Thursday, May 31, 2007

Readers Write The Blog; From Computer Crashes To Cop Counting, Plus: A New Blog Feature: "The Pete Beat" 

From deep within the bowels of NM state government comes this Alligator take on deep-seated problems with the state's $32 million payroll and accounting computer system known as SHARE.

The Governor ordered SHARE to be installed. The contract was given to a company that was a big donor to the Gov, but that was held in low esteem by states that had used them. Now the warts are showing. Undisclosed issues must be even worse: employees are being subject to discipline if they talk about the system and true blue Democrats (State Rep. Lucky Varela for one) are running for cover.

The Department of Transportation can't run the numbers to get reimbursed by the Feds. That means they can't balance their books. Will they be able to successfully close their books on June 30, the end of the fiscal year? For a state agency DOT is competent. If they can't run their financials other agencies probably can't either. At the end of June we could have no closure of the books--audit exceptions--lowered bond ratings. If that happens, things could look pretty bad this fall just when Big Bill is promoting his experience as governor in NH, Nevada and SC.

And you thought your desktop gave you headaches.


The political donnybrook between ABQ Mayor Marty and City Councilor Brad Winter over just how many cops the Big Duke City needs and how many are currently on the beat, draws the attention of retired APD office Dan Klein who thinks he has a solution and who doesn't cotton to our notion that ABQ has historically been a pretty violent place.

Here is the real issue. APD has fewer officers on the streets, yet the city has grown. APD has probably lowered it's hiring standards. This is not Marty's fault or Brad's. This has been going on for years, APD has just not found the right chief and mayor and council that understands...If Albuquerque can ever put all these things together you would see a much safer city..,Hearing anyone say that Albuquerque is a violent town, like that is ok, means we just are not doing our jobs. Albuquerque could be the safest city in the nation, if it would move beyond politics and personalities...

What? No politics and personalities in ABQ? Actually move forward together, instead of fighting each other every step of the way? That sounds scary.


It's the big political story. NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici's quest for re-election in 2008 as he battles the US attorney scandal and declining poll numbers. He won't publicly acknowledge the campaign--it's too early for that--but he will be taking steps to overcome his obstacles and discourage a well-known and well-financed Democrat from taking him on. Have you noticed how busy he's been during this congressional recess? We have. How about that long visit to the Spanish north this week where he can try to stop the bleeding among the Dems? That's why we're starting a new blog feature called "The Pete Beat" where we'll cover the early moves for his re-election with the insider info and exclusive analysis you have come to expect. So without further ado, here's the first installment.

From a Senior Alligator of La Politica who watched avidly this week as Domenici handled the audience at a meeting of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

"Pete talked exclusively about the immigration bill. He charged the talk radio hosts with mischaracterizing the bill. He joked periodically and stayed for about an hour. He was accompanied by four staffers. He looked strong but did sit down about half of the time. If his health holds up he will be formidable."

As we recently blogged, Domenici, 75, was also in good form during a recent radio news conference. He needs to retain that form to rebuild his polling numbers which will come under renewed fire as the campaign draws closer.


Pete is getting populist on the skyrocketing pump prices. ((Sound familiar?) As the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, he is using his bully pulpit to put the heat on British based oil refiner BP, asking why two of its largest refineries are operating at only half of capacity. It's a good question and one that we would expect Senate Energy Chairman Bingaman (D-NM) to join in asking as New Mexicans top off at over $3.40 a gallon. Meanwhile, just as Domenici released his letter BP announced it was reopening a down Texas refinery. It would be nice if that wasn't a coincidence, and if the senator sent some letters to American refineries as well.

And that's the latest from our exclusive "Pete Beat." Stay tuned for more.


To wrap things up, we turn to Helen in Santa Fe who sent us this cool, retro poster of the first Hispanic to run for president--Republican Ben Fernandez in 1980. Says Helen:

"Buenos tardes. Joe. Here's a nice photo in the event that you again mention Big Bill not being the first Latino to run for president. This is a campaign poster on the wall at the wonderful El Paragua in Espanóla with an inscription to the owner."

Fernandez, born in Kansas of Mexican immigrant parents, was indeed the first known American of Hispanic origin to campaign for the presidency. In 1980, he appeared on the ballot in 18 primaries. He received about a million votes nationally, enough to win three delegates at the Republican convention. He passed in 2000. Big Bill now says he is the first Democratic Hispanic Prez candidate.

I met Ben several times as he was close with ex-ABQ GOP US Rep. Manuel Lujan who I was working with in '80. What struck one about Ben was his earnestness and belief in himself. He must have made an impression up north as usually the only photos on display there are of John Kennedy and Jesus.

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