New Mexico

'Deal' to rename Santa Fe city park after ex-employee stirs the pot

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - The idea of renaming a Santa Fe park is ruffling a lot of feathers with the locals because it could be named after a disgraced ex-city employee who was fired and spent time in prison.

Just off West Alameda, you'll find Torreon Park. It got its name from the Torreon Barrio where the Spanish and indigenous people lived. But it soon could have a different name.

Emails obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican from Mayor Alan Webber said former Mayor Debbie Jaramillo made a "deal" with the city: if she adds a photo of herself on the wall of former Santa Fe mayors then the city will rename the park after her late husband, Mike.

However, Mike has a shady past.

According to the paper, he was fired from the planning and zoning department in 1980 after an investigation into possible conflicts of interest and later spent time behind bars for federal tax evasion.

"I just don't think that it's a good example to set before people," said Sharon Trapnell, who is against the renaming.

Neighbors KRQE News 13 spoke with do not want the park to be renamed. Neither do people commenting on the New Mexican's website, saying: "The naming of a park is part of let's Make A Deal Santa Fe?" and "The city is going to name a park in honor of a convicted felon and someone who broke city policy as an employee?"

Here is how others responded when News 13 asked them if the name should be changed:

"No. Santa Fe has beautiful parks like where we're from and they should honor people and not be dishonored by the ones being named for," said Lanny Trapnell.

"No, parks and anything that's been named especially if it's a municipal one should be named after someone who has contributed to the society and the community and not someone who has taken from it," said Mike Foster.

So why make a deal to rename a park instead of just putting up a picture of former Mayor Jaramillo in City Hall without her permission? According to the New Mexican, the City said it was done out of respect.

The mayor's office and city council did not want to comment on the name change controversy. The council will vote to approve or deny the name change in December.


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