Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Feds Run This Place; The Stunning Funding Total, Plus: John Arthur Meets His Match, Clinton ABQ Visit & City Beat News, Also: The Sky Is Falling! 

Treasurer Lewis
You mean the amount of cash the federal government pumps into the New Mexican economy equals the state's entire yearly budget!? Indeed it does, says State Treasurer James Lewis:

Lewis says New Mexico gets about $500 million in federal assistance every month, or about $5.4 billion every year. Without it, healthcare, schools, and thousands of jobs with government entities like Sandia Labs, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the U.S. Forest Service, would be at risk...

He was speaking in the context of a possible default on the national debt as the wrangling in Washington goes on.

That $5.4 billion--representing three dollars back for every one dollar NM pays in federal taxes--is a reminder of why we need strong congressional representation.

Building a private economy here that would supplant more than a meager percentage of that largess in your lifetime or that of your children's is a pipe dream.


Did you chuckle when you heard fiscal watchdog State Senator John Arthur Smith ring alarm bells over Governor Martinez holding back on filling a bunch of high-paying political jobs? Wasn't it just a year or two ago everyone was yelling how Governor Richardson packed the state payroll with political dead weight? Martinez promised to cut back on their number, although much of the work was done for her by a hiring freeze. Smith frets that government in Santa Fe may not function at full strength unless all the $100,000 plus deputy director spots and the like are filled.

Well, John Arthur has met his match. If we're learning anything about the administration it's that they are serious about keeping their campaign promise of "doing more with less." So far, the cogs of the bureaucracy seem to be functioning alright without the added weight.


A Senior Alligator got sarcastic when he heard that former Bush advisor Karl Rove would come to ABQ for an August 11 fund-raiser for GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson:

"Wonder if Iglesias is attending event?"

If you've been around a few years you will get that reference to the notorious US Attorney scandal in which Wison and Rove were ensnared but ultimately walked away from. David Iglesias is the former GOP US attorney here who said Senator Pete Domenici and Wilson made phone calls to him to get him to speed up the investigation into the Metro Court building scandal which ended with the indictment and jailing of State Senate powerhouse Manny Aragon.

Pete was slapped on the wrist by the Senate Ethics Committee, but he did not seek re-election in 2008. Wilson never received an official reprimand, but her image took hits.

Rove coming in dredges up those old memories, but probably aren't going to do any harm with the party faithful who will turn out to hear "Bush's Brain" and give some cash to Wilson.

These days it's not the US attorney scandal that have R's around here less enthusiastic about Karl. It is the tea party wing of his own Republican Party that rebels against his establishment voice. So while Rove will help fill Heather's campaign kitty, her chief rival for the GOP nomination, John Sanchez, will be content to let her have it.


This court ruling will have little effect on the Oct. 4 city election, but it will be felt in future elections:

A federal district court declared unconstitutional a provision of Albuquerque’s system of public funding for elections that provides taxpayer funding to legislative candidates based on opposition speech.

Albuquerque’s Election Code provides taxpayer funding for city council and mayoral candidates who agree to limit how much money they raise and spend, Under the scheme, city council candidates receive $1 for each registered voter in their area. In addition, candidates may receive “matching funds” if they are outspent by their opponent or by independent groups. New Mexico Turn Around, a free market oriented advocacy organization, filed suit earlier this year against Albuquerque’s public funding scheme for city council candidates, asserting it is an unconstitutional infringement of their First Amendment free speech rights...


The cheap seats will go for $125 a pop for this visit for former President Clinton Oct. 18 at the Route 66 Casino:

Laguna Development Corporation is pleased to announce an appearance by President Bill Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, in Legends Theater at Route 66 Casino Hotel on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.
..Tickets will go on sale to the general public Monday, August 1st. President Clinton will speak and answer questions during his appearance...Laguna Development envisions (this) as a regular series of renowned speakers in Legends Theater in 2012.


A reader writes of our recent UNM blogging:

"The University of New Mexico has been in management and political hell for years. They need new faces in the top administrative ranks for the turnaround."

Exactly Joe! A lot of Richardson holdovers are still holding high paying jobs at UNM where it became a dumping ground for his political cronies. I wonder when Governor Martinez is going to push for change and get rid of President Schmidly, David Harris, et.al., and start running UNM like an educational institution instead of a money hungry business..

Well, Schmidly has announced his retirement and a search will commence for his replacement. Politically connected David Harris, UNM's powerful #2, remains on the job. A key question for Martinez and UNM watches is whether Harris will stay on with the new UNM president?


On the case of ABQ District Court Judge Pat Murdoch, charged with raping a prostitute, a reader makes these points:

I wanted to comment on your speculation about Murdoch and the woman who has accused him of rape.
She says he performed oral sex on her, not the other way around, and that she had told him that she did not want his mouth on her vagina. So the fact that he has polio would not impact something like this.This is a strange case because she admitted he paid her for sex and people don't think prostitutes can be raped.

Another part of the story is the selling of the DVD to police by her and a man with her. It does make me wonder what is happening. Often prostitutes do not have much control, and a "pimp" controls them...

Murdoch this week announced his retirement. His defense lawyers argue the police conducted a "hurried investigation" and the case will falter. They seem to have a point here in the early going.


Does reader George Chavez tap into the New Mexico zeitgeist, or what?:

Joe, the sky is falling!! The judicial system and the law enforcement system is falling apart. We have Judges, State police officers, Sheriff officers, city police, and correction officers misbehaving and in some cases breaking the law. Who can we look up to, who can we trust? These people are supposed to be role models. God help us all. Thanks Joe, I enjoy your blog.

Hey, George, thank you. We were wondering why there was hardly any monsoon season this year. The sky is falling!

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