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The best of 2012

politics, controversy, scandal

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05


   News happens constantly, and most of the stories that occur are relevant for a little while but quickly fade away. However, every year there are a few stories that manage to capture people’s attention more than most, and this year was no exception. Here are some news stories that made the top of the list.

Sun Bowl boxing match

This summer, El Pasoans went on a rollercoaster ride when officials from the University of Texas System decided whether or not the UTEP Sun Bowl could host a high-profile boxing match between Julio César Chávez Jr. and Andy Lee. When the UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced that they did not think El Paso would be a good location for the match because of security issues, the city was outraged. UTEP President Diana Natalicio said she was told that one reason the fight was canceled was because Chávez was reportedly in a relationship with the widow  of Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin Chapo’s son.

William Blaziek, general manager for the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau, believed that the decision to move the fight based on border violence would be harmful to El Paso’s image and claimed that El Paso was one of the safest cities in the United States. He called upon the UT System to reconsider their decision, which they ultimately did with the provision that no alcohol was to be sold at the match. The ban on alcohol may have affected ticket sales, as only 13,467 fans attended the event, compared to the more than 45,000 that attended the 1998 match, featuring Oscar De La Hoya and Patrick Charpentier. Still, the match is viewed as a success by the city as it was televised worldwide and produced $1.84 million in ticket sales and TV revenue for Top Rank, Inc.

“I like to focus on the positive; and we were able to host a safe and enjoyable night of world-class boxing as we have done in many other occasions throughout the years,” said Jorge Vazquez, executive director of UTEP Special Events. “Every event that we host in our venues is unique, bringing new challenges and lessons learned.  This particular event was no different.  This was an intricate production and we were able to make it happen in a relatively small window of time.  Many parts came together to present a quality event and do it in a way that was financially successful.”

Triple-A Ballpark

Of all of the local news this year, perhaps nothing ignited as much passionate debate as the decision to build a new Triple-A baseball stadium in the heart of downtown El Paso. The proposed stadium would cause the tearing down of city hall and the Insights Museum, among other structures. On Nov. 18, El Paso’s City Council voted to uphold the decision to bring the Tucson Padres to the Sun City in 2014, making El Paso one of only 30 Triple-A cities in the nation.

El Pasoans were torn about whether this decision was the best thing for the city. Some claimed that the park would make for terrible traffic downtown and that no one would go to the games. Humberto Duron, sophomore pre-business major, said he could see both sides of the debate.

“I believe that the culture in El Paso plays a very important role.  We have always had the Diablos, but people rarely went to the games and it was never a big thing here,” Duron said. “I think the ball park can bring some good things to El Paso, though.  We are a growing city and we are slowly making our way among top metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, Chicago or New York.  I think the ballpark is a stepping stone to our continued growth and will allow for more investors and bigger companies to come and invest in our beautiful city of El Paso, which will make us more prosperous and ultimately raise the standard of living for many El Pasoans.”

Ron Paul mania

When the presidential nominee for the Republican Party was still in question, the candidate who generated a major following on the UTEP campus was Ron Paul. There were many who did not understand this phenomenon and who believed that Paul was a bad choice for students because one of his stances was to completely get rid of federal student aid over time. Yet, support for his campaign was so great among students that not only was a Youth for Ron Paul group organized, but they also started a petition that resulted in Paul paying a visit to the UTEP campus.

On April 25, Paul held a town hall meeting at Magoffin Auditorium, which had approximately 1,000 attendees.

“I think there was student excitement and involvement with Ron Paul’s campaign for several reasons,” said Isabel Gonzalez, president of UTEP’s Youth for Ron Paul group. “Personally, I was attracted to his honesty because, aside from being an attractive quality, it is extremely rare in a politician. Ron Paul says exactly what is on his mind regardless of whether it will get him votes or not. Being able to hang out backstage with him was a dream come true.”

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