SELECT title FROM cont_articles WHERE id='' LIMIT 1 Santa Fe Reporter

Cannabis Audits Questioned

Licensed grower conducts nearly half of all producers' annual audits

Local NewsSunday, May 1, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Is it OK for a person who holds a state license to grow cannabis to also perform audits of other cannabis producers and to get paid for the work in pot?  

Acting on a tip phoned in to a hotline earlier this year, investigators at the Office of the State Auditor are asking the New Mexico Health Department to answer that question about a certified public accountant who performed nearly half of the required audits for the Medical Cannabis program in 2014. Yet Vivian Moore claims there's nothing wrong with her “side business.”  

Two letters obtained by SFR show that on April 18, Kevin Sourisseau, the director of special investigations for State Auditor Tim Keller, mailed this letter to then-Deputy Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher, suggesting that Moore “may not be independent” and questioning the exchange of cannabis product with her Mother Earth Organics dispensary in Las Cruces.

“If the allegations are true, there are likely material independence issues if Ms. Moore conducts audits for any of the medical cannabis producers,” writes Sourisseau. 

Kenny Vigil, a spokesman for the health department, confirmed last week that Moore has been doing audit work for cannabis producers since 2013. In 2014, according to regulators, Moore completed 10 of the 23 audits, or nearly 45 percent of all audits submitted to the department by growers.

Sourisseau contends there may also be tax consequences for the exchange of cannabis with Moore’s dispensary, Mother Earth Organics in Las Cruces, and expressed concerns about the in-kind payments, because they are “inherently difficult to value monetarily and thus create tax liability ambiguity.”

After initial fact-finding determined private CPA issues are outside the purview of the state auditor’s office, Sourisseau also referred the “potential independence issues” to Jeannette Contreras, the executive director of the Public Accountancy Board, to review.

Meanwhile, Gallagher, who Gov. Susana Martinez appointed to replace Retta Ward as health secretary last week, is still reviewing Sourisseau’s letter and hasn’t publicly commented on the issue.

But Moore tells SFR there is no conflict of interest, “or I wouldn’t have been allowed to perform them in the first place.”

“Just because someone thinks there is one doesn’t make it so,” Moore writes in a text message while she's traveling out of state. She claims that she completes at least four hours of ethics training every two years and has safeguards in place “to ensure there is no impairment in my independence.”

According to Moore, the transfer of cannabis doesn’t mean the audits themselves are not independent. She says she doesn’t provide her clients managerial advice and disputes the idea other growers or nonprofit managers have influence over the audit outcomes. 

“My professional license is too important to me for a $5,000 fee,” she writes in an email to SFR. “I would resign from an engagement before I would succumb to undo influence or pressure.”

Moore also claims all the cannabis transfers have been documented with the health department and that she has paid all of her taxes.

Moore, who also serves as the treasurer of the Cannabis Producers of New Mexico, says as an “industry insider” she is uniquely qualified to do the required audit work, which other CPAs have been reluctant to do in the past.

For example, in 2010, when the New Mexico Department of Health originally mandated the grower audits, the accountancy board, aware of conflicts with federal drug laws, declined to issue a letter permitting CPAs to conduct them. Instead, the board recommended auditors seek independent legal advice and that the Department of Health remove the audit requirement until “such time that federal and state laws regarding medical cannabis do not conflict with one another.”

Since then, producers who don’t use Moore say they’ve found some CPAs willing to do the audits and that her total fees are similar to what other auditors are charging. Still, some producers say they don’t believe Moore should be doing the audits.

“I think a reasonable person would say there is at least an appearance of a conflict of interest,” says one new producer, who didn’t want to be identified. “When we finish our first year in business, we’ll definitely contract with someone who isn’t also licensed to grow cannabis. There should be at least an arm's length distance with these audits.”

SFR has requested to review all the audits submitted to the health department by Moore and other CPAs but did not receive them in time for this story.

This Weekend

In 3-D!

Weekend PicksFriday, April 29, 2016 by SFR

Outdoor Vision Fest 2016

SFUAD presents the sixth annual Outdoor Vision Fest, which features environmental projections and outdoor art installations of design, animation, full-motion video, video mapping, motion graphics and interactive multimedia exhibitions created by the school’s talented students. It sounds like it’ll be trippy (See SFR Picks).

More Info >>

Santa Fe Komedy Klub: Camille Solari

Davyd Roseman and MC David Montoya welcome this very funny lady from Hollywood, where all dreams come true.

More Info >>

Lindy Vision 3-D

They may be inspired by '80s new wave, but Lindy Vision (comprised of three sisters from Albuquerque) looks toward the future, with beats so sick you're like, "Woah!" This show also features performances from Summon, Suede School, Thieves & Gypsys and more.

More Info >>

Independent Bookstore Day

Your favorite downtown bookseller celebrates Independent Bookstore Day with special deals, special items and special people (that's all you guys) (See SFR Picks).

More Info >>

Civil War Re-Enactment

Hear period music and learn about hysterical, er, historical events from before New Mexico was New Mexico.

More Info >>

Postcommodity: A Very Long Line

The arts collective used video to explore an Indigenous perspective on the imposed restriction on ancient routes of travel and trade.

More Info >>

BitterSweet: A Fruitful Circus

Pre-pros (that's pre-professionals, to those not in the know) plus youth and adult students from the best damn local circus company around (See SFR Picks).

