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

Morning Word: A Day Without an Immigrant

Morning WordFriday, February 17, 2017 by Matt Grubs

A Day Without an Immigrant
Santa Fe showed up strong to the more-or-less impromptu protest. Dozens of locally owned businesses around town closed their doors in solidarity with immigrant employees. Others stayed open, saying it was a way to make their own voice heard or that they planned to donate a portion of the day's proceeds.

Rep Wants More Answers from ICE
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham says Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials aren't sharing enough about their guidance, strategy or who agents are apprehending. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus requested the meeting, though some of their members were not allowed to enter because they weren't on the guest list.

Tough Timing for Border Patrol
After Tuesday's raids in Las Cruces, the immigrant community was on edge. When the US Border Patrol showed up at a local school, many worried it signaled the start of a new enforcement effort in places previously considered off-limits. It wasn't. The school said the law enforcement vehicle was there for a partners-in-education event.

House Panel Passes Ethics Reform
A proposed constitutional amendment that would create an independent ethics commission with the power to investigate legislators and elected officials unanimously passed through a House committee. The measure is one of several that purport to be a way to hold public officials accountable. With the session in its second half, the resolution moves on to another committee.

Lying Water Systems Bill Blocked
A bill that would make it a felony for a public water system to lie to the state Environment Department was blocked in committee yesterday, as Republicans rallied around Rep. James Strickler, who represents the district where the Animas Valley Water system operates. The state says the system gave it false water quality data to cover up serious problems.

Dam! Could It Happen Here?
That old standby story was in full effect as KOAT-TV looked at whether the government officials who monitor dam safety were worried about New Mexico's earthfill dams—which mirror the design of the compromised Oroville Dam in California. The short answer: No.

Delicious Designation
The annual James Beard Award nominations are out, and New Mexico has a handful of names on the list, including Santa Feans Martin Rios and Colin Shane of Arroyo Vino. In Albuquerque, Jonathan Perno of Los Poblanos made the list, too.

Rooms for Rent, Not for Lease
AirBnB, the online business that lets homeowners rent their rooms, apartments or houses by the night, says it has 60 percent more active hosts in New Mexico than just one year ago. And 120,000 people spent a night somewhere in the state. Santa Fe, where locals have decried the impact of nightly rentals on affordable long-term rental housing, saw $6.8 million in bookings last year. 

Thanks for reading! The Word hopes you can get outside this weekend.

Subscribe to the Morning Word at

Weekend Picks: Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

Weekend PicksFriday, February 17, 2017 by SFR

Well, Santa Fe—you really showed up to that City Council meeting to show your support for our "sanctuary city" status the other day, and we think you deserve a little treat. Or, at the very least, a chance to blow off some steam. So step into the weekend and enjoy yourselves. You've earned it.

Micaela Gardner: Tomorrow's Yesterday Home

This exhibit features never-before-seen works by the local painter who works on large alder panels displaying her ideas about the future world. Through June 4.

More Info >>

Patrick McFarlin: Fresh Oil/Crazy Quilts/Word Pictures

See McFarlin's newest paintings, which include passages from great books, psychedelic imagery and works that were originally conceived as quilt designs.

More Info >>

Eryn Bent

Folk and Americana originals written by this local songbird.

More Info >>

Love Your River Day

Show your love for the natural beauty of the Santa Fe River and spend a few hours cleaning it up before the snow can melt to fill it. Bring gloves and a warm coat to this 11th annual event.

More Info >>

7000 BC

Local writers and artists who are members of non-profit comic collective 7000 BC present their books and talk about their processes.

More Info >>

1905 Magazine Benefit Show

This fundraising event—hosted by Strangers Collective—offers artwork and merchandise from 1905 Magazine, a fashion publication founded in Santa Fe in 2014.

More Info >>

Akeem Ayanniyi

This Nigerian drummer demonstrates traditional drums including the ashiko, djembe and bata drums. He also shares Yoruba stories and explains his culture's mythology through his storytelling performances.

More Info >>

Kirk and Sheila Ellis: Pulling Back the Veil, a Conversation on Iran

Kirk, an award-winning screenwriter, and his wife Shelia, a board member at the museum, speak about Iran and the fantastic architecture that exists there. See stunning images of life in the country many of us know little about. Free with museum admission.

More Info >>

Omar Villanueva

Villanueva performs classical and Latin-American music on guitar.

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

Farewell, My Lovelies!

The ForkThursday, February 16, 2017 by Gwyneth Doland

Dearly beloved, I won’t beat about the croquembouche: I’m leaving you. It’s not you, it’s me. I have too much on my plate, so I’m passing The Fork on to another hungry eater who will feed you tons of juicy food news!
It has been such a pleasure to eat and write for you over the past year. I had so much fun discovering great restaurants that lived up to the hype, like State Capital Kitchen and Arroyo Vino. I loved talking to local chefs about how they make their magic, like Back Street Bistro’s David Jacoby and his matzo ball soup. It was great to talk to Sllin Cruz about the bittersweetness of being named executive chef at Geronimo after Eric DiStefano passed away. And I sniffled with you as we said goodbye to old friends like Mu Jing Lao of Mu Du Noodles. Just last week I laughed my ass off at your Trumptail recipes for drinking the political news away. It’s been good times!

Plus, I’m not really going anywhere. I’ll still be popping up in the paper. Remember, last year I wrote stories about judicial reform, local fallout from the financial crisis, a photographic history of the Rio Grande and a burgeoning Native food movement. And right now I’m working on a better-than-ever edition of our Annual Manual. (Got ideas for things we should include in that keepsake issue? Send them to

Now please give a warm welcome to Michael J Wilson, who is taking my place! He’s got a great piece about meat pies in this week’s paper. From now on when you contact The Fork you’ll be talking to Michael. Be nice. Send him all your restaurant review recommendations, announcements about food events and other tips and tidbits. On to the next course!

