SANTA FE (KRQE) – Gov. Susana Martinez picked up Panda Express after the legislative session ended Saturday, but that quick stop for Chinese food led to people questioning her detail’s parking job.
A public figure can be watched at any time, and in this case, it was 3:03 p.m. Saturday, according to Dave. He didn’t want his face shown or last name used, but he decided to post a photograph online that quickly got a lot of attention.
“I was out on a break and noticed a dark SUV parked over there, and I thought it was the governor’s because I’ve seen here before,” said Dave. “Then she did come out, and I noticed it was her.”
Dave said the state SUV was parked illegally at the DeVargas Center. He says he’s seen the fire marshal ticket vehicles in that same spot before, so he took notice.
“She did have probably one wheel in the loading zone, but the majority of the vehicle is definitely in the fire zone,” he said.
Dave admits he’s not part of the 57 percent of New Mexicans who easily reelected Martinez to a second term in November.
“I actively campaigned against her,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right that our governor leads by bad example. She should be leading by a good example.”
On the Facebook page where the picture was posted, hundreds sounded off.
“Obviously, the rules don’t apply to governors. My car would have been towed,” one person wrote.
“If we all have to follow the rules, then she should, too,” wrote another.
Others thought the parking job issue was ridiculous.
“So what! If she were a Democratic governor, you would probably say everybody does it,” a Facebook poster said.
“I’m sorry, but there are more important things to worry about than her stupid illegal parking,” said another.
A representative from the governor’s office told KRQE News 13 in an e-mail, “The state police officer dropped her off, then parked in a normal spot in the parking lot. After she was done at Panda Express and other shops, she came out into the courtyard. When the state police officer saw her, he pulled his vehicle out of the spot, drove up to the loading zone to pick her up, then departed.”
“It is clearly a loading and unloading zone,” the governor’s office said, providing pictures from the scene to argue their case.
Santa Fe police said it’s illegal to even use or pick someone up in the red zone, and with the green zone, it takes a permit to use.
The governor had finished up the end of the session Saturday at the Roundhouse when she popped into Panda Express on her way out of town.