We’re Going to Revitalize Ourselves to Death

It’s time to stop pretending like El Paso’s biggest challenge is downtown revitalization.

Here’s MountainStar Sports Group’s Executive Director Josh Hunt, in an interview with El Diario:

“Un nuevo y activo Centro es vital para que El Paso se convierta en una ciudad competitiva que pueda reclutar y retener grandes negocios en esta región. Aparte, mejorará la calidad de vida de la comunidad paseña”, dijo Hunt en entrevista con El Diario de El Paso.

Lemme help you out.

“A new and active downtown is vital to turning El Paso into a competitive city that can recruit and retain big business in this region. Also, it will improve the quality of life of the El Paso community,” said Hunt in an interview with El Diario de El Paso.

That’s like having the patient on the operating table for open-heart surgery and deciding to give him a nose job instead.

We’re bleeding out. Population growth has stagnated since El Paso’s city government decided to conduct this grand experiment in social engineering back in 2012. Even if an arena made sense then (and it didn’t) it doesn’t make sense now.

Here’s an article titled Which American Cities Will File Bankruptcy Next? that draws attention to El Paso’s impending pension crisis.

Luckily, for those looking to escape the trauma of being taxed into oblivion by their failing cities/counties/states, JP Morgan has provided a comprehensive guide on which municipalities haven’t the slightest hope of surviving their multi-decade debt binge and lavish public pension awards.

According to the accompanying table, El Paso will need to either raise taxes or cut expenditures by 16% just to fund the impending pension shortfall. And that’s just our pensions. That doesn’t include the other debt in the pipeline. Like the ongoing shortages attributable to the ballpark, or operations and maintenance on the swim centers, or the trolley, or any of the other Quality of Life projects that were under-budgeted.

May I suggest that now is not the time to enter into any more costly capital improvement projects? That maybe we should get our house in order before we throw a party?

Maybe, after we get our finances together, then we can build a Multipurpose Special Events Center. Maybe. If that ever happens.

It’s just common sense. But nobody at the City seems to have any.


  1. We, as a city, have missed so many buses over the years. Does anyone remember when the maquiladoras were thriving? RCA had a huge plant in JTown, and many others did as well. It occurred to me way back when that we in El Paso needed to be working to make our city attractive to those major international corporations to consider having their headquarters, or at least regional HQs, and other vital parts of those businesses relocate here. Of course, the reality was that many did relocate here, only to move from El Chuco to Cd. Juarez, and then, away from there. So, while we let that happen, we also saw our downtown die because nobody had the foresight to focus on making it work. Tear out the trolley tracks! Make it more difficult to cross the border! What did we overlook the most?! The simple fact that El Paso was, and should have continued to be, a major attraction to shoppers from all over over Northern Mexico! I remember people who came all the way from Guadalajara to shop at Cielo Vista Mall! Now? Not so much.

  2. So… I’m supposed to panic about the City’s spending based on an article by a fictional character from Fight Club (check out the byline)?

    I did some digging and found this choice comment about Zero Hedge that would seem to apply to this situation: “It’s essentially apocalypse porn. It has accurately predicted 200 of the last 2 recessions.”

    Looking at some of their other articles/posts and I’m not really feeling like I can trust whoever is running that site and in today’s internet age I would argue that (much like Wikipedia) if it isn’t referenced by at least a few of the more reputable sources then stuff like this has gotta be very suspect (hell even Fox isn’t going where these guys go).

    Not saying they’re wrong but I will point out that Chicago and Cook County are both #1 on their list which given their connection to Obama and the tone in several of their other pieces leads me to think that it’s a fairly right leaning doomsday blog/site and their content has to be at least somewhat suspect without more corroboration or data to back up their predictions.

    1. They put the chart they lifted from JP Morgan right in the post. Here it is, from the original source. The chart is on Page 7.

      Lemme know if I can do anything else to help.

    2. Only an idiot would consider el paso’s economy strong enough to sustain the ridiculous level of government spending that has occurred over the last decade and longer. p.s. sold out stadiums don’t cold-call business owners trying to sell tickets like the chihuahuas started doing this year. the diablo’s did that in their final years. When that didn’t work they gave tickets away to school children. Still couldn’t fill the stands. How many years until that’s the chihuahuas? also, ain’t nobody coming to el paso to watch games, so no money from the stadium. If the city’s spending don’t bother you either you do not pay taxes or you get summa that money they spend.

    3. So you’re saying Chicago and Cook County are not in trouble? Just look at the numbers. The numbers are from a reputable source and are not made up. There are other sources that say the same thing. Smart people don’t panic, but they do plan ahead. Smart people don’t try to blame the messenger if the don’t like the message. Example: A thick-skulled conservative who won’t believe anything he reads on Snopes or anything reported on CNN. Don’t be thick-skulled liberal.

  3. El Paso is big enough..the measure of success should not be population growth. If we reach a million, will that be a better city? Why? Where will El Paso get the water for all that growth?

    Name ANY other city that has crammed everything into one small footprint DWNTWN…everywhere I have lived and visited in the US and beyond has attractions in various parts of town, making it possible to get there and providing economic benefits to all parts of town….

  4. The damage to the downtown area was done during mall building madness. Most cities finally figured it out. Malls took business from downtown shopping. Not El Paso, they kept with the mall program and scratched their heads when the businesses dried up downtown.

    Maybe it was a long range plan to empty the city to have space for the millionaires playground, which was subsidized with tax money provided by city county. Must be nice.

    I want to demolish the county and federal courthouse area so I can build a top notch 18 holes golf course. That will draw business, tourist and new families. Of course I will coordinate with city hall about receiving some tax monies to build it. There’s nothing about that area anyway. Nothing to do with history or heritage or anyone worth mentioning ever did anything there. There’s my justification. Oh yes, build a trolley system so Juarez folks don’t have transportation problems. Get the Junkers at the airport refitted with top notch features, no expense will be too much. At a million dollars annually just to maintain the current trolley what’s another million annually to maintain the Downtown Golf Course ?

  5. The restored trollies idea has been around for 35 years and for half of those years (17 1/2 for those in Durangito j/k) it remained a good idea. But it’s almost 2020 and what El Paso needs now is a modern shiny new light-rail system, but El Pasoans are stuck in 1985. Downtown El Paso needs more attractions, naysayers are a dime a dozen, don’t pay them no mind and don’t get left far behind other mid-size cities El Paso, let’s not become a 3rd or 4th rate city where people fear change and where comfort comes from being stale and static. Great cities know that sometimes you got to tear some things down to make way for new and better things. Great cities know how to recognize historic buildings from just old ones. Good and needed progress downtown is being held hostage by a few loud voices, don’t give them too much power, they don’t really have it.

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