How Bad Does Your Life Suck?

Here’s El Paso Times entertainment reporter Dave Acosta addressing the ongoing conflict between the Quality of Life projects’ proponents and those who oppose the projects.

El Paso is in the middle of an identity crisis.

“El Paso needs more quality of life!”; “Put a Six Flags!,” screams one side.

“There’s no parking!”; “Turn it down!; “Preserve history!,” screams the other.

Both sides have valid points. Quality of life is a bit of a chicken/egg issue. Does quality of life attract bigger and better job opportunities? Or does a city need a market and tax base that can afford better quality of life amenities and attract bigger events?

On the other hand, should El Paso accept that it will always be a small border city, with low incomes and a stigma, especially from people in their 20s who constantly cry that there is nothing to do here?

Mr. Acosta gives us those choices: bigger and better job opportunities, or a small border city with low incomes and a stigma.

It’s a false dichotomy. We’re five years into these Quality of Life projects, and people are fleeing El Paso like never before. Rents are down, home prices are down, and no bigger and better job opportunities have presented themselves.

The identities Mr. Acosta presents are a marketing gimmick. He serves up an aspirational identity, of a city with industry, with “bigger and better job opportunities,” but no road map to get there. Does he think an arena with pop concerts and D-League basketball and arena football will attract Amazon’s new headquarters?

Not likely. There are lots of places. El Paso will be just another place with a redundant arena.

Sometimes when you challenge the QoL proponents on the economic development argument, they pivot to the argument that the projects are actually for El Pasoans.

If your life sucks so bad that D-League basketball and pop concerts will significantly improve it, then maybe you should examine your life choices.

I’m thinking that new businesses would appreciate prospective employees with active, engaged, lifestyles more than hypnotized gloms whose eyes glaze over when the house lights dim.

I think any rational thinker would realize that the arguments those “quality of life” proponents propose are just rationales for more tax-funded projects. They might help someone’s quality of life, and someone’s economic development, but it’s not the average El Pasoan’s.

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