Duranguito activists strive for city transparency

Adrian Broaddus, Editor-In-Chief

Duranguito activists have been on around-the-clock duty in efforts to preserve the Downtown neighborhood from being demolished in order to build a multipurpose arena/center.

A week has gone by since demolition efforts started in the neighborhood of Duranguito and protestors were being cornered by police officers. The activists have been voicing their frustration with the city through writing letters, holding protests and daily meetings.

Yesterday, members of the Paso Del Norte group spoke at a City Council meeting voicing their opinions about the construction of the stadium and preservation of the neighborhood. Most came because they felt that the city was unjust in demolishing some buildings, despite the court order submitted by the Duranguito protestors to stop any demolition for 60 days. When the activists saw that construction crews started destroying the buildings, they rushed to set up in the neighborhood and protested by chaining themselves to buildings. Police enforcement came on the scene to monitor protestors, which the activists said threatened them.

Along with Paso del Sur, local Catholic Bishop Mark Seitz, Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network, and different organizations joined together to speak about their grievances with the city at the meeting.

Instead of the City Council addressing the problem, they decided to remove the topic from the agenda. This action infuriated many activists.

Dr. David Romo, a leading member of Paso Del Sur and a local activist organization dedicated to preserve local history, said that he and the organization desires transparency from the city, which he said has been lacking.

“It’s like they knew we had a lot of people who wanted to speak on it and they still shut it down,” he said. “People were very, very frustrated. It was completely unjust. Margo said, ‘public comment is opinion, not a requirement.’ That got us so mad.”

Romo said that as they left, many supporters of the Duranguito community chanted “transparency required” and left with a lot of unanswered questions.

The Paso del Sur group will host daily meetings at 6 p.m. in the Duranguito neighborhood. They invite anyone wishing to help their effort to join.