Wednesday, November 29, 2023

 It has been a while.

I did not disengage from politics just from blogging. With the current climate in D.C. and the rise of Christo Fascism across the Country it may be time for me to start resuming my occasional writing.

In case you still don't get it, the GOP wants to allow a demented wannabe dictator to be its presidential candidate in hopes that they will be able to turn this into a "Christian" country. 

Have a look at their Project 2025 and see what that looks like for you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Party girl arrives in Santa Fe

Republican Susana Martinez became New Mexico’s first elected female governor and the nation’s first Latina governor on Saturday. After a series of inaugural balls, starting with the invitation-only “Inaugural Send-Off Gala” in Las Cruces and culminating with “The Bold Inaugural Ball” at Santa Fe Convention Center, she now occupies the 4th floor offices at the Roundhouse.

There was abundant coverage of the inauguration held in the Santa Fe plaza by the main stream media, but ignored by all except Univision was a peaceful demonstration organized by the immigrants-rights group Somos Un Pueblo Unido to protest her anti-immigrant positions.

During the campaign, Martinez said that she would work to repeal a law allowing undocumented immigrants to get New Mexico drivers licenses that she would revoke thousands of already-issued licenses. Whether the still Democratic-controlled legislature will go along with her intent is unclear.

Tackling the state’s budget deficit of over $400 million, will be the primary concern of the state’s lawmakers. During the campaign Martinez promised not to cut funding for education and Medicaid, but has since her election opened the door to some cuts in those areas.

Martinez signed four executive orders shortly after taking office at midnight on Saturday. The first was to create a small business task force to identify red-tape regulations that are harmful to business growth and job creation in New Mexico and report its findings to the Governor; it will also freeze any proposed or pending business regulations for 90 days with some exceptions.

The others directed all agencies to cooperate with federal investigators, banned the use of executive privilege for public records request without written approval from the Governor’s office and prohibited state agencies under the direct control of the governor to hire lobbyists.

The full executive orders can be viewed on Santa Fe New Mexican reporter Kate Nash’s blog as can the full text of the Martinez inaugural speech.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Congressional District One debate on public broadcast stations

On Friday night Republican challenger Jon Barela and Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich squared off in a debate moderated by Sam Donaldson, hosted in the studios of KNME, and organized by the non-partisan policy organization New Mexico First, in partnership with the state's public broadcasters. Unlike debates where time limits impose constraints on participants this forum gave candidates a chance to espouse their views on various topics.
The first question the candidates faced was “What in the way of policy and legislation would you support to provide jobs?” Both candidates agreed that the focus should be on job creation by helping small businesses, yet their definition of small business and approach in helping them differed markedly.

The question went to Heinrich first which responded by noting that when he was elected to office the U.S. was experiencing a job loss of almost 800,000 per month, which has now been arrested and for the past nine months there has been private sector job growth. He mentioned the Small Business Job Act of 2010, recently signed by President Obama, which provided $1 billion through 2,000 loans to small businesses from the Small Business Administration in the first week of its implementation and potentially would provide up to $300 billion.

Barela said that the stimulus packages had not created jobs and had been a failure, they had only added to the national debt. As a small business person he said he sees health care reform, cap and trade regulation, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire as job killing measures. Private businesses are the ones that will lead us out of this recession not the government, Barela said.

Heinrich answering Barela said, “I think there is a difference between being a small business person and being a wealthy investor in a string of failed businesses.” The Small Business Job Act of 2010 did not add to the deficit it was paid for by closing a tax loophole that encouraged American corporations to export jobs overseas.

The candidates disagreed on what to do with the Bush tax cuts. Barela said he supported extending the tax cuts for all Americans and Heinrich prefers to extend them for those with an income of $250,000 or less while phasing them out for millionaires and billionaires.

On immigration reform and the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act also known as DREAM Act, they agreed on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Heinrich supports the DREAM Act, while Barela opposes it in its current form.

Throughout the rest of the debate Barela continued to reiterate his points of less government intervention (except when asked about smart grid development), less government regulation, the need to rein in entitlement programs, and lower taxes. He also kept trying to associate Heinrich with House speaker Nancy Pelosi without offering any concrete examples of what he would do.

Heinrich addressed the questions with facts about what he had done or what still remains to be done.

In my opinion this debate goes to Heinrich for giving specific answers to questions that the audience had formulated over several hours of work. Barela mostly recited typical GOP talking points.

Heinrich had the best quote of the debate. “I don’t think we can wag our finger on one side and have our hand out on the other,” referring to Barela’s company”>Cerelink which on its website boasts a multiyear agreement with Dreamworks Animation SKG, which uses publicly financed supercomputers and the 25% film tax credit offered by the State of New Mexico most likely also influenced Dreamworks’ decision to bring the work here.

You can watch the entire debate for yourself at KNME’s website”>here.

New Mexico youth speak to the gubernatorial candidates

What to do if you are interested in politics but are too young to vote?
Speak Your Vote NM a new website created by KUNM’s Youth Radio Project, provides an opportunity for young people to post their concerns about the future of our state to the two gubernatorial candidates.

From the site:
” Speak Your Vote was created so that young people (between the ages of 13 and 30) can express their opinions to the 2010 gubernatorial candidates Diane Denish (Democrat) and Susana Martinez (Republican).
This site was made possible by the KUNM Youth Radio Project, which historically has led efforts to get young people’s voices heard. Operating from a platform of social justice, the KUNM Youth Radio Project has worked to provide multi-culturalism, an inter-generational environment, and a deeper and broader understanding of the issues in New Mexico.”

