• November 28, 2021
 Op-Ed: It’s Time to Hit the Reset Button

Photo courtesy Andra Litton/KTSM

Op-Ed: It’s Time to Hit the Reset Button

The findings of fact surrounding the albatross sandwich of the arena in the Duranguito neighborhood should outrage all El Pasoans.

Such facts as those concerning the manner in which the properties were acquired, the secrecy needed to accomplish demolition and, now, city leaders willing to jump off the proverbial cliff to make this project happen regardless of court decisions.

If we take a step back, we must understand that it is incumbent upon us to preserve and capitalize on our history—a history that begins the story of Texas. Capitalizing on heritage tourism works. The benchmark for El Paso’s success has long been San Antonio, a city that built an entire heritage tourism industry on the back of the Alamo and then established other heritage clusters throughout its center.

The arena debacle has turned into a larger conversation about vision and leadership. Thanks to “outsiders” like J.P. Bryan and Max Grossman, who have exposed the city in a way that has never been done before, the days of “business as usual” are over.

Sadly, we have politicians who are told what to do and how to do it by individuals with an agenda which, though certainly progressive, risks eliminating major cultural assets, either inadvertently or intentionally.

When I came back to El Paso in 2007, I was eager to get involved in our community. Indeed, something special was happening in El Paso and I was happy to have a front row seat. As time passed, however, I realized that I was part of a movement that included only a few hundred people, incredibly gifted folks (some that are dear friends) who were helping to dictate direction and policy for our community.

In our minds we had the solutions and knew what the city needed to be better and everyone who was in disagreement either was clueless or didn’t care. Our arrogant position was an easy one to take because, obviously, we had volunteered hundreds of hours, attended several events showcasing our city, and made countless donations to all types of causes to make El Paso better.

I certainly subscribed to that mindset. It was the kind of thinking that lay at the heart of the Quality of Life bond and brought it to fruition. A group of caring and dedicated individuals worked hand-in-hand with the city to create something that would function as a lynchpin for future development.

The problem is that one cannot build trust and engage an electorate with this attitude—an attitude that has been alive and well in El Paso for decades now. We have a population that is often described in political circles as apathetic, and I have come to believe that is an excuse used by politicians who are unable to connect with the people they represent.

We, as a city, are divided. There is a clear line being drawn between leadership and the people.

It was only a few years ago that we had a city manager, another “outsider”, who was so eager to push through the QOL bond that language was used to intentionally mislead the voters, and this has been proven in court. She created a bully culture (D.Crowder. “Retired firefighters bring attention to hazing” El Paso Inc. 2/5/18) in our government and I recall attending meetings where she would make fun of the opposition.

That culture continues to this day, so that when citizens like J.P. Bryan and Max Grossman take a stand, they are vilified. By contrast, when our political leaders are called to account, somehow the deck is reshuffled and these same people end up in different leadership positions throughout the city, with the same disdain for the people who balk at their policies.

It’s time to abolish the culture of “business as usual” in which mediocre politicians are told what to do by their powerful donors and act over the objections of the majority of El Pasoans. We need to hit the reset button and work towards prosperity, together as one family, in a manner that showcases what makes our community unique and authentic.

We are, after all, from the World’s Famous West Texas Town of El Paso and we can, and must, do better.


Written by: David E. Saucedo

Saucedo is a native El Pasoan, Cathedral and Notre Dame Graduate who returned to the Sun City with an accounting degree to help run his family’s century-old locksmithing business.


To view previous coverage of the Downtown Arena/Duranguito, click here.

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  • David, I voted for you and still wish you had won the mayoral election. You stated everything that I stand for in this article. It’s high time that the “good ol’ boy” network and the oligarchy that’s behind it gets pushed aside.

    But it takes a greater turnout of voters who are committed, compassionate about our community’s future, and consistant in their actions to pull it off.

    It is so strange that with a hispanic population on the average of 82% that our mayor has been white for 40 of the 48 years that I have lived in this city. Not that race makes a real difference, but it is very apparent in most cases that these mayors and county commissioners truly did NOT have the cituzens’ best interests at heart. But rather, they had their own self-serving agenda.

    • You are forgetting the following:

      Raymond Telles 1957–1961
      Ray Salazar 1977–1979
      Carlos Ramirez 1997–2001
      Raymond Caballero June 9, 2001 – June 10, 2003

      These are the four Latino Mayors we’ve had in El Paso.

