By George Wright

Former District 2 Councillor

Let’s keep nonpartisan municipal elections nonpartisan! With the Fahey campaign’s latest “List of Endorsers” ad and Corrales Comment opinion pieces, the Fahey campaign has tried to make the nonpartisan mayoral election highly partisan. But the Village’s struggle against Corrales becoming the “Commercial Cannabis Capitol of New Mexico” is not a partisan issue.

As my District 2 councillor, Bill Woldman, aptly explained before voting in favor of the ban implemented on the January 4, it comes down to a question of quality of life for Corraleños. And that’s something Fahey doesn’t acknowledge, as demonstrated by his lack of engagement and interaction with constituents.

While he has consistently opposed efforts to protect and defend our quality of life, voted against a protective ordinance, and expressed favoritism toward the cannabis industry’s growers and manufacturers on numerous occasions, Fahey has turned a deaf ear toward constituent complaints about how the cannabis operations have affected their quality of life.

Fahey was asked by constituents to help with the nuisances caused by the medical cannabis facility in his district in the north part of Corrales. He basically told neighbors that there was nothing that could be done to abate the odors, traffic and other problems, because he considered it a grandfathered-in, done-deal, which was probably not totally the case. Even if the facility was legitimate at the time, Fahey apparently never offered to do anything to help resolve neighborhood complaints.

When constituents in his district asked for help to fight a proposed medical cannabis operation on a four-acre tract adjacent to their rental and other properties, his solution, according to the constituents, was to quit answering their calls and emails.

While Fahey may view N.M.’s Cannabis Regulation Act as a “Law of the Land” that requires municipalities to blindly comply, other municipalities and legal entities have a different view. State Senator Katy Duhigg, an attorney who co-sponsored the CRA, and Los Ranchos Village Attorney Nann Winter, in conjunction with the Governing Body of our neighbors in Los Ranchos, have implemented a commercial cannabis ban in their agricultural/residential zones and they obviously feel it comports with state law and is defendable against legal challenges. And an independent legal assessment by a premier N.M. attorney firm also agrees that the Corrales ban will stand up to legal challenges.

By Nandini Kuehn

Jim Fahey Should Be Our Next Mayor

I support Jim Fahey for mayor for many reasons. Chiefly, he has the competence, relevant experience and proven community mindedness to build on recent Corrales governmental successes rather than backtrack to an imaginary, mythical past.

Each aspiring and incoming mayor vows to make things better for their constituents, to change, improve, build on and mostly, to prepare their communities for the future. Very few mayors say they will turn the clock back. Gary Kanin did just that at the recent municipal election forum.

Our outgoing mayor won election four years ago in a landslide because she listened to villagers’ concerns about a tone deaf, do-nothing administration that she inherited. Kanin proceeded to criticize Jim for representing a “continuation of this administration.” Jim Fahey’s plan is to build on an administration that stresses attentive and collaborative leadership, one that puts village and community interest front and center and preserve what makes living here so treasured —that is a problem? Not for me.

Jim Fahey’s three terms on the Village Council means he knows how our Village government works. He brings experience in water and building expertise from his years as a member of and chairing (2010 - present) the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) which will stand us in good stead at this moment when water access and protection are so critical. His solid reputation and experience in community service for the past 20 years means he can work collaboratively and get things done while preserving Corrales values.

Kanin’s focus is mostly on gripes bordering on fear-mongering. He wants better police and fire safety. But aren’t we the safest town in New Mexico? Better pay, he opined. He was unaware of the Corrales-wide worker pay scale adjustment, passed unanimously by our council. That has resulted in a better paid, staffed and equipped Police and Fire Department. We have one of the best COVID management teams in the state. Why change that?

Gary Kanin repeatedly stressed preserving our strictly enforced density limits, when it is really not threatened. When he bragged about altering the southern border to bring all of Corrales within Sandoval, he made it clear it was a personal victory, done without council participation. No collaboration and more unilateral decision-making is bound to come our way if he returns to office.

Kanin’s only strategy to get more infrastructure funding appears to be to ask our legislators. Jim Fahey knows that the funds available to the State under the Infrastructure Bill will require more action and yes, he will look to our legislators and state sources for help. To get those funds, he will identify our strategic infrastructure needs that qualify for those funds and negotiate agreements to obtain and administer these funds with good financial oversight. Our legislators are our allies and excellent sources of information and advice about what is available and the process to get funding. But they are not going to bring a blank check to the table at anyone’s asking. Those days, if they ever existed, are long gone.

Jim Fahey will work with the Village Council as he seeks village-wide input for a new Comprehensive Plan that addresses water and sewer management, broadband expansion to upgrade the access we now have, build-out of the Performing Arts Center, expansion of the gym, evaluation of senior living options, and proper financial stewardship of our bonding for property acquisition and farmland easements to preserve our rural flavor. While Jim enforces our Village Codes that now exist, he is open to adjustments that serve emerging needs in our village.

In other words, he is committed to retain what is best about Corrales while developing measures that will sustain our gem into the future. This is the kind of mayor I want to vote for.

