Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Speaker Lujan Foe Powers Ahead As State Awaits his Campaign Decision, Plus: A County Coup; Hart Stebbins Ousted, And: The Politics Of A Matanza 

Still no official word on whether powerful NM House Speaker Ben Lujan will run for another two year term this year. But no matter what, Carl Trujillo, the Los Alamos Labs worker who almost ousted Ben in the Dem primary two years ago is back and running hard. The latest fund-raising pitch from his campaign:

This time, we've got six months of campaigning time, and we're confident that we can win. We will have the same professional level of team on board as in 2010. We are currently in the process of launching our campaign officially -- developing the message and graphics, hiring staff and setting up our campaign office,and putting together our volunteer lists for our initial petition drive--and we expect a formal launch in mid-January.

Speaker Lujan has been coy about his re-election plans. He was nicked bdly by Trujillo who lost to Lujan by less than 90 votes. The rumor mill constantly swirls with different versions of what the Speaker will decide or has decided. All we can do now is wait for the man himself to tell us. It shouldn't be long.

Who would replace Lujan as Speaker in 2013, if he decides to retire? The insider betting line is still on Kenny Martinez of Grants, despite his ill-fated coup attempt of Lujan a number of years ago. Also making the tipsters sheets is House Education Committee Chairman Rick Miera, more of a long shot But hold on to your bandannas. What if the R's were to take over the House in the 2012 election? Would current House Minority Leader Tom Taylor automatically be picked to wield the Speaker's gavel? You tell us.


What did GOP Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson get for supporting Dem Commissioner Art De La Cruz for commission chairman Tuesday and in the process ousting Dem Maggie Hart-Stebbins? That was the question the Alligators were asking in the wake of the county coup.

It's no secret that De La Cruz was unhappy with Maggie. She pushed an ethics ordinance through and spearheaded the drive to dump controversial County Manager Thaddeus Lucero. De La Cruz is an old style Valley deal maker so it's no surprise that the Alligators were wondering about Johnson's movida with Art (Will Thaddeus now return to the county?)

Johnson was joined by De La Cruz and gadfly Republican Michael Wiener to take the prize. Michael was no surprise, but Johnson was.

As for Maggie, one of her supporters opined of the coup: "That's what you get for trying to bring county government into the 21st century."

Also of note, Hart Stebbins opposed a proposed West Side shopping center that is close to the heart of Art. We're just saying....


Our insiders were on the cell phones Monday night saying that longtime ABQ mid-NE Heights Dem State Rep. Danice Picraux, a professional educator, is ending her two decade run at the Roundhouse and that Christine Trujillo, president of the American Federation of Teachers here, will seek the Dem nomination to replace her.

Friends say Picraux, 65, has had health issues and after 22 years at the Roundhouse is ready to spend more time with her grandchildren. She was once House Majority Whip and was first elected in 1990. The seat favors a Dem, but a strong Republican, my analysts say, could have an outside chance at the upset.


From State Corrections Secretary-designate Gregg Marcantel:

...Cristina Rodda (is) the new Public Information Director for the Corrections Department. She began...in late December. Ms. Rodda (has) seven years experience in television news as a reporter, anchor and producer. She spent two years at KOB in ABQ, and five years at KDBC in El Paso. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso...

These state jobs are still appealing to the media set. They pay decently and have good benefits.
The AP"s Tim Korte is another reporter who went to the "dark side" and joined the Martinez spin crew. But the ship jumping has been nothing like it was under former Guv Big Bill. He created new PIO positions and had enough of them--about two dozen- to start his own newspaper. Under Martinez, some of the PIO posts have been consolidated. There are now about 16 communications positions--still a bunch. The pay is in the $75,000 range.

And speaking of PIO's, Andy Lenderman, a onetime political reporter for the ABQ Journal who went to work for former Governor Anaya when he headed the state's office of Recovery and Investment, is now spinning for Bernalillo County. He replaces Breanna Anderson who took a PIO post with the City of ABQ.


Steve Pearce must really want to be a native of New Mexico badly, Why else would the southern GOP Congressman come with this in a recent newsletter:

The 100 year anniversary of our great state is a very special time to celebrate the history of New Mexico. Personally, New Mexico has always been my home. I was raised in Hobbs, attended New Mexico public schools, graduated from New Mexico Universities, and have raised my family here in New Mexico. What has always been apparent to me is how heritage and culture not only surround our everyday interactions, but truly defines who we are.

Pearce was born in Lamesa, Texas August 24, 1947. He came to Hobbs when he was a little kid. but you would never know it,
would you?


A reader writes:

Hi Joe, Bookworks in the ABQ North Valley is having an event with former State Rep. and State Senator Pauline Eisenstadt for her new book, "A Woman in Both Houses," on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. The book looks great. Pauline has lots of interesting NM political tidbits to share....

Colóns Chicharrone paddle
An insider has the details on the politics behind the "Matanza Crisis" that struck the Valencia County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce when its annual pig roast was put on hold because of USDA rules:

The USDA has agreed to allow us to hold our annual matanza, after all. State Sen. Michael Sanchez tells us he pulled some favors. Of course, it didn't hurt that our story was on the front page of the ABQ Journal and made all five TV news outlets. For now, we're in a holding pattern as to whether we can have the matanza this year. Because we cancelled the January 28 date, it's too soon to pull off the event so we have chosen to have the matanza on the February 25.

Unfortunately, someone has already booked the Sheriff's Posse Fairgrounds in Belen for that Saturday. We are currently working with the organizer to see if he's willing to switch dates with us to allow us to hold the event...

Let's look on the bright side, we can't stand standing in the cold and munching on wind-blown chicharrones that chill out and dry in a flash from the frigid January air. The USDA pulled a boner by coming down on the matanza, but moving the event to a warmer month is doing all of us cold weather warriors a big favor. Putting those pigs in the ground on February 25 is just fine.

Heck, we'll even make sure native New Yorker and former NM Dem Party Chairman Brian Colón who grew up in Valencia County doesn't bring that objectionable metal chicharrone paddle he tried to pawn off as the real deal when he ran for lieutenant governor in 201o. Wooden paddles only, Brian. Viva Matanza!

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