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Home | Tag Archives: Mayor Dee Margo

Tag Archives: Mayor Dee Margo

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo: Today’s Texas Republican Party looks “Totally Different”

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, a former Republican state representative, joined The Texas Tribune on Wednesday to talk about key issues facing El Paso and the difference between politics at the state and local level. Here are a few takeaways:

The Republican party in Texas looks “totally different” to him now than it did when he was in the Legislature.

When asked about the state of the Republican Party in Texas, Margo suggested that too many single issues are now driving policy decisions, and that lawmakers are voting based on what their party demands, versus what their constituents need.

Margo described himself as a fiscal conservative who’s more liberal on social policies, adding that he’s “never voted straight ticket in my entire life.” He later said he was never in favor of the “bathroom bill” that would’ve put restrictions on which public bathrooms transgender Texans could use.

Meanwhile, Margo declined to explicitly endorse any candidates running for office — though he said U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso Democrat who outraised U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the last reporting period in his campaign to unseat him, would do a great job in the U.S. Senate.

Margo suggested that some of Cruz’s “rhetoric” was problematic, and said he has a “real heartburn issue” with anything potentially detrimental to the El Paso community.

El Paso isn’t a sanctuary city, but that doesn’t mean he supports SB 4.

As the sixth-largest city in Texas — and the largest border city in Texas — the immigration debate before the Texas Legislature affects El Paso directly. Margo said if he were still a legislator he wouldn’t have voted for Senate Bill 4, which passed during the last legislative session and allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain and arrest.

Margo described the city of El Paso as a “melting pot” and disagreed with President Trump’s intention to end family migration. He also said he’s not in favor of any expensive border wall.

Despite his disagreements with President Trump’s views on immigration, Margo made it clear that El Paso is no sanctuary city — one where law enforcement doesn’t cooperate with federal immigration laws.

El Paso doesn’t always get a fair shake.

Now that he’s running a city, Margo expressed concern that state legislators in Austin get to call the shots on matters like property taxes — issues that affect El Paso directly — without sufficient input from local politicians.

He also said El Paso doesn’t get the attention and resources it deserves from Austin or Washington. But he added that with an average workforce age of 31, the city is making efforts to position itself for the future.

Those efforts are why El Paso hoped for a shot at becoming the site of Amazon’s coveted second headquarters. Margo said El Paso has “all the attributes that an Amazon would want,” but the city didn’t make the shortlist with two other Texas cities, Austin and Dallas.

Author:  REGINA MACK – The Texas Tribune

Mayor Margo, HACEP Reignite the Blue Flame in Downtown El Paso

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) alongside El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and other key players, officially reignited The Blue Flame Building in Downtown El Paso as part of an announcement that HACEP will redevelop the high-rise into mixed-use and mixed-income residential living space for the city’s urban core.

The announcement included a proclamation by Mayor Margo naming October 18, 2017 as “Blue Flame Day” for El Paso as the city continues to witness major strides in downtown revitalization.

“Our Downtown skyline is not only coming back to life, but it also has a story to tell,” shares El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “The Blue Flame has developed a history integral to who we are as a city, and now with this redevelopment effort by HACEP it will symbolize all that can be accomplished through fruitful partnerships and their impact on the future of our community.”

The announcement of The Blue Flame included a portion of the group who helped make this redevelopment effort a reality, including Texas Representative Lina Ortega (District #77), City Representative Cissy Lizarraga (District #8), HACEP Board Chairman Burt Blacksher, and Paul Foster’s management group – Franklin Mountain Management who will be selling the building to HACEP.

“The Blue Flame represented to all of us a number of possibilities for Downtown El Paso,” shares President and Owner of Franklin Mountain Management, Paul Foster. “However, the complexity of bringing one of these plans to fruition was a challenge until an innovative concept brought by HACEP helped pave the way for yet another leap for downtown revitalization.”

The Blue Flame, originally built in 1954 as the official headquarters to the now-Houston based El Paso Natural Gas Company, covers 0.32 acres of the Downtown El Paso footprint and stands as an 18-story high-rise making it the third tallest building in center city (to include the globe atop the building).

Mostly known for ‘the flame’ globe that would correspond to the next day’s weather, the building was vacated on Easter 1986 when EPNG relocated to Colorado.

The El Paso Independent School District made the building their headquarters a few years after only to vacate it after determining the price to maintain the building was too expensive.

