Monday, November 04, 2013

State House Dangles Like A Delicious Apple; Who Gets The First Bite? Plus: Rob Perry's Pay Raise, And: A Special Meeting Of The Committee On Chicharrones Held In Valley 

Are we already well into November? The spectacular colors of this New Mexico fall seem more persistent and longer-lasting.

Maybe it's because the radiant scenery of our enchanted land can be seen a thousand times but each time can feel like the first.

Nature here provides us with much peace and serenity this time of year.

Of course.  those are adjectives never used to describe the world of La Politica. So off we go this Monday to bring you the latest....

NM House Democrats heard another loud footstep behind them when Governor Martinez appointed Republican Vickie Perea of Belen to fill the seat left vacant upon the death of Dem Rep. Stephen Easley.

The House is now even more narrowly divided with 37 Dems and 33 Republicans. The game is on for the R's to try to take it over for the first time since the early 50's and for the Dems to thwart them.

Could Perea, a Christian fundamentalist and a former ABQ city councilor who once was a Dem, hang on to Dist. 50 seat next year? It's about 46 percent Democrat to 33 percent Republican. If she did, the GOP in '14 would need just two more seats to tie up the House and three for an outright historic takeover.

Before progressive Dem Easley took the seat, Dist. 50 was represented by more moderate Democrat Rhonda King. That gives R's hope. Also, Dems need to recruit a prominent opponent for the sprawling district that takes in parts of four counties--Santa Fe, Valencia, Torrance and Bernalillo.

Among the other House seats at the center of the Republican takeover attempt are those held by ABQ Dems Emily Kane and Elizabeth Thomson. Both will get strong foes.

House Speaker Kenny Martinez has his hands full protecting his gavel. You can already hear his committee chairs breathing anxiously as they contemplate the epic battle to come.


Former NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh is collecting signatures for a possible run for the GOP nomination for US Senate, reports a Republican Alligator.

Weh has not announced whether he will seek the '14 nod and the right to take on Dem Senator Tom Udall, but petition signatures are a first step. Statewide candidates must file their petitions with the state no later than February 4 if they are to be considered for the ballot at the Dem and R March pre-primary conventions.

Weh, 70, is the owner of CSI Aviation. He also sought the 2010 GOP Guv nomination against Susana Martinez. Dona Ana County GOP Chairman and attorney David Clements has announced last month that he is seeking the GOP Senate nomination.

It would be a lot more fun if Weh made another run for the Guv nomination against Martinez, Wouldn't it?


How about that $33,000 pay raise Mayor Berry gave to Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry to keep him from taking another job? But was the other job at the New Mexico Finance Authority ever the real deal or a ruse for Perry to take his salary to $180,000 a year?

If so, Perry and Berry wouldn't be the first to do the bait and switch. We recall back in 1998 when then-Mayor Jim Baca came with his version:

Mayor Baca's explanation of why he boosted his top administrator's pay by more than $20,000 a year came into question Monday. Baca said the raise was necessary to stop Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael from possibly leaving to become the next president of Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute. But a member of the TVI presidential search committee said Monday that Rael was no longer in the running for the school's top job when Baca gave him the raise that angered many city employees.

Flash forward to 2010 and there are plenty of city employees upset about the 22% Perry pay hike. A chief reason is Mayor Berry's pride in his fiscal austerity which has meant hardly any pay raises for anyone during the past four years.


Gov. Martinez will be in New Jersey today to campaign for GOP Governor Chris Christie who is a very heavy favorite for re-election tomorrow and a possible '16 GOP prez candidate. As the first female Hispanic Governor, Christie is hoping Martinez's appearance will boost his vote totals with Hispanics. And, of course, her name will also be floated as a possible '16 Veep contender.

Christie campaigned for Martinez in Roswell during the 2010 NM Guv campaign.


Wertheim at Matanza
Clothing Close-up
A special meeting of the Committee On Chicharrone Rules and Procedures convened this weekend at an undisclosed location deep in the ABQ South Valley.

On the agenda was a blog report posted here briefly Friday that said Democratic state treasurer candidate John Wertheim had worn a coat and tie to a matanza and had stirred a steaming batch of chicharrones while clothed in that attire.

Such attire is strictly prohibited at a matanza and especially near the chicharrone pot. Politicians found in violation are punished by the loss of any primary that they are running in.

However, the Committee noted that several blog readers enlarged the allegedly offensive photo of Wertheim. It was ruled that he was clearly wearing a leather jacket, not a coat and tie and therefore was not in violation of chicharrone regulations.

Said regulations were first adopted in 1880 when New Mexico Territorial Governor Lew Wallace misspelled the name of the pork delicacy in the manuscript of a never released novel.

The committee also commended Wertheim's chicharrone stirring technique, saying it appeared to be a particular style from the north. Wertheim allowed that his wife--Bianca Ortiz--is a native NorteƱa. He said stirring chicharrones in her hometown begins at the age of 2, with special penitente tutors monitoring each stroke of the wooden chicharrone paddle.

The Committee on Chicharrones also considered another aspect of Mr, Wertheim's matanza clothing--his expensive Lucchese boots.

The committee ruled that such boots are permitted to be worn at a matanza, even while stirring the chicharrones. However, it is preferred that the Lucchese boots be hand-me-downs. If a new pair is worn, provisions must be made for their disposition upon the death of the owner. Otherwise, the proper footwear for chicharrone stirring is Nike sneakers.

The Committee met on the patio of the Barelas Coffee House where they dined on chicharrones served with red chile. In honor of the late Andrew Leo Lopez--a Senior Alligator--packages of mayonnaise were placed on the table.

After long consideration, the Committee on Chicharrones felt it appropriate that John and Bianca Wertheim be issued an apology as well as special certificates that give them free admission to any NM matanza for the next year.

Also, Wertheim primary opponents Tim Eichenberg and Patrick Padilla are prohibited from attacking Wertheim in campaign mailers alleging violation of chicharrone rules and procedures. In addition, the committee is sending the Wertheims a pair of chile-stained red UNM Lobo jerseys--the approved attire for chicharrone stirring.

In other news, the committee renewed for five years its ban on chicharrone consumption by State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez and former Bernalillo County Commissioner Steve Gallegos. Both are on doctor-directed, heart healthy diets.


Members of the Committee on Chicharrone Rules and Procedures are anonymous and serve for life. When one passes, the remaining members convene the next Easter season at a penitenete morada in Rio Arriba County. There they appoint a replacement member who must be a proven expert in the art of chicharrone preparation and whose personal chicharrone paddle has been in the family for at least 125 years.

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