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First of all, I want to thank each of you for supporting my blog by your thoughtful comments, suggestions, participation and encouragement. I also want to tie up a few lose ends today and clear up some misconceptions. Before I do that, I want to thank Abel Rodriguez for having me on his Dialogue radio program last Saturday. As always it was lots of fun. If you missed the show you can always listen to the podcast by clicking here. First, let me clear up a few misconceptions that I’ve come across in the last few days. After that I’ll share with you the latest on Veronica Escobar’s attempt to withhold public records. Then I’ll close with something new and an invitation for all of you to participate more on my blog.

There seems to be a misunderstanding that I am going to file a lawsuit to force Veronica Escobar to release her public records. I am not. I am submitting a letter to the Texas Attorney General requesting that they intervene on behalf of the State of Texas to enforce the open records laws. I will not be filing a lawsuit and even if I wanted to, I would have no legal standing in Texas.

The other misconception that seems to have originated on the Chucopedia Facebook page is that I am raising money to file a lawsuit. Let me be clear, I am not raising any money. The Change.org petition is just that, a petition signed by people who believe that transparency in government is fundamental to Democracy. I’ll share more details with you about the petition later in this post.

The other issue I want to address is the notion that I will not post anything from other blogs. There is a comment by “Thomas” on my post about the county commissioner’s recent raise that I want to clarify. I am not really sure what “Thomas” is referring to when he posted that I would not let him “put up information where people could easily contact CCC members”. However, I think I know what he meant.

I am not picking on “Thomas” as others have had similar concerns, his comment just dove tails into a misconception I want to clear up. Much of the misconception is a result of my not being clear enough about my blog policies.

First of all, my blog is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. It evolves because readers such as yourselves let me know what interests you, what doesn’t interest you and what you all would like to see.

I believe that the misconception comes from my stance discouraging links to other websites. I did this because I did not want to deal with individuals using my comments space for creating links to their projects for search engine optimization (SEO) and for generating hits to their individual projects. If someone wants to use my blog’s reach, they can purchase advertising space to do so.

However, that does not mean that something as important as organizing voters to contact the County Commissioners to voice their opinion about their raises would not be welcome on my website. Yes, it would be welcome and encouraged. I did not find out about this movement until well into the weekend. If someone had tried to send me information and I missed it then I apologize. If you send me a message through my blog, I normally respond to you within 24 hours on weekdays and the following Monday on the weekend.

If a comment was removed that included links for reaching county commissioners, then please note that 99% of the comment moderation is an automated process. Very rarely do I manually remove comments from the blog. Since it is an automated process it tends to have false positives. Unfortunately, if I were to remove the automated process then I would literally spend every hour of the day just managing the SPAM in the comments section.

If you are experiencing problems with your comments not being allowed, please let me know and I’ll take a look at it.

In regards to the Veronica Escobar petition, there are a few people that have taken it upon themselves to do the outreach for gathering signatures. I very much appreciate the efforts. I do not personally thank them here publicly because I do not have their permission to do so. But I appreciate every effort that has generated almost 50 signatures since last night.

Today is the last day to sign the petition. After today, I will close the petition and submit it along with the letter to the Texas Attorney General asking for their intervention. I will keep you updated as the process moves along. If you, or your friends haven’t signed the petition then now is the time. After today, I will close it down.

This brings me to something that I have been thinking about and the future of my blog. As I stated initially, my blog is continuously evolving.

One of things that I want to encourage is more diversity on the content of my blog. As many of you know, Barbara Carrasco has been gracious enough to submit guest editorials. I may not agree with her on all of her positions, although we agree more often than not, but when we disagree I learn from her point of view. Others have also kindly submitted guest editorials. I truly believe that the more perspectives we have the better it is for everyone and I want to encourage that.

Whether you are someone that I have written about or someone that just completely thinks I’m bonkers does not matter if you want to post your thoughts on my blog. You are welcome to submit a guest editorial for consideration through my contact me page. It should be at least 300 words. If I choose to publish your work, I will not alter it or edit it in any fashion whatsoever. It will be published as submitted.

Even if you wish to write an essay of why I am wrong, I will happily publish it as long as you stick to the facts. For those of you that like what I write but would like to add more to the discussion, you, of course, are more than welcome. Some of the individuals that comment frequently on my blog post superb comments that in many instances could be blog posts by themselves. I also encourage you to submit an essay for consideration.

