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January 2009
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El Paso Council fails to override Mayor’s veto; knuckle under due to threats from state and federal representatives

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City Council did not override Mayor John Cook’s veto of a resolution that had asked for a federal debate on the legalization of narcotics.
Council voted 4-4 on the veto reversal. At least six of the eight city representatives needed to approve the item in order to override the veto.

Still… Kudos to Beto O’Rourke for attempting to generate a discussion (and thereby generating a discussion), despite the certain intense opposition from entrenched drug war interests.
Update: Thanks to LoLo in comments:
Detailed article at NewspaperTree:

The deciding factors, according to the city representatives, were the two letters received Monday.
The five Texas House members of the El Paso delegation and Reyes had sent letters to El Paso City Council claiming that the resolution would be used against the city’s efforts to secure funding. [View letters via links below the article]
“If we had voted yesterday I would have voted in favor (of overriding the veto),” Acosta said. “I will take a personal position on this, Rep. O’Rourke if you so want but I cannot jeopardize any funding El Paso might receive.”

That’s right – they were threatened that if they voted for a resolution calling for a “frank and honest discussion,” El Paso might lose funding.
How pathetic is that?
From the letter from Texas House of Representatives delegation:

We understand your stated goal is to bring attention to the problems that illegal drugs cause in our community and society. However, the position to ask the federal government to legalize narcotics does not bring the right attention to El Paso. It says “we give up and we don’t care.”

Reyes’ letter was actually less ignorant and offensive, though meaningless:

While this resolution is well-intentioned, I believe its passage would be counterproductive to our efforts to enact an ambitious legislative agenda at the federal level.

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