Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Racist Email Jars Martinez; How's Her Judgment? Plus: More On Her Cartel TV Ad, And: State PIO Is MIA
A racist and hateful email "joke" that celebrates the killing of a Mexican and an Arab as a solution to the nation's illegal immigration problem has become the unlikely first test of judgment for GOP Guv nominee and Dona Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez. She also happens to be the nation's first Hispanic female Guv candidate. Is she passing that test by handing out a "reprimand" to the assistant district attorney who forwarded the nasty email around, or should the offender be given more stern punishment--like being fired? (AP coverage here.)
The punch lines of the forwarded email are:
The New Mexico girl, cool as a cucumber, picks up her beer, downs it in one gulp, throws the glass into the air, whips our her .45 and shoots the Mexican and the Arab.
Catching her glass, setting it on the bar and calling for a refill, she says, "In New Mexico, we have so many illegals aliens that we don't have to drink with the same ones twice."
At the bottom of the email is the message: "God Bless New Mexico and that Particular New Mexican Girl"
The entire email can be seen here.
It was circulated about a week after the primary election in which Martinez made her tough stance on illegal immigration instrumental in defeating Allen Weh who she accused of being soft on immigration.
State Dems wasted no time seizing on Martinez's reprimand, with party Chairman Javier Gonzales calling for the unknown assistant district attorney to be fired:
The people of New Mexico must trust their law enforcement officials, not fear them. The racial slurs in this joke about our Hispanic and Middle Eastern communities are absolutely unacceptable and not conducive to making people feel safe. Hate breeds hate, and I urge Ms. Martinez to take immediate action and terminate all state employees in her office who sent this violent and hateful email.
The immigration issue has always been seen as a double-edged sword for Martinez--helpful in the primary in a Republican party that is now nearly ultra-conservative, but potentially harmful in the general election where more moderate voters dominate and where the issue has not been used in past elections in a big way.
But Gonzales and other Democrats are saying that Martinez's harsh tone has paved the way for the kind of hateful email that is now blowing up on her. They will also try to advance the issue with the national press which has taken an interest in her candidacy.
Martinez let a spokesman for her DA's office carry the water on this and was not quoted in the first round of news reports, but if the issue gets legs she will have to take it on directly. She could explain that a reprimand is sufficient because the email did not apparently originate in her office, but was simply forwarded.
Another question is what constitutes a reprimand in this case? Is it more than a slap on the wrist? And what would be Martinez's actions on such an email if she were Governor? If it is a reprimand, is that enough to inhibit such reprehensible communication?
Whether the first explanations coming out will be good enough or whether this bump in the road becomes a blockade into the Hispanic community remains to be seen.
ANOTHER EMAIL MATTER
The R's went ballistic when it was recently discovered that the AFSCME union had emailed to state computers a charge that said Martinez would lay off 5,000 state workers. The ABQ Journal even editorialized about what they saw as a serious breach of regulations. Insider Dems are now asking whether the paper will be as put out by the racist email being forwarded around Martinez's state office. Stay tuned.
MORE CAMPAIGN NEWS
And we have more for you today on another controversy that has kept the Martinez campaign hopping--the claim made in her TV ads that, as district attorney, she has “taken on members of the most violent Mexican drug cartels.”
The Santa Fe New Mexican shot down that assertion, reporting that most high level drug cases are prosecuted in federal court, so Martinez could not have been prosecuting such cases in state court in Dona Ana. Her campaign shot back that she could not disclose her work on such cases because it could endanger informants and their families. They also trotted out one Ernesto Ortiz, director of the NM High Intensity Drug Traffic area, supporting Martinez's claim. But there are serious questions about Ortiz's credibility, as disclosed by one of our Alligators who did the research:
Why is Mr. Ernesto Ortiz, director of the New Mexico High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (HIDTA), saying that Ms. Martinez’s office plays an integral role in fighting the drug cartel? Interestingly, Ms. Martinez is on the HIDTA board. Here is the latest on corruption and the New Mexico HIDT --scary. Why isn't Ms. Martinez exposing this matter? She is on the Executive Board. She should be aware of these matters...
The article linked to is by journalist Bill Conroy. It says:
A law enforcement task force in New Mexico that is supposed to target drug-trafficking criminals is instead awash in charges that it is using its nearly $600,000 taxpayer-subsidized budget to fund its own corrupt practices.
The task force was previously the target of an investigation by the internal affairs unit of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that revealed a disturbing trail of bookkeeping irregularities and multiple mysterious bank accounts. In the wake of that investigation, nothing of consequence happened to the task force or its operations, and it continues to operate under the same leadership to this day.
Our Alligator continues:
Also, in 2007, the problems with the HIDTA program in New Mexico were shown by the following press statement issued by the office of U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.:
The White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy has suspended funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program in New Mexico for repeatedly failing to comply with multiple federal guidelines over the past three years. These reportedly non-criminal infractions are related to not using HIDTA funding for core HIDTA purposes.
See the following report on it here.
The New Mexico HIDTA should be concerned about its own operations rather than exaggerating Ms. Martinez 's role in the fight against cartels. Am I missing something?
It's interesting to note that Ortiz--who has close ties to Martinez--is so far alone in backing up Martinez's claim that she's taken on high level cartel members.
That's because the New Mexican has it right. The TV ad clearly implies that the Dona Ana County DA is a major player in the war on the drug cartels, but she won't produce a case file, or any narratives to prove the contention that would not jeopardize the alleged high level cases. Add to that the questionable credibility of HIDTA and you have yet another TV ad that is discredited.
That's the question KRQE-TV investigative reporter Larry Barker is asking in promos running on the station this week for the Thursday 10 p.m newscast. He'll answer the question then, but our insiders report the Nicole in question is Nicole Gillespie, the public information officer for the Department if Finance and Administration. Barker says she pulls down $60,000 a year but he can't find her. One of Our Alligators says that's because Nicole apparently spends her time in Chicago and which the TV report is expected to expand on.
This is the home of New Mexico politics.
Email your news and comments.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2010
Not for reproduction without permission of the author