An angry, violent mob attacking police and bystanders. Chaos and misinformation. Criminals from around the country masquerading as protesters following the lead and hints of a powerful politician. A capital city overrun and under attack. A priceless piece of American history and culture desecrated. Veterans, police, democracy, freedom and the American way of life disrespected and disregarded by a violent mob following the cues of their leader.

No, I am not talking about the events of Jan. 6 and Donald Trump. While strikingly and sadly similar, I am talking about the events of Oct. 20 and Mayor Alan Webber.

The mayor’s piece (“A way forward on the obelisk,” My View, June 27) is as ludicrous and fictitious as it is offensive. For Webber to attempt to skirt all responsibility for his actions calling for the removal of the Soldiers’ Monument and denying he stopped Santa Fe police from doing their job, is absurd. It’s something a Hollywood writer would come up with. Come to think of it, maybe he has one on staff as part of his massive PR and marketing machine. Talk about trying to rewrite history.

As the president of the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the mayor for violating the state law protecting the Soldiers’ Monument and the Plaza, I am shocked he believes his made-up CHART — culture, history, art, reconciliation and truth — process will proceed in direct violation of New Mexico’s Prehistoric and Historic Sites Preservation Act of 1989.

The law is far more powerful than Webber’s marketing spin, so we at Union Protectíva de Santa Fé have faith a judge will halt what we see as his illegal actions to further alter and dishonor the service of Hispanic veterans.

Now, putting aside the mayor’s fantasyland account of his actions and inaction around the destruction and desecration of the Soldiers’ Monument and our historic Plaza, it is important to note his blatant disregard for not only the law but the New Mexico Legislature.

The law the mayor violated (and says he will continue to violate) was proposed, debated, amended, debated further and ultimately passed by the New Mexico House of Representatives and the Senate. These two chambers are made up of elected members from every corner of our vast and diverse Land of Enchantment. Perhaps they passed this crucial law to protect all New Mexicans from politicians’ dictatorial rule and decisions. Democracy, not mob rule and tyranny, is what this nation is built on.

I agree we must move forward for all of Santa Fe, and the way forward is to follow the law passed by the New Mexico Legislature by restoring the Soldiers’ Monument and Plaza to their previous states. Our veterans didn’t give their lives for our laws and democracy to be disregarded by politicians, no matter how powerful they may be or how much they want to alter history.

Virgil Vigil is president of Union Protectíva de Santa Fé, which is suing the city of Santa Fe over fall’s destruction of the Plaza obelisk.

(27) comments

mark Coble

Mayor caved to leftists. Plain and simple.

Andrew Lucero

Well Mark, I can’t agree with you on that one. Since the Mayor is also a leftist and shares their ideology, I can’t say he caved into them. But he certainly helped to facilitate and orchestrate the destruction.

Richard Reinders

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Mike Johnson

Thank you Mr. Vigil, for an insightful, accurate, and well written statement of the facts. We at the August 18th Society salute you and will look for ways to support your organization against this tyranny.

Eli Bransford

Excellent perspective by Virgil Vigil! Agreed 100%

Janet Eduardo

Ok, Virgil Vigil. You and your goon squad just need to stop. Perhaps you could step out of your colonial view of history and hatred of Mayor (not one of you) Webber and inquire what the Indigenous people think. After all, it was THEIR land in the first place.

Eli Bransford

Janet, looking at a "colonial" or non colonial perspective is thinking inside a box of it's own which is part of this problem. I encourage you to think past your perspective on history as well. Although I do not speak for Protectiva, I am a member. You can find more of our perspective in several videos I have made and continue to make, if you are interested. I'd recommend you start here and then work to more recent. Thanks. https://youtu.be/k5SWPsdQfpo

Andrew Lucero

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Maria Bautista

Janet, name calling is first grade....the land belongs to the U.S. Government, period punto. Alan Webber was the FIRST VANDAL.

Richard Reinders

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Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]Well said Ms. Bautista, and if Janet is suffering from white European guilt complex I suggest she give her land to the nearest tribe and get it over with so she can sleep at night.......[lol]

Dennis Romero

Whether you agree with him or not, he’s entitled to his opinion and perspective. You’re entitled to yours, too.

As far as indigenous voices weighing in, I refer you to Tesuque Pueblo’s statements on the Plaza protests that turned violent.

I’ll also state that Native Americans don’t need you or me to stick up for them. They have a voice and are perfectly entitled to use it to speak their minds.

I choose to respect Native Americans by realizing and understanding that I don’t speak for them.

I choose to respect indigenous people and all people by doing my best to listen to their views and give them the space and respect to acknowledge their views.

Stefanie Beninato

I respect people's opinions as long as they are supported by facts and they are willing to share the facts.

Dennis Romero

No.

No, you really don't.

You've made that very clear for the past several years.

Richard Reinders

People are entitled to any opinion right or wrong without trolls beating up and bullying them, this is still a free America for the time being.

Stefanie Beninato

Your response indicates that you are judging me, Dennis. I respect fact-based opinions. Care to cite an example where I didn't do so? Probably not.

Dennis Romero

Pick pretty much any post over the past ten years.

You judge people.

I’m simply calling you out on it.

Stefanie Beninato

Right, Dennis. As I thought==nothing specific--just like to try to shame those who disagree with you into silence sort of like Richard Reinder

Richard Reinders

IMO that was Webber’s responsibility before he encouraged the destruction , Protectiva is trying to make it right. Now Webber has a vehicle to finish the job CHART and I have not heard of any current Pueblo Gov on the board.

Khal Spencer

"Goon squad"? The mark of someone who is bereft of an actual talking point is that they resort to ad hominem attacks.

Unlike the mob that took the law into its own hands and destroyed the obelisk, this group is legally taking its case to court. Enough said.

Stefanie Beninato

Exactly what does this law say? So far no explanation from you, just more attacks on Webber. Let's get some actual substance into the debate. And as with Marco Serna you seem to think that Andrew Padilla, chief of police, was not in the chain of command. If the normal procedures were followed, Padilla would have made the call based on written policies. Have you done a public records request to get emails, phone logs or other info on how Padilla consulted with Webber before the stand down? Obviously Padilla involved him when there protesters on the monument the day or two before. And do you have the criminal records on these people that were arrested? Because you label them as "criminals from around the country masquerading as protesters”. And too bad you are so closed minded that you will not give CHART a chance. It was even supported by Joanne Vigil-Coppler in its current form whom you seemingly support.

Dennis Romero

Whether you agree with him or not, he’s entitled to his opinion and perspective. You’re entitled to yours, too.

However, instead of trying to play the SFNM posting police, how about you just accept the fact that your both entitled to your opinions and spare use you melodramatic soap box stump speeches - they got old several years ago.

Maria Bautista

Stefanie, lets do a public records request.

Stefanie Beninato

Go for it, Maria. You do not need me to do such a request. I am only asking Vigil to support his stance with the exact law and facts. What a concept!!

Dennis Romero

Yes, Ms. Benitato- just like expecting you to realize others have opinions that you may not agree with.

Much like realizing people’s opinions and perspectives should be respected although you don’t agree with them.

What a concept!

Richard Reinders

Well said, don't forget it is probably federal law he is violating as well because this site is on the federal list of national monuments, which is above Webber’s pay grade. We support Union Protectiva de Santa Fe effort to set things right.

Andrew Lucero

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