Nurturing Kudzu

Good news, everyone. From KVIA:

Transmountain partners is planning to build a massive new mall and entertainment complex expected to have 10 auditoriums, 18 lanes of “upscale” bowling, two full service bars, and “premium dining” options.

The Cinergy Entertainment complex will be located on the northeast corner of Transmountain and I-10 within the $350 million Franklin Galleria Mall. It will reportedly include “multiple escape rooms, a fully-loaded game floor
with more than 110 interactive games, a sky walker with a zip line, a multi-level laser tag arena and multiple event rooms.”

And no doubt the new center will receive generous tax incentives from the City.

The City is misusing economic development policy to the detriment of local businesses. Do the taxpayers really need to subsidize an entertainment center? If we’re not already entertained enough, isn’t it our own fault?

City Council plays with the local economy like they’re playing with Tinker Toys. If only it were that simple.

An economy is an ecosystem. A delicate balance. And City Government keeps introducing invasive species with no regard for the imbalance they create. Hell, City Government is proud of it. Remember this op-ed, bylined Mayor Dee Margo and City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, in El Paso’s English language daily?

City leaders, in collaboration with private development partners have been aggressive in attracting new companies to El Paso and the results are compelling: Top Golf, Cabelas, Alamo Drafthouse, Whole Foods, Sprouts and Dick’s Sporting Goods have all opened in El Paso providing the community with more options to work, shop, eat and play.

More options to work a minimum wage job for an out-of-town company siphoning profits from the local economy, as Brutus points out in this post on ElPasoSpeak.

Remember this, from a story in the El Paso Times?

John Geske, co-owner of the Garden which closed earlier this year, called the baseball stadium the “worst thing that could have happened to Union Plaza.”

“We’re down in a hole now,” Geske said. “I’m not a stadium hater, I think the Chihuahuas are fantastic for El Paso, but as far as Union Plaza, it hurt us.”

There are a limited amount of entertainment dollars in El Paso, and new businesses compete for the same consumer as established businesses. As more people leave the city, the pool of entertainment dollars only gets smaller. Big entertainment complexes drive the small, unique, mom-and-pop establishments out of business. But that’s City Government’s idea of development.

We need to create more income, more wealth, more consumers, to feed these mega-centers, but instead they cannibalize the economy we have, devouring the smaller businesses, with no net economic benefit. We’re dividing up the pie differently, but we’re not making the pie any bigger. If anything, we’re making bigger pieces of a smaller pie, because as all those mom-and-pops go out of business, those people stop consuming. Maybe they move to Austin, or Portland, places where a quirky little bistro might stand a chance. Places where bigger isn’t necessarily better.

And the profits that those failed businesses would have made here, that instead go out of town, that money doesn’t get spent here, either. And thus the cycle of money withers and dies.

However, I understand that Budweiser may still be on sale.

Local owners pay taxes here. And local owners spend their profits here, too. And I don’t understand why we Chuqueños have to subsidize competition from any yellowbelly carpetbagging scumbags. No offense.

I don’t know what to make of it. Is City Government misguided? Drunk? On the take?

Blind? Ignorant? Callous?

The sooner they sober up, the better off the rest of us are going to be.

Image of kudzu plants by Bubba73 (Jud McCranie) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Drinking cheap Budweiser gets a bad rap in this town. I’ve never engaged in the kind of hubristic fantasies that our almost intelligent leaders do with a good beer buzz on. I humbly suggest that our city council, managers, Mayor et al slam at least a six pack before a council meeting. That’s what I call good government. I’ll gladly provide the refreshments. After all, it’s on sale.

  2. Glass Beach to perfection. All new Monticello and other lease only properties incentivize no home ownership. Herd the sheep into buildings.

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