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Game of Thrones for Noobs XVI

Season VI, Episode VI: Blood of My Blood

Pop CultureMonday, May 30, 2016 by Alex De Vore

The Story Thus Far (Heavy Spoilers!)
Oh man, so everyone freaked out because Hodor could only say, “Hodor,” because Oat-Bran’s journey through time caused young Hodor to stroke the fuck out and see his future death at the hands of the ice zombies whilst holding a door. Boom. Hodor = “Hold the door!” This was apparently really big news to most GoT fans, but for the rest of us it was like, “Snoooooooooozers!” Also, everyone across the land had a tough time. Arya had to watch a play about her family sucking, Sansa and Jon Snow had to strategize how to fight Ramsay Bolton, Theon and his sister She-on had to hit the road (or the sea, as it were) while their uncle was, like, totally not ashamed about killing his brother by tossing him off an impractically placed rickety rope bridge. Jorrah and that dude from Nashville fully found Dragon Tits, but she was fine and told Jorrah to find a cure for his stone monster-itis. We learned where ice zombies and ice skeletons and ice Nosferatus and ice hags and ice weasels come from, and some other red witch showed up to make Varys’ face twist itself into an “I farted” position forever and ever. The good news is that shit finally happened, in a season that has otherwise proven lame as hell. As it stands now, everything is poised to go absolutely apeshit. This writer is pumped that the opening credits are long enough to have written this whole intro and, we assume, the king’s wife will be forced to walk through town nude. Let’s find out what happened, shall we?


The Gist
Oat-Bran must be dragged through the snow like it’s the goddamn Iditerod, while his friend What’s-Her-Dick is pissed this is her job. It isn’t entirely his fault, though, because Max von Sydow had to upload a bazillion years of memories into his melon so that the next time some legless little bitch shows up to whine about needing to know his family history, Oat-Bran will be able to be his guide.

When he wakes up, he’s like, “Oh shit! They found us,” and his friend is like, “No shit, you unconscious little asshole!” When the ice zombies arrive to start scything and branding anything they see, the subtitles say “snarling,” and the kids almost die until some shady be-cowled weirdo shows up and gets them out of there. Nice timing, shit-dick ... maybe not for Hodor, but for the kids, for sure.

Elsewhere, Jon Snow’s pudgy friend and his disproportionately hot wife near their destination, and the wife is aghast because she usually spends all her time on the Wall, and wherever the hell they are is as grassy as it gets. Pudgy is all like, “Oh yeah, I’ve always loved grass because I can eat a bunch of it when I need to puke.” His gross little mustache sparkles along with morning dew on the nearby blades, and he does this romantic comedy thing about being nervous to introduce his lady to his mom and dad who, presumably, will be played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand. Turns out his dad doesn’t like Wildlings (who does?), but his lady just so happens to be one. Ruh-roh! Also, did you know this guy came from money? His parents’ house is super nice, and his mom (not Streisand, sadly) is like, “We’re really glad you’re here, just so long as you never fucked and/or agreed to raise a child with a Wildling.” Pudgy tugs at his collar and gulps like an old cartoon while his dead-eyed kid just sits there looking disgusting. Pudgy’s mom also has nice clothes, while he and his wife are practically wearing burlap sacks. This woman has never taken a bath, it seems, but that’s the Wildlings for you.

Meanwhile, the High Sparrow is forcing the king to learn the ceremony attached to that thing where he makes women who like sex walk nude through town while a nun shames them. I’d like to take the time to say I hope none of you are letting your kids watch this shit. Mostly because it’s weird that women aren’t allowed to like banging in Westeros, but also because the rest of it is nuts as well. Young King What’s-His-Shit is allowed to see Margaery, and she’s worried about her brother, while the lumber pile in her mouth that she’s callin’ teeth remain as white as a freshly washed tablecloth, despite having been in prison for who-knows-how-long. She’s got nice eyes, though, so we’ll forgive her for so obviously smuggling a toothbrush into jail. The king asks how her brother, Slow-Lorus, is doing, and she says a bunch of stuff about how he needs to atone. For fucking what!? Has she been brainwashed, or is she simply pretending and later she’s gonna stab the king of homeless dudes?

A quick check-in with Pudgy and company makes us wonder why they bothered to cut away to the king, and the dude somehow looks worse in nice clothes than that sack from before. His pissed-off dad could spot a Wildling woman from a mile away, too, and the dinner is very uncomfortable. Mom tries to smooth it over, but it doesn’t go well. Pudgy’s sister makes snide remarks about their dad’s ability to be cool, and Dad is like, “Damn, Pudgy, you fat!” 

Yeesh. If he’s lucky, though, his Wildling wife will throw him a pity blowie later, and even if she doesn’t, she regales them with the tale of the time Lord Pudge happened to slay an ice zombie. But oh no! She accidentally spills the beans about being from someplace else! Gulp! Well, they kept that secret for about two seconds. Way to draw it out, GoT. Dad is ... pissed. No wonder everyone murders everyone else around here: Their childhoods are shit. Hell, their adulthoods are shit! Dad’s one of those old-time racists, but Mom is all about acceptance and wants the woman to feel welcome. Dad kicks li’l Pudgy out anyway, and he’s like, “I leave at daybreak,” and the woman wants to scale bone mountain one last time, to no avail. Nobody cares, because this dude isn’t Jon Snow or, like, a Stark or something. And while the woman’s puffy dress rustles in the drafty old castle, Pudgy grabs his weird little family and takes off into the night with his dad’s sword.

