In December 1999, the City of El Paso adopted an Economic Development Adjustment Strategic Plan, entitled “A Vision for Tomorrow’s El Paso”. Among the strategies proposed in this study, the “Wired El Paso” was embraced by the City as essential to El Paso’s advancement in the 21st century. Taking a tour of our mayoral candidate’s websites to see how ready they are to embrace El Paso’s future was both enlightening and disappointing.
The tour was enlightening because the best came from the most unexpected sources, disappointing because it is evident that El Paso is still light years away from embracing the technology that will push this city to the forefront of the 21st century.
Of the six mayoral candidates, only four have an actual website, while one candidate decided to suspend his; (Larry Francis suspended his website on April 6, 2001), leaving only three candidates with a working website. Only 50% of the candidates chose to embrace the Internet as a viable medium to address the voting public. One encouraging sign is that all the candidates have an e-mail address.
Of the three candidates; Ray Caballero, Presi Ortega and Belen Robles, two websites standout as a good start, while one shows only a token presence at best.
Ray Caballero and Belen Robles showed the best initiative in their Internet presences. Ray Caballero’s website; http://www.fightforelpaso.com actually embraces the technology in an effective fashion. First, Caballero’s website uses an effective and easy to remember name/web address for his site. Seeing his billboard while driving 60 miles an hour, a constituent will remember the catchy address; Fight For El Paso dot com next time they are online. Best of all, the website provides information in an intelligent and concise fashion. Constituents are encouraged to submit comments and questions; Mr. Caballero’s platform is concise and well presented. An interesting and effective tool is the capability of looking up one’s voter registration number while at the site. If anything, this alone makes the Caballero website shine above the rest. It shows that this website was constructed with an eye towards the future.
Belen Robles’ website; http://www.belenformayor.com is another example of an understanding of what; “Wired El Paso” really means. This website is actually well thought out and easy to navigate. Of the three websites, it is one of the nicest to look at, although it lacks some substance. The site includes the basic platform, biography and contact information. Unfortunately this site lacks two important features; it lacks the ability to easily ask questions of the candidate, although a guest book is included and it lacks the ability to allow potential contributors to contribute to the candidate easily.
Presi Ortega’s website; http://www.presiortega.net is amateurish at best. It shows a lack of understanding about the Internet and its potential. It lacks the basics and is just a glorified poster for the candidate. The candidate should be given credit for at least having a token presence on the Internet.
Although voters should look at more then a candidate’s Internet presence as they make their decision, Ray Caballero and Belen Robles standout as the favorites when it comes to getting “El Paso Wired” for the future.