Santa Fe's next mayor will be a full-time employee and earn $110,000 for the effort. Before voters head to the polls, SFR asked the five candidates a series of questions to test their knowledge on various city issues. All five agreed and nobody made us play phone tag to any suspicious extent. Questions are listed below, and the correct answers are below those. We've highlighted incorrect answers in red and tried to offer some context where necessary. Early voting starts on Valentine's Day.


  1. What are Santa Fe’s sources of drinking water?
  2. How much hold harmless gross receipts tax capacity and unrestricted capital outlay gross receipts tax capacity does the city have?
  3. Santa Fe is part of the NCRTD and the SFSWMA. What do those acronyms stand for?
  4. Name two reasons the City Council can meet in a closed-door executive session.
  5. Outside of any government entity, who is the biggest employer in the city limits?


  1. The Rio Grande (San Juan/Chama or Buckman Direct Diversion were also acceptable answers), the Santa Fe River (which includes both reservoirs), and groundwater (the city well field and the Buckman well field).
  2. The city has three-eighths percent for hold harmless capacity and a quarter percent for capital outlay. The city does not currently implement any tax for either category.
  3. North Central Regional Transit District; Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency (most candidates blew past the SF part because it’s assumed).
  4. According to the Open Meetings Act, exceptions that relate to the city include pending or threatened litigation, acquisition or disposal of real property, personnel matters, or collective bargaining strategy.
  5. According to the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, Christus St. Vincent employs 2,150 people, the Santa Fe Opera employs 791; 626 people work at Walmart’s two locations, and Peters Corporation employs 518 people.

Peter Ives

Currently a second-term city councilor from District 2, Ives is an attorney at the Trust for Public Land.

  1. Well, we have four primary sources and I count three additional sources. The Santa Fe River and the San Juan/Chama Diversion Project water, which we pull out of the Rio Grande. The two others are the northwest well field and the Buckman well field. … We have of course, rainwater harvesting. There’s about 2,000 acre feet that falls on the rooftops of Santa Fe that we are allowed to capture and use for our personal use, so I count that as a fifth source. (He also cites potential for wastewater and conservation.)
  2. [The state] did give us the capacity to impose up to a three-eighths percent GRT to cover losses on the hold harmless, but the city has not implemented any of that. … [On capital outlay:] I apologize. I am not sure what that figure is off the top of my head. … Oh boy, I’m going to throw out a figure of a quarter percent, but I’m not sure if that’s right.
  3. SFSWMA is the Solid Waste Management Authority, which I have chaired in the past. And then the NCRTD is the North Central Regional Transportation District.
  4. One is, of course, relating to litigation that the city is involved in. The second is prospective real estate transactions and the like, where if that knowledge got out, you might affect the marketplace.
  5. I’m running through my checklist. … It’s probably Christus St. Vincent Hospital.

Joseph Maestas

Maestas had a stint as mayor of Española and is in his first term on the Santa Fe council for District 2. He's a civil engineer.

  1. The primary source of Santa Fe’s drinking water is from surface water, and that ranges anywhere from 5 to 15 percent … the Santa Fe River … San Juan/Chama water which we divert through the Buckman Direct Diversion. The next primary source of water is groundwater. We have some older city wells and then we have a cluster of Buckman wells.
  2. We do have some unused capacity. The state has provided authority for a wide array of what’s called local option gross receipts tax increments. We have not fully utilized the hold harmless application. I believe it’s about three-eighths percent. [On capital outlay:] We do have a one-fourth available that we repealed. I believe that was subsidizing the municipal water fund and that was for capital outlay.
  3. NCRTD is the North Central Regional Transit District and SWMA is the Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency.
  4. Pending litigation and personnel matters and real estate.
  5. Christus St. Vincent Hospital.

Kate Noble

A former economic development official under Mayor David Coss, Noble is now in private business and holds a seat on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education.

  1. Well, let’s see. We have the reservoirs, McClure and Nichols, we have the city wells, the Buckman wells and the Buckman Direct Diversion Project that pumps from the Rio Grande.
  2. Oy vey. OK, taking the second one first, I believe I was told there’s about $150 million in bonding capacity for capital projects. (SFR clarifies we’re looking for a percentage. Noble hums “Deck the Halls” as she thinks.) I think we have two quarter percents that are available [for hold harmless]. Geez. These are hard. On the second part … I don’t know.
  3. North Central Regional Transit District and Solid Waste Management Agency.
  4. One is limited personnel matters and one is disposition of real property. No, there’s litigation and real property. I guess the school board only does personnel.
  5. Single employer rather than a sector? Christus St. Vincent, I believe, is the biggest outside the government. Santa Fe Dining is surprisingly large.

Ron Trujillo

Trujillo is a three-term city councilor from District 4 and an employee of the state Department of Transportation.

  1. The Buckman Diversion, the Buckman well field and the sources in Santa Fe on the Santa Fe River. (Missed: wells within the city limits.)
  2. I think at the most they could increase maybe 1 percent. [On capital outlay] I don’t know the answer to that one.
  3. SWMA—Solid Waste Management Association … And the other one is on the tip of my tongue. Let’s come back to it. (SFR agrees.) North Central Regional Transit District.
  4. To discuss issues pertaining to the city that the mayor and the City Council need to discuss with our lawyer. (Note: This is the underlying assumption of many reasons for secrecy under the state Open Meetings Act. We were looking for specifics.)
  5. I would have to say retail. (SFR asks about a specific employer.) I’d say grocery stores … and hospitality.

Alan Webber

Co-founder of Fast Company magazine and a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Webber has a history in progressive politics.

  1. Well, we’ve got the Buckman Diversion, we’ve got wells, we’ve got groundwater and we’ve got Rick Perry, who couldn’t think of the fourth one, either. But please note there’s a $16 million bill waiting for us in the future because we’ve got wells that are supposed to be a 20-30 year useful life and they’re already running in the 40s. (Missed: Santa Fe River.)
  2. Oh geez. I can’t answer that. … [On capital outlay:] Let’s go with less than 1 percent. [Later, on hold harmless:] With the GRT, the city does have capacity. We’ve all said as candidates that increasing it feels like it would be inopportune. (Note: These answers are not specific.)
  3. The first one is, I’m going to go with rural transportation district. Swamuh. S-W-M-A. Keep going. What’s your next question?
  4. I would have to say personnel matters and … some sort of emergency issue, whether it’s public safety or otherwise, and didn’t they go into executive session when they were considering a legal strategy for the election? To talk about a legal matter and get the advice of the city attorney.
  5. Gerald Peters … and I say that when talking about a private employer with the most employment of enterprises, it would be Mr. Peters. (Note: This isn’t a business, per se; but Peters is, broadly, an employer. Century Bank and Peters Corporation total 692 employees, which together would rank third.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the number of terms Ives has served on the council. He's mid-way through is second term.