Interested in Being on the EPISD Bond Oversight Committee?

According to a recent interview with Superintendent Juan Cabrera on KFOX, one of the first steps with the new EPISD bond is to assign a bond oversight committee.  How will the select individuals for the committee?  “In terms of the makeup, it’s up to the trustees and how they decide to want to select it,” Cabrera said. “More than likely, each trustee will get a couple of choices and I myself as superintendent will get a couple of choices.”

So, if each trustee will get a couple of choices, we thought we would let everyone know how to contact the trustees so that people could volunteer:

Bob Geske: bgeske@episd.org

Al Velarde: avelarde@episd.org

Susie Byrd: sbyrd@episd.org

Diane Dye: ddye@episd.org

Chuck Taylor: ctaylor@episd.org

Trent Hatch: thatch@episd.org

Dori Fenenbock: dfenenbock@episd.org

The EPISD Board of Trustees haven’t actually asked for any volunteers.  However, if they are going to get “… a diverse group of people that represents the community, whether that’s a part of town, or what they do,” (as Susie Byrd stated), then why not let the community volunteer?  So, if you are interested, LET THEM KNOW! You need to hurry, they are trying to have the committee established by next Wednesday.

John Cook Settles With Person Who Tried to Recall Him

In July of 2011, a recall effort against John Cook (then Mayor of El Paso), Steve Ortega (then District 7 Representative) and Susie Byrd (then District 2 Representative) was launched.  The recall was initiated by El Paso pastor Tom Brown of the Word of Life Church through an organization called El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values.  According to ballotpedia, “Brown initiated the recall after the El Paso city council voted to return health benefits to the unmarried partners of homosexual city employees. A May 2011 voter-approved ordinance had stripped these groups of their benefits, while also inadvertently taking benefits away from a number of unintended groups such as retirees. When the mayor and council overturned this ordinance, Pastor Brown called for their recall.”

Initially, the recall was halted because of a restraining order filed by Mayor Cook barring recall supporters from submitting petitions on grounds that the effort potentially violated Texas election law. Cook claimed that recall organizers used Pastor Brown’s church as a platform to circulate petitions in violation of a state statute prohibiting corporations (including nonprofits and churches) from contributing to recall elections.  Then the recall was allowed to move forward, then halted again.  Jaime Esparza even jumped into the fray in 2012 when he considered bringing charges against El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values on allegations that the group violated a state law that prohibits accepting more than $100 in cash contributions (ultimately he didn’t do anything). Both sides filed lawsuits, with John Cook having to cover his own legal fees because “the recall election was a political process and as such, the city is not supposed to take sides.”

Well, it appears that the whole affair has finally come to an end.  KVIA reported today that Cook has settled with Brown for an unspecified amount.  Brown’s attorney, Jerad Wayne Najvar, told ABC-7 in March, “It’s outrageous to have a situation where you have a powerful political official, who’s going after a group of people who stepped up and said we want to recall this political official.”

Whether or not you agree with Brown and his group, as a citizen of El Paso, aren’t you worried about what happened to them?  According to Brown in his piece in the El Paso Times:  “The city as a whole is responsible for stripping us of our constitutional rights….Do you think we feel we have a right to ever circulate a recall petition? Not me, not after what I went through.”