Is This What Corruption Looks Like?


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.

What gives?


  1. Remember Courtney Niland telling us that trolleys have a 10:1 ROI, too? CC has a mandate from the voters to make good on the QOL bond so how much room do they have to maneuver, especially as construction costs have risen since 2012 and Ms. Fuzzy Math failed at every turn to vet the numbers.
    Short of a petition to recall the bond, I don’t know what they can do.

    1. The legal obligation is murky, at best. I think we should wait till the economic situation is better, and, if that means never, than so be it. They did, after all, promise us economic development. I’m sure it’s just around the corner.

      That version of City Government (and the media) sold us a pig in a poke, and the current version of City Government (and the media) should work to rectify their malfeasance.

  2. This is probably what it feels like when it’s all going to hell in a hand basket. Between the fact that our nation is now openly ruled by the minority, and the local favors to rich old white men, we don’t stand much of a chance.

  3. We were not told that they would destroy Durangito when we voted for that QOL Bond. These people are all liars. But no surprise. El Paso Keeps voting moronic lefties into office.

    1. Lefties? Really? Read my lips: El Paso politics have nothing to do with political party. Not now. Not then. Not ever! The actions of our current and recent (like, the last 20 years) elected representatives have been anything but Liberal!

  4. Rich, remember when we were running for city clowncil in 2018? Even Peter Svartzbutt was chuckling at his “photography book deal”. Now we have Trolleys too. Wake up voters! If we property owners don’t defend the city against these rodents, NOBODY WILL.

    1. Svarzbein has proven that you can be a lying, cokehead fat turd and do well in city government as long as you work against the needs of your constituents in favor of our local plutocracy / illuminati. I think there is a lesson here for us all.

  5. Corruption? That isn’t corruption, this is!
    The Chihuahuas announced that the 4 millionth fan had come through the gate recently. The stadium capacity is less than 10,000 and the Chihuahuas have played around 200 games in it. That equals 2 million. IF they’ve had 4 million through the gate in those 200 games, that means 20,000 people shoehorned into the Park. Why are they lying and what does it mean?

  6. Remember Russ Vandenburg? He’s the one who came up with the $10MM valuation for the EP Times building that the city would buy for the new City Hall. It was a chain of perfectly timed dominoes falling : tear down city hall; build stadium; payoff the Times for its support with a sweetheart deal for their building. If he looked like a crook it seems the FBI agrees for other crimes.

    It couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.

    1. At the time that the City bought the Times building, Mr. Vandenberg was making $300,000 a year as the City’s real estate consultant, and he also made commission on the sale.

      Nice work if you can get it.

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