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Old 03-29-2007, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,198 posts, read 11,313,818 times
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OK...so one of the underlying themes of many folks' more cautious or negative thoughts regarding El Paso is essentially something to the effect of "it is a Mexican city"..."it isn't really an American city"..."non-Hispanics have a hard time fitting in"...etc., etc.

Posts made previously by me demonstrate this is probably one of my only concerns about living in El Paso. Obviously I realize it is a heavy Mexican culture with a majority of Hispanic residents, and that is great...I enjoy that EP has a different culture/flavor than many big US cities. However, I do still wish to feel as a white guy that I and my family am not unwelcome / able to assimilate in the area.

My question is this...and I am not being a smart aleck at all, but I am trying to get some honest, educated, and informed viewpoints...

If El Paso is so heavily Mexican-dominated, why is the elected Mayor a gringo - John Cook (it appears his wife may be of Asian decent)? Also, I see that the City Manager is a gringo - Joyce Wilson. I see that three of the eight elected City Council members - Beto O'Rourke, Ann Morgan Lilly, and Susie Byrd - all appear to be gringos.

Heck City Deputies for Quality of Life Services - Deborah G. Hamlyn - and Financial & Administrative Services - William F. Studer Jr. - as well as City Attorney Charlie McNabb and EP Convention & Visitors Bureau head Bill Blaziek all, without having their family tree in front of me, appear to be gringos as well.

I guess my bottom-line question is...if EP is so heavily a "Mexican" city...how are still a great number of non-Hispanics/Mexicans being elected to serve in upper echelon positions of leadership in the city? I realize that all of these positions of course that I cited above are not elected positions, however, I would think that if El Paso was so much a solely "Mexican" city, it would be hard for all of these non-Mexicans/Hispanics to get into their positions of leadership and influence?

Again, I am not trying to even prove any sort of point...I admit I am not as knowledgeable on this subject as many folks who reside in EP here are. I am just trying to get a better perspective and see what people think. It just seems to me that while heavily Hispanic/Mexican, the folks must be still somewhat pro-other people/cultures if they are electing folks of other ethnicity, or are willing to have them work in positions instrumental to city leadership.
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:52 AM
 
13,140 posts, read 36,679,353 times
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Thats a good question EnjoyEP as i've always wondered about this same question. My dates and names may be off a little so bear with me on this but when i was in high school there (78-81) Ray Salazar was mayor then the ''String'' of Anglo mayors (alcaldes) started With Tom Westphal, Then after him was EP's most popular mayor Jonathon Rodgers (my favorate) re-elected 4 times then i believe it was Suzi Azar ( only women mayor) then Larry Francis (am i missing someone?) then a couple of Latinos in Carlos Ramires and Raymond Caballello? and then Joe Wardy (anglo name but i think a coyote like Gov.Richardson nm) and now John Cook.

He was out spent i beleive like 3 to 1 and and yet he squeeeeeecked it out. Wardy was for low taxes and pro business and Cook ran on the Infrustructure issues. If any of the other posters (Eplifestyle, Chuco, Eptex, Muhnay ..etc...) know more than lets us know but thats my take on it EnjoyEP.
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Old 03-29-2007, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,198 posts, read 11,313,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry o View Post
Thats a good question EnjoyEP as i've always wondered about this same question. My dates and names may be off a little so bear with me on this but when i was in high school there (78-81) Ray Salazar was mayor then the ''String'' of Anglo mayors (alcaldes) started With Tom Westphal, Then after him was EP's most popular mayor Jonathon Rodgers (my favorate) re-elected 4 times then i believe it was Suzi Azar ( only women mayor) then Larry Francis (am i missing someone?) then a couple of Latinos in Carlos Ramires and Raymond Caballello? and then Joe Wardy (anglo name but i think a coyote like Gov.Richardson nm) and now John Cook.

