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Morning Word: All Over but the Voting ... and Counting

May 2, 2017, 7:30 am

Soda end is here, eh?
It's been a long campaign. And it hasn't really been that long; just a bit more than five months since Mayor Javier Gonzales unveiled a holiday gift that would set mother against daughter, father against son, uncle against distant cousin, dogs against ... okay, that's a bit much. When it's all said and done today, probably just three out of 10 registered voters will have cast a vote in an election that decides whether the city will try to add 966 new pre-kindergarten seats by slapping a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. SFR will be on it all day. Here's where to vote.

Hey, big spenders
As it so happens, the pro-tax group that fancied itself a David was closer to a Goliath. Pre-K for Santa Fe has spent $1.66 million on the election, even going so far as to buy media on credit last week. The Big-Soda-funded Better Way for Santa Fe and Pre-K got $1.345 million in crisp, refreshing cash from the American Beverage Association, but spent about $60,000 less than advocates as of yesterday's campaign finance reporting deadline. The vast majority of the money in the election came from out-of-state as Big Soda and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg waged a proxy war on the city's home turf. The grand total is past $3.2 million and might hit $3.5 million when all the bills are paid.

Arts school fire
A building near the Santa Fe University of Art and Design caught fire Monday evening. It was abandoned, purportedly part of the set from the now-canceled Manhattan TV series and not technically part of the university campus. Firefighters appear to have contained the blaze to the building in which it started.

Questions surround car theft shooting
Over at the New Mex, Justin Horwath and Phaedra Haywood have been asking questions about just what prompted a Santa Fe police officer to fire on a suspected car thief. The man's name, and the officer's, has not been released by police. Initial accounts of the incident are pretty scary, but police and prosecutors now have to investigate the case and determine if the officer should face charges. The suspect was killed; the officer was treated and released at the hospital.

New donation rules trip up mayoral candidates
Maybe this happened early enough to avoid issues in Santa Fe, but the secretary of state has a new interpretation of the state's campaign finance law. Candidates for state, legislative and county races are now blocked from using campaign funds to donate to municipal, school board and special district candidates. Several donations totaling thousands of dollars have been returned in the Albuquerque mayoral election.

PNM's feeling powerful
Last October, electric bills for Public Service Co. New Mexico residential customers went up 10 percent. During the first quarter of 2017, PNM's net earnings quadrupled. The company is currently in negotiations for another 14 percent rate hike. The utility's rates are governed by the five elected members of the Public Regulation Commission.

Apodaca in for governor
Former media executive and entrepreneur Jeff Apodaca says he'll kick off his campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination today. Apodaca, the son of former governor Jerry Apodaca, is the second name into the race and will challenge US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the nomination.

New management team in at Sandia Labs
Honeywell International took over management of Sandia National Laboratories this week. The new boss, Stephen Younger, says he doesn't anticipate any job cuts or expansion. The contract to manage the labs had been with Lockheed Martin since 1993, until a company owned by Honeywell won the $2.6 billion annual deal.

Thanks for reading! The Word wonders if the mailbox will seem a little empty without all those campaign flyers.

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