What news do you want to see in this newsletter? We want to hear from you! Let us know! Email

Closed in Solidarity

Here are the Businesses Closed For a #DayWithoutImmigrants

Local NewsThursday, February 16, 2017 by SFR

As part of a national strike against President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies, several Santa Fe businesses have closed shop to support "A Day Without Immigrants." We'll keep a running tally here, with each establishment's message. Let us know if we missed someone! In alphabetical order:

Artemisia Native Gardens (26 Quartz Trail, 989-1769)

Closed in support of all immigrants who contribute to the success and stability of the landscape industry throughout the United States. We are all immigrants, except for the Native American’s who’s sovereign nation rights should be respected. WATER IS LIFE! It is one of life's greatest pleasures, to work with people from all around the world and to learn from and respect the cultural differences that make this world a beautiful place. (Owner Dorothy Dean)
Back Road Pizza (1807 2nd St #1, 955-9055)

To our valued Customers:


In an act of solidarity with our customers, our community and our employees , Back Road Pizza is closing in support and respect for the nationwide protest "Day Without Immigrants" against President Donald Trump's horrible and hateful anti-immigrant policies.

We will re open on Friday February 17th at 11:30 AM

Thank you for your patronage and support!

The Bonsai Asian Tacos (1599 S. St. Francis Street, 316-9418)

Friends in Bonsai we love to cook for you but tomorrow we will be closed, in support of our immigrant community, Thank you for your understanding and apologies for any inconvenience that we may cause.
See you Back on Friday Regular hours. (Facebook)

Bumble Bee's Baja Grill (3777 Cerrillos Road, 988-3278)
We will be closed on Thursday, February 16th, In honor of National Pro-Immigrant Strike Day. THANK YOU for your support for all of our brothers and sisters. Bumble Bee's is still paying their employees even though they are on strike. We apologize for any inconvenience. See you Friday, February 17 when we re-open! (Facebook)
Burrito Company (111 Washington Ave, 982-4453)

Café Castro (2811 Cerrillos Road, 473-5800)

Cafe Fina (624 Old Las Vegas Hwy, 466-3886)

Counter Culture Cafe (930 Baca Street #1, 995-1105)
PROUD to say..... Add us to the list Santa Fe! (Facebook)
Del Valle Panaderia (3140 Cerrillos Road, 438-2532)

El Callejon Santa Fe (208 Galisteo Street)
Short notice, sorry, but we will be closed Thursday 2/16, in solidarity with A Day Without Immigrants action in Santa Fe and around the country.

At this time when we see such rancor and division between people and differing ideas about which direction to pursue as Americans, we choose to support this initiative to step back from commerce for a day and reflect on what we mean to one another, as hard-working humans doing the best we can, together, in this jewel of a town that we are so blessed to call home...

Sending love, see you back in the taqueria business Friday (Facebook)
El Rey Del Pollo (4350 Airport Rd #18, 570-1380)

El Paisano (3140 Cerrillos Road, Ste. C, 424-9105)

Goler Fine Imported Shoes (125 E Palace Ave # 125982-0924)

Friends of Goler,

Thursday, February 16th, Goler Shoes will join in an act of solidarity for our immigrant community who are a vital part of Santa Fe by closing in support of "A Day Without Immigrant" demonstrations. Goler is joining the nationwide protest against the Trump Administration's stance on immigration.

Goler will reopen on Friday, February 17th at 9am.

We believe in our Community. (Facebook)

Harry's Roadhouse (96 Old Las Vegas Hwy, 989-4629)

Due to the Day Without Immigrants Protest, we are unable to serve you and are closed. We support their voices and their actions. We look forward to seeing you Friday. We open at 7 AM. Thank you for your understanding. (Answering machine)

Izanami (21 Ten Thousand Waves Way, 982-9304)

a day without mexicans? without immigrants? we can't imagine such a terrible thing––-in fact, we want MORE of them in our lives! in honor of & solidarity with those who are such a vital part of our hard working Ten Thousand Waves family, we will be closing izanami today as part of the "Day Without Immigrants" nation-wide protest. with love & respect, we invite all spanish-speaking immigrants to come up to the spa today & enjoy the communal baths for free!

Un día sin Inmigrantes ? No podemos imaginar algo tan terrible, nosotros queremos MÁS Inmigrantes en nuestras vidas! En honor y respeto a aquellos que forman parte del vital trabajo en la familia de Ten Thousand Waves y en solidaridad con "Un día sin inmigrantes" hemos decidido cerrar Izanami ––e invitar a todos aquellos que inmigrantes a venir HOY a Ten Thousand Waves y tomar un baño gratis en la alberca comunal. (Facebook)

Jambo Cafe (College Plaza Shopping Center, 2010 Cerrillos Rd, 473-1269)

In solidarity Jambo Cafe is CLOSED today, a day without immigrants. Our closure, to walk together with other hospitality professionals, was driven by our employees, many who are indeed immigrants. (Facebook)
Mobil Clean Car Wash (2907 Siringo Rd, 702-3061)
Mobil clean car wash estamos cerrados unidos apoyo somos el pilar más fuerte q que tiene este nación lo vamos a demostrar 
La Boca (72 W Marcy St, 982-3433)
Hello Friends....

In an act of solidarity with our customers, our community and our employees , La Boca will be joining a Nationwide protest against the aggressive and fascist stance on immigration taken by the Trump administration. We will be closed one day, Thursday, February 16th in an effort to support the "Day Without Immigrants" protests.

We will re open on Friday February 17th at 11:30 AM

Thank you for your patronage and support!
Chef James Campbell Caruso, chef/owner (Facebook)
La Choza (905 Alarid St, 982-0909)
Letting all of our followers and future customers know: we apologize for such short notice and inconvenience this may have caused. We will be closed all day Thursday! Thank you for your understanding! (Facebook)
La Fogata Mexican Grill (112 W. San Francisco Street, 983-7302)

Hello Friends....

In an act of solidarity with our customers, our community and our employees , La Fogata Grill will be joining a Nationwide protest against the aggressive and fascist stance on immigration taken by the Trump administration. We will be closed one day, Thursday, February 16th in an effort to support the "Day Without Immigrants" protests.

