It's that time of year again! In advance of the March 6 Santa Fe Municipal Election, SFR is quizzing city council candidates, starting this week with District 1 incumbent Patti Bushee and her opponent, Santa Fe native Houston Johansen.


The rules: Candidates get up to one minute to answer each question. Check their answers against the key below.

1. Why are you running?
2. Up to how much money would the General Obligation Public Safety Bonds issue?
3. Name three projects that will be funded by the Capital Improvement Projects Bond.
4. How many square miles is District 1?
5. What does the joint resolution made last month between the city of Santa Fe and the county of Santa Fe to change local liquor laws do exactly?
6. What's the current city of Santa Fe Gross Receipts Tax rate?
7. What should we do to help downtown businesses?

Houston Johansen

1. I’m running for city council because I was born and raised here in Santa Fe, and I have a deep passion and commitment to this community and I’m just worried that the future of this town and my future and your future is slowly slipping away here and everywhere else in the nation. So I figured, let’s get in the race, let’s try to push back against what’s going wrong here in the community and let’s try to make a difference rather than sitting on the sidelines and waiting to be a victim of broader forces.

2. The overall bond is $20 million dollars; I believe the public safety component of that is $5 million and that will pay for both police and fire improvements.

3. There will be the work on the arroyos where they'll be doing erosion control, there will be continued restoration of the police department or expansion of the police headquarters and a third one would be expanding bike trails.

4. I believe district 1 is 18 square miles maybe 20 square miles—somewhere in there.

5. That agreement allows more money to be put into treatment programs to help people who are having substance abuse problems with alcohol.

6. 8.18 percent.

7. One of the best things we could do to help downtown businesses would be to have more year-round downtown events here in town that cater to locals particularly, and from the south side or out in the county. I know we do some great things in the summer at the height of tourist season but I don't see us doing a lot of stuff the rest of the year that really caters to local people. So it would be great if we had once a month or twice a month activities here that would draw people in that aren't normally downtown. I think that would do a lot to help stimulate business here in the downtown area.

Patti Bushee

1. You know, I have served on the council for some time, and to be honest, my constituents kind of drafted me to try and continue serving them and I felt like I had enough projects in the works that I would like to see through to fruition, so I said yes.

2. It's $5 million.

3. Well, there'll be broadband, there's going to be—we added money for down payment assistance for affordable housing, and then there's the usual projects. But I can also mention road improvements for bicycles, because I managed to sequester about a quarter million dollars for that. So there's a lot of general capital improvement projects, but I'll stick with those three because those are the ones I lobbied to add to the project. To the bond.

4. Square miles—I know it's the largest geographic district, I couldn't tell you the square miles, to be honest.

5. You mean the one for the local option excise tax on liquor?

SFR: Yes.

PB:  It doesn't do anything until the legislature actually makes an—

SFR: What would it do?

PB: It would allow for a local option excise tax so that we could fund treatment programs in the city and county of Santa Fe. For addiction treatment programs.

6. Oh God, I have to pay that all the time. Eight point one—8.1875.

7. In one minute. (Laughs). Well, they've been really great these last couple of Christmas seasons of helping us also subsidize parking free parking downtown, but there are many things we should be doing to help businesses downtown. Including—the free parking is one, but trying to make sure that we can help to promote the businesses, keep them in business for starters. A good number of our tourist related businesses are closing. The downtown merchants, of course, would like us to not have any more programs or events on the Plaza outside of the main, you know, Indian Market, Spanish Market. I'm not certain that's the exact answer, but the general answer is just support them in whatever way is necessary.


1. n/a

2. $5 million

3. The Capital Improvement Projects Bond would provide for broadband infrastructure, new buses, Railyard improvements, arts funding, affordable housing down-payment assistance, renewable energy loans, road improvements, new buses, and match money to draw down for federal grants for airport and transportation improvements. The three projects Johansen mentioned are funded by the General Obligation Public Safety Bond.

4. 17.68

5. It would urge the legislature to amend legislation so that counties in New Mexico with a population and net taxable value similar to Santa Fe County have the option to impose a local liquor tax. It would also authorize the use of the tax proceeds to fund social service programs serving people with addiction problems.

6. 8.1875%

7.  n/a