City Election Pop Quiz: Mayor

Alexis Martinez Johnson, Alan Webber, JoAnne Vigil Coppler,

They say knowledge is power. But how much knowledge of city basics do the three candidates seeking Santa Fe’s top job have? In our time-honored tradition, SFR quizzed the mayoral candidates on their familiarity with the city they hope to represent.

Early voting begins Oct. and Election Day is Nov. 2. There’s still plenty of time to register to vote and request a ballot by mail—see SFR’s voter timeline to know where, when and how to cast your ballot.

Ahead of the quiz, we made sure to ask the candidates to agree to SFR’s Honor Pledge: “I affirm that I will not give or receive any unauthorized help on this pop quiz, and that all answers will be my own.” Everyone agreed to play fairly. Candidate’s answers have been edited for space and clarity.


  1. What is the average hourly wage of a firefighter in Santa Fe?
  2. What’s the median single family home price in Santa Fe?
  3. Name two regulations that panhandlers must abide by while asking for help on public property.
  4. Explain what is required to request a public record.
  5. What percentage of units must developers dedicate to affordable housing when they build in the city?


  1. SFR used the current roster to determine the average wage of firefighters to be $16.10 based on a $48-hour work week—excluding firefighter paramedic, captains, chiefs, etc. The starting wage is $12.23.
  2. According to the latest report from the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, the median single family home price in the second quarter of 2021 was $600,000 in the city and county combined. (In the city alone, that figure is $495,000. In the county, outside the city, it was $647,000.)
  3. Panhandling in an aggressive manner is prohibited, including touching the solicited person without consent, using profane or abusive language or panhandling in a group of two or more people. Panhandling is prohibited within the median of the street. Panhandling at one location longer than two hours is prohibited. For all the rules regulating panhandling see the city code.
  4. The state Inspection of Public Records Act calls for a written request with a description of the record you would like to inspect, your name, date and contact information.
  5. According to the Santa Fe Homes Program, 20% of all new developments for sale must be priced affordably for purchasers earning 80% or less of the Area Median Income. For rental units developers must set aside 15% for affordable rental units. Developers can pay a fee in lieu of building affordable on site units.

Alan Webber

Score: 3 / 5

Webber seeks reelection after his first term as Santa Fe’s first full-time mayor. The co-founder of the business magazine Fast Company also ran for governor in 2014 as a member of the Democratic Party.

  1. The average hourly wage of a firefighter in Santa Fe is in the neighborhood of $22 an hour.
  2. I think they keep that statistic, by the county, not by the city, at least that’s the one I see reported in the papers, and I think at the moment we’re in the $560,000 area.
  3. Wow. Good question. Two regulations that they must abide by? They cannot make physical contact with anyone. They cannot verbally threaten anyone. If they’re standing in the medians, they cannot obstruct traffic, or represent a public danger to the traffic that is going by. On the other hand they are protected by First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, which makes the regulation of panhandling complicated.
  4. If you’re going to file an [Inspection of Public Records Act request] with the city, we have a formal process you have to go through...So you have to provide a written request with the specific information you’re seeking under IPRA and your name, we have to tell people who is filing that request.
  5. Before we talk about a specific number of units, there’s also a fee in lieu of which covers a way for developers to provide money for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, in lieu of the actual affordable units. The percentage that is specified in a development, I believe is 15% at the moment.

JoAnne Vigil Coppler

Score: 1 / 5

A first-term city councilor for District 4, Vigil Coppler has an extensive history in public administration and real estate. She served as treasurer of the Santa Fe County Democratic Party.

  1. I’m going to guess $21 an hour. [Vigil Coppler says later by text “To be fair, the question regarding firefighter average hourly should include the Fire Chief, Deputy Chiefs, Battalion Chiefs, Captains, Paramedics, EMTs as well as firefighters. They are all firefighters and report to fires.”]
  2. I believe it is something like $461,000.
  3. They have to stay within safe spaces, such as medians and sidewalks. I guess they can’t badger people.
  4. You have to submit your request in writing to the records division. You have to state exactly what it is you are wanting to retrieve and you have to have no expectation of getting it prior to 15 days.
  5. We just changed it. I believe 20% now.

Alexis Martinez Johnson

Score: 2 / 5

Martinez Johnson is an environmental engineering professional who previously ran for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District as the Republican candidate in 2020.

  1. I’d say $14.50.
  2. $365,000
  3. Well they cannot use violence. And the second one would be any type of misrepresentation of what they’re doing. Like [panhandling] on behalf of any type of business, or anything of that nature...I’m sure there’s a plethora of answers but from my understanding, they can do as they wish. When I went to go get petition signatures and I passed by Cerrillos Road I had to tell my children if they could please close their eyes because they were shooting heroin up right down the street and they didn’t have any shame at all to just to go to the side.
  4. I’m not aware of any particular form but I think that anybody should be able to submit any type of statement requesting information...I guess you could say that it is just a statement from a citizen requesting a particular subject matter, with their name and date and you know we should keep it as open as possible.
  5. 20%
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