Edgewood ‘rumors fly while the truth walks’

Edgewood needs more rooftops! That is the perennial slogan of the business community which has found many of its plans stymied by potential investors who say, “Yeah, you have a great location, and we’d love to build there but you don’t have enough rooftops.” That reply invariably leads to the same suggestions: Edgewood needs another promotional campaign to let people know we are here. Let’s ditch the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association (EVEDA) because they don’t ever do anything for Edgewood. We need an Edgewood-only group!

All three of those suggestions are based on false premises, but when anyone says so the pointing and shrieking begins. “You are anti-progress, your socks stink, and you are a filthy atheist too!” Well, not really—I made up the stinky socks part. The town’s history has a distinctly cyclical nature. Any time progress starts to gather up steam, the quarrels commence and someone stomps on the brakes. Every single time.

What’s the hold-up now? Extension of sewer lines to the northeast quadrant of our one and only (for now) access point to I-40. The project looked good to go last year when the Town Council approved the project for its Infrastructure Capital Improvements Plan (ICIP). Didn’t Councilor Sherry Abraham vote in favor of putting the project at the top of the list? Something appears to have changed, and rumors fly while the truth walks.

Many of these rumors are nothing more than cobbled-together distortions of sewer-related actions which occurred during the time Brad Hill was mayor, but with Mayor John Bassett’s name substituted for Hill’s. Meanwhile, the public is distracted with the vaudeville act brought to us by Councilors Sherry Abraham and Audrey Jaramillo wherein they cite all these horrible rumors as a pretext for calling a special public hearing. Of course, as members of the town’s governing body it would be appropriate for them to simply counter the rumors with some facts, but therein lies the difficulty. Neither has impressed me as being well-informed on the subject. Hence, their desperate cries for assistance. I kid you not; they have asked town employees to write, especially for them, a “Cliff Notes” version of the history and technical aspects of the wastewater plant and its service area.

The most intriguing rumor offers dire insinuations about who benefits from the Cactus Road line extension, but that is an obvious red herring. The relevant question is who benefits most from derailing the project? Meanwhile, as the colossus to the north shows signs of awakening from its long sleep, we in lower Edgewood continue life in a peculiar version of Groundhog Day.

If you’ve been alarmed by the rumors, plan to attend the next town council meeting, and sign up for public comment. Some of these issues are fairly complex, so you might consider submitting questions in advance in order to allow the staff time to gather the information. The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday May 16 at 6:30 p.m. I assume it will be held at the Community Center pending completion of the new council chambers, but recommend you check the agenda as soon as its posted.

Janelle Turner

Edgewood resident and former P&Z Commissioner


East Mountain Democrats pleased with turnout to event

The East Mountain Democrats appear to be gaining traction in Central New Mexico. Two weeks ago the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of New Mexico recognized the new group as a special caucus with its own seat on the party central committee. Last Saturday Democratic candidates and dignitaries and grassroots Democrats came together to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the Stanley Cyclone Center with barbecue and some good East Mountain music.

Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Apodaca appeared for a short time, as did veteran Democrat legislator Rick Miera. Miera is running for Lt. Governor. Four Democratic candidates for the same seat in the U.S. House of Representatives—Deb Haaland, Paul Moya, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, and Pat Davis—showed up at the big rodeo arena. Bill McCamley, who is running for State Auditor, attended, as did Stephanie Garcia Richard, one of two Democrats running for the Land Commissioner office.

Jessica Velasquez, unopposed Democratic candidate for HR District 22, brought several of her supporters who staffed a colorful booth at the East end of the arena floor. Judge Greg Shaffer came with his wife to continue his campaign for confirmation by election to his current position as Division 2 judge in Santa Fe.

Several Democratic candidates for Santa Fe County office came to present themselves to the public at the event. Rudy Anaya, veteran county law enforcement officer, who is running for county sheriff, brought members of his family with him. So did Leonard Romero, who is also running for sheriff. Rudy Garcia, supported by his friend, ex-county commissioner Linda Grill of La Cienega, came to meet southern Santa Fe County voters, as did Filandro Anaya, who is running for the same job. Fil Anaya and several members of his family and support group took a booth along the fence near the food serving line.

Behavioral therapist Charlene Pyskote, announced candidate for Bernalillo County Commissioner, appeared late in the day to make a short statement to a reduced crowd of a little more than 150 people.

Rated surprise visits for the day, however, came with the appearance of several popular elected officials and Democratic Party luminaries. U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan came and stayed long enough to greet friends and make new acquaintances. The highly regarded Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver came to Stanley for the music and the BBQ and a chance to improve grassroots connections. She was accompanied by ever-popular Democrat Clara Padilla Andrews, who had served as NM Secretary of State from 1983 to 1986.

Marg Elliston, newly elected Chair of the State Democratic Party, walked in with her husband Fred Harris. Fred served as a United States Senator from Oklahoma from 1964 to 1973 and ran for president in 1972 on a progressive platform. He was for a time chairman of the National Democratic Committee and has been appointed as professor emeritus at UNM.

Having each supported the event in different ways, county chairpersons from three contiguous counties seemed eager to support a successful event. Santa Fe County party chair Todd McElroy obtained the arena venue for the event and helped with outreach to improve attendance by candidates and elected officials. Bernalillo County party chair Bill Peifer served as moderator. He noted the idea for East Mountain Democrats, as well as impetus for the event, began at a regular Friday morning coffee klatch at Roots Café in Tijeras. Torrance County party chair Margarita Mercure Hibbs brought BBQ and a very healthy and tasty hibiscus tea. She took the microphone for a moment to say that this cooperative event, organized by all those supporting the East Mountain Democrats, was like a dream come true—namely, the beginning of better understanding of the needs and resources of rural New Mexico.

Me? I loved the food (especially the BBQ contributed by David King and the 15 pounds of spiced beans Gail and I cooked), I was delighted with the music (more about that later), and was gratified with watching how everyone worked together so well to make it fit together for all who came. Special thanks are additionally due to Judy and Anthony and Felicia and Jim and Christina and Bill (Singer) and Doreen and Millie and Thomas and Fred and Pete and all the wonderful musicians. Introducing myself to and shaking hands with Fred Harris just made all the work and craziness ever so worth it. All y’all who failed to come missed out and should start lookin’ for us next year!

Leo Sullivan, Edgewood

President, East Mountain Democrats