New Mexico's Progressive Headquarters
By this point, Michael Wiener has offended just about everyone except old white Republican men, and they should just be embarrassed.
While recent pictures showing the Bernalillo County commissioner happily posed between scantily clad young Asian women in one of the world’s most notorious sex-tourism destination earned him a now international reputation, local residents have been speaking out against Wiener grossly inappropriate actions for years.
Michael Wiener’s latest campaign mailer, titled “Michael’s actions speak louder than words” is exactly on point.
In case you need a refresher on Michael’s actions in Wienergate numbers I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX or X:
Wiener on ethics
Wiener and African-Americans and Gays
The joke (you can read the full version at DemocracyForNewMexio.com) stated that black men are most likely to engage in gay sex because they are all in, or will soon be, in prisons where the practice is commonplace.
There were so many things inappropriate with that email that a coalition of African-American, LGBT, sexual assault victim advocates and religious and political leaders joined together to host a rally on civic plaza calling for Wiener to apologize. He did so, half-heartedly, but remained steadfast in his belief that there was nothing wrong with that joke.
Wiener asked for forgiveness and said he had learned his lesson. Apparently not.
Wiener and Hispanics
Wiener and Women
This could be a very long section, but suffice it to say that the headline could read “where there’s smoke there’s fire.”
As an elected official, Wiener is exempt from sexual harassment laws, so the report could only conclude that his actions were inappropriate.
Of course, if Wiener is right, all of these instances are a misunderstanding. He is always misunderstood, and critics are too sensitive. But, his misunderstandings have cost taxpayers and Bernalillo County a ton of time, money and reputation to investigate, correct and respond to his foolish behavior.
After the county issued it’s report in 2011, Wiener issued a public statement saying that he had undergone training in regard to appropriate conduct by elected officials. “Based on that training and this experience, I will use better discretion and judgment in the future,” Wiener concluded.
Clearly that is not the case.
While some have suggested that taking a firm stance against Wiener’s pattern of bad behavior is not a matter of pressing importance, most agree that few things are more pressing.
For years now, women, gays, African-Americans and Hispanics have all watched Bernalillo County wink-and-nod at Michael Wiener’s latest exploits. But we have to remember that every day that passes where we take no action to stand up for our values is another day that a family, tourist or company Googling Bernalillo County as a destination chooses another place because we can’t seem to get three commissioners in the same room to pass a no-brainer decision to censure a colleague who has single-handedly connected Bernalillo County with everything that is wrong with racism, homophobia and exploitation.
On a related note, some have suggested this latest story of Wiener’s travels through a sex tourism destination has little to do with New Mexico. That could not be further from the truth.
Over the past weeks, while news outlets, pundits and advocates alike have been roasting Michael Wiener for his failure to answer for his poor pattern of behavior, New Mexico extradited Elizabeth Gade back from Wyoming. Gade and her accomplice Justin Grills were indicted in 2010 on charges of human trafficking, kidnapping and promoting prostitution in Bernalillo County after they allegedly kidnapped and forced a woman into sexual slavery in Southwest Albuquerque.
If Bernalillo County can’t bring itself to censure Michael Wiener for his pattern of grossly inappropriate behavior against nearly every class of persons imaginable, how can we expect victims of sexual assault in our jail, or civil rights violations on our streets, or human exploitation in our neighborhoods to come forward with any confidence that we will protect them?
On Tuesday, once again, the community will have its chance to stand up to Michael Wiener. Everyone from the governor to the mayor to the Albuquerque Journal has called on Wiener to walk. But until election day, the only people who can take any official action are his fellow county commissioners. Two commissioners, both women, have already made their position clear.
Wiener could make a big statement by voting in favor of the censure himself, and his male colleagues would be wise to follow suit.
Bernalillo County Commission Meeting
Tuesday May 8
1 Civic Plaza
Share your public comments and show your support for censure of Commissioner Wiener