Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Clippings From My Newsroom Floor And Reader E-Mail 

We'll start it off this fall Friday right here in the Duke City. From a Senior Alligator on the October 4 ABQ election:

I am so hacked off at the Berry Administration for tying together on one bond issue funding for the Paseo Del Norte/I-25 interchange and the proposed sportsplex. (The bond was soundly defeated). I'd like to know the genesis. Who signed off? Who suggested the idea in the first place. Who recommended it to the mayor? Who thought it politically expedient? How it got through the City Council? Then, I'd like to see those people, every one of them who thought it was a good idea to gull the voters, return to the private sector or unemployment roster.

A detailed post-mortem on how the start of an excruciatingly overdue rebuild at the Paseo interchange and a big fat unneeded and unwanted lollipop for city bureaucrats known as a sportsplex got bundled in a single bond question is long overdue, naming names, laying out a timeline and asking tough questions....

And they are good questions. Mayor Berry got his hand stuck in a political wringer on this one. Maybe he ought to assess the advice he is getting from his "political experts?" Berry did not own the delays in the Paseo rebuilding going into the election, but he does now.


A number of people connected with the beginnings of Spaceport America were pleased to see Governor Martinez finally drop her skepticism and embrace the project this week when she made her first trip to the Spaceport for christening ceremonies. One of those emailed this:

Looked like a great day--very successful on all fronts. And good to see the Gov there and smiling! Still a long way to go, but this was clearly an important step in the evolution of the project. Her presence there also seems to be a clearing of the air when it comes to all the digs, charges and veiled allegations concerning the management of the project before she came into office in January. Onward, and upward.

Thanks for staying on top of this. Your consistent message concerning the need for the Governor's support has been loud and clear.


From New Mexico State University President Barbara Couture's State of the University address:

“Since 2009 alone we lost $35 million across our university system, a move that resulted in our having to raise tuition by nearly 8 percent on the Las Cruces campus,” she said, adding that she has strongly told the governor “that adequately funding the NMSU budget must take precedence over funding new initiatives when revenues fall short.”

Both the Governor and her higher education secretary hail from Las Cruces. That ought to help Barbara sleep at night.


Just when we got done blogging Thursday about how the state prison system has been calm comes this news that partially explains why:

Contraband is turning up at state prisons as the Department of Corrections continues its statewide crackdown. At prisons across the state, weapons, drugs and homemade tattoo machines have been found in cells and on inmates. Three of the 10 facilities across the state are still on lockdown while corrections officials search for security breaches. Those searches are also taking place outside of the prisons.


Reader Angie McKinstry reacts to the news blogged here from Dem political consultant Sterling Fluharty that over 30 percent of ABQ voters aged 18 to 34 have registered as independents while only 14 percent of voters aged 50 to 64 call themselves independent:

Joe, in my opinion, this illustrates the "lack of education" between generations more than the "bickering among candidates." What the younger generation fails to understand because Civics is no longer taught in the public schools is that New Mexico is a "closed" primary state and by registering as an Independent they exclude themselves from the the entire primary process.

I too would be an Independent if New Mexico were an "open" primary state, but I want a piece of the pie in the primary battles. I would love to have a meaningful debate (in your column) about this topic as well as a discussion of the June Primary in Presidential Politics. Let's face it, by June 5, 2012 New Mexico will be "out of it" as far as choosing the Republican Presidential candidate to run against Obama. With all the eastern states lining up to hold caucuses and primaries from December 6 forward what happens in New Mexico will be only a hiccup!

Thanks, Angie. New Mexico has never really been "in it" when it comes to presidential primary politics. In 2008, Governor Big Bill had the state Dems hold a caucus to select presidential delegates in February--the earliest ever. He wanted us to be a player in the process because he was running for President, although his campaign had ended by the time the caucus rolled around. Before that, Dems held their primary for president in June as they are again doing.

What to keep your eye on is the occasional talk that surfaces calling for an end to the Electoral College. That's where NM gets its real influence in the presidential race. If the contest was based solely on the popular vote--and not our five electoral votes--the candidates would pay about as much attention to us as you are to this year's World Series.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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