cultural-cntr170315Yesterday city council made it official; the city’s cultural center is officially an Hispanic Cultural Center. As you might remember, there has been some controversy on whether the 2012 Quality of Life cultural center was the Hispanic cultural center or the Heritage cultural center. The controversy arose because the ballot labelled the cultural center as the “heritage” while the ordinance called it the “Hispanic” cultural center.

During yesterday’s city council meeting, the controversy was put to rest. In a unanimous vote, city council voted on how the sub-committee would be formed, set a time line for action by the committee and accepted that the ordinance made it clear that the cultural center would be about Hispanics, instead of being a heritage cultural center. Emma Acosta did not vote because she was out ill.

When the original ordinance was adopted by city council, it made the chair of the Bond Overview Advisory Committee (BOAC); Bernie Sargent the chair of the cultural center subcommittee. The action taken be city council yesterday changed the original ordinance to allow the membership of the sub-committee to elect their own chair.

Additionally, the city directed that the BOAC should elect a member from their membership to sit on the cultural center sub-committee. According to the commentary, during the discussion of the sub-committee changes, city council agreed that the cultural center sub-committee does not need to go through the BOAC in order to address city council. Instead, it was understood that it would be a courtesy to inform the BOAC in advance but the committee could directly address council as needed.

In regards to the name, Ann Morgan Lilly stated that she did not want to force her appointees to accept that the voters voted for an Hispanic cultural center instead of a heritage center. Claudia Ordaz asked the city attorney to clarify the name issue because of the confusion in the community.

Sylvia Borunda Firth opined that the city ordinance and that the language used throughout the discussions always intended the cultural center to be about Hispanics. Although yesterday’s city council action did not set an official name for the cultural center, preferring to leave that to the committee, city council agreed that the cultural center was about Hispanics, rather than being the heritage cultural center.

The subcommittee was given eight tasks to address, ranging from budgets, to locations to the content of the proposed cultural center. The sub-committee was asked to return to city council by April 28, 2015 with updates about their progress. The sub-committee is scheduled to “sunset,” or end in December 2015, unless extended by city council.

Lily Limon’s motion to make the changes was seconded by Cortney Niland. It was Niland that wanted the committee to bring an update to city council as quickly as possible.

The original ordinance creating the sub-committee directed that the sub-committee meet on city facilities so that the meetings can be streamed publicly. The subcommittee meetings are also subject to the 72 hour public meeting notice requirements.

Although a sub-committee of the BOAC, the cultural center has autonomy to present their findings directly to city council. With a BOAC member sitting in the sub-committee meetings, it is expected that the BOAC will be updated on the cultural center plans.

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 “The Hispanic Cultural Center”

  1. The ballot was clear, yet the city once again changed the meaning to “it was intend”. And the question asked is why don’t people vote. This another example of the city ignoring the people and doing whatever they want.

    In any case since disenfranchised Mexicans in a city of 85 % Mexican, oh brother! I wil change my clothes to sandals, white shirt and pants and a straw hat. I wouldn’t anyone accuse me of not being mexican enough or ant-mexican by not honoring our heritage. Had to put that in since yesterday I told that my comments revealed my anti-mexican comments, implying that I was white. Nope, I am as brown as they come. Hhhhmm, better check with the “brown skin” police, just get arrested for not being brown enough, ola le !

    Enough for now, adios amigos. Buenos noches . I have to get up early to let my mexican landscaper watch me as I do his work. Wouldn’t want anyone to think I am anti-mexican.

    Incredible, a city with a majority of the population being Mexican crying that they need reminders of their heritage because they are surrounded by racists. There is no doubt in my mind I live in a city full of race baiters. Change the city’s name to Sharptonville. Crank up the ay ay music lest you be accused of being ashame to be a Mexican. For good measure, let’s make the official language spanish. Wouldn’t want to forget my heritage. Walked into a store yesterday, they actually accepted pesos. Must be a way to remind me of my roots. Shut down and outlaw any eatery that doesn’t sell only tacos. Wouldn’t want to imply that the “other skin color” people had anything to do with El Paso.

    1. Very good points, and it is race baiting and theft by the city to deceive a population to support using “bonds”, as opposed to real money, to fund a center focused on ethnic bias. I want to refuse my taxes to pay for anything the city does, except for roads, bridges and law enforcement…period. This other stuff is just theft from those who don’t want it.

  2. Peppers will wear a baja, straw hat, sandals and drive a 1979 pickup truck full of lawn tools to stand in solidarity with my oppressed neighbors.

  3. Morenito me thinks you might be needing some help there with the brown skin and the spelling. Let’s start with ola le???? did you intend it to be orale? Did you also mean to imply that you are not Mexican-American enough and that the community is 82% Spanish surnamed or literally 82% Mexican? if the latter then we’re in the wrong country. After all, the hyphen, created sometime in the past by who knows who, is meant as a reminder of heritage rather than that of nation. So while I’m either (pick one or more) Hispanic (yuk), Mexican-American, American of Mexican descent, Chicano or just plain old AMERICAN (since I was born inside the borders of the U.S. even though others would argue all North and South Americans are Americans) the fact is that this bitter divisive suggestion of trying to find ourselves is just that, divisive. I think that Sunday’s columnist Ramon Renteria made a good point: until we ourselves aren’t prejudiced against ourselves the issue will continue to make us all look less of whatever you call ourselves. I wish there was this much discussion on taxes and the cost of government. Then maybe we could afford these wonderful new palaces created by less than 7 % of the registered voters. Just my opinion.

  4. While you are fighting over the cultural center the new major gonzales has sneaked in help with a high salary. Who authorized it?

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