It’s official: Mayor Alan Webber is seeking a second term.

After months of speculation over whether he would run after 2020 was marked by controversy and criticism, Webber announced his intentions in an op-ed in Sunday’s New Mexican.

“I love the city and I love the job,” Webber said in an interview. “I want to continue to try to make things better in Santa Fe. I think we have made good progress in my first term. I think this COVID year has been unprecedented, and yet we have come through it as a community, very strong and resilient.”

The co-founder of Fast Company magazine and a longtime business adviser, Webber, 72, was elected as Santa Fe’s first full-time mayor in spring 2018. He defeated four other contenders in the city’s first ranked-choice election, gaining 66 percent of the vote.

This year’s election will be held in November after a change in state law altered the schedule for some municipal elections.

Webber said he intends to campaign on the accomplishments of his first three years in office while voicing an intention to continue on that path. He compared his mayoral tenure as a three-act drama.

“Act 2 is where we are right now, which is COVID,” Webber said. “Of which, I think the whole community has done an outstanding job of responding.”

Webber outlined a list of successes during his first few years in office that he said set the city up to weather the pandemic. They include increasing the city’s financial reserves, modernizing the city’s computer software systems to ease interactions with the public, and passing mask requirements and eviction moratoriums.

He also pointed to $17.5 million in federal CARES Act funding awarded to the city, $2 million of which was used to purchase shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

“There is an old saying that the time to fix the roof is before it starts raining,” he said. “Well, we did a lot to fix the roof and then it turned into an absolute downpour.”

While others have not declared whether they will run against Webber — City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler, long thought to be interested, has not announced her intention — the mayor does face potential hurdles.

After a summer of controversy over monuments in the city against the backdrop of social unrest around the country, Native American activists and their allies toppled the 152-year-old obelisk in the Plaza on Indigenous Peoples Day in October. Webber faced a storm of criticism over his handling of the incident.

Webber said that if he could do his first term over again, he would have addressed controversial monuments in a more expeditious and inclusive way early on.

Before the monument’s toppling, he had discussed forming a truth and reconciliation commission to discuss the monuments and other public artworks, but that effort did not materialize prior to the obelisk’s destruction.

The city ultimately did launch its Culture, History, Art, Reconciliation and Truth panel process in January, three months after the obelisk was destroyed.

“I wish I would have gotten on it sooner and started it sooner,” Webber said. “I think we would be further along, and I think the obelisk wouldn’t have been torn down the way it was.”

The obelisk wasn’t the only monument to cause problems for the mayor. In the summer, the city removed the Don Diego de Vargas statue from Cathedral Park, with the mayor’s assurance that it would be placed in “safekeeping.” The statue ultimately was found in the backyard of the crane operator who was paid to remove it.

When asked how he thought the events would affect his run for a second term, Webber said he plans to have “open and honest” discussions with community members over their concerns.

“When I have made mistakes, I have tried my very best to accept the responsibility and learn from them,” Webber said. “I think what we have created in city government as the full-time mayor, I think we are in the early phases of building a strong, stable, predictable, dependable city government.”

Webber campaigned in 2018 as someone who could bring his private business acumen to Santa Fe’s public sector. He has shepherded a government that has been late submitting its documents to the state for necessary city audits for both the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years.

Webber said he has reached out to potential supporters to gauge their opinion of his run for a second term and whether they would be open to an endorsement.

Webber, who assembled a list of notable supporters in 2018, including Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and former Santa Fe Mayors Sam Pick and Javier Gonzales, said he intends to run a “grassroots” campaign “as much as COVID allows.”

He was a fundraising powerhouse during the 2018 election, surpassing previous Santa Fe records for municipal elections with $315,000 — around $192,000 more than the next candidate.

Webber said he intends to start reaching out to city councilors to inform them of his intent to campaign again.

The election also will include races for four City Council seats — currently occupied by District 1’s Signe Lindell, District 2’s Carol Romero-Wirth, District 3’s Roman “Tiger” Abeyta and District 4’s Coppler.

(73) comments

Grace Trujillo

It doesn't matter if Webber has lived here 20 years or is from here. What matters is that he doesn't think of good for the city and hasn't displayed any type of improvement in the last 4 years. Why would we want him back for another term? He is not what the City of Santa Fe needs and doesn't think about what it's people or communities need. He is not the right person for Santa Fe.

Lupe Molina

There are plenty of fine critiques here, plenty overblown, and plenty of downright lies. Not a single person willing to throw their hat in the ring. After reading through the comments here, who among you would want to govern over this group? Apparently nobody. This is a city with a wealth of opinions and poverty of action. The longer I live here, the more I realize that anyone wanting to do good finds themselves without help. No wonder so many leave. With fiends like these, who needs enemas.

