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Morning Word: Gov Urges Lawmakers to Play Nice

January 18, 2017, 7:30 am

State of the State
Gov. Susana Martinez delivered a call for bipartisanship to a state Legislature once again controlled by Democrats (who won back the House in November). In their response, Senate Democrats called the state of affairs in New Mexico "unacceptable" and noted a bipartisan effort to cut corporate taxes in 2013 has fallen flat. Lawmakers and the governor will have to decide how to shore up a wobbling state economy and plug a budget hole with tens of millions of dollars.

Chop Suey on San Francisco Street
Steven Hsieh pens SFR's cover story this week on George Park, patriarch of Santa Fe's first prominent Chinese family. Park was more than just a successful restaurateur, he was a man with a knack for making connections despite prevailing anti-Chinese sentiment. It's an immigration story set in the early 20th century that could well take place today.

The White Guys for the Job?
So who exactly is representing you at the Capitol and what do they look like? Well, they're kinda old and kinda white, reports New Mexico in Depth. Compared to the rest of the state, the Legislature is far older and significantly more Anglo. New Mexico lawmakers are still more diverse than most other places, including the women who occupy nearly 30 percent of the seats in the Roundhouse. But that portion is dwarfed by the state's actual demographics, where half the population is female. 

Prying Eyes 
A prominent state senator wants to keep your prying eyes from seeing who the finalists are for top public jobs until just a week before a final decision is made. The bill would carve out another exception from New Mexico's public records law. The Rio Grande Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists* has come out against the measure, as has the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and the New Mexico Press Association.

Four People, Two Dogs and a Vehicle
Those are the things the Albuquerque Police Department says Detective Russ Carter has shot at during his career on the force. Carter also shot at Gilbert Lovato, whom APD killed two weekends ago after the department says he threatened officers with what turned out to be a BB gun. They suspected him of robbing a local restaurant.

Father Sues Navajo Nation
The father of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike, who was assaulted and killed in May, has sued the Navajo Nation for failing to set up an emergency alert system he says could have saved his daughter. The story gripped New Mexico last spring as authorities and volunteers frantically searched in vain for the missing girl. An Amber Alert was not issued until several hours after her disappearance had been reported.

'Highly Prolific and Oil Prone'
That's what ExxonMobil calls the 275,000 acres of land and mineral rights it's buying in New Mexico. The energy company announced the $6.6 billion stock-and-cash deal yesterday. The Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico has been the state's most productive oil and gas region. The buy doubles ExxonMobil's Permian Basin holdings.

Late to ART Class
Students arriving for the first day of the new semester at the University of New Mexico waited longer than normal for buses from parking lots to the main campus. The reason? UNM says it's construction of Albuquerque's bus rapid transit system.

Thanks for reading! The Word appreciates you.

*Full Disclosure: Morning Word author Matt Grubs is a board member of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.


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