|Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Dear Fellow Santa Feans,
One year ago I stood on the stage of the Convention Center with my wife, Frances, by my side, put one hand on my family Bible, raised the other, and swore a solemn oath to serve you as the first full-time Mayor of Santa Fe.
One year later, I am grateful, optimistic, and energized—because of what I hear from you.
You feel a change in the way City Hall is working. Every day, our goal is to make Santa Fe the most user-friendly, eco-friendly, and family-friendly city in the country. Every day we live our values: Respect for all, opportunity for all, dignity for all, inclusivity for all, equity for all, and a purpose shared by all.
After one year in the Mayor’s Office, what are some of the changes that have made the most difference? And what are the changes that will come in the second year?
First, because I am the City’s first full-time Mayor, I have had the opportunity to assemble a team that represents the first real Administration in the City’s history. Make no mistake: Any organization, public or private, is only as good as the people who work in it. It’s the first rule of good management: Put people first.
We’ve assembled a remarkable team of talented people, with 13 new directors in leadership positions—including 8 women. It’s a team that’s a powerful blend of life-long Santa Feans, “boomerangers” who’ve returned home to serve their City, and new arrivals who’ve moved here determined to contribute. What they all share is a deep commitment to making Santa Fe a City that works—and works for all.
There’s another team whose tireless contributions must be recognized: the members of the City Council. What we’ve witnessed in the last year is a true team of elected officials—chosen by district, working for the good of the whole City. Our Council has come together to work collaboratively and constructively as genuine problem-solvers. They deserve all of our thanks.
Something as complex, diverse, and historic as this City’s government requires deep and systemic change. It’s fair to say that the defining characteristic of the City government I found one year ago was deferred maintenance—a natural consequence of our long-standing system of government.
We had deferred maintenance in the way the City was managed; in the internal culture of the City government; in the investments in hardware and software used to run the City; in the streets, roads, parks, buildings, and infrastructure of the City; in the critical areas of the City’s financial and human resources management. Deferred maintenance is another term for the status quo, not for change.
Here’s what deferred maintenance looks like: $250 million in long-overdue street and road improvements; 500 out-of-date computer stations waiting for upgrades; police officers who have not received the pay raises they deserve; an airport that is unable to add more service because of a lack of investment; large parts of the City without adequate broadband or cellphone coverage; a deficit of roughly 4,000 housing units; more than 100 chronically homeless Santa Feans; 3 City employees tasked with maintaining more than 100 miles of trails—and more.
That’s what you elected me to do. In year one of my administration, that is the work we have begun. That is the platform we have built. That is the talent we have assembled. That is the change we have championed.
It’s impossible to capture an entire year in a single letter. Reciting numbers—the fact that we’ve cleared up a backlog of roughly 1,500 complaints from residents, for example—doesn’t capture the feeling of the progress we’ve made.
Instead of statistics, let me offer you a few of the unforgettable moments that mark this past year:
These snapshots are a small sample of the ways I’ve seen us making positive change for Santa Fe—seen it, and more importantly, felt it. Unlike any other city in this country, we feel Santa Fe. Ours is a City where we all have a say. We all have a place. We all have a shared purpose.
For those of us who work for you, our purpose is simple: We give our best every day to help everyone in our City live their best lives.
That purpose will guide us as we move into year two.
Here’s the work before us:
Our future—and our kids’ futures—are right in front of us, hiding in plain sight.
In year one, we’ve made a start—very good start. All of us, working together, have created new openings and new opportunities, while preserving and protecting the way of living and the quality of life that make Santa Fe special.
I’m enormously grateful to you for your help, your support, your encouragement, your generosity of spirit, and your strength of commitment as we take on the tasks we’ve set.
Most importantly, thank you for the opportunity and the honor of serving as your Mayor.
We are blessed to be here, in this place, in this time, with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do the work of keeping faith with the lessons of our heritage, forging a path to the promise of our future.
For all of that, I thank you.
The work—all of our work—continues!