We rejoin Arya who, at this point, has probably seen this play about her family about a hundred times while she waits for the chance to poison the actress her faceless wizard of a boss has told her to kill. She does happen to see a representation of the much-celebrated Red Wedding, and that shit makes her laugh, as it did to all of us who don’t know what is happening with this ridiculous show.

Anyway, it’s a good time for her to be poisoning fools, and so, armed with that info about her target being the only one who likes to drink rum, she does just that and sneaks off to await the inevitable demise of Lady Crane. But whoops—she gets busted on her way out by the very woman she’s meant to kill. It seems she kinda likes the woman, after all, and she actually breaks the first rule of being a faceless assassin, which is to, like, not make friends with people you’re gonna kill. Womp womp. Arya relates to her some acting tips and gives Ramsay a run for his money in the creepy-eye competition. They do that thing where she almost drinks the poison a bunch of times but then doesn’t, and before you know it, Arya is back to save her life and to cause trust issues within the company of actors. The wizard Faceless Fred ain’t going to like that one bit, but that’s cool, because Arya remembers where she hid that tiny little sword of hers some months ago. From within his face extraction lab, he tells that one bitchy little girl of his to kill Arya. Exciting? Maybe to longtime watchers. For us noobs, though, well, we just don’t give a shit.

We rejoin Margaery, who is about to embark on her naked walk of sadness. The High Sparrow talks all kinds of shit as Jamie Lannister rides up with an army of synchronized soldiers. Jamie makes death threats, but the High Sparrow is not fazed. He says he’d be psyched to die for the gods but also that he’ll hand Margaery over all the same.

Maybe this guy’s a little punk and nothing more? You bet. How did he rise to power, anyway? Turns out that Margaery had converted her husband to the church, which means no naked sadness walk. It is the very definition of church and state coming together, and that’s pretty lame. The people seem to like it, though, I guess. Jamie’s fake hand trembles, and he wonders where his sister is so he can bang off some steam. Oh gross. How did that sentence come to be? This is my life, you guys. Anyway, Tommen tells Jamie to chill the fuck out, because now that the crown has found god(s), Jamie gots to get got. Or leave town. Whatever. Either way.

Elsewhere, the janitor guy from Harry Potter tells his employees to take over some town called Riverrun while he hits his daughter. Everyone else in his dinner hall thinks he might be wigging out a little too hard, but he keeps telling them all that he wants to own that damn town. Then out comes some guy called Lord Edmure, who I’ve never seen once in my life before now. Another big deal lost on a new-ish watcher of the show.

We obviously have to check in with Cersei and Jamie again, and there are plans put in motion to kill everyone they can in an effort to fuck up the church. They’re getting all worked up from the murder talk, and it’s getting pretty gross. Thank the Lord it cuts back to Bran and his pal and that mysterious dude who saved them before. He’s practically Aragorn, only with all kinds of face burns. But whoops, it’s Bran’s Uncle Benjen. They sit around in an icy clearing, speaking about magic and what it means to be the Three-Eyed Raven, while the uncle is like, “Check out my bodacious face wounds!”

Back in the arroyos south of Horse-Guy-Opolis, Daenerys is already making plans to do something crazy. She wants to “take what’s mine,” and her boyfriend tells her she has way too many nicknames, but “Dragon Tits” is still the best one. Her whole little detachment of army dudes has to just stand around in the damn arroyo while she rides off to God-knows-where and rejoins her dragon, the one whose name is Dragon.

About fucking time, dude. Dragon just dragons it up while the horse guys freak out, and the guy from Nashville thinks to himself that it’s pretty cool he’s bonin’ this woman who can make dragons do whatever she wants. She makes another fucking speech about what people are going to do for her, but they’re all right with it, because if there’s one thing these equine-lovers are into, it’s slashin’ throats. Also growing beards, so ... yeah. They obviously all cheer for her because they're afraid she'll burn them alive. It's kind of her thing she likes to do.

The Pros
Hmmm ... hard to say what they may have been, since it went from last week’s action to another slow build to something. Dragons are always cool, but it’s just not really enough. It was cool to see Pudgy stand up for his family, but given the other things people have done, it wasn’t much.


The Cons
Another exposition fest, and those wind up being boring. Hodor may have died from pretty much nothing. It’s always super gross to see those Lannisters make out.


The Grade: C
No, this week didn’t suck as much as some of the others, but it still wasn’t that great. Perhaps we’ll get another action-packed episode next week, but this episode dragged on forever and ever and ever.


Morning Word: Honoring Fallen Warriors

Morning WordMonday, May 30, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Memorial Day Events Planned
America’s fallen warriors will be honored at Memorial Day events around the state today.

