Monday, March 26, 2007

Deal Or No Deal? Compromise Needed In Capitol Showdown; How They May Do it, Plus: Who is "Chuby" Tafoya? We Tell You, And: NM Tornado Video 

Sen. Tim Jennings
The exit door light to end the ongoing wrangling between Governor Richardson and the New Mexico Senate is flashing red and clearly labeled "compromise." Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico are not so patiently waiting for the parties to go through that door and veteran observers and legislative watchers expect them to do so by the end of the week. If they don't, it will be a pox on both of their houses with both taking hits, but perhaps the legislative body more at risk because it is the Governor who has the microphone and is better able to spin public opinion.

" I expect the Senate to finally meet, and vote on a couple of the Governor's proposals and quickly adjourn. At least, that's my optimistic scenario," is how a political Alligator of long-standing summed up what most were thinking.

And there was a glimmer of just that kind of compromise from Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez:

"The Senate would have considered two measures -- the domestic partnership bill and highway financing package -- had it remained in session. He said there was "kind of a consensus" between Senate Democrats and the Richardson administration to deal with those measures." Reported the AP.

The Senate Saturday adjourned for a second time in a week, refusing to consider the special agenda sent down by the Governor and already approved by the House. State law forces them to reconvene Thursday, unless the House joins them in adjournment. House Speaker Ben Lujan, as he did so well in a similar showdown in 2003, is keeping the House in line for the Governor. He will stand firm.

The first adjournment was supported by all the Republicans and eight of the majority Democrats; only three D's--Roswell's Tim Jennings, Deming's John Arthur Smith and ABQ's Lopez-- supported the second adjournment which won by just one vote--18-17.

The trio of rebels will be coming under intense pressure to let the Senate convene, but with it unknown who will show up for the next Senate meeting, it's hard to say whether their votes will again be the crucial ones.


Everyone has now made their point in this power struggle--the Governor and the House by insisting that New Mexico needs to do more on issues they see as vital to moving the state forward--and the Senate by doing what it is supposed to--using their saucer to cool the hot tea sent over by the House. Unfortunately, in the wake of a tiring 60 day session, emotion, not reason, has prevailed. But we don't live in a dictatorship, so it will not be the mercurial judgment of a Governor, a lone senator or a state representative that will end this showdown; as always, it will be the three branches from this government tree--Governor, Senate and House--bending in unison. With the special costing us $50,000 a day, it's about time for the bending to begin.

"Chuby" Tafoya
Now we give you more political intrigue from as we take you to Taos county where over the weekend Thomas "Chuby" Tafoya ousted Billy Knight in a high-profile battle for chairman of the Taos County Democratic party. He was already head of the area Young Democrats.

"The Young Democrats became the leaders of the old democrats," is how Taos blogger Bill Whaley scored it.

And how about this: nearly 200 delegates and spectators turned out for the Taos battle Saturday. For sure, La Politica is alive and well in the storied Spanish North.


Graphic and spine-chilling video of several of a swarm of highly-destructive tornados that struck the eastern part of our state Friday. Big Bill declared a state of disaster for the affected counties of Curry, Quay, and Roosevelt after touring the most devastated parts of Clovis Sunday afternoon. Complete coverage is here.


This email struck a nerve: "There's a new definition of insanity in New Mexico--paying a UNM basketball coach nearly $1 million a year."

Ritchie McKay also pulled down big bucks, so this has a ring of truth. Will the Lobos ever make the Sweet 16 in the NCAA? Probably not. Why? Because this is New Mexico, not New York. Expectations in Lobo Land remain unrealistic, but when haven't they?

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