Friday, February 14, 2014

New Mexico's Name Dropped As Tesla Looks To Build "Mega" Battery Plant, Plus: Linda Lopez Cracks The Code; Threat Of Subpoena Works, And: Martinez Cabinet Secretary Eden Selected As APD Chief 

New Mexico is getting its name dropped as a possible location for a huge factory to build batteries for Tesla Motor's popular electric cars.

Tesla had a previous flirtation with the Land of Enchantment, but ended up canceling plans to build an ABQ manufacturing plant. Now this:

Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry is convinced that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) will likely build a "Mega" battery factory soon. The analyst sees the factory having 30 gigawatts of production capacity per year. This would make it the biggest in the industry, even bigger than the current total production of capacity Non-Metal-Air Battery (Lithium-Ion) in China, Korea and Japan, all taken together. He sees the factory being built in New Mexico and sees the company partnering with both Panasonic and Sanyo on the build out.

Billionaire Tesla chief Elon Musk has some commonality with billionaire Richard Branson who is now a presence in the state. They both have a showman's personality and both are involved in the space biz. Like Branson, Musk also drives a hard bargain. Any location that gets the battery factory would have to fork over a boatload of costly incentives.

Musk is head of Space X. The company was founded in 2002. Its website says it makes and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft "with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets."

Meanwhile, Branson continues to promise a lift-off at the NM Spaceport for Virgin Galactic's first suborbital passenger flight. His latest prediction is that we will see the first flight in 2014 but many earlier Branson predictions have come and gone.


Dozens of candidates are preparing to enter the 2014 playing field and with them come some interesting background stories. Here's one from GOP attorney general candidate Susan Riedel of Las Cruces that caught our eye:

Riedel’s compassion for the victims of crime was reinforced in 2004 when her own husband was killed by a drunk driver during a family trip to a soccer tournament in 2004. She and her three sons persevered, with the oldest, Christopher, earning admission to the United States Naval Academy and a tour in Afghanistan as a SeaBee. Chris is now enrolled in the Georgetown University Law Center and will follow his mother into the field of law, along with her second son Jonathan, a Deputy Sheriff in Dona Ana County, and youngest son Patrick, a college student.


Senate Rules Committee Chair Linda Lopez bullied back against the Governor and came out on top. That's a switch for a Democrat.

Lopez threatened to ask the full Senate to subpoena State Fair Manager Dan Mourning when he ignored an invitation to appear before her committee to talk about the fair and the controversial 25 year racino lease for the ABQ Downs. After some grandstanding by the Guv's office who called the hearing a "political circus," Mourning and the Fourth Floor cracked and sent him to testify Thursday.

(Here's how the Senate Dems described the event).

Sen. Lopez cracked the code--when you are bullied, you bully back. She won some points for government transparency as well as her Guv campaign. Are her Dem colleagues in the Legislature watching--and learning?


Gorden Eden
Friday morning ABQ Mayor Berry announced he has selected Gorden Eden as the new ABQ police chief. This report was written prior to the selection.

Alligator speculation ended up half right when it comes to the selection of a new ABQ police chief. The Gators pinpointed Corrections Secretary Greg Marcantel as a possible chief. But in the list of three finalists released by City Hall, it is another Martinez cabinet secretary--Public Safety Secretary Gorden Eden--who makes the final three.

Eden is the former US Marshal for NM and also worked for former GOP Guv. Gary Johnson. Given the tight circle that Mayor Berry and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry have drawn around APD, we would say that Eden is the favorite. But he has some hurdles to jump for those who want a chief from outside the state and with no connections to current political circles to lead the deeply troubled APD. The other two finalists are from Texas. Here's a Dem Alligator with the first round of analysis:

Gorden Eden? Really? Talk about putting no imagination or effort into finding a new Albuquerque police chief. When the APD is desperately in need of a reformer from outside the system, Mayor Berry reaches deep into the reliable passel of Republican retreads. He may as well have put (former Public Safety Officer) Darren White on the list. Or how about Chuck Franco? Doesn't Secretary Eden oversee the same state police department that recently scared the crap out of every potential New Mexico tourist in the nation after that horrible state police shoot out caught on video with a family in a minivan outside of Taos? Surely there's some imaginative, aggressive chief somewhere in the country that wants a challenge and could bring an outside perspective to the department? This Mayor really needs to learn that there is a vast world to be explored outside of New Mexico's Republican circles.

Thanks for stopping by this week. 

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