Plot Twist – Duranguito Arena Back in Play

Remember that, way back on November 9, the El Paso City Council directed City Manager Tommy Gonzalez to put the conflict over that downtown arena to rest?

From the El Paso Inc.:

After spending three hours together in a closed-door discussion Tuesday, El Paso City Council members voted unanimously to open talks to settle all legal issues involving the Downtown arena project.

The council also voted, again unanimously, to have city staff and outside experts determine how much more it would cost to build a 15,000-seat multipurpose center Downtown than the $180 million voters approved in a 2012 bond election.

The council also agreed that the city should take steps to protect historic buildings in Downton’s Duranguito neighborhood, the intended site of the arena, that were damaged in 2017 when property owners moved to demolish them.

Monday’s El Paso Times tells us that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez decided to let City Council know that they’re not the boss of him after all:

The fight over the proposed, multi-purpose arena in an area of Union Plaza, known as Duranguito, is headed to the Texas Supreme Court.

On Dec. 22, legal counsel with the city of El Paso filed a petition for review from the Eighth Court of Appeals. The petition comes after the court ruled in favor of a lawsuit historic preservationist Max Grossman filed against the city in November

The El Paso City website says this about the Council-Manager form of government:

By City charter, approved on February 7th, 2004, the City of El Paso operates under a council-manager form of government. This system combines the strong political leadership of elected officials, in the form of City Council, with the strong managerial experience of an appointed local government manager. All power is concentrated in the elected council, which hires a professionally trained manager to carry out its directives and oversee the delivery of public services.

One might wonder who elected Tommy Gonzalez. He was, after all, selected by the 2014 City Council.

One might wonder why we even have elected officials at all if they can’t control the City Manager.

What do you make of all that? Is the City Manager refusing to secure the buildings in Duranguito to threaten Max Grossman and J. P. Bryan? Like holding a razor to the throat of a hostage?

City Council told Tommy Gonzalez to settle the lawsuit on November 9, and the City filed its petition with the Supreme Court on December 22. If filing the issue with the Supreme Court isn’t part of the City’s settlement strategy, it looks like willful disobedience.

Is the City taking the issue to the Texas Supreme Court part of the City’s settlement strategy? Like holding a dagger to the throat of a little girl?

Make some popcorn and open up a bottle of wine. Or two. This might get interesting.


  1. This is chicanery writ large on the part of Gonzalea and his enablers on City Council; did I hear someone say “I told you so?)

  2. At the end of the day Mayor and Council can make the final review and evaluation of everything the CM completes and ignores by virtue of the charter. All this is incumbent upon the elected following the will of the public. Unfortunately, the oligarchy control a minority rule over the elected despite the principles used to get elected. Therefore, the people have no voice in City Hall.

  3. Willful disobedience, dereliction of duty and insubordination, all three constitute good cause to fire employees in the state of Texas. The Mayor and City Council ( except for Anello forget the CM is an employee because he is always telling them what to do.

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