He was out spent i beleive like 3 to 1 and and yet he squeeeeeecked it out. Wardy was for low taxes and pro business and Cook ran on the Infrustructure issues. If any of the other posters (Eplifestyle, Chuco, Eptex, Muhnay ..etc...) know more than lets us know but thats my take on it EnjoyEP.
Interesting Harry O...so it seems like you are as puzzled as I am (at least that doesn't mean I am out of my mind! ).

I guess I was just thinking - and I could be wrong - that perhaps some of the El Paso-is-a-Mexican-city thing may be a hare overblown, as if that was the case, they wouldn't keep electing non-Hispanic Mayors or City Council members. If nothing else, it shows that the people of El Paso are welcoming to other ethnicities, if they keep electing folks of other ethnicities (again, I was noting that even the Mayor's wife is of Asian decent likely).

What do you make of Mayor Cook? What is his governance style been like thus far while in office? Is the EP City Council as bad as ours is here in ABQ?

I would be very interested to hear others' informed thoughts too like eplifestyle, chuco, eptex, etc.
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Old 03-29-2007, 01:01 PM
 
Location: El Paso, Texas
61 posts, read 259,109 times
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Right, so this is where the Anglo/Hispanic lines get crossed. As I have stated before, you'll find lots of El Pasoans to have mixed heritage.

Wardy was indeed a Hispanic Mayor. Larry Francis was considered by many to be Hispanic, but I don't know what his heritage was. I do know he spoke Spanish like a native.

Deborah Hamlyn's name was mentioned. I have not met her, but have been marginally acquainted with members of her family since childhood. As I recall they are bilingual, though not Hispanic.

Beto O'Rourke is also a Spanish speaker. I have never actually heard a claim about his heritage, but there is at least the implication that he has a Hispanic background. I went to high school with his sister, and whenever their father was running for office, her name magically changed from the English version to the Spanish version!

Of the eight council members, five are Hispanic, two are Caucasian, and then there's Beto, who is likely of mixed heritage (though his sister is a blondie). The way I figure it, the council is roughly 68.75% Hispanic (if we split Beto in half ). With EP being roughly a 75% Hispanic population, all we need is for Representative "O'Rourke" to change his name to "Martinez". Then we will have representative body. I'm kidding, of course.

I think part of the reason some people think that El Paso "used to be white" is because up until the 50's local politics was dominated by Caucasian politicians and businessmen. Raymond Telles was El Paso's first Hispanic Mayor--elected in 1957.

Mayor Cook is about as "white" as they come. I think people elected John Cook because he seems like a guy who genuinely had El Paso's interest at heart. And he did something that politicians seem to have forgotten about. He went door to door, and he asked for the vote. I admit that he's made some moves I disagree with, but I don't question his motives.

Mayor Wardy had big money behind him, but I think El Pasoans considered him to favor the wealthy. I believe it also illustrates that El Pasoans are more interested in strength of character than in skin color.

Here's an interesting article that's somewhat related:
http://www.elpasotimes.com/125years/ci_3767418

It discusses racial/ethnic integration in EP.

Cheers to all,
-eplifestyle
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Old 03-29-2007, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,198 posts, read 11,313,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eplifestyle View Post
I believe it also illustrates that El Pasoans are more interested in strength of character than in skin color.
Great post as usual eplifestyle.

And this quote (above) is what I think I was hypothesizing with my original inquiry in this thread, and what a person of white skin color cares about. I could care less that most of my neighbors, etc., would have a different coloring in their skin...just that people judge folks by who they are and their character rather than their ethnicity/skin color.
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:41 PM
 
13,140 posts, read 36,679,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnjoyEP View Post
Interesting

What do you make of Mayor Cook? What is his governance style been like thus far while in office? Is the EP City Council as bad as ours is here in ABQ?
Hmm...Mayor Cook..Not sure yet as he's only been mayor about a year or so i think..He's defitnately made people mad by raising taxes or issuing bonds for infustucture projects (100 million reciently) so some are up in arms over that while others are glad he's paying attention to roads,drainage and Medians. He also pushed and won the councils backing (6 to 3 vote ?) for downtown redevelopement and i know he's pursuing an Arena plan. As Eplifestyle said i do beleive he really cares about EP and he even wrote a song about El Paso and plays and sings it with his Guitar,

