‘False and misleading statements being circulated by CORE’

I am taking the time to write and correct the many false and misleading statements being circulated by CORE and the proponents of the Commission-Manager form of government concerning the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension and their allegations that somehow Mayor Bassett has acted inappropriately. Let me start by saying I don’t care which side of the issue you are on. You are entitled to your opinion and to your vote. The statements being made by CORE about Mayor John Bassett and the sewer extension, however, in my opinion are not only false, they are slanderous.

I have reviewed the Town records including the Council Meeting minutes, most of which are online at the Town website, and a review of those documents shows the following:

• In November of 2007 Jeremiah Turner, owner of the Dairy Queen, submitted a letter asking the Town of Edgewood to run a sewer line east from 344 along the northern boundary of his property instead of through the center of his lots. He asked Josephine Bassett if she was agreeable to this, as it would also run along her property line and she agreed with the placement. Both of them offered easements on their property to accomplish the sewer extension.

• In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeremiah Turner appeared in front of the Town Council and submitted a petition, signed by the six property owners, asking that the Town include the proposed sewer line in the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan.

• At the July 20, 2016 Town Council meeting Tom Torres of EPCOR, appeared before the Town Council with an alternative petition, signed by four property owners, and suggested the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer line extension.

• At the August 3, 2016 Town Council meeting Tappen Mahoney explains the pros and cons of each proposal and answers questions from Councilor Sherry Abraham. Mahoney explains that the proposal submitted by Tom Torres for the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension would serve more of the undeveloped property. Also at that meeting Tappen Mahoney, acting as the Town engineer, suggested for the first time that the Main Street extension run through the Bassett property instead of down main street.

• At the August 24, 2016 Town Council meeting, a public hearing was conducted to rank the top five infrastructure projects. The Town Council, including Councilor Sherry Abraham, votes unanimously to include the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension as one of the top five projects.

• For the remainder of 2016, following approval of the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension by the State, the Town began the process to obtain bids for the design of the sewer extension. Dennis Engineering submitted a proposal.

• In February 2017, the Town announces that Smith Engineering had been selected to design the Town’s sewer extensions.

• At the September 20, 2017 Town Council meeting Tappen Mahoney of Dennis Engineering, the same person that championed the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension, questions the reasoning of the extension of the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension along the Bassett property line. At this same meeting Councilor Sherry Abraham, who had voted for the extension each time it came before the Town Council, questioned Mayor Bassett about which Bassett properties would be affected by the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension.

These are the facts, plain and simple. The Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension is not some back room, under handed, shady, or unethical attempt by Mayor Bassett to improve his property. It was started in 2007, long before Mayor Bassett was elected, by all of the property owners whose property was involved. The Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension was championed by Tappen Mahoney until Dennis Engineering didn’t get the contract to design the extension. The Town Council voted unanimously for the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension every time it came before the Town Council. Councilor Sherry Abraham actively participated in each meeting and asked extensive questions about the Cactus Road/Main Street sewer extension. If she now claims to not have been fully informed perhaps she should have taken her position as Town Councilor more seriously and done her job then. These are the facts and the facts, unlike the statements and allegations circulated by CORE, don’t lie.

Attorney Joseph E. CampBell, Edgewood resident

 

‘Very expensive August election’ was petitioned by CORE

After listening to CORE stalwarts, Jerry Powers, Tom McGill, Karen Kiser, and Audrey Jaramillo bemoaning the current high cost of the upcoming special election at last night’s Town Council meeting, I want to set the record straight. Back in April, after heeding the advice of the Town’s attorneys about available dates for the election, I asked the Council to put the question on the ballot for the General Election in November because it would be less expensive. Councilors John Abrams and Linda Holle concurred. However, Councilors Sherry Abraham and Audrey Jaramillo, at the urging of the people named above, went to court to force an earlier date because they believed that it would be possible to hold a special election, district the town, call for elections of commissioners and install the new government in less than six months’ time. None of CORE’s promises worked out except for this very expensive (estimated $50,000.00) August election. Now CORE is unhappy about the mounting expenses? They were warned but moved ahead anyway. Now we will all pay a hefty price for their mistakes and lies.

Don’t be fooled again folks, we still have time to head off this mess and limit the damage already done. With only about a week and a half left in which to return mailed ballots to the Santa Fe County Clerk, I’m imploring Edgewood voters to check your mail for ballots, or if you’ve already received them but have yet to vote them then go sift them out of the stack on the coffee table, kitchen counter or wherever you stack your mail and find that ballot. Then vote against the question and return the ballots promptly. Commission/Manager governments have much higher operating costs and, after districting, voters have much less say in who is elected. CORE has a terrible record of proving their claims. They’ve shown us over and over that they don’t understand how or why government works. Can you imagine what town government would look like if they were put in charge?

John Bassett, Mayor, Town of Edgewood

 

Mayor or town manager?

We’ve lived in Edgewood for 15 years. Before NM we lived in the Northeast 30 years, part of which time was under a mayor/council system in Boston, and the rest under a city manager/council in Cambridge. In either case, it is the collective capability and honesty of your officials that decides which system is better. Any official—elected or appointed—can game whichever system is in place. Both of our birth cities were run by developers, large residential real estate owners and those who sought city contracts for their businesses.

The Boston mayor won five four-years terms and died in office after engineering the rezoning of the downtown to tear down architecturally and historically significant structures to accommodate developers. The Cambridge city manager went to jail for accepting bribes, but upon release, five years later, he was reappointed city manager.

Because I was a small-time, two-term official, my prejudice is for an all-elected system; it is difficult and very expensive to discharge appointed officials unless the cause is grave.

Edgewood is such a small town in population that whatever each district councilor could or would do through her or his votes will affect the entire town. So I believe all councilors should run and be elected At-Large—not by and for any particular district.

But foremost in our choice of government, the betterment of Edgewood and the success of either a strong mayoral or city manager system, will be the integrity, honesty, temperament and competence of the individuals elected to decide the future of Edgewood. PS: We live in an unincorporated area of Edgewood, so this message is the extent of our input.

Frank Cullen, Edgewood

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.