And there you have it; the “crazies” weren’t so crazy after all. First in The El Paso Inc., on Sunday, June 9, 2013 and then the next day on KVIA, outgoing mayor John Cook clearly lays out the conspiracy to keep the El Paso electorate from deciding whether they wanted city hall demolished or not.

In the El Paso Inc., article by David Crowder titled; “Mayor John Cook; The Exit Interview”, John Cook is quoted as stating that the first time he became aware that the stadium will be built where city hall once stood was when “Woody (Hunt), Paul (Foster), Josh (Hunt) and several other people” went to visit him. In the KVIA report, Cook is quoted as adding Myrna Deckert as one of the people who visited him that day. According to Cook, the MountainStar Sports Group, owned by the Hunts and Foster, among other people already had a plan in place to demolish city hall and build the stadium in its place.

John Cook adds that Joyce Wilson admitted that “certain people” were given “information and other people were not”. From the Chucoleaks emails published from open records it has already been established that Joyce Wilson along with Susie Byrd, Courtney Niland and Steve Ortega purposely kept information from some of the other city representatives and the electorate.

Cook goes on to elaborate that the concept of keeping any opposition at bay was derived from Rick Horrow’s strategy to keep information “close to the vest”, in other words keeping certain people from getting the information they needed to make an informed decision from. In this case that included some elected officials and the electorate. Horrow and Deckert were employed by the Paso Del Norte Group (PDNG).

According to John Cook’s explanation of the stadium deal the whole thing was planned to keep information secret from the voters and from certain elected officials. Plain and simple; the drivers of the destruction of city hall made deals behind closed doors with the intent of destroying a public asset without the input of the electorate of the city. I would call this action a conspiracy.

Although Cook is quick to point out that nothing illegal transpired there are still many questions left unanswered and much more information actively being kept by the city from the community. Information that rightly belongs to the voters continuous to be kept from the taxpayers even though the State has said it belongs to them. Why?

John Cook

For his part and before anyone one starts to proclaim the integrity of John Cook keep in mind that Cook’s latest public posturing is nothing more than a self-serving voicing designed to castigate those that didn’t come to his rescue to pay off his debt to his lawyers for his attempt to silence public dissention.

John Cook had multiple opportunities to stop the cabal from tearing down city hall to make way for the ballpark. In fact he had the opportunity to veto the legislation authorizing the destruction of city hall, but, instead he chose to support the destruction lead by Paul Foster, Woody Hunt and Bill Sanders in an apparent attempt to get into their good graces. He played the, “I’ll veto the ballpark deal” to milk it for their support. Unfortunately what he did not count on was that he was nothing more than just another useful idiot to them that was past his prime.

Cook just did not understand that the cabal knew perfectly well that all they had to do was string him along with promises because once the opportunity to veto the deal was over with so was John Cook’s usefulness to them. Cook is unelectable and is off to pasture so his ability to derail or support the cabal is over with, as such, he is just another useful idiot unceremoniously being put out to pasture.

John Cook was one of those useful idiots that come along very seldom, one that is completely manipulated into serving those that control him without them having to spend one dime on him. Cook’s legacy as a useful idiot will be a case study on the perfect tool for those manipulating the electorate, one where only empty promises of his great future was all that was needed to manipulate him.

The Local Media

In regards to KVIA, two things should be noted. The first is that they have a partnership agreement with The El Paso Inc. and therefore were very aware of the allegations levied by John Cook in the David Crowder article. Therefore they could not ignore the allegations and had to cover it. The byline used in the coverage is “Staff Report”. This is interesting because KVIA has been giving the ballpark debacle extensive coverage. There are many reporters that are covering many facets of the community debacle and the mayoral election.

My question is why not one of the reporters covering the issue wanted to take “ownership” of this latest development and put their byline on it? The station and the reporters love to proclaim that they have won so many awards for their news coverage and here they have a sitting mayor basically stating that one of the largest expenditures of electorate money and most controversial destruction of city property was driven by secret meetings and that some elected officials were purposely kept out of the loop.

This is in a city where more than 20 public officials have pled guilty or have been found guilty of public corruption. And not one reporter at KVIA wanted to take ownership of this story? I realize that the KVIA reporters are powerless to overturn management decisions so I accept the fact that there are reporters that wanted their byline on this story but it seems that KVIA management had no interest in allowing that. Why?

In my opinion it is because this allows KVIA to proclaim in some future date “hey we broke this story” if the downtown debacle explodes into a corruption case in the future. At the same time it allows the news station to proclaim we are just running a small piece in light of some comments made by the mayor when the money man come by to threaten advertising dollars.

KVIA is just positioning itself in the middle of the debacle. This is what the El Paso Times did when rumors of corruption began to surface in regards to NCED. At first the paper ignored it. When the Oregonian began to publish its series, The El Paso Times immediately began to proclaim they were the first to uncover the corruption. In reality they protected Bob Jones when he was doling out cash and once it became evident that Bob Jones would no longer be in a position to dole out more money they jumped on the bandwagon of corruption and went after Bob Jones.

And this is exactly what they are doing today.

The El Paso Times editorial board comes out in support of the Steve Ortega campaign proclaiming that El Paso has gone too far to go back now. The El Paso Times editorial board has every right to choose who they think would be better for El Paso but their “news” section, and I put news in quotes, because I use it lightly here has an ethical responsibility to cover news regardless of where it comes from.

Of course, if it involves Steve Ortega, The El Paso Times has done everything but proclaim him king under the apparent direction of the cabal. The El Paso Times is aware that Steve Ortega under reported at least $40,000 in campaign contributions from the baseball cabal before the election and did not change that until after the election. And there are many indications that Steve Ortega accepted a corporate campaign contribution in apparent violation of the Texas election code from Bain Construction and the paper has decided to completely ignore those two items. However, The El Paso Times had no problem running an Oscar Leeser piece alleging that Leeser misused an image of Fort Bliss personnel in campaign material.

There were no allegations of criminal wrongdoing by the Leeser Campaign but the paper found it necessary to make it a campaign issue nonetheless. How convenient is it that the paper’s actions conveniently protect one campaign over the other.

This is just another episode of the unethical practices at the local paper. One of very many.

Now we are left with the knowledge that $50 million of the taxpayer’s money has been allocated for the benefit of an investor group that conspired to keep the taxpayers from voting on whether they wanted to give the money to a private group, or not. As if that wasn’t enough the city manager, Joyce Wilson conspired with a select group of elected officials to keep other elected officials from exercising their right to speak for their electorate. The people driving this are intelligent enough to protect and insulate themselves with layers of legalese and a stable full of useful idiots so the issue of the legality of all of this is moot.

But is it ethical?

According to John Cook, a group of private investors conspired with a select group of elected politicians and the city manager to keep both the electorate, as well as other elected officials in the dark as to what was happening. They also conspired to push forth an agenda that circumvented the electorate’s right to vote on the expenditure of their money. The most important question anyone should be asking themselves today is whether the downtown arena was truly done for the benefit of the city or the benefit of a few.

That will answer the question of whether it was ethical or not. More importantly in a community with rampant corruption why are $50 million in public expenditures allowed to be planned in closed-door meetings? That is the $50 plus million question.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

4 replies on “Ballpark Back Door Dealing”

  1. Very insightful perspective… Some proclaim this as Mayor Cooks Apology Tour… I see it more as a confession.

  2. Martin you really need to get a better understanding of how the news media works. KVIA did not put a byline on their piece because it was a team effort taken from another source. Ethically no one could take ownership of the article. Why don’t you try walking in their shoes before criticizing everyone?

  3. I am the web producer for KVIA and I was the one that wrote the story for online. I didn’t put a byline on it because one of our staffers did the interview with the mayor and then I transcribed it and wrote the story. It was a team effort. I also didn’t put a byline on it because the story was very klunky going from quote, to transition talking about mayor saying something, then quote, then transition talking about mayor saying something, repeat. I guess I could have put it as a Q and A but I’m not a fan of of those types of pieces because I prefer written articles.

    1. How can you be so sure that not putting it as a Q and A was inferior to the written article?
      Just because you happen to not be a “fan of those types of pieces?”
      Some of us LIKE Q&A.
      You were being presumptuous when you should have simply opened your mind more than you usually do.

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