This is your Friday Update, which takes a quick look at some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Sheriff Richard Wiles to Retire: El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles, who took office in 2009, will retire at the end of his term in December 2024. Saying there is “never a perfect time,” Wiles announced his retirement on Tuesday. He will not seek re-election. Wiles has served in law enforcement for more than 40 years, joining the El Paso Police Department in 1982. He served as the city’s chief of police from 2004 to 2007 before seeking the county office.
“As an elected official, I think it is important to continually evaluate our organizations and ensure they are meeting the needs of the community well into the future,” Wiles said in a statement posted on Facebook. “I am very proud of the work of all the employees of the Sheriff’s Office and feel we have made great progress during the time of my administration.” The election to replace Wiles will be in November 2024.
Spring Forward This Weekend: Don’t forget to spring your clocks forward one hour this weekend for daylight saving time: At 2 a.m. Sunday, clocks should jump to 3 a.m. Daylight saving time ends on Nov 5. The switch started in the United States in 1918 as a wartime measure to help conserve fuel for electricity, not to benefit farmers as many people believe, according to history.com. Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe daylight saving time. The Senate last year approved legislation to make daylight saving time permanent, but the bill stalled in a House committee.
City Rep. Brian Kennedy Cleared to Vote on Downtown Arena: An advisory panel for the city’s Ethics Review Commission has ruled that city Rep. Brian Kennedy does not need to abstain from votes on the planned multipurpose performing arts and entertainment center. Kennedy can also vote on issues that involve facilities managed by ASM Global, which does business as Destination El Paso and El Paso Live. Kennedy long served as CEO and then a consultant with the El Paso Sports Commission that ran the El Paso County Coliseum and brought sporting and entertainment events to the region, which some considered could pose a conflict of interest.
The advisory opinions were made at Kennedy’s request following an ethics complaint filed by Dora Oaxaca-Rivera against him after he abstained from a critical vote on the Downtown arena that ultimately removed the project site from the Duranguito neighborhood on Jan. 3. In February, the commission determined that Kennedy did not violate the city’s ethics ordinance alleged in Oaxaca’s complaint.
El Paso Municipal Rose Garden and Scenic Sundays: The El Paso Municipal Rose Garden is now open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Nov. 30. The four-acre garden at 1702 N. Copia Street features more than 1,400 rose bushes of more than 430 rose varieties, as well as walking paths, benches and a Koi fish pond. Admission is free. Starting April 1, Scenic Drive will be closed to vehicles between Wheeling and Robinson streets on Sunday mornings for Scenic Sundays. From 6 to 11 a.m. on Sundays, the public is invited to walk, run, cycle or skateboard along Scenic Drive as part of the city’s efforts to promote health and wellness in the community. Admission is free.