Monday, May 31, 2010

The Albuquerque Journal drives me nuts

Last Monday I wrote about the Albuquerque City Council meeting in which they approved the 2011 budget for NM FBIHOP
The Albuquerque Journal reported it as well.

This morning under the headline "...Council Budget Outstrips Growth Elsewhere..." there is this
“...The City Council's budget has grown about six times as fast as the rest of Albuquerque's operational spending since 2005, partly because of clashes over land-use planning with former Mayor Martin Chávez.
Now that there's a new mayor and the expectation of better relations, council spending is due to slow some next year. Still, its proposed $3.4 million budget for next year is 78 percent higher than its 2005 budget, while the rest of City Hall's basic operations have risen only 13 percent...”
Full article (subscription required)

While the article does explain the reasons for the council's budget growth, the headline and the beginning of the article make it seem like the budget has grown disproportionally.

Is that the best the writer could come up with after a week of comparing budgets? Why use a 5 year figure?

Oh Journal, you may be the paper of record, unfortunately the best use for you is in the outhouse...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A New Mexico Independent voice needs your help

As for many other nonprofits the economic woes have affected The New Mexico Independent
Earlier this year, while covering the New Mexico Legislative session they started a grassroots fundraiser.

Today the doyenne of New Mexico's political bloggers, Barbara Wold, joined the call to help them with a post on her own blog Democracy for New Mexico

Read the post to see why it matters, then Donate as you can.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Albuquerque City Council fails to override Mayor's anti-immigrant policy

At its regularly scheduled meeting this evening the Albuquerque City Council considered a resolution (R-10-89) to rescind the new policy announced by Mayor R.J. Berry last week.
The new policy requires that the immigration status of all people arrested be checked by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A related resolution (R-10-88) which calls for the City of Albuquerque to refrain from conducting business with Arizona as long as AZ SB1070 remains in effect was also heard. Both resolutions were sponsored by councilor Rey Garduño and City Council president Ken Sanchez.

The council chamber was packed for the event, a far larger number of people than usual signed up to address the Council. The majority was in favor of both resolutions; a small number supported the Mayor's new policy.
Of the 33 speakers in favor several were members of organizations active in the immigrant and people of color communities, New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Enlace Comunitario, El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, League of United Latin American Citizens, and Southwest Organizing Project.
Other notable speakers in support were Democratic State Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas who has previously called for a boycott of Arizona and Nancy Denker Chair of the Democratic Party of NM Platform & Resolutions Committee.
Recurring themes from supporters were that community policing is based on trust between Police and the community and that the new policy would lead to increased racial profiling. The potential negative economic impact to the city was also brought up, by small business owners and members of LULAC which is scheduled to have a convention here later this year expecting 25,000 participants.

Councilors Isaac Benton, Rey Garduño, Debbie O'Malley, and Ken Sanchez spoke in favor of the Arizona boycott; Michael D. Cook and Trudy Jones spoke against R-10-88 failed on a 4/5 vote. Councilors Michael Cook, Don Harris, Trudy Jones, Dan Lewis, and Brad Winter voting no.

During the debate on R-10-89, councilors Debbie O'Malley, Rey Garduño, and Ken Sanchez extensively questioned Public Safety Director Darren White. It too failed on a 4/5 vote; again councilors Michael Cook, Don Harris, Trudy Jones, Dan Lewis, and Brad Winter voting no.

Albuquerque, a city proud of its diversity just became a less pleasant city to live in.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez's credibility takes another hit

Three County Sheriffs released public records, maintained by New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, showing Susana Martinez's soft stance on felony DWI offenders (4th or higher offense).
Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano, Valencia County Sheriff Rene Rivera, and Rio Arriba County Sheriff Joe Mascarenas participated in the press conference held in Albuquerque this morning.

