Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Newspaper "Love-Tap" On Susana Draws Reaction, Plus: Guv Claims "Sexism" In Defending "The Fifth Floor," And: Popular Mayor Clashes With Her Over Taxes
Sunday Journal profile of Susana wasn't exactly a love letter but it sure was a love-tap. The paper let the picture do most of the talking--showing a smiling Martinez in her now ubiquitous pose of giving a reading lesson to the little ones. That? Again? No wonder columnist Leslie Linthicum headed for the exits over there. The gag on her must have been suffocating.
Well, the paper had its say so let's send it to reader Danny Hernandez for the counterpoint:
The piece regales us with a litany of "the nation’s first Hispanic female governor('s)" accomplishments while brushing aside her disagreements with union thugs, evil environmentalists and bad, mean Democratic elected officials obstructing progress. With our economy circling the drain, she insists "the state is becoming a more attractive destination for businesses and out-of-state visitors." But, according to the fluff piece, "she is not fully satisfied with her accomplishments to date." How do we go down from 50th? Where's emailgate, her rigged ABQ Downs 25-year lease, her record of closed government, her replacing homegrown mental health providers with Arizona campaign contributors, her pursuit of drivers licenses while it's the economy stupid, or the illegal use of public personnel records for political gain by the 5th floor?
The Journal did fleetingly mention emailgate, the Downs deal, behavioral health, lawsuits over closed records and the driver's license issue. They also acknowledged an FBI probe into the Downs racino deal and added that no charges have been brought. But you can easily argue that these defining topics deserved much more exploration as well as a more challenging approach to her economic viewpoint.
SEXISTS, RACISTS ETC.
It was amusing to see the Governor dismiss as "sexism" criticism of the role in her administration of political adviser Jay McCleskey aka "The Shadow Governor" and aka "The Fifth Floor." Is anyone with even a passing political interest unaware that he basically has run the administration for four years? The ABQ Journal did not reference the extraordinary National Journal piece that laid out in detail the shadow government erected around Martinez.
As for the sexism charge, that joins other name-calling the Governor has engaged in during her term including calling critics racists. One of her top campaign aides in a leaked audio tape referred to then-House Speaker Ben Lujan as a retard. The tapes also have Martinez referring to her 2010 Dem Guv rival Diane Denish as a "bitch." McCleskey recently referred to anti-abortion protesters gathered near his ABQ home as "pieces of shit." Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner was picked up on leaked audio tapes swearing up a storm over then-Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings. There's a pattern somewhere in all of that. . .
The Martinez profile--so skimpy on anything of consequence--gets at a deeper problem that she confronts. The novelty has worn off. She risks appearing boring. That happens when nothing happens.
MAYOR VS. MARTINEZ
A big divide in one of the most Republican areas in the state. Popular Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts--an indepdenent--is calling Martinez's corporate tax cut package a charade and calling her out:
. . . Martinez's decisions are forcing county and city governments to raise taxes even as her campaign ads claim she hasn't raised them, Farmington and San Juan County officials say. "The pledge not to raise taxes. . . rings a little hollow," Mayor Tommy Roberts said.
State lawmakers passed a bill in the last legislative session, which in July will begin phasing out multi-million-dollar payments made by the state that New Mexico cities and counties have received for years. Farmington has gotten more than $5 million from these payments each year since 2010. . . The state paid local governments the money in exchange for not collecting sales tax on food and medicine.
Repeatedly, Roberts said, Martinez had promised. . . she would veto legislative efforts to repeal the payments. . . She reneged on her deal with local governments to protect them. . . " Martinez's spokesman said cities and counties won't need to raise taxes. "Responsible budgeting will allow local governments to simply adjust over time, making any increase in taxes completely and totally unnecessary," he wrote.
Farmington has been devastated by the long bear market in natural gas prices. Its population has declined and San Juan County as a whole continues to take major economic hits. Tax collections are not what they were so it's no wonder the mayor is lashing out at Martinez.
The money that will no longer go to the cities and counties will instead be used in part to cut corporate taxes. But it will be hard-hit communities like Farmington that will be picking up the tab for the corporate heavies. Democrats went along with the corporate tax cuts, leaving them with no argument to take on the campaign trail. Dem Gary King did not join with Mayor Roberts in asking that the city and county reimbursements be reinstated, saying he wants to "help in whatever way he can."
Hey, Gary, if you go over to Mayor Tommy's side, maybe he'll cut a campaign commercial for you like those Democratic mayors did for Susana. . .
SANTA TERESA MAYOR?
You can't fault the Guv for pointing out to the AP one of the state's very few economic bright spots, but perhaps she should run for mayor of Santa Teresa because the economy she describes there is not happening in the major population center of our state:
We're bringing businesses down to Santa Teresa. We have a business park that is busting at the seams. We have a lot of really good things happening, but that's because we're not growing government. If you have a large government, you will have a small economy. If you have a small government that meets the needs of the people, you will have a thriving and healthy economy because we're not constantly dipping into the taxpayers' pocket to maintain the government.
Prior to the recession the state was bursting at the seams with state employees and ever-rising state budgets and all the while private sector job growth was growing. Just sayin'. . .
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author