When I heard the statue of Juan de Oñate was removed my first question was, “Who authorized it?”
Rio Arriba County Manager Tomas Campos states he “made an executive decision” for its “protection”. Purportedly he was saving thousands of dollars in the event protesters rumored to be planning to “take it down” damaged it.
The excuse of cost efficiency is untenable. County workers took several hours, with several deputy sheriffs on standby, during its removal. The public, which funds the County, was blocked from entering public property when later the same day a group of outsiders was allowed entrance to defile the base of the monument while holding speeches inciting division.
I expressed to Campos it would be more cost effective to post deputies to protect the statue and arrest anyone attempting to damage public property, which is a crime. This is, after all, the law.
Instead the County chose to bypass the democratic process and now expects that process to be used to replace the statue. Revising history is a slippery slope, which has been used by every communist regime.
By not following American law and order we teeter dangerously toward anarchy, as is currently taking place in Seattle.
There should have been a call for public input from taxpaying residents and a vote by the commission before the removal. The County already has serious issues and just took an action that exemplified the dysfunction. People should be fired and a complete investigation should be conducted into this illegal action.