Board Says ABQ Mayoral Candidate Broke Rules, Land Commissioner May Run For Gov As Libertarian

Nov 13, 2017

Board: Dem Broke Campaign Rules In Albuquerque Mayor's RaceThe Associated Press

An ethics board says Democratic Albuquerque mayoral candidate Tim Keller broke campaign finance rules when his publicly financed campaign accepted "in-kind" cash donations.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the city's Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices issued its ruling Monday — a day before the city's runoff election. But the board did not impose any penalties against Keller.

Republican Dan Lewis, Keller's opponent, said in a statement that the ruling was proof Keller "lied to Albuquerque voters and illegally worked with his political allies to funnel cash to his campaign."

Keller said he accepts the board decision and the ruling gave "needed clarity going forward."

The Latest: New Mexico Land Commissioner May Go Libertarian - The Associated Press A family member and political spokesman says New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is seriously considering a run for governor under the Libertarian Party. Albuquerque-based attorney Blair Dunn said Monday that his father, Aubrey Dunn, is giving "heavy consideration" to leaving the Republican Party to run for New Mexico governor as a Libertarian candidate or independent of any party. Second-term GOP Gov. Susan Martinez cannot seek re-election in 2018. Aubrey Dunn has said he will not seek re-election as land commissioner in 2018, and briefly campaigned this year for Congress in New Mexico's southern district before withdrawing. Support for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson in 2016 elections has made it easier for Libertarian candidates to get on the ballot in New Mexico, and several other states including Iowa, Kentucky and Massachusetts. 

New Mexico Dem Congressional Hopeful Arrested For StalkingThe Associated Press

A New Mexico man running for the state's southern congressional seat as a Democrat has been arrested for stalking.

KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports that David Alcon was arrested Friday at an Albuquerque apartment complex after authorities had been searching for him for nearly two weeks.

Santa Fe police issued a warrant for his arrest last month in connection with accusations that he sent graphic text messages to a woman he saw at a Halloween party. The woman told police that Alcon then stalked her outside her apartment.

Alcon is one of four Democrats seeking the U.S. House seat now held by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, who is running for governor.

Alcon was previously convicted of stalking a woman in 2007.

It was not known if he had an attorney.

Aerospace Company CEO In New Mexico Arrested For FraudThe Associated Press

The head of a New Mexico company that drew national attention for developing an electronic flying vehicle has been arrested for fraud and embezzlement.

KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports Dumitru Popescu was arrested in Jonesboro, Georgia, last week and then extradited to southern New Mexico. He's the CEO of Arca Space Corporation — a Las Cruces company that develops commercial space launchers.

Popescu has been charged with five counts of embezzlement, 13 counts of fraud and one count of forgery.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Dona Ana County District Court, Popescu lied to the Chicago-based Anova Technologies to obtain around $20,000.

Arca Space did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.

It was not known if Popescu, who has a Romanian passport, had an attorney.

Authorities Focus On DNA In Albuquerque Girl's KillingThe Associated Press

Federal agents have obtained the DNA of a suspected drug dealer as part of an investigation into in the death of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl who was raped and dismembered in her home.

The Albuquerque Journal reports court and police records show the FBI set up an undercover narcotics investigation six weeks ago with the goal of getting additional evidence in the slaying of Victoria Martens.

It's part of a renewed focus by investigators on whether a fourth adult was present around the time the girl was killed.

Investigators also want to know what role methamphetamine might have played in the child's death.

Michelle Martens, the girl's mother, her boyfriend Fabian Gonzales and his cousin, Jessica Kelley, have been charged in the August 2016 death. They have pleaded not guilty.

New Mexico's Renewable Energy Standard Up For DebateThe Associated Press

Environmentalists and the Union of Concerned Scientists say New Mexico is at a crossroads and has an opportunity to adopt policies that will encourage the development of more renewable energy.

They presented their case Monday for boosting the percentage of electricity that New Mexico utility customers get from renewable resources from 20 percent in 2020 to 50 percent by 2030 and more in subsequent years.

The initiative would place New Mexico on a similar trajectory to California and New York, which are planning for 50 percent by 2030. Hawaii aims to shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

Advocates testified before a legislative panel on possible economic and environmental benefits.

Some lawmakers questioned whether increasing the existing mandate would be necessary if market forces already are pushing utilities to invest more in solar and wind resources.

Rural Areas At Risk As Water Levels Drop In Massive AquiferDenver Post, Albuquerque Journal

The draining of a massive aquifer that underlies portions of eight states is drying up steams, causing fish to disappear and threatening the livelihood of farmers who rely on it for their crops.

The Denver Post reports that it analyzed federal data and found the Ogallala aquifer shrank twice as fast over the past six years compared with the previous 60.

Also known as the High Plains Aquifer, the Ogallala underlies 175,000 square miles including portions of Colorado, Wyoming Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.

The U.S. Geological Survey said in a June report that the aquifer lost 10.7 million acre-feet of storage between 2013 and 2015.

Water levels in the Ogallala have been dropping for decades as irrigators pump water faster than rainfall can recharge it.

Audit: Financial Mismanagement Is Costing UNM Lots Of MoneyAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A special audit of the University of New Mexico's athletics department and affiliated fundraising operations found the school has received $256,000 less than it should have from its athletics marketing contractor.

