When the rumors about a professional baseball team started to be whispered about the focus was on the notion that El Paso was competing with other cities and time was of the essence. The conversation then shifted to engaging the community because it was El Paso’s turn to shine. Notice how history is repeating here? As soon as the community was enthralled, a boom exploded into the demolition of city hall and the indebting of the taxpayers for years to come.
By the time the dust settled, the baseball stadium had been rammed down El Paso’s collective throats. It wasn’t long before the realization that the city had a new baseball stadium that it had to pay for was realized by many but ignored by the cabal. Deflecting common sense and rationalizing the associated costs, the proponents created the illusion that the taxpayers would not be paying for the stadium. Instead, out-of-towners would pay through the HOT taxes and the residual sales taxes, after the owners had collected their bounty, would make up the difference. Of course, the proponents were not interested in addressing the fact that out-of-town travelers would decrease as the need for using El Paso as a stepping-stone to other destinations by Southwest Airlines ended and the military economy ended. This, of course, also included ignoring that the stadium was just shifting the economy from taxpaying sources to tax-funded entities. It didn’t matter because it was never about El Paso but rather it was about lining the pockets of the elite.
Just last week El Pasoans were concerned about the rising cost of water through a new business franchise fee and an upcoming increase in storm water fees. The flooding, when it rains, is just another inconvenient truth the city would rather you forget. Taxpayers are told, don’t worry it is the crazies who don’t get it. Besides, what’s a little flooding between friends anyway, they gleefully proclaim in unison.
Many of you argued that the city wouldn’t be asking for more money so soon after the latest flooding. You said; you are crazy; the city cannot be that stupid. Guess what? That is exactly what the city did – ask you for more money to fix the flooding problem, never mind that the storm water fee was created to fix the 100-year flooding problems back in 2008. If you think that Mountain Star isn’t about to ask the taxpayers for another stadium – think again, they just did.
Robert Gray of the El Paso Inc. wrote an article titled “MountainStar wants you to support Major League Soccer” that was published yesterday. In the article, Gray quotes Alan Ledford, president of Mountain Star Group clearly articulating; that the proposed soccer stadium needs to be downtown and that, they need you, the taxpayer, to pay for it.
Ledford is quoted; “Having concrete plans in place for a Downtown, state-of-the-art, first-class stadium is very critical” to the effort to bring a soccer team to El Paso. Gray adds that the MLS is focusing on “cities with Downtown soccer stadiums”. The city has already correctly told you that the 2012 Quality of Life bonds for a multi-purpose stadium cannot be used for a soccer stadium. Either that leaves a private entity building the soccer stadium to satisfy the MLS, or the taxpayers are forced to pay for it. Guess who ends up paying for it?
The politicians are already focusing on the glamour of professional soccer in El Paso and ignoring the obvious problem, where are they going to play. We have already been told that downtown is a requirement. That leaves only one question – who pays for it? Mountain Star has already figured out that the taxpayers are an endless supply of money for their playground. I’ll be sitting back to see how much more abuse the taxpayers of the city can take before they rise up and take their city back from the oligarch that has subjugated them.