While sales have slowed, the cost of Santa Fe homes continues to rise. The median price for a home in the city limits is $370,000, while the county is $429,500; the area of town where homes sell more than anywhere else is the northwest quadrant, including tony neighborhoods like Las Campanas. Further, The New Mexican reports ($), "The Association of Realtors calculated the Housing Affordability Index for Santa Fe at 78, which means the median-income family has only 78 percent of the income to qualify to buy a median-priced home."
DA won’t get free legal help
New Mexico In Depth reported last week that a Southern New Mexico district attorney making six figures was ruled "indigent" and that she would be eligible for a public defender for "a series of charges stemming from a June 2016 incident in which she allegedly intimidated Silver City police out of investigating her for drunken driving." Now, however, DA Francesca Martinez-Estevez says she never filed a request for public representation; Chief Public Defender Ben Baur, who told NMID the arrangement was "concerning," changed his tack: "At this stage, there were several misunderstandings among several people in different parts of our department, all of them very busy and well-meaning."
Back to normal
Santa Fe's golf courses and athletic fields are once again being watered ($ TNM) with treated effluent from the water treatment facility and not drinking water. Last week, when irrigation water turned up with too much biological matter to be safe to use on the public fields, City Council voted to spend up to $110,000 on drinking water to keep the fields watered, anticipating how much it would cost to restore them if they were allowed to go dry. No word on how much it actually cost.
There will be some changes to the Burning of Zozobra this year. Attendees will no longer be allowed to bring in backpacks, and you can bring your own food as long as it's in a clear plastic bag. What could go wrong? (Maybe something like last year's debacle, where more than 1,000 people were left still outside the gate when the burning went down 20 minutes early.) Still, organizers say they have already sold $6,000 more in tickets than this time last year.
Caleb Calandro has been sentenced following two shootings, one fatal, in Santa Fe in 2016, but will serve only four years behind bars ($ TNM) as part of a plea deal. District Attorney Marco Serna is alleging, however, that his office only accepted the plea because of the unspecified "misconduct" by Judge Jason Lidyard back when he was a prosecutor. The DA's office has filed a state bar complaint.
Change of plans
Plans to divert the Gila River in Southern New Mexico have been scaled back once again, reducing both the impact to the natural habitat and reducing cost of the diversion project. A previous plan to build a concrete wall to divert the water, as well as repair ditch walls, would have cost about $120 million, but a new proposal has a price tag of only (only!) $56 million.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has established a task force to study the legalization of recreational marijuana, but advocates are a little befuddled that there are no medical marijuana patients in the group. The governor's director of communications said the group has representatives who can advocate for patients, so it's okay that there are no actual patients themselves.
We got some rain
Thanks for reading! The Word just had a sudden craving for a red chile pork tamale.