Mayoral candidate says city should get out of UFO tourism

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Roswell needs to embrace a new identity and modern methods of economic development and finance, and maybe even a new state, according to one candidate for mayor.

Roswell mayoral candidate Guy Malone (Submitted Photo)

“It’s time to stop looking backwards to 1947 for our economic security and walk with me into the 21st century,” Guy Malone said in an interview with the Roswell Daily Record.

In the mayoral race, Malone will face two-term Mayor Dennis Kintigh, former state legislator Tim Jennings and former real estate business owner Eva Tellez.

Malone moved to Roswell from Nashville, Tennessee, about 20 years ago and worked as a server and trainer at Cattle Baron, 1113 N. Main St., for about 16 years until the pandemic. He now works remotely as a copy editor for Bitcoin Magazine.

He’s a board member of Roswell Community Little Theatre and has appeared in recent stage productions. He’s also known for his lectures at past UFO Festivals on his theory that the alleged 1947 crash was an experimental U.S. aircraft.

Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.

Malone said he’s been thinking about running for mayor for about 10 years.

He said several people encouraged him to run for city council instead, as that’s where the power is. Council members vote on the projects and ordinances for the city, while the mayor’s only vote comes in case of a tie on the council.

“I’m not going after power,” Malone said.

Running the city’s day-to-day functions is a team effort the mayor is part of, Malone said, and he would listen to the expertise of department heads.

Rather, Malone said as mayor he would try to guide the city to a new identity and economic drivers and start conversations on the region’s representation in Santa Fe.

Even though he knows it might not be popular, one of his objectives would be to get the city out of the UFO tourism business.

“I would like to see Roswell de-emphasize the UFO and alien phenomenon for its economy and tourism and lean way more into promoting the performing arts that we have in incredible abundance now,” he said.

Working at the restaurant gave him the ability to hear, unfiltered, what visitors and residents alike thought of Roswell.

“Not everybody in town is a fan of the aliens,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s cool, a lot of people think it’s fun. A lot of people hate it,” he said.

He said having the Roswell Visitor’s Center sell alien-themed merchandise takes potential business away from local merchants.

“That is kind of an insult or slap in the face to the downtown business owners because now the city they pay taxes to is also their competitor for sales,” he said.

He doesn’t think the UFO Festival should be managed by the city, either.

“A lot of people feel it should be privatized, that the city shouldn’t be running it. It should be grassroots and returned to the private industries that started it, and I am definitely on that team as well,” he said.

The city should instead put its tourism promotion efforts and funding into what Malone said is a thriving arts scene.

Malone called the Way Way Off-Broadway Theatre Company top-tier entertainment and also cited the Roswell Symphony, Little Theatre, the Roswell Museum, the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Main Street Arts, the jazz festival and restaurants offering live music as potential tourism drivers.

“We have an amazing arts community here that is worthy of a lot more promotion to attract people to come visit Roswell,” he said.

While UFO tourism brings great numbers of people, the visitors mostly come once a year or even just once in a lifetime, he said. Arts tourism has a greater possibility of attracting people who would not only visit Roswell multiple times a year but who would also spend more money in booking higher-end hotels and at local restaurants, he said.

Roswell should also look to attracting cryptocurrency mining facilities for economic development, he said.

Bitcoin mining facilities use computers with special chips to create new cryptocurrencies by solving mathematical puzzles and verifying transactions. The computers use high amounts of electricity, but Malone said Roswell is well-suited to provide what the mining companies would need with gas, oil, solar and wind power available. He noted two bitcoin mining facilities are being built less than four hours away in west Texas.

“It is the new economy. It’s gone mainstream. Banks and PayPal are now completely dealing with it,” Malone said of the digital currency.

The city itself could even begin bitcoin mining, Malone said, and that could eventually allow the city to do away with property taxes and perhaps even utility bills.

For his third campaign point, Malone said he wants to see discussions start in southeast New Mexico about secession from the state. That stems from the disenfranchisement that he said many people feel from the state government.

“It’s our oil and gas, it’s our dairymen, it’s our agriculture that makes all the money in the state, but we’re not being represented,” he said.

He noted that Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, introduced a joint resolution in last year’s legislative session that proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed three or more contiguous counties to secede from New Mexico and either form their own state or become part of a neighboring state.

The resolution failed to progress beyond the Senate Rules Committee, but Malone said the discussion needs to be started.

Texas is more business-friendly, Malone said, and Texas would better fit the values of southeast New Mexicans.

“I just don’t think this state is representing the wishes or the values or the politics of southeast New Mexico. If elected, I will make it one of my top priorities to start contacting every mayor and every county commissioner in these five counties and start finding out who’s interested, who wants to begin to petition Texas to annex us,” he said.

“Those that aren’t interested, we will begin replacing them with politicians that are,” he said.

It would not be a one-term process, though, he said, and could take decades.

“My point is it’s time that we start having the conversation,” he said.

Early voting in the municipal elections starts Feb. 1 with Election Day on March 1.

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

To keep up with coverage of this and other elections of local and regional interest, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/elections/.

Read More:Mayoral candidate says city should get out of UFO tourism