impunity_8jul14In case some of you missed it, on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 the El Paso Times, masquerading as a newspaper, published an article about Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria resigning as the city’s financial officer. The daily reported that Arrieta-Candelaria’s last day on the job would be July 17, 2014. Although the article stated that Arrieta-Candelaria would be returning to the “private sector”, it failed to report where in the private sector she will go.

It is very possible that Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria did not want to identify where she will be working next, however because of all of the controversy surrounding her involvement in the ballpark, the floating of numerous taxpayer obligations and the city’s budgets it will be interesting to see where she ends up next.

Although the city is notorious for keeping exiting employee agreements veiled behind “personnel matters” the important question is whether Arrieta-Candelaria is also a recipient of another Joyce Wilson inspired “golden parachute”. This is especially important in light of the Jane Shang issue.

Unfortunately, we will probably never get to take a glimpse of Arrieta-Candelaria’s exit agreement with the city, however, in time we might be able to connect the dots and get a better understanding of her departure from the city. Keep an eye on where she pops up next.

The other issue that became public is University Medical Center’s (UMC) court settlement with the woman that was brought in by border officials and violated by UMC medical staff in search of drugs. According to a statement published by the Texas Tribune on July 7, 2014, UMC will pay $125,000, its insurance carrier will pay $475,000 and Texas Tech University will pay $500,000.

Although the county hospital is only paying $125,000 directly, the cost of the insurance company’s $475,000 will eventually be borne by the taxpayers paying into the hospital’s budget. This is because the hospital’s insurance rates will be determined by payouts, such as this, next time they reset. This is money coming out of the pockets of the taxpayers.

Of course, the $500,000 paid by Texas Tech University is also taxpayer funded, albeit at the state level.

In all, the city’s taxpayers may be glad to see that the settlement paid for by their property taxes may seem insignificant although the fact remains that it is money being spent that must be recouped through additional taxes. More importantly is the question about how the hospital was put in the situation of having to make this payment in the first place.

Obviously, the hospital agrees that what it did was wrong by acknowledging that changes needed to be made and by agreeing to the settlement. The question though, is how it got to the point that medical staff felt compelled to disregard the rights of a citizen, not to mention patient rights and dignity, as they performed multiple invasive procedures at the behest of a police agency.

Has society become so desensitized to the erosion of civil rights that medical staff disregards the patients’ dignity? Keep in mind that we only know about this case. Are we to accept that there have not been any other cases like this?

My issue is that I have written numerous blogs pointing out how impunity is basis of the El Paso political system. What happened to the woman at UMC is a result of the impunity I continue to point out. The hospital has stated that it has taken steps to rectify the situation and all we can do at this point is accept them at their word.

However, what about the number of cases of abuse that have been levied against the El Paso Police Department? Are we to assume that all of those cases are misleading and that the police department adheres to common decency and respects the community? The city has paid numerous claims to settle reported cases of police misconduct and have kept the results of the investigations secret through bureaucratic processes. Yet, not once has the city made a statement that it has made changes to rectify problems within the ranks of the police department.

In fact, the city continually pontificates that it is one of the safest cities in the nation thanks to the local police force. Of course, it conveniently ignores the numerous officers who have been indicted in the last five years for criminal activities ranging from theft through falsifying police records to drug trafficking.

As the case of UMC demonstrate, the actions of government employees directly translates into higher taxes for the community. More egregious though, is that many government employees have been proven to violate common civil rights and human dignity because of the impunity within the city’s political system.

Is this why El Paso is listed as one of the safest city’s in the nation because to point out otherwise could result bodily harm?

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...

18 replies on “More on Political Shenanigans and Higher Taxes”

  1. Candelaria will be paid until July 25th. She’ll be paid vacation balances as is the case with every City employee. The City HR Dept. said Candelaria was under no special contract with the City and will get no extra money beside her accumulated vacation days. She worked for 10 years, so she qualifies for the pension program. No big mystery. No golden parachute. Just you slinging dirt hoping it will stick.

