Friday, October 24, 2014

An Unusual Newspaper Endorsement, Dona Ana Vote Problems Explained, More On Ben Hall's Haul And Debating The "Latino Heart" 

The liberal Taos News endorsing the Republican candidate for Governor? It's that kind of year for the D's:

Gov. Susana Martinez has helped Taos County in crisis, such as during the natural gas outage in February 2013. During fires and floods in other parts of the state, her office has come to the aid of affected citizens. New Mexicans can count on help from her during times of natural disasters, including a health crisis. We wish, however, she had shown more concern when Questa’s molybdenum mine closed, and we urge her to give more assistance to our local miners looking for work or wanting to start their own businesses.

Taos County is heavily Dem and Martinez scored only 30 percent of the vote there in 2010.

More news that the Dems aren't going to like. It appears that the Navajo presidential election--scheduled for the same day as the NM election--is not going to happen. The Navajo Nation Supreme Court called it off. Dems were counting on that election to attract Native Americans to the polls--most of whom are Dems---and casting ballots for Dem state candidates. . .

New Mexico born human rights activist Dolores Huerta, 84, --a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom--will campaign with Dem Guv hopeful Gary King this weekend. A schedule of stops is here. Maybe that will help him shore up some support. . .

And here's a report on Mitt Romney's Thursday appearance on behalf of Gov. Martinez. . .

And how negative is Campaign '14 getting? Well, we just saw a mailer accusing Nate Gentry of killing Jasper the Tasmanian devil. Now that's negative :). . .


Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins reports on problems with voting tabulators that made some of our readers nervous:

Joe, the cause of the problem with the two voting tabulators is that the ink in the pens that were used did not dry quickly enough, thereby obstructing the ability of the tabulator to read the ballot – resulting in ballot rejection and re-insertment of the ballots by voters until the votes finally registered. In an attempt to remedy the problem by cleaning the lenses on the two tabulators, it inadvertently activated them to go into a different mode, causing the tabulators to count and record each insertion. Thinking that the problem was solved and unaware of the inadvertent activation, the tabulators were put back in service. It was at that point that two voters inserted and reinserted their ballots in the two separate machines, having the ballots counted each time.

Accordingly, the tabulator was not at fault. The problem was human error which will not be repeated. Also, we received new pens from the Secretary of State which should prevent a repetition of the problem for the remainder of the election. A new tabulator was brought in and the ballots were fed into it, resulting in the number of ballots counted equal to the number of ballots issued.


The newspaper comes with a follow-up to a story broken here recently--how southern NM GOP Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Hall is using his public financing in his race against Dem Sandy Jones::

Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Hall is using public financing for his candidacy to pay himself and his fiancee to campaign for his re-election. Hall paid himself and his fiancee, Maria Cottom, nearly $7,000 for “campaign work” over a month-long period, according to his campaign-finance reports. Hall said he pays himself and Cottom $25 per hour, but that he pays himself only for campaign work after 5 p.m. on Fridays and on weekends. Hall earns $90,000 a year as a PRC member.“If I didn’t hire and pay myself, I would have to hire someone else,” Hall said. “What is the big damn deal?” The commissioner said he also paid himself when he campaigned for election to the PRC in 2010 and that the Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees public financing of PRC campaigns, has approved the arrangement. “Everything I have done is legal and aboveboard,” Hall said. “I’m not trying to hide anything.”

 It isn’t unusual for a public official to pay a family member for campaign work, but it is for a candidate to pay himself.

If nothing else the Hall example calls for a rewrite of the regulations regarding how a candidate can spend public financing. It is not meant to be a salary.


More push back for our "no" vote on the advisory questions on the Bernalillo County ballot. One proposes decriminalizing marijuana and another calls for a property tax increase to finance mental health programs. BernCo Dem Commissioner Debbie O'Malley writes:

I also consider you to be very conscientious, however, I disagree with your assessment of the County advisory questions. The County advisory questions before the voters this November are reflective of relevant public issues and concerns that affect the day to day lives of the people in Bernalillo County. These questions don’t just ask a few people their opinion, but all people and in the most public way possible, an election. Should we begin a process to decriminalize marijuana for those in possession
of an ounce or less? Should the County enact 1/8 of a cent GRT (12 cents for every $100 spent) to address the mental and behavioral health crisis affecting our community? We’re asking the good citizens in our community to honestly respond to these questions. Their vote will count, and it will inform us on how to move forward on these highly important issues.

We blogged previously that we don't believe "advisory" questions belong on the election ballot.


Reader and Ambassador James Sweeney, a native New Mexican who served in the Clinton Administration as a Senior Advisor to the President on nuclear technology and nuclear nonproliferation, brings us back to the discussion over Gary King saying Martinez does not have a  "Latino heart."

Susana's response was that she "knows what is in her heart." I think any fair minded New Mexican and in particular Hispanics know full well what is in her heart, and that is certainly not a concern for Hispanic needs and aspirations. Her actions speak louder than words and those actions consist of favorite treatment to her wealthy contributors in the oil and gas industry at the expense of programs for the middle class and the poor. Her inability to secure new and high-paying jobs in New Mexico has been a dismal failure and affected all New Mexicans and especially Hispanics. Her economic development initiatives have been totally ineffective, and that is why New Mexico is at the bottom in recovering from the recession. Why is it that all the states bordering New Mexico have better recovery rates than New Mexico?

A true Hispanic would not continue year after year to push for the elimination of drivers license's for Hispanics that are not legal citizens. The vast majority of these people are hard working and honest individuals that work to provide for their families and incidentally do work that most Americans would not do. 

A senior member of the Martinez Administration was harshly critical of the English speaking ability of the late state House Speaker Ben Lujan. Governor Martinez did not advise him that she was a Hispanic and would not tolerate that kind of talk. Speaker Lujan was a loyal and dedicated advocate for Hispanic causes, and if Governor Martinez has a Latina Heart, she would have stood up for Speaker Lujan, but she did not. So Hispanics have a right to question her support of Hispanics.


What's the best radio spot of the 2014 cycle? Hands down, it's this rib-tickler from the conservative GoalWest PAC. It goes after ABQ Dem State Rep. Emily Kane who is locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Sarah Maestas Barnes. Key line: "JLO"--Just Like Obama. The ad is here

Interesting to note that the brother of southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce is the treasurer of the GoalWest PAC registered out of Texas. . .

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