John Cook

I think Webber has done a good job reorganizing City government and minimizing the potentially terrible economic effects of the pandemic. I have several complaints about his handling of specific issues. That is the nature of being mayor. Things go wrong and you appropriately are blamed. However, I think he has a good record overall and I support his re-election. Having read through the prior 67 comments, I believe I may be alone in this opinion.....

Lee Vigil

[beam] You must be feeling lonely [beam]

KT Rivera

I have not heard from anyone yet who wants to see ‘act 2’ of Webber’s tragedy for this city.

KT Rivera

John Cook: There is no evidence the reorganization has any benefit to Santa Fe- financial or otherwise. So far, the result is under staffed departments under directors that wear way to many hats to be effective in any one. No Fortune 500 operates like that- not something I would classify as a success or progress. Did you ever see or hear from this mayor during the pandemic?? I did not, nor did the community of Santa Fe. If anything we heard from the governor and the mayor of Alb.

Benjamin Martinez

The 'economic effects' of the pandemic for governments have largely been minimized across the country. Take a look around. The governments are mostly fine. It's the small businesses that have taken the economic hits. It's the workers that have been expected to ask for morsels, instead of being allowed to work. (Regardless of feelings to lockdowns, and ignoring the safety aspect, most workers would prefer to work rather than get handouts. Yes, the reality is those businesses were affected.)

It's was easy for Webber to run around being Henny Penny. Set the expectation that we are in the next great depression. Then when the sky really didn't fall, take credit for having averted a major catastrophe, by only messing up a lot but not everything.

The reality is that despite the horrific problems of the last year, many municipalities are not in the dire situations predicted last spring. It is more a testament to the 'people', not our leaders.

(And, yes, you are fairly lonely in your opinion.)

Francisco Carbajal

It is so interesting by observing from a third lens on how many people have affectionally embraced their true emotions towards the current Mayor of Santa Fe (sarcasm) and his legacy. On the same note, since Mr. Webber was elected to the Office of Mayor, his poor decision-making process and choices relating to enhancing the public safety, health ,and welfare of the city dweller's has become a serious "quality of life" issue for sure! Frankly, "the City of Holy Faith" title or term has lost it's place of reverence in respect or dignity since Mr. Webber has been elected to the Office of Mayor in Santa Fe. And, he is not alone either! The Governing Body of Santa Fe as a whole are an integral part are to be blamed for his failures to act and the lack of cultural competency to preserve, protect, and defend it's city dweller's from harm in any magnitude. Shame on them!

Lee Vigil

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Couldn't agree more!

Jeff Varela

“I wish I would have gotten on it sooner and started it sooner,” Webber said. “I think we would be further along, and I think the obelisk wouldn’t have been torn down the way it was.” Besides the cultural issues that Webber has failed miserably in addressing, you have to pay attention to his administration and execution of any appearance of governance and management. Webber claims his "CEO" background enhances his ability to hold this full-time position as Mayor of Santa Fe. From what some of us have seen, the city is in a financial mess; public works is reactive vs. proactive, public safety has become suspect under this administration; and we have yet to hear more discouraging news from the annual audit of city finances and operations. Is there a candidate out there that can lead by example instead of rhetoric? SF...City of Holy Faith...State Capitol of NM...a renowned cultural and tourist destination deserves a candidate that is visionary and demonstrates leadership by results.

Cathy Rael

[ban]

Melody Bernal

👍🏼

James Delgado

I’d vote for Dr. Seuss or Mr. Potato Head over this guy. Go ruin some other city, Webber. You’ve already caused the most damage in Santa Fe’s history as mayor during your disastrous term. What a shame. Foolish Santa Feans should be ashamed of themselves voting this guy in. He supports the woke mobs that have been allowed to destroy our cities...while encouraging them.

Richard Reinders

[thumbup]

Ray Graumlich

[thumbup]

paul pacheco

Whether you like Mr. Webber or not, it all boils down to the fact of whether you are better off today (living in Santa Fe) than you were 4 years ago? Or, another way to ask if he should be re-elected is to say, “I’m better off today [or not] but I don’t like the way he operates!” There are some who like him but won’t be voting for him this next time! Then there’s the candidates who believe they can do a better job but wonder if they can beat him in the election with all his money! A lot of Hispanics who supported him might now believe they made a mistake! Santa Fe has changed so much mostly because a lot of outside big money that continues to move or pour in, then there’s the labor force that serves that big money! Personally, we need a better mayor!

