Alan Webber is a Democrat.
Donald Trump is a Republican.
They disagree about most things. But the elected leaders seem to agree on one point: They didn't get enough credit for the size of the crowd at their inauguration.
Trump famously sent former press secretary Sean Spicer into his first White House press briefing to bemoan the low inaugural crowd estimates from national media outlets. Trump had already called the crowd "a massive field of people," and Spicer claimed "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period."
That stunning assertion, which was also the birth of the Kellyanne Conway term "alternative facts," was wrong.
Monday evening, SFR published a story on the inauguration of Webber and four city councilors at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. The story said the new mayor addressed a "crowd of several hundred."
Tuesday morning, Webber's campaign manager contacted SFR to ask for a clarification on a campaign spending number in the story—and to dispute SFR's estimate of the crowd's size.
Neri Holguin wrote, "… there were 880 chairs last night, most filled and people standing, so there more than 'several hundred' who attended last night."
SFR clarified the campaign finance point (Webber spent more than $300,000 in the race, in which the five candidates together eclipsed the half-million-dollar mark) and began to look into the second claim.
Two staffers attended the event for SFR, both of whom thought Holguin's estimate of 800 attendees sounded high. There were people standing, however the empty chairs toward the back of the Sweeney Ballroom were easy to spot.
Ryan Dodge, who manages programs and events at the convention center, says staff set up 720 chairs for the event in a theater-style configuration. Dodge, too, pointed out the people standing and the empty chairs.
"I felt like there were enough chairs for the people who were standing to have a seat," he tells SFR, though he also said he'd put the number of attendees at maybe 750.
Without question, the space can handle that many people, even when divided into the inaugural configuration of approximately two-thirds of the room set up for seating and another third for a reception area. The city's capacity information guidelines for the center's Sweeney Ballroom say the north half can seat 950 people.
After reviewing its own photos, SFR estimates attendance was well shy of 800 and closer to 600 people.
Webber, who officially started work Tuesday morning, could not be reached for comment.