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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Hillary's Emailgate Conjures Memories Of Susana's, Plus: The Media Beat: Kirtland Tangles With Radio And Dem Party Attacks TV Reporter, Also: Agreeing On Gross Receipts 

Emailgate is back. Not the one starring Susana from her first term but Hillary's:

A House committee investigating the Benghazi, Libya, attacks issued subpoenas Wednesday for the emails of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who used a private account exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state - and also used a computer email server now traced back to her family's New York home.

Let's call one of the Senior Alligators off the bench for his take:

Republicans go after Hillary for having a private email account for herself and her staff that allowed her to conduct official business through back channels. At the same time they promote Susana Martinez as a possible VP candidate knowing Martinez also had a private email account for herself and her staff that allowed her to conduct official business through back channels. The big question: will Hillary be able to push charges against the Email-gate whistle blower and have them sent to jail the way Martinez did?

Maybe we flushed Susana out when we noted on the blog that there had been no on-camera interviews with her over the PARCC exam, despite widespread student protests.  She defended the test at a news conference Wednesday, one of her first in quite a while. Keith, Jay and Enrique: We'll let you know when it's time for the next one.

KIRTLAND VS. KUNM


On the media beat for you this Thursday we find this dust-up between Kirtland Air Force Base and ABQ public radio station KUNM-FM:

Kirtland’s Objection: The reporter should have known better than to include the information about Kirtland’s lead discharges in his story, because Kirtland officials provided interviews, a tour of base facilities and information about the base’s discharges. Kirtland officials may not respond to KUNM requests for information or interviews “if all [they] can expect is an unwarranted cheap-shot in return.”

Station Response: We are a news organization and our responsibility is to the public. We do not produce news content “in return” for access to public officials—or any sources for that matter.


It's not often seen publicly, but that's the way the game is often played; you don't write nice stuff about us and you don't get the interview or access. . .

MORE MEDIA 

Ramirez
And more from the media beat. The state Democratic Party is scorching KOB-TV reporter Chris Ramirez, saying the former communications director for ABQ GOP Mayor RJ Berry is "a Republican operative masquerading as a reporter."

The attack on Ramirez was triggered by his reporting this week over a tiff between Republican and House Majority Leader Nate Gentry and Democratic Senator and Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. Gentry protested Sanchez's treatment of House-passed legislation. The party asserts Ramirez favored Gentry in that report and in addition "cherry picks" stories to cast Democrats in "a bad light."

Ramirez responded on Facebook:

. . . Your social media posts don't intimidate me and I'll continue to cover the stories that are important to New Mexicans, even if that means offending a political party. During this important legislative session, it's troublesome that the Democratic Party of New Mexico is using its resources and persuasion to try to intimidate reporters instead of really working on behalf of the people it serves.

For those who watch such things, the news that there are quasi-journalists populating the mainstream media and carrying water for the Guv and her political machine is about as surprising to learn that the Roundhouse is, well, round. . .

But there is pride in the profession. A KOB-TV videographer recently declared his intent to be taken to jail when an ABQ personnel hearing over an APD officer's firing was about to get underway with TV cameras banned. And KOAT recently ran a report protesting APD's refusal to hand over public records it has repeatedly requested.

The more aggressive posture comes in the wake of  New Yorker magazine and Rolling Stone articles that simply ran circles around the local media with their depth and insight into the APD crisis. It was this particular quip in the New Yorker that indicted the local media before the nation for its AWOL coverage of the APD shootings and turmoil:

After an article on investigative grand juries in the Albuquerque Journal, by a reporter named Jeff Proctor—one of the few local journalists who consistently questioned the police department’s narrative about its shootings.

That's basically shaming the local media into stepping up its game or appearing foolish and/or blind to the rest of the nation. The media here passed up its opportunity to win a Pulitzer for investigating one of the biggest stories in city history (as it was occurring). Perhaps they can redeem themselves in the months ahead. As for Proctor, he left the Journal and is now a producer at KRQE-TV where he continues to investigate the APD story.

SENATE BEATS HOUSE

It looks as though the state Senate is going to be the burial ground for the major legislation approved by the GOP House so why shouldn't the senators win the annual charity basketball game this year? From court side:


The “Hoops 4 Hope” Legislative Basketball Game took place Wednesday evening. The charity game raised $22,350 for the University of New Mexico Cancer Center in its fight against cancer throughout the state. The Senate “Lobos” team, coached by Bob Davie, won the game with a score of 35, with the House “Aggies” team, coached by Lou Henson, ending the game with a score of 29.

The game raised over $22,000 for the UNM Cancer Center.

BIG PICTURE

Rep. Harper
Hope Garcia writes from Rio Rancho:

Can you stand one more comment on your “Big Picture” column? You said, “If the biz community wants to make history they could support dropping various tax incentives and in exchange lower the job-inhibiting gross receipts tax.” 


Glad to hear you are in support of State Rep. Jason Harper’s (R-Sandoval County) tax ideas:  Rep. Harper wants to decrease the state GRT from its current 8% to about 2%, by—to start with—removing all 370 GRT exemptions to businesses. A great step to reigning in the tax insanity in this state!

Harper's bill is House Bill 491. It proposes to lower the gross receipts tax to about 2 percent. It is now over 8 percent in some NM cities. Harper would eliminate all 370 GRT exemptions to businesses and also remove exemptions for charities and non-profits.

We're not sure the exemptions for charities and non-profits need to be repealed and we differ with Harper on lowering even further the corporate income tax and repealing the tax on wealthy estates. But the exemptions is a place to start the talking. Harper says that's his point. He does not expect action this year.

Harper joins former ABQ Dem state Senator Tim Keller--now state auditor--who also pushed for a serious look at the exemptions. Some might think reform is impossible as there is probably a lobbyist for each of the 370 exemptions. Still, with Democrats and Republicans agreeing that the too-high gross receipts tax is a big problem when it comes to attracting jobs, you might say hope springs eternal.

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