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Friday, July 30, 2010

Speaker Pelosi Slated For Santa Fe Fund-Raiser; How's She Doing For NM? Plus: They Still Speculate On Big Bill Leaving Early 

Our insiders report US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will slip into Santa Fe Tuesday to attend a fund-raiser at the home of Stephen and Karen Durkovich, longtime and major donors to the Democratic Party and its candidates. He is a trial lawyer.

Pelosi, excoriated by the R's as a San Francisco liberal, will be in friendly territory in heavily Democratic Santa Fe. We recall her last visit to the state was in 2008 for the successful campaign of now US Rep. Martin Heinrich.

She took over the Speaker's position in 2007. While there has been beefing from the R's here over national policies she and Obama have pursued, we have not heard major complaints about how she has dealt with federal funding issues of import to our state.

The White House has proposed a major increase in certain defense funds which is going to translate into increased budgets for the national laboratories. And only this week the Air Force announced that Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo will become home to two new squadrons of F-16 fighter jets, ensuring that employment levels there remain strong. (The newspaper reported that New Mexico congressmen insist the move is good for the state, but a former Kirtland Air Force Base commander wasn't so sure. He expressed concern over the base's loss of a newer jet for an older one.)

New Mexico's three Dem congressmen, all serving their first term, seemed to have fared well under Pelosi. Rep. Heinrich is on the House Armed Services Committee; Rep. Lujan is not complaining about his treatment and Rep. Teague has been given a pass to vote "no" on some of the more liberal items coming before the House.

Pelosi may indeed be too liberal on major issues of the day for many New Mexicans, but it is the federal funding (and not just defense) that impacts our small state of barely 2 million that matters most. In that regard, Speaker Pelosi has shown herself to be a friend, not a foe.

THE BIG BILL BEAT

It's almost August--only five months to go on the Guv's term in office--and there's still speculation that Big Bill could get out of here for a bigger and better job, making Lt. Governor Diane Denish Governor.

Well, the conjecture has faded to a barely heard murmur, but it got above the whisper level again this week when former Senator Bob Kerrey withdrew his name for consideration as the new top lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America. Richardson's name had surfaced in February as a possible MPAA pick, but Kerrey's emergence quieted the talk. Now that Kerrey is gone, the name floaters are free to again mention Big Bill. Here's the news:

The Motion Picture Association of America needs to keep looking for a new chief. After flirting with becoming Hollywood’s main lobbyist for months, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey has turned down the MPAA job, the organization announced on Thursday.

"The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today announced that the MPAA Board and former Senator Bob Kerrey have agreed to end negotiations regarding the position of Chief Executive Officer of the MPAA. The search process for a new CEO will continue," the group said in a statement.

In an email to The Wrap, the former senator said that he broke things off.


"We couldn't reach agreement and I called to suggest we break off talks. They agreed," Kerrey wrote. "The decision was mutual. I like them a lot and wish them well."

But individuals close to the negotiations on the studios' side said that Kerrey had made mounting demands that resulted in some losing enthusiasm for giving him the job.

If Bill did leave at this late date and Di became Guv, how many points in the polls would it be worth to her in her race against Republican Susana Martinez? Or would it hurt? Such are the stray thoughts of the political class as they man their pool side chairs, awaiting the arrival of the fall campaign action.

FREE FALLING

A disgruntled Democratic member of the NM Legislature writes:

Joe, I have a hard time being sympathetic to my Democratic friends who now are trying to distance themselves from toxic Richardson. These same operatives elbowed each other out of the way to pucker up to Bill's oversized arse. They got jobs, contracts, contributions, endorsements, capital outlay and other rewards of questionable nature. Now that Bill is free falling, they want to pretend they don't know the guy. Sorry boys and girls, many of you built your career and businesses around being on Bill's gravy train. The party is over. Time to pay the tab. Politically, financially, and ethically.

Dems controlled the 4th floor and both Houses of the Legislature and couldn't pass anything meaningful on ethics reform. No ethics commission with teeth, no real campaign finance reform, no public financing. Their lobbyist friends made sure business as usual continued in Santa Fe. Well, now the Republicans and the voters will want to know why we did nothing to change the status quo in Santa Fe...

SANTA FE HOUSING CRASH

And this is not going to end anytime soon:

Home foreclosure activity has skyrocketed in Santa Fe County in the first half of 2010, according to an analysis by RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.

...Santa Fe County's foreclosure auctions increased from 23 in January to June of 2009 to 77 in the first six months of this year.

And total foreclosure activity, which includes pre-auction short sales and default notices, increased more than 200 percent to 638 actions in the first half of 2010...

ALAN LEONETTI

Well-known ABQ Republican activist Alan Leonetti is dead. From the Bernalillo County GOP:

Former Ward Chairman of District 20 Alan Leonetti passed away on Saturday. He was 68 years old. Alan was a passionate conservative and a member of our Republican Party of Bernalillo County Central Committee for many years.

Thanks for joining us this week. Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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