Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Que Se Puede Esperar Si El Voto es Favorable Para Formar Un Municipio en Anthony?

1. Si Anthony se convierte en municipio, los impuestos de propiedad van a subir. El tasador del condado, Gary Pérez, dijo claramente: Anthony tendrá que aumentar los impuestos de propiedad en 13% para llegar al presupuesto municipal de $200,000, programado por el abogado Frank Coppler. Esto significa que para un hogar con un valor de $65,000 el impuesto subiría de $630 hasta $711, unos $7.00 por més. Los impuestos a la venta pudieran subir también.

2. Los servicios del municipio serán modestos. Mr. Frank Coppler, con su presupuesto de $200,000, prometió sólamente una corte de justicia municipal, un tesorero, y un oficial de policía. No hay fondos para pagar al consejo ni al alcalde, ni para viajes o equipo. Dado que los servicios de corte y de tesorería actualmente son proveídos por el condado, el beneficio real y concreto para la ciudadanía sería exactamente ún oficial de policía extra. Si el consejo quisiera proveér mas servicios que esto, o pagar un salario para el alcalde o comprar equipos, tendrían que aumentar los impuestos aún más.

3. Hay posibles beneficios fuera de la provisión de ún policía mas? Sí, bajo un liderazgo fuerte los miembros del consejo municipal pudieran empezar a escribir propuestas para fondos, pidiendo fondos de Santa Fe o de Washington, o pudieran escribir un plan maéstro para la ciudad. Paulatinamente el municipio pudiera crecer y mejorar muchísimo la gobernación de la comunidad. Bajo un liderazgo malo el consejo se dividiría internamente, gobernando de una forma desorganizada, y el pueblo sentiría una falta de transparencia en el uso de fondos públicos, con acusaciones de mordidas y corrupción.

4. Como Votar? Si Ud tiene confianza en los que han empujado la incorporación, vote Sí. Si no tiene confianza, vote No. Los que han manejado agresivamente la cuestión de la incorporación son: Pat Banegas, Víctor Montoya, y el abogado Frank Coppler. Si Ud piensa que ellos disponen de la maduréz, honestidad, y ganas de trabajar a favor del pueblo, vote Sí. Si Ud. no confía en esta gente, vote No.

What to Expect If Anthony Incorporates

1. If Anthony incorporates, your taxes will go up. County Assessor Gary Perez was clear: Hatch, Mesilla, and Sunland Park raised property taxes when they incorporated. Anthony will raise property taxes 13% to get to a city budget of $200,000. The tiny portion of the sales tax that will stay with Anthony will not yield enough (Anthony has very few businesses compared to Hatch and Mesilla) so sales taxes will go up too. If property taxes are raised to cover the whole $200,000, this means for a residence valued at $65,000 the tax would go up from $630 to $711, an increase of about $7.00 per month

2. Don't expect lavish services. Santa Fe attorney Frank Coppler, in his $200,000 budget, promised only a municipal court, a clerk-treasurer, and one police officer, as services. Since court and clerk-treasurer services are now provided by the county, the net gain for the citizens in services is one police officer. The Coppler budget had no salary for mayor, no travel or utilities, no legal costs. If the council wants these for itself, taxes will go up even more.

3. Are there other possible benefits, aside from the extra police officer? Yes. Under strong leadership, council members, without pay, might begin writing grant proposals, lobbying Santa Fe and Washington for funds, writing a master plan, and attracting new businesses. Governance could improve dramatically. At times this has happened in Sunland Park and Hatch, when leadership was strong. But don't expect miracles. Twenty five years after incorporation, with casino and racetrack, Verde, an international crossing, instant access to El Paso, and dozens of new businesses, the mayor of Sunland Park still makes only about $25,000 and things are far from perfect there. Under poor leadership you are likely to see a council split into warring factions, a disorganized government, and, worse, a feeling that underhanded things are taking place, a lack of transparency in the use of public funds, accusations of favoritism and payoffs, etc.

Bottom Line: Vote Yes if you trust the proponents. Vote No if you don't trust them. The most visible leaders pushing for incorporation are Pat Banegas, Victor Montoya, and Frank Coppler. Montoya's phone number is the point of contact in the MAF web site. If you feel these people have the maturity, trustworthiness, talent, and will power, the ganas, to work selflessly for the good of Anthony, then you should vote yes.

If you don't trust them, vote No. It is always possible if the vote goes through, for a different faction to take over, but it is a long shot, since those who pushed for incorporation usually have the upper hand.

Instructions for Posting Your Opinions on Incorporation Here

If you have an opinion to express about incorporation all you have to do is click on the "comments" and write in the "leave your comments" section. Please observe the rules outlined in my posting immediately below here.

Opinions on Anthony Incorporation Will Be Published Here

Given the lack of attention by local media, I will post opinions for, against, neutral, or contingent, about the Anthony incorporation PROVIDED the posting is reasonably brief; is not obscene or libelous, is coherent, and provided you identify yourself by name and whether or not you live in Anthony. This not a poll: I will not post one-word or one line statements like "Yes," or "I am against it." You need to give a reason. If I detect an orchestration effort, or if I get inundated by letters I will shut the whole thing down, but if you have something you would like to say to the people of Anthony for or against incorporation, I am inviting you to do so. Please state whether you live in Anthony somewhere in your comment, and you MUST identify yourself by your name, not nickname. The two postings below are reasonably good models.

Anthony Resident on Incorporation

Note: Given the lack of coverage of the Anthony incorporation issue I have decided to publish opinions, for or against or neutral, as long as they are reasonably coherent and provide information that might be useful for voters in making up their minds. This is the second note I have published here. JZG

I have already voted against this incorporation for a number or reasons including the way it has been carried out in the dark behind closed doors, the way the boundaries have been drawn, and because of the poor leadership driving it. I sincerely hope this incorporation effort is voted down at the polls because the residents of the Anthony area deserve to have ALL the information put before them for thoughtful consideration and discussion in order to make a sober, serious and informed decision whether or not to create a governmental entity that will have the power add to their property taxes and gross receipts taxes and also have the power to enact ordinances, codes, zoning, business licensing, pet licensing and who knows what else. Instead, what we've gotten is -- well, you wrote about the two recent meetings here in your blog. And thank you for that! The local media has utterly failed the residents of Anthony by failing to report on this incorporation attempt except in the most superficial way and failing to even ask the many questions that still need answers.

