Retrovision: An Arena? Really?

This article originally appeared on January 10, 2017.

Over the last twenty years, we’ve spent a lot of money on Downtown. For Union Plaza. The Plaza Theatre. The ballpark. Relocating City Hall. San Jacinto Plaza.

Hundreds of millions of dollars. Hundreds of millions.

But it’s never enough. Like a junkie that just wants to put more smack in his arm, our “city leaders” just want more.


“Economic development,” they say.

Guess what? It’s not working.

Except for a smattering of retail, we’re not attracting any new businesses. Most of that new retail was drawn by the strength of the Mexican consumer, and the peso has lost a third of its dollar value in the last two years. That’s not coming back anytime soon.

“Stop the brain drain,” they say.

Guess what? Your son with a degree in Computer Science isn’t going to take a job serving lattes at Starbucks. Your daughter who just got her master’s in Mechanical Engineering won’t be happy running a register at Whole Foods. You think they’re going to work the snack bar at the arena?

Explain to me, like I’m five, how a new downtown arena will help your average El Pasoan.

Our elected officials keep telling us that we need the “economic development” to put more of the tax burden on commercial property owners, but they just keep sticking us with the bill for more shiny gewgaws and there’s no relief in sight, and no “economic development.”

And frankly, the City could afford to save the $180 million initial investment, and the interest and operating and maintenance costs every year.

The only people benefiting from all that investment in downtown are the developers and real estate speculators. I’m tired of our local governments and school districts picking our pockets for the benefit of their campaign contributors.

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.


  1. The problem is El Paso doesn’t any leader that knows how to create business without some jerk wetting his beak. They know how to raise taxes which is not creative at all. Any idiot can spend money but it takes leadership, courage and wisdom to budget.

    Want to see all the waste and unnecessary spending look around. We have gotten nothing out of all these useless projects. But some fed their pockets and ego. Oh well it’s only tax money aka free money.

    We have those gaudy lights on the highway and downtown. The only thing missing is the cheap plastic flamingos. Throw in a gnome to finish the gaudy appearance. We have plenty of unrepaired streets, patch work is the El Paso answer, streets without traffic lanes, 1001 taco joints, 1001 free clinics for Juarez, 1001 nonprofits. That looks real good, no businesses but plenty of nonprofits. It begs the question, Doesn’t anyone work around here ?

    I wish someone would provide answer to two questions. When will Mexico be held accountable for not improving conditions so their citizens don’t flee. The other is why do people vote for the same idiots over and over.

  2. Why do you (whoever you are) always find that Mexicans are to blame for all the things you do not like? And if it disgusts you so much what the hell are you doing about it besides writing ignorance based letters to the editor.

  3. Stop focusing on minor league sports. The only way sport will actually work if its true professional leagues not minor leagues. City of Phoenix is a city that is full of professional sports. NO Minor leagues. Drag racing PRO, NASA CAR pro.. Arizona Cardinals PRO.. Phoenis Sun basketball PRO .. Phoenix Coyotes Pro Hockey.PHOENIX PGA .the list goes on the main point is that they are not minor leagues. Why is EL Paso focusing on minor leagues when it really making them lose money instead of making profit. THEREFORE reject SPORTS Build Condo in downtown area. Beautiful more modern building like Dubai is the land of the RICH and famous people. SHOOT even their police cars are sports cars. Nothing looks old. WHY is el paso continuing to keep the city looking old? We should focus on making it more modern up to date. BLOW UP old building that shouldn’t even be up.. Build more condos Bring the rich to EL Paso and business will follow.

  4. Comments made me spit my coffee while reading the above.

    So condos will bring the rich to El Paso ? I have never read anything so idiotic.

    One question, so what will be the criteria for demolishing buildings? Every 20 years, 30 years ? if they have to be demolished that often then you have very poor construction and lazy maintenance crews.

    No wonder El Paso is in such bad shape, idiots ! Close down Cannes and the French Riveria, El Paso is about to become the new playground for the rich and famous. See the yachts on the Rio Grande ?

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