Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Big Bill: Does He Float Your Boat? Plus: NM Bad Boys Get Jobs, Blog Readers Spend The Surplus, And: My Tuesday Bottom Lines 

A jet plane, a Lincoln Navigator and now a Rose Bowl float. It seems any form of transit Big Bill employs is sure to make big headlines. The traveling Guv's decision to wave to the crowds from the annual Rose Bowl Parade January 2 may turn out to be a nice PR coup for New Mexico, but political pros questioned the timing of the announcement and the attendant squealing it provoked.

"It shows the quandary he is in as he runs for President and Governor simultaneously. The float appearance is going to stiffen opposition among the GOP base, keeping him out of that 60% approval range, but if he doesn't take advantage of such opportunities the other presidential candidates can get the jump on him," analyzed one Alligator.

He's right too. The Prez cycle has started earlier than ever, but GOP Guv hopeful J.R. Damron has already said he will make Big Bill's travel a central issue. But the Guv reportedly also plans an earlier than ever media blitz for his 06' re-elect, hoping to prevent any such attacks from gaining momentum.


And how about the state marketing director justifying the Rose float? "The (Governor) is the best marketing tool I've got. If it was up to me, I'd put the Governor on everything because it doesn't cost me any money." He said with bravado.

That drew this e-mail stinger: "The best marketing tool? What happened to the natural beauty, the mountains, the ski areas, the native culture, the weather and the rest that has made New Mexico a tourist mecca for a hundred years?" queried our correspondent.

Of course, the float will cost the state money, just as it costs the state to pay it's marketing director who obviously is no tourist when it comes to pleasing the boss.

That's a camera phone photo of Big Bill's new book posted at the top of today's blog that I took at Borders. Contrary to what sarcastic R's say, the book is not in the 'fiction' section.

Eric Griego
First, former ABQ City Councilor and current ABQ GOP State Rep. Greg Payne lands a plum city job as transit director. Now, the guy Payne constantly sparred with on the city council and who made an unsuccessful bid for Mayor this year, Eric Griego, has followed suit. And he got his job from Rick Homans who also ran for ABQ Mayor four years ago, as Tim McGivern, radio's Larry Ahrens and others were quick to point out.

Economic Development Secretary Homans has hired Griego as an assistant secretary for economic development.

Griego finished a distant second in the October mayoral election but ran a pretty decent campaign, excluding the behind-the-scenes tongue lashings he gave the press every chance he got for allegedly failing to cover his campaign and for favoring Mayor Marty.

Well, here's Griego's chance to earn some positive press. But Eric, think big. No more call centers please, or back to the back pages you go.


It consumes over half the sate budget already, but when I asked for suggestions on how to improve NM with some of the huge surplus dollars that will be available next year, education was high on the list. Bayard, NM native Isaac Martinez, now a freshman at Harvard University, was one of several who emailed in a wish list.

"Increase the pay for teachers so we attract the best possible; look into different methods of education, instead of trying to find one solution, challenge the universities to not raise tuition rates so every New Mexican can attend college.

"Better grade school education means better college students, which means better college graduates, which will attract companies and jobs. If New Mexico wants a better quality of life, it has to start with a greater investment in education," argued Isaac.

Good point, but how about accountability for all the dollars we are already spending?

Dr. Daniel Berg of Gallup, NM says some of the over $600 million surplus should be targeted at the long-standing booze problem in his area:

"In McKinley County we have a need for an inpatient alcohol and mental health facility. We also need more money for schools. Our county is close to last in academic achievement. We also need money to pave roads, deliver electricity, and build a cell phone infrastructure for rural inhabitants." Wished the Doc who is also a member of the NM Dem Party Central Committee.

I'll post some more of the best reader wish lists tomorrow. Send me yours.


It seems like he's been around forever, but it's been 20 years in the Legislature for Santa Fe Dem State Rep. Lucky Varela, not 30, as I informed you yesterday when reporting on Lucky's run for State Treasurer...And Lucky's son, Jeff Varela, emails in that he "resigned" and was not given the ax by Big Bill from his job as state personnel director.

Roxanne Rivera has exited NM GOP headquarters after a short stint as communications director. She is returning to her consulting firm...Santa Fe Lobbyist Vincent (Vinnie) Villanueva has passed away. He was 62...Former GOP State Rep. turned lobbyist, Joe Thompson, is now teamed with Dem veteran lobbyist Tom Rutherford and the Rutherford Group...Mark Fleischer, campaign manager for ABQ Mayor Marty, is working it for ABQ Councilor Tina Cummins in today's District Nine city council run-off election. She faces fellow R Don Harris. Fleischer is now associated with Santa Fe lobbyist Butch Maki, major friend of Big Bill.

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