- City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger dropped out of the Santa Fe mayoral race. She praised Javier Gonzales but did not formally endorse him.
- Corrales may get to increase their gross receipts tax early. Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, says this increase is not what the state expected when they allowed municipalities and counties to increase GRT to pay for money that will be lost when the hold harmless provision is taken away.
“I’m sympathetic to the budget problems in Rio Rancho and Corrales,” he said. “But that’s not what this money was for. It’s designed to reduce future losses, not to solve their current budget woes.”
The funding is meant to replace hold harmless funding as the state reduces and ultimately eliminates that revenue source, he said. Hold harmless funding is money dispersed by the Legislature to make up for lost revenue when the state did away with sales taxes on food and some medications in 2004. It turns out the state can’t sustain those payments, so it will phase them out over the next 15 years.
- The state will send the federal government a $9 million bill after voting to give a three-month extension for those in the high risk insurance pool to get new policies. The deadline was December 23.
- A civil suit against Levi Chavez was dropped on Friday.
Papers filed in 2nd Judicial District Court on Thursday resolve the civil case, which would have gone to trial in 2014, with no payment by Chavez, who has said he is broke.
Chavez executed a financial disclosure form and provided it to the attorney who represents the interests of the children, the beneficiaries of the estate, showing no collectible assets, according to the document.
- Here is the take from New Mexico Compass which includes an interview with Tera Chavez's parents.
- New Mexico's high school graduation rate is still very low despite improving.
- The Albuquerque Journal looks at the social media accounts of public officials. As an active Twitter user, it interested me.
- The Washington Examiner, an influential conservative magazine, is the latest to speculate about Gov. Susana Martinez's chances at being the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.
Asked whether she would consider being vetted for the job in 2016, her response was no less Shermanesque, if more succinct: She shook her head “no,” somewhat wistfully, followed by a firm, “Nuh uh.”
- A member of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission is meddling in the process of reforming police oversight according to some of his critics.
- Current and former members of the Navajo Nation Tribal Council are being accused of misusing discretionary funds. The Farmington Daily-Times:
Speaker Johnny Naize was charged with 10 counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy, according to criminal complaints the tribe's special prosecutor filed Tuesday in Window Rock District Court in Window Rock, Ariz.
Former speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and former delegates George Arthur and Lena Manheimer were each charged with six counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy.
- A proposed Navajo Nation gaming compact would change the gaming landscape in New Mexico according to Laguna Pueblo.
The Navajo Nation is one of five gaming tribes or pueblos that operate under a 2001 gaming compact and are negotiating new gaming compacts with the state in advance of those compacts’ June 30, 2015, expiration date.
Laguna and eight other gaming pueblos renegotiated their original 2001 gaming compacts with the state in 2007 and will operate under those compacts through 2037, Sayre said.
- "Double dipping" by educators is on the rise.
- It seems like there are a lot of Spaceport stories lately. The Santa Fe New Mexican looks at how much Sierra County has riding on the commercial space travel business.
Some people wonder if the economic boom will ever happen. “Over a period of 10 years, we’ve been promised a lot of stuff. To date, we have seen none of it, not for the little people here in town,” said Bobby Allen, a former city and county commissioner, who has attended meetings about the spaceport since 1991.
Others worry the boom will benefit a few, not the many. The new hotels and fast-food restaurants going up are near Interstate 25, skipping the town’s historic downtown hot springs district altogether.
- The Rio Rancho Governing Body (think city council) will decide whether to put bond or tax increase questions on a ballot in March.
- Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry attended a White House conference on how to improve the manufacturing environment in the country.
- Los Alamos National Labs began shipping transuranic waste to Idaho.
- PNM expects higher revenues next year.
- F. Chris Garcia says he expects to have all his privileges as professor emeritus restored after he was cleared in a case involving running an online prostitution ring. The State Supreme Court ruled that no law prohibited running the website.
- A group is supporting a former state police officer who was fired after firing at a minivan during a traffic stop.
Montoya worked with state police for the last 12 years, mostly in Taos. Protestors say Farrell should take most of the blame.
"She's the one that put her children and the officers and our community at risk,” said Cornelius.
- And here is the take from the Taos News.
- Recycling is paying off for taxpayers in Otero County.
"So far this year, we have raised around $60,000 -- and that is not the end-of-the-year number," said Murphy. He is currently getting about $250 to $340 for a ton of plastic, $100 to $130 for cardboard, and $60 to $65 for newspaper. Glass recycling is also available. Residents can also obtain free fire wood and mulch when available.
Used cardboard boxes get made back into cardboard boxes at top dollar these days in New Mexico, so businesses such as big box stores and grocery stores are encouraged to contact Murphy.
- Former State Land Commissioner Jim Baca doesn't like the idea of transferring BLM lands to the state.
- An animal activist in Albuquerque opposes the the way the city deals with feral cats. The city traps, neuters or spays and the re-releases the feral cats.
- New Mexico State University is considering making the campus a smoke-free environment.
- The Lobos Men's Soccer Team is headed to the Final Four after being the University of Washington this weekend.