By Ned Cantwell: State columnist
Pardon me if excitement is just oozing out of the column this week. It’s because I have become affiliated with this new ad agency in Ruidoso and we are planning a Grand Opening.
It will be something. Bands, balloons, hot dogs, clowns walking on stilts, F-16 military jets thundering through the city’s skies and tipping their wings as they swoop down toward our office.
You’re asking why would the New Mexico National Guard scramble its jets to help our ad agency? Simple. John Heaton. John Heaton is a state rep from Eddy County and I handled his campaign media program. John owes me. So Rep. Heaton will call Brig. Gen. Kenny Montoya of the New Mexico National Guard and Kenny will arrange the flyover. It’s that simple.
Think I’m making that up? It happened in Roswell. Forget aliens. This new “Roswell incident” is stranger than aliens. Thanks to KRQE investigative reporter Larry Barker we have now learned that when Roswell Toyota staged its Grand Opening in November, the F-16s staged a special flyover.
The flyover, costing taxpayers thousands and thousands, was arranged by state Rep. Dan Foley who happens to be the beneficiary of $6,000 in campaign donations from, yes, Roswell Toyota.
If you are not outraged by this, chances are you have achieved a calmness associated with smoking something not available over the counter at the local convenience store.
Foley insists the flyover had nothing to do with any campaign contribution. He says last summer a non-contributor asked him to arrange a U.S. Navy flyover for a Little League baseball event and he tried. Someone smart said forget it.
But we are encouraged state rep Foley wants to celebrate ordinary life events with military precision. Heaton, forget the ad agency. Call your buddies in Washington and have the Air Force choir flown in for my grandkid’s First Communion. And could you possibly get a hold of Big Bill’s chauffeur and limo for prom night?
The truly incomprehensible Roswell incident is full of “he said, he said” finger pointing.
For his part, Brig. Gen. Montoya said he never knew the flyover was for a car lot, and would not have okayed it had he known. (It is curious the pilots were instructed to use as a landmark the giant, inflatable alien floating over the car dealer’s Grand Opening.)
For his part, Rep. Foley says that is balderdash, that Montoya did know the circumstances. “I remember telling him what it was for,” Foley said. “The general has a lot on his mind,” he added.
Did not, said Montoya.
Did, too, said Foley.
Did not, did too, did not, did too. Your combat pilots wear grandma slippers. You’re a big, fat old…. Well, you get the idea. This is not a shining moment for two of our supposedly best and brightest.
The jets did not steal all of the attention. According to the Roswell Daily Record, New Mexico Military Institute’s color guard was on hand, as well as high school bands and cheerleaders. Maybe spacey people really did land in Roswell all those years ago.
For the record, Rep. Dan Foley was widely quoted a couple of years ago for saying Gov. Bill Richardson is “drunk with power, just drunk with power.”
Wonder what old Dan is drinking?
Ned Cantwell thinks its gets no better than celebrating his special events with Ronald McDonald. Contact Cantwell at: