No charges after man wrote ‘terrorist’ in chalk outside Muslim-owned restaurant

The man who wrote “terrorist” outside of a restaurant owned by a Muslim in Santa Fe will not be charged. A photo of the message went viral on Facebook, with hundreds of shares by Monday morning. The Albuquerque Journal reported the man who wrote the message in “bright pink chalk” will not be charged, in part because of what police call “very apparent mental issues” and in part because the message was written in chalk and there was no property damage. The message was written outside the Pyramid Cafe, one of three restaurants owned by Mohamed “Ziggy” Rzig, the Journal reported. Rzig is originally from Tunisia and is now an American citizen.

NM cities push back against Trump immigration policies

Three of the state’s largest cities highlighted their opposition to Donald Trump’s immigration and border policies this week. The moves come as President Donald Trump has given more power to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to apprehend immigrants in the country illegally. The move appears to show wider enforcement against both those with criminal records and those without. In Albuquerque, the city council* approved a memorial reaffirming the city’s “immigrant-friendly” status. The move came in front of a packed crowd that included many who were unable to fit in the chambers.

Santa Fe weighing lawsuit against government over ‘sanctuary city’ executive order

The city of Santa Fe hasn’t made a decision on whether or not to sue the federal government over its sanctuary city status, but it is an option on the table. This comes after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to withhold federal funding from “sanctuary jurisdictions.”

“We are working on our legal strategy to clarify our standing, marshal our strongest possible arguments, and consider ways to address the executive order on so-called Sanctuary Cities,” city spokesman Matt Ross said in a statement. “One of those avenues may very well be a lawsuit, so it’s certainly on the table, but we’re not there yet.”

The city of San Francisco sued the federal government last week over Trump’s executive order. Ross noted that City Attorney Kelly Brennan brought up the issue at a city council meeting Wednesday night. “There was a good discussion and general agreement to get that process started, to have conversations with the legal community in Santa Fe and with advocates like the ACLU, and then to report back to the Council for a final decision,” Ross said.

Judge stops, for now, some of state’s reasons for denying wage theft claims

A judge temporarily halted a New Mexico state agency’s self-imposed limitations on wage theft claims.

In a ruling Tuesday afternoon, Santa Fe District Judge David Thomson ordered that, for now, the state Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) cannot automatically deny complaints of wage theft that total more than $10,000. The state department is also not allowed to automatically turn down claims that happened more than a year before they’re made. “Wage theft” refers to an employer denying payments owed to an employee in any way, which can include paying below minimum wage and refusing to pay overtime, for example. Thomson’s temporary restraining order against the state comes because of a class-action lawsuit filed just two weeks ago by “low income workers” who made wage theft claims against their employers to DWS. Ten individuals named in the lawsuit allege that DWS’ handling of their wage theft claims violate multiple state laws.

A look at Women’s Marches from across NM

Thousands of New Mexicans took part in the Women’s March this Saturday. Some traveled to the massive march Washington D.C., while others stayed closer to home and participated in marches and rallies in cities throughout the state. According to Vox, the rallies may have added up to be the largest demonstration in U.S. history. Democratic members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation marched in Washington D.C., the day after they each attended the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. https://twitter.com/Michelle4NM/status/822824672488288258

According to one calculation, New Mexico had the 10th-most people per 1,000 residents attend the rallies.

Stark differences separate Santa Fe liberals stepping into leadership roles

Santa Fe is about to become the most powerful city in the Legislature. Presumptive House Speaker Brian Egolf and new Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth both are Santa Fe Democrats, Anglo lawyers from the city’s east side. When Wirth was elected to the Senate in 2008, Egolf was elected to represent Wirth’s old district in the House of Representatives. Both have strong liberal voting records and both have chaired the committees that deal with the environment and energy in their respective chambers. Conservation Voters New Mexico, which for years has maintained scorecards for lawmakers, gives Egolf a 98 percent lifetime rating.

Dems aim for statewide minimum wage increase

As Democrats gear up for a legislative session  after retaking the state House of Representatives and expanding their majority in the state Senate, several members are looking at ways to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage. Two lawmakers have already pre-filed legislation to do so ahead of the session, which begins Jan. 17. One measure would double New Mexico’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $15 an hour by January 2018. Another more cautious bill ups the minimum wage to $8.45 an hour.

Santa Fe won’t end ‘sanctuary city’ status, even under President Trump

Less than a week after Donald Trump won the election for president of the United States, the mayor of New Mexico’s capital city is not backing down from so-called “sanctuary” status. This comes despite threats to cut federal money to such cities made by the president-elect during the campaign. “The threat is intended to divide us against each other,” Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales wrote in a statement on Twitter Monday afternoon. “It is one of the first, but it won’t be the last we see out of this administration, which based on its own words intends to persecute and attack not only immigrants but women, Muslims, people of color, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and more.”

Though there is no formal legal definition, the politically charged term “sanctuary city” typically refers to cities that limit cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on immigration policies. Santa Fe, for example, bars the use of public resources to check for someone’s immigration status.

Report: Santa Fe cops still arresting for pot possession

Despite a city ordinance that calls for the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, Santa Fe police officers are still arresting people and sending them to jail for possession. That’s according to a review by the Santa Fe Reporter, nearly two years after the city council passed the ordinance and 15 months after the ordinance was implemented. The officers are instead using the state law, which still calls for arrests and jail time, to make the arrests. The decriminalization calls for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana to be punishable by a $25 fine; the state law, however calls for up to a $100 fine for a first-time offender and up to 15 days in jail. A second offense, again for one ounce or less, could cost the offender $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Police officer calls out racism in Santa Fe

A black police officer in Santa Fe called the state capital city “one of the most racist places I’ve ever been.”

Anwar Sanders spoke to the Albuquerque Journal for an article published this Sunday and made the remarks. “People are just so racist,” Sanders said. “It’s like almost sickening. Just because you’re gay-friendly doesn’t mean you’re black-friendly.”

“This is probably one of the most racist places I’ve ever been,” he said. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales responded to the Albuquerque Journal article on Facebook.