You Break It, You Buy It

Naw, we’ll just stick it to the taxpayers.

Woody Hunt is a smart man. He’s studied public corruption. Here’s what he had to say to El Paso Inc. back in 2009, in an article about public corruption:

Too often the service provider is at the front end of the process, arguing that a service is needed, then driving themselves as the solution.

We have to turn that process around and have the political process determine what we need and how we are going to procure it. You’ve got to have a technical staff disconnected from the policymaking that executes that.

Wait a minute. MountainStar Sports Group convinced City government that El Paso needed Triple A ball to spur economic development, and then offered themselves up as the people who could provide a Triple A team. And since they convinced El Paso city government that we needed a ballpark, our population growth has flatlined, and our tax base has begun the long, slow, process of collapsing.

In the four years that the ballpark has been in operation, the City of El Paso has subsidized the operation of the ballpark by more that $2 million dollars from the general fund, and $11 million from the Hotel Occupancy Tax. That’s $13 million that we could have spent on something with positive benefits for El Pasoans.

Imagine if we’d taken that $64 million we originally invested in the ballpark and invested it in El Pasoans instead. The City might not have to jack our property taxes every year.

Wait. I’ve got an idea. Let’s build a $180 million arena, with no anchor tenant, and no possibility of operating without subsidies for the rest of our lives.

Genius. Pure genius.


  1. Gary Sapp, who is an otherwise brilliant and virtuous man, defending the plan by saying the deficiencies were built into AND EXPLAINED in the original plan. When a guy like that starts drinking his own bath water you KNOW we have a problem

    1. I just follow the data points. And, for the record, I take showers. Pobre El Paso, tan cerca del diablo….

  2. Anyone who was against the ballpark was publicly ridiculed and demonized. No one who was for it will ever be demonized, no matter how much it actually hurts El Paso. It didn’t bring a dime of new money to El Paso. Instead, people who used to go eat at a restaurant occasionally started watching an occasional ballgame instead. Events held downtown are now given to Mountainstar by proclamation. Now they are calling local businesses asking them to purchase tickets to then give to customers. That doesn’t sound like a sold-out stadium. Before they were ran out of town to make room for the Chihuahuas, the Diablos used to give tickets away free to school students. How long before that starts with the Chihuahuas? When will anyone involved admit that this whole ballpark deal was simply a government giveaway to the two wealthiest El Paso families for their hobby team?

  3. Do we really believe the city would be fighting so hard to have sports in the arena if it didn’t have a local mover and shaker anchor tenant waiting in the wings and pulling their strings?

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