Checks and Balances, El Chuco Style

The United States runs by a system of checks and balances. If the executive and the legislative branches disagree, then the argument is decided by the courts. The courts are supposed to base their decision on the rule books, the trump belonging to the Constitution of the United States.

That’s all fine for the political infighting that takes place in government. But what if the governmental forces unite, and wage war on the citizens?

What if your legislative branch can’t be bothered with the excesses of the executive branch? What if they’re too worried about getting reelected? What if they’re beholden to the executive branch, because the local gendarmes let them slide on a DWI, or turned their son loose with a warning after he got caught vandalizing school property?

Can we pretend that, at the local level, our local pols exert any influence whatsoever over the police? Because that’s what we’re talking about. In El Paso, the executive branch is manifested by the El Paso Police Department, and the legislative branch is our elected officials.

Do you think there are any checks and balances there?


Well, in the United States of America, we have a failsafe to ensure that everyone plays by the rules. In the United States, we have a free and unfettered press. Their civic duty is to investigate government, and hold them accountable.

Recently, Mexican reporters have been murdered and disappeared for reporting on links between the government and the narcos. Mexican reporters are a lot more idealistic than their American counterparts.

Did you read this story in the El Paso Times about the police releasing a father and son who were arrested for murder? Or how about this account of a police shooting on lower Dyer?

Don’t you think that there was more to those stories than what was addressed in a police press report? Aren’t there questions there that you’re curious about? That should be asked and answered?

Was there any editorial outrage over the police shooting by, and subsequent no-billing of, an El Paso Police officer who shot a prone and handcuffed prisoner in the sallyport of the El Paso County Jail?

There is a lot more to these stories than what El Pasoans can read in their English language daily.

Also, don’t you think those stories would generate good copy? Wouldn’t the controversy sell newspapers, or enhance page views?

Maybe El Paso police aren’t trigger happy and prone to excess. But, with no investigation and no transparency, how would we know?

Your City Representative, or Mayor, should be addressing these concerns. But it you put all of City Council together, you’d still be twelve vertebrae short of a backbone.

Do you think the El Paso Times is fulfilling its obligation to the community to hold our government in check? If we’re lucky they report it, but they never raise a fuss. Maybe some of these stories deserve a little fuss. Maybe El Pasoans deserve some answers.

With a complacent press, where is the incentive to improve? If no one asks the questions, how will we ever get the answers we deserve?


  1. I agree with your position that our local government is no longer serving us as citizens, but your breakdown of what makes up that government misses a very important item. We, in El Paso, no longer have an “executive” branch, because we allowed some fast talkers, and apathetic voters to dump our strong Mayor form of government. That office of Mayor is supposed to be our local executive branch, but we gave the whole kit ‘n kaboodle away! Our City Manager’s office should now have that power, and may well, but it turns out that the office – as designed/formulated/passed along by Joyce Wilson – has no interest in serving the taxpayers or the voters. And, this is why we no longer have any say in our local government.

    1. You’re jumping the gun, Rex. Wait till noon.

      Oh, hell, I’ll just post it now.

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