Endorsement as printed on May 31, 2006, The Santa Fe
Santa Fe County Sheriff/Democrats
The Race: Incumbent Greg Solano is finishing his first
term and seeking re-election. Sgt. Linda Ortiz, also of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, is challenging him in the June primary. There is no Republican on the general election ballot.
The Issues: The county jail, which returned to county management last fall, was a topic of discussion. Solano, who advocated the move during his last campaign, maintains the county is improving conditions at the jail and says having it under local control is the right thing to do. Ortiz initially made public statements that she favored privatization, but the Journal Santa Fe subsequently reported Ortiz was rethinking that position. Ortiz, in her campaign, cited low morale at the Sheriff’s Department as one reason for her run. Solano points to the increased salaries for his deputies and lack of vacancies as a rebuttal. The campaigns also have discussed DWI laws and other crimes in the area.
Our Pick: We profiled Solano, both his life and first term, in a cover story in May. That story also included a section about Ortiz’ challenge and contentions regarding Solano’s tenure. Following that story, Ortiz declined to come in for an endorsement interview, which made it challenging to evaluate her for the office she seeks. It also was disconcerting. The media—and hopefully the public—should be wary of public officials, or public official hopefuls, who respond to articles they don’t like with silence. It never bodes well. Solano, on the other hand, is likely one of the most accessible public officials in recent history. He keeps an online blog, is outspoken, returns all calls promptly, provides police reports quickly and without argument. He has been an active sheriff, pushing for not just public control of the jail, but DWI forfeiture laws. He writes grants to acquire technology for his department; initiated a project for counseling for his officers to address their jobs. He’s willing to speak out, even when his views aren’t popular, and even deputies who supported his opponents in the previous election say he’s doing a good job. Universally popular? No. Deserving of a second term? No question.
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