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Gonzales’ close ties to private groups raise questions about spending

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Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 4:21 pm, Mon Feb 17, 2014.

With less than three weeks left in the Santa Fe mayor’s race, Javier Gonzales is dealing with a nettlesome problem: Some of his biggest supporters are providing ammunition for his opponents.

Gonzales is alone among the three mayoral candidates to receive support from outside groups. Several organizations, including two political action committees, have been spending private dollars to aid his candidacy. Gonzales, like his opponents — City Councilors Patti Bushee and Bill Dimas — agreed to run a publicly financed campaign, which limits candidates to $60,000 in spending.

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69 comments:

  • Elizabeth West posted at 4:01 pm on Sun, Feb 23, 2014.

    E West Posts: 1

    Golly! I wish Gonzales were running for a seat on city council instead of jumping up for mayor: he might get some real experience that I could value.
    Thanks for this thought-provoking article by Daniel Chacón. I also agree with another writer who acknowledges a concern about Gonzales' "Special interests, special attention" posted in the Feb 22 Reader View section of the New Mexican, in response to the "Six Degrees of Javier Gonzales" Feb 16 article.
    Bushee and Dimas both have experience that matters to me, and since Bushee has had 20 years of working things out on the council, I am voting for her. I believe that Patti Bushee is the best person to continue the good work that the council has addressed under Coss.

     
  • Maria Bautista posted at 2:52 pm on Sat, Feb 22, 2014.

    Maria Bautista Posts: 6

    Your absolutely right Staci, passing the torch from Coss to Gonzales does not spell change. Even if Gonzales really wanted to run for change, his hands are tied. He is not his father, who ran a campaign with grassroots funding and sincere concerns for the future of Santa Fe. I certainly miss Debbie Jaramillo, "Santa Fe is not for sale."
    Look at the PAC's above and their leadership, they tell the Mayor what to do, why don't they run for office? Because we would not elect them, so they hide behind candidates.

    The "real" Santa Feans should vote for Patti Bushee, she has been there and present. She does not run from county to city, and back looking for political opportunities.

     
  • Maria Bautista posted at 2:33 pm on Sat, Feb 22, 2014.

    Maria Bautista Posts: 6

    I am writing to address PAC's in Santa Fe who buy elections for candidates of their choice. Yet not one of those PAC's is a Native Born New Mexican. They came to Santa Fe with intentions of making "Santa Fe Style" something they discovered and owned. Carol and Morty vote (with money) so they protect their interests, not because they love Santa Fe, or any other aspect of it...David Coss is owned by the Simons, Tara Nix is job hunting, Keegan King lives in Albuquerque, but has his little dirty fingers in Santa Fe politics, ever wonder why? Javier, enlight of your concerns for quality jobs for Santa Feans, why do you have all gabachos supporting and working on your campaign? I would be ashamed to have to be fronted by the same gabachos,who rule Santa Fe with their little serfdoms.

    I listen to your rhetoric, and it sounds great. Except, for every dime they spend on your campaign they expect favors. We know how that works Javier, my only question to you is, "can you say no".

     
  • Staci Benni posted at 3:07 pm on Thu, Feb 20, 2014.

    Sta Benni Posts: 172

    Thanks for yr opinion, Cove, that Patti Bushee is a better councilor than almost any of those supporting Javier. Mediocrity or worse begets mediocrity or worse. Just say NO to the machine and Javier Gonzales.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 10:54 am on Thu, Feb 20, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    Did you see the "Honorees" for the Javier/Bingaman love-fest at Bishop's Lodge?

    Mayor David Coss, Current' District 1 Councilor Chris Calvert,
    Former District 1 Councilor Jimmie Martinez, Current District 2 Councilor Peter Ives, Former District 2 Councilor Cris Moore,
    Former District 2 Councilor Rosemary Romero, Mayor Pro Tem and Current District 2 Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger, Former District 3 Councilor Frank Montano, Former District 4 Councilor Matthew Ortiz

    The truth be told, Patti Bushee was a better Councilor than all those listed above, except maybe Frank.

     
  • Staci Benni posted at 8:14 am on Thu, Feb 20, 2014.

