Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Mexicans Take A Holiday Break Along With Their Many Visitors, Plus: Looking For A Silver Lining In State Economy, Dispatches From The Oil Patch And Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico! 

New Mexicans are always thankful to be living amid one of the most wondrous landscapes on the planet. They'll take to the hiking trails, ski slopes and the city parks this holiday weekend to enjoy the bipartisan pursuit of soaking in sunshine and endless blue skies. A lot of visitors will be joining them. . .

Tourism in the state has been on the upswing as more ad dollars are devoted to attracting travelers. It's one of the few areas in which the Martinez administration and the Santa Fe budget hawks have allowed spending to increase in a meaningful way. The pay off is record lodging tax revenues in small towns like Red River in the north where tourism is the lifeblood of the economy. . .

The state tourism department will be asking the Legislature in January for a $3 million ad budget increase to attract high income visitors from the San Francisco region. Agreeing that the beauty and culture of New Mexico is worth showcasing to the nation is a point even the most ardent partisans can agree on. . .

Not wanting to put a damper on the holiday, NM journalist Wally Gordon looks for some silver linings in the state economic outlook and points to this:

. .  .Nationally the economy grew an unexpectedly strong 3.9 percent in the third quarter, the federal government reported. . .That national growth may help pull New Mexico along in its wake. It was also reported that Albuquerque has the cheapest gas in the country, clearly a boon to our numerous long-distance commuters.

There are tentative signs of a jobs recovery in the state but the fly in the ointment is the kind of jobs being created--most are of the low wage variety. . .


We noted  this week those astronomical hotel rates in oil boom country in SE NM. A reader familiar with the area clarifies:

While hotel rates are astronomical in Carlsbad they are pretty average in Hobbs and Roswell. This is because of the interest in the geologic formations known as the Bone Springs in Eddy County. Oil production on state lands is higher in Eddy County than Lea County because of development of Bone Spring resources.

And reader Violet Cauthon in Las Cruces comes with more on the oil outlook:

Your story on Mack Energy, state revenue from oil and gas, etc., touts the "high-paying jobs" that would be lost in the inevitable "bust" of the oil business. I grew up in Oklahoma, dad worked for an oil company and in my adult life I also worked for various oil companies.

Those high-paying jobs go to a lot of "gypsy" oil workers from many different states. The locals don't get much unless they're already on Mack Energy payrolls. Just ask the hotel/motel/restaurant industry why their businesses are booming. Out of state workers. I travel through that area and, yes, Artesia looks good as does Clovis but the surrounding rural poverty is still obvious.

Reader Doug Bentley writes of criticism of local biz leaders for not talking more about education reform, improving infrastructure and getting more investment money injected into the local economy:

"Why aren't business leaders talking about that?" It turns out, Steve McKee is talking about it. His points include right-to-work, eliminating the state income tax, regulatory reform & an overhaul of public education. See his speech here.

Thanks, Doug, but didn't we already slash the highest rates on personal income from 8.2% to 4.9%? Maybe we should be talking about the real business killer--the gross receipts tax that is now hitting over 8% in some areas of the state. . .


The odds seem to favor Republican Aubrey Dunn emerging as the official winner when a recount is concluded in the race for state land commissioner. Dunn's lead had shrunk to less than 600 votes but now the secretary of state's site has the lead at 704.

That is a large margin and a major error will have to be detected if incumbent Dem Land Commissioner Ray Powell is to emerge victorious. Recounts are mandatory when candidates are separated by one half of one percent or less. The recount of the land commission race is set to begin December 8.


Reader Eric Lucero returns with a look at some of the movies out for the holiday weekend:

The Penguins of Madagascar (PG) 92 mins, Comedy/Adventure 2.5 Stars out of 5.  This silly spy yarn tracks a quad of Penguins (remember Madagascar 2005? Skipper and the gang hook up with a snooty undercover clandestine group called the North Wind and the mayhem starts. It's really meant for Madagascar fans under 12, but for the rest of us it’s still a guilty pleasure for the rest of us. A lot of zany fun.”

The Theory of Everything (PG-13), 123 min, Bio-Drama, 4 Stars out of 5. This is a wonderful romantic biopic about renowned astrophysicist and  cosmologist Dr. Stephen Hawking. He projects a powerful human face as he deals with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Director James Marsh’s (Man on Wire, 2008) fine direction and the inspired performances of Eddie Redmayn and Felicity Jones make this two hour journey into despair and triumph a must see for all audiences…

Interstellar (PG-13), 169 min, Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi Drama, 5 Stars out of 5. This monument of film making by renowned director Christopher Nolan is a brilliant gem. It stretches the bounds of film technology. Interstellar goes way beyond where 2001: A Space Odyssey ever dared to go. With Nolan you always are faced with plots within plots. Every scene has multiple meanings.


A friend in Las Vegas gave us a chuckle when they sent us this pic of "holiday hours" for a Starbucks on the famous Strip. That's an only in Vegas moment, for sure.

As for us, we'll grab a Starbucks over the long holiday weekend. We won't be open 24 hours but will be back in this space with you on Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving, New Mexico!

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.      

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign