A park in Santa Fe is getting a controversial new name after a former city employee who was married to a former mayor. That employee was fired from the city for his shady dealings.
Although snow has fallen over Santa Fe, a hot topic in town was about renaming Torreon Park after former city employee, Mike Jaramillo.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the former mayor, Debbie Jaramillo, made a ‘deal’ with Councilor Signe Lindell: She would allow a photo of herself to go up on the wall of former mayors in city hall, and in exchange the city would rename Torreon Park after her late husband, Mike Jaramillo.
But Mike has a shady past.
According to the paper, he was fired in 1980 after an investigation into possible conflicts of interest with real estate deals and later imprisoned for tax evasion.
Despite Mike’s past, city councilors voted six to one to rename the park after the former mayor’s husband.
“They had made up their minds already without talking to the community,” said Bill Palmer, who lives nearby the park. “And we had our signs that said, ‘Torreon Park, yes. Jaramillo Park, No.'”
The park’s neighbors said the city dismissed their concerns.
“I mean what’s wrong with Torreon Park?” asked Palmer. “And this park is named after this historical thing and it’s been this way forever. It’s an old village and now they’re going to name it after some politician guy who from everything I know was really criminal.”
Other locals said Mike’s problems were a thing of the past and this is a way for the city to honor his years of service.
“I’m glad in a certain way it makes some peace and honors people who have been in Santa Fe their whole lives,” said local Thaddeus Richardson.
The park will now be known as the Mike T. Jaramillo Torreon Park. The cost will be minimal, about $280 to change the signs at the park.
The city’s park and rec committee was also against the name change, saying Mike Jaramillo doesn’t meet their high integrity standards. KRQE News 13 reached out to the mayor for a response to the controversial vote. He was among those who voted yes. He declined to comment.