Over the past several weeks, I took a break from reading online stories about the death of newspapers and got my hands dirty—newsprint dirty. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Reporter’s basement, where we archive all the issues of the paper published since it began in 1974.

The basement isn’t just filled with old newspapers—it also has numerous binders of photo negatives and filing cabinets filled with government documents, press releases and random pieces of paper some paper saver (ahem) couldn’t bear to throw away (I actually spotted my folder-filled filing cabinet, circa 1998, while I was down there…I’d been wondering where it had gotten to).

When we started working on the Reporter’s 35th anniversary issue, the notion of looking through 35 years worth of papers seemed daunting and possibly overkill. But once I started, it was hard to stop reading. Through all its various incarnations, the Reporter has always been an active voice and investigator of the contemporary issues that have defined Santa Fe—from politics to water to development to prison reform to the arts—and the list goes on.

What really struck me, though, was how present the personality of Santa Fe has been in the pages of this paper over the years. So it seemed fitting that our anniversary issue solicit views on the last 3½ decades from the people who call this city home and have helped shape its identity. In the following pages, State Historian Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Mayor David Coss, writer George Johnson, gallery owner Linda Durham and literary maven Ellen Bradbury Reid answer the question I posed to them: “What was the most important thing to happen in Santa Fe over the last 35 years?”

I posed that same question in an online survey (something that couldn’t have been done back in 1974) and received a flood of responses from Santa Feans from all corners of our community. Some of their answers also are included in this issue, as are their online responses to the gambit to envision what Santa Fe will be like 35 years from now.

Santa Fe in 2044 garnered a variety of ideas, from the utopian to the apocalyptic (graphically illustrated by local talent Danny Green). Either way, I hope—and believe—the Reporter will be part of the mix—newsprint or not.
—Julia Goldberg, Editor

Slideshow of select covers through the past 35 years



What’s the most important thing to happen in Santa Fe in the last 35 years?

Reflections
By Estevan Rael-Gálvez
New Mexico State Historian

As the State Historian of New Mexico, I appreciate this opportunity to help celebrate the Santa Fe Reporter’s anniversary and, in doing so, reflect about the past 35 years. History is not static; it is instead a vibrant process and, between 1974 and 2009, countless events have occurred, all of which have shaped Santa Fe in both small and large ways. Even in these contemporary years, Santa Fe continues to be profoundly shaped by ancient and deeply traditional communities, and their histories and experiences, and yet Santa Fe also shapes and is shaped by regional, national and global events and politics.

Presidential politics in the past 35 years help us to reflect on the two poles in this chronology. On the one end, in 1974, the Watergate scandal resulted in President Nixon resigning from the Office of the President. At the other end, in 2009, President Barack Obama is elected the first African American President of the United States. The presence of New Mexico’s own Gov. Bill Richardson in this historical presidential race also shifted the political paradigm, and raised the spotlight and visibility of New Mexico to an entirely new standard.

Although shaped by the nation and the globe, politics is also always local and pivotal moments define it in time. The 1994 election of Mayor Debbie Jaramillo as the first woman mayor of the City of Santa Fe, stands out as an important moment in history. While the administration of Mayor Debbie Jaramillo was certainly defined by controversy and deeply divided politics, where gender, class and race all held meaning, her contributions are often overlooked. That we can now enjoy the benefits of the Railyard District is due in large part to a vision and goal initiated by Mayor Jaramillo.

The 1980 Prison Riot also stands out during this era, not only as one of the most difficult moments in New Mexican history, but as one of the deadliest prison riots in US history. In the 36 hours that defined that riot, 12 officers were held hostage, some of them beaten, stabbed and sodomized. Thirty-three inmates died at the hands of fellow prisoners, some of the victims were tortured and their bodies mutilated. At least 90 other inmates were seriously injured in the riot, suffering from drug overdoses or beatings, stabbings and rapes inflicted by other convicts. The results and lessons of this riot were not just local, but had an effect upon prison reform nationally.