Johnson Wins Nomination
It took two rounds of voting, but former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson won the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in Orlando on Sunday. Andy Lyman, who covered the event in Florida, reports that Johnson and Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, hope voters who are frustrated with their other candidate choices will give the third party a shot at the White House when they go to the polls this fall.  

Sanders Hopeful He’ll Win New Mexcio
Also on Sunday, Bernie Sanders talked to a KOB reporter about the possibility of returning to New Mexico before the state’s primary on June 7. He told Chris Ramirez that he doesn’t believe a prolonged fight among Democrats in the primary will give Donald Trump the edge in November.

Who’s Donating?
Sandra Fish, New Mexico In Depth’s data reporter, has been looking at donations to presidential candidates from New Mexico voters. So far, residents have contributed more than $2.6 million. Fish also published a story on Roll Call about the brouhaha between Donald Trump and Gov. Susana Martinez last week.

Driver’s License Surge
The number of immigrants seeking driver’s licenses in New Mexico surged in the first three months of the year as lawmakers debated changes to a long-contested policy that allowed for those living in the country illegally to obtain licenses, according to a review by the Associated Press.
Data obtained through a records request showed 3,568 licenses were issued to foreign nationals from January to March. That compares with 4,026 licenses granted to foreign nationals for all of 2015.
PARCC Opt-Outs Decline
There weren’t many large-scale demonstrations protesting the PARCC tests this year, and it turns out the number of students opting out was down around the state, too.

Rookie Takes Checkered Flag
Race fans watched Alexander Rossi win the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday on fumes. Turns out his car ran out of fuel just before the checkered flag was dropped. Thank goodness for fumes. In fact, his Honda had to be topped up with fuel to make it to the celebration in Victory Circle.

Day Trippin’
If you have the holiday off, check out SFR’s Summer Guide for some fun new day-trip ideas.

Morning Word: First Lady Inspires Graduates

Morning WordFriday, May 27, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
First Lady Inspires Grads in Santa Fe
First lady Michelle Obama made quite an impression on 105 Santa Fe Indian School graduates during her commencement speech in Santa Fe on Thursday. She told the students to spread their values to the rest of the country.

Pueblo Wants Sacred Object Auction Halted in Paris
“The leader of a Native American community in New Mexico is pleading with the French people to stand with his tribe in its fight to keep Paris auction houses from auctioning off sacred objects,” reports KOB.
Acoma Pueblo released the letter from tribal Gov. Kurt Riley on Thursday. The letter comes as Paris' EVE auction house prepares to put up for bid hundreds of religious items and art pieces, including a ceremonial shield from the pueblo. Riley says likened the sacred tribal items to objects found in churches, basilicas and other places of worship. He says they're so important that no one individual can own, sell or transfer them.
Atrinea Health Faces Fraud Investigation
KRQE reports that Atrinea Health, a bankrupt New Mexico health care company that saw patients in Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, is now embattled in a fraud investigation and “facing a growing number of claims from customers.”

Udall Supports Sanders' Final Drive
Michael Coleman reports that unlike other establishment Democrats who have endorsed Hillary Clinton, US Sen. Tom Udall isn’t calling on Bernie Sanders to drop out of the primary until after every vote is counted.
Udall has a more personal reason for his reluctance to call on Sanders to drop out. The senator reminded me that his uncle – the late U.S. Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona – took his presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter all the way to the Democratic National Convention in 1976.

Much like Sanders with Clinton, Mo Udall challenged Carter from the left, presenting Democratic voters with a more liberal alternative. Udall and Carter tied in New Mexico caucuses that year.
Cops Looking for Violent Protesters
The Albuquerque police are asking the public to help them identify several protesters following the Trump rally earlier this week. Meanwhile, ABQ Free Press’  M Brianna Stallings talked to one woman who spent the night in jail after being removed from the rally inside the Convention Center.
“I hope that I inspired people to use their voice to stand up for what they believe in, or against harmful words or actions. I hope I gave hope to people who are despairing about this election. I hope I could start a conversation about what protesting means, and be an example of a more productive way of being angry,” says Tylina Hardy.
Trump Has Some Hispanic Support
The Associated Press reports on an increasing number of Hispanics who are coming out in support for Trump, “even in the face of resentment and suspicion from friends and family, who are among the overwhelming majority of non-white voters opposed to the New York businessman’s candidacy.” He was in North Dakota, where he picked up the final delegates he needed to clinch the nomination. While he was there, Matthew Reichbach reports, Trump said he believes Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation's only Latina governor, will come over to his side and support him in the general election.

Johnson Targets Conservatives
Still, there are conservatives who vow they’ll never support Trump, and that’s exactly who former Gov. Gary Johnson wants to target if he wins the Libertarian Party’s nomination in Orlando, Florida, this weekend. 

Fuego Off to Ice-Cold Start
It really hasn’t been a good start for the Santa Fe Fuego. They committed four errors and lost to Trinidad last night, 5-2. Now, they’re 1-8 to start the season. They’re at home all weekend and play Roswell tonight.

