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.