We will re open on Friday February 17th at 8:30 AM

Thank you for your patronage and support!
Owner Jorge Santos (Facebook)
Jambo Café (2010 Cerrilos Rd., 473-1269)
In solidarity Jambo Cafe is CLOSED today, a day without immigrants. Our closure, to walk together with other hospitality professionals, was driven by our employees, many who are indeed immigrants. (Facebook)
Milad Persian Bistro (802 Canyon Road, 303-3581)
Milad Persian Bistro will be CLOSED Thursday February 16th to show our support and solidarity out of respect for our immigrant population in Santa Fe and nationwide. We will reopen on Friday the 17th. #adaywithoutimmigrants #miladbistro (Facebook)
Morada Latina (4985 Airport Rd, Ste A, 989-3889)
Nosotros en MORADA LATINA apoyamos a los inmigrantes. Por eso estaremos cerrados el 16 de febrero. Si se puede!!!
Nana Pancha (Food truck, 577-1265)

Bueno amigos nos unimos a la causa mañana estaremos cerrados nos vemos el viernes que dios los bendiga hoy estaremos asta las 11 00 pm gracias por su preferencia 505 577 1265 (Facebook)

Palacio Café (209 E Palace Ave., 983-3505)

The Pantry (1820 Cerrilos Road, 986-0022)

Panaderia Zaragoza (3277 Cerrillos Road, 471-9383)
Estimados clientes Panaderia Zaragoza nos unimos a la buena causa 
Cerraremos este Jueves 16 de Febrero 2017.
☆ ☆☆La UNION hace la Fuerza! ☆☆☆
Para el Viernes, horario regular. (Facebook)
Peace Pets (
Peace pets honors all humanity and to show our solidarity will be closed today in honor of our friends from all walks of life. #onelove #wearewithyou #immigrantsday
Pizza Centro New York Style (418 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe Design Center, 988-8825)

Plaza Café Southside (3466 Zafarano Drive, 424-0755)
"We closed today. You know, there’s a protest. A Day Without Immigrants. Our owners called and told us to close at 10." (Antonio, Server.)
Los Potrillos (1947 Cerrillos, 992-0550)

La Providencia Pupuseria
 (Food truck, 231-8617)
Les informamos que Pupuseria La Providencia mañana jueves 16 de febrero estaremos cerrados por el motivo de apoyar los inmigrantes gracias por su apoyo Dios les bendiga. El día viernes 17 estaremos abiertos de nuevo. (Facebook)
Tacqueria Adelitas (3565 Cerrillos Road, 474-4919)

The Ranch House (2571 Cristo's Road, 424-8900)
"I really didn’t even know about this until about an hour ago. I was talking about my staff, and I could see how important it was to a lot of people in this community. We’re not only going to pay kitchen staff but also servers what they would’ve made in tips today.” -Owner Josh Baum
Santa Fe Bite (311 Old Santa Fe Trail, 982-0544)
We will be closed today, February 16, in support of the immigrant’s boycott. Thank you. (Answering machine)

Santa Fe Guitar Academy (621 Velarde St., 577-1447)

No guitar lessons today at SFGA. I'm an immigrant and I love this initiative. (Robert Capocchi, owner)
Santa Fe Style Builders LLC (2925 Rufina St., 926-3539)
In honor of "A Day Without Immigrants" we will be closed today, February 16, 2017. (Facebook)

Second Street Brewery (Original: 1814 2nd Street, 982-3030, Railyard: 

1607 Paseo De Peralta #10, 989-3278)

The Shed (113 E Palace Ave, 982-9030)

Letting all of our followers and future customers know: we apologize for such short notice and inconvenience this may have caused. We will be closed all day Thursday! Thank you for your understanding!
Southwest Plastering Co. (2925 Rufina St., 438-6599)

In honor of "A Day Without Immigrants" we will be closed today, February 16, 2017.

En honor a "Un Día Sin Inmigrantes" estaremos cerrados hoy, 16 de febrero 2017. (Facebook)

Taqueria La Hacienda (1622 Saint Michael's Drive, 474-3431)

Tune Up Café (1115 Hickox St., 983-7060)

Vinaigrette (709 Don Cubero Alley, 820-9205)
DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS UPDATE. We will be closed in Santa Fe but open in ABQ. Our proceeds in ABQ will be donated to Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), as a show of solidarity with all immigrants who've helped build every aspect of the restaurant industry, from farm all the way to table. (Facebook)

A number of businesses around town chose to stay open for various reasons and with varying reaction by the community.

Boxcar (530 S. Guadalupe St., 988-7222)
The eatery stayed open with a modified menu and modified hours. It notified patrons through a Facebook post.
OFFICIAL NOTICE: In solidarity with our affected staff on 'Dia Sin Immigrantes' (Day Without Immigrants), we are suspending our regular menu and giving our crew the night off. We have chosen to stay open, lower our prices, and serve a 'stadium-style' menu to demonstrate the reality of an immediate paralysis that would occur at Boxcar if we were to lose our diverse group of employees.
:high_brightness: We hope that leaving our doors open will bring the community together to discuss the issues at hand, and we will make our patio space available to all who want to join the discussion. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and will return to normal operations tomorrow.
Cowgirl Hall of Fame (319 S. Guadalupe St., 982-2565)
The restaurant said on its Facebook page that it planned to donate 50 percent of the profits from "Mexican-inspired dishes," margaritas and Mexican beers as well as 10 percent of all sales to Somos Un Pueblo Unidos, a local immigrant-rights advocacy group. 

Rowley Farmhouse Ales (1405 Maclovia St., 428-0719)
Owner Jeffrey Kaplan posted a message on Facebook.
Sending out a heartfelt thank you to all of our hospitality team members. As a new business, we are unable to close today in protest. But, please know that we stand with all of our team members no matter their individual country of origin. We are better together than seperate.
Tecolote(1616 Saint Michael's Drive, 988-1362)
The family-owned restaurant posted the following letter on its window explaining its decision to stay open. SFR phoned to ask more about the decision, but the restaurant was closed per its regular hours.
A letter posted at the Tecolote Cafe

Tomasita's  (500 S. Guadalupe St., 983-5721)

Owner George Gundrey spoke to SFR on the phone and says he learned of the protest yesterday at 3 p.m. Instead of closing the longtime Railyard eatery and its sister restaurant in the De Vargas Mall, Atrisco, Gundrey chose to donate a portion of his profits to a local English literacy group that has worked with a number of employees.

"Ironically," he says, "we're really busy today. So that donation will easily be $2,000-3,000."

Gundrey says none of his 81 employees asked for the day off and everyone showed up to work. Reaction from the community was generally supportive, Gundrey says, except for a pair of negative Facebook comments.

"I'm pretty sure one of the commenters didn't even read what we planned to today," he says.


