Welcome Mayor Webber: Here is What you Promised. Let’s Get Started

Published two days before Mayor Webber takes office, this post includes his responses to the 24 policies in Retake’s Mayor’s survey. Retake’s Local Action Team will be meeting on Monday at 6pm at New Energy Economy to strategize. Join us in making these policies law.

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A New Day in Santa Fe.  Today, we share with you Mayor-elect Webber’s responses to the 24 policy survey that every Mayoral and City Council candidate completed. We will be holding meetings with the Mayor and the new (and veteran) Councilors over the coming weeks to assess where we have strong support for these policies and where we have work to do.

But, we are taking all of the respondents to the survey at their word and when they indicated they strongly supported a policy, we take that to mean they will show leadership to advance it. When they said they support it, we take that to mean they will speak for and vote for it. And when they said they needed more information, we will work with them to get the info they need.

The survey had two purposes: 1) to give voters solid information about where the candidates stood on key issues and we feel it served that purpose as over 500 people reviewed the Mayor’s guide and almost the same number read the City Council guide. Now the second use of the survey comes into play: we want to use it to hold our Mayor and City Councilors accountable. With the Mayor and Councilors Ives, Lindell, Wirth, and Coppler all taking the survey that is a majority of the Council. Most candidates at least supported and many strongly supported a significant number of these policies. Over the next week, we will assess the level of support of those surveyed elected officials to identify where we have the most support and we will report that to you.

We are very excited to now work with the City to help advance equity in Santa Fe. We’ve long said that local is where change can most easily happen. The new Mayor will preside over the City Council on Wednesday and they will accept public testimony on that day at the beginning of the session.  It would be good to have some of you there to voice your support for the policies below and to welcome in the new Council and Mayor. Let’s do this. 

If you want to be actively involved in developing our advocacy strategy on local issues, please consider attending the Retake Local Action Team meeting this Monday, March 12 from 6-7:15pm at New Energy Economy, 343 E. Alameda. To RSVP, drop the Coordinator of the team, Jennifer Johnson, an email at gridded@mac.com.

If you haven’t taken the Speak Up New Mexico! Legislative Priorities survey, please do so today to tell your legislators what bills you want to see become law.  Click the blue button at left to take the survey. And if you want to get involved with our 2018-2018 Roundhouse Advocacy Team, we meet on Thursday from 4:30-6:30pm at New Energy Economy, 343 E. Alameda. To RSVP, just write to me at paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org. If you want to read about our 2018-2019 Election and Legislative Strategy, click here.

Welcome Aboard Mayor Webber. Time to Get to Work

Retake our Democracy worked with other local organizations like New Energy Economy, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Chainbreaker, Earth Care, and Santa Fe Dreamers, along with several state organizations like Prosperity Works and New Mexico Voices for Children to develop a set of 24 policies that could be implemented in Santa Fe and that would each contribute to greater equity in our City. The platform is organized into seven issue areas:

  • Budget & Revenue,
  • Community Oversight and Engagement,
  • Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Development,
  • Equitable, Sustainable Economic Development
  • Renewable Energy
  • Sustainability
  • Children and Family Services

We took the 24 policies and created a survey for all Mayoral and City Council candidates and created a Voters Guide for the Mayor’s race and for the City Council. But now we want to use the survey to hold our Mayor and the new Council members accountable. In most all instances, candidates expressed support or strong support for these policies. So now we want to hold our new Mayor and the City Council accountable. Below you will find the responses and commitments of Mayor Webber. Separately, we will post the responses of our new City Councilors and of Councilor Ives who completed the survey as a Mayoral candidate. With survey responses from the Mayor and four City Council members we will have an excellent start toward building a city consensus supporting adoption of almost all of these policies. Of course, this will take time and some policies may have a higher priority, in some cases because they are easy to adopt.

Retake Our Democracy will be meeting with our local partners and with the Mayor to try to establish priorities and will conduct a public meeting in April to discuss these priorities with you. But for now, I introduce Mayor Webber and his positions on 24 progressive city policies. Let’s do this.

