I have been following with amusement the raging online debate about the historical grant issue on social media and other online sites. I also read the El Paso Inc.’s write up by David Crowder, published on Sunday, about the dysfunction at city hall. Add to those two items the ongoing public debate about the San Jacinto Plaza, other quality of life fiascos and the sudden resignation of the engineering department’s head and a very significant problem becomes very evident.
The community has no trust in its government.
The historical survey grant is the perfect example of this. The proponents argue that the grant money does not impose any restrictions on the property owners. The property owners, for their part, just do not want to have anything to do with any historical surveys downtown.
Clearly and unequivocally, the downtown property owners have told city council that they have no trust in them at all. Because of this, rather than listen and accept that it is possible that the historical survey does not have any strings attached, the building owners instead leaned upon their politicians and killed the project.
I happen to agree with the building owners because I too believe that the city government should not be trusted.
The distrust at city hall was inherited by Tommy Gonzalez upon his arrival. He is the face of the city’s administrative staff and as such, he sets the standard for the perception of city hall in the community. Although the distrust of city hall started much sooner than the ballpark fiasco, it is the ballpark that daily reminds everyone that city hall cannot be trusted.
Tommy Gonzalez made matters worse by the way he handled the Margarita Cabrera sculpture and how he subsequently tried to cover it up.
Unfortunately, the mistrust runs deeper than distrusting the administrative levels as it transcends directly upon the elected officials as well. There are many examples I can give you of actions undertaken by questionable elected characters but it would fill reams of paper. As a matter of fact, my blog has been documenting elected official malfeasance for many years. Rather than bore you with examples that I have already covered, I am just going to point you to the most recent example of why government officials cannot be trusted.
Claudia Ordaz’ attempt to help her boyfriend, Vince Perez at the MPO is a classic example of why El Pasoans have no trust in their city government. Rather than own up to it, Ordaz and Perez have tried to create a nonexistent illusion to cover up their attempted power grab.
Therefore, while social media is on fire about the historical survey grant monies the fact remains that this would not have even been an issue had city officials done the right thing from the onset. Instead of trying to bypass public debate by bypassing an open debate at city hall, it is after all a policy decision, and grandstanding by politicians like Peter Svarzbein, the city, instead, chose to return the funds hoping no one would notice.
Because of these types of government activities, trust in all levels of government is nonexistent.
Lost in all of the political rhetoric, the excuses from all officials and the battles online is the simple fact that El Pasoans have no trust in their government officials, both the elected politicians and the appointed staff members.
Rather than spend taxpayer monies on “outside consultants” how about the simple solution of bringing transparency and honesty to all levels of government?