Rep. Joe Molinar and Alexsandra Annello are co-sponsoring agenda item 13 for the January 3, 2023 City Council meeting, calling for moving the “Arena” project out of Duranguito, preventing the condemnation or demolition of any properties therein, and reallocating the remaining bond funds toward renovating or upgrading existing City facilities.
CITY TRIES TO PREEMPT
Now we learn that Sam Rodriguez and Yvette Hernandez from Capital Improvements are presenting a competing proposal under agenda item 14: “Discussion and action on the presentation providing prefinal results of the Multipurpose Arts and Performance Center Programming and Feasibility Study.”
That is, the City staff is rushing to present the “prefinal results” of the feasibility study that is not supposed to be completed until later in January or in February. This is the $798,611 study that represents the Oligarchy Caucus’ final attempt to revive their dead horse and squeeze an arena into Duranguito, necessitating the demolition of a substantial portion of the neighborhood. Molinar and Annello voted against that study because it is a total waste of money, since it does not consider alternative locations for the project.
Adam Powell of the El Paso Times published a report today in which we read that the three new members of City Council to be sworn in January 3–Brian Kennedy, Art Fierro and Chris Canales–“have expressed a desire to see the arena project abandoned.” Not only do there seem to be five votes to save Duranguito, but we learn that the Mayor intervened yesterday to modify the agenda item to its current form, so he presumably is also a supporter.
REP. CASSANDRA HERNANDEZ HAS A FIT!
Rep. Hernandez is one of only three remaining members of City Council who still supports eminent domain in Duranguito, displacement of the barrio residents, and mass demolition of their neighborhood along with 12 buildings that are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Powell interviewed her yesterday for his report, and her intransigence is stunning.
Hernandez claims it is “irresponsible” for the City Council to vote on saving Duranguito and moving the MPC project on January 3 because it will be the first meeting of the year, as if that is too soon to begin work.
Does she really think the three new reps are too uninformed to render judgment on the “Arena” project after six years and two months of this debacle and over 300 media reports?
Hernandez claims that the planned vote “is dismissive of the work put in, the staff involved and the voters who voted for this project.”
The only thing dismissive is her attitude toward the three highly intelligent and well-informed individuals who were just elected to City Council with double-digit victories over their opponents, in part because they absolutely oppose destroying a historic downtown barrio.
Hernandez fanatically persists in her belief that El Pasoans want to raze the neighborhood for an arena, even as her pro-arena colleagues are voted out of office by… El Pasoans!
What she needs to realize, sooner rather than later, is that she is now in the political minority on this issue and on many other policy positions that she continues to promote on behalf of her moneyed donors.
Molinar, Annello and presumably the Mayor are asking for the arena project in its current form to be abandoned and replaced with a different plan—one that would upgrade existing City resources without displacing people or wiping out entire historic City blocks and without going over budget.
We have had just about enough of Hernandez and her cynical posturing. She voted to raise our property tax six times in a row and to issue more than a half-billion dollars in non-voter-approved debt. There is nothing more the voters need to know about her.
PHOTO CREDIT: KTSX