Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"For Sale" Sign Seems Planted On Intel's Giant Rio Rancho Plant As More Layoffs Loom; Governor Still Talking Crime As Intel Unwinds, And: Harvey The Heretic; Yates To Challenge Rogers For GOP Post, Also: TV Reporting Legend Dyson Says Adios 

So what's to be done with the giant Intel manufacturing plant perched on the hill in Rio Rancho? How about "The Largest Country Western Dance Hall and Brew Pub West of the Mississippi?" Those are things New Mexicans know pretty well. Or, with the R's in charge around here and blaming all of the state's woes on the criminals--not the economy--how about we put another state penitentiary out there?

You might want to get your own proposal ready because Tuesday Intel all but put a "For Sale" sign out in its front yard, announcing 12,000 worldwide layoffs among its workforce of 107,000. No one is thinking Rio Rancho which had 5,000 employees a decade ago and is now down to 1,900 will be spared. In fact, most business observers say this is it--turn out the lights, the Rio Rancho party is over.

Intel now says "attrition" (retirements etc.) not layoffs has taken the number of employees from the previously reported 2,300 to 1,900. They didn't say why they let the higher number hang out there but as they say no news is good news. . .

Intel announced the layoffs will take place over the course of a year but the slow death of the chip plant continues to take its toll on once booming Rio Rancho where population soared to 90,000 during the boom years but is now hitting the wall. Just this week Albertson's announced it is closing a grocery store there. And what about the many contractors for Intel who are often handsomely paid? They will all be out too, if the plant closes. Rio Rancho will be plunged into a recession. ABQ will also take a major hit.

No one wants ownership of the economic disaster in Rio Rancho or the rest of the state. How much don't they want it? On the day Intel was announcing its layoffs Gov. Martinez was talking about...you guessed it....crime:

. . . People facing DWI charges in five New Mexico counties are expected to have their case outcomes put on social media in real time by the state’s Department of Transportation. It is part of Gov. Martinez's anti-DWI plan to hire civilians to try to keep track of how judges handle DWI cases. She announced that a contract to start the program has been signed with Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. It’s time to “hold the justice system accountable for failing to punish DWI criminals,” she said

The governor wants the justice system held accountable. Okay, how about we do that and then hold the Governor accountable for her drunken and vindictive behavior at her holiday party? And for her completely ignoring the pain of lost jobs and the economic crisis to the point of never mentioning it?

Who lost Intel? The answer for what passes as the economic and political elite here seems to be "Who cares?"


The quiet as a mouse Dems stayed quiet on this latest dreary economic episode, although Dave Simon, a Dem state senate candidate for the Sandoval County area district that includes Intel, did nibble on the cheese put out by Intel. But the cat still has the tongue of the Dems. Can they take back the state House from the R's by keep hitting the mute button?


Rather than dealing with the yucky, persistent and depressing problems of New Mexico Martinez, chair of the Republican Governors Association, continues to play way over her head as she dances around the national stage. Her dance card is filled with missteps. Like her announcement that she would no longer make a visit to North Carolina and its GOP Governor. She weakly said the visit was canceled because of a scheduling conflict, not because of that state's controversial embrace of an anti-LGBT law governing the use of public restrooms. Dem State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino has the strike:

Amazing, isn't it? I don't know what's worse, Susana's lack of loyalty to a fellow GOP governor in trouble or her patently fake excuse for not being able to help out: a scheduling conflict. She should either stand by him or speak boldly about why she won't. This is her characteristic flight-from-reality response to all tough decisions and it helps explain her continuing ostrich approach to her home state's economic meltdown: Let's pretend it isn't happening and maybe it will go away. A leader she is not.

And another reader points out:

Sooner or later she is going to have to visit the controversy head-on because Governor Pat McCrory is up for re-election this year and by all accounts it was considered a toss-up before this controversy. The Republicans are certainly not going to want to lose that governorship, so she is probably going to have to campaign for him sooner or later, making an appearance in NC. She took on the big job of chairing the governors association, but apparently wants only the perks of the job.

