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Home / Articles / News / Legacy Archives /  Pop Quiz: City Council District 2

Pop Quiz: City Council District 2

February 6, 2008, 12:00 am
By
For the March 4 City of Santa Fe Municipal Elections, SFR calls candidates in the CONTESTED races to test their knowledge. The rules for Pop Quiz are as follows:
No research allowed and if they call back later with the right answer, too bad.
To see who answered correctly (or came closest), check out our answer key below.

Questions:

1.    How does a TIDD�Tax Increment Development District�work, and should Santa Fe consider them, given that Albuquerque and the state are considering them right now?

2.    Is Wal-Mart a boon for consumers or a beast to the community? How do you feel about more big-box retailers moving into Santa Fe?

3.    What specifically would you do, if anything, to help bring the Santa Fe River back to life?

4.    Who was the first colonial governor�and capitan general�of New Mexico?

5.    What is the current hourly minimum wage in the City of Santa Fe and do you think it�s too low, too high or just right?

6.    What specifically would make a proposed infill development inappropriate?

7.    What are the names of the city�s two upstream reservoirs?

8.    What public schools in your district have been threatened with closure in the last two years, and what�s their status now?

9.    Residential burglaries skyrocketed in �07�up 65 percent from �06. Approximately how many homes were hit by burglars in the last year?



Robbie Dobyns, 59, is a real estate broker with Santa Fe Realty Partners

***image1***1. If I�m not mistaken, if I can recall this, it�s a tax for a certain geographic location or developmental area that is designed, if I�m not mistaken, to provide infrastructure up front and paid off for the length of the tax period. It�s kind of a unique form of financing infrastructure. It really depends on how you analyze it economically, whether it�s beneficial economically. I obviously think we should consider any mechanism to lower the cost of infrastructure, but I have no reason to be for or against it. It depends on the particular instance.

2.    I actually think that there is a limitation to big-box developments. There are arguments pro and con on either side. Obviously Wal-Mart provides services for some people who don�t make as much money as other people do. But I wish we could get rid of the model, not just in Santa Fe but in the rest of the economy.

3.    I have great ideas on this. And they�re rather controversial and there are some dubious legalities about it and it would take a lot of work. But what my platform has suggested, and this has a lot to do with me getting in trouble as a kid, I�d like to restore the Two Mile Reservoir and I think we should start investigating the creation of a lower Alameda Dam. With the Two Mile Reservoir with additional storage capacity you could immediately begin the restoration of the Santa Fe River watershed. If it�s done in a sound engineering way we could start within the next year and begin the absolute restoration of the Santa Fe River.

4.    Oh, I think it was Miguel Otero, but I�m not sure. I�m really not sure.

5.    I believe it�s $10.50. Is it $10.50? With a CIP increase on an annual basis. I deal with the real estate market in Santa Fe and obviously the economic market affects me radically. It�s really specific to the locality. And Santa Fe may not be the most expensive town to live in, but there�s a big discrepancy between the cost of living and the annual average income of a person in Santa Fe. And that�s what makes it very hard to live here. But it�s hard to impose some kind of economic cost to labor randomly because the other people aren�t making much money either. If I had my way I�d pay $100,000 a year, but I can�t have my way.

6.    If there�s a very negative impact on the neighborhood and by that I mean conveniently located open spaces are all of the sudden obliterated and impact on the existing neighborhoods. And of course, as you know, there�s a controversy on visual impact in an existing neighborhood. If infill did provide additional living space within the city, which I think we�re in dire need of, it would be good so long as there isn�t any negative physical impact on the neighborhood. I�d rather see infill than sprawl. That�s my position. However, I don�t want to live in Florence, Italy, where everything�s paved.

7.    There�s Nichols and, um. Oh that�s terrible. I�ve just been talking about it. It�s Nichols Reservoir and [long pause] I forgot. I apologize.

8.    We obviously don�t have any control over this, but we do have a bully pulpit. The main one is Acequia Madre. I was involved with that. I�m a firm believer in small elementary schools. The other one is Manderfield, which is now leased out. But I�m a firm believer�even in the south-side neighborhoods�I�d have schools that were half the size of those elementary schools because those are the grades where we lose them.

