Taking back Santa Fe

  Hoping to rein in the runaway development that has transformed Santa Fe, N.M., into a mecca for tourists and the affluent, a new group is registering voters for the city elections March 1. Take Back Santa Fe has trained dozens of volunteers who are going door-to-door to register people to vote. Organizer Gloria Mendoza says they hope to change the composition of the traditionally pro-development city government by bringing seniors, low-income and Hispanic people to the polls. Mendoza says these people are getting pushed out of Santa Fe by rapidly escalating housing costs. "The majority of people here want to change the direction of the city," she says. "Right now that direction is money." The business community has formed a political action committee called Santa Fe Tomorrow, which is backing its candidates for mayor and four council seats. Mendoza says her group hopes to fight big money interests with a surge of people power. The city elections are just the start for Take Back Santa Fe, which is a spinoff of the Albuquerque-based Southwest Organizing Project. The group will next focus on the county commissioners and the governor's office. For more information, contact Gloria Mendoza at 505/473-2090.