The council has 6 good councilors who are trying to move EP forward and 3 that do everything to derail progress. One is my former district NorthEast Rep M.Castro. Although i find her georgeous and she should have been a Playboy Playmate or Hooters Girl i despise her as a councilor as she's done nothing for North East/Ft.Bliss area that i've seen or read unless i'm missing somthing.

As for Abq's council...I really don't have any bad issues except the ''Red Lite Cameras'' as i hate those with a passion. I wish Brad Winter would have won the Mayors race as Mayor Martin Chaves is too dictitorial for my taste. And of course Eric Griego was on the far left of issues for me to like, I also like Sally Mayer and despise my own which is Martin Heinrich as he's too liberal. Also i'm against the street car tax that they are pushing.

Also interesting and that is UTEP head football coach Mike Price who is Anglo is highly admired in EP and so is former Utep Basketball coach Don Haskins and El Paso Diablo former owner Jim Paul so i think most are not concerned as long as you have EP's interest at heart BUT i say this as an outsider since 1990 when i left so others are more inclined to give you a better answer i'm sure.

Hey maybe we'll be adding your name to the mayors lists in the future EnjoyEP...... later !
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,198 posts, read 11,313,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry o View Post
Hmm...Mayor Cook..Not sure yet as he's only been mayor about a year or so i think..He's defitnately made people mad by raising taxes or issuing bonds for infustucture projects (100 million reciently) so some are up in arms over that while others are glad he's paying attention to roads,drainage and Medians. He also pushed and won the councils backing (6 to 3 vote ?) for downtown redevelopement and i know he's pursuing an Arena plan. As Eplifestyle said i do beleive he really cares about EP and he even wrote a song about El Paso and plays and sings it with his Guitar,

The council has 6 good councilors who are trying to move EP forward and 3 that do everything to derail progress. One is my former district NorthEast Rep M.Castro. Although i find her georgeous and she should have been a Playboy Playmate or Hooters Girl i despise her as a councilor as she's done nothing for North East/Ft.Bliss area that i've seen or read unless i'm missing somthing.
Really interesting stuff Harry O...even being away from EP since 1990, you have a great perspective on local issues/personalities. While I hate in general high government spending, for items such as infrastructure it often can be a good thing...I like how Mayor Cook sounds. I think he may like him more than Mayor Chavez!

Oh...and while I am an absolutely happily married man, your comments on Rep. Castro assured 100% that I will at least try to see a picture of her!

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry o View Post
As for Abq's council...I really don't have any bad issues except the ''Red Lite Cameras'' as i hate those with a passion. I wish Brad Winter would have won the Mayors race as Mayor Martin Chaves is too dictitorial for my taste. And of course Eric Griego was on the far left of issues for me to like, I also like Sally Mayer and despise my own which is Martin Heinrich as he's too liberal. Also i'm against the street car tax that they are pushing.
[quote=harry o;512964]You are nicer to the ABQ City Council than I am. I absolutely have learned to abhore them as a group. The only one I am not feeling that way about is Brad Winter...I too now wish he would have won, even though up to that point, I didn't mind Chavez.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry o View Post
Also interesting and that is UTEP head football coach Mike Price who is Anglo is highly admired in EP and so is former Utep Basketball coach Don Haskins and El Paso Diablo former owner Jim Paul so i think most are not concerned as long as you have EP's interest at heart BUT i say this as an outsider since 1990 when i left so others are more inclined to give you a better answer i'm sure.
That is interesting and true too...I know that Haskins is a legend in EP. And, I believe that EP's head basketball coach is an African American fellow, so it really does appear that there is diversity in many high-profile positions in EP, which is great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry o View Post
Hey maybe we'll be adding your name to the mayors lists in the future EnjoyEP...... later !
Hey...you never know...I may just throw my hat in in ten years or so! While I do not know much Spanish, I actually am hopeful to learn, which wouldn't hurt my chances, and if I get progress on two awesome job opportunities I have expressed interest in in EP, I am guessing I will be a resident soon! Just make sure I have your vote if you are ever there again!
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Old 03-29-2007, 05:27 PM
 
