Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tired Blood In Santa Fe As Same 'Ol Bills Dominate, Dunn's SunZia Conflict And Turning Out The School Board Vote  

Even Senator John Pinto singing the potato song seems played out. That's how blah and redundant this 60 day legislative session has been thus far. Debate on a 30 year old right-to-work bill is followed by debate and last night's passage of the small potatoes "social promotion" bill (or as the Dems call it, the 3rd grade flunking bill) followed by the now annoying yearly effort to repeal driver's licenses for undocumented workers.

Even Governor Martinez seems disinterested. Has anyone even seen her since she gave the state-of-the-state speech January 20--aside from closely arranged PR shoots? Well, one supposes whatever minor legislative victory the R's can deliver she will be trotted out to celebrate them, inflate them and try to make something out of them on the national stage. Yes, that too is like day old bread. Another New Mexico Governor wanting to get out of here. Yawn. . .

The money is tight, the big government players have left the building and the public is preoccupied (Some 34% of likely voters in a recent insider poll said they had no opinion about what's going on in Santa Fe--and that's "likely voters"). The old TV ad for Geritol warned of "iron-poor, tired blood." That's Santa Fe circa 2015.


Sometimes La Politica just gets strange. For example, this news release from GOP state land commissioner Aubrey Dunn about a conflict-of-interest he has over the SunZia renewable energy transmission line:

Dunn, in an effort to remain transparent, would like to make sure the public is aware that he and his wife, Robin, own and operate the Gran Quivira Ranch, where they maintain their residence. The ranch is located approximately 36 miles southeast of Mountainair. The currently proposed route of SunZia would cross a portion of the ranch that the Dunns acquired in late 2014. Dunn had previously disclosed this fact in a filing with the Secretary of State. . . and has spoken publicly about this in recent weeks. Despite the fact that the Commissioner may stand to personally benefit from the transmission line, he has chosen to take a stand to ensure the public, and some 65 land owners, and 70 state trust land lessees, have had ample opportunities to publicly discuss the route and the federal decision to place the transmission line in New Mexico along its currently proposed route. 

Some Senior Alligator analysis of this is called for and we've got it:

 I suspect we’re watching the early phase of a gubernatorial run. Look at the number of press releases he’s issued in 40 days. I’m also guessing SunZia may be more collateral damage to a conservative fight against federal stewardship of NM public lands.

Dunn is collecting public opinion on SunZia which would cross state trust lands. He has delayed the project for two months. 


Reader Jim McClure comes with reaction to a bill by ABQ Dem State Rep. Javier Martinez that would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in local school board elections in an effort to increase participation in the very low turnout elections:

Adding low-information teen voters will. . . make electioneering in the classroom inevitable: Whichever candidate pledges to eliminate testing is bound to win the student vote. The easiest way to increase voter involvement is to hold school board elections on the same day as the general election. An even better way is to eliminate the elected school board entirely and put the Mayor in charge of the school system. This has made the schools more accountable to the voters and turned up the heat on the Mayor in cities like Chicago, but overlapping jurisdictions may make this impractical in Albuquerque.

Thanks, Jim, but before we put ABQ Mayor Berry in charge of the school board, maybe he should first take charge of the police department?


Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich has endorsed the proposal to tap a portion of  the immense state Land Grant Permanent Fund (now over $14 billion) and devote it to very early childhood education. Dem Sen. Tom Udall has not joined him. He comes with this:

Udall has joined several senators in introducing legislation to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five. The Providing Resources Early for Kids (PRE-K) Act helps more kids arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed by establishing a federal-state partnership that incentivizes states to improve the quality of their preschool programs and expand to serve more children in need.

Dem US Rep Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan have also been shy about endorsing the early childhood constitutional amendment. With the R's in control of the state House the amendment will remain dormant until the Dems regain power. It has passed there previously but stopped by the conservative coalition in the state Senate.

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