Dear Editor:

There are apparently some people in the Village of Corrales anxious over an ordinance they successfully influenced the Village Council to pass… although it conflicts with state law. It is now the “law of the land” in the village until the state or a judge says otherwise. The position of the mayor as the executive is to enforce and defend the ordinances.

As mayor I would enforce and defend the Village ordinances approved by the Village Council and by extension, the citizens of Corrales. The recently passed ordinance that does not allow commercial cannabis production in the village will be enforced and defended.

As a professional person and one without cognitive deficiencies, I resent and question the thought processes of those who claim to know what I am thinking or what I would do in any situation. I am honest, truthful and tell you what I know after research and careful consideration. People aren’t always happy with the truth, but reasonable people realize you can’t ignore the truth and facts… unless you don’t care and make your own truth.

I’m running for mayor of the entire village of Corrales and all the citizens. Hopefully, we can all come together and do what is best for the village.

Jim Fahey

Dear Editor:

My first impression from attending a Village Council meeting was “Wow! These people are smart... and well informed, care about their town, and for all of their spirited disagreements, seem to know we are all in this together.” Or, something like that.

That night was well over a week and a half ago. I’ve witnessed many civic disputes and concurrences since then, seen a few bad ideas kicked aside, seen a few gems grown from undistinguished beginnings, a few obvious common goals nursed along to fruition, then revised and reworked until all concerned seemed to realize we can never arrive at a perfect final answer, but we need to get along with life and avoid staring darts at one another whenever we cross paths at the post office or growers’ market.

My first impression from seeing the campaign mailer from Jonathan Dilts was that I was getting an official notice from the Village of Corrales. Else, why would it display the official seal of the Village? Further examination revealed the seal was appropriated to lend credence to a fevered screed built on all caps and underlined words and phrases, of exclamation points and underlining, and more than a bit of hysteria. And cannabis operations “immediately next to our homes!” Except for the 300-foot setback requirement, I suppose.

The notion that cannabis is the only issue facing the village is wide of the mark. Our exposure to lawsuits might never come back to haunt us, but why not examine reasonable and tough restrictions on cultivation and processing instead of an outright ban that puts the Village at odds with state law?

Sonoma County, California has a 1,000-foot setback requirement between residences and cannabis farms. I am not advocating wholesale emulation of every imaginable California custom, but they do a bit of agriculture there. And, I’m betting residents of Sonoma care as much as do Corraleños about the quiet enjoyment of their rural community. Property values, too.

And why indulge in litmus-test politics? To toss aside a long-time practitioner of public service in favor of a man who never reveals his own agenda or notions of what good governance involves? The list of critical issues is complete enough, but details are nowhere to be seen.

When my wife joined the Corrales Library Board in the 1980s, Mel  Knight had already been on the FOCL board for many years. She’s been an active member of the equestrian community for years, served on the Planning and Zoning Commission (not a spot for glory-seekers, I can personally attest), and has served well as District 3 councillor.

Vote to re-elect Mel Lawlor Knight for District 3 councillor.

Mick Harper

Dear Editor:

Our compliments on the article on the restoration of the contents of the old-time capsule in your last issue. As residents of Corrales, it’s wonderful to realize we have talent working with Mayor Roake, such as Mary Davis, Kitty Tynan and Anne Van Camp.

Of course, not all “old-time” things age as well. Things such as attempts at voter manipulation. One can easily ask, “Do some folks think we’re so easily manipulated?

For instance, consider the recent antics of a small but vocal shadow group that has been seeking to manipulate Corrales voters: this group hides its funding sources, twists the facts, misleads voters with bogus, official-looking mailers, and offers up candidates ill-prepared to govern our Village. For example:

  • A glossy “petition” mailed to Corraleños that contained untruths and trades on ill-founded fear of the State of New Mexico’s legalization of marijuana. This group was unwilling to reveal the dollars behind the petition and used misleading information regarding who controls the issue of commercial marijuana growth (leaving the Village open to an expensive lawsuit).
  • Peddling that “petition” with its inflated, unverified signatures to intimidate Village councillors with distorted “voter” numbers.
  • Identical election mailers deployed right now against two current council candidates, disguised as an official Village document by unauthorized use of the Village seal.
  • “Flash mobs” besieging Village Council meetings echoing orchestrated lies.
  • The multiple appearances of a former Village councillor (who was never elected in a contested election) sermonizing, then excoriating the Village Administration.

