Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Berry Patch: Walking Down The Middle (So Far), Plus: Another Speeding R, And: Wading Into Water Law (Again) 

Mayor Berry
He's only been in a month, but early signs indicate that new ABQ GOP Mayor RJ Berry is going to resist the temptation to try to steer this middle of the road city down a right-wing path. His campaign rhetoric over ABQ being a "sanctuary city" has been toned down and any attempt at changing law enforcement policy toward undocumented residents has been put on the back burner. He says he will study the controversial red light camera program, not move to eliminate it. Also, he will not immediately swing a bloody axe by pushing for layoffs in the city work force and he will have a Democrat or two at his elbow, i.e., chief administrative officer David Campbell.

All of this has not gone unnoticed by R's who want a sterner and more conservative Berry. There has been some post-holiday buzz among Republicans over the new GOP mayor's absence from the big Bernalillo County GOP Christmas party. We're told some 150 attended, but not Berry or any of his top Republican aides like Public Safety director Darren White or constituent services head Tito Madrid.

Was Berry sending a message? Maybe. After all, three Republican city councilors were the only ones to vote against his nomination of Campbell as CAO. Or perhaps Berry is just generally wary of being too tightly embraced by the GOP in a city where Democratic registration is 48 percent and the GOP commands only 32 percent. It doesn't take long for that math to have an impact as you weigh the future from the lofty heights of the 11th floor of City Hall.


NM GOP state senators have a good start on forming a "Speeding Caucus." First it was Roswell Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair getting busted this summer for clocking 118 MPH in a 65 mph zone in Guadalupe County. Now, Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle joins the club, according to a Senor Alligator. They report that Ingle was ticketed recently for going 59 mph in a 50 mph zone near the ghost town of Yeso west of Fort Sumner on the state's East side. In years past, the speeding caucus would have included Big Bill whose drivers regularly had heavy feet on the accelerator. But he hasn't had any speeding incidents of late. Maybe that's because he's been spending more time boating.


Former Dem NM State Rep. Bob Perls emails us from bucolic Corrales:

...I will be leaving for DC to join the Department of State as a diplomat. I have accepted an appointment to the US Foreign Service...I will find out in January at which US Embassy I will serve. I served as state representative from 1993-1997 representing southern Sandoval County. I sold my medical technology company in 2008 and have been working on a Masters in Public Administration at UNM...I would hope to come back to New Mexico with newfound skills (and) provide innovative and ethical leadership for our state...

Sounds like fun, Bob. We've been looking into the French Foreign Legion ourselves, or maybe just a long weekend in Chama.

John D'Antonio
We waded into a water controversy over Tucumcari way when we posted Catherine Bugg's complaints over farmers, ranchers and other members of the Arch Hurley Conservancy Disrict not getting what they consider their full allotment of water from Conchas Lake, despite what Catherine said was a large snow pack. State Engineer John D'Antonio read what bugged Bugg and sent this in:

As an avid reader of your blog, I wanted to address Ms. Bugg’s concerns...Most of the surface water rights upstream of the Arch Hurley project are senior water rights that date back to the mid to late 1800’s, whereas Arch Hurley’s water rights only date back to 1938 and therefore are considered junior rights. We have investigated the alleged illegal diversions and have found all diversions are legal with valid senior rights. The claims of 250% snow pack is something that has not happened anywhere in New Mexico in recent memory.

We have been discussing a metering program for the Mora River and its tributaries that would allow future water use to be verified on a real-time basis to eliminate potential upstream over-diversions. Our goal is to have all of New Mexico’s water usage measured and metered in order to protect priority water rights and correctly administer water, especially during times of short supply.

Thanks, John and Catherine. You've reminded us why we're an aficionado of the deliciously obscure disputes that dot the landscape of La Politica.

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