Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ball Hogger Or Team Player

(I can hear the rumbles now. What the heck is he rambling about now?)

I figure since we are at the peak of college basketball season I use this analogy to address some of the madness that has been going around this month.

In a post about a week ago my friend and colleague Jaime Abeytia decided to criticize State Representative Dee Margo for not filing a bill to get the third building for the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. Margo had been critical of Joe Moody for not trying to secure funding for the third building during the last election that Dee Margo eventually won.

Careful, this might get a (little) technical.

First of all, Joe Moody was in office for two years and was not able to get funding for the third building. Dee Margo on the other hand has been in office for a whole three months. But even if Margo wanted to propose a bill for the third building, as a freshmen he couldn't for the first 60 days. So why didn't he propose one after the sixty days? asks the angry mob. Two reasons. The first is because Margo had said in several interviews that he would not be proposing many bills because he was going to step back and learn the process. And second, because there was already a bill proposed that addressed the issue. Senator Judith Zaffarini  filled SB272  on January 31, about a month before Margo's 60 days were up, that relates to authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds to fund capital projects at public institutions of higher learning. So to put it bluntly, why file a duplicate bill?

Jaime's blog lists and applauds the many bills proposed by the rest the El Paso delegation and at the bottom mentions the two bills that were proposed by Margo. In case you were wondering 5,205 bills were filed in the Texas house during the 82nd regular legislative session.That's a lot of paperwork if you ask me.We all know that the only bills that count are the bills that actually get passed. So giving the rest of the delegation so much credit is a little premature. You have to realize that some bills that are proposed will not even make it out of committee. Now back to the basketball analogy. Should someone keep putting up bricks or should they take a look down court and pass the rock to the player who has a better chance of taking it to the hole? For those who don't speak basketball jargon: Why shoot the ball over and over hoping that one goes in when you can pass the ball to the player who has a better shot at actually scoring. Margo's goal was to secure funding for the third building. His goal was never to take credit for the funding. By supporting SB272 Margo will give everyone in El Paso exactly what they wanted and deserved without having to file a duplicate bill saving both time and paperwork. So if you ask me, this was some pretty good ball handling by the former Vanderbilt football player who would rather get an assist than hog the ball.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Outreach. What Does It Really Mean?

A story in The Americano on March 29th talks about the growth of the Hispanic community and the impact it has on the Senate race of 2012. It talks about the importance of reaching out to the Hispanic community. A topic that is on tip of many Republicans tongues. So what is the problem you ask? Too Many Republicans are looking for the fix all, the make everything better magic pill. I hate to tell you but it doesn't exist. It's going take real grassroots efforts to be able to get the message out and get people to see the truth. I'm talking about rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty kind of grassroots work. Grassroots is not just talking to people, it is interacting with the people. It's not going to the communities, its being a part of the community. I hate to tell you but having someone spend an hour of their day doing some sort of manual labor in a poor neighborhood is worth a whole lot more than a $50 donation. Don't get me wrong, donations are very important and are welcomed. But a check does not have a face or smile that people can remember. A check doesn't have an ear to listen to somebody's concerns. A check doesn't have a heart to be able to feel something for the people who have felt ignored for too long. The article makes a point that I have been saying for a long time. Javier Ortiz, a Washington-based Republican strategist, says Latino outreach tend to separate Hispanics from the rest of American society. Why would anyone want to be separated from the rest of the group? All anyone wants is to be a part of something. The Republican Party has to stop referring to Hispanics as "those voters". That makes Hispanics sound like caged animals. They should go after Hispanic voters the same way they go after non-Hispanic voters. At the end of the day a Republican tends to have the same beliefs as the next Republican no matter the pigmentation of their skin. So why go after them in a different way? The beliefs are the same, the message is the same then the outreach should be the same, in theory. Hispanics are getting tired of being referred to as Hispanic Republicans instead of just being called Republicans. Are Hispanics any less Republican than those who are not Hispanic? Last time I checked there are only two different lines at the voting polls. One says Democrat and the other said Republican. So lets stop the political correctness mumbo jumbo and stop prefixing Republicans.  

So what can be done to get more Hispanics to vote Republican? Well lets go back to the grassroots analogy. Grass doesn't grow over night. First you have to plant the seeds, then you have to water the seeds, you have to nurture the seeds and then watch them sprout and finally watch the grass grow. Same thing with Hispanics. You can't expect them to just change their minds over night. You have to engage them, start talking to them about values(planting the seeds), you have to educate them by teaching them the difference between what they  have been led to believe and what is really true and empower them, in many cases by getting them to register to vote (water and nurture) and then you'll see them participate in the election process and help elect the right candidates. (watch them grow)

Now the last thing we need to talk about this issue is support. It is great to bring in people from other places to come talk to a big group of people. In fact that's probably the only way you can get a big enough group to show up. But what happens after that amazing speaker leaves? Most of the people who showed up to the event won't attend another meeting or participate in any way yet they will complain that not enough Hispanics are voting Republican. People need to support and participate in the local efforts more. I see these people like Seasonal Catholics, or any other religion. I just picked this one because I see it more since there are so many Catholic Churches in El Paso. You know what I'm talking about. They pack the Church during the big holidays like Christmas, Easter and Ash Wednesday but the rest of the year the parking lot is bare. People want Hispanics to vote Republican but only do Hispanic outreach when a big name comes into town yet local Hispanic groups hold their meetings on a monthly basis. Until people in the Republican party can understand that a huge part of reaching out to Hispanics is simply being a part of their everyday lives and that they need to treat them like everyone else, they will continue to chase their own tails  and continue to make many Hispanics think twice before voting Republican even though many have strong conservative beliefs. Let's break it down plain and simple. Who would you believe more? Someone who told you they were concerned about you and your family or someone who showed you they were? I think the Republican Party has to become more like the state of Missouri when it comes to making Hispanics feel welcomed. Only then will more Hispanics vote for the party that represents their beliefs and stop voting for the party that baits them in with the race card.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vehicle Miles Traveled; Yet Another Ridiculous Tax

Just in case you felt like you weren't being taxed enough, the Congressional Budget Office is considering raising revenue by taxing people on how many miles they drive. No joke. I couldn't make something that stupid up. The Vehicle Miles Traveled. VMT, not to be confused with the popular country music channel CMT, is intended to be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short. The effort is being led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), yeah another Democrat proposing another tax, who said the VMT was a way to solve the problem of collecting less taxes as people move to more fuel-efficient vehicles. 

