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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"Kitchen Sink" Session Kicks-Off Today, Plus: Love At the DWI Summit, And: Lobbying City Hall 

The Merry Roundhouse
Big Bill likens the 60 day Legislative session kicking off in Santa Fe today to the kitchen sink. In other words, as in sessions past, he is throwing everything at the lawmakers, including the proverbial kitchen sink. I am getting MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) just thinking about it. There is less carping by the lawmakers about it this time. Perhaps they are getting used to it. But the big reason they are not whining too loudly is because of the huge amounts of cash floating around the Capitol. They are telling us nearly $300 million is available over what was spent last fiscal year.

A lot of that will go to Medicaid and education, but it still leaves a bunch for the 112 solons to divvy up. That 300 mil doesn't include the hundreds of millions in "pork projects," (funded mostly by bonds) that will also get off the drawing boards in the next two months. Hey, when you are fat and happy, what's to complain about?

Yes, there will be kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth over a few key issues, but there's enough money to go around to pacify even the most grumpy politico. It will have to be another year when this Guv and the Legislative leadership are tested on how they govern during lean times. Until then, bring on the pork and those rising oil prices making this party possible.

HERO WORSHIP

Mayor Marty
Love was in the air at the most unlikely of events this weekend--the Guv's "DWI Summit" at ABQ Metro Court. Attendees tell us that ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez was given to calling Big Bill his "hero" for convening the summit. Not to be outdone, the Big Guy called Marty his hero for being tough on DWI.

It's no secret that relations between the 11th floor of City Hall and the Fourth Floor of the Roundhouse have been a bit chilly. Neither leader is given to taking the back seat. But Mayor Marty is up for re-election this year and does not need a disgruntled Guv on his hands; one who could even throw up a candidate or two against him. And maybe in Mayor Marty Big Bill sees truth to the proverb "that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't." In any event, if the lovemaking sticks it will boost the Mayor's chances in the Fall.

DOWNTOWN BEAT

Over at City Hall, we are hearing that former State House GOP Minority Whip Joe Thompson has been lobbying for a lobbying contract. Thompson, out of the game since being picked up for DWI last year, recently won a deal to lobby his former Capitol workmates on behalf of the UNM Board of Regents. At last word, the city deal to lobby Santa Fe was up in the air, but new Council President Brad Winter was not keen on the idea. That's not surprising. Thompson is a longtime associate of GOP lawyer/lobbyist Mickey Barnett whose faction fielded a GOP candidate, Pat Milligan, against fellow Republican Winter in the 03' city election. Winter won easily. And don't rule Winter out of the 05' Mayor's race quite yet. Friends say he is still considering a run.

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