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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ex-Judge Rodella Rats On Big Bill, Plus: Cabinet Boss Lopez Defends Guv's Jet Costs; And: Marty & Brad: Both Wrong? Also: A Payne In Your Radio 

Ousted Rio Arriba County magistrate Tom Rodella is causing a new set of problems for Big Bill. The husband of Dem State Rep Debbie Rodella claims the Guv knew his background was checkered with all kinds of wrongdoing when he appointed him to the bench in March. Rodella embarrased the Guv when he was recently forced to resign because of his checkered past. The story was breaking fast Wednesday night in the Espanola's Rio Grande Sun. Here's an excerpt.

"Gov. Richardson knew about the problems in Thomas Rodella's past when Richardson appointed the former State Police officer to be a judge March 31, Rodella said Tuesday, flatly contradicting numerous statements from Richardson's office. "I answered all the Governor's questions as pertained to the investigations in my State Police career," Rodella said. "I answered them truthfully. He did know."

A former wife filed a suit against Rodella in the 1980s, accusing him of repeated violent abuse. After he married his current wife, now a state representative, Rodella was repeatedly investigated by State Police for a variety of infractions, including ticket-fixing. Richardson knew about it all, Rodella said, and knew about it before Rodella ever applied to be a Rio Arriba magistrate." Reports the Sun.

FOURTH FLOOR REACT

The Guv's office is calling all this "complete fiction." And after his past escapades, Rodella has little credibility. What is more intriguing to Alligators in the North is the impact this could have on Rep. Debbie Rodella's 06' re-election bid. In the wake of her husband's fall from grace she has drawn a challenge from veteran Rio Arriba politico Moises Morales. Will Tom Rodella's ratting on Big Bill mean Debbie loses the Guv's support (and cash raising prowess) to Moises? On the flip side, the Rodella rat job is a sign of the continuing problems Big Bill has had in uniting the North behind him. Guv candidates Eli Chavez and Bengie Regensburg are warming up in the bullpen to throw some more hardballs at the Big Fella. Stay tuned.

LEGISLATIVE JET SET
Cessna Bravo Jet
NM General Services Department Cabinet Secretary Eddie Lopez Jr. blogs in to us as the Big Bill administration continues to fight back against public perception that they went overboard in buying a $5.5 million jet plane. Lopez reacts to that Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) report carried here that said the Big Bill jet would cost more to operate than the current state plane.

"I personally directed the procurement of the new state jet and negotiated the price and terms earlier this year. Please permit me to correct the LFC staff’s irrelevant and questionably motivated report that the new jet aircraft will cost more to operate than propeller driven counterparts.

Included in the jet purchase deal is an operations cost guarantee that the Cessna Bravo jet will cost no more to fuel and maintain than a new King Air 350 turboprop. If fuel and maintenance costs exceed the amount the General Services Department would spend to fuel and maintain a new King Air, Cessna agreed to refund the difference for three years. This fact is worth repeating: Cessna agreed to refund the difference," blogged Secretary Lopez.

Interesting that he calls into question the motivation of the LFC staff. It's the Guv's Dem party that controls the Legislature. But then Eddie is now a member of the Big Bill party. It was ABQ GOP State Senator Joe Carraro who requested the LFC plane analysis, which Eddie, son of the late legendary Santa Fe state senator Eddie Lopez, now claims was not the plain truth. Stay tuned. This story has wings.

BRAD AND MARTY: BOTH WRONG?

News that City Councilor and mayoral wannabe Brad Winter and Mayor Marty are both backing legislation to restrict how petition signatures are gathered to place issues and candidates on the ABQ ballot is quickly drawing fire. They are in a frenzy about the forgery that has marred the minimum wage petition effort, but their call to ban people from getting paid to collect signatures sounds blatantly unconstitutional to some. And Winter's proposal to have people register with the city before they even go out and collect signatures is also seen as a big loser in court.

"Politicians forget that the people have a right to petition the government. It's up to the government to weed out any fraud or corruption on these petitions, not to restrict our rights in asking for consideration of issues or to place candidates on the ballot. If the mayor and council are so worried about fraudulent signatures they might want to voluntarily check each and every signature they submit Friday to get on the October ballot. I bet there are more than a few bad ones," blasted one politico involved in past petition gathering.

He has a point. Where in the Constitution does it say you have to tell the government you plan on petitioning it? A big thumbs down to Mayor Marty, Councilors Mayer, Cummins and Winter on this one. No wonder Rio Rancho and the ABQ suburbs are kicking ABQ's butt.

HOUSE OF PAYNE

Now two of the GOP's hot talkers are on the radio. ABQ State Rep Greg Payne, always ready to throw down the gauntlet, is back on New Mexico radio giant 770 KKOB-AM radio every Saturday at 1 p.m. Payne was brought in to replace Dem Mayor Marty who is on the campaign trail. But the freshman lawmaker says it's no endorsement of the mayor and he will be doing his own thing. Payne joins State Senator "Lightning Rod" Adair on the airwaves. Rod hosts his radio talk on low power outtlet KEDU-LP 102.3 FM in Ruidoso. Are the liberal Dems going to let that duo have it all to themselves?

Remember to email me your political news, opinions, and thoughts.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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