KUNM

Marisa Demarco

Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent more than a decade in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She covered poverty and public health until September 2016 when she became a general assignment reporter at KUNM. 

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The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on rolling back net neutrality protections and weighing media ownership rules on Thursday, Dec. 14. Surveys show the changes are not supported by people across the country, regardless of political party. KUNM spoke with Viki Harrison, the executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, about what these policy shifts could mean in New Mexico.

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The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on rolling back net neutrality protections and to weigh media ownership rules again on Thursday, Dec. 14. Surveys show the changes are not supported by people across the country, regardless of political party. KUNM spoke with Viki Harrison, the executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, about what these policy shifts could mean in New Mexico.

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Hundreds of homeless people around the U.S. are the victims of violence just because they are homeless, according to a survey published last year. And in Albuquerque, police say 15 people who were experiencing homelessness were killed in 2017. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Let’s Talk New Mexico 12/7 8a: Emerging reports of sexual abuse and misconduct are toppling more men in power every week. Newspapers are investigating allegations against men in politics and entertainment. Celebrities sparked a flood of #MeToo stories by sharing their experiences on social media. But what do you do when you don’t have that kind of fame or cultural cachet? And when more is at stake than just another job? And what about people who work in businesses without policies or HR departments? Let’s talk #MeToo, and the workers of New Mexico who haven’t yet been centered in this national conversation.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

After an extra long campaign season in Albuquerque, voters gave Democrat Tim Keller a big win in last night’s runoff mayoral election against Republican Dan Lewis. Keller said the high voter turnout and decisive victory constitutes a mandate. 

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Tiny homes are being praised around the country as an affordable solution to homelessness. Voters in Bernalillo County approved 2 million dollars a year ago to launch a tiny home village project for people experiencing homelessness in the Albuquerque area.

The city of Albuquerque says the monitor charged with overseeing reform of the police department is not neutral and has an ax to grind. James Ginger released his sixth report on APD’s progress. The Albuquerque Police Department also just last week  rolled out its own website: APDreform.com. A coalition of community groups called APD Forward says the site is little more than spin meant to hide lingering problems on the police force. 

APDreform.com

The Albuquerque Police Department has been involved in a reform process for years after federal investigators pointed to a pattern of officers using excessive force. The monitor charged with overseeing progress released the sixth report on Wednesday, and has been critical of the department’s willingness to make real changes. 

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The state Supreme Court created a commission to look at how adult guardianship works in New Mexico, and to figure out how to improve the system. After a series of public meetings, the group released 17 recommendations, mostly aimed at accountability. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

When the oil and gas industry takes a dive, or when extractive industries tank, so do economies in rural areas, where a lot of the jobs come from drilling, or mining, or power plants. A business incubator is helping entrepreneurs on the Navajo Nation with the idea that local skills and talents—and cash flowing in and out of local businesses—are key to independence from environmentally damaging corporations. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Oil and gas drilling and mining companies come to rural areas offering jobs and cash, but they also dig into the land, pull resources out of it and create pollution. There are some folks in these regions who say the trade off isn’t fair in the long run. One organization is working on the Navajo Nation to stabilize the boom-and-bust economy of extraction by boosting local entrepreneurs and small business.

Keller And Lewis Faceoff For ABQ Mayor

Oct 4, 2017
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Voters whittled the eight-candidate ballot for mayor down to just two contenders: state Auditor Tim Keller and Westside City Councilor Dan Lewis. About 97,000 people voted in Albuquerque’s election on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and that’s significantly more ballots than the dismal citywide election four years ago.  "Today citizens of our city came out to vote like they haven’t in a long time," Keller told a crowd of supporters.

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Employers in Albuquerque will not have to offer paid sick leave to workers in the city for the foreseeable future. Sick leave opponents edged out supporters by less than 1 percent. The final tallies in the municipal election rolled in near midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 3. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Will voters in Albuquerque decide on Tuesday, Oct. 3, that businesses in the city have to provide paid sick leave to workers? Opponents say it will hurt small businesses, and advocates say it will lead to healthier communities. Another facet of the debate is emerging: the necessity of paid sick leave for people who’ve been assaulted.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The question before Albuquerque voters on the ballot tomorrow: Should all employees be able to earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work? Advocates who help people experiencing violence at home say it’s crucial.

