Shaken Confidence

Will the parks bond change voter views on future issues?

Do most locals believe that questions about how a recent $30 million parks bond was spent are nothing more than business as usual at City Hall? Those interviewed downtown about the topic sure do. One Santa Fe homeboy even referred to the possible misappropriation as a “movida,” or a backroom deal with a hidden motivation. 

“I’d vote for it again in the off-chance that that they did spend the money correctly,” quips Brian Dawson, 44, a real estate agent who was born and reared in the City Different.

Many Santa Feans appear lenient, even forgiving, toward city staff, who are in the midst of defending themselves against allegations about problems accounting for millions of dollars in taxpayer money. Last week, the city posted thousands of documents online to justify the spending, and a new audit by the state is now in the works. 

And yet of the two dozen residents interviewed by SFR about the misappropriation mystery, most say it’s “the same old politics” in local government.

A handful of residents, however, say they’ll never vote for a general obligation bond again, among them Carl Schoepke, 55, a waiter at Tia Sophia’s. 

“I have a friend, and he says the best thing to do is vote ‘no’ on these things, then maybe the city will start being honest with the people,” says Schoepke. 

Councilor Bill Dimas last week said he shared that concern, noting he’s worried that confidence in general obligation bonds could be shaken in the future if the city doesn’t get to the bottom of what happened. The bond at issue was earned approval from 70 percent of votes cast in the 2008 election.

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