And then Martinez comes with this:

Gov. Martinez strongly supports Gov. McCrory and looks forward to campaigning for him later this year,” Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez said Tuesday.

Say what?

It doesn't stop there. After saying on Saturday in New York that she is staying neutral in the GOP presidential race, the WaPo reports she let loose on Trump at a Sunday lunch for GOP donors held at a Florida mansion owned by the Koch Brothers. First, she's for Rubio, then she's neutral and now she isn't so neutral. What will it be next week?


Not all Republicans are worshipping at the Martinez/McCleskey altar and Harvey Yates is going to try to bring them out of the closet. The former NM GOP chairman confirms he is running against Pat Rogers, the notorious attorney for the Martinez political machine, for the position of GOP National Committeeman, a post Rogers has held for eight long years.

Yates' distaste for Martinez and Company is long-standing but now he gets to make his case and if he succeeds he could begin dismantling the machine that so many R's feel repressed under, but also are so fearful of.

Yates wrote to the delegates (full letter here) who will decide his race with Rogers at the May state GOP convention. He candidly detailed how the GOP frittered away the power it worked so hard to achieve:

. . . We had campaigned on our capacity to work with interested Democrats to move New Mexico out of the economic doldrums. Yet, job creation between 2010 and 2014 (the last year for which complete data are available) was one-half to one-third that of surrounding states.. . There. . . has been virtually no job creation in New Mexico since 2010. . .It was our job to work with moderate to conservative Democrats in a bipartisan way to change the direction of the state so jobs would be created. Yet, instead, a remarkable lack of civility as well as impolitic choices made by some, both undermined our capacity to work with formerly willing Democrats and unnecessarily divided our party. 

Yates is tricky for the machine to handle. His oil business gives him plenty of "F You" money so he doesn't have to worry about the machine's vindictiveness but clearly the machine has to worry about him.

 By the way, the vote for committeeman is done by secret ballot. Maybe that will give some of those fearful R's the courage of their real convictions.


Monahan & Dyson (2008)
If there's a legend in local TV news reporting it's KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson. The 64 year old has been on the political beat (and many others) for 40 years. That long and productive run came to an end this week as Dyson retired from KOB-TV by simply saying "it's time."

Dyson, whose punchy writing style, brilliant sense of humor and premature gray hair made him stand out from the crowd, covered NM gubernatorial campaigns going back to Jerry Apodaca in '74 when we shared the newsroom with him at KUNM-FM. He told us:

The most memorable campaign for me was 1994 when Republican Gary Johnson faced incumbent Governor Bruce King. Not only did Gary not air one negative ad but as I recall he never even mentioned King by name. Johnson's on-camera admission to me that he had smoked marijuana and inhaled was a shock back then and really shook things up.

Johnson went on to win two gubernatorial terms. Dyson himself got a taste of insider politics when he served for three years as a spokesman for NM Senate Democrats, but the lure of the newsroom was powerful and he was soon back on the beat.

Unlike most TV reporters who use medium-sized ABQ as a stepping stone, Dyson settled in, watching his fame grow as he presented quirky stories on "killer bees" and the like. He accepted an offer to work in Minneapolis--a much larger TVmarket than ABQ--but the brutal cold was no match for New Mexico and he was quick taking the return trip.

Dyson, who we teamed up with to provide years of political analysis for KOB, says New Mexico has changed dramatically over the course of his career.

The politics, the economy and the TV industry--all of it. And it is not as much fun. TV reporters are expected to do much more with less these days and I respect the younger ones who are really churning it out.

That frustration with the business, he said, was partly the cause of what led to a near physical confrontation with KOB-TV anchor Tom Joles last year and that made front page headlines. "That was a signal that it was probably time to go." He said.

So off goes Stuart Dyson but not without having written his own and very colorful chapter in the never ending book of La Politica.¡Hasta luego! Stu.


Several readers pointed out that in a passage we quoted from a 2014 Santa Fe Reporter article Randy Briggs was identified as an opthamologist . He is an optometrist. There's a big difference between the two. Among them: opthamologists are required to have medical degrees and optometrists are not.

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.

website design by limwebdesign