Tuesday, January 17, 2017

County Historical Commission Under Fire

The El Paso County Historical Commission is under fire as of late and you can see a couple of news stories on the issue done by KVIA and the El Paso Times.

According to both reports the EPCHC allegedly violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) when board President Bernie Sargent allegedly polled the members of the County Commission on their position toward the site of the proposed downtown arena.

TOMA requires that if a government entity or body takes an action on an issue that the public be notified and it be done at a meeting open to the public.

The action that was taken was to oppose the site of the city's arena location. They then publicly opposed the arena site and frequently used their titles as members of the EPCHC in doing so.

Its pretty hard to see how this was not a BLATANT violation of the TOMA.

And then...

They participate in a meeting with members of council that appear to be trying to skirt the TOMA by rotating members of council participating in the closed-door backroom deal.

There's another blogger that throws around the word "corruption" all the time to the point where no one even listens. I mean the Tolbert Steak-gate wasn't his best decision, but to call it corrupt is just plain silly.

Which is remarkable when you consider you have actual government entities, like the EPCHC allegedly openly and flagrantly violating the TOMA. Make no mistake, this isn't just a gathering of a group of well-intentioned do-gooders who's only crime is they love El Paso.

They love white El Paso history and Trust buildings. And they exploited brown people to interject themselves in an official capacity into one of the most important public conversations we've had as a community since the ball park.

What is shocking is that no one pushed back against the email from the chair. In other bodies, Shane Haggerty comes to mind at YISD, when a member feels like there is a violation of the TOMA, they simply get up and leave and refuse to participate in a possible violation.

It appears that level of integrity is missing from this group of folks.

As a friend of mine very poignantly put it, if this was the all-brown city council of Socorro or San Eli doing this kind of thing, we would be having a very different conversation.



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