The video is courtesy of Democracy for New Mexico which wrote an extensive article about it County Sheriffs Release Documents Showing More Than 1000 DWI Plea Bargains by DA Susana Martinez

According to the record there were more than 1000 plea bargains for felony DWI offenders in the 3rd Judicial District (Doña Ana County).
On her campaign website on the issue of crime regarding DWI she says the following

I will also look to strengthen our DWI laws to reduce drunk driving and ensure that repeat drunk drivers are where they belong – behind bars

Hmm - how about enforcing existing laws, and maintaining previous campaign promises.

Yesterday refusal to talk to the press, last week's proposal for an already existing "Transparency Portal".
None of this speaks well for Martinez on honesty, ethics, or transparency that New Mexico needs.
The Sheriff's posse is not impressed with Susana Martinez's record, neither am I.

Sarah Palin and Susana Martinez snubbing the press.

Former Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was in Albuquerque yesterday to endorse Republican Gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez. At the conclusion of the event neither took questions from the press. Paling did answer one question about the AZ anti-immigrant bill SB1070. A short YouTube video, that has since been removed, showed Martinez being hustled past reporters to an elevator without answering any questions. As the elevator is about to close one could hear a reporter exclaim in frustration "Crap!"

Sunday morning the Albuquerque Journal released a poll showing Martinez virtually tied with Allen Weh for the Republican primary. During her speech Palin did mention the poll; why did Martinez not want to talk to the press?
Every marketing executive wants to control the message, so it is understandable that Martinez's campaign staff wants to do the same.
Maybe it was just a reaction to last Thursday's gaffe by Martinez, while on 770 KKOB talk radio, where she called for the creation of an online checkbook so that citizens can see how their government spends taxpayer money.
A laudable proposal except that Lt. Governor Diane Denish, during the 2010 Regular Legislative Session, working with legislators on both sides of the isle fought for passage of SB 195 the "Sunshine Portal Transparency Act". Denish signed it into law on March 5.
This gaffe generated a limited amount of coverage for Martinez, but any coverage in the media helps with name recognition. Controlling your message is important, as is getting it out to the public. Any quote from yesterday's event would have been news, resulting in earned media.

Palin's appearance and endorsement of Martinez will play well with the Tea Party crowd which appears to constitute the Republican base these days. It could also have the effect of energizing the Democrats.
Time will tell. Refusing to talk to the press, however, is not a proven way of getting out your message.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Respectful, policy-focused CD1 race?

Earlier in the week in an interview with Jon Barela, the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich, stated
"...I’m going to try to do my best to remain respectful and focus on the issues,”
Then yesterday in a press release announcing his advancement to "Young Guns" by the National Republican Campaign Committee, he seems to have forgotten that.

The “Young Gun” status is the highest level in the NRCC program which gives fundraising and infrastructure support to candidates in districts held by Democrats.

Here is part of the press release, which can be found on Jon Barela's website.
"...“During this campaign, Mr. Heinrich will have to stand before the voters and try to justify why taxes have been increased by over $670 billion during his time in Congress, while unemployment continues to climb over 9 percent in Albuquerque,” continued Barela. “Whether it’s raising taxes, cutting Medicare, increasing insurance premiums, or voting for the massive increases to our national debt, Mr. Heinrich has proven that his loyalties to his party bosses and far-left special interests are stronger than his loyalties to New Mexico’s families..."

It seems that Mr. Barela has well mastered the "lockstep" characteristic of his party, spewing falsehood and fear. Did he forget which administration's policies necessitated the bailouts? The $670 Billion "tax increases" fails to mention that much of that is just sunsetting of Bush taxcuts.
Could it be that Rep. Heinrich voted the way he did, because these new policies actually make sense for the people of New Mexico and the country as a whole?

Rep. Heinrich has reached out to the people of New Mexico in many ways; Congress on the corner, last summer's Health care reform forum, Job fairs. Those are just the most visible ones, his loyalty to New Mexicans cannot be questioned.

Respectful issue based race? Not so much, if the above is a portent of things to come.