More Info >>

Lowriders, Hoppers and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico

Car culture reigns supreme in New Mexico, and this show is all about the lowest, baddest rides around. Cars in the lobby and a looped screening of South American Cho Low top off this norteño afternoon.

More Info >>

Transcendental Rhythm: Yoga of Drumming

Learn the beauty and power of hand drumming through the perspective of yoga and meditation.

More Info >>

Get more information about how to spend your fun days when you sign up for the SFR Weekend newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Friday afternoon.

Morning Word: LANL Reassures Local Leaders with Job Plans

Morning WordFriday, April 29, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Labs Plans to Hire Thousands
The Los Alamos Monitor reports the head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory is assuring Santa Fe leaders that the lab will remain a strong force in the region, as it looks to hire about 2,400 people, including 600 to 700 scientists, 400 support technicians and 1,400 people to fill jobs in its business services and operations sectors, over the next four years.

“Multiple state employees alleged that the Human Services Department instructed them to falsify numbers on federal food stamp applications in explosive testimonies in federal court in Albuquerque,” reports Joey Peters.
Jeannette Roybal ... processes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, applications in Las Cruces. She testified that her supervisor told her in January to inflate the assets of a SNAP applicant so the application would be considered non-expeditable.
EPA Reimburses States
The Associated Press reports, “The Environmental Protection Agency says it's reimbursing states, tribes and local governments about $1 million for their costs after the agency accidentally triggered a spill from a Colorado mine.” Meanwhile, KRQE’s Justin Cox reports that after testing the water and soil, Navajo Nation officials have decided to reopen irrigation canals.

Deadly Gang Plot
Colleen Heild has the latest on a violent prison gang’s plot to kill correction officials, including Secretary Gregg Marcantel.

Health Science Center in Jeopardy
“There is no sign the political wrangling will end anytime soon over a vote by a majority of University of New Mexico regents to change the governing structure of the Health Sciences Center,” according to Chris Quintana. He reports that four Democrat senators accuse “four regents who voted for the restructuring of jeopardizing the future of the UNM Hospital and medical programs.”

Bathroom Talk
SFR’s Maria Egolf-Romero reports that a group named All Families Matter New Mexico “started a public awareness campaign to urge more compliance with the Santa Fe's gender-neutral bathroom law. The group is urging residents to add the names of local businesses breaking the gender-neutral rule to its Facebook page.”

Airline Apologizes to Violinist
Okay, this is ridiculous, but an American Airlines pilot blocked a musician from carrying her 1742 Joseph Guarneri “del Gesu” violin, worth millions, onboard a flight from Chicago to Albuquerque. Rachel Barton Pine refused to check the instrument into the luggage compartment and caught a later flight. The airline has apologized, and Pine is set to perform with the New Mexico Philharmonic on Saturday.

Straw Poll
Heath Haussamen has set up a presidential straw poll at It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in New Mexico, since so little polling has been done here. 

Daniels Supports Reforms
New Mexico Chief Justice Charles Daniels doesn’t like the “money for freedom” approach to bail. Dennis Domrzalski reports why the justice is supporting systemic bail reform.

Cash is King
KOB’s morning news producer “cleaned house” on the Wheel of Fortune game show on Thursday. He says he’ll use some of the $117,550 to pay off student debt and to help his father pay off some medical bills.

Bathroom Talk

Compliance with Santa Fe's gender-neutral bathroom rules is slow going

Local NewsThursday, April 28, 2016 by Maria Egolf-Romero

Symbols help us find our way around. They are shorthand for “Hey! This thing you need is right here!” Like a public restroom. We all know the white stick figure emblem painted on cobalt blue plastic that marks the spot.

For eons, this white figure donned two outfits: pants or an A-line dress to designate the restroom as men’s or women’s. Cultural evolution of gender identity led to a third bathroom option, a gender-neutral one, and a new outfit for the white restroom figure. 

North Carolina recently mandated that its citizens use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. The new law electrified the issue, and celebrities from Bruce Springsteen to Joe Jonas have cancelled appearances in the Tar Heel State as protests erupted and the country divides over bathroom-monitoring antics.

Santa Fe took a stance on who can go where last June, when the City Council passed an ordinance stating that all public single-occupancy restrooms must be gender-neutral. But this week, SFR found several single-occupancy restrooms still with gender-specific signs.

And we’re not the only ones. On Wednesday, a group calling itself All Families Matter New Mexico started a public awareness campaign to urge more compliance with the Santa Fe law. The group is urging residents to add the names of local businesses breaking the gender-neutral rule to its Facebook page.

Jenn Jevertson, coalition coordinator, tells SFR the ordinance is beneficial to more than just the transgender community. “One of the reasons that it’s needed, is that often times transgender folks don’t feel safe and comfortable using the restroom,” Jevertson says, “but it has a broader positive impact for everyone in Santa Fe. It helps the daughter who needs to help her elderly father in the restroom. It helps the mother with a disabled son.”

Even though the city ordinance sets up fines for violating the rule, Jevertson says her group isn’t asking for that kind of punishment now. “It’s about providing information and helping businesses make the changes, one, because it’s required, but two, because it’s the right thing to do,” she says.

Community members can print flyers from the campaign’s Facebook page, which provides information about the ordinance and how to be in compliance with it. Jevertson says the campaign has already helped some businesses get with the times.

