Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tough Opponents of PSB Now Want Stormwater Management to Remain with the Utility

Former foes of the PSB are coalescing in favor of keeping stormwater management at PSB - because PSB has struggled to work with them and make things happen. This is Dave Crowder's conclusion in Some of PSB's former foes coming to utility's side on stormwater ballot issue. Prominently mentioned is Dr. Rick Bonart.

Crowder also mentions Charlie Wakeem, who wrote an op-ed piece, Vote against old guard in May election, published in today's El Paso Times:

I'm an ordinary citizen who's had the good luck to become more involved in city government these past six years. It all began when I was elected president of the Coronado Neighborhood Association at the start of the controversy over Resler Canyon in August 2003.

Once the canyon was saved in December 2005, I've been involved with the El Paso Neighborhood Coalition and I've served on several committees and boards within city government.

As an outspoken representative for the neighborhoods, I've been mischaracterized by some factions as anti-business. This mischaracterization is ludicrous. Born, raised and educated in El Paso, I've been a businessman here since 1966. You can't be an anti-business businessman!

What I am, however, is anti-"business-as-usual." For far too long our city has been home to people getting their way through hand-picked politicians who've done a lot of harm. I've witnessed this first-hand, thanks to my involvement on city boards and

The 2005 municipal election represented a dramatic change in business as usual. For over 50 years, El Paso had been on a path of sprawl, which is unfettered and poorly planned growth. Sprawl development left us with unsustainable neighborhoods that had no parks, no open space, no walkability and no connectivity, to mention just a part of what sprawl means.

The proof is in the product.

The direction City Council has taken these last four years is to reverse sprawl and move toward smart growth and master planning. Instead of sprawling subdivisions, the city's smart-growth model is moving us toward building traditional neighborhoods, with parks where we can play, streets that are not dangerous, sidewalks we can safely walk upon and open space that preserves at least a part of our natural environment.

The old guard doesn't like the new model and doesn't like to lose its power. Proof of
that is the old guard's resistance to smart growth using phrases such as "affordable housing" as their excuse to avoid paying entirely for new growth and building sustainable neighborhoods. But the old guard's campaign is not necessarily about affordable housing. It's mainly about maximizing their profits at the expense of you and me.

The group that is opposed to the Public Service Board/El Paso Water Utilities managing the stormwater utility is allied with the old guard. This group has used every possible tactic, including confusing language in the May 9 proposition, to move the utility to City Council control, thus politicizing this critically important utility.
The Saturday, May 9, election is a referendum on who runs El Paso: the old guard, or the City Council's thoughtful new majority.

Be sure to vote AGAINST the proposition that changes who runs the municipal water utility. By changing who runs it, we only lose ground.

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