Presidential and mayoral politics aside, and even tragedy and the resulting prison reform aside, I think that the most important thing to have happened in Santa Fe in the past 35 years was the tribal consultation process that evolved out of the plan to build the Santa Fe Convention Center. In many ways, the question at the heart of the matter was: “who owns the past,” a question that has long defined the undercurrents of Santa Fe politics and culture. Government to government, tribal officials met with city officials and, while unbelievably challenging, the process ended with a precedent-setting agreement between the Pueblo of Tesuque and the City of Santa Fe. One Maori scholar remarked to me that what happened there, at that time, set a new standard of cooperation and respect internationally.

The Arts
By Linda Durham
Owner of Linda Durham Contemporary Art

All the truly great and significant things that have occurred in Santa Fe in the past 35 years are directly or indirectly related to the Arts! That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

Here’s a partial, off-the-top-of-my-head list to prove my view: The ever-burgeoning population of artists and artisans—most of whom were/are drawn to this city because of the incredible light and space as well as the vital, artistic and diverse citizenry…a plethora of good galleries…the opera…the Chamber Music Festival (with more than a nod to the years of remarkable O’Keeffe posters)…SITE Santa Fe…Warehouse 21…Center for Contemporary Arts (in all its various incarnations)…the new and improved Lensic…the Lannan Foundation (I’d like to list them twice because I believe their contribution to the health of Santa Fe’s cultural community has been and continues to be enormous) and so…the Lannan Foundation…and, oh, the Santa Fe Art Institute and THE magazine and the Reporter (and I’m not just saying that because I’m tapping out these last minute words for the aforementioned) and so I must mention Pasatiempo...and the culinary arts and the strong and brilliant film community and the poets and writers who read, write and recite here…and the museums…The Folk Art Festival…Indian Market, Spanish Market…bookstores…National Dance Institute of New Mexico…I’m writing these in no particular order and I’ve missed my deadline and, before turning this in to the editor, I want to point out that all of us who live in Santa Fe are positively affected by the art that surrounds us and delights our senses.

We benefit from the Arts—no matter who we are. We are nurtured by the creativity that wafts through the air as we drive, bike, saunter, hike and wander through the streets, canyons, arroyos and barrios of this old town, this great old town! I celebrate all the artists who have built and are building our special city. More than anything, they make it a great place to live!

By Ellen Bradbury Reid
Director of Recursos de Santa Fe

What is the most important thing that happened on the Literary Scene in the past 35 years…? In a small town with big writers like Cormac McCarthy, Pen LaFarge, Natalie Goldberg, Bill deBuys, Bob Shacochis, Fred Turner, Marcia Southwick, Doug Preston, Evan Connell, Sallie Bingham, Kirk Ellis, John Adams, Hampton Sides and who knows who else hiding away under the deep portal of some secluded adobe...most important? That is a tough question.

Santa Fe doesn’t make a big deal of our literary heritage, but it should be better known.

If you want to learn about the distinguished past, Lynn Cline has written a literary history of Santa Fe, and Barbara Harrelson has a great literary walking tour just to get the big background. Music and art currently have the brighter spotlight, but the writers just keep on writing.

We have a town of writers and readers, so many book groups, readings, bookstores like Collected Works and Garcia Street, as well as Borders and the many wonderful used book stores, Nick Potter who has sold books here for almost 400 years...most important literary event? And there is a strong collection of fine small presses: Twin Palms, the venerable Place Press, independent Sunstone and the handmade book-making groups—they love the printed word.

We are blessed by two foundations concerned with literature: the Lannan Foundation and the Witter Bynner Foundation. Recursos de Santa Fe has kept the Southwest Literary Center producing annual writers’ conferences; the Santa Fe Art Institute hosts writers; the Santa Fe Short Story Festival has risen and fallen and may yet rise again. It’s a lot of riches for a smallish town.

However, the most important single force might be the Lannan Foundation. How many places get to hear the amazing selection of authors that come here as a result of this extraordinary program?  The town fills the seats of the Lensic, no problem. We hear internationally known authors read to us, how wonderful, how lucky, how important.

