It appears there’s little gas left in the tank for new-ballpark opponents in El Paso, as a federal judge fines the group $5,000 for basically wasting the court’s time in trying to move a lawsuit from state to federal court.
In addition, it doesn’t look like there’s much chance two petitions challenging the ballpark funding plan and demolition of City Hall will be meaningfully approved by the City Council, which is prepping for a bond sale.
The $50-million new ballpark, slated to open in 2014 and hosting the relocating Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), is being financed by the city and will be built on the current City Hall site. City employees have already begun moving out of City Hall, and demolition could begin as soon as next month, once lawsuits and procedural issues are settled. Two petitions ask that City Hall be saved, but the point is probably moot: even if the City Council agrees to put the question to voters in May, the building will probably be torn down by then.
The ballparl opponents also failed in their effort to move a lawsuit opposing the bond sale from state court to federal court. How badly did they fail? From the El Paso Times:
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said the El Pasoans wanting to move a state lawsuit over the demolition of City Hall into a federal court “engaged in bad-faith conduct designed to intentionally delay the adjudication of the three state court cases.”
Sparks fined the group $5,000. It includes former El Paso Mayor Ray Salazar and Richard Najera, Julie Reynolds, Guillermo Acosta, Othon Medina, Jesus B. Ochoa Jr. and their attorney Paul C. Moreno, a former state legislator. The members of that group didn’t return calls seeking comment, and Ochoa declined to comment on the matter.
Image courtesy of Populous.
RELATED STORIES: El Paso to set up corporation to oversee ballpark construction, management; Populous lands El Paso ballpark design contract; City, Diablos talking end of Cohen Stadium lease; Voters approve El Paso hotel/motel tax for new ballpark; El Paso ballpark debate enters final stretch; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.