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Monday, April 16, 2018

Talk Of The Town: Ambassador Sanchez? Here Comes The Mail, Looks Like Joe Is A Go And BernCo DA Torrez Busted Again Over Flynn DWI Wire Job  

Here's what they're talking about as the new week kicks off.

Not long ago we picked up on chatter about Lt. Governor John Sanchez possibly getting an ambassadorship from the Trump White House. But where? How about Panama?

That's the latest from the rumor mill on John, who is finishing up an eight year stint as Light Guv under Gov. Martinez. But a Panama posting wouldn't be all Piña coladas and sunshine. The US has had a troubled relationship of late with the Latin American nation. But for Sanchez it couldn't be more troubling than dealing with a Governor who doesn't even want to lay eyes on you.

The mailboxes are going to start getting cluttered soon in that multi-candidate battle for the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat.  Readers report Dem congressional candidate Antoinette Sedillo Lopez has already hit with two mailers that appear to be aimed at women voters. No candidate is up yet with broadcast TV ads.

On it goes but it will soon end. We speak of that battle by Dem Guv contender Jeff Apodaca to keep rival Joe Cervantes off the June 5 primary ballot. For a second time a district court judge has turned back Apodaca. He'll make a final pitch to the NM Supreme court but it appears Joe is a go.

Mediocre. That's the best description of the most recent approval ratings for Dem US Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall. Heinrich, who is seeking re-election this year, comes with an anemic 41 percent approval rating and Udall manages only 44 percent. But they are not alone. Washington politicians aren't the most popular species these days. For example, both of Colorado's senators score approval ratings below that of ours. Ditto for Arizona. The pundits continue to rank Heinrich a heavy favorite for re-election. He will face Republican Mick Rich and Libertarian Aubrey Dunn, Jr.

Governor Susana's approval continues to be mired in the 30 percentile bracket. She scores 37 percent approval in the latest survey.

The national polling of all senators and governors by Morning Consult was done from online surveys conducted with about 275,000 registered voters from Jan. 1 through March 31.

A BUSTED DA

Thanks to our Alligators it was this blog that first questioned how the office of BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez handled the DWI case of politically connected Ryan Flynn, a former cabinet secretary under Gov. Martinez who is now the executive director of the NM Oil and Gas Association.

Torrez's office didn't take kindly to the questioning, went into bunker mode and lashed out at us for daring to question him.

But between this piece in the Santa Fe Reporter and this more recent piece by NM In-Depth, the Democratic DA is thoroughly busted. It is more than clear that Flynn's DWI was reduced to careless driving because of his political stature and interference by the DA. And that's a miscarriage of justice. Also, we reiterate that the Governor's support for a huge increase in the DA's budget during the last legislative session could very well have been a result of the Flynn/Torrez deal.

Emails show prosecutors misled public about plea deal with former Martinez Cabinet secretary.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Boone wanted to reassure his boss. A political blogger was raising questions in February about why the DA’s office had agreed to plead Ryan Flynn’s aggravated DWI charge, leveled after a May 20, 2017, traffic stop, down to careless driving. In a Feb. 8 email, Boone told DA Raúl Torrez he believed the case against Flynn could clear an initial legal hurdle. Additionally, because Boone’s direct supervisor, Metro Division Chief Jason Greenlee, was “really good friends” with lawyers on Flynn’s defense team, Boone told Torrez prosecutors had removed Greenlee from making any decisions about the case. But the Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico In Depth have found that Greenlee was intimately involved with assessing evidence and negotiating Flynn’s plea throughout the case. Further, Boone, Greenlee and others misled SFR and NMID about the strength of Flynn’s case.

Torrez has often blamed others for the crime crisis in ABQ--the judges, his office budget, etc.--but the self-proclaimed "progressive Democrat" appears to have entered the ranks of the old ways network and that his tough on crime rhetoric applies to some but not to others. The refusal of the ABQ Journal to hold him accountable--probably because he has gotten into bed with their favorite Governor--only makes matters worse.

When the NM In-Depth piece hit Friday, Torrez was quick to put out a news release about gun possession to divert attention. The newspaper gladly obliged him.

Will there be more Ryan Flynns for DA Torrez? Well, deals with the devil aren't usually one time affairs.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Well, as noted above the the newspapers can have their biases but we don't believe they charge candidates for news coverage yet. According to this Gator in Cruces not all of them appear to be aware of that:

Joe, Jaime Gonzalescastillo, the primary challenger of Dem State Rep. Doreen Gallegos, has an interesting notation on his finance report--a $250 "in-kind" donation from the Las Cruces Sun News for an article they published about him. Gonzalezcastillo reported no contributions nor expenses and was told by the Sun News not to report its coverage as a contribution.

Lucky that article about Jaime wasn't negative or else he might have sent the paper a bill for $250.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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