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You're Better off at the Hanging Tree

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' squanders…everything

MehThursday, November 20, 2014 by David Riedel

Does the creative team behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 see the parallel between its characters’ cynical use of propaganda and the movie studio’s cynical marketing decision to turn the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy into two movies? Probably. But who’s to blame for this travesty of marketing and greed? The makers of the Harry Potter series or Francis Ford Coppola? After all, The Godfather is only one novel.

That’s a diversion from stating not much happens in Mockingjay Part 1. It’s a half-story, and the cliffhanger ending feels made for TV, not the big screen. In this installment, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, duh) is convinced to join the rebellion, shoot some agitprop for Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and make out briefly with that dope Gale (Liam Hemsworth) while secretly pining for that wimp Peeta (Josh Hutcherson trying and failing to bring life to a role no one could make good).

The only reason this movie doesn’t rate a barf is because Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland show up for, respectively, welcome comic relief, smarm and beaming evil. Woody Harrelson is wasted, and Katniss cries. A lot. There’s an interesting story about politics buried beneath the boo-hoo YA-ness of it all, but the Hunger Games gang knows where its bread is buttered. Thirteen minutes of the running time is end credits.

 

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1
Directed by Francis Lawrence
With Lawrence, Hemsworth and Hutcherson
Regal Stadium 14
PG-13
125 min.

Morning Word: NM, Country Prepare for Obama Immigration Order

BernCo Treasurer's office slammed by state audit

Morning WordThursday, November 20, 2014 by Matthew Reichbach
  • The Associated Press looks at immigrants in the state and around the nation making preparations in advance of President Barack Obama's immigration executive order.
    Allegra Love, a Santa Fe-based immigration attorney, said she expects her services will be in high demand after Obama’s announcement. In response, she will be participating in immigration legal clinics to help potential applicants get their paperwork in order.


    Three immigrants, with the backing of immigrant rights groups, are suing San Juan County in federal court over detention following traffic stops.
    Earlier this year, immigration attorneys warned New Mexico counties that they could face litigation from inmates kept in custody for no other grounds than receiving a hold request from federal immigration authorities.

    Lawyers said the immigrant holds amounted to false imprisonment.
  • A state audit found some pretty serious wrongdoings in the Bernalillo County Treasurer's office, both by the current and previous treasurer.
    “What we found was that there were practices and preferential treatment that may have benefited investors or Patrick Padilla, rather than the county,” state Auditor Hector Balderas told KRQE News 13.

    The audit report, released Wednesday, points to financial record keeping by Padilla and Ortiz that was, at best, shoddy. At its worst, it may have been criminal.
  • How much could the slump in oil prices cost the state? The Albuquerque Journal says up to $100 million. One big reason why New Mexico had to slash its spending to balance the budget was declining oil prices. The prices went back up and the state budget went back up. Now, the oil and gas money is going back down and the available amount the legislature will be able to spend will be lower than expected. So some big priorities of the Martinez administration will have to be delayed.
    “We think the budget is simply not going to be big enough to accomplish major tax reform,” Finance and Administration Secretary Tom Clifford, a Gov. Susana Martinez appointee, told members of a key legislative panel Wednesday.

