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El Paso Times

Dissension continues even as unity urged

Actually, if you followed the primary coverage, you'd see that a bigger problem for Hillary is that the folks running her campaign didn't realize that the primary wasn't "winner take all." Apparently folks like Mark Penn actually thought that by squeaking out wins in a few big states she'd be set. By contrast, Obama's advisers studied the voting patterns in all the states and they made big pushes even in states that he didn't win. If folks like Penn had bothered to learn the rules in the first place it might have been a very different race. Unfortunately for Clinton, her advisers were just out maneuvered by Obama's advisers. Blaming the caucus system is just a way to shift blame away from idiots like Mark Penn who didn't do their jobs and cost Hillary her shot at the win.  (Aug 27, 2008 | post #4)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

Uh... it was a completely different council. Maybe Simon **** off the wrong person/people, or maybe that council didn't care that their decision would mean the building sat vacant for 10 years. This council, today, knows that if they shoot down this idea it could easily be another 10 years before anything else happens. Plus, you mentioned that other company that got a tax break and left after it was over, a retail development isn't going anywhere after 10 years. If it's doing well, it'll keep doing well, if not it might not even make it to the 10 years (although even if it closed it would be worth more in taxes than the abandoned factory is now). If the council learns anything from the past it's that maybe hotels and retail developments can be worth giving breaks to because they can't pick up and leave. If they're successful, then they're successful where they are and there's no fear that they might shut down and move elsewhere like a factory or warehouse might.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #39)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

I actually got some help with other things (zoning issues etc...). Tax breaks make the most sense for larger projects where you're either hiring a lot of people or adding a lot of value to the tax base, my rental properties were small potatoes, but I still got help. City Council isn't out to screw you or anyone else, BUT they are more likely to listen to someone they know. Someone who takes the time to talk to them and who can make a case for what they want. Of course they'll listen MORE if you contribute money to things that matter to them (like their campaign), but that's not the only way to get them to help you. A smart person knows that it's all about who you know so they make a point to know the people that matter. Speaking from experience, I can tell you, you don't need big bucks or a big name, you just need to make the effort and you can make the system work for you instead of whining at your computer about how you can't get any breaks because you don't know anyone.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #38)

El Paso Times

Police watching school zones as students return

Well, I think you meant "you're"  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #7)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

Ok, first off, I'm sitting in my nice _office_ chatting on the internet. I actually have 2 businesses and I own rental properties. Next time you attack someone, find out who you're attacking first estupido. Secondly, I already told you, the Times had articles about folks who RECENTLY got tax breaks, if you don't know how to go look them up, then that's your problem. Thirdly, so your real estate agent told you not to waste your time so you didn't and now you're angry that someone else is asking for a tax break. Cry me a **** river, maybe if you actually hired someone who knew people then you wouldn't be so bitter. Heck, better yet, if you're such a good business man, go and meet some of those people, it's the El Paso City Council, man, not the President of the US. They have public meetings, you can go and talk and get to know them. I'm younger than most of them and I've made a point to get to know several. Oh, but I'm sure you're too important and busy to go and meet them so you just sit on your computer whining about how unfair the system is. How unfair, people who make an effort to be known by city council members have an easier time getting things done, scandalous. You've shown exactly why you couldn't get any breaks here in town so go back to your crying about how unfair the world is, Mr wannabe business man.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #34)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

Why? You seem to have a strong opinion, back it up with something more useful than just "NO"  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #32)

El Paso Times

Gay marriage foes mobilize for ban in California

If the anti-gay marriage bigots really wanted to "preserve the sanctity of marriage" they'd make divorce illegal. The Bible doesn't condone divorce, but most of them seem to think it's ok because it might affect them and they want the option there if they need it. Gay marriage though? Well yeah, they'll vote against that because they can't just go out and stone them or beat them up any more, those good violent god fearing people need to do something to attack someone they don't understand. It never ceases to amaze me how many Christians can spew some really angry and hateful stuff. Not all of them thank goodness, but a lot of the most vocal opponents of gay marriage seem to have some really despicable views about the world and anyone who doesn't agree with them 100%.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #31)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