Budget & Revenue

  1. Budget Prosperity, Not Austerity. Santa Fe’s dependence on Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) is regressive, unreliable, and inequitable. This dependence has led to painful service and infrastructure cuts, and lack of investment in low-income neighborhoods. It is a significant contributor to Santa Fe’s equity crisis. To begin the process of shifting Santa Fe’s dependence on GRT, the governing body should initiate a community education campaign to address community skepticism about the value of public investment in infrastructure and community services and supports. It should also work with local organizations to mount a campaign seeking voter approval for a package of progressive tax strategies tied to specific infrastructure improvements, internet service, early childhood education, and other broadly supported policies.

Comments: SUPPORT. We have a crisis of confidence in City government—just read the McHard Report. The next Mayor needs to rebuild trust in the City by being inclusive and transparent about budgeting and expenditures. City budgets are moral documents; they should reflect a community’s values. I would first look at the City budget and re-prioritize programs based on need and equity–transportation, affordable housing, early childhood education, safety, and other services. Creating efficiencies in service delivery and re-prioritizing expenses within the current budget must come before new taxes are contemplated.

Community Oversight and Engagement

  1. City Accountability Commission. Potholes remain unrepaired, “nimbyism” stalls efforts to address affordable housing, parks remain neglected, living wage laws are not enforced, and the City was entirely unprepared to implement Ranked Choice Voting, despite almost a decade to prepare. If voters are going to approve increased tax revenues, they need to trust that those funds will be used wisely. The City Accountability Commission will be an independent, resident-directed commission that will review major city contracts and monitor implementation of voter-approved policies and programs. It will ensure the efficient and effective implementation of the will of our residents, and it will ensure that City funds are spent as intended.

Comments: MORE INFO NEEDED. I concur strongly with the problem you have identified. I have a different approach than the one you have proposed: An Office of Neighborhood Associations that would bring City neighborhoods into a positive, inclusive, consultative conversation with the City government around issues of equity, inclusivity, transparency, budgeting, and overall neighborhood quality of life. The Office of Neighborhood Associations can act as an information clearinghouse, a tool for community engagement, and a vehicle for holding the City accountable for the satisfactory delivery of services to neighborhoods and the entire community. I believe that’s a better way to regain the trust and confidence of Santa Feans and, at the same time, move forward on a positive agenda for Santa Fe’s future that is grass-roots based and focused on livability and sustainability.

  1. Reinvigorate and reform the City’s Neighborhood Association Network to make it a more robust and vibrant framework for neighborhood level community engagement, education, or social/civic action, with monthly meetings, policy discussions, presentations by local organizations and elected officials, and planning for neighborhood community service. Historically, the Neighborhood Associations have been the locus and launching pads for NIMBY responses to progressive initiatives. With City support, we could reclaim this Network and focusing on creating social justice in all neighborhoods of our community.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. Read my answer to the previous question: I have proposed an Office of Neighborhood Associations to do exactly this–remove NIMBYism, end the adversarial relationship between neighborhoods and the City government, and stop pitting one neighborhood against another so we can instead focus on priorities for the entire City.

  1. Create and pass an ordinance to pay City Council members a $45,000/ year salary with benefits. Currently, City Council members earn between $14.22 and $16.35 an hour for ‘hours worked.’ This level of pay deters many working class individuals from running for office, effectively limiting our pool of representatives to those with a most forgiving employer or for individuals whose personal incomes or wealth allows them to serve on the Council, estimated to be close to a 40-hour a week position.

 Comments: SUPPORT: I strongly support full-time, paid positions for the state legislature. I would want to learn more about what comparably-sized cities pay their governing body, and would like to see a more detailed analysis of how many hours per week City Councilors work. As we see how the strong Mayor form of government takes shape, we can also learn about the changing responsibilities of City Councilors, their relationship to the strong Mayor, and the continuing evolution of Santa Fe City government. I am very open to and interested in continuing the conversation about making City government more open, accessible, and accountable to everyone in our community.

  1. Resident Police Oversight Commission. Create a resident Police Oversight Committee that has authority to conduct investigations, subpoena information and people, impose penalties, and review appeals. Oakland and San Francisco have excellent models from which to learn.

