This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Plaza Classic Film Festival Returns: After years of various adjustments, the Plaza Classic Film Festival is returning without any COVID-19 restrictions. The festival began Thursday and runs through Aug. 7. Along with a full slate of movies, several artists — including some El Pasoans — will speak at the festival. Actress Rita Moreno speaks at 7 p.m. Friday in advance of the showing of the 2021 film “West Side Story”; actor F. Murray Abraham will speak at 7 p.m. on Aug. 5 ahead of “Amadeus”; and Germaine Franco, who wrote the music for Disney’s “Encanto,” will speak at 7 p.m. Saturday. El Paso Matters CEO Bob Moore will host a Q&A with El Pasoan Cristina Ibarra and her husband Alex Rivera, who produced “The Infiltrators,” a Sundance award-winning film that documents the arrest of immigrants by Border Patrol agents. “The Infiltrators” will show at 4 p.m. Sunday. The full schedule can be found here.
City May Verify Petition Via Sampling: The El Paso City Clerk’s office said it is “researching, pursuing, developing and implementing” a method to use statistical sampling to verify the signatures Sun Rise El Paso and Ground Game Texas submitted Monday in support of a citizen petition to amend the city charter to include wide-ranging climate policies. The petition needs 20,000 valid signatures from registered voters living within the city limits to be added to the Nov. 8 ballot. A statistical sample must represent at least 25% of the total signatures, said city spokesperson Laura Cruz Acosta — that would be about 9,790 signatures. The deadline for the city to add measures to November’s ballot is Aug. 22. The city has never used a sampling method for previous petitions, Cruz Acosta said.
Back-to-School: Students in seven of the county’s nine public school districts return to class on Monday. Clint Independent School District students returned on July 25 and San Elizario students returned on July 26. The districts that resume on Monday are Anthony, Canutillo, El Paso, Fabens, Socorro, Tornillo and Ysleta. Students at the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College don’t start classes until Aug. 22.