That’s right nothing happened, other than some people made money, taxpayers footed about $1 million in security precautions and some of the politicos got special treatment. Oh, and buried in the news is an economic indicator that the politicos are hoping you missed.
First, let’s look at the simple reality that the Sun Bowl gathering was just a money making venture for someone. That someone is the El Paso Catholic Diocese that hasn’t met a congregant it doesn’t take money from. The Pope came with a message of hope but the local diocese saw a money making opportunity on the backs of the taxpayers that coincidently paid almost $1 million for “security.” Yes, that’s right, El Paso taxpayers footed almost $1 million for security because “millions” of people were expected to trample through El Paso to see the Pope across the river.
However, the diocese wanted its part of El Pasoans’ wallets – so with the help of El Paso officials, they sold almost 30,000 tickets to witness the Pope via a television screen. Yes, almost 30,000 parishioners paid for the privilege to watch the Pope through television. That’s about $300,000 that went into the diocese’s coffers. Even if you take away the fee for the use of the Sun Bowl, the diocese made about $200,000 for letting you watch television.
That is in addition to the $1 million coming out of your taxes to address “security” concerns. The politicos were all over the news media telling you how wonderful this exposure was for El Paso. Never mind that it was Juárez’ time to shine, the El Paso politicos were telling you that millions would be coming to El Paso. Well, as you know, the “millions” was not even close if you include Cd. Juárez. This leads us to another inconvenient truth about the concerns the police chief had.
The sad truth is that the El Paso Police Department is ill-equipped to handle masses of people congregating together. The Montwood riots and the subsequent court ordered settlement proved that. Chief Allen knew that that last thing his police force could do was keep thousands of people under control unless he could bottle them up into a contained area like the Sun Bowl.
By closing off the streets and the border levies, the police chief figured that bottling people up in a contained area would be easier to handle than out in the streets. That his strategy resulted in a money-making venture for the diocese the better it was for all concerned.
And if you still don’t think it was about money, consider that Claudia Ordaz was pimping her house online for hundreds of dollars for one night! She, like the hotels, didn’t have much luck.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, remember how the ballpark is supposed to be paid? You know, the HOT taxes that hotel guests are paying? During the bowling tournament, El Paso officials were happily touting their foresight on the HOT taxes for the ballpark. They were secretly hoping for the “millions” trampling through El Paso to see the Pope but as you know by now, that never happened.
Instead the latest reports from the hotels is that occupancy rates are down. Significantly down by some reports. If the magic of the Pope wasn’t enough to bring people to the hotel what makes anyone believe that the HOT taxes will be able to pay for the ballpark this year, and the next?
Maybe that is why some of the El Paso politicos were happy to get preferential treatment to see the Pope. They were probably hoping to get a miracle from him to resolve the ballpark debacle that is about ruin their façade of “it’s all good El Paso.”
Did I tell you that you paid almost $1 million to force people to pay the El Paso Catholic Diocese for the right to see the Pope via television? And here is the mind sobering reality of it all, not only did you pay for “security” but the city and county also lost in work productivity and incurred additional expenses because the politicos thought it was better to close down the city, county and some of the schools because the Pope was in the country next door.