An article in today’s Santa Fe Reporter takes issue with the number of liquor licenses in Santa Fe, with the attention-grabbing headline Over the Limit: Santa Fe has 128 liquor licenses, nearly 300 percent over its quota.
“300 percent over its quota” refers to the quota system, which limits the total number of licenses in the state. Urban areas tend to be over quota, which means that they have proportionally more licenses than the statewide average, whereas rural areas tend to be under quota. The article’s implication is that having more than our fair share of licenses causes problems like alcohol abuse, but the logic is unclear (there is discussion of New Mexico’s ranking as the state with the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the nation, but as Santa Fe is home to less than 5% of the state’s population I’m not sure how our being over quota impacts those statewide numbers). But whatever the rationale, the article clearly promotes the general message that too many licenses equals too many alcohol-related deaths.
This is problematic to me because the article leads with our tragic ranking out of all states, but fails to contextualize the quota that Santa Fe exceeds with per-capita numbers from other states. For example, New Mexico has 1411 quota licenses (this means full liquor licenses, including service establishments as well as package sales, but does not include private clubs). Compare that to Colorado. You can download an excel spreadsheet of all the active licenses in Colorado—there are about 8,160 licenses that allow full liquor sales by my count (also not including private clubs).
So let’s look at the math. New Mexico has 17% of the licenses that Colorado does. Colorado has about 250% the population of New Mexico. So per capita, NM has about 1 license per 1478 people while Colorado has about 1 license per 656 people. In other words, Colorado has more than double the number of licenses per capita. Does that mean that Colorado should have double the alcohol-related deaths per capita than New Mexico?
Complete list of programming is up now at ahafestival.com!
Last week I spoke with Ellen Berkovitch as she was researching this article about current efforts to create affordable housing in Santa Fe. Being featured (even briefly) in this article is a real delight, largely because of Ellen’s tireless and comprehensive approach–she solicits a lot of input and listens carefully to a diversity of voices.
The article is very thorough, and I wanted to share it, but I also wanted to riff a bit on a common refrain that showed up in our conversation and in the article itself. It’s an argument that I hear a lot in conversations about “retaining Santa Fe’s youth” and/or making Santa Fe more livable for people of all ages and backgrounds. I’ll call it The Jobs Argument.
This is a wonderful and thoughtfully researched piece by Guardian reporter Rachel Monroe about Santa Fe’s process of re-inventing itself as a place for young people, in which I am quoted as saying that part of the solution is…
…having a crush-worthy mayor.
Hey, she took the soundbite. It’s a good read.
In case you missed the MASKS party in December…thanks to Joseph Hart for these and other amazing photos.
Hey everyone! We are excited to announce that the full program for the fourth annual AHA Festival is now available online and at dozens of Santa Fe businesses.
We have expanded the festival into a two-day event opening on Saturday, September 13 with a Lucha Libre wrestling match followed by an electronic music dance party, and concluding with the free Sunday event featuring art booths, vendors, pop-up performances and two stages of music in the Railyard. Check the festival website or grab a print program today!