By Shirl A. Steward
Please note: I feel I
should mention, since I worked for the SFNM at the time this was
written, that the opinions stated here are solely mine or others
mentioned herein and are not in any way representative of the SFNM
as a whole. Following my comments is a letter by my friend Carmen
Quintana which both addresses the issues and lends support to Mr.
Dendahl’s strengths as a candidate for Governor of New Mexico.
7, 2006 election is fast approaching. Harsh words are flying all
over the place. The race between John Dendahl and Bill Richardson
is no exception. They have been throwing blows back and forth
nonstop. Dendahl heavily criticizes Richardson but it seems that
Richardson’s components stepped way over the line by quoting Dendahl
as saying he is ‘out to tear down New Mexico’.
Unquestionably, it was a rather low blow and quite
undeserved. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth and
Steve Terrell quite aptly set the record straight in his article
“Dendahl not out to 'tear down New Mexico'. Yet, Richardson’s
campaigners are taken full advantage and using it anyway. Why would
Richardson allow himself to be party to such ill conceived campaign
smear? Does he hope that people will just accept it without
question and just see this as confirmation of his claims of
Dendahl’s total unfitness for office? Humm . . .
To be honest,
I don’t really know who might be the best candidate for Governor.
Richardson, of course, stands on his record but apparently not
enough to face Dendahl in the KOB invitation for a public debate.
This lack of willing to face his opponent leads me to think that,
perhaps, Richardson might wish to skirt by answering certain
questions deferring to the notion that he need not acknowledge
another candidate he is leading by 20 points in the polls. I
would think it for that very same reason, that he should step
forward to be heard. Shouldn’t he, as incumbent, be
reassuring New Mexicans that he stands strong on the issues and that
their choice in continuing to support him is the right one?
A rebuttal to an opponent’s claims IS the best evidence that
Richardson stands behind what he says are the real issues.
Dendahl, on his
site, brings up many good points. In a quote published by the
Albuquerque Tribune (and shown below), Dendahl names his top issue
as corruption in government and suggests that Richardson $77 million
dollar plan to decrease the number of New Mexicans without health
insurance is evidence of that corruption. Yes, the idea of having
state wide health coverage for everyone certainly sounds great but
is it practical and would it bankrupt the state as Dendahl
From the Tribune:
Question: Name your top issue if elected. Dendahl:
Corruption in state government. Gov. Bill Richardson has a $77
million plan to reduce the number of New Mexicans without health
insurance. But given the increases in care costs, can the state
afford that in the long run? How could the state better control
those costs? The cost of the Medicaid program continues to grow year
after year. In the long run, this is an unaffordable situation for
the state. The solution lies in a vibrant and growing economy.
Medicaid is a poverty program and as we decrease the level of
poverty, we decrease the need for the program. Along with this,
incentives can be created to increase the number of employers
offering health care benefits and the number of health insurance
companies offering policies in New Mexico. Both would serve to
increase the level of competition thereby acting to control costs.
A dear friend of
mine, Carmen Quintana put together the following letter about
Dendahl versus Richardson and her view of government in Santa Fe.
I’d like to share it with you.
It’s not about
Richardson or Dendahl: It’s about the sale of our government!
by Carmen Quintana,
and Spokesperson, La Herencia en Santa Fe
Growing up in a very American Santa Fe, before it
became a Third World country, I don’t remember learning
that your government could be sold to the highest
bidder. This election will certainly prove whether or
not we have the power to take back our government.
all, I would like to explain to the general public that
I consider Santa Fe a political cesspool; an enmeshment
of governments, city-county-state-federal. The only one
I have managed to reach is the federal in my lifelong
search for the American Dream. I have survived my 70th
winter and celebrated my birthday on Constitution Day,
opinions on everything that occurs in Santa Fe and I
believe Johnny Dendahl does too. I don’t remember when I
met Johnny. I probably met him at his grandparents
business because my mother, Concha Sanchez Quintana was
a constant customer. She made all of our clothes and by
the time I was in high school – my formals – because of
all the confidence she had gained dealing with the
Dendahls and being exposed to all of their fine
up in a totally capitalistic society. His grandparents
had a fabric store and my grandpa, Alejandro Quintana on
my dad’s side had a grocery store on Agua Fria Street.
In his spare time he made gold filigree and sold his
craft at Spitz Jewelers on the Plaza. My grandmother,
Josefita Maes Quintana never worked publicly except
before she married Grandpa. She worked in a laundry. My
grandpa on my mother’s side, Enrique Sanchez was a
gifted carpenter and many Santa Fe houses and buildings
still have samples of his work. My great grandfather,
Guadalupe Sanchez was one of Loretto Chapel’s
carpenters. This fact shows up in an old Ancient City
father, Pedro Quintana, a tinsmith, did all of Southern
Union Gas Company’s tin work and during the winter, when
things were slow, began making decorative tin in his
spare time, all of which can be documented as part of
Santa Fe’s history. He was a member of Santa Fe’s Native
Market. We didn’t have a “Hispanic Market” and an
“Indian Market” in those days. We had a “Human Market”.
I grew up in a culture of self-sufficient people who
built their homes with their own hands on lands that
they owned with what they had or what they could create.
I never recall being called a “Hispanic” and first got
called a “Mexican” when I was forty years old. My older
son who is almost 50 tells me he gets called a “Mexican”
all over New Mexico.
rate, I am FED UP with all of the racist crap going on
in Santa Fe. Johnny Dendahl and I didn’t grow up that
way. I am particularly dismayed at the way John
Wertheim’s recent letter described Johnny in the way
that he did. I wish the newspapers would begin to
publish positive letters with positive solutions instead
of all this bickering. I’m sorry Johnny used the word
“Hispanic” in his recent speech. In l983, when I wrote
my first book, “We’re Waiting to be Americans” I used
the words “Taco Mafia” and “Cowboy Coalition” to
describe the political attitudes of New Mexico.
remains, we have a disgustingly, dysfunctional group of
people calling the shots in Santa Fe and they are all
connected and trying to save something before they all
fall flat on their faces.
dare call it “self-government”. I have been on a radio
talk show where Johnny called it socialism. I agree. And
because of my personal history in this town I will go a
step farther and call it “fascist”. From my own
experience, I know that all Bill Richardson has a lot of
allies, like our County Sheriff who is pleased to call
for my arrest for any given subject. Contempt of Court
is the last reason given. The last time was to advise me
that “The Government” had created a special “debtor’s
prison” for this Santa Fe Indian. It was also the day I
had just had a colonoscopy. I spent five days in jail
for “Contempt of Court.”
This November election is not about Johnny Dendahl
or Bill Richardson. IT’S ABOUT THE CONTINUED SALE OF OUR
want Bill Richardson to be President: PRESIDENT OF
La Herencia en Santa Fe
confirming that Richardson’s claim that Dendahl is
‘tearing down New Mexico’ is false. Roundhouse Roundup:
Dendahl not out to 'tear down New Mexico' by Steve
Terrell/The New Mexican
John Dendahl’s blog Common Sense at
by John Dendahl:
'Native' Now Mean 'Balkanize' in America?
from Dendahl to Richardson challenging him to debate