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Collection on Santa Fe politics, Debbie Jaramillo, and the making of the video documentary, "This town is not for sale!"

Identifier: MSS-812-BC

Scope and Content

The collection is arranged in two series: Santa Fe Politics, 1984-1999 and "This Town is not for Sale!" Video Project (including the film videotapes), 1994-2000 ( Video can be viewed online at: )

The Santa Fe Politics series is a collection of news and magazine articles documenting events occurring in Santa Fe in the late 1980s and 1990s. This series deals with the growth of tourism and development in Santa Fe and the effect this growth had on the native Hispanic and Anglo population. There are articles on the racial tension and violence that surrounded the shooting death of Pancho Ortega and fears about continued violence during the Santa Fe Fiesta of 1993. The 1994 mayoral election is well documented with articles and information concerning former mayor Sam Pick, the mayoral front running candidates, Peso Chavez, Linda Durham, Tony Lopez, Roger Webb, and others, election events, precinct data, census and the Albuquerque Journal North opinion poll concerning Santa Fe. There are articles about Debbie Jaramillo's grass roots rise to political leadership, her campaign, election, and tenure as Mayor, her failed attempt to be re-elected in 1998.

"This Town Is Not For Sale!" Video Project series documents the creation and development of the film, "This Town Is Not For Sale," documenting the 1994 Santa Fe mayoral election. This series chronicles the conception of the film by Sylvia Rodríguez, Christine Sierra, Felipe Gonzales and Miguel Gandert with the help of many others. There are project receipts, scene footage notes, interview release forms, flyers, scripts, correspondence, clippings, articles and promotional materials about the film as well as an insightful interview with Debbie months after her defeat in 1998. Videos feature interviews with Sam Pick, City Council meetings, the 1994 mayoral candidates and their campaigns, Debbie Jaramillo, election day voting, election night speeches, Election Commission interviews and the final cut of "This Town Is Not For Sale!"


  • 1984-2000
  • Majority of material found within 1993-1999


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or duplication.

Background Information

During the 1970s-1990s the City of Santa Fe, N. M. underwent unprecedented expansion and development. Increased tourism and the influx of wealthy individuals moving into the historic town caused a boom in the building of upscale property and the expansion of hotels, restaurants, golf courses and spas. Hispanic population declined from 65% to 47% by 1990 and rising property values were pushing out native Santa Feans whose families had lived in the area for generations. With rising public discontent and uncontrolled growth there was a general feeling that Santa Fe's growth was undermining native citizens' own economic security and changing what many felt was the very essence of Santa Fe.

Entering into this volatile scene was Debbie Jaramillo, a two time city council member and native Santa Fe resident. Debbie grew up in the mostly Hispanic area of Santa Fe's west side. She attended catholic and public schools, married after high school and raised three sons. After fifteen years at secretarial jobs in city and state government, she rose to public visibility when she and her husband became involved in a neighborhood protest against a proposed road expansion through Santa Fe's west side. A grassroots organization was formed "West Area Residence" (WAR) and waged a 3 year battle to derail the Alameda Bridge expansion. Debbie emerged as a very popular neighborhood activist and critic of unsustainable development in Santa Fe. Realizing that nothing would change unless she went on the "inside" she ran for city council in 1988 and won on a platform opposing what was seen as uncontrolled development policies and the gentrification of Santa Fe. She was viewed as the lone council member against development and gained popularity and support by endearing herself to people who were feeling disenfranchised or simply didn't like the direction the city was being taken. Debbie first ran for mayor against Santa Fe native and long time mayor Sam Pick in 1990. Debbie lost to Pick but came in second among five other candidates. Racial and class tensions continued to rise during the following years and Sam Pick decided against running for reelection. In 1994 Debbie was the first to declare her candidacy for mayor in a field with 13 others. Debbie was known for being outspoken and confrontational, attributes which were distorted to make her seem dangerous, divisive and out of control. Established politicians were all too willing to build up her image as an angry woman. Against the odds and with diverse group of supporters Debbie was elected the first woman/Chicana mayor of Santa Fe. Her tenure as mayor, while full of accomplishments was also under constant criticism from the media and numerous politicians and council members who felt her approach to leadership was too dictatorial. Throughout her term, Jaramillo tried to be true to the platform for which she was elected but anger against her conduct and charges of nepotism brought about a referendum vote to change Santa Fe political leadership. Debbie ran again for mayor in 1998 but was defeated by Larry Delgado.

"This Town Is Not For Sale!" film project was first proposed and written by Sylvia Rodríguez, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Rodriguez was researching social change and cultural politics in Northern New Mexico and the socio-cultural impacts of the resort industry. She felt that a visual documentary of the 1994 mayoral election would, in contrast with more scholarly research, reach and inform a larger audience concerning the changes taking place. A video could present information about the underlying tensions in Santa Fe in a manner that could be both understandable and compelling. A proposal was made to the Center for Regional Studies of the University of New Mexico asking for support on a film documentary to follow the 1994 Santa Fe mayoral campaign. Establishing her "dream team" of Christine Sierra, a political scientist , Felipe Gonzales a sociologist and Miguel Gandert a photojournalist, along with an array of students researchers and others, they set out to document the election, concentrating on public policy issues and their effect on the citizens of Santa Fe, while emphasizing the unique grassroots campaign led by Debbie Jaramillo. The production, "This Town Is Not For Sale!" aired on the KNME Public Television program, Colores in 1999.


3 boxes (1.2 cu. ft.)


Collection of news articles, correspondence, political data and scripts and videotapes regarding the City of Santa Fe, the politics of the 1994 mayoral campaign, Mayor Debbie Jaramillo and the making of the documentary "This Town Is Not For Sale!"


2 series:
  1. Santa Fe Politics, 1984-1999
  2. This Town is Not for Sale! Video Project, 1994-2000

Related Archival Material

Christine Marie Sierra Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.
Finding Aid of the Collection on Santa Fe politics, Debbie Jaramillo, and the making of the video documentary, "This town is not for sale!", 1984-2000
Edited Full Draft
Illene Renfro
© 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131