Sen. Ivey-Soto faces more harassment allegations
More than half a dozen advocacy groups yesterday issued an open letter calling upon Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, to resign or be removed from office by his peers. The new letter follows one released by organizations last month asking Senate leaders to investigate sexual harassment allegations made against Ivey-Soto by lobbyist Marianna Anaya. The new letter documents more allegations against Ivey-Soto, brought to the groups from “other women who have suffered sexual harassment, gender-based bullying, or inappropriate advances.” These include several instances of unwanted groping and other forms of sexual harassment; verbal abuse; as well as physically attacking a staff member while Ivey-Soto was a graduate student at the University of New Mexico. Some of the advocacy groups’ leaders tell the Albuquerque Journal they were personally involved in some of the new allegations: Common Cause New Mexico Executive Director Heather Ferguson says Ivey-Soto referred to her and a colleague as “Lips and Hips,” and New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence Co-President Miranda Viscoli says Ivey-Soto once screamed and cursed at her.
“Taken individually, each of the incidents described…are disturbing and worthy of formal investigation,” the letter reads. “Taken collectively, they are indisputably intolerable and demonstrate that [Ivey-Soto] has a long-standing and deeply engrained pattern of abusive behavior towards women.” Ivey-Soto, who has denied Anaya’s allegations, told the Journal yesterday he will cooperate with any investigation into the new allegations. A spokesman for the Senate Democratic caucus would not provide any specifics on the status of Anaya’s complaint or how the new ones might be handled, except to say “allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously, and are dealt with under the governing policies, procedures and statutes…any complaint and/or investigation is handled confidentially.”
Santa Fe residents want Griffin removed from office
As Republican Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin’s bench trial for his participation in the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol began yesterday, three New Mexico residents—two from Santa Fe County—filed a lawsuit in the state’s First Judicial District seeking to have him removed from office. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, DC and two New Mexico-based firms are serving as co-counsel. The suit seeks Griffin’s removal from office under the 14th amendment, as well as a court order declaring the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the events surrounding it an insurrection. “Couy Griffin breached the Capitol grounds…as part of an organized effort to halt the certification of a free and fair election,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “Under the Constitution, those office holders who, like Griffin, violated their oath by participating in or aiding an insurrection, must be barred from public office.” (An attempt to recall Griffin from office in the wake of Jan. 6 failed last fall). Earlier this month, CREW requested the Department of Justice include within plea agreements with people charged in the Jan. 6 attack provisions barring them from holding public office.
As for the trial that kicked off yesterday, Griffin did not show up on horseback as promised. He did show up in a truck with “We the People” written across the side that was pulling a large horse trailer. Dressed in a black suit and donning a black cowboy hat, Griffin reportedly prayed with supporters outside the courthouse before his trial began. Politico reports the first phase of the trial primarily consisted of prosecutors taking US District Judge Trevor McFadden through Griffin’s “march toward the Capitol and onto the restricted Capitol grounds,” aided by several videos documenting the events. As the Washington Post notes, during questioning by Griffin’s lawyers, the Secret Service revealed for the first time former Vice President Mike Pence’s location during the riot (underground Senate loading dock). McFadden is scheduled to hear closing arguments today.
Engaging with Midtown
The City of Santa Fe will present an update on the Midtown campus at 5:30 pm today, which will include a “preview” of findings from the public engagement report. According to a city news release, the report “is a key outcome” of the city’s “commitment to engage community voices not always heard in inclusive and equitable ways, and to gather valuable input on the most consequential development of a generation in the life of Santa Fe.” Those public engagement events were overseen by the University of New Mexico Design and Planning Assistance Center in collaboration with local nonprofits throughout the summer and fall of last year. “Community engagement on Midtown has been an unqualified success,” Mayor Alan Webber said in a statement. “Thanks to all of the partners and the UNM team, we’ve been able to hear from more residents from all parts of our community.” The presentation will be delivered by members of Chainbreaker Collective, Santa Fe Art Institute, Earth Care, Littleglobe, YouthWorks, Fathers New Mexico, Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library, La Familia Medical Center and the Santa Fe Indigenous Center. You can register here and/ or view live on Facebook.
COVID-19 by the numbers
New cases: 346 (includes the weekend); 516, 512 total cases
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new “community levels” tracking system—which uses case rates along with two hospital metrics in combination to determine the state of the virus on a county level—all of New Mexico’s counties currently have “green”—aka low—levels, except for Cibola County, which is yellow for “medium” levels. That assessment updates on Thursdays.
