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Mayor Counters Political Power Play, Saves Northeast Transit Terminal

By ABC-7 Reporter/Anchor Celina Avila

EL PASO, Texas — ABC-7 told you how the city is issuing millions in certificates of obligation to fund a number of projects around town.

One of those projects almost didn’t get approved by City Council, all because of a political power play.

Three council members — Eddie Holguin, Rachel Quintana and Melina Castro — feel that capital improvement projects should go to the voters, so strongly that they will even vote against projects needed in their own district.

The city’s policy is only projects over $100 million should go to the voters.

“Castro…no, Quintana…nay, Holguin…no, ”

It was no surprise that Representatives Melina Castro, Rachel Quintana and Eddie Holguin voted against the Northeast Transit Terminal because they feel certificates of obligations should go to the voters. But it was surprising that Representatives Beto O’Rourke and Steve Ortega voted against it.

In a 3 to 5 vote, the Northeast Transit Terminal failed.

An upset former Northeast Representative and now-Mayor John Cook stepped in.

“I understand what’s going on but I really think that’s short-sided, especially seeing that this particular transit terminal where we have 7,000 people a day that travel from that transit terminal, there is one unisex restroom, and in good conscience I cannot take your ‘no’ vote.”

Representative O’Rourke had this to say:

“Mayor, may I ask you why you’re directing the comments towards us instead of the representative whose district the transit terminal is in? If it’s in such deplorable condition and so necessary to the system and if it would so serve those constituents, I would think that representative should step up and vote ‘yes’ on the issue.”

To which Castro responded: “I already gave my reasons why, you all haven’t. It’s just a political move from both of you.”

In the end the project was saved.

After filing the motion to reconsider, O’Rourke voted for it, Ortega voted against it and the mayor broke the tie to approve the project.

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