Regional Economic Development

The Borderplex Alliance, an entity dedicated to regional economic development, commissioned a study by Angelou Economics to develop a plan for the region, and guess what? Angelou Economics said we needed regional economic development.

The region’s economic development in the next five years hinges on improving the area’s overall quality and spurring innovation and entrepreneurship, according to a strategic plan released today by the Borderplex Alliance.

The 155-page report said those things must be done as “one well-oiled, united economic region” to succeed.

Emphasis added.

The corollary is that if we can’t do things as “one well-oiled, united economic region,” the plan won’t work.

According to the El Paso Inc., here’s what Jerry Pacheco, vice president and founder of the Border Industrial Association in Santa Teresa, said when the plan was first announced:

“I just wish people would ask us what is already in the works before they launch these efforts to create plans, because it has the propensity to create more confusion.”

And here’s what Mr. Pacheco said when the plan was released, according to the El Paso Times:

“We told them we don’t want anything to do with their study,” Pacheco said.

. . .

Pacheco, who doesn’t buy into the Borderplex Alliance’s self-appointed role as regional leader of economic development, said its proposed plan conflicts with a number of others being compiled in New Mexico, including a huge planning project in Doña Ana County.

I’m sure those guys at the Borderplex Alliance are nice, and they have the best intentions, but El Paso is hemorrhaging, and I’m not sure we can wait for nice, well-meaning guys to pursue a tack that’s doomed to fail.

I’ve got an idea. How about we just throw out any preconceptions we might have about regional economic development and just do what will work?

Regional economic development might work for a region that’s homogenous, that has similar problems and similar assets, but El Paso, Las Cruces and Juarez are completely different cities.

Regional economic development might work if there were natural synergies, like if El Paso had a pine forest and Las Cruces had a toothpick factory. But we don’t.

If there were any natural synergies, Angelou Economics would have found them. But there aren’t. They didn’t.

Hell, Southern New Mexico doesn’t even want our meddling management. They’ve got their own managers, and their own plans.

If El Paso is going to pull out of our economic nosedive, we better find solutions for our own problems, and stop worrying about Juarez and Southern New Mexico.

Instead of trying to building a bonfire that might never light, let’s just build three little campfires. Otherwise we’ll freeze to death in the dark.


  1. I hope this isn’t met with too much negativity but I know of a common interest that the three cities have. Cycling. Whether it be road or mountain, cycling is gaining momentum in this region and someone needs to act on it. I’ll try something…

  2. On the one hand, maybe there should be a regional plan, so that limited resources could be pooled. But, on the other hand, maybe it is time to face reality. We are in the middle of nowhere, on the road to literally nowhere! Big businesses have no reason to locate any part of their business so far from consumers, from labor markets, and from their own headquarters. Why do we keep ignoring that simple fact? One of the things that used to bother me, before the internet, was that when I needed parts for my car or an appliance, or an electronic device, I always had to go through the yellow pages, find somebody who could order it (because it is still not feasible to stock everything), pay extra for shipping, and wait. Since the internet I now buy just about everything on line. I don’t have to drive all over town, make a lot of phone calls, and usually, I don’t even have to pay extra for shipping. And, that is why, in a nutshell, we will never be like Dallas, or Ft. Worth, or Austin, or San Antonio, or Houston! Maybe if we accepted our lot in life, and learned to just do the best we can with what we have, things would be so much smoother for everyone.

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