Somewhere to live
A report by Kelly O'Donnell of O'Donnell Economics and Strategy and sponsored by Homewise (the home-ownership nonprofit) outlines the effect short-term rentals have had on the Santa Fe housing market. O'Donnell believes that the problem is not the STRs themselves, but rather the lack of regulation; the report states that as many as 60% of the city's 1,444 short-term rentals are not properly registered with the city, and Santa Fe has missed out on nearly $4 million in tax revenue as a result.
Agree to wait
The Public Regulation Commission, which is sorting out how much Facebook will pay for its massive new data center in Los Lunas, has agreed to kick the can and defer the decision. PNM and other parties have previously said that Facebook should pay the $85 million tab, because work for the center doesn't benefit other ratepayers; but Facebook came here based on a promise that it would get a sweet deal on power. PNM has changed its tune, now calling the construction a wider system upgrade, and arguing that it does benefit other ratepayers, and maybe they should be on the hook. The PRC has voted to wait to decide what to do until the next time PNM files for a rate increase.
More gets revealed every few days about Rio Arriba Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Barnes, who shot a Taser at a 15-year-old; we learned over the weekend that he was fired from a law enforcement post in Grants in 2014, and a new report says he resigned a day before he was to be dismissed from the Clayton police force ($ TNM) after that. He was dismissed in Grants due to excessive use of force, and from Clayton due to complaints of harassment, stalking, intimidation and other misconduct. Barnes remains on active duty in Rio Arriba during the investigation. The Tased student's family has filed a lawsuit.
In April, the much-crowed decision to allow asylum seekers to stay in the dorms at Expo New Mexico caused both excitement and alarm. No immigrants have been housed there yet, though. Supposedly it's due to issues such as a lack of hot water. The governor's office says that in a pinch, the dorms could be used today, but it wouldn't be ideal.
Accused killer caught
A man has been arrested in a gruesome 2017 killing of a Native American woman. The victim, Audra Willis, was found decapitated in a ditch in Albuquerque; her accused killer, Andrew "Two Feathers" Garcia, was rumored for years to be the culprit, but police finally caught a break in the case in May and arrested him this week. That linked Albuquerque Journal story details the case, and mentions the serious but often-ignored problem of violence against Native American women.
A remote road near Stanley has seen about $1 million in improvements in the last few years, and crews are out there again, paving away. Why does such a quiet road need so much work? Well, quoth The New Mexican ($), "The road ends at the home of the county's deputy public works director, Robert Martinez, as well as the ex-wife of former County Commissioner Mike Anaya. Anaya's brother, Robert, also a former county commissioner, owns land off the road, too." The former road maintenance supervisor for the county says he suspects politics are at play.
The new ART buses sure are pretty. Yeah, never thought you'd read that sentence, right? The bemoaned and beleaguered Albuquerque Rapid Transit project has seen delay after scandal after delay. But shiny new turquoise buses arrived in ABQ this week, at long last. They likely won't hit the roads until "this winter," though—roughly two years late.
Just ain’t natural
The Word told you yesterday that the Elena Gallegos Fire in ABQ had burned about 25 acres. It's now up to 53 acres, with 50% containment, and officials say it was not likely sparked by natural causes. No homes have been damaged and no injuries have been reported. But it serves as a reminder for y'all that even though it's been so gloriously wet this year, we're still at constant risk of wildfire, so watch your butts..
Thanks for reading! The Word has never gotten drunk and bought stuff off Amazon in a haze, but last night did complete an … um … impaired purchase of concert tickets. That's slightly better, right?