Morning Word

Mayoral Candidates Snipe As Election Day Grows Near

Lawmakers reject cannabis micro-business lending for now

COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 879 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 262,954; DOH has designated 233,065 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 189 new cases, followed by 117 in San Juan County and Doña Ana County with 75. Santa Fe County had 44 new cases.

The state also announced 20 additional deaths, 17 of them recent; there have now been 4,899 total fatalities. As of yesterday, 369 people people were hospitalized with COVID-19, 59 more than the day prior.

Currently, 81% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 71.5% are fully vaccinated. In that same age group, 5% have had a booster shot. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 62% people have had at least one dose and 53.4% are fully inoculated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 91.8% have had at least one dose and 81.7% are fully vaccinated.

The US Food & Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met yesterday and unanimously recommended booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people over 65 years old, as well others who are most vulnerable to the disease. If adopted by the FDA, the guidelines would be comparable to those for the Pfizer vaccine. The committee’s decision is non-binding, but the FDA is expected to rule on it soon, possibly within days.

Unvaccinated employees Los Alamos National Laboratory face a deadline today to either get vaccinated or face dismissal; 114 employees have filed suit against the lab over the mandate. A hearing to decide whether to grant them an injunction began yesterday and a decision is expected today.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Candidates snipe during debate

In what may be their last public showing before the Nov. 2 municipal election, mayoral candidates made their cases at a debate held last night at the Fraternal Order of Police’s south side lodge. Acrimony between incumbent Mayor Alan Webber and City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler, which has been on display throughout the campaign, flared again in a return to one of the most contentious topics of this campaign: last year’s destruction of the obelisk on the Plaza. During last night’s debate, Vigil Coppler questioned why Webber hadn’t warned police of potential problems after receiving a letter from a member of the Three Sisters Collective intimating as such. “What kind of background in criminal intelligence do you have to make that decision when there are credible threats to our community?” Vigil Coppler said. “I would like to know what your qualifications are for not sharing that and allowing it to happen.” The mayor said the letter didn’t constitute a “credible threat” and in turn asked Vigil Coppler whether she would “disavow” the inflammatory rhetoric aimed at his administration. In addition to the attacks on one another, both Webber and Vigil Coppler discussed the night’s topic of public safety, as did candidate Alexis Martinez Johnson, who earned applause for several of her answers.

Legislators reject cannabis micro-lending proposal

Lawmakers on the New Mexico Finance Authority Oversight Committee yesterday rejected on a 6-5 vote a proposal to allow up to $5 million dedicated to cannabis micro-business loans, with individual loans up to $250,000. The proposal addresses a component of the state’s Cannabis Regulation Act, which requires communities that have been disproportionately negatively impacted by prior cannabis criminalization now benefit from its economic incentives. According to the proposal, a “significant portion of licensed cannabis micro-businesses owned by minorities or located in rural or economically disadvantaged communities will face disproportionate barriers in accessing the financing they would need to participate in the emerging cannabis industry.” The proposal, therefore, would “address these barriers” by offering “affordable loans to cannabis establishments that demonstrate the technical and managerial capacity to operate but are unable to fund startup costs due to their size, socio-economic or demographic characteristic.” New Mexico Finance Authority CEO Marquita Russel told lawmakers such businesses “…have very few options. If you are a startup cannabis micro-business, you can’t go to a bank, you can’t go to the Small Business Administration. There is not a space for a small business to get a loan of this sort.” Lawmakers, however, said more questions need to be answered about the proposal. “There are still so many questions in here, where questions can’t be answered,” state Sen. Stuart Ingle, R- Portales, said. “We may need to slow things down.”

Free ride up the mountain

During the pandemic, riders could take the 255 Mountain Trail “Blue Bus” up the Ski Basin Road to Ten Thousand Waves, Ski Santa Fe and any of the amazing trails in the Santa Fe National Forest for free. That’s because the North Central Regional Transit District waived the $5 fee (each way) fare. The NCRTD is now about to vote on whether to eliminate the fare permanently. If you have any comments to share with NCRTD prior to the vote, you may submit them to or via NCRTD social media pages (@ridethebluebus, @NCRTD) by Oct. 28. The board will meet virtually at 9 am on Nov. 5, 2021, to vote on this issue, among others. The public is welcome to attend and voice their comments during the public hearing prior to the vote. The Zoom link and agenda will be available here.

Listen up

The City of Santa Fe has chosen a group of residents to work on its CHART initiative (see below) and now they have a playlist to accompany their work considering culture, history, art and reconciliation. The songs, apparently were “chosen by members of the project team” and inspired by the the CHART goals. We rarely turn down a playlist, and this one seems solid, and includes: “Take Me to the River” by the Talking Heads; “Citizen of Planet Paprika” by Shantel; “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding” by Elvis Costello and The Imposters; and “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey (to name a few).


The 17 members of Santa Fe’s newly formed committee to address culture, history, art, reconciliation and truth initiative (CHART), choosing 17 people, including four high school interns, have been selected from among the 150 who applied. Those interns include a Santa Fe teenager originally from Upper Fruitland, a small community within the Navajo Reservation near Farmington; two teens with Mexican heritage; and a student from Pojoaque High School and member of the Pueblo of Tesuque. Among the adults, new members range in age, ethnicity and backgrounds, with careers as artists, activists, educators and lawyers. The group also includes the co-directors of Artful Life, which is leading the CHART process: Jenice Gharib and Valerie Martinez. CHART, according to its website, “will unfold over 12 months of community engagement which will include smaller and larger community gatherings, interviews, surveys, a cultural history series, art activations, and an evaluation and a recommendation process.” The first survey is live and will remain available through Dec. 19; respond in English here and Spanish here.

Eat, drink, be thrilled

Thrillist once again turns its attention to Santa Fe this week, this time with recommendations for food and drink because, the magazine notes, “dining in Santa Fe is like eating art.” Meaning? “Just as its famous galleries and resident artisans have calcified the city as a full-blown cultural mecca, its restaurants, bars and bakeries are doing the same with popular vittles like green chile and blue corn, but also a whole rainbow of flavors from red chile donuts to glittery purple mochas.” Gotcha. Thrillist’s recs include Whoo’s Donuts (natch), specifically its Santa Fe “novelties,” such as the blue corn-blueberry-lavender, the green chile apple fritter and the red chile-bacon-toffee. For cocktails, La Reina makes the list, with shout outs for its Ranch Water with tequila, Topo Chico and lime; and La Ultima Palabra, which is made with Genepy, maraschino liqueur, mezcal and lime juice. That glittery purple mocha can be found at Meow Wolf’s Float Cafe & Bar, and it’s actually a “purple hot chocolate garnished with [Lucky Charms] marshmallows and ‘unicorn shimmer,’ aka edible glitter.” (We would not advise eating and drinking all of these things in one day BTW). Those are just a handful of the recs; Thrillist also sends folks to Tia Sophia’sCounter Culture CafePalomaDolina Cafe & Bakery and many other beloved local spots (although we find it pretty weird to describe Tia’s as a restaurant that “has moved locations and grown over the years,” given that it’s been in the same spot since 1982).

Sunny and windy

The weekend could be a smidge warmer than the week has been. According to the National Weather Service, today will be sunny with a high near 50 degrees and northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Look for a high of 56 degrees tomorrow and 62 degrees on Sunday, with sunny skies and about the same level of wind both days.

Thanks for reading! The Word is choosing to read about Thanksgiving cocktails rather than Squid Game.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.