SANTA FE, N.M. — Pojoaque School Board member Jon Paul Romero’s antics recently at his neighborhood casino raise some interesting questions.
But regardless of the answers, it’s time for him to resign from the school board. And to bow out of any further involvement with anti-DWI activity for the time being.
In late September, Romero was having a night out at the bar in Pojoaque Pueblo’s Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. As he left, he picked up a bronze sculpture of an iguana, on display in the lobby, and carried the four-foot reptile out the door. Later, police found the lizard, valued at several thousand dollars, sitting on the floor in Romero’s living room.
Romero is said to have characterized his actions as a prank. His lawyer said he’d been drinking at the time.
First question: Since when is stealing a valuable piece of art a prank? We’d like to see a 20-something tourist try to use that line when asked why he’d been spotted packing a bronze iguana into his car trunk.
Second, and perhaps in Romero’s case the more serious question: How did Romero and the big lizard get home?
Romero is a multiple DWI offender. He’s been arrested for DWI six times, convicted twice and the state has taken away his drivers license four times. He admits he’d been drinking that evening in late September when he stole the lizard. Did he put it in his car and then get behind the wheel? The casino surveillance cam shows him leaving Buffalo Thunder alone.
When he ran unsuccessfully for the Santa Fe County Commission three years ago, Romero at first fudged his DWI record, saying he’d only been arrested twice and convicted only once. He also characterized his offenses as youthful mistakes, saying he no longer drinks and drives. Certainly that latter point could be true. But, in view of this latest incident, maybe it’s not.
Currently, Romero – who when he was running for the commission seat was serving on a county anti-DWI board – appears to be headed for some kind of rehab program. Good for him, and we wish him luck. Meanwhile, he has no place on a board overseeing schools and acting as a role model for impressionable young people.