Morning Word

Santa Fe Voters Head to the Polls

Tax Secretary: EV credits could include used, hybrid vehicles

Time to vote, Santa Fe!

Barring unforeseen circumstances, polls for today’s local election will have been open for half an hour by the time this newsletter hits inboxes, and will remain so until 7 pm. More than 16,000 voters—15.7% of eligible voters—have already cast early and absentee votes, according to the Santa Fe County Clerk’s vote tracker: 11.7% and 4%, respectively. Residents can use same-day registration at any polling place today, but will need to bring an ID with an address, or a photo ID and a financial document with an address. Today’s ballot includes candidates for all four Santa Fe City Council races; an uncontested municipal judge race; amendments to the city’s charter; one contested Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education race; bond and mill levy questions for the public schools and Santa Fe Community College; a contested SFCC board race; and a 3% excise tax proposal that would help fund the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. View a list of all local races here; and find your sample ballot here. Drop absentee ballots at any drop-box. All voters can vote at all polling locations; the clerk’s office tracks wait times at them, as well—here’s hoping today bucks the trend of low turnout for local elections. “Local candidates and questions are some of the most impactful in our day-to-day lives and are often lower turnout despite their importance,” Santa Fe County Clerk Katharine Clark tells SFR via email. “Voting is incredibly easy in Santa Fe County and your neighbors are working hard at all our polling sites to ensure your ballot is counted. Let your vote be your voice.” Find all of SFR’s election coverage, including endorsements, here.

Charged up

Conflicting views over the future of electric vehicles in New Mexico emerged during yesterday’s Water and Natural Resources Committee meeting, in advance of public hearings the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board will hold mid-month on Advanced Clean Car/Truck Rules. Among other provisions, those rules would require automobile manufacturers to scale up yearly starting in 2027 the percentage of zero-emission vehicles delivered to the state, starting at 43% and leading up to 82% by 2032. Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke also provided a preview of the EV tax credits Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced last month she plans to pursue in January’s legislative session, saying they could include credits for used and hybrid vehicles. The governor vetoed EV tax credits during the last session, sparking criticism from environmental groups. One of the environmental leaders who issued those criticisms last spring, Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter, yesterday presented environmental and economic reasons backing the EV transition—and the governor’s proposal therein. “We agree with the governor we’ve got to do this bigger, better and faster and are really excited to support her initiative,” Feibelman said.

But industry representatives, along with Republican lawmakers, expressed concerns about the EV transition. State Rep. Jack Chatfield, R-Mosquero, said he worries his constituents will simply drive three hours to Amarillo, Texas to purchase new gas cars there. “I think that hurts our state economically; I think it hurts our taxes,” Chatfield said. “And…I think if electric vehicles are truly better, if they’re truly superior, that we will be led into this and not forced.”

Jurors deliberate in teen murder trial

Jurors yesterday began deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of Judah Trujillo, a teenager accused of fatally shooting 60-year-old Samuel Cordero at Ragle Park in the summer of 2022. Trujillo took the stand yesterday and claimed self-defense, saying he changed his mind about having a sexual encounter with Cordero after arranging to meet him in the park. “It felt like my body was in self-defense and was acting sort of on its own,” Trujillo said. “I was not intending to hurt him.” Trujillo testified Cordero sent him a message through LGBTQ+ dating application Grindr, which Trujillo, who was 15 at the time, said he used by falsely claiming to be 18 in order to skirt the app’s age restrictions. He said he used the app to explore his sexuality “without his friends or family knowing” and had previously met men for sexual encounters several times, mostly in public places such as the Santa Fe Place Mall restrooms, and always with a weapon for his safety—mostly pocket knives. But the night he met Cordero, he testified, he didn’t have a knife and instead chose to carry a firearm he found earlier that week inside the house. Trujillo has been prosecuted as a “serious youthful offender,” which means he could be sentenced to adult prison time, but a judge would have some discretion in sentencing guidelines for a first-degree guilty verdict that otherwise call for 30 years to life.

