MADD organizes Romero walk to fight DWI
In memory of Placitas resident Danielle Romero, who was killed
by a drunk driver in 2002, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is organizing
a 5-K walk. Funds raised by this event will be used to pursue programs
to reach students both in the classroom and after school. The noncompetitive
walk will begin at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, at Albuquerque
Academy, 6400 Wyoming Boulevard. For information about making a
contribution or forming a team to raise funds, call Tina Romero,
at 255-2955, or visit www.stridesforchange.org.
Sheriff’s Office launches boat patrol
—JOHN PAUL TRUJILLO
SHERIFF, SANDOVAL COUNTY
The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office recently acquired an
eighteen-foot Mark Twain skiff equipped with a 140-horsepower Evinrude
outboard motor, to be used for patrolling Cochiti Lake.
Sheriff’s personnel will be attending a two-week course in
marine operations and marine law. The Sheriff’s Office lake
patrols will ensure safe boating operations on Cochiti Lake. As
Sheriff’s Office personnel receive additional training, they
will also respond to rescue and emergency calls at the lake.
Some patrols have already taken place this summer, but according
to Undersheriff Tim Lucero, full-scale patrols will begin in the
Spring of 2006 and continue throughout the summer.
Human skull found in Placitas
On September 12, the Sandoval County Sheriff’s office received
a call from a citizen of Placitas, reporting that they had found
a human skull. Bureau of Criminal Investigations detectives took
possession of the skull and transported it to the Office of Medical
Investigators for further examination and determination of age and
ethnicity. While this matter is under investigation, Sheriff John
Paul Trujillo is not releasing details about who found the skull
and where it was found. He said that he suspects that the skull
is fairly old.
Attorney General Madrid proposes regulations for
Attorney General Patricia Madrid announced on September 14 that
she is proposing rules and regulations on the extension of credit
for small payday and car-title loans. Since New Mexico does not
have a usury law, the short-term high-interest lending industry
has grown, and payday loan interest rates have averaged 500 percent
and car-title loans 350 percent.
“Recently, a natural disaster made it all too clear the
precarious state in which some of our poorest citizens live. Here
in New Mexico, we have a man-made disaster that takes unconscionable
advantage of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Lending
money at what amounts to 350 percent APR or more should not be tolerated
and if the payday and car title loan industry wants to maintain
that such exorbitant rates are necessary for the industry to do
business, then it is business not worth doing,” Attorney General
Madrid’s proposal applies the state’s Pawnbroker Act
and Small Loan Act limits to payday and car-title loans. Rather
than allowing interest rates that soar to 350, 500, or even 1,000
percent or more, Madrid limits these loans to a cap of 54 percent,
the same as under the Pawnbroker Act. She concludes that car-title
and payday loans really are just a form of a pawn transaction and
they should be subject therefore to the same limits as all pawn
Madrid said, “The only difference between hocking your car
and hocking your grandfather’s watch is that you can still
drive to work without the watch.”
If the regulations are adopted, violations could be considered
unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable trade practices under New Mexico’s
Unfair Practices Act.
Over a third of New Mexico working families
struggle to meet basic needs
New Mexico's working families are struggling financially, according
to two new reports released this week. A report from the Washington,
D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute shows that over a third of
New Mexico's working families aren't earning enough to meet a no-frills,
basic family budget. And a New Mexico Voices for Children report
on the state of working New Mexico finds the state's economy is
producing too many low-wage jobs and too little economic opportunity.
Economist Gerry Bradley with New Mexico Voices for Children says
it's an economic crisis—and to combat it, the state has to
raise its minimum wage.
"A greater percent of New Mexicans work at or below the federal
minimum wage, which is $5.15 an hour, than in any other state. Low-wage
workers in New Mexico have seen the value of their paychecks reduced
by at least 15 percent in the last eight years as a result of increases
in the cost of living, while wages remain stuck at the same level."
To meet a basic no-frills income for a family of four, each working
parent in a two-parent household would have to earn $9.85 an hour
in Albuquerque, $8.70 in Las Cruces, and $10.42 in Santa Fe. The
current state minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.
Free legal help line for NM residents of modest means
The New Mexico State Bar Foundation has announced a new free legal
help line, the Bridge to Justice Legal Helpline, available to New
Mexico residents of modest means. People of modest means—sometimes
known as the working poor—now have a legal help line that
will provide free legal information, advice, issue assessment, and
brief services by an attorney. The help-line attorney does not represent
This is the only program of its type in New Mexico to serve the
working poor. Working poor are people who do not qualify for legal
aid but cannot afford to pay the market rate for a private attorney.
The help line is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. for intakes. To access the legal helpline, call (800)
876-6227 statewide or 797-6066 in Albuquerque.
The Bridge to Justice Legal Helpline is a program funded by the
Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts and the State Bar of New Mexico.