Yesterday I dropped the ball. Occasional commenter Henry offered this in response to my post about the popular exodus from El Paso:
Interesting theory…but here’s mine: work, jobs, business growth and development in a city is tied to quality of life in that city. El Paso was once the size of Austin, San Antonio and San Diego and probably at some point bigger but now El Pasoans can’t wait to move there. Although we can debate the reality or perception of what the the true meaning of quality of life is, my theory is that our city has suffered from arrested development due to the longstanding sway of naysayers, NIMNS and shortsighted denizens that stand on the sidelines and crow about the futility of building ballparks downtown, investing in public art and generally smearing anyone that dares to work towards a “better” El Paso and maybe might make a profit.
Two things stand out immediately. The first is that Henry doesn’t know what all those words mean. Denizens? Really? The second is Who said anything about the ballpark? I thought we stopped fighting that battle a long time ago. Some people are poor winners.
But about how I dropped the ball. Of course work, jobs, business growth, and development are tied to quality of life in a city. Without work, jobs, business growth, and development, you can’t have quality of life, no matter how many ballparks and trolleys and swimming pools you build. Henry, God bless him, saw the correlation and got the line of causality backwards. And now we’re staring down the barrel of sky high taxes with little or no prospect of building our business base.
Henry’s not the only one who got it backward. But the number of people who persist in that backward way of thinking are dwindling. Soon, hopefully, we’ll be able to address El Paso’s real problems.