The [El Paso City Council] voted to hire a San Francisco-based architecture firm to provide an updated cost of the proposed arena, as well as explore options that would incorporate the neighborhood’s buildings as part of the arena design.
The item passed 5-2, with Annello and Molinar voting against it. Lizarraga was not present for the vote.
City Council members voted to authorize an agreement for almost $800,000 to M. Arthur Gensler & Associates Inc. to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed Downtown arena in Union Plaza’s Duranguito neighborhood.
Svarzbein said funding from the 2012 Quality of Life Bond would pay for this study.
“I’m very excited to see us spending money from this bond project for this project, not on lawyers, but on design,” Svarzbein said, adding how excited he is about supporting the project.
It’s been ten years since the Quality of Life bond package was approved by voters. Former City Manager Joyce Wilson admitted under oath that the bond advocates purposely hid the downtown arena to trick voters into supporting the bonds.
Remember, in 2012, the tax rate for the City of El Paso was 66 cents per hundred dollar valuation. Now, the City’s share of our property tax rate comes to 91 cents.
Remember, the City’s Chief Financial Officer at the time, Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria (bless her heart), said the QoL bonds would cause our property tax rate to peak at 71 cents, in this interview in the El Paso Inc.
Remember, El Paso’s taxpayers are being buried in debt.
So why is City Government still clinging to that downtown arena?
Corruption is kind of like mice. With mice, you might never really see them. A little flash out of the corner of your eye. A furtive movement. A gray blur. You might never really know you have mice till you sweep that pile of pellets out from behind the stove.
I’m thinking that the way City Government clings to this downtown arena is that pile of mouse turds.
The arena wasn’t a good idea in 2012, and it’s a worse idea now. But City Management, and our elected representatives, cling to the arena like it’s our unavoidable destiny.