I didn't tell YOU to shut-up. Do you own a business? Did you do your homework and apply for tax breaks? I told the people who started a business without investigating how to get tax breaks to shut up and I mean it. Simon can complain because they did try, I think they're full of it for trying to act like it's not purely a business move (i.e. they act like they're concerned for the community when they're really just looking out for their bottom line), but they tried to get tax breaks and failed. Basically, if you start a business, you have my respect for taking the chance and trying to do something for yourself, but what is it with people around here who only try to tear down everyone else? If you have a business, good for you, why do you need to attack someone who's doing the exact thing you could have done? Anyone who starts a business can ask for a tax break, not everyone will get them. Are you just jealous that they came up with a plan that might be approved? If you have a good plan, why don't you ask for a tax break? A new business venture needs all the breaks it can get, why don't all businesses try for something like that? If I was developing a large project, I sure would. I'm not upset that Foster is making this play to save some major money, I'm shocked that more businesses don't follow their example. Everyone seems to just be happy to let Simon tell them what to think. You're letting one rich guy tell you why you should hate another rich guy and in the end being negative just means that we keep our stupid shutdown factory instead of getting something that could be cool and might be worthwhile for the city.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #30)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

Read the paper. One of the hotels being renovated downtown got tax breaks, and iirc one or more new factories/warehous es on the far west side did too. You really don't think that Simon (with Macy's etc...) doesn't care about competition from nearby? The mall isn't the cheapest place to go shop and they know it. Plus we don't know who they're getting to fill it, for all we know they end up bringing stores that compete with those at Cielo Vista (or they steal away some that were thinking about opening in there). As far as traffic goes, Cielo Vista, Cinemark, Sam's and Wal-Mart already causes a lot of traffic problems, it seems like the pot calling the kettle black for SIMON to use that as an excuse. If they were so concerned about traffic why did they develop all that land around Cielo Vista without doing anything about Hawkins? You simultaneously argue that no one except a few rich people will go shop at the new mall but that the new mall will cause all sort of new traffic problems. Talk about "bullchit ". I think you know the truth, people would want to go there to shop and it would make traffic more of a mess, but maybe the city should go to Simon AND Foster and make them pay to fix the streets in that area and improve the traffic situation.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #29)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

Torrocaca? Cute. So your problem is that they might not pay as much in taxes for ONE year? Or that they might somehow have someone in their pocket who can tweak their county appraisal even though it's a PUBLIC RECORD? They can't keep it secret and if something looks shady it can be brought to light (at which point the city could rescind the tax deal if they're found to be defrauding the city/county). No, what this is really about is people who don't invest in that tax consultant, or lawyers, or any of that "fancy" stuff. They setup their businesses flying by the seat of their pants and then they get upset when someone tries to do something smarter than them. This isn't new, anyone who sets up a business can go to the city and ask for a break on their taxes. If they present a good enough reason why (e.g. new jobs, higher tax base) then the city should consider giving them a tax break. People should just shut-up about how they didn't get any breaks, that's fine, they chose to not ask for them, but that doesn't mean they should attack anyone who does. Jeez. What's also frustrating is that no one seems to be asking why is Simon so opposed to this? Could it be that they fear a little competition next door? If they can't develop it then it's in their best interest to keep that property abandoned. Screw the local consumers, or the future tax payments (no matter how you spin or who owns it, a new mall will pay MUCH higher taxes than an old abandoned factory building), they're looking at their bottom line and they're totally playing everyone who is opposed to tax breaks. They're not in it for fairness or for the community, they're in it to keep their nice monopoly on shopping in that area.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #24)

El Paso Times

'Blighted building' proposal is unfair to taxpayers, othe...

Does anyone know, are they actually asking that the city GIVE them money, or are they asking to not have to pay that amount in taxes over 10 years? That guest column is clearly slanted in Simon's favor (shocking), but I seem to recall that originally I heard that they wanted tax breaks. So let's review. Someone wants to build something in El Paso, and add to the tax base and that's bad because they're asking for a break from some of the taxes for a finite period of time? Is it better to leave the abandoned building in place and not make any of the tax money? The only way they get that money is if they invest enough into the property so that it's worth at least that much in taxes over those 10 years. They're not talking about building a small shack that'll fall down in 10 years, look around, Bassett Center, Cielo Vista, Sunland Park Mall, all those places have been around decades. That's decades worth of taxes that they're paying to the community. When someone like Foster asks for a break on the taxes for a new development they're mostly looking to come out even on their building costs in exchange for producing a property that's a cash cow for the city. Often those tax breaks will mean that the city is still collecting more revenue than they would have if the property was left abandoned and after those 10 years are up, guess what? The city gets ALL that money in taxes forever. There's no homestead exemption, no over 65 exemption, no 10% cap, the property is appraised and taxed at what it's worth every single year. So come on, seriously, we're not GIVING them any money, we're just not collecting the full amount on taxes. The city will most likely either collect the same or more than it is now and after those 10 years it'll be collecting a LOT more. Remember, it's not like Simon didn't make the same pitch years ago. Aren't they just grumpy that they got shot down by a previous council? Maybe they should have paid more attention and brought the plan forth to the current council before Foster did. No one was stopping them.  (Aug 25, 2008 | post #22)