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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Pot Debate Grabs Reader Attention And Reaction, New BernCo DA Gets Initiation Into La Politica And More From The Transparency Front  

Plenty of reaction to the Wednesday blog questioning whether legalizing marijuana in New Mexico is the wisest move. The story line that Dem Rep. Debbie Rodella, chair of  the House committee which was instrumental in killing the bill for this legislative session, was responding to concerns about the drug epidemic was not convincing to a number of readers. Mario Hernandez was among them:

29% of Rodella's campaign donations came from the pharmaceutical, alcohol, tobacco, and health insurance industries. The fact that she used completely bogus and discredited "gateway" drug claims about marijuana which can easily be researched proves she did it for her donors.

Reader Coco Harris also was skeptical of Rodella's motives and said:

Look a little deeper into why cannabis legalization failed in Rodella's committee. There are other forces at work besides the noble "heartfelt" concern about opioid addiction - most alarmingly, big pharma and prison industry. And  asset forfeiture is a highly lucrative practice of law enforcement agencies in drug cases providing another motive for opposition to legalization of easily detectable smelly pot. If they can speculate on the connection between opioids and pot, we can surely speculate about the impact on law enforcement agncies' bottom lines?  

Longtime reader Mick writes:

Debbie is correct and the sooner New Mexicans realize it, the better off we'll be. And I'm a NE Heights Democrat! But the supporters that I've spoken to have never seen what Debbie has seen in northern New Mexico and have probably never been involved in any

families in Albuquerque's south valley that have gone through the agony of junior high and senior high school students' use of marijuana. It's an eye-opener. It's different for a "professional" who smokes a joint after lunch or dinner. Usually s/he only worries about
where the next supply is coming from. And those are the people who support legalizing pot.

And Janet MacKenzie writes from Alcalde in Rio Arriba County:

Joe, thank you for your excellent review and analysis related to the reluctance of some representatives to sign on to legalizing marijuana. It rings true up here.

TORREZ INITIATION

A newly prominent Democrat who is thought to have ambitions for the future is getting initiated into the hardball of statewide La Politica. Newsman Milan Simonich does the honors

Torrez
Raúl Torrez, the freshman district attorney of Bernalillo County, has learned one political lesson all too well. He waited until 4 p.m. Friday, just before he would escape for the weekend, to announce that he will not retry former Albuquerque police officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez for murder. Torrez. . . announced controversial decisions at the end of the workweek to lessen media scrutiny and public attention. . .  But Torrez campaigned as a fresh voice who would put the public’s interest first. He is off to a bad start with his use of the Friday night news dump. Torrez revealed much about himself in the way he handled his first big decision as a district attorney. By dropping the murder case against the former officers, Torrez showed that he is less concerned with seeking justice than with how the Albuquerque Police Department will view him.

Torrez has been busy striking up a romance with the conservative ABQ newspaper as well as APD but not so much with the nominating wing of his own Democratic Party. Resorting to a Friday afternoon news conference for your first major announcement of your term actually makes them eye you with suspicion not lessen the impact of your announcement. For the young DA, it's live and learn time (not that the time-honored Friday news dumps are going into the garbage).

MOST TRANSPARENT EVER!

And now ladies and gentleman, yet another tale from the self-described "Most Transparent Administration in State History:

Lawyers for Gov. Martinez’s administration have asked a judge to determine who disclosed details of private talks that were held to try to settle a series of lawsuits that allege wrongdoing in the administration’s 2013 shake-up of behavioral health care services. The Human Services Department cut off Medicaid funding to 15 providers of addiction and other behavioral health care services because of alleged overbilling and fraud, and 10 of the providers filed lawsuits alleging violations of their due-process rights. Mediation sessions were held in January between the department and the providers.

THE BOTTOM LINES

We've resolved the mystery of that TV ad touting Sen. Heinrich's vote to keep Canadian pharmaceuticals out of the US and for which he took so much heat from the left who accused him of selling out for Big Pharma contributions. Late word from one of our Alligators: "Joe, like your reader, I also saw the ad. It was paid for by a pharmaceutical group thanking Heinrich for "protecting New Mexicans."  Well, that ad is, as they say, no longer operative. And the last thing Heinrich needs politically is ad support from Big Pharma. Heinrich has now reversed course and has endorsed a proposal to allow the cheaper Canadian imports. One way or another we track this stuff down. That's why. . .

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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