Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie


City of Aztec to boost Commission meeting security


April 27, 2018

An April 20 social media post generated enough vitriol and negative response as to catch the attention of Aztec's city commissioners including newly minted Mayor Victor Snover.

The post appeared on the "Floyd Foutz cctw" facebook page:

"This is a call to all San Juan Coun- ty folks to take note and speak out against this attack on God and our 2nd amendment rights. It has come to my at- tention the city of Aztec is attempting to attack both by phasing out prayer at the commissioners meetings and termi- nate the gun & knife show that has been around for decades. WE, the people will not stand for this. GOD bless America."

In a brief telephone exchange with Foutz, TALON learned that Foutz does not write/submit the posts on his FB page, "I did the page, he never goes on there..." said an unidentified woman in response to TALON calls for info. The woman (who declined to give her name) went on to express she was, "annoyed" by TALON question's and subsequently hung-up. As of print time, further attempts to reach the Foutz's for comment have been unsuc- cessful. Sources report Foutz is a San Juan County Sheriff's deputy, Farming- ton native and resident, a USMC veter- an, husband and father, and a concealed carry weapons instructor.

Reportedly, in response to security concerns sparked by the post, Mayor Snover met with APD Chief Mike Heal and APD Capt. Morris. Snover said that the result of the meeting was that APD decided to add police security at com- mission meetings, "for an undetermined time."

Chief Heal would not comment on any added security saying, "My job is to make everyone in our community safe."

Mayor Snover said, "I know that some of the commissioners have ex- pressed concern..." Besides serving as mayor, Snover is a husband, father, a Navy veteran and is currently the AHS ROTC instructor, "I'm not so much con- cerned about myself, I think I can han- dle it, if something were to happen. I am mainly concerned about my family, my pets and my home... but there are others to consider here, we do have Commis- sioner Fry for instance, she's going on 70-years-old...I can understand her con- cern about personal safety." Snover said, "I've reached-out and I would really be surprised if any new faces showed up (at city commission meetings) most people like that tend to hide behind their social media posts."

When asked about the post, Aztec City Commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tem Rosalyn Fry said, "I hope it's all an ex- aggeration, I've basically decided, I'm going to remain calm, of course, I am still cautious. I have talked to a number of people about posts like this, and they say, 'just ignore them, if you ignore them they will stop'...so, that is what I plan to do, we have so much more important things we need to focus on," Fry listed, hiring a new city manager, finishing the arterial by-pass, and the 'water situation' among some of the more pressing issues the Aztec city commission wants to ad- dress.

Ensuing comments generated by the initial April 20 FB post, called for pub- lic action that ranged from boycotting Aztec businesses to organizing an elec- tion recall petition targeting at least one recently elected official for being "a gun grabbing atheist liberal".

In the comments, Aztec City Com- missioner Mark Lewis was singled out as the 'gun grabbing atheist.' In a tele- phone interview with TALON, Com- missioner Lewis said, "No, I'm not an atheist." Lewis said that he is a member of the Unitarian Church and expressed that his spiritual beliefs are private. "Ba- sically, a persons' religion should havno bearing on a decision about whether a person can be a good commissioner." Lewis said that the ability to be an ef- fective local law-maker has more to do with values, and work ethic..."religious belief should not come in to play when it comes to government."

TALON asked Lewis; Are you a 'gun-grabber?' Lewis responded, "I own firearms, so no, I'm not grabbing any of those..." Lewis said he has no interest in trying to 'ban' the annual gun&knife show. "I don't agree with the average cit- izen being able to possess assault style weapons. Frankly, I just don't see the need for them...but as far as getting rid of the gun show? That is just not on the plate."

As for the 'Gun & Knife Show' in Aztec, Mayor Snover said, "I understand and sympathize with people who believe that having an event like this within a quarter mile of where two of our chil- dren were killed, might be considered insensitive or even disrespectful." Snover went on to say that no one commissioner could/should arbitrarily make the deci- sion to do away with the event.

When asked about 'phasing out prayer at the commissioners meetings' Snover said, "I wasn't raised in a faith- based household, and I am a staunch supporter of the separation of church and state." He also indicated removing the invocation from Commission was not being considered. Snover said heis proud of, "Building a longer table..." by inviting clergy from different faiths to give the invocation. Before Snover took office the invocation was typically offered by a volunteer from the assem- bled audience. On April 10 the invoca- tion was delivered by Navajo Ministries President Raymond Dunton, on April 24 by Erin Treat of the Durango Dharma Center. Going forward Snover said, "I will continue to reach out." On May 9, at 6 p.m. at city hall Snover will host a "Your Mayor Wants to Meet You" forum to address whatever issues are important to area residents.

The Aztec Lions Club has hosted the annual gun & knife show since 2006. This year the two-day event will be held June 9th and 10th. Al Hadley a long- time Lion's Club member said, " The gun show is our money maker." Hadley said that they expect about 500 people on Saturday and around 150 on Sunday. "If we didn't have the gun show we probably couldn't buy glasses for the kids." The Li- ons Club typically buys 10 to 15 pairs of prescription glasses for needy kids each year. "Yeah and they aren't cheap," Had- ley said, "We also donate to Operation Graduation, the Fire Department, the Food Basket, the Museum and the AHS Honor's Banquet." Hadley explained, "It used to be we just sold Christmas trees and such, we never had enough money to do much...without the gun show we'd wouldn't have the money for anything."


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