Today, under agenda item 12, our City Council voted 6-2 to appoint or reappoint seven Directors to the Downtown Management District, with Reps. Annello and Salcido dissenting.
Amazingly, none of the appointees reside within the boundaries of the DMD, which covers a huge area of Downtown, Duranguito, and the Segundo Barrio. See the attached map.
The appointees are as follows:
Nominee Term# Expiration Date
Nadia Baem 1 August 2024
Edgar Lopez 1 August 2024
Edgar Orozco 1 August 2024
Mark Osborn 1 August 2024
Steve Ortega 2 August 2024
Bill Burton 4 August 2024
Eric Pearson 4 August 2024
Among them are Mark Osborn, who is the trial counsel for the City in the “Arena” litigation; and Steve Ortega, who successfully lobbied for Sun Jupiter Holdings to transfer control of El Paso Electric to a group of Wall Street investors.
You can visit the DMD webpage and see the complete list of Directors, who are mostly from the Coronado/Upper Valley crowd.
Is it any wonder that the organization, led by Executive Director Joe Gudenrath from Nebraska, completely excludes the residents of downtown El Paso from its Board of Directors—even though, according to its website, the DMD is “primarily funded by assessment revenue from property within the district.”
How can the DMD fulfill its mission “To promote economic development by providing services that champion a vibrant Downtown El Paso” if no effort is made to appoint residents of Downtown to its Board?
How about the owner of a single-family home or the resident of a Segundo Barrio tenement? Do they have no stake in the economic development of their own community?
Kudos to Rep. Alexsandra Annello for asking Mr. Gudenrath to confirm that there are no Downtown residents among the seven appointees. See the City Council video starting at the 1:55:00 mark.
She also raised concerns about possible conflicts of interest among members of the DMD Board.
Enjoy your evening.