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Dear Max,
The EP Times used to have reporters to investigate.
Que pasa?


Max Powers


The internet.



abandon hope

Crowder sounds boracho.


Without curious journalists and bloggers, our form of government would fail. It is disturbing that Crowder is no longer allowed access to City employees, who, by the way, are paid with our tax dollars. Keep after it, David. Someone better be minding the store. (Juli Lozano is incompetent. She is an example of yet another bureaucrat in over her head. She knows it and that is why she is so unpleasant.)

abandon hope

Why is there any question? It's standard operating procedure for the media to go through the PIO in both public and private entities. Maybe Crowder enjoyed a special rapport with Ms. Wilson but that is the exception. Can't blame Crowder for trying to bypass the system (he's a reporter), but he shouldn't be surprised at the answer.


Go easy on Dave Crowder as he is about the only serious investigative journalist in this town. Not that his publisher will print everything he finds.

David Sanchez

David Crowder is a joke. Have any other media complained? He is only one of many, many reporters and no one else has complained but him. He is a whiny bitch and a washed up has been.

I have a friend in media, and what they explained is:

Reporters contact the correct PIO for information. The PIO makes sure the reporter is taken care of as quickly as possible and all necessary department responses are included. The system works because their requests do not get lost in department heads' emails and phone messages, not to mention some department heads do not like to respond and do not understand reporting deadlines.

David, grow up and put your big boy pants on. Just because you are short, doesn't mean you have to behave like Napoleon.

Patrick McDonnell

Mr. Sanchez,
Neither you nor your "friend in media" knows jack shite about what real journalism is or how it is supposed to be done. Crowder is probably the best reporter left in El Paso, and one of the few, apparently, who even knows how real journalism should be done. But understanding where Crowder is coming from in his email doesn't take any knowledge about journalism, it only requires common sense - a journalist is far more likely to get to the truth by talking to the people in the trenches than by talking to a PIO. The main objectives of PIOs are to restrict information, to control the message, to issue propaganda, and, in many, if not most, cases, to prevent the truth from being revealed.

David Sanchez

You are totally wrong, Mr. McDonnell. The media gets to talk to the department heads. PIOs arrange the interviews for times convenient for everyone. Not sure why you put quotations around "friend in media". You think those in media are friendless?

As for David Crowder, he USED to be good. Now he is just totally confused and lost,

abandon hope

Patrick McDonnell - David Crowder's rambling, scotch-fueled email was asking Tolbert to leak information to him. Reporters love leaked information. When Tolbert was engaging in character assassination of Larry Romero, he had a cozy relationship with Crowder and El Paso, Inc. Crowder was hoping to continue that bond. It had nothing to do with truth seeking.

David Sanchez

Thank you, abandon hope. You are correct.

David Crowder

Well, I sort of stumbled into this conversation and I'd be wise to just stay out of it because I doubt I'll have any luck convincing anyone here of anything. But I'll carefully take the bait.
Until this regime, City Hall and city officials were available to the press and the public, in person, on the phone, over coffee away from official eyes. My experience goes back to the early 1980s when Jon Rogers was mayor. From then through the administration of John Cook and the new city manager, Joyce Wilson, access to officials on every floor was easy - except for times when a reporter pissed someone off. Rogers banned me from his office for six months and relented when I crashed a press conference in his office. He said leave and I said no. That's the way it was for 35 years, and probably before that.
Because of the changes that seemed to have taken place in this regard with the election of Mayor Leeser and the arrival of Tommy Gonzalez, I simply wanted to know if there had been discussions about tightening things up when it came to news media interview and requests for routine information. Leeser is the least accessible mayor I've ever known and Gonzalez doesn't care much for reporter types, here or at his previous posts, I suspect. Since the ethics investigation and all the bad press, he doesn't seem to do interviews anymore. It took three public information requests to get an answer about the policy. There's apparently no policy at all - at least not a written one.
My complaint is NOT with the PIOs. A number of them are friends and/or long-time colleagues at the Times. And they can be very helpful on a routine, day to day basis, and I have no complaints. This isn't about them. To cover City Hall well, you need people who'll tell you the truth and when things are going sideways or south. It requires trust both ways and that takes time. Unspoken policies or accepted practices to limit access to public servants don't serve our needs or the public's, simple as that.
To suggest other reporters are happy about the state of things is not true. We need a revived press club to take up these issues at City Hall and at the Police Department.
As for my confessional letter to Rep. Tolbert, he asked what was going on and seemed interested in getting it discussed by council, where policy is supposed to be made. I wrote to his public address knowing the letter might get out. So it goes. It works both ways, or it's supposed to.
Happy New Year, y'all. It's gonna be a bumpy year, so gas up and fasten up.


