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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

R's Hit For "Taking A Walk" On Heinrich Race, More Cops Not The Solution To ABQ Crime? And: Fierce Roundhouse Debate On PNM Bond Deal  

Republicans are letting Martin Heinrich "walk to re-election" says conservative ABQ radio host Eddy Aragon is none too happy about it. He joins other Republicans in pointing out that the latest polling from Morning Consult shows the Dem US Senator below the critical 50 percent approval rating and that the R's should be doing more to contest the race.

Heinrich's approval rating is at 46 percent of registered voters in the Morning Consult survey conducted late last year, with 29 percent disapproving and 24 percent that had no opinion. Senator Udall, who is not up for re-election, had an approval rating of 49 and disapprove rating of 29.

While Heinrich's numbers are not especially robust this is a new era and approval rating of politicians in the state is unlike the past when approval ratings for the congressional delegation routinely soared past 60 percent.

Insider Republicans say national money will not come to NM to take Heinrich out because the state is solidly Blue. That's based on the two big Obama presidential wins here as well as the Clinton victory last year. Add to that the landslide election of ABQ Dem Mayor Tim Keller in October and you have a give-up among the national R's.

Talker Aragon argues that the unsettled politics of the Trump era can't be so easily explained and believes Heinrich is more vulnerable than thought and that the R's should be making more of a run at the junior senator.

The only R announced against Heinrich is Mick Rich, a contractor, who has been touring the state criticizing Heinrich, but doesn't appear to have made much of a dent. The Senate race remains heavily favored for the Dems.

KELLER FIRE

About our recent blog on why turnout for the ABQ mayoral race took a big jump, reader Levi Fetty writes:

Are you gonna ignore the fact that the ground game that Tim Keller deployed in the last Mayoral election was carried out by a lot of motivated Firefighters? Joe, one could not drive an 1/8th of a mile especially on the far NW of ABQ without seeing a bright yellow IAFF Firefighters for Keller yard signs, the huge LED billboard crossing eastbound Paseo Del Norte was a impressive. The $67,000 raised in PAC money was no joke either. The facts are: Tim Keller' victory has a lot to do with the ground game & sweat equity of Local 244-The ABQ Firefighters!

Let's jump from the firefighters to the cops and reader David who says he's tried of hearing that hiring more police will solve the ABQ crime crisis:

Nearly 100% of property crime is driven by drugs. Those who are repeat offenders are supporting drug habits, and they are not deterred by arrests. For these offenders, crime is their “job” and it will not decrease until their drive for a drug induced high is eliminated.  Medical addiction experts believe about 1% of our local population is addicted to Meth.  Those 7,000 to 8,000 addicts have a greater impact on crime than the approximately 400 members of the Field Services Division (street cops) of APD.  The addict knows full well their release is hours after the arrest, and the first date in court (especially in the 2nd Judicial District) could be 9 months later.

Multiple offenses, and multiple arrests has NO deterrence in property crime.  You could add 1,000 more cops, and it would not reduce the drug driven rate of property crime, so long as the offender is out on the street.  Incarceration alone does not reduce drug dependency, but at least it does keep the drug addict from roaming free, while on bail.

Unless and until the Legislature allocates tens of millions of new dollars to increase the hundreds of staff needed in the 2nd Judicial District (not to mention any of the other Judicial Districts), saying cops will reduce crime is a total fallacy, and an abject failure of public policy.

FIERCE DEBATE

A fierce debate is raging at the Roundhouse over a bill from ABQ Dem westside Senator Jacob Candelaria that progressive Dems call a $350 million "coal bailout" for PNM. Candelaria defended his bill on our January 18 blog which would allow PNM to issue bonds to pay for the shutdown of its coal fired plants in the Four Corners. PNM customers would repay the bonds over 20 years through a special surcharge on their monthly bills. That could total up to $353 million. Now Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, gets equal time:

Candelaria: The bill does what 13 other states have done when faced with the challenge of shutting down coal and nuclear power plants.

New Energy Economy: we are not inherently opposed to the idea of using lower interest rate bonds to shut down coal and nuclear plants. The problem is that ALL the burden falls on the poorest New Mexicans and there is no accountability in PNM's bill for PNM's poor business decisions for continuing to invest hundreds of millions in poor-performing uneconomic plants like their coal and nuclear plants.

Candelaria: It gives the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) the ability to approve the issuance of bonds that get a much lower interest rate to pay for the shuttering of coal burning plants and transition to renewable forms of energy.

New Energy Economy: The bills removes the regulatory oversight of the Public Regulation Commission (PRC). SB 47/ HB 80 would require that the PRC approve, if requested by PNM, a “financing order” that would authorize it to issue bonds to be paid by ratepayers to recover 100% of its under appreciated investment in abandoned uneconomic assets.

Candelaria: Without this bill, PNM would have to pay a much higher interest rate.

New Energy Economy: PNM is NOT paying a much higher interest rate. Ratepayers are paying PNM to shut own the coal plan and get nothing in return, 

Candelaria: Some say punish PNM. Make them pay a higher interest rate for shutting down the coal plants. They should have known 30 years ago that coal would become too expensive.


New Energy Economy: Again, it is not PNM who is paying higher interest rates it is ratepayers who are being stuck with the bill for PNM's irresponsible financial decisions and poor energy planning. We are not saying that PNM should have known 30 years ago it was reckless to continue its coal investments, but look at the facts: in the last two rate cases PNM has asked for more than a billion dollars from ratepayers in 2 of its coal plants. This is a rip off! 

Feel free to email us your comments, criticisms and existential angst.

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