Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sierra Club President Bill Addington writes:

"Borderistas & other friends:
You are invited to Michael Chertoff's Retirement Party in El Paso, Texas!
Of course Michael is NOT invited... Come and celebrate the last days of Michael Chertoff at the Chamizal National Memorial Park in our beloved El Paso- January 10!
I am proud to say my idea for Michael's Retirement Party has resonated. There will also be public Chertoff Retirement parties Jan 10 in Tucson, Arizona and Brownsville, Texas!

The end of DHS policies of "Muro de Odio" are hopefully near. May 2009 become the year of tearing down Walls and building bridges on our beloved frontera. Thank you for everything you all have done to fight for environmental and economic justice in 2008.
!Feliz año nuevo!
Yer friend,bill addingtonGuerra Farm & RanchSierra Blanca, Texas"

Monday, December 22, 2008

Soy de El Paso

Newmanistas (and everyone else in El Paso and everyone else coming to or wanting to know more about El Paso): check out Soy de El Paso, Patty Garcia's new blog. She describes her interest as "El Paso. Nothing else." And, in a recent entry she writes: "you know what’s even better than just getting it done? Doing it and doing it local." She is highlighting El Paso businesses, entertainment, culture, fashions and much more. Bookmark her blog . . . and do it local!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cement Prices Holding Up NIP Project for Newman Park

Here's the good news: Newman Park is in the queue for new swing sets this spring. Likewise, our Neighborhood Improvement Project funds have been granted and a bid went out in November to put in the concrete pads needed for exercise stations and so forth. However, the bids that came in were over what the estimate for the project is by a bit over $5,000. City engineers believe that the reason for the difference is the price of concrete. That commodity did go up in 2008 especially during the month of November. We could take out items from our improvement plan or try to come up with the $5,000 that the City is short or we could wait and see if the price of cement goes down which is what City engineers think might happen in January. Obviously, it is better to wait and re-bid even if that holds our project up for a month more.

However, the cost of cement may not be going down at all. A spokesman for an engineering firm told me:
"We have not heard of any decrease in concrete coming up – if anything it may continue to rise. I don’t know where City engineers are getting that info. It’s true that contractors are lowering some of their other costs – like profit – in order to be more competitive. The City is just as capable of building a data base and tracking the cost of materials, and unit prices. Maybe if they did they would be more realistic about budgets versus wish list. But then who knows who they call to check prices – some of their buddies - or legitimate businesses."
The best that we can do right now is wait and re-visit this again in January.

The latest Portland Cement Association forecast of cement, concrete, and construction predicts a 12 percent decline in cement consumption in 2008, followed by another 6 percent drop in 2009. Consumption may be down but what about supply? With Jobe frantically supplying cement so that the border wall can be built, supply may remain fairly constant in our area. If so, prices will go up and not down.

Again, all we can do is wait a month and see.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can Girls Compete?

Mayor Pro-Tem Susie Byrd asks an interesting question: Should girls under the age of 12 be allowed to compete on boys' teams? You can read her blog entry here. She has the following item on the next City Council agenda (December 23, 2008):
"Discussion and action on allowing girls under the age of 12 to play on boys' teams in city leagues . . . "
Go to her site and take her poll or just take the same poll on our site.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Art in the Park

Every now and then we discuss the idea of doing some really cool, permanent art at Newman Park. It doesn't hurt that El Paso has an ordinance that encourages public art and the person in charge of that committee is a Newmanista: Pat Dalbin.
Here's what many of us don't know: we are already blessed with the art of Luis Villegas here in our neighborhood. Lee and Bobby Byrd have been patrons of his art for a long time. Their front porch has a painted design by Villegas. Their bathroom has a ceramic tile snake design also by this great local artist. There is a Villegas mural in their backyard and now an old, dead tree became the medium for carved fish sculptures. Luis is also the genius behind the brightly painted Cinco Puntos Press building on Texas.

