Santa Fe County approves revised STR rules
After more than a year of revising, the Santa Fe County Commission last night modified short-term rental rules for non-residents, granting them permission to operate STRs, while restricting the number of such rentals in certain areas from 3% to 7%, depending on neighborhood. The commission approved lower numbers than recommended last year by a consultant. “I asked all my friends in Eldorado about this issue, and the people who own short-term rentals may have one opinion, but the other 93% don’t want to live next to one, don’t want one in their neighborhood, think it’s a terrible idea, think we should outlaw them completely—so that’s why I’m shooting for a lower number,” District 5 Commissioner Hank Hughes, who was chosen as the BCC chair last night, said. Nonetheless, those guardrails don’t go far enough for some. “You will either vote today to support our workforce by banning additional non-owner-occupied short term rentals that negatively affect our community, or you will vote to advance the continuation of housing loss due to investor non-owner occupied short-term rentals that put hotel businesses into neighborhoods and next door,” Old Santa Fe Association Board Member Pat Lillis said last night during public comment. The commission ultimately approved the revised ordinance, which follows a more-than-one-year moratorium on non-resident STRs the original ordinance instituted. Commissioner Justin Greene, the sole “no” vote last night and reportedly a short-term rental owner himself, expressed concerns the restrictions would penalize people who both rent out property as vacation homes, but also use them to house family during the holidays. The new ordinance goes into effect Feb. 9, while the county has asked the First Judicial District to dismiss a pending lawsuit over the original STR ordinance.
H-board approves new O’Keeffe museum
The City of Santa Fe Historic Districts Review Board last night approved the new 56,000 square-foot Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (discussion starts about one hour and 20 minutes in), the construction of which will require demolition of a 19,000 square-foot non-residential structure on Grant Street known to some as the old downtown Safeway. According to the museum, the approximate $75 million project has an 80% of funding commitment, including a $750,000 matching challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative. The new museum, which has received national attention, includes both expanded gallery space and green space. “After 27 years of being an integral part of this community, we are honored to be on the verge of building a new museum to further our mission to celebrate the art, life and independent spirit of Georgia O’Keeffe,” Director Cody Hartley said last night. “Our objective has been to build or create an iconic building worthy of our namesake artist and worthy of our community…this is a project inspired by place.” The approval came despite concerns raised by staff, which had recommended a revised application, saying the project did not meet all the required codes.
City announces five new art grants addressing inequity
Five projects will each receive $10,000 through the City of Santa Fe’s 2024 Art is the Solution grant fund, the theme for which is: “Structural Inequity in O’ga P’ogeh/Santa Fe.” The five recipients, announced yesterday, were “selected from a robust applicant pool,” according to a news release. Those projects include art classes at Pete’s Place by Hernan Gomez Chavez who, in addition to providing classes to unhoused people, has set up a “Pete’s Place Art Wall” at the shelter and plans to have a pop-up exhibition at Santa Fe Community College. Alas de Agua Art Collective’s five-week summer Barrio Art School received a grant for its program offering “free workshops and professional development for artists of color on the Southside.” Black Men Flower Project founder Robert Washington-Vaughns received a grant to “collaborate with Trey Pickett and Louie Perea to address vulnerability and somatic responses to trauma in black men with a multi-faceted approach, including teaching and documenting dance movement therapy classes”; an art project “creating protective gear from flowers”; and a public online and in-person exhibition. The Documentary Theater Project, Blacks Seen and Unseen in Santa Fe from Kim Fowler, will work with the Women of the Diaspora writing group to interview 25 to 30 Black residents of Santa Fe to “explore how racism impacts Blacks in the form of public invisibility.” The interview transcripts will be edited into a script that will be performed as a staged reading with an audience discussion. Finally Justin Rhody’s, No Name Cinema’s grant will support 12 public film screenings that all relate to the theme of structural inequity between January and June 2024.
NM receives praise for tax code, admin
The state Taxation and Revenue Department yesterday reported standing in the Council on State Taxation’s “2023 Top-Ranked States” for “fair, efficient tax administration and its tax appeal process.” New Mexico, which came out in the top six ranked states, received an “A-” grade, along with Arizona and Virginia, while Indiana and Montana each received an A. “The findings in this report are very gratifying,” Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke said in a statement. “We have worked hard in recent years to ensure that our tax code provides for even-handed treatment and that our administration offers the kind of consistency and clarity that makes voluntary compliance easier.” New Mexico also received praise yesterday from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which released the 7th edition of its “Who Pays” report on US states’ tax systems. New Mexico, the institute says in a news release, has the most improved system in the US and the ninth least regressive. “When you ask people what they think a fair tax code looks like, almost nobody says we should have the richest pay the least. And yet when we look around the country, the vast majority of states have tax systems that do just that,” Carl Davis, ITEP’s research director, says in a statement. “Our findings show that New Mexico has made the biggest improvement to close the gap between what the public wants in their tax code and what state lawmakers have delivered.” Bill Jordan, interim co-director for New Mexico Voices for Children, notes in a statement that the new analysis “shows that state lawmakers are putting families and communities first through tax policy.”
