Six years ago today, on October 13, 2016, the City of El Paso announced that it would build an “Arena” in the Duranguito neighborhood.

Five days later, on October 18, 2016, the City Council voted itself eminent domain authority over an area of more than 11 acres and began making plans to displace more than 40 Hispanic residents in preparation for demolishing their historic homes.

Litigation began on May 2, 2017, when the City filed its bond validation lawsuit in Travis County. Since that time it has spent more than $3.3 million on attorneys and court fees. Following their defeat in the 8th Court of Appeals, the City submitted a petition for review to the Supreme Court of Texas, which has ordered full briefing.

Amazingly, the City is paying a California consulting firm nearly $800,000 to determine how to build an “Arena” in Duranguito, without considering alternative locations or Mayor Leeser’s plan to reallocate the funds for the Convention Center and Abraham Chavez Theater.

Recently, plans have been announced for a smaller venue, 8,000-10,000 seats rather than 15,000, which would lower the project cost to around $400 million, although there are only $153 million in QOL bond funds remaining.

There are 17 candidates for City office appearing on the current ballot. The five who are in favor of building an “Arena” in Duranguito have all accepted significant campaign contributions from the Oligarchs:

Analisa Cordova Silverstein (District 1)

Isabel Salcido (incumbent, District 5)

Claudia Lizette Rodriguez (incumbent, District 6)

Cristian Botello (District 6)

Bettina Olivares (District 8)

As we enter the seventh year of this crisis, our City Council is still dominated by politicians who hope to demolish Duranguito in order to please their wealthy donors.

Let me be the first to wish them all a Happy Anniversary!