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October 19, 2016

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Very true. And the QOL "estimator team" is now in charge of numbers at EPISD. Remember that when you vote on their bond issue.

The best argument I heard yesterday at City Council is to put the arena bond money into Cohen Stadium -- increase the number of seats, refurbish the place, etc. There's plenty of parking and it's easy to get to from any part of town. You're right that the proposed arena will not bring larger events. It's the same size as the Haskins. It's just not big enough. If taxpayers want an arena, build one that's the right size in the right location.

The elephant in the room, though, is Juarez. City Council wants it to be easily accessed by Juarez sports fans. We're becoming North Juarez. Someone in Houston called us that years ago and it's becoming truer every day.

Your 'lil friend Tolbert sure likes it though. If he's such good friends with the "history people" (words of the city attorney) he should have given them a heads up on what was coming. Follow the money.

Clearly Tolbert did not tip off Bernie Sargent based on his reaction. This location has everything to do with the anticipation of folks crossing the border from Juarez and filling the seats. Like you David, I don't see the location making much of a difference. Only an extra mile or two to the Haskins Center. Happened to walk the Arena Site area just before it was announced. That is a nice Fire Station down there and I understand we paid 2.1 mil for it in about 2003. Seems like we could have picked a better spot, but then I guess that depends on who you think is your target audience! El Paso taxpayers pay for it and the citizens of Juarez use it? Lets hope not!!

I thought they were building it for Foster's soccer team.

So, you have said this same thing over and over again. But it is not like we have a choice! The Arena will be build because your good friend Joyce Wilson put it to the voters in a way that sounded appealing. She lied about the cost of the arena and she grouped the projects so that the voters could not just select one project -- it was an all or nothing vote.
So now we are going to get the arena, even if no one will use it, just as we're getting the Mexican American Cultural Center, that no one will go to. You're harping that it is a bad idea, does nothing.
If you wanted to be brave and cutting edge, you should have advocated against the bonds before the election. But you did not.

Hey Fed Up, that was mean!

It's quite possible the City has shot itself in the foot this time. The use of eminent domain must be for the "public good" as in highways. Does a sports/entertainment arena really meet that definition? I don't think so. If property owners refuse to sell will the City be able to take their property? I wouldn't be surprised if the City ends up in court. Why go through this expense when the City already owns Cohen stadium?

Abandon Hope:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London

Eminent domain is now permissible for economic development, even if the developer is a private entity. It's not simply about the "public good" anymore.

Needs research on if the Bond[s] can be amended or 'repealed'.

Finally something I can agree with you on. This arena is going to be a waste of money. But just like with the baseball stadium, the city will pretend to listen to the people and they will trot out Jim Paul and he will say it's a great idea. blah blah blah and it will get built.

You all are forgetting one thing. Eminent Domain is a COMMUNISTIC MOVE. And all of city counsel is communist. Otherwise we the constituents would be able to vote on it. It is just like the school bond it will pass because people are too lazy to go through the ballot. They vote straight ticket and they get the bond approved. It is just like El Paso to get things done by force and not by voting. Tommy Gonzalez and Oscar Leaders should be greeted with a Heil Hitler instead of good morning.

The City cannot use Cohen Stadium for an arena. The vote was for a downtown arena. Enough money has been spent trying to lure people to Northeast. It doesn't work any more that it would work on the east side or the far west. People will go downtown. That's already been proven. But I don't think there will be enough events to make the area pay off. But, thank you Joyce Wilson, we're going to have it anyway.

When the entertainment district was established, one property owner in the area thought it was his ticket to win the lottery. He bought up several other properties and held out for more and more money. It's called Greed and it held up development there for years. I'm not sorry now that he will lose out.

Lupe, I'm pretty sure that Hitler was not a communist.

How much have you read up on Communism??? The different Philosophies of government???

Anyway the city not once gave a hoot about Cohen Stadium. It used to get really full even after they quit playing games. Every time they would have a concert or some type of entertainment. I live very close to Cohen Stadium so I know. We need another arena like the city needs another hole in the head. The one on the East side, Cohen, the one downtown and they not once get full. People are not interested. The city just likes to spend taxpayer money.