After Wednesday’s announcement, the Blue Flame will be reintroduced to the Sun City’s skyline at dusk each night until the building is set for start of construction in February 2018. Upon completion of the residential high-rise, HACEP will unveil a revived Blue Flame.

“If you have not walked the inside of The Blue Flame, then it is difficult to determine the enormity of this type of redevelopment effort and all that is required to make this happen,” states HACEP Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cichon. “This is why we are so grateful for our partners who have worked right alongside with us to make this happen for El Paso and the families that will now call The Blue Flame ‘home.’”

The agency will take on The Blue Flame building as an adaptive reuse development initiative that will convert the office building into 150 apartment units – 120 residential units will be affordable while 30 will be market rate (mixed-income). The first floor will be commercial space, while designs will determine the feasibility to create more commercial/office space.

The unit mix, as of today, will be 4 efficiency, 116 one-bedroom and 30 two-bedroom. The breakdown of unit-type between affordable and market-rate has yet to be determined. Updates will be provided as design and plans become available throughout the construction process.

Through an RFP (request for proposal) process, the agency selected Texas-based development firm Franklin Companies (unrelated to Franklin Mountain Management). Franklin offered more than 20 years of experience in affordable housing development, construction and management, along with an in depth understanding of historic preservation – primarily in downtown urban revitalization settings.

Franklin has developed more than 6,000 homes (residential units) across Texas. The principal development team is led by Ryan Wilson and Aubra Franklin, a native El Pasoan.

The project cost stands at approximately $40 Million. In July 2017, HACEP announced that it received a $15 Million tax credit award from Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for this redevelopment initiative.

The agency is currently in pursuit of both federal and state historic tax credits that could result in at least an additional $8 Million that will help fund this development.

The redevelopment of The Blue Flame will officially be part of HACEP’s overall revitalization effort through HUD’s RAD or the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program. RAD, a HUD-driven strategy, in which 100% of the agency’s affordable housing portfolio will undergo revitalization as a means to address a national crisis on housing infrastructure.

HACEP maintains its commitment to completely revitalize over 6,400 residential units throughout El Paso translating into a $1.3 Billion effort at no cost to the local tax payer.

Completion of HACEP’s Blue Flame Building is slated for January 2020.

Video+Story: El Paso Named #1 Best-Run City in Texas

The City of El Paso is the best run city in Texas, according to the latest rankings unveiled in a study released Monday by Wallethub.com.

“We are on the right track. El Paso employees work hard every day to meet the demand for services, and the results of the study validate their efforts to advance our community’s quality of life,” Mayor Dee Margo said.

Analyst for the personal finance website compared the operating efficiency of 150 of the largest U.S. cities using six service categories, comprised of 33 key performance indicators, which were measured against El Paso’s per-capita budget.

“We are so pleased that our collective work is getting recognized locally, statewide and nationally. A few years ago, El Paso adopted a strategic plan based on a vision that El Paso will have safe, beautiful neighborhoods, a vibrant regional economy, and exceptional recreational, cultural and educational opportunities. That vision is coming to fruition and is making the difference,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said.

The service categories include:

  • Financial stability
  • Education
  • Health
  • Safety
  • Economy
  • Infrastructure and Pollution

“We can learn how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget,” Wallethub.com’s website states.

City Manager Gonzalez Appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of Quality Texas Foundation

Mayor Dee Margo announced Thursday that the Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors has elected City Manager Tommy Gonzalez as Chair of the Board of Directors for 2017 – 2019.

“Mr. Gonzalez is highly respected across the State of Texas for his deliverance of quality and excellence,” said Dr. Mac McGuire, Chief Executive Officer of the Quality Texas Foundation. “In the 22 years I have been involved with the Quality of Texas Foundation, Mr. Gonzalez is the first City Manager to be elected as Chair of the Board of Directors. Previous chairs have all been from for-profit companies. The appointment of City Manager to the board is an attribute to the quality of the City of El Paso.”

“We are proud of Mr. Gonzalez and I know he will represent the City well. The Quality Texas Foundation is a highly respected and renowned organization that El Paso is honored to be associated with,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.

The Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors consists of 22 members from various organizations across the State of Texas, including CEOs from non-profits, for-profits, hospitals, and manufacturing companies.

The Quality Texas Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation that evolved from a concept to organize and deliver quality awareness seminars across the state.

Gonzalez’s election took place at the Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors 24th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference in late June.

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