Albuquerque Journal North Edition
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Garcia Best Choice for Sheriff
Santa Fe County has been fortunate to have had a whole string — two decades worth, in fact — of competent sheriffs. And maybe even more — we're just casting back as far as former Sheriff Benjie Montaño's first term in office. Montaño served two terms and then worked to get his Undersheriff Ray Sisneros elected. That happened, but when Sisneros decided not to run for a second term, he cleared the way for a wide-open race in 2002, which was won by Greg Solano.
This election cycle, it's Solano who's out under the term limit rule, and true to form (or custom, or whatever it is), he's supporting his Undersheriff Robert Garcia as his successor.
Garcia has three challengers, but his campaign theme, predictably, has been to stress that he's the only one of the four who is poised to take over the department with no on-the-job training required.
And, predictably, he stresses that what he and Solano have been doing to combat Santa Fe's two high-profile crimes — burglary and DWI — is working. The other three candidates talk about what they would do if elected, says Garcia, but he can talk about "what we are doing" to address these problems.
Garcia's critics grouse about morale in the department and say promotions don't proceed fairly, but they're short on specifics.
Garcia's got the more persuasive argument, backed by facts. He notes that burglary rates in the county are down compared with the city, where police have brought down the numbers only to see them shoot right back up to record levels.
The Santa Fe Sheriff's Department fields more DWI officers than any other law enforcement agency in northern New Mexico, according to Garcia, and by emphasizing roadblocks and saturation patrols has made driving safer.
Another plus, the sheriff's office under Solano has been consistently forthcoming with information about criminal investigations and everything else, and Garcia has been the point man in the department's communication with the media and the public.
Garcia says he won't change what works. A 30-year law enforcement veteran, he's certainly qualified for the job. But it's his record as Solano's chief deputy that should be most reassuring to voters — despite the national mood, change isn't always the best option.
As with so many local races here in el norte, there is no Republican on the ballot in November, so the winner of the June 1 Democratic primary is a shoo-in.
The Journal recommends Garcia as the best choice for Santa Fe County sheriff.
Early Voting is held on Tuesday – Friday from 12 Noon until 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
The locations of Early Voting sites are:
Santa Fe County Fairgrounds – 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe
El Dorado Senior Center – 14 Avenida Torreon, El Dorado
Edgewood Fire Station – 25 E. Frontage Road, Edgewood
Pojoaque County Satellite Office – 5W. Gutierrez, Pojoaque
Santa Cruz – 153 Camino De Quintana, Espanola
Santa Fe County Clerk’s office, 102 Grant Avenue, Santa Fe