Kiki Martinez

Of course he likes the city and the job - where else would he be getting paid a nice hefty salary to do nothing?! Well not nothing - he has screwed up Santa Fe since he's been in office. This guy needs to do a reality check on himself and the horrible job he's done. From reading this article it's amazing how he's patting himself on the back and dreaming about what a great job he's done. Richard, you mentioned the roads that are in horrible shape - that didn't apply to Canyon Road when the rest of the city was driving around dodging potholes left and right - Canyon Road was nicely paved around the area where Webber has his mansion. He has been so very insulting to the Hispanic culture since he's been in office except for the few Hispanos who are in his clique and play dirty politics. Please people, get out and vote so we can get this guy out of office.

Ray Graumlich

[thumbup]

Steve Martinez

Be sure to rank him last when you vote.

Lee Vigil

You hit the nail on the head! Order matters in ranked choice voting. What happens if you don't vote for him at all?

David Romero

You would think this guy would read the handwriting on the wall.

KT Rivera

I do not want to see or experience ‘Act 2’ of Webber’s tragedy for our City.

Comment deleted.
Richard Reinders

Don't forget rank choice voting, you don't have to have a higher number of number 1 picks to win you can win having more second picks ,so put Webber as last choice or you will be tricked into electing him like the last time.

Kirk Allison

Webber is an elitist, and a hypocrite, and that's never a good choice for serving the public. He's very much a "rules for thee, but not for me" kind of person.

Let's not forget how he was using 8 times the amount of water of the average Santa Fe home while asking everyone else to reduce their own water use. Were he not shamed in public, no doubt he would have continued ignoring his own calls for sustainability.

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/mayor-s-water-use-is-times-the-average-santa-fe/article_1d1e2545-4c54-50bf-8c77-c8f04784525f.html

Lee Vigil

Webber's narcissism and ego know no bounds. I see that folks have already provided a detailed list of the utter failure that has been Webber's first term, so I won't need to. Why would a Mayor even take on cultural issues when he can't manage basic governance? He hasn't managed to ensure that 'the trains are running on time', but made a priority of tackling cultural issues and FAILED at both. 'There's more to do' he says. It frightens me to think of the further damage he'd do if given the chance. He's a political neophyte and it shows.

KT Rivera

Delusional! Obviously no one has told this emperor he has no clothes. The system improvements for the City have fallen short (plenty of articles in this newspaper to prove that!). His first term legacy was to rip the fabric of the soul of Santa Fe. Santa Fe deserves better than this guy.

Angel Ortiz

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the community and how we vote. If he is re-elected, then the fault lies in our laps. I can only hope and pray that we have some qualified , strong candidates to stand up to Webber this time.

Khal Spencer

All I can say is that there will be plenty of issues to run on and unlike last time, Mayor Webber will have a record to run both on and run against. Let's see who else tosses a hat in the ring. Certainly there is a lot of daylight between folks like Mayor Webber and Councilor Coppler Vigil. Who else might run?

It would actually be unfortunate if the obelisk fiasco takes on more importance than the day to day running of city government (police vacancies, homeless, home prices and availability, gentrification, Midtown Campus, high levels of governmental opacity, etc) but symbols matter, especially when a lot else is going on. All the CHART horses and all the CHART men can't put the obelisk together again and I think we will be hearing a lot of that.

Well, off we go!

Russell Scanlon

Agreed. I wish people would really try to look at the big picture and ignore these sensationalist issues. I’m not downplaying the historical or emotional significance of the obelisk at all—but the issues you listed in your second paragraph are urgent and unfortunately the obelisk is gone whatever your feelings. It should be noted that no one was seriously injured and no other property was damaged during the Indigenous People’s Day insurrection. It could have been much, much worse given the political climate of late last year.

Khal Spencer

[thumbup]

Khal Spencer

I think there was a reason the police got out of the way both here and in D.C. They had no real choice. Perhaps the alternative, a "stand your ground" approach would have been far worse. That is over and we have to move on.

I'd like to see real nuts and bolts issues on the table. We have a city to run and its far more complicated than waving the bloody shirt on some monuments. No monument went hungry, homeless, missed a mortgage payment, waited too long on a 9-1-1 call, or got sick from Covid last night.

John Cook

[thumbup]

Heather Nordquist

All the cultural issues aside, you'd think with all that "business acumen" he'd at least be able to submit a budget on time. With all his businessman experience and high-dollar hires, they cannot manage to do payroll correctly or make the state auditor happy. Boo!