‘Our World Needs You’

First lady's speech to Santa Fe Indian School graduates charges them to spread their values to the rest of the country

Local NewsThursday, May 26, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller

To go forth and change not just the world, but what the world thinks of you, became the charge given to the 2016 graduates of the Santa Fe Indian School by first lady Michelle Obama, as well as the class's salutatorian and valedictorian. 

"Your communities need you—they need you to develop your potential and become who you are meant to be," Obama said. "And more than ever before, our world needs you, too. And you don’t need your first lady to tell you that. All you have to do is tune into the news and you’ll see that right now, some of the loudest voices in our national conversation are saying things that go against every single one of the values that you’ve been living at this school.

"They’re telling us that we should disrespect others because of who they are or where they come from or how they worship. They’re telling us that we should be selfish—that folks who are struggling don’t deserve our help. That we should just take what we can from life and not worry about anyone else. And they’re saying that it’s OK to keep harming our planet and using our land, our air, our water however we wish. But graduates, you all know that those are not the values that shape good citizens. Those are not the values that build strong families, and communities, and nations. 

"So we desperately need your voices and your values in this conversation, reminding us that we are all interconnected, all obligated to treat one another with respect. To act with integrity. To give back to those in need." 

Her calls to them to overcome challenges and persevere echoed the comments made by Salutatorian Chyanne Quintana (Ohkay Owingeh/Santa Clara) and Valedictorian Emanuel Vigil (Jicarilla Apache), who told their classmates to remember where they came from, the love and support they found at SFIS, the friendships they forged, their unified and tolerant community, and all they had been able to achieve. 

"Despite statistics and perceived stereotypes of Native Americans, you proved them all wrong," Vigil said. And whenever you go, whatever you do next, he added, that task will continue, as they must endeavor to change minds about Native Americans. He gave them a few words of wisdom from Lady Gaga to take along the way: "Remember you are a superstar and you were born this way." 

Valedictorian Emanuel Vigil (Jicarilla Apache) was valedictorian of the Class of 2016.
Elizabeth Miller

The first lady spent much of her speech talking about her own life experiences, a tough childhood laced with obstacles but filled with the values and priorities that led her from the Southside of Chicago, from a great-great-grandfather who was the property of another man and parents who grew up in segregated schools, to raise daughters who wake up every morning in the White House. 

“I heard that when you were first brainstorming about who to invite to your commencement and someone suggested me or my husband, some of you thought that that was an impossible dream—that it just wasn’t realistic to think that people like us would ever visit a school like this one,” Obama said. “Well, today, I want you to know that there is nowhere I would rather be than right here with all of you. Because while I might have grown up across the country … and while my journey may be a bit different than yours, when I learned about all of you, it was clear to me that our stories are connected and that your values—the values that infuse this school—are the very same values that my parents handed down to me.”

She called on them to see the challenges that test them as their greatest strengths and to ask for help immediately upon needing it when they arrive at college. 

The gym at the SFIS Pueblo Pavilion was packed to capacity, with additional attendees watching from an overflow room. All three superintendents who have served SFIS since its inception in 1977 also attended. The school saw an 87 percent cohort graduation rate, said Roy Herrera, superintendent of SFIS, and its students secured $5 million in scholarships. 

"Who you are today, your families supported your transformation," Herrera said. "Who you will be is in your hands and your spirit."

Eddie Humetewa (right) enters the auditorium.
Elizabeth Miller

"I still can't believe it, honestly. I had it in the back of my mind since the beginning of the year, and now that the day is come, I still believe it’s not happening, especially with Mrs. Obama here," said Eddie Humetewa, who graduated today from SFIS. Humetewa comes from the San Felipe, Santo Domingo and Santa Ana pueblos. His father attended SFIS, and his great-grandfather helped found the school, helping to secure the land grant and speaking with Pueblo leaders to recruit their students to the school when it started. 

“The way she speaks to Native youth is so eloquent, and I love the way she really wakes us up and kind of gives us the momentum we need," Humetewa says. “What she’s been doing, talking to us about changing, I guess empowering us, essentially, empowering us to do what we want, to think however we want and to be in charge of our own destiny."

This Weekend

Bluegrass, bees and Beas.

Weekend PicksFriday, May 27, 2016 by SFR

Lori Ottino and Erik Sawyer

Ottino and Sawyer join forces for the good of the region's bluegrass fans. Did we mention it's outside?

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Cecil Touchon: Before the Beginning, solo exhibition.

Art about words, we love that, and that is what this artist says his show is about. He deconstructs letter and word forms to create the interesting shapes in his work. Maybe you can see them clearly if you have a few glasses of wine at this opening.

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Made in the Desert: A Grand Opening Event

The first exhibition at a new venue features works by New Mexico and Arizona artists including Janet Abrams, Julia Barello, Susan Beiner, Melissa Cody and Brian Fleetwood (see SFR Picks).

More Info >>

Bee Walk and Native Bee House Tour

Join Olivia Carril, melittologist, on a native bee walk to visit and identify the many species of native bees living in the Railyard Park, followed by a tour of the Railyard's native bee house.

