New El Paso law curbing ‘aggressive’ solicitation may have too broad a sweep

EL PASO — On a late Sunday afternoon Eddie Salas Cano, 32, walked from the Opportunity Center on Myrtle Avenue to the busy gateway intersection on Missouri and Cotton wearing worn-out clothes and he stood near the cars holding up a sign that read “Homeless.”

Some drivers quickly rolled up their windows as Salas paced back and forth hoping for someone to drop a dollar. The meager moneys that homeless people like Cano pick up at intersections could be threatened by a new city ordinance that could target them even if they don’t pose a threat. “I have no family and no support, so I usually go to the Opportunity Center for assistance. When I don’t have any money to eat I stand holding my sign hoping for at least two dollars for the day,” Cano said. On October 9, the El Paso City Council passed an ordinance that bans aggressive solicitation in certain parts of the city in front of homes and businesses.

(Raymundo Aguirre/

Texas Blind Salamanders found in El Paso’s City Hall

EL PASO – The Texas Blind Salamander, an endangered species getting closer to oblivion because of the drought that descended on our state, appears to be alive, well and indeed thriving in the swamp-cooled hollows and dark passageways of El Paso’s City Hall. The wily diehards have mutated to achieve some degree of communication skills despite their small size and terrible handicap.  Although they remain sightless, they have been given public relations assignments by the city manager. Their first major assignment hit the top spot on the front page of the printed edition El Paso Times Wednesday under the headline. “Survey asks if El Paso should drop ‘sister city’ relationship with Juárez.”

Way to go salamanders!  With 15 years of international public experience under my belt, I can tell you that rookie flacks don’t usually make the front page in 72-point type!

Neon Desert Music Festival to light up the Sun City

EL PASO  – Skies will illuminate here and the Franklin Mountains will reverberate during the city’s first Neon Desert Music Festival that will take place Saturday, April 30 with international, national, regional and local talent. Zachariah W. Paul, one of the event’s organizers along with Gina Martinez and Brian Chavez came up with the idea in October, 2009. “We wanted to do a music festival in El Paso and we felt this is a market that doesn’t have anything like what we are trying to do,” Paul said. “We felt there is a demand here and the people would support us to do something like this.”

Paul said their vision is to create an event that is for the city of El Paso, by the city of El Paso. He said it will feature a combination of international, national, regional and local talent.

The controversy over El Paso’s scenic Trans Mountain Corridor continues

EL PASO — Driving along Trans Mountain Road it is possible to enjoy beautiful views of the natural scenery that surrounds the area, and a panoramic view of the city of El Paso. According to The Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, this beautiful area could end up looking like the two gateways near Cielo Vista Mall: big signs promoting gas stations, and business along the road blocking the beautiful natural view. Although the El Paso City Council approved a plan to enlarge the road Tuesday, the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition submitted a second petition asking the Council to reconsider the project. Their goal at first was to get 1,000 signatures according to a blog by Coalition member Jim Tolbert. “I know we were close or over 1,900 signatures,” he said.