Morning Word: Immigration Raids Reach New Mexico

Morning WordThursday, February 16, 2017 by Matt Grubs

ICE Raid in Las Cruces
Immigration officials say Wednesday morning's roundup of what the agency calls deportable immigrants was routine. Some of those on the ground say the agency went door-to-door in one neighborhood asking to see proof of legal status, even stopping a car to question the occupants. The agency offered no details about its tactics, which sparked a protest that at one point blocked a street but continued to a peaceful end.

The State of Santa Fe
If you ask Javier Gonzales, it's strong. The mayor used his State of the City address to trumpet Santa Fe's $4.5 million surplus and propose a 5 percent raise for city employees. Gonzales also spent considerable time defending his proposal to tax sugary drinks to help fund early childhood education. And he likened Santa Fe's decision to be a sanctuary city to standing up to a bully—President Donald Trump, who threatened to yank federal dollars from such cities—all while not using the word "sanctuary."

Senate Passes Dark Money Bill
The state Senate passed a measure yesterday that campaign finance reformers view as a bit of a mixed bag. The bill would double the amount of money an individual can give to a candidate, but would also introduce disclosure rules for political expenditure groups that currently can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in elections without having to reveal much about where they're getting the money and how they're spending it.

State Revenue Outlook Stabilizes ...
... But about all you can say about an expected revenue projection for the state is that it hopefully won't get any worse. Lawmakers are still facing a deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars next year and myriad proposals to not just cut costs but raise money are circulating in the Legislature.

State's Largest School District Grapples With Cuts
Albuquerque Public Schools says it could save $10 million by laying off 750 people or shutting down the entire school system for four days. The district says it will try to use cash reserves to hold back any potential cuts, and yesterday a group of teachers gathered at district headquarters to urge APS to hold fast to the reserve fund spending plan. Lawmakers in Santa Fe have targeted school district reserve funds as a major source of money to shore up the state budget.

Eastern NM Power Project Scaled Back
The Tres Amigas project was supposed to link three independent power grids and more easily zip to market electricity generated from renewable sources. The whopping $1.5 billion price tag promised public revenue through a long-term lease with the State Land Office. The project has been scaled back considerably, but developers insist it's still in the works despite the fact that they've relinquished the lease.

MMA's Holm Appeals Loss
Albuquerque's Holly Holm, who rose to local fame with her boxing career and vaulted to international celebrity after defeating then-unbeatable MMA superstar Ronda Rousey, is appealing her weekend loss. Through her attorneys (one of whom is politico and former Attorney General Paul Bardacke), Holm says punches thrown after the end of the round cost her a fair shot at the MMA's first women's featherweight title.

Where Thoughts Serenely Sweet Express
Lastly, we just crossed the threshold into the final two weeks to enter SFR's poetry contest. You could win a few bucks or a gift certificate to someplace cool in town, but more importantly, you can get some eyes on your work as you muse about all that's best of dark and bright.

Thanks for reading! The Word's happy you're up and at it today.

Subscribe to the Morning Word at And don't forget to nominate your favorites in this year's Best of Santa Fe poll!

It's Strong

Mayor Javier Gonzales delivers his third State of the City speech

Local NewsWednesday, February 15, 2017 by Steven Hsieh

Mayor Javier Gonzales used his third annual State of the City speech to highlight successes over his tenure, defend controversial proposals including a tax on sugary beverages to fund early childhood services, and rebuke President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

“The state of our city is stronger than ever,” said Gonzales at the Convention Center ballroom to an audience of roughly 400 guests.

Gonzales bragged about Meow Wolf, the city’s $4.5 million surplus and Santa Fe 4th place ranking on Travel + Leisure’s list of the “Best Cities in the US.” He promised to work with City Council to invest in affordable housing, broadband Internet, and the Santa Fe Airport.

Here's a graphic showing the words that appear most frequently in Gonzales' speech:

The mayor also introduced a few new proposals, including a 5 percent, across-the-board raise for the city’s 1,500 employees, an idea met with applause. “When the workforce is struggling we should invest in them, not ask them, after years of cuts, to tighten their belts once again,” the mayor said.

He announced an initiative focused on equipping locals with “the 21st-century skills that help us compete and grow in the global economy.” Innovate Educate, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs, pledged $100,000 to help launch the project, called Santa Fe Advance, but Gonzales did not say whether any city funds would go to the program.

Of all his policy ideas, Gonzales devoted the most time to defending a proposed tax on sugary beverages to improve early childhood services. The mayor stressed that most of a child’s brain development happens before they turn 5.

“I’m tired of watching our kids fall short of their potential. I’m tired of watching generations of Santa Fe’s young people caught in the criminal justice system,” he said.

Gonzales invoked the names of two parents, Leah Chavez and Joanne Kind, who don’t make enough income to afford the high quality pre-kindergarten services. Driving home the point, he chose Danila Crespin Zidovsky, an early childcare advocate, to introduce his speech.

Gonzales’ plan would raise tax on certain sugar-sweetened beverages by 2 cents per fluid ounce, the revenue of which would be used to fund grants to meet a $7 million gap in pre-kindergarten programs. The Chamber of Commerce and local beverage distributors oppose the plan.

The mayor also lambasted President Donald Trump’s “un-American” executive order to pull federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities,” a term for jurisdictions that don’t commit resources to helping deportation authorities. Santa Fe implemented sanctuary policies in 1999.

“I’ve been asked if I’m really willing to risk all those federal dollars just to take on a fight over one simple policy,” the mayor said. “My response is simple. Every time we’re faced with a choice between standing up for our values or caving in to a bully, we will stand strong.”

Notably absent from Gonzales’ defense of the city’s immigration policies was the word “sanctuary,” a term that Gonzales used freely when he defended such policies on the national media circuit late last year. In order to put Santa Fe on better legal footing, city councilors recently pulled the word “sanctuary” from a resolution that aims to reaffirm and strengthen local immigration policies.

In closing, the mayor preached to the choir, holding up Santa Fe as a bastion of inclusivity and progressiveness as the Trump presidency hurls the nation towards a dark future.

“It’s hard not to feel anxious these days. Or angry. Or even afraid. I get that. I feel it too,” Gonzales said. “But standing here, looking out at all of you, it’s impossible not to feel something else too: inspired.”

Morning Word: Republicans Say Egolf Didn't Disclose Conflict

Morning WordWednesday, February 15, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Republicans Accuse Egolf of Conflict
The state Republican Party says Speaker of the House Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, failed to disclose a clear conflict of interest with marijuana-related legislation. Egolf is an attorney, and a medical marijuana company he represents is suing the state. The speaker says state rules are in his favor and an independent ethics group agrees, but says the example is why the state should pass a more stringent financial disclosure law.

