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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jockeying Over Vacant Griego Seat Escalates; Petition Filed To Get A New Senator On Floor Right Now, Plus: A Budget But Not Much Else Assured Of Roundhouse Passage And APD, Taser And James Boyd 

Maybe the Guv's fave to fill the state senate seat left vacant by the resignation of Phil Griego will get a second chance and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? The Lincoln County Commission is doing a do-over of its Sunday meeting on the advice of legal counsel who tells them it was done too hastily.

At the first meeting on Sunday, Bobbi Shearer, former head of the NM Elections Bureau, told the GOP dominated commission that she was the Guv's choice, but the commission ignored her pleas and named one of their own--Commissioner Tom Stewart for the slot. The second meeting is slated for Thursday unless the NM Supreme Court rules otherwise (see below). We'll soon see if Bobbi can bounce Tom.

The Griego district has six--count em--six counties in it and each of them gets to send a name up to to Governor who will make the final choice. Two have done so. The other commissions are slated to do so on Friday--except BernCo which will meet Wednesday-- so it appears the Griego seat will stay vacant until the end of the current legislation session at noon Saturday. But. . .

Martinez camp supporters have gone to the NM Supreme Court to get an order forcing the county commissions that have not yet sent her names to fill the Griego seat to do so ASAP. Like right away. The petition is here.

Does the administration really think the GOP vote that it will appoint to replace Griego can turn the tide for them?  Stay tuned. . .

HYPOCRISY WATCH

And what about the hypocrisy? When ABQ Dem state Senator Tim Keller announced his resignation the Bernalillo County Commission filled the seat within three days and drew cries of outrage from GOP Commissioners Johnson and Talbert and the Martinez media. And they were right. That was too quick. Now they are saying hurry up and send a name to Martinez within the same time frame as the Keller replacement--Mimi Stewart--was picked. Fellas, that bite you feel on your buttocks is an old fashioned Alligator strike.

AT THE ROUNDHOUSE

The solons are sure to pass a state budget for the next budget year that begins July 1. Most everyone agrees on that, but not much else. Speaking of which. . .

No sooner had we blogged that this year--against our better judgment--that this might finally be the year for a compromise on the repeal of driver's licenses for undocumented workers when any possible deal fell apart. The Guv has turned her back on the compromise bill offered by GOP Sen. Ingle and Dem Sen. John Arthur Smith. So it's back to the campaign trail with that one for the umpteenth time. And that's probably just the way the Guv wants it. This was the sixth time the driver's license bill has been debated in the Legislature--five regular sessions and a special session.

Another of the Guv's initiatives of the refried bean variety--third grade retention--is also headed for another failure. Right-to-work was put in the grave earlier, although you could see some of its fingers wiggle through the dirt in the final days. . .

We take note that Republican House Speaker Don Tripp did not come with any major legislative initiatives of his own this session. In an interview prior to the session he excited the bleacher seats when he said it might be time to look at extending the state's gross receipts tax to include giant online retailers like Amazon.com. Nothing but silence on that one ever since.

DOWN TO TWO

Now there are two. Chavez County Dem Party Chairman Fred Moran has withdrawn from the race for NM Dem Party Chair and tossed his support to Santa Fe County Dem Chair Richard Ellenberg. Moran says:

Richard’s understanding of the problems we face and his ability to deal with them, is well beyond the effort I could have provided.

Attorney Deb Haaland, the '14 Dem lieutenant governor nominee, is still in the race. The Dem Central Committee will meet in April to choose a replacement for Sam Bregman. The two chair hopefuls are scheduled to debate in ABQ Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall, 510 San Pedro SE.

APD CRISIS

new development in the APD fatal shooting one year ago of homeless and mentally ill camper James Boyd:

One of the weapons Albuquerque police chose to help bring James Boyd out of the Sandia foothills alive last March never should have been in officers’ hands in the first place. Nearly two years before the encounter that has come to symbolize the cratered relationship between police and many citizens here, Taser International discontinued its X12 shotgun, according to the company’s own literature. It cited flagging sales. The weapon, which APD officer Rick Ingram fired twice at Boyd, was no longer supported by Taser at the time. Nor was it covered under warranty.

And former APD Chief Ray Schultz is far from out of the woods when it comes to his relationship with Taser:

The city of Albuquerque’s longstanding and cozy business relationship with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based stun gun and body camera manufacturer is under increasing scrutiny.

The state auditor's office and the city Inspector General have both been investigating the city's relationship with Taser.

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