Your move city

This came in from Max Grossman:

Dear Friends,

We have come a long way since the City attempted to demolish Duranguito without complying with the Texas Antiquities Code. Now the City has changed its tune and is telling the media and the THC that they have always intended to comply with the law. Only minutes ago in Amarillo, the Antiquities Advisory Board of the Texas Historical Commission told the City of El Paso to expect the archaeological survey to be a “long and drawn out process.” Moreover, they told them that there is a 99.9% probability of finding significant remains below ground. Even the firm the City hired to carry out the survey stated that there are likely both “historic and prehistoric” strata beneath the neighborhood.

It is true that the Board ruled that the 12 State Antiquities Landmark applications we filed, though “excellently prepared,” are currently “incomplete” because no excavation has yet been carried out within the confines of the project footprint; but once we have in hand the archaeological data, we will not only resubmit the 12 applications, but we will also submit applications for the properties that the City acquired during the last several months, covering every publicly owned parcel within the “Arena Master Planning Area.” The final outcome will be the same.

Our team in Amarillo is comprised of Frank Ainsa, JP Bryan and archaeologist Dr. David Carmichael, and they are there to support the ongoing SAL nomination process and to make certain that the City complies fully with the Texas Antiquities Code. We are very encouraged by the statements of the Board members this morning and feel confident that the City will be compelled to conduct an extremely rigoroussurvey under THC guidelines.

I have to say, it was quite a spectacle watching City Architect Laura Foster and City Engineer Sam Rodriguez stand up in front of the Board and argue against us. It is just plain embarrassing how they represent our City to the Texas Historical Commission. The suspension of our SAL applications, however, will be of little consequence to them compared to our litigation in three different courts of law and we look forward to a series of legal decisions in the coming weeks and months.

Kudos to KVIA for live streaming the event. Their first report is here, although their use of the word “rejection” is inaccurate, since that would imply that the nomination process has been terminated. Rather, the Board ruled that the applications are “incomplete” and it is giving us the opportunity to resubmit them pending the archaeological survey by Moore. They were very clear about that.

Tutto bene!

*********************************************

What will the city do next?

10 Responses to Your move city

  1. John Dungan says:

    So much misunderstanding and/or lack of understanding here. First of all, somebody has to fight the City on this, and oh, so many other issues! Our voting population is almost as small as our activist population, and that means way too many years of elected representatives failing to represent the residents and taxpayers. I do not thing that the problem is what kind of neighborhood is under discussion, or the condition of the existing structures, or who lives/lived there. The problem has been, and still remains that the voters voted for a “multi-purpose performing arts and entertainment” thing, and the City (our elected representatives) has chosen to interpret that to mean a sports arena, which would be just a bit different. IMHO, what is worse is that some six years on, nothing has been done, so there is simply no way in the world that the cost of whatever this might be will be astronomically higher than was originally proposed. That right there is sufficient reason to abandon the entire idea!

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    • Too bad there’s no edit ability here. I meant to say “I do not think,” rather than “thing.” And, it should read, “there is no way in the world that the cost of whatever this might be will *not* be astronomically higher than was originally proposed.”

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  2. Not a Fan says:

    Totally agree with Not Amused. This is Max’s fight…not the residents of Durangito, not the citizens, not even the majority of historians. He is in it for himself and his agandiizement. Durangito is a blight, has been a blight for decades. If Max is so pasionate about “saving” it, he should have started years ago with efforts to preserve and improve it. If Max wins this battle, we will continue to have this pockmark to the immediate south of downtown.

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  3. JerryK says:

    I for one am glad someone is forcing the city to obey the law. Too bad it costs us and we can’t seek recompense from the city officials responsible.

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  4. Home grown history fan. says:

    Lots of people like to call Max a big fat narcissistic, supercilious jerk which is ridiculous. Max is neither big nor fat.

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  5. Not Amused says:

    I am not on the city’s side in this battle, but Max’s self-congratulatory letter bugs the $#*! out of me and doesn’t help his cause. It reeks of the same arrogance that so often permeates city hall.

    Max seems to relish the fight, which is a costly one for taxpayers. He is delighted that it will be protracted process, which means more expense for taxpayers, while his war appears to be funded by a private individual who has deep pockets and no local tax bill. His lack of respect for his adversaries is downright foolish and has led to the downfall of many who thought their own victory was assured. Belittling his opponents will only serve to motive them to raise their game.

    Max closed with “tutto bene” which is the Italian translation of the “it’s all good” slogan implemented under Joyce Wilson’s regime, which gave us the quality of life bond that led to multiple costly fiascos including the downtown arena.

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    • Max says:

      For the record, there are 25 private individuals, including myself, funding the three lawsuits. “Tutto bene” means “All is well.” slightly different from the City slogan you cite, and in any case my intention was not to reference that slogan. Finally, it is the City that is costing the taxpayers money, not me. They deceived you and they filed the first lawsuit, not me. They have chosen to proceed in the courts in spite of their position. You are welcome to hate me, but please hate me accurately. MG

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    • abandon hope says:

      Not Amused — Respectfully disagree. The City chose to take the case regarding whether or not the structure can be a sports arena to Austin rather than have it tried in a local court. Their choice to rack up travel, housing and attorney expenses. The City chose to allow property owners to start destroying the buildings despite an injection to cease. The City chose to vote to build the arena in the oldest part of town, giving ordinary citizens without access to insider information two weeks to give their opinions, which were ignored. Obviously, the location was known to those with friends in higher places because property in what the City called a useless, rundown area had changed hands often in the year before the vote. I could go on and on, but this is all the City’s fault. No one else. Please do not try to pass the blame to those who want to save an important part of El Paso.

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      • Ddowntowner says:

        An “important part of El Paso”? Really? It’s a dump. Absolutely something needs to be done with it. Raze it. Grosman thinks every old building should saved. That is not economically feasible.

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        • abandon hope says:

          You have not been paying attention. Many of the buildings are worth saving and the site itself is very historic — too historic to place a new structure on it thereby preventing archaeological surveys. Have you heard about the possibility of making the area itself the Cultural Center? Instead of building or converting an existing building for the Cultural Center, the City could instead put the funding into Duranguito. That would be a great tribute to the cultures that contributed to building El Paso.

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