Mayoral Howler: High Desert Dog, a free magazine based in Rio Rancho, "focuses on something we all enjoy…dogs…and lots of them." In the December/January issue, which contains both the results of a dog-related poetry contest and the winners of a Halloween costume contest (1st place: lion dog; 2nd place: bumblebee dog; 3rd place: lobster dog), HDD devoted a full page to interviews with the Santa Fe mayoral "canidates."

City Councilor Miguel Chavez reveals that Spike, his shepherd-chow mix, sleeps outside with the chickens. He also stresses a message of responsibility. "I know it's hard," Chavez tells HDD, "but it's important to clean up after one's dog in a public park or on a trail." He said the city could provide more "bags and such" for dog droppings, but stopped short of committing funds to the task.

Former City Manager Asenath Kepler tells HDD that all three of her dogs— Sugar, Chocolate and Cinderella—"sleep in the bedroom." The magazine reveals that Kepler left her position with the Santa Fe Animal Shelter board in August to devote time to her mayoral campaign.

Mayor David Coss is running on his record, boasting of his 2004 ordinance which, among other things, changed the department's name from "Animal Control" to "Animal Services." Coss also shares with HDD his memories of Tanya, his rescued greyhound, who died two years ago of dog cancer.

If only dogs could vote.

Feds Pony Up: The feds had been making noise about shutting down undercapitalized Charter Bank since October.

On Jan. 22, the Office of Thrift Supervision made good on the threat, closing Charter's branches around the state and transferring control to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC announced the move in a press release that was picked up in The Santa Fe New Mexican on Jan. 23.

Charter, which was the largest Santa Fe bank by far in terms of assets, was purchased by Beal Financial Corporation of Plano, Texas. Unlike the defunct Charter, Beal "does not originate commercial or residential loans," according to its website. The new owners are keeping the Charter name "because we like the name but more importantly we like the franchise—where it's located, the range of services Charter Bank offers and the customers it attracts," Beal Chief Operating Officer Rick Koretz says in a press release. According to the FDIC release, Beal did not pay a premium on the $806 million in Charter assets it purchased. Although the deal cost the federal insurance agency some $202 million, regulators deemed it "the 'least costly' resolution…compared to all alternatives."

FDIC spokesman Greg Hernandez tells SFR that Beal won Charter's assets in a bidding process.