Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kenny Martinez Steps It Up: Probable Future House Speaker Seeks High-Dollar Donors, Plus: A Third Choice For The Open Senate Seat, And: Our Continuing Coverage Of The ABQ Bear Market 

Rep. Ken Martinez
Santa Fe lobbyists check in with the news that State Rep. Kenny Martinez, the current House Majority Leader, is making it no secret that the thinks he will be the next Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives. They point to a recent fund-raising pitch by Martinez of Grants that has a price tag for the event that tops out at $5,000.

Martinez, first elected in 1998, says the money is for his Majority Leader Fund, but insiders say the large amount he is asking for signals that he is preparing to take the helm from longtime Speaker Ben Lujan who will retire at the end of the year. We asked one of our Senior Alligators in Santa Fe for the exclusive insight on where Kenny is headed:

He will move the House further to the left than Ben. He is a trial attorney and that will show. There is also a lingering question about how close he will be to the Martinez administration..."

At the end of June Martinez's majority leader fund reported a $60,000 balance. His personal campaign account totaled $29,000. He is unopposed for re-election this November.

The Dems are expected to keep the narrowly divided state House under their control by a vote or two when the 2013 legislative session begins. That's the opinion of most of the top experts we consulted. Among House Dems we have quizzed, there is little if any opposition to crowning Martinez speaker. Oldtimers will remember that Kenny's father, Walter, held the Speaker's gavel back in the 70's.

The question of how Kenny Martinez will work with Susana Martinez has insider Dems watching carefully. They point out that Martinez had close ties to former Roswell State Rep. and GOP firebrand Dan Foley. Martinez chief of staff Keith Gardner is also a former Roswell state rep. These Dems also note his tight relationship with Dem State Rep. Al Park who jumped into bed with the Martinez administration when his law firm got a contract from the administration that was worth over $600,000 a year. Park lost a primary bid for a Public Regulation Commission seat.

While Speaker Lujan has been a down-the-line party man, Martinez still has to prove that he is as dedicated and not ready to wheel and deal too much with Susana or her minions. If he does, it won't stay secret for long. Don't say we didn't tell you...


There's a third choice for voters in the race for the state's open US Senate seat--at least voters who fancy themselves conservative. Jon Barrie says he has been certified as an independent candidate and will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, along with Republican Heather Wilson and Democrat Martin Heinrich. Barrie, 69, a Vietnam Veteran worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, moved to ABQ three years ago. His campaign chief of staff is Melanie Hyland and she comes with this:

The Independent American Party and the Independent American party of New Mexico are proud to announce a true American patriot and freedom fighter, Jon Barrie, as the next U.S. Senator from New Mexico. Jon will be on the ballot under the Independent American Party. This is the first time in 16 years that anyone from this party has been on the ballot. This has been an incredible up-hill struggle, as any third party candidate must gather over twice as many signatures as the other parties combined to be on the ballot, but we managed this with only a few dedicated volunteers. Jon is running a true grassroots campaign, with limited resources at hand, battling the two giant parties with (seemingly) unlimited funding...

Barrie's pitch goes like this:

The framers of the Constitution knew that if government was left unchecked, it would lead to the demise of our personal freedoms and tear down the Republic that was so carefully created. Washington, D.C. is involved in all aspects of transportation, energy, food, farming, education, medicine, etc. Most of these areas are unconstitutional. I will introduce legislation to repeal or eliminate unconstitutional laws and regulations, and reduce or close down federal agencies—large and small. When our government is reduced to its’ constitutional size, there will be no need for the exorbitant taxes forced upon us. I will work to repeal all unconstitutional tax laws...

The conservative/libertarian Barrie can be seen on Facebook. He says if he is elected to the Senate he will donate half his salary to help children with disabilities in New Mexico in honor of his son--a special needs child--who passed away at the age of 10.


The office vacancy rate in the ABQ metro is now pushing a Depression-level 19%. And that splash of cold water is finally getting the biz community to give up on the spin and deal with reality. An example:

A sustained period of job growth is needed before you see better things in the office market,” Terri Dettweiler of commercial real estate firm CBRE told the Journal. 

But the state's top political leaders rarely mention the jobs debacle here and the crushing impact it is having on business. Read on.....


Pete Dinelli
Former ABQ City Councilor and ABQ Public Safety Director Pete Dinelli says he is testing the waters for a 2013 mayoral run. The ABQ attorney comes with his first take on ABQ's sagging economy:

Did you notice that in the Sunday Journal article "Hispanic Jobless Rate Grim" there was not a single quote or observation of concern made by Mayor Richard Berry or Governor Martinez? The article reported an 11.3% jobless rate for Hispanics in Albuquerque and 8.2% statewide. In January, Albuquerque had a overall unemployment rate of 7.6%. The last sentence in the Journal article quoted  Hispano Chamber of Commerce CEO Alex Romero as saying "Its a leadership issue".  Talk about an understatement and a very sad one indeed.  Albuquerque keeps "bleeding jobs" and fails to attract any new industry and  fails in  economic development efforts. But we sure are going to have a pretty looking convention center, albeit an empty one at that,  after $20 million in renovations. Every one blames Obama nationally for the poor economy, but our Mayor and Governor are absolutely silent on what they are doing and have accomplished as far as job creation in Albuquerque and in New Mexico. But then again their silence reflects what they are doing.   

Thanks for that, Pete. It is indeed baffling that the Mayor of Albuquerque and Governor Martinez were AWOL in that article, but when it comes to jobs that's been par for the course. They don't talk about them and the mainstream media does not press them.

But we do. Our Bear Market coverage continues with this reader contribution from Melissa Torres:

What the heck is Susanna Martinez doing to keep/create jobs in New Mexico?  I know that it takes a collective effort between the administration and the legislature to make good things happen, but she has shown no leadership on this issue. She hasn't even put forward a worthy jobs proposal that the legislature can get behind.  How can we move New Mexico in a direction that is going to be positive for local economies if our own Governor is silent on jobs? She seems to be more concerned with helping her political cronies, attending dog and pony show press events, and implementing an education plan that has no chance of being successful...

I am so frustrated with this Governor and all my neighbors are too. Susanna promised a new day for New Mexico, but it seems things are getting even worse. I know the Republican faithful say that government can't create jobs but I think most people disagree. Between her pushing the movie industry out of the state and her ill will towards state and federal spending, I see no hope for our economy here in New Mexico. Please help your fellow New Mexican's share their frustrations and shed some light on her silence on this issue.

Appreciate that, Melissa. We will continue to hold the politicos feet to the fire on the jobs front, even as they try to ignore the jobs crisis and accuse us of being partisan. We aren't and our track record of applying heat to the previous Democratic administration on economic issues proves it, We're for putting New Mexicans back to work and want to see those in power get to work--whether they be Democrat, Republican or Green.

Along those lines, this from the AP:

Gov. Martinez's administration says it's implementing an online system that should speed up state approval of architectural and construction plans. The governor and Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent J. Dee Dennis said that architects, designers and contractors can electronically submit their plans to the state Construction Industries Division rather than sending them by mail or having them hand-delivered....

Good move, Guv, but what we need now is some construction projects to speed up. In the past, you have proposed a bigger capital outlay bill than the Senate Dems. Could you do that again--and soon?

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