MayorTV Sits Down with Santa Fe Mayor David Coss
Mayor David Coss of Santa Fe, New Mexico is blunt when it comes to issues he cares about. When MayorTV asked him why the federal government has been neglecting cities in recent years, the Mayor posited that it might just be “ignorance”. He was no less candid when asked about his favorite in the presidential race, saying that as an Obama supporter he “tries not to think about” what a McCain presidency would be like.
Talking about Santa Fe’s request for federal assistance with a water project, a critical policy area for the drought-prone Southwestern city, Mayor Coss said:
We were in the position [with the federal government] of: we know you’re not going to give us any help, but please don’t hurt us. It’s a crazy place to be with your federal government...
Congress’s failure to pass a tax-extenders bill that includes incentives for solar and wind energy has particularly irked the mayor.
The tax incentive is going away for solar and wind. You have to scratch your head: how can that be? Why are we still subsidizing and incentivizing oil companies and we won’t incentivize a solar energy project? It’s upside down.
But the mayor did not simply criticize the feds’ lack of attention. Instead, he focused on several initiatives that Santa Fe has adopted to support the struggling middle class. In addition to an ambitious affordable housing program, the Mayor described Santa Fe’s $9.50 minimum wage.
Santa Fe has a strong living wage ordinance. We’ve kind of put out the message: we’re not interested in more low-wage jobs in Santa Fe where people work two and three jobs and live in poverty.
Santa Fe’s Urban Landscape:
Population of Santa Fe: 62,203
Median household income in Santa Fe in 2000: $41,200
Median household income in Santa Fe in 2007: $47,000
Median household income in the United States in 2007: $48,200
Median housing sales price in Santa Fe in 2000: $203,000
Median housing sales price in Santa Fe in 2007: $371,000
National median housing price in 2007: $216,800
Federal minimum wage, effective as of July 24, 2008: $6.55
Current minimum wage in Santa Fe: $9.50
Federal minimum wage, effective July 24, 2009: $7.25
Unemployment rate in Santa Fe, as of May 2008: 3.1%
Unemployment rate in New Mexico, as of May 2008: 3.7%
Unemployment rate in the United States as of June 2008: 5.5%
Number of passenger trips on Santa Fe’s bus service Santa Fe Trails in 1997: 585,000
Number of passenger trips on Santa Fe’s bus service Santa Fe Trails in 2007: 655,000
Rank of Santa Fe Plaza, a Santa Fe park built in 1821, on a list of the oldest parks in the United States: 18
Rank of Washington Square Park in New York City, built in 1823: 19