A City Council candidate posted the mugshot of the new Santa Fe Planning Commission chairman on Facebook and questioned whether he is fit to lead, sparking a political skirmish on social media.
"I'm not sure what he was arrested for. But it seems questionable that a dude that was recently arrested gets appointed and is pushing for fast development," artist Marie Campos, who is running for the District 1 council seat, wrote about Vince Kadlubek.
In response, Kadlubek wrote his own Facebook post, saying he was feeling slightly disheartened that a council candidate he didn't name posted his mug shot from 2012 and "is using it to argue that I am not fit for my role on Planning Commission or Meow Wolf."
"They are doing it because I'm supporting Kate Kennedy instead of them. I know it's petty politics, but hurts nonetheless," wrote Kadlubek, chief executive officer of Meow Wolf, a local artist collective.
The District 1 race is the only competitive council race in the March municipal election. In addition to Campos and Kennedy, a marketing coordinator at Los Alamos National Bank and a partner at Skylight Santa Fe, a downtown nightclub, Frank Montaño, a businessman who served three terms on the City Council and two on the school board, and Renee Villarreal, a former Santa Fe Planning Commission member, are also running for the seat.
The seat has been held by Councilor Patti Bushee for more than two decades. Bushee decided not to seek re-election and endorsed Villarreal.
Kadlubek told The New Mexican that he looked forward to continuing to prove his love for Santa Fe "through my actions as a community organizer and business owner."
"I regret the mistakes I have made in the past, and I am grateful for all the support that has given me the chance to be a force of positivity in our community," he said via Facebook.
Kadlubek was appointed to the Planning Commission by Mayor Javier Gonzales. He is a friend of the mayor's and volunteered on his campaign. After he was confirmed by the council in April, Kadlubek became the vice chairman. He became chairman last week when Mike Harris, who is running unopposed for the District 4 council seat, stepped down.
Kadlubek has received overwhelming support from friends on his Facebook post, which had more than 100 "likes" as of Monday morning. In the post, Kadlubek acknowledged that he was arrested for shoplifting.
"I dedicate so much of my time towards the betterment of our city. Yes I have made mistakes, and I've learned deeply from them. I've now, thankfully, been given an opportunity to showcase my positive attributes in a healthy way, and I am committed to that path," he wrote.
"Once and for all -- yes, I've been arrested in the past for shoplifting. And I'm working my tail off to write a new chapter that makes up for those mistakes.
"Thank you to everyone who gives me support as I navigate these waters. And thank you to everyone for giving me another chance in life to be a positive force," he wrote.
It's not the first time Kadlubek has been involved in a Facebook dispute. In August, he took to social media to criticize Bushee, who he accused of "divisive politics." During the mayoral election, he often took to social media to criticize Bushee and Councilor Bill Dimas, who abstained from voting to confirm Kadlubek to the Planning Commission “because of personal issues I have with Mr. Kadlubek and his unwarranted attacks on me through social media.”