Thursday, July 07, 2016

Elect The UNM Regents? Old Proposal Surfaces Amid Latest Turmoil, Plus: More On The R's And A Gas Tax Boost And Spaceport Watch 

Amid more charges that the University of New Mexico Board of Regents is a political tool of the Governor--the same charge that was leveled when Democrat Bill Richardson was Governor--perhaps it's time to look again at this proposed constitutional change that popped up back in 2013:

Republican state Sen. Pat Woods is supporting a proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by Las Cruces Democrats Rep. Jeff Steinborn and Sen. William Soules requiring elections for some university regents now appointed by the governor. The amendments proposed in House joint resolutions would require elections of board of regents members at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. It would also require candidates for appointed regent positions to be vetted through a legislative commission.

The proposal has been buried in Santa Fe but with the continuing turmoil at UNM, the time might be right for a renewed debate.


Gov. Martinez says she has no plans to speak at the upcoming GOP National Convention, although she will attend and head up the state's delegation. One big reason she has "no plans" to speak is because the camp of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trumps has said "no endorsement; no speech."

This is interesting. Republican Congressman Steve Pearce--a member of the anti-Susana wing of the GOP--is raising eyebrows by teaming up with the Dems:

U.S. Senators Udall and Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Pearce, Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General to thoroughly investigate New Mexico state government’s management of food-assistance benefits, including allegations that state employees altered documents to purposely delay applications. The Congressional delegation has been in contact with the Department of Agriculture regarding allegations involving the state’s mismanagement of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.


Reader Jon Ingram doesn't think much of the noise some state House Republicans are making over a possible gas tax increase and which we wrote of this week:

Joe: NM GOP lawmakers like Rep. Harper are simply following the new Republican playbook on this gas tax increase deal. Rio Rancho's Harper isn't providing leadership, he's following the lead of NJ Governor Christie. Gov. Chris (big best friend of Gov. Susana) who is expected to soon sign a bill increasing the gas tax. 

Christie signaled he would sign a substantial NJ gas tax increase and use the revenues to create jobs by repairing streets and roads in the Garden State. Believe it our not, NJ roads and streets are in better condition than ours. We know, we've been there recently.

Christie's move is the dog-whistle NM Republicans like Rep. Harper and Gov. Susana have been waiting for. Wanna guess what tax cut Rep. Harper and NM Repubs will use to provide cover and "balance" for their sacrilegious support of a NM gas tax increase? Hint: can you say, "more corporate tax cuts" (which have failed to create jobs in NM)?
Furthermore, this sudden reversal of the Republicans blood-oath opposition to no new taxes is another sign. It reveals just how much political trouble they are in.


Reader Brent Eastwood in DC watches all matters involving the NM Spaceport. He checks in with this:

In my perpetual search for anything that would qualify as good news for the New Mexico Spaceport, I came up empty again. The only thing new at Virgin Galactic is that a senior executive just resigned. Are they telling us that the only thing newsworthy at Virgin Galactic is that someone quit? Looks like it. The last Tweet from Virgin Galactic was about auto racing! When will Virgin Galactic have a successful ground test of the new spacecraft? When will they have a successful flight test? When will they get an FAA license? When will humans fly to suborbit on a Virgin spacecraft?

Quando, Quando, Quando, Sir Richard? Please answer these questions Pronto, Pronto, Pronto.

Thanks for that, Brent, and for the excuse to cue up "Quando, Quando, Quando." It's a 1962 Italian pop song but was put on the map in the late 60's by Englebert Humperdinck. Remember him? Take it away, Englebert.

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