More Info >>

Pop-Up Taqueria at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

This Memorial Day weekend, head to the Anasazi Patio at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi for its inaugural Pop-Up Taqueria with chef Edgar Beas, who whips up gourmet tacos for the whole family. Tacos are $4 each.

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An Evening with Melanie

Melanie first attracted national attention when she stepped onto the stage at Woodstock, the summer of ’69. She gave a legendary performance on a stage that transformed a generation and changed music forever. She also sang that song that was like, "I've got a brand new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key," but that's not the big-deal part. We only told you so you'd be aware.

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Memorial Sunday Party & BBQ with Jody Wisternoff

Keep your long weekend going and dance to jams by Wisternoff and and handful of other Dj groups like Spoolius Melange.

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Greta Young: Big Paintings in a Small Van

West, a radio producer, rock opera composer and Santa Fe musician extraordinaire, and his local band perform "theatrical folk" music. With Joe's combination of country, rock, and entertainment, there's something for everyone.

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Joe West and the Santa Fe Revue

Joe West, radio show producer, rock opera composer, and Santa Fe musician extraordinaire, and his local band perform "theatrical folk" music. With Joe's combination of country, rock, and entertainment, there's something for everyone.

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.

The Fork


The ForkThursday, May 26, 2016 by Gwyneth Doland

A-List Dinner Date

Did you see President Obama having dinner and a beer with Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi? (Follow Bourdain on Facebook. He’s a riot.) Bourdain, my future husband, was in Vietnam shooting an upcoming episode of his show, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, and the outgoing president decided to join him, sitting on teeny-tiny little plastic stools for a traditional meal at a noodle restaurant. The episode is expected to air this fall. My desire to be the third wheel on that dinner date will never wane.

Binge-Worthy Weekend

Meanwhile, season two of Chef’s Table premieres this Friday night, and since I somehow (how?) managed to miss the first season, I’ll be binge-watching all six episodes of this Netflix XXX food porn between now and then. Gloriously creative people doing previously unimaginable things to potatoes: This stuff couldn’t tantalize me more if the chefs were as gloriously naked as the food. Wait, is that a show? Somebody tell me that’s a show. (While you’re on Netflix, remember The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover? With a smokin’ hot young Helen Mirren? It’s pretty weird—and weirdly steamy—so best if you start it after the kids have gone to bed.)

Capital Catering 

I hope you enjoy the review of State Capital Kitchen that’s in this week’s paper. Chef Mark Connell returned my call after we’d already gone to press and mentioned that he is collaborating with other talented chefs to do catering under the label City Different Collab. “Right now in the back of the house, I have guys who could be the head chef at a lot of different restaurants in town,” Connell said. “I have a lot of talent, and I’m hoping that I can keep them engaged so they don’t leave!”

Food Truck Fiesta

Street Eats returns this Sunday. #SFRAroundTown's food truck party is an afternoon fiesta in the parking lot of Whole Foods on St. Francis and Cordova. There will be trucks from Jambo Café, Bonsai Asian Tacos, Dr. Field Goods Kitchen, La Loncherita Salvadoreña and others. Plus beer. Plus dancing. Plus good times. Check it out.

So Picky

Whatever you do, make sure none of the foods on your plate touch each other. Urrr … what? That’s a little tidbit I picked up on in this story about picky eaters from NPR’s The Salt blog. That's “really a striking problem” for some people, says Jane Kauer, an anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied the topic. I have to admit I find this utterly baffling. But apparently, I’m one of those boorish oppressors the article describes as always trying to persuade other people to try things they don’t like. So … nope. I’m not changing. Don’t be a big baby! I know you say you hate cauliflower but I PROMISE YOU WILL LIKE THIS. Just take one bite. Just one. If you don’t, I think my head may explode.

Are there food festivals we need to know about? Great beers we should be drinking? Got news, tips or suggestions for The Fork? Let us know! Email

Morning Word: City Budget Approved

Morning WordThursday, May 26, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
Budget Deal Reached in Santa Fe
Santa Fe City Councilors have agreed to a new $82.2 million budget, and now you can expect to pay higher parking and recreation fees. “The budget does not address the pending sunset of the state’s 'hold harmless' payments, the effect of which will be to see another budget shortfall next year of $1.4 million, and $700,000 each year to follow until those payments fully taper off in 2030,” reports SFR's Elizabeth Miller.

First Lady to Deliver SFIS Commencement Speech
First lady Michelle Obama will give the commencement speech today at the Santa Fe Indian School. If you can’t attend the 1 pm ceremony, look for it on the city’s public access cable channel.

Republicans Defend Martinez
Dan Boyd reports, “High-profile GOP figures, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and former presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, came to [Gov. Susana] Martinez’s defense after Trump assailed the two-term Republican governor in his rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center and mused about launching a New Mexico gubernatorial run of his own.
Meanwhile, national media outlets were abuzz about the protesting in downtown Albuquerque that turned increasingly violent as the night went on and, some argued, could bolster Trump’s hard-hitting campaign talk. Some conservative talk radio hosts also jumped on the late-night incidents.

