Local Santa Fe Politics: Money, Guns and Lawyers
The day started with me kissing former City Attorney Mark Basham on the head. I stopped in to see him because I was in his neighborhood to talk to another attorney on the recommendation of another attorney about dealing with another attorney. The day happened to end with a phone call from the current City attorney.
It seems Mark Basham's office is next to Peter Shoenfeld's office who I was seeing somewhat on the recommendation of Karl Sommer about Stephen Velie who works for Thornburg. Karl said the Peter had forgotten more about water law than most lawyers will ever know. When I told Karl about Stephen Velie trenching on my property without permission and hooking up to the well on my property without a well sharing agree, Karl suggested I go see my old neighbor Tom Simons.
Santa Fe Attorney Tom Simons
Tom Simons is a good friend of Gerald Peters (Mr. Big) and a go-for-the-throat real estate attorney. The problem with going to see Simons was that I almost duked it out with him and his buddy attorney Joe Canepa over the undedicated trail that runs across my property. Simons and the hordes of 'dog walkers' use my yard to recreate, defecate and urinate (the dogs that is, not Simons). And when push came to shove the only attorney in town that would help me out against the 'dog walker's lobby' was attorney Ann Yalman, current Municipal Judge.
In the middle of the “dogs-off-leash’ trail war I got a call from the Judge Judy/Judge Joe Brown TV show asking if I would like to have my case against one of the dog walkers who’s dog had attacked one of my horses be mediated on TV. The women who owned the dog was a mediator herself and had hired an attorney who was also a doctor … talk about a nightmare. I They didn’t want to have anything to do with TV and I was facing going to court with a Judge who hated me.
Judge Fran Gallegos and my "Canine Citation Imitation"
No lawyer, friend nor foe, in Santa Fe wanted to take on the dreaded and all-powerful “Dog Walkers. So, as a last chance to retain a lawyer, I went to see Yalman. She said, “Give me five hundred dollars and I’ll hold your hand.” In the old days I would just run into my attorney Stephen Pfeffer’s office and somehow he would keep me out of trouble and court.
My former attorney, now District Judge Stephen Pfeffer (hand on hip).
In the afternoon, after seeing Shoenfeld, I went to City Hall to cause a little trouble over the sign ordinance and the upcoming city election with some Charter revisions on the ballot. I showed some signs to the City Manager and Mayor Coss that I was proposing to put up in the Historic District urging people to vote against the charter revisions. I stopped in to see YoYo (City Clerk) and Frank Katz (City Attorney) to see if the signs were legal but both were not there. Benji (Deputy Police chief) was in the hall but Sev, Laura Banish and Karla (Mayor’s PR Team) also where missing in action.
However as it happened, I must have gotten someone attention because when I got home I received a phone call from Frank Katz (City Attorney). He talked to me for quite awhile and was very generous in doing so. But he made one thing perfectly clear. If I tried to circumvent the sign ordinance using political signs to advertise sales in stores downtown (which I was trying to do) … He would throw me in jail.
“I won’t throw you in jail … I'll have Judge Yalman do it.”