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Friday, June 07, 2013

The Week That Was: The Political Storm That Blew Across La Politica  

The first tropical storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season is named Andrea and slammed into Florida Friday. We know how they feel. It was our own Andrea--Andrea Goff of Hobbs--the former campaign finance director for Governor Martinez--who set  gale force winds blowing across La Politica last weekend. She came with the stunner that she had been interviewed by federal investigators about the ABQ Downs racino lease.

Whether our Andrea morphs into a political hurricane is the question ahead. The Guv this week worked strenuously to keep everyone focused on emailgate in which her ex-campaign manager was indicted for hijacking her campaign email account. But the Downs story is stubborn. Yet another of Martinez's ex-staffers proclaimed that she too had been interviewed--completely separate from emailgate--about the Downs. We'll have to consult Mark Ronchetti but that sure sounds like we may have two active systems at work...

Remember, the term "emailgate" got that name from yours truly not as a result of the email account being hijacked but because of what was on those emails about government business--including the Downs deal--and how that government business had been conducted out of the public eye--a shadow government.

SAM SLAMMED

Emailgate snared Dem Party Chairman and defense attorney Sam Bregman this week. He was asked if one of the mails from Susana's hijacked account that he had used in the defense of a fired state employee had been stolen. He would not answer. The loquacious Sam Bregman without something to say--and to the media? That may be a first.

Sam's role as a criminal defense attorney was raised as a potential problem when he won the party chairmanship in April and his foes are still pounding the table over it. But in his statement about the email he did condemn the Downs, deal, giving the clear impression that he does not see any problems commenting on that if it becomes the big story that the Dems are hoping it will.

NO WINNERS?

Intense efforts at positioning on emailgate was the focus of the political operatives and partisans this week, but one of the Alligators says both sides didn't look very spiffy as they went about their muddy business:

Is anyone going to win or claim the narrative around the Downs and emailgate controversies? Bregman's statement on emailgate was defensive, off target, strained and puts a pall on his nascent chairmanship. Meanwhile, Governor Martinez takes to Facebook, ripping various second rate players in a very un-Governor way. Hey, Governor, every heard the boxing advice--never fight down, always fight up? Shouldn't she be spending her valuable time on just one of the massive issues we have? Not on political hacks? Man, New Mexico needs some statesmen/stateswomen desperately at this moment. Some adults, that is.

NO WONDER

No wonder a number of Dems who voted for a  corporate tax cut in this year's legislative session are still feeling heat for it:

The wealthiest 1 percent now control 39 percent of the world's wealth, and their share is likely to grow in the coming years, according to a new report. The world's total private wealth grew 7.8 percent last year to $135 trillion, according to the Boston Consulting Group's Global Wealth report. The top 1 percent control $52.8 trillion, and those worth $5 million or more control nearly a quarter of the world's wealth....

ABQ State Senator Linda Lopez, now a Dem candidate for Governor, was among a handful of state Senators who voted against the corporate tax cut. So did State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez who is mulling over a possible Guv bid.

TECO TIME
The news that Florida utility TECO (that's TECO not taco, wiseguys) has made a bid to take over the NM Gas Company could be seen as strengthening the state. The gas company used to be under the umbrella of PNM--the electric utility that is listed on the NYSE. TECO is also a NYSE company with decades of experience in delivering electricity. The current owners of the gas company--a private holding company--bungled badly in 2011 when thousands of New Mexicans were left in frigid cold because of the inability to get gas. PNM and TECO have reputations for reliability--critical for the business they are in. As publicly held companies they have access to the money markets and more transparency since they are stockholder owned. As aging infrastructure needs upgrading, TECO will be able to do it.

However, some analysts think the $950 million TECO is paying for the gas company acquisition is too steep. The state Public Regulation Commission--which must approve the sale--will need to talk with TECO about that. If TECO did pay too much, 500,000 New Mexico gas customers don't need to get stuck with any of the bill.

THE BOTTOM LINES

In the first draft of our Thursday blog, we posted a photo that we identified as attorney Jerry Wertheim and said he was the lawyer for ex-Martinez campaign staffer Anissa Ford. It is Jerry Todd Wertheim--the son of Jerry--who is the Ford attorney. We corrected the error. By the way, former NM Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim is the younger son...That's almost as complicated as emailgate...

That's it for this week. Thanks for tuning in. Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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