I knew at some point your brilliant leaders would stick their foot in it and that they'd do it on a very public stage. I didn't have to wait long. The Mayor's press conference yesterday made me right when I really wanted to be wrong. And today the world is laughing at El Paso's inability to accurately assess itself and how the world sees the city.
If you read the headline in the EP Times it says "El Paso officials denounce Chavez-Lee fight cancellation, damage to city's reputation." Can you tell me what's wrong with that sentence? Anybody not living in El Paso can pick the problem out rather easily, but can you?
Think about it...
Don't give up...
You can do it...
Can't figure it out? I'll help you out.
El Paso's reputation for a place where cartel violence may take place did not originate with the cancellation of an event by the UT System Chancellor. El Paso's reputation for a place where cartel violence may take place comes from the fact that El Paso is spitting distance from the location where most of the cartel violence is taking place.
Do you get that? It's a chicken and egg thing.
Because they are murdering people at a rate of ten people per day in Juarez, and El Paso is located so geographically close to that city and its violence, people tend to think El Paso isn't such a safe place. It doesn't really matter how true or untrue you find that statement - perception is reality.
Let me make this clear - JUAREZ IS THE PROBLEM, not the UT System Chancellor's reaction to what he sees as a credible threat to public safety.
Don't shake your fist at the Chancellor because he doesn't want the retaliation for dating the daughter-in-law of the most badass drug cartel leader ever to take place on one of his properties. Be mad at Mexico for not being able to control its cartels to the point that it scares the shit out of people on this side of the river - whether they be in Kern Place or Kansas City.
People outside of El Paso didn't read the news story about the cancelled fight and all of sudden think that El Paso is a dangerous place. Long before that people all across the country saw the daily news reports of the body counts in Juarez delivered from a guy standing in the parking lot of the Sun Bowl overlooking Juarez. So many people were murdered so frequently in Juarez they stopped covering any shooting that didn't have more than five or six victims at one time.
Bottom line - the reputation Juarez, Mexico gave El Paso is the reason the fight was cancelled. You have to stop pretending that Juarez isn't a war zone and that fact will ALWAYS negatively affect your reputation. Pretending nothing is going on over there is making you guys look stupid.
The theme of the press conference should have been - "Thanks a lot Mexico - we can't have nice things because you can't get your shit together. We're suing you for lost revenue!"
Instead... all the top people in our city sat there and tried to argue with the rest of Texas' perception of how close El Paso is to the cartel war.
After this news broke the emails came flying in like mad from my friends all around Texas and the country and the theme was the same - "do you guys not get it?"
One person wrote me last night with an analogy that was both shocking and true. She asked if I would let my daughter stay in a house next door to a registered sex offender who rarely left his house and had never bothered a single person. My answer was "no." And she then told me - "but there is clear evidence that this guy has never crossed into the yard, never bothered anyone - never done anything outside of his house since he was released from jail to give anyone pause." I still answered "no" and it was clear the lesson she was teaching me. The knowledge of the danger in that one house for my daughter is so great that it taints the houses around it even though there's no clear evidence that being in the house next door to the sex offender's house would be dangerous to her.
Apply a larger scale to the analogy and you have the real life relationship between El Paso and Juarez.
I've always said that El Paso is a victim of geography. These incidents keep proving me right.
And for the love of God, please don't use the "you've never done this before anywhere else" plea. It's unlikely that anywhere else in the UT system has there been such circumstances to consider. Get a grip.
What they need to do now is have the fight at Cohen and enjoy the hell out of it. Then have the city drop all support for UTEP as a message to the Chancellor and see how they like that treatment. The key is to stop whining to the press. How must potential employers looking to expand to El Paso view the elected officials? They probably think they are prone to severe over-reactions and hissy fits to very simple problems. That's not appealing.
Come on people, get it together.