In one of the most accurate depictions given about El Paso, Texas Monthly writer Debbie Nathan outlines El Paso’s “far-reaching and innovative” plans to revitalize our city and why El Pasoans just can’t stop arguing.

Nathan praises the Plan El Paso redevelopment documents, which won a national award from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011, and details how that plan slowly evolved into the Downtown Plan, then eventually into the “quality of life” bonds. All while El Pasoans were bitterly fighting against themselves.

"The idea behind the plan is to reverse this decay by attracting people into the city’s center. It also recommends replacing the 33-year-old toaster-oven-shaped city hall with a more classical-looking building. But if that sounds to you like the sort of thing El Paso would go gaga over, then you don’t know El Paso, where residents’ priorities can be so disparate that something as seemingly benign as an artwork can set off bitter conflict..."


Flickr - Marco P. Sanchez

Although hard to admit, Nathan hits the nail on the head. We want better for El Paso, but we can’t stop fighting. The “quality of life” bonds may have passed by a landslide, but months later, we’re still arguing, still trying to get our way, still delaying the process at any chance. While we’re beating major cities across the nation to win awards for our plans, El Paso can’t stop bickering. As Nathan puts it,

There’s a coziness to it, which residents boast about, and yet also a fair amount of squabbling, the kind of brother-and-sisterly infighting that makes it hard to get things done.


Read her praises and take on the Downtown Revitalization Project here.