Quality of Life

If you found fifty bucks on the street, what would you do with it?

Pay down your credit card debt? Take the family out to dinner at the Tap? Buy a nice, cheap, bottle of wine and some rib-eyes, and invite your friends over for a cookout?

Or you could go swimming at one of our municipal pools sixteen times, with enough money left over to buy a paleta, and some change left for the homeless guy on the corner.

Who said kick in some extra money for the Quality of Life bond projects? Go ahead, raise your hands. Anybody?

Yeah, they didn’t pitch the Quality of Life bonds as a decision about the allocation of scarce resources, because they already made all those decisions for you.

This week there’s a Q & A with Woody Hunt in the El Paso Inc. In the interview, the words “quality of life” appear eleven times, spoken by Mr. Hunt nine times.

So lemme ask you this: If Mr. Hunt found $50 on the sidewalk, what do you suppose he’d do with it?

Well, if he were in a hurry, he might not even bother to pick it up. The privately-owned Hunt Companies own a total of $14 billion dollars of projects, according to a sidebar in the Inc. Construction value. Hunt Companies wouldn’t build a project if it wasn’t worth more than it cost to construct. Mr. Hunt’s personal net worth is incalculable, even for his accountants. But it’s up there.

I’m okay with that. I’m sure Mr. Hunt made some significant sacrifices to get where he is, probably early in his career, when he likely didn’t have legions of employees to do his bidding. That’s not my point.

My point is that billionaires are maybe a little far removed to make decisions about quality of life for the rest of us. Maybe we are better equipped to make those decisions about our quality of life.

Mr. Hunt doesn’t have to wait to find $50 on the sidewalk to splurge on dinner at the Tap for his family. He doesn’t have to choose between any $50 alternatives. (The horror of it is that Mr. Hunt never gets to go to the Tap, or get a burrito on Avenida Juarez. He’s trapped in his own gilded cage.) And I suspect that Mr. Hunt has surrounded himself with a cadre of people dependent on him for a paycheck. They don’t want to argue with him. And they are probably just as far removed from the average El Pasoan’s quality of life as he is.

There’s a lot of meat in Mr. Hunt’s Q and A, and I’ll try to riff on it a little more this week.

Check it out.


  1. Yea, I read the interview. All stories on the Hunt family gloss over what they did to El Pasoans 40 or so years ago. The grandfather and father of the current Mr. Hunt headed Hunt Building Mart, a successful building supply and contracting business. Hunt Building Mart went public and sold stock, much of it to El Pasoans who wanted to invest in a local company and put a lot of their retirement income into the stock. The company then filed for bankruptcy, leaving the local investors and others out in the cold. I have never read a story about the Hunts that mentions this. I’m sick of reading these stories. El Paso, Inc, being a business oriented publication, should do their homework before doing a vanity piece on/for the Hunts. It discredits El Paso, Inc as a serious publication. El Pasoans have short memories. The press should do better.

  2. Isn’t he one of the partners in Star Sports (or whatever the baseball team’s owner is called)? Did you notice that City Council just folded like a dirty hanky in acceding to their *request* for an additional 1.2 mil for “improvements” to our/their ball park? Do you suppose we would have had to pony up this much for improvements to our previous City Hall by this time?

  3. I don’t care how wealthy I become….I will NEVER stop going to the Tap. I will probably have to go Incognito–wearing a fake beard, baseball cap and sunglasses inside the place. Thanks for the info regarding the Hunt family. Kind of reminds me of Carnegie….although not as bad. That guy had 19 strikebreakers killed by the Pinkerton’s.

    Later, he tried to “polish” his image and donated all that money to: Carnegie Hall, Carnegie libraries across the country, Carnegie Mellon U., etc…or the Guggenheim’s being war profiteers during WWI.

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