Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Vigil-Giron Defended: "Becky's No Crook," Says Associate, Plus: Fire Returned To Sen. Robinson For His Becky Comments, And: Some Tuesday Bottom Lines 

Can former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron stanch the flow of blood and save her political career, or will the Alligators tear even deeper into her, ending any hopes she may have had to become the state's next lieutenant governor?

Governor Richardson has the former three term Democratic secretary of state who left in office in January dangling by a string, awaiting an audit on as much as $3 million in overspending at the SOS office before he agrees to give her an $85,000 a year job as head of the State Film Museum.

Vigil-Giron is not fanning the flames as she awaits the audit, but an associate of Vigil-Giron took up her cause in a lengthy email missive. Another emailer, not associated with Rebecca, lambasted ABQ Dem State Senator Shannon Robinson who last week ripped into Vigil-Giron on the floor of the senate and called on Big Bill to nix her film job.

"Becky is ambitious and ego-driven, just like all of them, but she's no crook and doesn't deserve this. She's being blamed for things she didn't create and couldn't control. She was forced into the purchase of the (new) voting machines by the Democratic Party and the Governor. They bought into the big Republican hacker conspiracy. Rebecca did not choose the voting machines.

"As for criticism about the state sending out voter ID cards to outdated addresses, again, the Legislature made the SOS do this through an ill-conceived piece of legislation that county clerks advised against...The Legislature was told these cards would come back by the tens of thousands," declared our Vigil-Giron defender.


How about the big deficit? Isn't that out and out incompetence?

"That was created by the Legislature. Paper ballot systems cost more with the printing and they put language in a bill to pay for the ballots, but they never appropriated the money." Asserted the Vigil-Giron associate.

But what about those TV and radio ads Becky cut featuring her persona and widely criticized as a device to advance her political fortunes?

"Those were required as part of the Help America Vote Act. The federal money can only be used for certain things--not any of the regular costs associated with running an election, but purchasing the voting machines and voter education. If we had gone to a new voting system with no voter education and federal money to do so, she would have been criticized for that!" Claimed Vigil-Giron's defender.


Perhaps the most scorching criticism of Vigil-Giron came not over her conduct as secretary of state, but over her selection by the Governor to head the film museum. That stuck in the craw of Senator Robinson, a longtime advocate for the film industry here, who slashed at Becky saying she was "a boll weevil looking for a home" and had no qualifications for the position.

Robinson was knifed back for that, with one emailing Alligator asking: "What has Shannon done in 15 years in Santa Fe, besides kiss the behind of (former Senate leader) Manny Aragon? Look at his district. It's a mess. Hasn't he learned yet how to get capital improvement money." Lashed the Gator.

Robinson represents a large portion of the aging ABQ SE Heights and opponents there have often threatened to run someone against him using the capital outlay argument, but it has yet to slow the senator down at the polls.


Richardson was careful not to throw Vigil-Giron completely overboard not only because the audit could vindicate her, but also because she is a prominent Hispanic female politician with a proven track record as a vote-getter. How he treats her will also be closely watched among the national Hispanic community as she is a former president of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Democratic Attorney General Gary King, being asked by GOP State Senator Duran (who has long coveted the SOS job) to join the probe of Vigil-Giron, can also be expected to tread carefully, knowing as he does this delicate political patch. Stay tuned.


They say music soothes the savage beast and with the Legislature in session for nearly a month, the "beast" could probably use some soothing. And there will be some--from the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra which will help celebrate the Legislature's Hispanic Culture Day by conducting a concert at St. Francis Cathedral tonight at 6:30. Imagine. Speaker Lujan joining with R’s like Dan Foley to be soothed by the timeless intonations of Mozart and Beethoven. Who says we can't all get along?

It wasn't only Republicans signing up to co-host the Feb. 20 campaign kick-off of Senator Domenici that we told you about Monday. There were some Dems too, including Bob Gallagher, honcho for the NM Oil and Gas Association. Meanwhile, Republican Domenici continues to ward off speculation that he might not make the '08 race as you can see in this AP dispatch out of D.C.

Over at GOP headquarters Friday they had a little going away for ex-GOP executive director Marta Kramer, but they can't seem to let go of their efforts to try to refute reports here that Kramer's departure should not be seen as 100% voluntary. In a recounting of the party, they made indirect reference to our report dubbing it far from the truth. Our analysis is based on conversations with GOP Chair Allen Weh who was ambiguous, not emphatic, when discussing the Kramer departure. The GOP staffers interpretation is also apparently based on conversations with Weh. Well, we all have our way of reading the tea leaves. Maybe this one will be placed in the mystery section of our beloved La Politica. Meanwhile, we await the appointment of a new executive director of the state GOP and wish Marta mucho Buena Suerte.


A tip of the blog hat to the ABQ Journal's Dan Mayfield and Sandia Prep's Susan Walton for helping set up my visit to the ABQ Press Women Monday. Among the many good questions posed: “How do you make sure your advertisers don't influence the blog content?” Well, none has ever sought to influence the content, but if I do write a story that touches upon an advertiser, I will point out that they are indeed an advertiser. Also, on those rare occasions when I do a story that involves any public relations work I am doing, I report that to my readers. Ultimately, it is the readers who hang out here with finely tuned B.S. detectors who help keep this blog what we aspire it to be--fair. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Often imitated, but never duplicated--this is the home of New Mexico poltiics--www.joemonahan.com. Back tomorrow. Meantime, email your news and comments from the link at the top of the page.

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