Friday, December 18, 2009

MAF Town Hall Meeting Tense Last Night

The first organized meeting for the public held by Moving Anthony Forward, attended by about 100 persons, was tense last night as leaders of MAF made clear they were unhappy with an informational meeting held the night before at Anthony Elementary. Bottom line: Anthony is divided over incorporation.

The first salvo was fired off by Mr. Frank Coppler, a Santa Fe attorney associated with the Anthony Water and Sanitation District, and author of a report in favor of incorporation presented in October to the Dona Ana County Commission. He began by accusing county assessor Gary Perez of using "scare tactics" the night before. Perez had calculated it would take a 12.7% increase in property taxes to reach a proposed budget of $200,000.

Perez, who was in the audience, strode to the podium to defend himself, saying he had made it clear (the article below shows his words to be true) municipal authorities might not impose any new property taxes at all. He simply assumed in a slide that Anthony would raise property taxes just as municipalities in Hatch, Mesilla, and Sunland Park have done. Coppler went on to assert that enough revenues could be generated to cover the budget from increases in gross receipts taxes, fines and fees, on citizens from Anthony and from that portion of the gross receipts tax that Anthony now sends to Santa Fe which would remain with the proposed municipality after incorporation. Thus, he argued, it was possible that municipal authorities might not raise property taxes.

The next flash point occurred when Victor Montoya, of MAF, accused the organizers of the meeting the night before of being "outsiders," not from Anthony, with an agenda. A woman immediately stood up, identified herself as Teresa Fisher, and said she had organized the meeting last night, she was from Anthony, and her only agenda was to provide information to the public about the incorporation process. Montoya repeated his accusation about outsiders, and about ten persons stood up and said they were at the meeting last night and all lived in Anthony. Montoya, irritated, said they had had their meeting the night before and had no business at this meeting. Another woman replied that she had come to find out more about incorporation and her understanding was that the meeting was public.

At the end of the meeting Betty Gonzalez scolded the organizers of MAF, complaining that with 19 days before the final vote this was the first public meeting held. "I had hoped," she said, that a majority of citizens would participate in the discussions about incorporation, and that the entire community would come together in a spirit of cooperation, but this will not be the case. Only a small minority of persons will determine the outcome of the election, she said.

Numerous testimonials in favor of incorporation were given. One particularly eloquent testimonial was given by Jose Garcia (no relation), who said his only special interest in favoring the incorporation was his children, who would benefit from this step to gain control over the future of the community.


Karen said...

Thank you for writing about this. It is important, and the newspapers are failing to cover it.

A friend of mine shared a saying with me in Spanish recently that translates as 'how you live is how you judge others'. Isn't it interesting that Mr. Montoya was so adamantly and vocally opposed to HB185 forming the Lower Rio Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority in the 2009 Legislature, and that he claimed (FALSELY) that there were no public meetings about it and (FALSELY) that it would have the power of taxation. Somehow he felt that the incorporation of Anthony was threatened by the merger of five little mutual domestic water associations outside of Anthony, and now we learn that the Anthony Water and Sanitation District will remain a separate governmental entity, not part of the new municipality if it passes. hmmmmmmm

Karen Nichols
resident of the area proposed for incorporation

Theresa NM said...

If this referendum succeeds, the community must be prepared to be fully engaged in the process so as to develop the leadership for the municipality. It is apparent, after last night’s meeting that there are sincere and honorable people involved in the process but overshadowed by the more radical and suspicious fringe.

Anonymous said...

There is talk that the state of NM does not want Anthony to be a city.

Anonymous said...

The early news that many citizens in the area will love to have Andrew Moralez as the first mayor of Anthony. Mr Moralez has been on Gov Richardson's staff for many years and he would be able to bring lots of needed money to our area. He serves as the border director now so that would be added plus to our area.


Anonymous said...

Andrew Moralez as the first mayor of Anthony would be something great for the area. I have worked closely with Andrew for sometime and he is top grade.


Anonymous said...

Great to have a true homeboy like Andrew Moralez as our first mayor he is a grad of GHS. Viva la Raza.

Anonymous said...

Dr Garcia-

Who is this Andrew Moralez person that several people are proclaiming to be the first mayor of Anthony?

Jose Z. Garcia said...

Andrew Moralez is currently serving as executive director of the New Mexico Border Authority, an agency under the Department of Economic Development. He was named to this position after state officials fired Jaime Campos earlier in the year.

Prior to that, Mr. Moralez was working in Santa Fe for the governor's constituent services office, a post he took up after the Las Cruces office of the governor was closed earlier in 2009, which was run by Mr. Moralez since it opened up in 2003.

Thus, he has extensive experience with state government and would be an excellent choice to serve as first mayor of Anthony.

Anonymous said...

I have seen signs already up that say "Andrew Moralez for Mayor". Is there any other annouced canidates?