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Contentious Comments Flow During City Council Live Stream

(La Junta, CO) -- After La Junta City Council received two letters of complaints against Council Member Ed Vela, the comments poured into a thread on a live meeting of council Monday, April 17th, 2023.

Council member Paul Velasquez read the complaint letter from the Synchronicity Dance Productions that stated the dance team was invited to dance for council and were changing clothes in a near-by office when council member Ed Vela knocked on the door. The director and author of the letter stated that she thought it might be another dancer so she opened the door to find Vela. She explained he couldn't come in and he said he was trying to find a tissue. The letter then stated after closing the door and allowing a small space in which to pass the tissue, she felt that Vela continued to look into the room.

The letter explained Vela stated he needed a tissue but continued to look into the room.

"I thought that his behavior was odd, and I did not appreciate the fact that he still attempted to look in after he was aware that the girls were dressing. I did not feel that this is normal or acceptable behavior from a grown man, let alone a man on our city council." concluded La Junta Citizen Amy Salazar.

Velasquez went on to read a second complaint letter about Ed Vela. This one came from Sarah Mahoney and explained an incident that happened after the above mentioned incident. Mahoney stated in her letter that Vela and his wife came to the Koshare Museum asking her questions about what happened that night with her dancers. She finished up the letter by stating she felt intimidated.

"All this is a big lie." Vela defended himself.

"What a shit show, this is an embarrassment to the city" was one comment from viewers watching the Facebook Live meeting.

"Shitshow" does not adequately describe this." another chimed in.

Another viewer commented, "And if there is an independent investigation, will the residents be informed of the outcome and costs?"

Council made a motion to seek an investigation into the matter and it passed four to two with one council member bowing out saying she didn't feel it was right to vote because she wasn't in the building when the alleged incident happened.

Since the motion was made and it passed on the vote, Mayor Joe Ayala then asked City Attorney Phil Malouff how much the investigation could cost.

Malouff estimated that it could cost more than $5,000 and possibly as much as $10,000.

The meeting drew 668 viewers and spurred more than a dozen comments. If you'd like to watch the meeting for yourself, it's available on the City of La Junta Public Notice Facebook Page. The meeting is titled, City Council April 17.


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