    Sta Benni Posts: 172

    BTW Mr Gonzales is so preoccupied that he does not realize that the charter amendment to give the mayor a vote on every issue (#8) is separate from the so-called strong mayor amendment (#9). How come he is not clear on these issues that are going to the voters? Is this a good sign for his potential as mayor? Since he is the youngest candidate, he certainly cannot rely on the excuse for this repeated lapse as a "senior moment."[smile]

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 12:35 pm on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    Well shut my mouth. [thumbup][love]

     
  • Staci Benni posted at 8:55 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Sta Benni Posts: 172

    I was going to vote for the independent audit and independent redistricting charter amendments (# and ). Having gone to a forum on these changes, I realized that there is no mechanism by which these "independent" committees will be formed. It was suggested by one speaker that it could be left to the mayor--more centralization of power.
    The only two charter amendments that are not fluff (1st 3 are) and are not too vague is the one on bonds (tell citizens exactly how bond money is spent) and giving the mayor a vote (6 and 8).
    The so called strong mayor amendment (9) can wait until there is more public disclosure on what powers the mayor would have and more public input. It is not going to be effective until 2018--why not give it more thought and be more specific.
    This form of govt is really untested. The mayor of Las Cruces who is full time says it is mostly ceremonial. I do not think the mayor deserved $74,000 or more to cut ribbons.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 3:00 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    You are so right. Bless you for your wisdom. Throw in term limits and I'm writing in Pierce Knolls in for Mayor!

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 1:09 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    "You need to stop posting incorrect facts and citing them as if they are real true facts, its called plagiarism"

    To quote Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

    Copying someone else's material and using it as if it were one's own, without properly attributing it as a quote or otherwise citing the source is plagiarism, regardless of the factual accuracy of the quoted material.

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 12:54 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    " Oddly enough no matter who wins I would prefer the mayor have the right to vote IF # 9 fails.." - But there is no sure way to know if #9 is going to pass or fail when casting one's vote for #8, so that's a big "if."

    I'd really prefer that we had nine city council districts, each with just one councilor. That would eliminate the need for even a tie-breaking mayoral vote. I'd also like to see the elections for all city councilors shifted to line up with the mayoral election so that they'd have to choose between running for their incumbent council seat or running for mayor, and not get to have it both ways. Do you think any members of the city's Charter Review Commission are reading my posts and taking notes? Somehow I kinda doubt it.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 12:37 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    If the comment was something bad about Farber then it probably was called for ... maybe doubled.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 12:30 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    New Pro-Democracy Unity Agenda:

    Yes on 8 ... No on Everything Else.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 12:25 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    Faber, you give honest liberals a bad name.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 12:22 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    Interesting poker. If #9 goes down and 8 goes down and your guy Dimas wins then he only gets 1 1/2 votes ... his replacement Councilor vote and his 1/2 vote (in a tie only). The same would be true for the Pro-Israeli Farber's candidate Bushee if she won. Oddly enough no matter who wins I would prefer the mayor have the right to vote IF # 9 fails ... it'd be more democratic.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 12:01 pm on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    You are right, I'm a jerk but at least I know it. Blabber Farber is a jerk and he doesn't even have a clue to his jerkyness.

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 11:02 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    Name calling is uncalled for. [thumbdown]

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 10:59 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    Eight gives the mayor a regular vote in the city council, and I'm voting against it.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 10:55 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    If the "750 members" are lazy over-paid incompetent municipal overweight slug employees ... then who the F cares, they don't live or VOTE here. WTF.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 10:37 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    What about # 8 ?

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 9:32 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    Please Vote "No" on 9.

     
  • Mike Miller posted at 9:32 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mike Miller Posts: 21

    Getting 60% out of 100 votes is better than three people who are bought and sold making a choice for 750 members would you agree? Or are you one of the Gonzales camp cronies paid to troll on the comments section. At least Mr. Knolls has commented on more than just the mayor election stories like you and I have, and has more of an understanding of what's going on in the city then you Mr. Leland.

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 9:32 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    I think they're criticizing him because he knows a lot of "other people in politics" who happen to be funneling a lot of money through unions and PACs to support his campaign in a manner that may be legal but certainly seems contradictory to the intent of the public campaign finance law. And some of these "other people in politics" who are connected to these PACs and unions are in a position to personally benefit if Javier gets elected, which leaves us questioning their motives for spending all this cash in support of Javier.

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 9:24 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    The article above makes it clear that Coss and Gonzales are both beholden to the same interconnected group of political power-brokers. Hendry, Oppenheimer, Simon, Nix, Holguin, King, the puppets may change but it's still the same players pulling the strings. What has Gonzales promised these puppet-masters in order to earn their "support?" For crying out loud, these unions and PACs claim that they're not coordinating with the Gonzales campaign, but how many of them have their offices in the campaign's building?

    So far, you haven't debunked anything I've posted.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 9:13 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    I am a practicing lawyer in Santa Fe since 1975. I have represented Patti Bushee and I think that she will be the best Mayor for Santa Fe. I admit that facts matter and that the allegations made against Javier Gonzales are supported by facts documented by the citations to the various news articles and background materials in my posts It seems to me that voters should take the time to read the cited information and that they will become very concerned.

     
  • John Leland posted at 8:51 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Leland1234 Posts: 36

    LOL common again Knolls facts are about as credible as the Enquirer. Nice try buddy! No get some real facts not just a conspiracy theory you have.

