It's an SFR tradition to find out how much City Council candidates actually know about the city they are vying to help govern with an election cycle Pop Quiz!

This year, we are starting out with a round of questions for the two candidates seeking the seat Peter Ives is vacating in District 2, Michael J Garcia and Alysia Lori Abbott.

The rules: Each candidate is asked an identical set of trivia questions that they agree to answer without any help. We ask them to promise not to use Google, check their phones or ask Siri for answers, and they may not ask anyone else for a tip.


  1. What determines how much water flows down the Santa Fe River?
  2. True or false: second homes are taxed differently than full-time residences.
  3. What is Santa Fe’s minimum wage for tipped employees?
  4. What is Munis?
  5. Are solar panels allowed on buildings in the historic districts and how do those rules intersect with the city’s sustainability plan?


  1. Every year, the city looks at snowpack and runoff in mid-April and a percentage of the 30-year average is provided by NRCS. This is used to create a hydrograph that determines the daily release amounts. The amount of water released from the reservoirs into the river and to the acequias must, in total, be equal to or less than the amount of water that enters the McClure Reservoir in a given day. This amount is known as the bypass constraint. The goal is for the living river to receive up to 1,000 acre-feet per year in wet years, but in dry years it has been as little as 300 acre-feet. Acequia deliveries total 93 acre-feet and are determined by adjudication and have a court order agreement for delivery.
  2. False. All residential properties are taxed at the same rate.
  3. The minimum wage in Santa Fe is $11.80 an hour. Tipped employees, such as waiters and baristas, may be paid a minimum cash wage of $2.13 per hour as long as their cash wage plus tips earned per hour is equal to no less than minimum wage.
  4. Munis is the city’s new automated financial and accounting enterprise resource system. The city officially began using the new software on July 1. Munis is designed to ensure the accuracy of invoices and payments and lower the likelihood of fraud.
  5. Solar panels are allowed in the historic district as long as they are not publicly visible. Exceptions may be made in specific circumstances with approval of a special historic review. Discussions about how historic district codes intersect with the city’s sustainability goals were initiated in recent years by middle school students petitioning the city to allow for measures that would make it easier to achieve carbon neutrality by incorporating more flexibility into historic codes as they relate to renewable energy technologies.

Michael J Garcia

Garcia, born and raised in Santa Fe, has a master's degree in public administration from the University of New Mexico. He works for the Corporation for National Community Service, which oversees the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs.

  1. Current city code would determine that.
  2. False.
  3. $2.10.
  4. Can you … I couldn’t hear ya. Hmm. That’s a tough one. Hmm … Munis … It’s an acronym for something I’m trying to determine what it’s an acronym for. I’m trying to rack my brain on this one. I don’t like to give up easily. Oh, man … If I’m not mistaken it’s tied to a like, it’s an IT system but I can’t remember if it’s an acronym for something. I’m sorry, I’m … yeah … my answer would be it’s an information technology system but I don’t know if it’s an acronym for something.
  5. I want to think … my mind is surfing the downtown area to see if I’ve seen any solar panels … my answer would be no. What was the second part of the question? Well I know that solar panels are a big part of the city’s sustainability plan, and promoting solar energy production in all areas of the city including the historic district should be allowed.

Alysia Lori Abbott

Abbott has a doctorate in archealogy and owns her own business, Abboteck Inc. Professional Archaeological Services. She has worked as a historic preservation planner with the city of Santa Fe and has worked on state, federal and tribal conservation and preservation issues.

  1. What determines how much water flows down the Santa Fe River? We rely on snowpack and there are also springs all the way up so it’s a spring-fed as well as a snowpack-fed water source.
  2. Can you explain what you mean by taxed differently? Second homes … you mean just because they are second homes? That’s not correct.
  3. It is … for tipped employees … I think that for tipped employees, is it $17 an hour?
  4. Is it the municipal utilities? … I’m sorry, I don’t know. I’m not familiar with that.
  5. Solar panels are not precluded on homes in the historic district, there’s not a specific requirement against them but they do have to satisfy certain more restrictive requirements, visibility, things like that — whether or not they are visible. And it will be part of construction if it’s contributing buildings, certainly, it will have to go through the Historic Design Review Board process. I think that the city’s sustainability plan is not at odds with the restrictions in the historic district. We need to make sure that we continue to encourage the kinds of new sustainability activities that we have not encouraged in the historic district before, but I don’t think that the existing ordinance in any way makes it impossible for us to do both.