Councilors propose suspending city manager

The agenda for the Santa Fe City Council’s regular meeting tomorrow evening includes a resolution from District 3 City Councilors Lee Garcia and Chris Rivera to suspend City Manager John Blair for three days. Both Garcia and Rivera have been critical of Blair’s decision to withhold from the Council an August letter to Mayor Alan Webber from the state Department of Finance Administration warning of the possible withholding of capital outlay funds and other repercussions due to the city’s late audits. Blair subsequently apologized for his lack of transparency. The short resolution says Blair’s suspension, if approved, would last three days and begin Dec. 4; during his suspension, the deputy city manager would assume his duties. According to a fiscal impact report accompanying the resolution, Blair would not be compensated during the three-day suspension, which comes to approximately $2,007. After the resolution is introduced tomorrow night, it will be brought before the Council again on Nov. 29.

Listen up

On the first Saturday of each month, Slow Food Santa Fe hosts the Garden Journal radio program. On this month’s show, hosts Lissa Johnson and Nina Rosenberg interview Juliana and Tejinder Ciano, Reunity Resources’ director of programming and executive director, respectively. Both talk about their paths to opening Reunity, a nonprofit urban farm/soil and compost yard that operates a variety of programs dedicated to regenerative agriculture, as well as their plans for the future.

Color me science

Popular Science magazine delves into the conundrum of translating colors in the world to colors on a computer monitor. To get to the bottom of it, PopSci talks with Roxana Bujack, a staff scientist on the Data Science at Scale Team at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Math, Bujack says, fuels “everything that happens in Photoshop. It’s all just matrices and operations, but you see immediately with your eyes what this math does.” In a nutshell (assuming nutshells referenced Euclidian geometry), both digital and print color models—RGB and CMY) have not been updated in a century. Erwin Schrödinger—often referenced for his famous quantum mechanics “cat” thought experiment—was behind the 3D color model that “has been the foundation of color theory for more than 100 years,” the story notes, and “scientists and developers apply it when seeking to perfect the digital representation of colors on the screens of machines.” Bujack’s team at LANL in 2021 began trying to build algorithms that would “design color maps, streamlining the conversion of pigments into digits and date,” but discovered a problem with Schrödinger’s model—a big one: “Schrödinger’s math doesn’t work…because it fails to predict the correct hues between two colors.”

Windows of opportunity

“It was damp, cold, and had a stench that meant you couldn’t stay inside more than two minutes.” So recounts New Zealand-born designer Jules Moore to Dwell magazine in a story about the “dilapidated pueblo-style” Santa Fe home she renovated when she moved here. “It was a complete gut job, which was more than I wanted to take on,” Moore says, “but the location and sunsets grabbed my heart.” The story and accompanying video follows Moore through her “reimagining” of the home. She had never been to Santa Fe, she says, but came here from California on a whim following the suggestion of friends. “I had no idea what to expect,” she tells Dwell. “The plaster walls of the adobe home are so soothing, so calming, and the weight of the home anchors you like no other architecture has for me.” The 3,800-square-foot home needed a great deal of work and had been abandoned. Moore sought to emphasize the views with customized windows. “It’s a daily show of sunrises, spectacular sunsets, moonrises, and star-drenched skies,” she says. “You feel a hundred miles from anyone, bobcat and deer roam the groves of aspen and wildflowers, and I wake to the birdsong.”

Some like it hot

The National Weather Service forecasts another weirdly warm and windy day with a high near 70 degrees, sunny skies and northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west 15 to 20 mph this morning. Record warm temps across the state, along with wind and dry conditions, also means elevated fire risk, NWS warns. Santa Fe National Forest Service officials say they are keeping an eye on “a small remote fire in the Pecos wilderness” discovered last Wednesday. The Horsethief Fire, they say, was likely caused by lightning the day prior, is approximately 3 acres and “smoldering and creeping at low intensity around the strike tree.”

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks this to-be-written biopic about the late Joan Didion, which includes an imagined future in which an AI Didion confronts “a dystopia beyond her wildest anxiety dreams” sounds pretty nutty. She can’t wait to see it.

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