El Paso City Council To Senator Jose Rodriguez ‘Your ‘Gringolandia’ Comment Was Insulting’
Apparently El Paso Senator Jose Rodriguez thought that calling the city he represents ‘Gringolandia’ would go unnoticed, but it hasn’t. There has been a lot written on the subject since we first brought it to the public’s attention on Mike and Tricia Mornings – and we were the first, no matter what other news stations might say. The Senator’s comments in the Texas Monthly article were the last paragraph of the story, but they have become the most talked about words Rodriguez has ever uttered.
After the article came to light, there were a few comments here and there by El Paso office holders, but nothing was officially said about the ‘Gringolandia’ comment, until now. Mayor Dee Margo and most of City Council released a letter skewering Rodriguez’s choice of word to describe what he feels is happening to El Paso. The only two city reps who didn’t sign the letter are Claudia Ordaz and Alexsandra Annello. Ordaz said she doesn’t necessarily agree with the letter, but feels it will not solve anything at this point. Annello has not said why she didn’t sign the letter. According to Rodriguez’s own press secretary, he will have something to say about his ‘Gringolandia’ comment, but wouldn’t offer a clue as to when he would address it or the controversy it caused.
Here is how I feel about ‘Gringolandia’. Here is the Texas Monthly article so you can read the whole thing leading up to Rodriguez’s comments. The letter to Rodriguez from most of El Paso City Council is as follows:
September 26th, 2017
The Honorable Jose Rodriguez
100 N. Ochoa, Suite A
El Paso, TX 79901
As public servants for the City of El Paso and advocates of our community, we feel it is important to address the recent article we read in the latest Texas Monthly concerning El Paso titled, “The Battle for El Paso’s Southside.” While the account is one-sided and inaccurate, this communication regards the article’s concluding quote about El Paso not becoming “Gringolandia.”
Over the last fifteen years, El Paso’s story of revival is unparalleled in the Southwest. The median household income in El Paso has grown by over 43% – this outpaces the averages of our peer cities in the region and outpaces the average household growth for the State of Texas during that time frame. The story of our allied medical campus, highway infrastructure investment, military infrastructure and the tremendous growth in binational regional trade should be trumpeted throughout the Southwest.
The optimism surrounding Downtown El Paso has never been stronger in our lifetimes. Public and private investments have resulted in half a billion dollars invested in downtown since 2006. The reintroduction of the streetcar has injected $97 million into the downtown and UTEP area and the streetcar will be operational by 2018 with many projects occurring along the route. San Jacinto Plaza is alive and thriving for the first time in decades. The Trost Mills Building is beautifully renovated and is a feather in our communities cap. Southwest University Ballpark is now a destination for families in our community.
Additionally, historic buildings such as the Trost’s Paso Del Norte Hotel, the Banner Building, Trost’s O.T. Bassett Tower, the Roger’s Furniture Building, and Trost’s Plaza Hotel are undergoing, or will be undergoing, major renovation. Over the last ten years, more than $2 billion in highway infrastructure investment has taken place in our community. Voters approved more than $1 billion of school district bonds to improve learning environments and infrastructure. We were #2 in Texas for Employment Growth Rate at 3.3%.
All of the above gains happened with collaboration from community leaders focused on moving El Paso forward. The leaders have been public sector, private sector, male, female, Republican, Democrat, and of different racial and ethnic groups. Good things happen when people from different sectors collaborate to move our community ahead. The results for El Paso speak for themselves and El Paso should be proud of itself.
Our community does ourselves an injustice when we broadcast to the world comments from our elected leadership that are provincial, prejudiced, and divisive. Those types of comments serve no utility other than to insult and divide. Those same comments were made during the ballpark efforts, and now they’re being made again. El Paso is better because of the presence of the Chihuahuas. El Paso will be better once the multipurpose center is built as approved by over 100,000 voters. El Paso is better because of the investments in the Texas Tech School of Medicine, Nursing, and the future Dental School. Constructive comments should always be welcomed as part of the community dialogue. But, comments that insult a particular race or ascribe a nefarious or illegal motive by elected officials or business leaders – without any evidence – do nothing but harm our community and cast it in a negative light. Comments broadcast about El Paso – especially comments from our elected leadership – should always be measured, optimistic and inclusive so that our efforts for continued economic prosperity and job growth are propelled.
The El Paso in decline at the turn of the millennium would have continued if our leadership’s efforts focused only on obstruction instead of creation. El Paso is progressing because of leaders who have courageously and proactively acted on an aggressive agenda – and our community is without question better for it.
We respect your opposition concerning the multipurpose center. We do not respect your comments that seek to divide, insult, and hamper efforts to continue El Paso’s renaissance – especially when coming from El Paso’s state senator. We ask that in the future you carefully consider your comments as it relates to our proud and emerging community.
We also ask that you fulfill your fiduciary duty on behalf of the voters, taxpayers and residents of El Paso by upholding the referendum vote of November 2012 in which 102,358 (71.67%) supported a multipurpose special events center.
Mayor Dee Margo City Representative Peter Svarzbein
City Representative Cassandra Hernandez Brown City Representative Sam Morgan
City Representative Michiel Noe, MD City Representative Henry Rivera
City Representative Cissy Lizarraga
State Representative Mary Gonzalez, District 75
State Representative Cesar Blanco, District 76
State Representative Lina Ortega, District 77
State Representative Joe Moody, District 78
State Representative Joe Pickett, District 79