On this year's ballot, there are a total of seven municipal General Obligation Bond questions alongside one college bond question. If any of the G.O. Bonds are passed, money from the city's property tax revenue will be put toward that particular set of capital improvement projects or city maintenance. The approval of bonds will not cause property taxes to increase, however if a bond is not passed, it could cause a small decrease in property taxes with a $3.80 decrease a month for a home valued at $150,000. The team at the Daily Lobo has broken down what these bonds mean to give voters context on the projects at hand as they step into the voting booths this November.
With City Council elections around the corner, incumbent Isaac Benton will not be running for re-election and District 2 will welcome a new councilor to assume the role. District 2 is the City Center district. It includes Downtown, Old Town, and the valley east of the Rio Grande. District 2 also holds the highest number of homeless shelters of any other district in Albuquerque, according to a map released by The Family and Community Services Department. A common issue all three candidates share as a focus of their campaigns is how to address the size of the unhoused population in the City.
This year's Flood Control District 5 director election is uncontested with incumbent Bruce Thomson on the ballot unopposed. The Flood Control Board of Directors is a political body in the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority that is elected for six-year terms to work and set budgets for flood control projects in the City.
This upcoming election, three of the five elected positions on the Ciudad Soil and Water District Supervisor Board are up for election. Of them, two are landowner positions – meaning you must own land in the district – and one is an at-large position. There are several soil and water conservation districts (SWCD) across the state. The SWCD are volunteer positions and the board is responsible for the control and prevention of soil erosion, flood water damage, promoting conservation and water recreation, according to the Act creating the districts. The board sits under both the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the National Resource Conservation Service, which is positioned under the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture – providing perspective to both state and federal matters.
Located in the Northeast Heights, District 4 has two candidates on the ballot for City Council, the incumbent Brook Bassan and incoming candidate Abby Foster. The district is home to many schools, religious structures and family-owned businesses. Neither candidate responded to the Daily Lobo's request to comment.
On Nov. 7, voters will choose between four City Council candidates to represent District 6, the University of New Mexico’s district. The candidates – Abel Otero, Jeff Hoehn, Kristin Greene and Nichole Rogers – are vying for the seat incumbent Pat Davis has held since 2016. A fifth candidate, Joseph Pitluck Aguirre, withdrew from the race in August but is still listed on the City of Albuquerque’s candidate list.
With the election coming up, a question on the ballot proposes an Albuquerque municipal Public Schools Mill Levy or asks whether or not to continue to utilize property taxes in order to fund APS and charter schools. If approved, property taxes will not increase and APS will continue to get $264,673,790 for the next six years. If failed, APS would not receive this funding. Mill Levy, also referred to as a Capital Improvements Tax, provides funding for school activities, maintenance and other miscellaneous things.
As election season approaches in November, the University of New Mexico opens up polling sites in the Student Union Building. However, what about students from out-of-state? As of fall 2023, UNM had 3,609 out-of-state students, according to enrollment reports — leaving them to figure out how to absentee vote while being away from home. UNM’s Office of Institutional Analytics has data from 2022 that indicates that there is at least one out-of-state student from every state. This means there are 50 states, each with its own guidelines and specifics on how to mail-in vote.
Election Day is on Nov. 7 and knowing where and how to cast your ballot is just as important as knowing who you’re casting that ballot for. There are three major ways to vote – through an absentee ballot (also known as mail-in ballot), voting on Election Day or voting early. Absentee ballots in New Mexico require an application to state where the ballot should be sent. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 24. Past that, your civic duty must be performed in person. With an absentee ballot, it must be filled out as you would at a polling location, then mailed or hand-delivered to your county clerk’s office. The locations to vote in-person are different if you are voting early or on Election Day. There are 72 election voting convenience centers (VCCs), ranging from shopping centers to schools to plazas, but only 20 VVCs are open for early voting.
On Nov. 7, Albuquerque Public Schools will hold an election for school board members. District 1, 2 and 4 each have representatives running for a spot on the school board. Community focuses and values have been voiced throughout fall 2022 within organized community meetings and numerous individual conversations. Consistent concerns regarding the need for schools to emphasize literacy, math, post-secondary readiness, and the skills, habits and mindsets that lead to success, according to APS Goals and Guardrails.
Current city councilor for District 8, Trudy E. Jones, will not be running for re-election, making her last term and 16 years in the position. Located in the Northeast Heights and Foothills this year, there’s two new candidates that are vying to assume the role: Idalia Lechuga-Tena and Dan Champine.
