Sunday, June 05, 2005

City of Santa Fe Elected officials' travel--is it really that big of a deal?

The Santa Fe New Mexican ran a story on Saturday (link) regarding the travel budgets of Santa Fe's elected officials. It was a front page, above the fold type of story that the New Mexican played as some sort of miracle of investigative reporting on our horribly unethical elected officials.

Apparently Santa Fe's City councilor, Mayor and municipal judge traveled on City business to a variety of locales to promote the city, attend conferences, etc.. .

This might be a real story if the officials had spend $100,000 of taxpayer money and gone to Aruba or played Pebble Beach golf Course several times -- which is what you expect when you hear that there might be some intrigue behind the Mayor's travel.

But in this case, it's almost a laughable story. The Mayor, who was the big spender, has spend a little over $8,000 in travel since July, 2003. The highest spending councilor came in at about $7,500!

If there is any story here, it is how little these people are traveling. Isn't Santa Fe's economy based on tourism? Doesn't Travel and Leisure Magazine rank it year after year as one of the top 5 travel destinations in the U.S? I would imagine that the Mayor and Representatives of the City should be traveling around the nation promoting Santa Fe and all it has to offer.

The New Mexican also seems to dislike the fact that they are traveling to trainings and traveling to Washington to lobby for Santa Fe projects. What's so bad about that?

The New Mexican should be able to find better investigative stories than this.

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