An ethics complaint charging Santa Fe City Councilor and Mayoral Candidate Patti Bushee with violating the city’s public finance code has been rejected. Reports says the City’s Ethics and Campaign Review Board voted 4-0 to dismiss the charges that emanated over the summer over a private check Bushee wrote to her former campaign manager. Bushee has since qualified for public campaign financing. The City ethics panel found no violations.
The Santa Fe School District is one of 31 finalists selected for a federal education department grant worth a portion of 120 million-dollars. The Albuquerque Journal reports SFPS is still in the running for a 10 million dollar “Race to the Top” grant. Meantime, Albuquerque Public Schools didn’t make the final cut for a 25 million dollar grant for which it applied. School districts and states do not compete against one another for the grant money. The U-S Department of Education will announce between five and ten winners later this month.
A report from the Legislative Finance Committee criticizes New Mexico’s termination of behavioral health providers resulting from findings in an as-yet unreleased audit of providers receiving Medicaid funding through the Human Services Department. The LFC report released this week says patients suffered as a result of the changes. Citing law enforcement considerations, two judges recently refused in separate cases to order release of the audit, meaning providers weren't told of specific allegations or given a chance to rebut them before funding was cut off.
When Santa Fe voters go to the polls on March fourth, they will decide on nine separate city charter amendments, including two proposals that would make the mayor’s job a full-time post with more authority and a 74-thousand dollar annual salary. City Councilors originally proposed sixteen separate amendments, but combined eight of them into one, all dealing with mayoral power. Councilors on Wednesday also unanimously approved a resolution requesting the state environment department to not permit a permanent nuclear waste dump at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Area G.
Santa Fe County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a new sustainable land development code to guide future county growth. The new code will go into effect after the County Commission approves an accompanying zoning map. County Commissioner Liz Stefanics:*****Dec. 11 SLDC Stefanics-2 :19***** The lengthy document spells-out standards for future County development
Adoption of a sustainable land development code is an item before the Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners later today. The draft document includes a growth management element requiring developers to determine whether existing public facilities and services are adequate to support their developments. Commissioners will also consider a resolution supporting legislation to prohibit the sale of E-cigarettes to minors.
Santa Fe received a bit more snowfall Sunday night, but the light dusting of powdery snow has not prompted any closures or delays—thus far—this morning. Major city arterials are snow packed and slick in areas, and drivers are urged to use caution.
Two Santa Fe Mayoral candidates are seeking to halt the flow of public campaign finance money to opponent Patti Bushee until a city review board hears a complaint filed by a woman who’d briefly worked as Bushee’s campaign chief. The issue involves Bushee paying the former employee an 18-hundred dollar check from a personal account. The candidates—Javier Gonzales and Rebecca Wurzburger—have asked the Ethics and Campaign Review Board to hold an expedited hearing on the matter. Bushee maintains the payment occurred in June, when she was still running on private funds.
Despite speculation to the contrary, City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger made clear Tuesdaythat she intends to stay in the Santa Fe mayoral race despite not qualifying for public campaign financing. Wurzburger says the lack of public funding will prompt her to assess how to campaign as a privately funded candidate. The three other candidates for mayor—City Councilors Patti Bushee and Bill Dimas—along with Javier Gonzales, qualified for public funding of their campaigns worth 60-thousand dollars each.
Santa Fe City Clerk Yolanda Vigil has certified Mayoral and City Council candidates seeking public financing under the City Code for the March 4th Municipal Election. Mayoral candidates Patti Bushee, Bill Dimas and Javier Gonzales qualified to receive sixty-thousand dollars from the City’s Public Campaign Finance Fund. The other mayoral candidate, Rebecca Wurzburger, was not certified. Seven of the eight City Council Candidates who applied for public financing were certified for 15-thousand each in public campaign assistance. Four other council candidates didn’t apply.
Santa Fe police say a man is jailed after he choked a woman who had given him a ride from a downtown bar to his vehicle. An SF-PD news release says the 26-year-old woman agreed early Sunday to give 21-year-old Ryan Catron of Eldorado a ride to his vehicle. Once delivered, he allegedly began choking the woman before she was able to break away and notify authorities. Police say Catron was later arrested at his home. He’s charged with suspicion of kidnapping, battery and assault with intent to commit a violent felony and is being held on a 100-thousand dollar cash bond.
The report that led to the termination of New Mexico behavioral health providers’ contracts was missing a conclusion that stated the audit found no, quote, “credible evidence of fraud." That from the State Auditor’s office, which said it received the information as a result of a court subpoena. Auditor Hector Balderas has said the Human Services Department’s failure to provide the entire report — as required by a court order — jeopardized his work on the state's freeze of Medicaid payments.
Providing stiffer penalties for violent crime will be the focus of the State Legislature’s Criminal Justice subcommittee, which holds a meeting today at the Roundhouse to begin an update of New Mexico’s criminal code. That word from committee co-chair, State Representative Antonio Maestas of Albuquerque, who also says the process will take some time: *****Nov.
The storm that blanketed Santa Fe and much of northern New Mexico with snow this past weekend has led Santa Fe schools and state government offices, among others, to be on a two-hour delay schedule this morning. State road condition updates are available on the “NM-Roads-dot-com” website or by calling 5-1-1. The storm that hit the Southwest hard led to hundreds of flight cancellations and is moving east and threatens to create havoc among Thanksgiving travelers.