Tuesday, May 31, 2011
California, Here She Comes; Martinez To Campaign There After Faulting Light Guv's Politicking, And Taos Teacher Layoffs Draw Protest & Guv Attention
Governor Martinez leveled a stinging rebuke to Lt. Governor John Sanchez when he announced his bid for the GOP US senate nomination this month, asserting it would detract from his official duties. So, she said, she would "limit his responsibilities" as he pursued his ambition. But Martinez, only five months in office like Sanchez, isn't being too strict about applying that standard to her own politicking. The Guv will travel to California June 13 to address a gathering of Orange County Republicans. Take a look:
Please join us as we welcome this year's featured speakers! Fast-rising GOP star, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has agreed to be our keynote speaker.
And this from the Orange County Register:
First Latina governor to headline Orange County GOP fete
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the country’s first Hispanic female elected to a state’s top post, will be the keynote speaker at the Republican Party of Orange County’s annual Flag Day dinner.
This is the Guv's second high profile out-of-state campaign trip. She crossed the state line into Colorado in late March to give a Republican Party speech.
It's assumed she will fly to California. Given her persistent criticism of the use of state planes by the previous administration, perhaps the press will report on who will provide the plane for this political pit stop.
In a talk in ABQ before GOP county chairmen recently, insiders report Martinez tried to dampen down speculation that she would be a possible VP candidate on the 2012 GOP ticket. With New Mexico still in recession and school budgets being cut, any out of state campaign activity by Martinez is going to be sensitive. Here's how the Governor criticized Sanchez for running for Senate:
....It is my responsibility to keep my word to the people of New Mexico by pursuing the reform agenda I promised and delivering the results they deserve. To prevent this race from becoming a distraction, Lt. Governor Sanchez will not be given responsibilities in my administration beyond the select few provided for in the state Constitution. I promised New Mexicans that I would work hard every day to turn our state around and that work will remain my focus....
Maybe Susana, the nation's first female Hispanic Governor, should have held her fire on Sanchez if she too plans to be on the campaign trail more often. But not to worry Guv. When you are out there in California and Light Guv Sanchez is serving as Acting Governor, we'll be sure he doesn't try anything fancy---like trying to limit your responsibilities.
One of the Guv's key campaign promises was to spare New Mexico classrooms from any budget cuts. Get rid of the bureaucrats, not the teachers, was Susana's battle cry. That resonated with voters across our enchanted land which is why Susana was quick to go into damage control mode when that pledge appeared to be violated in Taos County. The news:
Gov. Susana Martinez met with several Taos teachers and a school board member who were among the nearly 200 people protesting May 27 near a reception in her honor. Martinez' visit to Taos came a few days after the Taos Municipal School District announced it would lay off 37 employees, many of them teachers, because of a budget deficit. Protesters stood holding signs and chanting where the Taos County Republican Party was holding a bi-partisan dinner for Martinez. Among them were school staff, parents, students — including a few who had graduated from high school earlier that day--and supporters.
The Guv argued that there was no need for Taos to lay off teachers, that the state budget provides the money for the teachers if the bureaucracy is cut.
Teacher layoffs is just the ticket the Democrats will be looking for when they enter campaign mode for the 2012 legislative elections. It is the kind of broken campaign promise that translates very early into emotional TV spots and campaign literature.
So what can the Guv do? It would seem her administration would have little choice but to get into the trenches and point out exactly where the budget cuts in Taos--or in other school districts--can be made to avoid hitting the classroom.
The Legislature has said it is not its job to get very specific on where the money is spent, but do the appropriating, and there are elected school boards to make those decisions.
This form of micromanagement would send the fur flying, but such jawboning from Martinez and education secretary Skandera seemed to have persuaded ABQ public schools to start finally trimming its bureaucracy budget.
If the Taos layoffs stand and there is no specific push back from the administration on where alternate cuts can be made, look for that Dem campaign literature at a mailbox near you.
SIZING IT UP
And more on the education beat today from reader and UNM civil engineering professor Bruce Thomson:
Joe, a recent blog had a comment by reader Jim McClure stating that no one questions the premise that larger class size diminishes the quality of education. According to APS, the average high school class has 30 students and most teachers teach five classes. If each teacher spends 5 minutes per week grading homework for each child he/she spends 12.5 mind numbing hours each week on grading alone. Increasing each class by 5 students adds over 2 more hours per week of grading. I think anyone would agree that 5 minutes per week of grading per child is not enough individual attention to provide adequate assistance in any of the traditional academic subjects (reading, writing, science and mathematics). By the way, the average class size at the Albuquerque Academy is 14.5 students.
Veteran journalist Jim Belshaw stuck his toe in the Alligator pond when he collared us for inventing the word "landslided." We graciously accepted the chastisement, but another longtime journalist came to our defense with this amusing missive:
I've seen "landslide" used as a verb and have used it myself. It's only frustrated school-teachers like Belshaw who get their knickers in the wringer when they see somebody using language in a creative and colorful way. Belshaw should stay home writing his memoirs about saving the English tongue from barbarians--while the rest of us are having fun! Of course, the difference here is Jim never had to invent new words to write well, but college dropouts like me have to have a little leeway to keep up. Otherwise Belshaw would landslide us!
Alright, thanks for the laughs...
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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