Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Mexico Truth Is Back; Second Wave Of Media Ads That Spoof NM True and Decry Child Poverty Rate Go Up, Plus: Susana Grasps At Death Penalty To Regain Lost Momentum, And: WaPo Whacked Over Soft Touch On Berry 

New Mexico Truth is back.

The TV and radio ads that parodied the state tourism campaign "NM True" and caused a good deal of controversy earlier this year are airing again statewide and with updated information on the state's profound rate of child poverty that the campaign by CHI St. Joseph's Children (Catholic Health Initiatives) is designed to draw attention to.

Allen Sanchez, CEO of CHI St. Joseph's (and who we work with), explained:

When we ran the first round of NM Truth, NM was 3rd in child food insecurity. In the 2016 Map the Meal Gap Report, NM is now 2nd in the nation for child food insecurity. Overall, the percentage of child food insecurity has gone down across the states. However, Arkansas did a better job of reducing their child food insecurity numbers, bumping us to second worst in the country.

In releasing the new wave of ads today Sanchez says its now even more urgent that the  legislature look for a solution from the state's nearly $15 billion Land Grant Permanent School Fund. He again urged approval of a constitutional amendment that would let voters decide whether to spend about $110 million a year for ten years on very early childhood programs to arrest the child poverty rate and eventually contribute to a better prepared workforce.

The Martinez administration threatened legal action against the NM Truth ads because of their similarity to the NM True campaign, but that went nowhere.  Sanchez says the new ads update the state's declining standing in child poverty and make the "NM Truth" logo larger than the original ads in order to a avoid any confusion with NM True. The ads will run for the next three weeks.


If Gov. Martinez appears desperate to change the political conversation, you can understand why. But her announcement that she will ask the next legislative session to reinstate the death penalty for child killers and those who murder law enforcement officers was a blatant smokescreen to avert attention from the biggest state budget crisis in a generation as well as an economy that under her watch has done nothing but tank.

As usual social media went right to the heart of the matter with comments like these on Facebook from Sarah Meadows:

She is using this tired issue as a red herring to distract from the myriad, high-priority issues facing our state (education, stagnant economy, childhood poverty, behavioral health services implosion, budget deficit, pizza party) and her utter failure to make any progress in these areas.

Martinez and her political consultant Jay McCleskey are being put to the test by the rapidly changing political landscape. Their plan to make the coming campaign an "all crime all the time" event has lost potency as a state budget shortfall upwards of $700 million or more awaits gubernatorial leadership and decision, but is getting neither.

Where is the date for the special session on the budget? Where is her plan?

Martinez is also taking a hit with her political base as Republican Trump supporters openly boo her and her polling with them sinks. Talking tough on the death penalty could be seen as trying to stop the bleeding.

The recent killing of a police officer in the village of Hatch gave her entree to grasp the death penalty as a political lifesaver, but after six years of nasty wedge issue politics (think driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, tests for school teachers etc.) she is having a much harder time disguising and rationalizing her skimpy legislative and economic record with an increasingly restless public.

As for the death penalty, it was repealed years ago and it has zero chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate as long as Michael Sanchez is majority leader. So look for Martinez to use the issue against him in the upcoming election in the hope of unseating him as well as to achieve the political pipe dream of taking GOP control of the Senate.

Time and again when we need a governor, we get a DA. It's Susana's comfort zone, especially when the obstacles that lay ahead of her are getting too close for comfort.


A number of readers were not pleased with what some called a "puff piece" from the WaPo on ABQ Mayor Berry's program to put the homeless population to work. Longtime Berry critic Michael Corwin writes:

The WaPo story is very incongruous with the change that most of us who live here have noticed. There are now panhandlers at almost every major intersection of the city instead of just the freeway off ramps. The WaPo piece has the feel of a planted puff piece by Martinez and Berry political consultant Jay McCleskey who in the past has planted Martinez fluff pieces that the WaPo used to run until her pizza party mishap.

And another reader writes:

Joy Junction's Jeremy Reynalds has a point about so much of our homelessness (and crime) being related to behavioral health issues. So where is Bernalillo County's plan to spend the $20 million per year they've had coming in for just this purpose over the last year? Their website says they're still on planning phase 2 (of 4!!). Voters approved this tax 21 months ago.


Why is this still a problem in one of the nation's top tourist destinations?

At least 20 times a day, tourists approach the information booth on the Santa Fe Plaza and ask Sandee Rudnick the same question. “Where are the restrooms?”

Do you need to wear diapers to Indian Market this weekend? Come on, Santa Fe.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

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