Too much

As we wrote in $10 million that the city says they don’t need:

When we voted it was called a “Heritage Cultural Center” then it was the “Hispanic Cultural Center” and now it is the “Mexican American Cultural Center”.

At the time a city appointed committee that included our district attorney, former county judge, former United States congressman and the former national president of LULAC said that they would raise $20 million to support the center.

According to a recent article in the Times the group and its successors has managed to raise $15,400 in the last two years.

Now a board member of the Mexican American Cultural Institute has told city council:

“When the subcommittee gave their report to the city, it was a different group of people than the organization that became the Mexican American Cultural Institute today.  The $20 million is that subcommittee’s assessment on what would be a viable amount to raise.  That was not a pledge from MACI proper.”

The other day someone from MACI addressed council and told them that they need still more money.

As voters we approved $5.7 million.  City council later voted to add $10 million that we evidently did not need for roads and things like that.  Now the estimated cost will be $34.6 million.

But wait!

As it turns out the center will be too expensive for MACI to operate so it wants city council to pay for the operating costs in addition to coming up with another $18.9 million to bring the total to $34.6 million.

There’s still more!

The group also wants to keep all (any) of the revenue generated.  In addition they want control over what events will be held at the center.

Let’s get real

The simple fact is that this group does not have the public support to build such a center.  Otherwise they would have been able to raise more money.

Thank you city council!

Council would have none of this nonsense.  They unanimously voted to send the group back to the drawing board and set an October 1, 2017 deadline for the group to come back with a better proposal.

Our proposal is that we use the $5.7 million that the voters wanted to spend and call the facility the “Heritage Cultural Center” as the voters approved.

We deserve better

Brutus

7 Responses to Too much

  1. Chico says:

    The fact that the group has only raised 115K shows their lack of commitment to this project. It shouldn’t be hard to raise more with the names on the committee. They want the public to pay, but the board of this group isn’t willing to even try and raise a little themselves. Many of these folks have raised more for their own campaigns … surely this type of museum should have more value. Inexperienced fundraisers with limited political connections could have easily doubled what this group has raised. That’s the real embarrasment here.

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  2. Tim Holt says:

    How will this differ from the El Paso Museum of History already in downtown? Perhaps the exhibits already there can be tweaked…

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    • Chico says:

      Tim, I’m agreeing with you twice in one week. Starting to get scary.

      Clearly, the history museum could have a top quality permanent exhibit that would address the cultural history of the proposed museum. A much better use of funds, more likely to be maintained over time.

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  3. tickedofftaxpayer says:

    The deal they are proposing is pretty much what the city gave MountainStar. Hopefully our politicians aren’t that stupid. But the real issue that saddens me is this: the arena supposedly has to go downtown because that is what the voters approved. The voters didn’t approve CO’s for project budget overruns on a ridiculously high amount of new development in the first place, they didn’t approve City Council arbitrarily increasing the budget for these projects because they didn’t have enough bling for their donors, they didn’t approve the extra operating costs and taxes these projects would bring and were specifically told it wouldn’t cost them anything, and most importantly, they didn’t approve a $35 million Mexican American cultural center. I voted no on all of this and as a taxpayer I would be happy to pay for an election that voted on whether or not all these projects should be pursued AND whether or not CO’s should be allowed to pay for budget overruns on remaining projects or if the projects should scaled down.

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  4. OLD GRINGO says:

    Seems ta me that we already have a cultural center. It’s called ‘The Main Library’. You want to know about El Paso history and culture, then go read a book. Want to hold an event? Rent one of the many underused facilities in town.

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  5. Old Fart says:

    Very well said: “The simple fact is that this group does not have the public support to build such a center. Otherwise they would have been able to raise more money.”

    Until they can put real money, not ‘make believe’ money on the table, they are a bunch of bull shiters. Good job by that new city rep who replaced Acosta, for speaking up on taxpayers behalf on this issue.

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  6. No TAXPAYER money should be allowed, approved, spent for ANY PUBLIC center, event, building that is labeled “Mexican-Hispanic”. The best name would have been “Heritage Cultural Center”, in RECOGNITION of ALL the “Cultures” that have BUILT Texas, El Paso, America. The Germans, Chinese, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mexicans, British, Irish and all the others who came here with a dream. The politicians, public, private people, HERE, continually try to impress upon US that El Paso is little more than “Northern Mexico.” If it’s not for the HERITAGE of EVERYBODY, every CITIZEN of El Paso, then only private money, donations should be used for this project.

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