As It Is: Media herd is on its way

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By David Giuliani

One of my old bosses liked to say that running a newsroom is like herding cats. In many ways, that’s true.

We’re questioners by nature, not blind followers of authority.

But the media often act like a herd when it’s covering a big story.

The TV stations and daily newspapers in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe corridor closely follow one another, often covering the same stories.

You don’t see them often around here, except when big stories break such as the infamous sexual assaults at a Robertson High School football camp.

The media herd is likely to arrive again in Las Vegas on June 23. They’ll be stumbling over one another to cover actor Val Kilmer’s expected appearance at a special meeting of the County Commission. He is set to speak at 1:30 p.m. in the commission’s chambers in the old courthouse. County officials have said they have a commitment from the actor to appear, but one of Kilmer’s representatives declined to comment when asked if that were the case.

Kilmer’s representatives have been trying to get a lodging business approved on his Rowe ranch. But the commission says it wants to hear from Kilmer himself.

Are the commissioners starstruck? No, they say they want the “Batman” actor to explain controversial comments he has made over the years in interviews with national magazines.

The actor has been quoted as insulting San Miguel County residents by calling 80 percent of them drunks and Vietnam veterans and by describing them as “borderline criminal or poor.”

Kilmer has claimed he was misquoted.

Other media have been interested in the Kilmer saga in our county. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reportedly has been calling locals about the controversy.

You may want to get your seat early at the meeting. The chambers may be filled to capacity, with many people standing up.

And you may be jockeying for space with the media herd.

• • •

When it comes to political controversies, it seems as if history really does repeat itself.

Our elected representatives have to live in the districts that they represent. But so often, politicians find ways around such requirements.

I’ve mentioned many times in this column that state Rep. Thomas Garcia lives in Las Vegas, outside of his district. But he lists Ocate, which is in his district, as his official residence. That’s where he grew up and still spends some time. But even Garcia won’t deny it: He and his family live here.

New Mexico laws are weak about residency. So Garcia’s arrangement works for him and, to be fair, his constituents, who keep re-electing him, despite the fact that he doesn’t live in his district.

Last week, we found out that the winner of the District 3 San Miguel County Commission race apparently doesn’t live where he says he does. During an Optic candidates forum, we asked commission hopefuls about their residency. But Arthur J. Padilla was an unexpected no-show.

In his declaration of candidacy — a sworn affidavit — Padilla listed 711 Legion Drive as his residence. But when I went by there, his son told me that his dad lives in Rociada, which Padilla listed in his affidavit as his mailing address. Because he is registered to vote on Legion, he can vote in city elections.

Padilla told me that he lives in both places. He’ll have no competition in November, so he’s got the commission seat. Besides, both the Legion and Rociada addresses are in District 3.

Earlier this year, we discovered that District 1 County Commissioner June Garcia listed a Delgado Street address as her residence for 15 years. But she didn’t live there, although she owns that house. She lived outside the city on El Llano Road. Both addresses are in District 1.

When you ask most people where they live, they seem to know. But when you’re an annoying reporter like me, you find that politicians stumble over the answer to this seemingly basic question.


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