Stadium bond opposition sparks ethics complaint - Albuquerque Journal

Stadium bond opposition sparks ethics complaint

A new ethics complaint alleges that Stop the Stadium is violating city election code. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

A Downtown Albuquerque resident said his neighbors and the public should know who is behind the campaign to defeat the city’s $50 million stadium bond.

Joaquin Baca — who lives a few blocks from one of the potential stadium sites, Second Street/Iron — has filed an ethics complaint alleging the “Stop the Stadium” campaign is violating Albuquerque’s election code by not appropriately documenting its efforts to influence the outcome of the bond question.

The city of Albuquerque requires that political action committees, which it calls “measure finance committees,” register and file finance reports if they receive or spend at least $250. An MFC is “a political committee, person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure within the City of Albuquerque,” according to the city’s website.

Baca contends Stop the Stadium has spent more than $250, citing printed materials — fliers, signs and placards — it has distributed in neighborhoods and at public events.

He said he has no affiliation with the New Mexico United professional soccer team — which would be the stadium’s primary tenant — but supports the stadium project. He said he feels Stop the Stadium is “effectively dividing community members.”

“I’m fine with people coming down and voicing (their opinions) … but at least we should know who you are,” he said.

Baca’s complaint specifically names Rebecca Hampton (who goes by Bex), a Stop the Stadium coordinator.

In a written statement to the Journal, Hampton did not directly address a question about spending levels but called Stop the Stadium a “grassroots movement composed of individuals” concerned the stadium would damage the Barelas and South Broadway neighborhoods — the two areas a city consultant named as “preferred” stadium sites. The group organized last week’s anti-stadium news conference, hosted by Barelas residents Charles and Susi Knoblauch.

Hampton called Baca’s complaint an “act of distraction.”

“Rather than addressing the concerns of the communities, those supporting the stadium are engaged in a smear campaign intended to discredit dozens of volunteers and community members who are fighting to protect their homes,” Hampton wrote.

City Clerk Ethan Watson has forwarded Baca’s complaint to the city’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices.

A pro-stadium PAC is registered with the city and has been heavily involved in the election. New Mexico United is its only contributor so far, according to campaign finance reports, and has given $840,000 to date bankrolling a large mail and television ad push.

 


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