Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Dem Chair Race: Bregman Says It's His, But Lara Battles On, Plus: Drug Test Steve Pearce? And: The Spaceport: We're Far From The Only One  

Don't ask us who is going to win the battle for the Dem Party chairmanship. ABQ Attorney Sam Bregman and his team tell us that based on local county convention results--especially in big Bernalillo--that they have it wrapped up. In fact, Bregman is emphatic that he has the votes.

But Carlsbad attorney Roxanne Lara continues to campaign vigorously. Alligator speculation is still on the fence. They say with only a little more than 400 central committee delegates voting, predicting a race in which both leading candidates have shown pockets of strength is a guessing game. They say the "whip counts" of both sides could be soft.

The election is April 27th in Las Cruces so over the next month the delegates will expect to be personally wooed by the duo and that could mean votes switch around.

Bregman started the race as the front runner since he only lost by a handful when he challenged Javier Gonzales for the chairmanship two years ago. He has also lined up numerous endorsements from major Dem figures like State Senate Majority Leader Sanchez, Sen. Linda Lopez and House Majority Whip Maestas, but not all of those endorsing Bregman are central committee members and eligible to vote.

The campaign fault lines go like this: Bregman fans say he would be an aggressive chairman who would resurrect the moribund Dems and give them a fighting chance in the ABQ mayoral race and the '14 Guv duel. Supporters of Lara say she would be more measured than Bregman and as a Hispanic woman would match-up well against Governor Martinez.

Much of this is about style, but with such a yawning contrast between these two personalities, why wouldn't it be?


Governor Martinez Tuesday signed that Spaceport liability bill, but don't think there isn't a whole lot of work to be done before launches begin and that there isn't a deep bench of competitors closely watching what we are doing:

The nation has 18 launch sites and spaceports in eight states and one foreign country (Marshall Islands). That doesn’t include Sea Launch, a company that launches from an ocean platform in international waters using a U.S. based platform. And if that wasn’t already enough, there are 10 more proposed facilities that are under consideration or being actively pursued by different entities.

Martinez traveled to the Spaceport to sign the liability legislation--a sign that the administration has pretty much taken ownership of the project. Her quote:

Martinez said in a statement after a signing ceremony at the nearly complete $209 million project in southern New Mexico that her administration was "not only reaffirming the major commitment New Mexicans have made to Spaceport America but we now have an even stronger opportunity to grow the number of commercial space jobs at the spaceport and across our state. This legislation will prevent lawsuit abuse and make it easier for businesses related to the space travel industry to thrive and succeed right here in New Mexico."

But the main anchor tenant for the Spaceport--Virgin Galactic--sounded a worrisome note, focusing on how the political foot-dragging on the facility may have hampered the additional tenants Virgin needs and was told would help shoulder expenses going forward:

“All stakeholders must now turn their attention to the future and to recruiting additional companies to the spaceport to fulfill its full potential and maximize new job growth.”

We've lost valuable time, no matter that the Legislature and Governor are patting themselves on the back in getting this liability bill.


Reader Stephanie Dubois writes of southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce and his proposal that people receiving unemployment be subjected to drug tests:

...It's curious that Congressman Steve Pearce wants people on unemployment to be drug tested. As a congressman he receives a "government check" and only has to be at the job three days a week. Why do "we the people" assume that those in elected positions shouldn't be subject to drug testing as well? I am not suggesting the Congressman is using illegal drugs but prescription drugs can become addictive and in some cases alter common sense thinking.

That's a clever poke, and she had some more:

The new wrinkle with Congressman Pearce is to have a "virtual congress," meaning not even going to Washington for those three days and collecting the $178,000 salary. Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago when Pearce called everyone without a means of employment, lazy and not willing to work and just looking for check from the government? My, oh my, Mr. Pearce, you are the clever man. You have figured out a way to be one of those lazy people and make it sound like a good idea when you propose it....

Well, we hope Steve can take it as well as he dishes it out because Stephanie seems to have his number...


Funeral services for former state Senator and longtime lobbyist Odis Echols will be held Thursday at 2 PM at French-Lomas in ABQ. A celebration of his life will follow at Kelly’s Brew Pub on ABQ's Nob Hill. Echols died Saturday. He was 82.

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