mass-exodusOf course, they are leaving! As you likely already know, Bloomberg reported on how El Paso leads the nation in residents abandoning the city for greener pastures. You also likely saw that Bob Moore’s newspaper mentioned the exodus as well. He had to because it was trending on social media. As is common with the truth in El Paso, the facts are glossed over or just plain ignored. Bob Moore did not offer you any context nor did those the new media interviewed as well.

Context is important in order to understand the underlining causes for the problems the city faces.

Let me remind you about the late 90’s and early 2000 when three politicians came on the scene and proclaimed a renaissance for the city. The three amigos, as they came to be known, argued that they could arrest the “brain drain” and put El Paso back on the road to prosperity. All you had to do is trust in them to implement an aggressive public policy agenda that only they had the vision to understand.

The three amigos: Ray Caballero, Eliot Shapleigh and Jose Rodriguez drafted Susie Byrd, Veronica Escobar and Beto O’Rourke among others and launched the current public policy agenda that has led us to where we are today.

The public policy agenda they implemented centered on the notion that to arrest the exodus of El Paso residents, the community needed “to invest in itself.” They launched an agenda that called for eradicating the culture of the city and remaking it into a new Santa Fe, Portland or whatever the favored city of the day was.

They argued that what the city needed was a grand central park and an economic renaissance centered on the medical fields. The central park fizzled out but it nonetheless drove the notion of downtown redevelopment that resulted in the ballpark fiasco. On the economic front, the medically based economy initiative drove forth the Medical Center of the Americas, the El Paso Children’s Hospital and the transformation of the local community-based hospital district into the University Medical Center (UMC).

All of them were taxpayer funded. Each of them a critical component to the public policy agenda that was trying to stop the departure of the El Paso residents. The citizens that are unable to continue to live in their city because they are being taxed out of the city while job opportunities continue to fizzle away.

You all know the financial state of the University Medical Center (UMC) and you all know about the disaster of the El Paso Children’s Hospital therefore I won’t bother adding salt to your wounds. What about the Medical Center of the Americas? It is nothing more than an empty pretty building that has diverted much-needed funds but has not produced a single verifiable job for a taxpayer that is not well connected to someone driving the public policy agenda.

In other words, fifteen years after the three amigos launched their much-touted solution to the city’s “brain drain” the city’s taxpayers find themselves in a worse predicament then they were when the three amigos promised to save the city from itself.

Throughout all of this push of the agenda, Bob Moore pushed forth the “vision” of the three amigos by selectively allowing certain newspaper articles to be published while not allowing reporters to report on items that detracted from the carefully crafted public relations façade. The three amigos could not allow debate on the merits of the agenda and therefore Bob Moore and the three amigos silenced dissention through attacking, intimidating and ostracizing those that dare to criticize the agenda.

As you can tell from the comments from the “business” [I purposely used parenthesis] community and the absence of commentary from the politicians about the reality that taxpayers would rather pack their bags and families up an go into the unknown than to continue to live in the city where they were born.

That is the sad fact that the “progressives” hope you do not realize. That is the fact that that the “business” community ignores because they are feeding at the trough of the public’s monies. Look closely at who was interviewed by the news media and what their comments are and you will notice a simple connection between them all. They live off your tax dollars and therefore rather than confront the reality they find excuses for the exodus.

The same excuses they used fifteen years ago.

They continue to live in the fantasy that the solution to the exodus is to “invest” in the community. Only that the “investment” is your money that they cash each payday at the bank.

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...

6 replies on “The El Paso Exodus”

  1. Some will leave anyway just to see new places. The rest leave because of a lack of real jobs, corruption, a city council and a county court that has made El Paso the laughing stock of Texas. The area has a strong reputation of being a backward society. Look at the infrastructure and taxes.

    Now for those that claim there is nothing to do except drink. Come out of the drunk stupor. There is plenty to do if you bother to look around. If all you do is drink another city will not be a change.

    The only reason that tourists used to come to El Paso was easy access to Juarez and it’s cheap thrills. They tell us it is safe but why is Juarez and Mexico in general always on the list of dangerous cities or country to visit.

    Clean up the area, fix the infrastructure, lower taxes, stop giving Juarrez citizens tax breaks and leniency for traffic violations. The School systems are broke.

    I really don’t blame people for leaving, not a lot of reasons to stay with the cv current mess we have.

    1. Martin has very good points with the “progressives”. However, these types are all over the nation, and they destroying cities via bankruptcy. These noxious “people”have infiltrated many levels of government and media in order to suffocate any factual opposing position and comments about what they say or do. It is a threatening invasion by the progressives, and many people in El Paso would rather just leave than to deal with this curse which is endemic all over the nation.

  2. Please, please, please! Get ye to an editor! I, too, am disgusted by our never ended, never ending brain drain, but I will at least make an effort to say so in proper English, using proper grammar, punctuation, and context. You say, in part, “…the “business” [I purposely used parenthesis] community…” What parenthesis (or, more properly, parentheses)? You used italics and quotation marks! There was no parenthesis (singular) or parentheses (plural) in your sentence! Your writing scatters italics all over the place, thus robbing that use of its purpose! The same goes for your use of quotation marks. Their purpose should be for emphasis, but you have seriously overdone it! I usually cannot finish your pieces simply because of your poor editing, and it is just possible that you might have something important to say.

  3. Martin,

    El Paso’s woes have more to do with geography than anything else.

    If the baseball stadium gives you heart burn, God only knows what you must think of Dallas’ fastest growing and wealthier suburbs, Frisco, did with the Cowboys. It agreed to build the Cowboys HQ and training facility at no cost to the Cowboys. So no, people aren’t leaving El Paso because of government spending.

    Yes, people are moving to Austin where property taxes maybe lower, but the City has an ATM by having its own utility (unlike El Paso).

    Corruption? Corruption isn’t stopping young professionals from moving to Dallas, a city that actually has a political oligarchy and its own fair share of corruption.

    Regarding Shapleigh and Co., wrong as they maybe at least they tried or trying to do something.



  4. Ali, Dallas has its corruption but people always believe the other side of the fence is greener. Our educated youth are well aware of the issues and it has to have some affect with the decision.

    I will agree that money is the motivator, second to explore another world.

    As for the stadium, the heart burn comes from having it forced down the throat, demolition of a good building and the fact that is losing money. The hotel tax isn’t producing the revenue. That stadium could have been built in a better location. Has it increased downtown development ? I would say no. The eateries will survive for a bit because of the novelty. I don’t foresee any major corporate headquarters relocating to El Paso. Like you state, it’s in the middle of nowhere.

    The only thing that will help the county is the weather, turn the county into an athletics events headquarters. Volleyball, marathons, motorcycle races, cross country car races, training facilities. There are so many events that could be scheduled.

    So long as the incompetence, corruption/unethical conduct and political musical chairs are an open secret, people will stay away.

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