This article originally appeared on 20 February 2017.
Let’s pretend all our local “progressive” politicians and their benefactors are pure of heart. Let’s pretend that their motives are noble. That their selfish interim paychecks are subsidiary to their altruistic long-term goals. That they really want a “vibrant downtown,” and a “prosperous city,” and an influx of new businesses that will flip the ratio of property taxes paid by homeowners versus businesses.
Then they’re doing it wrong.
I’m not saying that there’s no benefit to all those shiny baubles they’re foisting on us. Entertainment options are important for a thriving community. (Baseball. Yipee.) Except El Paso’s not exactly a thriving community.
And thinking that an arena, or a ballpark, creates industry is like thinking that flies create shit. Let me suggest that the shit comes first.
Let me suggest the heresy that entertainment options are a result, and not a cause. If you could jumpstart an economy with an arena, or a ballpark, then every city in America would have one, or two.
Let me suggest that ballparks and arenas and boutique hotels aren’t even the way to a vibrant downtown. Vibrant downtowns are the result of thriving communities, and not vice versa. You can’t graft a new branch onto a dying tree and expect the tree to revive. You have to water the tree. Fertilize. And the manure we’ve been getting lacks nourishment.
I understand that our political class aren’t the brightest bulbs, but somewhere, in that smoke-filled backroom, there must be someone with critical thinking skills.
Someone who understands value. Someone that understands that, to win, you have to distinguish yourself from the competition and not mimic them. Someone who knows that Unique Sales Position and Value Proposition are more than answers on the test.
(Let me tell you a problem we have here in El Paso. The Lieutenants of Industry think their kids should inherit their influence, and then their kids aren’t smart enough to hire someone to give them good advice. They have to wait till it comes out on El Chuqueño.)
If you’re playing catch up, you never catch up. You have to take the shortcut.
And I suspect that our “leaders” don’t have a map.