INTERVIEWS WITH CANDIDATES FOR SUNLAND PARK DISTRICT NO. 4
Carolina Renteria began by explaining (we spoke only Spanish) that she originally had no intention of running for the seat. She is more comfortable, as a long-term community activist, proposing candidates. But when the candidate she had proposed, Alma Alvarado, became ill and decided not to run, she was asked to sign up for the job and did so at 3 pm on the day of the deadline to file. Her opponent, former City Clerk Elizabeth Gamez, filed for the position 15 minutes before the 5 pm deadline.
Ms Renteria also made clear she is running because she feels Mayor Perea, the incumbent, needs more support on the council. She ran for city council in 2008, losing to Daniel Salinas, she said, by 26 votes. In that election she spent a total of $800, but will spend little if any money this year.
She has concerns about various issues affecting the city: she is strongly in favor of the proposed international crossing at Sunland Park; she wants to get the senior citizens center back into operation, with meals served as they once were; she objects to the high cost of water and garbage services; she wants to hire a sports director for the sports complex; and she wants the city to hire a grant proposal writer. She also believes council meetings should be held in Spanish, inasmuch as the predominant language of the community is Spanish, and many citizens would feel more willing to express themselves and come to meeting if they were held in Spanish.
Born in El Paso but a long-term community activist in Sunland Park, and associated with the Democratic Party, Renteria supported Susana Martinez for governor in 2010, but now regrets having done so. Martinez, she says, personally promised her she would support the Sunland Park international crossing but then turned against it. (I am translating here): "Governor Martinez dropped her support for the crossing because she says we are corrupt, but in fact she always identified with Santa Teresa and all of her local visits are to Santa Teresa, not to here."
Elizabeth Gamez is a former Sunland Park City Clerk. I tried numerous times to contact her, and left several messages on her voice mail, but was unable to establish contact.