As she challenges the mayor of Santa Fe, Vigil Coppler prepares for the home stretch | Local News

With just six weeks in the race for mayor, Santa Fe City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler duplicates her local roots and extensive government experience as she seeks to oust incumbent Alan Webber.

It remains to be seen whether she has enough time, money or vote to fully describe her campaign.

Benny Montano looks at a flyer for JoAnne Vigil Coppler’s mayoral campaign and talks to her as she goes door-to-door in Santa Fe on Friday.

Faced with a significant fundraising disadvantage, a campaign landscape complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and a third candidate in the race, the first-term city councilor is still working to define what she will do next. As mayor, while she’s been good at highlighting what she’s saying, these are Webber’s missteps during his 3.5 years in office.

Undeterred by financial disparities, or even the idea that her platform is not well understood by many Santa Fe voters, Vigil Coppler says she remains confident as the race enters its final race. straight line.

“The people who have lived here with me and have stood by my side, as friends, acquaintances, bosses and employees, they know me and know what I stand for,” she said. “I had a public figure here in Santa Fe; they know my work.

Shortly after announcing his run for mayor on March 28, Vigil Coppler suggested his campaign would ramp up soon after Labor Day. Now that the vacation is over, her schedule is busy – crowding in meetings with voters and donors between her responsibilities as city councilor.

She said she plans to step up advertising in the coming weeks, including direct mail, flyers and videos on social media.

His efforts will likely be much more modest than those of Webber, who last week said about $ 360,000 in contributions compared to Vigil Coppler’s $ 112,000. What those ads will say could become increasingly important in a campaign that until recently had played out in ethics complaints.

Vigil Coppler said she has tried to lead a positive effort, noting that of the three ethics complaints filed so far, none have been initiated by her.

The first came from candidate Alexis Martinez Johnson, who alleged Webber was using taxpayer dollars to advertise his campaign by using a campaign email to announce his appearance at a city-sponsored spray event during of summer. The complaint was dismissed after the city’s Campaign Ethics and Review Board ruled that Martinez Johnson had not provided a specific violation on which to base his complaint.

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Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber, center, gives Police Chief Andrew Padilla, right, some football pitching pointers during a city-sponsored recovery event in July at Swan Park. The mayor is facing an ethical complaint from an opponent regarding the promotion of the event through his re-election campaign. The complaint was dismissed.

Another came from Webber against the Hispanic fraternal group Union Protectíva de Santa Fé and two local veterans groups, alleging that the groups were engaged in illicit election campaigns on behalf of Vigil Coppler by not registering as a political action committees. The complaint was announced by Webber’s campaign in an email titled “Trump / MAGAOperatives Illegally Interferes in Election of Mayor to Support Vigil Coppler”.

This complaint was also rejected by the ethics committee.

Webber complained in an interview Thursday that Vigil Coppler had not disowned support from those listed in his complaint.

{div class = “subscriber-only”} The groups paid for a newspaper ad calling Webber a “Marxist” trying to divide Santa Fe. They also ran social media posts that mocked CHART, a city-led effort to address concerns about art, monuments and history. Some of these poles have been found on road signs around town. {/ div}

“There’s an old saying from New Mexico, ‘Show me who you ride with and I’ll tell you who you are,’” Webber said. “In that case, it depends on who is on your team. Who are you kissing? These are the facts, these are not just accusations. These are real facts.

{p class = “p1”} For her part, Vigil Coppler said she was not linked to Union Protectíva, suggesting that Webber’s complaints are acts of desperation.

“These are not my values,” said Vigil Coppler. ” He catches. He throws things away and sees if it sticks.

The third complaint, which went unheard, was filed by Union Protectíva and accuses the mayor of intimidation, campaign funding violations and “general abuse of power”.

But while the first few months of the campaign seemed relatively dull, they seem about to heat up.

A recent flyer released by Webber’s campaign attacks Vigil Coppler’s “no” vote on a city-wide mask mandate. At the city council meeting where the issue was discussed, she underlined her dissatisfaction with a vocal “absolutely not” as she voted.

Webber’s leaflet offers this scathing assessment: “We can’t trust JoAnne Vigil Coppler to be mayor. Bad on masks. Bad on Santa Fe.

In an interview, Vigil Coppler said his vote was not a vote against masks, but rather a vote against an unenforceable rule.

“What I am against is the creation of unenforceable laws and regulations,” she said. “Parts of the resolution were binding; many were not.


Mayoral candidate JoAnne Vigil Coppler reviews her notes on September 13 before participating in a virtual candidate forum with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Santa Fe.

Tensions between the campaigns also increased during an online forum hosted earlier this month by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Santa Fe.

After nearly an hour of rather tame and routine discussions about the fate of the city, Vigil Coppler alleged that Webber asked the police to step down as protesters pulled the monument to the soldiers from its base in the Plaza in October. latest.

{p class = “p1”} Webber vigorously denied the charge, alleging the councilor was trafficking lies – city officials and police at the time of the obelisk’s destruction said it was the police who determined how to handle the protest on the day of the indigenous peoples. In a city press release the next day, Santa Fe Police Chief Andrew Padilla said such an order had not been issued by the mayor.

{p class = “p1”} During the forum, Vigil Coppler said she received her information from a source within the police department and then defended her statement, adding that the only person who could clarify the matter dossier was the officer who had given him the information. But she said she felt the claim was relevant to the election.

She disagreed that spreading unverified information during a campaign event amounted to a negative campaign.

“The bigger question was whether [order to stand down] be done at all? It doesn’t matter who made the decision, ”she said. “My opinion and that of these seasoned officers with a great deal of experience… they do not agree. It is not good police work. When you see your prized place being torn down and you tell the police to go ahead and tear it down, that is not good leadership.

Webber categorically disputed Vigil Coppler’s claim.

“I don’t think there is any factual evidence,” he said in an interview. “All statements and the public record of communications to date refute this assertion. I think part of what ranked voting does is give people a chance to compare the records – the voting records and the accomplishments – and I think that’s what people are going to look at in this. election. “

Vigil Coppler, who operates her own real estate company after a career spent largely in government and the judiciary, says she will be a better manager of the city’s finances than Webber, despite having voted for the city’s budget. mayor for the 2022 fiscal year. She argues that the city lacks the right management to oversee the implementation of a more service-oriented budget and has promised to focus on “hiring the best candidates and more qualified ”.

“We may have some in place right now,” she said. “But this is the key, if you can’t get out of a paper bag, you won’t be efficient and guide your employees to a better quality of life.”

Webber told the Candidates Forum that he would “stick to his budget,” which he called one of the most progressive in Santa Fe history to take care of basic city services, citing $ 3 million in funding to repair potholes and cracked streets, over $ 1. million dollars for park improvements and additional funds to help train and retain police and firefighters, as well as salary increases for city employees.

He also praised his administration’s efforts to quell the COVID-19 pandemic in Santa Fe, particularly among its vulnerable homeless population. He touts the city’s disbursement of federal funds to support COVID-19, although Vigil Coppler argued it was a city council effort.

But as Vigil Coppler is quick to criticize Webber’s record, Martinez Johnson, the race’s third contender, notes that any problem that Vigil Coppler says plagued the city under Webber’s administration has also occurred. while she was a counselor.

{p class = “p1”} In response, Vigil Coppler stated that she was “not in charge. Yet.”

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Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber spoke in June at a city hall press conference after a lawsuit was filed for the destruction of the Plaza Obelisk.

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