Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Santa Fe's Missing Link; Where Are The Photos? Plus: Special Session Scorecard So Far, Also: Barela Speaks On Spaceport And Remembering Howard Bryan
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the lack of pictures also speaks volumes. Travel up La Bajada to Santa Fe to see what we mean.
Have you seen even one newspaper or TV video featuring Governor Martinez meeting with the Democratic legislative leadership in the nine months she has been at the helm? Or even a photo with the GOP legislative leaders? She reports taking meetings at various times with the leaders, but somehow photos never emerge. Why is that? Is it a conscious decision by the Governor to not be associated with the Legislature? To keep them positioned as her political foil?
President Obama is photographed frequently with the GOP leadership in the Congress. Would a pic of Martinez shaking the hand of Senate Leader Michael Sanchez be so scary? (Well, maybe scary for him. She might break it off).
There's a large swath of independent minded voters out here who would at least like Santa Fe to go through the motions of trying to work together. But if we can't even get a Kodak moment of these folks, what makes anyone think we are going to get meaningful legislation out of them?
FLACKS FILE OUT
These days there are a lot fewer flash bulbs going off in Santa Fe in general. That's because Susana, as promised, has shaved the state flack force from a high of 51 to 27. That means less puffery in the form of photos and press from the PR types. Is it hurting efforts to gather information? First, there is a whole lot less happening in a GOP administration. Second, many of the PIO's saw their jobs as keeping information out of the public domain. Third, why can't most of the government types answer questions directly instead of relying on spokesmen? Only a few, like the Guv, can credibly argue time constraints.
When she was a district attorney, Governor Martinez did not like to plea bargain and she has brought that no deal attitude to Santa Fe. But what worked as DA doesn't necessarily do the trick at the Roundhouse. One by one the Guv's initiatives are being declared dead on arrival at this special session. It started with the repeal of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants and now includes her social promotion bill, her unemployment fund measure and her cabinet reorganization plan. Republicans are posturing that the Dem leadership is delaying consideration of the measures. No, they're not. They are killing them--in plain sight. Delay means death.
The Governor is going to come up more empty handed than a panhandler at a closed down Walgreen's. Her political operatives will probably rejoice that they can run against the "do nothing" Legislature in 2012. But the R's are not going to take control of the state Senate under any scenario and soon you may have a "do nothing" Governorship.
Susana, you deal or you die--or at least your bills do.
At this point, you think it would be Governor Martinez touting the "Industry Day" to be held at Spaceport America in southern NM, but it's good to finally see economic development secretary Jon Barela starting to get out in front some:
Barela encourages New Mexico businesses to register their interest in attending online. "New Mexico has a vast pool of available aerospace and related industry talent due to White Sands Missile Range, our national laboratories, Holloman, Kirtland, and Cannon Air Force bases, and many other resources statewide. This is a great time for New Mexico to take advantage of these unique opportunities."
Now that wasn't so hard, was it, Jon? And we bet Susana could do it just as well.
In related news, we received this insider email from the Roundhouse on another aspect of the Spaceport. Sounds like an issue that may need to be revisited:
A couple of years ago Governor Richardson came with legislation to create immunity from lawsuits resulting from Spaceport operations. Richardson, Spaceport director Rick Homans, and others all insisted that Virgin Galactic--the major tenant of the Spaceport--needed immunity. Naturally the trial lawyers were opposed to creating this kind of immunity. Richardson was pushing hard, but House Majority Leader Ken Martinez, Senate Majority Leader Sanchez and other trial lawyers in the Legislature opposed the immunity. So legislation was passed which appears to create immunity for the Spaceport, but in reality does no such thing. Richardson signed the bill with flourish, captured the headlines and appeased Virgin. But lawyers in the know realize the immunity is paper thin and would not withstand a court challenge if or when tested....
GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson and husband Jay Hone took time out to mark their 20th wedding anniversary with a dinner at Vernon's restaurant in Los Ranchos. She said on her Facebook page:
(Our) 20th Anniversary and a nice dinner at Vernon's in the north valley...and he's still the most interesting, funniest guy in the room.
Wilson is running for the nomination against Lt. Governor John Sanchez. Attorney Hone works with the Martinez administration as head of the Risk Management Division in the General Services Department.
A reader writes of one of the redistricting plans for the ABQ congressional seat being considered at the special legislative session:
The concept that makes a congressional district out of Bernalillo County and the northern part of Valencia County is so intelligent my bookie gives it only a 50/50 chance of passing!
DO IT EARLY
The official city election day is Oct. 4, but early voting locations are expected to attract many voters. They open today and a list is here. If you are registered to vote, you can cast your ballot at any one of them.
Howard Bryan was a great New Mexican, transplanting himself to the state from Ohio in 1948 and going on to build a legendary sixty year career as a newspaperman, prominent author and historian. He was enraptured by the history of the state and his articles and regular column in the ABQ Tribune--Off The Beaten Path--were treasured by anyone with even a passing interest in the mystique of New Mexico. Bryan died Sunday.
He was especially kind to reporters who expressed an interest in learning more. I recall sitting next to him in the early 80's as a bus full of journalists headed up to Sandia Peak for a promotional event. As we made our way toward the peak on the curling highway and as the city skyline far below gradually revealed itself, Howard revealed his life story, his favorite NM history tales and more. It was one of those moments when a young man realizes how little he knows and how much life there is to be lived....
Howard Bryan was 91.
And news comes to us of another passing of a well-known New Mexico writer:
Joe Sando, a member of the Jemez Pueblo who became the first Pueblo member to chronicle Pueblo life as a historian and writer, has died. The 88-year-old died of natural causes in Albuquerque. Born in 1923, Sando grew up on the Jemez Pueblo. He later served as the director of the Institute of Pueblo Study and Research at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Among his books are "Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History" and "Nee Hemish: A History of Jemez Pueblo."
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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