Photo courtesy Jon Eckberg
Paso del Sur, a grassroots organization that works with barrio residents to defend their neighborhoods and their right to respect and dignity, announced that they are initiating a city-wide citizen’s initiative to exclude Barrio Duranguito from the City’s eminent domain demolition plan.
The official announcement of the Citizen’s Initiative will take place Tuesday, 8:15 a.m., January 24, 2017 at El Paso City Hall.
The citizen’s initiative reads as follows:
“We the undersigned voters and residents of El Paso oppose the forced displacement of people and businesses for the purpose of erecting an entertainment arena and hereby petition the city to pass and enact the following ordinance:
“BECAUSE THE CITIZENS OF EL PASO RECOGNIZE AND RESPECT THE CULTURAL AND HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE UNION PLAZA DISTRICT, INCLUDING THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD KNOWN AS BARRIO DURANGUITO, THE CITY OF EL PASO SHALL NOT CONSTRUCT A MULTIPURPOSE PERFORMING ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT CENTER (ARENA) WITHIN THE DISTRICT.”
We believe the recent actions of our dysfunctional City Council to reverse the decision that initially excluded Barrio Duranguito from the demolition block clearly demonstrates that they cannot be trusted to represent the interests of anyone other than a small minority of binational developers, land speculators and hoteliers who want it at Union Plaza for their own financial benefit.
On October 18, the City Council voted to use eminent domain to construct an arena in Barrio Duranguito, one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in El Paso. On December 20, they voted to exclude Duranguito and to study other areas for the arena.
On January 10, City Council voted for a motion introduced by Representative Michiel Noe, to once again consider Union Plaza as the site of the arena. Other representatives who voted against the people of Duranguito include Representative Carl Robinson, Representative Claudia Ordaz and Representative Emma Acosta.
The people of Union Plaza have suffered long enough from the lack of respect of the City Council and the subsequent harassment of property owners who are trying to intimidate them into moving.
For this reason, the property owners, residents, and small vendors of Union Plaza/ Barrio Duranguito have chosen to appeal directly to the citizens of El Paso to help us save our homes and businesses from eminent domain demolition and forced displacement.
Under Section 3.11 of the City Charter of El Paso, citizens have the right to petition for an Ordinance, which the Council must place on the agenda for a City Council vote.
If the City Council fails to pass the Ordinance, the citizens then have the right to petition that the Ordinance be placed on the ballot for a vote by the voters in the next general election.
Those who wish to sign the initiative/referendum petition may do so at
Cafe Mayapan, 2000 Texas Ave, from 11 am -3 pm Monday-Friday
Carambola Community Music School, 200 N. Ochoa (second floor of the Cinco Puntos Press building) Contact Yahvi at: (773) 613-9303 for available hours.
Farmworkers Center, (corner of Ninth and Oregon Street) phone: 915-873-8933 on Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am-3 pm.
You can also sign the petition at the Rock House (corner of W. Overland and Leon Street) any Friday between 5 pm and 7 pm.
For more information, or for other future locations to sign the referendum, or if you wish to volunteer to collect petition signatures contact Paso del Sur at PDS@pasodelsur.org or call
Coordinator of Citizen’s Initiative: Cynthia Renteria: 915-637-3026.
Dr. David Dorado Romo, 915-630-9502
Dr. Yolanda Chávez Leyva, 915-449-2853