Public corruption trial begins
Phil Griego's two decades in the state legislature made him uniquely suited to be the kind of real estate broker who could navigate the complex world of a state property sale to a downtown hotel, his attorneys say. State prosecutors told a jury on day one of his trial on several felony charges related to that deal that Griego used that experience to illegally strike a deal that was bad for the state, that he knew when to disclose his involvement and when to keep it a secret and that he kept his eyes focused on a $50,000 payday that was far more than a typical broker would get. The trial is set to continue until the Friday before Thanksgiving.
New Mexico’s smart move on paper ballots
National vote-watchers say New Mexico's decision to forgo all-electronic voting in favor of a paper ballot trail was a smart move. As concerns percolate over possible hacking by Russia or anyone else for that matter, experts say using a physical, marked ballot provides an important backstop for electoral integrity. Still, computers play a major role in the state's elections and some say a paper ballot system shouldn't make New Mexico complacent. Sen. Martin Heinrich has cosponsored a measure to declare the election system a critical part of the nation's infrastructure.
‘Get the hell out of New Mexico as soon as possible’
That's one woman's assessment of life in the Pojoaque Valley after dismal cell service by Verizon meant a lengthy delay in getting medical attention after a fall. Her home is just 12 miles north of Santa Fe, and like many residents, she's watched her cell coverage go from spotty to dark. Verizon says it has no new plans to improve coverage and recently, the woman says her landline was out for an entire winter.
Massive price tag to maintain nukes
The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will take $1.2 trillion to modernize the US nuclear arsenal. That cost would be spread out over 30 years, but a lead congressman for congressional oversight of military affairs says the figure is "sobering." The president ordered the review of US nuclear weapons after campaigning on a pledge to modernize the country's nuclear arsenal.
Navajo leaders reject tram plan
An overwhelming vote by tribal leaders has scrapped a proposal to develop tribal land for a project that would have created an aerial tram to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and built shops, lodging and restaurants in and around the Navajo portion of the landmark. Tribal leaders were wary both of developing sacred land and of the cost that the Navajo Nation would have had to bear to move the project forward.
Gov. Susana Martinez' approval rating has sunk to below 40 percent and far more people disapprove of her job performance. According to a recent national survey, that makes her the sixth least-popular governor in the country as she heads into her final regular legislative session.
A step back
It can be fun to read what travel writers say about our state and our city. Most of the time it's flattering and the East Coast papers seem to be obsessed with our quaint and our quiet. The Associated Press took a spin through New Mexico recently, and delivered this observation: "Santa Fe can seem like a tourist theme park sprung from the surrounding desert. It bustles with action till late hours of the night …"
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