 Comments: MORE INFO NEEDED. I am a strong supporter of police oversight (and accountability for every department). I want to learn more about the current Internal Affairs Division and its strengths and weaknesses. IAD currently has the power to conduct investigations. I also believe that the hiring of the next Police Chief is a critical decision for the next Mayor to take. In making that choice, as Mayor, I would absolutely convene a citizen group to describe what the qualities of the next Chief should be and to vet the candidates who apply. As I’ve stated, I believe that many problems can be solved with the right management and accountability procedures installed, rather than creating additional layers of bureaucracy.

Affordable Housing & Neighborhood Development

  1. Expand access to affordable housing for the lowest income residents by prioritizing new housing development as listed below, highest priority to lowest, and consider utilization of Community Land Trust framework for ensuring that housing remains affordable in perpetuity.
  • Very low-income rental development;
  • Low-income rental development;
  • Low-income multi-family development for homeownership;
  • Moderate income home ownership development.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. We must stop the failed system of “project-led housing strategy,” (one politicized project at a time, proposed in an adversarial way that only angers neighborhoods). I will create an Office for Neighborhood Associations to build a collaborative approach between City government and neighborhoods that goes beyond just housing—and focuses on creating healthy, livable neighborhoods, including more affordable rental units.

  1. Utilize a Community Land Trust approach to organize and sustainably develop publicly owned properties with the purpose of creating a range of sustainable, affordable housing and mixed-use employment/small business development enterprises with resident governance, ensuring that the goals of each enterprise align with resident priorities.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. This model has worked well in Albuquerque (i.e. Sawmill Land Trust) and other municipalities to create affordable housing and mixed-use development

  1. Citywide Plan for Affordable Housing. To counter NIMBY responses and support expansion of affordable housing in Santa Fe, identify 5-7 city owned lots appropriate to affordable housing development with at least one lot from each council district, and develop a single plan for phased development of affordable housing in districts across the City. Consider the use of a Community Land Trust to govern these developments with a governance structure that puts oversight and future development in the hands of a resident council.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT.

  1. Santa Fe University Art & Design Development. A public process should be initiated to develop a multi-use plan for SFUAD, and the City should continue to fund payments on this property until such a process is completed. A priority for development will be to create mixed use, high density, affordable housing with a significant investment in low and very low-income rental apartments. Incorporate a Community Land Trust for all or part of this development with strong resident governance and incorporate bike trails and walkways as part of the development.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. The campus at SFUAD is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the City. It represents the geographic center of the City and should be recognized and developed accordingly; we need to create a new centerpiece for Santa Fe. In addition to the ideas above, I would favor the following action plan with three key elements. First, maintain and expand the resources committed to film, TV, and digital entertainment. Grow that into an innovation zone with co-working space added in. Second, attract a nationally recognized educational institution that focuses on technology, entertainment, design, and entrepreneurship, like Stanford’s D School—a perfect match for Santa Fe’s historic and emerging economy. Third, design and develop a sustainable “new town, in town”—with mixed uses including housing of all kinds and densities, retail and shopping, and walkable jobs.

Equitable Sustainable Economic Development

  1. Actively Enforce Santa Fe’s Fair Housing and Living Wage Laws. Housing affordability is directly tied to a living wage. Fair
    Housing laws are designed to help ensure that people who work in Santa Fe can live here without harassment and discrimination. The Living Wage law has established a higher minimum wage in Santa Fe ($11.09) than either the state ($8.75) or national ($7.25) minimum wage. But neither fair housing violations nor living wage violations are enforced. The governing body will create funding to retain wage and housing law experts to investigate and enforce Santa Fe’s Fair Housing and Living Wage laws.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. I am proud of the leadership Santa Fe has taken on the living wage. I am a strong supporter of it and agree with the mandatory cost of living increases. A key issue however, is the lack of strong  enforcement, to ensure that every person–regardless of immigration status–receives the living wage for the work they do.  The same holds true for our Fair Housing laws.

