It’s easy to get mad when the ballpark costs leap another ten million dollars. It’s easy to point fingers when the contractors start splitting hairs and upping the bill. It’s easy to sharpen the knives, and get the torches and pitchforks ready, and look for somebody to lynch. But when the gin runs out, and Monday rolls around, like it always does, it’s time to figure out how to get to where we need to go from where we’re at.
The previous City Council made the bold decision to take sole responsibility for approving the ballpark without the consent of the voters. Unfortunately, their responsibility is only figurative. They’re like that guy that orders the most expensive thing on the menu and then gets kicked out of the restaurant before the check comes. They can’t be held personally responsible if the ballpark costs more than they promised, or never fulfills the perceived needs the ballpark is supposed to address.
It was a bold move fraught with risk. But the risk was collective. All the politicians really risked was their political futures, and it looks like, at least for some of them, the risk hasn’t paid off, so far.
And now all the citizens can do is get mad and rant.
There are laws to protect the taxpayers from conniving politicians, but the letter of the law has loopholes. It would have been easy to tell your political backers that you’d love to help them out, but a city can’t build a ballpark without a vote. Because that’s what the law says. Somehow our local politicos concluded it was better to find a loophole.
You have to wonder about the wisdom of conniving to take sole responsibility for a potential fiasco. Was their hubris so great that they never thought they might be wrong, despite ample evidence to the contrary? Don’t they know how to hedge a bet?
This kind of controversy should lead to acrimonious finger pointing, but so far the line has held among the (alleged) conspirators.
Ranting won’t solve El Paso’s problems. And the ballpark is an easy target for people disaffected by the political process, seeking redress for old grievances. In this case, the political process didn’t fail us, because the political process got jumped.
Eventually we’re all going to have to take our lumps and move on. But for now, we can rant.