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Monday, December 05, 2016

What Susana Is Really Saying About State Budget Debacle, A Zombie And Hyenas At UNM, Move The State Fair, Berry's Crime Wave And Michelle's Consolation Prize  

We don't want to put words in the mouth of Gov. Martinez so we'll let Farmington state Rep. Rod Montoya do it:

While Democrats are looking for a revenue increase, Montoya views the problem as a state government that spends too much. "Trying to find common ground may be more difficult than ever," he said.

And there you have what the Governor has to be thinking, if not saying. By ruling out any revenue raising measures to resolve the state's budget crisis she is telegraphing that Montoya, the new House minority whip, has it right--the way out of the budget debacle is to cut, cut and cut some more. Kind of like what the GOP governor in Kansas has done, to the great chagrin of many of that state's residents.

But Rep. Montoya is far from alone, far from it. Until the budget crisis knocks directly on their doors, many New Mexicans are going to look away as lawmakers hack away at the budget. They see Santa Fe as a bloated, decadent do-nothing preserve for the well-off.

Unless there is a bombshell--like the public schools being closed for a couple of weeks or the courts reducing the hours they are open, the Governor's bet that the public will stomach even more cuts doesn't seem farfetched. But will she be able to keep Senate Republicans at the betting window with her? That's the question with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

A ZOMBIE AND HYENAS

Now the UNM Regents want to fire UNM President Bob Frank? After he's already resigned after five years on the job? When he announced his resignation earlier this year, effective in May, Frank was promised a $350,000 gig at the UNM Health Sciences Center. Maybe the Guv and her Machine is out to ruin that deal for him? The late assault on Frank which will play out at a special UNM Regents meeting this Wednesday is being led by Machine approved Regent Rob Doughty. He's the attorney whose law firm gets hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal contracts from the Martinez administration:

Doughty and his law firm have had deep ties with state government since Martinez’s inauguration. Since 2011, the year Martinez became governor, his law firm has contracted with the state General Services Department for more than $1.3 million, mostly in the department’s Risk Management Division, according to the state’s Sunshine Portal.

The $350,000 gig for Frank is out of line and the salary option should be reduced, but canning him this late in the game? Frank is a zombie, a dead man walking. But the Regents look like a pack of hyenas hunting for fresh prey, led by the hunting captains on the Fourth and Fifth Floors.

MOVE THE FAIR

Reader James McClure doesn't cotton to the idea of building a brand new Tingley coliseum on the state fairgrounds to replace the dilapidated structure that still tries to pass itself off as an appropriate concert venue:

Joe, what’s the point of investing more taxpayer money in an obsolete fairgrounds complex by rebuilding Tingley Coliseum? The fairgrounds is an eyesore that wastes a prime piece of real estate and contributes to the blight of the surrounding area. Instead, let’s move the State Fair to a new location outside the city and open the current fairgrounds site to development. 

Think of the possibilities for commercial and residential development of such a large tract in the middle of the city. A well-planned development could stimulate the entire southeast side and generate new riders for the Berry Bus.

Thanks, Jim. That "Berry Bus" needs all the help it can get.

And speaking of ABQ Mayor Berry, here's an Alligator with the latest on the mayor and crime wave:

Thanks for your blogs about Berry & crime in ABQ. You are the only writer who has even touched on the ridiculousness of Berry's recent announcements about crime in ABQ. 

At his big announcement to the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce a few months ago, he produced a bar chart that purported to show that the crime rate has been lower during his two terms than under any other mayor. However, on the very same page he had the graph you published that showed the crime rate falling until 2010, then steadily climbing since he took office. Funny that no one in the mainstream media noticed that. It's lower under Berry only because of the work of his predecessors.

Then, Berry tried to blame the reduced jail population for the increase in car thefts - a claim that was quickly debunked by everyone who knows anything about statistics. It is actually laughable when you look at how Berry's "expert" Peter Winograd chose a very tiny slice of the data to make that claim. 

THE PLOT THICKENS

Grisham And Udall
Reader George Richmond goes Machiavellian on us as we await word this month whether Dem US Senator Tom Udall will seek his party's 2018 Dem Guv nomination:

When Senator Udall runs for Gov in 2018, and wins, he will appoint his Senate successor. That person could be a D who works hard for him and also could do the job, say Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. No guarantees from this crystal ball, and way early, of course, to speculate.

Too early to speculate? That's like saying it's too early to feed the Alligators. Keep it coming, George.

Meanwhile, if Udall gets in the race (which seems likely) it seems unlikely that Dem US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham would give up her ABQ congressional seat to take him on. If so, this will be a nice consolation prize:

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham was elected as the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She will serve a two-year term, succeeding U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez, as the leader of the prominent group of Hispanic members of Congress.

Looking back at this blog today we gotta say there's just not question about it. . . 

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