“Betterday Coffee Shop is a great example,” she says. “Recently, they still had the bathrooms labeled as male and female, and I know a few of our community members dropped off flyers and talked to them about it, and last time I was in there, I noticed the bathrooms were marked as gender neutral.”

A spot check of businesses around the city shows compliance is slow.

La Montañita Co-op has two public single-occupancy restrooms. On SFR’s first visit to the Co-op on Tuesday afternoon, one restroom had the familiar women's emblem posted on its door. The other restroom was signless, a detail Will Prokopiak, who has managed La Montañita Co-op for 10 years, was unaware of when SFR spoke with him.  

During a visit to the Co-op later in the week, new signs had appeared—typed, printed and posted on the bathroom doors. “We have non-gender specific bathrooms because sometime gender specific toilets put others in uncomfortable situations,” the letter on the restroom door reads.  

The Allsup’s at the intersection of Cerrillos Road and Paseo de Peralta has two single-occupancy bathrooms, both of which have gender-specific signs. An employee at the location did not want her name published but told SFR that she hasn’t heard of any plans to change the signs on their restrooms. She also said Allsup's hasn't received any complaints about the restrooms' gender-specific status.

Target has been in hot water as of late over its open-minded bathroom policy, which allows customers to use the restroom of the gender they identify with. Katie Montano, a manager at the Santa Fe location who has worked for Target for seven months, says restroom rules are up to the discretion of Target employees and “common sense. If we think it would make others uncomfortable, then we don’t allow it,” she says. Montano says that larger Target locations have family restrooms, which are gender-neutral.

Santa Fe Community College has four single-occupancy, gender-neutral restrooms. Emily Stern, head of the Center for Diversity and Integrated Learning at the college, says the gender-neutral signs have been posted on campus since 2011. Stern tells SFR the welcoming bathroom movement was spearheaded by two teachers in response to student concerns.


“It’s really terrifying,”  Stern says, “to be a minority of any kind.”

Mother Tongue | The Deciders

The way we talk to people shows we respect them

Mother TongueThursday, April 28, 2016 by Lauren Whitehurst

Sylvia would not leave her kindergarten playground. I’d given her two warnings and explained that we needed to pick up her brother and a friend in time for art class. “It’s time, Sylvia. We have to go.” She dug in her heels—or, rather, her hands, since she was on the monkey bars. Aiming for efficiency and efficacy, I ducked under her, caught her hips on my shoulder, pried her fingers from the bars and carried her away.

“You have to mind me when we’re meeting people and have to be somewhere,” I said. This “minding”—I invoke it holding hands for safety when we cross streets, and when we have to get out the door to school. I couch it in reason, however exhausted that leaves all of us, and it positions my husband and me as clear authorities. Is “clear” the same as “unquestionable”? I don’t think so, which may be why it’s proven difficult to define “talking back” to 8-year-old Theo.

We want him to ask questions and challenge us when he doesn’t agree. We also want him to respect his family, teachers and peers. The way we talk to people shows we respect them. The way we discuss rules—and why they’re important to families, classrooms and communities—is also about respecting each other, even in disagreement.

“It starts at home,” is how my sister puts it. “How we talk to all people starts with how we talk to each other at home.” She’s expressing a line of political science research that’s recently come to the fore. 

American politics and media are dizzy with the ascendancy of Donald Trump to GOP front-runner. His popularity befuddles everyone except his ardent supporters, who prompt applause, political angling, sociological evaluation, consternation and/or terror, depending on where you’re coming from.

It turns out that Trump supporters are also reflections of—and, I’d argue, cause for reflecting on—parenting.

I would not be writing about politics and parenting—topics that are plenty polarizing on their own—if I hadn’t come across an article in the news outlet Vox called “The Rise of American Authoritarianism.” The article pegs a trait common to Trump voters, who otherwise span all measure of education, gender, age, religiosity, income and geography: Authoritarianism.

It seems that a simple set of questions about parenting can determine whether a person is inclined this way.

Authoritarianism as a political system promotes tough central leadership and circumscribed civil liberties, but the study of it leans to the psychology of authoritarian people. Since WWII, it has been a focus for psychologists and political scientists. In these fields, it describes individuals who prize forceful leadership, hierarchy, obedience, order and conformity, and who fear outside forces that threaten to disrupt the status quo.

Asking questions about parenting goals separates authoritarian values from specific political allegiances. Political scientists Stanley Feldman and Karen Brenner articulated this in a 1997 study, and the four questions they came up with are still widely used:

  1. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: independence or respect for elders?
  2. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: self-reliance or obedience? 
  3. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: curiosity or good manners?
  4. Which of the following qualities is the most desirable for a child to have: being considerate or being well-behaved?

People who prioritize the second choices on each question reliably track as authoritarian. In the Vox studiey (and elsewhere), authoritarians track as the most reliable Trump voters. Plenty of articles cite this and jump into political implications, which also are plenty.

But I’m curious about this: Why might authoritarianism—and whether or not it’s on the rise in the US—be a parenting issue?

Respondents to each of Feldman and Brenner’s questions may value both qualities, but they have to choose one. I skew one way, but I think all the qualities have merit. Still, researchers define one worldview that prioritizes respect, obedience, good manners and appropriate behavior versus one that prioritizes independence, self-reliance, curiosity and considerateness.

