Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber hit back Monday against a critical advertisement about him that was funded by the Spanish fraternal organization Union Protectíva de Santa Fé, calling the group's ad "disturbing." 

The ad, published last week in the Santa Fe Reporter, bore the heading "Mayor Webber's Dark Side" and included an essay that claimed Webber has attempted to privatize city services, discounted "attacks on our religion" and established a "Marxist" process to address potentially controversial monuments across the city. 

Webber condemned the advertisement in a statement circulated by his campaign team.

"These charges are wrong," the statement said. "The facts are wrong. Even worse, their intention is wrong: Their purpose is to inflame divisions in our city." 

Virgil J. Vigil, president of Union Protectíva de Santa Fé, said Monday he disagreed with Webber's claims that language in the ad was false.

"We have different opinions," Vigil said in an interview.

The organization's ad was the fourth in a series criticizing Webber. After Webber ordered the removal of a Don Diego de Vargas statue from Cathedral Park in the summer, the 106-year-old group placed an ad in The New Mexican calling on the mayor to protect the Kit Carson monument at the downtown U.S. District Court and the obelisk on the nearby Santa Fe Plaza.

The new ad, which comes just a couple of weeks after Webber announced his bid for reelection, includes images of the mayor surrounded by public monuments in the city, including the destroyed Plaza obelisk, known as the Soldiers Monument. 

Vigil said Union Protectiva doesn't see the ad as political, and the organization's bylaws prevent it from supporting any political candidates.

"The mayor is trying to make a big deal out of this and say this is political," Vigil said. "We have been complaining about the mayor since July when he removed that statue. It has nothing to do with the election. It has to do with the mayor's policy and the mayor's anti-Santa Fe culture."

Webber said the advertisement, which also refers to the state government's upcoming removal of Gilbert Guzman's Railyard mural Multi-Cultural from a building undergoing renovation, is seeking to "divide." 

"We pride ourselves on our histories, our diversity, our many cultures, backgrounds and experiences," Webber wrote in the statement Monday. "Everyone is welcome here. That's what we believe, that's how we live. It's who we are.

"We must reject this kind of divisive ugliness," he added. "I know Santa Feans join me in standing against hate here and across our country." 

Webber's campaign also noted a flyer circulated by the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that represents city employees, depicts an older man with a long, exaggerated nose who is shaking in a chair. 

Webber said in the statement the image uses an old, racist characterization of Jews. 

"This has no place in Santa Fe," Webber wrote. "Not just with regard to me, but for everyone in our diverse city." 

Gil Martinez, vice president of the union, said he was "offended" that the mayor would suggest the image was meant as a racist attack. He said the image was not meant to depict Webber but a random city employee. 

"I think it's ridiculous in every form you can look at it," Martinez said. "They are grasping at straws." 

He also said the flyer was in relation to discussions over supplemental life insurance and that it was almost 4 months old.

In the campaign statement, Webber called on JoAnne Vigil Coppler, the only other candidate to announce a bid for mayor, and other candidates for city office to denounce "these kinds of attacks." 

Vigil Coppler said she had not seen the advertisement as of Monday.

"The only thing I can say is if he wants to run a positive campaign, then let's talk about that," she said. 

(37) comments

Maria Bautista

Wonderful informative comments. In our political community, the one who has the most money wins, Not this time, Our vote is golden, it is judgement day. Alan Webber went to ABQ to get endorsements, from Keller and NAIOP, Developer club to prevé the way for huge developments. Webber campaign Team is headed by Keller campaign Team. Neri Holguín and Alan Packman, this group are managed by developers, TCL plumbing comes in, Berry affliated compsny, after A.R.T. disaster, Berry through his CEO opened five new companies. Taos, Santa Fe, ABQ, Carlsbad, Socorro. Note TLC logo on KOAT news. The CIVIL RICO Act is at play.

Lupe Molina

I am no big fan of the mayor's tenure but this comments section is pretty gross. I'm pretty surprised the paper did not include the images they reference but if they are what is described here, both organizations should issue apologies. And a suggestion to Councilor Vigil Coppler: if the opportunity arises to denounce antisemitism, take it. Critique the mayor on the job he's done and do so loudly, if you feel so inclined. But attacking him based on his religion and where he lived 20 years ago is disgusting, discriminatory, and toxic to this whole community.

