2013 in Review: Politics
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — El Paso politics were their own story this year, as the ongoing battle over the Chihuahuas ballpark loomed, the mayoral election took on a new importance for the city. Here, we've compiled a list of the biggest political stories of 2013.
The biggest battle this year came between Steve Ortega and Oscar Leeser in the runoff election in early June. In the end, Mayor Leeser came out victorious.
The desire to incorporate San Elizario came after the city of Socorro attempted to annex portions of San Elizario. An overwhelming percentage of area citizens voted to incorporate San Elizario in the November election. San Elizario now prepares to vote on its first set of council members and a mayor in 2014.
Local El Paso attorney Stephanie Townsend Allala fought to have former Mayor John Cook, City Council member Courtney Niland, former City Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega along with City Manager Joyce Wilson release their personal e-mails regarding the baseball stadium project. In September, a judge in Austin granted the order. Ortega is the only remaining City Representative that has not released all of his e-mail correspondence.
City Manager Joyce Wilson announced that she will step down at the end of her contract. The announcement came after earlier speculation that Wilson might leave El Paso for a City Manager position in Florida. Wilson turned down the Florida position, but announced her resignation from El Paso's City Manager position in early October. The City plans to find a replacement for Wilson by mid- 2014.
The Texas filibuster by Senator Wendy Davis had repercussions throughout the state of Texas. El Paso was no different. After the 13-hour filibuster by Davis at the end of June, the Texas Legislature called a second special session to pass the controversial Abortion bill that would effectively ban abortions at 20-weeks pregnancy and shutter most abortion clinics in the state of Texas if they did not meet the State's new ambulatory surgical center requirements. El Pasoans rallied at the El Paso County Courthouse for women's rights.
Public Corruption Sentencing
More of El Paso's former leaders were sentenced or plead guilty in the ongoing public corruption scandal in 2013. Willie Gandara Sr., Frank Apodaca Jr., Sal Mena, Betti Flores, along with other businessmen Marc Schwartz, Fernando Para and Joseph O'Hara were also sentenced. Anthony Cobos will be sentenced for his role on January 3rd.
EPISD hired Juan Cabrera, Jr. as their Superintendent in August. Cabrera replaced interim Superintendent Vernon Butler who was sitting in while the district looked for a permanent replacement after Lorenzo Garcia's sentence for public corruption.