Zélie Pollon

News Director

Zélie Pollon is an award-winning independent journalist who has focused much of her work on social and humanitarian issues around conflict and reconstruction.  For over a decade, Pollon has reported on issues of international significance, publishing hundreds of articles for Reuters, The Dallas Morning News, People Magazine and other major publications.  She has studied, worked, and served on boards across the globe, from Iraq to Sri Lanka.  Pollon’s professional experiences are wide ranging, and include serving as Managing Editor for Curve Magazine; working as a trainer for journalists in Africa to promote democracy and free speech; and translating lectures by the Dalai Lama from French recordings into English.  Her recent research looked at oral history and the role it plays in Transitional Justice and post conflict rebuilding -- and most importantly, post conflict healing  -- in both Baghdad, Iraq, and more recently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Pollon has garnered international recognition for her work, including such esteemed awards as the Rotary World Peace Fellowship and honors from the National Press Foundation.

 

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and a new report by the data analysis website WalletHub just issued a report on the best and worst state for fathers. Any guesses where New Mexico appears?

Santa Fe City Councilor Peter Ives recently returned from Beijing, China. He was there as a representative of Santa Fe at a Creative Cities Network summit under the auspices of UNESCO. It also happened to coincide with a similar trip that the mayor was scheduled to take to China on the subject of sustainable cities. I spoke with Counselor Ives about Santa Fe’s Creative City designation and what conferences like the one in China can mean for Santa Fe and its creative and cultural growth.

Police violence has been a discussion nationwide, and specifically the number of cases of mentally ill people who die in the hands of police custody. Similarly, solitary confinement has been widely criticized as a means of punishing people already in police custody, and as we hear in today’s feature, again mentally ill people are the greatest group who suffer from the practice. We spoke with two Solitary confinement experts, one national and one local, about current efforts to end what they call a brutal and outdated practice.

The Southwest Organizing Project, a social rights organization in Albuquerque, organized a protest outside the Donald Trump rally last month in Albuquerque. That protest got out of hand, despite the efforts of SWOP to calm those present. According to Javier Benavides, SWOP Executive Director, it wasn’t until police began aggressively trying to disperse the group, that the masses became angry.

Regardless, the organization is now receiving threats, even death threats. I spoke Benavides this morning to hear about the fallout.


 

Last night’s primary elections offered a few surprises and made history by officially granting Hillary Clinton enough delegates for the nomination for Democratic Presidential Candidate. In general, voter turnout was high statewide, about 33.74 percent, according the clerk’s office. Santa Fe had a turnout nearing 49 percent and the highest county was Mora with 52.6 percent. The lowest turnout was in Hidalgo county where a paltry 3.5 percent of registered voters made it to the polls.

Yesterday we heard from Minority Leader Brian EGOLF ON THE Democratic strategy to regain the house next Tuesday. Today we hear from state Republican party spokesman Tucker Keane on the Republican strategy to not only hold onto the house but their hopes to regain the Senate.

Donations to Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates are streaming in, with Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton leading the pack. But as we hear from New Mexico In Depth Journalist Sandra Fish, Bernie Sanders has inspired the grassroots with many thousands more donors than any other candidate.

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to 105 Santa Fe Indian school graduates plus a crowd of 3000 at the in a commencement address where she urged the graduates to remember their tribal history and carry it with them proudly. She said “you are the next generation of leaders in your communities.” The First Lady’s speech is part of the Generation Indigenous Initiative from the Obama Administration aimed at removing "barriers to success" for Native American youth, who the White House says make up the nation's "most vulnerable population."

Paula Francis and Ginny Sassaman have walked to Santa Fe from Vermont – that’s more than 3,000 miles so far --  to talk to people about happiness and what really matters.

Ginny and Paula will be at the Farmer’s Market tomorrow morning interviewing people about what matters.

Vermont Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders will be speaking at Santa Fe Community College today at 3pm. Early this morning a line was beginning to snake around the college gym, which holds roughly 2500 people. We spoke to some of the fans camped outside the gym, to find out why they had to come to support Sen Sanders.

On Friday in a Federal Court in Las Cruces three Human Services Department officials invoked their fifth amendment right against self-incrimination nearly 100 times. Matt Reichbach, editor of New Mexico Political Report and reporter Joey Peters were in the courtroom – two of less than a handful of reporters covering the bombshell story. I spoke with Reichbach this morning for details of the hearing.

People across the country, and indeed around the world, are increasingly interested in investigating their family history. The trend has been so popular that a show dedicated to families discovering the mysteries of their lineage is now in its third season. The premiere of PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow is tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17 and it features none other than families right here in New Mexico. I spoke with Genealogist and Roadshow host Mary Tedesco about tomorrow’s program.

This weekend, El Museo Cultural will host a celebration of all things green. On a recent windy afternoon, KSFR'S Zelie Pollon caught up with Glen Schiffbauer, executive director of the Green Chamber of Commerce, to hear about this year's festival. 

Democratic Party members recently held a press conference denouncing Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee. Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Debra Haaland has called Trump racist and demeaning to women. The Republican party spokesperson called the statements predictable. We spoke with representatives of both parties to hear their take.

This Sunday, May 8th, LittleGlobe and the Lensic Performing Arts Cenrter present City of Dreamers. It’s a collaborative, student-driven community engagement program featuring short documentary videos, live on-stage radio production and music, and conversations that highlight the voices and stories of Santa Fe Dreamers Project participants, Capital High and other students, families, and residents of Santa Fe’s South Side. KSFR has participated in the project giving journalism trainings and working directly with Youthworks participants to produce radio features for this event.

Yesterday we spoke with Freelance journalist Jeff Proctor about investigative grand juries and their specific impact on the race for First Judicial District Attorney. Today we hear more about Proctor’s year long investigative project for New Mexico Indepth on New Mexico’s criminal Justice system.

Freelance journalist Jeff Proctor couldn’t have known the impact he might have had when he began a series of articles on investigative grand juries. But that series now seems to be be playing a big role in the race for First Judicial District Attorney, a position currently held by Jennifer Padgett, appointed by Gov Susana Martinez to fill in for former DA Spence Pacheco. I asked Proctor to begin by describing what investigative Grand juries are and how they’ve been used in cases involving police shootings.

In part two in our election discussion with Lonna Atkeson, the director of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy and a professor at UNM we speak about disenfranchised voters, particularly given the numbers of voters who waited hours at polling stations in Arizona during their primary elections. To Akeson, the main issue is making sure people register to vote as a Democrat or Republican and do it in a timely and correct manner.

Given the unpredictable and increasingly chaotic Presidentialrace, we asked Lonna Atkeson, the director of the Center for theStudy of Voting, Elections and Democracy and a professor at UNM totell us about some of the implications and possibilities for theprimaries and ultimately the presidential election.

Northern New Mexico College has had a difficult few years, including the departure of their last president amid extensive criticism over management and financial mishandling. However, the new search for a president isn’t without its share of controversy.

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