It turns out that news sources based as far away as El Paso are concerned about Santa Fe mayor David Coss’ attempted power grab. Milan Simonich, chief of the Santa Fe Bureau for the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership recently published an article about what he calls the mayor's "me first attitude" and that attempting to be “mayor and state representative all at once is wrong because it ignores the public's needs.” The entire text can be viewed here.
The criticism of him is both fair and unfair. Other legislators have held high-stakes public jobs while serving in the Legislature. Nonetheless, Coss' plan to be a mayor and state representative all at once is wrong because it ignores the public's needs.
A Democrat, Coss is running for state representative in House District 46. If he defeats Carl Trujillo in the June 5 primary election, Coss says he will continue as mayor when he takes office in the Legislature. This me-first attitude shows that Coss, a Santa Fe native, has a streak of Huey Long, the Louisiana powerbroker of the 1930s.
Coss, we should say, has not responded to requests to talk about his candidacy and his plan to be a dual officeholder. The main question he needs to answer is how he could do both jobs effectively. Legislators go to work in a 60-day session starting in January. Would Coss attend city council meetings that conflict with legislative hearings or floor votes? Which work, the city's or the state's, would be his priority? Perhaps most important, why does Coss want to hold two political offices at once?
Is it because he perceives the political bench in Santa Fe to be thin, or because his ego tells him being mayor of the capital city is more prestigious than being a freshman legislator at the Capitol?
Although Simonich seems to miss the mark when pointing out that other legislators currently hold other jobs. Holding another job is not where the dubious ethics of Coss’ power grab lies. It is the fact that two elected offices can and will conflict with each other. What happens if Coss is in a position where he must vote on a capital outlay project that benefits the City of Santa Fe, but may not benefit or completely ignore the Northern communities? Heath Haussamen addressed this in his blog NMPolitics.net today. That story can be viewed here.
Now’s our time to elect a candidate that will represent us equally and fairly!