Inn on the Alameda owner purchases ad calling for Mayor Webber's recall

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Apr. 19—Inn on the Alameda owner Joe Schepps is making noise about the mayor.

Schepps, a frequent critic of the city's lack of enforcement of its law on loud cars, is drawing attention to a petition calling for a vote to recall Mayor Alan Webber.

The businessman placed an advertisement in Friday's edition of the The New Mexican with a QR code linking to a years-old petition calling for Webber's recall.

The October 2020 petition, which was not created by Schepps, was posted shortly after the toppling of the Plaza obelisk and blames Webber for its destruction. It has about 2,800 signatures.

It would take more than 8,000 names on an official recall petition to initiate a special election.

Schepps said Friday he is not pursuing a formal recall of the mayor and placed the ad with the intention of making more people aware of the online petition.

"I just wanted to draw people's attention to that site because I'm hearing complaints from people from every walk of life about the mayor's performance," he said.

"I have no interest in pursuing it beyond this," Schepps said, adding if people are unhappy with Webber, they should sign the petition — "don't call me anymore."

Webber declined to comment on Schepps' ad.

"Mayor Webber has shown over and over that he is not capable of 'running' the City of Santa Fe and is in fact destroying our beloved city and causing a devision [sic] that in a time of crisis or otherwise, is unnecessary," the petition states. "We, the people of Santa Fe are sick of it."

Webber has been heavily criticized for the destruction of the obelisk, known as the Soldiers' Monument, and recently clashed with the governor over his account of the events leading to its toppling by activists on Indigenous Peoples Day in October 2020.

Schepps' issues with Webber, however, appear to stem from dissatisfaction over the city's ability to limit vehicle muffler noise in the downtown area where he runs his hotel. The council approved a provision to a traffic ordinance in January 2023 prohibiting modifications of vehicle mufflers and increasing penalties for driving vehicles with noisy mufflers, but Schepps has argued the change hasn't solved the problem.

He spoke at the March 13 City Council meeting, warning Webber he would be starting a recall petition to "motivate" the mayor to better address the noise.

After his two minutes were up, Schepps asked if he could give the city money for more policing and appeared to hand the city clerk his credit card.

"Please don't leave us anything that will get us into trouble," Webber said.

In an email Schepps sent to Webber and the City Council several days later, he wrote he had changed his mind about the petition because he did not have the time and energy to secure thousands of signatures.

"I cannot impress upon the council and you the damage to the quality of life to our citizens this noise pollution is causing both night and day," he wrote. "To me, the issues with producing an audit in a timely manner and the situation with the potholes are important to many of us but are secondary to the mental and physical harm being permitted daily to occur to us, the citizens of our town."

Webber is in his second term, which runs through 2025. He said Friday he has not thought about whether he will run for a third term as mayor of Santa Fe, which has no term limits for elected officials. No other candidates have yet declared a bid for the office.