Monday, February 19, 2007

Winter Weather Info Puts Heat On State; Solution Offered, Plus: A Capitol Restroom Caper, And: New UNM Prez Picked 

Secretary Faught
Some things government does best and in some things private business excels. Our case in point today is the delivery of vital weather and road closing info that has given the state Department of Transportation numerous headaches. When the big snows hit, they just can't get it right. But they can fix it. Why not privatize this particular service? Let the big ABQ TV stations bid for the job, just as they do now to be the state lottery source. No one is better equipped. The bonus for the station or stations that take over the service is to constantly promote themselves which they delight in doing.

The state has made a valiant try, but failed. There is already a system in place that can deliver weather and road conditions over the phone and Web at lightning speed. Why not team with the media and get this vital service delivered to New Mexicans without delay or recrimination and without the sorry alibis on why everything broke down when the white stuff inevitably again falls? How about it Secretary Faught?


And how do you know February is a "sweeps month" for the TV stations in which they scrape for ratings for their newscasts? When KOB-TV's Jeremy Jojola lures lawmakers into a Capitol restroom, that's how! Read and see all about it...

The Schmidlys
The Alligators setting the line at 8 to 5 in favor of NM Tech president Dan Lopez snaring the top job at the University of New Mexico have their jaws wired shut today after the UNM regents chose Okie State U president David Schmidly as the new leader. The AP has details. Schmidly will be pulling down a stunning (over-the-top?) $580,000 a year when all of his incentives are calculated. With that kind of dough, he can forget about a honeymoon. Schmidly is 63. Will he be a competent placeholder like Richard Peck, with the UNM job easing him into a comfortable retirement, or will his educational swan song be creative and aggressive and change UNM for the better? Stay tuned.

There may be an opportunity for UNM that we haven't seen lately. Schmidly's wife, Janet, is also an educator (retired) and was active in campus and community life when he headed Texas Tech as well as OSU where she formed a parents association. As the Schmidlys peel the onion on their new state, they will find the dysfunctional family is as ubiquitous as green chile. If UNM is to raise itself up, the students sent to it have to be raised up first. If Janet and hubby can get into the nitty gritty of that problem, they might just have a shot at a legacy. But it's going to take more than tea with the ladies of leisure.

The Gators are doing much better with their predictions regarding those ethics bills floating around the Roundhouse. They predicted none were going to make it through the Legislature, and they are looking prescient as Senate Majority Leader Sanchez makes clear in his recent statements.


Estimates in the national press (which we quoted) were all over the map, but it ended with 17 Republicans joining with the Dems in supporting that nonbinding resolution last week in the U.S. House to disapprove of Bush's troop build -up in Iraq. NM Dem Tom Udall summed up the majority support, saying he cast his vote "with great hope that it will signal an important step towards the end of the war; a war so ill-conceived...that it has cost our nation almost $400 billion, ignited a civil war, and further destabilized an already fragile region. Most importantly, this war has resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 of our bravest military men and women." NM Reps Pearce and Wilson voted against the resolution. We posted their views last week.

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