October 29, 2021

City of El Paso

300 N. Campbell St.

El Paso, TX 79901

Dear Reps. Svarzbein, Hernandez, Salcido, Rivera and Lizarraga:

It is unfortunate that you voted to delete item 22 from Tuesday’s agenda, squandering the opportunity to learn the true cost of the planned multipurpose basketball arena, described in detail in the City’s own RFQ.

The public is almost universally disappointed and angry with your vote, and the media are at a loss to understand it.

It was painful to watch your rhetorical acrobatics during the discussion, as there was no sense to your arguments, and you completely disregarded the 13 professionals who took time out of their day to share with you their heartfelt opinions.

You also disregarded the wise counsel of Mayor Leeser, who was not present for your vote, as well as that of Reps. Annello, Molinar and Rodriguez.

There is absolutely no reason not to direct City staff to provide you and the public with an updated cost figure for the project.

You do not need to hire a consultant, any more than you needed to hire a consultant when you increased the price tags on other QOL bond projects.

The litigation has no connection to the question of price, as the City attorney made perfectly clear on Tuesday, and this cannot be an excuse for inaction.

Moreover, with each passing day, the City is spending thousands on interest on the tens of millions in “Arena” bonds that it sold in 2016; and the value of the remaining $165 million from QOL Bond Proposition 2 is declining significantly through inflation.

These losses dwarf the cost of the litigation.

It is obvious from the comps on recently built multipurpose basketball arenas that it would have cost between $420 million and $598 million to build the “Arena” in 2016 to 2018, long before the price of steel shot up more than 200%. (see below)

These are undeniable facts, and I am sure the City Manager and CFO concur, if you would only have the courage to ask them.

Please reconsider your position and bring the item back for a second vote.

The taxpayers of El Paso deserve better.


Max Grossman

El Paso, Texas