Morning Word

Charter Commission Recommends Proposal Changing Mayoral Voting Power

CCA says it will reopen cinema next week

Charter Commission recommends mayoral veto power

The Santa Fe Charter Review Commission will be forwarding a report on its recommendations by May 10, but voted yesterday on what the document will contain, which includes giving the mayor veto power, but eliminating his voting power on most other issues. As SFR staff writer Andrew Oxford reported earlier this month, the nine-member commission has met every two weeks for the last several months to consider and take public feedback on a variety of proposals. At yesterday’s meeting, the commission voted to recommend “reorganizing articles that specify separation of powers; combine certain duties; add certain duties,” and approved a proposal under which the mayor only would vote on tied matters, but would have veto power, which the council could then override a mayoral veto by a super-majority. The commission also recommended adding a financial management section to the charter. As reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican, the commission did not recommend changing the charter to create full-time city councilor positions, but did recommend assigning one staff person to each councilor. The City Council will ultimately vote on which proposals should appear on the Nov. 7 municipal ballot as charter amendments for voters to consider.

CCA cinema to reopen next week

ICYMI, the beleaguered Center for Contemporary Arts did not reopen the cinema yesterday, but now says it will reopen May 11, thanks to a successful pledge drive that followed CCA board’s unexpected April 6 closure of the 44-year-old arts nonprofit. The reopened cinema’s first showing will be Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, which will screen as part of CCA’s Closer Looks series and include a panel discussion with Board Member David N. Meyer; No Name Cinema co-founder and returning CCA employee Justin Rhody; and newly-minted Cinema Director Paul Barnes. “I was pretty much like, ‘The theater needs me!’” Barnes tells SFR about his decision to come on board as the cinema’s director. “I was scared to death to lose this place, because Violet Crown, Regal, the Jean Cocteau…they’re not going to pick up the kind of programming CCA is beloved for.” Barnes previously served on CCA’s board—though not when it voted to close—and is still mulling whether to resume that role. Meyer, who has served on the board for roughly two years, tells SFR he understands the community’s concerns over transparency of CCA’s operations, but says he’s primarily focused on reinvigorating the cinema. “The CCA will resume its role as the dominant art, indie, international and repertory film house,” Meyer says. “With Paul as the cinema director and his incredible experience and taste, we’re going to be what we’ve always been, which is one of the best film houses in the country—we’re going to be taking that mission very seriously; we’re going to continue to nurture and earn the love.”

Reward issued for Lowe’s shooting intel

Santa Fe Crime Stoppers yesterday issued a $1,000 reward for any information about the fatal shooting that occurred Sunday, April 30 in the parking lot of Lowe’s Home Improvement store on Zafarano Drive. On Tuesday, Santa Fe Police identified the victim as 21-year-old Ramon Vigil, whom police say “was meeting with a group of people in the Lowe’s Home Improvement parking lot the night of the shooting.” SFPD detectives continue to work leads on the case and have asked for witnesses or anyone with information to contact Detective Rebecca Hilderbrandt at (505) 955-5625 (case number 20223-004959) or Crime Stoppers at (505) 955-5050. No suspects have been identified as yet. As previously reported, SFPD was dispatched to Lowe’s at approximately 12:30 am last Sunday regarding a shooting and, upon arrival, located a 21-year-old victim with at least one gunshot wound who was pronounced dead at the scene. Vigil’s is reportedly the city’s third homicide of the year

Lawmakers reintroduce bill to protect Chaco Canyon

New Mexico’s congressional delegation yesterday reintroduced legislation to protect Chaco Canyon and the landscape surrounding the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act designates a 10-mile buffer zone around the park to prevent future leasing and development of oil, gas and minerals on non-Indian federal lands, ultimately withdrawing 316,076 acres of non-Indian federal land within the proposed Chaco Protection Zone from any new development of mineral resources. “Chaco Culture National Historical Park—and the Greater Chaco Region—is one of the world’s greatest treasures that must be protected for generations to come,” US Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, D-NM, said in a statement. “Chaco holds deep spiritual and cultural significance for Tribes and Pueblos and is one of only a handful of World Heritage Sites in the United States.” Mark Mitchell, chairman of the All Pueblo Council of Governors and former governor of Tesuque Pueblo, noted in a statement that both Chaco Canyon and the greater Chaco Canyon region are “integral to Pueblo history and culture, representing our ancestral footprint and the foundation of the core values that our communities strive to uphold…The reintroduction of the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act serves as a means to safeguard our Indigenous histories and reaffirm our enduring connections permanently. "