Dennis Romero

Lupe - the article stated that Councilor Vigil-Coppler hadn't seen the ad or flyer.

With respect, I think you're a bit out of line by pointing the finger like that at her.

I don't condone discrimination against anybody, but if somebody asked me to condemn something I wasn't aware of, I'd pause, as well.

Lupe Molina

But she didn't pause, she went on the counterattack without investigating it more. It would be easy as pie to say "I haven't seen the images in question but I denounce anything that objectifies the religion or ethnicity of my opponent. Now, let's get back to the issues." Instead, still operating without seeing it, she went on the offensive. It wasn't a smart way to handle the question.

Dennis Romero

There was no counter attack. I'll cut and paste what the article listed. Quite frankly, in my opinion, the Webber campaign is attempting to troll Vigil-Coppler by inserting her into a situation and position she isn't involved in. This is a classic dirty tactic in political campaigns, and with Sandra Weschler and Neri Holguin involved in Webber's campaign, this tactic does not surprise me. Take care.

"Vigil Coppler said she had not seen the advertisement as of Monday.

"The only thing I can say is if he wants to run a positive campaign, then let's talk about that," she said. "

Stefanie Beninato


Stefanie Beninato

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] for Lupe's comment

zach miller

baselessly calling people marxists isn't an opinion, its harassment.

Dennis Romero

Zach -

I'm cutting and pasting a few comments from an article that claims to be a fact check of the marxist comment. I don't vouch for the credibility of the source, but I did follow up the article's comments by looking at the groups mentioned that Mayor Webber has associated himself with.

By their own description, they are "Marxist." I post this to ask you to look into this yourself, rather than believing what the article at the link below contains. I checked, and yes, the groups state this themselves, so I don't know if I'd agree with your "harassment" claim.

From the article:

"One of these groups Webber partnered up with, The Red Nation, is an out-of-state “Indigenous Marxist” group that claims in its manifesto the following:

Our traditions of Indigenous resistance wield Marxism, not to uphold European traditions, but to emancipate ourselves from the colonizers by destroying that which destroys us, and building and rebuilding our nations according to our traditions and cultures so that our human and nonhuman relations and thus all people may live."

Vince Czarnowski

This man is slowly and methodically destroying our beautiful city. If you value our city's rich history, as well as the future of Santa Fe, you will not vote for Webber.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup] He is the worst thing that has ever happened to Santa Fe, and that takes a lot of doing.....

Andrew Lucero

Webber said: “We must reject this kind of divisive ugliness” HA!!!!!! That’s laughable. But it goes to show just how disingenuous and tone def to reality he really is… Webber is responsible for the division… He alone, released the poison in the air… And he will reap the bitter harvest he has sown… The battle lines are drawn and this was just the first volley… One thing is for certain, it’s going to be ugly watching the Milagro Beanfield War Redux play out.

MJ Paul

What the people in our community are really rejecting are the ugly results of Webber’s administration. The extensive failures of his administration have left few untouched in our community, save those who are benefiting financially from his administration.

In my neighborhood the railyard park, railyard residential homes and businesses, and RailTrail were turned into a public safety nightmare with open pit toilets in front of the children’s play area in the railyard park, neighbors being threatened with clubs, transients living on neighbors properties, trash so nasty it would best be described as squalor, St. Elizabeth on Alarid throwing out food bags from behind locked doors for those suffering from acute and untreated metal health and or addiction issues and left to wander our neighborhood and park, and oh the list goes on.

Webber, demonstrating no integrity, showed up a few days ago at the Santa Fe Suites touting a “success” with more new homeless programming while ignoring the massive public safety and quality of life fallout plaguing his existing homeless programming with murders, knifings, and unacceptable public safety issues surrounding St. E’s, the Interfaith Shelter, and homeless programming at the former College of Santa Fe.

What audacity for Webber to claim misinformation and bigotry, when we have all had to live through the nightmare of his administration and the false PR claims that he takes the public safety and quality of life concerns of residents seriously when he does nothing to address the issues and sits on his privileged white rump on 5 acres on upper Canyon Road so completely out of touch with the rage of the people in Santa Fe he needs to hide behind racism to defend his miserable record as mayor.

