In extremis is a nautical term. It advises the captain and crew of a ship at risk of collision or running aground to trust in their seagoing experience and temporarily suspend the standard rules of the road so they can do what is necessary to avoid their peril. I believe this term also describes the time that we, humanity in general, and we, the people of Santa Fe, specifically are now facing. I believe we are indeed living in extremis and that we must do all in our power to ensure the current, competent captain of our ship stays at the helm and that we avoid our peril.

Of course, if one were to listen to some strident voices in our media and to some of the loud and not always transparent motives of those who are promoting division and confusion for their own gain, we would replace our experienced mayor with someone who has not demonstrated their capacity to guide our city safely and responsibly through these treacherous waters of the pandemic. We would replace our current captain with someone who would, during this time of crisis, have to spend a significant amount of time trying to learn to be a captain while the people of our city are in uncharted waters.

If we listen to the voices of criticism and rely on the unproven promises they make, we would also disregard the strong endorsements of our two U.S. senators, numerous other local and state officials, a number of union and prominent business leaders, and a large number of our citizens who all have confidence in our mayor’s demonstrated abilities and skills.

And we would need to disregard our current captain’s contributions in raising the pay of our police and helping to reduce crime; create the Alternative Response Unit and a long-needed teen center on the south side; encouraging our city to be more sustainable and regenerative; creating more affordable housing; protecting our water resources; working to tackle homelessness; and supporting local business, arts and cultural organizations and key education and feeding projects. Yes, we would turn away from a captain who has demonstrated steady competence, solid core values and vision-centered leadership and who keeps an eye on the future while bringing reasoned and compassionate decision-making to the present.

Is our current mayor perfect? No? Does he or will he ever meet everyone’s expectations? No. But then again, in this time of great anxiety and challenge, could anyone? And when we consider that some among us communicate misinformation, substitute unproven accusation for fact and seek to put a risk our city’s legacy by advancing vague promises and unclear priorities, we must ask ourselves if we the people really want to put our city in the hands of anyone who has not really articulated a clear, constructive vision and a plan to actually achieve it.

So I believe there is only one true choice for Santa Fe in this critical election and that is to keep Alan Webber at the helm and allow him to continue advancing the best interests and well-being of our city in a reasoned and compassionate way. I say it’s time for unity, not division. For the coming together of the key segments of our diverse population and not for stirring old social, cultural, ethnic and racial animosities that do not serve our best interests at all. I say it’s time instead to follow this good advice from Buckminster Fuller. “We are called to be the architects of the future, not its victims.”

George Cappannelli is the co-founder of AgeNation and Empower New Mexico. He is also an award-winning author, film and TV producer-director and a sculptor. He and his wife, Sedena, have lived in Santa Fe for 18 years.

(5) comments

Richard Reinders

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A Ortega

Very well said Mr. Mee.

William Mee

George Cappannelli’s op-ed: City needs Webber’s Steady Hand at the Helm (10-24), lists his background as a pretty elitist person that probably lives in a gated community with everything delivered to his house. So he has no opportunity to come into the real world or the Southwest Sector of town to see Webber’s hundreds of failures and inactions to a community that is hurting.

I think that Mayor Webber since the Debates has done a “miraculous” job on City Issues. Suddenly, the issues raised at the debates as Webber’s pure incompetence and indifference to local people----have been magically solved some 3 ½ years after he took office: potholes fixed, CHART, weed management plan, shopping cart pick-up, growth management plan, medians cleaned, pools being fixed, etc., look at the Press releases on a daily basis and then track them backed to the questions and comments at the debate. A sudden “whirlwind” of activity.

We are not stupid!

Hiring his “Fab Five” (Mayor’s term), five woman under 45 to run City Government may be seen as being progressive---but look at these women’s resumes and then compare them to the official City Job Descriptions, and you will see that none meet them. They are simply “Yes Women” and in jobs way over their heads. But they can be easily manipulated to get Webber’s goals of inaction and division of opponents. Pretty sad way of being a “leader.”