Independently, the values of the former aren’t worrisome. What does worry me is that the authoritarian set correlates strongly with fear, particularly fear of perceived outside threats and disruptions to social order. Fear-driven reactions can be newsworthy, sure, but they’re not generally the most sound. The authoritarian profile is less able to tolerate change and more aggressive against those they see as responsible for bringing it on. Blaming a visible “other” is simpler and more galvanizing than trying to understand complex, faceless forces. It’s much easier for 5-year-old Sylvia to blame me for not instantly meeting her demand for a dreamy homemade dollhouse than it is for her to consider why high-handed orders aren’t particularly motivating. It’s easier for me to blame my husband for forgetting to buy coffee than it is for me to rethink my sleep schedule. It doesn’t take much imagination to jump from here to the extreme ways in which this is playing out in current political rhetoric and posturing. 

As a parent, I keep returning to fear. My husband and I talk a lot about how to raise our kids in a complex world without buying the line that the world is a scary place. We want to introduce them to a fascinating, powerful world, not a terrifying one. We want them to embark on adventures with resilience and awareness, not anxiety.

As a parent, I keep returning to fear. My husband and I talk a lot about how to raise our kids in a complex world without buying the line that the world is a scary place. We want to introduce them to a fascinating, powerful world, not a terrifying one. We want them to embark on adventures with resilience and awareness, not anxiety. 

Of course, a parent’s worries are practically infinite. And I’ve often heard people without kids say they didn’t want to bring new life into such a scary, screwy world. Compelling arguments can be made that the world is “dark and full of terrors,” to quote Game of Thrones’ Melisandre. But I reject this notion, and I don’t believe it’s naïve to do so. I think it’s imperative to reject it if we’re to raise kids who have resources to navigate an increasingly diverse world with something like humanity.

In the late 1970s, authoritarianism was defined as a parenting style by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind. In the world of education, teaching and classroom management styles are similarly categorized: Permissive-indulgent, permissive-neglectful, authoritarian, and authoritative. Pretty much across the board, the former three are associated with more psychological and behavioral problems.

Baumrind and others since have noted that authoritarian parenting can lead to twinned conformity and depression/anxiety, lower self-esteem, aggressive behavior outside the home, compromised social skills, and diminished ability to self-direct or self-regulate. Authoritarian teaching risks drilling compliant kids who don’t know how to think critically and who aren’t necessarily engaged in learning or its relevance.

In any field, authoritarianism deals in black-and-white, good-and-evil, right-and-wrong—top-down binaries that shut down conversation before it begins. And what is parenting if not a life-long conversation? Nonauthoritarian parenting emphasizes response over reaction precisely because response predicates a relationship.

Without the capacity for compassion and conversation, we humans resort to stigmatization and violence. This is not how I want my children to respond to people who think, look, feel or act differently from them, whether it’s around our dinner table, on the playground, or in our community, country or the world. Differences are a given. If we accept Heraclitus’s “the only thing that is constant is change,” we do our kids poor service by not preparing them to adapt to a changing world.

It’s telling that political scientists chose parenting questions to determine authoritarianism. The Vox article called the parenting-values topic “so banal it seems almost laughable.” But I disagree: The questions are intensely thought-provoking for their ability to predict political action, and for their insight into how we raise our children as future citizens.

However they choose to act politically, our kids will determine the tenor of their families, their communities, and the country that’s built on them. They will face threats, real and perceived. They will have to make quick decisions and weigh nuanced lines of thinking. Do we want them to react or respond? What tools are going to better prepare them to communicate with different kinds of people, modulate their emotions and behavior, address complex problems and imagine solutions?

I’m hardly the only mom who’s pried her daughter off the monkey bars or sternly admonished her son not to talk back. Can we teach deference without submissiveness? Can we stave off fear with dialog, travel, reading and modeling? Parenting is one on-the-fly question after another.

How we address the questions—which is different from answering them—has societal consequences. When I try to teach my kids independence, self-reliance, curiosity and compassion, I am also teaching myself. I prioritize these not only because I think it will lead us to more fulfilling lives, but also because I believe it makes a better toolkit for our collective future.

The Fork

A Tourist in Your Own Town

The ForkThursday, April 28, 2016 by Gwyneth Doland

Santa Fe’s Next Food Star

The Santa Fe Culinary Academy is starting its spring term of dinner service this Thursday. The six students in SFCA’s professional program have developed a menu of small plates that range from $8 to $14, and they will take turns cooking and serving in the student restaurant, The Guesthouse (112 W San Francisco St., on the third floor of the Plaza Mercado building).

Students are still putting the finishing touches on the menu, but earlier this week, the school released a tentative version online, including plates such as pan-roasted halibut with white bean ragout, duck breast with rhubarb gastrique and creamy polenta, grilled lamb chop with preserved lemon, parsley and pea shoots; beef strip loin with potato puree and wild mushroom bagna cauda; and ravioli of dandelion greens.

The plates are intended to be shared, says SFCA office manager Jennifer Leighton, who estimates two people would likely be happy sharing three plates. Beer and wine will also be available.

Dinner will be served on Thursdays and Friday only, from 5:30 until 7 pm, April 28 - May 27. Call 983-7445 for reservations.

I’ve been to dinners like this at other schools, and it’s a good time. The students really try to knock your socks off, and it’s fun to give them some encouragement and feedback.

