Saturday, June 6, 2015

Guest Post from Dr. Rick Bonart

(EDITORS NOTE: This piece is in response to a blog entry written by Jim Tolbert on his blog El Paso Naturally)

With all due respect to my friend Jim Tolbert, I would like to comment on several unfair accusations made about Peter Svarzbein, the candidate I am supporting in this runoff election.

There is absolutely nothing inherently nefarious or suspicious about a Special Purpose Committee. I was secretary of an SPAC that supported the stormwater utility ordinance almost 10 years ago. Contributions to SPACs are reported to the City Clerk just like other campaign reports and are easily viewed by the public at Peter has assured me that the process of closing his SPAC will begin the first working day after the June 13 election. It will not be a vehicle to receive money while elected.
Peter Svarzbein’s top contributors are his family, his good friend (who donated IT services), and Miguel Fernandez. Al’s top contributors are Paul Foster, Woody Hunt, and Stanley Jobe. To suggest that Peter is beholden—any more than Al is beholden—to special interest groups just doesn’t make sense.
Peter’s behavior has been completely professional during this campaign. There is a difference between having passionate discussion and inappropriate behavior. Passion comes from having relevant ideas, a real platform, and working hard to accomplish goals for constituents. Peter has an actual platform and innovative ideas; his opponent does not. In fact the only concrete things I heard Al promise to do were: quit after one term, and raise taxes. I find it silly to believe that anyone’s “golden” personality will stop petty squabbling among City Council members. After all keeping order during Council is the Mayor’s responsibility.
I’ve said this many times: past performance is the best indicator of future performance. Peter’s commitment to highlight the historic and cultural legacy of the Trolley, his efforts to have TXDOT fund it, and even his push to refurbish the art deco streetcars are proof that he is committed to historic preservation. Peter and I agree in our support for historic preservationists' efforts to create an independent inventory of the buildings downtown, and in our advocacy of a National Historic District. We believe that what the City can contribute is the creation of a position to help property owners with the onerous paperwork needed to secure preservation rebates and credits. However, preservationists should know, there needs to be adequate participation by property owners in order to justify the cost of such a position.
The race for District 1 City representative will have important ramifications for our City. The current Council is heavily weighted in one direction and has marginalized several groups. Voters need make an informed decision based on facts. Making baseless innuendo is shameful and an obvious attempt to redirect voter attention away from the real issues.
Rick Bonart DVM

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