EL PASO—Last month El Paso experienced freezing temperatures that led the city to understand that it is not prepared for this kind of weather.
On February 3rd, temperatures in the Sun City went below zero for the first time since 1990. For over twenty years El Paso had not had to worry about any snowstorms or freeze complications, but this year the cold blasted the city leaving unprepared El Pasoans freezing and disappointed and unhappy suffering from rolling power outages, broken water pipes, and loss of school and workdays.
“The weather situation has been unbearable. Not only can I not stay in my own home, but I have to rely on the graciousness of others to help me while this issue is being resolved. To top it off my work was closed for five days due to the water line problem. Every which way you look we are all affected in some way,” said UTEP student, Marissa Alvarez.
Like Alvarez many were bothered and unhappy by the way the city reacted to this harsh weather. People felt this would have been the situation in a third world country, but not in a city like El Paso. Many were especially upset because the alert of snow had been given seven days in advance. The city should have been prepared once the warning had been given.
Hundreds of homes were damaged by broken water pipes, which in turn caused the city to lose abundant amounts of water. Mayor John Cooke issued a boil-water advisory on Sunday February 6 restricting house residents and businesses from using water for anything more than necessary until further notice. It was advised that householders not shower or make use of dishwashers or laundry machines and it was asked that Laundromats and car washes remain closed in order to save major quantities of water.
Other businesses were also affected by the power and water shortage. Many restaurants and shops had to close as there was no way of satisfying their customers without water or electricity. “We didn’t have water for three days and we couldn’t serve the customers. In my business we need the water for working. It was very upsetting and I just hope it doesn’t have to happen this way again,” said CK, owner of Spa and Nails on Mesa. Restaurants were also greatly affected by the loss of electricity. “We had to discard a lot of food, so financially we were affected a great deal,” said Becky Rodenburgh, owner of Singapore Restaurant.
But who is to blame for these kinds of situations? Most El Paso citizens want to blame El Paso Electric and the El Paso Water Utilities. Others blamed the mayor. But in recent letters sent to the El Paso Times El Pasoans were complaining about city manager, Joyce Wilson.
“Joyce Wilson let us down during the recent crisis and should be fired. As the city manager, Joyce Wilson was in the position to manage the city’s utilities during the recent “crisis,” said Douglas Vidakovich.