Answer Me This
By Marisa Demarco
Hey, lunch lady, what's this on my tray? Who got deported from Roswell? What pulled the plug on red-light cameras? How much do taxpayers spend on spokespeople?
1) Until about two and a half weeks ago, APS was serving up what controversial food?
a. E. coli spinach
b. Recalled ground beef
c. Salmonella peanut butter
d. Half-cooked pizza
2) Roswellians are riled because a security officer deported who?
a. A mother of eight, leaving her children behind
b. A favorite Roswell talk show host
c. The city clerk
d. A pregnant 18-year-old Roswell High School senior
3) Why was Albuquerque's red-light camera program suspended?
a. The state wants part of the money.
b. Too many people were getting unfair tickets.
c. A civil-action lawsuit could cost the city millions.
d. Mayor Martin Chavez was getting too many tickets.
4) How much does the state spend on spokespeople?
c. $3.1 million
d. $31 million
1) B. APS was serving beef that came from a Southern California slaughterhouse under investigation for animal abuse. An undercover video showed ill and crippled cows being pushed around with forklifts. The secretary of agriculture, Ed Schafer, charges cattle were not undergoing proper inspection. APS spokesperson Rigo Chavez says he has received no reports of ill Albuquerque children because of the beef.
2) D. A school security officer discovered Karina Acosta, a pregnant senior at Roswell High, was an illegal immigrant. In December, he called the authorities, who deported her. Three dozen people marched at police headquarters to protest. Many parents who are in the United States illegally kept their children home from school, and attendance dropped. Usually, Immigration and Customs Enforcement won't go onto a school campus.
3) A. Legislators approved a bill that would siphon part of the money generated by the red-light camera program to the state. Mayor Chavez says this won't leave enough money behind to run the program, passing the cost from ticket-payers to taxpayers. The program netted more than $10 million since its inception.
4) C. New Mexico politicians spend $3.1 million in taxpayer money on 51 spokespeople, or public information officers (PIOs). Among the highest paid is Gilbert Gallegos, who works for Gov. Bill Richardson and makes about $115,000 a year. Monica Armenta, the former KOB anchorwoman, jumped ship to become a spokesperson for APS. She makes $105,000 a year. Deborah James, who works for Mayor Martin Chavez, takes in $95,000.
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