Mr. Dylan Corbett is running for city council district eight.
He responded to our invitation to send in a post.
Whatever the issue, we’re consumed with backbiting and the inability to find common ground, and it feel like we’re just a day or two away from backsliding.
There are problems aplenty.
No one can deny that our roads and infrastructure are in less than great shape.
Our exploding debt tops out at over two billion dollars, more than Austin and Fort Worth. Crippling budget overruns for Quality of Life projects are the order of the day. Property owners and renters are paying a higher percentage of the city’s budget, an unsustainable prospect for the veteran, retired couple and young family our city needs.
Now that our population has flatlined and the gold standard of economic development has become Top Golf, the promise downtown redevelopment held that El Paso would attract investment and living wage jobs is on shakier ground.
The crisis we face, however, is not financial but one of leadership. Our current political class is straitjacketed by a narrow vision of development, one that privileges short term gains over sustainability and political job security over the common good.
Some of our elected leaders have been corrupted not so much with money as by overly cozy relationships with developers eager to advance private agendas. Their disconnectedness has been funded by low voter turnout. Our city council is overwhelmed by a city manager more intent on burnishing his resume than on laying the foundations of stable growth that will benefit our children. And subtle racism and dismissive attitudes have generated self-inflicted political wounds like the Duranguito and Mexican American Cultural Center fiascos.
Our city’s destiny shouldn’t be small horizons and endless knife fights over checks signed years ago. What is needed is humble leadership to bring our residents together to address the challenges of tomorrow.
We need new revenues to fund our core commitments, but that will require building a sustainable economy for the long-term. We can rethink the meaning of quality of life, build on our unique strengths as a border community, leverage our assets like our open space, and invest in our historic communities south of the highway.
We also need to overcome ancient rivalries that continue to poison our democracy. To do that we’ll need compromise and dialogue with all our city’s residents but we also have to address the real problems of injustice, prejudice and inequality that still grease the wheels of our economy and politics.
Politicians lose their legitimacy when they’re no longer able to compromise. And when they’ve become indifferent to the community.
The good thing is that none of our problems are really intractable. We just need to vote for leaders up to the challenge.