The Verde Group—Paso Del Norte Group Plan for South El Paso, Downtown and the border region
2003 October—Bill Sanders is invited to redevelop downtown El Paso by El Paso mayor and group of developers. December—Sanders forms the Verde Group and Paso Del Norte Group in El Paso.
2004 January—Verde Group obtains millions of gallons of water rights for Santa Teresa binational development project without any public process thanks to governor Richardson’s intervention.
2005 February 15—City of El Paso votes approves contract with PDNG to create downtown redevelopment plan. City Council grants them $250,000.
September 13—City grants PDNG an extension to develop plan. Representative O’Rourke defends plan secrecy otherwise residents and small business owners would “tear it apart and you’d never be able to keep it together.”
2006 March 31—The PDNG Plan is unveiled by William Sanders and theCity Council at the Plaza Theater before an audience of enthusiastic business leaders on the same day of a large immigrant rights march on Cesar Chavez day.
April 12—Bill Sanders tells 500 downtown businessmen eminent domain will be used if they refuse to sell. O’Rourke says he has no conflict of interest because his father in law does not own property in the development zone.
April 13—Sanders and O’Rourke face stiff opposition from South El Paso residents at Armijo Park meeting May—City holds meetings to sell plan to the public. Most people there speak out against the plan. Police have to intervene to stop protests.
April 19—City Manager Joyce Wilson sends her staff an email instructing them how to “downplay” displacement, “neutralize the losers” and “pacify” the opposition.
May 25—More 250 Southside residents organized by La Campaña and Sin Fronteras farmworker center meet at Senior Citizens center to defend their neighborhood.
June 7—El Paso Catholic Diocese writes an open letter to City Council declaring the plan as unjust and divisive.
July 10—Council votes to postpone use of eminent domain until 2008 for owners whodo not wish to sell.
July 19—The Glass Beach marketing study that adopts racist imagery to support the PDNG plan is approved by City Council.
October 5—City Planning Commission approves PDNG plan, increases “redevelopment zone” to 168 acres from original 127.5.
October 6—Bill Sanders changes his mind and states he will invest his own money after all at the behest of mayor.
October 11—City Ethics Commission refuses to hear evidence of O’Rourke’s conflict of interest.
October 26—200 citizens organized by Korean business owners march against eminent domain abuse.
October 31—City Hall votes 5 to 3 to accept the PDNG plan.
November 8—Sanders sets up Borderplex REIT to buy up downtown and South El Paso property. You must have a net worth of a million dollars to invest in downtown REIT.
December 18—City pass the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone that declares entire redevelopment zone as blighted. 2007
February 10—Inauguration of historic mural in the Sacred Heart gym. About a thousand people attend cultural resistance festival. March—PDNG member indicted for 250 million dollar coupon fraud scheme.
March 31-More than 400 people chant “El Segundo Barrio no se vende!” at the Cesar Chavez march.
April 4—Several artists are banned from La Fe clinic cultural center by executive director-PDNG executive member because they oppose the plan.
April 7—National Chicano organization denounces the El Paso downtown-Segundo Barrio redevelopment plan.
May 4—Texas Observer publishes article by Eileen Welsome titled “Eminent Disaster: A cabal of politicians and profiteers targets an El Paso barrio.”
May 9—El Paso Times poll shows 62% of El Pasoans oppose the use of eminent domain for the PDNG plan. July—FBI investigations shows corruption is rampant at the city and county level in El Paso. Ten of the targets of the FBI belong to the PDNG.
November 19—UTEP forum connects the struggles of Lomas del Poleo and Segundo Barrio. The Binational Coalition Against Displacement and Dispossession is created between residents of two communities.
November 24—Groups respond to City reps comments that binational connection is “intellectually dishonest.”
December 6—TIRZ board votes to expand the “redevelopment zone” to 302 acres.
December 20—Cross border alliance expands. Las Cruces, El Paso and Juarez activists meet in Las Cruces to find common ground in their struggle against dispossession and displacement.
December 21—PDNG banker pleads guilty to bribing city and countil officials. He has obtained more than 1.5 billion dollars worth of contracts from the city.
2008 January 9—PDNG unveils “Promatura,” city-funded study supporting its gated communities in Santa Teresa.
January 15—Simultaneous protests for the Segundo Barrio and Lomas del Poleo take place before consulates in Juarez and El Paso.
January 29—Segundo Barrio residents try to speak before City Council to support ordinance that will limit eminent domain only to particular blighted properties, not entire areas. City Rep Robert O’Rourke casts deciding vote not to let them speak and against the ordinance, despite admitted conflict of interest.
February 5—Residents return to City Council to support the ordinance and denounce O’Rourke conflict of interest. The City takes no action. March 8—The North American Human Rights Delegation Connects Displacement at Lomas del Poleo with the Segundo Barrio.