KT Rivera


Heather Nordquist

You are the MAYOR. You didn't engage the leadership of local Pueblos to address the situation, you met with an activist group that does not speak for our Native brothers and sisters. Then, you made an even bigger mess of it by sitting on your laurels for months instead of putting together a commission to find a common goal for Santa Fe residents. YOU are the reason this city is divided. You have no leadership. You have no vision. You have no follow through. I am so over the excuses this man has for all that is wrong when he continues to make all the wrong decisions based on all the wrong advice.

Remember at the polls in November.....whatever Neri Holguin (and now Sandra Wechsler) are selling.....DON'T BUY IT!

R. Phalange


Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup]Agreed, Neri and Sandra can't be trusted, and neither can Webber, birds of a feather......

Maria Bautista

Neri Olguin worked with Alan Packman on Keller's campaign in ABQ. Webber went to ABQ to get endorsements before he announced his candidacy,. Developers are paving their way up the cradle of the state, mayor's not loyal to oath they swear too.

Charles W Rodriguez

This man claims he is "from here", because he has been here for 20 years. I submit he grew up and lived, many years, somewhere else. His 20 year residence in this community has not imbued him with an understanding of the significance and history of Santa Fe. His reality is to make Santa Fe like everywhere else. When faced with something outside of his reality, he ignores it hoping it will go away. No, he's not from here and should not be in any kind of position that affects what this city becomes.

Paul Davis

Wait, you are seriously advocating for a position that anyone not born in a given place can never be "in any kind of position that affects what this [place] becomes"?

Do you call yourself an American? Do you not understand how fundamentally opposed what you have just suggested is to the entirety of US history?

It's fine if you don't like Webber or his policies. That's entirely your right, and I trust you vote and advocate accordingly.

But seriously: please knock off this xenophobic, ahistorical nonsense in which Webber's original sin was to not be born here. Unbelievable.

Miguel Perez

For the good of all citizens of Santa Fe, vote against Webber!!

David Brown


Francisco Carbajal

Seriously, Mayor Allan Webber created the "division and separation" mentally in Santa Fe by making poor choices, bad leadership qualities, and a lack of good judgement, period! To blame the "local" people for his lack of cultural competence and cultural sensitivity is no one's fault, but his alone. It is amazing that many of the long-time traditions, customs, values, principles and religious practices of "Old Santa Fe" once existed are no longer present due to Webber's lack of poor cultural understanding of New Mexico History, specifically, in Santa Fe. He speaks like if he is representing the old generational families like his own. Who is "We" that he speaks of defending and protecting of the "real people" that are the "true" living inhabitant's and dweller's of Santa Fe?

Stefanie Beninato

I guess you forgot about Debbie Jaramillo and a recent former city councilor who always talked about those who were from here, meaning born here, as if they had a leg up on speaking for the general good of the community--that is when divisiveness came to the surface and we are still suffering from the backlash of that myopic POV.

Maria Bautista

Hi Stefanie, we all agree, there has been an undertone of divisiveness, Webber said it, lIke every where in the country, but it is worse, and sometimes dangerous, and when he told the cops to stand down it opened the door of bigotry and hate to be displayed. But even in the most dire situations, the (community) everyone who lives in Santa Fe, or bedroom communities, (locals) people who have been here for centuries, have always come together to address major issues of concern:

. Remember how we came together to help Los Alamos during the big fire, or how Gerard Martinez and council members gathered the community during the protest of the Guadalupe and cyberart exhibit, or the alcohol service at city parks. There is pride in being born here, and people do speak about the general good of the community, you do, frequently. At every city council meeting. Maria

Amber Espinosa-Trujillo

Stephanie, maybe if you were from somewhere you loved you would feel the same pride of community! We are 18th generation New Mexicans and proud of our culture, all of it, Hispanic, Native American and 8+ other origins. You speak like you were present at each meeting, issue, time in history...maybe you should once in a while listen to people whose families were! My 5th great grandfather was killed in La Cienega in the Comanche Raids in 1776, my grandfather lived on San Ildefonso and farmed the land. It is easy for you to judge not ever bothering to understand that we New Mexicans go away to college and decide to come back to the community we love.

Paul Davis

This is a reply to Amber Espinosa-Trujillo, rather than Stefanie Beninato.

There are people in the world who are very much attached to whatever they perceive as their own history and culture. Not just here in New Mexico, but all across the world. Some of these histories and cultures are much older than anything here, some of them are quite a bit newer.

