Robert Redford already in, wild horses still out for NM stimulus dollars

NM Governor Bill Richardson on horseback.
NM Governor Bill Richardson still awaits a vote on his proposed wild horse sanctuary.

Rob Nikolewski, reporting for New Mexico Watchdog, states that $1.75 million in federal stimulus funding for a Robert Redford related project to renovate a state-owned ranch, headquarters for a film institute, is already approved, while Governor Richardson’s proposal to spend $2.8 million dollars to create a wild horse sanctuary cannot even get a vote.

The Governor’s planned wild horse sanctuary will not only help preserve these iconic mustangs, but also provide much needed jobs and increase tourism, yet is considered controversial.

Originally, the board was expected to vote on the sanctuary [today] at its October meeting but the item was withdrawn.

I asked David Simon, the director of State Parks (who spoke at the Sept. 20 wild horse news conference lauding the governor’s proposal) why.

Here’s the exchange:

Nikolewski: Do you know why the wildhorse sanctuary wasn’t on today’s agenda?

Simon: No.

Nikolewski: Do you know where it stands?

Simon: No (and walks away).

Nikolewski: Should I call the governor’s office to find out?

Simon (over his shoulder): If you want to.

Your public servants at work.

In the comments section, Reggie points out:

The only thing truly controversial about the $2.8 million to purchase 12,000 acres of land to expand Cerrillos State Park and to create a wild horse sanctuary is the hidden agenda of the conservative press, which repeatedly attack the project without facts, only their misguided feigned outrage.

— $2.8 million for 12,000 acres is only $233 per acre.
— The wild horse sanctuary will create jobs in New Mexico. Tourism is the number one private sector employer in NM and a well advertised wild horse sanctuary will draw tourist both nationally and internationally.
–$2.8 million is a mere 0.07% of the $3.9 billion of Stimulus funds allocated for NM. The FY2010 NM Budget was over $15 billion.

All these politicians and their proxies in the press are just trying to polish their images by bashing a lame duck governor in an election year. Whatever other motives they have are unclear, as their stated reasoning is non-sensical and overly emotional.

Whether you like or hate Governor Richardson, this project is a good one and will bring benefits to New Mexico in real dollars.

Read full report >>

7 thoughts on “Robert Redford already in, wild horses still out for NM stimulus dollars”

  1. It is Mr. Redford’s right to apply for stimulus funds, naturally, and though of no particular interest to me, I feel sure it is a worthy project or he wouldn’t be connected with it. They aren’t denying Gov. Richardson stimulus funds because they decided instead to give it to Mr. Redford. They see the Governor’s plan to give sanctuary to these wild horses as “controversial” which means the whole project could lose out. What can possibly be controversial about saving an American icon, one that Mr. Redford surely values? I wish he would use his influence and speak up.


  2. I personally think Mr. Redford should be down-right ashamed of himself FOR EVEN CONSIDERING TAKING GRANT MONEY FOR HIS LITTLE FILM INSTIUTUTE ADVENTURE. He should man-up and pay for this out of his own pockets—he certainly HAS plenty! And the stimulus money should go for the wild horse sanctuary. To me, the lives of our precious wild horses and burros are a million-fold more important.


  3. Just added this comment to the article:

    This purchase is NOT … I repeat NOT, NOT, NOT … exclusively for the Wild Horse Park, even though that’s the ONLY issue making headlines. There will be many other uses and opportunities for NM residents, other Americans, and people from around the world who visit the expanded Cerrillos Park. Those people will bring their tourism dollars with them and, if it’s done right, come back again and recommend the park to others.

    And ask any realtor the last time land was available for $233 an acre in this area? I bet the answer will be, “Not in my lifetime.”, or something close to it. At that price I know I’d be opening my wallet. The state should jump all over this no matter who’s in charge or where the funding comes from.

    I support including the Wild Horse Park for what I consider another good reason. Despite the number of wild horses that may be found in our state, fewer than 50 are federally protected and allowed to live on the TWO very small Herd Management Areas that remain in the state.

    There were once 11 additional HMAs covering thousands of acres, but they’ve since been “zeroed out” (all horses removed and none allowed) by the BLM. Any horses found roaming these or any other areas of the state are subject to removal by force for adoption or sale, including sale for slaughter.

    New Mexico was settled on horseback and I hope our government officials and citizens remember and respect that. Setting aside a portion of the Cerrillos land is the least New Mexico can do to preserve and protect the descendants of those that have done so much for us.


  4. Governor Richardson is a good governor and was a good Director of the Department of Energy. In both positions he held to the Good of the Community wherever it was (NM, NV, CO, WY, MT or wherever the issues were. There should be a Wild Horse Sanctuary for Ecotourism in every State in the West, thereby eliminating any management or oversight by the Department of the Interior or BLM. Only the Department of Agriculture who has some authority over the care of the animals should be considered. The Wild Horses and Burros do need more Protection from Ranchers, BLM and idiots who shoot animals for target practice or just because they could. These Sanctuaries will need people to watch over them and tour guides, mechanics to keep vehicles operating or stables for commercial guided trail rides to see the horses and vets and vet techs who can oversee the health of the animals, thus creating many jobs in the hard hit Western US. Let’s look at solutions to get rid of the “gathers, roundups, shipping of animals and off site storage of the animals ” and create jobs and peacefull places where the horses can roam free as they were meant to. Get them out of the purvue of the BLM and Department of Interior and the Catoor family who is making millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars eliminating our National/Western Heritage (The Wild Horses and Burros of the West).


    1. So true, Elizabeth. Solutions benefiting man and wild horse are of no interest because the agenda is plain: zero them all out and be done with them. It is absolutely unbelievable that this is happening considering the amount of opposition from the American public.


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