Recently the Byrds had a backyard party to honor Luis and to celebrate his art. El Paso photographer and blogger, Carolyn Rhea Drapes (aka "chacal la chaise") did a lovely entry about Luis and the party. She gave me permission to use some of her photos from the event on this blog as you can see above. (That's Luis with the grand, gray beard.)
By the way, Drapes is quite the photographic artist. Please see her flickr photostreams of her collections of scenes in and around El Paso. You can see her photographs from Luis' party here. There is now a permanent link to her blog from this site: El Paso Daily Photo Blog by Chacal La Chaise.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Prestigious Award Given to Newman Park Neighbor, the Honorable David Wellington Chew

Our neighbor, the Honorable David Wellington Chew was the recent recipient of the highest honor given by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: the Trailblazer Award. His Honor serves on the 8th Court of Appeals of the State of Texas. Sister and mountain climber, Linda Chew, presides over the 327th District Court. Their father, Wellington Yee Chew, was the first Asian Pacific American to be licensed to practice law in Texas. Here is the complete press release:

Contact: Denise Pacheco
December 2, 2008
(915) 546-2240

The Eighth Court of Appeals is pleased to announce that the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, announced the 2008 recipients of NAPABA’s highest honor, the NAPABA Trailblazer Award, at an awards ceremony on Friday, November 22, at the Experience Music Project during its 20th Annual Convention in Seattle, Washington. Chief Justice Chew was honored as one of the nine trailblazers for 2008.

The Trailblazer Award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of NAPABA lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. Each year, NAPABA honors a member from each of its nine membership regions who meets these criteria. Awardees are selected by the regional governors and the affiliates of each region and represent diverse paths and achievements. Each of the award recipients has demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity in their careers, and has made substantial and lasting contributions to both the Asian Pacific American legal community and the broader Asian Pacific American community.

Hon. David Wellington Chew – Southwest RegionChief Justice Chew is the first Asian Pacific American justice (1995) and chief justice (2006) of the court of appeals of Texas. He is the highest ranking Asian Pacific American elected official in Texas. Chief Justice Chew is the son of Wellington Yee Chew, the first Asian Pacific American to be licensed to practice law in Texas.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 57 local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.

Use Reusable Bags!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Safety Tips, Shoplifting, Auto Theft

"The El Paso Police Department would like to suggest the following holiday safety tips during the upcoming Christmas season:

Dress comfortably.
Lock your house when leaving.
Take a companion with you.
If shopping at night, park in a well lit area.
Use your credit card, carry as little cash as possible.
Don’t overload, you’ll expose yourself to theft.
When walking toward vehicle, have keys ready in hand.
Look inside vehicle prior to entering, front and back.
If you see any suspicious activity anywhere report it to security/police.

Merchants can avoid thefts/robberies during the Christmas Holidays by doing the following:

Have adequate staffing.
Legible signs/pricing will give you less distractions and explanations during peak hours.
Have security/loss prevention measures present.
If theft occurs, DO NOT GET IN THE WAY, let security/loss prevention handle the situation.
If no security, be a good witness, and get physical description, male/female, white/black, height/weight, clothing description, and vehicle description, if involved with direction of travel.
Call police for assistance, 9-1-1.


Take Your Keys. 50% of stolen vehicles in Texas have the keys in them.
Lock your car. 75% of stolen vehicles in Texas are unlocked.
Park in well-lighted areas.
Place valuables out of sight.
Use anti-theft devices such as alarms, ignition kill switches, locking devices for the steering wheel, or brake pedal.






Also register in the Texas H.E.A.T. Program (Help End Auto Theft).
By registering in the H.E.A.T. Program ,the owner of a vehicle gives Law Enforcement officers in the State of Texas permission to stop their vehicle between the hours of 1:00AM and 5:00AM to verify the ownership. Anytime the vehicle is crossing from Texas into Mexico, and law enforcement officers are present, the vehicle may be stopped to verify the owner knows it is going into Mexico.

Thank you.

Officer H. Slack #2106, CPO"