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.

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...

11 replies on “El Paso Resident Articulates the Continued Cultural and Ethnic Gentrification of El Paso”

  1. Are you saying that Tropicana style sprawl is mexican-friendly and master planned development ala Hunt is not?

    1. Regardless of the builder, the buyer is who dictates the product. Buyers buy the best product they can afford. I would like to drive a Ferrari but I cannot afford one. That does not mean that I do not want, or deserve a Ferrari. It simply means that I can only afford a Nissan Juke. In other words, I am living within my means.

      If the community only allows expensive homes to be built then in essence what they are saying is that they do not want blue collar workers to live in El Paso. That the majority of blue collar workers are of Mexican descent only underscores my point.

      Thank you for participating on my blog,

      1. I personally think that housing is too affordable here due to sprawl and that it should be master-planned to make it less affordable, i.e., to be attractive to a higher income demographic; the kind of people we want to attract here. The garment industry attracted uneducated, unskilled workers and look what we have left now – unemployed uneducated unskilled workers living in HACEP, not in Tropicana homes. El Paso for too long has been poverty-friendly and I hope that changes.

      2. have you seen the digs HACEP has built for those uneducated and unskilled and unemployed folks Rotten? that sweet apartment complex across from the zoo is HACEP, not Colinas Del Sol Ghetto south. they are very sweet and look very expensive for the taxpayer. when did poor people need smartcode developments/projects since they dont even have to pay for utilities. guess the lions roaring was the downside.

  2. I like how Martin points out cars. Cars are also a large expense that hurts the working class. Between financing roads, financing cars, maintenance of cars, among other things sprawl hurts the working class the hardest.



  3. Building less affordable homes will not entice families to relocate to El Paso. That falls in the dumb idea idea “build and they will come” and “create greater debt to get out of debt”.

    They sound good but they overlook the common sense approach of providing a nice stable, healthy environment and good infrastructure, then JOBS.

    Do you really believe that families want to relocate to a city with a corrupt, mismanaged and inept management? Did you forget all the convicted officials, debt and poor education system?

    This is a major reason that El Paso will not improve. People refuse to acknowledge that it has some major issues! The biggest joke is “safest city”. Again review all the corruption, convictions, wink politics. Have you forgotten that the city has or had a PR firm on a retainer to find and ensure that El Paso received a title for something. How about the “best mayor” title ? Someone had to do the nomination. Do you really believe the selection committee reviewed all the mayors re ord and focused on ours?

    I will say it once again Segundo Barrio can be a tourist lure and money maker. It’s our version of “Chinatown”. A place where tourists travel or visit a different culture. Regardless of what is said, people do not consider travel in Juarez or any border town safe. So Segundo Barrio is the next best thing. Do some patchwork here and there, then place it on tourist maps. A huge welcome sign to Segundo Barrio, pamphlets that sell the area as a place to mingle with a different culture, enjoy the food and Mexican products. Arrange events for tourist.

    People let’s use some common sense, please.

    1. Segundo could be promoted on I-10 as a quick stopover for the drive-byes. It needs more street food vendors, IMH.

      But basically, when I have to go to DTEP, I feel like I need a shower to wash off Mexico. So I don’t go often. At least we don’t have the legless beggars you see on the street in Juraez. Yet.

  4. El Paso is all sprawl. Cheap homes. When the freeze cam I saw people cutting into the walls with exacto knives. Forget that! Factor in transportation costs and poor quality is expensive. We need to develop high rises. That is the future.

  5. Are you sure you don’t mean better built homes instead of more expensive.

    If you mean the latter, I’ve never heard of someone moving to another city because housing was more expensive in the new city.

    High rises as a wave of the future? That’s an even more bizarre thought.

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