    But Clifford said some “targeted” tax breaks aimed at improving the state’s economy – with a smaller revenue hit – will still be pursued during the coming 60-day session.
  • New Mexico In Depth mapped the votes of the races for governor, U.S. Senate and each state House race. New Mexico Telegram will also have some more maps coming up in each race, either later in November or in early December.
  • The APD officer who shot James Boyd and is now retiring will be required to participated int eh Internal Affairs investigation into the shooting until his December 1 retirement. If he does not comply, he can be terminated.
  • A managing partner at an Albuquerque real estate firm was named the new chairman of the board of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank for 2015.
    "I'm honored; it's an incredible institution. I've met some amazing people, and so I feel very privileged to be in the room and part of the conversation," he told Business First on Wednesday. "I think it's important that the business community and general public understand the important role the Fed plays, particularly the fact it is an apolitical institution."
  • The Public Education Department has hired 11 people to act as liaisons with school districts to avoid the data errors that have plagued the teacher evaluations in the state so far.
  • The Las Cruces City Attorney who made controversial and widely-spread comments on a wish list for civil forfeiture is now on leave from the city. The city wouldn't provide any other details to the Las Cruces Sun-News about the leave by Harry "Pete" Connelly. Connelly's comments were made at a conference in Santa Fe and were reported in a New York Times article.
  • The Washington Times printed an opinion piece by Susana Martinez on immigration reform. The conservative newspaper had a special section on immigration from a conservative perspective. It shows that Martinez is showing an interest in national politics.
    Until our representatives in Washington stop acting like politicians and start leading, the immigration issue will continue to go unaddressed. As a result of inaction, we have a dysfunctional system. Our border is porous and insecure and, as each day passes, the problem grows larger and the cost of inaction higher. What we need in Washington are public servants who are willing to come together in a bipartisan way and tackle the issue head-on.
    And yes, she mentions drivers licenses and criticizes Bill Richardson. No Martinez political piece would be complete without at least one of these two, if not both.
  • She is being named as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. She is at the Republican Governors Association.
    Jindal is one of at least seven Republican governors being talked about as potential candidates for 2016. The others are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Rick Perry of Texas, Ohio’s John Kasich, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Indiana's Mike Pence and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.
  • Santa Fe mayor Javier Gonzales is traveling as well. He will be headed to a meeting of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. The meeting is in San Diego next weekend, so mayor Gonzales, like Martinez who is in Florida, will be able to avoid the winter weather of Santa Fe for at least a few days.
  • An APD officer sent an email to other officers about his "killology" course.
    “Are you prepared? Are you prepared for battle?” Grossman says in a promotional video.

    “Are there people who wake up every morning, determined to send your family in a box?” he says in another video. “Then you are in a war and you are a warrior.”
  • Farmington wants an exemption from laws that govern the amount of salinity in rivers. The city says domestic water softeners make it impossible for the city to reach an acceptable level of salinity.
    Since the regulations took effect, Rosen said the city has done much of what the EPA has asked, trying to reduce how much salt its sewage plant discharges. It restricted the effluent industrial businesses are allowed to discharge into the rivers. It ordered 25 oil and gas wells to stop discharging their waste, eliminating about 13,000 pounds of salt a day that was discharged into the rivers. It mailed informational flyers to residents.
  • How long will it take for New Mexico to recover all the jobs lost due to the recession? In New Mexico, at least, it will take until 2018 according to an economist with the Department of Workforce Solutions.
  • Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich asked Congress to spend #113 million more on WIPP. The facility is currently closed after a February radiation leak.
  • Former State Sen. Rod Adair is back in the Secretary of State's office. Adair had left the office to run Dianna Duran's campaign. Now that she won, Adair walked the other way through the revolving door back into her office and is the new press contact for the office as of Wednesday afternoon.
  • A decline in college enrollment nationwide is also taking place in New Mexico. The trend isn't skipping New Mexico and is putting UNM in a pinch.
  • The best success stories from the Sandia Science and Technology Park were celebrated on Wednesday. The biggest? Emcore.
    Emcore was the first tenant in the park, a 300-acre business and research center that launched in 1998 next to Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base. Since then, Emcore has become a premier supplier of fiber optics for high-speed telecommunications and Cable TV, and the world’s largest supplier of photovoltaic cells for satellites and spacecraft.
  • An oil rig explosion in southern New Mexico killed one rig worker and injured three others on Friday night. The explosion took place in Eddy County, which is in the middle of the oil patch that is experiencing an oil drilling boom.
  • Voter registration is open on the Navajo Nation for the special election to determine the new president.
  • Students in Deming may be receiving laptops as part of going to school.
    "I saw what it did for students and teaching in that district," said Lere. "The teachers came back and thought it was a great idea. The feedback we are getting from students is that they would prefer a laptop, as opposed to an I-Pad."
  • New Mexico News Port looks at the position of Lieutenant Governor and how important — or not important — the position is in state politics.
    “The position is not particularly important, the office doesn’t come with much in the way of power,” Krebs said. “It’s really just somebody who can replace the governor or when the governor can’t fulfill the duty of the office.”
  • KOB finds that TSA agents at the Sunport had 29 complaints filed against them under the American with Disabilities Act in 2012 and 2013.
  • The ride-sharing service Uber, riding a wave of bad publicity, is expanding into Santa Fe with the full support of mayor Javier Gonzales. The local cab company is not happy with Uber coming into town.
  • Longmire will be back for a fourth season. The drama was canceled by A&E but Netflix is bringing it back for at least one more season of ten episodes.
    "When Warner Horizon Television came to us with the idea for a new season of Longmire, we were intrigued because the series is so unique, and consistently great. We are thrilled to help continue Walt Longmire’s story for his large and passionate following," blurbs Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix.
    The TV series films in northern New Mexico.