Mike Johnson

True Heather, but remember his "business" resume is quite limited and shallow. He has a BA in English, and most all his work has been with writing in the press and magazines, even as a speechwriter for Dukakis for Christ's sake. He knows little to nothing about business, budgets, management, etc.

Khal Spencer

I've only lived here three years. Did Mayor Webber inherit a lot of these problems or did they start under his administration? Sometimes you inherit someone else's mess, sometimes you make your own.

Heather Nordquist

I don't remember these kinds of problems before, but I haven't fully researched it. I just figured that was his #1 selling point. He was a "businessman" that would run the city like a well run corporation. Did I miss something?

Mike Johnson

You didn't miss anything Heather, you just believed a politician, which is never a good thing to do.......

Ray Graumlich

[thumbup]

Stefanie Beninato

Finances and missing funds have been a perennial problem in Santa Fe. So has cronyism and divisive rhetoric and actions. On the latter, Webber may be clueless but not hate-filled.

Dave Vigil

Unfortunately the real candidate that should have won for mayor didn’t. It’s to bad. Now we have been stuck with an idiot, and now he want to give us another term of doing nothing. Very sad. Also Roman Abeyta is just as worthless. At the very least maybe he can send out crews to pick up the trash in his south side district. Both these men need to be ousted please!!

Dave Vigil

I really hope this man is not re elected. He is a terrible mayor. He has Roman Abeyta and a few other counselors in his hip pocket. Please! We need to get rid Webber and Abeyta. What has Abeyta done for his south side district?? Nothing!! Remember when he was county manager? The advantage asphalt debacle? Turning a blind eye? He knew exactly what was going on. WORTHLESS!!!

Mike Johnson

OK dear citizens of Santa Fe, your intelligence test is waiting......will you pass this time?

Lucille Armijo

Well now I know who I’m NOT voting for. 😂

Webber is a joke.

MJ Paul

It is essential that every Santa Fean that has felt: alienated and voiceless, their community and neighborhoods’ trashed, cultural history disrespected, community resources squandered or used to support the needs of people who don’t live or work in our community, VOTE IN THE NEXT CITY ELECTIONS.

Organize your neighborhoods, write editorials, post signs, talk with your family and friends about the need for change! Make sure family, neighbors, and friends are registered to vote! Let’s participate in this election for the well being of our community and support candidates city wide who care about our community and the people who live and work in Santa Fe!

Stefanie Beninato

I would say that goes for the city councilors who want to ride in on Webber's coattails. They have just rubber stamped every change that came down the pike and District 2 does not need a parliamentarian--it needs someone who want to respond to constituent needs--not passing a face "covering" ordinance that is not even observed among certain city employees. We don't need more laws, we need better and equitable enforcement.More on Webber later.

MJ Paul

[thumbup]

Kathy Fish

Not true. Certain city councillors have put up a real fuss where Webber's questionable tactics are concerned, most prominently Renee Villarreal. A bit of research on this very website will demonstrate that to you. Don't lump our leaders into one complacent category - it's reductive and ultimately dangerous to assume that every councillor is the same. My vote's for Renee, all the way.

MJ Paul

Ms Fish you bring up a good point. Certainly Councilors Coppler and Garcia have done a remarkable job in standing up to Webber. Unfortunately neither of these councilors represent district 1. The district 1 councilors have been an abysmal failure in the railyard, allowing gentrification of the railyard neighborhoods with parking and traffic issues, tourism and short term rentals expanded and unregulated, ignoring public safety issues in our park, and frankly ignoring residents in the railyard. I would also point out the Councilor Villarreal wrote an invocation for the groups that ripped down the obelisk, who vocally support revolutionary socialism, which is something best represented when running for public office.

Richard Reinders

All I have seen is Villareal follow the Webber path it has been Coppler and Garcia that has questioned the Webber agenda.

Stefanie Beninato

I am talking about Lindell, Abeyta and Romero Wirth--all of whom are up for reelection. And Vigil-Coppler and Garcia are not up for reelection. I like Renee but sometimes after raising good objections/issues she still votes in the majority but not always.

Heather Nordquist

Sorry, simply not true. Renee plays it safe, and was definitely part of the "progressive wave" that ushered him in. The only ones standing up for the little guy are Coppler and Garcia.

Tim Dabbs

I feel the same with the 2 District 1 councilors. They don’t want to be involved.