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported May 3: New cases: 183; 680,438 total cases. Deaths: 12 Statewide fatalities: 9,236; Santa Fe County has had 410 total deaths; Statewide hospitalizations: 73; patients on ventilators: five. The state health department will stop reporting daily COVID-19 cases on May 11.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention most recent April 27 “community levels” map shows all New Mexico counties remain green—depicting low levels—for the third consecutive week.

Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. 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.

Listen up

The Santa Fe Opera’s 66th season doesn’t kick off for another eight weeks and a day (who’s counting?), but its Key Change podcast just wrapped its fourth season, with a fifth coming soon. In “Connections Across Time and Space: Opera in the Cosmos,” Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia look at the groundbreaking work that has developed through the Opera For All Voices consortium, including—in just the last 18 months—two world premieres in Santa Fe: This Little Light Of Mine and Hometown To The World. Guests on the show include OFAV consultant Ruth Nott; composer Brent Michael Davids; and Mary Kathryn Nagle, playwright, attorney, and member of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, with Davids and Nagle sharing a glimpse of new work underway that will “be one of the very first operas that centers a Native woman protagonist,” Nagle says.

AI New Mexico

What does Artificial Intelligence and conceptual artist Seth Price’s use of it in his current show (on view at Petzel in Chelsea through June 3) have to do with New Mexico? Well, you may ask. Price, the New York Times explicates, like many contemporary artists using AI, employs technology in ways the Times characterizes as “nostalgic.” For instance, Price used 3-D modeling software to to generate a trompe l’oeil mirror in his work, “Thought Comes From the Body II,” which references Flemish master Jan van Eyck (who did not have technology on hand to achieve a similar effect). Price’s work, the Times opines, remains nonetheless contemporary; other artists’ use of AI less so: For instance, Boris Eldagsen’s winning image in the Sony World Photography Awards used AI to generate a picture that appears to be a vintage photograph, albeit one in which “something’s clearly off.” But the use of AI in art presents potential problems beyond photoshop fails: The Times references analog photographers Herbert Ascherman and Shane Balkowitsch’s recent essay warning of the danger AI poses in replacing actual historical documentation and, yes, they use New Mexico as an example. Specifically, the authors share images generated by the AI image generator Midjourney using the phrase “Tintype of lost New Mexico tribe circa 1800′s.” While a “random researcher or student,” might think “these images look legitimate…to the trained eye of both historian and portrait photographer, something seems obviously amiss,” Ascherman and Balkowitsch write. “Will future generations archive these fake images as historically significant? Will historians mistakenly believe these are depictions of real regalia, dances, and ceremonies performed by authentic tribes? And if so, how does that impact today’s tribes that actively document their real history and heritage?” In short: “Is this the end of recorded history as we know it?”

Art acclaim

University of New Mexico Assistant Professor of Architecture Sarah Aziz is among the winners of the 2023 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers, a juried portfolio competition for early-career practitioners in North America, which is organized thematically each year. The 2023 theme “Uncomfortable” asked entrants “to examine the Uncomfortable…from climate change to labor practices, the sources of our discomfort demand both critical reflection and collective imagination. Are you restless within the discipline’s status quo? How do you respond to discomfort? Whose comfort matters?” Aziz won the prize jointly with Chicago and Milwaukee-based designer Lindsey Krug; both will deliver a lecture and presentation in connection with their award online on June 15. Also winning recognition for the UNM Architecture Department: Kirsten Angerbauer, its Fabrication Lab coordinator, whom Southwest Contemporary journal recently named among its 12 2023 “Artists to Know Now.” Also on the list: two Santa Fe-based artists: Herman Gomez Chavez and Ahní Rocheleau.

May the 4th be sunny

The National Weather Service forecasts scattered showers this morning before 9 am with a 30% chance for precipitation; cloudy skies clearing mid-morning; a high temperature near 67 degrees; southwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The Word doesn’t normally make a point of watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but if this year’s includes performances by new inductees Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine and Missy Elliott, she will tune in with pleasure (it’s in November, BTW).

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