The River
By David Coss
Mayor of Santa Fe

In the 1970s, we were killing the Santa Fe River and didn’t even know it. The Santa Fe River—a resource that had provided joy and sustenance for centuries—was mostly ignored or treated as a problem by post-WWII engineering and development practices. To meet the community’s needs for water, we dammed the river and drilled wells with no thought about conservation. While depleting the flow and the aquifer, we channeled our river so that development could crowd ever closer to its banks. We paved giant parking lots for new malls and directed pollution toward the river. As the water table dropped, the Santa Fe River eroded over 25 feet and nearly disappeared from view.

Luckily, the river was not forgotten by all. Through the ’80s and ’90s, small groups of residents worked and lobbied to restore it. Though a living river was often dismissed as a pipe dream, activists who believed in the cultural, ecological and historical importance of the Santa Fe River kept working. A master plan was developed, the Santa Fe Watershed Association was formed, and federal, state and local governments came together to study and improve the river and surrounding watershed.

Today, a growing number of residents, businesses and community organizations are coming together to address the challenge of reviving a living river. The Santa Fe Watershed has partnered with local businesses to clean and maintain sections of the river. The City of Santa Fe hired a River and Watershed coordinator and reinstated the River Commission. We have contracted with ¡YouthWorks! on erosion control projects, helping young people not only respect and protect the environment in which they live, but also develop job skills that will help them succeed in the future. A new segment of the River Trail was recently completed, and this summer we will begin river channel restoration and trail construction from the Camino Alire Bridge to Frenchy’s Park. Meanwhile, hundreds of people participate in river clean-ups and festivals.

Furthermore, we have taken the step of becoming the first city in the state to set aside water for flow and the creation of a living river in town; in 2009, we will release 700 acre-feet into the river and plan to keep a minimum flow through the summer months.

I am incredibly proud to be mayor at a time when residents are not only conscious, but accepting of the challenge of leaving a sustainable city to future generations. Thanks to the people of Santa Fe, the river is no longer dying. It is returning as a valued community resource, which will connect our community and serve as an indicator not only of the state of our watershed but also the health of our entire city.

By George Johnson
Editor of The Santa Fe Review

Around the time the Reporter opened shop, Santa Fe struck a fateful deal with the Bureau of Reclamation, builder of the nation’s dams. In the past, the town had been contained in size by the water it could sip from the Santa Fe River and the aquifer below. Suddenly we had the potential to approximately double the supply—pumping our share of water from the San Juan-Chama Project 1,700 feet uphill from the Buckman well field on the Rio Grande.

This extra water could have been reserved for conservation, supplementing the Santa Fe River in drier years. Instead it went to development. Santa Fe grew southward and westward, wherever geography allowed. It also grew inward. Like a toenail. Lot splits were approved one after the other, increasing the density, the traffic, the strain on city services. What had been a quiet backwater was becoming a small city, floating on imported water.

The momentum was unstoppable, and before long the new water was all but spent. Stressed to the limit, the Buckman well field was never as productive as anticipated. To support the expanding population, the Santa Fe River was tapped dry. A visiting travel writer mistook it for an arroyo.

There are hints of saner days to come. For all the money and energy it will devour, the Buckman diversion dam and filtration plant, now under construction, will skim Santa Fe’s San Juan-Chama water directly from the Rio Grande, relieving some of the strain on the wells. This spring the city finally began managing the Santa Fe River with the aim of maintaining a seasonal flow.

But I wonder how long that will last.

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Locals answer the question: What’s the most important thing to happen in Santa Fe in the last 35 years?

“We are on the map! No longer relegated to the backwaters of the empire, we have become a destination to rival the greatest cities in the United States. With the status and as a must-see city, we reaped the rewards of new must-eat-at restaurants, new museums, festivals and a flood of new arrivals. I know people love to bitch until they are blue in the face about ‘how much things have changed’ and ‘all the bastards from (insert state here)’ but we have benefited more than we think from all the attention. Can you think of another city this size where you can eat elk tenderloin and then stride up the street to a Diego Rivera exhibit? Yeah I didn’t think so.”
—“I was born here all my life,” Amanda Mather writes “and am a slave to downtown retail, in a good way.”

