I am happy to announce that I have been appointed to serve on the Citizens Forum Board of the International Boundary and Water Commission. The board was established to open a dialogue between community members and interested parties regarding the concerns and needs between the USIBWC and the communities it serves.
With boundary and water issues among the top concerns for El Paso County, having a voice in the discussion of these critical issues will be a great benefit for the citizens of El Paso County. The fair apportionment of water from the Rio Grande is of vital importance to both El Paso County residents and to the agricultural community, which contributes millions of dollars to our local and regional economies and creates employment opportunities for thousands of county residents.
Looking forward, I am eager to work with USIBWC Commissioner Ed Drusina along with board members representing various entities and communities from throughout our region.
Below is the press release of the appointment from the IBWC.
International Boundary and Water Commission
United States Section
For immediate release
January 9, 2014
USIBWC APPOINTS RIO GRANDE CITIZENS FORUM BOARD; PUBLIC MEETING SET FOR JAN. 14 IN EL PASO
Commissioner Edward Drusina of the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) has announced the appointment of 12 people to serve on the 2014-2015 Rio Grande Citizens Forum (RGCF) board. The purpose of the RGCF is to promote the exchange of information between the USIBWC and the community about Commission projects and related activities along the Rio Grande between Percha Dam, NM and Fort Quitman, TX.
Commissioner Drusina has appointed the following individuals, who will serve as volunteers for a two-year term:
- John Balliew, El Paso Water Utilities, El Paso, TX
- Daniel Chavez, Hudspeth County Conservation & Reclamation District No. 1, Fort Hancock, TX
- John Cornell, Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Hillsboro, NM
- Travis Johnson, attorney, El Paso, TX
- Conrad Keyes, Jr., Paso del Norte Watershed Council, Las Cruces, NM
- Carlos Leon, El Paso County Commissioner, El Paso, TX
- Zachary Libbin, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, Las Cruces, NM
- Austin Marshall, University of Texas at El Paso, Professor of Civil Engineering, El Paso, TX
- Suleiman "Sal" Masoud, Del Rio Engineering, El Paso Association of Builders, El Paso, TX
- Dale Reinhardt, Mayor, Town of Clint, TX
- Gill Michael Sorg, Las Cruces City Council, Audubon Society, Las Cruces, NM (Olga Pedroza, Las Cruces City Council, as Alternate)
- Miguel Teran, El Paso County Water Improvement District #1, Rosedales Neighborhood Association, El Paso, TX
"We had an outstanding group of applicants this year," said Commissioner Drusina. "I know this board will do a great job in helping us with outreach to the community about the region's water issues."
The first meeting with the new board is scheduled for Tuesday, January 14, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at USIBWC Headquarters, 4171 N. Mesa Street, Building C, El Paso, TX 79902 (see attached agenda). At the meeting, staff will give an overview of the Commission's history, mission, and projects followed by orientation for the new board. The meeting is open to the public.
The USIBWC established the Rio Grande Citizens Forum in 1999 to facilitate the exchange of information regarding USIBWC activities in the greater El Paso, TX-Las Cruces, NM region. It is designed to bring together community members, enabling the early and continued two-way flow of information, concerns, values, and needs between USIBWC and the general public, environmentalists, irrigation districts, municipalities, and others interested in the Rio Grande.
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with two Fort Bliss Soldiers
SPC Tyler Grouse and SPC Joshua Martin who both founded and minister
“NO D.U.I. El Paso”(NDEP)
NDEP was founded in 2012. It is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to drive clients
home safely, who feel they have had too much to drink.
The organization consists of teams of two volunteers. When called the two volunteers arrive at the establishment to assist the client. One volunteer drives the client home, in the client’s own vehicle. The other volunteer follows. Once they arrive safely at the client’s drop off location, he picks up the other volunteer.
I believe this program is a great alternative to using a cab or towing service.
NDEP can be reached at their toll free number:
I would like to wish all my fellow neighbors and residents of El Paso County a very safe and Happy Holiday!
Commissioner Leon is committed to making county government open to the public. One of the first concerns he addressed was county travel. When he took office, this information was not easily available.
In order to make it possible, he met with several department heads upon whom the responsibility would fall to make this information available. He wanted the public to know:
WHO WENT; WHERE DID THEY GO; FOR WHAT REASON; HOW MUCH DID THE TRIP COST; WHO PAID FOR THE TRIP?
After meeting with the County Auditor, Human Resources, Information Technology and the County Attorney, Leon put an item on the agenda for consideration. The item passed with unanimous support from the other commissioners. Starting in August of 2013, all travel would be made public online on the Travel Disclosure Report (TDR).
