Monday, August 24, 2015

Vaya Con Dios, Valentino? APS Board Stalls On Dealing With Scandal Plagued Super, Plus: Another Love Tap For Susana, Big Bill Swallows The Hill Pill And Some Tax "Hoodoo" 

What's so complicated about dumping an APS school superintendent who hired as his deputy a man facing charges for sexually assaulting kids? Apparently more than meets the eye for the embattled ABQ School Board. It wrestled with the question for over five hours Sunday but could only decide to not decide and slated another meeting for Thursday morning to settle the matter.

The sex scandal that has engulfed APS Super Luis Valentino has spread outrage over the city. Besides being extremely troubling to parents, it is yet another blow to the city's efforts to attract economic and business planners to the city and sell its virtues. Employers want a functioning school system not one that has the stability of a wooden shack in an earthquake zone.

While few may see anything less than a resignation or firing of Valentino as the only viable way out, former APS board member Robert Lucero says the current board could be gun shy over spending the big dollars it would take to buy out Valentino's multi-year contract. Instead, he told us, they could reprimand Valentino and then hire a new deputy superintendent with the clear intention of watch dogging Valentino. Maybe, but cutting off the legs of the superintendent doesn't exactly inspire confidence, either.

In days gone by a man in Valentino's position might voluntarily resign and take a reasonable financial settlement, knowing he had done wrong. It would be the honorable thing to do and salvage what is left of his reputation. For the good of the community, think about it, Luis.


Ched Macquigg, a longtime critic of APS and dismissed by the APS establishment as a gadfly, nevertheless has been vindicated by the ongoing scandals. His take:

It's like having a sick dog in the house--every time you think it’s over, it's throwing up again somewhere else. The ethics, standards and accountability crisis is the dark side of the leadership of the APS. It needs to end; at once and forever. It is time for an independent examination and review of ethics, standards and accountability in APS. Let the chips fall where they may.

Maybe State Auditor Tim Keller can somehow stick his nose under that tent? Or the attorney general?

Social media has been abuzz over the APS scandal. Jessica Martinez tweeted:

Regarding the @ABQschools debacle I'll say this--somewhere Winston Brooks is sipping a margarita & laughing his ass off.

Brooks, as you may recall, preceded Valentino as APS Super and was also engulfed in scandal when the APS board bought out his contract only one year ago.


The sex scandal followed on the heels of the Moya scandal. That's the one where APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya was put on administrative leave by Valentino when Moya intervened over a questionable APS contract deal that Deputy Superintendent Martinez was working to ram through. Reader Betty Whiton writes:

There should be a "Don Moya Whistle-Blower Award" given out for honest, ethical work in APS. He discovered a problem with a company that Valentino wanted, and rather than listen, Valentino tries to fire him. Valentino brings on Jason Martinez, an alleged pedophile, book-hustler, disgraced educator and pays him $160K while trying to fire a hardworking, ethical CFO who did his job. He, like Brooks, are unfamiliar with technology, grammar, and ethics. . . It appears that Valentino is not only incompetent, but corrupt and unethical, threatened by a responsible CFO, and has an alternate agenda.


The newspaper sends yet another love letter to the Governor, this time as she prepares to become the chair of the Republican Governors Association in November. That's how you sell newspapers? Yawn. Meantime. . .

Former Governor Big Bill says he has patched up his differences with Hillary (and Bill) and endorsed her prez candidacy. Well, he does like Cuba.

Back to the newspaper and Susana, ABQ attorney Jeffrey Baker is less diplomatic than we are:

The Albuquerque Journal has made it official--it is Susana Martinez’ butt boy. The Journal has its head so far up Susana’s skirts that it cannot see daylight. How is the fact that Susana Martinez will become chair of the Republican Governor’s Association in November worthy of a front page Sunday story in August? But there is an irony – inside the Sunday Journal is an ad for Senator Domenici’s policy conference in Las Cruces, where Governor Martinez is listed as having been invited to speak about regional economic development. Any bets on whether she shows up? What will she say about regional economic development, other than the region (except New Mexico) is developing?


A reader writes of our Friday post in which we point out that a recent state revenue report says that 2013 corporate income tax cut is costing a whale of a lot more money than the Dems who supported it at the time claimed it would:

Thanks for your piece on the huge difference between what Gov. Martinez and Republicans (and Democrats in support) said the 2013 corporate tax cut would cost in lost revenue and what the actual costs are proving to be. The paragraph you quoted from  the revenue report is bad enough, but the slippery non-explanation in the paragraph immediately below the one you quoted is actually worse, to wit:

"Due to strengthening economic fundamentals in the state during FY14, the source of the error remains unclear. Analyzing actual FY14 taxpayer data would provide a more accurate estimate of the bill’s impact on CIT collections; however, TRD notes it will not have this data until 2016. Due to confidentiality restrictions, access to taxpayer-level data and further analysis is limited to TRD. Because of the volatile and nebulous nature of CIT collections, it is not yet possible to disaggregate this error and attribute it to either forecasting error or to an error in the estimated revenue impact of HB 641."

I hope you will pound on this obvious hoodoo from now until November, 2016. This is a Big Dang Deal--especially since the numbers only get worse in the future and go on forever. Martinez's political donors bought an absolutely scandalous steal on this and you may be the only voice with the independence and integrity to give it the permanent airing it deserves.

Thanks for that. We pounded the table on this when the Dems caved and supported the corporate cut. We said it could cost them control of the House for the first time in 60 years. They argue back that they lost the House in '14 for "other reasons." Maybe that's what they'll say if they lose the senate next year.

Thanks again for making us NM's #1 political web site. It's a kick.

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