“The most important thing to happen in Santa Fe in the 30 years I have lived here is nothing. Resistance to change is a mainstay of life in this town. When individuals or groups sniff change they perceive it as a personal threat. This resistance has taken many forms: active or passive, overt and covert, individual or organized and aggressive or timid. The people who have been here longer than I view any suggestion of change with distaste because their needs are being met. They are invested in this town by giving their time and energy and defending their social and organizational positions. That investment translates into their identity and they will not allow that investment to be devalued. It’s important. People in Santa Fe resist change because we can’t imagine it being any better. There is little attraction to change and change invites suspicion. Many of us don’t trust those who offer change. We don’t buy their vision of the future because the present moment is just fine. Often the only power people have is to obstruct change. And those who do want to bring change drive their stake into the ground and settle in for the long haul knowing they are only selling the perception of change anyway.”
—Thirty years ago, Ray Lopez was driving through Santa Fe on his way home to Las Cruces. He spent a few nights on a friend’s couch, found an apartment for $250 and a job as a picture framer. But his “real calling,” he writes, “has been to be a pain in the ass.”

“It’s not something that can be attributed to a singular event, but having grown up here—and graduating from high school here in 1987—I’d have to say the thing that makes me the proudest of being a Santa Fean is the ability of its young people to rise above the touristy murk and political malaise and carve out a unique, multicultural creative niche for themselves. Art, music, poetry…there’s a lot to be learned from the DIY spirit that they embody. When I look for human inspiration in this town, I usually find it in people who are young enough to be my own children.”
—Ever since Rob DeWalt was told that his “emaciated physique was non-conducive to the under appreciated art of pole dancing and [his] movie script (Ferris Bueller’s Gay Off: The College Years) was rejected,” he has worked as a private chef, writer and food editor.

“I have seen the art world change in Santa Fe. It has become more sophisticated. I loved the decade of THE SANTA FE SHRINE SHOW when hundreds of shrines blessed the town or Shidoni in Tesuque had Mrs. Beasley tossing roses out of her plane on
June 28 (my bornday).”
—Annette Adams owns The Really Chile Festival and has been a fine-art consultant since 1984. She moved to Santa Fe in 1976.

“The Santa Fe Community College is the best thing that has happened. Overdevelopment is the worst thing that has happened. Santa Fe was not divided between the rich and the poor 35 years ago. Both have major impacts.”
—Charlotte Roybal has lived in New Mexico for 41 years and considers herself a progressive activist.

“From my bias, it’s the growth of the SF Chamber Music Festival and the SF Opera. Makes this little city world-famous in the classical music scene.”
—Joel Becktell is assistant principal cellist for the Santa Fe Symphony and a touring chamber, orchestral and solo cellist.

“The influx of newcomers. Santa Fe is not even the same as it was 10 years ago. All you have to do is go to Whole Foods and be rushed and shoved by people from California and New York. Cruise up St. Francis and see all the BMWs and Land Rovers. Do locals even hang out at the Plaza anymore? All you see is obese tourists.”
—Sarah Gomez works for the state of New Mexico and has lived in Chimayo since 1972.

“The shift Santa Fe has experienced in terms of being eco-conscious. Many Santa Fe-ans have lived close to the land for some time. But as local organizations, such as Bioneers and the Farmers Market have gained national recognition, Santa Fe has begun to re-align its reputation as a haven for reconnecting with the outdoors with the nation’s progressing environmental movement.”
—Sarah Heathcote describes herself as a “typical Santa Fe-an. My daily life and work routine is punctuated with excursions into the epic surrounding landscape, interactions with unique local characters and stops at the local bars and restaurants, where everyone is a local.”

“The most important thing in the past 35 years is the tourist-ification of the Plaza. Santa Fe is less and less the walking city that it once was and is more and more like a Disney-theme park. The biggest reason for this change is the Historical Design Review Board that claims to protect ‘authenticity’ and instead has rammed neo-pueblo style down our throats. The fact is that Santa Fe was never that style and being true to History might best be expressed if residents could house sheep in their backyards along Acequia Madre.”
—Thomas Gentry-Funk describes himself as a “World History teacher [who] appears strangely calm on most occasions and rarely offers much that isn’t history-related. Tends to drive non-history folks crazy.”

