A campaign manager for mayoral candidate and City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler said Santa Feans shouldn’t expect any more fireworks from her at Thursday’s forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County.

Vigil Coppler surprised a crowd at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night when she alleged Webber had told her in a meeting between the two, perhaps more than two years ago, “not to get her panties in a twist.”

She lobbed the allegation during closing statements in the second session of a two-day candidate forum.

Sisto Abeyta, Vigil Coppler’s campaign manager, said she felt it was important to get the allegation out following a discussion during the previous evening’s forum on managerial styles.

“This was not an easy decision for the councilwoman to do,” he said. “It was very difficult for the councilwoman to come to this decision.”

Abeyta said viewers shouldn’t expect another “October surprise” when Vigil Coppler takes a seat Thursday evening at The Santa Fe New Mexican’s Marcy Street building, where she will join Mayor Alan Webber and former congressional candidate Alexis Martinez Johnson in a discussion about issues facing the city.

The League of Women Voters will start the forum at 6:30 p.m. and it will be streamed live on The New Mexican‘s website, sfnewmexican.com.

Abeyta said Vigil Coppler’s campaign looks forward to talking about the issues Thursday.

Vigil Coppler has not provided a date when she alleges Webber made the offensive comment.

After Tuesday’s forum, Webber denied her claim in a statement in which he opined the revelation was due to the election season.

He did, however, acknowledge in a handwritten letter in February 2020 that Vigil Coppler had informed him he had said something she found “appalling.”

In a text message, Sandra Wexler, Webber’s campaign manager, slammed what she felt was an attempt by Vigil Coppler to take Tuesday night’s substantive debate at the Lensic on the city’s housing crisis and turn it into an attack ad.

Wexler wrote in the text the allegation is “why people hate politics and don’t trust politicians.”

“That’s what makes good people feel bad about the people they elect,” she wrote. “It’s not the policies. It’s the politics. We’ll keep sticking to the issues, regardless of what [Vigil Coppler] does.”

Tuesday’s allegation was the second major claim of the mayoral campaign cycle so far. Last month, Vigil Coppler alleged Webber ordered police to stand down as protesters pulled the Plaza obelisk from its base nearly a year ago, on Indigenous Peoples Day. Vigil Coppler said anofficer had given her the information, but she has not provided any evidence to support her claim. Webber has denied he made the call, stating mayors do not interfere with police work, but said he was supportive of the decision. City officials and police have said a commanding officer made the call for officers to leave the Plaza, before the monument was toppled, as rallygoers began to get into skirmishes with officers.

(4) comments

Lee Vigil

The previous reporting on this issue made it clear that Vigil-Coppler' claim was substantiated. Webber's campaign manager's comment is typical - and is what is sad about politics.

I don't know if Webber ordered the police to stand down on Indigenous People's day, but I doubt that V-C's source is lying. Webber, however, remains responsible for the destruction of The Soldier's Monument. He irresponsibly encouraged and embraced those who destroyed the Monument prior to its destruction.

According to reporting in this paper, he received a call the day before from one of the organizers, who told him that the Monument was going to be attacked and destroyed the following day, and he sat on the information. There were two or three police officers handling a crowd of dozens of unruly and aggressive 'protesters', and some were attacked by them.

He wanted the Monument down and he averted his gaze and let it happen. He didn't order an appropriate police presence on the plaza, considering that he had inside information. Maybe he was a co-conspirator. Maybe he wasn't, but he's responsible.

Stefanie Beninato

I wanted to strongly support V-C but I am not there. Someone who waits to bring up alleged inappropriate remarks, who bases complaints on rumors and nothing more, who does not know what the council voted on re airport (In approx 2018, the city council made the airport a significant structure. The airport team changed the plans and took a couple of years to come back to the H Board for approval which it has. V-C does not know that nonprofits who serve homeless and who support affordable housing meet regularly and try to partner up even before Webber's participation in a national program?

Generally I don't understand why candidates have so little knowledge of the position they want to fill and its demands, its history etc

Dennis Romero

Stefanie - I will state I believe you are incorrect. Councilor Vigil Coppler did file a complaint, which the City Attorney stated she would not act upon.

You stated that it took ~two years for the airport design to come back to the Historical Review Board, and that is somehow Councilor Vigil Coppler's fault? I would say I'd look into whoever was putting the design together for that. To my knowledge, she isn't an architect or engineer.

Have you been at every non-profit board's meetings in the past four years? Have you been privy to each phone call, email or text that Councilor Vigil Coppler has sent to non-profit board members? If so, please regale us with your knowledge of these communications. If not, would you please refrain from making general statements like the ones you have above?

Amber Espinosa-Trujillo

This is such a “Sandra Wexler campaign tactic” to go after the victim. The Mayor said something inappropriate to Councilor Vigil Coppler and apologized for it, acknowledging he had done so. Why are you shaming the victim? More lack of accountability from Webber's camp...just like his administration.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Santafenewmexican.com. Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.