So let me get this straight. This Democrat wants to tax us at the pump and on the road? Why should we be double taxed? Conrad did not want to tax gas so he decided to tax the use of the roads themselves. What's the difference? Whether you tax us at the pump or tax us on the road it is still going to affect us in the pocket.

Besides the obvious another problem with this proposal is that new technology would have to be developed and installed in new vehicles to track the miles traveled in each vehicle. Older vehicles would have to be retrofitted, that would cost money to do.  Nothing is free. But the icing on the cake is having big brother inside your car with you. The government would know, I'm sorry not just know but would be tracking every mile you travel. They will know how many miles you travel per day, they will know how far you and your family travel on your summer vacations and in theory they can even track where you are using a certain mile radius. Why should the government have all that information? Why should we allow the government to intrude into our lives like that? In essence this VMT device would not just be a mileage tracking device but a sort of GPS style tracking device on every car. Is that what we want? I don't know about you but I sure don't want that.

I'm really getting sick and tired of hearing these ridiculous proposals for what Democrats consider to be sources of income when they are really intrusions in our lives.  In Texas Democrats want to prevent obesity by taxing every soft drink we drink whether it has calories or not, Democrats in Congress want to track every mile we drive to help pay for the maintenance of roads. I wouldn't be surprised if some crazy Democrat would jump in and propose a walking tax to have those who don't drive but walk across roads help bring in revenue to maintain the roads or propose  a breathing tax to help the government pay for the enforcement of clean air standards. Yeah, my examples may sound a little extreme but they are not that far from what Democrats are proposing now. Normally people who take your hard earned money are called thieves. But since Democrats are taking your money in little increments here and little increments there they don't consider themselves to be thieves. I don't know about you but I was taught that a thief was a thief was a thief, even if they wore a tie and suit. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Richard Wiles Asks For Your Support (Not Mine)

Many of you have received a letter from El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles and the Sheriff's Association of Texas. I didn't get one so a friend of mine scanned it and sent it to me via e-mail. Rumor says that I was taken off of Wiles e-mail and Christmas list a few years back. I can't believe it. You accuse him and his department of police abuse, you run a campaign against him, you call him out on his B.S. every chance you get and that gets you taken off of his Christmas list. That's a bunch of bull if you ask me. But what can I do? Oh I know. I can continue pointing out his inconsistencies and let the people of El Paso know what Richard Wiles is really about. Or I can just do what everyone else does and look the other way and pretend everything is just fine. No, that's not my style. Let's take a look at the letter. Here it is in case you didn't get one.

In the letter Wiles asks for your support. He specifically asks for $25.00 to become an associate member of the Sheriff's Association of Texas. OK, that sounds reasonable. Plus its for a good cause, right? But what is that money going to be used for you ask. Well the letter states that the $25.00 will go to help support crime prevention and public safety programs.Once again that sounds kosher to me. What concerns me is this part of the letter (there is two parts) that says that it will promote the arrest and prosecution of drug traffickers. How can Wiles ask for money to promote the arrest and PROSECUTION of drug traffickers if he has publicly said that he will not participate in enforcing federal law. Once again this is typical Wiles double talk. He says he will do something for you when he wants your money but then goes on the record and says he will not do what he promised. How much longer will we put up with this El Paso? How long will we continue to give him a free pass.  The letter also states that you will receive a quarterly publication called The Lawman. The letter claims it has a list of current laws among other things. You mean it has a list of current laws, even the ones that Richard Wiles will not enforce? I just have a hard time understanding how El Paso elected a law enforcement agent that refuses to enforce the law. Its like hiring a plumber that won't fix pipes, a secretary that won't file paperwork, a lock smith that won't open locks, a pool guy that won't clean pools and so forth and so on. You get my point.

Here is the second part of the letter.

This part outlines what your $25.00 will get you. A membership card, two window decals, discounts at hotels,     a membership to a credit union. But what really catches my attention is the last thing becoming a member allows you to do. You will help fight crime in Texas! Really? Or maybe it should read You will help fight crime in Texas as long as you don't make anyone feel uncomfortable. Wiles has stated that enforcing federal law will make minorities not feel comfortable around law enforcement agents and break the relatioship that law enforcement agents have worked so hard to build with the community. Right, have you seen the news lately? The last two sentences just before Wiles' signatures just really drive the hypocrisy home.
"By returning the attached form with your membership, you'll be taking an active role in preventing crime and giving the community back to law abiding citizens. Please join us in making Texas a place that is safer and more secure for our families"

Wiles has the nerve to tell people to take an active role when he has been passive on enforcing laws himself. How can we make Texas a safer place and more secure for our families if we choose not to secure our borders. It just doesn't make sense. I know plenty of people are saying just send the money or don't but don't make such a big deal about it. I know what my critics say. But this isn't about $25.00. This is about the lies and the B.S. that this elected official continues to get away with on a daily basis. We claim we are going to hold our elected officials accountable and harass city council and commissioners court for just about everything yet we forget to go after Richard Wiles. It just doesn't make sense El Paso. I have been relentless in my efforts to bring the truth to light about Richard Wiles since 2006. I have been put through so much for doing it. My personal, business and family life have been affected by it. But I will not stop. It takes a whole lot more to silence me Wiles. It's going to take more than your goons roughing me up to make me stop.

It is time that we hold his feet to the fire. It is time we take a closer look at what he is really about. We elected him to do a job, even though there were a lot of questionable things in his past that no one would talk about(has nothing to do with his lifestyle) because he had the protection of the police department, district attorney's office, and other city leaders, yet he refuses to do it. He took an oath to enforce  the law yet he has publicly stated that he will not. The county went through a tough time balancing the budget yet Wiles has a personal lawyer on his staff. Isn't that what  the County Attorney's Office is for? Everyone's response was Well, Leo Samaniego had one. That doesn't mean anything. If Leo Samaniego had a an extra marital affair would that make it OK for Wiles to have one as well. No it doesn't. If Leo Samaniego had an an undocumented worker as his maid, would that make it OK for Wiles to have one? No it wouldn't. So get off of the whole grandfather clause excuse. We need to get rid of this worthless Sheriff and his on staff lawyer Bill Ellis. I bet Ellis' salary would pay for a few more Sheriff's deputies. With the possibility of crime spilling over from Juarez becoming a reality we need more deputies on the streets and not an overpaid on hand lawyer who likes to push his very personal agenda during county time.