Municipalities have a great deal of power and authority and are expensive to operate. The backers of this say they won't need to raise property taxes and point to gross receipts taxes as a potential source of income. How many businesses generating gross receipts taxes do you see in Anthony on the NM side of the border? I live here (since 1977) and I can tell you, the answer is 'Not enough... not by a long shot'. This new city won't even have revenues coming in from its utilities. Anthony Water & Sanitation District is going to remain a separate entity and provide office space for the new city... uh... wait... wasn't that what happened to the Anthony Library before it disappeared? (Fortunately, the county took care of getting a new Anthony library building put up).

I was pleased to read that you spoke with Andrew Morales and he would consider a leadership role if the incorporation passes. His background, experience and maturity would be a real asset to this community in the role of mayor if this passes.

Karen Nichols

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Community Leader Expresses Concern About Lack of Information for Anthony Residents On Incorporation

Note: the following was sent to me by Arturo Uribe as a comment to an earlier blog. I decided to put it here instead of in the comment section because questions raised in it are important and should be seen by more people. Mr. Uribe is a community organizer from Mesquite. He has many years of experience in the South Mesilla Valley, including work in Anthony.

I am concerned that many folks who are reading about incorporating Anthony, NM are not getting enough information about the impact this decision will have on the families, business owners and property owners within the proposed boundaries. Which taxes will be raised, and by how much? How big is the budget going to be and what specific services will be provided? Which persons are likely to lead Anthony down this road if the proposal passes? What do we know about them? Are residents now outside the boundaries, and therefore ineligible to vote, likely to be annexed for tax purposes in the future? Have people who are promoting a casino for Anthony been involved in the group promoting incorporation, and if so, how or why? Many, many questions are still unanswered. And why hasn’t there been more interest, other than what is being posted here, coming from the Las Cruces Sun News or even Haussmann’s blog? It was touted in the Sun News (click here) as an important effort by the community, but none of the events in mid-December were covered there. With one week left till residents go out and vote, it is disappointing that these questions have not been seriously addressed or answered. Hopefully before Election Day those some of these questions can be answered so that voters can make a well informed decision.

Arturo Uribe

Andrew Moralez Doesn't Close the Door As a Possible Candidate for Mayor of Anthony, Should Incorporation Pass

After my posting on December 18, I received several comments (see below, in comments section to that post) suggesting that Andrew Moralez would make an excellent choice for Mayor of Anthony, should voters approve the measure on January 5. This morning I got another one asking who Moralez is, and while replying to this I decided to call Mr. Moralez and see if he might be interested in the job, and I had a lengthy conversation with him about it.

Mr. Moralez's first inclination was to reject the idea. The incorporation vote may not pass, and should it pass, he said, he might not be able to run for the job since he has a job with the state, and finally he would not want to run unless he felt there was strong support for him. I asked him if he would consider running if it was determined that there were no legal impediments to his running, and if he might make some arrangement between now and December 2010 that would enable him to keep working at least part time for the Border Authority. He said that under those conditions he would think seriously about the job and begin sounding out his potential base of support.

I told him I doubted there would be serious legal or salary issues with his running for the job, although I am not expert in this area. I encouraged him to explore the legal and salary issues, so he would be ready one way or another should the incorporation issue pass.

Mr. Moralez would indeed be an excellent choice to be the first mayor of Anthony. He ran the governor's office here in Las Cruces from 2003-2009, and then went to Santa Fe for several months to run the governor's constituent services office. Then he was appointed executive director of the NM Border Authority, where he has been for the last six months. In these positions he has been able to get to know the inner workings of several layers of state and local government, and to establish contacts with officials throughout the state. Let's face it, the first priority of the new municipality, should voters approve of it, would be to raise money and, second, to reassure people there were honest adults running the city. With Mr. Moralez's extensive contacts and mature demeanor he would fit the bill for both. Sunland Park is an object lesson Anthony. The city has made outstanding strides when it has had good leadership and all kinds of embarrassing disasters take place when leadership is bad.

Voters will still have to decide for themselves whether to support incorporation or not. I will be posting my thoughts about it in the next few days in a separate posting.

Juarez Municipal Budget Compared with El Paso and Albuquerque

The City Council of Cd. Juárez yesterday approved the budget for 2010 at $3 billion 175,000 Pesos, which, at an exchange rate of 13 to the dollar would be about $231 million in U.S. dollars. This is for a population of about 1.5 million persons.

By comprison El Paso County, Texas, with a population of about 760,000, has a combined budget (for the city and county, the equivalent of the Municipio de Cd. Juárez) of $936.57 million for 2010, more than four times as much for an area with half the population.

Bernalillo County, with a population of about 635,000, has a budget of about $1.26 billion (US) if you combine the budgets of the city ($904.3 million) with the county ($354.24 million), for 2010, well over 5 times as much for a population only 42% as large. Notice that the Albuquerque budget, combining city and county, is significantly higher than the combined budget of city and county in El Paso, reflecting a much wealthier community.

Calculating the difference in budgets using the official exchange rate, however, exaggerates the gap between the cities, since the Mexican Peso in purchasing power is higher (given lower wage rates, costs of living, etc.) than implied by the exchange rate. To adjust for this several global agencies, such as the World Bank and IMF, calculate what they call a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) index for each country, taking costs of living into account. For Mexico the IMF estimates per capita income at PPP to be $13,541 for 2009, compared to an exchange rate-derived per capita income of $10,200 (2008), a 33% adjustment upwards from the exchange rate.

Adjusting the Cd. Juárez upwards by 33% to give a more accurate picture of the purchasing power $231 million will buy there, generates a PPP estimate of $307.23 million ($US), still leaving a significant gap; El Paso county governments can purchase about 3 times as much stuff than Cd. Juárez. And Bernalillo county and city governments can purchase about four times as much.

Yesterday the city council agreed it would cost Cd. Juárez about $17 million pesos to keep the troops in town from January 1 through March. This amounts to about 2.27% of what the city will spend during those three months. The council justified the added expenditure on the grounds that the newly trained city police are "not yet ready" to take control of the city.

Six burned Buses in Four Days and Another Bakery Store Burned Down: Mayor Reassures Citizens

In another typical incident, at about 2:30 p.m. yesterday, a group of men entered a bus terminal downtown looking for a bus from the Circunvalacion route. They found it parked and waiting for its turn to leave the station and then ordered the passengers and chauffeur at gunpoint to get out of the bus. They threw gasoline into the bus and set fire to it before leaving the scene. This was apparently another case of reprisals by extortionists. Passengers simply boarded the next bus, according to La Polaka, with their eyes firmly fixed on the ground.