Santa Fe Grapples with Being a Sanctuary City
This week, SFR reports that despite the city's self-designated sanctuary status, which means police are not to contact the feds when they suspect someone of being in the country illegally, that's exactly what happened on at least three occasions as police try to balance city policy with public safety. Meanwhile, hundreds of advocates packed a city committee meeting to support a proposal to reaffirm Santa Fe's sanctuary status.

Secretary of State Posts Public Officials' Financial Disclosures Online
New to her elected office, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has made required financial disclosure forms easily available online, including her own. The forms are required yearly of elected officials and appointees to boards and commissions.

Former Speaker Declines UNM Regents Appointment
Gov. Susana Martinez has named Don Tripp to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, but yesterday we learned Tripp, who recently resigned as speaker of the House and as a state representative, withdrew his name from consideration after worrying he'd run afoul of the state's Constitution. A provision in the Constitution bars legislators from being appointed to civil posts within one year of serving. 

Santa Fe Rep Hospitalized
State Representative Jim Trujillo, a Democrat who has represented Santa Fe since 2003, is in a Denver hospital for heart trouble. Trujillo was flown to Colorado last week. In his absence, the speaker of the House appointed Santa Fe Rep. Carl Trujillo, Jim Trujillo's nephew, to the chairman's seat of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.

Open Primary Bill Sails Through Committee
A bill that would let voters who aren't members of a major political party—currently that means Democrats or Republicans—vote in primary elections unanimously cleared a House committee. The party primaries are paid for by all taxpayers regardless of whether they belong to either party. A similar bill fell flat on the Senate side.

Santa Fe City Councilor Balks at Security Contract
Councilor Renee Villarreal is standing in the way of a proposed security contract with global giant G4S Secure Solutions. Villarreal says the company has a history of human rights violations, poor performance and overbilling.

Inn and Spa at Loretto on the Block
The iconic Santa Fe hotel that borrowed its design from the Taos Pueblo may soon change hands, as New Mexico-based Heritage Hotels & Resorts is in the process of reviewing financial details before finalizing the offer. 

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks it's past time someone invented the self-cleaning refrigerator.

Subscribe to the Morning Word at And don't forget to nominate your favorites in this year's Best of Santa Fe poll!

Man With a Plan

Long rumored to have his eye on higher office, Sen. Joseph Cervantes is sketching designs to reach the governor’s mansion

Local NewsWednesday, February 15, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Joseph Cervantes went to school to become an architect.

“You see a building, as an architect, before it’s built,” he says of his draw to the discipline. “You see people in the building and you see it in use. And it’s just in your mind. It’s a dream that you then begin to make happen.”

At age 56—three decades on from his life as a professional architect—he looks for all the world like he’s still designing, still sketching out a dream that would be the capstone for a political career. It’s a long way from then to now; from an architecture student to a presumptive Democratic candidate for governor.

In 1983, Cervantes took his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and headed west. A few years later, he had a license and a job working for modernist architect Dale Naegle in his studio north of San Diego. Then, though Cervantes admits it was hard to trade in the mild rays of the La Jolla coastline for the baking sun and unrelenting glare of the Chihuahuan Desert, he went home to build elementary schools in the town of Gadsden, south of Las Cruces.

The plan was always to come back to New Mexico, he says. Six years of study and a handful of years as a practicing architect left their mark on Cervantes: “I don’t do anything without a plan.”

He was soon headed to law school—a plan born from an attraction to the legal side of getting a building constructed—and building a successful 25-year career as an attorney. He served a few years on the Doña Ana County Commission and won stints as a Democratic legislator in both the New Mexico House of Representatives and the state Senate.

Now, Cervantes sounds an awful lot like a guy who plans to run for governor.

“The most important qualification of a governor is a vision,” he tells SFR in an interview between a Senate floor session and late afternoon meetings at the Roundhouse. “An ability to create a vision for our state. And then the second step of being governor is developing a plan to execute that vision.”

"The most important qualification of a governor is a vision."
-Joseph Cervantes

Primary elections for governor are 16 months away, in June 2018. With Gov. Susana Martinez termed out, the field of contenders for the next executive is already starting to unfold. Cervantes is in a good position. He has done well for himself as an attorney. A jury recently granted one of his clients a $165.5-million wrongful death award, a state-record payout of which he’ll get a big piece. While the money won’t roll in before campaign season—the defendant, FedEx, is appealing the decision—along with other legal victories and real estate investments, it gives Cervantes the kind of freedom needed to wage a lengthy, expensive primary campaign against a significant slate of challengers.

Cervantes thinks New Mexico’s next governor should focus on what works: natural advantages like the state’s border location and its wealth of renewable energy resources. “Those things are never going to change,” he says.

If it’s worth betting on those resources, it’s also worth acknowledging when the bet doesn’t come in as hoped. For example, Cervantes eventually supported the construction of Spaceport America, but says a $225-million investment in renewable energy programs at New Mexico State University and UNM would have been a smarter play for the state’s money. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we would have programs at the forefront of those industries without wondering if it was going to pay off.”

The Maybes

The field is by no means set, but these names are often mentioned by the political class as likely candidates for governor in 2018.


RJ Berry The current Albuquerque mayor has a legislative résumé and strong business backing, but will have to work hard to distance himself from Albuquerque’s beleaguered police department. There’s also the question of whether his vaunted bus rapid transit system will flop or fly.

Steve Pearce Representing the 2nd Congressional District, Pearce has proven his statewide appeal to Republican voters by besting Heather Wilson in the 2008 US Senate primary. But he was trounced by Tom Udall in the general election. Pearce’s office says he’ll make a decision on a run in the next few months.

John Sanchez The current lieutenant governor says he’s weighing his options. Sanchez lost to Bill Richardson in 2002, so the party faithful may decide he’s had his chance at governor. But Sanchez might be the man Republicans favor to retake the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Michelle Lujan Grisham.


Jeff Apodaca If the surname is familiar, it should be. The son of former Gov. Jerry Apodaca is a longtime media executive who says he’s “strongly considering” a run. He currently operates a venture capital consulting firm. It would be his first elected office, though calling him a political outsider would be a stretch.