  1. Equal Pay for Women. The city of Albuquerque was the first city in the nation to offer an incentive in contracting to employers that demonstrate low gender pay differentials between women and men in the same job categories. The Pay Equity ordinance became law on July 1, 2015, requiring city contractors to report their employees’ pay by gender and job category – only average pay gaps are reported; personal information is not collected. To receive preferential ratings for all City contracts, companies can have a pay gap of less than 7%.

 Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. Further, I have publicly announced my intention to create a Women’s Advisory Council to address other areas of inequity and the City’s role in creating a more equitable City on gender issues. 

  1. Paid sick leave. Employers with ten or more employees shall pay at least 5 days of paid sick leave annually and employers with less than 10 employees shall provide 40 hours of unpaid but protected sick leave annually (based upon state of Oregon law).

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT.

  1. The City should implement a True Connect, low-interest loan program such as has been implemented by the Town of Bernallilo, Dońa Ana County and the Santa Fe Public Schools. Through this program, the city or any large employer can create a low-interest loan program for all employees. Loans are capped at 24% and serve as an alternative to predatory pay day lenders who can still charge up to 175% in NM.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT.

  1. Strengthen Public Transportation. Car-dependency contributes to climate change and can perpetuate a cycle of poverty. Santa Fe Trails bus system is a cornerstone for many Santa Fe residents, helping people break their dependence on cars. The governing body will ensure that 100% of the revenue from the 1991 Gross Receipts Tax for transit go to Santa Fe Trails and eliminate all fares for public transit. Private transportation is entirely subsidized, from our roads to our rails to our airports. It is time for Santa Fe to subsidize transit for our under-served populations and consider following Denver’s model and making public bus transportation free. In 2020 create a low-income bus pass that is steeply discounted and by 2022 make public bus transit free for all.

Comments: SUPPORT. I am a strong proponent of public transit. I am open to eliminating all fares for public transit but would first need to understand its impact on the budget.

  1. Sustain the effort to create a Public Bank to democratize our local economy. The Task Force will not likely have answered all the questions or explored all the options involved in a Public Bank, so the City will continue researching and developing a Public Bank and will fund securing the technical input of national leadership and expertise.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT.

  1. Improve south, west, and midtown resident access to healthy, affordable food using zoning changes and incentives to promote development of an array of community food gardens, greenhouses and a network of mercados that allow sale of local and regional farmers’ produce and food produced in the community gardens rather than seeking major corporate markets like Albertson’s.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. I have met with numerous individuals about the problem with food deserts on the Southside. Increasing access to healthy, affordable food is a major priority for me.

  1. Pass a Buy Local Ordinance. Pass a resolution that provides local business with significant bonus points in competitive bids for all city services and acquisitions.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT.

Renewable Energy

  1. Create an energy conservation division within the Public Utility Department to support development of energy conservation options for low-income Santa Feans.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT.

  1. Solarize City facilities. Because PNM has lobbied successfully to prevent community solar from becoming legal in NM, the City has limited options in terms of solarizing city-owned facilities. The city should lobby in the Roundhouse to seek passage of Community Solar so it can issue an RFP to seek competitive bids to solarize its facilities. In the meantime, the City should assess which of its 22 facilities are certain not to be consolidated or moved, and where rooftop solar can easily be mounted. The City should seek competitive bids for installing rooftop solar on those sites, as recommended by the Sustainability Commission.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. I support a Santa Fe that is 100% powered by renewable electricity and battery storage. There are steps the City can take right now, including: create incentives and financing mechanisms for energy conservation in Santa Fe homes and businesses, recognizing that the best way to generate electricity is to use our existing supply more efficiently; install distributed solar on all or most City buildings (and cooperate with other governmental agencies, such as the schools and the County); advocate for a change in State law to allow for community solar and a strengthened Renewable Portfolio Standard in the 2019 Legislative session; conduct research on whether community choice aggregation would be beneficial for Santa Fe. In addition I would look into ways in which Santa Fe can use its purchasing power to negotiate the critical question of who builds and who owns clean energy as a way to make the transition to renewable energy faster and the benefits to the ratepayers greater. I would also use my good working relationships with members of the PRC (I have been supporting Stephen Fischmann in his candidacy and have been endorsed for Mayor by Valerie Espinoza) to advance regulations at the State level that would be beneficial to Santa Fe and all of New Mexico.

