Talk about the literal luck of the draw. Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo had to draw straws with fellow Commissioner James Martinez to see who would get a two-year extension on his elected term.
Jaramillo won the draw and as a result doesn’t have to stand for re-election until 2024. He was elected in 2018 as was Martinez. Martinez must run for re-election in 2022. Commissioner Danny Garcia terms out in 2020 so his northern district will get new and badly needed representation Jan. 1, 2021.
The drawing was the result of nonsensical redistricting legislation that even Secretary of State’s Office personnel acknowledge was hard to understand and a waste of time and money. House Bill 407, passed in the 2019 legislative session, gave the Secretary of State the power to re-align and renumber districts throughout the state.
No boundary lines were changed through the legislation. That huge fight takes place in the courts after next year’s census data is received. This was simply a renumbering.
What Rio Arriba County needed was James Martinez to get the six-year term. He’s the only person questioning how the County is operated, spends its money, hires its people and serves residents.
Jaramillo has become a good “yes man” for County management, agreeing to how County Manager Tomas Campos and his number two Leo Marquez disburse funds. Martinez asks questions and challenges poor decisions.
Perhaps when Garcia is put to pasture, his replacement will have some intelligence, wisdom, integrity and gumption. Martinez could find an ally to clean up County management. We’re seven months into his and Jaramillo’s term and no one is showing an inclination to find a new county manager, assistant, lawyer or “economic director.” That good ole’ boys club remains solid, much to the detriment of taxpayers.
Jaramillo is still spouting empty election phrases such as create a strategic County plan, resolve tribal easement issues and open a new nursing home and rehabilitation facility. None of those goals are attainable with current staff.
They might create a strategic plan but don’t wait for it to be implemented. Tribal easement issues will never be settled. Local pueblos don’t want anyone on their land. They’ve been quite clear. The County can’t operate a jail. What makes anyone think it could operate a nursing facility. They might provide some property but if the nursing home was anything like the jail, residents better bring their own port-a-potty and carry a gun for protection.
We hope over the course of the next six years Jaramillo figures out what’s really going on in the County and finds the intestinal fortitude to do something about it. Perhaps Martinez can educate him.