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Committee divided on Invaders’ alcohol sales

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Roswell city councilors from left, Savino Sanchez, Jacob Roebuck and Angela Moore deliberate at the General Services Committee on Wednesday about whether or not the Roswell Invaders baseball games should be able to serve alcohol. (Alison Penn Photo)

A lease agreement with provisions for selling beer and wine at the Roswell Invaders baseball games reached a stalemate after the General Services Committee members’ votes were tied. However, five of Roswell’s city councilors asked to have the lease agreement move forward to full council.

According to the General Service meeting’s agenda, the Invaders are hosted by the Pecos League of Baseball Clubs in the spring and summer at the Joe Bauman Stadium at Coca-Cola Field, leased to the team from the city of Roswell in a multiyear agreement.

The change to the agreement is coming with the city’s soon-to-be received governmental alcohol license for the property — allowing alcohol to be sold at the Invaders games with a portion of revenue allocated to the city — per beverage $0.50 at full price and $0.10 if discounted. Juanita Jennings, public affairs director acting as interim staff liaison for the committee, said the city is supposed to receive the license this month. City Manager Joe Neeb said the reason for this license is because selling at the Invaders games was not profitable for current vendors.

If the council approves the lease agreement, the agenda’s abstract states the agreement is “essential” for the Invaders to sell alcohol and will be “submitted to the state.” The alcohol lease application currently pending for the Invaders” may be in effect for the 2019 season beginning mid-May and ending in September.

City councilors Juan Oropesa and Jacob Roebuck voted in favor, while councilors Savino Sanchez and Angela Moore voted against it at the General Services Committee on Feb. 27.

On Tuesday afternoon, City Clerk Sharon Coll wrote in a statement that Roswell city councilors Roebuck, Caleb Grant, Steve Henderson, Barry Foster and Judy Stubbs requested to have the lease agreement to be placed on the full council meeting on March 14. Coll confirmed that the item will be on that meeting’s agenda for City Council to consider.

In a follow-up with the Daily Record, Sanchez and Moore said they have not voted in favor of anything alcohol-related as city councilors. Sanchez has served one four-year term for Ward 4 and is serving the last year of his second term before the election in 2020. Moore was elected to represent Ward 5 in March 2018 and has three more years.

“Mine is religious,” Moore said about her reason to vote against measures involving alcohol. “It’s my religious beliefs against alcohol and drugs — and the danger it is to our society. I don’t have anything against baseball or them drinking it, but I don’t agree. I think it is a bad thing for our community and our society. I know a lot of people do it, but I just don’t agree with it.”

Sanchez said he has seen firsthand the “damage that it (alcohol) does to the families” and children when he goes to minister in detention facilities, where many of the inmates are there due to alcohol and substance abuse.

“I know we can’t stop it completely …,” Sanchez said of alcohol. “People are going to do it, but at least on my part, I won’t vote for it. People spend millions of dollars buying it and then we spend millions of dollars trying to rehab just about the same people. So it just doesn’t make any sense to me. It just seems like it is just a cycle that will never stop.”

Prior to the vote, Oropesa asked Neeb what would happen if the measure was not approved by the committee at General Services. Neeb said the city would review the item and Parker Patterson, deputy city attorney, said in the parliamentary process a tie vote constitutes as a fail. Neeb and Patterson reminded the committee that the city manager or Mayor Dennis Kintigh could also put the item on the council’s agenda. Councilor Roebuck reminded the committee that the item could be put on the council’s agenda if five councilors willed it.

George and Patty Swenson, host family for some of the Invaders’ players and local representatives for the Pecos League, were present for the meeting on Feb. 27. George Swenson felt confident it would go forward after talking to councilors after the General Services meeting.

“This is one of the few teams — I think we’re the only one in the Pecos League that does not serve beer,” Patty Swenson said. “… White Sands does, Alamogordo, Santa Fe does, Alpine does. So we are the only ones — so we’ve been working hard trying to get this done and we’ve been working for over a year to get this through. So yes, I was discouraged.”

George Swenson said the Invaders team is an asset to the community because they work with the city’s Parks and Recreation programs, help out with the Special Olympics, interact with local youth and more.

“I believe it’s all going forward and I can understand some people not wanting the beer, but it’s kinda like an American tradition,” Swenson said. “Baseball and beer just go together.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.