Friday, August 10, 2012

New Mexico's Lousy Recovery: R's On Campaign Trail Pin The Blame On DC, Plus: Martin Heinrich, Please Get A Room, And: May Day In Santa Fe; First Martinez Casualty In Audit Scandal 

Let's end this hot August week by checking in on the latest congressional action...

Jon Barela, the 2010 ABQ GOP congressional candidate and current state economic development director, comes with this endorsement for 2012 ABQ GOP congressional hopeful Janice Arnold-Jones:

The challenges for job creation in New Mexico stem from the out-of-control spending in Washington coupled with uncertain taxes and burdensome taxes imposed on job creators. We need leaders in Washington who understand these challenges, and have the experience and integrity to overcome them.

So the jobless recovery in New Mexico is all Washington's fault, even as every western state that surrounds us experience job gains? Geez, glad to have that cleared up, Jon.


NM GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson is also blaming our state's economic woes on Washington, and more specifically placing that blame on the shoulders of her Dem foe and Senate front-runner Martin Heinrich. In her latest attack ad Heather tries again to bring Heinrich down from his perch--this time for his vote against the keystone pipeline, saying "extremists like Heinrich stand in the way while New Mexico leads the nation in job losses...Heinrich puts his left-wing politics first before creating jobs. That's too extreme for New Mexico.."

You gotta give Heather's producers credit. They are doing all they can with the thin gruel they are working with. Wilson's opposition research on Heinrich has yet to come with something that would really make average voters think Heinrich is "extreme." As we've said before, no doubt the focus groups show this line of attack can deliver rewards--if you have strong evidence. Wilson does not--at least not yet.

All the negative ads should, however, keep Heinrich in place--just below the magic 50% level. His own campaign is refusing to engage Wilson in the TV wars. He is not responding to the negative ads paid for her by her campaign, What he is doing is getting cutesy in his latest TV effort. The ABQ congressman says he has five reasons why he "has not gone Washington," including the fact that he comes home nearly every weekend and that he sleeps on a camping mat on his office, foregoing a Washington apartment.

The producers actually show the mat, which looks clean enough, but is he going to tote that thing over to the US Senate if he beats Heather? Hey, Martin, as the kids say, "Get a room already..."


Rick May
As a Senior Alligator pointed out here Thursday, the blame for the New Mexico Finance Authority scandal rests with the Governor who appoints most of its members. Hours later the Martinez administration had one of its rare political casualties as news hit the wires that the authority is now in the process of firing director Rick May:

Board chairwoman Nann Winter said the decision to suspend May represented a vote of no-confidence in his management of the authority. Winter said the board decided "we needed to change the direction of that organization immediately as well as address the arrest." She said "clearly, there is a responsibility on Mr. May's part in what has transpired to date." The board's decision is likely the first step toward firing May and Duff or pressuring them to resign.

It's a hard fall for May who was a Martinez golden boy when she won election in November 2010 and her transition team announce he would be the secretary of the powerful Department of Finance and administration. Back then, they said:

“May has led a respected and accomplished career that includes working for Sandia National Laboratories as a manager, serving as chief appropriations and tax analyst for the Republican caucus in the New Mexico House of Representatives, and operating as a policy director for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, as well as a principal at Davidson & Company, Inc.”

May didn't last long at DFA or NMFA and now La Politica says he is DOA. Hasta la vista, Rick, and don't bother calling Susana. She thanks you for your service.


The NMFA scandal is #2 that has reached the doorstep of the Guv. The first being emailgate. Santa Fe is starting to get that aroma again---isn't it?


Another angle today on our debate over reforming PERA--the retirement plan for state employees. Retired APD Seargent Dan Klein writes:

What about the 1,200 double dippers in PERA?  The public has spoken loudly and clearly that they wanted double dipping ended.  The legislature repealed double dipping but allowed those already in to continue.  This is 1,200 jobs for vets, promotions for current workers and just plan jobs for those unemployed.  Why haven't we heard from the legislature and governor on sunsetting these folks?  Taking 1,200 New Mexicans off the unemployment line would be a good start.

Also, I retired at age 40 after twenty years of service at APD.  I greatly appreciate the retirement, but the math doesn't make sense.  If I live to 80, I will have been retired, and drawing a full pension from PERA for 40 years, yet I only worked (and paid into the fund) for 20 years.  No retirement plan can afford this.  I do believe future hires (don't change things for people already hired) should have to work to a minimum age before retirement.  I don't think public safety employees working to age 50 and all others working to age 55 or 60, before retirement is too great to ask and good for the fund and taxpayer. It would cut the cost of PERA for the future and retain smarter workers, instead of losing them at the height of their career.

The double-dippers of the past seem to have divine protection. That is an area ripe for reform. Also, a minimum age requirement for public safety retirees probably isn't too far away or an increase in time served before they can take retirement. State employees--excluding public safety--now have to work 30 years--instead of 25 to get retirement checks.


A reader writes

In Thursday's blog under EMAILGATE you write "He's been like Jean Valjean in Les Misérables--relentlessly tracking his prey." I like the simile, but I think you mean Inspector Javert rather than Jean Valjean.

Well, we've seen the movie, but apparently need to go to the musical....

That's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by.

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Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan

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