Monday News Roundup: NM County's Investments Probed By State Officials

Nov 11, 2013

NM County's Investments Probed By State Officials - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

The State Securities Division has launched an inquiry into Bernalillo County's investment practices.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the agency is trying to determine if a turnover of the county's $300 million investment portfolio was the result of a misguided effort in pursuit of higher interest rates or something more sinister.

The newspaper reports the treasurer's office shifted millions of dollars into long-term bonds and cut cash reserves to just over 5 percent in less than 18 months, resulting in potential losses of more than $22 million.

Division investigators have interviewed Treasurer Manny Ortiz, his securities adviser and investment officer Patrick Padilla and others.

Ortiz and Padilla were unavailable for comment.

Last week, county commissioners approved a "no confidence" vote in Ortiz over his investment practices.

Navajo Council To Consider Junk Food Tax Proposal - Associated Press and The Farmington Daily Times

A proposed sales tax on junk food is headed to the Navajo Nation Council for consideration.

The legislation calls for an additional 2 percent tax on sweetened beverages, chips, candy, cookies and pastries bought on the reservation, which spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

The revenue would be used to build wellness centers, parks, basketball courts, trails, gardens and picnic grounds. It would also help to sponsor health education classes.

Supporters tell The Daily Times  the tax would help reduce diabetes and encourage people to buy healthy foods.

Opponents argue the tax would push consumers to buy junk food in stores off the reservation.

The measure is sponsored by Delegate Danny Simpson. He's also sponsoring legislation to remove the sales tax on vegetables, fruit, water and other foods.

NM School District To Investigate Football Fight - Associated Press

Officials with New Mexico's largest public school district say they will investigate after a brawl brought an end to a game between two Albuquerque high school football teams.

Rio Grande High School was leading Albuquerque High 13-0 Friday night when the fight began on the field near the end of the second quarter. Officials have yet to determine what sparked the fight.

Coaches and referees tried to break it up. Then the game was called.

For now, the game is being counted as a forfeit for both teams, and Albuquerque Public Schools spokeswoman Monica Armenta says there could be consequences for players depending on what the investigation finds.

Rio Grande coach Jim Danner says what happened Friday night should not happen in athletics.