Trump himself, in a Wednesday social media post, described the protesters outside the Albuquerque Convention Center as “criminals.”
Convention Preview
New Mexico Political Report’s Andy Lyman, who is getting ready to head to Florida, has a preview of this weekend’s Libertarian Party’s nominating convention in Orlando.

D’Antonio Files Ethics Complaint
Heath Haussamen has been covering the 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s primary campaign in Las Cruces and reports that incumbent Mark D’Antonio has filed an ethics complaint against his Democratic Party primary opponent, James Dickens.
D’Antonio alleges that Dickens used his access as a prosecutor in the 12th Judicial District based in Alamogordo to compile statistics from an internal case management system. Dickens has since used those statistics to bolster his campaign claims that D’Antonio has taken fewer cases to trial and has had a lower success rate than prosecutors in other districts.
Pearce Jumps Into Water Access Battle
US Rep. Steve Pearce, R-New Mexico, “has joined the fight between ranchers and the federal government over access to water on national forest lands, saying the state can do more to protect the private property and water rights of its citizens,” according to an Associated Press report in the New Mexican.

PRC Hires Chief
“Nearly 10 months after the last chief of staff of the Public Regulation Commission suddenly resigned, Ernest Archuleta, a top administrator at the state Department of Transportation, has agreed to take the job,” reports Steve Terrell.
The commission voted to offer Archuleta the job in a split decision earlier this month, with two of the five commissioners voting against him. Carlos Padilla, a spokesman for the commission, said Wednesday that Archuleta will be paid $128,000 a year, a substantial increase over the $90,000 that the previous chief of staff, Vince Martinez, was paid.
Capital Blunder
KRQE’s Larry Barker found a $1,000,000 capital outlay blunder in the City of Albuquerque. The money was used to buy equipment for a 4-D theater at the International Balloon Museum, but it never got built. The equipment is still in storage.
Legislative Finance Committee Chairman, Senator John Arthur Smith tells KRQE News 13, “In my district a million dollars is a lot of money. I’d dearly love to have it for my streets and my local government whether it’s Lordsburg, Deming, T or C or Las Cruces.”

“It’s sort of a sad day in government when you hear about incidents like this. It’s not just a reflection on the legislature. It’s a reflection on all elected officials,” Senator Smith said.

In an effort to salvage its $1,000,000 investment, Balloon Museum officials have now decided to retrofit exhibit space and install portions of the equipment to create a 3-D theater. However, the decade old equipment is no longer under warranty and the Museum has yet to figure out how it will pay for movies to be shown on the big screen.
Sunport Escapes Long Screening Line Backups
We’ve been hearing about long security screening lines at airports around the country and a shakeup at the TSA, but so far the lines haven’t backed up too badly at the Albuquerque International Sunport at the start of the summer vacation season.

Finally, a City Budget Deal

Libraries are safe in new Santa Fe budget that increases fees for parks/rec and downtown parking

Local NewsWednesday, May 25, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller

Santa Fe’s governing body tonight approved the first balanced budget many councilors have seen in their terms in office, using natural attrition rates, increased fees and a gross receipts tax to close a $15 million shortfall. Looking ahead, several councilors promised in future years to see what has been a thorny process start earlier and allow for more transparency and public input.

"We have the opportunity tonight to vote on a budget that is balanced in every way … something that hasn’t necessarily been done in my tenure as a city councilor, and quite frankly, it was done by lots of hard work and lots of smart people," Councilor Carmichael Dominguez, who chairs the city’s finance committee, said after making a motion to approve the budget with clarifications—namely, that the hours will not be cut for city libraries, a topic that frequently appeared in the roughly 40 minutes of public comment.

The process, Dominguez added, also entailed nearly 30 hours of budget hearings, as well as individual meetings with staff.

Councilors were also quick to point out that because of additional reductions in payments from the state to infill tax revenue lost when changes were made to the gross receipts tax for food, the city will once again face a budget shortfall next year.

The budget for fiscal year 2016-17 is the first since the recession to balance the budget and avoiding drawing from reserves, one-time income or capital funds to cover operations, according to a summary prepared by the city manager. In every fund except the Airport Fund, which is paying for airport renovations and a management overhaul, operating revenues cover expenses.

Total recurring operating revenues of $320 million exceed planned expenditures by more than $14 million, according to the budget, which should allow $12 million to go to the capital budget for brick-and-mortar projects. The general fund would also see a reserve that exceeds the state-mandated minimum and nearly meets the governing body’s goal of 10 percent.

Most of the $5.3 million in cuts to operations costs come from personnel attrition.

“An easier way to explain the attrition rate, which those of us in finance committee all struggled with, is that it’s an element of shared sacrifice, and it’s based on historic information,” said Councilor Michael Harris. The aim is to allow emptied positions to remain as such, but in a targeted way so no city services suffer.

“We need to understand that all departments make sacrifices, and unlike what we heard, I don’t think we’re dying a slow death," Harris said. "I think that in fact, we’re putting ourselves back on very solid ground, and we can really start to improve our practices.”

The councilor was responding to comments from Chainbreaker Collective member Nohemy Bojorquez-Flores, who told councilors, “We are grateful that no cuts large enough to see limbs falling to the ground are being made, but the small amounts of cuts made to every department are the equivalent of being stabbed a thousand times with a needle. It will slowly bleed our community dry.”

