Hurry up and wait.

January 12, 2020

I went to pick up someone from the airport around 8 PM the other night.

The lighting and holiday decorations were beyond nice–they were impressive.

Unfortunately my passenger and his fellow travelers had to wait 55 minutes to receive their luggage.  When he asked why he was told that the airport had only one baggage crew on duty that night.

There was a time when your bags would be on the conveyor before you could walk from the gate to the luggage area.

That left a favorable impression on people about El Paso.

I don’t know who the baggage handlers work for.  If they work for the airlines the airport should require them to staff adequately.  If they work for the airport then the airport managers should see to it that passengers get their bags quickly.

Airplanes arrive on a schedule.  This should not be hard to figure out.

It is hard enough for us to get out of town business people to come to El Paso.

This would be a step that would help.

We deserve better

Brutus


Open line Saturday

January 11, 2020

What’s on your mind?

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD–no limits to their spending

January 10, 2020

Take a look at this EPISD report:

The voters authorized bond sales of $452 million.

At the beginning of 2019 they had issued $200 million and had spent $42 million.  That left $158 million unspent.

In 2019 they spent another $72 million leaving $86 million unspent  going into 2020.

Why then did they sell another $252 million in 2019 when they had $86 million sitting around?

Interest

When they sold the $252 million of bonds they were able to put the money into interest bearing accounts.  So far they have generated almost $12 million from  interest.  The taxpayers are paying interest on bonds that have not been spent on construction.  The district is getting interest on our unspent money.

The net effect is that they have been able to add $12 million to their budgets.

Unfortunately that is not enough to cover their planned spending.

The report shows that even after getting the extra $12 million from us they are still $13 million short.

We deserve better

Brutus


A little bit of tax relief

January 9, 2020

For those of you who were facing the requirement to make your first RMD (required minimum distribution) withdrawal from your retirement account in 2020 please be aware that the law changed in December.

Evidently now if you had not reached the age of 70 1/2 before December 31, 2019 the new age trigger will be 72 years old.  This lets you keep the money working for you an extra year and one half.  If you were 70 1/2 years old before January 1, 2020 the law stays the same.

The new law also allows people over 70 1/2 to continue making contributions to their retirement accounts as long as they have “earned” (payroll) income.

Contact your tax adviser to see if this applies to you.

We deserve better

Brutus


Truth to power

January 8, 2020

There has been considerable discussion on the blog lately about commenters posting anonymously.

I wonder how knowing the commenter’s identity would change the discussion.

The Washington Post published this back in 2018:

… anonymous publication has been an essential feature of American democracy since its beginning. It has long allowed vulnerable voices to participate in public politics and speak truth to power. Indeed, anonymous debate was at the center of the revolutionary politics that led to American independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which enshrined the press freedoms that continue to protect anonymous speech today.

We deserve better

Brutus


More disrespect from city council

January 7, 2020

Aaron Montes of El Paso Times recently wrote this article about the district 6 city council representative.

It has been a while since we have seen this kind of reporting in the Times.

Thank you Aaron.

None of us can know what the city representative’s motives were.

From the outside it does look like she was using city money to promote both her and her husband’s political careers.

There evidently is a long standing city council rule that requires city representatives to get city council approval before spending their “discretionary funds” and in this case it appears that she spent the money without approval.

Some questions come to mind:

Why the heck do city representatives get any discretionary funds?

Does she have a city credit card and can thus spend money without going through purchasing?

If she did go through purchasing why wasn’t this caught?

Why doesn’t council do something about this?

We deserve better

Brutus


Sun Metro continues to shrink

January 6, 2020

Sun Metro has not been publishing their quarterly fixed route numbers so I made a public information request.

Their response was quick, the service was good.

They provided me with their year end report for FY2019 as I requested:

They claim having more than a million riders for the month of August 2019 and more than 12 million for all of FY 2019.

Unfortunately their records show another 6% decrease in ridership between 2018 and 2019.

Also please take a look at their cost per trip.  In August 2019 they show it as $5.00 per passenger trip.  The most a passenger can pay is $1.50.

Their records show that passengers paid $11.59% of the cost of operating the service in August 2019.

We deserve better

Brutus


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