Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sister Cities

El Paso gets a bad rap.
     I read in a recent poll that Casey Anthony comes out ahead of our great city in likeability.  It may be our proximity to one of the most dangerous cities in the world.  It may be a misunderstanding of who we are as a community.  It may be that we get mistaken for Snooki from The Jersey Shore on MTV.
     Who knows?
     That's why, I suppose, our city officials sent out 4,100 copies of a survey to local businesses.  That's a nice round number.  They would have sent more, but they ran out of paper.  They sent them to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, REDCo, and The Red Parrot Topless Bar. 
     I got my hands on a copy of the survey.  Well, actually my ten year-old daughter did.  She was selling lemonade in front of our house when Deputy City Manager Debbie Hamlyn handed her a copy. 
     "Do you want any lemonade?" my young daughter asked, sweetly.  "It's an awfully hot day."
     Apparently, enhancing El Paso's image doesn't mean enhancing it to fellow El Pasoans.  I took the survey from my daughter and looked at it.  In all, it was a total of ten questions.
     My daughter gave the Deputy City Manager her brightest smile.  "Are you sure?"
     "Well, okay," Ms. Hamlyn finally relented.  Heck, she even smiled herself.  "But you're going to have to bill the city for it."
     What the heck, I thought.  I'll fill it out.


     1)  Should El Paso take the first step toward ending its "sister city" relationship with Juarez?  I answered:  El Paso has had "sister city" ties with Juarez for 33 years.  I don't think we should act hastily in severing those ties.

     2)  Maybe you misunderstood the question.  Since El Paso is trying to improve its image, should we do away with all symbolic ties with Juarez?  I would say no.  I believe there's a way to improve our image without throwing Juarez under the bus to do it.

     3)  You still don't get it.  Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the world!  Do you want to be associated with that?  I just don't feel that the violence has anything to do with the citizenry of Juarez.  For the most part, the people of Juarez are good, decent people.

     4)  Let me put it another way:  Drug Wars.  Kidnappings.  Robberies.  Extortion.  And I'm just talking about the local political and law-enforcement agencies.  Should El Paso be painted unfairly because we just happen to sit across the border from such a corrupt city?  The problem is, you see the perpetrators, and I see the victims.  Juarez is a good city.  It just happens to have more than its share of problems right now.  But if El Paso works together with Juarez, I'm sure we can solve those problems.

     5)  Okay, I'm giving you one last chance.  More than 8,600 killed since 2008!  What do you think about that?  I fell sorry for the common people of Juarez.  Maybe one day the people responsible will see the harm that they're doing, and that it's in their best interest to build the city up, rather than tear it down.

     6)  Are you kidding me?  Juarez bad!  El Paso good!  Aren't we only as good as what we do?

     7)  Hey, I'm asking the questions here.  This survey is part of an initiative to determine what message El Paso conveys to businesses thinking of coming or staying here.  Then I would suggest we find a way to promote ourselves as the great city we are, rather than try to make ourselves look good by making Juarez look bad.

     8)  You're driving me nuts!  Good.

     9)  What are you?  Stupid?  I don't have to take that.  Do you have a final question for me, or not?

     10)  Yes.  Does this survey make me look fat?  No...  your fat makes you look fat.

Fifty Shades of Funny

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