This was the sixth burned bus in the last four days. Bus drivers have increasingly been asked to pay weekly quotas to extortionists by skimming off revenues from fares. Many unpleasant and sometimes lethal incidents have occurred in front of passengers in recent months and passengers have been demanding better security from municipal police. As a result of the increase in extortion to buses, those who have bus concessions have been forced to cut their services and on the maintenance of their vehicles, creating a safety issue for passengers.

Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz, who is moving to Las Cruces this week (moving vans have been seen at his home in El Paso), announced yesterday he was placing 100 more police, many of the under cover, on the buses to try to stem this trend.

Yesterday a bakery store in Col. El Granjero was riddled with bullets and later burned, apparently because the owners refused to pay the quota demanded by extortionists. Witnesses said the incident took place at around 2 p.m. when a group of men began firing shots into the bakery store, which was closed for lunch, then broke the windows and threw gasoline into it, setting fire to the store and also to a van that was parked in front. These crimes have been increasing in frequency all year, causing great concern among small business owners throughout the city. Hundreds of businesses have closed as extortionists have tightened their grip on small businesses. Large businesses are more likely to be able to afford adequate private security forces, but they have not been entirely exempt, either.

Compiled from stories in Norte, Diario, La Polaka

The Beat From Christmas On: 2617 and Counting

On Christmas day four persons were murdered in Juarez; on Saturday seven, on Sunday six, on Monday four more. One of the victims yesterday was Diego Sanders Pérez, 59, owner of a nightclub called "El Palacio de las Estrellas,” downtown on the corner of 16 de Septiembre and Ramon Corona. He was killed in his home in Col Lomas del Rey. Sixteen 9mm spent cartridges were found near his body. Another, known as "El Junior," was known to traffic in pirated CDs.

Compiled from stories in Norte, Diario, La Polaka

Is There Something Wrong With This Picture?

Is There Something Wrong With This Picture?

On a chilly Wednesday evening in Mesquite this week people sat glumly around a square table in the conference room at the fire house. An outer circle formed as people filled empty chairs against the walls of the room. Senator Mary Kay Papen opened up to a crowd of about 30 with a summary of the state’s bleak fiscal condition: a $600 million shortfall in 2011 for a $5 billion budget that was $6 billion in 2009; massive cuts in spending unavoidable; zero capital outlay funds for new buildings, repairs, or one-time expenditures for community projects—normally an important source of funding for small communities; no likely turnaround for another three years.

County Commissioner Oscar Vasquez Butler, an articulate, cowboy-hatted advocate for the downtrodden, suggested the legislature should eliminate what he characterized as rampant “double-dipping” by state employees in high paying positions. He was referring to a loophole approved at the governor’s request a few years ago, permitting employees to return to state government 3 months after retirement, getting full salary plus retirement benefits without having to contribute into the retirement fund. The system, he said, is being abused by the governor, who has rewarded loyalists with key high-paying positions. The senator was sympathetic but said she didn’t think the governor had placed this item on the “call,” for the legislative session that starts next week. So the legislature cannot deal with it.
Martin Nieto, president of a newly formed public water utility, said he cannot qualify for available state funds for infrastructure because the state is inflexible about requiring three years of audit reports. His utility, only six months old, cannot produce them. He needs these funds to leverage available federal dollars. Utilities are eligible for special federal funds since the county has a high proportion of designated “colonias,” communities without essential infrastructure needs. Fire chief Alfred Nevarez said he needs a stipend for his volunteer firefighters. Recruitment and retention are down and his ability to provide protection, including EMS, is seriously compromised. Jesus Carrasco complained that out of 40 contracts and subcontracts given out for Spaceport America so far, only 4 relatively small subcontracts were given to Dona Ana County firms. Governor Richardson and local real estate developers persuaded citizens of Dona Ana County to vote themselves sales tax increases three years ago to subsidize the private spaceport, promising contracts and high paying jobs during the construction phase. Most contracts went to Albuquerque, which is not taxing itself for the spaceport, and there are accusations that some contractors are not paying prevailing wages, as promised. The state has already subsidized the project by over $200 million, but the boom promised for the county has not materialized.
The five communities represented at the firehouse are in the South Mesilla Valley, which has 22,000 registered voters. Obama received 68% of the SMV vote in 2008. Richardson got 71% in 2006. Per capita incomes in the communities in 2008 ranged from about $8309 in Vado and $9379 in Mesquite, a little higher in Desert Sands and Berino, and about $15,086 in La Mesa. US per capita personal income in 2008 was $36,031. As Espy Holguin, a long-time community activist in the South Valley, said to the senator, “it’s not as if these people are asking for swimming pools and luxury items. We’re talking basic stuff like fire protection and sewers and jobs.”
Arturo Uribe asked whether the $82 million subsidy to the film industry would end or if the state were to roll back the $200 million in tax cuts for the wealthy, a gift from Richardson enacted a few years ago. One university study in 2008, he pointed out, indicated the film subsidies were getting back less than fifteen cents in revenues for every dollar taxpayers spent on the subsidies. The governor had taken these items “off the table,” Sen. Papen explained. They were “near and dear” to him.

Richardson was forced to withdraw his nomination for a cabinet position last year in light of an FBI investigation into cozy relationships between the state and Richardson campaign contributors. Investigations and lawsuits are ongoing a year later about relationships between Richardson friends and fees paid to third party agents seeking to invest hundreds of millions of state pension funds. In one single transaction the state is alleged to have violated its own rules on prudent investing to dole out $90 million to a well-connected party, only to lose $86 million. All in all hundreds of millions were lost.

Under Richardson’s administration the state enjoyed an unprecedented spending spree, raising the budget much faster than economic growth, against the advice of Senator John Arthur Smith, who warned that the rise in spending was unsustainable and would lead to pain when oil and gas prices fell. Richardson ridiculed Smith by calling him “Dr. No,” just as oil and gas prices began to plummet.
Asked whether the legislature has the sentiment to challenge the governor about his spending and taxing priorities during the worst fiscal crisis the state has faced since the Great Depression, Senator Papen, who has frequently challenged the governor and paid the price for it, said she didn’t think the will existed in the House, where the Speaker is close to Richardson and rarely challenges him. In the senate, she said, she just wasn’t sure.

Senate Finance Chair John Arthur Smith met with a smaller group at the same fire station the next day. Smith, who more than any single legislator has warned his colleagues about the perils of fiscal irresponsibility, often to deaf ears, said he was determined the legislature would not have its hands tied by the governor’s restrictive “calls,” but he admitted he didn’t think the votes were there for a serious challenge to Richardson.

