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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Blogging Potpourri: City Jobs, Beating On Barela, Speaker's Future And Spiro's Lament 

Welcome back. Let's get right to a potpourri of Wednesday blogging...

This is pretty cool, but what about jobs, Mayor?

He is very proud of this transparency. Albuquerque’s first Republican mayor in three decades, Mr Berry is, at 49, an up-and-coming sort. A self-professed wonk (“I will put GPS systems into garbage trucks for better routing”), he based his 2009 campaign on clean government, in a city and state that “was not known for its transparency and accountability”, as he puts it. Now he would like to be seen as a leader of a national movement.


Transparency and accountability are fine but they don't put food on the table. Take a look:

Private-sector employment in the Albuquerque area fell nearly six percent during the first two years of the economic slowdown. New research from On Numbers shows the Albuquerque-area shed 17,635 private sector jobs between 2008 and 2009 -- a drop of 5.76 percent. In comparison, the Phoenix area lost 8.96 percent, Las Vegas, Nev., 9.43 percent and the Denver-Aurora area 7.09 percent.

PLENTY TO DO

Not that there aren't plenty of issues to take on if the anti-government, quasi-libertarian folks who control the levers of power in the executive branch of the New Mexican government are struck with a burning desire:

A newly issued report on drug overdose deaths in the United States from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found New Mexico to have the highest overall overdose death rate of any state. New Mexico suffered 27 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, more than two times the national average. Since 1991, the overdose death rate has increased 242%...

Comments from the Fourth Floor? We await them. Just don't tell us you want to legalize heroin.

NOT TOO SHOCKING

Holy Smokes! There' s gambling in the casino!

The state Public Regulation Commission is "weeding out" employees who got their jobs through political connections instead of professional qualifications, Chairman Patrick Lyons said.


There are too many people put into positions that are not qualified. We're weeding those out ... through attrition or moving them around or retirement. You got to start somewhere.

Does anyone know of a sale on weed-killer? Pat is going to need gallons of the stuff if he plans on doing any weeding at the PRC.

BEATING ON BARELA

Stalwart Dem Ellen Wedum pounces on the financial woes of state economic development chief that were detailed on the blog Nov. 21:

Since the Republicans are always claiming that the government cannot be run as efficiently as a business, how can they back Barela, a candidate that can't run his business profitably? What more damage would he do to the Federal government?

Fair or not, that will be the line of attack against Jon by his GOP opponents as well as the Dems if he announces a candidacy. Barela says he is still undecided about seeking the GOP nomination for the ABQ congressional seat. Meantime, the Santa Fe paper picked up on our report of Barela's real estate difficulties, but nothing yet from the ABQ press.

Jon says of his personal economic pain and that of the investors that joined him in the real estate venture in ABQ's Far NE Heights:

We were current with all payments to the bank. I think this is a big state bank liquidator that has basically put the squeeze on a number of small businesses, including ours.

DID YOU KNOW....

Former Governor Big Bill has a website? His most recent travels took him to the African nation of Niger. Must have been nice. They don't have grand juries there.

SPEAKER RUNNING?

Alligators and insiders think he's in, but veteran NM House Speaker Ben Lujan, 75, is playing coy about his re-election plans. He says he is waiting for the final redistricting maps to be drawn by the courts.

One interesting sidebar: The fella who almost beat Ben in the 2010 Dem primary--Carl Trujillo--is not saying if he will make another run at the speaker. Lujan was first elected to the Legislature in 1974, although we never did see him wear bell bottoms back then...

As for Ben Ray Lujan, the northern congressman who is the son of the speaker, he's drawn a Dem primary opponent, but it's not going to be a problem. The news:

A 25-year-old Santa Fe artist and hotel worker says he will challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján in next year's Democratic Party primary. Sean Closson, a political novice, said he will seek the nomination for the 3rd Congressional District seat to which Luján has twice won election.

On the GOP side, Gary Montoya of Shiprock, 49, confirms that he will seek the GOP nomination to run against Ben Ray. "I have thrown my sombrero in the ring," He emails.

Hey, Gary, do they wear those on the rez?

Also running up north on the GOP side is businessman Rick Newton. We haven't heard anything from Farmington's Tom Mullins who ran a good race for the R's in 2010 so we assume he is not going to throw his sombrero in the ring. Or his hard hat that he uses in the oil fields up there.

SPIRO'S LAMENT

When the threat of a possible consolidation of the state's national labs surfaced this month it brought back some not so sweet memories for one Spiro Vassilopoulos. He's the energy investor who briefly ran for the GOP US Senate nomination in '08. Spiro sent us this deeply personal lament laced with a touch of pathos and a dab of agony.

Joe: Going back to the time (almost 4 years ago) when I had this stupid notion of actually helping New Mexico by running for the US Senate.
I remember a talk I gave at the Federated Republican Women's meeting in Santa Fe about things needed to be done to help New Mexico. What I recommended was that most of the national laboratories be consolidated in Los Alamos. The reaction from the erudite audience was one of derision and I was dismissed as a lightweight and a crank.

The main reason for their reaction? It was going to be Senator Pete Domenici forever. And besides, Heather Wilson was his anointed successor and upstarts like me had no business even thinking about the US Senate.


Fast-forward to 2012, the political imperative remains re-election to a government job, with the best interests of NM and the United States always taking the back seat. I rue the day that I got infected by politics.

Thanks for that lament, Spiro. You have plenty of company in rueing the day La Politica gripped you and wouldn't let go. But as they said on the silver screen, "This is the business we've chosen...."

And so it goes....

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