Money Machine

While seeking to stifle big-money influence on elections, Congressman Ben Ray Luján takes helm at multimillion dollar PAC

Local NewsThursday, November 20, 2014 by Justin Horwath
US Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico, reportedly mingled with Democratic benefactors at the Hyatt Regency in Washington DC Tuesday night, earning an introduction to "more than 150 attendees from the [political action committee] and donor community" by outgoing chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Steve Israel for a reception that welcomed new members of the 114th Congress.

A lot of ink's been splashed about the national recognition Luján will as the leader of the political arm of US House Democrats. It's a "plum assignment." It's "another sign of his rising name in politics." The position is "high-profile."

Not mentioned: As the head of the DCCC, Luján has now become a cog in the modern-day election money machine that raises and spends millions of dollars to influence your vote.

'Floodgates for special-interest, corporate money'
It's a machine that Luján, in  theory, supported dismantling just months ago, when introduced a companion bill in the US House to New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall's constitutional amendment that would have given Congress and states the power to regulate the raising and spending of unlimited amounts of cash in elections. He says in a statement through the DCCC that he supports the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that seeks to shine more sunlight on groups raising and spending unlimited amounts of cash. 

“Citizens United opened the floodgates for special-interest, corporate money from hidden donors that seeks to influence elections," Luján said in a statement about his bill, referring to the US Supreme Court's 2010 decision Citizens United v the Federal Election Commission that granted individuals, corporations, unions and other organizations the ability to raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash in elections—as long as they don't coordinate how that cash is spent directly with candidates. “This amendment would take a critical step toward removing corporate influence in our elections and reaffirm the bedrock principles of our democracy by giving voice back to the people.”
 
But as the newly appointed leader of the DCCC, Luján will be tasked with overseeing a heavy hitting political action committee with a multi-million dollar balance sheet.

The DCCC is designated as a "party PAC" that must adhere to contributions limits of up to $32,400 from individuals and PACs. But there are no contribution limits on what political party committees and campaigns give to the DCCC.

Federal contribution limits for the year 2014
www.fec.gov

 

Asked how his chairmanship at the DCCC squares with his advocacy for campaign finance reform, Luján reaffirmed his support for the DISCLOSE Act, adding that a "huge portion" of the DCCC is "funded by grassroots donations averaging about $20, which stands in stark contrast to Republican outside groups run by Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers."


The Republican political operative and two industrialist brothers—veritable liberal boogymen—do run a network of groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash without having to disclose contributors. During the 2014 election cycle, conservative nonprofit groups that don't have to disclose donors spent nearly $130 million to the liberals dark money nonprofits' $32 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

But the party self-professed to support campaign finance reform isn't immune to the influence game, and certainly not fat checks given by the same fat cat corporate types liberals love to loath. According to that data, super PACs with a liberal viewpoint spent $192.6 million—$43.1 million more than conservative super PACs. Often heavy-hitting Democratic and Republican groups share the same donors, as companies attempt to spread influence across the political spectrum. 

From Jan. 1, 2013, to Oct. 15, 2014, the DCCC raised nearly $154 million dollars, according to FEC reports. The campaigns of Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, gave the DCCC just over $1 million each, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. PACs associated with corporations like Planned Parenthood, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Herbalife International, UnitedHealth Group, AT&T, Boeing Corp, Walmart, McDonalds, Wells Fargo and Bank of America each chipped in $30,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The National Republican Campaign Committee, the DCCC counterpart, raised $109 million in that period. Campaign finance numbers here are likely deflated since disclosures following the period after Oct. 15 have not yet been filed.