Breakthrough cases: According to the most recent weekly vaccine report, between Feb. 14-March 14, 42.2% of COVID-19 cases were among people who had not completed a primary vaccination series; 27.1% were among those who had completed the series but had not received a booster; and 30.7% were among those who were fully vaccinated and boosted. For hospitalizations, those figures change to 61.6%, 17.4% and 21.1%. The percentages shift to 66.6%, 20% and 13.6% for fatalities.
Deaths: 12; Santa Fe County has had 259 deaths thus far; there have been 7,157 fatalities statewide. Hospitalizations: 119; Patients on ventilators: 20
Vaccinations: 91.9% percent of adults 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 78.3% have completed their primary series; 45.2% of adults 18 years and older have had a booster shot; 12-17-year-old age group: 71.2% of people have had at least one dose and 61.5% have completed their primary series; Children ages 5-11: 39% have had at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 30.6% have completed their primary; Santa Fe County: 99% of people 18 and older have had at least one dose and 87.2% have completed their primary series.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on April 6 to discuss potential future COVID-19 vaccine booster doses, and the possibility of variant-specific vaccines. The committee will not be discussing Pfizer and Moderna’s specific applications for emergency authorization for additional booster shots (for people over the age of 65 in the case of Pfizer and over the age of 18 for Moderna).
Resources: Vaccine registration; Booster registration Free at-home rapid antigen tests; Self-report a positive COVID-19 test result to the health department; COVID-19 treatment info: oral treatments Paxlovid (age 12+) and Molnupiravir (age 18+); and monoclonal antibody treatments. Toolkit for immunocompromised individuals. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
Astrobiologist and theoretical physicist Sara Walker delivers Santa Fe Institute’s first community lecture of the year, “Recognizing the Alien in Us,” at 7:30 pm this evening. Walker, an external faculty member at SFI and deputy director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University (among other roles), will discuss the “quest to uncover a new theory of physics that might allow us to understand what life is, its general characteristics, its origin on Earth, and how to find it elsewhere in the universe.” The free lecture will be held at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (limited seating; reserve here), and also livestream on SFI’s YouTube page.
Weaving the world
Art in America profiles Gallup-based artist Eric-Paul Riege (Diné), a weaver and fiber artist who works in a variety of mediums, including performance, sculpture and collage. “I call everything I do weaving,” he tells Art in America, including his performances, which he refers to as “weaving dances” (you may have caught one at SITE Santa Fe’s 2018 Biennial, for which Riege was a participating artist). Riege will have work in the Toronto Biennial (March 26 through June 5): a home for Her, which the story describes as “an installation evoking his childhood residence—a site that regularly haunts his dreams. Multiple looms will form the outline of the house, which he has entered only once since his family moved out over a decade ago, even though their new house sits just next door. The weavings for this project, which Riege made in collaboration with the women in his family, pay homage to inherited craft, cosmology, and knowledge.” His work also appeared last month in Los Angeles as part of the Frieze LA art fair, earning notice from Art Forum, Elle Decor and others.
Making history with chile rellenos
Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently named its top 25 hotels’ most unique culinary heritage and traditions. Translation: “Culinary heritage includes a food or beverage that was created, invented or first served at a historic hotel and is still served today. Culinary tradition includes a food or beverage that was perfected by the hotel’s chefs or has been served to guests for at least 25 years regardless of its origins.” Examples: The Omni Parker House’s Parker House Rolls; the Palace Hotel’s Green Goddess Dressing; and the French Lick Spring Hotel’s tomato juice (apparently concocted when the kitchen ran out of orange juice one morning circa 1917). Closer to home, Santa Fe’s La Fonda Hotel makes the list with its chile rellenos, reportedly served since 1926 when it was a Fred Harvey House. Today, the tradition lives on with the dish: “Fred Harvey’s Chile Rellenos.” Historic Hotels inducted La Fonda into its organization in 1991 and it received the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2016, 2018 and 2020. This year, to celebrate its centennial, La Fonda’s chef at La Plazuela has reintroduced the Fred Harvey era blue-plate specials. As for La Fonda’s anniversary celebration, it’s March 26 and it’s sold out. But you can console yourself by reading free online versions of Every Window: A Glimpse of the Past, a book about the hotel’s history; and In Every Room: A Story of the Art, about the hotel’s art collection.
All the elements
The National Weather Service claims we have a 30% chance of snow showers before noon, then a chance of rain showers. Otherwise, it will be partly sunny with a high near 44 degrees and northwest wind 15 to 20 mph becoming northeast in the afternoon. Those 30% odds for snow continue tonight.
Thanks for reading! The Word recommends Yuliya Komska’s essay in the LA Review of Books on her father’s stained glass creations in Lviv, Ukraine.