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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Dems Seem To Be Writing Off Guv Race But Laser-Focused On State House Battle, Plus: Don't Call It The "War Zone," And: Explaining "Hold Harmless"  

We low-balled it a wee bit with what Dem Guv hopeful Gary King would report in his latest finance report but it's still pathetic. He reports having $157,000 in cash compared to Gov. Martinez's $3.8 million. The Dems are doing a laydown on a race that was not completely out if reach, but it could soon be because of what appears to be a near total capitulation. . .

But organized labor and the Dems are serious as a heart attack when it comes to the threat of the Rs taking over the state House for the first time in over 60 years. Patriot  Majority, the super PAC that is helping the Dems lead the charge against the R's, reports having about $575,000 in cash on hand. That will likely be competitive with the R's super PAC.

All of the down ballot races appear to be in pretty good shape to go into the Dem column, according to the finance reports and historical election trends. . .

And why is the Bernalillo County Commission trying to put "nonbinding" measures on the already crowded November ballot? One would ask voters for their "opinion" on decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The other would ask their views on raising the gross receipts tax to fund mental health programs. What, did the commission forget that elections are for decisions--not polling?

Reader Lawrence Trujillo writes of the gubernatorial campaign:

The one TV spot that really infuriates me is the one in which former Taos Democratic Mayor Darren Cordova talks about how the Governor has helped northern New Mexico. The spot is filmed in Las Vegas and not Taos. The fact that the ad represents a former Mayor praising the Governor's record cannot be filmed in his own community shows the great lengths her campaign takes to continually mislead the people of our great state.

The Guv's campaign does not respond to our inquires so we'll take your word on the location. If we hear differently we'll let you know. This past March Cordova lost his mayoral re-election bid in a landslide. That same TV spot Trujillo cites also features a Martinez endorsement from the Democratic mayor of Las Vegas.

NOT A WAR ZONE

Stop calling the battered neighborhoods in the ABQ SE Heights "the war zone," Joe. That's the word from several readers who favor the nickname International District. including ABQ Dem State Rep. Mimi Stewart who represents the area:

I take umbrage with your statement in Friday's post: "the ever expanding SE Heights war zone." Nothing could be further from the truth. That area is our International District and the community organizing among many cultures is transforming our neighborhoods. The past year has been a celebration of our stories on Route 66, with LittleGlobe helping us set up little free libraries, a photo gallery, art sculptures, walkable trails, and music events. We have new green building senior housing and access to health services are expanding. Come visit at our annual International Festival on Sept. 27 at Vietnam Memorial Park.Keep up with the changing times, Joe!

Thanks, Mimi, but we think we are keeping up with the times by using the old nickname "war zone." Much of the area is seeing more deterioration, more crime and more empty buildings. True, there are many fine neighborhoods there, but ABQ can't paper over that large swaths of the SE Heights have become more dangerous and economically challenged since it became politically incorrect to say "war zone." But we'll try to be more international in our thinking. .

CHINESE IN SPACE

Did you know that Chinese citizens can't be among the space tourists using the NM Spaceport?

Now, well-to-do Chinese business people are lining up for one-hour voyages to the cosmos, and tour operators say China is set to become the world’s largest market for the incipient space tourism industry.

Already, more than 30 mainland Chinese have purchased or made down payments of 50 percent on tickets for journeys offered by XCOR Aerospace, a company based in Mojave, Calif., that plans to begin operating suborbital flights late next year. The tours went on sale in China in December, two years after the company began selling them elsewhere, and one in 10 of all bookings have been by Chinese citizens. After long delays caused by technical and safety issues, XCOR Aerospace and Virgin Galactic, founded by the British entrepreneur Richard Branson, say they are planning flights next year.

Because Virgin Galactic spacecraft are powered by rocket engines manufactured in the United States that use technology considered to have potential military applications, citizens from 22 countries, including China, are barred from traveling on them, the company has said. Virgin Galactic said it hoped that future United States government rulings would enable it to offer spaceflights to an expanded roster of nations.

HOLD HARMLESS

We've been talking about the tax hit cities and counties will soon take because of how the Governor and the Legislature approved a corporate income tax cut in 2013. Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts--an independent--is one of those speaking out against the tax package and so is Otero Dem County Commission candidate Stephanie DuBois:

Mayors, city councilors and county commissioners are now having to impose a "Hold Harmless tax" in order to make up for the shortfall that the legislature will no longer pay. The Governor's corporate tax cuts were really a tax on the people least able to afford it.

Our County Commission passed a a tax allowable under the rule and then tied it to a $20 million bond. The tax will garner about $1.7 million which will make the payment on the bond. The counties will still receive the legislative money until July of 2015  but will decrease as we get closer to the cut off date.

Most of the counties are in economic trouble with the exception of Dona Ana. In your piece you write that Susana thinks counties and cities can re-negotiate their budgets and avoid raising taxes. The budgets in most counties have already been cut to the bone while still being able to provide basic services that are mandated. The governor's plan to cut corporate taxes was in fact a tax on the rest of us while giving big corporations tax breaks. 

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