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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disrupting Susana's Honeymoon; One Newspaper Tries, Plus: Tons of Taco Talk, Also: More Big Bill Legacy & Allen Weh Blogs In 

What's the first editorial page in the state to put the Susana Martinez honeymoon on ice? Not surprisingly, it's the feisty Rio Grande Sun out of Rio Arriba County which takes on Susana's decision not to limit the size of contributions to her inaugural committee:

She tries your heart-strings by stating in the invitation, “A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the New Mexico S.A.F.E. houses throughout New Mexico.”

She does not define “portion.”

This doesn’t sound like a fiscally responsible governor, nor someone trying to help the working class. The invitation reads as an elitist gathering of the haves, without the have-nots. We’ll have to hope this isn’t an indication of her administration and that she makes public all the Bold money she raises.


WATCHING THE GUVS TO BE

It's not only Susana being watched when it comes to inaugural contributions. USA Today hits with news on concern over possible pay-to-play politics:

At least a third of the nation's newly elected governors are collecting large contributions from wealthy individuals and companies to help pay for their inaugural celebrations, records and interviews show. Some donors--such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, which donated $25,000 to Florida's Republican Gov.-elect Rick Scott--have substantial business interests within those states.

We blogged recently that Martinez inagural packages are being shopped with a top price tag of $25,0oo. The transition says she will release a contribution report of names and donors. The AP came with the report that Martinez would not voluntarily apply the state's new $5,000 campaign contribution to her inaugural. There were questions raised whether those new limits apply to the inauguration but so far no legal challenges have surfaced.

THE FUN SIDE


Meanwhile, Susana appears prepped to have some fun on her big day.

(AP) - Hey kids! Want to line dance with the next governor?

Gov.-elect Susana Martinez's inaugural committee provided details Monday about the Jan. 1 public inauguration ceremony and children's ball.

Martinez's office says New Mexico children can dance the Electric Slide, Cha-cha Slide and the Two Step with the new governor. Each child also gets an illustrated children's story about Martinez's life, but details about the book will be released later.

The "Two Step?" Well, by the time Susana gets done dancing with the Legislature, she'll know the Two Step better than a Lincoln County cowboy out on the town on a Saturday night.

TACO TIME

ABQ Dem US Congressman Martin Heinrich and the US Air Force came with an early Christmas present for his district, although it wasn't a surprise: The flying "Tacos" at Kirtland Air Force Base won't be entirely crunched:

The Tacos have a new mission.

Air Force officials on Monday incorporated the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing, known as the Tacos, into the command of the 58th Special Operations Wing, an active duty unit at Kirtland Air Force Base that performs combat search and rescue missions.

Heinrich, a member of the House Armed Services Committee says "most" of the 1,100 jobs associated with the Tacos will be saved. We're sure his political foes will be watching. We'd guess that the jobs are probably safe at least through the 2012 election.

It's true that the legendary Tacos lost their fighter mission, but the jobs and resulting payroll stay. In this budget cutting age that's what you call a win.

THE POLITICS

This is a nice score for Heinrich who was just elected to a second term. He said during the campaign that he had a deal to save the Tacos, but Jon Barela, his GOP rival as well as former Rep. Heather Wilson questioned that. Turns out they were wrong.

It's interesting to watch the Heinrich balancing act. He is the first Democrat and the first liberal to represent the ABQ district. Last week he voted against the Obama tax compromise, arguing against the cuts in it for the wealthy. That pleased his liberal base. This week he announced the new Taco mission, pleasing a more conservative constituency.

He has adapted with some adroitness. An example is his official reasoning on the tax cuts for the wealthy. He said such cuts would add to the national debt. He did not emphasize the historic gap between the rich and the poor in the USA--the obvious reason for voting against the extension. (Senator Bingaman did the same).

SWEET CONTRAST

There was a sweet contrast for the Heinrich camp with that of ABQ GOP City Councilor Dan Lewis who has indicated he will run for Heinrich's seat in 2012. On the day the congressman was announcing the deal to save the Tacos, Lewis's proposal to study whether to fire the federal TSA from Sunport security was being shot down on a 6 to 3 council vote.

Welcome to the brightly lit stage of La Politica, Dan. The score is 1-0. Martin leads.

CLEAN IT UP

The Air Force is also going to be contributing to the economy here in another way. The clean-up on a underground fuel spill continues and its costing millions to get the job done. The key point for us is that Kirtland has been responsive since news of the leak became a major cause of concern, particularly among surrounding neighborhoods in SE ABQ.

A LUMP OF COAL

One of our readers wrote of the suggestion heard on Monday's blog that Gov-elect Martinez form a commission to look at closing down some of the state's far-flung community colleges. They say that's a lump of coal, not the "gift" that it was labeled:

A Community College Closure Commission: Really? Are you reading labor reports about future needs? They reported that of the 30 most necessary jobs in the next 20 years, only 7 of them would require Bachelors Degrees. Most future jobs are going to be middle skill jobs which require a 2 yr. associate degrees or 1 year certificate.

So before suggesting we close community colleges, perhaps you could suggest we improve and strengthen the CC system (yes, make it a system) to meet these workforce needs. And, get CNM back to its original mission--don't let it become a 2 year college (and then try to be a 4 year institution like Northern New Mexico did a few years ago.)

The Senior Alligator who suggested the commission says he did so keeping in mind that redundancy in the state's higher education system is harder to get at because it is ingrained in the state Constitution.

THE LEGACY (CONT.)

More reader comments today on Big Bill's legacy as an eight year New Mexico Governor. Jeff Varela of Santa Fe says:

Hey, Joe: Just had to comment regarding your piece on the "Legacy" How about " The potential for a Legacy, that turned into a Regime"! It will be a relief to be rid of this guy and the distrust of government he has left us with! Regards and Happy Holidays!

Same to you, Jeff.

Veteran NM broadcaster Larry Ahrens has a more charitable viewpoint:

Something tells me there will be benefit from Gov. Richardson’s foray into North Korea. Evidence of that may be in the fact that North Korea “blinked” today when the South Koreans staged their military exercises without incident. The North was pretty brazen about immediate retaliation if the exercises were held.

We may not ever know the full story. But if Richardson somehow played a role in avoiding what could have been a devastating military conflict, then I can forgive some of the other misadventures we’ve seen from this Governor.


THE BOTTOM LINES

On our Monday blog suggesting some Xmas presents Susana Martinez could put under the state tree, Allen Weh, who challenged Martinez for the 2010 GOP Guv nomination, writes us:

My compliments for your suggestions for the new governor-elect. They are good ones that are bi-partisan and forward thinking.

Appreciate that, Allen. That list was put together by both R's and Dems, several of whom were in a heavily caffeinated state and all of whom want to see New Mexico improve no matter who is Governor.

We might add that you know you're in the middle of the Season of Peace when the blog and Weh--an old sparring partner of ours--start seeing eye to eye.

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