Monday, May 12, 2014

WIPP Lash: What Happens To The Workers? Plus: Martinez And Keller Clash; Leader Sanchez Joins In, Also: The Latest APD News And Weh Hugs Susana 

Let's start the week with a question: If WIPP isn't going to reopen for at least another three years because of that radiation leak, what happens to the hundreds of well-paid workers?

Is our congressional delegation going to be able to ward off what seem like inevitable attempts to limit the number of employees drawing paychecks while the Carlsbad area facility is brought up to snuff? And when the Feds say it could be "three years" you wonder if that couldn't easily turn into thirty or even never. . .

The partisan atmosphere has turned so heated that even mild-mannered ABQ Dem Senator Tim Keller is getting his hair singed. Keller said he was musing about the state of the state recently and concluded that we are seriously adrift. He called for a special session of the Legislature to consider measures for attracting the Tesla gigfactory and other proposals to get the state's anemic recovery moving. Martinez retorted that the suggestion for a special is:

 “A $50,000-a-day political stunt to, in part, backpedal away from his recent statements opposing efforts to attract Tesla and its jobs to New Mexico.”

And Keller snapped back:

The Governor’s defense of inaction is a complete disservice to families and communities all across the state who are struggling with continuing job losses, water concerns, a mental healthcare crisis and an education system failing to meet the needs of our children. This is not the time for political games

Keller authored an op-ed piece that said NM needs to be careful not to overdo any Tesla incentives thus drawing Susana's wrath. He is now the sole Dem candidate for state auditor in the June 3 primary. He will face Republican Robert Aragon in November who is also unopposed for his party's nomination.

As for a special legislative session, if the majority Dems can't get what they want approved during the regular sessions, what's the point of a special? The conservative Dems in the legislature would thwart any movement and then there's the Guv's veto power...


Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez gets in on the action. He bruises the Guv over the various corruption scandals that have burst into the headlines. His op-ed:

News reports and court documents show that the actions, words, and sentiments of the governor and her inner circle have created a culture that most New Mexicans would be ashamed to be associated with in any manner. Gov. Martinez has not only failed to apologize or take action against those breaking the rules, she has attempted to dismiss the evidence by attacking the source of the information or by expressing indignation that anyone would question her administration’s culture.

Back on Tesla, the Guv seems to have Keller and company all set up to take a fall if NM does not get the gigafactory but a reader turns the tables and sets up the Guv:

If Tesla does not pick New Mexico it might well be because Elon Musk, Tesla founder, does not like Susana Martinez's war on alternative energy. Since Musk founded Tesla because of a personal commitment to reducing greenhouse gases why would he reward our Koch brothers backed governor with a huge economic development feather in her cap?

If and when Tesla decides to pass New Mexico by the resulting finger-pointing may get more acrimonious than the campaigns.


She campaigned for him when he won his landslide re-election victory in 2012 and now New Jersey Governor Christ Christie will return the favor. Christie is scheduled to be in the state fund-raising for Susana May 29.

Christie's second term has been rocked by Bridgegate and speculation centers on whether he is too damaged to capture the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. No word yet on where the NM fund-raiser will be held. . . .

Five Dem Guv candidates make for a lot of copy, as we see when the New Mexican profiles each of the hopefuls as the June 3 primary election draws near.


Allen Weh hugging Susana Martinez? Sure, why not? They may have been bitter opponents in the race for the 2010 GOP Guv nomination that Weh lost to Martinez, but now that Weh is seeking the '14 GOP US Senate nomination, he and Susana are lovey-dovey in Weh's first TV spot.

It works for both.

Keeping the GOP base on board is vital for Martinez who needs them to come out in November and so does Weh. However, unlike Susana, he faces a much longer shot of winning. If he takes the GOP primary, he will face Dem Senator Tom Udall in November.

In addition to his Susana hug, the Weh TV spot highlights his illustrious military record. Will it be enough for the retired Marine Colonel, former NM GOP chairman and chief executive of CSI Aviation to seal the deal against  June 3 primary opponent David Clements, a Las Cruces attorney? Yes, unless Clements comes with some attention-getting TV of his own--and soon.


The APD shootings and city council protests drew national attention on the  CBS Evening News. The network was refused interviews by Chief Eden and Mayor Berry. City Councilor Ken Sanchez did do one.. . .

International coverage continues of ABQ and APD. A reporter from the Guardian in London came to ABQ to explore. An excerpt:

In a fit of Orwellian marketing in 2009, the city renamed this sprawl of Latinos, Asians and other ethnic minorities the "international district." The name didn't stick. A year later locals noticed that police, never gentle, were becoming increasingly lethal. Confrontations that in the past might have ended in handcuffs instead ended with municipal tableaux of death: yellow crime scene tape, cones and sheets.

The conversation finally does seem to be changing. A bipartisan group of city councilors and various other officials want a multi-agency task force to talk about the mental health crisis that is a key component of the APD crisis. And. . .

ABQ Dem City Councilor Ike Benton says he is tired of hearing that the nine member council has been doing nothing about the APD crisis. He came with this:

My own legislation and amendments directly involving APD, include:

--Amending the City Charter Amendment bill (Winter/Sanchez) to allow Council to not only confirm, but also remove the Chief.
--Amending the APD Oversight bill (Winter/Garduño) to put more teeth in it. It is flawed in its present form.
--Co-sponsoring with Councilor Sanchez a bill to immediately suspend the operation of the Police Oversight commission pending the establishment of a new oversight system.

Another idea getting consideration from some councilors is having the police chief elected. Not a good one. Because of very low turnouts in city elections your new chief will be a hard-right conservative. Not what you need when trying to rebuild your relationship with the entire community--including the majority who don't vote.


Steve Haro, chief of staff for Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich, has received the "Emerging Latino Leader in Public Service" award from the Latino Influentials Network. Haro joined Heinrich's staff in 2008 when Heinrich first won the ABQ congressional seat. He previously worked for Rep. Xavier Becerra's (D-CA) as communications director and legislative director.

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