Hector Balderas New Mexico’s attorney general has been targeting higher office since winning a state House seat in 2004, then two terms as state auditor and finally AG in 2014. He lost a 2012 bid for the Democratic US Senate nomination to Martin Heinrich. A spokeswoman says Balderas “believes a robust primary benefits the Democratic Party.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham The 1st Congressional District representative is the first one at the party. She used a slick internet video to announce her candidacy for governor in December. The former New Mexico Health Department Secretary and Bernalillo County Commissioner may have winnowed the field by planting her flag early.

Javier Gonzales Santa Fe’s mayor has confirmed he’s been talking to people about a potential run. He’s outspoken, progressive and to say Gonzales warms to the spotlight is like saying summer warms to the sun.

Alan Webber The co-founder of Fast Company magazine ran an unsuccessful race for the Democratic nomination in 2014. Since then, he’s turned his policy attention toward 1NM, a nonprofit focused on innovation and business. He tells SFR he’s gauging potential support statewide before deciding on a run.

Cervantes’ politics are at times progressive, but he’s not reflexively liberal. His view of recreational marijuana legalization, for example, seems to be evolving. He was concerned that early adoption would turn the state into a destination for those looking to get high. “I think as we see other states this last year enacting that choice for adults, any reservations I had in the past are being resolved.”

Still, he says just passing a law legalizing pot could catch New Mexico off guard, leaving employees who test positive for marijuana in workplace drug tests wondering if they’ll lose jobs or leaving police uncertain how to properly cite someone who they suspect of being too high to drive.

Former colleagues say Cervantes is known for that kind of careful consideration. Dan Foley, a former Republican state representative who frequently sparred with Democrats during his time as House Minority Whip, says, “He’s a very cerebral human being and not emotional about issues. He’s highly approachable.”

While Foley says the pair disagreed on plenty of issues, an often pragmatic approach to dealmaking served Cervantes well.

“In a body of 112 elected officials where the most dangerous place to be was between a legislator and a camera, Joseph was happy to be in the background working on deals,” Foley says.

Perhaps because of that legislative experience, Cervantes is slow to criticize governors who have worked hard to convince lawmakers—and the public—that their agenda is worth pursuing.

But not having that leadership, Cervantes warns, can lead to a state that’s treading water. That’s how he sees the last eight years—slyly including the post-presidential run years of former Gov. Bill Richardson in the figure he cites.

Decades as a lawyer and legislator have given Cervantes a deft touch for criticism. An understated delivery lets harsh words wash over you almost before you realize what’s been said.

Of Gov. Susana Martinez’ tenure, he wonders: “Is the most that can be said for the vision of the last six years that we have a state where we don’t issue driver’s licenses to undocumented citizens?”

When asked if US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s December entry into the race gave him second thoughts about running, he says, “I thought it was important, since we were just elected this last November, that we show the public a willingness to do the job that we were elected to do for a period of time before starting a run for the next race. … I really do believe that the people who elected me to the Senate deserve better than that.”

It’s lining up to be a crowded field for Democrats, with names such as Attorney General Hector Balderas and Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales in the conversation, but there is no one, Cervantes says, whose mere entry into the race could force him out. That is, of course, assuming he decides to get in at all. So much of politics is timing. Talking to Cervantes, you get the feeling that he thinks his time is now. He has a vision, and he’s working on that plan.

Border Patrol

Indigenous arts collective Postcommodity breaches theUS-Mexico border fence

FeaturesWednesday, February 15, 2017 by Jordan Eddy

Step into the room, and you’re caught in a centrifuge of whirring fence posts. Dark barriers slide across every wall, changing speed from one surface to the next like an ersatz carnival ride that’s about to burst at its bolts. The growl of tires on rocky soil, the hum of the passing barricade and a cacophony of industrial screeches, hisses and roars echo around the room. Between the fence slats, desert landscapes and sun-drenched suburban streets spin past. It’s a dizzying vision of the US-Mexico border, as seen from the American side.

This is A Very Long Line, an art installation featuring four wall-to-wall video projections and a soundtrack that debuted at Center for Contemporary Arts last April. Its creators are Raven Chacon (Navajo), Cristóbal Martínez (mestizo) and Kade L Twist (Cherokee), Southwestern artists who comprise the American Indian arts collective Postcommodity. Starting on March 17, the installation is scheduled to appear at the Whitney Biennial in New York City, one of the world’s most influential exhibitions of contemporary art. A documentary film (Through the Repellent Fence) about Postcommodity’s work on the border premieres at the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight film festival this weekend.

Peering skyward at Repellent Fence, Postcommodity’s 2015 land artwork that traversed the border.

The group’s recent achievements mark the tail end of a journey that spans a decade. The project that inspired A Very Long Line, a monumental work of land art titled Repellent Fence, culminated in an international effort to subvert the border fence for a brief but remarkable moment. In the process, two cities on either side of the divide forged a powerful new connection.

The projects have caused a ripple effect that will soon reach a global stage, at a moment when isolationist sentiment has gripped a large portion of the American electorate—and the upper echelons of the federal government. Policies shaped by a new nationalism will likely affect the borderlands more than any other region in the United States. A wall stands between much of the US and Mexico, but the cultural and economic fates of cities on both sides of the line are inextricably tied.

The Road

Postcommodity’s members have spent more hours than they can count roaming a road called International Avenue, an unpaved passage running along the American side of the border. “It’s only called that when it’s near a city, when it has public access,” says Chacon. “Outside of that it doesn’t have a name, because it intersects with private land.” The trio sees the route’s geographically dependent title as an intentional misnomer. “That’s a strategic rhetorical move, to project a discourse of diplomacy,” says Martínez. “A border is really a barrier, a filter. It’s meant to allow certain things to pass while keeping others from passing.”

This is what Postcommodity does best: cracking into sociopolitical structures to illuminate their intricacies. They explore the gargantuan but often invisible forces of globalization that have defined the 21st century—and their violent, colonizing effect on Indigenous people and nations. The most trafficked and policed border in the world was an obvious target.

Repellent Fence soars above the US-Mexico border fence. The barrier is a patchwork of different styles. There are vertical pylons (shown here), interlinked X’s, and lines of upright and inverted crosses.

The collective’s expeditions along a stretch of Arizona’s border fence started in 2013, in the midst of the Repellent Fence project. Their mission was to install a line of 26 giant helium balloons that spanned the border, forming a visual breach that would spark conversations between communities from both nations. The idea for the project had been evolving since the collective’s founding in 2007.

