El Paso has been the center of a lot of controversy lately. First, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of a debate on drug policy. When Mayor John Cook vetoed the resolution, several legislators quickly discouraged the City Council from overriding his veto. They had unanimously agreed to something as well.
State representatives Norma Chavez, Marisa Marquez, Joseph Moody, Joe Pickett and Chente Quintanilla (all El Paso Democrats) together sent a letter to the City Council stating that the discussion could jeopardize “funding for local law enforcement efforts and other important programs”. U.S. Congressman Sylvester Reyes (also a Democrat) sent a letter of his own, stating that the city’s focus should be on the upcoming economic stimulus plan. He urged the City Council to send a message that “will provide real gains” from the “ambitious legislative agenda” in the congress.
Let’s be clear: the El Paso City Council’s resolution did not call for drug legalization, it called for “a dialogue” on the issue. After the warnings from the city’s representatives, the City Council failed to override the Mayor’s veto and no discussion will take place. If the “benefit” that Rep. Reyes refers to is conditional upon lack of debate then it appears that El Paso will be told what to do by its representatives instead of the other way around.