The only remedy is to tug back the curtain on these deceptive practices by thinking critically and carefully reading the material that clutters our mailboxes. These tactics must fail. We do not want or need this disruptive, misleading, “dark $$” type of governance in Corrales! So, vote!

If Gary Kanin and his backers win the mayoral election, you can be sure there will be more antics to come. We have seen tactics like these this play out at the national level and do not want to see it happen in our village.

We urge you to reject these efforts and join so many Corraleños in supporting Jim Fahey for mayor. Jim Fahey brings the experience, integrity and continuous community involvement that will guide us into the future. He will use reason, not scare tactics to address complex issues, and will listen to all sides before he acts. And he will act in the best interests of this village. In other words, he will govern.

Gary Sims and Terry Eisenbart

Dear Editor:

I am writing today to ask my fellow citizens of Corrales to join me in supporting my friend Jim Fahey as the next mayor of our village. I know him to be honest, straight forward and diligent.

I also know that he values the rural agrarian lifestyle of Corrales because that is the lifestyle he lives.

His experience as a surgeon assigned to the University of New Mexico and the Veterans Administration provides the medical background important to the villages’ continuing climb out of the COVID pandemic. While we all hope that scourge will be over before the next mayor is sworn in, I expect that it will be a major concern in the Village of Corrales for several years to come.

Jim Fahey has the experience necessary to assure that the Village takes advantage of the financial opportunities available due to current federal funding and the State’s financial surplus. His experience in Village government is unmatched. For the last 16 years, since 2006, he has been a fixture in Corrales government, serving on the Corrales Council (2006 – 2020); as director and chair at the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, (2010 to the present) and at the Corrales Growers Market (manager and member).

Notably, 2006 is the last time his opponent served in Village government. Jim Fahey’s current experience with bond issues and infrastructure financing will assure that we get our fair share.

Finally, Fahey believes in open, collaborative government, that considers all sides of the issues. I have observed that he listens to all parties’ concerns, even when he personally disagrees, and supports the decisions reached, even when he voted the other way. In today’s political climate, there may be no more relevant characteristic.

Jim Fahey truly cares about Corrales. Thank you for taking the time to consider this endorsement. Let’s elect Jim the next mayor of Corrales.

Robert J. Martinez

Dear Editor:

In his “commentary” in Corrales Comment’s January 22, 2022 issue, former Village Councillor George Wright opines at great length about the so-called “ban” on commercial cannabis operations in Zones A-1 and A-2 and its import for the upcoming mayoral election.

Indeed, the self-named “Concerned Corraleños” did mobilize a lot of signatures with expensive mailers, posters, scare tactics and misinformation. But they remained completely closed-mouthed about who was behind the “campaign” and whose big bucks were funding it.

I personally was appalled at this lack of transparency, and when I asked about who they were and their sources of funding, former Village Planning and Zoning Commissioner Frank Wirtz declined to answer.

This is the same style and misinformation you can expect if former Mayor Gary Kanin and —more to the point—his enablers like Wirtz and Wright get their hands on Corrales Village government. Hidden agendas, misinformation, no transparency. Which is not a good look for our Village government.

Jim Fahey served three terms as Village councillor representing Council District 5, my district. I always found him to be transparent, blunt and reasonable. He listened well anytime I raised an issue with him, explained his position, and could change his mind when he saw other sides to issues.

He has proven himself to be someone who cares deeply about this village, and I have no doubt that he will govern our Village with everyone in mind, explaining what he’s doing as he works to build consensus and good policy. And I also have no doubt he will enforce the current council ordinance banning commercial marijuana production in A-1 and A-2 as it stands. Until he —or Gary Kanin if he wins— has to defend Corrales in an expensive lawsuit using our tax dollars.

George Wright in his commentary also tries to make out Mel Knight as the “one” holdout against his agenda. But unfortunately, the circus around the petition conveniently ignored the fact that cannabis policy is set at the state level, and unfortunately again, the councillors voting for that misguided petition have indeed opened up the Village to risk of an expensive lawsuit. Mel Knight was correct —and brave— to vote against the ordinance.

So villagers, we actually have a stark choice in the upcoming mayoral election: “dark” money, misleading information, and a small cabal of folks who prefer not to operate in daylight, propping up a former mayor who did a lot of good several decades ago but who has been out of public life for almost that long ever since. Versus an intelligent, thoughtful neighbor who’s dedicated much of his energy to strengthening our Village. Please consider voting for Jim Fahey.

