Evidence Presented In NM Compound Case, NM Local Districts To See Election Costs Jump

Aug 13, 2018

New Mexico Local Districts To See Election Costs Jump- Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press


Lea County school districts, hospital districts and the New Mexico Junior College all will likely see jumps in election costs next year because of the state's new local election law.

Hobbs Municipal Schools' next election will cost more than twice as much as previously budgeted, the Hobbs News-Sun reported.

State Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto says the jump comes because each local government taxing entity will be assessed $250 for every million dollars of general fund expenditures annually to pay for the regular local election. Ivey-Soto, an Albuquerque Democrat, sponsored the measure that sparked the changes.

Elections for local government taxing entities — school districts, community colleges, water conservation districts, sanitation districts and hospital districts — will be held in November of odd-numbered years.

Only four cities are affected by that provision — Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Gallup and Silver City. The first three have had their elections in different months and the last had annual elections in March, now only once every two years.

Evidence Presented In New Mexico Compound Case- Associated Press


State prosecutors say children who were found at a ramshackle New Mexico compound were trained to use firearms and learned other tactical techniques as they prepared to get rid of teachers, law enforcement and other institutions that were considered corrupt.

The prosecutors provided more details about the accusations during a court hearing Monday in which they asked that Siraj Wahhaj and four other defendants be held pending trial on child abuse charges.

Wahhaj and the others were seated with their public defenders in a Taos courtroom as prosecutors presented books that were found at the compound, documents related to Wahhaj's trip to Saudi Arabia and a handwritten notebook that appeared to be some kind of teaching manual.

They also pointed to evidence that Wahhaj had taken a series of firearms courses while in Georgia.

Public defenders argued that they didn't have enough time to review the evidence, but the judge allowed the hearing to continue.

EPA To Delete Parts Of Superfund Site From Priority List - Albuquerque Journal


The New Mexico Environment Department has signed off on an EPA plan to delete some parts of the South Valley Superfund site from the federal agency’s National Priorities List.

The Albuquerque Journal reports groundwater was contaminated by a General Electric jet engine manufacturing plant and by chemical distributor Univar.


Diane Agnew, a water quality hydrologist with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, says the completed cleanup actions are the ones that are to be delisted, while some actions will remain on the list. Those include treatment and monitoring of some deep groundwater contamination that is not a threat to the city’s drinking water.


A spokeswoman for the New Mexico Environment Department says the delisting opens the door for economic growth in the South Valley.


Santa Fe Increases Pay For Top City Administrators - Santa Fe New Mexican


The city of Santa Fe is going to spend $73,000 on pay increases for top city administrators.


The Santa Fe New Mexican reports an analysis of pay increases for top officials in Mayor Alan Webber’s administration average about 7.8 percent for new department directors.


City Manager Erik Litzenberg says it’s part of an effort to professionalize City Hall and that they weighed area salaries when determining the increases. He says residents could expect more from people who are paid more.

New Mexico Dems: Ex-Gov Endorsement Of Pearce 'Sour Grapes'- Associated Press

Democrats say the endorsement of GOP New Mexico gubernatorial hopeful Steve Pearce by a former Democratic governor is connected to the former governor's son losing the Democratic nomination for governor.

Democratic Party of New Mexico chair Marg Elliston said Sunday that former New Mexico Gov. Jerry Apodaca's endorsement of Pearce is "sour grapes" on the part of Jeff Apodaca being defeated by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham in the Democratic primary.

Jerry Apodaca, a Democrat who was New Mexico's 24th governor from 1975-79, is the father of Jeff.

The elder Apodaca said Sunday he found Pearce to "be straightforward and an honest man."

Jeff Apodaca has drawn criticism from some Democrats for recently attending a Pearce campaign event and shaking the Republican congressman's hand.

GOP Candidate For New Mexico Governor Gets New Endorsement - Associated Press


The Republican candidate for governor of New Mexico has picked up an endorsement from former state Gov. Jerry Apodaca.


Apodaca announced Sunday that he's endorsing Steve Pearce in the gubernatorial race.


Apodaca is a Democrat who was New Mexico's 24th governor and served from 1975 to 1979.


He says Pearce is the only candidate willing to reach out across party lines.


Pearce and Democrat Michelle Lujan-Grisham are campaigning to replace Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who cannot run for a third consecutive term in 2018.

Criminal Probe Sought Of Pro-Los Alamos Agency Over Spending- Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

An environmental group is asking the New Mexico attorney general to launch a criminal investigation into an agency that promotes the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In a complaint dated Saturday, the Northern New Mexicans Protecting Land, Water and Rights asked state Attorney General Hector Balderas to look into the spending practices of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, The Santa Fe New Mexican reports.

That agency is made up of nine northern New Mexico cities, counties and pueblos surrounding the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory. The group promotes the economy in connection with the lab.

The complaint calls for an investigation into whether the coalition or its former executive director, Andrea Romero, violated the state Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, and whether the group failed to comply with open meetings laws.

Audit Says Struggling New Mexico County Kept Exceeding Budget - Gallup Independent, Associated Press


An independent audit says a financially strapped New Mexico county exceeded its budget authority for fiscal year 2017 by over $1.6 million.


The Gallup Independent reports independent auditors Harshwal and Company found that Cibola County repeatedly exceeded its budget authority every fiscal year since 2013.


The company disclaimed Cibola County's FY 2017 audit in its report submitted to the state auditor's office April 30 and released last week.


Harshwal said the company wasn't able to obtain sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion.


Cibola County Manager Kate Fletcher says the Board of Commissioners will hold an audit workshop on Monday to discuss with the public how the county plans to deal with the audit findings.


Agency Looks To Fill Hundreds Of Job Vacancies On Border - Associated Press


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the largest law enforcement agency in the country, has hundreds of vacancies for law enforcement officers to fill nationwide, and El Paso and Columbus, New Mexico, are among the areas where there are job openings.


The Albuquerque Journal reports starting salaries range from about $33,000 for Customs and Border Protection officers and $41,000 for Border Patrol agents, with opportunities for agents to earn over $50,000 with overtime.


The Trump administration wants to add 5,000 Border Patrol agents on the Southwest border.