Redevelopment Revisited

How, do you suppose, will the “news” that El Paso’s under 35 population has the second lowest median income in the nation, and are second most likely to be unemployed, inform decisions about economic development, and especially downtown development?

Do you think that they’ll just ignore the report, the way the El Paso Times did?

There were some decision-makers who felt that El Paso’s millennials were being underserved. That new downtown projects would revitalize downtown without taking customers away from existing businesses. That the costs of the new projects, like that ballpark and the trolley, would be justified by the increase in tax revenues generated by new retail.

Ha ha ha.

At least that’s what they said they thought. They couldn’t be honest, now could they? Really they were thinking that local government could just re-slice the pie to favor the people who contributed to their campaigns, and invited them out to dinner.

Those people over 35, who might not have the second lowest median income in the nation, aren’t out at the bars generating tax revenue for the city. They’re not out on the town, creating a vibrant economy. They’re at home binge-watching Game of Thrones and spilling merlot on their pajamas. If they want to party, they invite people over for dinner, or go to El Lay to watch geriatric rockers.

I’m not sure that El Paso wasn’t better off when the corruption was quid pro quo. At least then our elected officials had to slink around. They didn’t have those pretensions that the latest denizens of City Hall exhibit. Hell, those crooks would really go to bars, and spread their ill-gotten gains around to the little people. The latest crop of elected officials doesn’t like to hang with the gente. They’d rather sit outside the gates of the robber-barons, hoping that they can get a job when their sinecures term out.

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