So if you received one of these letters and you are going to send in the $25.00, I am not telling you not too, I ask that you consider writing a letter to the Sheriff's Association and pointing out Wiles' inconsistencies and help me hold our elected officials accountable.

(The name of the person who received this letter was removed to protect their identity. I would hate for Richard Wiles to retaliate against this person like he has retaliated against me)

*NUNYA- none of your business

Democrat Of The Week Award; No Joke

What?! Are you out of your mind?! 

Nope, I'm as much in my mind as I have ever been. But then again that doesn't say much. So here it goes. I am awarding the first of probably very few Democrat of the Week Awards (DWA) to State Representative Joe Pickett. This week Pickett was the ONLY Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives who voted in favor of a bill that would require voters to show a photo ID to vote. Pickett had originally said he was going to vote against the bill but changed his mind after he saw the changes that were made to the bill.

Democrats had said that the bill would disfranchise minorities and put a burden on the poor and on the elderly who were on fixed incomes. So the Republicans came back an overcame their objections. The revised bill gives people who can't afford to purchase a drivers license or an ID a free Texas ID.  That eliminated two of the objections just leaving the good 'ol race card issue. But then again the Democrats always make everything a race issue. That really isn't an objection that the Republicans can overcome since its more of a smokescreen than a condition. So kudos to Representative Joe Pickett for thinking outside the box and doing what is best for all Texans.

Pickett said he did not support the Republican platform but said he does believe in protecting the "sanctity of voting." Hey, not exactly a convert but we'll take what we can get. At the end of the day this just goes to show that there are some people who are willing to do what is right and not just do what the party expects them to do. I'm pretty sure other house Democrats were not too thrilled to hear that Picket crossed party lines. But then again I know how it feels when certain groups don't like when you don't do what they expect you to do. But that's a whole different post for another time.

"The Mostest With the Leastest"

I was going over some of my mental notes of the forum last Saturday held by the Greater El Paso Republican Women. You like that? Going over my mental notes. That just pretty much means I just remembered something but saying I was going over my notes sounds much better than, Oh crap I forgot to mention. It's all in the presentation baby!

So like I was saying. There was some memorable things that were said at that forum. the whole chocolate bar speech is still the winner of the "Oh no he didn't " award but this next quote comes in very close at second place.
"We need to do the mostest with the leastest" - Ann Morgan Lilly
Pobresita.(Awww poor thing) She really said "the mostest with the leastest" in front of a room of grown ups. It would be acceptable if she was talking to a group of pre-schoolers but not in front of a group of adults.

So in the words of Ann Morgan Lilly; I think she will get the "leastest" votes in this race.

Friday, March 25, 2011

District 1 Candidates At GEPRW Forum

Once again these are just my opinions on the Candidates who showed up to the forum Hosted by the Greater El Paso Republican Women. Not an endorsement of any kind. I haven't seen enough my self to decide who I can't vote for yet. (I don't live in this district either.)

Ann Morgan Lilly:

The incumbent in this race. Should have had an advantage on the other candidates at this forum considering the demographics of the membership of the GEPRW. But somehow she was able to blow it. She was the only candidate who I heard get booed. She said El Paso is the safest city in the country, she must not be watching the evening news since she goes to sleep so early, that caused the crowd to mumble in disbelief. She reinforced her statement by saying "No, we are" that caused someone to boo and many to nod her fingers at her. She was lucky it wasn't the middle finger. Her answers were weak and other candidates took advantage of that and stomped all over her answers that drew cheers from the crowd. I think unless she pulls a complete 180 degree turn around Ann Morgan Lilly will be looking for another place to fall asleep.

Lyda Ness-Garcia:

I'm not a big fan of trial lawyers. Lyda Ness-Garcia runs her own law firm in El Paso and if I remember correctly she is the only candidate not originally from El Paso. But that doesn't really matter. It wouldn't be the first time someone who wasn't originally from the place they ran for office had been elected. (ha, yet another funny) But all presidential jokes aside. I don't have a problem with having someone who was not originally from El Paso represent us. Why? Because in the case of one of our current state representatives, he is not originally from El Paso. Yet he has been in El Paso longer than the former state representative he beat had been alive. I think that if they live here, have a family here, work or have a business here and call here home, they would do as good of a job as anyone who was born here. But back to Lyda. Hearing her speak reminds me why lawyers are not on the top of my favorite list. Like many lawyers, not all, she talks like if she is in front of a jury. Always trying to convince a jury the defendant is guilty. In this case she sounded like she was telling the jury(the crowd) what they wanted to hear. She had them nodding their heads yes agreeing with her but then took a swift left turn and lost most of the conservative crowd. At best she might have got a mistrial because she didn't convince the whole jury of one thing or another. From the outside looking in she seems like a strong and aggressive person, women or man it doesn't matter. That's a great trait for a lawyer, but is it good for a city representative? Maybe it might be. I would just prefer someone who is stern yet diplomatic. Someone who can get things done without having to get into a cat fight and have a judge make a ruling. Someone who can work together with others and not always be on the defensive. I think she will make a descent run at the position but at the end I think her temperament will get the best of her. If I would be running against her, I would be making her loose her temper in public time and time again to show her constituents what she really is about.

Manny Hinojosa:

Manny is making many strides. he has made it a point to try to talk to as many people as he can and give them all one of his famous 100 dollar bill campaign flyers.He is polishing up on issues and doesn't sound like the one issue candidate many thought he would be. But he still needs more work. I have heard Manny speak at different events but had never heard him speak with any of his opponents in the room. Manny looked nervous. I think Manny cut his answers way too short. He didn't give himself enough time to drill the message home. He said the right things pretty much but didn't deliver them very well. He definitely needs to relax a little and not worry about his opponents and only focus on the audience. Because at the end of the day the audience might vote for him. And I'm pretty sure his opponents already know who they are going to vote for in this race. (for the slow ones........they are going to vote for themselves)

Abe Peinado:

Abe surprisingly performed the best at this event. He was well spoken, was straight forward with his answers, not like a lawyer, and even when he lost his train of thought he was able to capitalize on it and get the crowd to applaud. He gave a yes or no answer when it was a yes or no answer with ought being too abrupt about it. He was the candidate who took advantage of Ann Morgan Lilly's weak answers and expanded on them with better solutions. He is a young educated man with business experience who can work a crowd. Even though some people have said that he is not a threat of any kind in this race,  but I think he is definitely someone to watch out for.

