COVID-19 by the numbers
Yesterday, New Mexico health officials announced 227 additional positive tests for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total thus far to 8,024. The new cases included 116 among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates at the Otero County Prison facility. That prison now has 162 state inmates with COVID-19, as well as 66 being held there by federal agencies.
San Juan and McKinley counties accounted for 42 and 30 of the new cases, respectively. Santa Fe County had four new cases; and has had new cases every day but one since May 27.
The state also reported five additional deaths, bringing total statewide fatalities to 367. As of today, 182 people are hospitalized. The health department has designated 2,960 COVID-19 cases as recovered.
Dem Teresa Leger Fernandez wins 3CD
Unofficial returns from yesterday's primary election left Democrat and lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez as the winner in the seven-way race to replace outgoing US Rep. Ben Ray Luján in the 3rd Congressional District. By dawn, Leger Fernandez had close to 42% of the vote, followed by former CIA agent Valerie Plame with nearly 25% and state Rep. Joseph Sanchez at about 12%. In a statement on her win, Leger Fernandez said she was "…grateful for the trust that voters have placed in our campaign's vision for Northern New Mexico. Even in a time when we must continue to stay physically distant and so much tries to divide us, this campaign has always been about interconnectedness and coming together." Leger Fernandez will face the winning Republican in that party's primary, but results in that race remain too close to call: Engineer Alexis Johnson leads with 37% of the vote, followed by former Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya with close to 35%. Luján ran unopposed in the party's primary for the US Senate held by retiring US Sen. Tom Udall, and will face Republican and former TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti in the November general election.
As for other races…
A strategy to replace more conservative Democrat lawmakers in the state Legislature appeared successful heading out of Tuesday's elections. Unofficial returns currently show several incumbents behind in tight races or unseated by challengers. Rio Arriba County Commissioner Leo Jaramillo defeated convicted drunk driver State Sen. Richard Martinez; special ed teacher Neomi Martinez-Parra leads Senate Finance Committee John Arthur Smith; and Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces was trailing challenger Carrie Hamblen. All three incumbents opposed a bill introduced last year to repeal an anti-abortion law.
As for Santa Fe County races, Katharine Clark emerged ahead in the county clerk's race with close to 54% in a five-way race and Coalition to End Homelessness Executive Director Hank Hughes had close to 66% of the vote in the race for County Commission District 5. In the tight county treasurer's race, Deputy Treasurer Jennifer "Jenn" Manzanares seems to have captured the seat with 49% of the vote, followed by Lucinda Marker at about 41%. In the First Judicial District, DA candidate Mary Carmack-Altwies leads Scott Fuqua with nearly 65% of the vote in the unofficial tally.
Plaza braces for trouble
Santa Fe businesses boarded up downtown storefronts yesterday as rumors of impending looting circulated on social media. Law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs also converged on the Plaza at 4 pm in response to a warning that trouble would begin at that time. Santa Fe Police Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said people had forwarded a shady social media message to SFPD and, though believing it to be a hoax, officers were dispatched for several hours to patrol and speak with business owners. Some business owners boarded up storefronts and removed merchandise as a precaution; no trouble was reported. Santa Fe had two protests last weekend against the Minnesota police's murder of George Floyd, but neither involved any crimes to property. Albuquerque also had another protest last night, described as peaceful. A third Black Lives Matter peaceful protest is scheduled in Santa Fe today at 6 pm at the Roundhouse.
The Tribesourcing Southwest Film Project enhances and contextualizes mid-20th century archival films about Native people in the US Southwest, in part by recording Native narrations. In the latest episode of the "Augmented Humanity" podcast, produced by the New Mexico Humanities Council in partnership with KUNM, project Principal Investigator Jennifer Jenkins and Project Manager Melissa Dollman discuss this important work.
City survey says
Approximately 5,500 people responded to the City of Santa Fe's budget survey, evaluating a wide range of services and initiatives for their relative value and weighing in on various cost-saving proposals. Generally speaking, respondents expressed ongoing commitment to affordable housing initiatives, arts support and maintaining parks and trails. City residents soundly favor continued trash pickup. And when it comes to saving money, cutting the mayor and city councilors' salaries was a clear favorite. As for picking and choosing between recreation centers and libraries, those participating in the survey preferred the city close some and keep some open in both categories. Access the full results here (pro tip: The data dashboard reads better on a desktop than a cell phone).
Defund the police
A petition has launched under the umbrella of "Santa Fe While Black" to defund the city's police department. As of this morning, 528 people had signed the petition, addressed to Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and the City Council, which reads, in part: "The Black community in Santa Fe and our allies call for visionary leadership and action from the City now. We ask the Mayor and City Council members to publicly pledge to defund the police and invest in community. We want our elected officials to join the movement to end structural racism in the City Different. Black Lives Matter." Specifically, the petition calls for the city to invest "$3 million cut from SFPD into a newly formed Department of Equity and Racial Justice that wields investigatory powers to research, document and assure equity in all city businesses, city agencies, and community affairs" and to establish a Citizens Oversight and Review Board "that functions as an independent body to investigate police misconduct, excessive force, and abuse of power." Read and/or sign the petition here.
It’s getting hot in here
Today's forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 88 degrees. If that sounds warm—and it is—tomorrow is supposed to be 91 degrees. We have another chance for rain come Friday night into Saturday, though.
Thanks for reading! As a sign of the times, The Word is finding it relaxing to read about COVID-19, particularly this New Yorker story about how Iceland beat the virus.