At the June 5 primary, three candidates will face off for the position of Santa Fe District 2 County Commissioner. SFR quizzed each of them on issues they’ll need to be versed in, should they be elected. Each was allotted one minute per question.
1. Why are you running?
2. How much did Santa Fe County pay to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center in 2011?
3. How many acres is La Bajada Ranch?
4. What should be done with that property?
5. Name three actions the county currently takes to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
6. Approximately what percentage of its waste did Santa Fe County recycle in 2010 (the most recent data available from NMED?)
7. What can we do to increase that percentage?
Gilbert “Dennis” Hernandez
1. I’m running because I retired from Santa Fe County after 25 years of service and I like the county, and I understand the county and I want to go back and help the people. And I also want to be able to see if we can go back and fund some of the basic needs like for public safety, roads, take care of the water issues, those type of things. And I’m also concerned about whether or not our grandkids are going to have a chance to inherit a life in our community. So I want to at least go back and make a difference.
2. Oh God, I don’t know what they paid but I do know—if you’re talking about the sole source community for St Vincent’s?
SFR: Actually there’s two payments—one is the sole community provider payment and the other one is the supplemental sole community provider payment.
GH: Oh I couldn’t answer that, I don’t know. I’d have to research that question and get back to you but I couldn’t answer that one.
3. (Laughs) Oh God, you know I haven’t even had the chance to go over there but I do know that it’s a big ranch, hmm. The one they just bought for $7 million?
GH: I don’t know how many acres they bought. I do know that they bought it without water rights, that’s for sure. I haven’t had the opportunity to go up there and even view it. I don’t know how many acres it is. These are tough questions!
4. The last forum we had for the Democratic party that question was asked. I thought maybe—they haven’t been doing anything with it and they’re spending money maintaining it, so I thought maybe the good thing to do would be to get an appraised value at the value that it is now to see whether or not we could invest more money into it or just turn around and sell it!
5. Oh wow. That’s another issue that I had. You know the county has overextended itself and I can see them wanting to help people from foreclosing but what is it that they can do? I don’t understand it. People are having a hard time just paying their taxes, as high as they are today and they’re trying to—they’re losing things just to make other things work for themselves. I know people losing their insurance, their life insurance, dropping their car insurance for a few months, just to make ends meet. I don’t know what to say to that.
SFR: So there’s five things the county currently will do for people who are at risk of foreclosure. Can you name three of those?
GH: No, I wouldn’t know. Who thought of these questions? (laughs)
SFR: Me. Sorry!
6. I’d say probably 15 to 20 percent. I’ve got a problem with all the waste anyway. I feel that people’s taxes already paid for that service and they’re having to pay for it again.
7. Let me tell you what happened to me one time. I went to La Cienega dump and this lady drives up in her car and she’s already of age and she opens up her hatch in the back and she has three colored plastics, one with bottles and plastics and cardboard. She takes out the box and she walks to the container and there’s no side door for the container so she’s looking up, and this container is nine feet tall. She’s got nowhere to deposit this thing. So she walked around, found a box, emptied her stuff in it and put everything back in her car and drove away! Ask me the question again.
GH: Have recycling centers that would bring those kind of people in to recycle. They make it too difficult for them.
Maria-Ester DeAnda Hay, chairwoman of Santa Fe County Development Review Committee
1. I’m running because this is my home and because I want to maintain the quality of life we have. I think my experience on the County Development Review Committee has given me a good insight into what the future land issues will be before the [Board of County Commissioners] and I’d like to continue the work that I started with the CDRC.
2. I think it was close to $2 million for the indigent care fund.
SFR: Do you happen to remember what the supplemental sole community provider payment was?
MDH: No, I don’t know the specifics. I did listen in to the BCC meeting when that happened, but I can’t remember the exact amount.
3. La Bajada I believe is about 7,000. I may be off on that, actually. I know that there were two sections and only one of them was purchased by the county and I really can’t tell you how many acres it is. I think it’s something—you know, I don’t really know the acreage.
