Friday, September 18, 2015

GOP Puts Out State Senate Hit List, Two Weighty Items on City Election Ballot, Legal Beagle Barks On SOS Duran And The HP Blues 

Maestas (Roswell Daily Record)
The state GOP is putting out its hit list as it works to take the majority in the state Senate next year. Chairwoman Debbie Maestas told a Chaves County GOP gathering that the party (and the Guv's machine) is targeting the seats of Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque, Sen. John Sapien of Corrales, Sen. William Soules of Las Cruces and Sen. Michael Sanchez of Belen.

The Senate is currently divided 24 to 18 with the Dems in control. If they can get to a 21-21 tie, GOP Lt. Governor Sanchez would give the R's a majority for the first time in who knows when? And when was the last time both the NM House and Senate we're controlled by the R's and with a Republican Governor to boot?  (We'll get back to you on that).

Meanwhile, there's grumbling among the Dems as summed up by reader Sybil Wertheim:

Where's the new Dem Party leader? Already I forget who it is. Seems vaguely similar to the old Party leader. Please tell me if I'm wrong.

Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland says she is hard at work but raising money is a challenge and they need the green stuff to get the ball rolling faster. She has hired a new executive director who says he hears the concern over the party's messaging or lack thereof.


Reader Ron Nelson reacts to our blog about the very low turnout expected for the Oct. 6 ABQ election:

Joe, hope you remind your readers that the real important issues on the ballot for this lackluster election is (1) the BioPark tax, and (2) giving the sleepy city council confirmation power over the mayor's selections for police and fire chiefs.

Thanks, Ron. On the proposed one-eighth of a cent increase to finance 15 years of improvements at the BioPark we'll vote no. It is one of those rare times we find ourselves in agreement with the austerity hawks at the conservative Rio Grande Foundation. But they are right to declare the ever higher gross receipts tax here is bad for business and impacts the poor much more than the well-off. A  higher percentage of their income goes to pay the tax.

Former ABQ Mayor Jim Baca has also weighed in against the tax, citing the impact on the poor. One other thing: The tax would be for 15 years and would generate at least $250 million for BioPark improvements. We need to issue bonds for capital improvements and reserve taxing authority for more pressing future concerns (hat tip to Councilor Don Harris for that point).

On #2 we 'll vote for giving confirmation power to the "sleepy" city council. It's long overdue.


One of our Legal Beagles is seeking answers from other Legal Beagles on the work status of Secretary of State Dianna Duran. She has not been going to work regularly since being charged last month with felonies in connection with her campaign funds:

I used to work with a state prosecutor who loved to charge violations of NMSA 30-23-2 for state employees who were getting paid for work they didn't do. Not sure if it applies to elected officials like Dianna Duran or not, but I thought your Legal Beagles might want to weigh in on the topic. Here's the statute:

"Paying or receiving public money for services not rendered consists of knowingly making or receiving payment or causing payment to be made from public funds where such payment purports to be for wages, salary or remuneration for personal services [services] which have not in fact been rendered.. . .Whoever commits paying or receiving public money for services not rendered is guilty of a fourth degree felony."

There are no set work hours for statewide elected officials.


One of our Alligators wonders if those massive layoffs announced by Hewlett-Packard will mean another round of layoffs at the company's Rio Rancho customer service center:

Between the job losses at HP and Intel, how is Rio Rancho making it? And it looks pretty clear that the high-tech sector is clearing out of New Mexico. But, according to most of the media and our political class, all is well. Dave and Buster's is hiring!

It does seem that the business news around here is dominated by the opening and closing of a multitude of restaurants, doesn't it?

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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