Morning Word

Feds Announce Deal in Colorado River Crisis

Writers strike shuts down NM “Duster” production

Feds announce Colorado River deal

The US Interior Department yesterday announced a breakthrough agreement among the seven Colorado River Basin states: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Under the proposal, the three lower-division states, Arizona, California and Nevada, would conserve least 3 million acre-feet of system water through the end of 2026. All seven states have requested the Department of Interior analyze the proposal as an alternative to the Bureau of Reclamation draft plan released last month. Under the new proposal, the federal government would compensate the reclamation states, through Inflation Reduction Act grants, for 2.3 million acre-feet of the conserved water. The New York Times reports that funding—to water districts, cities, farmers and tribes—would total approximately $1.2 billion. “There are 40 million people, seven states, and 30 Tribal Nations who rely on the Colorado River Basin for basic services such as drinking water and electricity,” US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to working with states, Tribes and communities throughout the West to find consensus solutions in the face of climate change and sustained drought.” In New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Press Secretary Caroline Sweeney tells SFR via email the governor “applauds the work of the seven basin states and the Department of Interior in coming together to propose historic agreements and investments in water savings to address ongoing drought in the Colorado River Basin. While there is still work to be done, the plan from the Lower Basin represents a promising path toward sustainable water management that all seven states believe is the best way forward. "

Writers strike halts NM production

The Writers Guild of America strike, which began May 2, shut down production yesterday on the Albuquerque set of the JJ Abrams and LaToya Morgan television crime drama DusterDeadline reports. The show began filming last month around Albuquerque, Moriarty, Belen, Gallup, Sandia Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo areas and will employ over 4,000 New Mexicans, according to the state Film Office, which describes Duster as “a crime drama set in 1972 where the first Black female FBI agent (Rachel Hilson) ventures to the Southwest and recruits a gutsy getaway driver in a bold effort to take down a growing crime syndicate.” The Albuquerque Journal reports International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Teamsters members in Albuquerque yesterday refused to cross yesterday’s picket lines for the Max (formerly HBO Max) show, and intend to continue picketing. The shutdown is the latest in a growing list of television shows shuttered due to the strike, including Game of Thrones prequel A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight. Earlier this month, George RR Martin announced on his blog his “complete and unequivocal support” for the Guild and said the writers room for the new show “has closed for the duration.”

Supreme Court weighs in on pretrial detention

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and others have pushed, for the last few legislative sessions, for reforms to the pretrial detention system. Those reforms—which failed again this year—would have shifted the burden from the state to the defendants as to whether someone charged with a crime would be incarcerated prior to trial. In January, Chief Justice Shannon Bacon urged caution to legislators about such reforms, asking them to remember the human impact of such decisions: “We all feel deep sorrow and fear when we read about a senseless death and other tragedies from crimes,” Bacon said. “Yet, we must remember why our Constitution protects the rights of every person, including those accused of crime. They are just that—accused, and presumed innocent in the eyes of the law.” Yesterday, the state Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion that provides the legal rationale for a February order in which the justices reversed the 2nd Judicial District’s denial of a motion for the pretrial detention of Joe Anderson, a Bernalillo County man charged with first-degree murder. The court abused its discretion, the opinion by Justice Briana H. Zamora concludes, as “ample evidence showed that the defendant was unlikely to comply with release conditions and that the public would be put at significant risk should he fail to comply with release conditions.” As summarized in a news release, the opinion explains and details the “two-prong analysis” district courts must undertake for pretrial detention decision-making: “The first is determining whether the defendant is dangerous, and the second prong is whether the state has proven there are no conditions or restrictions that can be imposed on a defendant—if released—to reasonably protect the public.”

PRC announces community solar providers

In the coming weeks, customers of New Mexico’s three investor-owned utility companies (El Paso Electric Company; Public Service Company of New Mexico; and Southwestern Public Service Company) should start receiving solicitations to participate in community solar projects. The Public Regulation Commission yesterday announced 45 projects were selected—by the PRC and InClime, the contracted program administrator—from 408 submissions and evaluated using the point system set in the Community Solar Rule. As described in a PRC news release, the point-system criteria included “experience in developing and managing community solar projects; proposed project site viability for interconnection; commitments beyond those required by statute; and benefits to local communities, disproportionately impacted communities and disadvantaged groups.” The PRC and InClime held a drawing to break any potential scoring ties, the news release says. Under Community Solar, homeowners, renters and some organizations can offset their energy bills by purchasing shares in renewable energy projects. Customers will not be able to sign up for any program until they receive a program disclosure form, scheduled to be released next month. The selected projects include Rancho Verano Sol Community Solar Garden in Santa Fe from Colorado-based SunShare Community Solar.

Listen up

On his Mastodon profile, John Carlos Baez describes himself as a “mathematical physicist who likes explaining stuff.” To that end, Baez, a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Riverside, wrote a semi-weekly column called “This Week’s Finds in Mathematical Physics” for about 17 years, which he then made available as free books. His blog, Azimuth, tackles a variety of science topics, with a focus on what scientists, mathematicians and the like can to do help the imperiled planet. He delivers a Santa Fe Institute free community lecture at 7:30 pm tonight at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on the future of physics; tickets available here and the lecture will stream live on SFI’s YouTube channel.

Transcendental questions

The traveling exhibition about a New Mexico art movement, Another World: The Transcendental Painting Group, 1938–1945, currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (through June 19), received raves back in January from the Los Angeles Times. Art critic Christopher Knight again mentions the show in his recent newsletter panning LACMA’s overall shift to contemporary art—as an outlier. The TPG show, Knight writes, is one of 12 truly excellent exhibitions at the museum from the 72 it has had over the last five years. The Nation magazine, however, finds the show’s success “curious,” and perhaps illustrative of the art world’s growing interest in hyping narratives that upend canonical assumptions given “renewed pressure on art museums to consider movements from outside the putative canon.” In the case of the TPG show, that means situating the work “as a corrective to the elitist bias,” critic Max Pearl writes, and asking: “What if the story of abstract art in America begins not in New York or San Francisco but in the American Southwest?”

Artsy Santa Fe

Who better to provide a guide to the artsy side of Santa Fe than the creative director who redesigned El Rey Court back when it changed hands in 2016? No one, says the Toronto Star. Hence, creative director Jay Carroll—who oversaw the El Rey’s restoration with his wife Alison—talks with the Star about his love of Santa Fe, and provides tips for artsy visitors to the city. Carroll says he fell in love with Santa Fe in his 20s when he came through as a roadie for a country band. “Santa Fe has one of the most unique esthetic fingerprints of any city in the US, and being one of the oldest cities in the country, it has an incredible amount of history,” he tells the newspaper. As for recommendations, Carroll points to the appointment-only Santa Fe Vintage for shopping; Ten Thousand Waves for soaking and sake; the brand-new La Mama for coffee and wine (run by Carroll’s friend, jewelry designer Anna Sheffield); and a handful of other spots Carroll patronizes, including Photo-Eye Bookstore, which he describes as one of his favorite places: “The Southwest and Northern New Mexico have a special quality that photographers are drawn to,” he says. “The fact that this store exists makes so much sense.”

For the rain it raineth every day

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day with a high temperature near 75 degrees; a 20% chance for precipitation via isolated showers and thunderstorms after 1 pm; and northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. We could see more isolated storms this evening before 1 am.

Thanks for reading! The Word perused quite a few tributes to Martin Amis following his death on Friday, but truly relished the reprint of Amis’ 1988 essay on Jane Austen and going to the movies with Salman Rushdie.

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