Sept. 19, 2017
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Morning Word: Real Pain, REAL ID

August 23, 2017, 7:30 am

Show us your papers
It's not the Nazi regime, nor is it the Soviet empire. It's the MVD. Ursula Freer would know, too, since her family escaped both the Germans and Soviets before emigrating to the US after World War II. But even though she became a naturalized citizen in 1971 and had her papers in hand, she couldn't get her REAL ID-compliant driver's license from the state. SFR's Aaron Cantu looks at why it's so hard for seniors to renew their license.   

Clean up your act
City crews swung by Santa Fe's Municipal Court building yesterday. They cut weeds, trimmed branches and gave the place a quick once-over. It's been more than a while. While generally ship-shape on the inside, the grounds of the city's center of justice had become an overgrown mess. SFR started asking questions about why cleaning up court seemed to be so hard.

Meme-posting sergeant retires ahead of internal affairs inquiry
Santa Fe Police Sergeant Troy Baker, who's also the police union president, chose to retire rather than stay on the force and see what internal affairs investigators found. In February, SFR broke the story about Baker posting offensive memes on his Facebook page. When an Ohio man ran down protesters in Charlottesville recently, Santa Fe's police chief announced he had placed Baker on desk duty nearly six months after the investigation began. The department had until last Saturday to complete its inquiry.

Meet the new boss ...
Española's soon-to-be-acting police chief, Eric Gallant, has faced domestic violence charges similar to the ones that caused outgoing chief Matthew Vigil to step down. Both are former New Mexico State Police officers who found their way to Española after leaving the agency. Vigil is quitting next week. A Taos County grand jury recently handed up indictments in two cases involving child abuse and intimidation of a witness.

Morales out for CD2
State Senator Howie Morales won't run for the congressional seat left empty by Steve Pearce's upcoming run for governor. The Bayard senator says he can be more effective in the state Senate. There are five Democrats in the race, though none has broad name recognition. Four Republicans, including the state land commissioner, a former state party chair and a current legislator, are vying for the seat.

Spaceport America
The truth is, most of America probably has no idea what or where New Mexico's spaceport is. The state dumped a quarter of a billion dollars into the facility on the promise of space tourism. That promise has seemingly vanished in the desert wind. Heath Haussamen is spending the week examining what's next for the gleaming facility and why it's so keen to keep its inner workings shielded from the public eye.

I am the captain now
New Mexico is staying out of the legislative debate over self-driving cars. While more than 40 states have begun mulling over how to handle what seems like the inevitable arrival of driverless automobiles, the state has yet to tackle what it will and will not allow on its roads.

It could happen again today. Of course, some of these storms can get pretty nasty, pretty fast. The National Weather Service wants you to be smart. Here's what today has in store.

Thanks for reading! The Word wonders if legislators are waiting until Google develops a self-driving car that tailgates you and eventually passes on the right.

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