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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Will They Go Home? State Awaits Final Roundhouse Results, Plus: Pete & Powell Spar Over Wilderness, And: My Bottom Lines; It's A Blog Special Session 

Now we wait. There's no way the NM Legislature is going to get through all of the jam-packed agenda sent their way by Big Bill by the scheduled adjournment of noon today. Special session? The Guv should be able to live with a lot of little misses, but politicos say if there is no minimum wage increase, or a bill so watered down it makes little improvement, the Guv would be on solid political ground to call a special. But if he locks down on small items for his "Year of the Child" program he may find the public climate less understanding.

And a little hallelujah for this one. Around Midnight senate flack Tom Garrity checked in with word that an ethics bill is on the way to the Guv. It's ABQ Sen. Feldman's and requires prospective contractors with the state to disclose all campaign contributions over $250 made to relevant public officials before submitting a competitive bid.

The bill also prohibits contractors from making contributions to officials during the procurement process.

It may not be a lot and we need much more, but it's something and in the wake of the historic Treasurer scandal it is top priority for Mr. & Mrs. New Mexico.

I will have a Friday audio blog to update the session and more on Monday.

PETE & POWELL SPAR

Dem Land Commissioner candidate Ray Powell took a slap at GOP U.S. Senator Pete Domenici here Wednesday, and Pete is not taking it in stride. Powell claimed Domenici legislation designating hundreds of thousands of acres of Dona Ana County as federal wilderness, thus protecting it from development and off-road vehicles, also calls for dumping 65,000 of undeveloped federal land on the real estate market, threatening a development frenzy. Not so, rebuts the senator whose office offered up this statement:

"Some people are of the opinion that this proposal says dump, sell, get rid of all this land now. Not so. It says that land will remain surplus and made available over time, as needed... as the city grows. We are going to meet with people and talk about that. That is certainly subject to discussion. And we are going to do that."

There may be some dispute over that 65,000 acres but there is, according to one poll, strong bipartisan support in population booming Dona Ana for protecting precious land for future generations, including around the landmark Organ Mountains pictured with this report.

DONA ANA DOINGS

Keeping it in Dona Ana, the Dem county chair there, Jeff Steinborn, also toils for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance which is working on that Dona Ana wilderness bill. And he also continues to try to launch a political career. Steinborn blogs in that he will again run against GOP State Rep. Ed Boykin. Steinborn came close in 04' in the swing district. Earlier that same year he sought the Dem nomination for the right to take on GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce but lost to Gary King.

Steinborn is a former staffer to Dem U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman which takes us back to D.C. and the pages of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. We interviewed with the paper this week on Bingaman's 06' re-election effort and here's how we framed the race.

MY BLOG BOTTOM LINES

We had a laugh when blog reader Rob Erickson poked fun at a Wednesday mistake. We noted that the GOP had hired an out-of-state firm to help GOP Lt. Guv candidate Sue Wilson Beffort gather petition signatures, the same firm the GOP used to get independent Ralph Nader on the 04' NM ballot in hopes of peeling votes from Dem Prez nominee Kerry. But We blogged that it was 2000 Dem nominee Al Gore, not Kerry. That had Erickson wrly blogging in: "The GOP strategists are geniuses: Al Gore received almost no votes in '04."

...And some editions of yesterday's Blog failed to mention that the former GOP ABQ city councilor seeking to become secretary of state this year is Vickie Perea. By the way, Vickie converted to the R's from the D's during the 04' Prez campaign...ABQ radio newsman Pat Allen has been named news director at 50,000 watt 770 KKOB-AM radio. He has been with the station several years...I thought Alligator Ave Maestas was exclusive to us, but look at him now. He's blogging away from Silver City. But he promises not to forget us. Ave, I knew you when...

Finally, a note to Big Bill. If that measure alowing Webcasts of the Legisature makes it to your desk, don't veto it again, sign the darn thing. As I blog, it's the last night of the legislative session and we out-of-Santa Fe political junkies are having serious news withdrawal. I wouldn't whine about this but, after all, it is the "Year of the Child."

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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