Friday, September 04, 2015

This is not a good time to be Monica Armenta

When the community is in an uproar over the school board's failure to communicate, it isn't going to take people long to figure out that the $111K a year APS Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta is central to the effort to not communicate with stake and interest holders.

It has been, and will continue to be for as long as she heads APS' million dollar a year public relations campaign.

The current kerfuffle in the news is not Armenta's only problem.  She is a named respondent in a federal lawsuit alleging among other things, that she retaliated against me in response to what I have written about her on this blog.  For example; link.

I have alleged that she violated my civil rights and slandered and libeled me.  Incontrovertible evidence is in the record.

In her defense, Armenta casts me as a stalker; a threat to her personal safety.  She once alleged under oath that I "had followed her in my truck."  Under questioning under oath, she finally admitted because we were at the same meeting; (she there as a featured speaker, me to ask questions if I could, that she didn't want to answer) I must have followed her there.

She has in the last few days come closer to me physically, than I would ever, ever come to her.  I avoid her like the plague for obvious reasons.  Approaching her would serve no useful purpose and could be used to further slander or libel me.

On the first occasion, she approached a group in conversation; me and two photo journalists.  I was trying to explain to them why being required to put their cameras in a particular place; was likely a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

She came within 2 or 3 feet of me, to tell them that they needed to be talking to her (and not to me).

As she walked away, she stopped about 8 or 10 feet away, spun around, raised her voice considerably, and told me to stay away from her.  The entire encounter happened within feet of, and full sight of APS' Chief of Police Steve Gallegos.

On the second occasion, I had moved to a place in the board room; a place where I needed to be to photograph the faces of politicians and public servants within their public service.  I was standing where I needed to be, to freely and properly exercise my right to record a public meeting from any perspective.

Though it wasn't within their media "corral"; I had permission to be where I was.

At one point, Armenta stood up, moved closer to me (in order to call attention to herself while she then turned around) and took photographs of the media who were obeying her largely unjustifiable restrictions on their camera placement, and then turned around to photograph me*.

*I didn't see her photograph me.  That is my assumption based on the body language of the people who were watching her watching me.

I can only assume that Armenta may be ramping up her slander and libel campaign; photos of me threatening her safety by standing in a place she didn't think I should be standing.

Armenta and Marty Esquivel, another named respondent in the complaint, would like to see the complaint settled with their admissions of no guilt.

They want that so much, they've spent nearly three quarters of a million dollars on litigation and legal weaselry in an effort to buy it.  Without notice by their friends at the Journal and local NMBA affiliate stations.

photo  Mark Bralley

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