Morning Word

NM Gov blasts GOP and Trump on border, abortion

City, Santa Fe Association of Realtors head back to court over “mansion tax”

NM Gov blasts GOP and Trump on border, abortion

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appeared on CNN yesterday and spoke with anchor Sara Sidner about the challenges on New Mexico’s border. Leaked audio of the governor recently made headlines as she told an unidentified federal official of her frustrations therein. “There is no question that there’s tension in New Mexico’s border,” Lujan Grisham told Sidner, noting that the state relies “on the bulk of our food and other agricultural products coming across [the border] legally and safely…when we make it political, and we stop trucks, that means that I don’t have food for New Mexico residents,” particularly in rural areas. Lack of adequate personnel also poses safety concerns, she added. “I need a common sense smart border bill,” she said, noting the current bill Senate Democrats plan to introduce this week, which Republicans have said they will block, has the support of “the union that is the membership of the border patrol. This has now become a really harsh political issue and people get caught again in the crossfire. Shame on Republicans here again.” Sidner also asked the governor about the impact on New Mexico from neighboring states such as Texas and Arizona with anti-abortion policies. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the proportion of abortions provided to patients traveling from out of state into New Mexico increased from 38% in 2020 to 74% in 2023. Lujan Grisham referenced the pending new reproductive health clinic in the southern part of the state (see story below), and said the influx has put a strain on New Mexico’s resources and threatened women’s lives. “This is a disaster,” she said. “He said he was going to do it—the former president—and he’s going to keep doing it. He’s bowing to extremists that are rolling back constitutional protections and rights to women and their families. And it’s outrageous, and contraceptives, I think, are next.”

City heads to court over real-estate tax

The City of Santa Fe is set to face off with the Santa Fe Association of Realtors at a 10 am hearing today regarding the fate of the voter-approved tax on the portion of real estate sales over $1 million. The 3% excise tax, which received 73% approval from voters in the November 2023 election, will support the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. First Judicial District Judge Bryan Biedscheid will consider summary judgement motions to resolve the case from both the city and SFAR today, along with other motions related to discovery and SFAR’s motion for an injunction. SFAR and property owners Kurt Hill and Richard Newton initially filed their lawsuit shortly before the election; as of now, the tax is set to go into effect on May 28. “Speaking for myself, I think that the ordinance is lawful and enforceable, and those are the points that the plaintiffs are challenging us on,” Assistant City Attorney Marcos Martinez tells SFR. “We think it’s a valid exercise of the city’s power to enact local ordinances, local taxes that will benefit the city and address specific problems that the city governing body has identified.” In February, Biedscheid rejected the city’s motion to dismiss SFAR’s suit all together, but City Attorney Erin McSherry tells SFR she thinks that motion came early in the case and the judge has had “a lot more briefing now…we feel like the city has a very strong position.” Former SFAR President Drew Lamprich tells SFR he thinks “it’s really important that we get a decision from the judge on the legality of it” and SFAR is “hopeful” Biedscheid “is ready to make that ruling so we can all have an answer before the excise tax would go into effect.”

Early voting off to a slow start

As the June 4 Primary Election Day draws nearer, Santa Fe County Clerk Voter Outreach Coordinator Mitchell Cox tells SFR the county is thus far seeing “a slight decrease” in early voter turnout compared to the 2022 primary election. But don’t ring the alarm yet, he says. “I think a large factor beyond just the top of the ticket—the lack of excitement in a presidential race where candidates are both decided—would be just because COVID now is not really as much of a factor as it was even two years ago,” Cox says. “So we had more folks on early or absentee in the 2022 primary and then much less turnout on Election Day, and I think we are anticipating a lot more turnout on Election Day than in previous elections for this one.” At the state level, however, New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State Communications Director Alex Curtas tells SFR via email that turnout is “looking good so far” and seems to track with previous primary elections. “With expanded early voting now underway across the state, we’ll likely see an uptick in voting from now until Primary Election Day as New Mexicans take advantage of the many convenient ways they have to vote,” Curtas says, noting individuals can drop off their absentee ballots at any polling place or secure drop box, as well as mail them in. Find the full list of early voting locations here and the drop boxes here. SFR winds up its primary season Pop Quiz series this week, with state Senate District 24 and Santa Fe County Magistrate Court. Find all our election online and look for our endorsements in the May 29 edition.