These forums are performances and you have to be able to perform well under pressure. But you can't forget you have to perform in front of people's doors, in front of news paper reporters, on the radio and on television. You have to be in candidate mode 24/7. I think the person who can successfully stay in candidate mode, no matter what is thrown at them, and the person who can associate best with the constituents in District 1, a very conservative district, will come out on top. Let's just see who that will be.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

To Drink Or Not To Drink? Now That Is The Question

Senator Eddie Lucio (D)
The El Paso City Council had proposed a measure not too long ago to tax all soft drinks that contained sugar. I didn't like the proposition for two reasons. I don't wan't to be nickled and dimed to death(no more taxes) and second I don't think its fair City Council punish people who are not overweight because those who are.(less government) The government should stay out of our personal lives and allow us to make our own decisions. I thought City Council was out of their minds to consider such an outrageous tax. I thought they were the craziest people in all the state of Texas. Boy was I wrong. Senator Eddie Lucio(D) from Brownsville has taken it a step further and introduced SB1004. The bill proposes to tax all soft drinks, both carbonated and non carbonated nonalcoholic beverages that contain natural or artificial sweeteners. That means not only do they want to tax "sugary" drinks that make people fat, they also want to tax drinks that contain artificial sweeteners that have no calories like saccharin and aspartame and  also want to tax drinks with sugar alcohols like mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates that have less calories than regular sugar. Both artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are used as alternatives to sugar that help people loose wait or keep from gaining weight instead of drinking the high fructose corn syrup packed drinks so many people are hooked on. 

So my question is. If you want to try to play big brother and tell us not to consume drinks that make us fat, why do you tax drinks that are supposed to keep us from getting fat? It just doesn't make any sense. If this ridiculous tax would go through, chances are slim to none that  it will(ha ha made a funny), it would tax drinks like diet soda, vitamin waters, sports drinks, green teas, diet supplements and just about everything else except for plain water. Senator Lucio throws around some pretty impressive numbers, $4 billion over the course of the 2012-13 biennium, saying that this one cent tax on every ounce of soft drink sold is a solution to the budget mess. Hold on hold on. A fat tax on both fat and skinny people is a solution for the budget mess? Give me a break.This is not fair if you ask me and this coming from a fat guy. How about trying to cut unnecessary spending, how about getting rid of unmandated programs, you know things that are nice to have but are not necessary and are only making it harder to balance the budget. Why is it that Democrats find it easy to tax the people when they want more money? Why do they find it so easy to intrude not only in our lives but in our pockets every time they find themselves not being able to afford something? Is taking someone else's money the best way to solve money problems? I think not.

But lets give Lucio the benefit of the doubt and take a look at his reasoning. In a press release dated March 2, 2011 Lucio states "Not only would a bill like this raise revenue that could go to healthcare and education, it would help us save money in the long run by cutting expenses associated with health issues like obesity and diabetes." I'm a little confused here. How can taxing both fat and skinny people cut expenses associated with health issues like obesity and diabetes. From the outside looking in, it seems you would only be making money off of obesity and diabetes if people continued to consume $4 billion dollars worth of taxed soft drinks. 

But wait there is more. The press release then states: "According to the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a meaningful soda tax would lead to a decrease in sweetened beverage consumption, and that in turn is going to lead to less weight gain per year and lower rates of obesity both among children and adults." Hold on, this takes me back to my previous point. This says a tax would lead to a decrease in consumption. If that's the case how can you claim to make $4 billion dollars if your goal is to decrease the consumption of these drinks. The math just doesn't make any sense. They tell you they can raise $4 billion dollars because people drink so many soft drinks but tell you that the purpose of this bill is to keep people from drinking so many soft drinks. So what is it then Senator Lucio? To drink or not to drink? Now that is the question. 
Lets break it down a little more. The quote says it would lead to less weight gain per year and lower rates of obesity. How is taxing diet or zero calorie drinks going to accomplish that? Once again, we are told the purpose for the bill yet the bill contradicts that very purpose. 

Let's step back and look at this from a business point of view. You can't make your projected sales revenue if you plan to cut sales. Any person with half a brain can figure that out. Democrats need to stop wasting our time with these ridiculous ideas and get to work on real solutions. Taxing hard working Americans over and over is only going to leave us with less in our pockets to provide for our families. Why is our government spending so much of our  money? The government needs to do what the rest of us are doing. They need to cut back on things they can't afford. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

District 8 Candidates at GEPRW Meeting

I am simply making an observation on the performances of these candidates at the Greater El Paso Republican Women's candidate forum that took place on March 19th. I have not seen enough of these candidates to make a decision yet. I hope their performances improve because it was pretty bad this weekend.

(I talked about Jorge Artalejo who is also running for District 8 in my last post so go read that if you want to know what I said about him.)

Sergio Contreras-

At a first glance Contreras seemed to be a normal mid 20's to early 30's guy. He wore a suit with a tie that was not all the way to the top. It made him look like a man who had been working hard all day in an office and needed to loosen up his tie. Even though it was only 9 in the morning. But that's were all the good stuff ends. Yeah, that was the good stuff. Contreras stood up and introduced himself to the crowd. He had this certain "Gangsta" swagger to him. The guy swayed back and forth and used his hands to speak. You know kind of how rappers use their hands in rap videos. I just kept hearing people whisper "stand still" to him the whole time. One thing that caught my attention was when he said why he would be the best choice to represent District 8. Contreras said and I'm only paraphrasing. I know my district. Why? Because you will always find me walking up and down the streets of my district. Interesting. Does this guy not own a car? If walking up and down the streets of a district makes you a good choice for City Council, then we have a lot of homeless people downtown who might give this guy a run for his money. I don't know but Contreras just seems lost. One of my colleagues, uh yuy, this guy has colleagues now, said Contreras reminded him of a stoner. Contreras did say something that at least made people think twice. He said that if elected he would push to split District 8 into two district. Currently District 8 covers Segundo Barrio, one of El Paso's poorest zip codes and the Willows, one of El Paso's richest zip codes. Not sure where I stand on that at this time but the idea wasn't to shabby for a "pothead gangsta".

