Refresher: Y'all may remember Robbie Billiard. Robbie Billiard and his family run their construction empire from Antarctic Abodes. The Billiard Family, from the money they have earned from selling stucco homes that dot El Paso, engage in local and state level politics. Robbie, in particular, really likes the politics and pays an immigrant of questionable legal status, Mario Puertas, in Geritol and bingo money to blog non-sense.
Well yet again, we here at Max have had the fortune and privilege to listen in on Robbie conversation with Mario.
(Robbie Billiard, after spending a few minutes winking at himself in the mirror, dials Mario Puertas.)
Mario Puertas:Jes, patroncito!!!
Robbie Billiard: Mario, it's me...Robbie Billiard. And what did I tell you about speaking Mexican to me? Cut that shit-o out-o.
MP: Jes, wat eber ju' say Buss!!!
RB: What's this bullshit you posted about Beto O'Rouke's net worth this past week? Did I tell you to do that?
MP: No, mistar Billiard, but I figure you no like Beto, so I show Beto is a wealthy out-of-touch gringo.
RB: Jesus, you are a fuc*king moron. You don't know what you just did.
MP: What, mistar Billiard?!?!
RB: People here now know the truth. That it's not just Paul Foster, Woody Hunt and I that are the richest white men in town. Beto has been added to that list, and people are wondering if Beto's net worth is more than mine. If people in this town find out some pot smokin' bicycle messenger is richer than me, everything is fuc*ked. The salary I pay you? Gone. My wife? Gone. My stroke in Austin and DC? Gone. You really f*ucked up, Mario.
MP:PLEASE, PATRONCITO, DON'T TAKE MAI MANEY AWAY!!!!
RB: Mario, this is the last f*ucking time you can f*uck up. Don't think here aren't other Mexicans who will blog for money. In fact there is another Mexican blogger around here who I know needs the work to pay his attorney fees and child support. Poor bastard got shoved out of his government job for incompetence. You really have to f*uck up for that to happen. But wait? Why would I hire another incompetent Mexican to replace another incompetent Mexican? Well, daddy did hire my brothers. I guess you can call it compassion, but I rambling now. Goddamn, I am good-lookin'.
"The new city manager has warned that Irving could face shortfalls of tens of millions of dollars within a few years unless it finds a way to raise cash or cut costs, even as the city needs to spend more on basic maintenance."
"Thursday’s tax vote aside, the council has already upended what the staff presented as a crucial plan to raise the water and sewer rate. Many cities have been raising their rates as the state increases its fees to treat their sewage. Irving put off rate hikes last year. Then, this spring, officials had a reckoning with their bond raters."
And while your income is not increasing, your waistline is.
Last, but not least, the State has had to increase its reliance on tolls and debt to finance highway projects.
In other words: Young people, you are all phucked.
Now, imagine you're 23-years old and you just graduated from UTEP, and you are not married and have no kids (this exercise can work with an 18-year old as well). You may or may not have debt. And you just landed a job at ADP (just an example) where you gonna potential start with $30,000 per year.
It's not bad money for a 23-year old.
Now, you decide to go to Leeser's Hyundai dealership, and buy a new car for $20,000, but you are having it financed over 5 years. So with interest, you will be paying $30,000, give or take, on an assest that loses its values as soon as you drive it off the lot.
Or you decide to save up cash to buy a used car, but you will need to probably save at least $10,000 to get a solid used car. Sure you can get something cheaper, but shortly thereafter you have to buy new tires, and those ain't cheap, and before you know it you're paying for all sorts of other repairs. You might end up having to buy another car in 2-3 years.
Those scenarios still do not take into account the cost of gas, registration, insurance, and routine maintenance.
Over the course of those 5 after graduating college (or even right after high school), you will have sunk $35,000-$50,000 in an asset with a shitty ROI. At that point your $30,000-$40,000 salary looks really phucking shitty.
Imagine that money in a Roth IRA or that money in savings account. Your 40-year old self will thank you later. Hell, your 28-year old self will thank you.
A bike at most will cost you maybe anywhere between $1,000-$3,000 and some sweat.
It's a bullshit claim that bike lanes are a "waste" of money given that our own roads cannot pay for themselves. Show me a road that has paid - and continues to pay - for itself.
If you are young, and single and without kids, there are only a few reasons why you should have a car:
- Someone in the family gave it to you;
- You're family is wealthy; or
- You run your own business, and you LEASE the vehicle through your company.
The ugly truth is your generation is expected to poorer than your parents. And throwing way money on a car will only make that certain.
Here in the States we get this impression that a Mexican priest led a peasant revolt that freed Mexico from the shackles of the Spanish crown.
But lo and behold the peasants largely failed.
Mexican independence only happened because of Mexico's then ruling class - landowners, military and the clergy - bought into the idea.
