Monday, January 03, 2005
Hello 2005; Will It Top 04'? NM Leaves Behind Year of Infamy, Plus: Intel & Eclipse: Give Them A Break?
Goodbye 2004. I'm sure going to miss you. I fear that the resplendent headlines of the past 12 months including, "Judge Brennan Busted for Coke" and "PRC Commissioner Baca Nailed in Pot Bust" simply were too good to happen again. But this being New Mexico perhaps my fear is misplaced. When in the 400 years of this Enchanted Land's history have our public officials failed to live up to the high regard we hold them in? Don't worry abut 2005. It will be anything but boring.
One of the headline makers of 2004 was GOP State Rep. Joe Thompson of ABQ's far NE Heights who was busted for drunk driving after sponsoring tough anti-drunk driving laws. The mishap ended the Legislative portion of his career, but apparently not all public activity. Joe was seen shmoozing with Big Bill for most of the Wake Forest UNM Lobo basketball game, just a day before it was announced Thompson would be on of UNM's new lobbyists for the upcoming 60 day session. He will get 20 grand for the work.
Attorney Thompson's place in the GOP is interesting for the Big Guy. He is close to GOP power player/lawyer/lobbyist Mickey Barnett who can count on the friendly ears of State Reps Youngberg, Fox-Young and Dan Foley. Mickey's sway is a far cry from the golden olden days, but that's still three votes and three voices that Big Bill doesn't need against him at all times.
Thompson and the Dem Guv got a along just dandy at the legislature. In fact, one of the Big Guy's few political miscues in 04' was when he came out with a wimpy statement regarding Joe's DWI arrest and took major heat for it. But the alliance persists, again highlighting the trouble the GOP is having in making a unified pitch against the popular occupier of the Fourth Floor.
PHIL, WHERE ART THOU?
Speaking of that UNM lobbying deal, what happened to veteran lobbyist Phil Larragoite and the $96 K he was raking in for doing the job before Big Bill's UNM Regents awarded the deal to Thompson and former Senator Romero, among others? Losing the fat deal has to hurt. Will Phil recoup with another government venture, or is he out in the cold? Just asking.
YOUR DOLLARS FOR DEALS
The biggest financial winner of 04' in the NM business community was Intel. The giant chip maker in Rio Rancho won a deal from the Sandoval County Commission that will allow it to save two billion dollars in taxes in the coming years. That's right, two billion. The deal has drawn national attention as critics ask when is enough enough in trying to attract and keep jobs?
The intel hit brings to mind the never-ending hype over Eclipse Aviation. The thing has been in the news for five years and is now getting taxpayer money from the state investment fund. The politicos are orgasmic over its future prospects. But critics ask: if the idea is so great why does it need millions in taxpayer money to get off the ground? What happened to private funding? And should taxpayers invest in stuff that takes years and years to become reality? How about jobs for the people of today? They are just asking.
Happy New Year and thank you for tuning us in. Please email me your political news, gossip etc. You can remain unnamed and there's a link at the top of this page. We are always interested in hearing from old and new Alligators alike.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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