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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Rabbble-Rousers Score Some Wins Even As Apathy Abounds, Plus: Biden ToNM, The Connections Of Renegade Dem Sandra Jeff And NM Truth Ads ComingBack 

Mark Bralley
In a Land of Enchantment seemingly drenched in apathy the few rabble-rousers still raising a racket stand out more than ever. And they are showing that a little persistence can go a long way. The latest:

The Albuquerque Public Schools will pay $59,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging it violated the First Amendment rights of an Albuquerque photojournalist and long-time ethics advocate who said the APS board limited his ability to attend and photograph board meetings. The settlement with Mark Bralley, a retired Albuquerque cop, is the second time APS has settled a free-speech lawsuit since December, when it agreed to pay $575,000 to settle a similar lawsuit bought by retired teacher Ched MacQuigg. Bralley’s lawsuit settled on April 1, according to court documents. An APS spokesperson said the district had no comment on the settlement.

Bralley is a longtime photographer and blogger who was barred by APS from attending a 2010 gubernatorial forum between Susana Martinez and Diane Denish.

Meanwhile, down at City Hall APD critic and all around rabble-rouser Silvio Dell'Angela caused a stir at this week's city council meeting when he refused to remove the American flag he had taken into the council chambers and hung upside down to protest of what he says is the council's inaction in  reforming APD. City Council President Dan Lewis called the meeting to a halt and had the chambers vacated, noting that the council does not allow large banners at its meetings. When the session resumed Dell'Angela was not allowed back in. (A bit of council over reaction there?) The ABQ Free Press recently profiled the 76 year old activist who has more fire in his belly than guys half his age.

The rabble-rousers annoy the powers-that-be but you can argue that by exercising the rights that so many take for granted, they are keeping those rights intact.

BIDEN BACK

VP Joe Biden will be back in NM again this year for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Issues Conference in Santa Fe. The chairman of the DCCC is northern Dem Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. The meeting is this Friday though Sunday. Biden will speak on Saturday. Also returning this year is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The odds of the Dems taking back the US House this fall remain remote, even if Donald Trump is the GOP presidential nominee. The country is that polarized. Still, with the GOP having more woes than usual, a pick up of some Dems in the House has to be on the expectations list for Chairman Lujan.

The Biden news comes on the heels of the announcement that Michelle Obama will be in Santa Fe May 26 to give the commencement address at the Santa Fe Indian School.

New Mexico's presidential primary is June 7 but neither Biden or Michelle Obama are expected to wade into those waters during their Santa Fe sojourns. Rep. Lujan, however, has endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

RENEGADE GETS TO RUN

Sandra Jeff
We don't think Joe Biden will be looking up his old phone pal Sandra Jeff when he visits this weekend. Remember how he called her back in '14 to try to get her to vote in the state House to increase the state's minimum wage? It didn't work (hey, that's why she's a renegade). Now on the same day Biden is making NM news, so is Sandra. Maybe they are meant for each other. In any event, here we go. . .

Now for a report on renegade Democrat Sandra Jeff, a former state representative from Indian country who has played footsie with the Martinez administration, making it back on the June primary ballot to challenge Dem State Senator Benny Shendo. The newspaper reported

Secretary of State Brad Winter’s office had disqualified Jeff from running because she still owed a fine for filing a late campaign finance report last year. Jeff had appealed, and a hearing had been scheduled in state District Court. . . But the hearing was canceled and the case was dismissed. A lawyer representing Jeff, Republican state Rep. Zach Cook, said he and the secretary of state’s office had reached an agreement that Jeff would be placed on the ballot again. . .Jeff agreed to pay a $100 fine to the Secretary of State’s office, but maintained the penalty had not been properly imposed. She had been levied a fine of $1,050 last year that was apparently never paid.

Now to Senior Alligator analysis:

Jeff got herself back on the ballot and did so without the inconvenience of a hearing before a judge. Instead, Jeff, through her lawyer Republican State Rep. Zach Cook, came to a stipulated agreement with the Secretary of State’s contract lawyer Rob Doughty (the same Rob Doughty who as a UNM Regent led the take-over of UNM Health Sciences for the Governor’s Office and from which a Jay McCleskey led PAC was run out of his law office).

It's fair to speculate that it appears this stipulated agreement to return Sandra Jeff to the ballot was made between Martinez political adviser McCleskey through Zach Cook and then McCleskey through Rob Doughty. And what happened to everyone’s best friend, Secretary of State Brad Winter? Did he drink the wine along with everyone else?  Instead of being placed on the ballot to run for office, Sandra Jeff should be joining the Dianna Duran speaking tour – except that would require enforcement and right now the fox is guarding the henhouse.

And that's how you connect the dots, Senior Alligator style. As for the Dem primary between Shendo and Jeff, it will be closely watched to see if the Guv's political machine helps finance Jeff who can be counted on to vote with R's on major issues, as she did when she was in the House. There is no R running in the district so the primary winner takes the prize.

DOUGHTY DOUGH

Regent Doughty
As for UNM Regent and attorney Rob Doughty, look at this:

Since 2011, the year Martinez became governor, (Doughty's) law firm has contracted with the state General Services Department for more than $1.3 million, mostly in the department’s Risk Management Division, according to the state’s Sunshine Portal. The current contract calls for the law firm to do work on provisions of the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, the Civil Rights Act and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. The contract also calls for up to $300,000 in work for the state each year from Fiscal Year 2015 to Fiscal Year 2018, subject to appropriations from the state Legislature. Doughty’s signature is the only one from his law firm on the contract.

Holy Smokes, Rob. No wonder you are at the beck and call of the Guv's machine. Just remember, when Jay pulls out a cigarette, you light it. When the toast pops up, you butter it. And when it comes time to vote at UNM. . . well. . . Rob seems to understand.

NM TRUTH TO RETURN

The New Mexico Truth campaign, a spoof of the state's New Mexico True tourism campaign and designed to draw awareness to child poverty in the state, drew the attention of National Public Radio this week. The state threatened legal action against the campaign because of copyright concerns but nothing came of it.

The NM Truth TV ads will be back up later in the summer, Allen Sanchez, CEO of CHI St. Joseph's Children told NPR. The Catholic group created the campaign as part of the effort to win approval from the Legislature for a constitutional amendment that would let voters decide if they want to devote a small portion of the state's $15 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to very early childhood programs.

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