Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Glimpse Of Secret NM Koch Brothers Meet Surfaces, Plus: National Unions Not Targeting Susana Yet, And: Inside Intel: Is Rio Rancho Site In Peril? Former Insider Makes The Case That New Mexico Needs To Know 

Orlando and Ryan
It was one of the secret meetings of high-profile political figures in state history and remains so. But this month's summit held by the very conservative and very rich Koch brothers at the Hyatt Tamaya resort in Bernallio is getting a smidgen of public exposure. Here's a pic posted on Facebook by Amy Orlando, the former Dona Ana County district attorney, enjoying the event with defeated 2012 GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Orlando is a good friend of Governor Martinez. She lost her DA re-election bid last year and now works for the state Children Youth and Families Department.

Martinez also attended the Koch meeting, as did House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. But no news about what they said has leaked out.

The Kochs bought out the entire posh Hyatt resort to ensure their privacy for the event. And how was your summer vacation?


State Dems better get busy if they want to generate out-of-state interest in mounting a serious campaign against Susana:

AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer said that the unrelenting state of gridlock in Washington means that state elections will likely have a greater impact on real people’s lives than federal elections. He named six Republican governors at the top of the AFL-CIO target list: Rick Scott of Florida, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Paul LePage of Maine, John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania.

The announced Dem Guv candidates are Attorney General Gary King and ABQ State Senator Linda Lopez. Still weighing their options are Senators Michael Sanchez and Joe Cervantes.

On the GOP side Martinez is not expected to face a primary challenge, but there has been chatter about Allen Weh making a long shot bid against her if the news breaks against the Guv.


A friend of Lt. Governor John Sanchez tells us Sanchez and Martinez--who have had a rocky relationship--recently had a lunch at which Martinez assured Sanchez that she wants them to again run as a team. Randy Baker, who is a vice-president with DRB electric in the South Valley, has been tossing around the idea of challenging Sanchez for the GOP Light Guv nod. DRB is owned by Baker's wife. The couple has close ties to Martinez.

Does this news of the peace lunch put an end to Baker's pondering? (Here's our November report on a possible Baker challenge).


Now more of our continuing coverage on the situation at Intel, located at Rio Rancho. With 3,300 employees it remains one of the state's largest private sector employees, despite being downsized from 5,500 employees. But in today's analysis we learn that the future of Intel may be much more precarious than media reports have indicated. Much more.

 One of our Alligators is a former Intel employee. He tells us what he thinks is really going on inside Intel and what citizens and policy makers alike need to know: 

That report the ABQ Journal featured on Intel recently is spin from the company's US corporate affairs office. That office is headed by former New Mexico politico Diana Daggett. She was the campaign manager for Sen. Pete Domenici's re-election efforts in 1990 and 1996.

Daggett, who now works in Oregon, knows NM  well and knows how to manipulate public opinion in order to convince the public, government officials and Intel's 3,300  employees here that everything is hunky dory, even though she and other senior executives must know that the NM site is in grave jeopardy.

Why is the company putting a big spin on the idea that producing chipsets vs. the high end microprocessors it formerly manufactured is nothing to be concerned about? Because Intel lobbied for the single sales factor that passed in the 2013 legislative session so it could lower product costs--not necessarily to position NM for a new factory.

If legislators--Democratic ones in particular--wise up to what's really happening in Rio Rancho, then the company runs the risk of having them turn on Intel. Those running the NM public affairs shop needed the political cover that only groups like the ABQ Chamber of Commerce and Association of Commerce and Industry could provide (Intel only recently rejoined the ABQ Chamber after years of being on the sidelines).

Intel Rio Rancho is producing commodity, low margin products where factory cost of production mean everything to its survival. If the site cannot attract another high-end process (read, microprocessors), then the tombstone for the site is already being chiseled.

Daggett is fond of telling audiences that the cost of building a new factory overseas is often billions of dollars less than in the US. That is a not so subtle reminder to state governments that they better put up billions in corporate subsidies (some might call it corporate welfare) in order to be competitive with Ireland, Israel and now China--or else they will get nothing. Arizona and Oregon have happily obliged.

The question is whether or not former Intel public affairs veterans Jon Barela and Barbara Brazil who are now running the New Mexico economic development department can convince the Martinez administration and Sandoval County to put up the money that's needed to bring back the glory days of the 1990's. However, no one believes they can deliver since they already showed what they think of "subsidies" given to the film industry.

And another reason for Intel to look away from NM?  The newly appointed CEO got his start as an engineer in one of NM's fabs and he knows all too well the hassles of dealing with Intel NM's neighbors in Corrales and anti-Intel environmental groups.

The so-called “single sales factor” for manufacturers allows corporate taxes to be levied only on their sales in NM, rather than an average of sales, payroll and property.

As for that informed insider missive, it has us on high-alert when it comes to Intel and New Mexico.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2013. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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