“The dramatic influx of newcomers who have changed the cultural and political landscape of the city—some for the better and some for the worse—and the equally dramatic outflow of native Santa Feans to Rio Rancho and other more affordable communities that often offer better job opportunities and more family-friendly environments.”
—Aseneth Kepler is a former city attorney and city manager for the City of Santa Fe.

“The debacle surrounding the closing of the College of Santa Fe, especially since we know the importance of education, proving once again that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Remember the classic story about how Santa Fe opted for the penitentiary instead of UNM?”
—Former Pasatiempo Editor Denise Kusel has lived in Santa Fe for 30 years and used to write a column called Only in Santa Fe.

“The explosion of the cultural scene, including the regentrification of Canyon Road, the growth of the SFO and the Museum of New Mexico, the arrival of SITE, the renovation of the Lensic and the birth (and sometimes regrettable death) of the dozens of smaller but essential arts/performance organizations.”
—Jason Silverman is the director of the CCA Cinematheque, has written extensively for Wired magazine and the Santa Fean, authored the collection Untold New Mexico, is the writer-producer-director of the documentary SEMBENE! and is a recipient of a grant from the Sundance Institute. He has lived in Santa Fe for 17 years.

“The development of the Community College and the Museum, which have provided new educational opportunities to learn in formal and informal settings.”
—Frances Levine is director of the New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors.

“Honestly, the closing of College of Santa Fe is something that’s going to be hard for the city to forget both economically and in terms of cultural involvement. Also, the Pet Parade during Fiestas is awesome.”
—Dylan Pommer has lived in Santa Fe his whole life and recently graduated from CSF. He is “highly involved in the arts culture, doing photography and computer arts.”

“The opera covered that open space in its roof.”
—Poet Alex Gildzen has lived in Santa Fe for 15 years.

“We’ve established ourselves as the third largest art market in the US, second only to New York and LA. I think this is amazing for a town this size!”
—Shanna Dunn has lived in Santa Fe for 18 years. Two years ago, she opened Crown Jewels jewelry store, representing more than 50 artists.

“It grew too big! First the Texans started to move in during the oil boom periods of the ’70s-’80s and proceeded to drive housing prices through the roof. Then the next wave of outsiders began their migration in from California and took over where the Texans left off.”
—Doug Roberts was born in Santa Fe, grew up mostly in Los Alamos and now lives in Nambé. He plays music in Santa Fe several times a week and runs the Tin Star Music blog.

“The train came to town for good and, along with it, a permanent Farmers Market! Santa Fe will hereafter be permanently more awesome.”
—Matthew N Gwin describes himself as a “biotech geek and performance-art junkie who was born here all his life, ese. Zozobra firedancer, law student and drummer for the occasionally ubiquitous bellydancing scene.”

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 What will Santa Fe be like in 2044?

“Santa Fe is still a top tourist destination and has kept its charm and attraction to those interested in the arts. At the same time, Santa Fe has attracted clean business and industry. Santa Fe has moved from a service-industry employer to a mixed white-collar, blue-collar employer.

Our children no longer move to Rio Rancho for affordable housing as new affordable developments along the I-25 corridor have grown to house the new white-collar employees. Public schools have adapted in-school vocational programs, which train students who do not wish to go to college to go from high school to work. Yet at the same time, those who want to go to college are at adequate proficiency levels that will allow them to attend college and succeed.

Santa Fe has moved from a city of have and have-nots to a city where those who want to succeed can do so and live the American Dream of a real home (not one in a mobile home park), a decent job for decent pay, health care, dental care, vision care and local places to take their kids. Places like parks with real grass, a river with water and fish in it, a zoo, local businesses for kids and families. Santa Fe has a vibrant local business community with music venues that don’t go out of business weekly.

Finally I have to throw this in; we have transporters with a guy named Scotty to beam us wherever we want to go, making DWI a forgotten thing.”
—Greg Solano is the sheriff for Santa Fe County.

