One on hand you have Larry Romero who is currently being scrutinized by the news media for allegations of corruption. While on the other hand, you have Ann Morgan Lilly who was accused on two occasions of assault resulting in at least two criminal investigations started, yet the outcomes remain hidden from the community. In the case of Larry Romero, the El Paso Times and certain politicians have been relentless in keeping Romero in the spotlight of corruption. Contrast this with how the local paper and the politicians treated the criminal allegations against Ann Morgan Lilly. Lilly was criminally investigated but the public microscope was nonexistent. Larry Romero, as much as we all dislike his actions, is not currently under criminal investigation, although he is being scrutinized for ethical problems that might result in criminal investigations, remains on the front page and on the lips of the politicos.
In essence, what you witnessing right now is the selective targeting of wrong doing in order to protect certain individuals and remove obstacles to a public policy agenda. Whether Larry Romero voted against the wishes of a certain political agenda or he is the scapegoat to distract you from the real culprits is immaterial because of the contrast between how he is being treated and how Ann Morgan Lilly was treated is very obvious.
If you shine a spotlight bright enough, almost any public official can be exposed for processes that look unethical or illegal. I firmly believe that all allegations of corruption should be publicly investigated and the spotlight kept on all officials. However, look closely at what is going on currently and you will see how the public perception is being manipulated. Today I am going to focus on how you are being manipulated. Tomorrow I’ll delve into the cover ups I’ll allude about today. And, on Wednesday, I’ll demonstrate to you the hypocrisy.
“I’ll Luther Jones you” refers to the notion that if someone does not do as they are told, they will be removed by force through criminal investigations and, or allegations. It has been rumored that politicians receive those words when they are straying from the path they are expected to take.
Today, city council is set to discuss an agenda item posted in executive session. The item, “EX1: Personnel matters regarding City Manager Tomas Gonzalez” is purposely titled to make it look was nefarious as possible. It is also designed to create an illusion that will be difficult to pierce. You will notice that all we know is that Tommy Gonzalez will be discussed. We do not know what the allegations are, although most of us are inferring that it has to do with Larry Romero and the financial services contract debacle.
But that is an illusion only.
It is a distraction to protect certain officials and submit others to the will of the political agenda drivers. Tomorrow I’ll delve into the cover ups. Today. Let’s look at the notion of targeting certain officials, looking closely at this latest example.
The executive session item about Tommy Gonzalez is designed to create the illusion that Tommy Gonzalez is at the center of the scandals. Anything discussed in Executive Session is discussed behind closed doors and the participants are prohibited from publicly sharing. Except that insinuations are allowed to slip out and cultivated through online media, water cooler discussions and carefully crafted statements to the news media.
At this point, the only facts we know about the various scandals is that Tommy Gonzalez, as the city’s manager, had a hand in them. We do not know and it has not been demonstrated that he has actually done anything unethical or criminal. Yes, it all looks bad, but a proper criminal allegation has yet to be made.
I am aware of the ethical complaint filed against him by a political operative but let’s look at the actual facts.
As a reminder, the three scandals are the $22 million bond debacle, the Larry Romero affair and the financial services contract. In all three issues, Tommy Gonzalez is at the center of them, not because he was driving them but because, as the city manager, the three issues have to go through him.
Let’s look at them. The $22 million debacle was shepherded by Joyce Wilson, not Tommy Gonzalez. Wilson was at the center of that debacle. The second issue, the Larry Romero street issues were driven by Larry Romero and facilitated by Tommy Gonzalez, either properly or improperly because the fact remains is that we do not know the extent of Gonzalez’ role on the street issues because the investigations are not yet complete. The financial services contract debacle, again, has been alluded to as being driven by unknown city representatives that were “displeased” with First Southwest but no one has named them.
Either Larry Romero is alluding to unknowns to distract you from his own actions are the “unknowns” are being protected. Regardless, Tommy Gonzalez was the conduit to the process to change the financial services providers but not the one who drove that attempt. As a matter of fact, it was Tommy Gonzalez that stopped the attempt to remove First Southwest. That is what the facts have demonstrated so far.
Is it possible that Tommy Gonzalez colluded with Larry Romero and others to circumvent the city’s processes? Yes, and possibly likely, however we do not know yet because no one has all of the facts because a proper investigation has yet to be completed.
According to the El Paso Times (December 9, 2015) it was Oscar Leeser and Cortney Niland that posted the executive session about Tommy Gonzalez on the city’s agenda. However, if you look at the agenda it is attributed to the city attorney’s office. Leeser has been transparent about the attempt to investigate the issues so it is possible that his request to post the item is part of the process he is following.
However, I believe that Niland’s posting of the item is part of a cover up. It is the character assassination of Tommy Gonzalez designed to distract you from the facts. For me, that means that the executive agenda item is being used to protect certain individuals from scrutiny. I’ll have more on that tomorrow. For now, focus on two things, the agenda item creates the illusion that Tommy Gonzalez is the culprit and thus the city council will reprimand him for it. Because it is in executive session the deliberations will be behind closed doors. The illusion will remain regardless of what is discussed behind closed doors.
The most important thing to know is that it is impossible to blame Tommy Gonzalez for any of the scandals because no one knows all of the facts. Unless the executive session item provides proof of other wrong doing by Gonzalez, which is unlikely, then you can clearly see why it is designed to be an illusion. The executive session item is premature without additional facts.
This “illusion” is being perpetuated through the “Luther Jonesing” of Larry Romero and Tommy Gonzalez. They are being sacrificed to keep certain secrets intact.