Independent expenditures
Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts in elections. Unlike nonprofits, they must disclose donors. The DCCC's designation as a party committee forces it to disclose its donors and adhere to contribution limits. But it does have an arm that's allowed to spend as much as it wants in elections, so long as the campaigns it's supporting don't know how and when the groups makes those expenditures.

During the 2014 election cycle, it used nearly $69 million to make "independent expenditures" in congressional races across the nation, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The vast majority—nearly $67 million—of the DCCC's independent expenditures during the 2014 election cycle financed advertising buys targeting Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

Ads the group runs against Republicans, of course, don't tend to shed the opposition party in a positive light. The DCCC focused a $4.5 million independent expenditure blitz against Republican House candidate in California's 7th Congressional District, Doug Ose. The ads against Ose drew scrutiny from local media outlets, earning this headline from The Sacramento Bee: Democratic ad hitting Doug Ose Goes too far. Ose narrowly lost a $20 million race—reportedly the most expensive in the nation.

US Rep. Luján's group fights big-money in politics with big-money
www.dccc.org

Contributors and constituents

Luján's statement didn't directly address the Hyatt Regency reception—including SFR's question about what contributors attended—but he does invoke his New Mexico roots when asked if his chairmanship of the group will grant well-heeled donors more access to the congressman than his constituents back home. "This new responsibility will increase my ability to fight for my constituents and all New Mexican families with the principles and values I was raised with," he argues, adding, "just last night I met with President Obama to discuss his upcoming action on immigration reform." Constituent services is at the top of his list as a congressman, he says, and "nothing about my new role will change that." 


It's worth mentioning that because Luján's 3rd Congressional District leans heavily Democratic, he doesn't face stiff challenges and unlike other House members, he doesn't have to spend as much time dialing for dollars for his own reelection. But as chairman of the DCCC, he's shouldered the responsibility to see that Democrats across the nation take seats back in the 2016 midterms. And to do that, he'll need to see to it that the DCCC is well-funded. 

While Luján's position is unpaid, he'll have a staff of about 100 people working for him there. The committee spent $15.2 million on salaries, wages and benefits during the 2014 election cycle, and as of October 15, it had $15.8 million in the bank, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

The front page of the DCCC's sleek website urges visitors to sign its petition to "End Citizens United" while another link leads to a page where the group exhorts visitors to "demand Citizens United be overturned for the 2016 elections." 

"Stop big money in politics," it says. 
 



 
another sign of Luján's rising name in politics.
another sign of Luján's rising name in politics
another sign of Luján's rising name in politics
another sign of Luján's rising name in politics

Ride Sharing Arrives in Santa Fe

Despite controversy with PRC and local cab operator, Uber makes surprise launch with mayor's support

Local NewsWednesday, November 19, 2014 by SFR
The ride-sharing taxi alternative Uber is making a surprise launch in Santa Fe today, giving a lift to Mayor Javier Gonzales from the Plaza as its “Rider Zero.”

"We know that particularly in the evenings people prefer to have access to convenient public transportation. The more options that we can have available to them, the better," Gonzales says after taking a short ride just before 10 am. He notes that he's excited about "the business model that Uber brings."

The company allows riders to call for a driver using a smart phone and charge the purchase directly to a credit card on file.

Steve Thompson, Uber's general manager for New Mexico, says the company came here after seeing thousands of potential users logging onto the app from around the city.

"Individuals want more more options on how to get around Santa Fe," he says, noting that hundreds of people also expressed interest in being Uber drivers here.

Santa Fe’s taxi scene has been dominated by Capital City Cab for the past 30 years. Company owner Matt Knowles first heard the news about the city cheerleading for Uber from SFR.

Ride-sharing companies can be detrimental to established businesses that have gone through the state’s regulation process, says Knowles, who argues that for the same reason, they can also be risky to riders.  

“The way we look at that is if you walked out of a bar, Evangelo’s or whatever bar downtown, and some guy wrote 'taxi' on the side of his car with white shoe polish, you probably wouldn’t get in that car,” he says. “As near as I can tell, all Uber or Lyft is offering is a way for that guy not to have to write “taxi” on the side of the car. He’s just connecting to you with an app. He’s still a stranger, you know nothing about his car inspection, nothing about his background. You don’t know about what kind of insurance he’s got. You are taking your chances if you ride with someone who is not a regulated entity.”