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All over the country, people who signed up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have been speaking out about President Trump’s decision to rescind that program. And a federal judge said on Thursday that he’s going to try to rule quickly on the lawsuits filed to challenge the end of DACA, which shielded many college students.

Down in Las Cruces, New Mexico State University sits just 40 miles from the border. Former Republican Gov. Garrey Carruthers is the chancellor there. He said the university has no idea how many DACA students attend NMSU, because they don’t ask people about their status when they enroll. Trump’s decision, he said, was a violation of trust.

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Let’s Talk New Mexico 9/21 8a: It’s the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds heading into the municipal election on October 3. Some mayoral and Council candidates in Albuquerque are calling for more police officers on the force and a new police chief. What do you think it will take to decrease the number of violent crimes and property crimes?

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Hundreds of young people who were brought into the U.S. as kids without citizenship status attend colleges around New Mexico. Many were shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. President Trump announced the end of DACA Tuesday, Sept. 5, and will begin phasing out the program in March, which will affect 800,000 recipients nationwide.

Hundreds of people marched at the University of New Mexico campus Tuesday afternoon to demand equality and rights for immigrant students.  

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National elections get a lot of attention and press, but local ones? Not so much. And some folks say it’s those local races that have a bigger impact on your everyday life.

There are a slew of candidates running for mayor in Albuquerque. And the last two city elections here saw low voter turnout. The deadline to register to vote in October is the end of day on Tuesday, Sept. 5, but Viki Harrison of Common Cause says that’s way too early. 

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Fifteen states and D.C. let people register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. But that’s not the case here, and for the election in Albuquerque in October, the last day you can register to vote is Tuesday, Sept. 5. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Before last year’s presidential election, University of New Mexico student Joshua Ramirez was paying careful attention to what the candidates were saying about national security and foreign policy. He’s a third-generation soldier and a Republican. He’s already served for a year in Kuwait, and anytime through October, he could be called to duty.

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The New Mexico attorney general had some sharp words late last week about a lawsuit filed by bail bondsmen. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the AG’s Office called it  “patently meritless” and “desperate.” 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People have been demonstrating and hold vigils around the country—and here at home—ever since violence erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday where a woman was killed. A peaceful solidarity event at the University of New Mexico Tuesday night in Albuquerque drew a large and sometimes solemn crowd.  

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Nuclear weapons contractors around the U.S. made mistakes when shipping explosives and toxic chemicals at least 25 times in the last five years, according to government records. And an investigation found that regulators imposed only a few, minor penalties for those potentially dangerous errors. 

Who Calls Police?

Aug 10, 2017
Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC

KUNM Call In Show 8/17 8a: Call now - 505-277-5866 (local in Albuquerque). Not everyone reaches out to law enforcement when they're in danger or when they're victims of a crime. With the federal government trying to crack down on undocumented immigrants in New Mexico, advocates say even more people here are unwilling to call police for help. But this is an ongoing issue here and all over the country.

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Several branches of law enforcement in the Albuquerque area participated in a sting last month that targeted people who were trafficking minors for sex. But the operation netted adult sex workers, and the agencies took different approaches to dealing with them.

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President Trump Tweeted Wednesday morning that transgender people will again be barred from the U.S. military.

It’s unclear what this means for the thousands of transgender service members in the military today. The president’s press secretary said the White House and Department of Defense will have to work together to figure that out. The Pentagon had already delayed accepting transgender applicants into the military through at least January 2018.

Tony Webster via Flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

A federal sting last year resulted in the arrest of an unusually high number of African-Americans in Albuquerque, and mostly vulnerable, low-level offenders—not the bosses of big drug and gun rings.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

There are about 1,400 Iraqi nationals in the United States who could be sent back to Iraq any day now under new Trump Administration policies no matter how long they’ve lived here. 

One refugee in Albuquerque has been fearing his time is up in the country, even though he spent years helping the U.S. military during the Iraq War. Immigration authorities have ordered him to report to their offices for removal on Thursday, July 13. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

About 1,400 Iraqis could be deported from the U.S. under President Trump’s new policies. A federal judge temporarily halted their deportation through Monday, July 24, but a man who lives in Albuquerque has been ordered to report this week for removal from the U.S.—it could be dangerous for him. 

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