Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another Funny Cargo Story

A lot of people have expressed a lot of love for  the late former Gov. David F. Cargo since he died last week.

But my former colleague David Roybal just shared a story with me about a contemporary of Cargo's wasn't that fond of him -- at least one day in the heat of a legislative session 40 some years ago.

You think there's tensions between Gov. Susana Martinez and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez? According to  former secretary of Public Safety and longtime state police officer Richard CdeBaca -- who is the subject of Roybal's new book --  Cargo’s lieutenant governor demanded that state police provide him with round-the-clock police protection as well as a restraining order against Cargo.

This came following a vote on controversial liquor reform legislation that , the late Lt. Gov. E. Lee Francis helped kill contrary to Cargo’s wishes.

Roybal quotes from CdeBaca's notes:

“One morning … I got paged to report to Lt Gov. E. Lee Francis’s office. He was livid and told me that he wanted to get a restraining order on Gov. Cargo. When I asked him why he wanted to do that, he told me in a straight face, ‘Because the (SOB) threatened me and I don’t appreciate it.’ I didn't know what to say so I told him, ‘I’m sure whatever Gov. Cargo said, he didn't mean it,’ and the lieutenant governor replied, ‘The hell he didn't.’ He added, ‘I demand full State Police security around the clock.’”

CdeBaca wrote that he informed then-Chief Joe Black of the conversation with Francis and that Black “had a good laugh.”

“He told me that he would call the lieutenant governor and address his concerns,” CdeBaca wrote.

CdeBaca told Roybal that he suspected Black took it upon himself to calm Francis down and that he doubted Black found it necessary to inform Cargo of the situation.

Indeed, that apparently is what occurred. “I never heard about the incident,” Cargo told Roybal. “I got after Lee when he cast the tie-breaking vote on a bill to change the old pricing system on liquor. I talked to him about the measure before he went down to the Senate chamber. When the vote came up, it was a tie and Lee voted against the bill to break the tie. He told me later, ‘That’s the most popular thing I ever did. I was getting congratulations from (liquor lobbyist) Pancho Padilla and liquor dealers and on and on.’”

“I said, ‘Listen, Mr. Lieutenant Governor, tomorrow you’re going to get words that aren't quite along that line and they’re going to come from the Albuquerque Journal and The Santa Fe New Mexican.”

Here's a link to Roybal's book'  Chief of Police, The Career of Richard CdeBaca During Extraordinary Times in New Mexico, 1956-1994.