Sustainability

  1. Expand development of walkways and bike paths throughout the City

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. Non-motorized transport should be an important piece of our transit program. For health, for carbon reduction, and for livability, our system of walkways and bike paths must be more robust so that it reaches every part of the city and there is demand in every part of the city.

  1. Fund and Implement SWAN Park Phase 2. Santa Fe’s Airport Road Corridor is one of the fastest growing areas where a large portion of Santa Fe’s young people live, but it disproportionately lacks investments in city amenities such as parks. Completion of SWAN park will be an important step toward addressing this problem and increasing equity in the city. Therefore, the governing body should actively pursue and fully fund construction for phase 2 of SWAN Park.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT.

Children & Family Services

  1. Expand Funding for Children and Youth Services. Currently, the City’s Human Services Committee disperses two percent

    Universal Pre-K? Not Yet. The work continues.

    (2%) of the gross receipts tax to local nonprofit programs addressing the essential health and human service needs of Santa Fe’s adult residents. The Child and Youth Commission disperses three percent (3%) of the gross receipts tax to community programs that promote the healthy development of children and youth.  These two revenue streams are inadequate to meet the growing need for services.  The City should raise the percentage of GRT contributed for children and youth services by 1% from each of these two funding streams.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. I strongly support children and youth services, but there are several mechanisms that could do so, with the GRT being one of them. I commit to increasing funding but want to be open on how we do that.

  1. Support a proposal to fund Pre-K in Santa Fe through a sustainable, progressive revenue structure.

Comments: STRONGLY SUPPORT. Similarly, Pre-K can be funded through a variety of mechanisms, including through a simple allocation of the City budget. Budgeting must be done as a whole–to promise specific revenue streams for specific projects often leads to an unbalanced budget.

  1. Trained Responders to Domestic Violence Incidents. Domestic Violence remains a severe problem in Santa Fe. Police departments in other cities equip their officers with additional resources to effectively respond to 911 domestic violence calls. The City should include in its operating budget funding for trained DV counselors to accompany patrol officers on DV calls and should equip patrol officers with cell phones so that the Santa Fe Police Department can fully implement a Lethality Assessment Protocol.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

4 thoughts on “Welcome Mayor Webber: Here is What you Promised. Let’s Get Started

  1. This is a masterful survey by ROD and the answers by Weber are encouraging.

    I wrote an “open letter” to all the candidates on behalf of Agua Fria Village: https://www.facebook.com/groups/249299328461189/1669906993067075/
    To summarize what I said there is that the City and County have failed to communicate and plan the areas around the City. With the City just intent on annexing areas to boost the tax base. Yet, the UNM BBER study of 2012 showed that the newly annexed areas needed so much infrastructure that they would cost more money than the revenue they would produce. It may have precipitated the 2015 City Budget Deficit of $15-25 million. Dominguez felt it was closer to the $25 million when the stop gap creative accounting measures were applied.

    Also this Op-Ed explains a little about our affordable housing crisis: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/reader-view-a-plan-for-the-river-corridor/article_d86a835e-be4b-59e0-8358-d14fdbb69bcc.html
    Plus my comments below the op-ed. I have been involved in this stuff since 1979, City officials can too easily scapegoat the neighborhoods by saying they are “NIMBY” and the under the table deals they cut are ignored and forgotten. Officials can then do nothing.

  2. Interesting to review these responses now. Many of his proposals will require additional revenues to accomplish (e.g. early childhood education programs) but he also said during forums he participated in that he was against raising taxes. I wonder which promise will be broken first…

  3. My friend above is right if we follow the usual path. He will be right in the future unless Santafeans are willing to come of the constrains of the capitalist box and become creative. And, i believe there is no other way out for the 99%.

  4. I think he has to be against raising taxes—because of what Dominguez said above in my comment (the deficit was deeper than first reported) and the 65 point audit saying the City was ripe for fraud. The City needs so much to be done and it can be doing it internally, if it works hard. Notice right before the election—city crews were working everywhere. The public banking concept might also help.

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