Santa Fe in the Awards Spotlight

The 2016 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards will be announced on May 2. No Santa Feans are in the running for the best chef award this year, but Ron Cooper, the producer of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, was nominated in the category for outstanding wine, beer or spirits professional. Cooper divides his time between Oaxaca and Ranchos de Taos. He was mentioned in this story about mezcal published earlier this month in The New Yorker.

And as SFR’s Ben Kendall wrote last month, the legendary Rancho de Chimayo is on the shortlist in the “American Classics” category. Café Pasqual’s, The Shed and Albuquerque’s Mary and Tito’s have all been honored with this award. Good luck, folks!

A Tourist in Your Own Town

Author Lynn Cline has developed a walking historical food tour of Santa Fe that corresponds to her award-winning Maverick Cookbook, and she’s launching the first one May 5. The tour, offered through the Santa Fe School of Cooking, starts with a hearty snack at the school and then wanders downtown through museums, hotels, restaurants and other points of interest.

I got to tag along for a recent dry run of the tour, and it was a hoot to hear some Santa Fe history I didn’t know. Cline is a charming and knowledgeable guide. One highlight was a stop at La Fonda Hotel, where we got a great lesson in how La Fonda fit into the history of the Harvey Houses. I learned a ton of new things about La Fonda. What fun!

The Maverick Cookbook includes recipes and lore tied to a dozen famous New Mexico characters, including Doña Tules, Billy the Kid, Fred Harvey, Gustave Baumann and Georgia O'Keeffe.

The tour ($75 per person) is scheduled for six different dates this summer. It takes about two hours and involves an easy walk of less than two miles. Note: This isn’t necessarily an eating tour, so plan to have lunch before or after. For more information, call 983-4511 or go to the Santa Fe School of Cooking website.

Grand Canyon ... of Culinary Despair

Thanks for all of the great suggestions for where to eat en route to the Grand Canyon! You people get around. I got recommendations for pizza at Fat Olives and Pizzicletta, Latin fusion at Criollo, and burgers at Diablo Burger, along with many other ideas for eats and drinks. We ended up at Tinderbox Kitchen, because it was a short walk from the Monte Vista Hotel (where we stayed) and because it had pork belly on the menu. It turned out that the pork, while crispy on the outside and delightfully moist inside, was overshadowed by a starter of fried cauliflower tossed in curry powder and served with bright pickled onions and sriracha mayo. My dude generally refuses to eat cauliflower, and this time I didn’t even try to persuade him to try. I wanted it all for myself.

Still, later we wondered if the meal had been worth the $100 we paid (including tip). Look, I love spending money on food—I once paid $600 for dinner for two at Joel Robuchon in Vegas, and I’d sell my plasma to do it again. Maybe it takes more to wow me these days. Maybe I should have taken you guys up on your pizza recommendations.

I wish I had something good to report about dining in Grand Canyon National Park, but as usual the in-park fare was meh. We had an overpriced and underwhelming steak dinner in the restaurant at historic El Tovar Hotel (another $100) and several mediocre lunches elsewhere. If you’re heading to a national park this summer, my best advice is this: Bring your own booze and snacks, then spend as little as possible for the least ambitious food you can find. And keep your expectations low.

I also learned it is possible to make something vaguely drinkable in one of those cheap Keurig coffee makers: fill the water reservoir about one-third and then process a pod; repeat three times, each with a fresh pod. It doesn’t taste like what I call real coffee (can’t see a shiny spoon past the tarry surface), but it’s enough to get you out the door.

Got news, tips or suggestions for The Fork? We want to hear from you. No tidbit is too small and no bombshell too big. Email

Morning Word: Ozone Pollution Earns Five Counties Failing Grades

Morning WordThursday, April 28, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Counties Earn Failing Marks for Ozone
A new report by the American Lung Association shows that San Juan, Eddy, Bernalillo, Doña Ana and Valencia counties scored failing grades for ground-level ozone pollution. Clean air advocates blame the problem on the oil and gas industry and want regulators to do a better job limiting the industry’s pollution to protect residents from serious health impacts. Santa Fe County earned a B grade.

Proposed Wilderness Areas Spark Controversy
New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn doesn’t want to lose royalties from timber and other minerals rights on 1,280 acres of state trust land that could get gobbled up by the feds if the Energy Policy Modernization Act, supported by US Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, is passed. The amended bill would create two wilderness areas in Northern New Mexico. 

High-Stakes Legal Arguments
The New Mexico Supreme Court is considering whether farm and ranch workers should be covered by worker’s compensation insurance. Right now, they are not.

In the Bag
The New Mexican reports that only a little more than $92,000 has been collected by the City of Santa Fe since retailers were banned from using plastic bags eight months ago and required to collect a 10-cent fee for each paper bag used.
The goal of the program implemented last year was to reduce the use of plastic bags that inevitably end up littering the landscape and to encourage the use of reusable bags. The revenues are targeted for a public education campaign in conjunction with the new curbside recycling program and to purchase another 10,000 reusable bags. 
Talkin’ Politics
Gary Johnson, Diane Denish and state Sens. Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Sue Wilson Beffort got a chance to talk about this year’s presidential campaign with national radio host Amy Goodman on Wednesday. Matt Reichbach has the recap here. Andy Lyman reports on what Johnson told Goodman about his choice to switch parties and run as a Libertarian.

