That’s the question we should be asking candidates this election cycle.
In the next four years, City Council will probably decide whether or not to sponsor a soccer stadium for MountainStar Sports Group’s USL soccer team, the Locomotives.
Remember the ballpark? Do you want to find out about the soccer stadium when it shows up on a Thursday agenda, for City Council to vote on the next Tuesday?
Do you think campaign contributions come with no strings attached?
You think that dark money campaign supporting El Paso’s “leaders” was all payback for deeds already done?
Nuh uh. The oligarchs don’t work that way. If you’re against them, they”ll hold a grudge, but if you’re on their side, they’re all “What have you done for me lately?”
Or, in this case, “What can you do for me?”
That’s why they’re putting all those candidates in their pockets. For the soccer stadium.
Do you think that the Locomotives will play at the baseball park forever? Do you think MountainStar will spring for their own facility?
Not in a million years. They’re all about soaking the taxpayers.
Hey, they deserve it. They’re philanthropists.
That soccer stadium, I predict, is slated to be on the deck over the freeway, in the shadow of WestStar Tower at Hunt Plaza.
From KFOX.com, back in 2016:
[MountainStar Sports Group CEO Josh Hunt] said it’s still in the preliminary planning phases, but the group wants to build the stadium downtown.
“We could continue with the downtown revitalization efforts, but that doesn’t mean that it for sure has to be downtown. But that’s clearly our preference,” Hunt said.
There’s even talks of building the structure above Interstate 10. It’s called “capping the freeway.”
“Just from a transformational civic standpoint. I think it would be great if our city would look at capping our freeway and creating some great civic space, park space and other uses potentially,” Hunt said.
The ballpark has cost the citizens of El Paso hundreds of millions of dollars. To build. On operations and maintenance. To replace City Hall with a scattering of buildings in downtown El Paso.
What could the City have done with that money instead of building a ballpark?
The ballpark is an expensive toy gifted to some of El Paso’s richest citizens by City Council, paid for from the pockets of taxpayers in one of the poorest cities in the U.S.
They did it once, and they’d like to do it again.
Don’t stop thinking about the soccer stadium. MountainStar hasn’t, and MountainStar won’t.
Heck, no (to a soccer stadium).
In case no one has been paying attention, here’s a good example of why tax dollars should not go towards this kind of thing: As Americans age and die off, the interest in the sport of golf has dwindled. No longer are there folks lining up to buy a home on the links. As a matter of fact, as the old golfers die off, no one wants to buy their homes because no one wants the extra cost. Likewise, municipal golf courses are disappearing because, again, not enough tac payers are also avid golfers. Government in a democracy, after all, is supposed to be aimed at providing the most good for the most people, not a lotta good for a handful of rich bastards.
It is a GREAT IDEA that they play soccer in the Ball Park!
The word on the street is that MountainStar in contractually obligated to build a dedicated soccer stadium for the team. I don’t know what the downside is if they don’t build one. After school detention? Anyhow, they want to build one, and it looks like they want to build one on a deck over the freeway in downtown El Paso, and they want the taxpayers to foot the bill.
In some places, the philanthropists give money to the community. In El Paso, it’s the other way around.
Don’t you think it’s time for the “philanthropists” to kick in a lot of money for a project that’s good for El Paso? It’s been a while. Early childhood education, maybe?
Maybe we should threaten to Asarco that oil refinery in the middle of town. That should get their attention.
There is an activism of foot now in El Paso that I think will prevent further handouts to Mountainstar.
One possible effect of Coronavirus could be a City bankruptcy that would prevent future handouts to our oligarchs. I have previously advocated that the city default on the stadium bonds and let Mountainstar negotiate terms directly with the bondholders. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Can we do that? Default on the ballpark bonds? Of course, it might hurt our bond rating, making it harder to borrow money in the future, but that’s a good thing.
Yes they can default on a bond issue. The investors took a risk, too, in spite of furious local opposition. If it comes down to the stadium or the cops, and it could, what else would you do? NOTE: Don’t ask that question of some local well-intentioned activists, like Ms. Carbajal 🙂
A default would definitely hurt the City’s ability to borrow, a good thing IMHO. Like taking the needle from the addict. Nothing short of that will stop the debt fueled orgy of trickle-up economics out of city hall.
Also, a little background on the bond money-printing machine. In 2007, HACEP was in the middle of a management crisis and looking for a new director. At the same time HACEP was doing a $10MM bond issue for new units (replacing some WWII vintage units). I attended several board meetings and it was clear that the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing on this project that was out of control. One would think that might dissuade a lender but not so.
I wrote to the underwriter (Wells Fargo) and the rating agency with my observations and was basically told it was a done deal as far as they were concerned. If there was a problem, Uncle Sam was on the hook. A few years later the movie, The Big Short, was released. I saw it all first hand. It’s how crashes happen when all the players are on message to make money but ignore the underlying reality on the street. The City needs a dose of financial reality that isn’t captive to Paul and Woody’s campaign donations.
Short answer is NO!!! Now if the El Paso taxpayer funded debt is washed away (and the tax payer enjoys the debt relief) and the baseball park is demolished for the soccer stadium (at no cost to the tax payer) well then, hey, I’m on board.