But there are also other people who believe that cosmopolitanism is the only real way forward to a more peaceful world, that as long as people conceive of the human tribe as consisting of completely distinct cultures and histories we will continue to have war and strife, and be unable to share in all the wondrous things that we as humans have discovered over thousands of years.

There's no way to say which one of these viewpoints is closer to the truth, or even if either of them are close to the truth. I understand that people sincerely experience and believe in the first view, and believe that their/our communities are better when we respect history, respect differences, respect ownership of culture. You sound as if you are such a person, and I respect that.

There are, however, plenty of places where being an 18th generation member of a society would not classify you as a member of a long-standing resident of a place. There are continuous cultures in south-east Asia that go back 5000 years. The idea that you have had family here for a mere few hundred years would be laughed at in many parts of our planet. Your ancestors in this land were settlers just like the newcomers today, they just got here long enough ago that in a continent without much written history, it might feel like "forever" to some.

I am a believer in cosmopolitanism. I don't want to destroy your culture (or that of the people who lived here before your ancestors arrived). But I would also appreciate an acknowledgement that those of us who want less tribalism (in the most general sense), less cultural preservation and more cultural hybridization, less looking backwards and more learning how to move forward .. that we might also have a legitimate point of view too. I do understand that you may view people with attitudes like mine as a threat to everything you consider important about your life.

A Ortega

Webber is a toxin infecting this city. The add does speak the truth. The New Mexican needs to show the add so the people of Santa Fe can see it also.

David Brown

We have a mayor with a dark past that has never been properly been accounted for is what we have.

Chris Mechels

Are you referring to Webbers involvement with Neil Goldschmidt in Portland, while Neil was having sex with the 13 years old Elizabeth Dunham? Alan was very clever in skirting that issue, and the media let him off the hook. Asking him about Dunham was "going negative". God forbid "going negative, and digging into Alan's past. Dunham's early death meant he could enter politics without answering for his role in her abuse. Alan is a master at PR and spin, and little else.

David Brown


David Brown

From Alan Webber’s 2009 book ‘ Rules of Thumb....’ (now deleted from the Kindle) which contains pages of abject praise for his mentor .....

‘Neil ( Goldschmidt0 was a real Oregonian. Raised in Eugene, he’d attended the University of Oregon, where he’d been elected student body president. He’d gone to law school at Berkeley and worked in Mississippi during Freedom Summer as part of the civil rights movement. Back in Portland he’d worked for Legal Aid and then, at the age of twenty-seven, run for city council, an injection of youth into a geriatric body. As a candidate he objected to the way the council did its business—behind closed doors in private meetings before the make-believe public sessions. He objected to the way city planning ignored the needs of Portland’s neighborhoods. Most of all, he objected to the Mt. Hood Freeway, the first leg of Moses’ grand transportation plan that was getting ready to move ahead. When he won his election he asked the mayor to give him city planning as his portfolio. The mayor handed him the animal control bureau to manage. The next year Neil announced his candidacy for mayor. When he opened his campaign Neil’s brochure carried a quote on the cover from his announcement speech: “Ours is a city with much to cherish, much to love, and too much to lose to remain idle.” The campaign itself was a math lesson. What is the cost of the status quo? What is the risk of change? The cost of the status quo, beginning with the Mt. Hood Freeway, turned out to be exorbitantly high: bulldozing neighborhoods, adding air pollution, dumping more cars into the already auto-clogged downtown—all to build a freeway that the environmental impact statement showed would be filled bumper to bumper the day it opened. The price tag was the destruction of everything the people of Portland loved about their city. The risk of change—well, that was embodied by Neil Goldschmidt. He talked very fast—his political opponents mocked his speaking style as “rat-a-tat-tat.” He was a young man in a hurry, and that in itself was risky. In some parts of Portland he was whispered against because he was Jewish.’ Pg. 19

Not a single word in the book about his Neil raping Elizabeth Dunham from the age of 13-18. Not a single word. Just abject praise on at least 5 pages for his rapist mentor.....the shame.....

Chris Mechels

Richard Reinders

As they say "The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost" Webber your past has caught up with you.

Dan Frazier

If you pay for an ad in one newspaper, and then get a write-up in another newspaper, your money has been well-spent, even if the write-up is not flattering.

KT Rivera

The New Mexican newspaper should publish the latest Union Protectiva ad and let its readership decide for themselves. Anything short of that is biased reporting.

pooky bear

We have a mayor?

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