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Morning Word: Common Ground for Higher Ed?

May 4, 2017, 7:30 am

I've got a plan
Might it just be crazy enough to work? Gov. Susana Martinez says she has a plan to fund higher education. Democratic legislative leaders say they'd love to see it. You'll recall Martinez vetoed the entire budget for the state's colleges and universities, then spent a couple weeks touring the state explaining she only did it as a tactical move to strike a deal with lawmakers. Well, those Democratic lawmakers are suing her over the vetoes (which also including the Legislature's budget) and say they've seen nothing of her plan.

About those results
Sure the soda tax lost, but how did it lose? Well, if you were a curious member of the public, you were out of luck if you wanted to get final vote totals, district tallies or voting center numbers. It took the city of Santa Fe nearly 24 hours to post results online. That's after the landing page for the city website featured a big yellow link to the promise of those results all Tuesday. Both were gone come Wednesday morning, something a UNM political science professor called "offensive."

State finally names officer, suspect in shooting
New Mexico State Police have released the names of Santa Fe police officer Leonardo Guzman and the man he shot, Andrew James Lucero. Guzman shot and killed Lucero as police say the suspected car thief was trying to escape in a patrol car after a chase on Saturday night. Open government advocates have criticized the state and city for taking so long to inform the public. The city still is not releasing any records related to the shooting.

UNM deals for Pit, stadium naming rights
The Pit will probably always be known as The Pit, but the University of New Mexico's basketball facility will now officially be called Dreamstyle Arena, and University Stadium will become Dreamstyle Stadium after locally based home improvement company Dreamstyle Remodeling handed the university a $10 milllion dollar check yesterday. UNM worked the deal through its foundation and another company, so university officials wouldn't release the contract, but Dreamstyle's owner did. The deal heavily benefits the football team, often a school's most costly athletic program.

Jobs slashed at Las Cruces Sun-News
The newspaper of record in the state's second-largest city continues to slash jobs, leaving less than a dozen people to man the newsroom. Yesterday, the company that owns the Las Cruces Sun-News laid off three journalists and the paper's top news editor resigned. Gannett, the publisher of USA Today and the largest newspaper group in the country, slashed jobs at other papers it owns in New Mexico and the El Paso Times.

Fire department budgets in limbo
A budgetary fix that seemed like a quick patch for the Legislature back in January now has fire departments across New Mexico wondering how much the state will be able to kick in next year. Lawmakers swept money from the Fire Protection Fund to help shore up the current year's budget, but with fire season upon us, many departments—especially volunteer fire agencies—still haven't heard what kind of money they'll have available come next year.

Haaland in for Congress
Former lieutenant governor candidate and outgoing head of the state Democratic Party Deb Haaland says she's running for the 1st Congressional District seat. Haaland, who was arguably the most popular part of the party's 2014 gubernatorial ticket that included Gary King, would be the nation's first Native American congresswoman. The congressional spot is Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham's now, but she's leaving it to run for governor next year.

Imus in the mourning
Three years ago, curmudgeonly radio host Don Imus put his ranch near Ribera up for sale for $35 million. Imus often broadcast his radio show from the property, which he used as a summer experience for kids battling cancer. Imus built a gorgeous house there and the ranch's nonprofit status was investigated, though never overturned. Well, the ranch didn't sell, and next month it goes on the auction block with an opening bid of $5 million, according to the New York Post, which also says the ranch is in Ribero. Huh?

Thanks for reading! The Word is considering auctioning off a large quantity of, um, excess Orange Crush. Let us know if you're interested.

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