Here’s the video of the 15 February 2021 El Paso City Council Agenda Review meeting.
I watched (most of) it so you wouldn’t have to, and now you owe me big time.
My conclusion is that we, the taxpayers, are, to use the colloquial, fucked.
I’ve included time stamps of the highlights if you want to witness the inanity firsthand. I recommend a bottle of chilled vodka (Smirnoff is perfectly good) and a box or Cheez-Its if you want to watch the meeting. If your stomach’s weak, I recommend two bottles of Smirnoff and a Xanax.
District 3 Representative Cassandra Hernandez [5:48:05] can’t wait to shift into Phase 3 of the City’s spending program. She thinks municipal spending is a way to boost the economy, because that’s what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. Like she doesn’t understand that municipal Certificates of Obligation are different from T-bills. The interest rates on T-bills are low right now because Ms. Yellen wants to expand the economy buy putting more cash into the economy. Certificates of Obligation, or any tax increase, contracts the local economy because it takes money out of El Pasoans pockets and puts it in the pockets of New York bankers. Not all of the money they borrow. Just the interest portion, which amounts to $52,680,587.50 over the life of the bonds. They’ll get paid off in 2046, according to the Legal Notice published in the El Paso Times on Thursday, 18 February 2021. The principal portion of the Certificates of Obligation is taken out of the pockets of El Paso taxpayers and put into the pockets of the City’s vendors. There’s no net change in the amount of money in the local economy, unless those vendors are from out of town, and then there’s less money in the local economy.
I’m sure that after Ms. Hernandez terms out in 2024, and fails to win another election, she’ll move out of town, and won’t be saddled with the debt she’s incurring on our behalf.
Remember when she wanted to run for mayor?
District 5 Representative Isabel Salcido [6:04:50] thinks that the City’s high bond rating means that the City is financially healthy. Really, the bond rating reflects City Council’s willingness to stick it to the taxpayer, and El Paso’s rating is right up there, which means that City Council really loves to stick it to the taxpayers. But you already knew that. Representative Salcido won’t term out till 2026, so some fiscally responsible resident of District 5 will have to step up in 2022 if we want to put the brakes on the reckless municipal spending machine we call City Council. Remember, District 5 elected Dr. Michiel Noe twice, and Dr. Noe never saw a tax hike he didn’t like, so whoever runs against Rep. Salcido will have to work for it. Right now, a City Representative makes more than $47,000 a year (plus tips). Also, you get to ride in the parade. If you want the cabbage and a ride on a float on Thanksgiving, lemme know, and I’ll help you build a machine. (Some restrictions apply.)
Finally, City Manager Tommy Gonzalez [5:08:17] trotted out his municipal finance bona fides. Actually, it happened earlier in the presentation. He said he’s worked in municipal finance for 30 years, and served as a City Manager for 18. He didn’t mention that he got fired from his last job as City Manager for trying to squeeze gifts from vendors. Must have slipped his mind.
There’s an old Chicago maxim, “You’ve got to spend it before you can steal it.” I don’t know if Mr. Gonzalez has ever been to Chicago, but I recommend we all pitch in and buy him a ticket. A one-way ticket. On a rail.
I bet he’d like Chicago.