Balancing the budget is also aided by moving $7 million in annual gross receipts tax revenue from the water utility, as a new ¼ percent municipal GRT will take effect Jan. 1, concurrent with a rollback on the ¼ percent water capital outlay GRT—for a net zero effect at the cash register. 

The city will also increase fees and service charges for the General Fund, Water Utility Franchise fee, and non-general fund fees, including higher downtown parking fees (meters will go from $1 to $2 per hour) to provide an estimated $2.1 million in revenue. Increasing parking fees is expected to generate a total of $1.2 million in revenue and spare subsidizing that department by $900,000. Higher parks and recreation fees will generate another $200,000, and increasing land use and development fees will add $1.625 million. Recently passed reforms to the short-term rental ordinance are anticipated to increase lodgers tax and gross receipts tax revenue by $1 million.

The ongoing reliance on gross receipts tax has been named repeatedly throughout this process by councilors and social justice advocates as a regressive tax that targets the city’s poorest residents, and it appeared again among the forward-looking comments made by councilors as they passed the mic to make speeches on this year’s budget.

Councilors also spoke to a need for increased transparency and public involvement in this process, to have the budget completed sooner and allow the public more opportunity to weigh in on it.

“I think we all realize the need to start this process earlier, and we have to really insist that not only we start the process early but we identify early ways for public to weigh in,” Councilor Joseph Maestas said. “I want to make sure we have the public involved in that process so they can really come away with a sense of ownership in developing a shared vision for their community.”

The budget does not address the pending sunset of the state’s “hold harmless” payments, the effect of which will be to see another budget shortfall next year of $1.4 million, and $700,000 each year to follow until those payments fully taper off in 2030.

“All of this gets us to zero. We have to leap immediately into work to make sure we can shore up the future of our budget for years to come, so the work doesn’t stop here,” Dominguez said. “We’ll immediately be moving into the next budget cycle.”

Trump in ABQ: Rally, Then Ruckus

Thousands showed up to hear the presumptive Republican nominee speak

Local NewsWednesday, May 25, 2016 by Steven Hsieh

“Get a job, losers!” shouted one of the more vocal Donald Trump supporters who stood in line Tuesday afternoon to watch the presumptive Republican nominee speak in Albuquerque.

The message was directed at two University of New Mexico students protesting the event. One of those students, Cassady Leonard, carried a sign that read “Hate won’t make us great.” She shrugged off the jeers. “If they support Donald Trump, I expect ignorance,” Leonard tells SFR.

“That booty belongs in the Valley!” another Trump supporter taunted. (Leonard was wearing shorts, along with a Bernie Sanders button pinned to her black cardigan.) 

The heckler, Angela Zerah, also wore a button. Hers read: “Bomb the SHIT out of ISIS.”

“I like the fact that Trump wants to protect our border,” Zerah says, referring to the businessman’s signature policy proposal of building a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. “People say he’s racist. He’s not racist. He just wants to protect the ones we got right now.” 

Angela Zerah supports Donald Trump for president.
Steven Hsieh

Zerah, a 46-year-old medical administrator who lives in Albuquerque, says she has never voted in her life but plans to cast her ballot for the first time in November.

By midafternoon, thousands of people had snaked around the Albuquerque Convention Center for Trump’s first rally in New Mexico. Baseball caps bearing the candidate’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” came in red, blue, white, pink and camouflage.

Most in line were there to support Trump but others came to disrupt the rally. And a few, like 18-year-old Bryan Metzger from Albuquerque, just wanted entertainment. “I’m here because it’s a spectacle,” Metzger says. “It’s kind of humorous.”

Cecil Stark, a retired electrical engineer with a bushy mustache, wore a Transformers t-shirt one size too small. Stark, 69, lived in Santa Fe for 30 years before moving to Albuquerque for cheaper housing.

Stark says he settled on Trump after his other choices, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and neurosurgeon Ben Carson, dropped out. But Stark says he is happy with the way things have turned out. 

“There’s nothing he says that I don’t like,” Stark claims. He’s especially drawn to Trump’s business background and tough rhetoric. “He wants to make America what it was before.”

Across the street, Tonita Gonzales, a curandera from the North Valley, blew into a conch shell as burnt sage wafted in the air.

“Forgive those that don’t know better,” Gonzales said as she directed a crowd through a traditional Indigenous ceremony. Behind her, Trump supporters and protesters were engaged in heated arguments. But Gonzales was unfazed. She continued speaking: “Heal the hatred they hold. Show them compassion so they can heal.”

Tonita Gonzales leads an Indigenous ceremony outside the Trump rally.
Steven Hsieh

In the hours before Trump’s rally began, hundreds of demonstrators gathered directly across from the Convention Center to protest the racist and misogynist rhetoric that some believe drives his campaign. Organizers led the crowd in chants of “¡Trump, escucha! !El pueblo esta en lucha!” (“Trump, listen! The people are struggling!”)

