A petition drive to put the issue of a new El Paso ballpark directly to voters -- and changing the deal with the potential owners of a Triple-A team retroactively -- came up short.
Organizers, who also put together an "Occupy City Hall" movement in recent days to also express their displeasure, needed to come up with 1,548 signatures to force the city to put the issue to voters this fall while also basically voiding the deal struck to bring in the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League). While it's not at all a sure thing that the petition would have passed legal muster -- the law generally doesn't like retroactive changes to contracts -- the lack of enough verifiable signatures makes that a moot point.
So the status quo remains. MountainStar Sports Group (Woody Hunt, Paul Foster, Josh Hunt and Alejandra de la Vega Foster) is purchasing the Padres and planning on playing at a new downtown ballpark for the 2014 season and beyond. The city remains obligated to provide a $50-million downtown ballpark on the current City Hall site and will ask voters this fall to approve a bump in the hotel tax to fund it. If that fails, the city will need to find an alternative funding plan.
Image courtesy City of El Paso.
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