Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Manny And Pete: Together Forever? Plus: National Pundits Taking First Look at '14 Guv Race, Also: Readers React To Villanucci Ouster & Debating Dinelli 

Manny Aragon
Pete Domenici
Okay, we have a solution for all the critics of former Senator Pete Domenici who want his name removed from the ABQ federal courthouse.

They say so because during his first term in the Senate he fathered an illegitimate son with the daughter of a fellow Senator (It was a a secret he kept from the public for nearly 35 years).

Remember when former Dem State Senator Manny Aragon was indicted and convicted on corruption charges? They removed his name from the torreĆ³n at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, satisfying a public outraged at his misdeeds.

 Now, fathering an illegitimate child and covering it up are not infractions that rise to the level of the serious allegations against Manny, but the critics insist they should not be over looked.

In the interest of brokering a compromise between Dems and R's we hereby propose to the presiding federal judge in New Mexico that the ABQ courthouse henceforth be known as:

"The Manny Domenici United States Courthouse."

Now everyone is happy, right? (We are kidding, aren't we?)


The national pundits are taking their first glance at the 2014 NM Guv's race and while they see Republican Susana in a strong position, the race is not one you shut the door on. University of Virgina forecaster Larry Sabato explains:

Gov. Martinez is a Hispanic Republican governor in a state that Obama won in both 2008 and 2012. But over the last few years, the Land of Enchantment has moved more sharply in a Democratic direction (though it did elect Martinez in the 2010 national Republican wave), making it less safe for a Republican incumbent at the statewide level...

Perhaps in recognition of this fact, Martinez recently came out in favor of a Democrat-sponsored bill that requires background checks at gun shows in New Mexico, winning plaudits from progressives. It appears that Attorney General Gary King (D), the son of former New Mexico Gov. Bruce King (D), will probably challenge Martinez. He may or may not get a clear shot at the Democratic nomination. While New Mexico has become bluer, Martinez is still a relatively popular incumbent, so this race is "likely Republican."

King has announced his candidacy, but no other big name Dems have shown interest yet in challenging Martinez. Her approval rating in a recent poll done in ABQ for former Lt. Governor Denish puts the Guv's approval rating in the city of ABQ at 66%. But that's before anyone has really made a run at her.


Why is Santa Fe trying to fund 98% of the "unfunded liability" of the pension program for state workers known as PERA? Most professional bean counters say satisfying 80% of the future payments owed is satisfactory and sound financial policy. Maybe the numbers in the proposed reform legislation have changed since we last checked, but if they haven't we appear to be going too far.

Implementing changes that are meant to fund almost every cent that will be paid out to state employees decades down the road makes for higher costs for both today's employees and their employer--the taxpayers. Is it necessary for us today to worry about all the pennies in the state retirement checks of 2050? Will key lawmakers in this deal look at this? Can't future generations be expected to take care of 20% of the problem?


From the Rothenberg Political Report in DC:

...Ben Ray Lujan represents the lowest percentage of Hispanics of any Latino Democrat in Congress.  His Santa Fe-based district in northern New Mexico has a Hispanic voting age population of 36 percent.

Lujan's district is also 20% Native American.


Is ABQ police chief Ray Schultz about to take a permanent break? Speculation runs rampant as GOP Mayor Berry begins his re-election campaign. ABQ GOP State Rep. Bill Rehm threw fuel on the fire when he made this statement on Schultz at a state House committee hearing:

I think the chief is on his way out

Interesting statement from a Republican. Bill is retired from law enforcement so his statement was an eyebrow raiser.


A reader chimed in here Monday that despite the high approval ratings of Republican ABQ Mayor RJ Berry, the '13 mayoral race could still be Dem Pete Dinelli's to lose. Pushback on that statement today--and from another Dem:

There is no magical "Dem money machine" to come to Dinelli's aid in a publicly-financed race. If there was, wouldn't they have organized behind a more viable candidate? There may be some 3rd party interest in growing Berry's negatives and making the race easier for Pete, but if Pete wants them to come into the race, he needs to show them something. Develop a real campaign team, get a message, spend your money wisely, get key leaders behind you and then you've got a campaign someone might take an interest in, but otherwise Pete is sitting watching the sand run out of the hourglass.

Dinelli will get $362,000 if he qualifies for public financing. Berry has decided to opt out of public financing. Educated guessers expect him to spend considerably more than that and also have third party financial support. 


Our report on the ouster of longtime KKOB-AM radio talk show host Jim Villanucci had readers reacting. Here's a sample:

When KKOB AM became "KGOP" with its divisive and right wing programming it alientated a large segment of the metro audience who used to tune in to the one time community station for pleasant, iconic personalities, music, news, weather, traffic and sports. Villanucci was an overrated, monotoned wanna be.  Radio as we knew it went in the crapper when Ronald Reagan deregulated it.  The nice, locally-owned radio stations were gobbled up by greedy conglomerates who could give a rat's rear about about the community--they were interested only in the bottom line. KKOB benefitted from hate talk, but I'm glad Villanucci is gone and that their ratings are dropping.

Another reader came with a different angle:

It came across that he was getting tired of the grind and format, but I still liked him and continued to listen. Villanucci did bring a forum for all to participate, left, right, center, and was good at keeping a balance. He did not come across as a wing nut of either stripe.  I wish him well and much success. 14 years is a long run in anything, and he was probably ready for a change. 


From Jay Leno:

Gas is so expensive, today I saw Bill O'Reilly and Bill Maher carpooling 

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