13,140 posts, read 36,679,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry o View Post
NorthEast Rep M.Castro. Although i find her georgeous and she should have been a Playboy Playmate or Hooters Girl
O.k. i was going overboard on my quotes about her as a Playmate and all but she still is very pretty. Her picture doesn't do her any justice as she is prettier in person.

Also remember that UTEP won the 1966 national NCAA basketball title with 5 black players starting which was unheard of back then. I remember hearing Coach Haskins say how he recieved death threats even several years after the title game.

Hey in 10 years you never know where i'll be so if i'm there you've got it. Heck maybe even our boy Muhnay will be heading back to town by then..LOL...LOL..
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Old 03-29-2007, 10:23 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
877 posts, read 2,715,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnjoyEP View Post
I would be very interested to hear others' informed thoughts too like eplifestyle, chuco, eptex, etc.
Well I have lived in a lot of places but I was born in El Paso and raised here till after I graduated high school back in the mid 90's and I have never lived in a place that was so laid back as El Paso. I love it here, do I love every single thing about El Paso? No way..but I also happen to love a lot of things about El Paso (low crime rate, laid back peeps, good Mex food, hot latin and blond chics, climate, etc...) and thats why I moved back here.

I also like it how race isn't so much of an issue in this town, some people don't think the same way I do but having lived in other cities I have noticed that El Paso people don't seem to care so much about what race you happen to be. Some people here do care but they are a very small minority especially when compared to other towns where a lot of people for some odd reason have to care about someones race more so than about their personality. I voted for Cook rather than Wardy because I liked what he was talking about and not because of what his race was. I love people of all races and I enjoy the different cultures that people from all over the country and world bring to wherever they live.

OK back to the topic:
I like the current city council (except for 3 councilmen) and mayor. The three people on the council that I don't like at all and hope that they get voted out on their next elections are Melina Castro, Eddie Holguin Jr., and Alexandro Lozano these three councilmen seem to want to keep El Paso in the dark ages, they fight any proposal that aims to modernize or help El Paso. These three seem to have an agenda against the rest of the council and claim that taxes will go up no matter what, and use that excuse to fight every single thing.

Mayor Cook seems to be a great mayor so far in my opinion. Mayor Cook is for helping this city move forward and wants to help attract more companies to the area. I don't really remember an issue where I have disagreed with him so far unlike Wardy who was mayor when I moved back and had multiple issues that were not popular with a lot of people. I hope Cook gets re-elected when his own election race takes place but that won't happen for another few years.

Melina Castro is hot, but her personality makes her look ugly to me, but take her personalty away and I would definitely think she is hot.

From what I have read Beto O'Rourke is of 100% Irish ancestry but his family knows Spanish quite well.

The county commissioners on the other hand I don't like much at all, but then again a few of them were replaced after the last election so I don't know much about the newcomers.
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:00 AM
 
47,576 posts, read 60,509,450 times
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I would guess it's a lot like the situation in Mexico itself -- the elite class, the politicians tend to be a European ethnicity -- like Vicente Fox for example -- or Calderon, or Lopez Obrador. Even the novelas -- the maids are white -- which is kind of silly since that wouldn't be the case in real life.

That's one of the things I didn't like about Mexico -- the color stratification of that society. You can look at the society pages in the Mexican newspapers and get an idea of how the wealthy and political families in Juarez and other cities are not very Indian or even mestiso.
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