  2. “It is very possible that Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria did not want to identify where she will be working next,”
    Maybe she is as sick of the BS as everyone else is and just wants a new job? Maybe the new job is a pay-off job from the Usual Suspects for taking care of their business? Maybe we’ll never know?

  3. It’s very possible that it’s none of your business where she is going to work. She is no longer working for taxpayers. If someone can prove the allegation that she is going to a job that is a pay-off, then prove it. Until then, all those allegations are nothing but sour grapes about City Hall getting wiped off the map.

    1. Allegations or not, the taxpayers have a right to know the details of contracts for individuals whose salaries and pensions we pay.

  4. So Patricia, it’s ok as long as you get away with it ? Right ? Foster buying Jordon. Wilson’s new job and Shang’s deal ? Carmen being promoted and no one knowing it ? What’s next ?

  5. I didn’t say we don’t have the right to know everything that is going on at City Hall. The allegation was made that there was some sort of golden parachute and that we would never know what her exit pay would be. We do know. There is also the allegation that she is probably going to some pay off job with the bad rich white people. That is none of our business because she is going to a private sector job. If, as I said, someone can prove those allegations that it is a pay off job for deals at City Hall, then all bets are off. Foster buying Jordan is none of our business because they are both privately held. You have a beef about that or can prove that there was a law broken – do it. Otherwise, it’s a non issue. Have proof that Wilson’s new job is a pay off? Show your cards, otherwise, she is just another public servant moving on, as most of us do from time to time. What promotion of Candelaria’s did we not know about? I am a pretty pissed off taxpayer, just like you guys. I think that if you are doing anything with people’s taxes, then we have every right to know every detail. You guys keep saying things are corrupt, but thousands of emails later, tens of FOIA’s later, we seen no proof of any wrongdoing. Did the City shoot themselves in the foot with the ballpark? Yes. It was poorly handled. Was there corruption? Not as far as anyone can prove right now. Just because you guys hate the rich white people, doesn’t mean they are corrupt. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty. Want to prove me wrong? Find out if there was corruption and show me the proof.

    1. Proving corruption is a full-time job for full-time investigators. Few people in El Paso have the time or resources for that. This is a blog, not a court of law. Martin can say what he choses and you can accept or reject it. Executing contracts at the 11th hour is wrongdoing. Executing contracts in private is wrongdoing. The only power taxpayers have is the vote and holding elected officials responsible for overseeing the City Manager. Sorry if you want proof. You won’t get that because powerful people protect their own. Please do not expect those of us who are paying attention to be damn fools. PS This has nothing to do with class warfare. You assume the readers of this blog are poor, white haters. You are wrong.

  6. Did you not see where the Times stated that she had been promoted to Deputy City Manager way back in September. Haven’t heard anyone say they knew about it until the Times had it. What about all the politicians that leave office and go work for a Lobby group or Oil company they helped ? Can’t prove it, but it just doesn’t look right. Can’t prove it , but that doesn’t mean its not unethical. As far as Jordon is concerned even Davidk who is a Foster kiss ass says it looked bad. The building he donated that was on the Tax Rolls for 400k was remodeled for what 14 or 18 mill ? If Jordon made 10 percent off the project (probably much more) that’s 1.4 to 1.8 mill made on a building you donated worth 400k. I actually liked Foster, but that looks bad. I’m actually Republican(more towards Libertarian) and loved Reagan. Reagan got away with Iran-Contra. I didn’t like that either, but it was legal in most respects. Don’t act like your a pretty pissed off taxpayer either. You love it the way the past council got away with the Ball Park deal and tearing down City Hall. I’ve never heard you complain about it, otherwise. Just because you can’t prove something doesn’t mean its not true. OJ is a good example. Billy boy too. For your Info I wanted the Ballpark, but not waste an extra 100 mill of Taxpayer money to do it. I don’t see any difference in a Strong Mayor system to a City Manager system except the staff of the CM gets paid much more and its legal to get away with unethical shit. At least Noe brought up changes that should be made to the power of CM at the last council meeting.