Although it’s too soon to tell what the effect could be here for his 70 employees, based on what happens in other cities, ride-sharing drivers “cherrypick” customers from hotel and bar areas. Knowles says that takes away lucrative business while the licensed cab company still has to serve customers in the far reaches of the city.          

“The [Public Regulation Commission]  has decided that the public is best served by one entity that can then get all the customers and keep prices down and service relatively high, whereas if you get multiple entities, those entities tend to focus on the denser areas and the outlying areas don’t get the same service,” says Knowles.

“They are all focused on smart phones, and they will be hanging around the bars and the expensive hotels for the most valuable customers,” he says, “and somebody whose grandma who doesn’t have a smart phone and wants to go to Kmart, they are not going to get Uber.”

Knowles says Capital Cab will also soon get in on the smart phone scene with its planned launch of an app for iPhone and Android.

Uber’s arrival on the transportation scene has made waves across the nation. When both it and Lyft kicked off in Albuquerque this year, the debate finally hit New Mexico.

In late September, a state District Court judge refused to order a halt to those rides when five taxi cab and limousine owners in Albuquerque sought relief in court. New Mexico Watchdog also reports that the PRC issued a cease-and-desist order earlier in the summer, but the companies have kept on rolling, and now the commission is taking public comment on the situation with an eye toward rulemaking in the upcoming legislative session.

Uber also landed in the news this week for comments one of its executives made to a Buzzfeed editor about conducting opposition research on journalists who dole out critical coverage. The company’s PR office was quick to issue a retort that those statements don’t reflect its values.

Here’s a blog post that the same spin machine issued this morning about coming to Santa Fe.
Rebecca Reynolds, whom Uber named as its first New Mexico driver, says she went through a background check before getting permission to be a driver. She says the job offers flexibility that will supplement her income from the hospitality industry. 

Thompson says riders should feel assured that drivers have been vetted.

"Of hundreds of applicants, there's very few of them who make it through the process because of how stringent our background check process is," he says, noting that the company looks at federal, state and local-level criminal databases and driving record histories. 

Cars used by approved drivers, he says, also must undergo a 19-point vehicle inspection, must have four doors and must be model year 2005 or newer.

Julie Ann Grimm and Nick Martinez collaborated on this story.

Morning Word: Officer in Boyd Shooting to Retire

ABQ mayor continues to push for right-to-work law

Morning WordWednesday, November 19, 2014 by Matthew Reichbach
  • One of the Albuquerque Police Department officers who shot and killed a homeless person who was illegally camping has filed his papers to retire. He is just shy of 19 years of service and can buy up to 20 years of service. So what does this mean?
    After 20 years of service, APD officers can retire and get about 70 percent of their pay in an annual pension. A year less, and Sandy would have to wait until he’s 61 to start collecting that money, likely costing him at least a million dollars.

    News 13 has also learned Sandy had recently been ordered to sit down with internal affairs investigators. Retiring allows him to avoid that interview.
  • Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry continued his push for right-to-work legislation while speaking at an event that was part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
    Berry said he is pushing for several new initiatives at this year's legislative session to build on recent successes. Changing New Mexico's right-to-work status as well as supporting the Boeing bill could help bring more manufacturing to New Mexico, he said.
  • Another Democrat from New Mexico got a high profile position in Washington D.C. This time it was Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was named the first vice chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus when Congress comes back in January. She is currently the whip of the caucus. She will take over for Ben Ray Luján, the current first vice chair. Luján was rumored to be a candidate for the chairmanship of the CHC, but he was instead a surprise choice to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
  • The fight over whether or not to approve a diversion of the Gila River is starting to come into starker relief. The staff at the Interstate Stream Commission signed a $500,000 contract in 2012 and then—a month later—went back and retroactively approved the contract. This is part of allegations of the commission not following the Open Meetings Act.
  • The Santa Fe Reporter looks at the status of emails as both a key way of doing business and something that public officials don't see as public records. At issue? Transitory emails.
    The Public Records Act stipulates how different public documents must be preserved over different periods of time. New Mexico’s Administrative Code says that “transitory” emails do not have to be retained, but it defines them as “information of temporary importance in lieu of oral communication” that are “only required for a limited time.”

