The upcoming May 2017 municipal elections include the same political characters and the same challengers mounting an unwinnable race. This is because at the core of El Paso remains an unpleasant truth about the electorate that few realize and no one knows how to fix. It is an electorate that votes themselves a paycheck while the majority stays home oblivious to the part they play in their own taxation.
I have written before that the El Paso electorate is made up of a large group of vested voters who vote themselves paychecks, a very small group of concerned citizens who vote for good governance and a large group who stays home on election night. The voters who vote on the issues is small and getting smaller each year as they are generally senior citizens who still have the sense of citizenship that was instilled upon them as they were growing up. This group of voter is small.
There is a significant group of voters that stay home and avoid casting a vote. There are many reasons for this – busy family or work commitments and an attitude that their vote doesn’t matter. Nonetheless, they are the ones that pay the taxes that fuels the public policy of prosperity through taxation. They are the reason that taxes are so high and the corruption persists in the city.
My prime example for this is Emma Acosta. That Acosta is a credible candidate rests on the fact that many in the community either do not know about her close association to Larry Medina or the part she played in the questionable practices at the city’s waste management department that led to her receiving a lucrative pension from taxpayer funds in return for her silence.
That Emma Acosta, or Dee Margo, for that matter, are credible candidates’ rests on the fact that most of the electorate either doesn’t care of isn’t informed about them.
This brings us to the electorate that drives the public agenda of prosperity through taxation.
The real electorate in El Paso are the government employees and their families who cast votes to ensure their paychecks remain. Any politico that argues fiscal conservatism will be immediate shut down by this electorate. Any politico that argues against tax-funded scams, like the arena, will be shut down because it goes against the government employees that depend on their taxpayer funded paycheck. That includes the elected officials, of which many have made a life off the public’s trough for most of their professional lives.
It is a large electorate composed of public employees who through their extended families vote themselves a cushy government job. Take for example a single police officer. That officer’s spouse, adult children, parents, siblings, cousins and friends will vote for the politician that is promising to increase public pensions, medical and other benefits and higher public wages. When the paychecks are threatened, the family mobilizes to cast a vote. In other words, higher taxes to increase the public government paychecks.
But it doesn’t end there.
This electorate is also composed of the employees at the numerous nonprofits who depend on the government entities’ largess for keeping their salaries. For example, the workforce commission and other nonprofits that need government assistance and grants to remain viable. In addition are the chambers of commerce whose members depend on government handouts to keep the paychecks coming.
The advertising agencies, the architectural firms, the engineering firms and the technology shops depend on projects such as the arena to make payroll. That money trickles down through the community suppliers such as the printers and the sign makers, and so on.
That is why any politician who advocates against the arena is not going to get elected. Even moving it out of the Duranguito area reduces income potential for those lining up at the public’s trough.
That is the vested electorate that continually puts people like Emma Acosta, Susie Byrd, Veronica Escobar, Dee Margo, Larry Medina, Jim Tolbert and many others into office.
Challengers looking to safeguard communities like Duranguito or alleviate the taxes driving the prosperity through the taxation agenda have no chance at being elected. Even if one squeezes by the wall of the vested electorate, they still must contend with a majority that has no interest in squeezing the paychecks of the electorate they depend upon for their taxpayer-funded paycheck.
The only way this reality will change is when the silent majority of the electorate stops being silent and actually casts a vote. Until then, taxes will continue to rise, the arena will displace the people of Duranguito and individuals like Emma Acosta will remain electable.