Friday, August 05, 2011

Letters Of Interest: From The State To Illegals, From The Inspector General To The City Council And From Our Readers On The Issues Of The Day 

Let's wrap the week with a couple of letters of interest. First, here's the letter sent to 10,000 undocumented immigrants ordering them to report to a Las Cruces or ABQ location to verify their residency in the state.

Dear Mr./Ms. Public: The public safety of New Mexico requires that State authorities identify and cancel the driver’s licenses and identification cards of Foreign Nationals who presented fraudulent documents or have moved out of state...This compliance effort requires that you provide proof of your identity and residency to ensure that we have correct and current information. This process is not optional...This is notice that the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) will take steps to cancel your license or identification card if you fail to comply with the appointment process within thirty (30) days....

You wonder how many of the 10,000 will comply after reading that tough talk.

Governor Martinez is absorbed in the illegal driver's license issue, seemingly like no other. Some news:

An Albuquerque woman...is now facing over 300 counts of felony charges for creating fake residency documents so illegal immigrants could obtain a New Mexico drivers’ licenses. A grand jury in Bernalillo County returned an indictment against Ana Hernandez...

“This is yet another egregious case that shows we’re attracting criminal elements to our state for the sole purpose of obtaining driver’s licenses,” Governor Martinez said. "New Mexicans overwhelmingly agree that we must put an end to this dangerous system and that is why I’m calling on the legislature to repeal the driver’s license law during next month’s special legislative session...

Democratic Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg was also quoted in the release. Her office brought the indictment with help from the state. Kari is up for re-election next year. It appears she just acquired some immunity on this hot button issue that the R's are determined to make their Holy Grail in 2012.


Meantime, readers continue to weigh in on the heritage of Martinez whose grandparents on her father's side were determined to have entered the USA illegally. Norm Shatkin opines of another reader who said there is no inconsistency with Susana's illegal grandparents and her tough-as-nails approach on immigration:

I've seldom read a lamer apologia than his remarks on Martinez and her illegal alien ancestors. The point is that Martinez has pressed hard on immigration by depicting illegal aliens as dangerous and a threat to public safety, when her own family background should inform her that most illegals are peaceable, hard-working folks trying to feed their families. Instead she enables reader McCaughey to describe her grandparents as "something in (her) history that (she's) not too proud of," like a heroin-addicted brother, and she's thus justified in smearing others like them today.

This isn't a partisan opinion--(2010 GOP ABQ congressional candidate) Jon Barela refused to condemn illegals last year even as his party was doing so from coast to coast. It is bad enough that those with Latino heritage have to endure insults like the Arizona racist laws, but to have one of their own join the crowd for her own political advancement is obscene.


Now to our second letter. It was sent to the ABQ city council by the city's inspector general confirming that he has decided to launch a formal investigation of the scandal over former Public Safety Director Darren White:

I met with the Accountability in Government Oversight Committee to discusses the merits of conducting this investigation...we concluded that this would be an investigation that the Inspector General could and should conduct. I am officially advising the City that Council that he Office of Inspector General will conduct this investigation into the accident of July 6, 2011, involving Kathleen White (wife of Darren White).

Unlike the independent review officer report done on the accident under the mayor's office, the IG will have subpoena power to get at the truth. How aggressive will he be? Stay tuned.


Steve Pearce is still not faced with a serious Dem challenger for his southern congressional seat and soon he could have none. The Sunland Park mayor may withdraw his candidacy after admitting to signing city contracts while drunk.

Hmm. Drunk politicians signing contracts. There's got to be a lot of punch lines to that one.


A reader writes of our frustration that Intel is not planning any expansion at its Rio Rancho plant and its warnings that the state's financial incentives don't stack up favorably with others:

For Intel to expand further in NM, it needs an educated and available workforce that's willing to work. We fail all three. However, if we can show Intel that we have enough of these workers, Intel may reconsider. But, who is making the pitch and providing data to support it?

High school dropout rates and the need for remedial courses at the college and community-college level work against us. We're in a situation that may take massive efforts (not necessarily financial) to struggle out of. First, get parents involved in and supporting education. Second, recognize that all work is productive even if it's an entry-level job at McDonalds. It teaches responsibility, dependability and occasionally sacrificing individual pleasures in order to fulfill a previous commitment....

The point is taken and it's another reason why many of us have been generally supportive of the Governor's education initiatives.


Doug Antoon, a consultant for ABQ GOP congressional candidate and City Councilor Dan Lewis called it "the perfect storm" and he's probably right. We called an "Alligator strike" on Lewis when the web site of the church he is pastor of--SoulRio Church on the city's West Side--went down shortly after we posted the church's link. We did so with our Wednesday story on how Mayor Berry is bleeding support from the religious right. It appeared that the site had been taken down to avoid any political discomfort. We did not hear back from a campaign aide before we posted, buttressing that belief. But Lewis says that is not the case.

He delivered a stream of emails to us confirming that the site had been hacked before we came with our report, dismissing any conspiracy theories. Still, when we originally went to the site it did look bare bones, but did not say anything about being under construction. Later it did. Lewis said the site will be restored with all its original content.

Lewis said he understands how the foul-up could occur, but it's a reminder to all the candidates that their web sites--personal and political--are on the playing field when they seek public office. It pays to have a crack Web team watching after them.

As for hacking, the day we posted the blog on the religious right, our Twitter account was hacked. Maybe we should have seen this one coming.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

Thanks for joining us this week. Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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