The city council meeting a couple of weeks ago featured an item about a place called the Lincoln Center. I would have probably just passed this item by if council members hadn’t turned the issue into a contest of who could love the beleaguered center more. It was like a competition to see who could cut the best campaign commercial with theme of saving the place for the “community.” It was politicians acting like slimy politicians with no real awareness that the people watching were ready to gag.
Don’t get me wrong, people may love the Lincoln Center – that’s completely understandable. However, the words coming from those on council about the issue made me very suspicious as to what’s really going with the future of the building. It made me wonder what people were hiding or what there might be to gain from saving the place.
First of all, I had to ask someone where this thing was. It’s that building under the south side of the spaghetti bowl and it has a mural painted on the side. I have driven by the building a million times and at least once walked by it when I was helping some bridge inspectors back in college. I remember that just south of there near Lucky Café the underside of the bridge was covered in hypodermic needles. Hell, the undersides of all of those bridges were nighttime drug dens and the evidence was everywhere. That’s all I really remember about the area and the building.
I’m not surprised that TXDot owns the building – it’s under their road (bridge in this case) and they tend to like to have control over that space for a bunch of reasons I won’t get into here, but you can figure out on your own. I am surprised at what I dug up on the Lincoln Center when it comes to its mention at previous council meetings.
The building that is all of sudden of great public concern for Emma Acosta (among others, but she seems to have the most to say about saving the place) now was kicked to the curb like a mangy mutt in 2012.
Do you remember the quality of life bond projects you voted on back when Obama and Romney were on the ballot? Here’s the presentation if you have forgotten what that was all about (takes a minute to load) PRESENTATION.
It seems the Lincoln Center didn’t make it into the list of projects worthy of taking on debt for when voters were asked to take on some debt for needed (wanted) projects. I have to wonder why less than a year later this place has become such a priority.
If I heard everything right in the council meeting, TXDot is going to get rid of the building because it’s old and in need of repair. Apparently the city terminated a lease they had with TXDot in May of last year… wait they terminated the lease on the very day they above presentation was given on the quality of life bond projects… check out the minutes HERE. Go all the way to the bottom to item 3c.
Hold on a second. Am I reading that right? Did Representative Emma Acosta make the motion to terminate the lease with TXDot on the Lincoln Center during that meeting? It looks like she did. And the only person who wanted to save the place Representative Eddie Holguin (who we will get to in a minute).
This was a curious little detail that does not gel at all with what Acosta and friends are saying/doing today with the center. I had to go watch the video to see what discussion took place on the item because the notes are a little vague (which is fine and standard practice). Acosta starts her assault on the existence of the building around the 4:49 (four hours, forty nine minutes) mark. She says it’s not worth taxpayer money to renovate the building.
Hmm… that’s not what she’s saying now. Now Acosta claims the place invaluable and must be saved at any cost. And believe you me, it’s going to cost some real dough to acquire the building and then bring it up to standard. The city just passed a tax increase and they are running tight against its limits this year. It would have been much smarter to insert this project into the 2012 quality of life bonds. Oh, by the way – this was in Emma’s district at the time. It’s now in Niland’s.
Holguin is the only person who has been consistent on this issue, but his motives may not be pure. He wants the bond money for the laughably unneeded Hispanic Cultural center downtown to be used to buy or fix the Lincoln Center. He wants to do this because it would piss off Niland and the downtown revitalization crowd. Niland’s district has become decidedly more brown and she needs this project to go as planned so she can prove she’s okay with the Latinos. This benefits Holguin in no way except for the fact that he gets to screw with Niland.
(Side note - Does El Paso need a special reminder of its Hispanic Culture? The city is 80 percent Latino – I think the culture is rather healthy if not the mecca for Latinos from around the United States. Having a Hispanic Cultural center in El Paso would be like having a Chinatown in Beijing… or a Little Italy in Florence. Oh, and since when is it okay to call Latinos “Hispanic?” Are you going to be honoring the many Salvadorians and Dominicans that have lived in El Paso? Seriously – when El Paso can’t be sensitive to the differences between the Spanish speaking populations south of the United States, we’ve really gone backwards. A Latino Heritage museum would be more useful.)
I guess my biggest confusion with the whole Lincoln Center mess is why saving the place is now an issue when it wasn’t at all an issue just a year ago. In fact, the opposite was true – most of council wanted nothing to do with the place. Who, or what, has got so many council members shaking in their boots over this issue? And when are they going to apologize for not doing something about this situation when they had the chance?
Sorry for any errors – another late night with the sick kids…