by WorldTribune Staff, January 11, 2019
As a member of the El Paso City Council, Democrat star Beto O’Rourke voted to remove low income constituents from their homes to make way for upscale retail development, a report said.
O’Rourke used his elected position on the El Paso council in the mid-2000s to push through a real estate deal that would not only kick the residents out of the barrio, but benefit his own family, according to The New York Times.
The project endorsed by O’Rourke would use eminent domain to take hundreds of homes away from many low-income El Pasoans, enraging many of his constituents, the report said.
During a council meeting in 2006, a barrio resident said to O’Rourke: “We feel betrayed and we feel sad. Especially with Mr. Beto because we supported him not one time but twice … we supported him.”
The redevelopment project was proposed by billionaire real estate investor William Sanders in 2006. O’Rourke married Sanders’ daughter Amy in 2005.
O’Rourke not only voted multiple times remove the low income residents from their homes, but would continue to defend his decision for years and was consequently viewed as “siding with the moneyed elite against angry barrio residents, small business owners and even the Jesuit priests who ministered to the immigrant community at Sacred Heart Church,” according to the report.
Local historian David Dorado Romo told The Times that the situation reignited a deep-rooted racial and class-based divide in El Paso.
“O’Rourke was basically the pretty face of this very ugly plan against our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” Romo said.