     
  • John Leland posted at 8:50 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Leland1234 Posts: 36

    LMAO ok 100 votes out of 750 members does not mean the union supports someone! especially when this was not an announced meeting that was going to have a straw hat vote. I know over 20 voting members who all claimed they had no idea this meeting was happening or that there was a vote taking place.....kind of fishy don't you think?

     
  • John Leland posted at 8:46 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Leland1234 Posts: 36

    You honestly have way too much time on your hands following what you think you know about Gonzales. You need to stop posting incorrect facts and citing them as if they are real true facts, its called plagiarism and as a lawyer you need to be aware that twisting words from articles and other sources is a form a plagiarism. I read all those articles and what you summarized is not at all like the article. Maybe you should spend more time with your family and friends and less time incorrectly paraphrasing and citing.

     
  • Jack Rush posted at 8:42 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    SFWatcher Posts: 57

    Eric I think I am the one who used the term filibuster and come on Farber keeps posting the never ending closing statement , you can certainly tell he's an attorney *smile*

     
  • Eric Lucero posted at 8:30 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    EDOGGY Posts: 18

    Donado, if I'm seeing this correctly, you have posted 210 comments to Farber's 32. Aren't you calling the kettle black when you refer to filibusters? Lol!

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 8:12 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    "I'm sorry but I vote for change not business as usual which the other two candidates (Dimas and Bushee) offer!"

    How is voting for the guy supported by the outgoing two-term mayor and all his politically connected power-brokers and old cronies not a vote for four more years of business as usual? A vote for Javier is a vote to just change figureheads while still steering the same course as Coss.

     
  • Pierce Knolls posted at 8:07 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    "...maybe we'll see a article on a candidate who runs for Mayor only using signs and not talking to the people."

    So you're bigoted against the deaf, is that it?

     
  • Jack Rush posted at 7:02 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    SFWatcher Posts: 57

    Steven Farber as one liberal to another thanks for your activism over the years. That being said how did you become the judge of who is liberal and who isn't. They say politics makes strange bedfellows and since I find myself agreeing with Donado ( yikes) you filibuster a lot councilor. Were you not a staunch Patti Bushee supporter what you post might be more welcome but it comes with what can only be described as a shrill tone as in betraying some strong emotion or attitude in an exaggerated amount. Since she has been your client in the past according to the New Mexican. Are you really able to be objective, doubtful.

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 6:16 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    A Farber Filibuster Follow:

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:02 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    And, 1960's. Since 1978 my law practice focuses on civil rights, defense of individual rights, and protection of tort and constitutional rights. Gonzales’ candidacy does a disservice to progressive and liberal causes - whatever those words mean these days - by his claiming to be a “liberal” or a “progressive” because he has clearly allowed with a wink and a nod to the PACs and others involved in this Santa Fe election to do what they want. Gonzales is the political machine and establishment candidate. Why do you think that the Chamber of Commerce, the Realtors, and the tourism at all costs partisans so prominent in past elections have been so quiet in this election cycle? Based on Gonzales’ past record he is not a liberal or progressive. Though slick and polished he is tied directly to Democratic Party machine politics as well as to big business interests which create huge conflict of interest issues. He is on the Board of Century Bank owned or controlled by Gerald Peters. He is a VP at a huge property and real estate investment and development company, Rosemont Realty. Gonzales and his supporters are playing the wink and nod game. Some of us see through this charade. If concerned please pass on info re Gonzales' record. It is appalling.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:01 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    And,

    Issues matter. Raising issues with documentation is a public service. The intrusion of the superficial PACs and the out of town door to door canvassers into this election has corrupted the public finance ordinance. It leaves the candidate who benefits from the outside money the ability to send out mailers and spend more money that distort or don't reveal that person's record.

    Take the environment as an example. As a Regent of NMSU Gonzales has never to my knowledge challenged the position of NMSU President Garrey Carruthers whose organization TASSC claimed global warming is junk science (http://thinkprogress.org/climate - posted May 14, 2013).

    And, this doesn’t even touch the surface of the fact that Gonzales when a County Commissioner ducked a crucial vote on the ski basin expansion when his vote could have stopped destruction of pristine land and the cutting of hundreds of trees when he could have moved to postpone the vote. Gonzales ignored the desire of the majority in this community to block the ski basin expansion plans - fortunately we were able to save the Big Tesuque but with no help from Gonzales.