Civic leaders in the South Mesilla Valley are wondering aloud just why legislators won’t challenge an $80 million subsidy for Hollywood film makers or “double-dipping” during an economic crisis in a state with the third highest poverty rate in the country. Is there any moral courage or authority left in the state legislature? Who does state government belong to?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mayor of Juarez Moving to Las Cruces

One week from today the mayor of Cd. Juárez, José Reyes Ferriz, will move to Las Cruces "for personal reasons." He has been living in El Paso, away from the dangers of the city whose public security he is responsible for. Mr Reyes made this announcement in an emotional press conference last last night at municipal headquarters in Juárez.

Border Hospitality from Las Cruces?

At the press conference last night where he announced his decision to move to Las Cruces, a group of about 20 persons, apparently Las Crucens who had got wind of the move, began protesting, saying "go back to Juárez, you're going to endanger us." Another shouted, "Its not our fault if the mayor is tired of being blamed for not living in Juárez. He should go back to Juárez becaused he's not welcome here."

The small crowd of about 20 persons from Las Cruces suddenly grew larger as people in Juarez learned of Reyes' decision. "It's absurd for the mayor of the most violent city in the world to live on the other side when we live daily as hostages to criminals who extort from us and murder with impunity," shouted another protester. When the crowd outside the mayor's office, which is just a few yards from the border, got to be about 200, security forces began to safeguard the area, and Reyes was escorted out a back entrance to a helicopter Diario reported had been provided by U.S. Special Forces.

Sources: Diario and Norte, today, stories by Horacio Carrasco Soto and Pablo Hernández Batista, respectively.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Esther Chavez Cano, Human Rights Fighter, Dies

The streets of Cd. Juárez rang out with the chimes of a single mobile church bell that sounded out as the coffin of Esther Chavez Cano passed by. "Each chime that rings out symbolizes the appeal to justice that Esther fought for all her life," said Irma Casas, who operates Casa Amiga, the first rape crisis center and women's shelter in Juárez, founded in 1999 by Esther Chavez. "The chimes should remind the authorities of each dead woman, of each unpunished crime. It should remind them of the more than ten thousand orphans lying in the wake of the war on drugs, and how the ensuing poverty is helping to mold the assassins of the future," she added. In the funeral cortege were dozens of women, some from the poorest sections of town, many of them victims of violence.

Esther Chavez Cano, who died Christmas day after a lengthy battle with cancer, seventeen years ago began writing down a list of known facts about the female victims of homicide, during a time when these were not taken seriously by authorities. More than any single person, Chavez brought these crimes--and the failure of authorities to even care about them, much less investigate them--to the attention of the world.

A year ago, in early December, she was awarded the Cultural Freedom Award from the Lannan Foundation and a few days after that President Felipe Calderon presented her with the National Human Rights Award. A few days ago, on Dec. 10, 2009, the city council of Cd. Juárez passed a resolution ordering a street to be named after her.

I met her only a few times, and I wrote about one encounter with her (click here) on September 26. I heard her speak at several forums dealing with security issues and I ran into her a few months ago by chance in Juárez.

Esther Chavez Cano symbolized the moral authority of a citizen confronting a corrupted political class to speak truth to power and demand action. I've seen her scold proud bureaucrats so cleanly and articulately with just a few well chosen words that they flinched visibly, unable to answer her challenge. Her words, of course, were profoundly true, but that doesn't explain the flinch. There was something about her gaze and her demeanor that made you realize she was also conveying to them, wordlessly, her personal expectation for them to be better, like a mother whose moral authority derives from her inner character, demanding respect and shame when you fall short. They must have dreaded that unanswerable, withering glare and the unspoken, personal challenge that went with it.

Cesar Chavez had that same quality of making you want to rise to his level. He made it seem easy to do so, although it was not, but you felt good about yourself anyway for just lending a meager helping hand. This quality was one of the secrets of his success. With Esther you understood the danger she was courting to challenge authority so directly, and the dramatic confrontation between moral and corrupted political authority placed you irresistibly, and maybe nervously, on her side. Only someone whose inner moral compass was quite secure could have gotten away with it. Like Archbishop Romero in El Salvador a third of a century ago, when she spoke to authority everyone understood she represented the unwashed masses, the voiceless victims of violence and their yearning for ordinary justice. In all three cases the people being represented understood what was happening in this three-way relationship between authority, moral courage, and the lowly, and responded with an intense and heartfelt gratitude.

And therefore never send to know for whom....

Quotes by Irma Casas are my translation from La Jornada en Linea.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Army Will Stay in Juarez Through March

As I predicted, city authorities in Juarez have concluded an agreement with the Mexican Army that will keep troops stationed here through March of 2010.

While the presence of Mexican troops has done nothing to stop the number of homicides, no one seems to know what might happen should the troops go home, leaving security in Cd. Juarez in the hands of newly recruited police officers fresh out of the police academy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute Christmas Killings

As Christmas Eve was closing in on the most violent city in the world, at about 4:40 p.m. two more men were prevented from living through the dusk to nightfall. They were driving in a Chevrolet pickup in Lomas de San José when another vehicle intercepted them and started shooting. The pickup crashed into an electric post and the assassins walked up to the Chevrolet and gave each one a Christmas coup de grace.

If the lull in homicides last week was to allow assassins time off for Christmas shopping, the sicarios must have finished in time to get in some last-minute executions before Christmas. Nine persons were murdered on Sunday, and ten were killed on Monday, including an unidentified man shot while riding a bicycle. Then on Tuesday morning two street vendors who sold burritos were gunned down near the Pronaf. Nine men and two women were killed in Juarez between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, and at least six were killed on the day of Christmas eve.

Marisela Rivera Venzor, 40, and her son Juan Ramon Gonzalez Rivera, 17, apparently an El Paso high school student, were found dead in a home in Anapra, stabbed and beaten with a sledge hammer, on Tuesday evening at 8:40 p.m.

At midnight on Tuesday night Raria Ruiz Nevarez, 28, and Jesus Mendoza Vazquez, 32, were shot while driving on Vicente Guerrero. Nine 9 mm cartridges were found at the scene. The next morning, at 8:30 a man was found dead in Col. Villa Esperanza, with multiple wounds. At 11:20 a man was shot several times in the face and killed at a grocery store in col Obrera.

On Wednesday afternoon at about 3:00 p.m. four men were shot to death as they were driving in a gray Cherokee in Loma Blanca. An hour later Jose del Carmen Granados Perales, 33, was shot to death by assassins in a moving vehicle as he stood outside his parents' home near Nigeria and Canada. After the first volley the victim was lying on the ground when one of the assassins got out of his vehicle and shot the victim in the head. Three super 38 cartridges were found nearby. At 8:15 p.m. Gloria Quiroz Adame, 43, was killed along with her 24-year old son and a twelve-year old cousin, inside their home in Col. Campanario. Assassins entered the home and began shooting. Witnesses heard at least 30 gunshots.