Ernesto Villanueva Jr.-

Villanueva himself said he was a result of the El Paso brain drain. He received his degree in an industry that did not offer any jobs in El Paso so he left to find an opportunity outside of El Paso. And just like a lot of El Pasoans he has come back home looking for yet another opportunity. He sounds like a straight forward guy. Didn't sound like he had much knowledge of issues other than the El Paso brain drain, but then again I did not stay for the whole event. One thing that did get the very conservative crowd grumbling was when he said that him being a minority helped him understand how those who were fighting for domestic partnership benefits felt. That didn't exactly get the viejitas(elder GEPRW members) excited about voting for him. He didn't scream out City representative to me. You never know, some more refining, some more studying of issues and this guy might be able to run for a lesser office to start off. Maybe.

Courtney Niland:

Niland was the most prim and proper of the District 8 bunch, that showed up of course. We were told three other candidates were not able to attend. We'll just have to hope I see them at other events. She had a great big smile and worked the room well. She shook every person's hand and introduced herself showing off her pearly whites. She was well spoken, properly dressed,  she already had half of the candidates beat just with that, and had plenty of enthusiasm. That could be a good thing, thats if she had something else her enthusiasm complimented. I only heard her speak for two minutes but she gave me the whole valley girl vibe. She sounded more like a cheerleader at a pep rally more than a politician. She didn't really give a reason why she was the better choice to represent District 8 other than (I'm paraphrasing....again) she had the desire and enthusiasm to do her best to represent her district. She obviously has spent more time working on her campaign judging by the fact that she actually came up with a campaign logo, her campaign signs that are slowly but surely coming up on the west side, by her campaign office, even though it is in the wrong district and by her work on social networking sites actively trying to gather support. So she has outworked her opponents so far.But does that make her a good choice for the position? I'm going to have to sit down and hear her out at the next forum. I know people who I talked to said they really liked but as for now I just like her as a person. Not sure if I would like her as a city representative. I'll be at the next forum and see if little Miss Cheerleader turns out to be more of a captain of the team and not just someone yelling from the sidelines.

To the few of you who read this blog. This was more of a superficial observation. Nothing really substantial to make any sort of decision. But I promise I will stay and hear each candidate out and give you better information to try to help you make up your mind next time. And for the record, I don't even live in that district.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Box Is Like A Life Of Chocolates; The Tragic Story of A Democratic Candidate

Yeah, yeah, I know. My dyslexia got the best of me again. I was going to fix the title but it seemed appropriate for what I was going to write. 

The Greater El Paso Republican Women held a candidate forum for the City Council races in Districts 1 & 8 at their monthly meeting held at the Vista Hills Country Club this Saturday. It was quite an interesting event. I'll write my thoughts on what I thought about the candidates on several posts. But this post will be focused on Jorge Artalejo. After what I saw on Saturday, he earned a whole post just for himself. Artalejo is running in District 8 along with six other candidates. They are all going after the seat that will be left vacant by Beto (Oh, you really want to legalize marijuana?) O'Rourke.

I walked into the meeting, by the way I'm proud to say I am a full fledged member of the Greater El Paso Republican WOMEN, none of this associate member crap. I payed my full dues so I'm waiting for my pink vest with my name on it. (sarcasm people its only sarcasm)

So I walk into the meeting and see several new faces. Then I remembered, there was a City Council Candidate forum going on that day. A non partisan City Council race. So you know what that means, I see the Democrats (or is it Democratics, I forget) all siting together at a table closest to the food line. I could have sworn I saw them stuffing food in their pockets when no one was looking. But who am I to say anything. They looked out of place just by being at a Republican function but they also stood out like sore thumbs because two of them were wearing caps in doors. Its a common courtesy to remove your hats at all indoor Republican events. I'm surprised one of the viejitas(one of the senior members of the GEPRW) didn't smack them up side the head and make them take off their hats.

So anyway, I'm working the room looking for a place to sit. It was a packed house so finding a place to sit was harder than usual. I look towards the front of the room near the microphone and see an awkward looking fellow with funny hair sitting by himself. I saw that 7 of the 8 chairs were empty so I asked if I could sit there. He stuttered something to the affect that all the seats were taken. I thought I would do him the favor and sit with him but I guess he preferred to be alone so I walked away. Kelly Dickson found me a seat next to Tom and Mary Holmsley. I thanked Kelly for finding me a seat, looked at the direction of the awkward fellow with the funny hair and told Kelly that if it wasn't for her I would be sitting with that weirdo. Becky Hermosillo then  started the meeting promptly, she's pretty good at that, and introduced the candidates for District 8.


The awkward fellow with the funny hair stood up and walked towards the candidate's table. If not brushing his hair wasn't bad enough, the guy revealed that he was wearing plaid shorts, a plaid shirt that didn't match and a pair of low top Converse. OK, I exaggerated they were knock off Converse. Sorry I was trying to toss the guy a bone. All of I sudden I realized who the weirdo was. It was Jorge Artalejo.You know the guy with a speech impediment who was referred to as "High Karate" on KHRO 1150 for kicking another candidate's family member at a forum. The same Jorge Artalejo who ran for El Paso County Democratic Chair in 2010 but spent most of his time campaigning for another candidate in another race and not his own. The same Jorge Artalejo  who ran for Congress in 2008 and got about 19% of the vote and in 2006 got a whopping 0% of the vote. But let's not hold all that against him. He has three races under his belt now. He has to have learned something right?

