Anyone who is paying attention to the Rio Grande’s drying riverbed and dropping reservoirs or is worried about declining groundwater levels probably has something to say about how the state might handle current—and coming—challenges. And they currently have their chance. The public comment period for New Mexico’s draft water plan ends next week. And while top state officials wouldn’t speak about the plan, New Mexico’s gubernatorial candidates were eager to share their thoughts about water, drought and water planning in the state. The draft plan released earlier this year by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission examines statewide water issues through the lens of 16 regional water plans the ISC developed with input from local governments, nonprofits and stakeholders.
The state Taxation and Revenue Department may be facing more scandal after a troubled few years. Federal agents reportedly executed a search warrant at the department’s offices. KOB-TV was the first to report the search and quoted the department’s spokesman, Benjamin Cloutier, as saying the search is related to a classified employee and the department is cooperating with the investigation. Cloutier said the employee had been with the department since 2006 and has been placed on administrative leave. NM Political Report reached out to Cloutier Wednesday night and again Thursday morning for a reaction to the report but the spokesman did not respond.
A report by the Santa Fe Reporter delved into something that has troubled local reporters for some time: how unresponsive public information officers under Susana Martinez have been. The highly-paid positions are usually well above twice the median salary of the state. From the report:
Emails, phone calls and text messages to the public information officers are often ignored. Even program managers more often than not refuse to go on the record or discuss policy plans and objectives. Many claim they’ve been instructed not to talk to the press.