Santa Fe City Officials this week wrapped up a months-long process of identifying issues to prioritize during the upcoming New Mexico 2014 Legislative Session. City Councilor Peter Ives:
*****Dec. 27 Ives-1 :13***** Ives says the legislative priorities for 2014 are: Changes to the hold-harmless gross receipts tax issue; Funding to expand the Santa Fe Airport Terminal; Funding for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion—or LEAD—Program; and city water priorities.
A crash late Tuesday has resulted in the 11th DWI arrest for a 51-year old man. Santa Fe Police say Robert Ortiz is in custody after rolling his vehicle on Pacheco Street. SFPD says Ortiz told officers he was heading home from work when he realized he was going the wrong direction, made a U-turn and rolled his SUV. Ortiz was jailed after failing a sobriety test. Online court records show that despite his history of DWI arrests, a Santa Fe County judge reinstated Ortiz’s driver’s license in 2009.
There has been another New Mexico police-involved shooting. Los Lunas police shot and critically wounded a manThursday during a SWAT standoff that followed a domestic disturbance call. Officials say they believe the man was holding something that looked like a rifle. It was unclear if the man was armed. His name has not yet been released.
The Santa Fe Police Department is looking for branding ideas from the community and is holding a contest to develop a new SFPD slogan. Police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt:
*****Dec. 27 Westervelt-1 :19***** Westervelt says this effort displays the department’s commitment to the citizenry and says the deadline for entries is January 10th through a variety of social media including a link on the City of Santa Fe’s website. While there’s no monetary prize, there will be several opportunities for recognizing the contest winner.
Governor Susana Martinez has announced that New Mexico has been recognized by the Council On State Taxation—also known as “Cost”— for improvement in state tax administration. The group says it upgraded New Mexico’s letter-grade rating from a ‘D’ to a ‘B’ after the state adopted reforms to simplify its tax code. The Governor’s office says COST monitors and rates all states on tax appeal processes and administrative practices based on its thoughts of fairness of tax laws and regulations for tax administration.
A change of venue seems to have made a difference for this year’s Winter Spanish Market. The event moved to Albuquerque, and organizers say the two-day winter market organized by the Spanish Colonial Arts Society drew some five-thousand people—more than twice the visitors the event had drawn in Santa Fe in recent years.
Vandal-caused damage to the life-size bronze statue of the Spanish conquistador Don Diego de Vargas has become so bad that it’s been removed from Santa Fe’s Cathedral Park for repairs. The New Mexican reports the statue has been targeted by vandals since being installed in the park in 2007. Restoring the statue is expected to cost less than two-thousand dollars.
Bus drivers for the City of Farmington’s bus system have a problem: they say their paychecks have been cut short. The Farmington Daily Times reports that city transit drivers have confronted city contractor—First Transit Incorporated—about it shortchanging the number of hours worked by the drivers. Company officials say workers will be reimbursed in their next checks. Drivers point out that the matter arose with the payroll before the holidays.
The chief of the Valles Caldera Trust says he will retire as of next week. Executive Director Dennis Trujillo made the announcement last week. His last day will be on January third, marking the end of nearly four decades of public service.
Santa Fe Weather: Today: Sunny, with a high near 48. Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 21. Tomorrow: Sunny, with a high near 46.