Mon September 16, 2013
Sept. 16 First News: $750K already allocated by governor for flood damages and more likely. (listen)
Some $750,000 in disaster aid funds were included in an emergency order issued by the governor back on Friday due to flood damages across New Mexico. It's expected that more money will be allocated shortly as weekend rains caused additional flood impacts. The money will go toward rebuilding roads and other infrastructure and is made available to the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to assist local communities in recovery efforts.
Tonight, the Albuquerque City Council is expected to consider regulating compliance with the Duke City's new minimum wage law that took effect this year. Today’s Albuquerque Journal reports that City Councilor Ken Sanchez will propose imposing a $500 fine and-or 90 days in jail for employers who fail to pay workers $8.50 an hour. Sanchez says he wants teeth in the ordinance. Mayor Richard Berry denies Sanchez's charge that the city isn't pursuing violators--and suggests the proposal is political. He's up for re-election next month.
Flooding from the weekend’s heavy rains caused cancellation of all RailRunner commuter train service Sunday. High waters did some minor damage to the rail line’s bridges. Trains are operating today on their normal schedule. However, a rough patch over a two-mile stretch on Santa Domingo Pueblo will require reduced speeds. RailRunner officials say that may cause some minor delays. The most recent report has all trains currently on time.
Calling it a substantial step for transparency in state government, The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is lauding Governor Martinez for making her appointment calendar available as public record. The governor’s website now lists information going back to January 2011 just after taking office. Media groups have been pressuring Martinez to release more details about her schedule. The governor’s website lists all official appearances but does not provide information on political activities.
Postcards could begin to arrive today for some 3000 Santa Fe households randomly chosen to participate in the National Citizen Survey being conducted in hundreds of cities and counties across 20 states. The effort seeks to gather citizen input on local government. Those receiving the postcards will next week get questionnaires asking for feedback on the quality and usefulness of Santa Fe County services. The results will be included in a final report county officials can use in planning and budgeting for the future. Other local governments in New Mexico that have conducted the survey include the cities of Farmington, Las Cruces and Rio Rancho as well as San Juan County.
Just as recent rains have significantly raised water levels in Santa Fe’s McClure reservoir, the smaller Nichols reservoir is being drained. That’s as the City begins work on replacing its more than 70 year old intake tower. The new structure has been designed to significantly improve operating personnel safety. The work is the first half of a $6 million project announced in 2012 which will also see the McClure reservoir receive the same attention starting next year at this time.
Weather for Santa Fe – drier days in store for much of our state this week. Today should be mostly sunny with just a 30% chance for late day showers and thunderstorms, decreasing to 20% tomorrow and just 10% for days thereafter. Highs throughout the period in the low-to-mid 70s.