The Lion's Den: Chavez, Marquez, and a little bit of R-E-S-P-E-C-T
by Jaime Abeytia
Posted on May 28, 2009
Respect is a big thing in the barrio and since state Rep. Norma Chavez is a somewhat of a chola at heart, it’s more important to her than most people. It's part of what makes her tick. It's part of what makes her good at what she does, it's part of what makes her “The People's Rep.”
The unending quest for respect can also be her greatest weakness. Anytime you DEMAND respect, you aren't going to get it because respect is earned, not obtained at emotional gun-point.
Since most of television these days is reality-based programming, then someone should package our delegation and all its drama, I'd suggest the name Days of our Delegation, and pitch it to a network. God knows we have enough drama to get a couple of season's worth of episodes. The latest installment in the novela that is our delegation in Austin, involves text messaging, a warning, and a returned gift.
I'm not taking sides in this one, but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that this personal beef between Reps Chavez and Marisa Marquez is getting out of hand.
They each represent barrio communities in El Paso and they each have the opportunity to do a lot of great things for their communities. Continuing with political in-fighting is completely unproductive.
Chavez is right to believe that she's earned a certain amount of respect from Marquez. Chavez is pretty much Marquez's political madrina. She paid for and planned the quinceñera, so she deserves to have her place. Marquez would not have her seat if it weren't for Chavez's personal political investment in the race and the help of another key figure from Chavez's camp, Lily Ruiz. Ruiz was the mastermind behind the day-to-day operations of the Marquez campaign, a fact that largely goes unreported.
In fact, if anyone should be given their place, it's Ruiz.
But how many times does Marquez have to publicly thank Chavez before Chavez feels like she's been given her place? How many times does Marquez have to publicly say she respects her mentor? How many times is enough?
It's My Party
Chavez recently earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government from UT Austin and had a shin dig thrown in her honor, not sure by whom or who paid for it, but attendees tell me it was quite the party. Chavez sent Marquez a text message asking her not to attend and that if she did attend, she'd be asked to leave.
Marquez purchased a fancy, and expensive, frame for Chavez's diploma that was a special order item. Marquez sent the gift to Chavez's office prior to receiving the don't-come-to-my-party text message from Chavez.
Chavez sent one of her staffers, an attorney named John Kearney, to return the gift to Marquez.
At first glance this might look like another public Chavez tantrum. But maybe, just maybe, Chavez is crazy like a fox. Think about it for a moment, Chavez is bullet-proof in her district. She stomped a mud hole in a well-funded, well-connected member of the Reyes clan that tried to unseat her in the election prior to last. Last time around, she ran unopposed. There are no elected officials that live in her district that can, or would, take her on for her seat. She's pretty much queen for life in her district.
But Marquez isn't.
Marquez is vulnerable, not only from the remnants of the now-defunct Moreno Mafia, but from anyone Chavez decides to back that runs against her. Chavez doesn't have to worry about looking bad because she's the Floyd Mayweather of El Paso, you may not like her, but you sure aren't going to beat her. Marquez could end up being Buster Douglas, a one-hit wonder, if she's not careful.
Chavez might be attempting to soften her up before the next election. It looks like there could be a strategy afoot. She asked Marquez to allow an amendment to her ethics bill that would prohibit law enforcement from giving rides to drunken elected officials. In one of the text messages sent to Marquez during the you-can't-come-to-my-party dispute, Chavez writes, “U ridiculed my education every drunk opportunity u had...”.
That’s two references to Marquez and alcohol. Could that be part of Chavez's strategy?
If there isn't a deliberate strategy going on, there is at least an obvious pattern of Chavez's stormy relationships with other members of the El Paso delegation.
We all know of her legendary clashes with former state Rep. Paul Moreno, who was replaced by Marquez.
Then there’s the clashes she’s had with state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh. [background]
Now comes the clash with Marquez.
It appears that Chavez almost has to have an adversarial relationship with at least one member of the El Paso delegation. I did some checking around and it appears to be an El Paso thing because she doesn’t have the blood feuds with other members, just the ones from El Paso.
It begs the question, why the need for the feuds? What purpose does it serve? Why is Chavez always the common denominator?
Master and Apprentice
It almost seems like a life-time ago, but the two started off as allies in an effort to unseat longtime Rep. Paul Moreno. Chavez was the Master and Marquez was the Apprentice.
But once the Apprentice was elected, she no longer needed the Master.
Storyline sound familiar? It should, its classic Star Wars politics minus the Wookie.
Chavez should pay very close attention to how that played out. When it comes to a Master and an Apprentice, the Apprentice usually kills off the Master. Darth Plagueis was killed by Darth Sidiuos/Palpatine, Obi Wan Kanobi was killed by his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, and Palpatine was killed by his apprentice, Darth Vader, who was killed by Luke Skywalker, apprentice of Obi Wan Kanobi.
Moral of the story, if you have an Apprentice, watch your back.
Impact on El Paso
Aside from the fact that this whole event is like a train wreck, you really shouldn't be standing around looking at the tragedy but you just can't help yourself, there is a larger impact on El Paso.
You can't help but scratch your head and wonder. What impact does the infighting have on El Paso legislation?
Are there legislators that could be sympathetic to El Paso priorities but steer clear in order to avoid the cross fire? Is our delegation getting done all that they could be getting done?
I guess that brings things full circle. This bickering and infighting in Austin is as senseless as two cholo gangs pulling drive by shootings in the barrio.
In the end, the wrong people get hurt.
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