Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"The 50 foot pine tree will remain in the Plaza"

Click on image to enlarge.

Those were the words from an official City of El Paso press release dated yesterday.

Read Diana Washington Valdez's story, San Jacinto Plaza reopening delayed until May, in this morning's El Paso Times. Yesterday afternoon she called me for a comment. That is when I learned about the press release. I chose to wait to do a post about the story until this morning after the Times had published. It was her story and so many of us are so glad that she has stayed on top of it (along with many other "stories" from City Hall.)

No doubt elpasonaturally's online petition helped to save the tree. (It is now clear that the City had no intention of saving the tree in the first place and was going to use "damage" as an excuse.) 

What really saved the tree was the fact that elpasonaturally and then the Times brought to light that the tree was on the "chopping block". (Sadly, the pun is intended.) This resulted in the City Manager, Tommy Gonzalez, decrying the fact that the story had come to public attention followed by a concerted effort to cya the entire affair.

Of course, there is more than just the saving of El Pasoan's beloved Holiday Christmas tree. elpasonaturally learned and posted that the Plaza's California palms had not been salvaged but disposed in a landfill. More revelations about the failure by the Department of Engineering to follow city guidelines and policies keep coming to light. Clicking on the link to the "Policy and Standards Manual for the Care of Trees and Shrubs in the City of El Paso" on the new City web site still results in a 404 Error. If you want to read the manual or download a copy, go HERE. Otherwise it will probably be deleted from memory. So much for the strategic goal to "Promote Transparent and Consistent Communication Among All Members of the Community".

By the way, the public didn't even participate in developing those strategic goals. Or does "all members of the community" refer just to a tight-knit City Hall group?

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