City to start clearing encampments
Citing increased shelter capacity, diminished COVID-19 incidence and widespread vaccine availability, starting Friday, the City of Santa Fe will reinstitute enforcement of its ban on unsanctioned camping, which officials de-prioritized at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With assistance from newly created “park rangers,” officials will direct people camping on city property to shelters, with camps “cleared in the order in which they are reported, subject to staff and contractor capacity,” the city said in a news release yesterday. The Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place will close the Women’s Summer Safe Haven on Sept. 2 and open the Seasonal Overnight Shelter to men and women, a transition that normally happens in mid-October, leading to more shelter capacity, the city says. The announcement preceded last night’s roundtable on the topic of homelessness, as officials continue looking for potential ways to address the myriad factors contributing to people living without housing. As of this month, the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness reports 363 unhoused people in Santa Fe, including 49 families and 18 youths. But that doesn’t account for all of the unhoused people in town, according to Marisol Atkins, who presented information on the S3 Santa Fe Housing Initiative. More than 80 encampments have been reported this summer, she said. While the city says it is no longer exploring a sanctioned encampment at the Midtown site, organizers at last night’s town hall gauged responses to pursuing some iteration of a “Safe Outdoor Space” initiative, which would consist of small uniform units with individual access privacy, security, staff, services, case management and hygiene options. “It’s imperative that we find real solutions to unsheltered camping that both protect the quality of life in all our neighborhoods and connect people living out of doors with shelter and housing that meet their needs,” Kyra Ochoa, director of the Community Health and Safety Department, said in a statement. The Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners last night passed a joint resolution pledging to work with the city on issues of homelessness.
Final CHART report presented tonight
City contractor Artful Life tonight will present the final report from the CHART project (Culture, History, Art, Reconciliation, Truth), a nearly one-year initiative of public outreach and discussions born out of divisions over public monuments in the aftermath of the October 2020 destruction of the obelisk on the Plaza. The controversy over the obelisk “did not happen in a vacuum,” the report notes. “In the wake of the murder of George Floyd by City of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin…thousands of protesters entered US streets and cried out against historic and systemic racism and oppression.” That context, the report notes, helps explain why monuments and statues “became flash-points and, in some cases, sites of violence.” Now, “old and new questions” about the past continue to require “us to reckon once more, reckon anew, with who we were, who we are, what we stand for, and how we move forward.” (This week’s SFR cover story also grapples with some of those issues). The 138-page CHART report also includes 52 recommendations based on public outreach and feedback along topic areas. Regarding the obelisk, the report recommends for now the city maintain the placeholder box around the obelisk’s remains with signage that explains its past and the process underway to decide its future. As for that future, the report recommends the city make a decision regarding the two most favored options, which are, essentially, to either replace it or restore it, also with signage that allows fuller understanding of its historical context. That process of choosing, the report says, should be transparent and involve engagement with city, county and pueblo residents. The presentation will take place at tonight’s 5 pm City Council meeting and will not include any action by the council. The meeting will live-stream on the city’s YouTube channel.
New study rebuts changes to pre-trial detention
The State Administrative Office of the Courts yesterday announced the findings from a new study by researchers from the University of New Mexico (Institute for Social Research, Center for Applied Research and Analysis) and the Santa Fe Institute on proposed changes to pretrial detention. According to the study, “proposals to make it easier to jail people awaiting trial will do little to reduce crime because they fail to accurately identify the individuals most likely to be arrested for a new offense if released pretrial,” a news release says. A push to revamp the state’s pre-trial detention system, backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Bernalillo County District Attorney and Democratic Attorney General candidate Raúl Torrez, encountered pushback and ultimately failed to garner sufficient support in the Legislature’s last 30-day session. Researchers Cristopher Moore, Elise Ferguson and Paul Guerin’s study was based on 15,134 people charged with felonies from July 2017 through June 2021 who were released from custody pending trial and whose cases were closed during the four-year period. They write that creating “rebuttable presumptions” in the law for pretrial detention “would instead jail many people who would not be re-arrested if allowed to remain free before trial when they are legally presumed innocent of a crime.” While supporters for rebuttable presumptions have argued the mechanism would prevent crime and have “minimal impact” on civil liberties, the researchers say they “have shown that this is not the case,” and found the recent legislative proposals would “jail at least 20 presumed innocent people to potentially prevent one individual from being arrested on a violent felony charge while awaiting trial.” In a statement, Artie Pepin, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, says the study ultimately shows using rebuttable presumptions would “lead over time” to the arrest of “thousands of defendants who are legally presumed innocent and otherwise would remain arrest-free while awaiting trial.”