There are actually two parts to the TDR online. One report is for travel that is funded by the county. Once a county employee is approved for travel the information is immediately posted on the TDR page.
The other part of the TDR is for travel that is not funded by the county but is paid by a 3rd party. Many times county officials or employees are invited to share their expertise or to take part in educational presentations. The officials or employees are traveling in their capacity as a county representative so the public has a right to know what the travel was and by whom the trip was funded.
Pictured above is the county website homepage with the text box pointing to the link that quickly takes the viewer to the TDR page. To view the TDR, click here. Under reports, click on one of the links to see the report.
The TDR not only provides the public with valuable information, it also provides commissioners and department heads the status of travel. It is a quick and easy tool to manage county travel expenses.
Last month Commissioner Leon participated in the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony for “MY TIME FITNESS” gym.
This success story is the culmination of a public/private collaboration between John Ball, the owner, and the Southwest Texas Border Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBDC is the largest management and technical assistance program for small business development in the U.S.
Commissioner Leon attended the ceremony to show his support for this very special public/private collaboration. The agency has contributed greatly to the expansion of commerce and jobs in his precinct. Over the past two years, the SBDC has provided services to almost 900 businesses in Precinct One.
During his tour of the gym, Leon learned about the background of Mr. Ball. The new business owner is recently retired as a Command Sergeant Major from the Army. Ball trained soldiers in a variety of physical fitness regimens and has implemented the techniques of his training into the concept of his gym.
The SBDC assisted Mr. Ball with the set-up of some administrative manuals, the research for the opening of the day care at the gym, and with some aspects of his grand opening ceremony. The agency offers much more in services to aspiring and existing small business owners.
The following is part of what the SBDC provides as free services: business start-ups and planning, SBA Financing Programs, research and training. The agency also provides one to one confidential counseling in areas such as personal evaluation and management. There are also over 100 seminars provided on a variety of business topics designed to help small businesses.
Commissioner Leon strongly believes small businesses are the backbone of commerce in El Paso County. When small businesses succeed, money stays in El Paso and creates more commerce and jobs. He encourages existing and potential small business owners to contact the SBDC to take advantage of their services.
To visit the SBDC website, Click here.
To visit “MY TIME FITNESS”, Click Here.
Commissioner Carlos Leon and his wife Bonnie were honored to participate in the 2013 First Light Federal Credit Union Sun Carnival Parade. The crowd of people along the parade route on Montana Street was estimated to exceed 300,000. While somewhat cool in the morning, the temperature was perfect for the rest of the day.
This edition of the parade was the 77th parade since its inception. The first parades were held on January 1st in conjunction with the Sun Carnival ending with the Sun Bowl Football Game. Eventually, the day of the parade was changed to Thanksgiving Day.
Recently, the parade was ranked by AOL Travel in the top five nationally of Thanksgiving Day parades.
During the November 4th session of Commissioners Court, Commissioner Leon presented a resolution declaring November of 2013 as Spice is not Nice Month.
Commissioner Leon recognized Ruth Rivas to narrate a PowerPoint presentation. She shared with the public her grief from the death of her son, Adam Robert Hernandez, whose death was attributed to the use of spice.
During the presentation, Ms. Rivas explained about the ingredients in spice and how it is marketed in order to attract the attention of young people. She also explained how the product has no disclaimers about the ingredients.
The organization she formed, “Spice is not Nice”, was created to inform parents and young people about the hazards of this synthetic form of marijuana. The website for her organization is www.spiceisnotnice.org.
Please visit her site and learn more about spice and its dangers to our young adults and teens.
On October 16, a Union Pacific (UP) freight train derailed several cars just under the Cotton Street overpass by I-10. One of the derailed cars collided with a concrete pillar that supported the freeway.
Because of the extensive damage, lanes on the freeway were closed for several days.
Ivan Jaime, the public affairs person for the railroad visited Commissioner Leon on October 29th to update him on the status of repairs. He presented information in a PowerPoint presentation. Jaime explained how UP quickly teamed with TxDOT to initiate traffic safety and repairs. In just over two weeks, the needed repairs were completed and the closed lanes were reopened.
Click to View
On October 25th, Commissioner Leon held his third of three leadership classes with county department heads. He shared his thoughts and experiences from throughout his long career in the El Paso Police Department. The county provides these leadership classes to supervisors so that they may be better prepared for change and to recognize and act on new opportunities as they arise. Through his career as a supervisor at various levels, and eventually chief, in the police department, Leon shared the importance and means of dealing with stressful situations. He also emphasized the importance strong teamwork within and between departments.