Morning Word

Median Safety Bill Scheduled for Hearing, Vote at Tonight’s City Council Meeting

Oñate shooting victim returns to NM for art exhibition

Morning Word

City Council expected to vote on median safety bill

The City of Santa Fe governing body is slated to hold a public hearing tonight and ostensibly vote upon a proposed bill from Mayor Alan Webber aimed at limiting people standing or sitting on medians less than 36 inches wide for periods of time “longer than needed.” Hearings on the bill have been postponed for several months since its initial introduction in April, during which time it has undergone numerous amendments in response to criticisms from the American Civil Liberties Union and others who expressed concern that the bill targets unhoused people. Says one public comment: “This disproportionately burdens poor and unhoused people and is a violation of common decency. Let’s focus on finding answers to the housing crisis rather than punishing people who have no safe place to rest their heads at night.” New amendments removed a former potential jail penalty and lowered the maximum fine from $500 to $25 for violations, among other changes. However, ACLU-NM Policing Policy Advocate Daniel Williams tells SFR none of the tweaks “have changed our legal director’s assessment of the constitutionality of the bill,” which advocates say violates the right to free speech activities. Williams also cites concerns regarding enforcement. Violation of the proposed median law now carries the same penalty as jaywalking, he notes. “We know there are huge racial disparities in the way these kinds of things are enforced. Black and brown people are significantly more likely to get ticketed for jaywalking, and enforcement can become a fig leaf for harassing unhoused people,” Williams says. “That heightens our concern that this will lead to unnecessary and dangerous contact with law enforcement for some of the most vulnerable people in Santa Fe.”

NM Gov: Special session moving forward

A special legislative session focused on public safety will begin July 18 as scheduled, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office tells SFR, despite calls from several advocacy organizations urging the governor to cancel. The ACLU of New Mexico, Equality New Mexico, Bold Futures NM and the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, along with 37 other organizations and mental health experts, sent the governor a letter yesterday expressing concerns about the proposals expected, including ones targeting median safety (a city version of which is slated for a vote by the City of Santa Fe governing body tonight, as noted above), along with proposals related to civil commitment and competency hearings. The letter urges the governor to “halt” the special session and “engage further with community experts in advance of the 2025 60-day legislative session.” That’s not going to happen, the governor’s office says. A statement provided by Lujan Grisham Communications Director Michael Coleman says: “While the governor appreciates input from mental health and social justice advocates, calling off the special session and doing nothing is not an option. The status quo is not working in New Mexico, and every day that the root causes of crime and other public safety challenges go unaddressed is another day that New Mexicans are placed at risk.”

Baldwin jury selected

After a day of questioning yesterday, 16 jurors—four of them alternates—are in place for the involuntary manslaughter trial of Alec Baldwin, scheduled to start opening arguments at 8:30 am today. First Judicial District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer, along with prosecutors and Baldwin’s attorneys, narrowed the jury pool from 70 people; 11 of the jurors are female, five male. Jurors faced questions regarding their knowledge of the case, ability to be impartial and experience and opinions on gun safety, among others. Baldwin faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in the Oct. 21, 2021 on-set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The actor maintains he did not pull the trigger. If found guilty, he can receive up to 18 months in prison. According to a pool report provided from the Associated Press reporter allowed in the room, Baldwin wore a grey suit, dark tie, white shirt with glasses and had neatly combed hair. Attendees included his brother Stephen Baldwin and wife Hilaria Baldwin. According to court documents, approximately 50 witnesses are slated to testify in the trial, which is expected to last until July 19. Earlier this week, Marlowe Sommer ruled the state cannot introduce evidence related to Baldwin’s role as a producer in the film.

