Monday, June 21, 2010

New Mexico v. Val Kilmer: Payback Time

(Image: Associated Press: Alleged trash talk is holding up a permit Val Kilmer wants for his ranch.)

(Edit, June 22, 2010: The irony of this article is that San Miguel County "backed up" the locals on these allegations cited, but did not back up the citizens to be on the San Miguel County oil and gas task force. See related San Miguel County posts below.)

Wall Street Journal
June 21, 2010

"Bygones are not always bygone amid the limestone cliffs and piƱon groves of northern New Mexico.

When actor Val Kilmer recently applied for permits to turn his 6,000-acre ranch outside Santa Fe into an upscale bed-and-breakfast, several of his neighbors protested.

They weren't worried about traffic or noise or the prospect of intruding tourists. They were incensed about comments attributed to Mr. Kilmer in magazine articles dating to 2003 and 2005. And they didn't want him to get his way on the ranch unless he apologized.

"That's all he has to do, come and apologize," said Jose Garcia, who runs horses on a 50-acre ranch next to Mr. Kilmer's. "We're not intimidated by him."

Mr. Kilmer, who starred in "Tombstone," "The Doors," "Batman Forever" and, more recently, "MacGruber," was quoted—misquoted, he says—describing his rugged corner of New Mexico as "the homicide capital of the Southwest."

He went on to avow that "80% of the people in my county are drunk," requiring him to carry a gun for protection. That was in a 2003 interview with Rolling Stone.

In Esquire two years later, Mr. Kilmer was quoted—again, misquoted, he says—opining that he understands Vietnam better than its veterans, because most of them were "borderline criminal or poor … wretched kids" who landed in the military because they "got beat up by their dads" or "couldn't finagle a scholarship."

At a hearing last month on Mr. Kilmer's application, a half-dozen locals and veterans demanded the star apologize before being allowed to welcome paying guests onto his Pecos River Ranch. The county attorney, Jesus Lopez, backed them up. Mr. Kilmer's quotes were "incendiary" and, dated as they may be, created a "clear and present danger threatening public safety," he said.

Taken aback by the outrage, the San Miguel County Commission opted to postpone debate on the permits. The next day, Alex Tafoya, the planning and zoning director, wrote Mr. Kilmer's ranch manager to explain that "your application will remain tabled until Mr. Kilmer appears personally before the Board of County Commissioners" to answer questions about his alleged remarks.

Commissioners later clarified they weren't demanding the star appear in person. That is beyond their legal powers. But they suggested it would help his cause if he'd stop by.

"It's a situation that's pretty volatile," said David Salazar, the commission chair. "The opportunity is there for him to come and set the record straight."' More>>>>

San Miguel County is targeted for exploratory drilling. See related San Miguel County and County Commissioners posts:

Panel's makeup in dispute

Letter: A defining time for the area (San Miguel County NM)

San Miguel County Oil & Gas Ordinance Task Force

San Miguel County Oil & Gas Ordinance Task Force

Susana Martinez running for Governor by bashing the Santa Fe County Oil and Gas Ordiance & the OCD Pit Rule?

(San Miguel) County enacts drilling moratorium

San Miguel County Board of County Commissioners Pass Oil and Gas Drilling Permit Moratorium

(San Miguel) County Wants Drilling Rules

(San Miguel) County moves toward oil and gas moratorium


(San Miguel) County wants oil and gas regulations

Santa Fe (Oil and Gas) Opera Pork to be Frozen?

Opera Chic: Santa Fe Opera Drill for Young Singers

Possible drilling enrages some

Drilling lease gets Santa Fe Opera in hot water

Apparent Santa Fe Opera Standard Email Response

Rio Arriba County vs. Wildcatters

Lucrative Deal Has Sparked Criticism


  1. Ummm... Really?
    This is Santa Fe.? The open- minded Art community?
    He's raising money for you and you are punishing him for his right to freedom of speech? I agree with everything he said personally and if you even pick up a traveler book on New Mexico they have sections all about the drunk driving and alcohol problems your state has so I say leave him alone and be thankful for the few people who overlook all your states problems but are willing to live there, help make it a better place and invest their time and money!!!

  2. Val Kilmer insulted the people of San Miguel County, or at least 80% of them. He has made numerous insulting comments about the people in the county and they were offended. I believe most people in that situation would have been insulted. What the people really wanted was an apology. At the very least they wanted him to know how insulted they were about his comments and that what he said was extremely rude. I've met many people who've traveled to San Miguel County and have commented on how friendly and helpful the people are. They welcomed Val Kilmer and in return were insulted by him. And I think that if Val Kilmer really believed what he said, he would have left the county. He has enough money that he doesn't have to be there. He was being a jerk and was called on it. That is what this was really about.