at city hall. Both of these issues need to be vetted openly and transparently.
However, it will likely be buried in executive session and wrapped around the “it’s all good” lie being perpetuated by Oscar Leeser.
Leeser is likely talking to city representatives about keeping things hush, hush. To Leeser it is about keeping appearances. He wants to pretend that city council is working in unison for a better El Paso and if it means silencing inconvenient facts, he will do so. He will wrap it around a façade of “decorum.”
The city attorney’s office will help him out by running to executive session when the discussion delves into specific conversations and actions. The city attorney will do this to protect the city against liability and it is exactly what she should be doing. However, Oscar Leeser will use that as cover to keep things hidden from the voters.
Claudia Ordaz will use the Larry Romero issue to deflect away from herself hoping everyone focuses on Romero. Romero, will obviously try to keep the discussion away from his streets issue.
The other city representatives see blood in the water and will likely look to try to capitalize their on their political clout by pontificating about the how they are not part of this latest fiasco. The problem is that they will look to score points and thus allow the discussion to be swayed by politics rather than by exposing the truth.
As of Monday, only Peter Svarzbein has asked to be excused from the meeting.
We will see if Claudia Ordaz sits through the meeting and engages or does she look to skip out when things get tough for her. The Ordaz texts messages has ensured that city council will be either indifferent to her plight or outright hostile to her.
Her only hope is to keep the discussion centered on Romero.
Assuming that the Internet streaming of the city council meeting does not magically cease to work, I will be updating you via Twitter @epnewsblog as the meeting progresses.
Tomorrow I plan to give you a blow-by-blow account of what transpired. That is of course if the item is not postponed or that it is not taking into executive session to keep the secrets intact.