Dear Media and Friends,
Yesterday at 11:41am, Paul Foster wrote a letter (below) to the Mayor and City Council thanking them for voting against agenda item 19.1, which would have suspended the “Arena” and Cultural Heritage Center for budgetary reasons.
He claims that “our citizens voted overwhelmingly for a downtown arena” and that “a few naysayers” are attempting to block progress in El Paso.
I challenge Mr. Foster to identity the words “arena” or “sports” or “downtown” in the ballot language of the “Museum, Cultural, Performing Arts, and Library Facilities” proposition that was presented to the voters in 2012. I have attached the language to this email for his convenience.
As an experienced businessman who relies upon the written word whenever he signs a contract, I feel certain that he understands that in the American Republic, ballot propositions for public bond projects must accurately reflect what the bond funds will pay for.
Second, I would like Mr. Foster to explain to me how I have “apparently made it [my] life’s work to destroy the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown El Paso” because I oppose the destruction of a historic neighborhood, even as I have consistently praised his historic preservation projects.
Third, I would like to know how J. P. Bryan has no ties to El Paso when he has been investing in West Texas since the 1970s, more than a decade before Mr. Foster took over El Paso Refinery, and why he feels that a Texan who lives elsewhere in Texas could not have an interest in the cultural patrimony of El Paso. Mr. Bryan has no financial interest in the outcome of the “Arena” litigation but has a deep interest in preserving El Paso’s historic assets.
Most importantly, I would be grateful if Mr. Foster would explain to the public how a $500 million “state-of-the-art arena with a target capacity of 15,000 seats for basketball games,” detailed in the City’s own RFQ,
will be profitable for El Paso. The City has never made the case for such an expensive thing. The other sports venue, the Ballpark, cost much more than its original price tag and is 84% subsidized by the Hotel Occupancy Tax and City General Fund, as of 2018.
Finally, I would like to know why Mr. Foster wrote to City Manager Gonzalez at his private gmail address rather than his government address. Has City business been discussed on that gmail account?
I have blind copied Mr. Foster’s PR contact and look forward to his reply.
From: Paul Foster
Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 11:41 AM
To: Dee Margo <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Peter Svarzbein <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org; Cassandra Hernandez <email@example.com>; Sam Morgan <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Isabel Salcido <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org; Henry Rivera <email@example.com>; Cissy Lizarraga <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Tommy Gonzalez <email@example.com>
Subject: Thank you for Defending the Citizens of El Paso
Mayor and Council,
I just wanted to drop you a short note to thank you for standing up against the loud and vocal minority who are constantly trying to drag our city down, and who are doing everything in their power to override the will of the fine people of our great city.
We have a college professor who, under the guise of historic preservation, has apparently made it his life’s work to destroy the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown El Paso. He is supported by a guy who apparently has lots of money to throw around who doesn’t have any ties to El Paso. He doesn’t own property in El Paso. He doesn’t pay taxes in El Paso. And he doesn’t vote in El Paso. This same man has filed suit against Brewster County for trying to protect its citizens during this pandemic because he wanted to keep his hotel open. We don’t want him here and we don’t need him here, and thanks to your collective courage, you sent that message loud and clear at yesterday’s council meeting.
There are lots of people in El Paso who want to see our city move forward. We have made incredible progress over the past fifteen years despite the efforts of a few naysayers. El Paso is an incredible city with marvelous historic buildings and a fascinating history that must be preserved. I am doing my small part to make sure that progress continues, and lots of other people are as well. Our citizens voted overwhelmingly for a downtown arena and thanks to you, we are still on track to build it. Any city on the rise in America has a downtown arena and entertainment facility, and everyone knows that. Only those who are opposed to progress would stand in the way of such an incredible opportunity.
So thank you once again. You have done your job. And the citizens of El Paso appreciate it. I hope each of you and your families are faring well during these unprecedented times.