June 2 First News: Candidates Plan Final Appeal To Voters The Day Before the N.M. Primary (Listen)

Jun 2, 2014

Candidates in a wide-open race for the Democratic nomination for New Mexico governor are planning last-minute appeals to voters in tomorrow's primary election. On the Democratic ballot are Attorney General Gary King, Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber, former government administrator Lawrence Rael and state Senators Howie Morales and Linda Lopez. Early voting ended Saturday, and polls will be open tomorrow from seven-a.m. to seven-p.m. The winner of the Democratic contest will challenge Republican Governor Susana Martinez in the general election. Martinez has four-million dollars in her re-election account, giving her a big fundraising advantage over the Democrats. On this final day of campaigning, Democratic candidates plan events targeting key voter groups such as senior citizens, who typically account for a large share of those casting primary election ballots.

Albuquerque City Councilors tonight consider a measure seeking wider use of renewable energy as part of the energy replacement plan before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

And a contingent from Santa Fe, including the non-profit New Energy Economy, will be on hand in support of the proposal. Mariel Nanasi is New Energy Economy’s President: *****060214-Nanasi-2 (q: huge, huge step) :23***** The PRC earlier this year approved a plan to shut down two of four coal-burning plants in the four corners region of New Mexico. Critics contend the current power replacement plan before regulators is too dependent on nuclear power.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has announced the establishment of six community policing councils aimed at building better community-police relationships amid protests. Berry says the goal of each council is "to engage in candid, detailed and meaningful dialogue" between Albuquerque police and residents over various problems. He says the councils will be made up of community members who live within the boundaries of each area command. The move comes as the city is negotiating with the U.S. Justice Department over reforms into Albuquerque police. The Justice Department recently faulted Albuquerque police over its use of force.

The U.S. Department of Energy says it could take two years or more to meet a state order to seal- off potentially dangerous containers at the troubled Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. In a filing with the New Mexico Energy Department on Friday, officials detailed the work and gave broad ranges that indicate it could take a minimum of about 100 work weeks — and possibly twice that long — to secure the rooms at WIPP. New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn ordered federal officials and the contractor that runs the nuclear dump to submit the plans for permanently sealing the two underground rooms where more than 300 barrels of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory are stored. The waste was packed with cat litter to absorb moisture. Officials are investigating whether a switch from inorganic to organic litter is to blame for a chemical reaction with nitrate salts believed to have caused a February leak that contaminated 22 workers and indefinitely shuttered the plant.

The University of New Mexico is hosting a conference aimed at discussing poverty. The school's continuing education program and the Association of Community Partners are sponsoring the conference from Wednesday to Friday to discuss solutions. Census records show that more than 20 percent of New Mexico residents live in poverty and the state often is at the bottom on various poverty indicators. Officials say the conference at the UNM Continuing Education building will focus on helping 400 nonprofits and agencies tackle poverty issues.

Santa Fe Weather: Sunny today, with a high near 87. Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 58. Tomorrow:  Sunny, with a high near 89.