Divided city council approves funding to woo 'The Bachelor' to Santa Fe for episode

A sharply divided Santa Fe City Council voted Wednesday to spend up to $100,000 to try to lure "The Bachelor" to the northern New Mexico city.

By a vote of 5-4, councilors approved a funding request from the convention and visitors bureau to try to get the ABC dating show to film an episode in Santa Fe.

Supporters say Santa Fe could use a tourism boost and the filming could showcase some of the city's attractions.

But Councilor Bill Dimas said the show isn't very good and that was reason enough for the city not to dedicate money toward any episodes. "It's a terrible show. Awful," Dimas said. "If there was a city that was on that show and I watched it, I'd probably say, 'I'll never visit that city.' "

Mayor Javier Gonzales, however, asked councilors to examine the request from a "business perspective" instead of a "show perspective," especially since the program attracts around 14.3 million viewers.

"Now, the story plot might be something that, Councilor Dimas, that you don't want to look at, but I will tell you that people are going to get to see the best of this community," he said.

The state Department of Tourism already has committed $50,000 to the effort. The convention and visitors bureau said it plans to spend $50,000 in city taxpayer money but requested an additional $50,000 in case it has to negotiate.

But the money doesn't guarantee ABC will pick Santa Fe.

Randy Randall, Tourism Santa Fe's executive director, said the show's producers approached Santa Fe two weeks ago about possible filming, and he wanted to make sure everything was in place before they make a decision.

"It's a negotiation," Randall told councilors.

"The Bachelor," which debuted in 2002, features an eligible bachelor who goes on a series of dates to choose a potential bride from a pool of 25 women.