Throughout its 10-year history, Postcommodity has staged visual and sonic interventions in art institutions and public spaces across the world. Twist, who now lives in Santa Fe, was working on his MFA at Arizona State University in Tempe when he conceived of Postcommodity with Oklahoma artist Nathan Young (Pawnee/Delaware/Kiowa) and Phoenix artist Steven Yazzie (Navajo/Laguna).

One evening, Twist and Yazzie were having a beer in Twist’s backyard when they noticed a peculiar ornament in a nearby fig tree. Twist’s wife, Andrea R Hanley, had purchased a “scare-eye” balloon to frighten birds away from the tree’s fruit. The little yellow globe was emblazoned with several red, black and blue icons that matched the Indigenous iconography of the “open eye.” The balloon did little to repel its intended targets, but Yazzie and Twist imagined that this technically useless object with coincidental cultural significance could serve a different purpose.

The cyclonic A Very Long Line, at the Center for Contemporary Arts’ Spector Ripps Project Space in 2016. The installation is set to appear in the Whitney Biennial next month.

Yazzie, Young and Twist flew a 10-foot-wide vinyl replica of the balloon at a European artist residency in 2007, and again above the Phoenix skyline in 2008. The eye in the sky became a marker of Indigenous presence, an ephemeral watchtower above the neocolonial landscape more ominously monitored by swarms of drones and invisible digital surveillance networks. It was made to be seen, but also to symbolically view—and confront—the world around it.

Yazzie and Young have both since retired from Postcommodity. Chacon joined the group in 2009, and Martínez became a member a year later. Chacon, an internationally renowned experimental musician from Albuquerque, was drawn to the group because of its emphasis on mediums that weren’t typically used by Indigenous artists he saw in art galleries, such as sound and performance art. Martínez, who grew up in Santa Fe and resides in Phoenix, first encountered Postcommodity’s work as a PhD student at ASU. “They took these conventions, tore them apart and wove them back together again in a way that was brown, that was Indigenous. That was exciting,” says Martínez.

The Port

From their first conversation about the balloon, Twist and Yazzie dreamed of using it for a border installation. Early on, the collective envisioned a row of balloons running parallel to the fence, but they came to realize that crossing the border was essential to their goal of advancing a conversation. “There was no organizational infrastructure that existed to facilitate a proper dialogue across the border among Indigenous people, mestizos, and non-Indigenous stakeholders and collaborators,” says Twist.

“We traversed almost the entire span of the Arizona-Sonora border looking for where we could do this,” Chacon says. After years of searching, they chose the cities of Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, as the sites for Repellent Fence. The communities touch on the border line, and they have an official port of entry between them that connects their downtowns. “There was a memorandum of understanding between the two cities to support bi-national collaboration around social policy objectives,” says Twist. “That’s what got us there.”

Many border cities maintain agreements with communities across the fence, though most of them center on the people and goods that pass through the customs gate. Douglas and Agua Prieta’s exceedingly rare social policy accord was a lucky break for a project that initially seemed impossible—at least if the group was going to complete it with government approval.

The City of Douglas donated the local airport as a base of operations for the installation of Repellent Fence.

In 2012, Postcommodity began to secure grant money for Repellent Fence. Every two weeks, at least one member of the group traveled to Douglas and Agua Prieta to work on the project. The collective began holding community meetings in both towns, in search of ways to leverage municipal power that might push the project over federal hurdles. They connected with Jenea Sanchez and Martina Rendon, Douglas residents who have family on both sides of the border.

The Fence

Sanchez remembers a time when there was no fence—at least not in her neighborhood. When she was a child living in Agua Prieta, she could see her aunt’s house across the border from her yard. “My dad would stand outside and say, ‘Okay, go!’” she says. “We would run, and cross illegally to visit my aunt’s house. That’s how interconnected these communities are.”

Twist knew Sanchez from Arizona State, where they were both in the MFA program for intermedia. She spent most of her childhood living between Agua Prieta and Douglas. When Postcommodity chose her native cities for Repellent Fence in early 2012, Twist made a trip to Douglas and pitched the project in person. “Honestly, I was concerned about the idea of it crossing the border,” Sanchez says. “I just thought in my mind, ‘Border Patrol is going to come up with something that is not going to allow this project to go through.’”

These days, if Sanchez sent her own children on an impromptu dash to see their family in Agua Prieta, they wouldn’t get very far. Between cities, there’s an 18-foot steel fence that runs for six miles. Completed in 2012 at a cost of $14.2 million, it replaced a weaker fence that had stood more than 20 years. “I’ve seen three iterations of the fence in my lifetime,” Sanchez tells SFR. “Many of us have grown up with this revamping or reimagining of the border.”

Outside of town, where Postcommodity conducted its first scouting trips, the border fence is much more porous. Rural sections of the barrier are intended to prevent vehicles from crossing, but people can (and do) easily slip through. The border stretches roughly 2,000 miles, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. The Rio Grande forms a natural divide between Texas and Mexico, but from California to Arizona there’s a patchwork of fencing that covers 700 miles of the line. Some of the newest sections were erected by the George W Bush administration, which funded a $4 billion border wall project that ran from 2006 to 2010 and completed 640 miles of fence. Today, US Customs and Border Protection employs over 20,000 agents, and a vast majority work along the US-Mexico border.

On their long drives, Postcommodity encountered coyotes (men hired to escort illegal immigrants across the border) with ghillie suits and guns. The Border Patrol often informed them that drug cartels were discussing their presence over the radio waves. In some places, flash floods had completely washed away sections of the barricade. “The kind of totalitarian control that an ideal border seeks is thwarted very easily by Mother Nature,” notes Martínez.

In order to pull off Repellent Fence, Postcommodity needed to gain some measure of approval from leaders throughout the intricate power structures of the borderlands. Sanchez and her husband Robert Uribe got to work, in Douglas, turning the downtown cafe they own into a base of operations for the project. “We were getting grants, our idea was becoming more focused, and Jenea was helping us set up meetings with major stakeholders,” says Twist. “It was all becoming real.”

