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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The R's Go Green As Leader Gentry Taps Medical Marijuana Biz For Campaign Loot, Plus: Susana Gives Jay A Pay Raise And Buying Time In Bernalillo County; More Money Equals More Of It 

Rep. Gentry
Is the NM GOP merging with the liberal Green Party? You might ask that as news spreads that State House Majority Leader Nate Gentry scooped up over $13,000 in the recent campaign reporting period from the medical marijuana industry.

When GOP governor Gary Johnson urged legalization of marijuana back in the 90's it tore the R's apart, but the anti-legalization forces have lost their mojo and with the prospect of even looser state marijuana laws in the future it seems some politicos are looking at not only the pot--but the pot of money it will generate. In other words, some R's are going for the green, if not the Green Party. . .

Meanwhile, Leader Nate reports a whopping  $317,000 in cash on hand for the coming fight to keep the NM House under GOP control, as well as to defend his own ABQ seat.

(By the way, Nate also picked up thousands from the state's optometrists. Can one of you Alligators tells us what that's all about?). . .

We saw in the campaign finance report for Governor Martinez's Susana PAC at the Secretary of State's site that her controversial and powerful political consultant Jay McCleskey is now pulling down about $21,000 a month in consulting fees. That's quite a bit higher than the good old days of 2014 and 2012 when the monthly consulting fees for McCleskey Media Strategies reported ranged from around $10,000 to $13,000.

McCleskey was the recent target of a federal grand jury investigation over his campaign finance practices. The probe ended with no indictments, but probably with big legal bills.

Susana PAC did not appear to get hurt in its fund-raising by the federal probe. It raised about $328,000 in the recent reporting period, similar to past periods. It had $216,000 in cash on hand.

Insiders are waiting for Super PAC funding for the  legislative contests. The newspaper reports: "The Oklahoma-based Devon Energy funneling $100,000 to a pro-GOP group called Advance New Mexico Now." Patriot Majority, the Dem Super PAC is also back for this cycle and received $50,000 from labor.

On the Democratic side, Dem BernCo County Clerk and Secretary of State candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver was also filling her consultant's kitty. She raised $190,000 in the reporting period--Oct. 6, 2015 to April 4, 2016--and wrote $65,000 in checks for political consulting. Roswell State Rep. Nora Espinoza is the GOP SOS contender. She raised $72,000. Oliver reports $105,000 cash on hand and Espinoza says she has $78,000.

ABQ area GOP state Senate candidate Diego Espinoza sent out a news release noting how in the recent reporting period he slightly out raised his rival--Dem State Senator John Sapien--$32,000 to $29,000.  The contest, which includes a good swath of Sandoval County, is one to keep your eye on.

BUYING TIME

How much time does a six figure income buy in Bernalillo County? Well, a study says you get an 8 extra years of life to enjoy your green chile if you are one of the lucky ones making over $100,000 a year. The news:

On average, the life expectancy for a poor 40-year-old in Bernalillo County is 78.4 years. It is about average for life expectancy for the poor. There is also a gap between the rich — those in households making more than $100,000 per year — and poor: In Bernalillo County, the poor will die about 8 years before the rich. That’s roughly equivalent to the difference in life expectancy between an average man in the United States and one in Afghanistan. It is about 1 years more than the gap for the United States as a whole. This is the conclusion of a large study of anonymous earnings records and death certificates, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The report underscores the role of geography in attaining longevity, particularly for the poor.

Many of the folks who pull down six figure salaries in these parts are government officials. We can hear it now: The Tea Party or someone proposes paying them $99,000 a year so they don't stick around so long.

WHY THE SHORTAGE?

Former ABQ District Judge Anne Kass comments on the shortage of APD officers:

Given that the under-staffing of APD has persisted throughout Mayor Berry's first and second terms in office, it seems more like a planned management financial decision--cutting costs through vacancy savings--(one of the business model's favorite tactics) than a budget or recruitment problem. That's what's wrong with putting a businessman in charge of government.. They just can't seem to understand that government is NOT a business.

TWEETING WITH TWEETI

Reader Tweeti Blancett writes from the Farmington area in reaction to the news that because of the crash in energy prices, the population in the past five years there has shrunk more than any of the 381 metro areas in the USA:

In this area we are continuing to suffer an economic downturn, but many of us are amazed at the numerous big franchise businesses that have located in the area. This has to indicate that there other issues in play--Navajo Nation members with monthly payments spent in the area, plans for the next oil and gas boom, or government infusion of public funds are all possibilities. Whatever the reason, our area appears to be booming with new construction.

Like we said on the blog this week, Farmington may want to merge with the Navajos!

THE BOTTOM LINES

From BernCo:

Resumes are being accepted from members of the community who wish to participate on committees that will help decide how to spend funding set aside to create a regional behavioral health care system in the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County metro area.  Resumes will be accepted until Friday, April 15 at 5 p.m. Individuals who want to be considered for serving on a committee must email a resume and cover letter to: Bernalillo County Director of Substance Abuse Programs Katrina Hotrum, khotrum@bernco.gov

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