In the past few months the Santa Fe City Council and other City committees have spent hours discussing topics such as gun control, same sex marriage, grocery bag bans, cell phone towers, marijuana use, global warming and fireworks impacts on pets.

Arguably, any decisions the Council makes have little or no impact on these issues. They are nice PR, show that we care, and achieve absolutely nothing for the average Santa Fe resident.

Meanwhile down here in the real world of messy local government we read this in the recent local media:

“Among U.S. cities with high pension costs, Moody’s notes that Santa Fe, New Mexico, has net pension liabilities equal to six times its operating revenue, worse than any other city.”

And this: “Santa Fe has more than $7 million in unpaid parking tickets on its books and another $4 million in unpaid utility bills. All together, city hall is looking to collect a total of some $14 million in unpaid bills.”

And this: “The Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Commission unanimously approved a motion recommending that an independent audit of the 2008 parks and trails bond be conducted to determine: Were all bond monies spent specifically to improve parks and trails per the bond language? And how much of the bond monies were spent on city staff salaries?”

And this: “The City’s “questionable purchase” of a $500,000 data backup system that isn’t being used and appears to be nonfunctional.”

And this: ““Eleven city managers for the last three mayors is dysfunctional and a disservice to the citizens of Santa Fe,””

Clearly answers are needed. Local businesspeople are very concerned about these headlines and what the consequences are for our fiscal stability and reputation. Can we be sure that our tax monies are being spent in a prudent manner with appropriate oversight? Local residents and media should be paying attention to issues over which we can have some control and not be distracted by issues over which we have no control.

It is already election season with only 30 weeks left to campaign for mayoral and council seats. There are at least fifteen candidates who have already declared or rumored to be interested in running for local office. Ten of the fifteen have held public office before. Let’s all pay attention to their positions and experience. As voters we deserve leadership that focuses on efficient government and accountability.

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