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Monday, January 26, 2015

The Great Recession Pattern Persists, Pearce Goes Ballistic Over Heinrich And SunZia, A New Guy On The Legislative Block And Pithy Reader Comments 

Do you think there's a pattern here? The state budget is getting blown up by crashing oil prices, Bernalillo County is pleading poverty and is about to raise taxes, the city of ABQ  is announcing a $14 million hole in its budget for next year because of the APD crisis and sluggish growth and as we blogged recently even wealthy Los Alamos County is wrestling with budget woes. It seems that elsewhere the Great Recession has melted away like a spring snowfall but is acting like super glue around here. . .

In another sign of the times the city is going to clear out a large tent city for the homeless that has sprouted up downtown. Neighbors are upset about the problems it's causing. Hey, maybe as the homeless population grows Mayor Berry can divide them up by zip code so no neighborhood gets too offended?. . .

Finding a good paying job is a perennial New Mexico challenge and it can get more difficult when you take on the Governor and her political machine. Hard charging ABQ School Board member Kathy Korte and her husband Tim are finding that out:

The husband of one of the most outspoken critics of Gov. Martinez’s education policies is . . .soon to be fired. . . The Martinez administration denied, however, that Tim Korte’s firing is related to his wife’s vocal views. Korte, the public information officer for the Department of Finance did not want to leave the job, according to his wife, Kathy Korte. 

. . . Last year she lost her job as a spokeswoman at UNM Hospital after using social media to call ABQ GOP  Rep. Paul Pacheco a “traitor” for supporting Martinez’s education-reform agenda. She contends in a lawsuit filed against the university that she was forced to leave her job over her outspoken views.

Korte is seeking re-election in the February 3 ABQ School Board election but unfortunately for her, it isn't a paying position. She tells us both she and her husband are job hunting.

PEARCE UNCORKED

Pearce
Southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce is absolutely pummelling Dem Senator Martin Heinrich and northern Dem Congressman Ben Ray Lujan over their support for the SunZia transmission line that will run through White Sands Missile Range.

Heinrich
Heinrich has taken the lead on the project and over the weekend Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was in ABQ (video) with Heinrich and Lujan to make the approval announcement of the multi-state transmission line. It will feed wind and solar power to neighboring states. Pearce, who has been on the losing side of this one all the way, came uncorked:

Pearce blasted Heinrich and Luján, saying he is "extremely surprised" the two elected leaders "would agree with the destruction of sites fundamental to New Mexico's history and heritage. Regardless of our different views on national security and the role of the military, I am taken aback by their support for crony corporate welfare at the expense of our culture." Pearce said of Sec. Jewell:  "Green-lighting the completion of SunZia along the chosen route is a reckless rush to judgment without thorough examination."

Them there are fightin' words for sure and did not go unnoticed by the Alligators lazing along the banks of the Potomac. One of them struck back with this rejoinder:

We’ve been in the environmental review for 6.5-years--how’s that for a ‘rush to judgment?’ He purports to worry about the effects of placing the transmission line underground but that was the condition of the Department of Defense (DOD) to make the project acceptable. Since Steve doesn’t attend delegation meetings, I reckon his broadside against Heinrich and Lujan shouldn’t damage its comity. 

Steve refuses to believe that DOD has protected its mission in a way that also can create a brand new industry in a part of the state that needs it. I have no idea what he means by ‘crony capitalism.’ How he arrives at the position is a mystery. Maybe he’s trying to revive the "Know Nothing Party."

There's a little bit of news in that Gator strike. Why does Rep. Pearce--the only Republican in the five member state congressional delegation--not attend meetings of the delegation? That's pretty much unheard of. Cooperation among the delegation is more urgent than ever as Federal dollars continue to be squeezed. Pearce won't comment to us about his boycott. Perhaps one of the reporters he does talk to can ask him. Inquiring minds would like to know.

(By the way, an agreement has been signed that would require the preparation of a Historic Treatment Preservation Plan that would minimize impacts to cultural resources along the entire length of the project.)

NEW GUY ON THE BLOCK


Zimmerman, Hamilton & Morales
Here's a pic of a little known guy who rocked New Mexico politics on election night when he defeated Dem state Rep. Rudy Martinez 53% to 47%, giving the R's an unexpected pick-up that broadened their majority.

Newly elected GOP State Rep. John Zimmerman of Las Cruces smiles with fellow southern lawmakers--Rep. Dianne Hamilton of Silver City and State Sen. Howie Morales also of Silver City.

The question now is can the GOP keep Zimmerman smiling?  He's a retired US Naval Reserve commander as well as a retired missile engineer from White Sands who will  be atop the target list of the Dems when they try to reclaim the House in 2016.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman, who represents portions of  Dona Ana, Grant and Sierra counties, will serve on the House Appropriations Committee which isn't a bad start.

PITHY OPINIONS

Dem reader Stephanie DuBois comes with some pithy opinions on the state House Republicans dropping the Voters and Elections Committee and the proposal for parental notification for minors seeking an abortion:

Getting rid of the Voters and Elections Committee, must mean there is no need to look for "voter fraud" anymore. Ladies and Gentlemen voter fraud is officially over! I always knew the Republicans had all the answers. . . As for parental notification for an abortion in the case of a minor, I am concerned that the parent or guardian is the one that got her pregnant. Where does she go for permission to get a possible abortion? 

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