    1. 100% agree. Public affairs not only should be above board and transparent, they should appear to be so, too. That standard goes beyond whether they are just legal. The whole goddam AAA thing was not, and neither are these last minute take-care-of-my-girls actions by Wilson above board and transparent.

      Her example alone is good enough reason to trash CM government here for good. Now, if only the CC would wake up long enough to start demanding answers from these city hall Brahmans.

  7. I start thinking about Bob Jones when I hear prove it. I was told prove it prove it…….well…. The truth eventually comes out in the wash.

  8. I have said over and over in public, on the air, in blogs, in my own blogs, that City Council were incredibly stupid in the way they handled the ballpark situation. At every turn, I called them out about their insistence on doing things that didn’t look right. There are so many, there is no need to go into them here. Unfortunately, we have a representative form of government. We elected these reps, and they did their job. I wish they had not made so many stupid moves, but as of yet, there is no proof that they made illegal moves. Stupidity is not against the law. Again, in this country, proof of guilt is required, or else you are innocent. In the eyes of the law, OJ was not criminally responsible for the deaths of two people. Did he do it? More than likely. Does that mean that City Council did something illegal with the ballpark? There hasn’t even been a sentence in an email that could suggest that. Will there be in the future? I don’t know. We’ll all be waiting and watching. Something is either empirically ethical or unethical, there is no gray area. If you can’t prove someone’s lack of ethics, they are proven to be ethical. And just because I wanted the ballpark doesn’t mean I can’t also be a pissed off taxpayer. And this has everything to do with class warfare. Just ask the callers on talk radio of a certain previous state representative and facebook denizens who were up in arms because of the “whitewashing” of the city.

    1. No. The law asks for proof of illegal activity, not unethical activity. Get it right.

      Think what you want, but you are mistaken if you think class warfare is the cause of the problem. Corruption and crony capitalism are the cause.

  9. Well, I’m as white as snow along with my 2 friends who are also businessmen and each of us pay 100k or more in property taxes a year, Republican, and we despise the way the Ballpark was done and that City Hall shouldn’t have been an option. Foster demanded it, plain and simple and all the reps he donated heavily went right along with it along with Wilson and Carmen on board and fuck everyone else. So don’t tell me its all about class warfare. Like Rotten said ” last minute take-care-of-my-girls actions by Wilson above board and transparent ” is anything, but ethical. This move alone should cause the board that hired her for the Workforce Job think twice and reconsider. If Carmen goes to work for Foster or Hunt it will make matters look even worse. Oh, and wrong is wrong and right is right and most people do know the difference, but all that matters to these people is well, fuck you, I got away with it and there is nothing else you can do about it cause its legal.

  10. Workforce organization is a complete waste of time. Doubt they ever found anyone a legitimate full time job. So far you could have saved everyone a lot of time & just flushed their 14 mil budget down the toilet. Just like many govt programs, good intentions, but you cannot make people work if they don’t want to.

    We do have a representative form of govt. as such, you cannot elect morons & expect them to make smart decisions. Robinson, Limon, Holguin & Acosta are suggestive of citizens that welcome stupid into their lives on a daily basis. Certainly those areas have literate people interested in representing their District. Pay the reps more money, you get better people to run. Otherwise you end up with some reps who are basically unemployable, but yet they can get repeatedly re-elected.

  11. Isn’t it rich that Patricia now wants to act indignant about the way the ballpark was handled? Where was the indignation before?

    Wasn’t the agenda pushed by her namesake, Darren Hunt, also known as “Patsy”?

  12. Isn’t it rich that people who have opinions about me hide behind fake names? Where is the courage of their convictions? Aren’t they pushing their own agenda under another ‘p’ word?

    Yes, that is right, SKZ!

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