After the failure of the bills proposed in hopes of increasing voter turnout, President Krystah Pacheco and Vice President Mikenzie Chessman soon after created a petition to do the same as the failed bills. Bill 9F would have changed the constitution by combining Spring Presidential and Senatorial elections and Bill 10F would have been an extension of this bill to the ASUNM lawbook. Both failed at the Full Senate on Sept. 27. “Our priority is to let the students have a say on this decision with its placement on the ballot and at the time of elections,” Pacheco wrote in an email addressed to the Senate on Oct. 9.
Mayor Keller presented future city plans and developments to the ASUNM Senate – offering information regarding Albuquerque’s unhoused population, mentioning shelter and treatment but not addressing permanent housing solutions. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller appeared as a guest speaker at Associated Students at the University of New Mexico’s recent full Senate meeting on Oct. 11. The Gateway Center aims to be Albuquerque’s answer to fill the need for a 24/7 shelter and treatment facility. The facility is currently under work to take over the old Gibson Medical Center located near the intersection of San Mateo and Gibson and is planned to open in stages. “In the Gateway, this winter we’re expecting to open up a sobering center and a medical triage facility,” Keller said. Based on a feasibility report done for the sobering center, the initial staffing required would be 22 individuals, 15 being clinical staff.
The University of New Mexico released its Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (ASFSR) on Friday, Sept. 30. It includes 609 Clery crimes last year. There is no guarantee this number reflects all campus crime data. Pre-pandemic in 2019, there were 588 crimes. Hate crimes rose to 34 reported in 2022 compared to a reported two in 2019. 23 of these were thefts related to sexual orientation, according to the report. For the annual report, Clery coordinator Adrienne Helms is required to reach out to local law enforcement agencies — including but not limited to the Albuquerque Police Department — to request data on crimes that occur in UNM’s Clery geography but outside of UNM Police Department jurisdiction, she said. However, outside agencies are not required to provide any data.
Stress, anxiety and an existential crisis or two – feelings that college students are all too familiar with, Traye Holland said – a workshop leader and Mental Health Trainer & Development Specialist for Student Health and Counseling. As midterms approach, these feelings come crashing through campus once more. To combat these concerns, SHAC offers a free mental health workshop to students called “Surviving Midterms.” The workshop is “designed to teach students study skills and self-care tips,” according to their webpage. SHAC will continue to host free mental health workshops throughout the semester covering similar topics.
“I am incredibly disappointed in the Senate as a whole,” Vice President Mikenzie Chessman said after the failure of Bill 9F on a 6-14-0-0 vote on Wednesday, Sept. 27 during a full Senate meeting. Proposed to combine the Presidential and Senatorial General Election, Bill 9F would have done so by an amendment to the Associated Students at the University of New Mexico’s Constitution. The bill was sponsored by President Krystah Pacheco, Vice President Mikenzie Chessman, Senator Alfred Achusim, and Executive Director of the Elections Commissions Heidi Garcia. Bill 10F, sponsored by the same individuals, goes alongside Bill 9F and would have done the same but would alter the law book instead of the Constitution. Both failed.
As the second round of eight-week courses arrive, the University of New Mexico Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences department offers an Artificial Intelligence literacy course titled Artificial Intelligence and Education: Future of Learning. As AI becomes more common in society with it appearing in the film industry and applications like ChatGPT, Leo Lo – Dean/Professor of the College of University Libraries and Learning Services (CULLS) – wants to bring AI to students in the classroom to teach them about the technology and its uses now and in the future.
Federal law states that higher education institutions must have five specific categories of information in their mandated daily crime logs, which provide campus crime data to students. The University of New Mexico has two of the specified categories. The Clery Act, signed in 1990, requires higher education institutions that receive federal funding to publish an annual security report, provide timely notifications when crimes threaten the campus community and maintain a daily crime log. UNM’s LoboAlert system and daily crime log fall under its Clery Act Compliance Policy.
At the Associated Students at the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) Full Senate on Sept. 27, senators were briefed about the development plans for The Integrated Campus Plan (ICP). No decisions were made. The ICP aims to address all of UNM properties and guide the University’s decisions on the physical environment, including the character of each campus, safety, access, mobility and sustainability.
The University of New Mexico's Board of Regents gathered in Scholes Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 13 for a meeting where they discussed and heard presentations on upcoming decisions but made no formal choices. A majority of the time was spent talking about property development. The Board is in deliberations with SASAKI, an architecture firm headquartered in Massachusetts that has worked on various universities with sleek, modern designs that often incorporate the surrounding environment. SASAKI is about to enter the third and final phase of an Integrated Campus Plan (ICP) for UNM, Teresa Costantinidis, UNM's executive VP of finance and administration, said.