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Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Clippings From My Newsroom Floor: Latest On Val's Run; The Press And The Blog, And: Big Bill: Making The Press Drink Their Ink? 


While insiders report actor Val Kilmer, or someone, appears to have commissioned a poll to explore further his possible 2010 NM Dem Guv run, the ABQ Journal's Michael Coleman says Kilmer speculation is in the overseas press this week.

ON THE WEB

ABQ Dem US Rep. Martin Heinrich is gearing up for re-election. Yes, it is the eternal campaign these days. He's unveiled a bare-bones Web site to get things moving. One of the interesting things about it is how it lists his upcoming fundraisers--usually a verboten subject. The invites listed, however, do not give the amounts being solicited. Some things remain verboten.

NOT A DONE DEAL

The conservative Rio Grande Foundation is hitting hard on a state investment deal, one we were alerted to via Twitter and radio news reporter Peter St. Cyr:

Andrew Ungerleider had a grand vision: eliminate the need to ever again mine pumice by recycling glass into an abrasive compound for cleaning and sanding. But a $9 million investment by New Mexico taxpayers in Ungerleider’s grand vision has so far seen an export of jobs to Mexico and Arkansas, and has produced no returns for taxpayers.

With state unemployment soaring, patience has worn thin with government schemes to create jobs with taxpayer money that don't pan out--or don't live up to their initial hype.

INFLATION CLAUSE

We've been going back and forth on whether the state's new campaign contribution limits are indexed for inflation. Apparently they are.

Attached is a copy of the House Judiciary Committee report on the campaign finance bill According to this, contributions are indexed to inflation, but the Secretary of State is supposed to put out what the new limits are on October 1st of an election year and the new limits go into effect the day after the General Election in that year. The final bill is not available online yet, so hard to be positive that the report is correct and indexing got into the final bill, but it looks like it may have...

Well, close to a definitive answer. The new limits that take effect after the 2010 election are $2300 for legislative candidates and $5000 for statewide candidates.

It's been an odd week around here. A lot of information floating around that turned to jello. Kind of like right after Election Night when the numbers and the nerves jump around for a couple of days. It is not surprising, then, that the newspaper, sensing an opportunity to take us down a peg, tries to turn the tables on us....

DEAD TREE DOINGS
Leslie Vs. Joe
Linda Contarino, wife of former Big Bill Chief of Staff Dave Contarino, is upset that a recent party she threw in support of her beleaguered husband was described in the blog as a "screw the media" party. Linda told the ABQ Journal's Leslie Linthicum that the party had no theme at all and said she was offended anyone would say the party was about the media.

We can understand why Linda doesn't want to see the press offended (maybe hubby still has political aspirations) but no one here said there was an official theme for the party. However, some of those attending did refer to the event--more lightheartedly than with malice--as a "screw the media" bash. And why wouldn't they? Contarino has had his name splashed across the front pages, accused of being the architect of alleged pay to pay schemes being investigated by a federal grand jury. Some of his friends think he has received a raw deal in the media and the legal system. And that wasn't making the rounds at a party of 200 friends designed to show him support? Well, if you hang around the Santa Fe real estate market long enough one supposes all kinds of crazy things become believable.

Linda can't control what her party guests say and Leslie can't control the "secret-source-style-rumoring" she refers to (she forgot our Web address) that brings to light what the key players are really saying and thinking about state politics. They just aren't telling Leslie.

BIG BILL'S BAITING


It's not only blogs getting under the skins of the dead-tree scribes these days. Leave it to Big Bill to find a way to drive them to drink their ink. He is now toying with the idea of vetoing the bill that would open up "conference committees" between the state House and Senate. These are the meetings where compromises over legislation passed by both chambers are hammered out. Getting them open has been a cause célèbre for segments of the state's press for years and years.

Now that the bill is on his desk, the Guv is having some fun. Legislative leaders who hate the idea of open conferences are probably telling him to veto it, and he's probably weighing what goodies he can get from them in exchange for killing the bill. A veto would bring a rash of editorials condemning the Guv who previously indicated he would sign the measure. But he isn't running for office again and the vast majority of voters have no idea or interest in this insider baseball.

We can't make up our mind whether we would like to see the Guv sign it or not. It wouldn't hurt to have the meetings opened up, but then we would miss the spectacle of a pack of newspaper editorialists screaming like cats who have had their tails stepped on. For now, Richardson can sit back and mull his decision over and smile--like a Cheshire cat.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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