The next installment in the 2024 Morning Word Playlist Project (keep submitting!) comes from Charlie Schultz, the academic director for Santa Fe Community College’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Program, who writes: “The past few years have been about Ease and Flow for me. I have lived through Love and Loss. Now at a midpoint in Life I am releasing and letting it “Flow” These songs help!”
5. “Shine,”Dolly Parton cover: “My most played song of 2023 and surely will be as popular in 2024! Puts everything into perspective”
NEH awards SAR $900,000 to expand Native programs
Five New Mexico institutions received more than $1.7 million in the latest round of National Endowment for the Humanities’ grants, covering a wide swath of endeavors across the country: from individual faculty research to digital humanities initiatives to infrastructure and expansion at cultural institutions. All told, NEH awarded more than $33 million in grants to 260 humanities projects in the US. The School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe received the largest New Mexico grant: a $900,000 matching grant to expand humanities program capacity at SAR, for which SAR has committed to securing a 4:1 funding match within the five-year grant period. The project, SAR says in a news release, is an initiative of its Indian Arts Research Center and aims to “preserve and protect the IARC’s collections so that they will serve future generations of Native communities, scholars, students and the public in general”; expand the IARC’s “collaborative collections work with Native source communities”; and “promote equity between museums and Native communities.” IARC’s collection was showcased in the Grounded in Clay exhibition, which traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Vilcek Foundation in New York City last month. Former Pueblo of Acoma Gov. Brian D. Vallo, one of the exhibition’s participants, writes in support of SAR’s NEH grant: “I look forward to joining the SAR family and collaborators, including the NEH, to realize the intent of this significant undertaking that will generate additional opportunities to advance scholarship around the humanities and issues of importance to Native American people.”
Cochiti and Isleta pueblos also received grants, for $500,000 matching and nearly $150,000 outright, respectively. Cochiti also received an infrastructure and capacity building grant for its Keres Children’s Learning Center (reported on by SFR in 2022). Isleta’s project will facilitate a series of “intergenerational, community-led workshops on Pueblo of Isleta cultural heritage craftwork that is under threat of loss from the impact of COVID-19.” University of New Mexico Assistant Professor Matthew Goodwin received $40,000 for his project on Latinx science fiction and True Kids1 in Taos received nearly $150,000 for an oral history project of Taos.
Mountain Bike Action magazine provides 10 reasons to ride Santa Fe, but not before observing that “a lot of people associate New Mexico with a desert landscape unworthy of further notice, and if you’ve driven across it on the I-40, we get it.” Fair enough. Santa Fe, however, offers myriad trails and “XC” paradise, the story opines, pointing cross-country bicyclists toward the Galisteo Basin Preserve, “which offers miles of XC trails that lead riders over endless rolling hills and mesas.” On the other side, riders can check out La Tierra, “which is one of the more beginner-friendly systems in the area with its endless flowy singletrack winding between juniper trees and in and out of arroyos. La Tierra is also home to the local dirt jumps with something for all skill levels located at the Frijoles Trailhead.” In addition to detailed praise for area trails, the story also offers encomiums for the city’s bike stores, with specific shout-outs to The Broken Spoke, Bike N Sport and Mellow Velo. And, while the story is bicycle-centric, it also points out Santa Fe has decent food and beer to boot, and delivers more down-to-earth recommendations than the usual travel magazine fare: “After a ride on Winsor, we always take some time at Tesuque Village Market to grab a drink and maybe some TVM nachos before heading back into town. When looking for breakfast, Blake’s Lotaburger’s breakfast burritos are hard to beat, and The Pantry’s piñon pancakes with blueberry syrup are to die for.”
The icy fang and churlish chiding of the winter’s wind
The National Weather Service forecasts a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature near 34 degrees, wind chill values as low as zero and southwest wind 5 to 15 mph. Another storm makes its way into the state tonight, with just a slight chance for isolated snow showers after 2 am, rising into greater likelihood as Thursday begins.
Thanks for reading! The Word was sorry to read of dance critic Joan Acocella’s recent death, and recommends her 1990 essay on choreographer George Balanchine—currently available for free—along with her other dance essays in the New York Review of Books’ archive.