COMMENTARY: By now most on Facebook in New Mexico have run across the name John Vasquez. He’s a county commissioner in Doña Ana County with a penchant for being rude to women. But now we have something more.
Neomi Martinez-Parra is the vice chair of the statewide Democratic Party and she has leveled charges of sexual impropriety against Mr. Vasquez. She did so in a letter to the state chair, which has now been made public.
It’s not particularly surprising that this should come to light. Men who show a pattern of disrespect to women tend to go to far too often. That is not actually what has promoted me to write this.
Somewhat buried in the news reports was one statement Ms. Martinez-Parra made about the state Democratic Party chair, Mr. Richard Ellenberg. I am quoting directly from the letter: “Furthermore, you and I discussed these issues prior to Mr. Vasquez resigning from the DPNM Veteran Caucus Chair. I disagree with your proposal ‘something for something’, inferring that Mr. Vasquez would resign if I did not pursue a complaint against him.”
Ms Martinez-Parra is far kinder than I. I don’t see someone merely inferring here, but a direct quid pro quo, and one that in this day and age of #MeToo is as disrespectful as anything Mr. Vasquez has done.
Mr. Ellenberg has offered little in the way of defense, calling it a “misunderstanding.” No sir, you asked the lady to keep quiet at a time when women’s voices are increasingly growing louder. There is little to misunderstand there.
It is incumbent upon Mr. Ellenberg to do one of two things:
• Apologize to not only Ms. Martinez-Parra, but to the women of the Democratic Party in this state. And let it be a full apology, not merely the same “misunderstanding” excuse he has so far given to the press.
• If that fails, then I call upon the State Central Committee to convene and consider the removal of the current chair. Due process should be given; nonetheless, the old ways of sweeping things under the rug simply will not work anymore. Let’s have a full and transparent discussion of why we are here and how we can do better.
This is an election year. What needs to be done must be done quickly so that the party can move forward.
Claudia Anderson of Farmington is a past Democratic Party county officer and member of the party’s State Central Committee. She has been active in several political campaigns. Today she follows politics avidly as a concerned citizen. She has been proudly voting since 1972.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on NMPolitics.net.