Did the “Let's Play Ball” Pro-Ballpark Rally aka “Gabachanga” Backfire?
Is it Rallying Opposition Voters?
It was very surprising that the Anti-Ballpark group got a lot of support from White El Pasoans. For the otherside, those who think the ballpark issues should go for vote, most Whites who signed, went and got signatures for the first Quality of Life Voters for Democracy.
This issues seemed to have struck a nerve, especially on the Westside, Northeast, and Cielo Vista area, mostly coming from the high voting precincts. Both young and old alike came out to sign petitions, Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, people from across the aisles. The Korean community. African Americans. The Anti-Ballpark groups are diverse.
But let's get the issues straight. Until Sunday's El Paso Inc. article “Downtown arena support tainted?” in which the El Paso Inc. alleges “cheating, ballot stuffing and maybe even fraud” (Crowder, David. 09/16/12), most of the almost 6,300 people that signed petitions were against “the process” the city took to decide to demolish city hall and build a ballpark -- “Not what you did, but how you did it.”
Many either had no position on a stadium, despite the overwhelming evidence that it is not an economic catalyst.
Others supported it, but did not support the process.
They were mad at the non-compete clause, made at the back-room deals, the meeting rehearsals, the walking quorum that city representatives were practicing, and the straw poles they were taking among themselves.
Furthermore, if the stadium deal was bad, that should not affect the two Quality of Life Bond initiatives that were on the ballot for November.
This included parks, swimming pools, libraries, and more. One included another Downtown arena. It was clear that these two issues were separate and most anti-ballpark persons were not taking a position.
That was until David Crowder's El Paso Inc. exposé showed the fraud involved in the Quality of Life Surveys. To summarize, the City, under Community Development, a department led by then Assistant City Manager Deborah Hamlyn, known for her racism against people of color throughout the years, promoted surveys so that voters can put what they wanted. They would write on the surveys.
The El Paso Inc. purports: “Now a close look at comment cards and a database of all 5,000 responses reveals what could be called cheating, ballot stuffing and maybe even fraud. Those suspect cards pushed the apparent desire for an arena or stadium to the top of requests for Downtown signature projects, and helped land a $180-million multi-purpose arena on the bond ballot.”
Learning that, many anti-supporters have not taken a position against both the hotel motel tax and the two Quality of Life initiatives.
This brings us to Monday's rally at Cleveland Square. It reminded us of a rally in a third-world country run by a totalitarian dictator, and with exception of many people of color.
I remember a scene in “The Mask of Zorro” in which the returning despot is arriving by ship to port and the government is making everyone hold flowers and cheer. I can't remember the other movie, where the government distributes flags to unsupportive citizens while the dictators drives by.
This not to say that those attending were unsupportive.
But there are several things they did wrong, so here is :
Advice for Third-World Dictators and El Paso Oligarchs:
- The “Let's Play Ball” rally looked like an attempt to purchase votes. Oligarchs need to be more sly. Robert O'Rourke had earlier criticized “pachangas” as buying votes. Traditionally, Chicano(as) hosted celebrations to get out the vote and O'Rourke was critical of this. Yet there he was at the rally. The Oligarchs should have kept him hidden.
- The El Paso Tomorrow PAC distributed manufactured signs and T-shirts. So much for grassroots. It reminded us of a Mitt Romney rally. Next time use homemade-signs.
- The rally was mostly attended by White El Pasoans. There was a sprinkle of Latinos and the regular Highspanics that we see all the time (no surprise). But the Oligarchs should be able to find more Steve Ortegas and Sandra Almanzans. If not, make it mandatory that your employees at Western Refining and Hunt Corp. attend, oh wait, they didn't they do that? Free hot dogs and tickets to a fantasy baseball team won't work. Break out the cash Paul and Woody!
- Most if not all the speakers that took the stage were White. Of all the Highspanic vendidos, you could not get more to speak.
- Don't try to kick counter-protesters out. It pisses people off. You maybe for the ballpark, but most of these people are also 1st Amendment supporters. It just makes you look bad.
- Hand out cash. Cortney Niland, Steve Ortega, and Ann Morgan Lilly get some, so should we.