Thursday, June 08, 2017

Time For Another Edition Of Vox Populi As Readers Weigh In On The Major Issues Of The Day In La Politica 

It's time for another edition of the always popular reader Vox Populi, where the readers weigh in on the pressing and maybe not so pressing issues of our beloved La Politica:

Let's kick it off with former State Land Commissioner Ray Powell who is seeking the '18 Dem nomination for that office. He informs us that he has changed his mind about supporting a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to tap a portion of the state's $16 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to finance very early childhood programs. He had previously opposed the amendment:

The most important investment we can make is in our children’s education. And in a short fifteen years, today’s children will be adults pursuing their dreams. The majority of New Mexico’s children are in dire need. Their future and that of our state depends on bold and decisive action. As an important part of my commitment to our children’s health and success, I support the additional increase in funding from the Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) for early childhood education. The issues that have concerned me about protecting the integrity of the LGPF, accountability, and measuring programmatic success have been addressed in the most recent proposed legislation. I fully and enthusiastically support this action to help our children and our State.


Reader Doug Echols comments on the state's decision to reduce funding for the state lottery scholarships for higher education from 90 percent of tuition to 70 percent:

Looks like the state just raised taxes by $700 a year on every hard working New Mexico family who rely on the Lottery Scholarship.

Meantime, former state Rep. Dick Minzner comes with the controversial idea of ending the lottery scholarships whose funding has become unreliable and force the legislature to deal directly with the problem.


Reader John Ingram reacted to our blog this week that said New Mexico's great mistake of this century is austerity politics--(tax cuts, etc.) instead of investment in human capital in the aftermath of the Great Recession:

Joe:  New Mexico's first great mistake occurred in 1980, when legislators passed and our governor signed the 'Big Mac' tax cut. Big Mac effectively removed property tax revenues as public education's primary funding source. Our lawmakers then voted to fund schools, colleges and universities with revenues gained from gross receipts taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes. Since 1980,  lawmakers have doubled-down on those first two mistakes with a third one: passing hundreds of gross receipts tax exemptions, as well as corporate tax loopholes, corporate tax cuts/credits/giveaways, film tax credits, and personal state income tax cuts. Over time, these anti-tax measures resulted in fewer state budget revenues. The tax cuts also caused too many years of either public education cuts, freezes, or stagnation. New Mexico's economy, good jobs and higher standards of living are dependent upon sufficient and adequate investment in our public education systems.  The dire conditions which you so clearly detailed in your blog document the failure to provide that investment.


A while back reader Frank Haley wondered what ABQ westside City Council Candidate Cynthia Borrego meant when she said the environment can be a crime-fighting tool. We asked her to explain:

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPED) is to influence new development and redevelopment relying upon the ability to influence offender behavior. Specifically, altering the physical design of communities to deter criminal activity. . . and influencing the amount of opportunity for "eyes on the street."  Some strategies include: Limiting access to buildings and subdivisions; encouraging a mix of  land uses to promote walkability and pedestrian activity; encouraging natural surveillance such as better lighting, landscaping that allows for improving sight lines and developing policies related to security that allow for fostering a sense of common place and purpose. . . Research into criminal behavior shows that the decision to offend or not to offend is more influenced by the perceived risk of being caught than the reward or ease of entry.

Borrego is a former city planner. She is a Democrat seeking the District 5 seat being vacated by GOP Councilor Dan Lewis who is running for mayor. We will have the final list of all city council candidates shortly after June 28, when the hopefuls must file the necessary petition signatures with the city clerk. Borrego's most prominent foe is GOP attorney Robert Aragon. Five of the nine council seats are up for election this fall.


Dem ABQ City Councilor and congressional hopeful Pat Davis was scorched this week for playing budget ball with Republican Mayor Berry and refusing to join his Democratic colleagues in overriding the mayor's budget veto. Among those blasting Davis as a faux progressive were former Dem City Councilors Greg Payne and Pete Dinelli. Davis responds:

Albuquerque has very real and concerning budget issues. On the Albuquerque City Council, I’ve fought to increase funding for first responders, community programs, the arts, sidewalks, and for investment in our local economy to create jobs. I voted the way I did because I refuse to hurt hundreds of New Mexico families by furloughing vital city workers to score cheap political points.

For 6 years, I’ve been the most vocal and active critic in our state against Susana Martinez, RJ Berry and Donald Trump as the head of ProgressNow New Mexico. We need progressive champions in Congress now more than ever to stand up for working families, to create jobs from the bottom up and to hold the Trump administration accountable. That’s why I’m running for Congress.


Reader Bob Perls of NM Open Primaries opines about the possibility of there being as many as eight or more Democrats seeking next year's nomination for the ABQ U.S. House seat:

Hi Joe, If we end up with 8 or more candidates in the Dem. primary, it is a stunning example of how and why we need election reform. A candidate could move on to the general with less than 20 percent of the primary vote and walk right through the general. 

Since we have a closed primary, only the hardcore party base is going to turn out, so you have a fraction of the people registered and a fraction of those will actually vote and those who vote will not be representative of most New Mexicans. Since this is a strongly leaning Dem seat, there is a good chance that fewer than 1 percent of New Mexicans in CD-1, and fewer than 5 percent of the registered voters will actually decide who goes to Congress. 

Open primaries or ranked choice voting could take care of these problems leading to electing a person that has a mandate and actually had to reach out to the full spectrum of political beliefs to get through the first round elections. Instead we will see Dem. candidates doing the usual shuffle to the left in the primary and a shuffle to the center in the general perpetuating the view that politicians will do and say whatever they want to get elected and stay in office. And that damages our democracy.


A reader writes of a similarity they see between the Trump White House and Gov. Martinez's office:

Steve Bannon is to Trump as political adviser Jay McCleskey is to Gov. Martinez--a nation and a state run entirely by political handlers:

"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough repeatedly called Steve Bannon "President Bannon" on his show recently: "TIME magazine was right: Steve Bannon is the president of the United States."

"He has gone in. Donald Trump doesn't know anything about policy. Donald Trump doesn't know anything about politics. Donald Trump doesn't know anything about anything. He can get up and give a good speech. You listen to him talk about any topic and he wanders from sentence to sentence to sentence. So Steve Bannon is now the President of the United States."

Reader Dennis Martinez also isn't happy with the Santa Fe administration:

Governor Martinez hides behind her crime bills because she is unwilling to face reality. She will leave state government in worse financial shape than it was when she was elected and the state’s economy in decline and declining. She realizes (too late) that she has run out of time to make any improvements. She never overcame her dependence on her experience as a district attorney and she never grew into her job as governor. She was vindictive, unwilling to compromise and a believer in failed economic policies.


Finally, the campaign of ABQ Dem congressional hopeful Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez writes:

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez announced that her campaign had received endorsements from former New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, Albuquerque State Senator Bill Tallman, Albuquerque State Rep. Miguel Garcia and PRC Commissioner Cynthia Hall.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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