Repeal and replace
A pair of proposals from Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and Councilor Joseph Maestas, who is running to replace Gonzales, would do away with the city's internal audit department and, if voters approve, create an independent inspector general's position at the city. A fraud assessment report released two weeks ago says the city's financial tracking systems are a mess. Employees have been placed on leave following the report and the city is now trying to figure out how much money, if any, is unaccounted for.
The City Council also tweaked rules for the Plaza vendor program at last night's meeting. The new point system rewards longevity for vendors, but caps the bonuses to allow for the possibility of new blood in the Plaza. Those longevity bonuses don't extend to an arts collective that holds two permits currently. The new system will be in place for five years.
Clean air, close vote
The Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 yesterday to move forward with a proposal that could dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the state's power plants over the next two decades. PNM, the state's largest energy provider, is already moving in that direction, as are other power companies throughout the state. The plan in front of the PRC would set standards and hold the companies to them. Big questions left include how much of the changes to power generation will be passed on to New Mexico customers and what will happen to clean air standards on the federal level.
Three former officers for the Hobbs Police Department say they were told a minority-dominated part of town was the best place for them to write traffic tickets and that two of the officers who were African American were discriminated against, then punished when they reported it. All three officers now work for the Lea County Sheriff's Department, which pays $6 less an hour, or more than $12,000 in the average work year.
Youth pastor charged
A Las Cruces youth pastor faces federal charges of child exploitation and other crimes, including the attempted production of child pornography. Prosecutors say 30-year-old Stephen Arellano began an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl at the Apostolic Assembly Church and that it eventually turned sexual both over smartphone and in person at a youth convention.
Judicial watchdogs want judge out
The state's Judicial Standards Commission has petitioned the Supreme Court to remove an Eddy County magistrate judge for misusing his state email account. The commission says Judge Henry Castaneda sent pornographic, racist and sexist emails from his state email address. Apparently, a state employee who had been fired in the affair-promoting Ashley Madison email leak scandal asked for emails from 10 government employees, including Castaneda, and discovered the offensive messages.
The Santa Fe restaurant bearing that name finds itself on a national Top 10 list, courtesy of TripAdvisor. The travel website placed it the seventh-best spot in the country for fine dining. That's lofty territory and includes some amazing restaurants, rated not by restaurant critics but by travelers.
As the rest of the US soccer world reeled at the failure of the men's national team to qualify for next year's World Cup, the Santa Fe City Council advanced plans to explore the construction of a regional soccer complex. Funding is a big concern, though both the city and county have expressed desire to build a system of soccer pitches that can attract major competitions and foster development.
Thanks for reading! The Word thinks an in-depth series of reports on the English Premier League is probably a good way to advance the soccer story. Just in case any editors happen to read down this far.
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