    What about the fact that Gonzales left his County Commission term early and abandoned his obligation to the community as a public official so that he could take a job – showing that he putting his personal interests first before his commitment to public service in that elected position.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 10:59 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    And, Associations matter. Gonzales was Chair of the Regents of NMHU in 2006 and arranged the deal to pay Manny Aragon $200,000 to leave his position as President of NMHU. A NMHU Regent wrote a scathing public dissent criticizing this waste of taxpayer money. (Albuquerque Journal, 7/21/06). Manny Aragon was indicted the next year for the Metropolitan Court Bribery Scheme (Albuquerque Journal, 3/29/07) and was later sentenced to a five year plus federal prison term on his guilty plea (3/18/09 AP story in Seattletimes.com). In 2006 Gonzales flew up to Denver in the private jet of Gerald Peters, a Santa Fe mega property owner, for whom he did work, to go to a football game and then meet up with then Governor Richardson and his staff at a posh restaurant. It was reported that Peters expressed an interest in getting into off reservation casino business. They claimed they only talked about the football game. (Albuquerque Journal, 2/2/06, 2/4/06). It is beyond belief that they only talked football at that meeting. Gonzales is now on the Century Bank Board - a bank owned or controlled by Gerald Peters. Gonzales was involved in the Santa Fe Studios deal and its waste of government resources. The respected civic group Think New Mexico and even State Rep. Brian Egolf criticized the Santa Fe Studios project .

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 10:58 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    The discussion should get back to that as County Commissioner, Gonzales was the primary proponent for a private company to build an unnecessary oversized jail that then needed to rent out jail beds (e.g., New Mexican, 12/20/96, 12/21/96, Albuquerque Journal 12/20/96, and New Mexican, 4/5/98). Gonzales’ jail has been the scene of avoidable assaults, deaths, and constitutional violations since built. His brother in-law’s company, Borrego Construction, Inc. was given a lucrative contract by the County to oversee the construction of the jail project despite an evaluation committee finding them unqualified (New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal: 5/14/97). A federal civil rights investigation of the jail was necessary because of jail conditions. Gonzales doubled the County budget and the County was in the red according to local papers and civic groups (New Mexican: 4/8/98, 4/10/98, 4/15/98, 4/19/98, 7/8/98, 7/15/98). The jail caused a continuing financial disaster for Santa Fe County (Jail, Inc. Santa Fe Reporter, 7/20/11). Gonzales also had the idea to use the old riot state penitentiary as an “immigrant jail” until public outcry and a march on the County Commission chambers forced him to change his mind (Albuquerque Journal, 4/2/00, New Mexican, 4/12/00). Gonzales raised $23,000 in the weekend before an election (New Mexican, 7/7/98). While he was a County Commissioner in two years Gonzales took 22 trips at a cost to the taxpayer of $15,875, including three trips to meet up with Cornell regarding the jail project (New Mexican, 12/8/96).

     
  • Ron Romero posted at 9:20 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    RonRomero Posts: 44

    Man you are reaching, Mr. Leland. How petty can you get? Grassroots means he's going to the regular people and where his many supporters put his many signs is not an issue that anyone with a brain is going to worry about. Going door to door, waving to passer bys, talking directly to the people to solicit votes is not bad strategy.

     
  • Mike Miller posted at 8:34 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    Mike Miller Posts: 21

    Mr. Leland does not know how to read either, I had stated that a 100 votes were cast that's more than 10% which is enough to have a qoerum. Just like in the upcoming city election only 30% give or take are going to vote in this election. So if the whole city doesn't vote does that mean the election is meaningless. How about you wake up instead of sleeping.

     
  • John Leland posted at 8:09 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    Leland1234 Posts: 36

    [sleeping] This I promise is true. I used the City website to investigate multiple places that these were places and sure enough there with either City owner or Right-of-Way. As I understand it the code enforcement only investigates if there are complaints and perhaps they might be a little intimidated of the current councilors taking action against enforcement of their own signs? I appreciate your input, but it doesn't go far when you are the person who believe that 75 members out of the 750 total membership of the union equals 60%.....

     
  • Mike Miller posted at 3:45 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    Mike Miller Posts: 21

    Mr. Leland lives in a fantasy world. If a property owner did not want a sign placed on their property would they just take it down. Why would they leave it up? Also the city's code enforcement would take down any signs that are in places they should not be. Just like any other comments from Mr. Leland they are fictious and part of his Javier is the grassroots candidate fantasy.

     
  • John Leland posted at 1:21 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    Leland1234 Posts: 36

    Really the quiet guy?? Grassroots??? Ok why don't we look at how he doesn't follow his own City's regulations on Sign placement. In the City code it states that City owner property and state right-of-ways are prohibited for political signs. Now I can tell you positively that he has broken this rule numerous times. He also doesn't obtain permission from property owners to place signs on their properties. Look on the First National property on Cerrillos, his campaign placed signs there without permission, behind the factory outlets a sign was placed without permission, along Old Santa Fe Trail, on the Siler Bridge, St. Francis Road and many more. I would expect a grass roots campaign to have the integrity to either obtain permission or remove the signs. Follow the ordinances that are set up by his own City. What rules have the other candidates broken?

