Voters in Albuquerque are going to the polls today to elect a mayor and city council members as well as weighing in on ten bond issues. Incumbent Mayor Richard Berry is facing two challengers. If no candidate pulls 50-percent of the total vote, the top two placeholders will square off in a November 19th run-off election. That date is also set for a special Duke City election on an ordinance that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. If there is no mayoral run-off, however, the abortion matter will be decided by a mail-in ballot only.
That Santa Fe City Council proposal to ban buskers from the Plaza and restrict where they perform, has been withdrawn by the Councilor who proposed it. In what's presumably music to the ears of buskers--the licensed Santa Fe musicians who play for donations-- Councilor Chris Calvert says he is dropping his plan, conceding to the New Mexican the proposal wasn't "fully vetted." Calvert says the idea was prompted by complaints from business owners, residents and tourists.
Santa Fe’s Business and Quality of Life Advisory Committee hears a presentation today from world-acclaimed speaker, Soren Hermansen. Hermansen is the director of Denmark’s Samsoe Island Renewable Energy Project, a community demonstrating successful and total reliance on sustainable alternative energy sources. Samsoe Island now exports wind-powered electricity to the Danish mainland and has reduced its carbon footprint by 140-percent. After meeting with city officials, Hermansen holds forth a public forum this afternoon on the SFCC campus.
That proposal by Santa Fe City Councilor Patti Bushee to have public transportation to and from the Santa Fe Ski Basin is moving forward. The City's Public Works Committee fully endorsed the idea at their Monday meeting. The board of the North Central Regional Transit District will now review the matter, scheduled to come before full city council at the end of this month.
Peace activist, artist, minister, writer, founder of the Santa Fe Living Treasures program and beloved local icon in the City Different –Mary Lou Cook – died yesterday at her retirement home in Santa Fe. Cook moved to Santa Fe in 1969 and became active at peace gatherings and other places where public affairs were discussed and decided upon. She was also a calligrapher, a founding artist at the Shidoni Foundry in Tesuque; active in the anti-nuclear weapons movement and the first woman to serve as a bank director in Santa Fe. Mary Lou Cook was 95 years old.
The former Santa Fe builder indicted in September by a state grand jury on multiple felony fraud charges failed to appear at his arraignment in Santa Fe District Court Monday. An arrest warrant has been issued with a $20,000 bond. William "Kal" Kalinowski was the force behind Barranca Builders and a number of other local companies. In 2008, he defaulted on bank loans made for multiple high-end home construction projects at Las Campanas, leaving sub-contractors and home buyers holding the bag. The 68-year-old Kalinowski is now a resident of Massachusetts.
New Mexico should be closer to having a new public defender later today. An 11-member commission charged with selecting the public defender meets in Albuquerque to interview five semi-finalists for the post. The Public Defender Department provides criminal defense attorneys for indigent adults and juveniles. It handles close to 72-thousand cases a year, employs nearly 400 and has an annual budget of 40-million dollars. The Commission, appointed by Governor Martinez, has to make a selection in the next week. The Department has been undergoing changes since voters approved a constitutional amendment creating an independent office last year.
Bernalillo County commissioners today will consider a proposed ban on picketing outside private residences. The city of Albuquerque has a similar ban in place. Reports say the proposal is an outgrowth of recent anti-abortion picketing. Commissioner Maggie Hart-Stebbins, supports the proposed ordinance, saying people have a right to be safe and secure in their homes. However, another Commissioner, Wayne Johnson, says the proposed ordinance violates the First Amendment.
From Las Cruces comes word that a city ordinance there adopted back in September to raise the local sales tax rate was faulty in construction and thus cannot be implemented as planned come January 1st. The city manager says that could mean a loss of $4.4 million in revenues the tax hike was expected to generate through June 30th, 2014. New Mexico’s Taxation and Revenue Department says the measure is flawed because it makes exemptions for healthcare and food services. The Las Cruces Sun News reports that revising the ordinance and conducting a new vote would mean Las Cruces could not impose the three-eighths of 1 percent sales tax increase until July 1st of next year.
Weather for Santa Fe – Mostly sunny today with a high of 74; Partly cloudy tonight with a low of 40.