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Kilmer plans to speak to County Commission, official says

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By David Giuliani

“Batman” actor Val Kilmer has agreed to show up for a County Commission meeting later this month to explain controversial comments attributed to him, a county official said Tuesday.

County Attorney Jesus Lopez confirmed that Pam Sawyer, the manager of Kilmer’s Rowe ranch, had informed the county that the actor planned to show at the meeting, barring some other event on his schedule.

She declined to comment Tuesday.

Kilmer’s representatives have requested that the county approve a lodging business on his property. Although the county Planning and Zoning Commission has signed off on his request, the County Commission unanimously asked that Kilmer appear to explain the comments he allegedly made to national magazines years ago.

The county has set a special meeting for 1:30 p.m. June 23 to hear the actor’s side of the story.

In 2003, Kilmer was quoted in Rolling Stone magazine as insulting San Miguel County residents by calling 80 percent of them drunks. In more recent times, he reportedly described Vietnam veterans as “borderline criminal or poor.”

He has since stated to other media that he was misquoted.

During recent county meetings, some Rowe residents have complained that the comments attributed to Kilmer show that he is racist against Hispanics. A big majority of county residents are Hispanic.

With Kilmer expected to address the commission, it’s likely that Albuquerque media are expected to swoop in. The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has contended that the county’s delay on approving Kilmer’s permit because of his alleged comments is an infringement of his First Amendment rights.