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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Susana And Bobby Jindal Have Something In Common, Plus: The Jobs Crunch Finally Getting Some Attention; New Presidents Of ABQ Council & UNM In Front, Plus: Readers Write Of The Real ID Panic 

Welcome back. Let's head out to the Tuesday blogging trail...

Looks like Governor Susana isn't the only one with an emailgate on her hands. Another GOP Governor has been busted for plotting public policy off the grid and on private email accounts:

Top officials in Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration used personal email accounts to craft a media strategy for imposing hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid cuts--a method of communication that can make it more difficult to track under public records laws despite Jindal's pledge to bring more transparency to state government. 

Emails reviewed by The Associated Press reveal that non-state government email addresses were used dozens of times by state officials to communicate last summer about a public relations offensive for making $523 million in health care cuts. Those documents weren't provided to AP in response to a public records request.

Here in our enchanted land, Gov. Martinez was forced to tell her top officials to stop communicating strategy and policy via private email accounts when widespread conniving via private email over the lease for the Downs at ABQ and other official business was disclosed.

That lease is now under investigation by the attorney general and state auditor.

DOING SOMETHING

Council President Lewis
You might not hear much about it, but there is pressure around here to do something about the dismal jobs situation. While neighboring states and cities add employment, ABQ and New Mexico languish and continue to bleed jobs. The lack of leadership has been yawning, but now the new president of the ABQ City Council is stepping up and putting the city's long list of economic woes on the front-burner. From Government Center:

Councilor President Dan Lewis has asked the Administration to provide the Council a monthly economic development report from the Chief Administrative Officer, the Economic Development Department and/or the City Planning Department at the first Council meeting of every month beginning in January. The Council will dedicate time at the second meeting of the month to discuss economic development issues with various groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, ABQ Economic Development, and the University of New Mexico Business and Economic research.

That looks like a start. As we've noted repeatedly, the city's economic and political elites have been playing "see no evil, speak no evil" when it comes to this epic economic downturn that has reshaped the city--and not for the better.

We are also wondering if and when anyone is going to start working with the state's congressional delegation to prevent major cuts to the state's defense and energy establishment. Couldn't the Legislature start that, if the Guv continues her reluctance to get involved? Councilor Lewis may also want a piece of that pie...

It should be noted that Lewis, like Mayor Berry, is a Republican, but Lewis does not march lockstep with the 11th Floor--following an oft neglected tradition of independence and nonpartisanship on the nine member panel.

The GOP-controlled City Council has been so sleepy that we've even waited to blog about the newest member of the council--businesswoman Roxanne Myers--who Mayor Berry appointed to replace Dem Debbie O'Malley who was elected to the Bernalillo County Commission. So what about it? Well, she's a Republican appointee to a Dem seat encompassing the liberal North Valley and Old Town and if she runs to keep it next October she will lose it. Okay, what's next?

UNM DOINGS

UNM President Frank
Change is not happening fast enough for critics of the University of New Mexico. They'd like to see some new leadership faces along side that of new UNM President Robert Frank. But the new Prez has not replaced any high-profile names like VP David Harris or Athletic Director Pual Krebs. The message that the status quo will continue has not been comforting.

However, Frank--like Councilor Lewis--is making some useful noise about the city's #1 problem:

Frank said he will send a team of University administrators to the University of Florida at Gainesville to study the university’s business zone, which surrounds the institution. He said he plans to erect a similar business zone, which would contain dormitories and retail stores surrounding UNM, in the future. “The idea is to start a community that grows and becomes a home for all so you won’t leave here to go to San Francisco and start your company,” he said. “We need to make this a hub for businesses.”

President Frank and Councilor Lewis are two leaders now openly discussing the jobs crisis here. Talk about a small club.

DOYLE DUNNED

David Doyle, the ABQ state rep who ran for the Senate against Dem John Sapien and lost, is the subject of this scorcher making the rounds and authored by syndicated columnist Milan Simonich. Put your gloves on, this one is too hot to handle:

In the House, you carped when bills you favored did not zip right through. You wanted to run for home during the special legislative session of 2011 because you were unhappy with the Democrats. They had to fight to keep the session alive long enough to pass a public works bill. That bill put people in your industry--construction--to work. But you did not want to stick around long enough to finish it. Mr. Doyle, you were a grown man acting like a petulant boy who just got schooled in a game of one on one. Instead of competing harder, you took your ball and went home. By the way, exactly where is your home, Mr. Doyle? You say Corrales for purposes of elections, but there was good evidence that you were living in Albuquerque this fall, miles outside the Senate district you say you should represent. On Friday, you were at it again, shamelessly trying to change the result of the state Senate election that you lost in November. Mr. Doyle, you are a man who complains about too much government. But now you want a judge to void the voters' decision and elevate you to first place.

That's what called holding a politicos feet to the fire.

IT'S PACHECO

From the AP:

The state Canvassing Board has made it official that Republican Paul Pacheco won a recount for an Albuquerque-area seat in the state House of Representatives. The board on Monday certified the recount results, which showed Pacheco defeating Democrat Marci Blaze by 78 votes. That’s up from a 66-vote margin before the recount. The district covers parts of Sandoval and Bernalillo counties.


We were pleased to meet Marci Blaze. She is a bright light and maybe we'll see more of her. We've known Pacheco for a number of years. He's dedicated. The tough campaign Blaze gave him may help make him a better state rep.

REAL ID PANIC

Reader reaction to the media panic over the Real ID deadline and Governor Martinez's role in it comes in after we blogged of it Monday. How the public can be told that they are going to need a passport to get on a plane if they are from New Mexico is beyond our analytical skills and more a commentary on the disarray in some corners of the media these days and the Governor's ability to take advantage of it.  From reader Mark Michel:

Governor Martinez’s participation in the airport ID phony crisis is unbelievably irresponsible.  Hundreds, maybe thousands of New Mexicans are being needlessly panicked by all this misinformation coming from the local TV media and our governor.  Outrageous!

From a judge who wishes to remain anonymous:

I believe all the law requires is proof of citizenship. How about a check box on the license that says: "citizen" or "non-citizen?" That way no one needs to panic.

Reader Ray Rodgers came with this:

It is curious that no one (news media) has quoted from the actual noncompliance report from the feds. I worked for over 15 years with federal grants and compliance issues with the state. I'm sure there is correspondence between the state and the feds regarding the areas of noncompliance. I'm suspicious that there are other issues beyond driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. But is seems no one in the news media is asking to see the facts.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Former New Mexico GOP Chairman John Lattauzio writes:

Joe, I believe it appropriate to mention the passing of a great lady, Dorothy Thomas. Dorothy was a devoted mother, friend, neighbor, political ally, confidant, and a good citizen. She managed Congressman's Joe Skeen's offices in Las Cruces professionally; delivering excellent service to all. She will be sorely missed. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family and all who loved her. I will miss my friend.

Thomas died Nov. 28. She was 77.

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