Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Santa Ana Pueblo has been bombarded with telephone calls since the announcement that President Donald Trump will appear at a campaign event in Rio Rancho on Monday.
Pueblo spokesman Joseph Peña said people have been calling the government offices “and all of our business entities” about the commander-in-chief’s visit to the Santa Ana Star Center multipurpose arena.
It will be Trump’s first visit to New Mexico as president, though he made two stops in the state during the 2016 campaign.
“The majority of the calls have been negative,” Peña said. “Some of them understood that we only have the naming rights to the facility, but many did not.”
That prompted the pueblo to send out a news release explaining its relationship with the arena, which is owned by the city of Rio Rancho and managed by a firm with no connections to the pueblo.
Pueblo Gov. Timothy Menchego, who has handled some of the phone calls himself, told the Journal the calls have been from people in surrounding communities.
“I talked to one man who told me he was in disbelief that we could host the president,” he said. “The man said, ‘He’s (Trump) not a good supporter of Native Americans.’ I told him we have no control over it. We only own the naming rights.”
Menchego said he also talked to a woman who just wanted to vent her frustrations.
“She jumped to conclusions and was very angry,” he said. “She said her piece and hung up.”
He said there have been no threats against the pueblo’s businesses. Menchego said most understood – like the man he talked to – that the pueblo has a good relationship with its neighbors and were supportive of what it does for the community.
He said some of the calls were business-related.
“They are inquiring about our services and looking for accommodations,” he said. “We’re not going to assist or promote the event. Patrons will be patrons. There will be no special treatment.”
Santa Ana Star Center is managed by Global Spectrum L.P., the pueblo said. Tamaya Enterprises Inc. is owned by the pueblo and owns and operates Santa Ana Star Casino and is a party to the naming rights to the center with the city and Global Spectrum. But neither Tamaya Enterprises nor the pueblo has any role in selecting or approving events at the center.
The Santa Ana Star Center has a capacity of 6,000 to 7,500 people, depending on the event.
Donald J. Trump for President Inc. has rented the facility for a one-night event, according to Rio Rancho.
The doors open at 4 p.m., and the event begins at 7. Parking is limited, so attendees are encouraged to carpool. Once parking is full, vehicles will be turned away from the event area, the city said. The city discourages parking on private and undeveloped land. Any vehicles parked in or along roadways will be towed, city officials said.
There is limited access to shade, seating areas, food and water in the City Center area, officials said. Visitors are encouraged to take adequate food and water, dress appropriately, and prepare for the weather. The city expects significant traffic delays in and around the City Center area.
City offices, schools closed
The city is expecting the event will attract several thousand people to the City Center area. Because of that, all city offices and facilities will be closed Monday.
Schools will also be closed. Rio Rancho Public Schools Superintendent V. Sue Cleveland said in a release that the city is expecting as many as 25,000 to attend the event.
She expects many to arrive early, which could disrupt the transportation of students.
The city is asking residents not attending the event to avoid the City Center area.
City officials are asking residents to use the following detours:
- Mariposa – access from U.S. 550 to Unser Boulevard.
- Northern Meadows – Cherry Road via Meadows Boulevard to King Boulevard.
- North Hills – Broadmoor Boulevard to Northern Boulevard to Unser Boulevard.