Monday, February 28, 2005
I Take You To The Center of New Mexico Power: Exclusive Insider Details As Big Bill Unloads On Legislative Leaders; Pressure Builds As Clock Ticks
I now take you to the very epicenter of modern day New Mexico political power and report uncensored a raw, no-holds-barred meeting led by perhaps the most powerful figure in state history: Big Bill. This Roundhouse session was between the Legislative leadership and an impatient Guv. According to my senior Alligators, men who are accustomed to the most brutal tactics imaginable in the pursuit of power, the Guv strode into the room, looked around and bellowed at these top guns of La Politica: "You're fucking me!" The room was stunned, but there was more to come as Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez was singled out for particular scorn. "You don't return my calls...we're not communicating," berated Big Bill who has consolidated more power in his office than any previous governor.
Leader Sanchez, who indicated before the session that he would show a streak of independence, is said to have retorted that he is busy with his work and has things to do afterwards that have kept him from communicating with the leader of the Fourth Floor. What are those things? Playing racquetball for one, zinged Sanchez in a tense exchange that exposed the fault lines of the political game created over two centuries ago.
HIGH STAKES GAME
PR wise the Guv has done well this session, but not much has passed yet and the results oriented chief executive is concerned that his pet proposals could get left on the table in the rush to go home in mid-March. He has also picked at the lawmakers for not approving his $29 million tax cut, for not giving state police bigger pay raises and for not fully funding a pre-kindergarten program. It's the Guv's fellow Dems holding things up. The R's love the tax cuts and have been bought off with capital outlay for their districts. Some D's are upset with policy--not liberal enough--and others want to assert Legislative power from what has been one of the most cowed Legislatures in history.
But the chance that little gets done is too big a chance to take with the governorship on the line in 06' and the Presidency itself beckoning in 08.' You don't get either without laying it on the line. "The Governor comes to play. If you are not prepared to stand your ground, or too fearful to defend yourself, you will die in the line of fire," commented one of the Alligators who has seen and done it all.
As the countdown begins on Legislature 05,' there will be more clashes of the heavyweights as final decisions are made on how billions of dollars will be disbursed. In years past, lawmakers have succumbed to heart attacks or taken to the bottle as the pressure became to great to bear. Now, the first heat from the flames of this year's battle have been felt. Only the most highly-skilled in the ancient arts of La Politica will be able to claim a seat at the table where Big Bill presides and where the battle for the power and glory is fully joined.
Can anyone save the dysfunctional NM Public Regulation Commission (PRC)?. That's the five member panel whose utility regulating members have had constant infighting and a commissioner, Shirley Baca, busted for pot possession. The newest Dem PRC member, Jason Marks, was able to get state insurance boss Eric Serna to back down from a bizarre fundraising scheme in which Eric raised money for a charitable foundation from the companies he's charged with regulating! Now, Marks has put up a web site he says will let him better communicate with the public. Good luck with the site Jason, but we also need a better PRC. For starters, how about meeting with Republican House leader Ted Hobbs and listening to some of his reform ideas?
Make our site, WWW.JOEMONAHAN.COM, one of your favorites and e-mail a link to interested friends. Interested in advertising to NM's large political community? E-mail me from the top right of this page, or call 505-243-4059 for details.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
Not for reproduction without permission of the author