Over the weekend Greg Ford published an interview he conducted with Steve Ortega in the El Paso Inc.
Much like Augustus Caesar, who at the end of his life penned his Deeds of the Divine Augustus, recounting the glorious achievements of his illustrious reign, Ortega looks back upon his own god-like feats, from his time on City Council (2005-2013) through the present day.
After all, Ortega provided us with our Ballpark (after demolishing City Hall), transportation improvements (like trolleys that go nowhere), and a new “revitalization” strategy (e.g. displacement and mass demolition in our urban barrios).
ORTEGA ON THE “ARENA”
As for the QOL bond, Ortega states that “all of those projects are completed or are underway, with the exception of the multipurpose arena, which, unfortunately, has been thwarted by out-of-town interests and a local UTEP professor.”
By “out-of-town interests” Ortega obviously means J. P. Bryan, the leading preservationist in the state of Texas, who began restoring buildings in our region when Ortega was still in diapers.
Uhm, but wasn’t Ortega the lobbyist for Sun Jupiter Holdings LLC who worked to transfer control of El Paso Electric to a group of out-of-town Wall Street investors?
More to the point, has Ortega really convinced himself that I am the only local person “thwarting” the arena project?
Who were those scores of activists climbing atop the bulldozers in September 2017? None of them were me.
What about Paso del Sur, the Community First Coalition, El Paso County Historical Commission, Preservation Texas, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the many other organizations whose boards unanimously oppose this evil boondoggle—not to mention the City’s own Historic Landmark Commission and City Plan Commission?
What about the hundreds of people who have spoken before City Council in protest over the last six years?
What about the recent KVIA scientific survey that shows that only 26% of El Pasoans support demolishing Duranguito?
And what about the fact that private investors are now building an arena-amphitheater in Sunland Park, New Mexico that will cost El Paso taxpayers nothing?
As a parting shot, Ortega craps on the historic County Coliseum (“just not something that this community can be proud of”), which has long been an affordable public venue for high schools, nonprofits, and other local institutions as well as for concerts and special events.
But what should we expect from this vendido, who now serves on the Board of Directors of the Downtown Management District with a gaggle of Oligarch surrogates and their attorneys?
ORTEGA’S VISION FOR OUR FUTURE
Toward the end of the interview, Ortega muses: “One camp thinks El Paso is a poor, backwards community, and they want to keep it that way. I totally reject that perspective. I think you have others who view El Paso as a community that is on the rise.”
Hmm, that seems like the same reasoning behind the racist Glass Beach Study that was approved by City Council on July 19, 2006 during his first term.
It is no wonder that Ortega got only 25.68% of the vote in the runoff election of June 15, 2013, when the people of El Paso rejected his bid for Mayor and ran him out of politics.
No, we’ve had it with the Steve Ortegas of the world and are ready to elect leaders who stand for the kind of progress that Ortega and his ilk could never understand.
PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Ortega, Suzie Bird and John Cook standing before the City Hall they demolished. The Texas Tribune, October 1, 2011.