Dori Fenenbock is a DINO.
A Democrat In Name Only that emerged from a primordial political swamp some time ago and has been on an opportunistic trek across El Paso on her way to possibly winning Beto O’Rourke’s soon to be vacated congressional seat.
A 14-year resident of El Paso, she has already raised an astounding 1/3 of a million dollars in a month by “hinting” at a possible run for Congress. While she hasn’t made it official, a person doesn’t pull in that kind of bank unless they have spent a good deal of time schmoozing with and promising potential donors THAT THEY WILL RUN.
Let’s trace her telltale dino footprints to get a good picture of where she’s coming from and going to.
While she has robotically maintained her position as a public servant committed “to the kids” of El Paso it has become obvious that she is now laser-focused on positive political outcomes in Washington.
El Paso’s under-educated students were just a stop along the way.
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Dori Fenenbock, whom I would call a professional volunteer making her presence known all over town, began the journey by targeting a highly visible public position to run for.
Something like a school board position on the heels of the devastating EPISD corruption fallout where the bodies were still fresh and the district desperate for image rehabilitation.
She ran for the Westside District 7 seat and won on a feelgood campaign highlighting the students and teachers as the solution to rehabilitating a wounded EPISD.
“I personally feel that good schools are made by people, the teachers, the parents and, most importantly, the children—not the buildings,” she said during a meeting at Austin High School.
A very ironic statement in retrospect, governing the fact that she along with Superintendent Juan Cabrera passed El Paso’s most-expensive school bond that had everything to do with “the buildings” and massive infusions of tax payer dollars to rebuild, renovate and reintegrate them.
She eventually became the president of the EPISD board and began the campaign to make EPISD look like a competent district in as little time as possible.
On the damage control team was then Board of Managers President Dee Margo, his handpicked and inexperienced man for the job of EPISD superintendent Juan Cabrera, who took almost three years to get certified for his position while getting paid close to $300,000 a year as he received on-the-job training, and an impatient and overzealous group of school board members including Susie Byrd.
The first order of business was to aim for the stars and devise a stratospheric bond measure that if passed, would create the illusion of a functional school district by dealing only with external and superficial issues.
They came up with an over-the-top $670,000,000 bond proposal that poured taxpayer money into school buildings, buses, turfing, I-Pads, A/C, ceiling tiles among other things. Education quality improvement for our students and teacher support and compensation would have to be addressed later because those things couldn’t be quantified as easily and quickly as surface improvements.
They then flooded El Paso mailboxes and TV sets with a tsunami of generally misleading and occasionally outright false “it’s for the kids” propaganda funded by a half-million dollars of El Paso Rising PAC money in a calculated effort to win votes.
Election Day arrived and Donald Trump became America’s new president while the EPISD bond became El Paso’s new precedent in outrageous tax hikes. It miraculously passed without the customary trip back to the drawing board under what I believe were suspicious circumstances.
The residents who stood to gain the most—the wealthy Coronado folks who could easily absorb a relatively small tax increase in exchange for a brand new school for their kids and added value to their neighborhoods—voted largely AGAINST IT.
Meanwhile those who stood to gain the least—the poor and ignored in El Paso’s southside whose schools received little to none of the bond funds—voted largely FOR IT.
It’s more than interesting to note that both Fenenbock and Cabrera’s children attended Coronado High, the biggest winner of the EPISD bond with over $74,000,000 set aside to rebuild the school. My, how convenient.
Fenenbock and Cabrera—whom I call the Tone-deaf Twins because of their inability to relate to average El Pasoans, students, educators, or anyone with a position below administration—had become local rock stars among the elite with the unfortunate passing of the unfocused bond.
El Paso Inc. hailed them as Citizens of the Year and the local media fawned over them to the point of inducing a sugar coma. The pair, perceiving themselves to be socially bulletproof, began their 2016-17 Campaign to Impress America’s Educational Elite outside of El Paso with their implementation of innovative, daring and faddish programs that had very little basis in reality when it came to dealing with the real world issues El Paso’s students dealt with on a daily basis.
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In my upcoming Part 2 post on the evolution of DORI from educational opportunist to DINO, I will explore the weird and mutually parasitic relationship between Dori Fenenbock and Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
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