      • Exactly what I said. Of the 48 years I have lived here, 40 of them were non-hispanic mayors.

  • I disagree with Davids statement about El Paso’s leadership. It is El Paso’s lack of leadership from elected officials. David is right on target about everything else.

  • I have been thinking about this issue for a few weeks now, and I have to questions some of the actions that have happened. David makes some great points, but I wanted to add something.

    After the Court ordered that no demolition would take place, we woke up to crews punching holes in buildings. As time went on we were told that the city did not order the demolition. Rather, from what I understand, the building owners had to raze the properties in order to sale to the city.

    Now, what I have I been thinking?

    The city knew there was an order preventing demolition, yet holes were punched into buildings. No one has thought to cover these holes with so much as a tarp. Open to the elements the buildings will begin to weaken. Eventually, and this is just a thought, it is going to cost too much to save and restore this area.

    In the end, the arena will be built. We will be told that it will cost less to build the arena than it would be to fix the damage these buildings have suffered.

    Just a thought.

  • I disagree with every word he wrote.
    The only reason we are in this mess is due to people that simply want to stand in the way of anything positive or progressive.The people involved in standing in the way of the arena have an agenda, and that agenda is basically we hate “the man” and anyone associated with “the man” or any of the plans “the man” came up with. It’s not good enough that the citizens of this city voted for it and passed it, 12 idiots and a couple of carpetbaggers from out of town think they know better than the thousands of people that voted for the arena and have the audacity to force a legal challenge to this project and cause us to waste our tax money defending our wishes. These people DO NOT CARE ABOUT EL PASO…they only care about themselves and their AGENDA.

    • Gee, “Rob”, I guess you didn’t see the scientific survey that was conducted by a local tv station last week. And I guess you also haven’t been following the news about WHY all this tax money is being spent on litigation. The litigation was initiated by the city of El Paso, not by the “outsiders” as you call them.

      Oh, and the real biggy in all of this was the first judge’s ruling based on the FACT that the city leadership flagrantly performed a bait and switch scheme calling it a Multi-Purpose Performing Arts Center on the ballot while all along planning to build a spirts arena. That plus mixing the project in with several other appealing projects and nit letting us kniw that out of $228 million on that particular proposal that $180 million was eatmarked for only one project.

      Pull your head out “Rob” or whoever you are.

  • and J.P. Bryan IS NOT a citizen of El Paso he’s a citizen of Houston.

  • Yes, people voted for a a misleading proposition (as ruled by a judge), but the real problem isn’t that historians are against an arena; they are against the location. They show more care about El Paso’s potential and what can give this city its unique character than those who don’t care about history or our citiy’s culture; those who can only see with blinders need to take the blinders off and see all the benefits history adds to the richness of any city.

  • I would feel more comfortable with a brand new state of the art downtown arena, than having J.P. Bryan and carpetbagger Max Grossman dictate what can and cannot be built in downtown El Paso.
    We are the El Paso voters and we approved to have a better quality of life city by approving the 2012 Quality of Life Bond issues which overwhelmingly passed by over 70% of El Paso voters.
    For those that voted for David Saucedo would be like voting for Donald Trump! HYPOCRITES! LIARS! and Corruptionist!
    If we all think about it, El Paso would be nothing if we allowed people like David Saucedo to be El Paso’s mayor.
    I don’t know why there are still some people here kissing David Saucedo’s rear end,he lost his bid to be El Paso’s next mayor because he is ignorant and don’t care about El Paso’s future.
    I voted for Dee Margo and will vote for him again even though I’m a registered democrat,we need thinkers and movers at city hall. Not WIMPS like Oscar Leeser or people that just want their names on pictures with plaques at city hall.
    I don’t see why or were people continue to get off on watching dilapidated eyesores in downtown El Paso.
    These people protested against the Children’s Hospital, the Fountains at Farah, the downtown arena and anything that is considered commonsense and good for El Paso. What in tarnations are they going after next? They need to step aside and get a life and or move out of town.
    The downtown arena is supposed to come with some sports venues as was mentioned before, but now Max Grossman don’t want for our arena to include sports. What kind of DOTARD is Max Grossman and those anti arena morons trying to play us El Paso voters for?
    BUILD THE ARENA! stop wasting time, Oscar Lesser already wasted 4 years of time and did nothing, let Dee Margo show you/us the way to success.
    BUILD IT RIGHT and BUILD IT BIG ENOUGH! the arena in downtown El Paso.

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