Bernie Retools; Cruz Picks Fiorina
Meanwhile, after losing five eastern state primaries on Tuesday, Ted Cruz picked Carly Fiorina as his running mate if he can manage to block Donald Trump’s nomination at the Republican convention in Cleveland later this summer. Democrat Bernie Sanders, who only won Rhode Island’s primary on Tuesday, has decided to cut hundreds of campaign staffers’ jobs.
Fewer PARCC Test Opt-Outs 
“The number of parents who have chosen to opt their students out of standardized testing at Las Cruces Public Schools has fallen by approximately 90 percent compared with last year,” according to school officials.

Inside UNM Basketball
So it turns out the UNM men’s basketball coach Craig Neal didn’t really want his son Cullen to transfer after receiving criticisms from Lobo fans. But the younger Neal is headed to Ole Miss in the fall.

Happy Birthday
Here’s a little useless trivia: The New Mexico Lottery turned 20 years old Wednesday. Do you know the highest lottery payout in the state’s history? KRQE has the answer here.

Gathering of Nations
We saved the best for last. The 33rd Gathering of Nations starts today in Albuquerque when 2,000 dancers make their grand entrance into Wise Pie Arena. The chamber of commerce thinks the big event will boost the city’s economy by about $20 million.

Cannabis out of Court

Open records advocates withdraw lawsuit in the wake of the state agreeing to lift secrecy surrounding cannabis producers

Local NewsWednesday, April 27, 2016 by Cybele Mayes-Osterman

Now that the New Mexico Department of Health has changed its rules that formerly kept the names of licensed medical marijuana producers secret, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and journalist Peter St. Cyr have dropped a pending lawsuit. 

The lawsuit filed last summer in state district court in Albuquerque argued that the health department violated the NM Inspection of Public Records Act. The plaintiffs sought to force the state to release names, phone numbers and addresses of those currently in possession of, or applying for, medical marijuana production licenses.

“We appreciate the department’s willingness to rethink and revamp its original confidentiality rules, which we’ve long believed were contrary to IPRA and incompatible with the Compassionate Use Act,” Charles “Kip” Purcell, an Albuquerque attorney representing the plaintiffs, said in a press release. 

The Foundation for Open Government, a nonprofit devoted to making government policies more accessible to the public, and St. Cyr began their attempt to make information about the marijuana growers public when the licenses were first issued in 2009, shortly after the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Law was passed, allowing people with certain medical conditions to buy from state-licensed producers.

St. Cyr has reported frequently on New Mexico’s medical marijuana program. He said he is interested in the public's right to information.

“There is no reason for health regulators to shield the names of medical cannabis growers and sellers,” St. Cyr said in an interview shortly after the suit was filed. Patients, he added, “want to know if the folks who want to make a living selling pot actually have horticultural experience or if they're just out to make money.”

Although the names of patients with licenses to use medical cannabis remain restricted from public view, St. Cyr said he remains hopeful that his lawsuit will encourage other agencies to release more information. 

“Now, I hope other agencies will see the writing on the wall and stop using their own administrative code to exempt themselves from our state’s open record laws,” he said. 


Morning Word: Medicaid Payment Cuts Planned

Morning WordWednesday, April 27, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Medicaid Payment Cuts
In an effort to save $33.5 million, Dan Boyd reports, the Human Services Department plans to cut Medicaid payments to medical providers in New Mexico, including an 8 percent cut for inpatient services at University of New Mexico Hospital.

Money Set Aside for Lawsuits
Steven Hsieh reports, “A pricey water project serving Santa Fe city and county is about to get more expensive.”
The intergovernmental board overseeing the Buckman Direct Diversion treatment plant has set aside $1 million in funds for a lawsuit it might file over structural flaws in the system, which diverts and treats water from the Rio Grande and provides the majority of the county’s supply.
Intel Job Cuts
Some 215 jobs appear to be on the line at Intel’s Rio Rancho plant, after all.

Political Fallout
The layoffs and economic development woes around the state are already becoming an issue during this year’s election cycle. Joe Monahan has analysis.

Griego Judge Picked
New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels has picked District Judge Brett Loveless, a former prosecutor appointed to the bench in Albuquerque by Gov. Susana Martinez, to preside over former state Senator Phil Griego’s criminal case.
A judge from outside Santa Fe was necessary to preside over the Griego case because all nine judges in the 1st Judicial District had been removed from it, either because they stepped aside or, in one case, were bumped off by Griego’s attorney.
Corrections Department Reorganization
A former television reporter’s appointment to a six-figure job as deputy secretary of administration at the New Mexico Corrections Department has some union members shaking their heads. Members say that with staffing shortages inside prison facilities and mandatory overtime, more guard jobs should be filled.

Clinton Names State Director
Democrat political operative Scott Forrester has been tapped to be state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in New Mexico.

New Testing Regulations
New Mexico racehorses may face more drug testing if state regulators get their way. The penalty for a positive test could include a suspension of up to 120 days. The horse’s trainer would also face fines up to $1,500.

Bless Me, Ultima to Become Opera
Fans of Rudolfo Anaya’s books are stoked after learning the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Opera Southwest have commissioned composer Hector Armienta to turn Bless Me, Ultima into an opera.

