In order to understand the content of those secret emails that we’re never going to see, I consulted my trusty Ouija board. It almost never fails.
According to my spirit guides, the crux of the missing emails is Texas Municipal Code Chapter 334. To review, for those of you who drink heavily and/or have been sleeping, noted commenter Carlos poined out for us the City of El Paso invoked Section 334.0082, to wit:
Sec. 334.0082. VENUE PROJECTS IN CERTAIN MUNICIPALITIES. (a) This section applies only to a municipality that:
(1) has a population of at least 176,000 that borders the Rio Grande, and that approved a sports and community venue project before January 1, 2009; or
(2) is located in a county adjacent to the Texas-Mexico border if:
(A) the county has a population of at least 500,000;
(B) the county does not have a city located within it that has a population of at least 500,000; and
(C) the municipality is the largest municipality in the county described by this subdivision.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, including Section 334.089, after complying with Section 334.022, a municipality to which this section applies may hold an election under Section 334.024 on the question of approving and implementing a resolution to:
(1) authorize the municipality to plan, acquire, establish, develop, construct, or renovate a convention center and related infrastructure in the city limits of the municipality as part of an existing or previously approved sports and community venue project, regardless of whether the convention center is located on the premises of the existing or previously approved venue project;
(2) impose a tax under Subchapter H at a rate not to exceed two percent of the cost of a room; and
(3) authorize the municipality to finance, operate, and maintain the venue project described by Subdivision (1), including the convention center, using the revenue from any taxes imposed by the municipality under this chapter, including taxes previously approved in relation to the existing or previously approved venue project.
According to my guides beyond the pale, the bulk of the missing emails discussed whether or not the location of the new ballpark, i.e. the old City Hall, could be shoehorned into this exemption to the law.
Section 334.0082 was designed to let two communities in the Rio Grande Valley continue a couple of projects they had already started. As I recall, one was the legislative district that includes Star County, and the other was Uvalde County. I could be wrong, but I’m having a hard time finding the amendment records to make sure.
According to my Ouija board (which almost never fails), the missing emails discussed, in depth, whether the old City Hall qualified as “sports and community venue project” that was “approved before January 1, 2009.”
I could opine that El Paso never approved the ballpark, either before New Year’s Day, 2009, or after. But so far my opinion has been judged to be worth less than the nominal MSRP of two cents. I’d say it would be better to let the AG look into it, and see if the Texas Rangers really will show up.