On May 19, the Ad Hoc Charter Advisory Committee of the City of El Paso voted 4-3 under item 5.3 to modify our City Charter so as to deprive our Mayor of his veto power and reduce him to just another voting member of City Council. The motion was made by Joe Gudenrath and seconded by Steve Ortega and the vote was 4-3 in favor:


Yolanda Giner (D3) – Chief Legal Officer and Executive VP for Franklin Mountain Investments

Joe Gudenrath (D5) – Executive Director, Downtown Management District

Steve Ortega (D7) – Law Office of Steve Ortega, PLLC

Larry John Porras (D8) – Chief of Staff, District 1 (2017-2021), Regional Advocacy Director – El Paso/Trans-Pecos Area


Sylvia Borunda Firth (Mayor) – President State Bar of Texas 2021-2022

Ben Carnevale (D4) – Manager of Infrastructure Operations at The University of Texas at El Paso

James Peinado (D6) – Chairman of the El Paso Republican Liberty Caucus


Rene Vargas (D2) – Trial Chief: Mental Health/Juvenile Unit, El Paso County Public Defender

Steve Yellen (D1) – Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor (1984-2016)

So we’ve got Paul Foster’s attorney, Gudenrath, Ortega (who was defeated by Leeser in his bid for Mayor and then lobbied to transfer control of our electric utility to Wall Street), and Porras (Rep. Svarzbein’s Chief of Staff for four years) all working to deprive Mayor Leeser of his veto power and thus reduce the liberty of all El Pasoans. Of course, all four who voted in the affirmative were appointed by members of the Oligarchy Caucus.

I Invite you to watch the video of the May 19 meeting so that you can listen to the absurd justifications for this radical change to our City Charter (start at 2:10). Make some popcorn, open a six-pack and prepare to laugh yourself half to death…

The only media blurb following the May 19 vote that I could find was a brief mention in a report in the El Paso Inc, so the public has no idea about what is happening.

The bottom line is that the Oligarchs have lost control of the County and have been incrementally losing control of the City. They have a great deal of fear about the November election and this power grab is a strategic effort to curb the power of the Mayor and reduce citizen representation in our government.

This tyrannical proposal will eventually go before City Council.

Let us hope the media is paying attention.