Scorched Earth

Way back in 2014, when I was trying to figure out the twisted logic of the City’s plans, I wrote this, in a post titled Can El Paso Go Bankrupt?:

I mean, we’re not like other towns. We have assets. We own real estate. The Public Service Board (that’s the most sinister name for a public entity since Stalin ruled the USSR) owns hundreds of acres of land[*]. If we got in a pinch, couldn’t we just sell some land? Probably at a discount, because we’ll really need the money. I’m sure some of the local developers could . . . .

Oh. I get it now.

Of course, there could be some legal obstacles to the PSB laying off a bunch of land to some cagey developers, but illegal never stopped the City before. Illegal is a niggling detail. The City can handle it.

That’s kind of what happened with that land Don Pablo ended up with in Northeast El Paso. The City wanted that 44 acres in West El Paso for a Great Wolf Lodge, so they traded a bunch of El Paso Water land around a golf course in Northeast El Paso to get it.

After looking at the actions of City Council, I’ve decided that driving the City to sell off its assets must be their goal. Why else would City Council drive us into crippling debt?

Besides the immediate short term goal of funneling more tax money to their campaign contributors.

Representatives Svarzbein, Hernandez, Salcido, Rivera, and Lizarraga must be trying to make El Paso unlivable for El Pasoans. When nothing they do makes sense, they obviously must be working on a devious scheme.

How could they not approve of an updated construction cost estimate for that downtown “arena”? As I read in the El Paso Times, that’s just a no-brainer.

It’s just an estimate. Nobody’s going to hold you to an estimate. That’s what estimate means.

I guess you could call it a ballpark guess of what the arena might cost, except that “ballpark” might be too prejudicial.

Unfortunately, a scheme like driving the City into bankruptcy would take years. Generations, maybe. Bleeding cash from the taxpayers. And then El Paso might look like a set from Mad Max.

*In unrelated news, yesterday District 3 Representative Cassandra Hernandez appointed Susie Byrd to the Public Service Board.


  1. Sigh, re ‘Fosterville’ in NE and Huntsville in NW.
    This is sprawl development all the way, and the PSB is making the problem worse…..

    1. And that sprawl (plus no night service) ensures that everyone has to have a car or call one in order to go anywhere – unless they are just too poor. That includes students who have night classes…they HAVE to drive! The car dealers must be happy…

  2. With El Paso Water selling their land to development interests, there will be more people needing water, sewer and stormwater services. There will be a significant increase in impervious surfaces leading to increased runoff which is expensive to manage. What happens when EPW runs out of land to sell and yet the demand for water services has skyrocketed due all this new development? One guess is that the fees for water services will increase.

    Meanwhile we have climate change upon us with either heavy rains or extreme drought or both on the agenda. EPW will likely be strained to the breaking point. Where’s the money going to come from to provide the infrastructure? I think we can see, with the current state of politics, the money is not going to come from the State of Texas or the Congress of the United States. Are there going to be enough resources within the City and the citizens of El Paso to cope with these scenarios?

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