not-wages2Tuesday’s city council pontification about wages in the tax incentive deal with Douglas Steel Supply had nothing to do with wages and everything to do with the political season that is just around the corner. It was the perfect opportunity to embarrass Oscar Leeser and allow politicians the opportunity to plead that they are “for the people” in news media sound bites.

How many of these politicians asked the question about wages when Hunt and Foster were asking for city incentives for their projects? None, because it is not about wages, everyone knows El Paso is a low wage town. Instead, it was for political shenanigans.

Last week Oscar Leeser stood before the cameras proclaiming his latest success in his “Open for Business” political ploy by announcing that Douglas Steel Supply was coming to El Paso. Smug and congratulating himself he didn’t realize that he gave the politicians the perfect opportunity to both humiliate him publicly at city council while giving them the opportunity to pontificate about their prowess in protecting their constituency.

The only problem? All of it was for political show and all sides are guilty of it – Oscar Leeser and the politicians pontificating about wages. As with everything, the result is that the voters of El Paso are the ones paying the bills.

This is what happens when a city celebrates creating 55 new jobs over five years.

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...

7 replies on “Yesterday’s Salary Pontificating Had Nothing to do with Money”

  1. “announcing that Douglas Steel Supply was coming to El Paso.”
    I thought it was more like they’re not leaving for which we give them 10 years of tax rebate and wonder why we can’t balance the budget which is why we raise storm water fees. Maybe other companies can shake down the city for tax rebates by threatening to not leave?

  2. El Paso IS open business ! We have been getting the business for years. It has gotten to the point that fact can longer be hidden. For many years El Paso was marketed as a low wage and no benefits labor force. Now overnight the city wants to change that image? It’s going to take another decade to eliminate that image.
    That will require a better educated and trained workforce.

    Let’s work on the dropout rate and the low expectation university. Even the main campus quickly remind you that their education is much better and cringe at the mention of the El Paso branch. I understand that UTEP is trying to do the right thing, but continuing its standard of giving spanish speakers a pass, it leaves them totally unprepared for the “outside”. Their papers are poorly written and speech, forget it. Their speech makes Tony Montana sound like a Rhodes Scholar.

    Why doesn’t UTEP require Prepatory English classes. Other universities and colleges test students and those found to be deficient in writing skills are required take English grammar and writing classes before taking advanced English courses. The students don’t help themselves and some staff don’t help the students. Visit the campus, you begin to think its a Hispanic university. Non spanish speakers don’t have to apply for semester courses in Spain or Mexico City. Just stay here !

    We cannot demand better wages or quality employers until we start by cleaning up the El Paso school system and raise the standards at UTEP.

    It doesn’t help the image, when everytime a contract is open, it goes to an outside company. It says our employees and companies are not up to standard and incapable of doing anything. The Historical society just received a grant to study and renovate the “old” buildings. Who got the contract? Guess not one engineer, historian or architect in El Paso is qualified.

    Give the Mayor a break, he’s doing the best he can with the mess that was left to include a clueless council. Can’t turn feces into gold !

  3. Do the council and mayor realize that there are non-uniformed city employees that don’t make that much money? Do they know or care that the city employees have not had a pay raise in several years? Or that the last pay raise was only 2%?
    Oh and UTEP doesn’t need to offer Prepatory English classes. That is what El Paso Commmunity College is for.

  4. Dear Midas touch. You know nothing about UTEP. They do offer developmental English and ESOL programs. Go do some research and learn their grads do very well in the world.

  5. Hypocrisy! El Paso does have the qualify labor force, universities and colleges. Excuses emanate from politicians and the greedy wealthy who want a salved work force, minimum pay and place profit generating above all. The City of El Paso, the County of El Paso and UTEP do a very poor job in setting a good example by not paying its staff a decent and livable wage (U.S. Department of Labor). Please don’t use the average salary the university pays in wages to prove salaries are decent in this state institution, top management rakes the $$$, making this analysis false. I am very upset, what makes a call center a better job opportunity than a job at a steel supply business?

  6. The program’s you mention require an overhaul. The proof is in the results. Poor English and poorly written papers.

    Without a doubt there is always a 10% exception. That leaves 90% with a wasted education. I am not saying these things to disparage, but to open eyes to the fact that people are graduating with one hand tied behind their backs. You need a quality education to get ahead and these days the competition is tough enough.

    Compare the salaries and careers of UTEP graduates to other universities/colleges. Students have a responsibility to demand higher standards and quality education. The education is expensive for most and you as a student should receive a sheep skin that others admire and value.

    As for a quality workforce, without question the workforce works very hard and very innovative in finding solutions. Unfortunately, some move on and some stay here and try to survive within the cheap labor image that city is known. Why do they stay? Family, language, lack of confidence, familiarity with the area.

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