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Friday, January 16, 2009

Blogging You Into The Weekend: Some Spoofing, News From D.C. And Thoughts On The Santa Fe Housing Bubble 

A creative blog reader came up with this spoof of the NM Department of Workforce Solutions which has been under fire for long delays in processing the claims of the many unemployed. The Guv and House Speaker Lujan have pledged to get the department more staff and the agency is going to stay open seven days a week to handle the needs of the jobless. We hope that gets them back on track. We'd like to see the cartoonists drop "Workforce Delusions" and get back to Workforce Solutions.

ON A ROLL

Martin Heinrich has been on a roll this week. First, the new Dem ABQ congressman is elected president of the Dem freshman House class and now he gets subcommittee appointments important to Sandia Labs and Kirtland AFB. From D.C.:

Heinrich has been named to the Strategic Forces Subcommittee and the Readiness Subcommittee. “The Strategic Forces and Readiness Subcommittees are incredibly relevant (to ABQ).I look forward to working with the leadership at KAFB and Sandia National Laboratory to ensure the continued success and strength of both institutions.”

These are subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee which Heinrich was named to earlier.

Heinrich's many fans on the left have never been overjoyed about the district's military presence and the nuclear weapons development here. But KAFB and Sandia, like it or not, are the cornerstone of the ABQ area economy. With the private sector flat on it's back, these government installations are now even more critical to the local work force and economy. The Heinrich who was politically nurtured in the liberal wards around the University of New Mexico is still there, but these assignments push him in the traditional direction of representation for his district--the middle of the road.

Democrats want to keep the ABQ seat which went Dem for the first time ever in 2008. These subcommittee assignments are politically potent, especially if the new congressman is aggressive. Is Speaker Pelosi's guiding hand on Martin's shoulder?

THE HOUSING BUBBLE

The Santa Fe area housing bubble continues to deflate with agonizing slowness, but it could take years, not months, to wring out the excess. Prices are still way too high. The "in" crowd has long moved on and old Hollywood types are also throwing in the towel. That leaves the oil and gas crowd to keep the expensive home prices propped up, but we all know what's happening with their industry right now. And the stock market crash has also depleted the cash reserves of even the rich.

And then there's the aesthetic of Santa Fe. It has gone from quaint to faded and, at times, even dangerous as they wrestle with drugs and crime. On top of that is a significant city budget shortfall as what is left of the La Dolce Vita crowd bids farewell to the faded glory of the Coyote Cafe and begins its trek to the next hip spot, or simply back to their Manhattan penthouses where they can embrace the new frugality with gourmet macaroni and cheese recipes. The City Different housing bust is the final leg of an era that peaked in the 90's and was often fun---while it lasted.

THE READERS BLOG

We're getting a lot of thoughtful comment on the federal investigation into the pay to play investigation being conducted by a federal grand jury and that continues to suck a lot of oxygen out of the air--but not as much as the legislative session approaches. Here's some analysis from a reader in Santa Fe:

It’s not easy to admit to taking pleasure in others’ misfortune: Bill’s breed of politician inspires no sympathy, but his self-deprecating affability makes it hard not to like him personally. But the entertainment value of the unfolding drama is undeniable! The level of ambition and hubris at play here is the stuff of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy… and comedy. I love the irony that Bill must face many of the problems that he helped create, instead of being able to waltz off to the new administration, even as I’m sorry that Di doesn’t get a well-deserved chance as Guv, and the advantage of incumbency. Might she yet get her chance before Bill’s term is up?...

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