Police escort for wealthy car enthusiasts costs taxpayers

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Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 8:45 pm | Updated: 11:11 am, Tue Apr 8, 2014.

A group of high rollers who passed through Santa Fe in expensive cars last month avoided the normal hassles of traffic, courtesy of taxpayers.

The Santa Fe Police Department assigned a dozen law-enforcement officers, including a captain and a lieutenant, to escort the caravan of wealthy car enthusiasts through traffic March 28.

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  • Pierce Knolls posted at 9:27 am on Fri, Apr 11, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    Online misfits?

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 7:54 am on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    Rich people don't get rich by rolling over. Rich people have good lawyers. The insurance companies of rich people have good lawyers. Just because they have insurance to cover their own damages and medical, that doesn't mean that they won't go after any deep pockets to which fault can be attributed.

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 1:45 am on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 569

    Pearl-clutchers (wealthy ones) arise, and demand your right to a police escort as you motor through our dangerous town. Should you be denied a free personal police escort for your very-expensive automobile which you presumably have insured appropriately (and to include your occupants' medical costs, if needed), and find yourself in a metallic-twist with a local ne'er-do-well; do what any reasonable person of your extravagant means would do, and sue the city (and by extension its taxpaying citizens) to cover your expensive expenses, rather than burden your insurance company and pay that dreadful deductible.

    As a preemptive display of obsequiousness, let us bestow upon thee a handicapped parking permit so you may park your noble steed up-close and with plenty of space apart from the riff-faff whose clap-trap doors so often offend and dent. Please sire, have mercy upon us, and spare us the meeting of your most-litigious Esquire. And might we attend to that leaky rear-end?

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 12:33 am on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 569

    "hapless tourists"? That's Ma & Pa Kettle, asking directions to Tia Sophia's; not well-heeled (and well-wheeled) joyriders finding their way around and through town with the personal assistance of a dozen police. As for taking "a look at security costs around all notable public events"; the Pet Parade on and near the Plaza, and the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market at Museum Hill (over a long weekend) are hosting thousands of people. Not a royally-entitiled, yet paltry, 51 counting the mayor.

  • Lalo Montalvo posted at 8:23 pm on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    Lalo Montalvo Posts: 15

    Ahh, the Mute Roger Ebert of Santa Fe, sporting the Big Thumbs Up(!) for opposing views...as someone said earlier, let's hope none of our visitors actually look at this band of online misfits.

    I'm all for the Fifth Estate exposing waste and corruption, but focusing on hapless tourists is a bit beneath Mr. Chacon, is it not? If we must nit pick, let's go ahead and take a look at security costs around all notable public events. How about the Pet Parade...and what about those functions around Museum Hill with the crazy traffic? I'm sure we can find some rich scoundrels hanging around the museums, or in Chacon-code: "wealthy art enthusiasts."

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 12:26 pm on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    I'm a born and raised New Mexican, and I've made Santa Fe my home for going on two decades now. I think I can safely say that not all of our local drivers are among the best or safest. On Santa Fe's streets one can encounter red-light runners, non-signalers, and sky-larkers. I regularly witness folks who seemingly don't know how to change lanes, merge, or execute turns to the left or to the right. Half the drivers one encounters at four-way stops apparently don't have a clue as to who has the right-of-way, and let's not even get started on the general state of cluelessness that overwhelms some folks when they encounter round-a-bouts.

    Imagine that a group of well-to-do folks with high six figure incomes and comparably expensive cars request the assistance of local PD to get those pricy cars safe into, around, and back out of our town. Let's imagine that the police turn them down due to the associated costs. Now let's imagine that one of our town's less impressive (and probably under-insured) drivers hits one of these well-heeled motorists, causing serious damage to the car and serious and permanently disabling injury to the driver and/or passenger. It's hard to believe that the city wouldn't get dragged into the ensuing litigation, and the cost of replacing one of these cars would pale in comparison to replacing the life-long income of one of one of these "high-rollers" if they suffered a serious disability.

