I Love El Paso.

I love El Paso. I love the weather. I love the desert. I love those orange-red sunsets we sometimes get that look like a shovelful of hot coals.

I love the culture, and the cultures.

I love the music, the rancheros and the rockabilly, and the broken-hearted drinking songs from Jose Alfredo Jimenez and Hank Williams.

I love the food, all those little mom-and-pop restaurants that serve comida corrida, enchiladas or tacos or chile verde with a caldito and a bowl of rice and a lime.

I love Juarez. I love the border. I love that you can walk from El Paso to Juarez in about five minutes and be in another country that really feels like another country.

I love the people. I love their warmth and honest friendship and lack of pretension.

Unfortunately, we’ve given control of local government to people who aren’t like that. Who don’t have warmth, who don’t offer honest friendship, who embrace pretension. Local government is run by people who think the arrival of new retail venues is a cause to celebrate. Who pretend that they’ve got more money than they really do, because they think that more money makes them better people. Who think that poor people just get in the way.

El Paso should be celebrating its diversity. We should embrace the gamut of our differences, instead of shunting some El Pasoans off for the economic improvement of a few El Pasoans, with dubious benefit for the rest of us.

When did we decide that people who don’t like El Paso should make decisions for those of us who love El Paso? When did we decide that El Paso needs a radical makeover? When did we decide that men in suits in office towers need to tell us how to live?

I love El Paso. Stop trying to change it.


  1. A major reason El Paso is in its current state of dismay is due to “leaders” who are the equivalent of the modern day carpet bagger. These recent, non-natives have no sense or idea of what El Paso truly was, is, or should be.

  2. By my count, 5 of the current 8 Council members are native El Pasoans. Four those five want to tear down one of our oldest neighborhoods for an arena. I don’t think it has anything to do with carpetbagging. Council is too easily swayed by slick presentations and salesmen with money who want to “develop” us. Native and non-native alike can be swayed to think developers have it right. Well, developers don’t have it right when it comes to how to market El Paso. We are one of the most authentic cities left in the U.S. but that’s quickly being destroyed.

    1. Some are also easily fooled by characterizing something as “progressive.” Long ago I lived in Brussels, where the post-war generation wanted to get rid of all that “old stuff,” and tore down entire blocks of gorgeous Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings, until someone finally said, “oops, what are we DOING?” and it stopped. There are many lessons in other cities that could be learned as well. If eyes were open to see.

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