North Crest Fire Takes Days to Contain
Last Thursday, a wildfire broke out north of the radio towers on the Sandia Crest. It was dubbed the North Crest Fire, and it was finally contained on Sunday. This fire was particularly threatening due to its proximity to the Sandia Crest Communication towers, which are vital to the area's infrastructure. Officials say the blaze's cause is still unknown, but that a number of illegal fires were found abandoned in the area. Crews are reminding residents that fires can only be started in approved areas. Lightning was also a possible suspect. Officials say weather conditions over the weekend helped firefighters, who removed a number of dead standing trees and vegetation around the communications towers to prevent future incidents, battle the wildfire.
Mayor Encourages Driverless Cars in ABQ
Last Friday, Mayor Richard Berry invited companies developing autonomous self-driving cars to test their technologies in Albuquerque. In an executive instruction directed at the Department of Municipal Development and “all other agencies of the city,” the mayor called for city officials to promote self-driving vehicles. Berry referred to a study by INRIX which ranked Albuquerque second for cities that would benefit from the “deployment of highly autonomous vehicles (HAVs).” According to the study, in cities that properly prepare for the changes to infrastructure that will be needed to employ driverless cars, the technology will reduce traffic congestion, decrease emissions, lower the cost of mobility and increase travel safety. A large number of tech and automobile companies are currently involved in research and development of autonomous cars. Google has been testing the technology since 2009 and has only seen 14 accidents in 3 million miles of driving. All of those accidents were found to be the fault of other drivers on the road, implying that driverless cars are actually safer than manually operated ones. Opponents of driverless technologies site concerns over hacking opportunities and criminal use of the cars.
New Candidates For Governor Announced
Two new candidates announced their bid for the governor's seat last week—Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces and Congressman Steve Pearce. Sen. Cervantes joins three other Democratic Party candidates that were previously announced: businessman Jeff Apodaca, alcohol-prevention teacher Peter DeBenedittis and US Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham. Cervantes says he’ll focus his campaign on creating jobs and discouraging New Mexico college graduates from moving to other states. He says he believes renewable energy and outdoor recreation are two economic sources for the state that should be expanded. Cervantes was elected to the Legislature in 2001 after being a Doña Ana County commissioner. He served in the N.M. House until 2012, when he was elected to the N.M. Senate, where he currently serves. Congressman Pearce is the first GOP member to officially enter the race. Pearce is a Vietnam War-era veteran and former oil man with a conservative voting record from his time in Congress. Pearce is a fiscal conservative who has shown support for gun ownership rights, and opposition to the legalization of gay marriage and abortion rights. He openly supported the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Pearce says he wants to focus on the state's economy and public education issues. He says he is also concerned with the number of young people moving out of the state. New Mexico's gubernatorial election will happen on Nov. 6, 2018.