KT Rivera

[thumbup]

Andrew Lucero

“I love the city and I love the job,” Webber said in an interview. “I want to continue to try to make things better in Santa Fe. I think we have made good progress in my first term. I think this COVID year has been unprecedented, and yet we have come through it as a community, very strong and resilient.”….So out of touch! So delusional! This idiot actually thinks he has done a good job as mayor and deserves a second term! He has been a catastrophe for Santa Fe. The only reasons he was not removed from office after the Obelisk fiasco, were because of the time constraints involved to gather signatures and the ability to gather those signatures due to the restrictions of Covid. Under normal conditions, if Webber would have had to face the public at an open city hall meeting, instead of logging in from the shelter of his home, he probably would have been tared and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

Emily Hartigan

SOMEONE, please run against him. Anyone competent will do.

Mike Johnson

Even Elmer Fudd would be better......

Charles W Rodriguez

He's not from here, has zero connection to the indigenous culture. He should never be re-elected to a city he doesn't understand.

Stefanie Beninato

Yes he is out of touch and living in his own delusional reality However, please stop the racist meme. Webber has lived here for 20 years--so he is "from here" now. And given he is Jewish--it really has racial undertones...No he wasn't born here but I know of no other place where being born here qualifies you to run a city.

Lee Vigil

You ought to try and understand what people mean when they say 'he/she's not from here' instead of name-calling and trying to shut people down. Don't read into it what isn't there, and don't take it personally.

Charles W Rodriguez

If Weber moved here in 2000, he has absolutely zero connection to the historical paradigm that defined this city for centuries. The pre 2000 santa fe I know is nothing like the present day. It isnt racism, it's just factual to note this lack of connection to indigenous values if one arrived here after the growtj chanhef yhid city.

Charles W Rodriguez

It isnt racism, it's just factual to note this lack of connection to indigenous and historical values if one arrived here after growth changed this city from pre-1990 Santa Fe

Khal Spencer

In a population that routinely migrates, its not whether one is "from here" but whether one understands what its like to be here and be sensitive to the local cultures and traditions.

I moved from New York State to Honolulu in 1987 and spent a lot of time in elbow-pushing Downstate NY before getting on that DC-10 to take a job at UH Mānoa. I was a clueless klutz as far as having a sensitivity to Island culture and I had plenty of black and blue marks in my shins the first couple years to show for it, esp. as my newfound girlfriend (who became my wife) grew up in Honolulu applied most of them. Take off your shoes, Khal. Always bring a gift to someone's house. Lower your eyes and voice and watch your language, especially to the Local Japanese lady who was at the front desk at the vet. I quickly learned the origins of the term of endearment "F***ing Haole".

By the time we left, in 2001, I had graduated from Off the Boat Haole to Kama'aina, Third Class. It took time and a lot of homework to understand the place. That is all we have the right to ask of anyone. I'm still working on my Elements of Northern New Mexican...

Lee Vigil

Thank You. Nice perspective. Good to know that you're willing to do the work to understand the community in which you live. [beam]

Khal Spencer

Indeed, Lee. Its better than being shunned. Or, knocked on one's keister!

David Romero

Nortenos dislike clueless carpetbaggers like Webber. Now it’s time to show up at the polls in large numbers to get rid of him.

Richard Reinders

Webber has tried to destroyed a once happy, proud and viable Hispanic culture by trying to pit Indigenous against Hispanic cousins, and remove history. He has also destroyed moral at the city, and police dept. Webber is the wrong person for the job . The parks and medians are a mess, the roads are in shambles the city department structure looks like a game of twister ,the homeless population has grown, crime has gone up what am I missing here. If this is the platform Webber wants to run on he's dreaming. And for the council members running , we have an opportunity now to get people to represent the constituency not the the cancel culture "Agenda".

This morning I am going to eat Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast.

Red Eagle

[thumbup] Richard, you captured the essence, perfectly! Enjoy your breakfast.

Khal Spencer

Set an extra plate, Sam I Am....

Lee Vigil

Bravo!

Yazmin Lara

[thumbup]

Dan Frazier

Let me be among the first to say I am not excited to hear this. From what I have seen, Webber's tenure has been a fiasco. Here is a guy who literally lives in a mansion on a hill, so no wonder he seems out of touch with Santa Fe. Like Trump, he is a wealthy businessman with no prior background in public service. The resulting chaos is to be expected. Police vacancies are at the highest level in five years. Weeds grow rampant in medians. Trash and graffiti is not addressed in our parks and arroyos. Stray shopping carts are everywhere. And let's not forget statues. I can only hope we find some better candidates between now and November.

Maryann Palker

[thumbup]

David Brown

👍

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.