It seems that for El Paso voters there is such a thing as too much corruption. But looks can be deceiving. As you likely know, Jim Tolbert was dismissed by the El Paso voters on Saturday. It may look like the eight percent of El Pasoans, that cast a vote, were repudiating Jim Tolbert’s corruption. In reality, the voters that cast ballots on Saturday were voting to replace a Veronica Escobar stooge that decided to abandon the Veronica Escobar stable. That too much corruption was part of the equation was just gravy.
As I have written numerous times before, corruption is not just a case of quid pro quo for favors, but rather a range of activities that politicos engage in to the detriment of the electorate. These activities range from ignoring their responsibilities, like Jaime Esparza refusing to prosecute public corruption in the community, to simply not showing up to work as the electorate expected them to.
Jim Tolbert’s short stint on city council demonstrates a whole range of corruption that permeates through El Paso.
- Jim Tolbert orchestrated corruption charges against his predecessor to make way for Jim Tolbert to be elected to fill the vacant slot left by the resignation.
- Tolbert used the Susie Byrd/Veronica Escobar electoral army to be elected. As soon as Tolbert was elected into office, he promptly dropped the Veronica Escobar public policy agenda to pursue his own agenda.
- Tolbert sent a local steak house an email that can best be described as an extortion attempt for a free steak for Tolbert to consider any legislative needs the steak house may have before city council.
- Jim Tolbert forced his way into a meeting regarding the proposed arena downtown that resulted in a Texas Rangers investigation of various officials.
As if these examples weren’t enough of text books examples of corruption, consider David Karlsruher’s numerous desperate blog posts to keep Tolbert in office. Karlsruher didn’t have any Tolbert public policy wins to showcase to encourage voters to keep Tolbert in office, so Karlsruher was forced to post, post after post on why the Texas Rangers’ investigation into violations of the open meetings laws was not really an investigation.
Think about that for a moment. David Karlsruher’s only option to champion Jim Tolbert was to attempt to make you believe that Jim Tolbert was not under criminal investigation. In other words, Karlsruher’s only choice was to distract you by pretending that Tolbert was not under investigation for corruption because Karlsruher could not point to a single legislative win that Jim Tolbert could take credit for.
There are those who mistakenly still believe that blogs and social media do not play a part in the elections. Voters do not vote based on blog posts but, are instead influenced indirectly by social media. Blogs and social media are used to influence how and what the news media reports on. When the news media refuses to cover a political issue, blogs and social media exposes them eventually driving them to report it.
For example, Tolbert’s steak-gate. It was blogger Ali Razavi who exposed Jim Tolbert’s attempt to get a free steak from a local steak shop for Tolbert to consider them in legislative deliberations. Likewise, David Karlsuher’s blog posts demonstrate how online posts are used to influence news media coverage to influence the voters. Razavi’s was effective, hence Tolbert lost and Karlsruher wasn’t, again Tolbert lost.
The problem for Jim Tolbert is that his short stint at city council was defined by corruption and thus he could not be reelected.