False oath

September 24, 2021

Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code defines the oath that each member of congress takes at the beginning of every session of congress.

It reads: “I, [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

In addition to taking the oath orally they must sign an affidavit that they have taken the oath. A copy is held by the clerk of the house.

I wonder how many of them have even read our Constitution.

Article V provides two methods that can be used to amend the Constitution. Evidently some consider that to be too much trouble when they can get away with ignoring what the Constitution says.

An oath is a solemn promise.

I’ve learned that liars make the best promises.

We deserve better

Brutus


Nothing but the best?

September 21, 2021

El Paso city council recently considered an agenda item to approve $553,787.00 to hire an architectural firm for the new fire station #38 project.

If they have been assigning numbers to our fire stations in sequential order then we probably have built 37 others. Fire station #5 (if there still is a #5) is probably old and the design is not appropriate for what is needed now. But how about the last station that we built?

Do we really need a new design?

Granted I’m neither an architect nor a fireman. However I suppose that a fire station is largely a garage with dormitory facilities for its crew (kitchen, showers, beds, maybe some office space) and warehouse space for equipment.

This new station is planned to be about 10,000 square feet.

The anticipated cost is $11.8 million dollars. That comes to about $1,180 per square foot.

R. S. Means is a national company that provides costing information for construction projects. Back in 2013 they reported the national average for construction of a 6,000 square foot fire station to be $140.18 per square foot.

A 2017 posting on the firehouse.com website included this:

Brown Reynolds Watford Architects recommends any department with tight and limited budgets must prioritize their needs. Many stations today are being built between $275 and $400 a square foot.

BRW is the firm that the city is hiring.

There could be a valid reason for this.  The city should explain why the fire station will cost so much.

We deserve better

Brutus


Stop us if you can

September 19, 2021

It seems that government officials from both sides of the aisle have adopted a strategy of doing what they want even though they do not have legal authority to do so.

Their thinking is that the citizens will have to go to court to stop them. That will take time and money.

Meanwhile they do what helps their agenda without regard to what is right.

The average citizen’s recourse is to vote them out of office. The legal path requires resources that we don’t have.

We deserve better

Brutus


Giving credit where credit is due

September 16, 2021

Recently I’ve read that El Paso has the 2nd highest property tax rate of the 50 largest cities in the United States.

Actually according to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence in their 50-State Property Tax Comparison Study For Taxes Paid in 2020 we are number one.

Those numbers are for homes claiming the homestead reduction.

We deserve better

Brutus


Effective, yes

September 11, 2021

The August 14, 2021 city council agenda had this item on it:

The city is required by state law to publish certain notices.

According to Christy Drake-Adams, legal counsel for the Texas Municipal League:

[Texas Government Code] Section 2051.044 provides that a newspaper used to convey official notices must as a general matter:
(1) devote not less than 25 percent of its total column lineage to general interest items;
(2) be published at least once each week;
(3) be entered as second-class postal matter in the county where published; and
(4) have been published regularly and continuously for at least 12 months before the governmental entity or representative publishes notice.

The Times meets these requirements.

But so do other newspapers in El Paso.

Take a look at the agenda item and you will see that the city is making this deal with the Times being a “sole source”–the only ones that can provide the services.

The deal calls for the city to pay up to $1.8 million dollars to the Times over the next three years. According to the agenda item the price per line of print is being increased 85% above their prior rate.

The deal requires the Times to certify that they are the “sole source” that can provide the publishing.

Might this be why we see so little objective reporting from the Times when it comes to city business?

We deserve better

Brutus



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