All-in for Alan
Just before everyone paying attention to the Santa Fe city election turned into a pumpkin at midnight, the city clerk emerged and declared Alan Webber the winner in the mayor's race. The entrepreneur took an early lead in the city's ranked-choice voting election, closing in on 40 percent after the first round. As Peter Ives, then Joe Maestas were eliminated, he gained ground. Both Ron Trujillo and Kate Noble ran strong, with Noble narrowly being eliminated in the third round. Her voters had Webber second by a 4-to-1 margin over Trujillo, giving the victory to the 69-year-old Webber.
Women win big for City Council
Meanwhile, Carol Romero-Wirth and JoAnne Vigil Coppler each beat a pair of contenders to claim City Council seats in Districts 2 and 4, respectively. Wirth won outright and Vigil Coppler used second-choice votes from Eric Holmes to secure victory over Greg Scargall. Incumbent Signe Lindell easily won reelection and Roman Abeyta was unopposed in his District 3 race. The council will have four women and four men on it when the newbies are sworn in next Monday.
Voters showed up to test the new voting system, with mixed results. Some tell SFR they loved the experience. Others said they'd rather go back to the old way. Yesterday, 20,604 people voted in the mayoral race. That's 36 percent, and more voters than the $4 million sugary-drink tax election last May. Had the new system not been in place, Alan Webber would still have won, but with only 39 percent of the vote. As it stands, Webber notched a whopping 66 percent with all the ballots tallied.
City officials couldn't seem to explain the delay ($) in getting results to the public. Santa Fe's spokesman said he didn't believe the ranked-choice voting system had anything to do with the pace of returns, but the city clerk unequivocally blamed the new ballots.
A dispensary in Santa Fe says it makes no sense that the state Department of Health has a highly regulated system of producing medical marijuana, yet the Department of Taxation and Revenue slaps a tax on the drug and says it isn't considered a prescription drug. Try getting some without a medical marijuana card and the doctor's letter that's needed to procure one. The dispensary, Sacred Garden, wants its gross receipts taxes back from the state. It lost a recent administrative hearing, but plans to appeal the decision to state District Court.
Bishops back advocate’s racism claims
Earlier this week, 33 Republican state lawmakers asked the Archbishop of Santa Fe to explain remarks made by Allan Sánchez, in which the head of the church's advocacy wing said there was an element of racism by those in power in denying further access to the state's permanent funds for early childhood education programs. Yesterday, John Wester and the state's two other Catholic bishops said Sánchez was right ($), and said he wasn't accusing specific lawmakers of being racist, but pointing out institutional racism.
Just in case …
In the event you haven't had enough election news, Española and Pecos also elected new mayors last night ($). To the north, no incumbents ran for reelection, and Javier Sanchez will join four new city councilors on the city's governing body. To the east, Telesfor Benavidez will lead Pecos. He replaces longtime mayor Tony Roybal, who has held the office for 16 years and chose not to run at the seasoned age of 80.
Gov. Susana Martinez has until today to sign bills passed by lawmakers last month. If she doesn't, they're vetoed. Martinez plans to sign a measure that will take $10 million of existing money for school building and capital projects and earmark it for school security. She has yet to sign the budget for the fiscal year that starts in July.
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