Santolina moves closer to approval as opponents shout ‘Shame!’

Dozens of protesters shouted, “Shame!” as Bernalillo County commissioners voted against three appeals of a planned community on Albuquerque’s Westside. The votes to reject the appeals all came on 3-2 votes as protesters, including those from the Contra Santolina Working Group, chanted to show their displeasure on Thursday night. Commissioners Art De La Cruz, Lonnie Talbert and Wayne Johnson voted to reject the appeals while commissioners Debbie O’Malley and Maggie Hart Stebbins voted for the appeals. The appeals heard at the meeting were filed by the South Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. Each appeal protested the Bernalillo County Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the Santolina master plan for a variety of reasons, including a lack of transparency with how Santolina will use water resources, disagreements over Santolina’s job promises, a perceived inconsistency with the Mid-Region Council of Governments’ future transportation plans and more.

Governor should sign “Ready To Work” plan | by Sen. Michael Padilla

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]MICHAEL PADILLA is a Democratic state senator representing District  14 (Bernalillo) and currently serves as the Majority Whip for New Mexico’s state senate.[/box]

The 2015 Legislative Session now has less than a week to finish all its work, but there is still plenty of time to address the most pressing need in New Mexico today: more jobs. Early in this 60-day meeting of the legislature, Senate Democrats laid out our priorities through an ambitious ‘Ready to Work’ Jobs Plan. The plan creates 73,000 jobs over the next five years and stimulates greater economic activity across New Mexico.  The plan is comprised of more than 50 bills introduced in the current session that promise new employment and economic activity in urban and rural areas of the state, across a broad range of occupations. Our plan also meets two significant challenges.

NM business leaders support campaign finance & transparency reform | by the Committee for Economic Development

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]THE COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization. [/box]

A new poll of New Mexico business leaders released today shows serious concern about the lack of transparency in New Mexico’s government and campaign finance system. The poll shows overwhelming support for reform amid worries from the business community about the lopsided influence of political donors compared to every day voters. The poll was commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED), a nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization, and conducted by Research & Polling, Inc.

A sample of 307 New Mexico business leaders was interviewed by telephone. All interviews were conducted between February 2nd, 2015 and February 18th, 2015. The statewide sample of business leaders included the board members of 11 Chambers of Commerce throughout the state, the largest private sector employers in New Mexico, the largest employers within various business sectors, Albuquerque Economic Forum members, Albuquerque Economic Development (AED) members, and members of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Association (MVEDA).

BernCo Should Reject Santolina Master Plan | by David Vogel

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]DAVID VOGEL is a noted researcher, teacher, philanthropist, and former national management consultant. He is currently working on economic development projects in the U.S. and abroad, including the “Central Park of New Mexico” project of which he is the founder/project leader. This piece is written as an open letter to the Bernalillo County Commission.[/box]

Dear Bernalillo County Commissioners,

I am writing to urge you to NOT approve the Santolina Master Plan and hope you will vote against this Proposal. Some of the most compelling reasons for rejecting this expansion include:

The geographic expansion that has dominated the County’s growth pattern over the past several decades has contributed substantially to the economic stagnation and quality of life erosion for Bernalillo County citizens. The benefits that have accrued to private developers have been at the expense of essential urban infrastructure development.

What it Means to Have a Republican Majority in NM House | Speaker Don Tripp

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]DON TRIPP is a member of the NM House of Representatives (R-Socorro). A jeweler by trade, Rep. Tripp is also the Speaker of the House, the first Republican to hold that title in 60 years.[/box]

It’s time for your lawmakers to get to work. There is much to do this year, and we’re ready for the challenge. There is a lot of excitement in Santa Fe — the result of last year’s election. For the first time in 60 years, the people of New Mexico have chosen Republicans to lead the House of Representatives.

Could a “Closing Fund” Consensus Come to the NM Capital?

While Democrats and Republicans in D.C. and New Mexico seem to be growing farther and farther apart on many issues, there is at least one economic proposal on the table in our state that may become a beacon of compromise. Closing funds are pools of discretionary public money that help provide incentives for new or existing businesses to re-locate to a state, make infrastructure investments, or expand operations. Late last year, the Legislature’s bi-partisan Interim Jobs Council recommended tripling the amount of money in New Mexico’s closing fund. Governor Susana Martinez also supports increasing the amount of money in the state’s closing fund, calling the fund “a critical tool in helping diversify our economy, grow the private sector and better compete for jobs.”

You read that correctly. There’s true bi-partisan support in New Mexico for an economic development initiative.