    Trujillo explains “transitory” emails by giving an example. If she uses her email account to ask one of her colleagues at the office to find her certain information, several email exchanges between the two of them will likely follow. Only the final message of the conversation between them needs to be saved, Trujillo says, because the thread of messages leading up to it will be kept on the last email.
  • U.S. Rep. Luján, meanwhile, wants to keep the current executive director on board.
    “I have tremendous respect for Kelly Ward,” Luján told CQ Roll Call in a Tuesday interview. “It’s been an honor working with her throughout the years, getting to know her, she reaches out to members, she respects members, and I think she’s incredible. So someone like Kelly, if not Kelly herself is someone that I hope that we would serve.”
    Oh, and the Republicans reacted to the choice of Luján:
    “In selecting Ben Luján to head the DCCC, Nancy Pelosi has chosen a member of the uber-liberal House Progressive Caucus who has routinely voted for budgets that include amnesty for illegal immigrants, tax rates as high as 49%, and a massive expansion of Obamacare,” Prior said. “This pick will give rise to plenty of awkward moments on the 2016 campaign trail as Democrats in swing states will have to distance themselves from incoming Chairman Luján, the very person tasked with helping them get elected.”
  • The Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce spoke to area legislators about the upcoming session and what their priorities will be.
    Nuñez, who has been a member of both parties as well as an independent, said it is possible to work across the aisle.

    He, too, wants to work on regulatory reform as well as right-to-work legislation. Driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, agriculture and water are on his plate as well.
  • Five more people are suing the Archdiocese of Santa Fe over allegations of abuse by priests. They are just the latest in a series of lawsuits against the Church over widespread abuse.
  • Attorney General-elect Hector Balderas announced his new transition website. Balderas, the current state auditor, will take over for Gary King in the Attorney General's office. From a statement in announcing the new site:
    “I want to make it clear to New Mexicans that the Attorney General’s Office belongs to them and that it can only function at the highest level with their participation,” said Attorney General-Elect Balderas. “I campaigned on the promises of being the people’s advocate and making New Mexico’s public safety and economic security my top priorities. From day one, I will fulfill those promises as Attorney General, and I am committed to proactively engaging New Mexico’s communities as we work to protect our children and families.”
  • A federal judge ruled that state and private pension accounts from a former Metro Court administrator can be taken to pay restitution. The former administrator, Toby Martinez, "pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiracy and mail fraud in connection with two separate schemes that defrauded the state of $4.3 million by overbilling for architectural fees and construction at the project in Downtown Albuquerque" according to the Albuquerque Journal. Another name you probably recognize involved was Manny Aragon.
  • Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich were among the 41 votes against approving the Keystone XL pipeline. Udall said it was not appropriate for Congress to be approving a pipeline, saying it was the president's responsibility. Heinrich said approving the pipeline would show that the climate is not a priority.

    Politico says it is a preview of what the minority Democrats will look like. Martin Heinrich is quoted:
    “Social Security and Medicare, the environment, education. There are going to be lots of opportunities for them to show their true colors,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
  • KUNM reported on the latest about the controversial teacher evaluations and how the Public Education Department refuses to make any changes.
  • Some media news:

    The city of Farmington is planning on buying numbers building belonging to the Farmington Daily-Times and to expand the Civic Center, which sits on the same block. The paper's owners put the buildings up for sale along with dozens of other buildings in the chain, including several in New Mexico. The Daily-Times staff would move to another, smaller building in the city.

    KRWG is celebrating its 50th anniversary of public radio broadcasting.
  • A study by the University of New Mexico found the strengths and weaknesses in behavioral health treatments in Bernalillo County.
  • The controversial Artesia immigration detention center will be shut down by the end of the year and all those currently detained there—all families—will be transferred to a new facility south of San Antonio, Texas.

