Tuesday's city council meeting featured a rather contentious item that went down without much of a fight given its political history. You can read about it HERE in the El Paso Times.
The story shows a picture of Ray Adauto - a guy who has the same boss as Martin Paredes. Both Paredes and Adauto are owned and operated by a local home builder - at least that's the perception by many. Neither man could survive without his blessing. Yes, Adauto's title is "Vice President" of the El Paso Association of Builders, but it's no secret who he actually works for.
The issue that has spawned what was almost a decades long political war was the sale of PSB land in the northeast part of El Paso. Back when the real progressives ruled council they pushed the PSB to only sell huge chunks of land that were to be developed in a very specific manner. You should read that as: "Progressives on council hate affordable housing so much that they made the land too expensive to buy and too complicated to develop even if you did have the money to buy the land."
In the interest of transparency - my parents' firm could win either way. Selling the land in smaller chunks for smaller housing developments will probably give us the opportunity to bid and design projects sooner, which is nice. Money now is always better than money later. Bottom line - my family does benefit from this decision.
Is why I'm telling you that I've been on Paredes and Adauto's boss' side the whole time. I have just taken a different path.
A certain group of westside business men figured out how to deal with Shapleigh and his little campers years ago. Instead of fighting them, they started funding them. They were able to steer their politics in the right direction by offering them political security. After all, progressives like nothing more than being an elected official and telling others how to live and what to do (which is the opposite of how representative government works, by the way). This group has been enormously successful and controlling the progressives over the years.
This home builder took a different approach. He went head to head with them recruiting every ankle-biter crazy person with zero filter to wage a public war on the council members he didn't like. Even the El Paso Builders Association got in on the action spending their dollars supporting every weirdo, loser opponent the progressives ever had. It was all money down the toilet. All this strategy did was make things harder for the home builder and his allies. The carnage from his efforts would make for an epic novel that I simply don't have the time to write.
For me it was just kind of odd/bitter sweet to see the whole fight end in such a civil manner. To think that guys like Martin Paredes and Ray Adauto were kept alive for a decade past their usefulness to fight this issue (indirectly of course) is just mind boggling. I'm guessing they won't be needed in the future... which is probably why Paredes has some odd "this is why I write my blog" piece up today. He has to justify his existence now that it is no longer justifiable. Poor guy.
The only problem here is... well... two problems.
1. Mathew McElroy - the city's Jesus of all things planning/development - isn't a fan of this kind development. He is going to make getting plans approved for any land inside the city limits a nightmare. This will put the mayor in a bad position. On one hand, the mayor did a solid favor for the home builders. On the other hand, he loves loves loves Mathew McElroy. What's he going to do when the developers ask him to sacrifice his guy?
2. The very rich out of town developers, as well as some in town, can still outbid the less rich local guys on these properties. Some of these guys are so rich they might just buy to spite the little guys and never do much with it. At least they have a chance to bid on it, I guess.
The other news....
Raise your hand if you are NOT thinking about running in District 1 next year. It's easier to count that way.
I did a little research and it there was 4,800 or so votes cast last time. The lines have been redrawn, so that may change a little. Well, I think it will change a lot. I see a huge election hangover after this November election and turnout will suffer greatly. I'm thinking at most 4,000 voters if nobody does a good job beating the bushes. I'm in the process of getting the voter files now to see who these people are.
Bottom line - you need to get 2,500 votes to avoid a runoff. You have an odd mix of liberal progressives and Republicans in Kern. Good luck figuring that out.
Of course, I'm available as a campaign consultant. For $5,000 I will not mention you, or your candidacy, for the entire election season on my blog starting January 1, 2015. This will aslo buy you one phone call and one email to me each week for advice.
I really do think there should be charter amendment putting a barrier between the city council and EPWU. Can you imagine if the next budget sessions result in the city robbing the coffers of the entity that gives you water and takes your sewage away? The city can't manage to get a one acre park downtown done in a year - do you want to trust them with your drinking water?
Raise your hand if you'd like to take up the cause? Is that your hand I see - Jim Tolbert?