This morning an unidentified man was found dead from two bullet wounds, in Col. Francisco Sarabia. Another man, Heriberto Varela, 28, was found lying on the Juárez-Porvenir highway near Agustin Medina Street. Several 40 caliber cartridges were found nearby. Another man was shot while driving his pickup in Lomas de San Jose. He was shot several times in the head. At about 2:40 p.m. in Rincones de Salvarcar a man driving a sports car was killed after he fled from his car, apparently aware he was being pursued. A volley of gunfire killed him and wounded two others. At about the same time a man was killed by assassins in front of a second-hand stand in Parajes del Sur.

Finally, as Christmas Eve was closing in on the most violent city in the world, at about 4:40 p.m. two more men were prevented from surviving through the dusk to nightfall. They were driving in a Chevrolet pickup in Lomas de San José when another vehicle intercepted them and started shooting. The pickup crashed into an electric post and the assassins walked up to the Chevrolet and gave each one a Christmas coup de grace.

By my unofficial count about 2611 persons have been the victims of homicide in Juarez this year. I have consistently underestimated the number of homicide victims in my projections so far this year, because the pace has been accelerating in the past few months. Just four weeks ago, on November 20, I projected a year-end total of 2568.

Compiled from stories in Norte, Diario, El Paso Times, La Polaka

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Lull? Homicides Fall Off, Extortionists and Car Thieves Still At It

Sicarios busy Christmas shopping? For whatever reasons, homicides in Juarez are way down this week. On Friday only one person was killed, a police officer, gunned down in his patrol car at 10 p.m. His partner was seriously wounded. He was the second police officer killed last week. Another man was killed by gunfire on Friday, but it was apparently just a fight in a bar, "Las Jarras," not a planned assassination. The victim, however, was just as dead as if he had been the target of a narcotraffic hit squad. No murders were recorded on Saturday or so far this morning. Two brothers, police officers, were gunned down in Chihuahua on Thursday. The Albuquerque Journal incorrectly stated this morning that they were killed in Juarez.

On the other hand, extortionists, perhaps needing some last-minute Christmas shopping cash, have stepped up the pace. The latest target appears to be tire repair shops. Other targets are bakeries, bars, restaurants, repair shops, used car lots, junk stores, schools, butcher shops, funeral homes, and grocery stores. The small business class in Juarez has been collectively terrorized to the breaking point by extortion, which increased dramatically since the Spring.

In November 1924 vehicles were stolen in Juarez, which calculates to a monthly rate of 128 per 100,000, or an annual rate of 1539. Albuquerque, one of the top cities for automobile theft in the U.S., had a monthly rate in 2008 of 61 per 100,000 or 732 per year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

MAF Town Hall Meeting Tense Last Night

The first organized meeting for the public held by Moving Anthony Forward, attended by about 100 persons, was tense last night as leaders of MAF made clear they were unhappy with an informational meeting held the night before at Anthony Elementary. Bottom line: Anthony is divided over incorporation.

The first salvo was fired off by Mr. Frank Coppler, a Santa Fe attorney associated with the Anthony Water and Sanitation District, and author of a report in favor of incorporation presented in October to the Dona Ana County Commission. He began by accusing county assessor Gary Perez of using "scare tactics" the night before. Perez had calculated it would take a 12.7% increase in property taxes to reach a proposed budget of $200,000.

Perez, who was in the audience, strode to the podium to defend himself, saying he had made it clear (the article below shows his words to be true) municipal authorities might not impose any new property taxes at all. He simply assumed in a slide that Anthony would raise property taxes just as municipalities in Hatch, Mesilla, and Sunland Park have done. Coppler went on to assert that enough revenues could be generated to cover the budget from increases in gross receipts taxes, fines and fees, on citizens from Anthony and from that portion of the gross receipts tax that Anthony now sends to Santa Fe which would remain with the proposed municipality after incorporation. Thus, he argued, it was possible that municipal authorities might not raise property taxes.

The next flash point occurred when Victor Montoya, of MAF, accused the organizers of the meeting the night before of being "outsiders," not from Anthony, with an agenda. A woman immediately stood up, identified herself as Teresa Fisher, and said she had organized the meeting last night, she was from Anthony, and her only agenda was to provide information to the public about the incorporation process. Montoya repeated his accusation about outsiders, and about ten persons stood up and said they were at the meeting last night and all lived in Anthony. Montoya, irritated, said they had had their meeting the night before and had no business at this meeting. Another woman replied that she had come to find out more about incorporation and her understanding was that the meeting was public.

At the end of the meeting Betty Gonzalez scolded the organizers of MAF, complaining that with 19 days before the final vote this was the first public meeting held. "I had hoped," she said, that a majority of citizens would participate in the discussions about incorporation, and that the entire community would come together in a spirit of cooperation, but this will not be the case. Only a small minority of persons will determine the outcome of the election, she said.

Numerous testimonials in favor of incorporation were given. One particularly eloquent testimonial was given by Jose Garcia (no relation), who said his only special interest in favoring the incorporation was his children, who would benefit from this step to gain control over the future of the community.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Escaramuza en Anthony Sobre la Municipalizacion

No fué un tiroteo estilo Juárez, con acribillados, pero tampoco no fué una tardeada de té con galletas y botanas. En una reunión ésta noche en Anthony, la primera reunión pública organizada por Moving Anthony Forward (el grupo que ha promovido la municipalización de Anthony), quedó sin duda que la comunidad se ha dividido sobre el tema. Aparentemente, la dirigencia de MAF se fastidió con la reunión sostenida anoche, reportado aquí, donde el tasador del condado, Gary Pérez, dió una ponencia sobre la incorporación y los impuestos.

Al comenzar la reunión esta noche, en la presencia de unas cien personas, el Sr. Frank Coppler, abogado de MAF, acusó a Gary Pérez de emplear tacticas de temor anoche al hablar sobre la necesidad de aumentar impuestos. Perez apareció de inmediato al microfono para defenderse, respondiendo que él expresó claramenta (vea el artículo abajo para comprobar sus palabras) que para llegar al presupuesto propuesto por el mismo Coppler, sería necesario aumentar los impuestos de residencia en 12.7%, pero que al final de cuentas, el cabildo decidiría cualquier imposición de impuestos. Con esto, Mr. Coppler siguió su intervención, insistiendo que hay otros impuestos, como los impuestos sobre la venta, multas, la venta de permisos de construcctión, etc., y que en todo caso el municipio recobraría los impuestos sobre la venta de artículos vendidos en Anthony que ahora van directamente al estado. Esos impuestos, segun Coppler, serían mas de lo necesario para financiar todo los gastos de municipio sin tener que recurrir a impuestos de propiedad.

