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35

Looking Back, Looking Forward

June 16, 2009, 12:00 am
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 What will Santa Fe be like in 2044?

“Santa Fe is still a top tourist destination and has kept its charm and attraction to those interested in the arts. At the same time, Santa Fe has attracted clean business and industry. Santa Fe has moved from a service-industry employer to a mixed white-collar, blue-collar employer.

Our children no longer move to Rio Rancho for affordable housing as new affordable developments along the I-25 corridor have grown to house the new white-collar employees. Public schools have adapted in-school vocational programs, which train students who do not wish to go to college to go from high school to work. Yet at the same time, those who want to go to college are at adequate proficiency levels that will allow them to attend college and succeed.

Santa Fe has moved from a city of have and have-nots to a city where those who want to succeed can do so and live the American Dream of a real home (not one in a mobile home park), a decent job for decent pay, health care, dental care, vision care and local places to take their kids. Places like parks with real grass, a river with water and fish in it, a zoo, local businesses for kids and families. Santa Fe has a vibrant local business community with music venues that don’t go out of business weekly.

Finally I have to throw this in; we have transporters with a guy named Scotty to beam us wherever we want to go, making DWI a forgotten thing.”
—Greg Solano is the sheriff for Santa Fe County.

“A vibrant, lively oasis in the desert. The innovative ideas coming out of Santa Fe have propelled the Santa Fe name to be synonymous with thoughtful leadership and off-the-wall ideas that change the world for the better. It’s a place where dreams become realities because people have learned to work together and push each other upward rather than sink energy into turf battles and get-small pissing contests.

People of all ages walk, bike and scooter around a place alive with art and activity. Every drop of water is reused again and again so no one notices any shortage; plants, people and animals have all they need to thrive. Different ideas, appearances, lifestyle choices are all celebrated and respected. Communities and neighborhoods look both inward to each other for their identities and outward for partnerships, learning and ideas for improvement.

The government, businesses and community groups function well and proactively approach social problems. A relevant, responsive educational system and the elimination of poverty are causes that unite Santa Feans, and solutions seem within reach. This welcoming community continues to push for and cultivate people and ideas that can and do change the world. I guess I’m an optimist.”
—Kate Noble was born and raised in Santa Fe, leaving for 14 years to New York City. She came back two years ago, she writes, “and have thrown my hat into the local government arena (economic development for the City of Santa Fe), because good government (even if it’s just an improvement or two) is important.

“When they finally decided to move UNM to Santa Fe after the WIPP truck capsized in the ‘big I’ in Albuquerque, things really took off and not just because all Albuquerqueans were quarantined for 75 years and forced to learn when to use an apostrophe and when not to. No, it was really because Santa Fe became even more of a center for world arts and culture...And then the sea levels rose, and it was decided that Hollywood should move here after we lost a reality show contest...”
—Andy Primm is a musician/performer/video worker.

“It is the year 2044. Zombies wearing copious silver and turquoise jewelry have taken over the entire downtown area. The Rail Runner has been re-named the Foodrunner and delivers fresh ‘humans’ directly to the Railyard where they are promptly BBQd on the grills that still exist from the last remodel. One of the best chefs in town has been a zombie for three years and serves up the best tapas around.

The local rag, The Deporter, reviews the zombie chef’s latest creations in this week’s edition. Speaking of food, while most restaurants in Santa Fe have long been closed for business, Pasqual’s still draws record crowds for brunch—of course the downfall is once the diners have finished, they are prime targets for the new kings of downtown. Those that haven’t been zombified have left in droves to escape the unfair (ie: getting eaten) treatment of the uninfected that plagues the old guard of transplant Santa Feans. The strange thing is that, for some reason, they keep on coming back...Funny how things never really change.”
—Grace Marks comes to Santa Fe on the train. “I escaped two years ago,” she writes, “but of course I have to come back all the time.