“A vibrant, lively oasis in the desert. The innovative ideas coming out of Santa Fe have propelled the Santa Fe name to be synonymous with thoughtful leadership and off-the-wall ideas that change the world for the better. It’s a place where dreams become realities because people have learned to work together and push each other upward rather than sink energy into turf battles and get-small pissing contests.

People of all ages walk, bike and scooter around a place alive with art and activity. Every drop of water is reused again and again so no one notices any shortage; plants, people and animals have all they need to thrive. Different ideas, appearances, lifestyle choices are all celebrated and respected. Communities and neighborhoods look both inward to each other for their identities and outward for partnerships, learning and ideas for improvement.

The government, businesses and community groups function well and proactively approach social problems. A relevant, responsive educational system and the elimination of poverty are causes that unite Santa Feans, and solutions seem within reach. This welcoming community continues to push for and cultivate people and ideas that can and do change the world. I guess I’m an optimist.”
—Kate Noble was born and raised in Santa Fe, leaving for 14 years to New York City. She came back two years ago, she writes, “and have thrown my hat into the local government arena (economic development for the City of Santa Fe), because good government (even if it’s just an improvement or two) is important.

“When they finally decided to move UNM to Santa Fe after the WIPP truck capsized in the ‘big I’ in Albuquerque, things really took off and not just because all Albuquerqueans were quarantined for 75 years and forced to learn when to use an apostrophe and when not to. No, it was really because Santa Fe became even more of a center for world arts and culture...And then the sea levels rose, and it was decided that Hollywood should move here after we lost a reality show contest...”
—Andy Primm is a musician/performer/video worker.

“It is the year 2044. Zombies wearing copious silver and turquoise jewelry have taken over the entire downtown area. The Rail Runner has been re-named the Foodrunner and delivers fresh ‘humans’ directly to the Railyard where they are promptly BBQd on the grills that still exist from the last remodel. One of the best chefs in town has been a zombie for three years and serves up the best tapas around.

The local rag, The Deporter, reviews the zombie chef’s latest creations in this week’s edition. Speaking of food, while most restaurants in Santa Fe have long been closed for business, Pasqual’s still draws record crowds for brunch—of course the downfall is once the diners have finished, they are prime targets for the new kings of downtown. Those that haven’t been zombified have left in droves to escape the unfair (ie: getting eaten) treatment of the uninfected that plagues the old guard of transplant Santa Feans. The strange thing is that, for some reason, they keep on coming back...Funny how things never really change.”
—Grace Marks comes to Santa Fe on the train. “I escaped two years ago,” she writes, “but of course I have to come back all the time.

“The great economic problems of the 2010s left Santa Fe, always a marginally successful city financially, in ever-more dire straits. Only the strengths of Santa Fe’s high-tech/cyber thinkers and innovators, combined with the residual but diminishing oil wealth of the city’s oft-maligned but loyal Texas émigrés kept it afloat. Once the tourism dried up, the rest of the state suffered greatly from the loss of Santa Fe income and the city found itself more isolated than ever.

On the other hand, as the rural towns and villages returned to a barter-based economy like they enjoyed in the 1930s, Santa Feans enjoyed the increase in locally grown, organic produce and meats. The dramatically scaled-back living standards the whole country struggles with are easier to adapt to in Santa Fe, a place that seemed to keep one foot in the past all along. The firewood salesmen have been allowed back into town from the Old Las Vegas Hwy. and now occupy their great-grandfathers’ grounds on Burro Alley.

Las Campanas is a modest tourist attraction on the lines of a Roman ruin. Most older folks are identifiable by their blue skin, the result of having gotten way too many tattoos in their youth. The proposed plan to redo St. Michael’s Drive ‘like the Ramblas’ morphed into an idea to make it more like the Grand Canal and, before it went broke, the city dug a huge hole where the College of Santa Fe once stood to create Fanta Se Harbor, complete with a dockside ‘arts’ neighborhood. Today, however, it is abandoned, as it was discovered that the harbor water quickly filled up with PCBs and old gasoline from God knows where. The DeVargas Center is still standing and still half-occupied and no one can tell why.”
—Peter Weiss is an artist, writer and 27-year resident of Santa Fe.

