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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Path Clearing For Weh's Re-election As NM GOP Chair; Tinnin Out, Plus: My Great Hatch Chile(i) Debate; It's Hot Stuff 

The path to another term as NM Republican Party chair is becoming less cluttered for Allen Weh. The insiders report that ABQ businessman Tom Tinnin of the moderate wing of the party is done toying with the idea of challenging Weh. "He will not do it," a friend of Tinnin's reports. "A family member is battling illness and the timing is just not right, even though he thinks a change is needed." Tinnin told me over the holidays that he felt the GOP was giving Big Bill too much of a free ride.

Anti-Weh R's complain that the staff has grown larger at state headquarters while the criticisms of Big Bill have grown muted. Weh has not appeared on TV in months. The insiders also tell me they believe Weh could be ousted because the GOP central committee which meets in May to decide the chairmanship remains dominated by supporters of former party chair Ramsay Gorham who was ousted in a bloody internal coup last year. "We showed we could do it when we beat Mickey Barnett for national committeeman. If we could get Mickey, we can get Weh," analyzed a R operating from the deepest of covers. For now, most R's seem happy to say good riddance to leading the still-divided, but somewhat sleepy Grand old Party.

MY GREAT CHILE DEBATE

"A major cultural transgression," is how longtime politico and newsy Janet Blair characterized the misspelling of "chile" on the blog this week. One of our readers complained about Wal-Mart selling roasted "chili" and claiming it was from the "chili" capital of Hatch, NM, when it wasn't. They also claimed Wal-Mart was undercutting local "chili" growers. Janet was joined in sounding the three chile alarm bell by ex-New Mexicans Linda Doran and many other readers. They are all right. The correct spelling is c-h-i-l-e. And as punishment for this transgression I will spend a weekend in Amarillo.

MORE FROM THE CHILE FRONT

If you get the idea that chile is taken seriously in these parts, you're right. Take this e-mail sent to us from Steve Dawson, President of Hatch Chile Co. & Hatch Farms, Inc. in response to the Wal-Mart complainer: "We have marketed canned and glass food items under the Hatch Select trademark since 1987. We obtained our Federal trademark registration in 1991. No party can use the word "hatch" as it relates to green chile peppers, unless the chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley.

The word "hatch" is deemed to be geographically descriptive and is protected by Federal laws. Other examples: Florida Orange Juice and Washington Apples. Any company that intrudes on the rights of the Hatch Valley growers should be quickly notified they are breaking federal law. Many years ago Luc Longley, the basketball player from Australia, began growing green chiles in Australia and was going to label them as Hatch Chile. Through the years we have learned that the intruders are just not aware of the issue. I think a simple letter from Santa Fe to Wal-Mart would suffice."

Holy Enchiladas! Enough already. Memo to chile Rep. Cervantes and Sen. John Arthur Smith: let's get that letter out to Wal-Mart pronto.

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