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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guv Indicates License Repeal Is DOA, So Why Not A Deal? Plus: Look Out Dems; Susana Still Packin' Heat, And: Go Away, Jerome Block--Pretty Please? 

That was fast. Governor Martinez appears to be throwing in the towel on any hope for repealing the state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, even though the special session of the Legislature where she will again ask for it to be considered doesn't kick off until next Tuesday. Here are the money lines:

Martinez said she has not built the same consensus with the driver’s license bill as with other agenda items, but she is including it because of support from constituents. “They don’t want us to stop fighting for it. They want to take every chance we have to keep bringing up the opportunity to repeal this law..."

So what's the point? To get more video of recalcitrant Democratic lawmakers supporting the licenses so they can be whacked in the 2012 campaign cycle? Didn't the political operatives get all the video they needed in the January session? Apparently not.

And guess what? The issue will be back at the January 2012 session. The Guv keeps quoting a poll showing overwhelming support for repeal of the licenses. And we can't argue with that. But at some point we need a deal. In other words, a compromise. Take a little now and come back for more later. If this is such an urgent public safety issue--as the Guv says--let's get started on solving it and end the gridlock. But in the all or nothing world of Santa Fe, it looks like we are going to get nothing.

A sidebar: one Dem lawmaker told us he suspects that Susana will pick up more Dem votes for the repeal in the special session because of political fear. It passed the House last session with the aid of a handful of Dems. The Senate, however, is still seen as holding out against the Governor.

Speaking of which...

SUSANA VS. TIM


We blogged recently of Alligator musings that Dem State Senate leader Tim Jennings could start to fold under the pressure and perhaps change his position on the driver's licenses and vote with Susana. But Jennings is ripping into the Guv for adding yet another agenda item to the special agenda---social promotion for third graders. He said this of Susana's contention that there is plenty of time for items other than redistricting during the upcoming session:

“To characterize it as only five or six people working, that’s just absurd..."

That doesn't sound like a fella ready to bow to the will of this Governor on much of anything.

As for how long the session will last, guesses from various lawmakers are all over the map. The low end is 10 days and the high end over three weeks. At a cost of $50,000 a day and the state still in tight financial times, there will be calls for the lawmakers to get in and get out.

But the Guv may have a secret weapon to win over certain legislators--or we should say "a concealed weapon":

Gov. Susana Martinez received perfect scores on recertification for her concealed-carry permit over the weekend in Las Cruces. She scored 100 percent with both .38- and .45-caliber handguns, her staff said.Martinez's permit to carry a concealed handgun, originally obtained in 2009, was extended for another two years.


Come on, Susana. Forget about this concealed stuff. Just holster that thing up, stride around the Roundhouse and that driver's license repeal is a done deal. (Video of the Guv at the firing range is here.)

PROFILING SUSANA

We talked with the New York Times for Monday's editions as they profiled Susana's first eight months in office:

Despite the contrasts (between Martinez and former Governor Richardson), some point to similarities between the two, like their aversion to compromise. “She digs in her heels,” said Joe Monahan, a political analyst and blogger. In the case of Mr. Richardson, who has been on the lecture circuit since leaving office, it was his cowboy boots that were often firmly planted.

THE POLITICAL BLOCKADE

Can't House Speaker Ben Lujan get embattled Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, Jr. to resign before we have to endure this come October?

House Speaker Lujan on Monday said the Legislature would not conduct an impeachment proceeding against Block during the special session that begins Sept. 6. Rather, the Legislature would meet in an "extraordinary session" for the impeachment and possible trial of Block.


Given that the Legislature has a heavy agenda for September, the extraordinary session targeting Block probably would not occur until October. Block, D-Española, is accused of stealing gasoline on his state charge card. He also faces felony charges of misspending public campaign money in 2008.

More money, more wasted time. No wonder the New Mexican public has a permanent frown on its face. What happened to shame? You would think that would be enough to get Block to go. Impeachment is now a foregone conclusion.

Is Block going to starve to death without that $90,000 a year salary? Maybe Speaker Lujan could take up a collection for Jerome in exchange for this troubled young man getting off the PRC, getting some drug rehab and calling it a day when it comes to politics.

THE APD BEAT
Chief Schultz
It's exactly where a Mayor doesn't want his police chief--on the front page of the daily fishwrapper insisting that the problems in the department are not that big of a deal--despite the headlines that have been blaring the opposite for months on end.

Berry made fighting crime a cornerstone of his mayoral campaign and now he is on the defensive on his #1 issue. Not good. And you have to wonder if the image being molded can be changed in the next two years before he faces re-election.

The newspaper interview with Schultz was carried Sunday and did not go over well with those looking for something more aggressive. Blog reader Daniel Klein made the point:

The Journal did not ask Schultz to respond to all the civil lawsuits the department has lost or settled, they did not ask him to respond to the auto accident of the wife of ex-Public Safety Director Darren White or Schultz's press conference where he said there was "no probable cause to do a DWI investigation." The Journal did not ask Schultz if he was directly responsible for the hiring of people like cop gone bad Levi Chavez (it occurred while Ray was chief and after he lowered the standards).

The Journal did not address the Ahrensfield allegations of reprisals for testifying against Schultz...The Journal did not ask Schultz about Judge Therese Baca's verdict regarding a bad APD shooting. The Journal did not ask him about why he kept the probationary officer who killed Flora Aragon.

I think you get my point. The article just said everybody in Ray's circle of friends thinks he is a nice guy. Wow! How surprising.

That's a boatload of unanswered questions and Mayor Berry's decision to give Schultz his full vote of confidence--without even a bit of wiggle room--is a novice political error.

Mr. Mayor, you da' the man. Everyone--and that means everyone--must know they are expendable, especially an embattled police chief who is making more news than you are.

A HOT ROD

Meanwhile, things aren't much smoother over at the NM State Police. Get a load of this pic of a state cop in full uniform having his way with an unknown woman on the hood of a car. Talk about a hot rod! Oh, my.
KOB-TV came with the skinny on this one:

Two weeks ago KOB reported a story about an officer caught on camera having sex while in full uniform, an act shown on security camera at the Santa Fe Canyon Ranch. KOB has blurred out the woman's image, but you can see it's during daylight hours and the officer is still wearing his utility belt.

The Santa Fe Sheriff's office released the pictures to KOB after we filed a public records request. They say they also gave them to State Police over a week ago.

Actually, this wasn't a state cop at all. It's a lady with a uniform fetish and the fella was just dressing to impress. Well, don't the state cops wish that were the case? By the way, whatever happened to the back seat of a '56 Chevy?

THE BOTTOM LINES


Hotel Magnate Conrad Hilton was born in San Antonio, NM south of Socorro, not in Socorro itself as we blogged in a first draft Monday. A number of readers picked up on the error, including this one:

Besides its connection to the Hilton dynasty, San Antonio is now known as the site of the great green chile cheeseburger rivalry between the Owl Bar and the Buckhorn Tavern.

The last time we were at the Buckhorn the owner--Bobby Olguin--comped us a couple of green chile burgers. We even got to sit under a photo of Bill Richardson. Aah, the good life....

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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