Retrovision: What’s Wrong With El Paso

This post originally appeared on 27 August 2012, shortly after man harnessed fire and before the invention of the wheel.

I like El Paso. What about all those people saying it’s not good enough for them?

Those baseball fanatics, god bless ‘em, say those who oppose the unsanctioned sellout of real assets for speculative pipe dreams don’t love El Paso. The say we need development to make El Paso livable, and knocking down buildings and starting from scratch is the way to go. They say otherwise our children and grandchildren will move somewhere else to make their futures, because the only thing standing between them and a four bedroom ranch style home in the suburbs is Triple A baseball in downtown El Paso.

I’m not sure how a Triple A baseball team will change El Paso into an economic dynamo, but those baseball fanatics seem convinced that this is a necessary first step in the process.

It’s the next steps that they’re a little shaky on. It’s like alchemy. First we build a ballpark, and then the streets are paved with gold.

I’d be more convinced if they could illustrate the process. We build a Triple A ballpark, and then what? Fortune 500 companies beat a path to our door? The bulk of Americans will overcome their latent xenophobia to embrace quincinearas and Chico’s Tacos?

Anyone who thinks that the lack of a Triple A baseball team has been holding El Paso back seems to me to be a little out of touch with reality. And to suggest that anyone who opposes the current shenanigans is less of a loyal El Pasoan than those who support sticking the city with unproven benefits for unmeasured costs probably can’t balance their checkbooks.

Well I like El Paso. I’m not apologetic about El Paso. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I’ve never been confronted with a lack of things to do in El Paso. I’m usually overwhelmed by the options. Maybe those people who say that there’s nothing to do in El Paso should sell their teevees. Maybe they should meet their neighbors, and the people that aren’t their neighbors. Maybe the people who think Triple A baseball is a safe alternative to television sit-coms should get a real life, because El Paso is one of the most culturally rich and culturally diverse cities in the world. And it’s the safest city in America.

Somehow, Triple A baseball will fix all that.

I read in the paper where that sweet lady rep from the Eastside said that once we build that tax base, then rates can come down. Does anyone remember the last time tax rates came down? I don’t.


  1. Still applicable today. Change the ballpark to Top Golf, The Lodge, Arena, FC Field, trolley………..and it still reflects upon the brilliant and shining future of El Paso (brought to you by Sanders, Hunt, Foster, et al, and your local city and county government). I guess I love the El Paso of my younger years. Bullfights, huevos rancheros, nightlife in Juarez; The Cotton Patch, Silver Fox, Sun Kings, Miner sports, Western Playland, rodeo, Ice Capades, the circus, concerts at Memorial Park and Liberty Hall, movies at the Plaza, Elmers, drive ins, and so many more made up the entertainment along with BBQ’s with friends no matter how lightly or darkly tanned. But now, I guess to attract all those multinational businesses, we have to forego the El Paso of the past for the finely crafted and well understood marketing campaign together with QOL improvements, more taxes, and a slogan of what ever the flavor of the day is.

  2. I drive Uber/Lyft and try telling people about El Paso as much as I can in a short trip. I tell them I love the people here, most are so friendly it’s unbelievable. I mention that there’s a hugh variety of good food from many cultures. I tell them I love the history associated with the town. I also tell them I detest the government, both city and county. Everything above is true and I’m always sad when I have to tell them about the idiocy of the people in government around here. I tried running for JP years ago as an independent write-in and would run again if I were healthier and had some backing. We need a sea change in government here.

  3. I don’t know if I recall this exact post from you, Rich, but the words sure do strike a note! These are what a few of us tried to point out way back when, and on through the teardowns and pumping of tax dollars down black holes. And, isn’t it sad to note that nothing has changed? We have not experienced any rebirth or many new businesses, and certainly have not seen any population increase, have we? Instead, we are going in the opposite direction, and still keep throwing good money after bad. Somehow, I am reminded of Harry Nilsson.

  4. Rich, as always, I enjoy your insight and views. Not to be beating an already dead horse, but there is an in article today in Reuters by Howard Schneider. It basically states what you have been saying the last few years. Some parts of the country, especially Texas, are seeing higher growth than the rest of the country, again, lets just focus on Texas. As you might expect, El Paso IS NOT a growing place. With the upcoming QOL bond, who is going to shoulder the burden of increased taxes?
    Also, one of your readers lamented “the good old days” of Juarez and El Paso…especially Juarez. Although its not PC anymore, I enjoyed my times at the bullfights, either alone “hechando tacos de ojo,” or with a pretty senorita as my date. Nothing like ice cold Superior and listening to the mariachi’s beforehand…and hearing “La Virgen de Macarena” being played as the bullfighters marched out. The song is a 180 to the “La Macarena,” but it still gives me chills when I wax nostalgic. That and walking up and down Juarez Ave. with all of its bars, nightclubs, hidden spots. And, of course my trips to the White Lakes….so many pretty senoritas and so little money 🙁 But, it was great fun while it lasted. Keep up the great work!!!!

  5. Rich, I am going to apologize in advance for posting so much. But, recalling the “good old days” of Juarez/El Paso I grew so nostalgic, that I had to take a shot of Don Julio and am going to watch “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” directed by the Old Iguana (self titled) Sam Peckinpah. Probably the Wild Bunch to follow and maybe topped off by Viva Zapata with Anthony Quinn. Or Viva Villa. Or read baseball stats of Ted Williams whose mom was a Mexican American from El Paso….anyway, a toast to you and your continued good works.

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