Quitting early

February 27, 2015

The other day the Times attempted to get the children’s hospital spokeswoman to do her job and explain the children’s hospital’s view on the recent offer from the county hospital.  According to the Times:

“Children’s hospital spokeswoman Susie Byrd said that her contract was set to expire Monday and that Castillo would handle comments regarding dealings with UMC.”

She was still on the payroll, still had a contract, still had a job to do.

What else would we expect?

We deserve better


Not locally reported

February 26, 2015

Haiduc mentioned this in a comment the other day.

This article in the Dallas Morning News tells us that officials with the Texas state government are considering limiting property taxes that cities like El Paso can collect.

Our Lt. Governor is Dan Patrick.  The article told us this:  “Patrick’s push to effectively reduce growth in the amount of property tax revenue cities can collect has local budget-writers concerned. Supporters say that effort will provide Texans with long overdue property tax relief.”

With El Paso’s property tax rates seventh highest among the top 50 cities in the nation many of us would welcome the relief.

We deserve better


Nonsense in the Times

February 25, 2015

I actually went out and bought a copy of yesterday’s El Paso Times because I could not believe what I was hearing that they had reported.

Their article told us that our county hospital has given the children’s hospital an ultimatum–accept our new offer by Friday or we will stop providing administrative services.

The county hospital provides administrative support to the children’s hospital through 33 staff members.  Those staff members will evidently be reassigned to duties at the county hospital if the children’s hospital does not accept the current offer.

The paper goes on to tell us “The elimination of the services will not have a direct impact on patient care at Children’s Hospital, he said”.

That is simply not true.  According to the article, payroll and information technology are two of the services being performed by county hospital employees.  Not keeping the patient records systems running will affect patient care.  Not paying the children’s hospital employees will affect patient care as employees will have to quit and find a paycheck elsewhere.

The 33 employees do not need to worry about their jobs according to the paper.  Evidently the county hospital is committing to using them to perform other functions.

Either the 33 employees are needed at the children’s hospital or they are not.  If they are not then why are they being charged to the children’s hospital?

They certainly are not needed at the county hospital and we should not pay for them there.

Further, the article tells us “UMC officials have said the medical center loses about $33,000 a day on administrative contractual services that Children’s Hospital hasn’t paid.  Wow, 33 employees, $33,000 a day.

No one has ever explained why after the county voters agreed to spend $120 million to build the children’s hospital building the children’s hospital has to pay rent to the county hospital.

Talk about taking candy from a baby.

We deserve better


Another way to silence us

February 24, 2015

Sadly our EPISD board of managers has again taken action to limit public input at board meetings.

At their February 17, 2015 meeting they approved changes to their policy that now require a person who wishes to use the district’s electronic signup mechanism to complete their request 12 hours before the start of a meeting.  The previous policy set the deadline at 45 minutes.

Those of you that wish to signup in person before the meeting must now do so 30 minutes before the start of the meeting.  Previous policy set the deadline at 15 minutes.  In other words you must be at the meeting at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start, after all you need to prove your commitment to providing input.

We deserve better


San Jacinto getting worse

February 23, 2015

Item 6.1 on the Tuesday, February 23, 2015 city council agenda is:

Goal 4: Enhance El Paso’s Quality of Life through Recreational, Cultural and Educational Environments

That the City Manager be authorized to sign the Second Amendment to the Agreement for Professional Services by and between the City of El Paso and SWA Group, a California Corporation, for a project known as “San Jacinto Plaza Redesign”, to add additional professional services for construction services in the amount of Fifty Thousand and No/100 Dollars ($50,000.00) thereby extending the contract amount from $550,000.00 to $600,000.00.

The agendas now tie each agenda item to the city’s published goals.

My preference would be that the item be listed as:

Goal 6: Set the Standard for Sound Governance and Fiscal Management

Fire everyone involved with the project and get our money back.

Then again I guess we have different goals.  The fact that this item is on the consent agenda speaks volumes.

We deserve better



Flag service

February 22, 2015

We got this from Dave Hendrix, a long time El Pasoan and contributor to the community.  This is a program that helps in many ways.  We hope that you can support it.

* * * * *

The Kiwanis Clubs of El Paso would like you to help grow our Kiwanis Show your love of Country” Flag Program.  Our goal is to make El Paso the most patriotic city in the country!  Our flag program is over 20 years old and is growing every year.  Last year we placed over 2,500 flags throughout El Paso, Horizon & Socorro.

We provide a flag to display on our five most patriotic days:  Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day.

We partner with a local Boy Scout Troop or Youth Group in designated areas throughout El Paso & vicinities to deliver the flags (like a paper route).  They will install a 12” pvc pipe in front of your business or in your yard to hold the flag, they deliver your flag in the early morning and pick up your flag right before sunset on the designated Holidays above.

This is a super convenient program for the subscriber, a money maker for the Boy Scout Troop or Youth group and a patriotic achievement for the Kiwanis.

BTW – we need more youth groups to cover the N.E., the Lower Valley and Socorro. Have them contact me (see below).

For a minimum donation of $30 (more would be gratefully appreciated, the more you give the more your local youths of El Paso receive) pays for one flag a year. Your gift is tax deductible.  Please make your check payable to:

Kiwanis Clubs of El Paso Foundation

Please join us for our 2015 program.  Visit our website at http://elpasokiwanisflags.org or please contact Dave Hendrix at 833-2269 to let him know you want to participate.  You can send your check to:

Roberto G. Torres & Co.

Attn: Bob Henderson

121 Paragon Ln., Bldg. A, Suite 100

El Paso, TX 79912-5257

Thank you,

Dave Hendrix

Coronado Kiwanis Club President

It’s possible

February 21, 2015

El  Paso’s city council is holding a special meeting this Monday, February 23, 2015.

The second of the two items on the agenda is shown as:  “Presentation on the City Charter Amendment Process.”

We sent the mayor an advance view of our post Broken promise? with the hope that he would honor his promise to put the style of local government (city manager/strong mayor) on the ballot for us to decide.  No response came from the mayor’s office so we don’t know if this agenda item is coincidental to our post or not.

Either way we thank him.

City attorney

The presentation will be made by an assistant city attorney.

After discussing various historical and legal aspects of the charter amendment process, this recommendation is made:

Consider a 9 to 12 month proposed charter amendment timeline to allow for sufficient review by City staff, employees, committees, and public outreach and input.

Stall, buy time

Our local agencies use time to manipulate results.  They either tell us that we have no time and they just need to take action, even if the public is opposed, or they tell us that the issue needs to be studied–just long enough to try to make the public forget.

Who the heck is an assistant city attorney to be making a recommendation like this in the first place?

Simple questions

The mayor told us that he would put the issue to a vote as soon as the two year window between charter elections had passed.  It has.

At least two questions should be considered:

1)  Should we have a strong mayor/chief operating officer form of government?

2)  Should city representative’s terms be two years instead of the current four years?

We might see council override the recommendation to stall, at least we can hope.

We deserve better



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