News & Media


S.F. business owner first to announce run for District 2

By Tripp Stelnicki | The New Mexican; Updated

“A longtime Santa Fe business owner is running for what will be an open seat on the City Council in the March municipal election.

Joe Arellano, 50, is the first announced candidate for the southeast-side District 2 seat now held by Councilor Joseph Maestas, who is seeking the mayor’s office.

Maestas, a former mayor of Española, had previously said he would run for re-election in District 2 but changed course after Mayor Javier Gonzales announced that he won’t try for a second four-year term.

The domino effect prompted Arellano to make another bid for election to the council. He finished third behind Maestas and one other contender in a five-way race in 2014.

Arellano said in a statement that his priorities haven’t changed since his first campaign. He said he wants “to take care of the city” he has “loved his whole life.”

He added that he is “concerned with the safety and security of residents, which includes the city’s financial management as well as energy security and independence.”

Arellano said he also would emphasize initiatives to make the city’s power usage “self-sustaining” and to enhance detofixication and rehabilitation programs for people with behavioral health issues.

A native of Santa Fe and 1984 graduate of Santa Fe High School, he has owned a construction and landscaping company for 27 years.

After training for 15 years at Carl and Sandra’s Gym, achieving 14 state records and two national medals in Master’s Olympic Style Weightlifting under the coaching of former City Councilor Carl Miller, Arellano last year also took over that business in the DeVargas Center, now called Longevity! Strength Training and Fitness.

Before getting into the construction and landscaping business, he was property manager of the Church of the Holy Faith and, in the 1980s, restaurant manager at the Hilton of Santa Fe.

In his 2014 campaign he argued the city was not sufficiently supporting local business, emphasizing his experience as a contractor and business manager.

And in a statement of values published in The New Mexican, he said the City Council had “gotten into areas that have nothing to do with managing and improving the city.” He said he would make sure residents who want the council “to focus on city issues” would be represented.

Arellano said this week it’s important for the city to address shared spaces like parks and streets. “I want the local people to have a voice,” he said. “Whether it’s a pothole that needs to be fixed or a park that needs to be taken care of.”

Arellano received 22 percent of the vote in the 2014 race, behind Maestas, who won with 34 percent, and architect Rad Acton, who had 25 percent.

Arellano was soon after appointed by Mayor Javier Gonzales to the city Public Safety Committee, an advisory body that reviews matters concerning the city police and fire departments and other safety concerns.”