Friday, August 10, 2007

Living In The Past: Our UNM Field Trip, And: Big Bill Again Flubs Gay Issue, Plus: Some Bottom Lines 

It's certainly not news that legendary NM Senator Dennis Chavez has passed, but for political junkies like us coming across an actual edition of the newspaper carrying the breaking news of his November 1962 death is a rare find. The aged yellowed pic of the front page ABQ Journal posted here is from the desk of Rose Diaz, director of the University of New Mexico political archives. I dropped in there Thursday for a briefing on how we are sorting and saving for the scrutiny of future generations the papers of our most prominent past politicos and some present ones as well. When I saw that old newspaper and the headline, I just had to take a snap of it for you.

Rose sent me off with the thick PhD. dissertation she authored on Democrat Chavez who served nearly thirty years in the senate. I will scour it for political nuggets and sprinkle them around here in the weeks ahead.


What is it about ABQ City Councilor Ken Sanchez that we keep calling him a CPA? We mistakenly did it for the second time in the past year on Wednesday's blog. Sanchez is an "enrolled agent" who practices before the IRS, but is not, repeat is not a CPA. City Councilor Don Harris, facing an October 2 recall election, told us he will use Sanchez to keep his campaign records straight. Sanchez, who is mulling over a run for Mayor in 2009, is a Democrat. Harris a Republican.

And State Senator John Ryan is a Republican, not a Democrat. Duh! We lumped him with Dem
Senator Dede Feldman in blogging Thursday on the Guv's ethics task force. These two are as philosophically apart as you can get, and we received a number of emails pointing out the error of our ways. One of them came from probably the most liberal member of the Senate, ABQ's Jerry Ortiz y Pino: "

"Joe, I missed the official announcement that Senator John Ryan has switched parties, but since you listed him as a Democrat in this morning’s blog, I suppose I have to accept it as fact. I’ve been subtly trying to influence that switch (we sit next to each other on the floor) but didn’t realize I was getting anywhere. Good news!"

Very funny, Jerry. We're glad we could provide you some jollies at our expense. As for Ryan, we are more than aware that he is a Republican, having had him as a guest analyst on our KANW-FM radio Election Night broadcasts. But if he wants to come on as a Democrat, he is welcome, as long as Ortiz y Pino assumes the Republican role. Now that would be a ratings grabber.


Big Bill, only now recovering from a controversy involving the gay community, stepped back in it Thursday night at the Dem debate on gay issues. From USA Today:

"New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, asked whether being gay is a choice or people are born that way, said it's a choice. After the forum, he reversed himself. "I do not believe sexual orientation or gender identity happens by choice," he said in a statement.

It's queer how the Guv is getting his signals mixed on gay rights issues. Among the Prez candidates, he has one of the most progressive records on such matters. But he is 59, not 29, and this is not an issue politicians of his generation are used to grappling with in public.


We also blogged Thursday about the ethics task force proposal requiring lobbyists to wear badges while working at the Roundhouse. We labeled it "silly." Some readers saw it differently, including Matt Brix of Common Cause.

"The Secretary of State's website already has a listing of all registered lobbyists and their respective clients. And, up until this year, the SOS printed laminated identification cards for lobbyists to carry with them during the session. All the ethics task force is saying is let's take the current system and bring it more into the open."

Maybe so, but we still find it silly and even a bit creepy that you would be required by the government to wear an identity badge in the capitol, even though Brix says some other states already require lobbyists to sport badges.

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