Its the story that just won't die.
City Rep Larry Romero and yet another issue dealing with street projects and the city manager. Cindy Ramirez of the El Paso Times did a really great piece on this issue in the El Paso Times over the weekend.
If you missed it, click here.
The piece raises many concerns not only with process but with the relationship between Romero, who championed a huge raise for the City Manager, and the City Manager that always seems to pop up when there is a street project that needs to get pushed through.
It also raises major red flags about transparency at city council and that is something the city reps need to not stick their head in the sand about. They need to deal with that issue right away, but more on that in a minute.
Lets start with this.
Why in the blue hell is City Rep Romero even weighing in on a street project that is not in his district? Other than the fact that he went to Cathedral, why is this an interest for a city rep that doesn't live or represent the area? Isn't there an alley that needs attention in District 2 somewhere?
Streets like the one in front of Cathedral are major traffic arteries and so they don't qualify for speed bumps for a variety of reasons but one of which is the impediment of emergency services. Its not that it takes an emergency vehicle very long to get over the speed bump, its the fact that it can create a major flow problem for traffic during peak use hours and thats when it can really get in the way of delivery of emergency services.
But what the hell is so special about El Paso's upper-crusters that make their kids any better than all the other kids who's high school is on a major street with a lot of traffic? You know like Socorro, Montwood, Eastwood, Ysleta, Bel Air, Hanks, Americas, Horizon, Franklin, Chapin, Bowie, etc?
All those schools are off of roads that have even more traffic.
What is the exception that makes the inclusion of speed bumps in that area? Can anyone effectively articulate that?
Can anyone explain why a traffic study was done on the very same day they installed the bumps? You see, I've actually done things like get speed bumps installed and typically traffic studies are done over a series of days and then it takes time to analyze the data to determine if the area's traffic even warrants the placement of speed bumps.
Which is a moot point because that road shouldn't qualify for one to begin with. Speed bumps and humps are for residential streets. The mere existence of a residence on the street doesn't make it a residential street by the way. Stanton is a minor arterial and has more than one lane in each direction. Which is another reason the street isn't eligible for a speed bump or hump.
Last year in front of Ysleta High School, which is poorly lit and abuts Alameda, a student was hit while she was in the cross walk. When I questioned what further measures could be taken to ensure the safety of students it was explained that the school district would be responsible for additional costs of safety measures like lights etc.
Cathedral would have had to pay the same and they changed their requests from lights to speed bumps when they found that out, according to the article in the El Paso Times.
Even city staff recommended that the issue be taken before council for them to approve the installation of the speed calming measures.
That was apparently ignored.
This is the part that should really infuriate the public. The recommendation that the issue be taken before council was made by a staff member in the form of a memo. Aside from Tommy Gonzalez saying he never saw it, which is at least plausible, the real problem is that the memo wasn't originally provided to the El Paso Times.
The city originally requested the documents at the end of August and had to go back and ask for the document "repeatedly" and it was only provided Thursday.
That is unacceptable. If the daily newspaper of record in this community, that is part of a major corporation with lots of staff and lawyers has to fight to get a crummy document, how can the average citizen have any faith that they will be given documents that are responsive to their requests?
What's worse, this isn't even the first time this administration has had a problem with transparency and the media. In this piece by KVIA reporter Maria Garcia you can see that even TV media has had a hard time retrieving documents from the city.
That is a major red flag.
This reflects on the Leeser administration is something he needs to take the lead on and fix right away.