     
  • SantaFe7 posted at 12:47 pm on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    SantaFe7 Posts: 11

    You should be embarrassed New Mexican. You aren't for free speech. You are only for speech that helps Patty Bushee. Maybe we should file a complaint with the ethics board about the paper's attempts to influence election.

     
  • Ron Romero posted at 9:55 am on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    RonRomero Posts: 44

    How has this post lasted one hour? Gonzales supporter with not enough integrity to use their real name and "hating" seven times in one poorly written blog.

    BTW it is so hilarious to watch this election and each of the three camps calling the other "politics as usual". Wake up Leland, all three candidates are experienced politicos. the question is; which one is best to move SF forward? I'm leaning toward the quiet guy with the most grass roots campaign, the fewest political baggage and the best record of public service.

     
  • Eric Lucero posted at 7:47 am on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    EDOGGY Posts: 18

    Business as usual is a political hack using all outside influences to help him win an election that will hurt SF down the line, even though he committed to not doing that. If you want a true grass roots candidate, vote Bill Dimas!

     
  • John Leland posted at 8:18 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Leland1234 Posts: 36

    The real sad thing here is that people don't realize in almost all major cities PAC's are part of all politics. Just Santa Fe isn't used to them doesn't mean they don't happen elsewhere. I am almost sure that if a PAC backed Bushee or Dimas they would take it and not complain, but since thats all they have to complain about its what they are holding onto. Why aren't we looking for an anwser to a city that needs to create jobs, advance as a whole, provide sustainability, and be an overall better place to live? Lets NOT let Chacon's biased articles block the reality of a vision for the future. Vote on what the candidate has to offer, not what people support them! Gonzales offers a actual future that can and will be good for a City that is practically falling to the wayside because of its current elected officials. I'm sorry but I vote for change not business as usual which the other two candidates (Dimas and Bushee) offer!

     
  • Staci Benni posted at 6:27 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Sta Benni Posts: 172

    Aren't Carol Oppenheimer and Morty Simon both associated with the Northern New Mexico Central Labor Council and Work America? This article does not go far enough in drawing lines between the PACS, the union, the non--profit and Javier Gonzales' campaign. He will owe so many people so many favors that he will never be able to move Santa Fe forward--except over the edge of the precipice!

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 3:34 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    I forgot how boring Steve Faber is. Another lawyer ex-City Councilor looking for the "Glory Days" when people pretended to care what Faber thought ... pitiful.

    The rut that we are in here in Santa Fe and the injustice of our super controlled (one might say rigged) half-dead local Democracy is because of Councilors like Faber who set-up the systemic structural problems like lack of term limits and Bushee's appointment to her own replacement Councilor. Maybe Faber is getting paid by the word like Chacon.

     
  • Andrew Lucero posted at 3:17 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Andrew Lucero Posts: 132

    Good article Mr. Chacon. It clearly shows what most of us already know...Gonzales is the typical Northern New Mexican cardboard candidate that the state democratic party churns out. A candidate who is hollow, short of substance, void of ethics and has his hands in everybody's pockets. He has been bought and paid for by the special interest. None of this matters of course, as long as he tows the state Democratic Party line....

    I wish Mr. Chacon would do another article on Gonzales. This time Illustrating the connections and spotlighting the sweetheart land deals and cell phone towers that Gonzales and his family received while he was serving as County Commissioner and State Democratic Chair.

    But, after reading this article, there is one thing I think most Santa Fean's would agree with-- Win, lose or draw, with all the PAC money flooding into Gonzales' coffers, I believe he should be required to return every penny of public financing that was given to him.

     
  • Lalo Montalvo posted at 2:15 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Lalo Montalvo Posts: 15

    Too good to pass up, Counselor: I just googled your unbiased source here, John Loeher (the internet is not kind to this guy, with numerous citations of "pain in the class") but Loeher appears to be the Patti Bushee of Highlands University having served three insufferable terms as a trustee there. I can't tell how long Gonzales served, but he's not old enough to have served more than one term! So instead of blaming Gonzales for the Aragon matter, what about holding Loeher and the previous board accountable for hiring Aragon in the first place and the environment at the time? Worse yet, Loeher brags about being "the only one" who knew better than to settle with Aragon. What? He couldn't get one other board member to join him on that vote. Being the lone vote on a board like that is a protest vote and a chicken poop move.
    My daddy told me, son, a law degree or a medical degree doesn't mean someone's not an idiot, and this lazy copy/paste media campaign of yours only supports that.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 1:14 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    Albuquerque Journal - 7/21/06
    REGENT JOHN LOEHR'S STATMENT: My "no" vote on the proposed settlement between Manny Aragon and Highlands University should not be construed as opposition to the departure of Manny Aragon. All the regents are agreed that his presidency of Highlands is over.
    I am, however, opposed to giving him close to a quarter of a million dollars in pay and continuing benefits as the price of this departure. I believe, based on what I think is sound evidence, that he could be terminated in a public hearing for any of multiple causes and required to leave the presidency at no cost to the New Mexico taxpayers and Highlands.
    This is not a minor consideration. With this final going-away payment, the total monies Highlands will have paid to Manny in salary, bonuses, housing, cars and benefits is over $700,000, a high price indeed for what I think of as a two-year-long, failed experiment. And, of course, ironically, Highlands is additionally paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle personnel claims from those who believe they were unfairly treated by Manny and Highlands. My calculations here do not include the expensive and superfluous staff hired to bolster the president's managerial and public relations functions during his tenure.
    Several people have asked me if the logic in this large payout is similar to that which influenced the payment of Manny's bonus from the regents last fall. I don't know how to..