But the only reason the ruling class bought into the idea was because Spain was having something of a liberal revolt. Liberals in Spain actually were reforming government. Spanish liberals were the ones promoting ideas of liberty, while the Mexican ruling class wanted to preserve the status quo.
The Mexican ruling class wanted to preserve the status quo so bad that instead of having a president, it had an Emperor.
Mexico's experiment in empire failed.
Mexico would dabble in republicanism for a while, but then eventually Mexican conservatives would bring a monarchy back to Mexico.
But then Mexico would tire of that, and go back to republicanism.
There is probably a reason for Mexico's messy history.
Unlike the US, Mexico lacked a frontier. It never had the frontier experience. More or less all the land in Mexico was owned by someone, it was not the free for all that US experienced as the US expanded its borders. Just imagine how different America would be if America were only the 13 colonies.
That being said, recently Mexico has had its shi*t together. And for the first time in a longtime, Mexico has many reasons to be optimistic about the future.
Butter teeth: Got yellow teeth? But don't want to Zoom? Mix some hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and toothpaste, and brush for a week, and BOOM! Nobody at the IHOP will be coming to you confusing your teeth for butter. You're welcome.
Faded blue jeans: Hate it went your $200 pair of jeans start to fade? I know before you ask where in El Paso you can jeans like that...you don't. It's called Houston or Dallas. Anyways, your faded jeans are done. So start over by buying another pair and from the get-go wash them inside out and use white vinegar, not detergent. Of course, hang dry. You're welcome.
Want to get hammered, but not get hungover?: Unless you were born Russian, you gotta take the good with the bad.
College Football: Give me UCLA. Not that that game even matters.
Pro Football: I'll take Minnesota over New England, Indy over Philly, Jacksonville over the Potomac River Basin Indigenous Peoples.
Someone recently commented on David K's blog that I am "obsessed" with County Judge Veronica Escobar.
I guess it all depends on how you define "obsessed".
Look, Veronica has a solid majority at Commissioners Court for the next 2 years. She will be able to push through anything she wants with from obedient Commissioner Vince Perez and Commissioner-elect David Stout. Do you honestly see either Stout or Perez telling Escobar, "Hold on"?
Hell, you can go as far as say she will have a majority for the next 4 years.
Not only will she have the majority for the next couple of years, but she has the money. Paul Foster and Woody Hunt at some point may tire of Esocbar's policies, but the alternative which is either absent or worse, will keep them from going astray.
And with that safe majority at Commissioners Court and backers who will not stray away, Escobar will have time to focus on other things outside the courthouse.
Or shall I say Veronica will have time to "obsess" over other things.
We all know Veronica wishes to obsess over other things than the County. She would rather be in DC or Austin, or writing op/eds for the New York Times.
Do you think she really cares about the plumbing situation at the jail? Not because she wants to.
But there is no reason to despair.
There some things that really peeve Veronica.
One of those things is the El Paso Delegation. With the exception of the Jose Rodriguez, nobody in the rest of the delegation - Joe Pickett, Marisa Marquez, Joe Moody, Mary Gonzalez, Cesar Blanco - is not really part of Team Shapleigh. They all may work with Escobar and get along, but they each are more or less independent. So she really cannot get to obsessed without getting some pushback.
The other thing that bothers Veronica is City Council. Sure, you can say there is a progressive bloc on council, but it is more along policy lines and less along a factional line. I suppose you can call City Rep. Claudia Ordaz a Shapleighite, but she is kinda of a wild card because her adoption into Team Shapleigh is not necessarily based on some sort of bond or friendship.
Lastly, spreadsheets annoy Veronica. See all that nonsense happening at UMC and the Children's Hospital...all that brought to you by a spreadsheet. You can flip votes, but it is a lot harder to flip the books.
It is those things that more or less keep Veronica in check at least outside the Courthouse because, again, God knows there is nothing going to stop her on Commissioners Court. You know what though? Credit to her. In that sense, she is a savvy operator compared to her predecessors. The irony she is running things openly unlike her predecessors who thought the only way to control things was to do it in the shadows. You can control things openly when your opposition sucks. No wide stances at the Courthouse restroom needed.
....in prison for dealing weed, former Governor George W. Bush's Chief of Staff, and Bush's 2000 presidential campaign manager, Joe Allabaugh, has invested and sits on the board of directors for Colorado-based CannLabs.
Per CannLabs, it "is a solutions provider with intellectual property, proprietary cloud-based analytics and scientific methods to serve the cannabis industry".
Think of it like weed quality control.
Allabaugh's Road to Damascus moment came when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. That's when pot became okay for him. Pot was no longer dope, it became hope.
But I wonder where his wife's pot came from? Certainly, not Merck.
Allabaugh and some guy that is high.
Of all the elected officials that have gone to jail in El Paso, Willie Gandra, Jr. will be the one that got screwed over.