Party option

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver cashed in much of the political goodwill she had amassed with Republicans yesterday when she announced she planned to bring back the straight-party option on ballots this November ($). The move means voters can walk into a polling place and select Democrat, Republican, or, this year, Libertarian at the top of the ballot and thereby vote for all of that party's candidates. Republicans hate it for a couple reasons (and might sue), foremost of which is that Democrats outnumber them by almost 200,000 voters. And Libertarians aren't thrilled either.

Child death rulings 

A Taos judge tossed the child abuse charges for three defendants in the Amalia compound case and ordered them released from jail because preliminary hearings did not occur within 10 days as required by law. Two others newly charged by the state with child abuse resulting in death remain in jail. They pleaded not guilty.

What a night/morning

After conducting a hearing that lasted for six hours and bridged the distance between yesterday and today, Santa Fe City Council voted 6-3 to delay a decision on a proposed foothills housing development off Hyde Park Road. The governing body also heard public comment, then voted at nearly 2 am to approve a downsized plan for a 120-unit apartment complex southwest of Frenchy's Field along Agua Fria Street that had been pitched earlier and denied at 450 units.

The new Entrada

Another closed-door meeting led to announcements from the city, Catholic leaders and representatives of tribal governments yesterday that next weekend's Fiesta will include a new component of multi-faith prayers for peace ($). The pray-off, titled "Celebracion de la Communidad de Fe," replaces the Entrada pageant so that rather than depicting a sanitized version of the return of Spanish colonists, it's a time to focus on "peace and reconciliation."

They don’t mix

Oil wells that produce water as an undesired side effect are expected to nearly double spending on water management in the Permian Basin from current levels to more than $22 billion in the next five years, according to an industry consultant. Bloomberg news reports on the issue that spans the Texas-New Mexico border.

ICEmelt

The Supreme Court in New Mexico would make it harder for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to use public courthouses to nab people for deportation under a request from hundreds of local lawyers, retired judges and advocates. Petitioners want a court order to keep ICE agents from enforcing administrative warrants in and around courts. Instead, they would have to obtain warrants signed by a judge ($).

Spare change

Ten New Mexico cities have rules about panhandling that are unconstitutional, says the ACLU, which earlier this week announced it asked the cities to strike down those laws. Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Rio Rancho are among them.

Goodbye, summer

Tonight is your last chance to see the summer political art show OUTRAGE at City of Mud gallery. The event features special live performances by poets Darryl Lorenzo Wellington and Israel Haros Lopez of the progressive new literary collective Alas de Agua.

Thanks for reading! The Word was up late watching City Council live in inaction.

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