Wednesday, September 07, 2011
From Rancor To Mutual Contempt: Gov-Senate Relationship Sinking Fast; Power Is On The Line, Plus: ABQ Election Nears, And: Speeding Guv Draws Reaction
Martinez vs. Jennings (again)
We're going from rancor to outright contempt when it comes to the relationship between the sitting Governor and the leadership of the New Mexican Senate. The latest volley came from Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings in response to Susana's contention that the legislators have plenty of time on their hands during this special redistricting session:
"To sit there and say, 'You're not going to be doing anything, here's nine more things.' It's a little much," said Jennings, D-Roswell. "I've been through redistricting four times. To tell the public that nobody's doing anything is a little bit absurd. She's never been through one. What does she know?"
"What does she know??"
Those are fightin' words that are going to be hard for Susana to ever forget. But when your political arm is running riot on the lions of the Senate and you pile on top, what do you expect? A lollipop and a pat on the back?
For the first time we are hearing Martinez being compared to Democratic Governor Toney Anaya who locked horns with the Legislature in the 1980's and never got out alive.
The Republican Governor has the bully pulpit and can retain her popularity even as she wages war with the Senate, but what about the power? The ability to get things done? To move an agenda? Neither the executive or the Senate can force one another down each other's throats. To get meaningful things done, something has to give. And good luck with that.
The special session is set to pass easy lay-up legislation that was left on the table during the last regular session. Capital outlay and unemployment fund fix are two examples. But that's small potatoes. She also wants repeal of those driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants and a social promotion bill for third graders. That's where she has staked her political capital and that's where she is going to come up empty.
If you are a Martinez supporter, you have to worry. If you can't get your major agenda through in your first year, it doesn't get any easier in the next three.
Compromise--that word that used to be so accepted and is now so anathema looms over the Roundhouse, but no one seems to see it or even cares to.
Susana is playing hardball on the driver's licenses and not even trying to conceal that her political team is poised to unload in 2012 on anyone who votes against the repeal. The Senate can match that hardball and simply not give the Governor an up or down vote on the bill and instead have a vote on the Senate compromise bill. The best strategy would be to get that compromise bill through the House and Senate and up to the Guv's desk. Let her veto it, then she would have some 'splanin to do. Let's see if the Dems can come up with something in the House.
One thing good about a September session is the crud--and the lack of it. In the winter, all those politicians grab handing one another usually leads to a mini-epidemic in the circular hallways. But September's milder climate may hold off the dreaded illness. Of course, the longer they stay there the chances increase that he Kleenex and Advil will make their appearances. Senate Majority Leader Sanchez gave his thoughts as he prepped for the special:
The session can last up to 30 days, but Sanchez said he felt the redistricting issues could be addressed in the first two weeks. "If we go past two weeks, there's a problem. The amount of money spent would not be fair to taxpayers," Sanchez said. During the last redistricting in 2001, debate over the House and U. S. Congressional districts went well past two weeks, ending up in court where a judge made the final decision.
The key for Obama next year in New Mexico is getting Hispanics juiced about his re-election. So says Larry Sabato:
Four other states usually vote Democratic for president, but they're hardly a sure thing: Michigan (16), New Mexico (5), Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10). A low Hispanic vote in 2012 could flip New Mexico, as Al Gore carried it by only 366 votes in 2000 and a dedicated effort by George W. Bush flipped it in 2004.
Hispanics are not excited about Obama as they were four years ago for basically the same reasons everyone else--the lousy economy and shortage of jobs.
IN THE CITY
Less than a month to go now for the ABQ Oct. 4 election and the mailers are getting more frequent--if not yet overly negative. Here's one we posted from Greg Payne who is taking on fellow Republican and incumbent City Councilor Trudy Jones for a NE Heights seat on the nine member panel. We recently posted one of her first mailers.
Payne can be expected to send out four or five flyers but Trudy, with major contributors in the real estate sector, could top the charts with over a dozen mailers as she fights to keep the seat.
Payne is a former GOP councilor from the area. He beat another incumbent Republican--Tim Cummins--to win a four year term back in '99.
The race this time is hard to call for the analysts. Most see it as an even money bet.
So now we have to learn how to pronounce "Zdunek." Alligator reports here last week were confirmed Tuesday as the Bernalillo County commissioners voted 4 to 1 to hire interim county manager Tom Zdunek as the permanent manager. The county said:
Zdunek has an extensive background in the private sector, along with nine years at Bernalillo County, working his way up the ranks from Fleet/Facilities Director to Deputy County Manager for Public Works. In January of this year, the Commission appointed him interim county manager during the search process.
He gets a two year contract and a $148,000 annual salary. Republican Commissioner Wayne Johnson voted "no," saying Zdunek's name was too hard to pronounce. (That's "Zuh dun' ek, Wayne).
THE HIT PARADE
The hits just keep on coming from the University of New Mexico.
UNM Interim Provost Chaouki Abdallah promised to re-structure the Provost’s office and save the University thousands of dollars, but it looks as though that plan will cost the University more money.
Abdallah planned to replace Vice Provost Wynn Goering with three part-time associate provosts, saving nearly $70,000, but Goering had already signed a contact to renew his $192,000 position, the Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday.
Having done such a fine job upholding UNM accounting standards Mr. Addallah will now be named the employee of the month and be feted at a reception. BurquePops will hand out the award.
Reader Ellen Wedum writes of the Guv's recent speeding incident:
"A New Mexico State Police officer was driving Martinez to lunch at Chama River Brewing Company when police said they clocked the driver going 48 mph in 35 mph zone. That violation typically earns the driver a $95 ticket, but in this case, he got away with a verbal warning. "
So because her driver was a police officer and she is governor, she doesn't get a ticket?! And no one is going to complain that she is getting special treatment, when (ex-ABQ Public Safety Director) Darren White just lost his job because he got special treatment?
It may only be a molehill of corruption, but it stinks all the same.
Well, it's hard to spin this one. If the Guv or her staff were on their toes they would have insisted that the officer who stopped them write up a speeding ticket.
Whatever you do, Guv, don't take up that offer from the Senate leadership to provide you with a new driver who won't go over the limit. You could end up being taken to a Tim Jennings fund-raiser....
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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