The Filter

Some things don’t pass as easily across the border as others. Crossing can alter the value of money in your pocket, and change your legal status from citizen to alien. A port of entry might open wide for a bus full of people or a carload of art—or it might slam shut. The day Rendon met Postcommodity and Sanchez, she’d spent part of her morning at the customs gate. “They have an art walk in Douglas, and she brought her paintings across the border to show them here,” says Twist. “She had to deal with the people at the border taking her paintings out and searching them for contraband in front of her kids.”

Rendon takes painting classes at Agua Prieta’s community center, Casa de la Cultura. She lives in Douglas, but many of her family members reside in Agua Prieta, where she spends most of her weekends. When she and Sanchez struck up a conversation at the art walk in spring 2014, they sensed value in uniting their respective networks. Almost immediately, they started planning an art walk that would span both sides of the border, to coincide with the launch of Repellent Fence.

The artists at a recent performance at the Center For Contemporary Arts.

“I always felt it was going to be possible,” Rendon writes in an email. “They already had everything very well planned out, including collaboration by Douglas city officials and the local Mexican consulate. The only thing left was making contact with Agua Prieta officials.” Rendon arranged high-level meetings for Postcommodity with the local government in Agua Prieta. Officials in both cities were finally on board with the project, but a barrier still loomed between these small centers of power. Douglas and Agua Prieta are socially and economically intertwined, but legally divided.

“A big thing we learned about the wall is that it’s economically chauvinistic,” Twist notes. “It’s a chauvinism towards the way dollars flip in a community.” Sanchez chronicles these disparities in her video art. One of her projects demonstrated how residents of Agua Prieta carefully recycle water. Houses in the outskirts of the city don’t have plumbing or electricity, a reality that seems foreign to Douglas residents, just a few miles away. Another video captured the painstaking process of crossing from Mexico to the United States for visa holders who bus over ever day.

“That’s what I knew from her work: the desocialization part, the dehumanization part,” says Twist. “There’s a bubbling frustration there.” Postcommodity crossed the border multiple times a day using their American passports, but a Mexican citizen would need a visa to perform the same feat. Twist says, “Depending on the length of your stay and what your objectives are, a visa could cost $500. So there’s a class of society that has visas, and the rest don’t.”

Douglas and Agua Prieta were once tied by a copper mining operation in the region, but that industry dried up in the 1980s. A railroad connecting the cities is long gone. Now there are two primary economic drivers in the region. In Agua Prieta, manufacturing plants—maquiladoras—offer residents low-paying jobs with long hours. On the American side, the Border Patrol provides career jobs in another otherwise depressed market. “Border security has become its own market system that people are dependent on,” says Martínez.

It’s a push-and-pull dynamic, considering that Douglas deeply relies on Agua Prieta economically. “They contribute 75 percent of sales tax in our city,” says Sanchez. “If we disrupt the relationship any further, our city will die. Literally, we will not survive.”

As political tensions mount between the governments of the United States and Mexico, the value of the peso is declining and fewer residents of Agua Prieta are able to afford shopping trips across the border. Sanchez says about four businesses have closed in downtown Douglas during the past three months. Like many borderland towns, Douglas and Agua Prieta’s isolation from larger centers of commerce means that even small fluctuations in either of their economies can force a dramatic impact for both.

The Cage

Repellent Fence flew from Oct. 9 to 12, 2015, in the midst of the United States presidential primary campaign. On Oct. 10, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Norcross, Georgia. “Every time I say we’re going to build a wall, everybody loves me,” Trump said to the roaring crowd. “This is going to be a Trump wall, this is going to be a wall that people aren’t going over.”

Repellent Fence was comprised of 26 balloons, each 10 feet in diameter, which flew 50 feet above the earth. The line stretched for two miles, from Douglas, Arizona, to Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.

“The fence came to represent a lot of complexity, which is funny because a lot of public discourse is centered around oversimplified cultural models of what it actually is,” says Martínez. “There’s an economy that’s happening at a local level, and then the border becomes a mediator of the global economy.”

The collective’s local alliances were vital to the completion of Repellent Fence. About three months before the project launched, the drug lord El Chapo escaped from a Mexican prison and Border Patrol went on high alert. They closed off the intended site for Repellent Fence, leaving Postcommodity scrambling to find another location. “It turns out the project was only possible in one place,” Twist explains. “It had to be on city land, where the Border Patrol didn’t have jurisdiction, so they couldn’t tell us no.”

Postcommodity completed the project almost entirely through verbal agreements with local government officials on both sides, though Douglas required that they purchase a $20 million insurance policy. In the last few months before launch, even the Border Patrol had warmed to the idea. The border-spanning art walk and a series of public presentations coincided with Repellent Fence. Sanchez and Rendon arranged for a shuttle to travel between the two cities, with expedited security checks at the port of entry. “For me, it rendered the fence invisible,” says Sanchez. “The balloons were a visual reminder of how futile the fence really is. It’s a physical barrier that is man-made, and government officials can decide whether to build it higher or tear it down.”

"For me, it rendered the fence invisible,” says Sanchez. “The balloons were a visual reminder of how futile the fence really is. It’s a physical barrier that is man-made, and government officials can decide whether to build it higher or tear it down."

Repellent Fence has had a lasting impact on Douglas and Agua Prieta. Sanchez and Rendon, the local artists, continue to collaborate on events that engage both communities. Sanchez’s husband Uribe, who is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, is now mayor. Inspired by Postcommodity, he ran on a platform of collaboration with communities in Mexico.

Despite the successes of Repellent Fence, the piece only conquered the wall for a moment—and that fence might get much taller in the coming years. Chacon, Martínez and Twist don’t consider themselves activists: They’re using art to shine light on complex socioeconomic dynamics, but they aren’t presenting solutions.

In a two-day shoot on International Avenue in 2016, Postcommodity captured footage of the passing fence from a car. Using images and sounds from the drive, they built the spinning birdcage of A Very Long Line and added a chaotic soundtrack. Stepping into the installation is intended to be a tumultuous sensory experience, mirroring the impact of the border wall itself.

“We’re prisoners of our own ideas and concepts; we’re imprisoned by our own discourse,” Martínez says. “That violence is disorienting, and it has a dizzying and unsettling effect. That’s precisely the effect the fence has on people along the border, and it radiates outward from there.”



MetroGlyphsWednesday, February 15, 2017 by SFR
Russ Thornton is a Santa Fe local who has replaced his first passion, cooking, with a new love interest, the weekly SFR comic he's created called MetroGlyphs. Reach him at

Morning Word: A Day Without an Immigrant

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