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Thursday, September 03, 2015

City Of Santa Fe Faces New Reality: It Ain't What It Used To Be, Plus: "Walking In Our Sleep;" Onetime Guv Candidate Opines On NM Wreckage And Keller Vs. The Machine (Cont.)  

The party in the city of Santa Fe--on its last legs for a couple of years--is now officially over. The long-lived, brutal recession that has slashed city revenues and job and population growth has finally come home to roost:

Painful decisions about possible cutbacks and tax increases are on the horizon for Santa Fe, which will have to grapple with a projected budget deficit of up to $15 million next year, Mayor Javier Gonzales said. Shrinking revenues and higher expenses are among the factors behind the projected budget gap . . 

While gross receipts taxes are approaching 2008 levels, the city hasn’t kept up with inflation. When inflation is factored in, the city has been operating with about $10 million less annually in gross receipts tax revenue for about the past seven years, Gonzales said. . . Budget gimmicks like transferring money from the water division to the general fund, have run their course.

Santa Fe has an aging population, a state administration that continues to stall filling government vacancies, a challenge in attracting tourists who spend rather than ogle, a shift in the art market that has taken a toll, a soaring high school drop out rate and an on again off again property crime issue driven by drugs.

A day trip to the historic Plaza and environs doesn't reveal this dark side but middle class Santa Feans have been dealing with it and now their city government is facing the fact that the capitol city's long-term trend is flat.

If and when the budget hawks at the Roundhouse are out voted there is a shot that the city could see hundreds of state government jobs filled that are currently being left vacant. That could provide the economic boost the city needs to spark revenue growth that could diminish chances for cuts to city services. Until then, Javier, you're on your own.

WALKING IN OUR SLEEP

Alan Webber
2014 Dem Guv hopeful Alan Webber writes of recent events:

The news is disturbing, troubling, unsettling. In Albuquerque, unimaginable events happen with unbelievable regularity. A murder trial for two members of the Albuquerque Police Department. The fate of the Superintendent of the Albuquerque Public Schools being decided behind closed doors after less than 3 months on the job because of his hiring of an accused sex offender as his deputy. A national evaluation of small businesses awards Albuquerque an “F".  New Mexico is losing population. Albuquerque is losing population. There is a serious talent drain. And now the secretary of state is accused by the attorney general of committing the very crimes that her office is supposed to guard against. 

It is a moment of truth. . . Pretending that everything is fine is not the way forward. . .The first job of leadership is to tell it like it is. The second job is to describe how it can be. And the third job is to begin the hard work of moving from where we are to where we want to be. . .

We need truth and new ideas.. . We need to close ranks around a shared dream for New Mexico’s future. . .We start by changing the conversation. We acknowledge our serious problems, starting with a lack of good jobs. Then we go to work on a grass-roots strategy to create good jobs with good wages. We design a strategy that we can control, that we can create, a strategy that reflects our strengths and our skills. We start by working together. And we stop doing things that don’t work. We stop walking in our sleep. We stop pretending that things are okay, that the status quo is good enough, that the way it is now is the way it has to be.

KELLER VS. THE MACHINE (CONT.)

State Auditor Tim Keller keeps sticking the needle in the Martinez administration and they keep poking back. The latest is on adequate funding for special education.

Keller vs. the Machine (taxation secretary, Taser investigation etc.) was a hit over the summer and it looks like it will be renewed for the fall season.

EGG ON THE FACE

Early blog readers Wednesday caught us with some egg on our face when we blogged that there had never been a male secretary of state. Michael Garcia of Santa Fe straightened us out:

In regards to you statement that there has not been a male SOS, actually we have had two male SOSs. Antonio J. Lucero (D) served from 1912-18, and Manuel Martínez (R) served from 1919-22. As you can see, our first SOS was a male. Keep up the great blog! 

The NM Blue Book lists all statewide officeholders in NM history story but you have to remember to take it down from the shelf. Still, it would be a giant curveball if Gov. Martinez appointed a man to the post in the event of a Dianna Duran resignation.

Reader Jane Kennedy thinks we messed up by even suggesting a man for the SOS job:

Hi Joe, why on Earth would you suggest the gender of a future SOS appointee is important? That the "SOS hex" has something to do with gender? Please reconsider.

We plead guilty. Look, our head has been so deep in New Mexico scandals lately that we even forgot to put green chile on our omelet.

THE BOTTOM LINES

ABQ election season is upon us. Tonight at 6  the three contenders for the ABQ SE Heights city council seat (District 6) take the stage together. The forum will be at the
African-American Performing Arts Center Theater on the grounds of NM Expo. Election Day is October 6.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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