Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Elected Mayor:                      Javier Perea
Elected to City Council 6      Donald McBride
Elected to City Council 4      Carolina Renteria
Elected to City Council 1      Ken Giove
Elected to City Council 5      Olga Arguelles

Each of the newly elected officials has been elected for the first time.  Perea was appointed mayor in 2012; Giove was appointed to the council two years ago.  McBride, Renteria, and Arguelles have never run before.

There is, however, an enormous amount of knowledge each brings to the new administration.  Perea has served well for four years.  He knows the role of mayor well.  No on-the-job training for him.  Giove has served for two years on the council, but has spent several years learning the mechanics of city government, relations between the city and the outside world, and the major issues.  Renteria has a lifetime of experience as an activist in the Sunland Park Community.  She knows what people think.  McBride has extensive contacts in the business world throughout the border region and exceptionally strong managerial experience.  And Olga Arguelles is well known for her work with the community as a health care advocate.  She will add a welcome note of grace to deliberations.  In my conversations, I found each to have an exceptional combination of realism--a knowledge how hard it is to make change happen--and a countervailing idealism--a knowledge that change is possible.  Each has a strong, realistic vision of where Sunland Park might go.  And the native intelligence of each of these winners would raise the average IQ level of a typical class of 40 of my students at NMSU by at least five points.

But talent, smarts, and experience are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for success.  The council and mayor must learn to work as a team, each contributing to the whole.  Priorities for action must be sorted out.  Mechanisms for dealing well with policy disagreements must be devised.  And it helps to have a little luck (Fortuna, as Machiavelli used to say) along the way.

The losing candidates are talented, too, perhaps just less experienced.  The city would do well to ask them to join in to make the city thrive:  they have a lot to offer.  Clemente knows what an urban environment might look like if well done.  Nunez has talent and a willingness to explore new avenues for his energy.  Santos knows a lot about the details of city politics in the past, and a strong and healthy willingness to go against the grain.  Formidable opponents; possible allies.

Ciudadanos de Sunland:   Han puesto sus mejores ejemplares ante el pueblo para esta seleccion:  El pueblo ha decidido.  El nuevo equipo necesitará todo en apoyo que el pueblo les puede brindar.

Vayan con Dios:  It was an honor and a privilege for me to share some time with you.

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