Wednesday, December 18, 2013

For Governor Martinez A Smile Goes A Long Way, Plus: Education Clash Makes More Headlines, And: A "Shy" Steve Pearce?  

Gov. Martinez (Daily Times)
This is one of the better pics we've seen of Governor Martinez of late. That easy and engaging smile has been combined with a gritty, determined persona that has connected well with New Mexicans for three years.

Governors seeking a second, four year term beginning with the election of Republican Gary Johnson in 1994 have had good fortune. He easily won his second in '98 and Democrat Bill Richardson mimicked the feat with a record re-elect in 2006. If she wins in '14, Martinez will make it three governors in a row to go the distance.

There are signs that some of her administration's policies are causing political wear and tear, but she remains well-liked, perhaps her strongest asset as she seeks to join Gary and Bill in the two-termer club.

The photo of the Guv was taken in Farmington:

Gov. Martinez said the proposed $300 million freight railroad that could be used to export coal from the Four Corners region south to Gallup would be one of her priorities if the stakeholders can identify specific obstacles that the state has the ability to remove. "Show us how we can encourage and help," Deputy Chief of Staff Scott Darnell said.

Interesting to to see Deputy Chief of Staff Darnell out  in front. His father is a city councilor in Farmington.


Another quote from that report goes like this:

Public health and safety are still protected under the more rapid permitting process (for oil and gas), she said, and she believes there is adequate opportunity for public comment. "We have not been shy in fining any company for not complying with the regulations," Martinez said.

But a reader involved in environmental matters retorts:

If she is referring to fines from the Oil Conservation Division, her main regulator of the oil and gas industry. She hasn't issued a single one as gov. The division hasn't had the power since it lost its case to Marbob. Here's a report on that.


One of the policies that is causing what we called "wear and tear"on the administration gets a treatment from the New York Times this week. It's headlined: "A Push for Teacher Accountability Meets Resistance in New Mexico. " The reporter follows NM Public Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera as she tries to win support for controversial educational reforms.

The article is a reminder that Skandera remains a lightning rod, but that does draw some of the heat away from her boss, the Governor.

One of those quoited in the article is outspoken ABQ Public Schools Board member Kathy Korte, Korte's take-no-prisoners style burst into the headlines again this week. She scorched APS School Board President Marty Esquivel for what Korte believes is being too cozy with the Martinez administration while school teachers do battle with Santa Fe. Esquivel is a Dem. Korte is an independent.


ABQ Journal columnist Thom Cole responds to speculation on the Tuesday blog that implied a piece he did on Dem state Rep. Phil Archuleta may have been the result of GOP research and not his own. He says:

I am writing in response to your blog Tuesday implying that my column on the office rental by Rep. Archuleta was a plant by the Governor and her political adviser. As the saying goes, you are entitled to your opinion but not to your own facts. If you had contacted me prior to your posting, I would have told you that I learned about the office rental during a routine check of campaign expenditures by legislators. I have been doing such checks for many years and have reported on questionable expenditures by both Democrats and Republicans.

The central point of the Tuesday blog was that the corruption theme could be used by the GOP against House Dems in next year's election, similar to the way it was used by the GOP in the past.

A reader chimes in about that Journal Archuleta piece that questions whether he is being undercharged for Las Cruces office space by AFSCME.

He asks about the section of the recent National Journal piece on Guv adviser Jay McCleskey in which former Martinez fund-raiser Andrea Goff says McCleskey showed her a small anteroom in the Governor's office and told her he used it as an office. If so, the reader asks, is Jay "charged any rent for that space since he is a private citizen?"

The Governor's office has said McCleskey does not utilize office space on the Fourth Floor.


Here's a perfect stocking stuffer for all you Democrats. Just kidding, of course, but this new book from southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce does offer a bit of a surprise. Pearce, known for throwing red meat at partisan crowds with unrestrained glee, says he was actually a very shy kid:

Congressman Pearce grew up battling insecurity stemming from introversion, shyness and a lack of a dream. Now New Mexico's U.S. Representative from the 2nd Congressional District hopes his story can inspire others.

"The real story is my fight to overcome these internal obstacles, a fight I found far more difficult than overcoming the ones placed in my life by external forces," Pearce said. "It was a way to encourage kids who think there's no hope for them."

One supposes that Dem US Senator Tom Udall who clashed recently with Pearce over the Carlsbad WIPP site, is hoping the congressman would revert to his shy childhood form. But as the kids say: "Not going to happen."

If you want to cover all your holiday bases for a hard to please politico, you can buy both Steve's autobiography and the new book from Big Bill: How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator

Hey, maybe they can do a joint book tour together? After all, it is the season of peace.

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