Perusing the posts reveals that youth, contrary to popular belief, are quite aware of the issues affecting our state.

Their concerns are the same as those of adults: public education, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, healthcare, and immigration.

Diane Denish did send a statement acknowledging the site and the importance of youth involvement in the political process. Not surprisingly Susana Martinez did not.

From Denish’s statement posted on the site
” As your next Governor, I commit to continue to involve young people in the workings of state government. I am proud of the fact that shortly after I was elected Lieutenant Governor, I pushed to establish the New Mexico Youth Alliance. Because of the advocacy of Youth Alliance members, we have expanded the number of school based health centers in our state and expanded the suicide hot line.”

”I hope to see many of you at UNM next Monday, October 19th. I will be on campus to take part in an early vote rally. This rally will take place at from 11:00 to 2:00 on the east side of the Student Union Building. At noon, I will be joined by Congressman Martin Heinrich and Brian Hardgrove of Public Enemy.”

Young people speak and Martinez cannot be bothered to acknowledge them. Looking at the funding of her campaign it is becoming more and more obvious that she was hand-picked by the far right to further their agenda.

As I recently heard someone say “If you have money and contribute to a candidate you may give $5,000- or even $10,000-, which is supporting. $500,000- from a single family that is an investment”

The later in reference to the funds contributed to Martinez by Texas developer Robert Perry, of swift boat fame, and his wife.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stimulus funds for education

I attended a Legislative Education Study Committee public meetings today.
One of the presenters was discussing how the approximately $64 million of federal stimulus for education could be spent.

At the end of the presentation, a committee members wanted to know where those funds came from, given the huge deficit, and how they would be paid for.

Other presentations occured, questions were asked and sometimes answered. Shortly before adjourning the committe for the day Rep. Rick Miera made a great point "We get federal funds for Los Alamos and Sandia and everybody applauds it, we get funds for education and people want to know how they will be paid for."

Well said Representative Miera.

Here is a piece I wrote on education for NM FBIHOP

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Susana Martinez lacks leadership skills

Even during the primaries before she became the GOP nominee for governor, I was not impressed by Martinez. As time goes on, I'm truly starting to wonder about her, below is a piece I wrote for New Mexico FBIHOP in which I questioned her leadership skills, after she announced her "bold" plan for education reform in New Mexico.

Today on twitter "Proud to announce support of educators from NM", I went to her website to see who had endorsed her. All individual names numbering about 70.

So her tweet was truthful, yet seems desperate. Her Democatic opponent Lt. Governor Diane Denish, has been endorsed by both the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and by the National Education Association (NEA).

I don't know what the New Mexico membership in the 2 groups is, but Albuquerque Public Schools alone has 14,000 employees. 70 individuals represent .5% of that.

While she may not have sent that tweet herself, presumably she hired the person that controls the account. One of the signs of a good manager is hiring people that have the knowledge to do the job well. Yet once again Susana fails.

The devil is in the details Susana

Susana Martinez, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, unveiled her education plan Wednesday and it doesn't look good. There are several flaws with the plan as presented. Most importantly it shows Martinez’s ignorance, both in educational practice and in understanding how education is funded.

In what is becoming customary fashion for her campaign, the plan also fails to provide details of how the changes would be implemented and/or funded.

Many of her proposed solutions are neither “bold” nor new such as teacher merit pay, additional training for teachers, teacher developed curriculum, after hours tutoring, summer school, and reading proficiency by the end of third grade. She does seem to have a knack for appropriating other’s ideas and presenting them as her own.

Those that are somewhat novel and not already being considered by the Public Education Department (PED) apparently for good reasons are:

“Increasing testing to three times per year” – This would take additional days away from teaching/learning, and result in additional costs for schools.

“New Mexico should provide tax credits to individuals and corporations who contribute to non-profit organizations that provide scholarships…” – This is a thinly disguised voucher program, it would result in a dollar for dollar tax revenue loss to the state’s general fund, of which roughly 45% goes to finance K-12 public schools.

Matt wrote about the voucher issue yesterday.

At the news conference announcing her latest “bold” plan Martinez said: “I would not take any money from the schools. I would not take any tax dollars from the schools to place it into private schools”. Actually she would, since the school funding formula is based on number of students.

With all of her proposed scholarship ideas Martinez demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the function of public schools, or existing and proposed educational practice.

At her press conference during the question and answer session a reporter asked Martinez directly if she had worked with teachers or the teachers union in developing her plan. Martinez replied that she had not.

Maybe she should try talking to them.

Educational practice is a complex field, I do not understand many of the details, nor would I expect Martinez to. But as someone aspiring to become chief executive of our state, one can expect at least a grasp of what is currently in place and certainly the financial implications of any proposed policies.

Disclosure: I sit on the Governing Council of an Albuquerque charter school, so education is a subject dear to me. And for those that may not know, charter schools are public schools.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

California Proposition 8 ruled unconstitutional

Congratulations to my gay and lesbian friends, in this step towards gaining their full human rights!

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling public this afternoon, one of the main points from his 136 page ruling was:

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples,"

The proponents will pursue their appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued the following statement after the ruling:

“Judge Walker had the great responsibility of deciding whether Proposition 8 violates the Constitution of the United States. He heard in-depth arguments from both sides on fundamental questions of due process, equal protection and freedom from discrimination. There are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and I am glad that all viewpoints were respected throughout the proceedings. We should also recognize that there will continue to be different points of view in the wake of this decision.

“For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity.

“Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people.”