Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Final Stretch In Santa Fe; Alligators Report In, Plus: The Latest City Election Action, And: Readers Blog In On Contarino And Toney Anaya 

A Gator Reports In
The action heats up in Santa Fe as the March 21 adjournment date looms. We check in with Alligators. wall-leaners and hangers-on roaming the storied corridors of the Roundhouse. First, a Junior Alligator:

When it comes to ethics reform here’s one Junior Alligator who sides firmly with the old-time cynics. It will be miraculous if we get any of the big-ticket reform measures passed...The campaign contribution limits bill they finally let out of Senate Rules still has some chance, mainly because it will apply to an election cycle that won’t see many huge contributions (2012), and then the law would sunset in 2013. Didn’t you recently compare ethics reform in New Mexico to a corpse riddled with bullets? Yep, that’s about right.

The rank and file legislators from both parties seem to genuinely want to get something done But the leadership, especially on the Senate side, has been so openly hostile to ethics reform we’ll probably get close to nothing. I haven’t completely given up hope, but it looks bad.

Looks like we might be 24/7 till the closing bell. The more experienced folks up here tell me to get as much sleep as possible, try to do some jumping jacks every morning, and avoid all liquor. Two out of three isn’t too bad, is it?

Well said, Junior Gator. However, we're not sure you meet all the criteria for this designation. For one, a Junior Gator is under 30 years of age. You may actually qualify for regular Alligator status. Please apply for credentials.


Now to a compilation of recent events from Senior Alligators and others on the scene:

The Senate "progressives" lost twice in less than 14 hours in Santa Fe. They lost on SB548 which rolls back the California car emissions standards that NM put into affect here by Executive Order. The bill puts those standards on hold to 2013. Despite a last minute lobbying push by progressive lobbyists, the Senate beat the "progressives" 26-14. It was a kick to them, the Guv. and the NM Environment Department.

The second loss occurred the night before. The young "progressives" were supposed to have the horse power to beat the House in the House/Senate basketball game. The Senate has lost the last six or seven years. The "progressives" couldn't get it done and lost the basketball game.

Well, this has been the year of regression for the progressives. Everyone is piling on over their loss of the key Senate leadership battle, the domestic partner bill and--so far--ethics reform. But then they did do their share of gloating coming into the session. Let's see if they can re-group for a win in the final stretch.


Here in River City the positioning for the October city election continues. Here's an interesting one. Jeremy Toulouse, a director with the state's Child Enforcement Division in Bernalillo County, says he is running for the West Side ABQ City Council seat being vacated by Michael Cadigan who is running for mayor. But there is a catch. Will Democrat Cadigan stay in the mayor's race if he fails to collect the some 3,300 five dollar individual contributions necessary to qualify for public financing? He has until the end of the month. So far, he says he has collected about 1,500 contributions. If he doesn't make it, does he get out and run for a third term on the council? ABQ native, Taylor Ranch resident and self-described fiscally conservative Democrat Toulouse must be rooting for Cadigan for mayor--at least for now.


ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez, sensing political peril, responded swiftly to a KRQE-TV report pointing out the double dipping going on with city employees. That's when they retire from their positions, start picking up state retirement checks and then are rehired by the city to their original positions. They then draw a retirement as well as a city paycheck. Nice work if you can get it. Some of them are pulling down nearly $200,000 a year because of this loophole that the Legislature is considering blocking (for state employees) after approving it some years ago.

Chavez says employees in his office will not be allowed to stay on if he is re-elected in October unless they agree to the one check rule. The mayor adds that all city employees will be told one paycheck only, but KKOB-AM radio reports he is exempting from the ban a reported 275 "public safety" employees who are not cops on the street. That's drawn attention of critics. They say double dipping may be needed to keep enough cops on patrol, but not for police (and fire) employees not on the front lines and who are not in short supply. Why are they also exempted from double-dipping? Wonder what the mayor thinks? His mayoral foes were not yet reacting.


Green developer Rob Dickson is running for mayor and has his Web site up and running. Dickson is not going for public financing, but will still need over 6,500 signatures to make the October ballot. ABQ GOP State Rep. Richard Berry, also running for mayor, is also now up and running with a Web site.


He is standing behind his controversial renomination of Jamie Koch for another six year term on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, but Big Bill is mindful that much of the blame for the politicization of the school is being laid at his doorstep. From his office:

Governor Richardson will meet with a representative group of University of New Mexico faculty leaders Tuesday (today). While the Governor strongly supports UNM’s administration and the Board of Regents, he wants to hear directly from faculty members their concerns about the university and the recent votes of confidence regarding UNM’s administration.

The Guv will talk to the media after the faculty meeting. We'll check back on that tomorrow. A spokesman for the Senate Rules Committee says the panel and its chairwoman, Senator Linda Lopez, have not yet set a date for Koch's confirmation hearing. She says we will get one, but folks are getting nervous as time runs out. How about a date, Linda? And not for lunch.

Gov. Anaya
When we blogged Monday that the administration of Governor Toney Anaya finished its term without anyone being indicted, we were aware that the state Treasurer during Anaya's term had been indicted on a misdemeanor charge. That was Earl Hartley who passed away this month. But the Treasurer is independently elected and not part of the administration. However, veteran NM attorney Mark Jarmie says there was one official who was part of Toney's administration of 1983-1986 who was indicted and convicted of a crime.

NM State Investment Officer Phillip E. Troutman was indicted and convicted for conspiracy to commit extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act. United States v. Troutman, 814 F.2d 1428 (10th Cir, 1987)...Mike Anaya (Toney's brother) was indicted on charges of perjury, but those charges were later dismissed..Mike Anaya was a former member of the Board of Finance, and was an advisor to that Board when the charges against Mr. Troutman..were levied.

Thanks for that clarification, Mark. I am sure Toney will be glad to be reminded. The investment officer is appointed by the Governor.


And about our Monday blog about that Santa Fe party--dubbed by some the "Screw the Media Party"-- and held for former Big Bill chief of staff Dave Contarino last week. An insider blogs in about the initial reference we made to Dave "apparently" being spotted at the Rio Chama restaurant and bar with a group of friends who had first attended the party at his Santa Fe title company:

He was not at the Rio Chama...He was cleaning up after the party. It might not sound like a big deal, but folks are a little sensitive right now about the perception that we all go to the Rio Chama every night. Most of us don’t. Yet the Journal would make you think that’s all that goes on in Santa Fe as a result of the Carlos Fierro accident.

It's true that not everyone at the Capitol goes to the Rio Chama every night. Sometimes they go to the Bull Ring.

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