Monday, February 13, 2017
Not The Same Old Susana; An Air Of Melancholy Surrounds Chief Executive As She Rebuffs Reporters, Plus GOP Freelancing: Senator Balks At Public School Cuts
Martinez made a rare public appearance in the Capitol--her first since her State of the State address on Jan. 17--to speak to a group of Gallup business leaders. Four reporters waited in the Rotunda for a chance to ask Martinez questions. Martinez, surrounded by aides and state police officers, walked briskly to her private elevator just off the Capitol’s east lobby, ignoring reporters’ questions.
In what might be a first, State Police actually blocked reporters from getting too close to the governor, telling them to stay back. “If you send her an email, she’ll be more than happy to get back to you guys,” one aide told reporters while the governor kept walking a few feet away. At one point Martinez told one reporter, “I’ve got to get to my next appointment.”
The dissing of the press and the formation of a movable human bunker for her to hide in led us to ask a veteran legislator what he is hearing:
One of those closest to her tells me that the Governor feels entirely isolated, and without friends who she doesn’t perceive wanting something from her. She relished her position as chair of the Republican Governors Association last year and traveling for those activities where she could escape everything here.
Martinez's frustration and alienation fully emerged when she recently claimed that the state's budget dilemma "is none of our fault." But with her once sky high approval ratings plummeting to 36 percent (SurveyUSA) and with a seemingly endless state budget crisis confronting her and eating away at whatever legacy she hopes to leave, Martinez seems to be functioning on automatic pilot. The air has been let out of her balloon and how she can ever make it fly again is her conundrum.
No matter her personal melancholy she still wields the formidable power of the veto and still has nearly two years left in her second term. As she said in rebuffing Capitol reporters, she's "got to get to my next appointment." No matter how dreary and unfulfilling that prospect seems to have become for her.
Sen. Craig Brandt (R-Sandoval) has introduced a bill to restore $46 million to school district cash balances across the state. Senate Bill 332 would use funding earmarked for capital outlay projects and the state’s film tax credit to relieve the budget hit to New Mexico’s schools. Brandt’s bill proposes to shift $26.1 million from capital outlay funds and delay $20 million in FY 2017 payments on the film tax credit to cover the $46 million that was swept from school district reserves. Payment of the suspended film tax credits would resume on July 1, 2017. “When times are tough, the budget decisions we make reflect our priorities,” said Brandt.
That's some interesting freelance GOP thinking. The capital outlay sweep he proposes is a no-brainer but the film industry is a poison pill. Why not get the entire $46 million from unspent capital outlay?
Brandt was one of only two senators to vote against the raid on the public schools cash reserves. Like we said, there's a bit of freelance thinking bubbling up in the GOP as it begins the long transition to the post-Martinez era.
One other note: Why is it a GOP senator making the play to reverse the budget cuts to the public schools? Isn't that supposed to be a core value of the legislative Democrats?
Well, the Dems could go along with it and then list every worthwhile capital project (community centers etc.) that will be sacrificed because the administration will not raise money to fully fund the school system. (Folks, this stuff is really not that difficult.)
The newspaper is running an informative six-part investigative report on drug cartels that it calls "a criminal enterprise wreaking havoc across the country." But how about a series on what the former BernCo District Attorney called "a criminal enterprise" operating at the ABQ police department? This news out of a federal grand jury:
The scope of an ongoing federal criminal investigation into events surrounding the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old woman by an Albuquerque police officer in 2014 stretches beyond what has been previously reported. That’s according to the lead investigator for the city’s independent police watchdog group. Department of Justice officials took the rare step of confirming an investigation into allegations made by a whistleblower that APD employees tampered with video from officers’ body cameras and other sources, including video from the early morning hours of April 21, 2014, when then-APD officer Jeremy Dear shot Mary Hawkes. But Ed Harness, executive director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA), said in an interview that federal authorities are “looking into the entire case,” including whether the shooting itself was unlawful. In a series of presentations to Justice Department officials, Harness turned over information gathered during an administrative review of the shooting.
All the APD news being left to be covered by the alternative media could make for a twelve part series, if the ink-stained wretches suddenly become interested in what is really going on around here.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017