The Great Ongoing Land Swindle

Way back on 30 July 2014, in a post titled Can El Paso Go Bankrupt?, I wrote:

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.

Well, it’s happening. Paul Foster last week got 2,313 acres of Public Service Board land, on which he will develop a Smart Growth community.

What did El Paso get for it? 44 acres on the freeway that the City will sell to Great Wolf Resorts for $5000 after ten years.

What a deal!

To developers, publicly owned land looks like low-hanging fruit. Local governments are relatively cheap. Let’s just drive this truck into a ditch, and pick the parts at a salvage auction.

And how is the City of El Paso dealing with our impending financial crisis?

Full speed ahead. Pedal to the metal, even though the bridge is out.

They’re not trying to stave off bankruptcy, they’re embracing it.

They act like they’re your friends, but they’re not your friends.


  1. Actually the Great Wolf Crowd will pay “rent” for ten years at $1000 per year and then buy the land for $5000…and then still be hungry enough to eat us for lunch

  2. The irony is that due to the economic crisis we are now in, I cannot imagine either venture: the smart growth community” that Foster wants to develop, or the GWL, being economically feasible. If built, they will fail.

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