Momentos después, el Sr. Víctor Montoya acusó a los organizadores de la reunión de anoche de haber sido agitadores externos. Inmediatamente, una señora se paró, se identificó, diciendo que habia organizado la reunión de anoche, que vive en Anthony, y que nada tiene que ver con intereses ajenos. Varias otras personas se pararon para decir que tambien son de Anthony y que asistieron la reunion de anoche. Montoya, inquieto, entonces manifestó que "la reunión de aquí es de nosotros, y ustedes no tienen por que intervenir," lo que provocó la indignación de varias personas que murmuraron que ellos habian venido para orientarse mejor sobre el tema y que de todas maneras la reunión era pública y que tenían todo el derecho de estar presentes. Mas tarde Montoya pidió disculpas por su comportamiento.

Antes que se acabara la reunion la Sra. Betty Gonzalez tomó la palabra, quejandose por la falta de atención que los promotores de MAF han puesto en solicitar la colaboración del pueblo en su proyecto de municipio. "En 19 dias el voto habra termindado y recien esta noche estamos en la primera reunion que los promotores han tenido para aclarar sus perspectivas y las dudas del pueblo," dijo. Yo quería que la mayoría del pueblo participara en este proyecto, cada uno contribuyendo su perspectiva, per veo que no va a ser asi. Una minoría muy estrecha decidirá si se incorpora Anthony o no.

Una serie de personas hablaron a favor de la incorporación, como el Sr. Manny Garcia, presidente de Lulacs en Anthony, un cura local, un pastor protestante, Nancy Gepfert, Jose García, y otras personas mas.

County Assessor Addresses Anthony Incorporation

County Assessor Gary Perez Addressed a crowd of about 40 persons at Anthony Elementary School last night, laying bare the facts about the tax implications should citizens vote for the incorporation of Anthony.

Bottom Line: Property taxes will go up. According to Perez statutes require newly formed municipalities to raise at least $200,000 on their own before qualifying for other kinds of public funds. Should officials--still to be elected--impose new property taxes on the community, these would have to be raised 12.7% in order to reach the magic level of 200,000. For a residence with a market value of $60,000 this would amount to $656.04. Raising property taxes to the level imposed by Hatch, Mesilla, and Sunland Park, would raise taxes almost 10% but would only generate $149,000.

Perez was careful to qualify his remarks by indicating that newly elected officials could, if they chose, opt not to raise property taxes at all, but he did not explain how the new municipality would then raise the needed $200,000. In reponse to a question from the audience, he said he knew of no municipality that does not impose new property taxes, but he admitted he is not well versed in municipal financing.

Victor Montoya, who is associated with those in favor of incorporation, asserted that "millions" could be raised from the imposition of new gross receipts taxes, charging fees for services, charging for building permits, fees for parking, etc., including non-tax revenues.

Karen Nichols, a resident of Anthony, said she was "absolutely appalled" that with the election already under way, citizens had not been informed until now by any impartial party about the implications of incorporation. Perez agreed, indicating he thought new statutes should require timely, objective disclosure of how incorporation would affect residents. In preparing for a presentation to the county commission on behalf of Moving Anthony Forward, Perez said, Mr. Frank Coppler did not contact him about the tax implications, relying instead on informal communications with a staff member of his office, and as a consequence Coppler provided incorrect information to the county commission.

One question asked of Mr. Perez was why Green Acres, a relatively wealthy neighborhood in Anthony, had not been included in the map of incorporation. Mr Perez indicated he had nothing to do with the boundary lines, inasmuch as they were drawn up by the faction advocating incorporation. Later, I asked Mr. Robert Medina, one of the persons in the audience, if he knew the answer. He said, "simple, they know what's going on and they don't want their property taxes to go up. Had they been included they would have led a movement against incorporation."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tendran que Aumentar los Impuestos: Oficial del Condado, Exponiendo Sobre La Propuesta de Crear Un Municipio en Anthony

Gary Pérez, Tasador del condado de Doña Ana afirmó anoche que el imaginado Municipio de Anthony, concepto promovido por un grupo que se denomina Moving Anthony Forward, tendría que aumentar los impuestos de propiedad en un mínimo de 12.7% para satisfacer los reglamentos vigentes para la creación de municipios. Este detalle fué uno de los muchos elaborados en una presentación del oficial del condado que tuvo lugar anoche en Anthony Elementary School en una reunión asistida por unas 40 personas.

El oficial, que goza de mucha credibilidad en todos los sectores de la sociedad local, aseveró que para llegar a la cifra mágica de $200,000 dólares, requerida por las autoridades estatales para conceder un permiso para la creación de un nuevo municipio, las nuevas autoridades municipales tendrían que imponer un impuesto adicional de 12.7% para todos los propietarios de la zona afectada, sean propietarios de residencia o de predios o negocios. Para un residente con una propiedad evaluada en $60,000 el impuesto sería de $656.04 dólares. El ilustre tasador añadió que, dependiendo de quienes fueran electas al cabildo--en caso que el pueblo decidiera a favor de la incorporación--es posible que el cabildo decidiera no imponer nuevos impuestos de propiedad (imponiendo impuestos sobre la renta u otras fuentes), pero respondiendo a una pregunta del público, el Sr. Perez indicó que desconoce de un solo caso en que los municipios han negado a subir los impuestos a la propiedad

Aparentemente ha habido muy poca información difundida por parte de los que han promovido la propuesta de municipalización, lo que provocó varios comentarios de agradecimiento por parte del público por la participación del Sr. Pérez y del Sr. Mario Jiménez, Director de Elecciones del condado de Doña Ana. El Sr. Jiménez explicó entre otras cosas que no habrá modo de votar provisionalmente en estas elecciones, ya que son de índole municipal, bajo un reglamento distinto a los de las elecciones ordinarias.

