Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breaking News: No Budget Deal; Special Session Next Wednesday, Plus: Domenici Admits Cocaine Use, And: Marty's New Gig, Also: The Smoking Life 

  • NM House Speaker Lujan says no budget deal overnight. Special Session coming. Big Bill has called special for next Wednesday. House and Senate spent final hours on bills other than budget
  • AP wrap on collapse of budget talks in Santa Fe
Praying at Roundhouse (Journal)
A deal to get a state budget and address a $600 million shortfall for the budget year that starts July 1st collapsed in Santa Fe in the early morning hours. A special session will be needed to get the required budget that could not be had during the 30 day session. The problem has all along been differences between the House and Senate over specific tax increases. That hill could not be climbed in the final hours.

Governor Richardson has set next Wednesday as the start date for the special session.

GOP Guv candidate Pete Domenici, 50, revealed on KKOB-AM radio Wednesday that in the past he has used marijuana and cocaine. He made this statement in response to a caller question:

I grew up in the 70's and early 80s and unfortunately did recreational drugs...To be candid, I've done marijuana and cocaine in the 70's, early 80's...

Domenici's admission gets some potential baggage out early, but it could still hurt him with older R's. He did not go into detail about how often he used drugs.

Of course, Pete Jr. is not the first GOP candidate running for Governor to admit to cocaine use. Back in 1994 Gary Johnson revealed he used cocaine extensively. He went on to become a crusader for drug legalization, a role he continues to this day as he eyes a possible run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Now that Domenici has been asked about illegal drug use, the rest of the R field will probably be questioned about drug use, as well as certain Dem nominee Diane Denish.

Di's campaign says she has never used cocaine. However, we may have had a belt of Chivas with her back in the 80's, but we wouldn't swear to it.


Susana Martinez
And Domenici also fired his first public shots in that race for the GOP Guv nomination. He scored Dona Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez for drawing a full-time salary as DA, even as she campaigns full-time for the GOP nod:

We all remember that Governor Richardson ran for president on the New Mexico taxpayers’ dollars. Ms. Martinez’s stated in the KKOB-AM interview that she is similarly accepting her full-time pay as DA while also ‘running full-time for governor 5 to 6 days per week. Ms. Martinez should take a leave of absence without taxpayers’ compensation, repay Dona Ana taxpayers for the compensation she has received while maintaining a full-time campaign for governor...

The Domenici hit comes on the heels of what insiders say were strong Martinez showings at the recent GOP conventions in Dona Ana and San Juan counties and just before big Bernalillo County holds its Saturday convention.

Martinez returned fire:

It's unfortunate that Pete Domenici has chosen to launch a negative, personal and baseless attack...Susana’s record as a prosecutor... is very well-established and not something a drive-by smear can change. Domenici's ill-advised actions only benefit Diane Denish, as Democrats will now aim his misguided attack at previous and current Republican candidates who have also held elective office. Susana Martinez will continue to run an issue-oriented campaign...

We get that, Susana, but don't worry too much about that "issue-oriented" stuff. We've got a blog to run here

Those GOP county conventions pick delegates that will ultimately attend the mid-March preprimary convention where a Guv candidate must earn 20 percent of the delegate votes to get an official spot on the ballot.

The Domenici camp says it is confident it will be one of the candidates in the five way race to achieve the needed 20 percent, but the son of retired US Senator Pete Domenici did get a late start, not joining the race until January 17th.


He's grown his hair a bit and he's talking louder (too loud at times?). That's the take from this video of Domenici speaking before Saturday's Dona Ana County GOP convention.


On the Dem campaign trail, Light Guv candidate Lawrence Rael rings in with the news that he has scored most of the delegates at stake at the Sandoval County Dem convention. Those delegates go to the state convention to vote on placing the lieutenant governor candidates on the June 1 primary ballot.

Rael says he wants to point out his strong showing because we and other observers made a big deal out of Light Guv hopeful Joe Campos scoring a strong second place showing at a recent Sandoval County Dem Party straw poll.

Brian Colon is still considered the front runner to get the most delegates at the March preprimary in the political circles that monitor such things. Rael and Campos are seen as the other two most likely to get at least 20 percent of the delegates and garner an official spot on the June ballot. Also running are State Senators Linda Lopez and Jerry Ortiz y Pino.


ABQ Mayor Berry says he plans on saving the city $122,000 in lobbying costs next year, but that didn't stop the mayor from signing former GOP State Rep. Joe Thompson to a $25,000 contract to represent the city in Santa Fe.

Thompson is a longtime political ally of city Public Safety Director Darren White. His year-long contract was inked shortly after Berry became mayor in December.

The city says it will save the $122,000 by dropping one of its Washington lobbyists. And longtime lobbyist Tom Horan has agreed to work for the city for a $1 a year. He was a veteran paid lobbyist for the city and before that old-timers will recall his dad, Frank Horan, had the city lobbying contract.

Thompson is a former state House GOP leader who fell from grace when he was busted for DWI and decided not to seek re-election to his ABQ seat. He then went into lobbying. He has accumulated a long list of clients and despite being an R, he has cultivated close ties with Big Bill.


Congratulations are due to former Mayor Marty Chavez who has scored what we presume is a pretty high-paying gig in Washington, DC as the executive director of the ICLEI--Local Governments for Sustainability. The group describes itself as:

The nation’s largest and most successful membership organization for local governments committed to climate protection, sustainability, and clean energy.

And the group says of its hiring of former three term Mayor Chavez:

Mayor Chavez has very a strong record in the environmental, social justice, and economic development arenas alike. His drive and experience are perfectly suited to building ICLEI’s growing membership, serving our 600+ local government members, and working with our partners in federal and state government.

Chavez, 57, is an attorney who graduated from Georgetown law school. His political career included a run for Governor in 1998. Friends say he will divide his time between DC and ABQ.


"You Can Tax my Tortilla When You Pry It From My Chile Covered Fingers!"


Reader Jake Arnold in Rio Arriba County comments on our post in which we half-joked that raising the tax on Marlboros another dollar a pack could prompt a black market for smokes on the Santa Fe Plaza:

Joe, "Marlboro's" is singular possessive. I'm sure you meant plural, non-possessive. Drop the apostrophe..

P.S.--When I was a university student in Italy (Firenze) in the 60s/70s, one of the ways I made a living was selling black market American cigarettes in an alley just off the Piazza Signoria, behind the Uffizi. Best customers were Carabinieri (cops). Bought the cigs from USA soldiers stationed at Camp Darby near Pisa--they got them at cut-rate PX prices. Marlboros were by far the brand most-requested by my customers. Even the Italians were enamored by the mystique of the Marlboro Man

Thanks for the memory, Jake. Our smoking career ended long ago so we no longer light up with our espresso. Not that the memory of pounding out radio news copy at 5 in the morning with a brain excited by nicotine is a bad one.

Or the memory of gazing at the smoke as it slowly curls toward the ceiling while you wait for the jumble of words forming in your head to fall gently onto the keys of your typewriter...

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