From March first until May first, Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, elpasonaturally and others circulated the following petition in person and online:
“WE THE PEOPLE want preserved, in its natural state and in perpetuity, all of the undeveloped land owned by the City of El Paso on the western side of the Franklin Mountains that is north of Transmountain Road, east of the EPNG Pipeline Road and south of the New Mexico/El Paso boundary and on the eastern side of the Franklin Mountains that is north of Transmountain, west of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and south of the New Mexico/El Paso boundary.”
For just two months of collection, we had a total of 6,638 signatures. 3,830 of those were hard copies; 2,830 were online. Signers came from all council districts of El Paso and most zip codes. Many even took time to clip out an advertisement in the Times, El Diario and the Inc., address an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it to me.
One woman wrote: “I don’t want to see our beautiful mountains cluttered with houses.”
Another wrote: “The Franklin Mountains are what make El Paso different from any other city in Texas.”
Another wrote: “This is my heritage to my kids.”
The petition was not written in the form of an initiative. Thus, City Council is not compelled to do anything more.
But I hope that they along with the PSB do want to take action. I hope that we can find ways to preserve our mountain scenery, secure millions more each year in eco-tourism, control sprawl which will control our onerous property taxes, and help us manage our scarcest most precious resource – water.
We have accumulated the data from the petitions. We can begin again and in short order have an initiative petition for an ordinance. We’d rather work together.
So I urge you - please be proactive and not reactive.
[I've heard from EPWU officials that City Council is expecting the PSB to bring the subject up again with them. The ball is rolling.]