Voting on Lost Dog Trailhead in Northwest El Paso Proposition – Ballot Language Explained
When does "against" not mean what you think it means?
When the City of El Paso seemingly wants to confuse voters on an issue they never wanted citizens to have a say-so in to begin with. A huge parcel of desert land in Northwest El Paso that has been used by hikers and bikers for many years is one of those matters.
Titled on the ballot for the upcoming May 4 election as "Proposition A," it reads:
Shall an ordinance be approved to preserve in its natural state, for all time, the 1,107 acres owned by the City of El Paso and referred to as “Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Twelve,” which includes the “Lost Dog Trail,” and to prohibit, for all time, any private development and any major public roadways on said 1,107 acres?
You would think something worded in the form of a question would call for a "Yes" or "No" answer.
Nope. The city went with "For" or "Against," which per the Texas Election Code, is its prerogative. It just seems to me "Yes" or "No" is more appropriate in this instance.
But it is what it is.
If the fate of the Lost Dog trailhead specifically and the thousands of acres of undeveloped land in Northwest El Paso in general is important to you than I want you to make an informed decision and not be thrown off by language that may or may not have been designed to confuse and mislead.
So let's review:
Marking “Against” does not mean you are voting against development.
If no development is what you desire than you need to mark “FOR”. As in, you are “for” NOT letting the city sell (or practically giveaway) the land to developers and instead preserving it and keeping it as is until the end of time (or they find and/or create a loophole, whichever comes first).
"AGAINST" means you are allowing the city leaders to move forward with their plans, which, according to an El Paso Times article published in May of 2018, is to sell to "a private entity" for a "large-scale mixed-use development that will include about 9,455 housing units and about 829,000 square feet of commercial space" on "about 750 acres within the proposed zone."
As Elizabeth Triggs, Economic & International Development Department Assistant Director, relayed to me via email:
Voting “for” = “yes”
Voting “against” = “no”
Early voting runs through April 30. Election Day is Saturday, May 4.