Politics makes for strange bedfellows, todays amigos are tomorrow’s enemies. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. My enemy’s enemy is my friend. I could go on and on with clichés that all end up with the fact that politics is just about the dirtiest and grimiest endeavor anyone can get involved in. Tie that with the fact that sensational headlines sell newspapers and accepting that The El Paso Times is the slimiest newspaper in the world all leads to one indisputable fact; that El Paso’s corruption is enabled by an entrenched political machine allowed to operate by a news media that trips all over itself trying to make news rather than to report it.

With that in mind plus the frustration that is El Paso corruption I have brought back the El Paso Forum for political discussion, dissection and outright dissention. I fully expect all of the political operatives to attempt to make the El Paso Forum their own platform for their message, it is par for the course, but what I really want and what I crave is for the frustrated and disenfranchised masses to have a sounding board to quickly get their anger off their chests with quick drive-by messages to the world.

Will it solve the political crisis? No. Will it server a greater good, probably not. But it should at least give the oppressed a small outlet to work through the morass of political shenanigans in the community.

It is no secret that I believe the El Paso Times is corrupt and easily manipulated. My comments aren’t directed at the majority of the reporters because they are hampered by the corporate bureaucracy that sees El Paso as an insignificant little corner in world that generates no real revenues for the corporate owners. It also doesn’t help that print media revenues are under continuous assault by the new media that is the Internet. That is why it is no surprise that Bob Moore has once again been directed to run the El Paso operation as his shenanigans have no real impact on the corporate owners and it keeps them from having to fire him and deal with the legal ramifications of that.

It is incredulous to me that all major institutional organizations in the world, including political and security operators universally agree that the El Paso-Cd. Juárez corridor is a major transit point for the majority of illicit drugs that enter the American market, yet El Paso is a ‘safe’ city. Yet, the death merchants are waging a bloody war on the Mexican side of the border and the politicians on the American side of the border proclaim that it is one of the ‘safest’ cities in the United States. They would have us believe that once the drugs get past the border they magically disappear and no one knows how.

Of course, if that were my only argument then it would be just a crazy notion on my part. But we also have a former city representative, now running for Congress, Beto O’Rourke, who not only has publically advocated for drug legalization but has also written a book in support of it. Some of you would probably argue that it’s his opinion and he should be entitled to it. Sure, but like everything else follow the money.

O’Rourke doesn’t only advocate drug legalization but his mother pleaded guilty on behalf of her company to illegally hiding money from the government. Why would someone want to structure cash? The only people looking to structure large amounts of cash and thus hiding it from government oversight are those looking to avoid taxes or most likely, avoid having to explain to the government where the money came from. Hmmm, sounds to me like money laundering.

Let’s see, money laundering and a politician looking to take office at the federal level where drug legislation can be manipulated. Oh yea, let’s not forget that the local police department had to be put on probation because its drug laboratory failed basic standards and a police department that currently has officers being indicted for falsifying public records and the same police department that had a former high-ranking administrator accuse the department of colluding with drug dealers. Yes, that is the department that trumpets the loudest how safe the city is.

Oh, and I almost forgot, a former director of the local FBI incarcerated for hiding a friendship and receiving economic benefits from a businessman from Mexico without properly documenting it to the authorities. As if that wasn’t enough, a former County Judge, Dolores Briones, pleading guilty to corruption, a former El Paso Chamber of Commerce and non-profit darling, Bob Jones in jail for defrauding the federal government and thus the taxpayers. And the list goes on and on.

And through all this, the local political shenanigans involves an advocate of legalizing drugs, funded by big money with everything to gain and O’Rourke groupies; a sitting city representative, Susie Byrd, who co-wrote the book on drug legalization with O’Rourke, another sitting representative, Steve Ortega who has no business in Mexico documenting how long it takes to cross the border on the only day of the week that city representatives are required to meet and a married county judge who sees nothing wrong with getting drunk with Beto O’Rourke on a night out on the town and slapping him on the ass all tripping themselves trying to ingratiate themselves into O’Rourke’s friend circle.

And, we are expected to believe that drug dealers are so afraid of the local policing and government efforts of El Paso that they dare not bring their violence across the border? Please!

Or, as is more likely, the city of El Paso is so corrupt that the drug dealers don’t even have to bother to pay extortion fees on the US side, they just put the people friendly to them in office. With friendlies in government there is just no need to bring violence across the border as their drugs just mysteriously disappear into the rest of the United States. Why create a problem if there is no need to do so?

Through all this, and I’ve only mentioned a very small portion of the evidence of corruption rampant within the community, where has the El Paso Times been? When Bob Jones was the darling of the city, his corrupt money trickled down to the advertising sold in the paper and now that he’s in jail, what does the local paper need? Another benefactor to feed it. Would proper investigative journalism do the trick? Hmmm, no that might bite the hand that doles out the little money for advertising in a city where corruption rules.

Follow the money! Who’s vying for office and who’s funding campaigns? Who benefits the drug dealers? Who advocates for drug dealers? And, who does the local paper support? It can’t be plainer than that.

And what about the Diario de Juárez? The Diario is so inept that news is nothing more than skimpily dressed women gracing its pages. Its El Paso operation is a disgrace to its Juárez counterpart because the local leader is too afraid to aggravate anyone lest he’s ignored by the powers-that-be at the local country clubs. He’s too busy ingratiating himself with the PDNG that he’ll throw his own father under the bridge if it means he’ll get a smile at the club house.

For those just tired of the political diatribe but too busy to get involved to make the community better or too afraid to mess with a hornet’s nest of corruption, the El Paso Forum is for you. Enjoy and make the best of it, at worst it just becomes another gripe outlet or at best it shines a light on the cockroaches that hide in the darkness enabled by the El Paso Times. It’s your playground. Enjoy!


Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

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