Thursday, January 19, 2006

Heather Returns Madrid's Ethics Fire, Plus: PR Change At Key State Agency, And: Other Interesting Stuff From Your Home For New Mexico Politics 

It cost a thousand bucks a person to hear ABQ GOP U.S. Rep Heather Wilson fire her first return volley over ethics at Dem rival Attorney General Patricia Madrid. But you don't have to pay to hear it because we have Alligators who take care of that for you. The scene was the upscale North Valley digs of PNM Chief Exec Jeff Sterba. Our Senior Alligator was among the 100 or so who paid the big bucks to see Heather and her patron, GOP U.S. Senator Pete Domenici.

"Heather, responding to a question about Patsy, said she doesn't know Patsy well but does know that in 1999 that the problem of the State Treasurer was reported to Patsy and she did nothing about it," slammed Heather as reported by our Gator.

Madrid has been hammering Heather over collecting contributions from indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and also indicted former House majority leader Tom Delay. (She returned some of the contributions) Heather's hit at the Sterba gathering shows she is sensitive to the charges of a "corrupt Congress" and ready to engage Madrid who has been scored for not picking up on the largest corruption scandal in state history.

And a final note from the high-rollers for Heather bash:

"Domenici said (House Speaker)Hastert has appointed Heather to a group of 12 to look into the ethics issue in the House. Someone asked Heather if the group of 12 was bipartisan--she demurred and said that the group's questions would be posed to Democrats as well as Republicans," relayed our partygoer.

Shifting the hot-button ethics issue over to Madrid is wise politics for Wilson, who remains the favorite to retain her seat, but who has enough vulnerability to keep this one in play until November.


Sec. Bolson
There's been some high-profile trouble at the NM Childen Youth and Families Department this week, but agency spokesman and former KOAT-TV reporter Matt Dillman hasn't been around to help out. And he won't be. Insiders report Dillman left the agency last week. They did not say why. We just blogged yesterday that ex-GOP Chair Dendahl is slamming the department and it's secretary Mary Dale Bolson any chance he gets. Of course, the department has been unwieldy since its creation, including when it was headed by Dendahl favorite Heather Wilson who had her share of troubles.

As for Dillman, he drew the derision of the state's press corp when he authored an odd memo about how department employees sould handle the media. "Some reporters might use a `Jedi Mind Trick' to confuse an issue as they try to convince you to say something on the record. They'll try to pressure you, trick you, back you into a corner...whatever it takes to get you to give them something. Your way out is to always refer them back to me..." said Dillman.

Matt may be familiar with Star Wars, but the wars of La Politica are the real thing. And they can come with a price tag. He was making about $60,000 a year. The line for his job forms at Big Bill's door.

And you have to wonder how department boss Mary Dale Bolson is holding up after scathing criticism from the Legislative Finance Committee. As the New Mexican reports, a review by the LFC criticized CYFD for a lack of therapeutic and vocational programs for incarcerated youth, lack of oversight and leadership in the state’s other juvenile jails, high employee turnover and a lack of follow-up care for released youths.

And so it goes in the "Year of the Child."


Diane Dimond of Michael Jackson national reporting fame got it all started back in the 70's at ABQ's KKOB-AM and KRQE-TV. She returns to her old media stomping grounds Sunday, January 22 at 2 p.m at Borders Books at ABQ's Cottonwood Mall where she will sign her new book, "Be Careful Who You Love: Inside The Michael Jackson Case." Diane's mother still calls ABQ home and someday Diane plans to retire here, as long as there are no more Jackson cases to keep her busy...A Green going R? Yep. Steve Cabiedes, familiar to many of you from his analysis on this blog and Election Night on KANW 89.1 FM radio, has signed on as campaign manager for the U.S. Senate campaign of GOP ABQ State Senator Joe Carraro. Cabiedes is a longtime politico, specializing in gathering campaign petition signatures.

And those are the bottom lines from the on-line home of New Mexico politics. Thanks for the company. Drop by again soon.

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