Hablando a favor de la incorporación, el Sr. Víctor Montoya, uno de los promotores de la propuesta, indicó que además de los impuestos de propiedad, fuentes adicionales existen para financiar el municipio, dando como ejemplo un aumento en los impuestos sobre la venta (gross receipts taxes) o en tarifas para servicios, permisos de construcción, etc. Indicó que con estas fuentes adicionales se podría elaborar un presupuesto multimilionario para el municipio. Cabe preguntar si el pueblo está dispuesto a subir sus impuestos de propiedad en 12.7% para la humilde cifra de $200,000 dólares durante tiempos de escasez economica. El 5 de enero el pueblo dará su respuesta.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Darkness at Noon: Wait Line at Santa Teresa One Hour Today

I knew I was in trouble when I saw four street vendors, pushing their supermarket carts with rickety wooden scaffolding propped up to hold up to view their candies, pictures of Pope Paul II and the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexican flags, potato chips, scapularies, and corn chips. I'd never seen a single professional ambulante at this crossing before. They were moving caravan-style from the San Jeronimo parking lot where the military jeeps stop traffic, heading toward the Santa Teresa crossing. It could only mean one thing: a traffic line at least 20 minutes long. Sure enough, when I turned the corner I saw the line backed up all the way to the front of the Mexican customs facility. I calculated, correctly, about 50 minutes to an hour, and as a consolation I bought a sinfully caloric bag of chile corn chips and tried to sneak in a 30-second siesta here and there in homage to the noon hour while waiting for the line to inch up a car length or two.

I also read the grisly details from the newspaper accounts of the 26 persons who were murdered in Juarez this past weekend. The one about the woman who bled to death from gunshot wounds as the ER people reached her car stuck in traffic three blocks from the hospital was the one that most stuck in my head. All in all I counted 8 rickety supermarket carts. The word has gotten out and so forget it, Santa Teresa will no longer be an easy 2-10 minute wait. When the four lanes from Juarez are finished the lines will be even longer. This turn of events will definitely affect my marginal decision to go to Juarez or not.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday Night: The Beat Goes On: 2492 and Counting

The 142nd female victim of assassination this year year was found early this morning (Saturday) in Col. San Antonio close to the railroad tracks, where the trains go under a tunnel, very near the same spot another woman was found dead last week. The body of the woman was kneeling with her head on the ground as though she had been forced to kneel before being shot eight times through the head and back. She was wearing denim pants and a simple red jacket. She was thin, with dark complexion and her hair came down to her shoulders. In 2008 87 women were victims of assassination. From Diario

The 143rd female victim of assassination was discovered this morning, wrapped in a blanket ("encobijada") in an empty lot in col. Anáhuac. From Diario

Mexican army soldiers arrested two municipal police officers on active duty at the Aldama Station, accused of extortion. According to informed sources the owner of an exchange house complained to the army about threats he had received from the police officers. They were arrested immediately and the man who complained was taken to the Aldama station to file a statement. Norte and Diario

Five men were assassinated yesterday (Friday). A 62 year old man was found with his legs tied together with tape and a bullet wound to his head. then two men, apparently employees of a cable television firm, were shot to death as they drove a sand-colored Grand Marquis. Then another man was gunned down at Santiago and Independencia (downtown) and in the afternoon a man was killed inside a grocery store on Delicias and Oscar Flores. Norte

Tonight (Saturday night) seven more persons were added to the list of about 2485 persons murdered so far this year, bringing the total to 2492 and counting. A man about 25 year old was killed by assassins driving a dark Caravan. He was apparently walking in col. 15 de Septiembre when the attack began and he tried ducking into a nearby house when he was felled by a hail of bullets. Juarez Hoy

A man about 25 was shot to death inside an auto repair shop in Col. Independencia II. He was identified only as Jesus, a.k.a, "el pollo," (the chicken). His body was between two automobiles under repair in the shop. Diario

Two men were killed in an attack outside a home where a family gathering was taking place. Both men, 23 and 27, were shot from the same vehicle, a brown Nissan Murano. One of the slain men was inside a Toyota Camry, while the other was in a late-model black Malibu. Both, apparently, were arriving at the family gathering when a commando group attacked them.

This evening three men were shot and killed in an automobile body shop in Col, El Granjero.

Reunion Miercoles Sobre Municipalizacion de Anthony

Ciudadanos contemplando la municipalización de Anthony pueden acudir a una reunión pública que tendrá lugar en Anthony Elementary School el día miércoles 16 de diciembre, a las 5:30 p.m., para informarse sobre el aumento en el impuesto predial que resultará en el caso que los ciudadanos de Anthony votaran a favor de la municipalización.

En la reunión del miércoles dará una presentación el tasador de impuestos del condado, Sr. Gary Pérez, quien dirigirá la palabra sobre el costo de tal municipalización para los dueños de propiedades y predios en el área afectado. También estará presente un oficial del condado para contestar preguntas sobre el proceso de votación.

La votación a favor o en contra de la municipalización empezó ésta semana en la sede del condado en Las Cruces, en Motel Blvd, Las Cruces, y continuará hasta el dia 5 de enero, fecha en que abrirán en Anthony urnas para la conveniencia de la ciudadanía local.

En un caso similar hace cuatro años una propuesta para la municipalización de Chaparral fué rechazada por los ciudadanos de aquella comunidad. Se planteaba incrementar en diez porciento los impuestos a la propiedad en Chaparral para dotar de un presupuesto de $167,000 para el municipio imaginario.

Hasta ahora ha habido muy poca información difundida sobre este proyecto, causando confusión entre la ciudadanía de la comunidad de Anthony, ya que no se sabe la cantidad del presupuesto programado para el municipio imaginado, ni los costos adicionales que serían adquiridos por los dueños de propiedades, predios, y hogares, afectados por la municipalización. Los que han abogado a favor de la municipalizacion tendrán la oportunidad el día miércoles de contestar las preguntas al respecto por parte de los ciudadanos interesados.

Las personas más vinculadas con el proyecto de municipalizar a la comunidad son: Sr. Víctor Montoya, ocupación desconocida, y el Sr. Patricio Banegas, actual director del distrito de aguas de Anthony.

Anthony Incorporation: Wednesday Public Meeting With County Assessor

County Assessor Gary Perez will make a presentation open to the public on Wednesday evening at 5:30 at the Anthony Elementary School describing what the proposed incorporation of Anthony is likely to cost property owners in increased taxes under various budgetary scenarios. He will make available a map (a copy is to your right)of the proposed incorporation area. A representative from the County Clerk will be there to answer questions about the special election to determine incorporation. Early voting began this past week for citizens willing to go to the courthouse in Las Cruces to vote. Citizens who have not made up their minds about incorporation might want to restrain from voting until they have heard the presentation.

A few years ago Mr. Perez made a similar presentation to interested citizens of Chaparral when incorporation of that area was proposed. Citizens voted down that incorporation.

As of this moment there has been surprisingly little information about the proposed incorporation of Anthony from those who are spearheading the drive for it, Pat Banegas and Victor Montoya, who lead a group called "Moving Anthony Forward." No maps have been released (the one to the right is the first public display of it), no information has been distributed about the proposed municipal budget size or what services are to be expected should incorporation take place, or what the cost to property owners, who will be paying the bills, will be.

