El Paso, Texas, August 13, 2012
Mr. Sergio Salinas
Mr. Robert Moore
Separation of church and state is as vital to our Nation as separation of media and local government is to our Community. Separation of management and editorial functions at the El Paso Times is equally critical to its credibility.
The editorial published yesterday should have been addressed to yourselves rather than being signed by you, since it conveys a hollow self-appeal to your own consciences in a failed intent to justify your inexcusable institutional behavior as an outstanding member of the local media.
Your editorial compromises the professional integrity of the noble and excellent journalists who create the intellectual content and it vilifies the daily effort by those anonymous but important workers who print, upload and distribute the Times to our community.
Not since the legendary excesses of Mr. William Randolph Hearst had El Paso witnessed such surrendering of editorial responsibility by a newspaper organization.
Management should withdraw your building from the market and refuse to become accomplices of one of the most shameful chapters in the public life of our beloved community.
For it is not the sale of your building to the City that corrodes your credibility, it is the fact that you willingly look the other way and seek to obtain financial benefit by ignoring a serious transgression of the principle of democracy expressed by President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address: government is of the people, by the people, for the people.
Complete opposite of the kind of government our local administration is stubbornly imposing on the citizens of El Paso prodded by two of the most honorable residents of our community; the kind of abuse by public officials that you, as journalists, are expected to fight.
A baseball stadium, the demolition of two perfectly operational buildings to construct it, the application of public funding for this project do not constitute the matter of this public polemic. It is the obscure, secretive, undemocratic manner in which the project came about that remains and forever will be the controversy.
It is difficult to find throughout the history of El Paso two more respectable citizens than Mr. Woodley Woody Hunt and Mr. Paul Foster. The benefits of their philanthropic personalities are without par and obvious all over town. It is hard to acquire for a community a public administration record to meet that of Ms. Joyce Wilson and her team. Only lunatics would question the disposition of the City Representatives who voted for this evasive process.
These are not bad persons. Today, they are only bad decision-makers.
Their common sense appears to have been obliterated to the point that they refuse to see their undemocratic behavior which frontally clashes with that of President Lincoln.
Mr. Hunt and Mr. Foster, in their personalities as entrepreneurs have presented an unacceptable version of a public-private-partnership, according to the account of the draft contract between them and the City published by the Times. Ex-Mayor Larry Francis, in a letter to El Paso Inc., calls it lopsided and unfair.
Mr. Hunt and Mr. Foster should also consider withdrawing their project, promote the due process of a democratic vote to approve or deny it and then move forward with the citizen’s blessing.
The fact that all involved in this project have acted as noted only proves – by contrast – their human condition. It does not prove bad faith or unfair advantage on their behalf. It only confirms that they, like the rest of us, are fallible.
Perhaps it is the water, perhaps the air that blinds normally decent persons to act like this.
Or perhaps it is the folly of a human condition that long ago should have been added to the list of the historical Seven Capital Sins:
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c.c. – Media