He’s a much better choice for our village.

Mary Ellen Capek

Dear Editor:

A new tenor: outcome-based legislators.

Our most vulnerable population is our children. We as parents and as a society try to protect them from harm. The greatest harm they may incur, of course, is death. The CDC’s 2020 report shows the various causes of death for all age groups. I would hope that we, as a society, might prioritize protection of children from death as one of our priorities, if not the No.1 priority.  Let us say we formed a task force to reduce if not eradicate that No.1 cause of child deaths. We gather experts in the areas of disease, public health, public health law and all manner of learned people who have familiarity with the problem as well as potential solutions, perhaps even ones that already showed promise from within and outside of our country.

The task force comes up with recommendations and suggests implementing them, say, for one year, to see if they worked, i.e., were associated with a reduction in child deaths. If they were, great. If they weren’t, we can disband the interventions. Sounds reasonable? I would think so.

Task force members would be based on their expertise and not their political affiliation.  All we want to see is a reduction in child deaths.

If we look at that leading cause of child deaths and add the adults who also died of that same cause, there were over 40,000 such deaths in 2021. If our task force were to look for possible interventions elsewhere and saw Japan had only 76 deaths for their entire country from the same cause, there may be important life-saving information to glean from our neighbors across the Pacific.

This dramatic difference in death totals by a factor of over 500x, and the No.1 cause of child death in America, is …firearms.  And, all of a sudden, we as a society who had been on board to deferring to the expert task force, is now, you should pardon the expression, up in arms. Or maybe not.

Perhaps the gravity of the situation in our country, and how successful another country can be, might allow some dispassionate and constructive dialogue to grow. Perhaps we, as the electorate, can insist our representatives, regardless of their political stripe, focus on solutions to the social ills that affect all of us, rather than perpetuating divisions between us by the tenor of their discourse. If we insist on outcomes-based legislation, our legislators, regardless of “D,” “R”, or “I” after their names, may sharpen their pencils a bit more, and become outcomes-based legislators.

Michael Baron

Dear Editor:

My name is Charles Thomas, and for the past ten years, I have had the pleasure of working for, and with James Fahey, candidate for mayor of Corrales. During this time, Fahey has served the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority in the role of board director and chairman, and has been actively involved in most aspects of providing flood control solutions for the entire jurisdiction.

Fahey has supported actions by SSCAFCA to prioritize flood control projects but also encourages staff to work closely with the other public and private entities to develop positive solutions to flood problems that benefit all involved.

He has proven to be a quick study, and consistently asks questions to help him better understand the world of flood control provided by a public agency and continues to build his knowledge to make better, more informed decisions.

It is clear from my interactions with him that he has a strong desire to help people. One of the common statements I have often heard from him is “What do you need from me?” In my view, this is a strong indicator of “servant leadership,” of someone who is not too important to do the little things, even if they are inconvenient. As an example, SSCAFCA often needs  documents and checks signed by a board director, and many of these are time-critical. Fahey has never shirked this  responsibility, and has always made himself available, even on short notice, to drive to our offices in Rio Rancho and sign the needed paperwork, even if it is only a single item.

When Jim Fahey comes into the office, he makes a point to greet staff on his way in and out, and frequently stops to chat with them. This indicates to me that he has a genuine interest in the SSCAFCA staff and their continued well-being. Speaking for myself, I truly appreciate this as an individual and as the administrative head of the agency that he serves as an elected official.

In closing, if asked to describe Jim Fahey in three words, I would say he is fair, decisive and personable. I have enjoyed engaging with him through the years, whether the discussion involved the detailed analysis of a recent storm event or the best way to cultivate tomato plants. I believe Jim Fahey will make an excellent mayor for the Village of Corrales.

Charles Thomas,

SSCAFCA executive director

Dear Editor:

It is becoming increasingly evident that Jim Fahey’s opposition consists of a small group of people who have drafted a figure from the past, created a one-issue election scenario and are attempting to ride his coattails to gain control of the Village.

Their efforts have reached the point where their flyers and ads have blatantly misstated that Jim Fahey voted against the ban on commercial cannabis in Corrales’ residential zones. This ban (Ordinance No. 21-06) was passed by the Village Council in early January 2022. Jim Fahey was not a member of the council, and not even in the room when that ordinance was passed. The opposition campaign is creating a deliberate misrepresentation in pursuit of its narrow agenda.