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 12:09 pm on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    "Woah, Pierce -- very surprising logic coming from you!" - Why is that a surprise, did you think only Santa Fe's political elite and their lapdogs were capable of doing simple math?


  • Jane Kadlubek posted at 11:31 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    JKadlubek Posts: 18

    Woah, Pierce -- very surprising logic coming from you! Thumbs up!

    Not to mention, these are individuals who are potentially interested in investing in our community.

    $0.05 per tax payer? Well worth it

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 11:02 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 569

    Pierce and Bruce (below) both make good points regarding the thousand$ the party likely left behind at various local businesses and the local-tourism publicity value. But if you consider that if each of those 22 cars had even chipped-in a hundred dollars, that would have covered almost half the stated cost. It seems unlikely that a "high roller" would feel "put-upon", or otherwise offended by contributing towards that special escort, to an extent that they took their toys to another playground, next time.

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 9:50 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1675

    Right now on the internet Rancho Encantado is advertising rooms for a low as $389/night. Assuming that 22 cars means 22 rooms, for two nights each, this group spent a minimum of $17,116 just on their rooms.

    If we assume that each of the 22 cars carried two people (folks this rich rarely lack willing companions) and that each of these folks ate three meals a day, that gives us 264 meals. Since these folks a likely eating at finer (and more expensive) establishments, I think it's conservative to estimate that they're spending $50 per person, per meal, which gives us a food cost of $13,200. And if we add to that a $50 per person per day tab for adult beverages we get a total food an beverage cost of $17,600.

    The total for all that is $34,716. Gross Receipts on that is $2,842. Lodgers tax on the rooms is another $1,201, for a total direct tax revenue of $4,043.

    Surely these folks bought some art and jewelry while they were here, along with the usual tourist trinkets, all taxed. I bet more than one expensive pair of cowboy boots got sold to these folks, and several cowboy hats, all taxed. Does any tourist ever leave Santa Fe without taking home some sort of chile product, or maybe a cookbook filled with "local" recipes, all taxed?

    I think we made our money back.

  • Mark Ordonez posted at 9:40 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    marcoordonez Posts: 659


  • Bruce Tapia posted at 9:27 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    BruceTapia Posts: 5

    I support this expenditure because most likely this event received news coverage in Hong Kong, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia and New York City. $4k is a small amount of money compared to the value of the media attention the event received in different parts of the world.

    A big detriment to Santa Fe's economy is all of the negative articles the Santa Fe New Mexican chooses to write about Santa Fe. What do companies think of our town when they read about this criticism by the media? My take is that they won't want to come to Santa Fe because any cooperation they receive from the City will subject their companies to negative press.

    The New Mexican writes negative articles so they can make money. This comes at the expense of our town making money.

  • Barbara Harrelson posted at 9:19 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    barbarah1 Posts: 26

    Thank you New Mexican for staying on top of this event...and others...to hold our public officials/government accountable. Yes, good PR helps Santa Fe in many ways, but this money could also have been used to provide additional security, traffic control, for example, at a community event.

  • Mark Ordonez posted at 8:45 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    marcoordonez Posts: 659


  • Ken Resnick posted at 6:33 am on Tue, Apr 8, 2014.

    KenResnick Posts: 2

    Should we understand the city spokesperson's comments to mean that otherwise properly licensed individuals from such foreign countries such as New York driving otherwise street legal and properly licensed vehicles would not be safe (or the rest of us would not be safe) on the streets of Santa Fe without a taxpayer provided traffic escort? What does this say about the safety of the streets generally, when "public safety" is apparently threatened by a couple of tourists--much less the thousands--who come to Santa Fe (even from such far away places as NY) and drive without escort every single day of the year?

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 10:54 pm on Mon, Apr 7, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 569

    Socialism for the wealthy, paid by the working-class. Not to deprive a dozen officers of an occasional fun-junket; but Isn't there a procedure in place already, which evaluates police escort requests and scales them appropriately with financial reimbursement as a condition? No doubt that "high rollers" expect to be treated well, but they should consider paying for services rendered if they'd rather not be viewed as free-loading jerks.


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