    Rep. Steve Pearce responded:
    "The Department of Homeland Security's announced closure of the immigration processing center in Artesia fulfills the department's commitment to the local community, the state and the nation," U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said in a statement. "The Artesia community was called on to play a vital role this summer, providing housing for hundreds of women and children who crossed the southern border."
  • A group that says there are too many liquor licenses in areas of the state of New Mexico wants to educate the public on the dangers of alcohol.
  • Lincoln County Commissioners voted to oppose a new EPA rule that would expand the jurisdiction over waterways.
  • Another member of the Navajo Nation Council is facing criminal charges over a scandal involving misuse of discretionary funds. The scandal has plagued the Council and included the resignation of the Council's speaker.
    Mel R. Begay, who serves on the Navajo Nation Council, faces one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, two counts of making or permitting a false Navajo Nation voucher and six counts of conflict of interest.
    In all, Begay is alleged to have misused over $30,000 in tribal funds.
  • Devon Energy wants to donate money to the Eddy County Sheriff's Office to buy new surveillance cameras to monitor oil field crimes.
  • I missed this over the weekend, but the Santa Fe New Mexican profiled actor and Air Force veteran David Huddleston. Who? He played the mayor in Blazing Saddles. He will introduce and do a Q&A at a screening of the classic comedy in Santa Fe on Friday, with proceeds going to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society.
  • There has been a decent start to the ski season when it comes to snow. Even if you don't ski, root for lots and lots of snow this winter in the mountains throughout the state to help ease the effects of the drought.

History Repeated

Artists at crossroads examines own work

PicksTuesday, November 18, 2014 by Enrique Limón

“I have a prayer, a spirit, a breath that is inside me,” Ehren Kee Natay says in his artist’s statement. “It tells me to create. It cannot be silenced. It can only be quieted by creating.”

As a culmination of a recent Mary Ella King Native Artist fellowship, Natay presents a talk on Thursday that dives deep into his experience as a contemporary Native American artist. He’s a walking dichotomy that teeters the line between contemporary approaches and ages-old unsettling history.

“This is where I’m at right now,” Natay jokes in his studio, pointing to a blank page that reads only “Intro,” all in caps, underlined. Around him are stencils and crates filled with empty spray paint cans. Natay’s work is laced with cross-cultural heritage, gender roles and “cultural amnesia,” all topics he no doubt will be broaching in his lecture.

As part of the fellowship stint, Natay plans on donating a recent work. It’s titled “Outside/In,” and features four figures surrounding a newly installed piping system.

The piece, his first watercolor, veers from his usual urban style, which is informed as much by his heritage as by the likes of Basquiat and Haring.

“It’s a traditional studio-period, pueblo-style painting,” the SFR Project Art Box alum says, pausing for a second and adding that the elders had it right in their resistance of infrastructure by the federal government.

Upon the completion of “Outside/In,” news broke that South Dakota-based Rosebud Sioux Tribe would consider the authorization of the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline an “act of war.” Proving thus that pieces like Natay’s speak volumes now more than ever.


Ehren Kee Natay
5:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 20. Free
School for Advanced Research
660 Garcia St., 954-7205

3 Questions

with John Gutierrez

3 QuestionsTuesday, November 18, 2014 by Enrique Limón

If you don’t like cheese, you’re no friend of mine. Few if any comfort foods are devoid of it, they instantly make any sandwich better and, as we all know, the moon is made out of it. For John Gutierrez, cheese is more than a topping, it’s a passion, and on Thursday at 2 pm, his coagulated dream curdles in the form of Cheesemongers of Santa Fe, a cut-to-order artisan cheese shop smack in the middle of Marcy Street.


When did your love affair with cheese begin?

When I was a customer in Forward Foods in Norman, Okla. It’s owned by my business partners in this venture here. In fact, all of the refrigeration in this shop are the first cheese cases I worked with, from the original store. I used to go in every time I got a paycheck, spend hours there and it became more than something I just enjoyed, it became an academic interest, really. I started buying books and reading about cheese in my own time, and I was eventually hired there.

What’s been the most interesting part of opening up this shop?
It’s all pretty tiring (laughs). It’s been a bit of a dream—I get to bring in all of my favorite things. It’s like an old-school deli, you get to eat what I like to eat. I work with who I want to work with, I can buy from as many different people as I want to buy from—I have over 70 vendors.

