Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fear Factor Diminishes As Bill Heads Out; NMSU Regent Unloads, Plus: The Run For Light Guv; It's Getting A Bit Rough, And: A Goodbye To Alice King 

Bill & Bob
With his power starting to seep away, Big Bill must be looking forward to getting out of Dodge and into his D.C. commerce secretary post as quickly as possible. The fear factor is, if not gone, ebbing away. A prime example comes in an emotional missive from Bob Gallagher, longtime friend and sometimes foe of the Governor, who directs the NM Oil and Gas Association and who Bill recently decided not to reappoint to the Board of Regents of New Mexico State University. Gallagher, in an e-mail circulated widely among energy industry types, goes public on his recent meeting with Bill. It's an eyebrow raiser:

Several of you have inquired about the possibility of me accepting a position with the new administration, specifically with Richardson at Commerce. Two weeks ago I was summoned to the Governor's office...The 20 minute meeting was sprinkled frequently with his favorite word, half of which is "mother!" I was yelled at, cursed at, and completely taken to the wood shed for my comments concerning the regulatory environment in New Mexico. He said he was sick and tired of reading articles from "all over the ____country" about how bad the business climate is in New Mexico for our industry. Based upon that he then informed me that he would not be reappointing me to the (NM State University) Board of Regents, in order to pay me back for these comments. I say this in order to answer the question posed by the first sentence in this paragraph...

Gallagher served as a senior adviser to Richardson when he was Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. The Guv's office thanked him for his service when he announced he would not reappoint him as a NMSU regent, but gave no reason for not reappointing him. Gallagher, chairman of the NMSU regents, does not mention the botched search for a new NMSU president that he and other regents were involved in prior to Bill making his new appointments. That could be what was also on the Guv's mind when he made the move.

Gallagher's willingness to air his version of the dirty laundry signals the winding down of one of the most powerful Guv runs in state history. Do you think power players in the Legislature are taking note?


When it comes to the argument over who Governor-to-be Denish should pick as a lieutenant governor, we've been partial to the side that says she should choose someone she plans to run with as a team in 2010. Form the ticket, and get on with it. But the e-mail picks up the other side--that she should go with a "caretaker" who pledges to serve for only two years and let Dem voters decide the issue in the '10 primary. For example:

A caretaker solves a lot of problems for many. I like the idea of a primary without the Guv's thumb on the scale. So do most New Mexicans. People should decide the ticket. Politicos decide way too much for themselves that people do not like.

We--and others--have been saying that State Auditor Hector Balderas seems to be at or near the top of the list when it comes to getting the Light Guv nod. That is causing severe angst in some quarters. Back to the e-mail:

The rise of Hector has been due...to a well executed public relations blitz run by skilled political operative (and Auditor Balderas PR consultant) Caroline Buerkle, formerly of Wiviott for Congress and Patricia Madrid for Congress... It's a pursuit of headlines and promotion, the Auditor Hotline, weekly Christmas E-cards, last year's crusade against Sandoval County, which turned up no wrongdoing, but made for a good press conference...Governor Denish does not need flash; she needs someone to do the heavy lifting....

How about that? Negative campaigning and we don't have an official campaign. Well, the race is clearly on to become the state's #2. The Alligators are the voters in this one. Thoughts from the pro-Hector brigade? E-mail them in.


Former first lady Alice King will be laid to rest today after a public funeral in Moriarty. The stories of the impact she had on our state during her husband Bruce's three four year terms as governor have been coming in steadily. State Senator Pete Campos adds his:

My public career began about thirty years ago when Governor and Mrs. King visited Santa Rosa and, unbeknownst to me, observed my work as a migrant student teacher and guidance counselor. As a result of that visit, I later received a call from Governor King telling me he had talked with Mrs. King and would like to appoint me to the Children’s Code Task Force. Yes, Mrs. King deeply believed in and wanted to do all that was possible for children; but she also was a strong and highly effective practitioner of team building to better our quality of life in New Mexico. Thank you, Mrs. King, for always lifting our spirits. Your can-do approach will be greatly missed but will not be forgotten.

And thank you for that memory, Pete.

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