9.    I think it was, if I�m not mistaken, in the 2,000 range. And that�s throughout the city, not just in my district.



Rosemary Romero, 54, is the owner of Rosemary Romero Consulting, a firm focused mostly on natural resource issues.

***image2***1. I don�t know enough about the tax districts that you�re talking about. But, um, but certainly Albuquerque is a good example for economic development and affordable housing and I think it would be good to look at what other cities have done, especially in close proximity.

2.   I don�t think that large big-box retail stores serve the community when the community has said over and over again that they support small businesses. And I think it�s time to really hold people true to that and support small businesses. So I don�t think bigger is better.

3.    The Santa Fe River, I think as most folks know, supplies the water shed which supplies the river. It gives 40 percent of our water source to Santa Fe, so I think we�re on the right track with giving incentives, but the only way we can get water into the river is to buy or lease. So the community really needs to embrace the idea of a living river and give to the effort to either buy or lease water. That said, I think we can also get water in the river by working with the other agencies, like the Forest Service.

4.   I don�t remember. God, I, uh, that�s one of those trick questions that you just love! [laughs]

5.   It�s $9.50. I think it�s a great start and the recent consensus from the Council was unanimous on the livable wage starting in January. So I think it�s where it needs to be now. I know that some business owners felt that this was too high, but at the Council meeting where I listened to the folks talk about it, there was only one person who spoke against it. So I think in concept the community supports it and is moving forward to embrace a living wage. And the only people who were left out of it, for the exclusion, I think were interns. Otherwise it was a consensus decision, which is unusual for our Council, which I think says a lot.

6.   The two prime examples, and there are others, but the two prime examples of infill developments that don�t work for neighborhoods are those that take away the character of a neighborhood or that take up more land mass that takes away from the quality of life. So for example, if the neighborhood is mostly one-story homes, and you have two, three and four stories that overshadow a home or are built up right next to the property lines, that don�t give any kind of setback, that don�t give any sidewalk space, I mean I�ve just seen where they�re building up right next to the sidewalk. That isn�t appropriate. You�re driving through tunnels or you�re overshadowing neighbors, to me that isn�t appropriate infill.

7.   Um, oh gosh. And I should know this. Gosh. I know half the answer is [pause]. I don�t know.

8.   In District 2, Acequia Madre has been one of the schools that has had a loss of population. The other school in this district is Kaune school. And I think the public schools, the Santa Fe public school district, is looking at a variety of mechanisms, the strategic planning session thought that there needed to be some rezoning and they�re looking at other incentives to try and bring the number of students up in each of these schools that have lost population, because they�re short. Kaune school is short, maybe by 100 students, and I think that Acequia Madre is also short something similar. So those are the two schools and they�re looking at re-districting and rezoning in a couple other ways to keep these students vibrant.

9.   And I don�t know that number. I�m trying to remember. There�s a report that the city had done, and I looked at that carefully, and the Santa Fe New Mexican, I think, has also talked about the increase. But a ballpark figure, I don�t know.



ANSWER KEY

1.    The creation of a Tax Increment Development District allows a developer to receive a set percentage of future taxes that would otherwise go to the city or state government in order to provide quality infrastructure up front for the development. Some critics call the use of TIDDs �corporate welfare.�

2.    There�s no �right� answer to whether or not Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers are entirely good for consumers or communities.

3.    There are many proposals aimed at restoring the Santa Fe River, from dedicating a minimal flow of purchased water rights to developing parkland along the river.

4.    The first colonial governor and capitan general of New Mexico was Juan de O�ate.

5.    The current hourly minimum wage in the City of Santa Fe is $9.50 an hour.

6.    Again, no right or wrong answer. These are the sorts of judgment calls city councilors have to make.

7.    The city�s two upstream reservoirs are the Nichols and McClure reservoirs.

8.    Acequia Madre and Kaune elementary schools have been threatened with closure in the last two years, yet both continue to operate with no plans to close. Incidentally, while Manderfield Elementary has been closed for years, it currently serves as a Head Start center.

9.    There were 724 residential burglaries in Santa Fe last year.

 

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