City commission candidate allowed to campaign at city chambers

If you erase checks and balances among the media, the people, the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch then you arrive at what T or C has, a good ole boy government, not a democracy.

Gordon Edelheit, who is running for Truth or Consequences city commissioner, went to the mic during the Oct. 11 city commission meeting and was allowed to campaign without interruption or correction, City Attorney Jay Rubin and city commissioners sitting idly by.

Election law disallows campaigning in or around government buildings and the use of government property or equipment or resources to be used to campaign. Government officials are supposed to be neutral and not dictatorial. Government endorsement of a candidate or religion or telling constituents how to vote is dictatorial. The people are at the top of a democratic government’s organizational chart and are supposed to be informed, not dictated to, by their elected representatives.

At the mic Edelheit bragged about the chamber of commerce successfully campaigning to have two general-obligation bonds approved by the people.

Edelheit was or is the head of the Chamber of Commerce. His bragging shows he doesn’t realize he has a conflict of interest in being head of the chamber and running for office. Business interests are special interests. Government officials are supposed to represent all of the people.

The chamber’s campaign did not look out for the people’s interests. It was a very low-information campaign that failed to even mention that the G.O. bond debt would more than double property taxes.

At the mic Edelheit also said he’s been successful in increasing support for Angela Gonzales, who became city manager about five months ago. This is another erasure of the check and balance that is supposed to exist between the city commission/legislative branch and the city manager/city staff/executive branch.

A city commissioner is supposed to represent the people, which means not having any ex parte communication with fellow commissioners let alone working as a team. It also means the city commission is supposed to monitor and oversee and check on  the city manager, not become her P.R. person or supporter.

At the mic Edelheit said he has been holding get-to-know-the-candidates sessions at his restaurant, getting a plug in for his business as well as misusing government resources to campaign. He said one non-incumbent candidate and one incumbent candidate had shown up at the sessions and that he hoped the other candidates would attend. Mayor Amanda Forrister, Mayor Pro Tem Rolf Hechler and City Commissioner Shelly Harrelson are the incumbents who are running and they listened impassively, thus endorsing Edelheit’s implied notion that city commissioners should work together as a team.

One big good-ole-boy family. Just what we need more of.

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Kathleen Sloan
Kathleen Sloan

Kathleen Sloan has been a local-government reporter for 17 years, covering counties and cities in three states—New Mexico, Iowa and Florida. She has also covered the arts for various publications in Virginia, New Mexico and Iowa. Sloan worked for the Truth or Consequences Herald newspaper from 2006 to 2013; it closed December 2019. She returned to T or C in 2019 and founded the online newspaper, the Sierra County Sun, with Diana Tittle taking the helm as editor during the last year and a half of operation. The Sun closed December 2021, concurrent with Sloan retiring. SierraCountySun.org is still an open website, with hundreds of past articles still available. Sloan is now a board member of the not-for-profit organization, the Sierra County Public-Interest Journalism Project, which supported the Sun and is currently sponsoring the Sierra County Citizen, another free and open website. Sloan is volunteering as a citizen journalist, covering the T or C beat. She can be reached at kathleen.sloan@gmail.com or 575-297-4146.

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2 Comments

  1. I hope that this person loses in the upcoming election, based on my recent series of interactions with him. He opposed my planned store, he told me. But it quickly became apparent that he didn’t know anything about serial murder communication. He was condescending and patronizing. He didn’t like my use of the term “Emporium,” even though he had no reason. He asked mindless questions, ignored my explanations and conflated mass murder with serial murder. He is not intelligent, sincere or objective.

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