Artalejo stood up and went into this two minute incoherent rant that compared choosing a City Representative to choosing a chocolate bar. What? Are you serious? I'm dead serious. Now you have to remember that Artalejo has a speech impediment that makes him hard to understand. Now I'm only going to paraphrase because I couldn't understand everything that was coming out of this poor man's mouth. Artalejo said choosing a representative was like choosing a chocolate bar and people loved choosing a chocolate bar because a chocolate bar was such a delicious treat. That was only one sentence and he already used the word chocolate bar three times. So now imagine sitting through two minutes worth of Artelejo repeating the same words and trying to explain how choosing a chocolate bar makes people feel inside and equating that to choosing a city representative. Everyone in the room was in shock. They expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out with a camera and say we had just been Punked. But there was no camera insight. We were witnessing one of the biggest train wrecks in history taking place right before our eyes.

Everyone thought that Artalejo should have been wearing a coat when they first saw him but after hearing him talk they would expect to see him in a straight jacket. This guy is really off his rocker. But even after his terrible performance I think he missed a perfect opportunity. I was surprised to see that he didn't pullout a box of chocolates and sell them for $1 to help raise funds for his campaign. It would have been a perfect closing for his speech. Campaign finance reports have shown that Artalejo is not very good at raising money for his campaigns and this might have been his only shot raising at least $50 for his latest pipe dream.

I ask myself. How can the Democratic Party continue to have this guy run time and time again? I know.... this is supposed to be a non-partisan race. But the reality is that this guy has ran in two Congressional Primaries and one County primary as a Democrat. Now having wackos like Artalejo run as a Democrat only helps the Republican party. But what does it do for young or new voters? It makes them think that El Paso politicians are a bunch of wackos and will make them think twice about getting involved in the election process. Many liberals have said that passing the new Voter ID law would disenfranchise voters. Well they are mistaken. Now listening to Artalejo speak about chocolate bars........that's disenfranchising. This guy is so bad that unborn children are already saying they are not going to vote in future elections. This guy is so bad that I think even he won't vote for himself. With as many candidates running in that race I honestly think his numbers will match his 2006 Congressional race results and he will get 0% of the vote. But that's just me being optimistic.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Deserve An Award

Charlie Garza
Sergio Lewis

I want to set the record straight before I even start. I have a lot of respect for both of these guys. Commissioner Sergio Lewis is a former local School Board Member and Charlie Garza is a current member of the State Board of Education. They both have a lot of passion when it comes to the education of our children. They met for the first time in the parking lot of the El Paso Times on Saturday and had a long conversation about several issue affecting schools. There are a few local politicians who are known for can I say it? OK I'll just come out and say it. They are a little long winded. That's OK if you only have one. But what are the odds of having two who are known for putting a death grip on a microphone in one parking lot at the same time? Don't get me wrong, the conversation was very interesting and informative and educational and insightful. (see the pattern)

Now earlier in the morning we witnessed what I was told was a candidate for City Council make a reference to a candy bar so standing next to these to guys made me want to reach for a Snickers bar. (Gonna be a while?)

Luckily we had to be at another engagement and left after six goodbyes and ten hand shakes later or else we would have seen a picture of a silhouette of three men talking in a parking lot with the Super Moon coming up over the horizon on the front page of the Sunday El Paso Times. I personally think I deserve to be nominated for a Conquistador Award for enduring that conversation. Why not, some people have won the award for a whole lot less.

These to guys are going to kill me for posting this. But what the was funny huh?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Education Cuts. Why Don't We Cut From The Top Instead?

Here in Texas many teachers are worried they are going to loose their jobs and parent's are worried that their kids will not receive a quality education because of a 7 billion dollar budget shortfall. Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott asked for 28 billion dollars for education. The state is giving him a base budget of 21 billion dollars. The 7 billion dollar difference has school districts across the state of Texas proposing cuts that are scaring both teachers and parents alike. They are proposing to cut several programs that affect kids, they are proposing to eliminate teachers' jobs, they plan make classes bigger, they talk about cutting everything yet you never hear them talk about eliminating administrative or their own positions. How many administrators does a school really need? You have the whole assistant to the assistant who specializes in assisting those who assist thing going on here. Could eliminating high paying positions that have no interaction with children help hard working teachers continue teaching? Of coarse it would. Teachers and children are the two most important things in our education system. We should protect them and analyze non essential over paid positions. Any administrator reading this probably doesn't like the idea but it's something we have to take a look at. Our children's education depends on it. I'm not the only one who thinks this way. In fact there is a website dedicated to this issue. Click on this link to see what the group Texans For Fiscal Responsibility wants done about this issue.

Rainy Day Fund In The News

The media outlets have been reporting that the Texas legislature would dip into the rainy day fund and use $2.3 billion to help fund education. What they have failed to report is that the State Board Of Education had given $4 billion to help meet the budget shortfall. So lets do some quick math here. Any math teachers please feel free to jump in and help. We started with 21 billion dollars as a base. SBOE gave 4 billion dollars and the state legislature gave another $2.3 billion from the rainy day fund. If my terrible math skills serve me right, we should be at $27.3 billion dollars leaving us with only a 700 million dollar shortfall. That's for the whole state of Texas. Am I correct? So why are the media outlets still reporting a 7 billion dollar short fall? Maybe because those are the numbers they are still being given. Something is not right here. It looks to me that we are being taken for a ride. I have been told that this information was given to the local media outlets yet they have not done anything with it. I'm sure both teachers and parents would love to know what is going on with this issue.

Andy Cortez Grants El Paso Times An Interview

Andy Cortez sat down with Daniel Borunda of the El Paso Times for an interview earlier this week. It's hard to believe that this is the first time that anyone outside of Andy's family and friends have asked him what happened almost one year ago. According to Andy neither the El Paso Police Department or the District Attorney's office has ever taken any sort of statement from him. The investigation is nearing one year yet no one has taken the time to ask Andy what happened that day. It's not like they could have taken a statement the day of the incident. He was hunched over the steering wheel left for dead. The video showed Officer Jorge Gonzalez pacing back and forth while talking on the phone yet he never tried to render aid or ask Andy any questions, you know like are you OK? Are you breathing? For god sakes he could have asked if he was alive. He could have told Andy to hold on because help was on its way. But officer Gonzalez was too worried about getting his story straight to worry about making sure Andy was OK.