“Every drop of precipitation is harvested off of every roof, road and previously denuded slope, which provides shade, wind protection, food and fuel for all. Bikes outnumber cars. Wind turbines outnumber Democrats. Solar panels out number chamisa.”
—Nate Downey is politically active permaculture landscape designer, writer, father, husband and edible gardener.

“The People’s Republic of China Regional Government Headquarters will be located in a 40-story complex on Early Street where Our Lady of Guadalupe Cemetery and Tiny’s Restaurant and Lounge are now located. The Office of Archaeological Studies and Historic Preservation will have saved the nearby McDonald’s and it will be the automated ticket kiosk for Santa Fe Disney.”
—Artist, designer and publisher Michael Sumner moved to New Mexico from Oakland, Calif. 20 years ago.

“All the houses are painted bright pretty colors & they have huge gardens in the front yards. The river rushes through town and all fear has flown from the minds of the people. Kindness rules in Trader Joe’s parking lot & there is no need for bumper stickers that read coexist...because people just do that. Paz.”
—Jennifer Esperanza is a portrait, editorial, fine-art and social-justice photographer. “I am a devotee of Amma and mother of two super kids & have lived in Santa Fe for over 16 years,” she writes.

“Only commercial delivery and essential government vehicles are allowed to access the Plaza area, which is essentially for pedestrians only. The city’s expanded bus system operates to more areas and close to capacity, creating more regular inter-personal contacts, new friendships and less divisions among Santa Feans from different parts of the city. The Railyard area bustles with activity, attracting locals and visitors alike, accessed by more frequent Rail Runner connections. St. Michael’s Drive is more neighborhood and pedestrian friendly. Water runs all summer long down the Santa Fe River. The skies are still blue and the Sangres a serene refuge.”
—Bruce Throne is an attorney “practicing primarily in the areas of state regulation of public utilities and telecommunications providers, and a father of two who has resided in Santa Fe for 33 years.”

“Artists have completely taken over and men outnumber women 7-to-1.”
—“I’m a teacher who believes in freedom!” JoDee Chavez writes. “Being a 12-year Santa Fean (but born here in 1971 and moved back) I can truly say I love Santa Fe!

“Santa Fe will always be tying the past with the present and future. I see Santa Fe growing into something that cannot be thought of right now because it will find the right steps to take over 35 years.”
—Justin Simenson was born and raised in Placitas, NM. He writes: “I did not know what Santa Fe was all about until I married a Santa Fean.”

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Santa Feans offer up alternative nicknames to The City Different.

"The Island of Misfit Toys"
—Honey Harris, host of The Big Show on KBAC, 98.1 FM

"The Sacred City where humans become gods"
—Azlan White, astrologer, activist, improvisational Oracle Theatre actress, reverend and sacred space holder, executive director of Global Relief Resources

"K-Mart Heaven"
—Davi Thin, Santa Fe-based freelance writer and photographer

"Town without Pity"
—Ronnie Baxter, office supply sales, 30-year resident

"She Who Must Be Obeyed"
—Gail Snyder, writer and imagineer

"Fanta Se is so perfect…to some people the city really is a fantasy-land, to others it's nothing but empty promises…this captures both like an inkblot test."
—John Williams, Sandia Lab engineer

"The Different City"
—Scott Hutton, owner of Hutton Broadcasting

"Fauxdobeland"
—Daniel Werwath, feisty Gemini

"The city with altitude and attitude"
—R Thomas Berner, professor emeritus of journalism and American studies at the Pennsylvania State University, 6-year resident

"Was it Herbert Muschamp or Garrison Keillor who first called Santa Fe an 'Adobe Theme Park'?"
—Susan Holmes, musician and graphic designer

"The City Hall Different"
—Donalee Goodbrod, resident since 1988, former owner of The Paramount and current partner at Cafe Cafe.

"The most environmentally conscious city on the planet"
—Karen Koch, film producer

"The Sky Museum"
—James Nolan, president of Southwestern College