Cost not an issue

December 12, 2017

Item 14.1 on today’s (Tuesday, December 12, 2017) city council agenda reads:

This is a Public Hearing for the proposal accepted by City Council on November 14, 2017 for Solicitation 2016-371R for the Development Opportunity for a Public Private Partnership for a Mixed-use Urban Development, Including Structured Parking at Mills Avenue and Campbell in Downtown El Paso from Meyers Group Development LLCs / II Sabes L.P. The Proposal is available for public inspection at the Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing Department located at 300 N. Campbell, El Paso, Texas 79901. Public comment will be heard on the item.

We can’t speak for the public as a whole but wouldn’t it be nice to know how much money they city is thinking of putting into this project so that public comment would be better informed?

We deserve better


The eye of the beholder

December 11, 2017

This is the artist’s rendition of the building that we discussed in Undisclosed deal details.

This is a close-up of the bottom portion:

For the record the city has not been posting any of the agenda activity under their Goal 3:  Promote the Visual Image of El Paso.

We deserve better



Texas supreme court ruling

December 10, 2017

This is unfortunately old news but a knowledgeable reader thought it was worth posting:

There has been talk of the state legislature changing the law to close the loophole.

Let your state representative know how you feel about this.


Lost in translation

December 9, 2017

A friend was at lunch the other day here in El Paso with someone who ordered fish and chips.

This is what he got:

We deserve better


Out of town again

December 8, 2017

The city is once again wasting money that we would not.

A recent Times article explained that the city has hired an out of town law firm for services related to  “normal legal acquisition of real estate and for the negotiation of any contracts for necessary properties” for the future performing arts center.

The firm has been given a budget of up to $1.8 million for the services.

According to the article the firm was involved in the purchase of 18 properties and thus far the city has paid them one million dollars.  That comes to over $55 thousand per property.

It doesn’t look like they did that good of a job either.  According to the Times:

The fair market value of the properties set by appraisers hired by the city totaled about $9 million, and the city agreed to pay $11.6 million for them. That’s nearly three times more than the $4.4 million assessed value listed on El Paso Central Appraisal District records.

In addition to the high costs we have to question whether there are no lawyers in El Paso who could have done this work.

We deserve better


Letter from Mr. Tolbert

December 7, 2017

This came in from Jim Tolbert:

Time to Work Together for El Paso

El Paso has been compared to a crab pot. Just as soon as one crab makes it to the top, another pulls it down. This simile is true regarding our dreams, projects and politics. The politics of power and divisiveness in El Paso must end now.

I began my term on City Council as the one who had filed ethics complaints against Mr. Larry Romero and our City Manager, Mr. Tommy Gonzalez. Although I did not write those complaints (Susie Byrd did), I take responsibility for them because my name is on the complaints. The filings were a power play by one faction to tear down the current leadership of the City of El Paso. By the time that I left City Council, I had come to respect Mr. Gonzalez and appreciate his work for the City. He has chosen a superb management team.

The reasons for filing the complaint against Mr. Gonzalez were not valid. The complaint involved the pavement of an alleyway and the addition of speed humps on Stanton Street – two items that Mr. Gonzalez was authorized by the budget resolution to approve. Although Mr. Romero was on slippery grounds, one must ask whether trying to protect the safety of children and paving an alleyway were good causes for such opprobrium.

There were consequences to the Susie Byrd-Veronica Escobar cabal in which I took part. Mr. Romero had a stroke and Mr. Gonzalez was prevented from returning home to a sick and dying father. I am deeply sorry for the pain and agony my filing may have caused Mr. Gonzalez, his family and Mr. Romero.

The politics of power and divisiveness hurts individuals physically and emotionally, damages personal reputations and disrupts the City’s efforts to move forward. Thankfully and to use a football analogy, Mr. Gonzalez has been able to move the ball down the field despite those who want to prevent our City – our team – from scoring touchdowns. Those who wish to wrestle power for themselves seek total domination and control of the governance of El Paso just for power’s sake. Their calculations seem to be done without conscience.

One may not agree with our City Manager’s style of leadership. However, it is his prerogative. Truly professional people, who may differ with the style, nevertheless work as team members. Some may also not like Mr. Gonzalez’s personality. Most of us learned in youth how to get along. Certainly, professional people understand the value for doing so. Making personality an issue is just petty. Of course, Mr. Gonzalez has his faults. All of us do.

Let’s all come together as El Pasoans and work for progress and the common good and common wealth for all El Pasoans. It’s time to be humans with souls and not crabs with claws.

Jim Tolbert
2701 Frankfort Avenue
El Paso, TX 79930

El Paso Derangement Syndrome

December 6, 2017

Helen Marshall sent this in:

On returning from a brief trip I am plunged into El Paso Derangement Syndrome again.  A story in the Times (

informs us that the EPISD is searching for a grant to cover the expense of moving the Gene Roddenberry Planetarium when the EPISD offices are vacated in order to move (Dwntwn).  The chief financial officer, Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria – the wizard who underestimated just about every project in the quality of life bond (a cultural center for $5.9 million? talk to Albuquerque and try $40 million+…) – states that  “funding for the planetarium was not included in the 2016 bond or in the yearly budget, “which makes finding a new home for it more challenging.”  Neither she nor the reporter asked or explained why.
The planetarium is named for the El Paso-born creator of Star Trek, and has been operating since 1969.  Apparently not enough to merit consideration of funding for the move by the EPISD.  You might think that they would have found a little corner in the $668.7 million bond in 2016 to include $1.4 million for the planetarium, but you‘d be wrong.

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