The mayoral election in Albuquerque is today. Incumbent Richard Berry is the heavy favorite to keep his position -- but if he is kept under 50 percent by Pete Dinelli and Paul Heh, he will face a runoff election in November.
In interviews and documents, they have expressed concern that too much of the county’s money is tied up in long-term investments and that the treasurer might have to sell some of the investments at a loss to generate the cash needed to pay for routine operational expenses.“We’re struggling to make payroll, not because we don’t have enough money, but because we’ve got it tied up in longer-term instruments,” Commissioner Wayne Johnson said in an interview Monday.
“Since the federal government shutdown on Tuesday, Oct. 1, approximately 47 percent of our initial claims have been federal claims,” Workforce Solutions Secretary Celina Bussey said in a news release Monday morning. “We are encouraging federal employees to apply online or contact UI [Unemployment Insurance] Operations Center to submit their initial claim.”
From Oct. 1 through Monday afternoon, Workforce Solutions received 2,700 new unemployment insurance claims. Of those, 965, or 36 percent, came from federal employees, said Workforce Solutions spokeswoman Joy Forehand.
The only member of the Water Quality Control Commission that voted against a rule change to allow copper mines in the state greater leniency when it comes to water pollution resigned from the commission on Monday.
Doug Bland, a geologist with New Mexico Tech, cited work-related reasons for stepping down from the state Water Quality Control Commission and the Mining Commission, which he chaired.
However, skeptics in the environmental community suspect political factors, suggesting that Bland was pressured to leave as a result of votes he cast earlier this year. They see Bland’s departure as the latest victory for Gov. Susana Martinez’s goal of stacking environmental and mining commissions with industry-friendly people in order to undo or weaken previously adopted environmental regulations.
Hopefuls David Roewe, a real estate agent who wants to become a District 5 city council candidate, and Bev Courtney, a Las Cruces Tea Party member who's seeking to become a District 3 candidate, filed the action together.
The first hearing in the case has been set for Wednesday -- the same day as the start of absentee voting -- before state District Judge Jim Martin.
The evaluation recommends the state consider funding special education based on a district’s total enrollment instead of a district count of its special education students.
A “census-based” distribution of special education funds would ensure all districts get their fair share, according to the committee. Districts with high-needs students could still draw extra funds through a special pool of money for those costs.
Kit Carson contends that the changes would mean an 8 percent rate increase for its customers starting in 2014. Tri-State counters that the co-op’s membership would actually see a net decrease under the new rate structure.
Kit Carson CEO Luís Reyes said the dispute warrants a thorough investigation. “Because there’s a conflict, we need a third party to determine who’s right and who’s wrong,” Reyes said. “We’ve said all along that these rates need to be based on some kind of cost of service.”
In all, 375 members of the city blue-collar workers union will see a 1.5 percent pay increase on their Nov. 7 paychecks, according to city officials. Another 161 members of the Las Cruces Police Officers Association, which includes both sworn and non-sworn personnel, also will receive a 1.5 percent pay raise, also Nov. 7. Employees in both groups, too, will get a $270 increase that will be folded into their base pay going forward.
Sterling Fluharty, who appeared on the Weekly Word podcast a couple of times, has started the Midheights Messenger, a locally based newspaper that focuses on a small area of Albuquerque. It is an intriguing concept -- one new to New Mexico, to my knowledge. While there have been newsletters for neighborhoods and areas of the city, I can't recall a full-fledged newspaper.
If you consult the Mid-Heights maps, you will see the region includes neighborhoods around the Del Norte and Sandia high schools, as well as the Midtown and Uptown areas.
The neighborhood leaders I have met are really excited about the newspaper. News at the local level often gets overlooked by the big newspaper and television stations in town.
City Councilor Chris Calvert said Monday he is withdrawing a rewrite of the ordinance governing street performers on public property. “We’ll go back to the drawing board in terms of a different approach and process,” he said.
Calvert said an earlier proposal wasn’t fully vetted. “It wasn’t ready for public hearing, and that’s my fault,” he said. “I needed to do more work in advance meeting with the various parties before we proposed what we proposed.”