Thursday, March 02, 2006

Night Of The Bizarre: Judge Jewell In Domestic Violence Case, Plus: NM Police Boss In Love Affair With State Lawmaker, And: Death Calls Tiny Martinez 

Tommy Jewell
A blizzard of bizarre political news fell over our Enchanted Land late last night as KRQE-TV in ABQ led off its 10 p.m. newscast with two stunners. First, that Judge Tommy Jewell, Big Bill's pick to become the new cabinet secretary for the Children Youth and Families Department, (CYFD) was involved in a 1999 domestic violence case that involved children. Second, that Carlos Maldonado, the recently retired chief of the NM State Police, quit because he was confronted with evidence of an extra-marital affair he had with a state legislator.

On Jewell, the station reported he reached a settlement over 1999 domestic violence charges that kept records of the case permanently sealed. Jewell, 51, was asked to comment, but said he could not because it might violate that agreement. He is married to ABQ District Court Judge Angela Jewell. The couple has two children. However, because of the seal on the case KRQE could not report whether it was members of Jewell's family who were involved in the case or other individuals.

The Jewell story had Big Bill's office running for cover with a spokesman saying they had no idea of the Jewell case, that he never told them, but they would ask the retired judge about the matter. Meanwhile, they are sticking with the Jewell appointment, for now.

Then there's the case of State Police Chief Charles Maldonado who announced recently he was retiring after over 20 years of law enforcement and three years as state police chief. But KRQE reported Maldonado, 44, was pushed over the cliff; that he resigned when the husband of the state legislator he was having an affair with confronted the department with evidence of the illicit romance. On this one, the Guv's office refused comment. The station did not say if the female legislator was a member of the House or Senate. Talk about grist for the Roundhouse mill. It doesn't get any more sensational than this.

And there was even more on the Night of the Bizarre. KRQE's Larry Barker hit with an investigative report that said Big Bill has created unauthorized positions for over 60 state workers at a cost of over $3 million. Dem State Senator Cisco McSorley asserted the hires were illegal. And former Governor Gary Johnson said Big Bill "has crossed the line." Guv Chief of Staff Dave Contarino, on the defensive, maintained there was nothing wrong with the hires, but GOP State Senators Carraro and Rawson joined McSorley in saying they sidestepped legislative approval.

It was an impressive night for hard-hitting news in a medium usually obsessed with the murder meter. If the GOP had a gubernatorial campaign fully up and running, Wednesday night would have been even worse for the Fourth Floor. But that was about the only saving grace for the Governor. Now he and his staff are manning their battle stations in preparation for the media onslaught sure to follow. Oh yeah Guv, welcome home from D.C.


There is a guy in the Big Duke City today who just may have a message that will appeal to a wide cross section of voters. He's John Edwards, the 2004 Dem Vice-Prez candidate who is campaigning for Madrid and his own possible 08' Prez bid.

Edwards' theme has been "Two America's," one where a minority is well-off, but another where millions toil just to keep their necks above water. It got him the VP slot in 04' and with the gap between the rich and poor still growing the theme could serve him well again.

A recent poll shows Edwards coming in second for the Dem nod, behind Hillary. Granted, a lot of that is simple name ID. But Edwards did not seem to suffer as much from the 04' defeat as Kerry who is also high in the 08' rankings becuse of name ID but who is having trouble persuading party faithful that a second time could be the charm.

Edwards placed fourth with 10% of the vote in NM's 04' Prez caucus. But in a poor state like this he's a candidate to keep your eye on, especially if Big Bill is not around to claim favorite son status.


Word came late Wednesday of the death of one of the last political patrons of the North. Donaldo "Tiny" Martinez of Las Vegas is dead at 82. More from the AP:

A political activist who endorsed Bill Richardson's first run for Congress and helped Hispanics in northern New Mexico has died. Donaldo "Tiny'' Martinez died in his sleep early Wednesday, local leaders said. He was 82.

Martinez served for 16 years as district attorney, he was a district judge for six years, a local Democratic Party chairman for 12 years, a state representative for one term and chairman of the West Las Vegas school board for 18 years.

Governor Richardson called Martinez a "Democratic political icon" and credited him with boosting his political career by endorsing him during his first congressional campaign in 1980. "He was a man of action and conviction and a true public servant," said Big Bill.

The last surviving Northern patron is Rio Arriba's Emilio Naranjo whose relationship with the Guv is not nearly as warm as it was with Tiny.

We need your help covering NM politics. E-mail me your political news and gossip. There's a link at the top of the page. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon.

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