Tuesday, June 03, 2014

News Flow Sweeps Away Primary: Jobs Crisis Rears Its Head With Mass Layoffs In North And APD Crisis Boils Anew, Also: Live Election Night Coverage At 6:45 Tonight On KANW 89.1 FM 

  • Join us at 6:45 PM tonight on KANW 89.1 FM or at KANW.COM for our continuous Primary Election Night Coverage. All the results and the indepth analysis you have come to expect. See you on the radio
Protestor David Correia arrested
The news flow swept aside the final day of campaigning for Primary '14, reminding one and all of why the Dem governor's race seemed to fizzle.

The jobs crisis--largely ignored by the candidates--reared its ugly ahead again as the nearly 100 year old molybdenum mine near Questa in Taos County announced it was closing for good and said there would be a mass layoff of the 300 workers.

The mine has an up and down history but a permanent closure reinforces the view that New Mexico's economic landscape is being reshaped more than any time since the Great Depression. Like the 30's, this downturn is leaving physical ruins in its wake. . .

And has any gubernatorial candidate uttered even a word about the ongoing APD crisis? It boiled again Monday as protesters engaged in civil disobedience at Mayor Berry's office. 13 were arrested. They say Berry is not listening to the community as he begins to negotiate APD reforms with the US Justice Department.

(Mayor Berry was reported to be at a conference in NYC. How much time does he spend out of town? When homeless camper James Boyd was killed by APD the mayor was also out of town. Perhaps the press can check up on that like they used to with Dem Mayor Chavez?).

Maybe it's because we come from an era when sit-ins and civil disobedience were common, but we found the City Council cancelling its scheduled meeting because of the City Hall protest quizzical. The nine councilors cited "security concerns."

What did the councilors fear? Civil disobedience is a time-honored form of protest in America, not a threat to life and limb. The protesters were duly arrested and the council could have easily conducted its meeting---if they really wanted to. Were they trying to telegraph a message about what a pain in the posterior the protesters are and isn't it just terrible that we have to cancel our meeting because of them?


Here's one of the final pictures we'll see of the five Dem Guv contenders. It was posted on social media by Dem State Rep. Brian Egolf who exclaimed:

Behold: The next Governor of New Mexico!

Sounds like Egolf is expecting the second coming and that's what R's are telling him the Dems will need to take back the Guv's chair.

Back on the soon to evaporate primary campaign trail, most of the conversation turned toward turnout. There's nothing political junkies love more than to try to guess just how many voters will trek to the polls. Most we consulted pegged turnout for the Dem primary today at near or slightly above 100,000. That would put us at about 15 to 16 percent of the 600,000 registered Dems.

About 47,000 Dems cast early and absentee ballots. Make that about 50,000 as the rest of the absentees flow in today. If all the early vote represents about half or so of the ultimate turnout--as we suspect--it puts us in the 100,000 area for total turnout. That's an appreciable drop from the 2010 Dem Guv primary when nearly 136,000 cast primary ballots or about 24 percent of the registered.

There is a Republican primary, of course, but what little drama it had was drained from it when US Senate hopeful David Clements could not raise enough money to give a stiff challenge to Allen Weh. Still, Weh's expected margin of victory will be closely watched by Dem Senator Udall who Weh would face in November.

State Dems are holding what they call a "Unity Press Conference" the morning after the primary. It shouldn't be difficult for all five Dem guv candidates to show up and half-pretend that they are now fully in support of the winner of the primary. After all, the hopefuls didn't lay a glove on one another during the long campaign. All the hardball was in the Dem state treasurer race between John Wertheim and Tim Eichenberg. A photo of those guys shaking hands at a unity press meeting might get you a grand on eBay.


In recent years our readers and Alligators have been in the fore in tracking the future of Intel's manufacturing plant at Rio Rancho. At its peak the computer chip plant employed 7,000. After 400 layoffs last year Intel was said to be down to about 2,800 employees. Now it seems that number is a bit high.

Fewer than 2,800 now work at the local plant, following last year’s redeployment of 400 employees, according to a recent Intel report and spokeswoman Natasha Martell Jackson.

Intel says the plant has plenty of work for the next two years, and has no plans to completely shutter the site--contrary to widespread speculation and rumor. but the fact is Intel's presence in NM is a shell of its former self. It's still the big dog on the manufacturing plant but has nowhere near the economic impact it once did. That's reflected in Rio Rancho home prices and tax collections--and its slowing population growth. The longterm trend to downsize here remains intact. Unless a new mission is announced for the facility in the next year or two, why would that trend be interrupted?

Reality based business and economic news. You get it right here.


Reader Robert Taylor of Mesilla, NM writes: 

Joe, I live in Dona Ana County and have heard much noise from Gov. Martinez about how many jobs have been created for New Mexicans with the new railroad facility. I'm interested in how many of these new jobs are going to New Mexicans and how many are going to Tejanos. I wonder how many of the contractors and employees who are involved in building this facility and the evolving industrial park are New Mexicans or Tejanos? This would be nice to know as well. Down here, there is distinct difference between benefiting New Mexicans and benefiting Tejanos.


Reader Teresa Trujeque is one of many frustrated Democrats we hear from regarding the primary campaign: 

I agree that the Democratic governor candidates have not taken the Governor to task for her many shortcomings. Why did they not run ads questioning her ability to bring jobs to New Mexico or questioning why she closed the Commission on the Status of Women? The Mother Jones article pointed out she did not even know what the Commission did, so women should support her why?. . .  Did the Democratic candidates forget that women along with seniors will more than likely be the groups with a large voting block? I hope that the candidate who wins the primary tonight will be aggressive in attacking her record. As we all know it is a very dismal record.


Reader Joe Martinez supports Governor Martinez but is not impressed with the content of her TV spots. He writes:

 It's penny ante stuff...What she should tell the folks is that she saved the state millions by not promoting investment of state funds with losers who provided kickbacks for future campaigns. 

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