However, it does not have to be an essay, or write up. It could a recording of your thoughts that I would post as a podcast. Or, a graphic, a cartoon or even a video. All of them are welcome.

Thanks again for all of your support, especially to all of the readers that take time to read my content. If you know of someone that hasn’t signed the petition and wants to, please encourage them to as today is the last day to do so.

Martin Paredes

Reporting on public corruption, border politics, immigration and public policy in El Paso since 2000.

8 replies on “Just A Few Things About the Blog, Petition and Veronica Escobar”

  1. Martin
    We did put up a post on your blog with all the information for contacting the CCC for a time it showed up with note it was waiting for you to approve it. Martin you never posted it back up so you were given a chance to support calling out the CCC.
    Martin if you do not mind could you post the information for Abel show where all will know where they can listen in the future.

    1. Thomas, I did not see the comment with the information. Please, feel free to follow up directly with me via the contact form if you have an item pending and it does not get posted. The automated process weighs each comment and gives it a probability index for SPAM if it includes links. Unfortunately, with over 200 SPAM comments per hour it is impossible for me to manually verify each comment.

      I included the link to Abel’s show on my write up above, but here is the direct link to his show: http://kint98.com

      Thank you for your comments,
      Martin

  2. Martin, the reason folks think you are raising money is because change.org posts a follow-on page that asks for a contribution to promote the petition. I don’t know if that is a setting you can change, but I can see how that would cause confusion.

  3. Martin FYI for you We just made this open records request to El Paso County
    This is a an open records request to the County of El Paso Texas
    8/15/2016
    Requesting all correspondence, mail, e-mails, text messages, fax and supporting documents and communications, which may be in all forms paper, electronic, fax, hand written, between, El Paso County Attorney, County Commissioners and Judge Escobar for raises for El Paso County Commissioners and County Judge passed by the El Paso County Commissioners Court in August of 2016. Also all meeting minutes public and executive session to the discussions , as allowed under law, of the above said pay raise for said members. This request also is not only for requested information from El Paso County owned devices and servers and e-mails, social media accounts but in addition from all private devices, servers and e-mails, social media accounts , of the County Attorney, County Commissioners and County Judge where the raises for these County officials were discussed. Also copy of the contract for the Company and supporting documents for supporting study for these elected officials raise and cost of said study.
    We request all information requested in electronic form such as DVD, CD or by e-mail in PDF form. Also request of cost for requested information.
    Thomas Dorman

  4. I put in all my requests for Public Information: Not For Profit, a Texas Government Actor can waive costs for Not For Profit reasons but does not have to. The Texas code says a Government Actor can consider the request. Most the time my requests were filled free or very cheap.

    I am skipping Oklahoma Law and just sticking with Federal here in NE Oklahoma.

    Keep up the Good Work.

  5. Carl
    Have done that and that part of the open records laws is ignored at least every time we have tried to use it. Yes agree this information should be released to the public interest for free.

  6. Thomas, yes but Texas as a State has generally done well in coding their PIA/OR Laws. FOIA and all those kind of laws are very good tools for We the People. Mass standing for most any county resident.

    But for Texas Taxpayer standing one has to own Real Property….in other words half the people who rent only in El Paso County dont have taxpayer standing in court [and a lot of things can be traced to taxes]. Which I why i brought a lot near Hudspeth County Line for $500 and paid 2 cents in Taxes a year to El Paso County, just to have Taxpayer Standing back then.

    And for the First Amendment and its Texas counterpart many many in El Paso County have standing. Same with Texas PIA/OR Laws most any El Paso resident has and can show standing.

    The best example of Standing Law i ever read was when Larry Flynt heard store clerks were being Arrested for selling his mag, so he hopped a plane and sold his own mag across a store counter and got himself arrested, then he filed his First Amendment suit and the rest is SCOTUS history.

    Most of the Bill of Rights were written for Criminals ie where they would not be taken out and shot without Trial.

    However, it is okay to plan and plot First Amendment standing just as Flynt did. Anyways am rambling.

  7. Carl
    Yep we have standing in the State of Texas, we are a proven revenue source for El Paso County. ;0)

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