Max For the Win!

Recently, “Former First Lady” Adair Margo wrote a guest column for the El Paso Times.

Since 2016, a falsehood has been spread nationwide about El Paso’s history that has cost citizens millions in legal fees and tarnished its reputation.

The falsehood is on the website of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and was on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt in a segment featuring David Romo. While Romo stood inside the Villa Stash House on Leon Street, in front of lights and cameras, he repeated the untruth that El Paso will destroy its Latino heritage by bulldozing “Duranguito.”

. . .

[Dr. David] Romo and [Dr. Max] Grossman – in a self-proclaimed effort to “beat the city” – persist in spreading the lie that three deserted blocks – 70% asphalt – is the “birthplace of El Paso” and its “oldest neighborhood.”

That poor dear! Maybe she didn’t realize that the City already capitulated on Duranguito when they got advance notice that the Eighth Court of Appeals was ruling in Dr. Grossman’s favor.

But Dr. Grossman fired back, in this guest column:

What is driving the former First Lady to defame me and other academics so publicly regarding this issue?

(I remember when mayors just had wives who weren’t First Ladies.)

She cites the report by Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News focusing on the Hispanic Access Foundation’s listing of Duranguito as one of seven sites that deserve protection because of their cultural and historical significance to the Latino community of the United States.

So why doesn’t Margo complain to Holt or the many other journalists with national stature who have reported on the city’s plan to demolish its own birthplace?

She seems to be driven by her own personal animus against scholars whose research into the Union Plaza neighborhood has refuted her assumptions about the origins of El Paso and fueled opposition to her husband’s political career.

The truth is that Margo knows precious little about the history of the city’s First Ward and its architectural development. She is woefully misinformed.

. . .

However, she is correct that the National Trust for Historic Preservation supports saving the buildings within the “Arena Footprint,” as do the Texas Historical Foundation, Preservation Texas, the El Paso County Historical Society, the El Paso County Historical Commission, and the city’s own Historic Landmark Commission and City Plan Commission.

. . .

What she and her allies fail to grasp is that there are other stakeholders in our urban neighborhoods besides the local business elites and their bankers and attorneys.

. . .

Of course, it is not Margo or her developer friends who would pay for this project any more than they paid for the structure of the ballpark. That burden would fall upon the taxpayers at large, who already suffer from the second highest property tax rate among the 50 largest cities in America.                                    

In El Paso, there is a pervasive culture of exploiting local government to advance the private agenda of a handful of powerful families.

Whoa! Tell it like it is!

I can only hope that there’s another guest column next Sunday.

Let the games begin!


  1. El Paso, Texas….. “the second highest property tax rate among the 50 largest cities in America. That is a sad truth”.
    “In El Paso, there is a pervasive culture of exploiting local government to advance the private agenda of a handful of powerful families”.
    The why on political contributions to the city council members.

  2. I don’t care what happens to Durangito as long as the taxpayers are not on the hook for another handout to Mountainstar which is what the so called arena will be. So stop the goddam thing and let Paul and Woody find another site and pay for their team’s venue out of their own pockets. This is an existential battle for the city’s soul, to wrest it away from this power block that owns the Council.

  3. Poor Adair Margo and her husband, “Oklahoma Dee,”or “OkieDee.” Couldn’t get their ways. Margo was born on 3rd base and thought she hit a triple. Educated at Vanderbilt and in Florence, Italy, she thinks she knows more than the average citizen. Or in this case, Mr. Grossman and Mr. Romo, or Dr. Grossman and Dr. Romo. Instead, she insolently calls them by their last name. O.K. Margo, get off of your indulged high horse and lets set the facts straight. J.P. Bryan, the wealthy oilman who has a passion for All Things Texan, rebuilt the destination Gage Hotel in Marathon. And, out of his own pockets, built and donated over 70,000 Texana items to the Galveston Museum. He paid for the fight against these money hungry developers who wanted to plow over “Duranguito.” And Dr. Grossman led the charge. Margo, was referring to the “deceit filtering over to Duranguito, according to Wikipedia.” Wiki? She uses that as a “Reference?” The First Lady needs to do her homework and not rely on an open source site such as Wikipedia. Also, referring to Juarez businessman Guajardo as a “Historian?” Who wants to serve his Old Mexico food? C’mon. Give me a break. He and his Dad are just plain old businessmen. Guajardo is no Historian. They just bought all those properties on the cheap hoping to cash in when they (thought) El Paso City Hall would capitulate and bulldoze Duranguito–the city would have to pay them exorbitant prices so they could build their Sports Arena. Everyone knows, 9 years later, that El Paso does NOT need a downtown sports arena. Chuco Town already has UTEP. Besides, who is going to play at this arena? A g league basketball team? They all already have venues they play in and which are currently fully supported. Some G league team is going to pull up stakes and move to El Paso? Oh yeah, I guess, if El Paso (ultimately the Taxpayers) waves $$$$ to have them relocate. Just check out how El Paso is footing the bill for the Chihuahuas. I applaud Drs. Romo and Grossman, but especially a visionary like J.P. Bryan.

  4. One last comment. Adair Margo referenced Wikipedia. One only has to google if it is a reliable Source. Nope. Its accuracy is 80% compared to 95-96% on other sources. Also, she referenced how Mr. Guajardo plans to turn the “Coffin House” into an AirBnB….only 10 minutes from Juarez by foot. Really? People are going to start re-visiting J-Town? Last year there were (Reported) 1,646 Murders. By contrast, Austin had 48 and San Antonio 128 murders. Do you see people flocking to El Paso to go and tour Juarez? There is a reason why all of those formerly Juarez-based restaurants picked up stakes and moved to El Paso…most of them on Zaragosa….not 10 minutes by foot either.

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