Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Former Governor Goes On The Hunt For Answers For New Mexico, A Would-Be Governor Comes With A Capital Idea, And: Repeat Offenders And The Bail Amendment 

Gov. Hunt
How about if we get former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt to come to New Mexico and run for Governor? You might think it's a good idea after learning of his no holds barred assessment of our state's problems when he spoke at the recent Domenici Public Policy Conference sponsored by former Senator Pete Domenici:

In Hunt's closing, he quoted former Intel executive Craig Barrett. "Barrett said, 'You can't save your way out of a recession — you have to invest your way out.' I urge you to be bold," Hunt said.

Heck, sounds, like you've been reading the blog, Jim. We're now your choir so keep preaching:

--A stronger commitment to early childhood development and education.

--The creation of a New Mexico Board of Science, Technology and Innovation,

--A continued focus on strengthening the state's K-12 schools and community colleges.

Actual ideas to build a real future for New Mexico? Where did they find this fella? Some more:

However, Hunt said, progress won't come cheap. "This takes money, folks," he told the crowd. "It's not magic. There's no secret here. If you believe that New Mexico needs to break out, you're going to have to find new sources of revenue."

Gov. Hunt, could you email that to the Santa Fe austerity hawks? And finally, the topper:

Hunt said for 35 years his state suspended a food exemption of the three-cent sales tax. He admitted it wasn't popular, but it generated the revenue necessary to fund projects that were. He recommended New Mexico consider raising taxes or using the Land Grant Permanent Fund.

Use the $16 billion Permanent Fund (also known as the Permanent School Fund) to move the state out of its generational social conditions crisis? Ye Gads! Susana must be asking how Pete let that guy in the door.

Hunt, a Democrat, is the longest serving governor in North Carolina history. If he can't run for Governor here, could he please give that speech before a joint session of the state legislature, followed by a personal briefing for the Fourth Floor?


Speaking of good ideas, this one from reader Katarina Borodina almost got lost in the shuffle. It's about kick-starting the sluggish economy and is from our "Governor for a Day" contest held a number of months back:

Executive Order Number 1--Each agency within the state is required to present a 12-month spending plan for the spending of capital funds approved by the Legislature (severance tax bonds) as well as the voters (general obligation bonds). The State reported as of April 30, unspent bond proceeds representing approximately $1.2 billion. Under this Executive Order, all funds not spent in the next year on projects will be reverted to other approved capital projects within the state at the direction of the legislature (severance tax bonds) or used to redeem outstanding bonds (general obligation bonds). There is no need to raise funds and pay interest on those funds if the citizens of this state do not see the benefits of completed projects.

Jim Hunt for Governor. Katarina Borodina for Lt. Governor. How's that for a ticket?


And speaking of Guv for a day. . .

Does Lt. Governor John Sanchez have a good doctor? With Susana in DC today for the Pope's visit, Sanchez assumes the gubernatorial powers. If something happens to John, Secretary of State Dianna Duran becomes Governor. You better stay fit, John, and don't cross that state line or Dianna will issue herself a pardon faster than Chuck Franco can down a baloney sandwich.


ABQ attorney Steve Suttle expressed skepticism here recently over a proposed constitutional amendment that would toughen up the state's bail laws as a means of preventing repeat offenders. Art Pepin, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, comes with this response:

This is a proposal to accomplish two things: 1) Give judges the authority to keep truly dangerous defendants in jail before they go to trial and 2) make sure non-dangerous people do not languish in jail simply because they are too poor to afford a bail bond. No one argues the amendment is a panacea for all the real and perceived challenges facing the criminal justice system. However, Mr. Suttle's prediction that allowing judges to keep proven dangerous defendants in jail will lead to a significant increase in jail populations is not supported. Even if this happens, it would result from keeping very dangerous defendants in jail in order to protect the public. 

 There are many charged with an offense who now stay in jail because they can not afford a bail bond. The constitutional amendment will require the release of these people, who are presumed innocent under the New Mexico Constitution, if the only reason they are in jail is because they are unable to pay a bail bondsman. They can continue working, paying rent, and engaging with their families if the court finds there is a reasonable assurance they will appear at their next court date and they are not dangerous. 

The impact of the constitutional amendment will be to release those who are poor and not dangerous and keep in jail those who are too great a threat to public safety. The constitutional amendment provides for a high standard of proof to deny pretrial release and also for a priority appeal for those who believe the judge was mistaken to find them too great a threat to be released. 

The bail amendment is expected to be introduced at the next legislative session in January,

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