June 11 First News: Santa Fe County Commissioners To Hear Controversial Rezoning Request (Listen)

Jun 11, 2014

The Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners will be getting an earful later today—so many are expected for this afternoon’s proposal to re-zone La Bajada Mesa to allow a gravel-mining operation—that the County is holding the final hearing in a separate venue. The Board will meet at the Santa Fe Convention Center starting at 4pm. An earlier meeting on the issue saw the public turned away from the County Courthouse. There are many opponents to the request. One of them is Diane Senior of “Save La Bajada Mesa.” Senior says the Mesa has been a traditional part of the landscape: *****061114-Senior-3 (q: near the mine site) :18***** Rockology, Incorporated, which is seeking the change, was not immediately available for comment.

New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn says scientists investigating a radiation leak at the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump have identified five other potentially explosive containers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a temporary storage site in West Texas. Flynn told a legislative panel on Tuesday that scientists investigating the February leak from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant have been unable to replicate the chemical event believed to have caused a drum to breach in February. But he says they have found five other barrels from the same waste stream and are narrowing their focus on those because of their very high acidic content. He says three of those drums are at Los Alamos and two are at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas. Flynn says the public should be concerned — but not worried — as proper precautions are being taken.

The City of Albuquerque has been ordered to pay $6 million to the family of a man killed by police 3 years ago.  KSFR’s Sophie Wickert has the story. ***** :37  Std *****

Two New Mexico State Senators are critical of Governor Susana Martinez’s efforts towards landing Tesla Motors—the electric car firm that’s looking for a place to house its planned battery gigafactory. Albuquerque Senator Jacob Candelaria, along with Senator Tim Keller, is asking, “why?”: *****061114-Candelaria-3 (q: with the legislature) :22***** Martinez’s spokesman Enrique Knell responded, telling me, quote: it was the Governor who said she was willing to call a special session if it becomes apparent during discussions that there are issues that need to be addressed in the very competitive and aggressive proposal that New Mexico has made to Tesla. We’re just not there yet.”

The Taos County Commission has approved new comprehensive land use regulations that include language for various setback regulations. Amigos Bravos, the Taos-based non-profit that works for water conservation and social justice, applauded the action.  The Commission vote was 3-2 in favor, and Amigos Bravos’ Rachel Conn said the commissioners who voted to approve the regs, quote, “deserve recognition and credit for setting in place regulations that will protect the unique cultural and agricultural legacy of Taos County by protecting clean water for all Taos County residents."

A rare mouse found in New Mexico and two other western states now has protection under the Endangered Species Act. The ruling by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to aggravate ongoing battles between the federal government and ranchers over water and property rights in drought-stricken areas.

From Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales comes word that a renewed version of the People to the Plaza Resolution will appear before various city committees in the next few weeks and is scheduled to be heard by the City Council on June 25th.  A city news release says the resolution was paused in its progression when Mayor Gonzales asked staff to collaborate with the public and open the door for more ideas through a community dialogue. A well-attended public forum was held last month and numerous program ideas regarding bringing people to the Plaza were heard and/or submitted via email.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 54. Tomorrow: Mostly sunny with a high near 83 and a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms.