Joe Muench of the El Paso Times had an interesting op-ed piece on Sunday. If you didn’t catch it, catch it here https://www.elpasotimes.com/opinion/ci_5055028.
While I do think his assertion that we need a light rail system because of “traffic problems” is overkill, his thoughts on young politicians and paying them are great. (El Paso has traffic like Mexico has high paying jobs)
Elected officials like Beto O’Rourke and Steve Ortega are our future if we can help them absorb the monetary blow that comes with being an El Paso politician. Even Melina “the Unrepentant” Castro has mentioned that she’s young and starting a family and her position on the council and its pay won’t let her afford her $30,000 bill owed to the city and have that family.
Politician pay is a dangerously hard thing to balance. Pay too little and elected officials will all be rich. Pay too much and people will run for the money and not the voters.
So what’s the perfect dollar amount for El Paso? It’s $70,000 a year.
I know that’s a lot of money for El Paso, but that allows a range of people to run for office, win and not have to drastically change their living situation. If a person is making $80,000 a year and they have to leave their job to sit on city council and they make less than a third of that salary, things have to change. You can’t afford the same mortgage when you go from $80,000 a year to $17,000.
For some it would be a raise. For others it would still be a pay cut, but not one so drastic they couldn’t meet their former lifestyle requirements. Of course retirees make the perfect city council member as things are seeing as how they could use the extra money. Personally I think a mix of young and old make for the best representation at city hall. We just need to make it worth their while.
If I’m not mistaken, I think the Charter Review Committee may have control over this. Maybe they’ll give it a shot. The voters would have to approve it and they haven’t been favorable to it in the past. Without change we will have a future of rich people taking up politics as a hobby when they get bored of vodka laden afternoons at the country club.
Also – I need more dirt on Cobos. This guy is out of control and we need to put the brakes on this guy ASAP.