Critics are especially repulsed by two of his signature policy proposals: a border wall that Mexico would pay for and a ban on Muslims travelling to the US (he has somewhat backed down from the latter). 

“Trump is all about hate and racism, and I’m not,” says Bernadette Garcia, wearing sunglasses under an ACLU baseball cap. “As a person of color, I find him offensive. As a woman, I find him offensive.”

Lydia Karnikova, a tourist from Prague, came out for a slice of American politics on her last day in the country. She likened Trump’s rise to that of a far-right extremist movement in her home country of the Czech Republic.

“Nobody knew this could have happened,” Karnikova says. “Everybody was still mocking him a year ago.”

Trump walked onto the Convention Center stage to “Get Ready for This,” the pump-up song heard in NBA arenas across the country. 

Minutes earlier, a disembodied voice announced over a loudspeaker: “If a protester starts demonstrating, please do not touch or harm the protester.”

During an hourlong speech, the onetime reality TV star boasted about his successes, insulted his critics and encouraged security guards to kick out demonstrators who interrupted him.

Trump rattled through his list of derogatory nicknames: “crazy” Bernie Sanders, “goofy” Elizabeth Warren and the “dishonest slime” of the media. But he saved his harshest words for “crooked” Hillary Clinton.

She screams, and it drives me crazy,” he said, pretending to cover his ears before launching into an off-the-mark impression of the former secretary of state.

In one of the biggest applause lines of the night, Trump blamed Gov. Susana Martinez for an increase in food stamp recipients in New Mexico.

“We have to get your governor and get going,” he said to the crowd. “She’s got to do a better job, OK? She’s got to do a better job.”

Trump also lamented the relocation of Syrian refugees to the state, saying, “If I was governor, that wouldn’t be happening.”

Protesters occasionally interrupted the rally, only to be drowned out by supporters chanting “USA!” or the candidate’s name. In what has become a recurring motif on the Trump trail, the candidate mocked protesters as security guards escorted them out of the building.

Police escorted several protesters out of the building.
Steven Hsieh

“He can’t get a date, so he’s doing this instead,” he said, as guards brought a protester down from the bleachers.

“That kid looks like he’s 10 years old,” he said about another protester. The crowd ate it up, and Trump fed off their energy.

“There’s nowhere in the world safer than a Trump rally.”

As darkness fell, shouts of “Fuck Trump!” echoed through the streets of Albuquerque. Another group of protesters shouted the two-word message to passersby, to each other and to no one in particular. 

Trucks clogged a two-block stretch near the Convention Center. Drivers blared hip-hop and burned rubber, clouding the air with thick smoke. Protesters stood on truck beds, defiantly waving the Mexican flag. The scene felt like a party.

One of those protesters, Tony Torres, tells SFR, “I’m supporting my kind. I don’t want that fucker to come around here. We deserve better than that.” Torres, an 18-year-old who drove down from Santa Fe, says he did so with his parents’ permission. “I’m not letting anybody take me out of my country.”

Back in front of the Convention Center, Dustin Chavez-Davis, a UNM student wearing a neon yellow vest, tried to stop unruly protesters from throwing bottles at the police. An earlier ruckus during the rally shattered the Convention Center’s glass door, forcing Trump supporters to leave the building through an alternate exit. 

“We’re trying to keep it peaceful, man,” Chavez-Davis says. “But there are elements in the crowd. People are not listening. People are upset.”

As the night wore on, any semblance of order quickly crumbled away. Protesters pelted mounted police with a steady stream of pebbles, with the occasional fist-sized rock added into the mix. Some jumped on top of police cruisers. 

Police wearing riot gear responded to the projectiles with pepper spray and smoke canisters. They made four arrests, and several officers sustained injuries, according to the APD Twitter account.

At a Wednesday rally in Anaheim, California, police arrested at least five protesters.


After the rally, a festive protest outside descended into violence.
Steven Hsieh


See more photos from the event here.

No Toke Zone

Santa Fe National Forest issues 'reminder' on prohibition against cultivation or possession of marijuana on federal lands, subject to citation

Local NewsWednesday, May 25, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

Planning on sparking one on your next hike up the Winsor Trail? Watch out for the bark narcs. Even if the state of New Mexico is on your side. 

The Santa Fe National Forest today announced that it has issued an order effective May 31 prohibiting “possessing, storing or transporting marijuana” within forest boundaries and warned that its law enforcement officers are authorized to issue misdemeanor citations to those who break the rules. 

Forest spokeswoman Julie Anne Overton tells SFR that the agency’s biggest concerns are about resource protection and public health and safety around marijuana cultivation on public property, and the loss of trees that accompanies it. But there’s another reason: 

“They did it as kind of a reminder of the status quo that possessing marijuana, even if it's medicinal marijuana, is still illegal on federal property,” Overton says.  

Marijuana possession, storage or transport in the forest is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of no more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six months, according to a press release.

Overton says it’s not really a new rule but is intended to help law enforcement streamline responses to problems. “It’s to renew something that is already in place,” she says. “It’s not like we have had a big in increase in incidents or arrests. It’s a kind of paperwork thing.”

Game of Thrones for Noobs XVI

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