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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday Vox Populi: Readers Write Of High Priced Pizza Men, Confederate Flags, Matt Chandler, The NM Workforce And Legalizing Pot 

As you've heard time and again business is booming in the states surrounding New Mexico and a reader drives the point home with this pic he snapped in Austin.

Pizza delivery drivers there are pulling down $16 an hour, plus $1.00 for each delivery and get a $250 bonus just for signing up. Austin is about a ten hour drive from ABQ but it seems the economies are light years apart. . .

We dip digger into the mailbag and find this from reader and ABQ attorney Steve Suttle:

Does the Confederate flag on the Old Town plaza bother anyone? Admittedly, it is the flag of the Confederate government (seven stars commemorating the first seven secession states) and not the offensive Confederate battle flag. However, doesn't it represent slavery as much as the battle flag? Although it doesn't have the close association with the Ku Klux
Klan or the likes of the Charleston church mass murderer, it nevertheless was
equally a symbol of rebellion, oppression, and enslavement. Some might also point out that the royal standard of Spain on the plaza can be associated with extreme brutality to the native population during the Entrada.

ACCOUNTABILITY?

A reader writes of that $5 million lawsuit settlement over the fatal police shooting of homeless camper James Boyd:

Speaking of accountability, how about that $5,000,000 settlement the city of ABQ paid to the family of James Boyd who was killed by APD? By now Albuquerque, under Mayor Berry, has spent how much in lawsuits against APD. What could Albuquerque have done with this money? Better streets? Not raise water prices to fix an aging water system? Hire the 800 vacant city job openings? And is anyone ever held accountable? 

The latest figures from the newspaper say at least $28 million has been paid out since 2010 to settle lawsuits involving police shootings. However, the city hedged by saying that is its best estimate, not necessarily the total figure.

The total is higher than $28 million when you account for the settlement of all lawsuits involving APD--not just those involving shootings--but we don't know what that number is. Again, we ask where are the fiscal conservatives in the city? Shouldn't they naturally be demanding the total amounts and accountability?

MATT AND CHARLIE

A critic of former Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler--whose nomination by the Governor to the UNM Board of Regents was rebuffed by the state senate but who this week was appointed by her to fill a vacant district judgeship--comes with this angle:

There is no one more ill-suited to the bench than a guy who makes false accusations against a chief justice of the NM Supreme Court. Forget his involvement in the GOP political PAC in 2012, his official actions are the real problem. From 2011:

Chief Justice Charles Daniels said  he won’t remove himself from any matters arising from criminal charges against a Las Cruces judge--and said the request that he do so contained “false allegations” and “factual misrepresentations.” Daniels took aim at allegations raised by special prosecutor Matt Chandler, who wanted the Supreme Court justice out of the bribery and witness intimidation case against District Judge Mike Murphy. Chandler, the district attorney from Clovis, filed a motion requesting Daniels recuse himself, citing a series of events and comments he said would bring Daniels’ impartiality into question.  In the order denying the motion, Daniels said: The suggestion that he or his wife, Randi McGinn, paid or made political contributions for his appointment to the Supreme Court by then-Gov. Bill Richardson in 2007 are “patently false” and “groundless gossip.”

For sure, Judge Matt is going to have a lot of second-guessers peering over his shoulder when he makes his judicial decisions.

WORK ON WORKFORCE

Reader Sheik Yerbuti Jr. writes:

Joe, I could not agree with you more about NM's lack of an educated workforce as a major component in the failure to attract businesses. And attracting new industry won't be the be-all-end-all, either--at least, initially. One only has to look back when Intel first set up shop in Rio Rancho--or when Silicon Valley exploded in the '70's  In both cases, the companies brought workers from elsewhere. They had to. There weren't enough qualified workers to find. This remains especially true for the engineering-type jobs. We don't have a good engineering-hi-tech base in NM. Remember when there were lots of out-of-staters moving to Rio Rancho and the West Side of ABQ--and how resentment grew among the locals? 

We really need to beef up our educational system. We need to develop new generations of tech-oriented youth before we can focus on trying to attract industry. If we don't, then yeah--we might bring the next Apple or Microsoft here, sure; but these companies won't be hiring very many New Mexicans. They'll be bringing qualified workers with them--workers drawn to our (comparatively) cheap cost of living which will come along with their new jobs.

Reader Kay Nixon writes of a variety of topics:

Marijuana is going to be legalized because Wall Street wants it. Wall Street sees it as a money maker. There have been articles about Wall Street exploring ways to set up public marijuana companies to trade on the market. Speaking of Wall Street, I hope the none of the state's trusts, municipal funds or retirement funds are invested in Puerto Rican, Greek or Chinese bonds. Also, from what I hear on Bloomberg radio the price of oil will never go back to the highs that it did in the last ten years so the citizens, NM Legislature and Governor need to expect lower returns on oil drilling here. Unfortunately our leaders thinking seems limited in their world view.

NO WEED, PLEASE

Reader Ron Nelson maintains that legalizing marijuana in New Mexico as has been done in Colorado is a lousy idea:

I’d like to rebut Representative Bill McCamley’s proposition to legalize marijuana here. The lessons learned from legalizing alcohol should be a stellar role model as to why this is a bad idea. . .The amount of money spent on the health, social and public safety issues that are a direct result of excessive alcohol consumption is staggering and in the billions of dollars. And yet we promote more businesses that solicit alcohol, with little to show for it at the medical and public safety end of the spectrum. . . Colorado has also cited a 68 percent shortfall in projected tax revenues. The politicians blame the medical marijuana program for underselling the legal market, but other sources claim black marketers are underselling legal businesses almost 3-1.

Thanks for the thoughtful mail. Drop us a line any 'ol time

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