The City of El Paso is trying to turn our downtown into a mix of old and new to attract convention and tourism business to the Sun City. When Amazon announced that they are looking for the site for their second headquarters, city officials decided to make a pitch for the 50,000 jobs that could come with the headquarters. When El Paso City Council's meeting blew up with protesters shouting down pro-arena speakers, business leaders and Mayor Dee Margo said it was bad for business, including the Amazon bid.

El Paso Senator Jose Rodriguez jumped into the fray during last week's protests, and then made his position about Duranguito crystal clear in this incendiary statement to Texas Monthly.

"Senator Rodriguez, lamenting one of the city’s newer branding attempts—a Hanna-Barbera-style mascot known as Amigo Man—puts it more bluntly. “To capture what El Paso really is, you need to accept the Mexicanness, the Mexican American, and indigenous roots of El Paso,” he says. “There’s too many people who say, ‘I want us to move away from that. I want us to be like Gringolandia, like all the other homogenized American cities.’ El Paso is unique. You can’t find a place like this anywhere.” -- State Sen. Jose Rodriguez in Texas Monthly 

Gringolandia? Really? You think that kind of language is going to make El Paso attractive to companies like Amazon? You really think they want to be told that El Paso is that derisive toward anyone who isn't Mexican American? You think that hearing that kind of language and closed-mindedness from an elected official is going to make them run over here and plop down their second world headquarters?

I am sick and tired of hearing how the 'Mexicanness' of El Paso is in danger of being wiped off the map. We are 90% Hispanic. We are the very definition of 'Mexicanness'. How does our senator think that telling Texas Monthly such nonsense is going to get us anything but more eyerolling from Austin and companies that might be looking to come here?

Within our city we have Hispanics, Lebanese, Chinese, Jewish, African American, and Jewish communities that make us the picture of the American melting pot. We work alongside each other, we live next door to each other, we marry into each other's families, we eat each other's foods, and revel in each other's cultures. Up until now.

We have an elected official who just told the rest of the country that you either accept our 'Mexicanness' or we have no need of you.

Imagine what his and the Duranguito proponents would think if they were told that their Mexicanness was not wanted. And no, Duranguito isn't being targeted because of the makeup of the residents there, it is being looked at because of the tax incentives from the State and because the buildings are no longer viable.

Way to go, Senator Rodriguez. You are a wonderful spokesman for our city.

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