Mark Lucas for District 4

Here’s an opinion piece in the El Paso Times from Northeast El Paso resident Mark Lucas.

I’m concerned about City Council approving a $5 fee for event parking Downtown that was previously available at an inexpensive rate or otherwise free.

My concern initially stemmed from hearing news coverage that the city characterized the fee as a mechanism to regulate parking, yet I saw it as only making event parking more financially burdensome for most El Pasoans.

City officials said the fee would only be charged to those arriving for events after 6 p.m. This cut-off would supposedly create an incentive for people to spend more time Downtown by arriving early for events.

So the question became: Was the fee supposed to regulate parking or encourage people to spend more time Downtown? The answer was neither.

This became clear to me after reading the white paper the International Bridges Department prepared for council on the agenda item. A perusal of the paper made it rather evident that the fee was revenue-driven, for it made no mention of regulating parking or increasing the amount of time people spent Downtown.

What? City staff misleading the public? Say it ain’t so.

Here’s the big deal. This $5 fee represents the increased-cost-of-living creep that has become endemic to El Paso.

Recently, water and electric bills have gone up, and the gas company will be charging more if it has its way. A few years ago, vehicle registration went up $10. Taxes have gone up to pay for quality-of-life projects approved by voters.

I know these bumps are chump change to El Paso’s “haves”, but that’s not the case for its “haves less or haves not.” Such cost increases negatively impact their quality of life.

And it’s not getting any cheaper. El Pasoans are facing death by a thousand cuts.

From my perspective, El Paso is faking being a big city until we make it. Meanwhile, the “haves” are backslapping one another, exclaiming, “What a great city we’re becoming!” while the majority are saying, “They’re picking my pocket again – and for what?”

Don’t get me wrong, I want El Paso to be a big city someday, but only after we figure out how most of our residents can enjoy the experience.

Listen! An enlightened voice! On the pages of the El Paso Times!!!

Sure he’s a guest columnist, but we have to take what we can get.


  1. Amazing…he actually READ the prepared material for council. Suppose anyone on council will do so?

  2. Hey El Paso! We keep voting the corruption into public office! So we have what we voted and paid for……NOTHING but CORRUPTION!

  3. Rich — as I commented in your War of the Worlds post, the $5 event parking fee is a moot point because the meter maids go home at 4:30pm. After 4:30pm simply don’t feed the meters.

    1. I know, Stone. But once they jack the meters, for sure some of those meter maids will stick around. Right now they leave at 4:30, but once they’re incentivized, they’ll be downtown till 7 or 8, at least for a little while, till people get trained.

  4. We the public vote for our representatives because during their campaign, so many promise to listen to US the people. I see it this way, all those so called caring representative’s are in elected positions only to add another paragraph on their resumes. All the while contracting many positions out to the lowesr bidder thus service to the community goes out the window. Those positions are so desperately needed for those who voted them into office. This is another thing which all in power from Mayor, Tommy Gonzalez ( why do we need a city manager? what’s the mayor getting paid to do?), city consuel members to department heads are all in it for their “benefit”. So much fudging going on. FBI really needs to dig deeper into all raises, contracted dealing etc… How are we to enjoy our city if we have no jobs. Yet Tommy gets a raise as well as city counsel members and department heads. Tell me who’s benefitting from all this corruption?

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