SFR’s 2016 Poetry Issue

Spring Poetry Search

FeaturesWednesday, April 27, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

“Everyone is a poet,” says Hakim Bellamy. “What is cool about poetry is that it is like the most accessible artform, I believe. It doesn’t take a lot—a high threshold of cost or education or anything like that to get in. It is not like learning the piano. Most people do it. And most people have done it.”

Bellamy knows what he’s talking about. He’s a celebrated New Mexico poet who teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and served as the inaugural poet laureate for the city of Albuquerque.

“We all get turned off by the word ‘poet,’ typically because most of us don’t understand it, because we feel like we don’t get it. That is something that we do in school: We make you believe there is a right answer and a wrong answer to experiencing poetry, and it is the same thing we do to people with visual art. Somehow you need a degree to appreciate a Van Gogh,” he tells SFR. “And you don’t. You can just stand there. You can walk in a gallery and stand in front of it and say, ‘It makes me feel that way.’ … We believe in American culture that unless I know what it is, what is it, I can’t enjoy it. It can be a visceral experience.”


by Hakim Bellamy

In the center of this chest, is a solar system
hovering above an empty plexus, because
someone left the light on. When the stardust
in these veins burn out, that Blackhole will find
his way home and thank me for naming him
after a wish. Terrified by the sound of his own vacuum,
and everything else I left behind. Cursing me,
beneath his beating breath, for all this space to fill
and the unnecessary dying of the light.

And that’s why as he sat down to judge the more than 100 entries in SFR’s Spring Poetry Search, Bellamy looked for unique works that reveal interesting thoughts and feelings.

He applies the same approach to his own work, which often crosses into the realm of political commentary. While sometimes his process is about one heave that produces a piece in a single sitting, Bellamy says he often works out the right phrases in a poem as he’s performing, and he typically doesn’t settle on a somewhat final version of a performance piece until years after he writes it. And sometimes he waits to write it. He says he wants to bring something new to the conversation rather than being an echo chamber. While his 2013 book Swear opened with a poem that touched on the national politics of the prior years, and he says he’s a proud “card-carrying, flag-waving, flaming political poet,” he’s yet to publish anything about the current presidential race.

“I think I am still trying to figure out,” he says. “I definitely have my opinions about the candidates that are still in. And I’m like, What do I want to do with that? Some of that is a wait-and-see. Some of it is like, I don’t want to write a Ted Cruz poem and he’s not going to be here in a couple months. … I think when I was younger, I wrote a lot of knee-jerk poems, but in my old age, I do sit with things a little longer. Frankly, that first idea is usually not my best idea. I do want to write about that, but maybe I want to chew on it a little bit more.”

In the meantime, from that ripe old age of 37, he says he hopes the poets he selected for this issue feel encouraged to keep writing. He’s also putting in a plug for Santa Fe to restore its poet laureate program, which officials put on pause after eight years in 2014, when Jon Davis wrapped up his term. Bellamy says having a poet at civic events puts poetry before the people and is valuable for the community.

“It’s important. Because poetry helps us be compassionate. Poetry helps us be kinder to one another,” he says. “I think there are actual tangible outcomes of poetry, not just the poem for the author or aesthetic for the listener.”

So get compassionate. Find your heart. Read the winning poems, and watch for next year’s contest.

-Julie Ann Grimm


Grand Prize-Winning Poem

From Knotted Rope
by Robyn Hunt

Mississippi river, corn, clotheslines; then, dry arroyos.
Parents traveled highways named after cowboys, paying tolls.
Cadillacs on the horizon buried nose down in the ground with
tiny fins in the air. We were tykes then in the back
seat playing I spy, picking license plates
from all these United States.

Snake routes of uprooting, mistakes not really errors just
changes on the dance floor as young mother and father outgrow their
hometowns, that high dive of high school, and generations of expectations.
Newly attracted to the scent of loose tobacco.
A corner booth for whiskey neat or the shimmy

of an exotic girl in go-go boots. Divorce inevitable.
Then, seven more siblings strike, strung like fish on a line in a new marriage,
home team for talent shows. Backyard valley heat. What
will we inherit? I muster an occasional hankering for
heady smoke and drink. One sister sings
a capella as another swims all the way underwater, holding her breath.

We inhabit our outgrown rooms. Barbie dolls with small,
stiff shoes. War always somewhere else, across the water,
on the other side of the street.

Robyn Hunt works as a development and communications director for Las Cumbres Community Services. Her collection, The Shape of Caught Water, was released in 2013 by Red Mountain Press.


Calming the Wilderness
by Annemarie Marek

I answer the phone.

My mom, lost in the wilderness of her memories.

She has two homes, she says. But she can’t find him in either.

My dad, dead last winter. Cremated and buried.

A military salute in a small Texas town for a small town boy, now man, now gone.

My mother forgets. “I can’t find him,” she says. “Do you know where he is?”

I peer through the picture window of my high desert home.

A bluebird finds the worm, fresh from the cold rainy day.

Another builds its nest, racing from tree to ground to adobe wall.

On my office wall, framed in monotones, a photo of my dad and me, all smiles.

“Mom, you know where he is,” I say.

Then, suddenly, a bird hits the window. HARD. I look outside.

He lays there on the ground, neck thrust back.

I find a small cloth to wrap and rescue him from a lonely death.

She asks again, “Do you know where he is?”

