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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday Vox Populi: Readers Write Of Probing CYFD, Raising The Booze Tax, The Tale Of Tesla And Pearce's Resilence 

Before we kick off another edition of Vox Populi, we take note of some strong language from ABQ City Council President Dan Lewis concerning APD and the recent findings of Federal Monitor James Ginger that the department's upper command is stonewalling mandated federal reforms. Lewis, a Republican and possible candidate for mayor next year said this at last night's council meeting:

Why should the City Council or even the citizens of Albuquerque continue to have confidence in the leaders of APD in light of the monitor’s report?

We wondered aloud on the blog Monday on when the many mayoral candidature starting to line up as well as the city council would start saying something meaningful about the ongoing controversy over APD. Lewis is the first to do so. He was joined in his doubts by Dem Councilor Diane Gibson. Meanwhile, Republican Councilor Brad Winter defended APD and Mayor Berry's administration, saying of Monitor Ginger:

What he does is, he throws this bomb, and then he’s nowhere to be found.

We just might get a debate yet on the future of public safety in this crime riddled city. Just maybe.

Now on to Vox Populi:

State Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla is calling for an independent review of the management of the Children Youth and Families Department tn the wake of the shocking murder of 10 year old Victoria Martens. Reader Richard Flores agrees:

Although it is not clear that CYFD had culpability in the Victoria Marten's incident, it is clearly time for an independent review of the department. Even if the incident was not preventable, the public perception is that CYFD "dropped the ball" again. Predictably, the Secretary invoked the Children's Code as the reason she could not discuss details of CYFD's involvement with the family. The agency will do an internal review of how the case was handled, but the results will never be known to the media, the public or to the legislature. That's why Senator Padilla is right in advocating for an independent review of CYFD.

Padilla says he will be writing a letter to AG Balderas requesting an independent investigation of CYFD which would be conducted by a "nonpartisan group of former members of the state judiciary."

BOOZE TAX

Marie Claire of the Santa Fe Prevention Alliance writes:

Thanks for including Mike Smith’s letter in your September 14 blog. It was great to see him give a shout out to Alcohol Taxes Save Lives & Money. Just to note a 25 cent a drink increase of the liquor excise tax is projected to raise an additional $154 million dollars. Mike stated it was $54 million dollars. More e more information about Alcohol Taxes Save Lives is here.

That's a lot of money that could go to help resolve the state deficit but the ABQ metro has recently seen a boom in the brewery biz and it's gearing up to fight any increase.  Also, Gov. Martinez would be certain to veto any new alcohol taxes.

TESLA TALE

This reader reminds us that before Facebook it was Tesla sending the economic planners here into ecstasy, but it appears we dodged a bullet by not getting the electric car producer to locate its gigafactory here:

Despite recent denials by Tesla's CEO Elon Musk, the company is far, far behind in keeping its Gigafactory promises to Nevada. Also, Musk's claim that "there is no way for Nevada to lose" is simply untrue. Nevada is already losing. Nevada will have a difficult time recovering some of the benefits. And, others are gone for good because Nevada lacks any legal right to recover them. None of this would matter if Tesla had enough money to finish the Gigafactory. But it doesn't, and absent another capital raise, it's doubtful it ever will.

DATELINE DEMING

Santa Fe reader Bruce Wetherbee comments on the big business news in Deming, the hometown of Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith:

Hello Joe, More great news ... not really. Kmart in Deming is closing at end of year. It appears John Arthur Smith will need to by his Arm and Hammer laundry detergent and dress shirts somewhere else other than Kmart. after the first of the year. Maybe he can slip over the line and buy his stuff in Mexico as their economy is probably doing a little better than New Mexico's! But he better do it before that wall gets built.

PEARCE POWER

Rep. Pearce
Reader Karl Rysted writes from Las Cruces:

Joe, I've been enjoying your blog for the last couple of years since I moved here from Oklahoma. I'm a lifelong D and there's something I can't understand so please help...why does Congressman Steve Pearce do so well down here? I mean, I know he picked up a ton of votes in Lea County as expected, but why can't a D carry Doña Ana County in that race?

Good question, Karl. Pearce has proven to be a tough competitor for Dems in the southern congressional district even though the D's outnumber the R's there by six percentage points.

Dona Ana County is key to any hope the Dems have to take the district. In 2014 Pearce managed a 52 to 48 win in the largest and most liberal county in the district. And district wide he has been performing north of 40 percent among Hispanic voters, far above most other GOP candidates.

The Dems would need a powerhouse candidate to take Pearce out. A better bet would be when Pearce, 68, retires. Speculation continues to bounce around that Pearce may seek the 2018 GOP gubernatorial nomination. If he does, that would be the time for the Dems to pounce with a strong Hispanic candidate with middle of the road politics.

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