Peeling the Onion – The Politics of Corruption

onion-uspolcrpt(This is the last part of a 5-part series) From the onset, the ballpark process was designed to keep secrets. This was on purpose. The less information we had to work with, the easier it was to label any discord as nothing more than the rantings of the crazies. Without verifiable information it was easy to argue that those opposed were just ranting stupidity. How could anyone be against the benefactors that were benevolently bestowing El Paso with a semi-professional team.

The word “crazy,” itself, was purposely picked by the corruptors and used by Joyce Wilson. The public had to be misdirected and using “crazy” not only misdirected but it dissuaded public discussion because no one wants to be labelled as “crazy.”

Even at the expense of being labelled as crazy, some questioned the sale of the bonds and the financial model that is supposed to pay for the ballpark. We harped on the fact that ultimately the taxpayers would pay for the ballpark, although they continue to retort that it will be paid for by out of town visitors though the HOT taxes.

To keep the public distracted, a full-blown public perception was manufactured around the notion that anyone opposed was against El Paso. The El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) had used this model before based on the notion that anyone opposed were against children. Likewise, in 2007, the El Paso Children’s Hospital proponents made the same argument about the children’s hospital.

See how it works? If you argue against a public policy agenda, you are against the welfare of the community.

Through Bob Moore’s willingness to magnify the carefully orchestrated public manipulation message that El Paso was on the brink of greatness, the city’s building was demolished and a ballpark was built for a private company with tax dollars. As part of the public relations initiative, the City spent tax dollars on buying the El Paso Times’ building to house part of the city offices. Coincidently, or maybe not so much, the El Paso Times did not bother to provide any investigative journalism to arguably the largest public initiative that El Paso had seen in a decade.

For years I have been documenting for you how the corruptors work. They pretend “all is good” and when that doesn’t work they distract you through innuendo. Those that try to point out the political shenanigans are ridiculed, their livelihoods threatened and when they become a serious threat to the corruptors; innuendos of criminality are levied against them.

They have perfected public perception manipulation through their stables of useful idiots, blogging for them or publishing editorials on their behalf in the El Paso Times. Against this onslaught, many in the community continue to demand accountability and transparency.

Remember when I wrote that Ross Fisher was investigating Joyce Wilson’s role in the delay of the sale of the bonds? You can read it here. Those that supposedly are in the know argued that I was completely off base. The argument was either that Fisher’s focus was Tommy Gonzalez, Larry Romero or both, or that the scope of the investigation limited Fisher to specific questions.

Some of the countering rhetoric was based on misinformation, but most of it was part of the effort to distract and mislead you in the hopes that you miss the nexus to the whole issue. The corruptors are adept at using just enough factual information or legal-sounding information to argue that we are wrong. I knew that Ross Fisher had been asking questions about Joyce Wilson, but the public manipulation centered on the erroneous information that Fisher’s scope was limited.

I even received an email telling that my information was wrong. It was sent to me be someone trying to be “helpful” because they wanted to “ensure” that I wasn’t “discredited” by publishing the wrong information. The emailer went so far as to send me selected portions of the Fisher contract as proof that I was wrong. I guess the writer assumed I hadn’t bothered to read the contract.

I believe it was an attempt to get me to write a correction as I was the only one writing that Wilson was a target.

In addition to the email, I received a call demanding where I got my information about Joyce Wilson. Typically, the person demanded that I keep them anonymous. The individual attempted to intimidate me by telling me that I could find myself in “legal hot water” if I was getting bad information. Obviously it was an attempt to intimidate me to back off. But I also believe that the individual was fishing for information on behalf of someone to see, if in fact, Joyce Wilson was a target.

Prior to the Ross Fisher report my musings of the corruption were routinely dismissed as nothing more than the rantings of one of the “crazies.” It was my arguments against the well-to-do of the community and the established newspaper of record, bought and paid for by Joyce Wilson with your money. There is a reason why I use the slogan, “everyone reads it but no one admits it.”

I know from various sources that many of my articles are read by various politicians. They are discussed within their gatherings but most of them pretend to know nothing about my blog. I have seen comments on social media chastising people for daring to share my posting on their social media channels.

