I know that many of you will not agree with me on all of these, but for what they’re worth, here are my endorsements for the 11 ballot propositions that would modify our City Charter:
PROPOSITION A – YES
Gives City Council reps full flexibility to hire and fire their own staff.
PROPOSITION B – NO
Gives City Council the power to lease City-owned property for up to 40 years without a public hearing.
PROPOSITION C – NO
Permits the City to easily reschedule council meetings that fall on “City holidays.”
PROPOSITION D – NO
Permits the Mayor to cancel a City Council meeting because of a public emergency. These days, they can meet virtually during emergencies.
PROPOSITION E – YES
Eliminates charter provisions that are obsolete or contradict state law, permits the publication of ordinances electronically, and allows emergency ordinances to be posted one hour before a meeting.
PROPOSITION F – NO
Eliminates the need for a second petition process for placing an ordinance on a ballot (which is good) but lowers the number of signatures required for a petition to only 7,500 signatures or 5% of El Pasoans who cast votes in the most recent general election, whichever is less. I am in favor of empowering the citizens to promote ordinances but if the process is too easy, the voters may be bombarded by too many ordinances that are unpopular and/or counterproductive.
PROPOSITION G – NO
Changes the qualification requirements for Civil Service Commissioners, stipulating that “The City should adopt rules that reflect the diversity of the community and City workforce.” Though well-intentioned, this seems to be a doorway to mandatory quotas, which could create serious legal issues.
PROPOSITION H – NO
Removes the requirement that City employees seeking promotion must take an exam.
PROPOSITION I – NO
Mandates that the City contribute a minimum of 18% of the amount it spends on wages for Police and Fire Department employees to the El Paso Police and Fire Pension Fund. Thus the City could raise the rate even higher without voter approval. This creates a serious conflict of interest because Police and Fire contribute significantly to the elections of City reps.
PROPOSITION J – YES
Requires that the Chief City Auditor report to City Council rather than the City Manager. This is extremely important.
PROPOSITION K – HELL NO
Creates a Climate Department that would cost the taxpayers nine figures and aim for municipalization of El Paso Electric while seeking to deny City water to any “fossil fuel industry” outside the City limits, including any business that “assists” the fossil fuel industry. This poorly crafted proposition would do serious damage to our local economy even though its ultimate goal is the same as El Paso Electric’s: to achieve 100% renewable energy production by 2045.
Early voting is today through May 2 and Election Day is May 6.
Poll locations are on the El Paso County Elections Department webpage.