     
  • Lalo Montalvo posted at 12:43 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Lalo Montalvo Posts: 15

    You must have been a terrible public official and I'm sorry for everyone that ever served on a board burdened with your brand of leadership. If you have ever so responsible (dubious at this point) you would know that terminating an employee is a delicate legal situation and the goal is to minimize expense of course and the duration of the transition. I saw that NM Hghlands situation unfold in the papers at the time. Manny Aragon obviously needed to go and he probably had a contract with teeth. It's a good bet Aragon wanted the full value of his employment contract and they negotiated him down to the $200k (if that was the number) to get him to leave. Afterwards the board brought in a respectable President and the school enjoyed stability for years. See? Reality is less complicated than conjecture and poor sleuthing on your part.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:29 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    Issues matter. Raising issues with documentation is a public service. The intrusion of the superficial PACs and the out of town door to door canvassers into this election has corrupted the public finance ordinance. It leaves the candidate who benefits from the outside money the ability to send out mailers and spend more money that distort or don't reveal that person's record.

    Take the environment as an example. As a Regent of NMSU Gonzales has never to my knowledge challenged the position of NMSU President Garrey Carruthers whose organization TASSC claimed global warming is junk science (http://thinkprogress.org/climate - posted May 14, 2013).

    And, this doesn’t even touch the surface of the fact that Gonzales when a County Commissioner ducked a crucial vote on the ski basin expansion when his vote could have stopped destruction of pristine land and the cutting of hundreds of trees when he could have moved to postpone the vote. Gonzales ignored the desire of the majority in this community to block the ski basin expansion plans - fortunately we were able to save the Big Tesuque but with no help from Gonzales.

    What about the fact that Gonzales left his County Commission term early and abandoned his obligation to the community as a public official so that he could take a job – showing that he putting his personal interests first before his commitment to public service in that elected position.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:25 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    As a former public official I believe that Associations matter. Gonzales was Chair of the Regents of NMHU in 2006 and arranged the deal to pay Manny Aragon $200,000 to leave his position as President of NMHU. A NMHU Regent wrote a scathing public dissent criticizing this waste of taxpayer money. (Albuquerque Journal, 7/21/06). Manny Aragon was indicted the next year for the Metropolitan Court Bribery Scheme (Albuquerque Journal, 3/29/07) and was later sentenced to a five year plus federal prison term on his guilty plea (3/18/09 AP story in Seattletimes.com). In 2006 Gonzales flew up to Denver in the private jet of Gerald Peters, a Santa Fe mega property owner, for whom he did work, to go to a football game and then meet up with then Governor Richardson and his staff at a posh restaurant. It was reported that Peters expressed an interest in getting into off reservation casino business. They claimed they only talked about the football game. (Albuquerque Journal, 2/2/06, 2/4/06). It is beyond belief that they only talked football at that meeting. Gonzales is now on the Century Bank Board - a bank owned or controlled by Gerald Peters. Gonzales was involved in the Santa Fe Studios deal and its waste of government resources. The respected civic group Think New Mexico and even State Rep. Brian Egolf criticized the Santa Fe Studios project .

