They’ve already fended off several potential opponents who dropped out of the fight before it really began, and now they’ll face each other for the March 4 citywide contest.
Patti Bushee’s rabid fanbase, built from her nearly 20 years of service on City Council, once denounced SFR’s endorsement of her 2012 opponent for city council as “stupid, ill-informed” and “dangerous for the future welfare of this community.” Each time Bushee’s faced reelection, she’s never failed to garner less than 60 percent of the vote.
Bill Dimas’ fidelity to crime issues as a former cop and former magistrate judge has already led to packed-house fundraiser events at the local Fraternal Order of Police building. That, along with his name recognition, could be enough to bring him to the mayor’s seat next year.
And like Dimas, Javier Gonzales’ deep family ties to Santa Fe are strong.
“He is our community,” Julia Castro, who co-owns Café Castro, said of Gonzales’ at his campaign announcement in August.
But every superhero has his or her Kryptonite.
Bushee’s long run in City Hall hasn’t always been smooth, as some have filed complaints against her. Dimas is running partly to keep Santa Fe away from “fringe issues,” yet he’s not always immune to being distracted. And Gonzales’ past loyalty to the state’s Democratic Party of New Mexico leadership—he served for four years as DPNM chair—may come in conflict with city issues.
Here, SFR imposes what candidates would look like as superheros, complete with their perceived strengths and weaknesses, in superhero trading cards. Collect them all!
ABOUT THE ELECTION
Santa Fe’s roughly 53,270 registered voters are eligible to choose a mayor for the next four years. That’s not to say everyone will vote. In the last mayoral election, only about 13,000 people cast ballots.
The future mayor will earn an annual salary of about $30,000, preside over City Council meetings, and serve as a tie-breaker. Three city council seats are also contested, District 1: Signe Lindell and Michael Segura; District 2: Rad Acton, Joe Arellano, Mary Louise Bonney, Jeff Green and Joseph Maestas; District 3: Marie Campos, incumbent Carmichael Dominguez and Angelo Jaramillo
Officials are also still debating whether to ask voters to adopt changes to the City Charter.
Although the election is not until March 4, absentee voting by mail and in person at the City Clerk’s office, begins on Jan. 28.
The deadline to register to vote is Feb. 4. For details about how to register by mail, or to confirm your registration, contact the Santa Fe County clerk at 102 Grant Ave., co.santa-fe.nm.us or 986-6280.
SuperpowersStaying Power: A fixture on the City Council for nearly 20 years, she was first appointed as a District 1 city councilor in 1994, then elected in 1996 and re-elected four more times with large margins.
Transparency: During debates about whether the city should buy an office condo in the Railyard amid threatened lawsuits from the company that owned the space, she criticized closed-door negotiations and denounced the plan as “bailing out a failing business.”
Kryptonite:Baggage: She’s been accused of ethics violations including last year’s debacle when developer Steve Duran claimed Bushee shorted him for plumbing work at her home in 2005, then she opposed a plan for the city to buy a building from his business partners. A city investigation did not uncover wrongdoing. A complaint filed last month alleging violations of the campaign finance code is ongoing.
Tough On Crime: The most memorable action he’s taken in two years on City Council include resolutions to reestablish the city police department’s drug task force to put more police officers on a narcotics unit.
Citywide Recognition: He is the only mayoral candidate to be previously elected to countywide position as magistrate judge. First elected to the Santa Fe County Magistrate Court in 1994, Dimas was reelected two more times before retiring in 2006.
Distracted: Dimas says he is running because“Santa Fe is in danger of losing its ways, distracted by fringe issues and bending to special interests.” But he’s arguably been distracted by at least one fringe issue during his current term at city hall—the fluoridation of Santa Fe’s drinking water. He was among those to vote last year to stop adding fluoride to the city’s water supply, then he advocated to take the question to voters.
Deep Roots: Javier campaigned for his father George, who served as Santa Fe’s mayor from 1968 to 1972. Now it’s time for George to return the favor and work for his son’s election. The family also owns KSWV radio station.
Track Record: Gonzales was first elected to the Santa County Commission when he was in his late 20’s, then earned reelection. He left to work in the private sector after term limits forced him out. Then, he served as chairman for the state’s Democrats for four years.
Bad Timing: Gonzales presided over the Democratic Party of New Mexico during one of its worst elections in recent memory. In 2010, Democrats lost the governor’s office and gave up eight state House seats amid a wave of nationwide anti-incumbent sentiment and waning support for President Obama. He also supported a plan to reduce state gross-reciepts tax payments to cities.