D2V - The ordinance said downtown. The item on the ballot that voters saw did not say downtown.

abandon hope: the ballot also did not say "Mexican American Cultural Center," It said Cultural Center but we got Mexican American anyway.

Unfortunately, It would take someone with deep pockets and a lawyer in the family to keep Council in check. Many thought when we got rid of Byrd, Ortega and Beto (on Council at least) that Council would step off its pedestal but its arrogance is back, aided mightily by Tolbert.

Wonder when/if we're going to hear from the news media in El Paso who the property owner is who owns most of the property to be purchased for the arena. Material provided by the city states that half the property in the arena footprint is owned by one investor. My guess is that the investor is Yellow Balloon LP owned by Robert & Rosa Assael. Some additional property in the footprint is owned by Alejandro Restrepo Assael.

Good move. Buy a lot of property in a likely area for the arena, then make a pitch to the city attorney, who clearly stated in her presentation that an "investor" in the footprint came to the city some time ago.

Too bad the history/cultural tourism advocates don't carry as much weight as real estate investors. Investment in cultural tourism assets (assets in which El Paso is blessed) would pay off better in the long term, especially when an arena could be built on property already owned by the city.

AB: what property does the city own that would be appropriate for an arena?
And are you sure that the investor who approached the city was not the owner of the defunct children's museum? They were pretty sure they could make money off of the QoL bonds.
And I agree that Uncle Jim has not been an asset to out city.

Juana - The bond money could be used to make Cohen Stadium a first class arena that is larger than the one proposed for downtown with ample parking. The ballot never specified that the arena had to be downtown. I'm not sure which downtown investor came to the city but the city attorney stated that about half of the parcels that the city would need to buy are owned by that investor. I don't think Insights owned that many parcels.

Tolbert talks out of both sides of his mouth. On one hand he says he's on the historic/cultural tourism bandwagon; on the other hand, he didn't gave the key historic/cultural leaders a heads up. No one has time to follow every city agenda and meeting. Five days between the City's announcement and the vote. Give me a break.

If the city in its presentation last week listed the addresses of the properties involved its a simple search on the EPCAD website by address to find out who owns the properties. It is true the couple that owned the Children's Science museum not to be confused with the Insights museum pushed super hard to get the city to buy their property for the new Children's museum - not the arena. That project was sited on the Greyhound bus maintenance facility across from the ballpark. It would not surprise me at all that downtown property owners have been soliciting the city to buy their properties for the museums and/or arena. Why not?

AH: the QoL vote for the arena was grouped with all the other downtown projects. It was advertised as a downtown arena. Putting any money in Cohen would not spur private investment. The guys with the money want to invest in downtown, not in Northeast. Downtown has 19 private investment projects worth more than $100 million since the announcement of the ballpark site. I am not a supporter of an arena but I am a supporter of downtown investment. We need to increase our tax base and this is a start.

And: Tolbert -- be aware. Voters are not buying into your excuses for your behavior or your votes. Despite what you think, you are not a monarch.

D2V - Advertising and wording on the ballot are two different things. I'm not picking at straws, I'm making the point that the voters approved an arena, not an arena downtown. So what if investors want to put their money downtown. That was not on the ballot. Most voters could not care less what investors want. And, by the way, the arena is being built with public money. If investors want an arena downtown, why don't they pony up and build one with their own $$? Oh, wait, City Council already gave the investors that gift didn't they?

Totally agree about Tolbert. DavidK needs to cut his losses and quit defending this guy. Tolbert is bad for D2. He has his own agenda and D2 is just his stepping stone.

d2v, i agree with abandon hope. i know you think money is wasted on northeast, but cohen died well when the diablos were there. however, i wondered why the area cook wanted wasnt looked at or the rail service area off the freeway wasnt looked at since our rail service was moved to santa theresa by the best representative new mexico ever had in beto oroarke.

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