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:24 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    I have been a civil rights, anti-war, and human rights advocate since the 1960's. Since 1978 my law practice focuses on civil rights, defense of individual rights, and protection of tort and constitutional rights. Gonzales’ candidacy does a disservice to progressive and liberal causes - whatever those words mean these days - by his claiming to be a “liberal” or a “progressive” because he has clearly allowed with a wink and a nod to the PACs and others involved in this Santa Fe election to do what they want. Gonzales is the political machine and establishment candidate. Why do you think that the Chamber of Commerce, the Realtors, and the tourism at all costs partisans so prominent in past elections have been so quiet in this election cycle? Based on Gonzales’ past record he is not a liberal or progressive. Though slick and polished he is tied directly to Democratic Party machine politics as well as to big business interests which create huge conflict of interest issues. He is on the Board of Century Bank owned or controlled by Gerald Peters. He is a VP at a huge property and real estate investment and development company, Rosemont Realty. Gonzales and his supporters are playing the wink and nod game. Some of us see through this charade. If concerned please pass on info re Gonzales' record. It is appalling.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:24 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    PACs are involved in this local election. The ethics complaint filed by the esteemed elder and attorney Fred Rowe is pending questioning coordination by the Gonzales campaign through Jon Hendry, head of the New Mexican Federation of Labor - AFL-CIO. I believe that Jon Hendry is not a genuine labor leader. Many Santa Feans, like me, are labor union supporters. We see the sham that exists using these PACs as cover for the Jon Hendry and David Coss sycophants and their machine’s attempt to stay in power. Gonzales is the new establishment candidate and they know he will carry on, if elected, like he has done in the past with questionable dealings and positions favoring friends, family, and supporters.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:23 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    In Northern New Mexico terms there is a political “movida’ happening in Santa Fe and the PACs and others participating in this “movida”, and attempting to cleverly mask their role in this effort, have harmed the public financing model that was put in place to stop candidates like David Coss who spent about $175,000 when he ran for Mayor in 2010. These Gonzales supporters want to keep the truth about Gonzales and his past record and associations from being revealed.

    There are Coss connections with the Montoya's and Advantage Asphalt and large contributions made in past Mayor elections. And, Jon Hendry who is in the mix of things was appointed to the OTAB Board. There was a special deal for a hugely discounted price for one of the city's liquor license for the airport for Jon Hendry and his girlfriend or domestic partner or spouse, Lisa Van Allen. The airport restaurant operation had a $100,000 federal tax lien for non payment of 941 and 940 employee taxes. Non payment of employee taxes is considered theft from employees by the IRS.

    If you think this information now being reported in the paper and in the comments sections it is important for the public to know please forward it to family, friends, and acquaintances. We can no longer rely on traditional sources of investigative reporting to get out the real and complete facts.

     
  • Steven Farber posted at 11:14 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    steven farber Posts: 35

    As County Commissioner, Gonzales was the primary proponent for a private company to build an unnecessary oversized jail that then needed to rent out jail beds (e.g., New Mexican, 12/20/96, 12/21/96, Albuquerque Journal 12/20/96, and New Mexican, 4/5/98). Gonzales’ jail has been the scene of avoidable assaults, deaths, and constitutional violations since built. His brother in-law’s company, Borrego Construction, Inc. was given a lucrative contract by the County to oversee the construction of the jail project despite an evaluation committee finding them unqualified (New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal: 5/14/97). A federal civil rights investigation of the jail was necessary because of jail conditions. Gonzales doubled the County budget and the County was in the red according to local papers and civic groups (New Mexican: 4/8/98, 4/10/98, 4/15/98, 4/19/98, 7/8/98, 7/15/98). The jail caused a continuing financial disaster for Santa Fe County (Jail, Inc. Santa Fe Reporter, 7/20/11). Gonzales also had the idea to use the old riot state penitentiary as an “immigrant jail” until public outcry and a march on the County Commission chambers forced him to change his mind (Albuquerque Journal, 4/2/00, New Mexican, 4/12/00). Gonzales raised $23,000 in the weekend before an election (New Mexican, 7/7/98). While he was a County Commissioner in two years Gonzales took 22 trips at a cost to the taxpayer of $15,875, including three trips to meet up with Cornell regarding the jail project (New Mexican, 12/8/96).

     
  • Mike Miller posted at 10:17 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Mike Miller Posts: 21

    Well this is nothing we didn't already know Javier and his cronies are trying to buy the election. Javier Says that he has ran a grassroots campaign, I can't tell with all the outside money helping him. Don't know if any one else has noticed around town Bil and Patti's sign's are being vandalized then a Javier sign shows up right next to the vadalized sign's coincidence i think not. Javier wants to start a city bank, I think with New Mexico politics history this is the worst idea ever. His buddy Gerald Peters is watering at the mouth hoping Javier gets elected so him and his banking buddies can do all there movidas in the name of the City Of Santa Fe.

     
  • Joseph Hempfling posted at 10:00 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    joehempfling Posts: 189

    DO WE WANT A PAC CHOSEN MAYOR OR A PEOPLE ELECTED MAYOR ? and yes it is that simple; the lesson being BIG MONEY at work !! The "CHOICE" is yours.
    And if you want to see Big Money at work; look at the gridlocked federal government where the shots are called by a select few, answerable only to their pay-masters and the banksters of Wallstreet while those same special interests, work behind closed doors to scuttle our democracy via the pending TPP fast track legislation which also would destroy our sovereignty, environment and nationhood. Let's not let it happen locally and elect a Mayor to "move Santa Fe forward" who "truly" represents the People, All the People !

