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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Political Faces Celebrate Holiday, Plus: No Break From State's Gloomy Jobs News, And: Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico! 

Padilla, McSorley, Wirth, Candelaria & Sanchez
Here's a group that's ready for some holiday celebrating. The five are all Dem State Senators or Senators-elect and coming off  election wins. And even though the R's picked up three seats in the November balloting, the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats--25 to 17.

Three of the five Senators pictured here will be going to Santa Fe for the first time--ABQ's Michael Padilla, Jacob Candelaria and Clemente Sanchez of Grants.

Because of many legislative retirements and some election defeats, longtime observers say it has been years since we have seen so many new faces in the House and Senate. Maybe some one can make a buck selling all of them maps of the Roundhouse.

This week Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez affirmed his decision to again seek that leadership post and not make a run for Senate President Pro Tem. So who will be Pro Tem--the post that has major influence over what committees Senators sit on? Well, that appears to be turning into a free for all, with at least a half-dozen Senators said to be entertaining a bid. It will give our group of five pictured here plenty to talk about after they polish off their turkey dinners tomorrow.

SAME STORY

The gloomy economic news that has enveloped New Mexico for several years is taking no holiday break. The state says the jobless rate in October was down to 6.3%. That's down from 7.2% a year ago but the Great Jobs Bleed continues:

The rate of over-the-year job growth, comparing October 2012 with October 2011, was negative 0.7 percent, representing a loss of 5,900 jobs....The professional and business services industry reported the loss of 3,400 jobs, and construction reported a loss of 1,300 jobs over the year.  Government employment registered a net loss of 4,500 jobs since last year, with job losses reported at the state and federal levels.  State government reported employment levels that were 3,800 jobs lower than last year.  Federal government reported employment that was down 1,400 jobs.  

The rate at which we are shedding government jobs is alarming--and there is no way to put private sector jobs on line fast enough to replace them, especially since jobs remain tight in many areas of the nation.

This is the longest and most fearsome decline in good-paying jobs in modern state history.

The jobs decline means less revenue going into ABQ city coffers. The newspaper this week confirmed our blog report of a while back that noted gross receipts tax collection in the city are down nearly 1% for the first four months of the budget year. City officials were hoping for a 2.9% year-over-year increase. We are on track to run a shortfall of about $10 million for the budget year that ends next June 30.

Will the mayor's race next year be about the jobs recession here or will the super PAC's come in and we get more on who is tougher on child killers?

COPS AND JUSTICE

The next mayoral race also needs a heavy dose of debate over the condition and culture at the ABQ Police Department. Retired APD Seargent Dan Klein who monitors developments for us comes with his reaction to a police union poll recently conducted of over 450 officers. 99% of them say morale at APD is low, 18% believe the Department of Justice should investigate the department, something numerous relatives of police shooting victims have been calling for. Here's Klein:

I can't stress enough my concern that dozens of APD officers want to see the Department of Justice  step in due to corruption. This is a part of the survey that cannot, and should not be ignored.  Cops know corruption and when you have 20% of this poll (some 80 officers) stating that the DOJ needs to step in at APD something is really wrong.  This part of the survey should be sending up red flags at the US Attorney general office, the DA Office, the NM Attorney General, the FBI and law enforcement all over the state.  

When you have this many Albuquerque cops saying there is corruption on their police department, the public and our leaders would do well to start listening.  We ignore this at our own peril (New Orleans comes to mind). I have never heard of APD cops wishing for the DOJ to step in.  Something appears to be very wrong at APD.  To ignore 20% of this survey is to stick our heads in the sand.

The poll also said 80 percent of those surveyed disapprove of the job APD Chief Ray Schultz is doing with 95% percent disapproving of how the mayor is leading the police force.

That raises the question of whether Schultz will still be around when the mayoral campaign heats up next year.

FOURTH FLOOR SHUFFLE

Gov. Martinez general counsel Jessica Hernandez has moved over to a deputy chief of staff job vacated this week. A deputy slot was recently vacated by Ryan Cangiolosi. We blogged this week that other staff changes are apparently coming in the Guv's office, including the departures of Scot and Alexis Valdez Darnell. He's the communications director. She's the Guv's director of operations. With Jessica trading out for the deputy chief slot, the Guv will be getting a new attorney to advise her.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

This is our 10th Thanksgiving on the blog. We didn't think that would happen, but we're thankful for it. We're also thankful that the system of checks and balances in our government continues to operate, albeit at times inefficiently.

And we're thankful for the First Amendment that makes possible web sites like this. That's not the case for much of this planet. We remember that on this and every Thanksgiving.

It is a privilege and an honor to come into your daily life, one we never take for granted. Thanks for your continuing interest and support.

Hope you have some time for yourself and your family this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico!

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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