Monday, September 26, 2016

Trump Not Done With NM; Will Go On Airwaves Here Even As Odds Favor Clinton, Plus: UNM Outrage; Frank Out As President But New $350,000 Gig Created For Him Amid State Budget Crisis, And: APD And NCIC Spells Trouble  

Donald Trump isn't finished with New Mexico. Not quite. As his campaign prepares for the big debate tonight they are also keeping an eye on our corner of the world and will give us a wink with a TV ad buy:

Trump's new ad buy will include 13 states, from key battlegrounds such as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, to new targets of Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin, Miller said. About $40 million of the ads will play on national TV, 

Trump remains a long shot to carry the state, with FiveThirtyEight's latest odds giving Clinton a 73.3% chance of taking the victory. But even if Trump doesn't get a jump on her here, any over the air NM ads will also be seen in southern Colorado which is part of the ABQ TV market. That matters because:

If Trump were to win all the states where he currently holds any lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls, he would still need to secure one more state to win a majority of Electoral College votes. Clinton now holds significant 5- to 6-point leads in the polling averages for New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It's entirely possible that Colorado could end up putting one candidate or the other over the top in November.

The Trump jump into NM got the state Dems attention:

Donald Trump knows that his dangerous and divisive campaign is not resonating with New Mexicans, His desperate attempt to change that is not going to work.

Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, continues to poll well into the double digits here. That's expected to shrink but his presence is juggling the numbers and perhaps encouraging the Trump TV buy in  hopes of an October surprise.  No word yet on the size of the Trump ad buy.

Only one of our many analysts has predicted a Trump victory in the state. Veteran radio talk show host and independent politico Mike Santullo says "conventional rules don't apply this cycle and I believe there is a hidden vote for Trump that will give him the state."

Another independent analyst, former ABQ City Councilor and attorney Greg Payne, says Clinton's polling performance here has been "anemic" but in the end he expects her to carry the state in a "relatively close race."


Bob Frank
Trump was never supposed to get this far but the latest news from the University of New Mexico provides more evidence on why this deeply flawed anti-politician continues to appeal to so many who see the political and business elites out of touch with them and their daily lives.

In a move that is giving UNM critics a field day and prompting shouts of outrage on social media, UNM President Bob Frank announces he will step down from his $362,000 position next year. That's a bit surprising, but then the shocker. Instead of following custom and taking a regular faculty position in the area of his expertise (psychology) after completing his presidency, a brand new position is being created for Frank at the UNM Health Sciences Center (HSC) at a salary of...you guessed it...$350,000.

The move is all the more startling coming as it does against the backdrop of an historic state budget deficit that is going to see the UNM budget cut by millions in the year ahead. It has already prompted Frank to slap on a hiring freeze at UNM. Former ABQ Journal politics editor John Robertson comes out of retirement to take this one on:

. . . The Frank exit deal, with. . . a Health Sciences Center sinecure, was a way to avoid a fight over a second-term contract for the presidency. I am still left to wonder if the Regents or the governor want a new president and mystified by the decision to create a new $350,000 position in the midst of a budget crisis, on which Frank briefed school employees just the day before his exit announcement. If the Regents or the governor are behind it, New Mexico is not served well by constant turnover in top leadership positions, in academia or elsewhere. . . Why treat New Mexicans like a bunch of unruly kids and keep us on a diet of smoke and mirrors? Maybe my questions should be most immediately addressed to the chairman of the board of regents: You owe us more, too.

Frank recently joined with the UNM Regents to engineer a power grab that has UNM Health Sciences losing its independent governance and coming under the control of the Regents and the UNM president. Now Frank is going to go over there and be under the  supervision of Health Sciences boss Paul Roth, the man whose power he diminished. Mama Mia! Senator Alligator analysis is essential:

Joe, it was widely known that Frank's contract was not going to be renewed by the Regents. He is very disliked at HSC but he struck a deal with the Regents to get this new job created in exchange for leaving the presidency without incident. The former president always gets to teach in his field at a salary comparable to the highest in the department . However, it is my understanding the highest paid professor at UNM psychology makes about $150,000 so they create this new position and Frank gets $350,000. And its written so they do not have to consider any present employees for the position. 

The last couple of Regents appointed by Gov. Martinez-- Rob Doughty and Marron Lee-- are political puppets of Susana's and appear totally out of touch with UNM. A national search for a new president will cost at a minimum of $250k-$500k to a University that is hurting financially.

Interestingly this gives UNM Athletic Department Director Paul Krebs a free ride until a new President is chosen, even when Wisepies Pizza defaults in three months, as expected, on its $600,000 payment for naming rights for the UNM Pit.

Higher education watchers have been concerned that the Legislature will especially target the universities and colleges as it looks for a path out of the budget crisis. UNM is giving them more reasons for doing just that. And don't even ask about the role of Gov. Martinez and political svengali and longtime UNM executive Vice-President David Harris in this mess. Their fingerprints are everywhere.

While UNM may spit in the eye of the taxpayers with the Frank deal, they could get the middle finger in a Trump like gesture from lawmakers and a community fed up with the never ending cycle of self serving campus politics.

Meanwhile, expect his idea to pick up steam in the months ahead:

Karen Gardner, who works in UNM’s College of Arts and Sciences, said that after reviewing the number of salaried employees on the UNM campus who are paid more than $100,000 a year--and some even more than $200,000--she deduced that cutting those salaries by 5 percent could save some $8.3 million in one year. 


This is always a temptation for wayward political machines and law enforcement insiders hoping to smear their foes, and now someone in authority is speaking out:

The executive director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency has raised questions about how thoroughly Albuquerque police investigate officers who possibly misuse a federal law-enforcement database. Edward Harness, the director, said at a recent public meeting that he reviewed a case in which an officer accused of misusing the database in a civilian complaint was cleared of wrongdoing. The case marked the third time that Albuquerque police’s use of the National Crime Information Center database has been the subject of a complaint against an officer.

And a reader adds:

The NCIC data base contains confidential information not available to the general public. The unauthorized use or personal use of the data base by a police officer is a federal felony. According to the article, the APD Internal Affairs on more than one occasion has cleared police officers of improperly using the data base for personal use and “there is a pattern of it being taken lightly by APD.” This is further evidence that APD cannot and will not police itself. Internal Affairs needs to be removed from APD and the functions assumed by the City’s Inspector General in conjunction with the City’s Internal Audit Department, both which have subpoena powers and investigators.

And what will the mayoral candidates have to say about all that--and their plans for APD if they are elected next year? Stay tuned. . .

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