Things got heated at the Aug. 23 Sandoval County Commission as a man was kicked out of the meeting, refused to leave and was carried out by Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Gary Miles, who has spoken at several commission meetings and public meetings about the ban on feeding wild horses in Placitas, approached the podium Wednesday night during the public comment portion of the meeting with questions for Commission Chair Dave Heil.
Heil said the commission is here to listen not have a dialogue.
“You want to talk, talk. If not, sit down,” Heil said.
Miles replied with, “Why don’t you shut up and let me speak?”
Heil then called for Miles to be removed from the meeting, which prompted Miles to get on his knees and place his hands behind his back as deputies approached him.
Miles eventually stood up and spoke, and deputies returned to their positions.
Miles spoke out against an ordinance authorizing a Local Economic Development Project (LEDA) for Geobrugg, North America, LLC.
Geobrugg, a steel wire net manufacturer, was awarded state economic assistance to add 60 jobs and create a North American manufacturing hub at its Sandoval County location earlier this month.
According to the Economic Development Department, the state pledged $500,000 for the expansion from the LEDA job-creation fund, with the award paid out as Geobrugg achieves economic development benchmarks. The company will invest $8.8 million in the New Mexico project.
Sandoval County is serving as the fiscal agent for the project.
Sandoval County would give certain economic development assistance for land and building construction of a manufacturing expansion and distribution project in Algodones for the LEDA.
The LEDA funds would come from both state LEDA and existing county funds set aside for such projects and do not involve any use of any other county funds necessary for the operations of the county. The county’s LEDA contribution is not to exceed $30,000.
It is anticipated to generate up to 15 new jobs in year one and 45 by year four in the Algodones area of the county. The company currently employs 46 people full time and is expanding its existing operations at the Algodones facility.
“When you have a public hearing, why don’t you allow the public to speak and participate?” Miles said. “And this LEDA thing, you can’t do it. It’s unconstitutional to give public money to a private business who’s making for profit.”
Miles then called for Heil and County Manager Wayne Johnson to resign and called Deputy County Manager John Garcia a dictator. In April, Garcia, along with SCSO Deputy Sheriff Allen Mills, presented a “motion to approve the publication of an ordinance to ban the general public from feeding certain wildlife within the Sandoval County area.”
“You should resign sir (Heil). And Wayne Johnson you should resign for hiring a $130,000 thug to come and rule over Placitas in a very dictatorship manner. He’s very hateful. Just like you and all of you.”
Order was eventually restored, but that lasted less than 15 minutes.
As Economic Development Director Dora Dominguez was presenting the LEDA ordinance, Miles was having words with Garcia. That caused District 2 Commissioner Jay Block to stop the presentation and ask Miles to be quiet.
“Mr. Chair, can we have this gentleman keep quiet because I can’t hear Miss Dominguez. Mr. Chairman, he can leave because he’s disrupting the meeting. He doesn’t know how to be quiet; he doesn’t know how to listen.”
Heil then called for Miles to leave the meeting.
“You can leave or we can carry you out,” Heil said.
“Carry me out,” Miles said.
He returned to his knees and was carried out of the meeting by two deputies.
Dominguez then finished her presentation, and the commission voted 5-0 in favor of the ordinance.