Merry Xmas, Give Me Some Money: In what may be a case of fiscally responsible fiscal irresponsibility, the City of Santa Fe's annual employee holiday party will be held this year at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, approximately 14 miles north of City Hall. The city's Employee Benefits Committee made the decision.
Santa Fe City Councilor Miguel Chavez raised concerns about the choice of venue at an Oct. 5 meeting of the Finance Committee. Chavez suggested the new Santa Fe Community Convention Center—which the city bankrolled and is far from breaking even on—might have been a better choice.
Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Keith Toler tells SFR the Employee Benefits Committee did approach him about using the convention center for the party, but decided to go for the casino for reasons that remain somewhat mysterious. "We offered them use of the convention center at no charge, but they still said it was less expensive for them to use Buffalo Thunder," Toler tells SFR. "I think the [Santa Fe] County and police Christmas party is also that night, so there's an economy of scale."
SFR was unable to reach anyone from the Employee Benefits Committee by presstime.
Party's Over: As reported last week by The Santa Fe New Mexican, the board of the nonprofit organization Santa Fe City Councilors charged with organizing the 400th anniversary celebrations laid off its executive director, Libby Dover, and other employees in an effort to trim overhead. The news came days after SFR reported on its blog, in a post that drew mild outrage, that Dover made a whopping $10,000 a month.
Writer Gregory Pleshaw commented: "[T]he entire operation was blue smoke and mirrors from the get go." Artist Joan Fenicle wrote, "People are living on the streets…Santa Fe really has become the city indifferent."
Police Enforce Law: After SFR pointed out a pattern in which local police failed to enforce orders of protection against domestic abusers, Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano said he had tightened his office policies and reminded his officers to make the effort to actually arrest domestic violence offenders when the law requires it.
Several recent arrest reports suggest Solano and his officers are making good on that pledge. For instance, after a woman called police to say she found her ex-boyfriend, Jesus Compos-Perez, sleeping at her place despite her having obtained a court protection order, he allegedly threatened "to come back with a gun to kill her" and fled on foot. According to his Oct. 18 report, Deputy Nathan Segura quickly tracked down Compos-Perez and took him to jail after he admitted to having been at his ex-girlfriend's place.