Andy laid in the hospital unconscious for several days. So no one could have gotten a statement then. He then had a tracheotomy tube to help him breathe that prevented him from talking for a while. So a statement wasn't possible at that time either. But it's been eleven and a half months now. Andy talks in a very faint voice but he can give a statement. But there is nobody there to give a statement to. Nobody from any office or agency has ever asked for a statement. Officer Gonzalez is back on the job shooting at people giving the same exact excuse for shooting at them. The Police Department has ruled the shooting to be justified without taking into consideration Andy's side of the story. People have moved on and forgotten about Andy. It's sad how news stories have cycles. News outlets drop a story to cover another. First Charlie Sheen and now David Marmoloje have pushed the story of the second shooting involving Officer Jorge Gonzalez aside. People can forget but Andy's and his family will never forget what happened April 1, 2010.

Andy's family wrote an open letter to the District Attorney's office asking that a separate agency investigate the shootings. They did not receive any response. So they sent out another e-mail.

"More than a week has gone by since this email was sent out and we have yet to see an official response from the DA's office.  I fully understand that DA Esparza has been busy with the Marmelejo case in San Antonio and its understandable and expected to have a delay.  However, Gonzalez' criminal investigation file lies on your desk and we would like for you, DA Esparza, or someone else from DA's office to provide an update on this matter."

People on the internet have said that Jaime Esparza has been out of town and busy with the high profile case. What? One case can't shut down the whole office. Did they all get up and go to San Antonio to help Esparza? Of coarse they didn't. There are people here in El Paso running the office so the family deserves to get some sort of response. Andy's life has been changed for ever, the least they can do is respond to an e-mail.

Andy Tells What Happened

Andy speaks to the El Paso Times
Andy sat in an electric wheel chair in his living room to talk to the El Paso Times reporter. He just received the wheel chair that allows him to get around by controlling a joy stick with either his chin or his nose. He still needs a little practice using the chair but he did his best to show the photographers how he has to move around now.

Daniel Borunda asked Andy to describe the events that took place April 1, 2010. Andy hesitated for a second and then said:
"I was going back home, I was turning to the right. I let go of the brake and I hit the truck. I tried to pull over to the right....that's it. Then I couldn't move." 
Borunda asked Andy why he was trying to move the car to the right. His answer was what most people would respond.
"I was moving the car to the right to let other cars pass" 
A very simple and logical answer. Andy simply did not want to impede traffic. But what happened that day was not what happens to most people after a minder fender bender. Officer Gonzalez jumped out of his vehicle and shot Andy.
"I don't remember him getting out of the car." "I just remember waking up in the hospital not being able to move. I couldn't believe it, my mobility was taken away from me over a little fender bender."
What goes through your mind Andy? asked Borunda.
"It kind of makes me mad, I can't walk.......can't feed myself......I go to the restroom in a tube.....for what? For a little crash?. It's just not fair. I got my life taken away from's not fair."

Its hard to see a 21 year old who once jumped around and enjoyed his youth have to live the rest of his life in a wheel chair. He relies on family and care takers to do everything for him and I mean everything. Andy was in a rehab hospital in Lubbock for several months and has only been home since October. His mother tells me that getting Andy around is almost impossible. They do not have a vehicle to move him around in. An ambulance has to take him around town. I asked his mother how many times Andy had left the house. She said he had been to three doctors appointments and had been in the hospital three times. So that means he has left the house a total of six times since October. Can you believe that? Andy's family is looking for help to be able to provide Andy with transportation. A vehicle big enough to carry Andy and his new wheel chair.

The interview was only about 30 minutes long. The photographer took some pictures and they were gone. I stayed with Andy and his mom a few more minutes. I wanted to know how Andy really felt. I wanted to know how he felt about Officer Gonzalez. I wanted to know what should be done to Officer Gonzalez.
"It's just not fair........I got my life taken away from's not fair."
"He makes up stories to justify him shooting me.......he makes me look bad and its not true."
"He has to pay..........he has to go to jail."
People have read Andy's story in the paper and have already made up their minds. A lot of people quickly jump to defend the officer just because he is an officer. They are quick to judge Andy and his past. yet they forget that Officer Gonzalez also has a past. This officer was suspended after he was found to have lied in a police report to cover up an arrest that should have never taken place.

Richard Wiles once told me (yeah, I'm about to use Wile's words in a positive way, I think, so take note) that the police department had to recognize trends, analyze the police officers that develop these trends and remove them from the department before they become a danger to the community. That sounds like a fantastic strategy. Unfortunately it is not followed. To many times the Department and the City defend the officers for fear of legal action. They would rather spend time and money defended their employees than risk being sued if they admit fault. It is sad but true. The chance of being held liable over shadows justice every time. Too many times these officers (not all officers just several bad apples) spend several stints on administrative leave or administrative duty because they are under investigation. And too many times these police officers end up either "resigning" after many internal investigations or fired after another misconduct allegation.

As a victim of police abuse myself I can tell you first hand how Andy and his family might feel. They feel betrayed. They no longer feel safe around anyone in uniform. They have problems with authority. They have trust issues. They feel mad, they feel confused they feel enraged. At one point they might even feel like they could have done something to prevent it. But none of this was their fault. They couldn't have done anything to prevent Officer Jorge Gonzalez from shooting Andy. They couldn't have dodged in front of the bullet, they couldn't have wrestled the gun out of Gonzalez' hand. What happened has happened and no one can change it. Nobody can rewrite the past, no one can make Andy walk again. But I'll tell you what. Andy and his family with your help can keep this from happening to another family. They can prevent Officer Gonzalez from ruining another person's life. They can help get Officer Gonzalez off the force and maybe even save somebody's life. Unfortunately we live in a city that is reactive and not proactive. They would rather fire a police officer after he kills someone instead of taking him off the force after showing signs of anger and violence. Back in April I said that nothing would be done to Officer Gonzalez or about this case unless he shot someone else. Here we are eleven months later and another shooting later yet the Police Department sees nothing wrong with Officer Gonzalez. What will it take for the City and the Police Department to see that Officer Gonzalez is a danger to society? Will we have to see somebody die before they get rid of him? I sure hope not. I would hate to have to see a family loose a loved one because nobody did anything. Take a look at the pictures below and see how Andy's life has been changed for ever. Before he was shot Andy was working at a restaurant and looked forward to being a Chef. He wanted to be able to take different ingredients, throw them together and make something good for people to eat. Now he can't even feed himself. Let's not let Officer Gonzalez ruin another young man's life.
Andy before April 1, 2010

Andy after April 1, 2010

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Andy Cortez To Speak Out To The Media

For those of you who might not remember. Andy Cortez was shot last year by an off duty officer after a small fender bender that left him paralyzed. He and his family have been through so much this past year. All the doctors, hospitals, rehab centers, medical equipment. It just takes a toll on a family. The family has been silent about what happened to Andy. But their silence will come to an end tomorrow. Andy and his mother will be interviewed by the El Paso Times at his home. Andy's mother tells me that they will talk about the lack of support from the District Attorney's office and the latest shooting that involved Officer Jorge Gonzalez, the same officer that shot Andy April 1, 2010.

