Sunday's session had Candidates for El Paso Independent School Board District 3, City Council Representative Districts 5 & 6. I missed the School Board candidates but was their for the train wreck that took place with the City Representative candidates. All the candidates were asked 5 questions at a briefing before the session. The candidates were expected to answer the questions with a simple yes or no without qualifying their answers. In other words, yes or no without any buts. Next to the firing platform was a huge score board. A member of EPISO took a big red marker and wrote a big "Y" or a big "N" depending on the candidates answers. The candidates were allowed three minutes to answer the questions and explain any answers. The rules have changed a little since the last time I attended one of these sessions. Back in 2008 you were not allowed to talk to the crowd. It was a simple Yes or No answer and the crowd was urged to boo at the candidates by the person asking the questions. Just because some of the rules have changed doesn't mean things are any better. They still have people standing and strategic points (handlers) ordering people when they have to clap, when they have to be quiet, when they have to stand and when they have to sit. Once again, not exactly what you would think a church based group should be doing. But you have to realize, "The model for EPISO was created by a tough community organizer, Saul Alinsky, who founded the Industrial Areas Foundation in the late 1960s as a training school for professional organizers." -David Crowder Aug. 1, 2008 Alinsky is not exactly a favorite among conservatives.
The questions were asked in what seemed to be a pretty simple manner to the EPISO members. Unfortunately EPISO always finds a way to ask a question that at least one of the candidates has no jurisdiction over and somehow expects them to say they will support that issue even though they know they can't and hold them "accountable" if they refuse to support the cause. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn't to me. But that's EPISO for you. Say yes ore we will hold you accountable. That to me says do what I tell you or we wont vote for you. We, as in EPISO, as in we will tell all our members and the people we talk to not no vote for you. Hey wait. Isn't EPISO a non-profit organization. Isn't it against some sort of law for Churches to tell their congregations who to or who not to vote for? I'm pretty sure that's the rule for all churches. So why has EPISO been allowed to do this election after election? Why hasn't the mainstream media wrote a story about it. I'll tell you why. It's the same old El Paso story. They do good things for the poor so we will look the other way when they do something illegal. That has to stop. If anyone should be held accountable it is the people who run EPISO.
Anyway, back to the firing squad. I was surprised to see how the candidates answered the questions. No, I mean I was in awe to hear what I heard from every single candidate. I'll break it down for you by candidate. I know I'm going to make some candidates mad by posting this but this is what not only I saw but what everyone else in the room saw. So forgive me but your going to have to swallow this lump, not throw a fit and move on with your campaign. Hopefully making the necessary changes to help your campaign and not hurt it anymore.
I'll start from the top of the scoreboard and work my way down.
Sonia Brown: Answered the first question that dealt with funding Project Arriba in a fiscally responsible manner. Let the fact that she is a Reverend at a church influence her answer about voting booths at churches. She completely went against conservative beliefs when she voted to keep El Paso an immigrant friendly city by not expecting police officers to enforce federal laws. We all know immigrant friendly means keep people in the shadows instead of helping them become legal. She had originally had answered no to supporting the opposition, (kinda confusing supporting the opposition of) of colonias being islands then changed her answer. But I'll get to that a little later. Then like every other candidate said yes to willing to be available to speak to EPISO and that she would serve with integrity, honesty and transparency if she was elected.
Mayela Mejia: This will be short and sweet. I was really disappointed with Mayela. She was a lay-down for EPISO. What do I mean by that? She enthusiastically answered yes to everything. Even to the question that was out of her jurisdiction. I understand that she is a Democrat so its no surprise to hear her answers on some of the questions but come on, how can you say you are going to support a county issue when you(if you would get elected) be a CITY representative. I just don't know about her. Did she not realize her jurisdiction or was she just telling EPISO what they wanted to hear? Both answers would be equally detrimental.
Michiel (Its pronounced Michael) Noe: The Doctor surprised me with his first answer. I had heard he was a little fiscally conservative so when he answered yes to fund Arriba $300,000 I was disappointed considering the city's budget woes. He then said yes to the next two answers and it started to sound like another clean sweep for EPISO. But then he said no to the colonia growth question. He said he would support the opposition, here we go again, as long as no taxes were raised. Now he wants to be fiscally conservative. He repeated it over several times saying he would support the opposition as long as tax payers did not have to pay for it and finished off by saying that EPISO was asking him to serve with integrity, honesty and transparency yet they were asking him to do something illegal.
Eddie Holguin: Said no to funding to Arriba because the city cannot afford it. Pretty fiscally conservative answer. He also answered no to having voting booths put back at churches. He said it would give people an unfair advantage. After attending this "Accountability Session" at a church I can see how he came to that conclusion. He answered yes to preventing police officers from enforcing federal laws. I think laws are laws and law enforcement agents should enforce laws. But that's just me. He answered no to the question dealing with the colonias, considering the colonias are out of the city limits and a City representative has no jurisdiction outside the city limits and then answered yes to the last question like every other candidate.
Zulema Lazarin: Lazarin obviously has been getting very bad advice throughout her campaign and it was very evident at this forum. No really it was literally visable. Nacho Padilla was in the front row sending in signals like a third base coach to her causing her to flip flop her answers and come across as unprepared and lost in some cases. She had to go back and clarify just about every single one of her answers. It is obvious that Nacho Padilla was coaching her because her answers were not even conservative. Padilla is a Democrat and a former elected official. For some reason he thinks he has the experience needed to help someone win an election. He doesn't exactly have a winning track record to back that. Honestly, I think Lazarin needs to make a major change in her strategy because the election is right around the corner and she doesn't have much time.