Preferring Mission Creep to the ‘Mundane’

The Santa Fe New Mexican ran a story this weekend on a phenomenon that Errors of Enchantment has been tracking for some time: New Mexico local governments that won’t stick to their knitting.

As reporter Tripp Stelnicki wrote, Santa Fe’s mayors and council members “occasionally articulate a political view or express a social consciousness by adopting resolutions that address issues of the day.” In the last few years, resolutions have been adopted “that request President Barack Obama deny a Keystone Pipeline construction permit, voice support for Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and side with a movement to ban nontherapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock production.”

Former Mayor Sam Pick offered a disturbing justification for the mission creep: “We’re elected to take care of the interests of the city and the citizens — and it’s very mundane. Sometimes you like to expand the horizon.” (Issuing toothless statements, Pick told the newspaper, is “a hell of a lot easier to do that than worry about the streets. It’s a lot of fun.”)

The problem goes far beyond Santa Fe. Last year, Las Cruces pols demanded that “the New Mexico Legislature … enact legislation which requires comprehensive background checks for all firearm sales and which strengthens the criminal background check system for firearms in New Mexico.” This summer, the mayors of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces signed on to the “Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry,” which takes a truly bold and visionary stand against “racism, extremism, xenophobia, white supremacy and all forms of bigotry, and those who espouse such ideologies.” A month and a half ago, New Mexico’s most affluent community issued “a proclamation honoring the contributions of immigrants to Los Alamos County.”

The issue here isn’t the positions taken by local governments. It’s that villages, towns, cities, and counties already have enough on their plates. Particularly in a fiscally challenging time, it’s important for the level of government closest to the people to focus on patrolling the streets, fighting fires, building/maintaining infrastructure, and the like. Influencing national affairs isn’t on the job-description list for local officials. However “mundane,” their regular duties should not include bloviating on the occupant of the White House, U.S. foreign policy, constitutional debates, circus animals….

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3 Replies to “Preferring Mission Creep to the ‘Mundane’”

  1. I am more concerned about the flurry of political lawsuits from Attorney General Hector Banderas. He’s been in the forefront of anti-Trump lawfare with taxpayer-funded lawsuits about DACA, the methane rule and now the Obamacare insurance company subsidy. I’d like to see the legislature or the state auditor (yeah, right) compare the legal costs Balderas is racking up to the potential benefit to New Mexico taxpayers in the unlikely event that he wins.

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