Say you’re stuck in a deserted island with nothing but Walmart-brand slices of cheese product for sustenance. What do you do?
Jump into the water.

7 Days

11.19.14

7 DaysTuesday, November 18, 2014 by SFR
1

Santa Fe New Mexican argues King dynasty is over

Finish the behavioral health shakeup investigation before giving up the throne?

2

City to repaint park water tank for $24,000

Now we hate things that are tan.

3

State puts up new hurdles to wolf recovery

Three little pigs say the huffing and puffing was out of control.

4

Vacation home sales rebound to 2006 levels

Santa Fe: where some have a second home and many have no home.

5

Sam Bregman steps down as state Dem Party chairman

Sometimes the coach should quit after the team loses the Super Bowl.

6

Man who stole CHARITY donation jar from music store turns self in

Proof that shame still works.

7

NM tourism director wants to spend another $3 million on “True” tourism campaign

Because the “False Accusations” campaign was just for election season.

Street View

11.19.14

Street ViewTuesday, November 18, 2014 by SFR
Frosty the Cocktail makes an appearance on the Cowgirl patio after Santa Fe’s first snow of the season.

Send your pics to Streetview@sfreporter.com or share with #SFRStreetview for a chance to win free movie passes to CCA Cinematheque.

Happy Notes

'Keep On Keepin’ On' chronicles jazz great Clark Terry

YayTuesday, November 18, 2014 by David Riedel

In the last few years, it seems that music documentaries about iconic people, places and things have been popping up every six months. There’s been 20 Feet from Stardom (about back-up singers), Beware of Mr. Baker (about drumming legend and notorious asshole Ginger Baker), Sound City (Foo Fighters mastermind Dave Grohl’s tribute to Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, Calif.) and Muscle Shoals (about the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and its famous players).

Keep On Keepin’ On takes as its subject Clark Terry—one of the most prolific jazz trumpeters who ever lived—and his latest protégé, Justin Kauflin, a pianist with extraordinary gifts who’s on the verge of breaking big. At first, it seems as if these two men have little in common other than the music. Terry is nearly 90 as the documentary begins, and Kauflin is in his early 20s.

But the music is just one way they’re connected. Kauflin is blind; Terry lost his sight as a result of a nearly lifelong struggle with diabetes. And they develop a friendship that transcends their surface-level differences.

Keep On Keepin’ On begins as a portrait of Terry and evolves into a simultaneous portrait of Kauflin (and by extension, his black lab seeing-eye-dog Candy). Like many effusive documentaries, there are people who sing Terry’s praises (most notably Quincy Jones, who mentions several times and with great reverence that he was Terry’s first student), but the warmth and affection for its subject makes some of the film’s softer moments charming instead of irritating. It’s not that effusive documentaries can’t be great (see: Sound City). But love fests can wear on you if you’re not part of the inner circle.

Keep On Keepin’ On has no such problems. Terry is one of the happiest presences to ever appear in a documentary, and he explains (in archival footage) the reason: He’s a happy guy and he likes happy music.

And everyone likes him. That’s why old friends and jazz legends pop up at Terry’s home in Pine Bluff, Ark., to check in on his health (throughout the film, Terry deals with a circulation problem in his legs brought on by diabetes).

Each time Kauflin stops by, the two stay up well past midnight talking jazz, running through old standards and writing new melodies; it’s amazing the energy Terry has despite being bedridden and constrained by an oxygen tank. Kauflin is an amiable presence, too, and his seemingly effortless piano work powers much of the film’s soundtrack.

What a fascinating double bill Keep On Keepin’ On would make with Whiplash, Damien Chazelle’s dramatic feature about a jazz mentor and his star pupil. Whereas Whiplash shows the darker side of such a relationship—the star pupil physically attacks the mentor at one point— Keep On Keepin’ On showcases a relationship built on mutual love and support.

It’s only fitting, then, that Keep On Keepin’ On has a happy ending for its subjects. Its celebration of friendship (and music) is a welcome respite in a season full of movies about the darker sides of human nature.

 

KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON
Directed by Alan Hicks
With Terry, Kauflin and Quincy Jones
CCA Cinematheque
R
84 min.

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