By Marg Elliston and Fred Harris

We are supporting Jim Fahey for mayor of Corrales because we know him well as a wise councillor and a problem solver who can work with all kind of folks in our sometimes fractious village for an even better future while protecting all of what we have here in Corrales. That requires a really complicated balancing act, more than just platitudes about the way things used to be.

Maybe it’s his long and successful MD background, but we’ve been struck by the fact that Jim has a terrific bedside manner. He listens carefully to everybody who’s got something to say. Then, he makes a thoughtful, rational, and compassionate diagnosis of the problem, free from bias or “alternative facts,” and decides on a rational and compassionate course of treatment, action.

Some of us especially respect Jim as the backyard farmer who grows the best tomato starts that we can ourselves then plant in our own backyard gardens. More, he is a leader in the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) which is now helping Corrales build an important horse/bicycle trail link to greatly enhance the travel experience on the Sagebrush Trail, as well as partnering to reconstruct the Harvey Jones Channel entry into the Rio Grande —thereby improving the Bosque.

For folks who are still deciding who to vote for to move Corrales forward, consider that our new mayor will need to continue the excellent local and area relationships which have been so well now established and that Jim knows so well. Our new mayor will need to continue to work with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District to make sure that Corrales irrigators get their fair share of water in this and future seasons —crucial to the survival of our farms, ditches  and cottonwood forests.

With the increased funding opportunities provided by the Covid Relief Acts, our new mayor will need continued good cooperation with Governor Michelle Luján Grisham and her staff. Corrales’ funding requests will succeed if our new mayor continues the close relationship we now have with our friendly local legislators to prepare and present thoughtful and collaborative capital outlay “needs lists.” Our new mayor must continue frequent and meaningful contact we have with the other mayors in our area and with the County and other government agencies which have an effect on our way of life in Corrales.

Jim Fahey already knows well and will work well with these agencies and elected officials —and with all of us. We need him to help lead us onward, preserving and protecting the Corrales we love.

By Jo Anne Roake

Mayor of Corrales

My View

For the past four years, it has been my honor to serve as your mayor. Thank you for trusting me to work hard to bring you a responsible and respectful government. And I have worked hard! Good government is so much more than a single issue and requires sustained effort and commitment. I made it my mission to repair and strengthen relationships with neighboring communities, legislators, county and state organizations. I did a deep dive into the intricacies of today’s challenges, technological, governmental, financial and legal.

Through the combined efforts of staff, myself and the Governing Body, Village government has never been more professional, robust or effective. We’ve accomplished a great deal and now have the resources and momentum to move forward, successfully navigating inevitable change to our advantage as we tackle the future.

Government resides in the present, not the past. So I must speak up for the candidate that will honor the past, but know how to move us into the future.

First of all, there’s no doubt former Mayor Gary Kanin served this community for years, years ago. Thank you. However, the future of the Village lies ahead, not behind. Jim Fahey has never left the public arena, serving the last of his multiple Village Council terms until just two years ago, and he is currently serving as chairman of the Southern Sandoval County Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA).

With SSCAFCA, he helped secure funding for large water retention and improvement projects. The negotiating skills he developed will translate well into making sure that the Village has a bold advocate as we face the unprecedented opportunity to get funding for infrastructure investments. Jim also has deep ties to our agricultural community as a farmer, vendor and manager of the Corrales Growers’ Market.

He has demonstrated his commitment to the community time and again. He is honest, straightforward and competent. Together with the Governing Body, he’ll lead the Village in a vigorous way that recognizes our past but with an understanding of current realities that will enable us to survive as a unique community into the future.

Based on my own experience as mayor for the last four years, and what it takes to do a credible job, I know Jim Fahey is the right man for the job. Thank you.

By Rick Thaler

Full disclosure: I’m a left-wing socialist with anarchist tendencies, but some of my best friends in Corrales are so far to my right politically that we shouldn’t be able to see each other, much less work and play together.

Yet we do. I have lived here almost 50 years and I have known Gary Kanin for many of those years. I don’t recognize the caricature of him painted in the letters to the Comment of this week. I recently met Jim Fahey and have corresponded with him at some length about the issues that are important to me. I don’t recognize the caricature of him in the letters either.

Both these candidates are well qualified to hold the office of mayor. Both have integrity and a long-standing commitment to the good of the village. As far as I can tell their positions on the key issues facing the village are not all that different.

Conspiracy theories, partisan attacks and childish name-calling have no place in this election. I encourage you all to make direct contact with the mayoral candidates after listening to them in the forums and base your vote on what they say and how they say it, not on baseless ad hominem attacks and smears.

Fahey’s record indicates that he likely won’t lift a finger, phone, or pen to defend the ban on commercial cannabis operations in residential areas, and may instead work to repeal it. Gary Kanin is the only mayoral candidate who has indicated that he will work to keep our residential areas free from commercial cannabis operations. Mayor Kanin was an excellent mayor before, and he will be an excellent mayor again.

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