Even before Wednesday night's meeting, city councilors knew a mayoral nominee had generated an unusual amount of discussion.
And Mayor Javier Gonzales' selection of Vince Kadlubek to the Santa Fe Planning Commission created a heated debate.
The City Council approved Kadlubek's appointment along with Piper Kapin and Katherine Anne Chavez.
They did so without a vote from District 4 Councilor Bill Dimas, who recused himself "because of personal issues I have with Mr. Kadlubek."
Dimas said Kadlubek, founder and CEO of the art-collective Meow Wolf, posted on Facebook what Dimas described as a "totally untrue accusation" two weeks ago. Kadlubek, Dimas says, wrote that Dimas had been urging fellow councilors to vote against Kadlubek's nomination for the commission.
"Because of this," Dimas said in a prepared statement during the meeting, "I will not vote either for or against Mr. Kadlubek’s appointment and I will abstain from voting." "You did not contact me in opposition for anyone," added District 3 Councilor Carmichael Dominguez.Kadlubek said in an interview after the vote that he hopes he and Dimas are able to get past the dustup and work together. "I think both our hearts are in the same place," he says. "This is a city we both grew up in."He says the Facebook post was a response to a Santa Fe New Mexican article that quoted Dimas opposing his nomination. "I regret calling him out absolutely," Kadlubek says. "...It’s something that I just want to move on from and get past."In approving the three appointments, Dominguez and other councilors urged nominees to take the job seriously. Councilors said the commission's work of handling development and land-use issues is important. "We all make mistakes," said District 4 Councilor Ron Trujillo, "but the thing I’ve talked to you about many times already is dealing with social media and be aware that it can come back and bite you."Kablubek says his number one goal is to "assist in collaboration between development and neighborhoods."There "seems like a pretty stark divide between developers and neighborhoods," he says.He adds he'll recuse himself from votes on matters involving Meow Wolf, though he doesn't anticipate the group to come before the commission anytime soon.Gonzales had also initially named Daniel Werwath to the commission, but Werwath withdrew his name. Some councilors said they don't remember a mayor's nominee generating this much discussion. Yet in 2007, Mayor David Coss caught fire for appointing Shayna Lewis, then 19, to the commission. "There is a different standard of how you act and how you conduct business," said Mayor Gonzales, adding that being a public figure "does mean that you have to elevate yourself to a standard that normal people don’t necessarily have to [meet]."Kadlubek campaigned for Gonzales during the 2014 mayoral election during which Dimas was a contender.