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The Biscochito Affair

Last night Channel 13 News in Albuquerque broadcast an embarrassing report about Santa Fe’s Cuarto Centenario. At least it was supposed to be embarrassing. “After pouring [sic] over hundreds of expenditures involving more than $1 million,” Kim Holland reports, “News 13 found gaps in receipts, contracts and reports about what exactly the money was spent on.” The text of her story, So many candles; so few receipts, appears, typos and all, on the station’s website.

Missing receipts are obviously a concern, but Ms. Holland’s examples are petty. It’s hard to get overly exercised about a grand total of $264 in taxpayer money going to ship biscochitos to London. “The city isn’t saying how schmoozing the Brits benefits Santa Fe taxpayers,” she admonishes. A shocking revelation.

	And there was $1,700 for a Spanish delegate dinner. Yet there's
	no record of what the event was for, who was on the guest list or
	what they talked about, and again the city's [sic] isn't saying

The dinner was presumably connected with the visit this fall of the Spanish prince and princess, which was one of the Cuarto Centenario’s successes.

The only real surprise in her report is that $5,000 went to Carlos Fierro to lobby Congress for funding and to raise donations for the celebration. But as Kiera Hay reports this morning in the Journal, he completed his work well before he was charged with vehicular homicide.

The bottom line is this: of the $1 million Channel 13 investigated, the big controversy is over those biscochitos. The real story about the 400th anniversary is the excessive amount spent on salaries, web hosting, graphic design, and so forth — and those were documented expenses.

George Johnson
The Santa Fe Review