For sheriff, Robert García; Mayfield, Bacon to board
By | The New Mexican
Term limits, those mixed blessings bringing blessed relief from endless incumbency but sometimes depriving people of good public servants, mean changes are in store for three crucial Santa Fe County offices:
Sheriff, where Greg Solano has been especially effective and, at least as important, open as can be with the people his deputies have served and protected from Edgewood to Chimayó.
County commissioners for Districts 1 and 3, serving the northern and southern parts of the county, have been well represented by Harry Montoya and Michael Anaya.
All three races drew plenty of competition — Robert García, Rex Doerfer, Rubel Tafoya and Charlie Dalton for sheriff; Jon Paul Romero, Paul White, Danny Mayfield and Lenny Roybal for the District 1 seat and Robert Anaya, David Bacon and Angélica Ruiz in District 3. The candidates are all Democrats — so June 8’s winners stand to take office in January.
The field of candidates running for sheriff is one of the strongest in recent memories. We endorse Robert García, current undersheriff, because of his decades of experience and commitment to openness in running the sheriff’s office.
Under current Sheriff Greg Solano, the sheriff’s office has moved into the modern era, putting out crime bulletins electronically and providing computers to deputies in the field so reports can be filed instantly. That’s not all. Burglary rates in Santa Fe County have stayed relatively low compared with skyrocketing rates inside city limits, and DWI prevention has been and will remain a priority for deputies. Solid police work, in other words, is a characteristic of this office.
Importantly, Garcia understands that a good sheriff remains open with the public and the press. He doesn’t stonewall or avoid hard questions.
In Commission District 1, we recommend Danny Mayfield, who has a solid record of competence as a state-government employee who reached the executive directorship of the Public Regulation Commission. He kept things calm through the many political storms swirling about the PRC offices. He’s a Santa Fe High graduate with deep Hispanic roots and shared concerns for cultural preservation in the face of development challenges. The longtime Nambé resident says he’ll be keeping a close eye on the Aamodt water-rights case as it approaches resolution.
In Commission District 3, David Bacon would be the ideal complement to mid-term colleagues Liz Stefanics, Kathy Holian and Virginia Vigil, all three of them watchdogs on industrial development. Bacon, who’s a bear on sustainability issues, has broadened his green-energy focus to the wider ones of community development and water; he can be counted on to carefully monitor the growth-and-development effects of the Buckman Diversion as that project tapping San Juan-Chama water from the Río Grande.
An activist on the Santa Fe scene since the 1970s, Bacon has great familiarity with local government. He would work well with the City Council in guiding our community’s growth.
Domingo Martínez for county assessor
County assessor is no one’s idea of a popular office. It’s vital to the revenue that keeps state and local governments running, since it determines values on property for tax purposes — even though it doesn’t do the taxing itself.
If the job is done fairly, it can spread the tax burden borne by home-, business- and land-owners.
That’s what Domingo Martínez, seeking a second four-year term, has been trying to do since in 2007 he came into an office the state rated as the worst of New Mexico’s 33 counties. The place was behind in many reassessments, allowing some outrageous cases of fat cats failing to pay their fair share of taxes on palatial places.
He began with the basics — computerizing tax records. From there he went onto the arduous task of re-evaluating more than 70,000 properties that had escaped recent reappraisal. Today’s valuations more accurately reflect the market — although the downturn in real-estate prices will make many a case for lower valuations; the thankless task never ends.
Domingo Martínez, formerly a house-cleaning state auditor, is no stranger to hard work; he merits another term in the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The Journal Recommends
A heads-up for voters: The coming June 1 Democratic primary election is, across much of northern New Mexico, in effect the general election. The primary winners often face no opposition in November; so, whoever wins the party nomination in a little over a week will take office at the first of the year.
That’s true in the two Santa Fe County Commission races on the ballot, as well as for any number of other positions. Here are the Journal’s recommendations. Remember, your vote Tuesday, June 1, matters!
COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 1 — The Journal makes no endorsement in this race.
COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 3 — David BaconBacon is the best choice in this race. He has been active in politics for nearly a decade without, as far as we can tell, acquiring the usual baggage of favors owed and special interests to appease. Some of his ideas — like the notion that Santa Fe County might become food-independent — are far-fetched. But most, including Bacon’s commitment to green building techniques, alternative energy and sustainable land use, are practical and, more importantly, forward-looking. Bacon is pessimistic about the short-term future of our economy and preaches the gospel of doing less with more — a welcome perspective in a political climate where knee-jerk boosterism, usually in support of the status quo, is more often the rule. Bacon’s voice would be a welcome addition to the commission.
COUNTY ASSESSOR — Domingo Martinez
In education, accounting experience and integrity, the incumbent Martinez stands head and shoulders above his challengers. Martinez holds advanced degrees and has spent most of his professional life grappling with numbers and the details of the policy questions these often pose. He’s been director of the state’s property tax division, a financial analyst and an auditor, including state auditor, where he distinguished himself from a number of his predecessors by his honesty and commitment to public accountability. As county assessor for the past four years, he’s shown real leadership, tackling a huge and sloppy backlog of reappraisals left by one of his challengers. He has given expert advice to the Legislature on solving the thorny — and politically explosive — problem of the state’s inequitable appraisal law, recently ruled unconstitutional. Voters — and Santa Fe property owners — will be well served by re-electing Martinez to another term.
SFR’s picks for the June 1 primary election
By Julia Goldberg
Santa Fe County Commission
This three-way Democratic primary to replace term-limited County Commissioner Mike Anaya presents a difficult choice. There are three candidates: Santa Fe Public Schools Board Member Angélica Ruiz, former County administrator Robert Anaya (Mike Anaya’s brother) and energy activist David Bacon. We think both Anaya and Bacon are appealing candidates—for very different reasons.
Bacon makes a strong case for his candidacy and has a long reputation in Santa Fe as a smart and engaged thinker and activist; we endorsed him when he ran for Public Regulation Commission as a Green. He has big ideas—on everything from energy independence to jail management—and is well-informed.
At the same time, District 3, which includes among other areas Stanley, Galisteo, Madrid and portions of Agua Fria, needs meat and potatoes in terms of representation. Robert Anaya is, like Bacon, up to speed and thoughtful on the issues facing the county. But he also demonstrates to us a strong level of understanding of who the residents of District 3 are, and their very basic needs to have strong road maintenance and services for youth and elderly populations.
In the end, though, we recommend Bacon for this seat. With the pressing financial concerns in Santa Fe County, it will be tempting for public bodies to batten down the hatches and worry just about the day-to-day operations. We think the economic downturn also offers the opportunity for long-term planning, smart decision-making and out-of-the-box thinking. Bacon has proven himself capable of all of these actions over the years, and would be a welcome addition to a commission that has steadily been growing more responsive and proactive.
Quotable: “The reason I handed out the peak oil article is it’s pretty clear we’re in for a much, much rougher ride.”