It is so rare that a resident of the city so succinctly articulates the inconvenient truth of what has been driving the El Paso ethnic and cultural gentrification that I nearly chocked to death on the piece of gum I was chewing. I still don’t know where the gum ended up. What the District 2 resident stated so clearly merits an immediate blog post in order to begin the discussion that El Paso needs to have about the public policy agenda that is de-Mexicanizing El Paso.
What I have labelled as the de-Mexicanization of El Paso is actually the attempt to remove the ethnic and cultural identity of the majority of El Paso from the city’s landscape. This is being done under the guise of “New Urbanism” and stopping the so-called “urban sprawl” ill-conceived arguments made by the proponents of the current public policy agenda. I have given you many examples and have tried to articulate it as best as I can but apparently I do not have the right words.
During the discussion on today’s city council agenda a little while ago about Painted Dunes land development (12.1) a resident of District 2 commented during the public comment potion of the meeting. Marilyn Guida (my apologies for probably misspelling her name) commented that she has much experience in development. She stated that she came by way of California and has been in El Paso for seven years. As she discussed the lack of water in El Paso and the arroyos she made the following statements that I believe clearly demonstrates the mindset driving the public policy agenda that I believe is designed to erode El Paso’s Mexican-centric culture and identity.
Because the comments were made during live discussion, I am doing my best to properly quote her comments. She stated,
“If you want income…Isn’t it best to produce a really top-notch development,” alluding that El Paso can future homeowners the best home ownership experience “south of Santa Fe.”
She then added, (and this the part that articulates my argument)
“We can attract people that can afford properties,” that embrace smart code. She then stated, “You will drive away this type of home buyer with cookie cutter commercial areas we seeing” in the Northeast.
In other words, what she is saying and what I believe is driving the current public policy agenda, is that El Paso’s public policy is designed to create an environment where El Paso only wants homeowners who can afford the amenities that are not part of “cookies-cutter” homes.
Right there is the underlining problem of El Paso’s current public policy agenda that is building utopian amenities on the backs of the taxpayers of El Paso that will not be able to afford the master-planned communities that are envisioned.