Stay tuned for pictures and comments from the interview on tomorrow's blog.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jesse Jackson Jr Is Consistent

Just over a week ago I saw a video on You Tube of Jesse Jackson Jr asking that the Constitution be changed so that it requires every "ghetto kid" to get a lab top and an i-pod.  I said this has to be a joke right. There is no way a Congressman could possibly be that, I hate to say it, stupid. See the video below and tell me if the word stupid is a stretch..

After talking to some people around town they tell me that this is typical Jesse Jackson Jr propaganda. He was just in town not too long ago at an event hosted by the El Paso Black Democrats. Of coarse my invitation must have got lost in the mail so I didn't attend. But at least one person in attendance said that Jr went into a similar rant about providing refrigerated air for all low income housing in El Paso. I just want to know what kind of people vote for this guy? The country is struggling financially and this Congressman wants to spend our hard earned money to give kids means to entertain themselves and refrigerated air to those who are already being helped by the government while hard working, tax paying Americans who some still have swamp coolers on their houses pay for all of it. It just doesn't make sense. We have to remember. There is no justice in social justice. Why? Because you have to take away from one to give to another. Try doing something like that with your kids. They'll let you know right away what they feel about it. And if they don't they will hold some sort of resentment towards the child that got whatever was taken away from them. That happens with adults as well. Let's stop giving people reasons to resent each other. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Andy's Family Demands Justice; A Letter To Jaime Esparza

Andy Cortez' family asks for a separate entity to perform an inquiry on the action of officer Jorge Gonzalez after he was involved in another shooting and demands justice.

The family sent a letter to several media sources that was directed at district attorney Jaime Esparza and trial division chief Lori Hughes. It is the first time the family releases a statement to the media demanding something be done about Andy's case. I am glad to see that they are breaking their silence and are aggressively seeking justice. Below is the letter in its entirety.

Ms. Hughes and/or Mr. Esparza,
I just read in the El Paso Times and other local news media articles that Officer Jorge Gonzalez shot at another unarmed person whom he "claimed" again was trying to run him over. After reading articles, it appears Mr. Gonzales missed his intended target. As you well know, on April 1st, 2010 Officer Gonzales used a similar justification for shooting at an unarmed civilian, Andres Cortez, he did not miss and rendered him a quadraplegic.  Whether or not Officer Gonzalez' latest shooting was justified it is clear he is a dangerous trigger-happy officer who has serious anger issues. More than eleven months have passed since our Andres was shot after a fender bender and the criminal investigation of Gonzalez' conduct appears to be at a standstill.  The evidence is yet to be presented to the Grand Jury
Furthermore, with this new incident, it is apparent that the DA needs to push for an independent agency (i.e. FBI and/or Texas Rangers) to come in and conduct a separate inquiry on Officer Gonzalez in both Andres' case and the new incident.  We feel it is pertinent to get a separate entity involved to investigate with no ties to El Paso PD.  Officer Gonzales continues to use unreasonableexcessive force and engage in a pattern (practice) that deprives persons of rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. (Title 42, U.S.C., Section 14141)-- a pattern typical of color of law abuse. 
Andres, his family, and the community of El Paso are entitled to know why The El Paso District attorney's office has taken so much time to conduct the investigation and when the DA's offfice plans to move forward with this matter. We look forward to your response.  We demand Justice for Andy!!!
Family of Andres Cortez

Eleven months ago I held Andy's hand in the hospital and promised him that I would do what ever it took to get him justice. In less than one month it will be one year since he was shot at the McDonald's on Yarbrough and Gateway West. Time flies, people forget and move on with their lives and cases are buried under tons of paperwork. I told Andy and his family that we couldn't let people forget about what happened because if they did then his chances of getting justice would be slim to none. And like I told his family, if we didn't put a stop to Officer Gonzalez he would shoot someone else. I hate being right. I ask that all of you who read this help us in our fight to remove Officer Jorge Gonzalez from the El Paso Police Department. He is a danger to society and needs to be taken off the street.

How To Buy A Business Seminar

How to Buy a Business
Saturday, March 26, 2011, 10am to 1pm

Own Your Own Business!
Control Your Financial Destiny!
Be Your Own Boss!



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 Reservations are required
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La Hacienda Mexican Grill
9515 Gateway West Saturday, MARCH 26, 2011
10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
FEE: $45.00


This seminar provides and overview on the advantages of business ownership and "How to Buy a Business". Learn if you are suited to run a business or franchise…the benefits and advantages of buying an existing business or franchise over starting one from scratch…the steps in buying a business or franchise…about financing assistance…how much you should make…how much to pay…how to find a business or franchise…what is the best form of business ownership…how to use your 401(k) or other retirement plan to buy, build or grow a business…how to get $50k to $100k of business credit… and much, much more!  See more than 50 established existing Businesses, new startup Franchises, and proven Home Based Opportunities.  Includes workbook.

Do you have a vision of owning your own business?  No longer do you have to be a wage slave.  Many of us forget what capitalism and business ownership means because we are so concerned by “making ends meet” or we are nervous about deviating from our current situation. But what about the challenge and excitement of taking control of your destiny and earnings potential.  Simply put, what about doing it your way?  Putting your ideas, knowledge and common sense to work and reap the benefits that go with it, instead of someone else getting the credit as well as the financial rewards for your hard work and efforts.  After attending this seminar you will have the knowledge necessary to “buy the right business right” and give you control of your own financial destiny. 

Registration: Starts at 9:30 am or you can RSVP LUNCH WILL BE SERVED
Fee: $45.00Location: La Hacienda Mexican Grill
9515 Gateway West
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