By Rachel Pulaski
Mayor of Las Cruces, Ken Miyagishima has launched an attack against the Las Cruces Tea Party. On July 3rd the city held its annual Electric Light Parade hosted by El Paso Electric Company and the Tea Party won “Best in Show’ with a prize awarded in the amount of $1,000. The 3 part float displayed 28 flags from New Mexico’s history including the Confederate flag. Mayor Miyagishima issued a letter of apology to the citizens of Las Cruces for the public display of the Confederate flag after a public complaint was posted by Marsha Garcia from ProgressNow New Mexico: Mayor Miyagishima released the following statement:
I, along with the city council, city staff and the people of Las Cruces were caught by surprise when the Las Cruces Tea Party float, with a Confederate flag displayed, won the Best of Show award at the Las Cruces Electric Light Parade on July 3. It was all the more disturbing when that Confederate flag represents a view so contrary to that held by the City of Las Cruces and 99% of our people.
The Las Cruces Tea Party can believe whatever it wants, but to have this symbol and what it represents, highlight the winning float at a celebration of our nation’s independence is an outrage. I deeply apologize to the people of Las Cruces as well as our friends throughout the State of New Mexico for the pain that this has caused.
I’m sure that parade sponsor El Paso Electric and the 4th of July Planning Committee share this sense of outrage, and I can assure you that we will thoroughly review the rules and procedures for next year’s parade to make sure that this never happens again!
Mayor of Las Cruces July 8, 2012
KRWG reported the Mayor was quick to clarify his blatant disregard of the first amendment on Facebook:
In a Facebook post by the Mayor, that exclamation point was removed and another sentence was added: “Please be assured that the freedom of speech will not be infringed upon when these charges are made.”
So how does one prohibit the public display of a flag without disregarding one’s freedom of speech?
Mayor Miyagishima has never been a big fan of the U.S. Constitution. In February of 2011 he announced at a city council meeting he wanted to implement gun regulations within the city despite being told by the City Attorney Harry “Pete” Connolly several times the attempt would be “unconstitutional”. News New Mexico reported:
City Attorney Connolly stated it would be unconstitutional because the NM Constitution says cities have no right to interfere with the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Mayor Miyagishima said, “Of course we could always do it ourselves and let someone challenge us on it.”
In April of this year Miyagishima and the rest of the city officials made international headlines when they made the decision to shut off sewer, water and gas to citizens who have not paid their red light camera tickets. Just recently, the city officials moved to embrace these unlawful cameras while other cities are ruling them “unconstitutional”. The citizens of Las Cruces have been forced to hold rallies to protect their water from their local government.
The fact is, Mayor Miyagishima has never once reached out to the Las Cruces Tea Party despite having been invited several times to meetings and events. However, he did make concessions with the Las Cruces “Occupiers” allowing them to squat for three months in a park in front of the public library and City Hall. The group was even allowed to “bathe” in the restrooms of City Hall. This same park was denied to the local Tea Party group for a “Tax Day” event because the city feared the occasion would impede on the library’s parking.
Mayor Miyagishima has little or no knowledge of the history of the Confederate flag or the history of New Mexico. The town of Mesilla (the town adjacent to Las Cruces) was the Confederate capital of New Mexico and Arizona during the Civil War. The Las Cruces Tea Party pointed out in their response to the Mayor, the theme of the parade was “New Mexico History” and the Confederate flag has a part in New Mexico’s history:
“On March 10, a scouting party of southern troops entered the evacuated capital, and for more than two weeks, the Confederate flag flew over the ancient Palace of the Governors.” (excerpt from “A Cuarto Centennial History of New Mexico” by Robert J. Torrez)
The Mayor is clearly upset that the Tea Party won. Let us be truthful that this is not an issue about a flag. If the local “Occupy” float had won and flew a Confederate flag, the mayor would have been just fine with it. This is about the Tea Party plain and simple. This coward of a mayor likes to use his mayoral platform to smear the Tea Party any chance he gets. His political stunts create division and hate, a classic Progressive.