Oñate protest shooting victim returns to NM

Washington-based artist and activist Jacob Johns (Hopi and Akimel O’odham) has returned to New Mexico, following his gunshot injury at an Española protest last year over a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate. Johns’ accused shooter Ryan Martinez has been incarcerated since then and faces first-degree attempted murder and other charges in a trial scheduled to begin in September. Johns comes back to the state for a new multimedia exhibit in Santa Fe that responds in part to his experience. Forward Movement opens at 5:30 pm tomorrow, Thursday, July 11 at El Museo Cultural. In an interview with SFR, Johns discusses how he became involved with last year’s protest; the intense recovery from his extensive injuries; and how the experience has influenced both his life and his art. “I use art as a way to convey messages for my own healing, and it has been important for me to paint images about the incident,” he says. “I painted the shooter’s face, this giant picture of his face in court from when he was crying after they denied him bail. I did a very large painting of a photo that was taken of the shooter trying to run into the crowd—and it’s massive, like, 23 feet by 16 feet on loose canvas. This was very powerful for me. I also painted a photo that was taken of the people who had their hands on my chest as I was bleeding out and being taken out. The show is a combination of new stuff and old stuff. I have some video projects; inflatable screens that create pop-up theaters; an immersive meditation piece; a generative piece that’ll be filmed…there are pieces that are specific to my way of healing.”

Listen Up

On the most recent episode of Pet Chat, hosts Española Humane Director of Community Engagement Murad Kirdar and Felines and Friends New Mexico Executive Director Bobbi Heller dig into summer safety tips for cats and dogs. In addition, Dr. Michelle Salob discusses heartworm disease and prevention, along with the joys of fostering. The show airs at 9 am Saturdays and 3 pm on Sundays on 1260 AM and 103.7 FM, or find it on

Relishing relics

Reporting from Corrales, the New York Times examines the history and tradition of the devotional pendants known as reliquaries, talking first with author Martha Egan, an expert on the topic and owner of event venue Casa Perea Art Space, where her folk-art store Pachamama also is located. The word relicario, the Times writes, has traditionally “been used for any receptacle for relics such as splinters said to be from Jesus’s cross or fragments of bone or bits of cloth said to have ties to saints or other religious figures. Such devotional pieces, including lockets, were popular in parts of medieval Europe.” Egan, however, writes in her books that people in the New World began creating reliquaries without such relics because most of those qualifying under that definition were shipped to America in the Spanish Colonial period and “were reserved for the Roman Catholic churches being built as part of the push to convert Indigenous populations to Christianity.” As such, Egan’s work “compelled us to turn our eyes to see a small object that has its own important features, its own artistic virtues, and speaks to us of the devotion of an era,” art historian Gabriela Sánchez Reyes tells the paper.

Simply the best

Travel & Leisure magazine yesterday unveiled the recipients of its 2024 world’s best awards, with Santa Fe named the #2 best city in the US. That’s the second year in a row we came in second (we were third in 2022), and yet another year of trailing Charleston, South Carolina. T&L writes: “This artsy Southwestern destination has ranked high on our list for nearly 20 years, and it’s not just because of the 320 days of sunshine it receives each year, though it certainly doesn’t hurt. ‘Santa Fe is like its own country within a country,’ gushed one reader. ‘It’s such a unique blend of culture and history that you don’t see in the rest of the USA.’” Another visitor called its downtown, with Pueblo-style buildings and independent galleries, “a photographer’s dream and a shopper’s delight.’” Taos also makes the list, coming in at #11: “This small city packs a punch,” T&L notes, with one reader declaring: “Taos is for athletes, artists, and open minded travelers.” The magazine also revealed readers’ five favorite hotels in Santa Fe, with Inn of the Five Graces nabbing the top spot for the second year in a row. “The hotel is unbelievably beautiful,” one reader notes. “The food and service are outstanding, and the location is perfect.” We bring you T&L’s readers’ choices while SFR remains hard at work contacting winners of our very local annual Best of Santa Fe contest. Winners will be announced in the BOSF issue July 31. Mark your calendars to come celebrate with our citywide party Aug. 2 in the Railyard.

The rain it raineth every day

The National Weather Service forecasts a 40% chance for precipitation today, with scattered showers and thunderstorms after noon. Otherwise, it will be mostly sunny, with a high temperature near 85 degrees and east wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Look for a 30% chance for more storms tonight between 9 pm and midnight.

Thanks for reading! The Word will be procuring heirloom tomatoes ASAP after reading this Food & Wine primer.

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