Mr. Frank Coppler appeared before the Dona Ana County Commission earlier this fall, representing Moving Anthony Forward. He is currently the city attorney for Sunland Park, and lives in Santa Fe. In his presentation to the county commission on October 29, he indicated the County Assessor's office had projected $54,412,438 of "taxable assessed value in the area proposed to be incorporated," and that this would provide a budget of $200,000 per year, under what he asserted were "very conservative" projections. He did not, however, indicate what he thought the tax increase would be for property owners. It will be interesting to compare his figures with those to be provided by the county assessor.

Out of this $200,000 budget he suggested spending $80,000 for a clerk-treasurer plus operating expenses, $55,000 for a police officer, including expenses, $45,000 for a part-time municipal court, and $10,000 in per diem and mileage for the mayor and city council. If persons representing Anthony Moving Forward attend the meeting they might be able to answer questions from interested citizens.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Season of Peace? Forget it: the Beat Goes on 2469 and Counting

Fifteen dead on Thursday:

Thursday evening, 6 p.m., Dec. 10: A woman who was leaving the CERESO prison grounds, driving a blue Chevrolet Optra, was shot and killed in an attack by a commando group that caught up to her vehicle and started shooting. The woman lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the median strip in front of the Abraham Chavez Airport on the Pan American highway. She was pronounced dead on the scene, with eleven gunshot wounds. There was speculation the woman may have worked at the prison. Another woman was shot and killed a week ago in the same spot; lightning can strike twice.

One man was killed, another wounded, at about 1 am on Thursday morning as they were released from confinement at CERESO prison, where they had been held on charges of drug trafficking. Norte reports they were hugging and kissing family members who had come to pick them up as they were released, when a van drove by and began shooting. The van was abandoned a few blocks away. The man killed was José González Morúa, 28. He had spent one year and 8 months in prison and was being released on parole.

A municipal police officer, with the Juarez police force for the last three years, was shot and killed on Thursday afternoon while he was on patrol in his patrol car, on Gomez Marin near Faraday. Diario reports the police officer, Heriberto Soto Soria,33, under attack, lost control of his vehicle, which careened into the flow of oncoming traffic, crashing on the sidewalk. His patrol mate was wounded and taken to the hospital.

A man was found dead in Col. Chaveña at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday, with a .38 caliber gunshot wound to the neck. At 10:20 a.m. the body of a man, Alonso Morales, 20, was found dead outside a grocery store in Infonavit Casas Grandes. He was shot by men in an SUV. A few minutes later a man was reported dead from gunshot wounds inside a home on km. 5 of the Casas Grandes highway, just outside of town.

At 11:30 a.m. two more persons were found dead at the "Live Without Drugs" rehabilitation center, although the center has not been operating for some time. This is not the first time people have been killed in this location. Drug rehab centers have come under violent attack in recent months, with a mass murder of seventeen inmates at one center in August. At that time it was rumored that many drug rehabilitation centers were recruiting grounds for retail drug trafficking operators, and most centers have closed down.

At noon a man was shot and killed inside a glass shop in Granjas de Chapultepec.

At 3 p.m. three men were shot at, two killed, in an attack by an armed commando group in Col. Granjero.

A little after 5 p.m. four men were killed by gunfire as they were sitting in a Chevrolet Avalanche in the parking lot of the Bar Miros,Óscar Flores and Jesús M. Ríos. Two of the men died at the scene, two more after receiving medical attention.

Seventeen persons were killed on Wednesday. So far, no holiday let-up. 109 persons have been killed so far in December.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Brace Yourself: Looks Like a Long Recovery Period

The graph at the right, from, shows a graph of unemployment, measured by percentage job losses during each recession since World War II. The horizontal axis is calculated in months. The typical recession has job losses between one and three percentage points, bottoms out in six months to a year, and employment recovers in about the same amount of time it took to bottom out.

Look at the graph of our current recession, the bright red line showing a loss of over 5% of all jobs, equalizing the job loss of the worst post World War II recession of 1948: while it shows signs of bottoming out (unemployment declined from 10.2% to 10% in November), it took a full 23 months to get here, suggesting it may take as long to get to full job recovery. The graph also shows recent recessions have taken longer for employment to recover, for complicated reasons which have something to do with the relative power of capital vs. labor in the U.S. in the last three decades. The 2001 recession required nearly four years to recover to full employment, even though the economy as a whole was growing again in less than a year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Group of Groups Will March in Juarez on Dec. 6th

A "mega-march" is planned for December 6 in Cd. Juarez, "to demonstrate that juarenses are prepared to take their city back," and to present a list of demands to municipal authorities. The groups will congregate in front of the Mega-flag of Mexico near the Autonomous University of Cd. Juarez (UACJ) and march to city hall, about a mile away, where they will present their petition.

Among the groups participating in the march are:

**Observatorio Juarense para la Seguridad Publica y Seguridad Social (The Juarez Observatory for Public Security and Social Security), which is convening the march. The organization has been active for several months.

**Jovenes Por Juarez (Youth for Juarez)
**Comite Medico Ciudadano Citizen's Medical Committee)
**Plan Estrategico de Juarez (Strategic Plan for Juarez, a business civic group)
**Comision de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (Commission of Solidarity and Defense of Human Rights)
**Valores (Values)
**El Pacto: ciudadania + gobierno (Pact: citizens and government)
**Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte (Paso del Norte Center for Human Rights)
**Juarenses por la Paz (Juarenses for Peace)
**Ciudadanos por una Mejor Administracion Publica (Citizens for a better Public Administration
**Consejo Ciudadano de Desarrollo Social (Citizen's Council for Social Development)

The list of demands will include the following:

1. The design of a government-society alliance, to formulate a Plan for the Rescue of Juarez, based on the recognition that the violence here is not exclusively a problem of public security, but a serious crisis of governability, which cannot be resolved using traditional strategies in the hands of police and military.

2. The fostering of an integrated social policy that can respond to the urgent situation in Juarez, dealing with its causes and, with the participation of civil society, taking care of the thousands of victims of violence.

3. The restructuring of the security forces under a single civilian command, with full authority and with citizen participation, to attack crime.

4. The immediate formation of Citizens Councils, with legal authority to work with public security officials, to participate in decision making dealing with the operation, training, and behavior of security forces.

5. The installation of a permanent assembly to be called "Solution for Juarez," comprised of groups from civil society and the highest levels of command of the three levels of government, which will sign an agreement of cooperation, designating responsible parties, establishing priorities and tasks to be undertaken, and time frames for completion.