Patrick McDonnell

It's high time you weighed in here. I know you don't want to wrestle with pigs and only wind up with pig shit in your nose, but ideally, imho, you should not have to let this kind of crap stand in the public domain without at least trying to set the record straight.

Mr. Sanchez and Abandon,
Crowder has been one of the preeminent investigative journalists in El Paso for decades. He's had his ups and downs, but he has always been in the mix. I was one of the challengers to his title when I covered City Hall for years for the Times and before that for the Herald-Post.
My point is: We know what we are talking about it, and you don't.
As journalists, Crowder and I have dealt with hundreds of PIOs. How many have you dealt with, as journalists?

You should be thanking Crowder for his years of service to the El Paso community, giving him a medal, hoping he continues for many more years, and hoping (desperately) that more emulate him. The failure to recognize all of that is one of the many reasons EP is so f-ed up, and the reason why so many dedicated and talented journalists left El Paso and thrived elsewhere (in journalism).

Crowder is one of the few who stayed and continues to bang his head against the wall on behalf of the ungrateful - and too often ignorant - El Paso taxpayers.

Make use of him while you still can, to lift you up out of your ignorance. Tell Crowder what you think he should be doing or what you think he could do better, and he will give whatever you say fair consideration. That's why he bothered to post here. (That and the fact that he saw me wasting my precious time trying to educate you.) He will admit when he is wrong (unlike too many people at City Hall.) And he will look out for El Paso's best interests to the best of his ability every single time (unlike too many people at City Hall). He may not get it right every time. (He and I strongly disagreed on the ballpark, for example.) But he always tries to do what is right. I know that because I witnessed it first hand as his competitor, colleague, and editor for decades.

Keep up the good work Dave. Illegitimi non carborundum.

David Sanchez

David, you are not being truthful. I know some long time media and they all remember having to go to the department public information officers and if the department did not have one, they had to go to Julie Lozano. This was during Wilson's time. The change now is that there are centralized "leads" that ensure media is taking care of as quickly as possible. Again, no one else is complaining. Do you think you are special and deserve special treatment?

You lost your edge many years ago, and from what I hear, you are extremely rude and combative. This may be why people do not want to talk to you. Try changing your tactics for the new year and see what happens.

abandon hope

Mr. McDonnell -- You are right. I have not worked as a journalist. I have worked in public relations and know that both private and public entities require reporters to go through a PIO. Mr. Crowder may have private conversations with the mayor or representatives but if he wants to be on the record, he must go through a PIO. That's the only way to run a public information office. If the City is finally requiring all reporters to go through the PIO, they finally got it right. You and Mr. Crowder may not like it but that's the system in every City I know of.

David Crowder

Actually, abandon hope, what you've said is not true - not a single word of it. I have on the record conversations with elected officials at city hall and elsewhere every week and never ever go through a PIO. I just call them and there's no rule that says if you didn't go through a PIO, it's off the record.
In the case of city hall, it's not the city reps who are impossible to reach, it's the mayor and the city manager and some of the other top execs. However, with the exception of Leeser and Tommy Gonzalez, the game has been changing at City Hall. Maybe it was all the bitching - mine and others'- and maybe all the controversy that has them wanting and needing to explain themselves. Whatever the reason, things have changed, which is to say the PIOs have been on their game, helping set up interviews and with info. And there are folks we can call directly, just like the good ol days.

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