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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Special Session: It's Not Just About Gasoline; It's About Guts; Do Lawmakers Have Any? Indicted Treasurer Flouts Big Bill And Returns To Work 

Vigil
Most of us common folk have lost patience with the argument that the special session of the Legislature starting today in Santa Fe is just about giving out rebates so people can buy gasoline. What this historic session is really about is a test of wills between a defiant, renegade elected official and the Legislature of the state of New Mexico. The most pressing question is not whether consumers will get a tax rebate--and they should--but whether the body politic of our state has the guts to take a stand and do the job it is assigned in the Constitution. That job is impeachment.

In the aftermath of Treasurer Robert Vigil defiantly returning to work Wednesday, despite being under federal indictment for corruption and kickbacks, there is no other issue more important to the long-range economic well-being or the progress of this state than moving quickly to restore integrity and confidence to the office of the Treasurer. How can business be conducted in an American state that conducts its affairs like a South American banana republic? Besides, there are 49 other states people can live and conduct their affairs.

One leading Dem, seeing the Vigil return to work and some politicking in the embryonic impeachment, gave this advice. "The governor has been tough, but he needs to be tougher. Ditto for the Attorney General and ditto for the leaders of the House."

That last reference was to the reticence of House Speaker Ben Lujan to sign on to the impeachment which would halt Vigil from touching our money while he awaits trial in the Senate. Aspiring Speaker and House Majority Leader Ken Martinez has jumped in to fill the void and called for the process to move forward. Speaker Lujan ought to get the message. A storm is building out here and a hard rain is going to fall next year on his Democratic party if business as usual continues. And Big Bill for President? How do renegade treasurers fit into a national economic plan?

THE HOBBS FACTOR
Leader Hobbs
House GOP leader Ted Hobbs is now also under the spotlight after issuing a perplexing statement that impeachment should not be taken up and that the federal government should go ahead and handle the matter. Is leader Hobbs fearful that Republican U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, who won the Vigil indictment, will not get credit for prosecuting the scandal if Dems impeach Vigil? And what about NM GOP Chair Allen Weh favoring impeachment? Why is Hobbs splitting with his party? It's hard to believe that the state GOP can screw up this one, but look at what they did Tuesday night in ABQ with Brad Winter.

Impeachment can and should be a bipartisan matter. Legislators, R's and D's, should form a united front with the governor. Let all the politicans get some credit, but first let them get the guts to get the job done.

ELECTION CLEAN-UP

It's been a whirl of activity around here this ABQ election week. Here's some clean-up stuff. Philip Muller of Political Technologies, says, contrary to what was blogged here, the liberal consulting group Soltari was not involved in the ABQ city council race won by Muller client Ike Benton. Soltari, however, did refer Muller to Benton...Brad Winter did make media appearances Election Night. We blogged otherwise. Of course, tucked away in a radio studio calling the election gives one limited opportunities to see the TV coverage. Winter continued to defend the negative campaign conducted on his behalf and that had him placing third in a four man race.

DID I REALLY WRITE THAT?

"Joe, please consult a good dictionary for the difference between flaunt and flout. I doubt that Robert Vigil would ever flaunt Bill Richardson!" That reader is right. Check out today's headline to see how I made good.

And didn't I mean "routs" not "routes" in my headline yesterday describing Mayor Chavez's victory? See what happens when you write headlines at 2 a.m. with no Starbucks?

THE BOTTOM LINE

Lt. Gov. Denish
And here's one inspired by Light Guv Diane Denish. She phoned in to KANW Election Night to dispute our statement that no African-American had ever been elected to the ABQ city council saying Dr. Solomon Brown was in the 70's. But we pointed out that Brown was appointed to fill a vacancy and was defeated for election. But Diane can say "gotcha" right back. Seems I said that Dr. Brown filled the seat of Joe Abeyta on the council those many years ago. Not so. It was the seat held by Dr. Jack Kolbert. By the way, Councilor Abeyta went on to be State Rep Jose Abeyta when he moved to Wagon Mound, NM.

I know. That’s way more information than you needed. OK. I’ll take your advice and take a break. See you soon.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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