Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Franco File: Gators Look At Heritage of First Gentleman In Wake Of Guv Episode, Plus: State Film Spending Bombing? And: Heather's Spending Exception 

Governor Martinez created a national headline explosion when she said her father's grandparents entered the USA illegally. The thud of that news was especially loud because she has so loudly trumpeted the cause of repealing the law that allows illegal immigrants to get a New Mexico driver's license. It also got the Alligator genealogists back on the beat. After piecing together the Guv's background, they now turn their attention to that of "First Gentleman"
Chuck Franco, 55, husband of Martinez. He's a Las Cruces native retired from the Dona Ana County sheriff's department. Here is their report:

Chuck Franco is the middle child of three. His older brother is Larry, married and lives in Organ, New Mexico. Younger sister Gina Marie Franco was born January 15, 1961, is married to a Daniel Selga, and lives in Las Cruces.

Their father was Fredrick C. Franco, born September 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. His mother's maiden name was Camunes. On February 1, 2000 he died in Las Cruces. Their mother was Josephine Montoya, born June 26, 1926 in Las Cruces to Julian Biscara and Angelita S Cisneros Montoya, the youngest of six children. She died March 26, 2010 in Las Cruces. Here is a link to her obituary notice.

Julian--Chuck Franco's grandfather--was born in Las Cruces to F. L. and Nicanora Montoya on November 2, 1884. Both of Julian's parents were born in Mexico, February 1865 and January 1869 respectively. Julian died in April of 1973 in Las Cruces. Angelita--Franco's grandmother--was born September 1, 1889 in Las Cruces, to Jose Angel and Martina Perez Cisneros. Her father Jose was born in New Mexico in Oct 1856, and her mother in Mexico in Feb 1864. Angelita died on May 25, 1961 in Las Cruces. By appearances, Chuck Franco's ancestors have been here longer than his wife's...

The laid-back and outdoors loving Franco entered the public consciousness when in a state-of-the-state speech the Guv noted his fondness for baloney sandwiches. He serves on the board of the NM Coalition for Literacy and is also an instructor for Horses for Heroes--a program that teaches disabled veterans horsemanship and ranching skills.


And keeping it in the City of Crosses, it appears Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima is poised for re-election in next Tuesday's balloting in the state's second largest city. The latest indicator is this endorsement of his candidacy from the Las Cruces Sun-News

The economic downturn...has taken it's toll on government budgets...but Las Cruces has weathered the storm much better than most. There have been no furloughs, layoffs or reduced work weeks...Our success is due, in part, to the mayor's leadership. That's not to say the city has been immune. It has reduced spending by some $7.5 million in the last two years, and cut 16 positions from its most recent budget...And, sluggish tax revenue...indicates that more belt-tightening could be in order. But, the city's estimated $13.9 million in reserves is more than twice the amount required by the state.

We have not always agreed with Miyagishima, and have not been timid with our criticism..But taken as a whole, we believe his four-year term has been successful...

Miyagishima is being challenged by City Councilor Dolores Connor and political operative Michael Huerta.


When we talk about the state's shrinking work force this is what we mean. In 2008, the state says the civilian work force averaged 909,809, In September of this year, the work force totaled 869,169.


And what about film industry jobs? Well, the Guv urged that tax incentives for the industry be scaled back and they were. Now it appears there is trouble on the set. Movie producers are grumbling and state film production appears to have slowed. Blog reader Pat Davis, a self-described member of the professional left, writes that studio executives are not confident when dealing with the state.

The NM Business Weekly cited one studio exec. who didn't want to be a political "whipping boy." This industry has given up on New Mexico and we now have (according to the NM Film Office) more than 3,300 film industry professionals who we, as taxpayers, invested in training and recruiting who now may be out of work and out of luck.

As you pointed out on Monday's blog, more than 16,100 professional and business service employees (which includes film industry members) have left payrolls since 2007. Those big movie productions could have employed many of them. Not to mention the local tax revenues which could have been added to local coffers as those productions were in full swing.

Not only did the Governor's insistence on reducing the film credits make us less desirable than other states (Louisiana and Michigan, for instance), but the political messaging that accompanied that push appears to have soured the industry in general on our great state.

The incentives needed to be reined in but the state did not do itself any favors when it also threw in some Hollywood bashing by claiming the film incentives were detracting from educational funding. Looks like we are now paying the piper.


GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson may believe the federal government spends too much, but that doesn't include the federal largess that keeps the state's national laboratories up and running. Wilson continues to carve out an exception for that spending:

...Our national laboratories have taken on other national security responsibilities, including intelligence, and try to make sure that not only is our nuclear deterrent safe, for example, but seeking to understand what other countries are doing. And they play an important role in a lot of that. I think New Mexico needs a United States senator who is able to articulate the importance of that contribution and is willing to stand up and fight for it.

Wilson, an Air Force veteran, faces Lt. Governor John Sanchez for the GOP US Senate nomination. Sanchez is embracing the tea party, trying to portray himself as more conservative than Wilson. He has not yet talked in detail about federal spending for the national labs.

Rick Newton
A candidate does not have to be a resident of the congressional district he seeks to represent. He needs to be a resident of the state. But for all practical purposes, he really needs to live in the district. Otherwise, he is accused of being a carpetbagger. That's what happened to Dem Gary King when he relocated from the Moriarty area to Carlsbad in 2004 to run against GOP Congressman Steve Pearce. He didn't get very far.

Monday a reader reported that Rick Newton, an ABQ businessman who will seek the GOP nod for the northern congressional seat held by Dem Ben Ray Lujan, recently signed a lease on property near Taos to establish residency. Newton's web site shows him to be active in ABQ area political and social affairs, but not in the north. Newton's site says he has a degree in electrical engineering and has had business contracts with the Defense Intelligence Agency, Navy Seals and other Special Forces.
Insiders say he sold a sonar company for a considerable sum. That should give him some resources to defend himself against any carpetbagger charges.


The state's top income tax rate went from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent under Gov. Richardson. The numbers we had in a first draft Monday were off.

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