Friday, November 11, 2011

End Of The Week Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor: Dead Voters, Does Hollywood Like Us Again? And The South Valley State Of Mind 

First, a tip of the hat to our veterans on their special day. Now onto the clippings from our newsroom floor

We get a lot of quotable quotes coming at us, but the hands-down winner for the best one of the week comes from former state elections director Denise Lamb. She reacts to the news of how 641 dead New Mexicans have been found on the voter rolls:

I would be very surprised if we had any voting by the dead because we can barely get the living to vote.

Lamb now runs the elections bureau in Santa Fe County. She points out that county clerks check death notices published in local newspapers to try to update voter files. The state says there is no evidence that any of the dead have voted in any state elections. (Does that include the "brain dead?")

Dianna Duran is the first Republican Secretary of State since the 30's and has tried her darndest to assert the national Republican conviction that there is widespread voter fraud here. She has come up empty-handed, as have previous officials who were convinced that NM elections are fraught with fraud. And that's why the Lamb quote is so on the mark.

If Duran has been led down the primrose path by her GOP handlers, she is not alone. Look at what they've done to Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler who is the special prosecutor in the bribery case of Las Cruces Judge Michel Murphy. Chandler is running down a maze of rabbit holes, but has yet to hit pay dirt.

Both Duran and Chandler are advancing an agenda--alleged voter fraud and judicial corruption--that is not of their own making. But they are the figureheads and when things come crashing down--as they already have for Duran in her pursuit of voter fraud---it is they who pay the political price while those behind the scenes look for their next pawns.


Is Hollywood ready to warm up again to New Mexico? You hear conflicting reports. Here's one of the more optimistic:

Mary Ann Hughes, vice president of film and television production planning for Walt Disney Studios, told The Associated Press that the industry "hit the pause button" on New Mexico earlier this year when Gov. Susana Martinez took issue with the state's film incentive program. But she says the state is back as one of the leading locations for filming outside of Los Angeles and New York because of its strong crew base, its incentive program that gives films a 25 percent rebate on production costs and its strong infrastructure.

Thanks, Mary Ann. Now please show us the money.


So, if the environmental "pit rule," so scorned by segments of the state's oil industry, is hampering production here, what about this?:

Senator Bingaman confirmed that New Mexico received $434.5 million in royalty payments in FY 2011 for energy production on federal lands in the state, an increase of $53.9 million from FY 2010. Only Wyoming received more royalties than New Mexico.

“Under the Obama Administration, oil production and royalties are up in New Mexico. These royalty payments will bolster New Mexico’s budget during this very difficult economic time,” Bingaman said.


We met up with KRQE-TV's Katie Kim this week to update the race for the ABQ congressional seat. The report is here. (The video is not posted, but I can assure you I wore one of my new ties bought in Italy.)


After moderating an argument here all week on just what constitutes ABQ's South Valley, perhaps longtime NM lobbyist and South Valley native Dan Weaks sums it up best by looking beyond the geographic lines:

Joe: The South Valley is not just a place, it is a state of mind. Technically I guess I did not grow up in the South Valley because our house was at the NW corner of Atrisco and Central. But still, when I cross the river or ride down Atrisco hill and feel the temperature change I feel at home even though its not actually the SW quadrant.

On the question of chicharrone paddles, I use a custom made set of oak paddles given to me by the late lobbyist Ricardo Barros and crafted by his brother Tony. I prefer wood because the olla (pot) I have is copper and the wood doesn’t scar the metal and they don’t conduct heat like metal. Oh, and by the way, my mother-in-law never referred to any place east of Carlisle as the Heights, it was always “GringoLandia” north or south.

Appreciate those memories, Dan. And with them this Gringo from Pennsylvania signs off for the week.

Reporting to you from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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