COVID-19 by the numbers
New cases: 436; 610,870 total cases
Deaths: 13; Santa Fe County has had 340 total deaths; there have been 8,432 fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 137. Patients on ventilators: 10
Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends for the seven-day period of Aug. 22-28, Santa Fe County’s case rate continues to decline and was at 19.8, compared to 20.5 the prior week. The state recorded 3,420 cases statewide—based on reported cases—over the seven-day period, a nearly 11% decrease from the previous week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent update for COVID-19 “community levels,” updated yesterday, only three New Mexico counties have “red” or high levels—down from four last week. Santa Fe County is one of 22 counties with green, or low levels (compared with 13 last week). The state map, which updates each Thursday for the prior seven-day period, uses a framework that combines case rates with hospital metrics. The community levels site has accompanying recommendations at the bottom of the page. The CDC also provides a quarantine and isolation calculator.
A federal program providing free at-home rapid tests will be suspended as of Friday, so order now if you are still eligible for free tests (the site will tell you if you are not).
Resources: Vaccine registration; Booster registration Free at-home rapid antigen tests; Self-report a positive COVID-19 test result to the health department; New Curative testing site: 9 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday, Santa Fe Technology Department, 2516 Cerrillos Road; 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. Vaccines for children: Parents of children ages 6 months to 5 years can now schedule appointments for vaccinations at VaccineNM.org.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
The Food Depot Executive Director Sherry Hooper marks 21 years with the nonprofit next month. In the most recent episode of Santa Fe Community Foundation’s Community Matters program, host Sarah Amador-Guzman talks with Hooper about the myriad programs The Food Depot runs to help fight hunger in New Mexico, and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its work. Hooper recalled in her early years, The Food Depot had four staff members and “a couple of trucks,” to deliver food to across the region, even in one case meeting up with an agency in a rural area in winter that would deliver food to their mountain community on horseback when snow made the roads impassable. Since then, The Food Depot has grown to deliver 9 million meals last year. As the agency has grown, though, so has the issue of hunger in Northern New Mexico, Hooper said. As such, “we’re really starting to focus on more systemic change and how we can see an end to poverty.” Through addressing poverty, she noted, “we can start seeing fewer and fewer people needing to line up at a food pantry or food bank for help.”
Changes afoot for film union
Deadline reports ongoing fallout for Teamsters Local 492 in New Mexico. Last week, the magazine reported the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had transferred Local 492′s jurisdiction over film and TV production here to Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399 in the aftermath of an investigation and audit of Local 492′s financial records. Now, Deadline reports Trey White and Melissa Malcom-Chavez have resigned as the local’s principal officer and secretary-treasurer and business agent for the movie industry, respectively. The story says White and Malcom-Chavez’s resignations were announced last weekend at a Local 492 membership meeting in Albuquerque attended by approximately 400 of the local’s members, with sources comparing the leadership environment in the movie division prior to the takeover to a “dictatorship.” Lindsay Dougherty, Local 399′s secretary-treasurer, director of the Teamsters Motion Picture Division and an IBT Western Region vice president, sent out a notice to members in advance of the meeting outlining changes, describing the change of representation as “positive,” and reportedly received a standing ovation from members at the meeting when she described the forthcoming changes.
Works by approximately 85 artists from New Mexico’s Transcendental Painting Group are on display in a recently opened exhibit at Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. The museum describes “Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group,” a traveling exhibit organized by the Crocker (through Nov. 20), as “the first outside New Mexico to fully survey the remarkable art of the TPG” (the exhibit showed at the Albuquerque Museum last year). Hyperallergic magazine characterizes the exhibit as one that “explores the work of this often-overlooked group of 20th-century abstract artists who pursued enlightenment and spiritual illumination amid the dramatic natural surroundings of the American Southwest.” The movement began in 1938 in Santa Fe and Taos under the guidance of New Mexico painters Raymond Jonson and Emil Bisttram. Other artists in the movement include Agnes Pelton, Lawren Harris, Florence Miller Pierce, Horace Pierce, Robert Gribbroek, William Lumpkins, Dane Rudhyar, Stuart Walker, and Ed Garman, all of whom “explored a heightened vision of the American landscape, employing the freewheeling imagery of Surrealism to depict a transfigured, spiritually alive America,” according to the exhibition notes. Rudhyar—described in his biography at Santa Fe’s Peyton Wright Gallery as “a pioneer of modern transpersonal astrology,”—compared the TPG artists to fellow abstract painters in a quote cited by Hyperallergic, as having several key differences: “decorative versus psychological…geometrical abstractions versus living inner experience, [and] mathematical precision versus warmth and radiation of feeling.’”
High and dry
The National Weather Service forecasts a mostly sunny day with a high near 82 degrees and northeast wind 5 to 15 mph becoming southwest in the morning.
Thanks for reading! The Word doesn’t normally seek out cheap rosé, but she is curious to try this jalapeño hack (and, yes, Bon Appetit magazine makes mention of green chile wine, specifically from New Mexico’s DH Lescombes Family Vineyard in its story on this wine trend). Bonus: We have another two Zozobra tickets to give away today. Respond to this email for a chance to win.