There are many challenges and opportunities ahead for our village. Cannabis may turn out to be one. But the restriction banning the growth and processing of cannabis in Zones A-1 and A-2 is now Corrales law. Fahey has stated he is fully committed to support, enforce and defend the will of the people as expressed by that law. I believe that he is the one candidate with the energy and capabilities to carry that out.

But our next mayor can’t be a “one trick pony.”  There are a number of important areas —agriculture, economic, environmental, infrastructure— where the mayor’s leadership will be necessary to move the Village forward in the 21st century in a manner consistent with our cultural heritage.

Jim Fahey has the current skills, the commitment, the vision and the integrity to be that leader for Corrales. I urge you: Vote competency. Vote vitality. Vote Fahey.

Bill Vega

Dear Editor:

We write in support of the mayoral candidacy of Jim Fahey. Jim has a long history of public service in the village and in Sandoval County. As a retired surgeon, he brings many strong and valuable traits to the job of mayor: experience, focus, determination and commitment.

We strongly encourage our fellow citizens to vote for Jim Fahey for mayor of Corrales!

Gary Miller and Valerie Beaman

Dear Editor:

Whether they admit —or tout— it or not, all candidates (and non-candidates) who do not favor the ban do in fact favor commercial intensive cannabis greenhouses next door.

Some candidates might say they favor “family” backyard commercial cannabis greenhouses, but allowing these necessarily means allowing intensive cannabis greenhouses, which can easily fit in most Corrales backyards, and mega-scale greenhouses on bigger lots. 

Given the Cannabis Regulation Act passed by the legislature this spring, the “family” and the intensive and the mega greenhouses are inextricably linked.

The smaller can’t be allowed without also allowing the intensive and big.

So, the ban is very much an either/or situation.  Corrales either allows commercial cannabis greenhouses —smaller and larger, intensive and not— in A-1 and A-2 or it does not.

For the last 6 months, the Village Council, Village Hall, attorneys and the public have been working to find a best stance. Many, if not most, council meetings during that time have had commercial cannabis in residential neighborhood as part of the agenda.  Work study sessions have been dedicated specifically to that.

At council meeting discussions, many residents would offer opinions and suggestions. The large majority of public input was in favor of the ban. For example, on January 4, 16 persons from the public spoke, with 14 in favor of the ban and 2 against.

At the end of the six-month deliberation process (which was during a special moratorium, affording the governing body —and public— extra time to consider the issues) on January 4, two different proposals were before council to consider and possibly approve one or the other or none.  Proposal No.1 from several councillors banned commercial cannabis operations in A-1 and A-2 zones; this re-instituted Ordinance 18-02, which was approved by council four years ago. 

Proposal No.2 from Village Hall and its attorneys was just as restrictive as Proposal No.1 for lots less than eight acres in size but allowed greenhouses of unspecified size and unlimited cannabis plant numbers on larger lots than that.  Council voted 5-1 in favor of Proposal No.1.

 Like it or not, both Proposals No.1 and No.2 amounted to either allowing intensive commercial cannabis operations in residential neighborhoods or not allowing them.  The only way that any commercial cannabis operations would have been allowed in A-1 and A-2 would have been to reject both proposals, which council did not do.

So, the candidates now are either for the ban or are not for the ban; if the latter, they are in favor of allowing intensive cannabis operations in residential neighborhoods and mega-sized operations on larger lots.

Because of its ample property lot sizes and wide-open fields and Village policy of not taxing cannabis producers, Corrales is attractive to commercial growers, who might or might not reside in the village. Some people will make a profit but at the expense of surrounding neighborhoods’ quality of life and property values. 

Currently, we have a ban but it is only as good as it is supported by the governing body in the future.

Questions: Would you want commercial cannabis production next door? If not, please vote for the candidates who support the ban. Ask candidates, “Are you for or are you against the ban?”

  Fred Hashimoto

Dear Editor:

George Wright and Andy Dilts, would like you to believe that I don’t care about the villagers in Corrales, and that I want cannabis growing in residential areas. I don’t.

On January 4 in the special meeting of the Village Council, I explained to everyone in the Zoom meeting that I supported the 300-foot. setback amendment that our Village Attorney, Municipal League attorney as well as citizen attorneys were in favor of.

I stated that I was also worried about the smell, water usage, lights, fencing and increase of crime surrounding the growing of cannabis. I also made a comment about how difficult it was to vote on this issue because an organized group of people (never identifying themselves) campaigned with a flyer promoting a total ban on growing cannabis that would violate New Mexico State law.

