Quality of life dying a slow death

October 18, 2017

Back in 2012 the voters in the city approved $473 million worth of bonds for various projects.

Five years later we can see the city’s progress in this chart that city staff presented at the July 11. 2017 city council meeting:

Wow, $29 million dollars in only five years.




At this rate we should look forward to completion in 81 years.

We deserve better


Quality of life project shortfalls

July 13, 2017

Most of knew in the beginning that the quality of life projects were poorly planned and that we would end up spending even more money than the $473 million bonds would fund.

This slide is part of the preliminary budget document that the city manager has given to city council:

That’s right.  They are going to consider issuing $16.8 million in certificates of obligation to finish part of the quality of life projects.

We deserve better


Quality of Life–eventually

July 8, 2017

If you go to the city’s website and enter “Quality of Life” in the search box you will get this graphic:

We approved the $450 million in bonds in 2012 and as of June 25, 2017 the city is telling us that they have completed $28 million in projects.

The situation tells us a lot about how poorly conceived and planned the bond issue was.  Since then a new city manager and elected officials have inherited the mess.

We deserve better


Stuck with the quality of life vote?

March 28, 2017

It would appear that we will not be allowed to have an election to revoke permission for issuing the bonds for the arena.

There may be more recent case law, but the most recent case we can find dealing with the issue is the 1932 appeals court case Orr v. Marrs.

In that case the voters approved a bond issue for a school district.  Subsequently three-fourths of the registered voters signed a petition asking that the bonds not be issued.  The school board agreed and issued an order rescinding the vote of the taxpayers.

From the court’s decision:

It is fundamental that voters of a district can only exercise such powers as are conferred by statute, either expressly or by implication. All powers not expressly or by implication conferred are excluded. The power to rescind the former vote for the bond issue not being expressly given by the statute, it may not be, it is believed, reasonably implied. The power to vote on a bond issue implies the power to vote against it, but not to vote to rescind it after it has been regularly authorized.

If the Legislature had intended to grant the right of withdrawal of the vote, it could easily have been expressed.

New laws may have been passed that would allow a vote to rescind a bond vote but we have not been able to find any.

Just don’t issue a contract

At this point it would appear that our only hope of not building the arena is for city council to fail to authorize construction.

If they do nothing the arena will not be built.

That would open up the possibility of a mandamus action that would seek to compel each city representative to vote to approve construction.  A problem there would be that each city representative could vote no on a proposed construction contract if they thought the contract was not in the public’s better interest.

We deserve better


El Paso Quality of life update

November 6, 2013

Our interim city engineer wrote a column for the El Paso Times this Sunday.

She said that her engineering and construction management department had made “profound” progress on the projects in the last year.  She suggested that we go to buildingtomorrowtogether.com to see their progress, so I did.

Most important

The web page lists ten of the projects that we voted for, one of which they have already started construction on.  The city was in a hurry on that one so they chose not to bid it out but instead use a “requirements contract”.

This Quality of Life bond project is obviously the most important one (or it would not have been the first one started), it is the “Convention Center North Pedestrian Pathway”.

The pathway will provide a pedestrian entrance to our ball park and is scheduled to be completed by April 2014, just like our ball park.  This project is scheduled to cost $500,000.  You can decide if it is really part of the ball park costs.

Another project titled “Pedestrian Crossing and Way Finding” will not have it’s first phase bid out either.  The city plans to use a “requirements contract” on that one too.  Remarkably the web site indicates that construction has not yet started but completion for phase one is scheduled for August 30, 2013.  This project will evidently make it easier for pedestrians to find the new ball park.

Tomorrow is right

The buildingtomorrow part is accuate.  Of the other eight projects three are scheduled to have construction complete in August 2015.  Three, including the children’s museum, do not have anticipated completion dates but are marked as “BEYOND THREE-YEAR ROLLOUT”.  One project is scheduled to be completed in August, 2016.

Incredible digital wall

In Something is rotten in the state of Denmark I wrote about a new $3 million digital wall.  At the time the city was planning to force five city staff members to go to Denmark to learn about it.  The wall is scheduled to be completed in August of 2014.  It is a good thing we sent our staff over early, you never know where they might move Denmark to.

Children’s museum

According to the web page this project is on schedule.  “Urban Planner Consultant selected.  Received proposal on October 14, 2014“.  For those of you reading this post at a later date please remember that at the time of this posting it was November 2013.

Maybe we should nominate city staff for an award in fiction writing.

For those of you who are either crying or laughing too hard to go look for yourselves, the web site presentation is below:



We deserve better


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