Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Some Sorely Needed Drama For La Politica As Keller Vs. The Machine Continues, Plus: The Dems New ED And Guv Urged To Change On Early Childhood  

Keller & Balderas
New Mexico politics is getting some sorely needed drama back in the picture. The only question for the past five years has been who will the Guv's political machine attempt to crush or intimidate today and who would be the next Dem to fold in the face of the onslaught. Now that Dem State Auditor Tim Keller has stuck his neck out and ordered a probe of possible preferential treatment of a taxpayer by Martinez's secretary of taxation and revenue political junkies have something to watch.

The mini-drama is enough to get both the R's and Dems back from vacation as they send out zingers to their loyalists (the R's here and Dems here). Even political junkies of the Republican persuasion have to take some joy in Keller's battle. They get just as bored as the Dems.

In the latest chapter, Keller is front-paged by the Machine for being mentioned in a California lawsuit dealing with his former job as a consultant. There's not much "there" there but the light jab was the only counter punch they could dig up and you go with what you got.

Everyone knows the next story line: What does Attorney General Hector Balderas do with Keller's charges of preferential treatment allegedly given by a Martinez cabinet secretary?  The latest development on that has a Martinez political operative taking to social media asking the question. Will the operatives be sorting through any dirty linen in Hector's hamper as they are with Keller--just in case?  Duh.

For those of you gaming this as a prelude to a possible Keller-Balderas face-off for the '18 Dem Guv nomination, you are way too early. Okay, we have to say that for the record but
around here it's really never too early. So. . . .

Hector had $260,000 in cash on hand in his April finance report. Keller had $35,000. Balderas has scheduled a Sept. 16 fund-raiser, with tickets topping out at $1,000 a shot and bottoming at $250. Checks go to "Balderas for New Mexicio." That name keeps his options open, doesn't it? As for Keller's fund-raising, he's not pressured--not when you're getting media coverage of late that would cost a half million or so.


Okay, we hear you. Never mind the '18 cycle. What about '16 which is right in front of us?  Here's some news about the new executive director of the NM Dems as they prepare for Campaign '16:

Joe Kabourek, an attorney and top-level staffer from Colorado has been called on to lead the Dem’s into the crucial 2016 election cycle. . .Kabourek, 30, comes to New Mexico from Denver where he worked on multiple federal, state and local campaigns, as well as being a licensed attorney in Colorado. 

The way it works these days is Kabourek gets to come down here and if the R's can't find any weird stuff he has tweeted he gets to stay. And to make him feel right at home, here's an Alligator strike upon his entry into La Politica:

The Democratic Party has done a horrible job turning out its base. In 2008, 464,458 people voted for the Obama-Biden ticket. Democrats were only able to get 219,262 people to vote for King-Haaland ticket. Hispanics were 41% of voters in 2008 and only 33% in 2014. The drop off in Hispanic voters is killing the party and one of the main reasons why the state House flipped. It is obvious that party leadership does not understand this. If they did, they would not have hired an out-of-state white male with very limited political experience to run the party.

Don't fret, Joe. The Keller-Machine contest has made the Gators even hungrier.


TV news picked up on our Monday blog courtesy of the Alligators who broke the news of the tax troubles of WisePies pizza, the start-up that has promised to pay UNM $5 million over ten years for the naming rights for the famous Pit. UNM Prez Bob Frank said he is not concerned at all about the ability of WisePies to pay all that cash. But then Bob was last seen strolling near the UNM duck pond singing, "Don't Worry, Be Happy."


Newsman Milan Simonich comments on the state's 49th ranking in child well-being in the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation study. It found that 31 percent of the state's children live in poverty, up two points from last year:

Gov. Martinez has a rare opportunity to help reverse New Mexico’s. . . high poverty and low academic achievement. . . Martinez has opposed using a portion of the state’s land grant endowment to expand early childhood education. The endowment is worth about $15 billion. . . Many people want to use a portion of the endowment to get kids off to a fast and productive start by expanding early childhood education. In New Mexico, a state with just 2 million residents, this would be easier to achieve than in most places.  New Mexico, though, won’t have much of a future unless it moves decisively to turn around poverty rates. Expanding early childhood education--generally defined as prenatal to age 5--would be the surest way to produce more high school and college graduates, build wealth and reduce prison populations. . . Martinez, 56, is the politician who’s key to getting the initiative on the statewide ballot next year. If she changed her position, enough Republicans in the state House would follow minority Democrats and vote to put the proposal before voters. 

The proposed constitutional amendment needs approval of both the House and Senate in order to be sent to the voters. The Guv would not be able to veto the measure, but as Simonich points out, it would very likely take a change in her position to get the House--now controlled by the R's--to support the amendment.

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