UNM Regents approve land purchase for clinic

A full-service reproductive health care center in the southern part of New Mexico is one step closer to fruition, following a vote late last week by the University of New Mexico Regents approving on a 6-1 vote acquisition of land in Doña Ana County for the Reproductive Health Care Success Project, a joint initiative between UNM Health, Bold Futures NM, Strong Families NM and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains that is anticipated to serve thousands of residents. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham first committed $10 million to shore up reproductive health care services in the southern part of the state in August of 2022, one of several actions she took in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. The Legislature subsequently appropriated the funds in the 2023 capital outlay bill. “I am pleased to see the advancement of the Reproductive Health Project,” the governor says in a statement issued following the Regents’ vote. “When fully operational, this full spectrum, reproductive health care center will support and ensure that individuals in the southern part of New Mexico have access to comprehensive reproductive health care.” According to the UNM news release, organizers intend to break ground later this year and potentially begin offering services in 2025. “We take our responsibility to steward these funds seriously, knowing that high-levels of transparency and collaboration often result in longer timeframes,” President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Adrienne Mansanares says in a statement. “We prioritize these values over moving too quickly through this one-of-a-kind community-led endeavor.”

Listen up

Spanish singer and guitarist Juan José Alba won best video at last Sunday’s 2024 New Mexico Music Awards for “Santa Fe Style,” directed by Maurizio Romero and produced at The Kitchen Sink Recording Studio in Santa Fe. The Kitchen Sink, founded by musician Jono Manson, scored several wins at the ceremony for albums in the bluegrass, folk and country genres, along with modern rock for the Free Range Buddhas’ “End of the Story.” Other local winners included Robert J Kelly and JK Harrison in the adult contemporary/adult pop category; Boomroots Collective in the reggae category for “What Ya Need Them For,” produced at Frogville Studios; and John-Michael Vasquez performing as Johnny Visable in the pop category for his song “Too Late,” among others. Manson and C Daniel Boling also produced the winning best album of the year for Boling and Tom Paxton, New Old Friends.

Judy Chicago on making it

New Mexico-based iconic feminist artist Judy Chicago tells The Guardian her time has come. The story coincides with Chicago’s United Kingdom retrospective Revelations (Serpentine North Gallery, if you happen to be in London, through Sept. 1), but also follows a flurry of US exhibitions for the artist. Chicago wrote a book by the same title in the 1970s, being published for the first time to coincide with the exhibition. Interviewer journalist Rachel Cooke writes colorfully about her interview with Chicago—which took place online—noting the 84-year-old’s satisfaction at finally receiving her due. “Suddenly, she’s everywhere, including on the runway at Dior, where in recent years she has twice collaborated with the fashion house’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri (there is a Chicago-designed handbag),” Cooke writes. “And she can’t get enough of it all, whatever she likes to say about commercialism. The love. The praise. If she were a cat, she would be purring.” That being said, Chicago insists that being ignored, even ridiculed as a young artist didn’t get her down. “I was never interested in the market,” Chicago says. “I didn’t even understand the market. How many young artists can look forward to that, rather than being scooped up and turned into product-makers, dumped as soon as their products don’t sell? And because I didn’t get the traditional rewards, I made making art my reward. I had clear goals, which were: making a mark on history and articulating an alternative vision, and I’m now very close to achieving those goals.” Chicago lives with her husband of 38 years, the photographer Donald Woodman, in Belen. Photo credit above: Judy Chicago, 2023 Photo © Donald Woodman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Film work in the state appears to be back to a steady clip, with the Film Office most recently announcing Trap House is filming in and around Albuquerque. “Trap house,” in the Urban Dictionary, refers to a place where drugs are sold. Directed by Michael Dowse and written by Gary Scott Thompson and Tom O’Connor, the film “follows an undercover DEA agent and his partner as they embark on a game of cat and mouse with an audacious group of thieves: their own rebellious teenagers, who have begun robbing from a dangerous cartel using their parents’ tactics and top-secret intel.” The film stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Jack Champion (Avatar: The Way of Water) and Sophia Lillis (It, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves), among others, and will employ more than 100 New Mexicans as crew members and background talent. The movie has multiple production companies and producers involved, including Todd Lundbohm of 828 Productions, who says in a statement the company is “thrilled to bring this adrenaline-fueled project” to the state. “New Mexico is renowned for its world-class crews, and their passion and expertise are perfectly suited to tackle this project’s exciting challenges,” he said. The Film Office also recently announced the third season of AMC’s Dark Winds has begun filming in and around Tesuque Pueblo and Santa Fe. For even more film-related news and reviews, be sure to check out SFR’s new Bonus Features section.

Easy, breezy

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day, with a high temperature near 78 degrees and northeast wind around 15 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The Scarlett Johansson Chat GPT controversy has given The Highly Suggestible Word a hankering to rewatch Her.

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