State Auditor Tim Keller tells the Albuquerque Journal that the problems will continue unless UNM designates a full-time financial officer and requires better accountability of the athletics department and its fundraising arms.

The 58-page audit report also found that the UNM had provided donor-related perks to 23 people who had made no monetary contributions to the university or its fundraising arms, overpaid three coaches and mistakenly paid for a women's basketball player's scholarship with money donated specifically for the ski team.

UNM officials don't dispute most of the findings and say the school already is addressing many of them.

Next Election Up: A Mayor Race In New Mexico's Biggest City - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

Voters in New Mexico's largest city are preparing to choose its next mayor after the Republican incumbent opted not to seek re-election.

Voters will decide Tuesday between Democrat Tim Keller and Republican Dan Lewis in a race that largely has focused on rising crime in Albuquerque and the city's struggling economy.

The Albuquerque Journal reports large numbers for early voting and that suggests the final turnout could be even higher than in the Oct. 3 election

The election comes a week after Democrats won governorships and legislative seats in Virginia and New Jersey and took mayoral seats in places like Helena, Montana.

State Auditor Keller and Albuquerque City Councilor Lewis are facing off in a runoff after they defeated six other candidates last month. Both say they want to hire 400 officers and have the Albuquerque Police Department return to neighborhood policing amid a rise in violent crime.

There is also a runoff for Lewis’ District 5 City Council seat between Robert Aragon and Cynthia Borrego.

Congressional Candidate Arrested In Stalking Case – KRQE-TV

Police arrested a man running for Congress at an apartment complex in Albuquerque nearly two weeks after issuing a warrant for his arrest for allegedly stalking a woman in Santa Fe.

KRQE-TV reports David Alcon, a Democrat running for the District 2 Congressional seat, is alleged to have sent a woman persistent texts over Halloween weekend. Some suggested he was watching her and one included a shot of his genitals.

He texted her again later to say he was outside her apartment. Police issued a warrant for his arrest on Oct. 30, but he did not turn himself in and was arrested Friday.

Alcon was convicted in 2007 for stalking a woman. His campaign did not respond to KRQE.

State: Most New Mexico Parents Don't Get Literacy Notices - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

State officials say most New Mexico parents of students from first to third grade aren't getting required letters notifying them of students' lack of reading skills.

Public New Mexico Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said Friday the lack of notification is hurting parents with the decision on whether they should hold students back.

According to data released by the Public Education Department, 15,344 notification letters were sent last school year for the 27,143 students deemed not proficient in reading in first to third grade. State law requires school districts to send notification letters midyear to parents of students in those grades struggling with reading proficiency.

State data show that of those 27,143 students, more than 21,000 advanced to the next grade.

Man Dead Following Shootout With New Mexico DeputiesAssociated Press

Bernalillo County authorities say a man is dead following a shootout with deputies on the northern edge of Albuquerque.

Sheriff Manuel Gonzales told reporters Friday the man had opened fire on deputies after barricading himself inside a home. Four deputies returned fire.

When SWAT team members eventually entered the home, they found the man dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Authorities were waiting for positive identification but they believe he is the same man that prompted a call early Friday about a possible aggravated assault in which a man was accused of pointing a gun at his father.

Gonzales confirmed that deputies have been called to the home before.

This is the second time deputies have opened fire this week. A domestic violence suspect was shot and critically injured on Sunday.

Nearly Half Of Captured Bears Released In Rio Arriba CountySanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Records show nearly half of all bears captured by game wardens across New Mexico over the last three years have been released to one northern New Mexico county.

According to documents obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican under an open-records request, the state Department of Game and Fish has captured 68 bears across New Mexico since 2015 and 32 were released in Rio Arriba County.

Northern New Mexico ranchers and others have long believed that the area has become a dumping ground for bears captured in other parts of the state, causing death of livestock and other property damage.

But a Game and Fish spokesman says there's no evidence that relocated bears are causing abnormal livestock predation in Rio Arriba County.

Oilman, Philanthropist Dies In New MexicoFarmington Daily Times, Associated Press

An oil and gas pioneer who loved work and was known for his philanthropy has died at his home in northwestern New Mexico.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports that Tom Dugan died Tuesday. He was 91. His family says a memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 18 at San Juan College.

Dugan's granddaughter, Megan Rains, said her grandfather was committed to his company and loved going to work every day. She said he was loyal to the employees at Dugan Production Corp. and they were loyal to him.

A military veteran, he moved to Farmington in the early 1950s after graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in petroleum engineering.

His exposure to the oil business started in Kansas with summer jobs at a local oil refinery.

Curry County Jail Earns 3-Year AccreditationEastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

The Curry County jail has earned accreditation from a special council of the New Mexico Association of Counties.

Detention Administrator Mark Gallegos tells The Eastern New Mexico News he has been working toward the accreditation since taking over in 2016.

To earn the accreditation, staff updated policies and procedures to meet the 208 mandatory standards developed by the council. They cover areas such as security and mental health.

The detention center passed the inspection of six auditors and will need to do so again in three years to maintain the accreditation. It must also keep documentation to verify that best practices are being followed.

The newspaper reports the designation is significant for a detention center that has been scrutinized for more than a decade after multiple inmates escaped its confines.