Should we demand a recount? New Mexico ranked 48 out of 54 states and territories in a New York Times survey of corruption, printed Dec. 13, that tallied the number of convicted public officials in each state. In the past decade, only 30 NM state officials were convicted of crimes; by contrast, the most corrupt state was Florida, with 827 convicted pols and bureaucrats. However, in a separate survey of state house reporters, New Mexico was named the third-most corrupt state, behind Louisiana and Rhode Island. (Nobody asked SFR.)
Last week, W&L told you that Gov.-in-waiting Diane Denish had chosen Santa Fe Mayor David Coss to be on her transition team. Turns out the lt. gov.’s full transition team list includes 13 other Santa Feans—one transition team member for every 5,000 city residents, compared to one in 12,000 for every resident of Albuquerque. Local notables include Thornburg Mortgage President Larry Goldstone, UNM Board of Regents President Jamie Koch and venture capitalist Trevor Loy.
Before state lawmakers cut social services to shrink next year’s $454 million budget deficit, they ought to look three miles south to the winter overflow shelter at 1601 St. Michael’s Drive. On a recent December night, 71 people slept there. Until the past few weeks, the city-funded interfaith shelter had housed approximately 40 people a night. The higher numbers aren’t solely due to the recession, according to city Community Services Director Terrie Rodriguez. Unlike other facilities, the new shelter accepts people who are drunk or high as long as they’re not “a real nuisance.” Food and clothing donations can be dropped off at 3204-A Mercantile Court.
What was that about corruption? This tidbit is bound to come up in Richardson’s confirmation hearings for secretary of commerce: The FBI is investigating whether the gov.’s staff steered contracts to a California company, CDR Financial Products, that donated to his political committees, Bloomberg reported Dec. 15. A federal grand jury in Albuquerque has convened to hear the evidence. CDR is most notorious for handling bad bond deals that threaten Jefferson County, Ala. with bankruptcy and led to the mayor of Birmingham’s arrest this month.
Anthrax is so 2001. The Roundhouse was evacuated and military personnel shut down the surrounding area on Dec.11, when Richardson became the seventh US governor to receive a mysterious letter containing a powdery white substance. By Dec. 12, more than 30 state capitals had gotten letters with similar powders inside, all of which proved harmless in later tests. Then, by Dec. 13, the entire city of Santa Fe had been blanketed in a powdery white substance. Test results are pending.
The Santa Fe City Council gave a boost to the forthcoming 400th anniversary celebration for the nation’s oldest state capital, bumping the advertising budget for the event to $1 million from $400,000. A portion of the ad funds will be directed to local merchants. Last week’s unanimous vote was a small victory for Mayor David Coss, whose spend-it-while-ya-got-it budget package had been opposed by a majority of his Council colleagues, including Finance Committee Chairman Matthew Ortiz.