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As It Is: Mathew and Matt

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By David Giuliani

With all of the publicity lately about the Fiesta Council, some are getting confused about who council President Mathew Martinez is.

Some have mixed him up with Matt Martinez, who runs radio station KNMX and is a former mayor.

I can see why some are confused because Mathew Martinez used to have a morning radio show on KNMX and still does some work for the station.

Also, both men lead local groups that have seen considerable controversy in recent times.

For the purposes of this column, I’ll distinguish them by their preferred first names, Matt and Mathew.

Last year, Matt, as head of the local Chamber of Commerce, got into a public dispute with the Plaza Hotel’s Wid Slick over the group’s advertising strategy.

Slick threatened Matt that he would go to the newspaper with their differences. But Matt beat him to the punch.

Not long after, Matt and the chamber board terminated their contract with Vince Howell as the chamber’s marketing coordinator. Howell’s supporters complained that Matt got rid of Howell because he was seen as friendly with Matt’s archrival, Slick. Matt denied that contention, saying Howell was let go for budgetary reasons.

As readers of this newspaper know, Mathew has faced his share of criticism after he terminated six Fiesta Council members a few weeks ago, a third of the membership. The council also halved the scholarship of former fiesta queen Carmela Montoya from $500 to $250, arguing that she didn’t attend required events. She said a relative was hospitalized during some of the engagements; she contended the council didn’t tell her about others.

To make matters worse for the council, none other than Al Hurricane wanted to set the record straight by saying that he had never agreed to play at the fiesta, even though he was listed on the schedule. “I am a man of my word,” he said in an interview.

As it turns out, the fiesta had a number of such scheduling problems. Agua Negra performed a day earlier than indicated, for instance.

Mathew and his supporters blame the six ousted members for the problems. The six, in turn, point the finger at Mathew and his loyalists.

It’s a situation calling for someone to rise above the fray.

• • •

Among the six ousted members’ arguments against Mathew is that he gave more advertising business to KNMX than to rival KFUN.

In a recent interview at the Optic, Mathew made clear that he doesn’t listen to KFUN. Of course, it’s well known that the folks at the two local radio stations don’t like each other.

But Mathew and Fiesta Council treasurer Yvette Arellanes assured me that the fiesta advertising was equal.

In the weeks leading up to the fiesta, I noticed the event’s ads on KNMX and its two related stations, but not on KFUN and its sister station. About a week before the fiesta, I called KFUN owner Joseph Baca and asked him if the council had bought any ads from his stations. He said no.

A few days after that, the council did purchase some ads on KFUN — at the last minute.

So it’s possible that the council may have evened out the advertising to the stations in the last days. But I sure would like to see the documents to show that. Arellanes told me that she had received KFUN’s invoice but not KNMX’s. She said she would be willing to share the information with me and the public when the council receives all of the information.

• • •

As I noted, the Fiesta Council cut Carmela Montoya’s scholarship in half. But she since has been made whole. Shortly after our story on Montoya appeared, I received a $250 cashier’s check for Montoya. It came from an anonymous donor who wanted me to give it to the former queen.

Montoya was happy to have received the rest of the scholarship. She told me she plans to speak to the Fiesta Council next month. At this month’s meeting, Mathew stopped the ousted six from speaking. Will Montoya get her chance to speak or will she be ruled out of order? It should be interesting.

• • •

A Denver couple, Jane and Hal Owen, are greatly appreciative of local Comcast employee Felix De La Riva. Jane called me and said that De La Riva helped them last week on Interstate 25 when they had a tire blowout on Interstate 25.

David Giuliani is managing editor of the Las Vegas Optic. He may be reached at 425-6796 or dgiuliani@lasvegasoptic.com.