Inside the Capitol

Monday, July 05, 2010

7-9 Val Kilmer Really Loves NM

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- When actor Val Kilmer says he loves New Mexico, you've gotta really believe he means it. Why else would he be willing to go before the Sandoval County Commission to be cursed at and demeaned?
Kilmer wants to rent three of the guest houses on his Pecos River ranch. Evidently that requires county approval, which the County Commission appeared ready to do until neighbors showed up to demand that Kilmer be required to come before the commission and explain remarks attributed to him in national magazines seven years ago.
Reports indicate the commissioners understood the property approval had nothing to do with an apology and that they had no power to require Kilmer's appearance before them.
But the invitation was extended to Kilmer. And he accepted. Many people in Kilmer's position might have said that's ridiculous. It's not worth it. People who demand apologies usually don't accept them anyway.
Kilmer's remarks in Esquire and Rolling Stone magazines seem very inappropriate. Kilmer hasn't denied them but says they were made in totally different contexts.
The truth appears to be that Kilmer, who is known for putting tremendous feeling into his movie parts, also tends to be very colorful when illustrating points he is trying to make. And we know about Rolling Stone taking quotes out of context.
Kilmer also has received criticism that he is not a good neighbor because he doesn't want people trespassing on his property to fish. His chief accuser is also quoted as saying he should be able to enjoy Kilmer's guest houses when he desires.
The reasoning seems to be that Kilmer has only lived there 25 years and many people in the area can trace their linage back 400 years. Do you suppose the same reasoning would apply if these accusers were to go home to find a Native American family enjoying their back yard?
Kilmer made his apologies and didn't argue with his accusers -- who didn't accept his apology. The commissioners then voted unanimously to approve Kilmer's rentals.
Early last year, Kilmer hinted at his interest in running for governor as a Democrat. Not being a movie buff, I wasn't aware of Kilmer's ties to our state. He was married here. His children were born here. His father was born in the Gila. And his grandfather is buried in Truth or Consequences.
Kilmer also has been instrumental in bringing movies to New Mexico. He has appeared in two movies shot in Las Vegas. Although he didn't run for governor, it surely seems as though he wants to stay.
* * *
Another celebrity who attracts attention to New Mexico is Mine That Bird, the New Mexico owned and trained gelding who won the Kentucky Derby last year.
After running first, second and third, respectively, in the three Triple Crown races last year, the horse ran third in its next race and then dropped off considerably in its next races. Three Triple Crown races in five weeks is tough on a horse. Most three-year-olds don't do it. So maybe Mine that Bird needed some rest.
He's had the rest and has a new trainer, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, who says he thinks Mine That Bird has gained 150 pounds over the winter.
It is great to have one of horse racing's most successful trainers, but the only problem for New Mexico is that former trainer Chip Woolley, of Bloomfield, was part of the Mine That Bird mystic. Everybody talked about the personable cowboy from New Mexico.
But guess they'll have to become accustomed to a Kentucky trainer with a big stable. Lukas says Mine That Bird is the best horse he's had in quite some time.
Calvin Borel who rode Mine That Bird to victory in the Kentucky Derby will be on him in all his workouts. New Mexican Mike Smith rode him a few times last year.
FRI, 7-09-10

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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