Tuesday, November 12, 2013

'14 Legislative Session To See Another Battle Over Early Childhood Amendment; Sen. Sapien Pressured For Support, Plus: A Wire Over White Sands Becomes Dividing Line In Political Battle, And: Some Dems Resent Susana Saying They Are Cozy With Her 

There will be another battle in the January legislative session over a measure that supporters say would attack the state's last in the nation ranking in child well-being but opponents argue would raid the state's permanent savings.

The intensity of that battle can be seen on this billboard on I-25 near Bernalillo. It puts the heat on Dem State Senator John Sapien, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, who has joined with Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith in opposing a constitutional amendment that would allow funds from the state's Permanent Fund to be invested in early childhood programs. That fund now totals well over $16 billion.

Smith, a Deming Democrat,  who has blocked his committee from voting on the amendment, has also been targeted by backers of the measure with mailers and radio spots going into his district, The ad was paid for by the NM Center for Civic Policy a nonprofit progressive advocacy group that does not have to disclose its donors.

The constitutional amendment requires approval of both the House and Senate, but not the Governor. If it passed both, it would be placed before New Mexico voters in November.

The amendment is seen as picking up some momentum since the Annie E Casey Foundation found that the state is dead last in the nation in child well-being.

Conservative foes of the amendment are also turning up the heat. A group called the NM Business Coalition comes with this:

The relentless drive. . . to raid the state permanent fund, under the guise of improving education, can get confusing. That’s why the NMBC is pleased to announce that Mark Meckler will attempt to answer the question, “Why do people who want to raid the Permanent Fund dislike children so much?”

We know Mr. Meckler is a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, but we did not know he possessed psychoanalytic abilities. Imagine, thousands of New Mexicans support this amendment, but in reality they secretly despise the little ones! Well, like they told us a long time ago--an "expert" is anyone who isn't from New Mexico.


The state's water woes appear to be in line for some serious discussion at the '14 legislative session

Gov. Martinez may add water issues to the agenda. . . Having water issues added to the call is welcomed by state Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, who has criticized past sessions for not passing serious legislation to resolve water issues as the prolonged drought has worsened.
Now the stakes are serious for farmers, users of Rio Grande water north of Elephant Butte Reservoir and the state’s finances, Cervantes said, because Texas is suing New Mexico in the U.S. Supreme Court because of pumping to make up for the meager river flow.


Why all the brouhaha over running an electricity transmission line through a portion of the White Sands Missile Range?

Near hysteria has broken out over the possibility, with some of the more shrill critics arguing that the state could even lose White Sands if the line were to go in.

It all smacks of a tempest in a teapot. The line--which would transport electricity to Southwestern markets--has provoked debate over whether it endangers national security, but there is far from any consensus.

Still, White Sands would prefer to have it their way and have the current transmission route rejected, even though at their insistence the route has already been moved several times because of concerns that it might interfere with missile testing.

The line is being proposed by SunZia and would transport electricity generated from wind and solar energy in eastern New Mexico. Estimates vary on how many jobs it would create, but it would be a step toward diversifying the state's economy. Which brings us to our good friends at White Sands...

New Mexico has been more than a good neighbor to White Sands and the feds have reciprocated. But in this new era, federal defense spending is destined to be reduced, forcing New Mexico to look to other ways to boost our economy and provide the jobs of the future.

Can't the US Army and White Sands give us a helping hand in return for the decades of unquestioned support we have given them and will give them in the future?

Senator Heinrich, an engineer who served on the House Armed Services Committee, is among those who say the line poses no threat to the range and is seeking a compromise.

White Sands and New Mexico have always worked together to the benefit of the state and nation. Are we going to let a power line disrupt that valuable connection?


If the early back and forth is any sign we are going to have a very spirited battle next year for secretary of state. Supporters of incumbent GOP SOS Dianna Duran and those of Dem contender Maggie Toulouse Oliver continue to trade bards on the blog. Here's Kimothy Sparks responding to a Friday comment by a Toulouse Oliver backer:

The supporter of Dem Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver seems to believe that former Secretary of State Mary Herrera's "self implosion" had no effect on New Mexico. Herrera's "self implosion" was. . . a total violation to the public's trust. . . Secretary Duran has cleaned up Herrera's mess. . . At the same time, she has sought to validate registered "citizen" voters of New Mexico with the voter rolls. There is no "witch hunt," just a valid attempt to assure that New Mexico elections are fair and honest. Something that this Democrat supporter of Oliver is afraid of happening in order to keep the long line of corrupt elections, candidates, and office holders firmly implanted in La Politica.


If you follow New Mexico politics closely, you know there's very little to Governor Martinez's claim that she works well with Democrats.

Her PAC has bashed the daylights out of them ever since she took office. Her legislative achievements with the D's--outside of a corporate income tax cut--are skimpy indeed. But somehow--as she makes the fund-raising rounds--the meme sticks in the national press that's she's a go-along, get-along Guv.

The New Mexican took a look behind the smoke:

...In New Mexico, some wonder whether the governor portrayed in the national media is the same Susana Martinez they know. At the least, they paint a picture less rosy than the ones published outside the state extolling her bipartisan success. . . .There also have been bruising legislative fights in which, Democrats say, Martinez has shown little if any willingness to compromise. And the harsh attack ads and mailers Martinez ran against some Democrats during the 2012 election still are fresh on the minds of lawmakers. 

Not all Dems are disgruntled over the way Martinez is portraying her relationship with their party. We had to chuckle when the original Martinez Democrat--conservative Senator John Arthur Smith--said, "I can't complain about access to the Governor."

Well, John, for Susana to say no to you would be like saying no to her reflection in the mirror.

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