By Carmen E. Rodriguez
When city representatives are in lock step voting in favor of huge city projects requiring massive amounts of our tax dollars, we have a problem.
The majority on City Council who love public debt are like credit card users, favoring bonds and certificates of obligation to buy now, pay/worry later. The only problem is that the credit card they use belongs to the taxpayers.
The developer industry – comprised of investors, financial institutions, real estate speculators, agents, general contractors, etc. – is in constant need of city-funded public projects. The formula for a steady infusion of public dollars into this industry is a five-member City Council majority.
The current majority is about to lose two of its members, city Reps. Peter Svarzbein and Cissy Lizarraga. Two other members of this majority, Claudia Lizette Rodriguez and Isabel Salcido, are desperately trying to stay in play (“desperately” is applicable because of their questionable campaign tactics).
Of course, Rodriguez, Salcido and a few other candidates are eager to comprise the next public-debt-for-private-gain majority. The good news is that they can be easily identified.
Follow these clues to figure out who the status quo wannabes:
1) Check out their donor lists. Status quo candidates likely will have donors who are in the banking and real estate development industries, thus having financial interests in city projects, and coincidentally, who live in the high-priced neighborhoods of the Westside.
2) Despite voter deception in the language, promotion, and location of the major 2012 bond project plus strong community opposition, they continue to support the Downtown arena project.
3) They have strong ties to current city representatives.
Thankfully, candidates who will be independent thinkers also are on the ballot. These candidates are a better choice, not only because they oppose increasing public debt, but because they will promote the best interests of their respective constituencies, not the private interests of developers.
After several administrations of five-member control of councils by those who support public expenditures favoring private interests, we can elect independent thinkers who will not follow blindly the will of a few influential Westsiders.
It’s time to elect real leaders of their own districts who will vote for the general community interest. Vote for Brian Kennedy in District 1, Richard Genera in District 5, Art Fierro in District 6 and Richard Wright in District 8.
Carmen E. Rodriguez is a Central El Paso resident and co-author of “Who Rules El Paso? Private Gain, Public Policy and the Community Interest.”
Editor’s Note: The candidate recommendations are solely the author’s and not from El Paso Matters.