Monday, December 09, 2013

Big Bill Says She's Beatable And Susana Says Bring It On, Plus: State's Downward Economic Spiral Startles And Paralyzes; The Long Search For The Way Out 

Governor Martinez likes nothing better than to run against Bill Richardson. She's been doing it since 2010 and it has served her well. She rode antipathy toward him into the Guv's office in 2010 and now that he has pronounced her beatable in 2014, Martinez is happy to bring him into the fray. This is what she says in her most recent fund-raising appeal:

Did you see what Bill Richardson said in today’s paper"...He sees the governor’s race as winnable for Democrats and praised their candidates. Of course he praised them--they are running to return to his failed policies. That’s why I am asking you to stand up against Bill Richardson and his candidates for governor by contributing today.. . .The race is shaping up to be about whether we want to take New Mexico back to the failed Richardson-era policies, or whether we continue moving our state forward.

Actually, the race is going to be about the incumbent's record as Governor. She's going to do her best to spruce it up with a campaign kitty north of $7 million and more gobs of dough from third party groups.

Richardson still sports approval ratings in the 30's, but as time goes by such numbers often improve. Still, don't expect to see Bill weighing in much more on the '14 Guv race. He knows that the Dem Guv nominee doesn't need any baggage from him to tote around on the campaign trail.


Meanwhile, Martinez continues to squelch talk of running for vice-president in 2016 and forming a ticket with NJ Governor Chris Christie. "Nuh uh," she uttered to an inquiring reporter. (We think that's a "no.")

Martinez will be smart to concentrate her firepower in New Mexico for the next 11 months as an economy that continues to spiral downward could make her more vulnerable than thought. And that  National Journal


Martinez still sports high poll numbers, but her very long honeymoon with many segments of the NM media is finally over. And no wonder. After pledging the most transparent administration ever, the media now sees that it has been played. From the editorial page of the Las Cruces Sun-News on the AP's lawsuits seeking official records from the Guv:

One lawsuit seeks expense documents regarding overtime pay for security officers--information that was available to the public during the administration of Bill Richardson. The second lawsuit claims the governor's office violated open records laws by refusing to provide actual copies of her work calendars, including travel for purposes other than government business, and removing numbers of cell phone calls by the governor and her staff from state logs.

Her spokesman responded by claiming that things like personal and campaign calendars have "nothing to do with state business."

To suggest that the public only has the right to know about the governor's out-of-state travel when it involves official state business is preposterous. Each time the governor leaves the state, the lieutenant governor is in charge. We have a right to know when she is on the job, when she is not, and why.

Perhaps most troubling is that the governor has asserted executive privilege in denying the records requests, something she specifically stated she would not do in her first State of the State address.

It's pretty obvious to any Alligator worth feeding that the Guv does not want to confirm through an official records disclosure what the National Journal revealed--that we have an ongoing political operation--if not running state government--certainly dominating it. To borrow a word from the Sun-News, it is "preposterous" to believe otherwise.

And where is the attorney general and the state auditor in helping the AP get these records?


About that spiraling state economy, it just got worse:

New Mexico’s economy nosedived between May and October, shedding thousands of jobs. . . And the state’s labor force participation rate, a measure of how many working-age residents are employed or looking for work, was the fourth-worst in the nation in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In other words this ugly and long-lived bear market continues to trash the state. Take a look:

Between April and October, the state lost 20,382 jobs, or 2.4 percent, and nearly 24,000 labor force participants, according to BLS. The 860,300 total jobs the state had in October was slightly above the 859,616 job low point the state had in October 2010. The state’s job count peaked at 910,039 in February 2008. 

And look at ABQ. It's like watching a car crashing in slow motion:

Between April and October, the four-county Albuquerque metropolitan region lost 9,328 jobs, for a 2.5 percent job loss rate. The area’s labor force shrank by 9,273, or 2.4 percent.. . .

Near panic is starting to take hold among key business leaders while Mayor Berry basks in a "see no evil, hear no evil" re-election win. Among other things, we are getting killed by Federal spending cuts which in turn is hammering local businesses that depend on that spending.

New Mexico saw 15,228 people leave the state in 2012. . .Said Beverlee McClure, president and CEO of the Association of Commerce and Industry: “We are seeing a brain drain of COOs and CEOs and we have to address it. We have to stop this brain drain and this jobs drain. I think folks are beginning to realize that we can’t keep ignoring this issue.”

New Mexico's politicians and business leaders continue to seem paralyzed and perplexed over the long running economic crisis. And the population at large seems more in a mood to flee--if they can--rather than fight. 

If a way to reverse the trend is not found, the state will be a no-growth zone for years to come (or even decline in population), looking more like an Iowa or South Dakota--not a promising and prosperous Sunbelt state where young people can carve out a future.


Legislators came with one of those "bipartisan" plans for job growth.

What is actually needed is a hell- raising fight over a new paradigm for the state economy. It's not that the bipartisan baby steps outlined in the legislators jobs plan aren't thoughtful, it's just that they are way too little way too late.

A massive underclass now compromise most of our population who are ill-equipped for the jobs of the future. We are going to have to make major investments and take major risks to reverse the downward spiral that has us in its grip.

The private sector nor another "jobs plan" can improve the literacy rates, the drug addiction rate, the high school drop-put rate, the suicide rate, the crime rate nor our 50th ranking in the USA in child well-being. That is the stuff that is now stifling long-term economic growth and until we get a "come to Jesus" moment over it, we are headed down, down, down.

The newspaper is again aglow over the corporate tax cut package hastily passed in the last legislative session. Even that is a baby step of sorts as it will be phased in over five years. And don't forget. It gives corporations a break and makes cities--i.e. the taxpayers--replace the revenue lost.

The corporate tax cut is not going to bring many, if any, jobs here. Corporate America is not attracted to this state because of the aforementioned deepening social conditions crisis as measured in just about every quality of life measure. You change that and you change the outlook. Otherwise, you're putting a band-aid on a tumor. And to quote the late, great, Ernie Mills, "Don't say we didn't tell you."


We were told that former ABQ State Sen. Manny Aragon would report to a halfway house upon his release from federal prison after serving time on a corruption conviction, but it turns out he was able to go home--albeit on a federal confinement program.

Aragon's South Valley home is often referred to as the "castle." He'll be confined there until his formal release day next Maywith only a few exceptions allowing him to leave until h Manny is definitely home for the holidays. 

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