About the New Venue

Y’all ain’t playin’ the long game.

Some people (you know who you are) want to derail the proposed hybrid, inside-outside venue behind the train station because it’s not perfect. Some other people want to derail the proposal so they can build something else, at a later date, probably in Duranguito.

Remember what disgraced former City Manager Joyce Wilson wrote to Mayor Oscar Leeser:

“This is why it’s important to get new leadership at our next election, and leadership that will commit to a grander vision for El Paso.”

And this :

“The hybrid amphitheater . . . hamstrings the opportunity for future councils to build a more significant project in the near future.”

Joyce is telling you their plan. It’s right there. He who has eyes let him see.

We’ll have to elect fiscally responsible candidates every time. They only have to elect spendthrifts once, and they’ll commit us to a future of indebtedness.

You can expect to see a whole slate of candidates running for the opening City Council slots in November. They are likely to be Hispanic women, because being an Hispanic woman is worth more than ten percentage points at the polls.

Because this is a presidential election year, voter turnout will be big. So a lot of voters will be uninformed except for a few prominent (presidential) races. But, since they’re there at the polls anyway, they’re going to vote in every election on the ballot. And because they’re uninformed, they will vote purely on the basis of name and gender. So they’ll check the box in front of the name of the Hispanic woman on the ballot, because, historically, women of color have gotten the short end of the stick in the U.S. of A.

I promise you that the people who want to put an MPC in Duranguito are out recruiting Hispanic females to run in the November City Council elections right now.

Their candidates are already showing up.

They got Renard Johnson to throw his hat in the ring. You know, Mr. Johnson is a big ballpark fan.

From ElPasoTimes.com:

El Paso businessman Renard Johnson wants to do his part for Downtown redevelopment.

That’s why Johnson said he’s building a 14-unit, $1.2 million apartment complex at 617 W. Franklin Ave., just down the street from the 18-month-old Downtown baseball stadium.

“This (empty lot) got me excited because it’s within yards of the baseball park. It has easy access to I-10,” and is a good place for young professionals to live, Johnson said.

. . .

Johnson has a 40-year ground lease with the city on the 15,000 square-foot lot where the two-story apartment building will be built, he said. He also has an economic development agreement with the city that will give the project property tax abatements during the next 10 years if all agreement requirements are met.

So not only is Mr. Johnson a fan of the ballpark, he also likes tax incentives to revitalize downtown. You can guess which way he’ll jump when the arena comes up again.

Now suppose we get a new City Council that likes the idea to put that MPC in Duranguito.

Regrettably, J.P. Bryan isn’t going to live forever. Will Mr. Bryan’s heirs share his love of Texas history? Will they share his passion for saving old buildings?

Will they share his/their money?

Can the MPC opponents find another angel to fund the fight to save those buildings?

Remember, the MPC the advocates want to build will cost the taxpayers half a billion dollars.

If the current city government builds a hybrid event center out there behind the train station, the City’s obligation to the 2012 Quality of Life bonds has been fulfilled, for only $180 million.

It’s not going to get any cheaper than that.

Don’t make me say I told you so.


  1. Brilliant analysis, Rich. I am certain you’re correct. All it takes is one cycle of spendthrift Council reps to undo everything. If we keep voting for responsible elected officials, one of two things will happen:

    1. Oligarchs and their lackeys will give up on the arena and agree to build something sensible
    2. They won’t give up on the arena but will fund the remainder via private sources

    I suppose either option is fine with me. Assuming it doesn’t involve destroying historic buildings or displacing long-term residents.

  2. The El Paso Downtown Management District and the El Paso Chamber are jointly holding a news conference 10AM Monday at the EPCF to oppose the Union Depot Multi-Purpose Center (MPC) Proposal. If they can’t get their way, they don’t want any other way until they can get their way.

    Does anyone else see this as Theater of the Absurd? We have to spend $180MM now to prevent our leaders from spending $500MM later on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *