Somehow, El Paso developed professional politicians.
Okay, the development of professional politicians was intentional. Corrupt power brokers recruited electable candidates who, when elected, funneled government work to the power brokers’ sponsors.
Then, when that house of cards collapsed under the weight of criminal investigations, other power brokers took over, and moved the illicit exchange of money into licit avenues, i.e., Pay to Play.
Now the process is legal. Hefty campaign donations are exchanged for favorable votes.
But those campaign donations are only good for getting elected. Sure, they can bolster a politician’s lifestyle. They can pay for fine dining if you invite a member of the electorate, or a potential campaign donor. But those donations can’t send Junior to college.
People say the seductive nature of politics is fueled by the love of power. But how much power do our elected politicians have?
Our local politicians are neither loved, feared, nor respected.
They can’t shout “Off with their heads” like Alice’s Red Queen. The only real power our local politicians have is the power to tax and spend. To reslice a pie that’s not getting any bigger.
In El Paso, that means taxing the poor to fund the hobbies of the rich.
And the riches’ favorite hobby is getting richer. Now that punitive tax rates have driven all the industry from town, and dissuaded new industry from setting up shop, the only source of wealth for the well-heeled is government largess.
(Why doesn’t City Council stick a dagger in the heart of that costly downtown arena, which almost nobody wants and which serves no demonstrable purpose?)
We’re not broke, but we’re getting there. Hence, tax increases every year. Near zero population growth. No new industry. No good jobs for college grads.
The lack of good jobs in El Paso might explain a person’s motivation for seeking local office.
Because our local politicians are neither loved, feared, nor respected, but at least they get a decent paycheck.
tips campaign donations.