Friday, February 20, 2009

Clippings From My Newsroom Floor: The Santa Fe Scene, Taos Talk & Other Cool Odds And Ends From Across La Politica 

Time for some clippings from my newsroom floor to wrap this week up. We kick things off with a timely picks from the reader e-mail bag. One of the top players in the Legislature says this sixty day session is much, much different than those of the past:

It's a strange session here; a defrocked Governor, no money--which is part of the defrocking--and less energy on most fronts than I have seen in a long time.

It's what happens when the money stops flowing and it's being felt on the street as described by this reader:

My wife and I grabbed lunch at the Gardunos on Montgomery, got there about 12:15 and there was one other couple in the whole dinning room and one in the bar. We usually catch a work day lunch there a couple times a year and I have never seen anything like that. In fact, it's almost always at least three-quarters full, if not a wait to get in. So much for the economy here "not being as bad as it is elsewhere."


The Hollywood types still have money to party. An insider reports actor Val Kilmer, a possible 2010 Dem Guv candidate, threw a bash in Santa Fe last week that drew music legend Sting.

From Washington, word comes that Kilmer is smart. At least that was the take of one of our Alligators who was filled in on meetings Val had with key NM congressional staffers. The sessions were not cursory, meaning they were not just 10 minutes over a cup of coffee.

"He is smart and he asks questions. I would call him aggressive. He is saying he knows what he is getting into when it comes to politics, that he has dealt with the tabloid press in Hollywood and feels he can handle the pressure," reports our Gator.

Kilmer watchers say they expect firm movement toward a candidacy in six to eight weeks. He apparently has hired the D.C. PR firm of McMahon, Squirer to help when he is ready to jump. My experts say Kilmer may have to spend at least $4 to $5 million on a primary race to seriously challenge Dem frontrunner Diane Denish. Meantime, Washington frets about the consequences of Kilmer leading the 2010 ticket as three freshman congressman seek re-election. Two concerns are that the actor is unpredictable and not vetted.


A friend writes:

Buenos Dias, Joe. Taos Democratic Party Chair Chuby Tafoya ran a successful campaign for Taos School Board. There is some quiet talk about running someone against him but I doubt if anyone is really skillful enough to be much of a threat. It appears that the progressive label in the north is more of a cultural divide than a philosophical divide. For example, when everyone was saying Hispanos wouldn't vote for Obama, my small village, Llano San Juan, where Spanish is spoken more than English, 97 percent voted for Obama.

Did you know that Taos Mayor Bobby Duran resigned at the end of the year and the famous singer Darren Cordova became mayor? Bobby is a longtime northern NM political warhorse. Darren is the new face of northern politics. He has a group called Darren Cordova y Calor. They are pretty big in the New Mexico music circuit. He owns a broadcasting company that operates two radio stations...


We kicked off the week remarking on how the father-son team of NM House Speaker Ben Lujan and northern Dem Congressman Ben Ray Lujan is one of the more notable such teams in state history. We also mentioned other famous father-son political combos. Not surprisingly, that sent the guardians of La Politica into overdrive to see if they could top the Lujan team. To the e-mail box:

Dear Mr. Monahan, U.S. Senator Thomas B. Catron, and his son, state Representative C.C. Catron, ran the state in 1912-1913. A review of their correspondence in the UNM-Zimmerman library will reveal their power in passing bills. Through legislation, the two attempted to overturn the Indian Country provisions in the 1910 Enabling Act.

Frank Demolli
General Counsel, Judge, Pueblo of Pojoaque

Thanks, Frank. (You can call me Joe) This was interesting news. To refresh our memory, we'll pull from the bookshelf our copy of "Thomas Benton Catron and His Era" written by Victor Westphal. Now back to the e-mail:

Hi Joe, On February 16 you wrote about fathers and sons in public office. How about grandfather, son and grandson? John Block, Jr. spent ten years on the State Corporation Commission, his son Jerome spent twelve years on the State Corporation Commission and six years on the Public Regulation Commission and the grandson, Jerome, was recently elected to the Public Regulation for his first term. This looks dynastic to me.

Jacob "Jackie" Block

Well, Jacob, that surely is a lot of chips off the old Block.

We were writing about father-and son teams holding power concurrently, but reader Mark Bralley put his own spin on things:

I would add to your list of father-son political teams; early 1970s Speaker of the House Walter K. Martinez and his son, now House Majority Leader Ken Martinez. Also, let's not be sexist and forget a father-daughter political team. That would be the late Jack Daniels, state representative, 1970 candidate for Governor and 1972 US Senate opponent against Pete Domenici. His daughter is current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.

Indeed, Mark. And Diane's daughter, Sara Schreiber, is now press secretary to southern NM Congressman Harry Teague. If Di got elected governor and Sara got politically ambitious, they could rival the Luan father-son team.

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