Although you might think this bothers me, in fact, it encourages me to write more because the angrier they get, the more effective I think my postings are. I believe that they think they can convince people that no one reads my blog. That is how they operate. Through intimidation, ostracizing and pretending there is no, or little, opposition.

The Ross Fisher report does not prove us right but it demonstrates that we are not as crazy as Bob Moore and Joyce Wilson have attempted to make us out to be. What the Ross Fisher report has proven is that decisions are made or public policy is undertaken for political reasons, not for the good of the community.

Over the week I have been demonstrating to you how the public perception is manipulated.

The El Paso Times, through Bob Moore, tried to make you believe that Tommy Gonzalez needed to be fired for ethical violations. This was a public perception manipulation created to distract you from other things. Through the years, the rumors about fiscal irresponsibility in the ballpark fiasco or the children’s hospital, among others, have been ongoing, but the facts are absent because they were conveniently hidden behind executive session or creative bureaucracies.

Consider that the City had to create a private corporation in order to build a public stadium with your money.

How is that even logical if everything was above board?

Why was it necessary to get creative with the laws and regulations if everything is above board?

The Ross Fisher report has shown us two very important things. The first is that the “crazies” were not crazy after all. More importantly, it has demonstrated that when a government entity decides to be transparent the facts become undisputable, no matter how hard Joyce Wilson and Bob Moore try to make you believe all is good with what they have done.

Unfortunately for the taxpayers, the political shenanigans continue unabated.

Even when the facts are exposed, Bob Moore ignores the inconvenient ones and continues manipulating the public perception. Although Ross Fisher’s report proved that Tommy Gonzalez is not guilty of the ethical violations that the El Paso Times tried to manufacture, Bob Moore continues to demand that Gonzalez be fired. Moore allows the paper to continue to print misleading headlines attempting to wrap Gonzalez around a mantle of ethically challenged activities.

Yet, and this is important, Joyce Wilson, who has been shown to be withholding information relevant to the question of the $20+ millions that the taxpayers are saddled with, only gets a token request to give up the names she is keeping secret. Either Bob Moore doesn’t understand that it is an ethical problem or he simply doesn’t care. I tend to believe it is the latter, however, some of you might point out that his journalistic ethics are obviously lacking.

Even then, it is not just the newspaper, but also the politicos. The politicos are posturing all hoping to leave unscathed when the corruption is exposed.

Consider that Cortney Niland and Michiel Noe were on city council when the ballpark was rammed down the throats of the taxpayers. Noe has vacillated between how wonderful Joyce Wilson was to keeping quiet about her publicly when the latest information became public. Niland has been extremely critical of Tommy Gonzalez after offering an hours-long soliloquy about how luck El Paso was to have him when she wanted him to have a controversial raise. As soon as it became evident that Joyce Wilson’s role in the ballpark was about to be exposed, Niland jumped from being Gonzalez’ greatest supporter to publicly chastising him for perceived wrongs.

You might notice that even now, after the Fisher report, the public is being manipulated into focusing on Tommy Gonzalez’ “performance plan” rather than on the real issue – Joyce Wilson’s refusal to give up names. Gonzalez was put on a “performance plan” while Wilson was asked “pretty, please” would you tell us who the names are.

City council has subpoena powers. However, they are focusing on Gonzalez and distracting you from the real issue, who delayed the sale of the bonds.

Unfortunately, I am not done yet.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza, who has yet to investigate a public official for public malfeasance since he was elected the District Attorney, holds a press conference announcing that he has asked the Texas Rangers to investigate the allegations in the Ross Fisher report.

There have been forty or more cases of public corruption in El Paso in the last fifteen years. Esparza has not successfully prosecuted a single one. Now all of a sudden, he wants the Texas Rangers to come to town with guns blazing. Why?

Because Esparza is in a run-off for his seat and he is likely to lose during the run-off.

Esparza’s call for the Texas Rangers was a “hail Mary” move hoping to stave off a run-off which he knows he is likely to lose.

As you can clearly see from my posting this week, the corruption is very alive and active in El Paso. It will continue to be so until the city’s voters demand better by going to the polls in masse. Until then, the corruption, the cover ups and the misdirection will continue unabated. However, some of us “crazies” will continue to point it out to you in the years to come.