Navajo president avoids spat with Trump

Not racist

That's the official word from the White House after the president made a tired joke about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's heritage during a ceremony meant to honor Navajo code talkers. He called her Pocahontas, as he did to large cheers on the campaign trail. Trump—and others—have criticized her claim of Native heritage. The ceremony took place in the White House, under a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the president who signed the Indian Removal Act. It earned no cheers. Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye took the high road, declining to directly respond to the comment and instead pointing out the "unfortunate historical legacy" of prejudice against Native people.

Santa Fe’s history

Speaking of historical legacies, Santa Fe released a list of monuments and events that honor various parts of the city's 400-year history. The mayor asked for the review in August, as violent protests broke out in Virginia and Confederate monuments were being removed from cities across the country. It's still not certain what the list will mean, other than a public inventory, but the city is soliciting public comment, which means it's likely to get an earful. A final report that could consider additions or subtractions from the list will be finished early next year.

Disciplinary decision

Attorney General Hector Balderas is still reviewing a request by the city of Santa Fe to clarify state law on whether disciplinary findings by police are a matter of public record. The mayor wrote a letter to Balderas in August, weeks after an SFR cover story on how little the public learns after they complain about an officer's conduct. Similarly, officers are unable to let the public know when they've been cleared after an investigation. Cities around the state view the public records law differently and there's been no clear opinion offered by Balderas.

You’re not late for school

Los Alamos schools are considering a later start to the school day. If it's implemented, the new high school day would start at 8:35 in the morning, 45 minutes later. Not everyone's in favor of the idea, which might be offered as an alternative schedule in addition to the current 7:50 start. It would likely push back extracurricular start times and mean different bus schedules.


The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center recently bid farewell to Billy Sparks, the executive in charge of communications strategy. Sparks' salary had long been a source of angst among those who viewed the hire of a former Bill Richardson pitchman as a political favor. But he'll still earn $70 an hour in a quarter-time consulting role during retirement through the fall of next year.

Handwritten hassle for parking violators

Santa Fe's parking enforcement officers are using old tickets while the city switches to a new system designed to make the tickets more reliable (and probably less arguable). The handwritten tickets have old info on them that's being scratched out by the officers. The city says it's silly to spend money on new tickets when a new system is in the works.

Study finds medical cannabis kicks opioid habit

A study released recently by the University of New Mexico found that 84 percent of people who were enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program had success in reducing their dependence on narcotic painkillers. That's a much higher success rate than those people studied who weren't also using medical cannabis. Opioid-overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent decades. The university plans a larger study of the issue.

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