Backing the total ban on cannabis and this petition were law enforcement officials, retired veterans and elected officials. I can’t fathom how these civil servants could suddenly decide that they will only obey laws they like and they don’t have to obey laws they don’t like. In our Constitution there are ways to change laws, but to say “I don’t like this law, so I don’t have to abide by it” is scary to me. When I took office in 2018, I took an oath to follow the laws of the State of New Mexico. This oath is important to me.

I’ve lived in Corrales for 37 years and have been on numerous Village boards and commissions. Dilts has lived here for eight years and has not donated any of his time to Corrales organizations.

At this time in politics, people will tell half truths to get what they want.

There are political playbooks that foster “do anything to win.”

I trust in the villagers I’ve worked with over 37 years to know myintentions and to realize I have, and will continue to work for Corrales’ best interests.

As Mayor Jo Anne Roake stated in her Friday address to the villagers, the ordinance that was passed on January 4 about cannabis is now the law. She stated in her message that the Village will rigorously defend the rule of law and so will I.

I just thought there was a better way to accomplish the goals we wanted to achieve.

Mel Knight

Dear Editor:

I don't think Jim Fahey should be elected mayor. Period. He’s been a booster for outsized development in Corrales for as long as he’s lived here, following a move from Texas where development goes largely unregulated.

In 2008, he voted to effect a zoning change to M (Municipal) from A-1 (Residential). The Corrales Planning and Zoning Commission had denied the change request by the owner who wanted to lease the residential home and over-sized garage at 7227 Corrales Road to a charter school, and this required the zoning designation of “M.”

The property is at the corner of Corrales Road and Camino de Todos los Santos, a hazardous intersection approached by a blind curve when heading north.

Contrary to the Corrales Comprehensive Plan, and rooted in irregularities and political favoritism from the get-go, the drive for spot zoning and large-scale development spawned a great deal of division and acrimony between village residents. I reside close to the property, and opposed this poorly-conceived plan, along with many neighbors and residents of the village in general. I particularly remember the expression on Jim Fahey’s face, a mixture of glee and malice, as he voted “Yes” to favor the developer and the proponents of the charter school.

The school’s charter application planned on a student body numbering 180, potentially a very large influx of traffic to an already over used and narrow road. The charter school board was eventually stymied in its goal due to an inadequate site development plan, which was rejected by the Corrales P&Z Commission.  Things finally came down to earth, and at the risk of losing its charter due to the delay of development approval and for the lack of a fit location, the school decided to locate in a vacant school building outside of the village.

The over-leveraged developer then requested that his initial plea for rezoning to M be reversed back to A-1 Residential and the council duly granted his request.  The property at 7227 Corrales Road remains a single-family residence and the irrigated land it sits on is the daily winter grazing home for a great many Sandhill Cranes and other migratory birds. 

Jim Fahey brooks no discontent, a my-way-or-the-highway kind of personality. According to my recent correspondence with former councilor Ennio Garcia-Miera, whose second term ended in 2020, an ethics bill he sponsored, one designed to curb counsel corruption, received a “No” vote from councilor Jim Fahey, who it seems doesn’t believe in oversight or accountability.

It’s also of interest that Jim Fahey has twice been deferred to in his bids for election: once by Sayre Gerhart, who chose not to seek a second term in 2012 as councillor for District 5, leaving the field open Jim Fahey to run in her stead, and now, with current mayor Jo Anne Roake stepping aside for a run at a second term and leaving the field open to Jim Fahey yet again. These actors are working in concert and shifting power between themselves, and to what ends?

Garcia-Miera was a newly elected councillor when he joined a majority of councillors in voting against then-mayor Phil Gasteyer’s nomination of Fahey for the Planning and Zoning Commission during the interregnum when Fahey was out of power. The nomination closely followed the pair’s disastrous and failed scheme to spot zone farmland for large scale development at 7227 Corrales Road.

Garcia-Miera also confirmed my observation that at a Village budget meeting, when he asked Jim Fahey where he got a monetary number he was floating, Councillor Fahey replied derisively, crudely stating on the record “I pulled it out of my ass.” What are the many other things Jim Fahey will be pulling if elected mayor?  

Please support the opposition candidate and former mayor Gary Kanin's bid for the mayoral seat.

Adrian Panaro

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