The bird, his heart beating wildly in my hand, then calm, then still.

Here in the high desert, under the juniper, I lay him to rest and see the new growth.

Wilderness in motion as spring restarts everything.

The rain leaves a strong, fresh, clean scent.

Soon the fledglings will emerge from their nests, taking first flight.

New life can be scary, even from heights of six feet.

“With the angels,” I answer.

“I think he’s out playing with the angels.”

Annemarie Marek was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up exploring the outdoors. She loves the open road and the American West for its wildness and wilderness.


And that’s why I call you ten times at midnight
by Marina Woollven

He carries the stars in his eyes.

There is no brave Hercules in the night now. No Milky Way, or Orion’s belt, the one constellation I could trace in the sky. Just blackness and a cold, swollen moon.

They just fell in one night, when he was standing outside because the country air was warm and he always felt inside was too cold. As he stared up they dropped; one by one, fat sparkling stars that cracked through the atmosphere, crash landing into him, sunk into the corneas of his eyes. He didn’t even blink.

The universe is always expanding. Every day, his eyes look a little bigger, plump and wet and full. The stars weren’t meant for our world, we grounded organic creatures. One day, they will become too much for him, or we will become too much for them, and I think they might burst back into their sky, or they will collapse— how, exactly, are worlds destroyed?

The stars rest inside, still just as bright, floating, swirling, so when you’re with him, the galaxy is looking back. This is the first time stars have been made to gaze at us, the way we gaze at them. They shudder.

I call him up at night. “Let me look at you.”

Marina Woollven is a small poet about to graduate from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Originally from San Antonio, she misses humidity but hopes to find UFOs while she stays in New Mexico.

Along Bear Wallow
by Basia Miller

The children ran ahead, the big ones first,

then short-legged stragglers. Alone you

followed ruts on old switchbacks

under columbine-blue sky,

a dreamy early-summer day.

There’s the laughter floating up now,

leaves opening slowly.

The glade is filled with Jacob’s Ladders,

Indian paintbrush, marsh-marigolds,

trillium, yellow asters.

You caress fragile calyxes and gaze

at petal-shapes like pixie glances.

Your old eyes have dimmed since then—you can see just as well.

Basia Miller is a Santa Fean who began to explore creative writing at age 75. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Sin Fronteras, Adobe Walls, Malpais Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and other journals.

finding one in another
by Melanie Faithful

my grandfather’s tattoo
a bare chested hula dancer
covered his entire forearm

for my enjoyment
he would flex and relax, flex and relax
to make her dance

he hoboed and hopped trains
joined the cavalry
tamed horses in montana

went home to the mountains
mined coal
until he found jesus

he preached the fire and brimstone
baptized his saved in the river
and always wore long sleeves

my son’s tattoos
a cobbled collection of symbols
and his own initials

he took off at 18
free and alone
feeling his way

living everywhere and nowhere
speaking spanish
so he could sell more cell phones

went back to school
found a path
rejected a jesus

he’s lived the fire and brimstone
drowned his past in the river
and never wears long sleeves

Melanie Faithful says the mountains of Santa Fe connect her to family roots in Tennessee. She’g got lots of kids and cats, a job that keeps her on the road and a partner that keeps her grounded.


Grand Prize-Winning Haiku

in the arroyo

wind blows the husband’s ashes

underneath the snow

by Mary McGinnis


Morning on the porch

Horses flee the burning barn—

Can’t stop the divorce

by Cynthia Lukas


Dreams have no mistakes

Playground with no swings or trees

Mourning light ascends

by Michael Harkavy


at death our flesh turns

into words those who love us

whisper to themselves

by Marsha Rosenzweig Pincus


Creek music at dusk

Heron alights upon rock

patiently waiting.

by Dianne Weaver


If Zozobra fights

Godzilla, lizard loses

The gloom conquers all

by Old Man Gloom

Ever Wonder Why ?
I find myself staring out
Ever Wonder When ?

Melissa Brown

I whistled to you.
But you didn’t turn your head.Towhee!
Don’t be rude!

Victoria Hudimac,

Flashes of water
splash over mossy boulders
the way has no name.

 John Feins

experience comes
from practice, not planning it
 let "try" be your guide

Michael Ray

the milk and honey
flow more slowly when blessings
fail to be counted

Diane Vuletich

Santa Fe depot
‘neath a solid black-flint sky
sparks from the 8:12

Michael Gravel

free melancholy
for those who feel without end
all rivers undammed

Diane Castiglioni

Macho Motor Man
Shifts into gear on a dime
Don’t it just feel good?

Diane Chase

Cycling next to me
 at the gym, the old man shrugs,
“We’re just buying time.”

Cynthia West

If Zozobra fights
Godzilla, lizard loses
The gloom conquers all

Old Man Gloom

A split chrysalis.
Dead, bloated moth
you were too eager

Franco Romero

toothbrushes mingle
in the clam shell on the sink
we are a couple

Mark Fleisher

White grocery bag
Discarded trash on roadsides
Dust devil lift, ride

Naomi Christine Gurulé/Gonzales

it’s time to wake up
 --the cold wet snow is drifting
filling my loose boots

Lyman Ditson

Spring is in the air
Trees budding tulips peeking
Is that a snowflake?

RW Jones


Cannabis Audits Questioned

© 2016 Santa Fe Reporter. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WEHAA.COM
Regular Site