Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Susana PAC In early Hunt For Votes, Plus: UNM's Big Donor, And: The City Beat: Darren, Murdoch, Berry & The Chief; It's All Here So Come On In 

Governor Martinez's permanent campaign continues, with her latest piece of PAC lit touting her signature on a measure that increases the percentage of big game hunting licenses issued to state residents. (Click on image to enlarge.)

(There is sure a lot of license talk in this administration, isn't there?) More on it is here.

The bill passed the Legislature over the objections of New Mexico outfitters who say their guide business for the out-of-staters will take the hit.

Martinez is paying for this mail piece through her political action committee. That is a gateway to campaign double-dipping. Under our new law, an individual can donate a maximum of $5,000 to a political candidate in the primary and another $5,000 in the general election. But guess what? They can also do the same for the Guv's political action committee. In effect, that $10,000 individual limit for the '14 Guv election jumps to $20,000.

Martinez is spending and raising PAC money liberally in the early going--the very early going. The next Guv election isn't until Nov. 2014. That leads some consultants to question the effectiveness of these early mailings. Will they nail down support for Susana or are they a job guarantee for Jay McCleskey, Martinez's hot-button political consultant whose firm runs the PAC?

Speaking of such matters, none of the major announced GOP congressional candidates--Wilson, Sanchez, Sowards, Lewis, Arnold-Jones and Pearce--are using McCleskey's consulting services for the 2012 cycle. That comes after his busy 2010 when in addition to Martinez he handled Sec. of State candidate Dianna Duran, congressional hopeful Jon Barela and attorney general candidate Matt Chandler.

Well, Jay, sometimes you can be too hot.

Sonnet & Ian McKinnon
This will be a shell of what the NM Symphony was before it died earlier this year:

Mayor Berry helped cut the ribbon for the new office space recently occupied by the New Mexico Philharmonic. The office is located at 10200 Menaul Boulevard NE. Mayor Barry has been actively involved with the new Philharmonic from the beginning, having hosted a gala fundraiser at the KiMo Theatre on May 27 of this year which raised $45,000 to help launch the new organization.

RJ gets credit for at least doing something, but it's not the same.

Now, if someone out there has an extra million or so, they could single-handledly resurrect the full-fledged symphony. And don't think it can't happen. Take a look:

In the largest sin­gle gift ever made to the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico by liv­ing indi­vid­u­als, Son­net and Ian McK­in­non have com­mit­ted $7.5 mil­lion to three Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico programs. Projects at the Ander­son School of Man­age­ment, Uni­ver­sity Arena (“The Pit”) and the UNM Ten­nis Com­plex will ben­e­fit...

The McK­in­nons said, “Although we now live on the east coast, we will always think of New Mex­ico as our home. Its nat­ural beauty, food, cul­ture, and, most impor­tantly, its won­der­ful peo­ple, are for­ever part of us.”

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. (Not to belabor the latest depressing, but no longer shocking news coming out of the troubled campus).

It's impressive to see a donation like the McKinnons' in that environment. (Ian McKinnon is the managing partner of Ziff Brothers Investments, run by the heirs to the Ziff-Davis publishing empire). There could be more to come if and when the UNM ship is ready to again sail at full strength.

Of course, with most of the the nation's money trapped on Wall Street it would seem a good time for some of Ian's buddies to join him. Don't worry, Sonnet, we'll Fed Ex the green chile for any party you throw.


Mayor Berry came into office pledging to trim the budget on the 11th floor. He did chop the chief financial officer and chief operating officer positions, but now we're headed back in the old direction with the hiring of Gilbert Montano as a new deputy chief administrative officer. That draws this reader react:

The Berry administration just created and hired the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (Deputy CAO) at a cost to the City of over $100,000 including benefits. What will this individual do for the city? In an exchange
between City Councilor Rey Garduno and Montano atthe June 20 council meeting. Montano was asked what he would be doing in this position. Montano stated, "you know its hard to really... you know, explain exactly what the role is going to be..."

Montano will have the chance to earn his stripes. Meanwhile, his appointment is also being viewed through a political lens. It has been an all-Anglo club on the top rungs in the Mayor's office. Montano's appointment changes that.


The fate of ABQ Police Chief Ray Schultz seems up in the air given the ongoing Darren White scandal. We noted the situation in yesterday's blog and a retired APD officer weighs in with further analysis and context:

After the press conference debacle from two weeks ago, my sources have said Ray has gone into his shell. Ray was no where to be seen with the prostitution arrest of District Court Judge Pat Murdoch. Since when does the chief criminal court judge get arrested and the top police chief not show up in front of the cameras?

My crystal ball is saying that Ray will not leave on his own. The mayor will have to give him an ultimatum or just terminate him. Either way, you hit the nail on the head when you said that Ray will only be remembered for overseeing the destruction of APD (that is not quite what you said, but pretty close).

Many people want to say this is a union thing, but it is not. The unions really don't have anything to do with what has happened in the last three weeks.

I will say that if Mayor Berry would have held that infamous press conference, Darren White would still be working today. The Mayor allowed Darren, CAO Rob Perry and Chief Schultz to put on a circus and it has cost Darren his job. In time it will cost Ray his job....

Schultz makes over $150,000 a year as police chief and also gets a retirement check from previous law enforcement service. In other words, he has the financial incentive to stay. But there is a crisis of confidence now. Even the usually friendly editorial pages of the ABQ Journal are supporting an independent probe of the Darren White July 6 accident. (Welcome to the club, fellas).

There is now talk of a criminal obstruction of justice taking place to protect White's wife when she smashed her car into a curb and then was not tested by police for narcotics or booze. That raises the question of Dem Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg. Is she paying attention to all of this? How about we throw out the bizarre Murdoch case and get on with one that addresses the very real concern of an official abuse of power?

But first things first. Kari can look over the shoulder of the city's inspector general who a city council committee decided Monday will conduct an independent investigation of the White affair, despite such a probe being opposed by the Berry Administration. The full council on August 1 is expected to ratify the committee's vote which was approved unanimously, including the two Republicans. The IG would take an initial look and then decide if a full blown probe is warranted.

That signals there is simply nowhere to hide for any political party. The truth yearns to be heard. The probe done by the city's independent review officer will also continue. The IG will have subpoena power to delve into the case. That means you are going to see a lot of lawyering up by the police and others involved in this imbroglio.

The wheels are turning and they are rolling in the direction of resignation, firing or an otherwise grim end for Schultz. Don't say we didn't tell you.


It occurred to several readers that Judge Murdoch requested oral sex from the prostitute he was with for a simple reason. He is afflicted with polio and paralyzed from the waist down. Police are saying that the prostitute was raped by Murdoch. She secretly recorded one oral sex session.


Yes, they all do it. That's a fundamental principle of yer little 'ol blog. From the NM Foundation for Open Government:

Well, we've come full circle. Five years ago, Bill Richardson’s administration was asked for state e-mails about an audit of the driver’s license program. It refused, claiming executive privilege, and the Republican Party of New Mexico filed suit. This year, Secretary of State Dianna Duran was asked for state e-mails about a similar audit – a cross-check between drivers’ licenses and voter rolls. Duran’s office refused, citing executive privilege, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has now filed suit.

It’s a stunning parallel, and the bipartisan principles underpinning open government are rarely on such obvious display. Open government is not a tool of the left or the right, of Democrats or Republicans. It's simply a tool to hold powerful people accountable.

We've long said it's not about which party, it's about the power and how it is used. If you think Republicans are more open than Dems or vice-versa, you're smoking the funny weed.

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