The debate over public funding of a new downtown El Paso ballpark enters the final stretch, with both sides making a push to convince voters to support them in the upcoming elections.
The immediate issue: whether or not to approve a 2 percentage point hike in the city's hotel/motel tax to mostly fund a $50-million ballpark project, which will include tearing down City Hall. MountainStar Sports, owner of the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), has a lease with the city to play at the new downtown ballpark beginning in 2014. City leaders say the new downtown ballpark will happen with or without the tax hike; if rejected by voters, the city will need to find another funding mechanism to build the ballpark.
Opponents want to see the hotel tax rejected and are throwing up an alternative: a $25-million renovation of Cohen Stadium, the former home to Double-A ball in El Paso. Now, it's hard to say whether this is a viable alternative: the agreement to bring in the T-Padres clearly calls for a new downtown ballpark, and legally the city can't just substitute what many would consider to be a lesser facility without voiding the entire contract. We just don't see this as a viable option, but we're guessing the fact it's being raised will be enough to confuse some voters.
In the end, the issue really isn't the ballpark; opponents are using it as a platform to criticize city leadership. El Paso attorney Stephanie Townsend Allala, who is spearheading opposition to the ballpark, framed the issue in different terms:
"Given the past indictments and convictions for corruption, I think that our city leaders should be bending over backwards,” Allala said, “to let the public know that the era of backdoor deals… is ended.”
RELATED STORIES: El Paso: ballpark will happen with or without hotel tax; El Paso: No federal issues at play in ballpark lawsuit; MountainStar Sports takes control of Tucson Padres; El Paso ballpark foes file suit in federal court to shut down project; MountainStar Sports buys Tucson Padres; Opponents: El Paso ballpark debate not over; Mayor won't veto ballpark lease; PCL to El Paso in 2014; El Paso ballpark approval squeaks through; PCL approves move of T-Padres to El Paso -- if lease approved; Rickey: El Paso could lose Triple-A team if ballpark not approved; MountainStar: Deal to bring Triple-A to El Paso could fall through if ballpark not approved; MountainStar, El Paso amend ballpark lease; El Paso mayor: I can still scuttle ballpark deal; Petition to halt El Paso ballpark submitted, but may be too late; El Paso moves forward with ballpark planning; El Paso group pledges profits to charity; Effort to thwart El Paso ballpark falls short; Protesters to "Occupy City Hall" over new El Paso ballpark; Hotel tax on El Paso ballot; no direct choice for voters; Will El Paso ballpark spur downtown development? Insiders of mixed mind; El Paso opponents: We want ballpark on fall ballot; PCL approves El Paso purchase of T-Padres; Foster: Opposition to new El Paso ballpark not a surprise; Opposition to El Paso ballpark emerges; Hoteliers: We don't want to pay for new El Paso ballpark; El Paso group: we're one step closer to buying PCL team; Pacific Coast League expected to decide El Paso bid for baseball this week; El Paso: Let's sell Cohen Stadium to Tigua tribe; T-Padres back in Kino Stadium for 2013; One side effect of new El Paso ballpark: return of UTEP baseball; El Paso ownership group pitches PCL; El Paso approves ballpark for Triple-A team; First look: El Paso ballpark renderings; Diablos casualty of new El Paso ballpark; Downtown ballpark planning moving forward in El Paso; El Paso to debate ballpark bond issue; El Paso group seeking downtown ballpark, T-Pads; Moorad to Escondido: We need quick action on ballpark; Obstacles to new ballparks in California: not as bleak as expected; Escondido moving forward with business park on proposed ballpark property; City, not Moorad group, to acquire Escondido land; Escondido mayor: Time to scrap new-ballpark plan; Moorad: Leaving Padres in Tucson a possibility; Escondido ballpark vote put off indefinitely; Escondido ballpark vote delayed;State government could kill Escondido T-Pods ballpark; New for 2011: Tucson Padres; Escondido approves Triple-A ballpark -- with reservations; Moorad group, Escondido sign MOU for new ballpark; Escondido council fills vacancy in advance of ballpark vote; Crunch time for new Escondido ballpark; Padres raise ante in Escondido ballpark negotiations; Escondido ballpark vote delayed again; new council will decide; Padres make it official: Beavers to Tucson in 2011; Election shows mixed support for new Escondido ballpark; Tuesday elections could determine fate of Bevos; Bevos to Tucson for 2011; Escondido ballpark vote delayed after pollution found at site; Fate of Bevos in the air until November, maybe December; Padres pitch one-sided lease to Escondido; Escondido: Show us some money, Padres; Escondido in, San Marcos out of Bevos ballpark mix
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.
|< Prev||Next >|