Dear Santa Fe:
My first 100 days in office have already been a remarkable journey. I have listened to wonderful ideas and observations; and have been welcomed by so many community members as mayor of our incredible city. Now, more than ever, I believe that we are on the right track. Still, there is much work ahead of us and, with this time of listening and learning under my belt; I am committed to now taking action to move Santa Fe forward.
During my recent campaign, I promised that, as mayor, I would work every day to make our community ONE Santa Fe. That is still the clear goal. Whether you are a recent arrival, or if your family has been here for generations, this community belongs to all of us and we must all be a part of the progress.
We have increased the use of social media to communicate what is going on in City Hall and to establish a broader reach for feedback and ideas. My Twitter (@javiermgonzales), following has doubled and the City of Santa Fe Facebook (Santa Fe, NM Government) page now reaches more than 5,000 people. For the first time, we aired city budget hearings live on cable channel SFGTV 28 and on the internet. I have listened carefully at a number of forums with members of our arts community and at dozens of business and cultural events.
In addition, I assembled a transition team made up of diverse and knowledgeable community members. They volunteered their time and effort and were asked to bring a fresh perspective and to offer ideas for improvements in city operations. We began open office hours with our ‘Meet the Mayor’ events; with that and other scheduled meetings I have met with around 150 individuals. I will continue to listen to the many voices in this community, to strive for ONE Santa Fe, and to now begin taking concrete steps toward our goals.
Three themes defined my campaign: economic development; education/youth services; energy and the environment. These pillars continue to shape my work for the city and we will soon be launching key efforts in each of these areas.
We will work to build an economy with a vibrant middle class, one that that unlocks our potential as a creative capital and that offers the opportunity for each of us to build skills and advance careers. I know that in order to create broad-based prosperity, we must grow our economy faster than our population grows. We can then ensure a high quality of life and make sure that workers’ wages grow year after year.
We can do this by expanding our creative industries like the arts and film. We can attract animation and digital media companies; and bring in more movie and TV production. We can promote and leverage our festivals and markets; and make sure that we continue to have incredible museums, galleries, restaurants, retail shops, spas, outdoor recreation and other quality businesses. We can train our workforce to fill the well-paying jobs that are in demand for the healthcare industry. We can support and cultivate entrepreneurship to make sure that innovative businesses can grow, succeed, and create jobs in Santa Fe.
We will work to provide a complete education for our youth, and use our incredible cultural assets as learning tools when children are outside the classroom. We can make our whole community a place to learn and explore. Every child, no matter what school they go to, can experience The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and The Santa Fe Opera, the craftsmanship of a Santero artist like Arthur Lopez and the incredible diversity of Indian Market. We can use all of this to make sure that our children grow up ready to face the world and succeed as global citizens. We will build partnerships around a comprehensive, data driven system for early childhood education. We will provide pathways out of the juvenile justice system. We are ready to launch a citywide mentorship project to grow young leaders and help them learn by pursuing their own passion projects with support and guidance from knowledgeable mentors in the community.
We must also confront the threats of climate change and make this a place that is able to adapt and remain resilient as drought and extreme weather become more common. We must make a commitment to safeguard our fragile environment for our children and the future generations in Santa Fe. We are creating a Climate Action Task Force, which will bring together key partners and help prioritize city resources to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, public transportation, food security and healthy forests in our watershed.
My first piece of legislation was the People to the Plaza resolution and it was an amazing learning experience and a chance to listen and find a community compromise. In that process, we did not hurry, we worked to understand what activities will bring people to our Plaza and what the users and businesses need to keep things running smoothly. Keeping one side of the Plaza open to traffic, while the other streets are closed for the summer, is a practical solution which also gives us a chance to seek out a better way to do things, and to try something new as a community. I am excited that we can experience our beloved historic center together this summer, with extensive music and food, car shows and special events; and all of it, with reduced traffic, a community police presence, and a more beautiful environment than ever.
As I stated earlier, we have much work to do. There are many families that have been left behind during the recent recession. Our middle class has disintegrated and wages have been stagnant over the last few years. Threats of climate change are upon us, with rising temperatures and yearly wildland fires that threaten our water supply. Our youth confront a world that is changing before their eyes and require a community that is committed to building pathways to success, and preparing them to take on the challenges they will confront upon graduation. I believe we are up to the challenge!
We can never lose sight of that which makes Santa Fe strong and unique, our 400 year history where multiple cultures have co-existed, our environment, our world class arts and culture, and most importantly YOU. We all contribute to what makes Santa Fe special. We are blessed to live in such an amazing community. It’s time to move our city forward and I’m ready to lead that effort.
Mayor Javier M. Gonzales