“The great economic problems of the 2010s left Santa Fe, always a marginally successful city financially, in ever-more dire straits. Only the strengths of Santa Fe’s high-tech/cyber thinkers and innovators, combined with the residual but diminishing oil wealth of the city’s oft-maligned but loyal Texas émigrés kept it afloat. Once the tourism dried up, the rest of the state suffered greatly from the loss of Santa Fe income and the city found itself more isolated than ever.

On the other hand, as the rural towns and villages returned to a barter-based economy like they enjoyed in the 1930s, Santa Feans enjoyed the increase in locally grown, organic produce and meats. The dramatically scaled-back living standards the whole country struggles with are easier to adapt to in Santa Fe, a place that seemed to keep one foot in the past all along. The firewood salesmen have been allowed back into town from the Old Las Vegas Hwy. and now occupy their great-grandfathers’ grounds on Burro Alley.

Las Campanas is a modest tourist attraction on the lines of a Roman ruin. Most older folks are identifiable by their blue skin, the result of having gotten way too many tattoos in their youth. The proposed plan to redo St. Michael’s Drive ‘like the Ramblas’ morphed into an idea to make it more like the Grand Canal and, before it went broke, the city dug a huge hole where the College of Santa Fe once stood to create Fanta Se Harbor, complete with a dockside ‘arts’ neighborhood. Today, however, it is abandoned, as it was discovered that the harbor water quickly filled up with PCBs and old gasoline from God knows where. The DeVargas Center is still standing and still half-occupied and no one can tell why.”
—Peter Weiss is an artist, writer and 27-year resident of Santa Fe.

“Every drop of precipitation is harvested off of every roof, road and previously denuded slope, which provides shade, wind protection, food and fuel for all. Bikes outnumber cars. Wind turbines outnumber Democrats. Solar panels out number chamisa.”
—Nate Downey is politically active permaculture landscape designer, writer, father, husband and edible gardener.

“The People’s Republic of China Regional Government Headquarters will be located in a 40-story complex on Early Street where Our Lady of Guadalupe Cemetery and Tiny’s Restaurant and Lounge are now located. The Office of Archaeological Studies and Historic Preservation will have saved the nearby McDonald’s and it will be the automated ticket kiosk for Santa Fe Disney.”
—Artist, designer and publisher Michael Sumner moved to New Mexico from Oakland, Calif. 20 years ago.

“All the houses are painted bright pretty colors & they have huge gardens in the front yards. The river rushes through town and all fear has flown from the minds of the people. Kindness rules in Trader Joe’s parking lot & there is no need for bumper stickers that read coexist...because people just do that. Paz.”
—Jennifer Esperanza is a portrait, editorial, fine-art and social-justice photographer. “I am a devotee of Amma and mother of two super kids & have lived in Santa Fe for over 16 years,” she writes.

“Only commercial delivery and essential government vehicles are allowed to access the Plaza area, which is essentially for pedestrians only. The city’s expanded bus system operates to more areas and close to capacity, creating more regular inter-personal contacts, new friendships and less divisions among Santa Feans from different parts of the city. The Railyard area bustles with activity, attracting locals and visitors alike, accessed by more frequent Rail Runner connections. St. Michael’s Drive is more neighborhood and pedestrian friendly. Water runs all summer long down the Santa Fe River. The skies are still blue and the Sangres a serene refuge.”
—Bruce Throne is an attorney “practicing primarily in the areas of state regulation of public utilities and telecommunications providers, and a father of two who has resided in Santa Fe for 33 years.”

“Artists have completely taken over and men outnumber women 7-to-1.”
—“I’m a teacher who believes in freedom!” JoDee Chavez writes. “Being a 12-year Santa Fean (but born here in 1971 and moved back) I can truly say I love Santa Fe!

“Santa Fe will always be tying the past with the present and future. I see Santa Fe growing into something that cannot be thought of right now because it will find the right steps to take over 35 years.”
—Justin Simenson was born and raised in Placitas, NM. He writes: “I did not know what Santa Fe was all about until I married a Santa Fean.”

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