George talks about how he led during Covid-19, and I admit it seemed good. But underlying it all was a fierce battle with the union and the alienation of citizens. Employees were furloughed under an executive order that was overturned. Numerous city decisions were made unilaterally (by the Mayor and a few loyal Councilors), and this really prompted Joanne Vigil-Coppler to run against him. See the City process takes meetings of two independent City Council Committees before it goes to the Council. The Mayor routinely avoided the second committee where the majority of NO votes were. Finance Committee to be exact. He just went direct to Council.

Now, if that wasn't enough: the City Council meetings, are becoming more and more inaccessible to citizens. There are some things that should probably be challenged in court on a Freedom of Speech basis. You are unable to see the "audience" on Webex so you don't know if all your people from your neighborhood turned out---because you could call them quick to participate. You are muted, which is fine, but "Chat" and "Q&A" are disabled to you. Any handouts must be delivered to the staff 72 hours in advance, which is often hard to do for a non-profit board to vote on it, revise it and publish it. The developer or City staff get to use fancy graphics and pointers through screen sharing. Speaking times are limited to two minutes for citizens and only the developer gets rebuttals. Already the two Early Neighborhood Notifications have been cut to one, and that guarantees any meeting to be "adversarial" instead of compromissorial. This arises out of a case that went to the N.M. Supreme Court: Albuquerque Commons versus the City of Albuquerque. Albuquerque Commons. The Santa Fe Neighborhood Network sponsored the Santa Fe Law Center, which teaches lawyers and gives them Continuing Credits. Many of the Attorneys who are presenters at these trainings are paid by developers to represent them in their normal legal profession. So that what was taught (and actually wrote in Chapter 14) was the Neighborhoods need to be muzzled because it interferes with making money. You cannot send an email to Councilors before a meeting because they sit in a “quasi-judicial” role and this is “Ex-Parte Communications.” These restrictions are to a point that a resident has taxation without representation. Additionally, the developer’s right to rebuttal was upheld as “evidentiary” and the Citizen’s as “hearsay” because they are not professionals.

The use of Executive Sessions, whereby the general public cannot witness a City Council discussion, because of threatened litigation is being corruptly used. Some water issues are being forced into the Executive Session under the guise of they affect Water Right, when they don’t.

George needed to try and get a City service during the lockdown, and he would not of written this op-ed. Like a building permit. Months in the making.

The Long Term Planning Office has been closed since 2017, thus making the City’s growth myopic. The Joint City-Council Regional Planning Authority set out in state statute has not met since February of 2012. The Settlement Annexation Agreement set up in 2012 is in violation of its own legal requirements.

Alan Webber does seem highly intelligent and well-read but his self-absorption overwhelms any sense of really doing what is right. He has an agenda and sticks to it no matter what, but effective governance is about compromise and communication---he doesn’t like sweating the details. He allowed 6,000 units to be built since 2019 with less than 2% affordable (with the definition at $280,000). Most all apartments with NO Green Efficiency Standards---so how is that not accelerating Climate Change and impacting drought? They will be managed by out-of-state companies shipping the profits to the home office. How is that helping you and I? He has totally alienated the bulk of the City employees. Another term would be just an unending door-to-door guerilla warfare with the Union, lawsuits, recall attempts, and whistleblowers. Is that really how you want to spent the next four years?

Andrew Lucero

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Beverly Garcia

Mr. Mee’s comments are well informed! Webber supporter George Cappannelli, on the other hand, delivers a condescending lecture on nautical terms to a community whose largest body of water, the Rio Grande, will never see nor experience the likes of a ship. In doing so, he seems to have forgotten what happened to the Titanic. Many of us who care deeply about our town know that we will suffer the same ill fate if we don’t change the course of our ship—and the first step we must take is to remove its shoddy captain. I think most of us have seen enough already.

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