Hey it's almost Christmas. Don't these political and media junkies take a break? Not a chance. The news just keeps flowing in from the Alligators who are postponing their shopping to get it all in. I am dying to take a vacation, instead I'm on a sleigh ride across La Politica.
First up: The shocker that former First Lady Margaret Chavez is reportedly signing up with Big Bill. You read it right. The energetic Margaret and former school teacher is telling friends that she is in line for a post with the Children, Youth and Families Department as a community services manager in ABQ. Margaret has been a successful real estate agent. The new post would be full-time. She is now headed into the orbit of Big Bill who also has had his share of sparks with Margaret's ex, Mayor Marty.
In fact, all kinds of conspiracy theories are starting to bubble forth with some Gators claiming that retired ABQ banker Larry Willard, a former Big Bill appointee to the UNM Board of Regents, may seek the Mayor's slot and get the backing of the Big Guy!
Also from deep in the legendary ABQ Valley word comes that Margaret's father, former State Rep. Bennie Aragon has landed a plum consulting contract with the State Fair (or did I report that earlier?) In any event, the passion play of ABQ politics is definitely heating up as we head into mayoral Campaign 05'.
And how about another stunner? OK. Get this from "The Hill" newspaper in D.C. "Furious that Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) voted with Democrats on a controversial bill, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is pushing to get her removed from his powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.
On Sept. 30, nearly five weeks before Election Day, Wilson was the only Republican committee member to vote for a motion that would have forced the Bush administration to release internal cost estimates of the Medicare prescription-drug law. Democrats repeatedly criticized the administration this year for not revealing its cost assumptions on the Medicare bill until after it was signed into law. The House Steering Committee will finalize all committee decisions in January.
As committee chairman, Barton will have a significant say in the makeup of his panel, but he will need to convince House Republican leaders to remove Wilson from the Energy and Commerce Committee."
Wow. Heather has raised a ton of campaign money by virtue of her position on the committee, which handles heavyweight legislation impacting major industries. She showed a streak of independence because of her stiff challenge from Richard Romero. Dems say she was faking it. But if she gets kicked off the big energy and commerce post, they will have to rethink their premise. Remember when Heather said during the campaign that some Dems had asked her to consider switching parities?? Maybe she wasn't kidding.
DISHING OVER DIANNE
Media insiders are reacting to our report on the departure of veteran KOAT-TV news anchor Dianne Anderson. They are also shedding new light on just what happened between the comely news reader and station management. "Joe, Dianne is not leaving because of bad ratings," flatly declared one of the insiders. "She wanted to spend more time with her family and asked the station to let her anchor only the ten o'clock news ad she would take a fifty per cent pay cut." They would not go for it and that was the end."
Media watchers speculated here that Anderson was let go after 15 years because of 7's slip into third place in the all-important 10 p.m. news ratings. Did they have it wrong? There may be a bit of truth in both versions. Dianne wanted to anchor just one newscast, probably an unprecedented move in a top 50 TV market. But if KOAT was a dominant number one at 10 p.m., as they were in the 90's, they just might have gone for it. Anderson has nothing to be ashamed of even if ratings played a role in her departure. She had a great ride and leaves with a lot of community goodwill. That's better than a lot of politicians finish.
I'M DONE FOR THE WEEK
Forget it. Between other business and you political addicts, I am beat. You get no more from me until next week, and then I am taking a XMAS break. I don't care if Shirley Baca is found in the arms of Judge Brennan making mad passionate love amid a heap of coke and weed, we are slowing this sleigh ride down for the holidays. Yeah, I dig you too.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2004
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