I am pleased to report that Rich Wright and Cruz Morales have endorsed Chris Canales for City District 8 while Bettina Olivares received no endorsements from her former opponents.
A total of 14,346 votes were cast in the first round of this election with the following results:
Bettina Olivares 39.46%
Chris Canales 34.02%
Rich Wright 25.51%
Cruz Morales (write-in) 1.01%
The runoff between Chris Canales and Bettina Olivares, the Oligarchy candidate, is scheduled for December 17 and Canales is clearly the best choice.
A few days ago I met with Canales at my request and we discussed the major issues concerning our City. Although we do not agree on everything, we found that we share many of the same core principles and policy objectives. I was impressed by his intelligence, knowledge of the issues and sincere desire to represent all the residents in District 8 and not just the moneyed developers. In fact, Canales has voluntarily limited individual contributions to his campaign to $1,000 in order to eliminate any perception that he could be influenced by special interests. It is clear to me that he is an independent thinker and that he does not embrace much of Cissy Lizarraga’s current platform. Here are some of his key positions:
1. Canales is absolutely against building an arena in Duranguito and displacing residents from historic neighborhoods. He favors restoring the neighborhood through private-sector investment and using the remaining QOL bond funds for renovating and upgrading the Convention Center and Abraham Chavez Theater. Olivares would raze the neighborhood for her Oligarch supporters.
2. Canales opposes issuing debt without voter approval except in cases of public emergency. By contrast, Olivares declared that it would be “irresponsible” not to issue certificates of obligation.
3. Canales, in my discussions with him, made it clear that he will work tirelessly to keep our City property tax as low as possible. Olivares has nothing to say about our property tax except that she would “diversify the tax base,” which is code-speak for providing even more wasteful taxpayer-funded incentives to investors.
4. Canales opposes widening I-10 through downtown El Paso and proposes alternative solutions. Olivares supports widening the freeway and using eminent domain to get the job done.
5. Canales opposes incentivizing suburban sprawl around El Paso and instead would favor policies that revitalize our historic urban core. It is evident that Olivares will support incentives for any suburban development projects her elite donors want.
6. Canales supports “equity across the district.” I was especially impressed that he has been campaigning hard in the Segundo Barrio, which is often ignored by candidates for District 8. He clearly cares about the working-class El Pasoans in our urban barrios and plans to include them among his priorities. Olivares supports displacement and mass demolition in our urban barrios.
I am confident that Canales will do an excellent job for District 8 and support his candidacy without reservation, and I am hopeful that the voters who supported Rich Wright and Cruz Morales will cast their votes for him in the December runoff.