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Friday, December 02, 2011

Friday Clippings From My Newsroom Floor: Dems Not Tough Enough?, Chief Schultz Future, And Those Sexsational Big Bill Charges 

The R's have dropped the ball twice in a big way but Dems are letting them off too easily. That's the take from some disgruntled Dems checking in here. They say the Martinez administration botched the awarding of the new racino lease at the state fairgrounds, using a process that flirted with pay-to play, They believe the state legislature needs to call hearings over the matter and hold some GOP feet to the fire. Ditto for Dianna Duran. The Republican secretary of state came up empty handed with her highly touted investigations over illegal aliens voting and dead people on the registration rolls. None of it panned out (as the Alligators predicted) but will Duran and the R's take a hit for the time and money spent going into a dead end over the dead?

And while they're at it, now that Susana has discovered a new fondness for the state film industry, will the Dems look at repealing those scaled back movie industry tax incentives she supported? They could test her newfound warmth by sending her a bill doing just that...

How did the end of State Engineer John D'Antonio go down? One of our sources relayed how D'Antonio described it to him.

He says D'Antonio went to see Governor Martinez when his job was clearly in limbo. He told her he was being considered for a position at the federal Army Corp of Engineer. She asked what job he wanted--state engineer or the federal job. He replied he wanted to stay on as state engineer, a job he had held for nine years. She said she would call him the next day. She never called so D'Antonio went to the Guv's office and handed in his resignation. He now works for the feds.

CHIEF TO EXIT?


He is trying to shoot them down, but rumors persist that the days are numbered for ABQ police chief Ray Schultz. Insiders say a federal Department of Justice probe into the many police involved shootings under Schultz's watch is a fait accompli. They also maintain the chief's fate is sealed--that Mayor Berry is going to dump him. The betting line favors Schultz getting out soon. Berry is indicating he will seek re-election in 2013 and that time is drawing too close for comfort. A steady drip of bad news from APD continues.

Schultz's problem is an age old one--he stayed way past his expiration date. He has had the gig since April '05. That's nearly six years. Berry could have replaced Ray in December '09 when everyone was expecting it, but at the urging of former Public Safety Director Darren White and others he kept him in place. Now it's time for damage control and a reshaping of the top management levels at the beleaguered department.

MORE RADIO DAZE

We blogged this week of how Cumulus Media, the new owner of 770 KKOB-AM radio, let go 11 full-time and part-time employees. One of them was local broadcast veteran Art Ortega who was compliance officer for the radio group purchased by Cumulus. That drew this missive from Santa Fe based political and media consultant Chris Brown:

Seasonal political advertising is pure gravy for broadcasters, and Art's absence is likely to cost Cumulus more than they save. Political radio advertising is underused in politics because national consultants do not realize that piling up gross rating points on TV is nauseating the 40% who watch 4 to 9 hours a day while still not reaching the 60% who are doing something else with their time, like listening to radio on the commute, reading the newspaper, or surfing the web.

Old timers will remember that one of Brown's first campaigns was the successful Guv run of Jerry Apodaca back in 1974.

BIG BILL LOOMS

Was Big Bill screwing a state worker (literally) and had her paid $250,000 in hush money, violating campaign finance laws? That's the latest sensational charge that a Federal grand jury is supposedly looking into and one the Wall St. Journal went into heat over this week. The name of the woman Bill was allegedly having hanky-panky with has not been revealed.

The R's are bubbly over this, the fourth grand jury probe of the ex-Guv. They think they would benefit from an indicted Richardson when the 2012 election rolls around. But legal experts say these type of charges are difficult to prove.

If this case were to erupt, the impact could be felt on the leading candidates for Senate and US House, most of whom have close political ties to Bill. Remember, running against Richardson and corruption is a lot easier for the R's than talking about jobs and the economy.

The leaking of this probe could undermine Bill's credibility as a defender and promoter of President Obama--especially among Hispanics. But we would never infer that there is any political skullduggery at the US Attorney's office. Perish the thought!

THE BOTTOM LINES

A friend sends this rib-tickler that is making the Internet rounds:

A driver was stuck in a traffic jam on the highway outside Washington, DC. Nothing was moving. Suddenly, a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls down the window and asks, “What’s going on?”

“Terrorists have kidnapped Congress, and they’re asking for a $100 million dollar ransom. Otherwise, they are going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire.

We are going from car to car, collecting donations.”

“How much is everyone giving, on average?” the driver asks. The man replies, “Roughly a gallon.”

That's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by.

Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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