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Mayor Cook: “Good chance” enough votes will change

A squeeze play by El Paso’s Mayor John Cook could put the downtown ballpark deal on ice.

When city representatives meet on Tuesday, their agendas will be chock full of ballpark items. More than 10 items appear on City Council’s agenda geared toward the building of a downtown ballpark and the relocation of City Hall.

The mayor has toyed with the idea of using his veto power to stop the deal. Whether he will ultimately make that decision come Tuesday, no one knows. Cook has said it’s a possibility, but that it’s something he still needs to take time to consider.

“I’ve though about using my veto just so I could make it clear that I have been opposed from the beginning about tearing the building down,” said Cook. “I’m not necessarily opposed to building a Triple-A baseball stadium in the downtown area, but I still question whether it makes sense to tear down a perfectly good building.”

According to the mayor, he could veto any agenda item on Tuesday’s agenda. By doing so he would put the deal on hold, but whether or not his veto would be upheld is still questionable.

In June, while the mayor was out of town, city representatives voted 6-to-2 in favor of building a downtown ballpark. If representatives hold their original position, they would be able to overrule any veto action by the mayor.

The rule and procedures of El Paso’s City Council call for six members to overrule any veto made by the mayor. However, if one representative, flips all bets are off.

This week speculation has run rampant that Representative Emma Acosta could flip her decision. Acosta has denied that she will vote no on the ballpark deal, but has said she wanted answers that she wasn’t getting.

“What I’m telling you is that I have a fiduciary responsibility that I make an informed decision,” said Acosta following last Tuesday’s council meeting. “If that means I go through other contracts of the (Pacific Coast League), then I do that. If it means I have to ask the tough questions, then I will ask the tough questions.”

Acosta has not responded to recent phone calls from ABC-7 to gauge where she lies on the issue of the downtown ballpark today. None of the city representatives have swayed from their initial decisions since the June vote, but the mayor seems confident that it could happen before Tuesday’s meeting.

“There is a good chance that enough votes may change between now and Tuesday, that my veto would carry and be able to stop (the ballpark),” said Cook.

El Paso’s next City Council meeting will be held at City Hall on Tuesday inside the council chambers. The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. Agenda items surrounding the ballpark issue are not slated to take place until 10:30 a.m.

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