in Houston, Texas
Former mayor sues El Paso, city leaders to prevent demolition of City Hall for baseball stadium
Monday, Oct 08, 2012, 01:43PM CST
By Curt Olson
baseballs

The fight over the proposed Triple A baseball stadium in El Paso will head to the courtroom as former Mayor Ray Salazar and two others have sued the city and several city officials to prevent the demolition of City Hall.

David Ochoa and Jesus B. Ochoa Jr. joined Salazar, the city’s mayor from 1977 to 1979, in the lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court against Mayor John Cook, City Manager Joyce Wilson and city Reps. Susie Byrd, Ann Morgan Lilly, Cortney Niland, Dr. Michiel Noe and Steven Ortega, the El Paso Times reports. The five city representatives have voted to let the baseball stadium proceed.

The 13-page complaint alleges an orchestrated strategy by Wilson, Niland and Ortega to ensure the stadium proceeds as “a done deal.” The lawsuit also seeks immediate relief because city hall’s demolition could begin soon, and Salazar and the Ochoas want voters to decide the issue.

The lawsuit comes two weeks after City Council approved a contract with MountainStar Sports for the lease of the ballpark, which requires the demolition of City Hall, the Times reports. The group would bring the Tuscon Padres, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, to El Paso for the 2014 season.

This also comes following two attempts by city residents to put the issue on the November ballot. The second petition had enough signatures, but it was too late for the November ballot.

The lawsuit also comes amid heavy campaigning for passage of a “quality of life” bond issue. Voters also will decide the fate of an increase in the hotel tax to cover most of the stadium’s construction cost.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of baseballs by flickr user paul.hadsall, used via a Creative Commons license.

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