Monday, August 06, 2007

Boo Birds Heckle Bill & Hill At Blogger Confab, Plus: Rhonda Faught's Free Airline, And: ABQ Election: The Perils Of Paulette 

Boo birds heckled Bill Bill at that gathering of bloggers in Chicago over the weekend. His offense? The Guv told the hard-core liberals that he favors a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. The boo birds think that will constrain funding for their pet causes like education and health care.

Richardson may not have pleased the liberal Dems, but others say his support of a balanced budget appeals to independents who can vote in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. A recent poll showed the Guv especially strong with Iowa's independents.

And in case you forgot, the NM Constitution requires our Guv and Legislature to balance the budget each year, so when you hear them bragging about how they've done it, take it with a grain of salt or a pinch of chile...

Hillary also had a boo bird chorus at the confab. You can read about that here.

Mr.& Mrs. Big Bill
He didn't mention any special plans, but the Guv did send out a news release Sunday taking note of his 35th wedding anniversary.

"Barbara and I have been together since we were teenagers. We have practically grown up together. Over the past 35 years Barbara has been my wife, best friend and my number one advisor. She has stood by my side through it all and on this special day I thank her for her love and devotion. Truly, there is no luckier man. Barbara, here's to another beautiful 35 years."

Spoken like a true romantic. Maybe Bill can pass it on to his state transportation secretary, Rhonda Faught. News was dropped on Sunday morning doorsteps that the secretary's ex-boyfriend, an architect, went along on an expensive state plane ride to Dallas for a planning session on building a new transportation department headquarters. He was said to be "tagging along" with an engineer who would soon be indicted in the Bernalillo county Metro Courthouse corruption scandal and who also apparently had no official reason to fly. It all sounded very fishy, and smelled the same.

Rhonda said she never gave any thought to how traveling with her ex on the state plane would be perceived. Hello? And she added this knee-slapper: "Faught said she didn't recall who invited" her former lover. Well, maybe she's not the jealous type and doesn't keep track of such things...

The planning of the DOT headquarters is stinking to high heaven, with the involvement of the same cast of characters who have been indicted in the Bernalillo county Metro Court construction scandal also apparently trying to suck off the Santa Fe teat.

The Guv says he will ask for a "process assessment" of the malodorous affair. The Legislature needs to get its oversight glasses out on this one and call in Secretary Faught for some Q and A. If they do, she would be well-advised not to bring her ex-boyfriend along.


Dem congressional contender and ABQ City Councilor Martin Heinrich informs that he will be returning part-time as the state's Natural Resources Trustee. He took a leave of absence to get his campaign off the ground. Big Bill named the previous trustee, Jim Baca, as Heinrich's fill-in. Heinrich says he is returning to his ABQ office half-time because "I'm not independently wealthy."

Federal rules allow Heinrich to pay himself out of campaign funds, but Heinrich has decided not to dip into the nearly $200,000 he has raised. The councilor is father to two young boys. His wife, Julie Hicks, works at the Middle Region Council of Governments and previously worked for Baca when he was ABQ mayor.

Heinrich is not endorsing anyone to succeed him in his ABQ SE Heights council district which he will leave December 1 to pursue the congressional seat. He says that Rey Garduno is impressing a lot of the progressives who helped put Heinrich into office in 2003. Garduno, a retired UNM employee, has been working it hard, but he ran into controversy when he used a university e-mail account for his campaign. He since has stopped using the account.

Heinrich also took note of the campaigns of Blair Kaufman and Joan Griffin, both of whom have the skills to breakup Garduno's early momentum. The Republican running in the race is Kevin Wilson.

Garduno supporters are noting that Griffin changed her voter registration from Republican to Democrat shortly before getting in the council race. Griffin supporters wonder if Garduno sent that word out on his UNM computer.

Speaking of computers and the October 2 city council election, Paulette de'Pascal says she has dropped plans to lease $3,000 worth of Apple computers she purchased for her campaign with funds from the new taxpayer financed campaign system.

The District Four candidate, running against incumbent Brad Winter, pledged to lease the computers after taking hits for buying expensive equipment that could later be converted to her personal use. The purchase was not prohibited under city campaign rules. She now reports, "My bankruptcy record means I can't be approved for a lease. I will continue using the computers for the campaign, but afterwards am considering donating them to a victims of domestic violence group or a community center."

de'Pascal also says she has requested Winter's phone records from his city council office as well as from his office at Albuquerque Public Schools. She is looking for evidence that Winter has used the phones for campaign purposes. But de'Pascal has more trouble of her own. She's been busted for misrepresenting how long she has lived in the district she seeks to represent on the nine number council.

In announcing her candidacy, she told us she lived there ten years, but it turns out the Tanoan neighborhood home she shared with her now ex- husband from 1999-2005 was not in Winter's council district She asserts the misstatement was not intentional. "I was surprised to learn the home was not in the district," she said. The council seat for District Four was on the ballot in the '99 and 2003 while de'Pascal resided at Tanoan. de'Pascal says she now lives in the district.


And the NM GOP has a little consistency problem when it comes to the city council races. They rail against the new public financing system as well as de'Pascal's computer purchases, but Republican Kevin Wilson of District Six not only is having his campaign publicly financed, but has also bought a computer with the money. Why wasn't he criticized by the GOP? "It was probably an oversight," said a party spokesman. Yeah, you might call it that.


It's not every day that a staid utility stock like PNM plunges 16% in one day. But it happened Friday as NM's big monopoly utility came in with disappointing earnings, sending the stock to a nealy three year low. Over the decades the company has had a foot in both political parties. Here's some of its federal activity from the '06 cycle and here's a look at its state contributions.

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