     
  • Donado Coviello posted at 9:04 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 337

    Media bias has always been there. Where was the New Mexican's concern about money when Coss spent almost a quarter of a million dollars to get re-elected? One of the writers at the New Mexican said to me that "Dimas could get Patti elected if he wanted." Then added, "But I don't think he wants to." Judging from the article ... maybe he really does want to be a spoiler.

    All the candidates are in favor of all the charter questions on the ballot. If Bushee or Dimas win they get to appoint their own replacement on the Council, two Council seats for the price of one. If the # 9 ballot issue passes then whomever wins gains FULL control of the local government. Please Vote NO on 9.

     
  • Lindsay Robinson posted at 8:53 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Lindsay Posts: 6

    I'm not a Gonzales supporter, but the picture shown here seems inflammatory to me. It looks like you're criticizing him because he knows other people in politics. Well, duh!

     
  • Lalo Montalvo posted at 8:39 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Lalo Montalvo Posts: 15

    That is an amazing illustration because it attempts to show something and at the same achieves nothing. Looking at it, I can redirect the dotted lines in any number of directions to make any other point I want. Look, David Coss is still running things! Wait, it's Kenny Martinez that is actually pulling the strings to his own benefit! Making elaborate graphic art does not make this paper the New York Times or the Washing Post... Someone here is watching too much House of Cards and wishing they were Zoe Barnes.
    Bottom line, the whole of New Mexico is still smaller than the population of Houston, Texas, and all the political operatives are in ABQ or Santa Fe. After twenty years of campaigns, you are going to continue to bump into the same people, over and over again.

     
  • Linda Damon posted at 7:57 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    LyndaLou Posts: 1

    What about the influence of media bias? It's troubling when only newspapers/news outlets (which are after all owned by corporations or rich individuals like Tom Lang of the ABQ Journal) are the only ones who feel the first amendment applies to them. Working citizens should have as much right to participate in the process as Newspapers and other corporate media. If working America needs to step aside then everyone else needs to step aside and the corporately owned media isn't prepared to do that.

     
  • Jack Rush posted at 7:23 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    SFWatcher Posts: 57

    I do need to give a salute here, the New Mexican at least got Bill Dimas to say something. Bill Dimas' no show at public forums cast doubt as to whether he can actually speak, good for you Bill, maybe we'll see a article on a candidate who runs for Mayor only using signs and not talking to the people.

     
  • Jack Rush posted at 7:15 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    SFWatcher Posts: 57

    Intro of article should read

    With less than three weeks left in the Santa Fe mayor’s race, Javier Gonzales is dealing with a reporter named Daniel Chacon whose first attack was to try and frame the election began with two articles about business cards and titles which was nothing but the SFNM allowed that. Santa Fe New Mexican you have a nettlesome problem, one of your biggest reporters is attempting to create news, not report it.

    The real problem here is a flawed public financing law.

    When will the New Mexican do its formal endorsement of Patti Bushee? You heard it here first.

     
  • Ron Romero posted at 6:00 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    RonRomero Posts: 44

    Whoa! Man that is a big mess. Gonzales going to owe a lot of people if the city is ignorant enough to elect him. Right now he owes the tax payers their $60,000 back, since he has allowed the principle purpose of the money to be violated. Now, Gonzales cannot truthfully claim that his campaign is publicly funded; lets see if he does the right thing. I won't be holding my breath.

     
  • Judy Klinger posted at 3:20 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    judy klinger Posts: 11

    “'We absolutely have not coordinated anything with any outside groups. Period,' Gonzales said." and “'Let me be very clear through this article, because it is the best way to communicate to outside groups: They need to stand down,' he said."
    Gonzales' disavowal of the PACs is disingenuous at best. This article didn't mention that he could easily communicate with them another way -- he can just wave at them or step into their offices since his own campaign headquarters, the Central Labor Council which is paying union workers to work for his campaign, and AFSCME which gave $5,000 to his Santa Fe Working Families PAC (according to City Clerk's 2/7/14 campaign finance reports) all share the same building @ 1420 Cerrillos Road which also houses the SF Democratic Party headquarters. Are we still supposed to believe that there is NO COORDINATION between "outside" groups who happen to be "inside" the same building as his campaign?
    PACs may be legal, and Gonzales can accept money and help from them, but he should NOT ALSO be taking $60,000 of tax payers' money, a process voters approved to keep private money out of public elections! Would we really want a mayor who is willing to take advantage of loopholes for himself, who even denies knowing who occupies the next office, who deflects us away from the point by claiming this is something "that the public should be proud of?" Please Santa Fe, wake up, smell the coffee.

     

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