The Big Lie

The advocates for the City’s Quality of Life projects pretend that we need ballparks and arenas to spur economic development. Here’s one of the plan’s staunchest advocates Woody Hunt filling us in on the details in an interview in the El Paso Inc.:

There is an increasing general recognition that to attract and retain human talent, you need a quality of life that is competitive. That means our city government and county government need to be engaged in the type of investments that will make us more competitive by improving the quality of life.

You might be able to bring in jobs but you aren’t going to attract jobs that are going to move your income level unless you have the quality of life.

The best thing to do is not lose your competitiveness in the first place because turning it around is not an easy task. And when you let it continue to decline for 50 years you end up with a gap. The path back is probably going to take that long.

The nice thing about a 50 year plan is that by the time everyone realizes that the plan failed and you were just hornswoggling them, the checks have already been cashed and you’re dead.

(Don’t you think the El Paso Hornswogglers would be a good name for the soccer team?)

The World Economic Forum meets annually in Davos, Switzerland. I wasn’t able to attend this year. I had to wash my cats. The WEF, however, was nice to enough to put this report on the internet for me and everyone else with unrestricted access to the World Wide Web. The report is called the Global Talent Competitiveness Index.

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index is

an annual benchmarking report compiled by international business school INSEAD with The Adecco Group and Tata Communications. It measures and ranks 119 countries and 90 cities based on their ability to grow, attract and retain talent.

The study measures the performance of countries . . . using six pillars:

    “Enable” looks at the regulatory, market, business and labour landscapes and whether they help attract people, or put them off.

    “Attract” assesses how open a country or city is to outside talent – whether that’s people or businesses – and also to those from underprivileged backgrounds, women and older people.

    “Grow” examines how well a country or city develops its people, for example, through a good education system that offers lifelong learning.

    “Retain” looks at how nice it is to live there; one of the main components of talent retention is quality of life.

    “VT Skills” measures the availability of workers with vocational and technical skills.

    “GK Skills” looks at the availability of global knowledge skills (workers in professional, managerial or leadership roles).

Mr. Hunt’s remarks address only one part of the World Economic Forum’s report on growing, attracting and retaining talent. The big takeaway from the GTCI is that communities need diversity to succeed in the modern economy. But diversity doesn’t fit into Mr. Hunt’s plan for El Paso’s future, so he had to cherry-pick the parts of the brain trust’s conclusions that conformed with his conceptions.

And how diverse are the people making decisions about El Paso’s future? How diverse is the future they’ve planned for El Paso?

Not very. They are mostly rich white men, though some are rich Hispanic white men, and a few women who aspire to be rich white men, or the female version thereof.

El Paso’s got diversity in spades. If those people who were pushing the QoL projects were really interested in economic development they’d tap into that. But they don’t. So I’ve come to the conclusion that they only love El Paso for what they can get out of it.

Maybe you can make some other sense out of it.


  1. Building parks and opening sports venues will not solve the problems of education and lack of an industrial base in El Paso. It would be interesting to actually hear from companies who considered an industrial/ manufacturing plant in El Paso, but instead chose to locate elsewhere in Texas. The whispers heard included reasons like “it would be too hard to train the workforce when many speak both poor Spanish and poor English.”, “Intellectual genius wasn’t required, however the positions would require a firm foundation in math, science and English- none of which is apparent in El Paso.”
    Again theses are whispers and not probably accurate. Or are they?

  2. People like Hunt wish so desperately that El Paso was another city – any other city – where the rich easily and often fleece the residents, because it is almost like work for him to keep trying to get more blood from this stone that is the average El Paso taxpayer.

  3. KVIA yesterday was talking about the parks and their conditions. One of the soccer coaches mentioned they can’t keep the parks we have in good condition but the city and county keep creating new parks. Another brick in the incompetence of the governing entities who don’t think beyond the “let’s build this” stage. They never factor in the future cost of a project. Exhibit A, the trolley. How much is budgeted for personnel, repairs, insurance, and all the other minutia? The trolley cost 90 million in state funding, 10 million in city funding. Now it looks like it’s going to cost 3 to 4 million a year to operate. So the city either raises taxes or takes money from, oh let’s say, street maintainence. Portland has the same problem with their light rail system.

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