4. That’s a great question and I think right now what the county’s doing is inventorying the ranch, the portion that they purchased, and I think that’s an important thing to do. I know they’ve had community meetings with La Cienega residents. I know they’ve conducted a county-wide survey to try to gain community input. My own feeling is that they need to do the inventory, they need to protect the investment they’ve made in the ranch. And I do think that after the inventory they need to have additional public input. I think we need to know what’s there and what potential uses can be made and come to some kind of consensus.
5. My understanding is one of the things they do is that they’re working with the homeowners that they’ve assisted in the housing program through the housing authority, and if they’re at risk of foreclosure then they try to provide assistance financially, and if that doesn’t do it then essentially they buy back the property so that they can renovate it and hopefully sell it to someone else who’s in need. And also I think part of the effort is to try to make them energy efficient units before they resell them.
6. I believe it was about 18 percent. I may be off on that, because there’s the city and then there’s the county, but I believe it was about 18 percent.
7. I think we need to look at the system—county’s, obviously—and then look at similar areas that have initiatives to increase it. I think one of the things is perhaps the single stream system where it makes it easier for residents to recycle. The other thing is to provide recycling opportunities county-wide; I’m not sure that that’s really available presently throughout the county.
Miguel Chavez, self-employed woodworker and former Santa Fe city councilor
1. I’m running based on the past experience that I’ve acquired over the past years. And so I’m interested and willing to continue to serve. A lot of the area that I was responsible for as a city councilor is the same area that I would be responsible for as a county commissioner. So I see some overlap there, and so a lot of that work that I did as a councilor had a regional perspective. The Regional Planning Authority, the metropolitan planning organization, which dealt with our road system, the SWAMA, which was the solid waste and recycling from a regional perspective (time out)
2. I don’t know the exact amount. I know there was a question about the dollar amount but I do know that that’s one of the duties that the county is responsible for in working with the sole source provider hospital. A portion of their budget has to be set aside for the indigent fund, but I don’t know the exact amount at this point.
3. You mean the Santa Fe Canyon Ranch? I didn’t know it was referenced as the La Bajada Ranch. No, I don’t know the acres, the number of acres that were purchased and I don’t know the dollar amount of the purchase. A lot of that was done—it was not a real public discussion—and I don’t know the dollar amount or the area that was purchased.
4. That’s a good question, I think that’s really what we need to be dealing with now. I think that there has to be some sort of—well, there needs to be a master plan developed for that property. Some sort of a feasibility study. How many acres were purchased, what was the purchase price, what was the appraisal price, what’s the market price, what do we think we can get for it in this market. Those are all of the questions, those are a lot of unknowns, what do we do now. So having done that I would imagine that a portion of it could be set aside in some sort of a public trust—a land trust. And a portion I think will have to be developed at some degree. It could be possibly a village-type development (time out)
5. That part I don’t know anything about. I only know about the reduction in the affordable housing requirements and things like that, so on that end I don’t know what the county’s providing at this time.
SFR: Ok, do you want to tell me what that reduction in the requirements was?
MC: Yes, it in some cases it changed the requirements so it’s what they call the inclusionary zoning and it requires developers to set aside if you will a certain portion of that development for those that are income-qualified. And if I remember right I think it reduced…see it was like at 20 or 30 percent and I know now it went down to like 15 percent on major projects and then they were sort of creative in setting aside or making a distinction between major projects and minor projects, and I think the high end was 15 percent for a major project and then for smaller projects, and I don’t know where the breakdown is, as far as the number of units or whatever (time out)
6. I think we can do better in that area, and I’m thinking it’s maybe I’m going to guess because I don’t know the exact number, but I’m going to say probably no more than 20 percent.
7. I think a couple of things. It seems that the residential side is doing pretty good. I think that on the commercial side, the business side I think we need to expand in those areas. As we provide service into the presumptive city limits hopefully we can switch to municipal services and replace those, because right now it’s waste management that’s doing the solid waste but there’s no recycling program. As the city provides the service into the presumptive city limits, then we could provide the public recycling and a solid waste program. I think that would increase the, let me see, the average for recycling (time out)
2. $2,265,000 (Two million plus $1,165,000 in supplemental sole community provider funds.)
3. 1,300 acres
5. Refinancing, loan modification, mortgage assistance, voluntary sale, purchase
6. 13.15 percent