Friday, February 07, 2014

Friday Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor: The Year Was 2000, Suitcases Of Money In Santa Fe, Top Dog Vs.Underdog And Berry And Omaree 

It was a pretty glaring error for us to say George W. Bush beat Al Gore in NM in the 2000 prez contest. We were probably thinking of how on the national level Bush lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College and took the election. In 2000, NM went for Gore by a mere 366 votes.

From Las Cruces, Sal Ceballos, wife of a former Dona Ana County clerk, writes:

Gore was up by about 5,000 votes on Election Night until Bernalillo County figured out that a computer glitch had prevented counting of thousands of ballots. After the problem was fixed, Bush was winning by 17 votes. Then Dona Ana County discovered that someone had read 620 absentee votes for Gore as 120 votes.

We blogged of the 2000 prez race in breaking the news that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother of W, will be featured at a fundraiser for Gov. Martinez at the swank Las Campanas country club near Santa Fe. Reader "Just Call Me Steve" commented:

Is a goal of this visit to go after the Hispanic vote? I'm sure that is going to work out real well for them as we all know Las Campanas Country Club is a great place to meet Hispanics in New Mexico.


A number of sharp eyed readers noted that the invitation we posted to the Bush fund-raiser sent out by Gov. Martinez's campaign was printed in Kansas--not New Mexico. One of them wrote:

I loved that the Susana's Las Campanas invite shows it was "Printed By FedEx Wichita, Ks." What? The campaign couldn't even spend $10 in New Mexico ...?

A Republican reader says never mind the out-of-state printed invite, Martinez is making economic progress. They sent this:

New Mexico now has the lowest effective tax rate for manufacturers--once tax breaks are factored in-- among nine Western states. . . The study is a follow-up to a 2011 report in which Ernst & Young found New Mexico had the highest effective business tax rate in the country before accounting for incentives. Manufacturing accounted for 7.2 percent of New Mexico’s total gross state product in 2012, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Gov. Martinez’s office said the new study shows recent changes to the state’s tax code have made New Mexico more economically competitive.

Now we wait for these low tax rates to bring the promised jobs. And we wait.


ABQ Mayor Berry finally emerged from the bunker to talk about the storm raging over the mishandling of the APD investigation into the death of 9 year old Omaree Varela. He called the death "sorrowful" and will form a task force to develop ways to address cases such as Omaree's. The internal investigation by APD into Omaree's death continues as questions swirl about the two 911 calls the abused boy made prior to his death in which his mother is charged. Here's a long video interview with Berry and the paper's report. One question: Will that APD investigation include the APD command staff and Chief Allen Banks?

Readers comment on Berry's appearance on the three major networks:

Omaree Varela was murdered December 27, 2013. 41 days later Mayor Berry comes out from his bunker and makes a statement. He is going to spend $50,000 and start up a task force. Doesn't he have any ideas? And just what will $50,000 get us?  It seems he is just tossing money at something that he doesn't have a clue what to do with. He wants to go beyond accountability and create a better system. Well, at least he said the word accountability. He doesn't know what a better system is so with $50,000 he will bring in "experts" to help him. Honestly, this is mainly an APD issue. He runs APD. Please, will someone tell him this? 

Another reader writes:

Mayor Berry didn't crawl out from his rock/vacation and take an interest in the child's case until he finds out that there's APD involvement, lapel cameras and a 911 tape. Now the guy finally takes an interest weeks after the incident and rather than bring this community together and make sure some heads roll-- he announces that he will put together a task force. Immediately? No, when he gets a new police chief and it could take more than a year. And he might make the APD chief the head of the task force! 

 Any other mayor worth a damn, would gather up community leaders, stand behind a podium and let the community know this won't stand. He should have said that whether APD was involved or not. Instead, he sheepishly suggests that he'll bring in some experts (maybe) and who knows what they will find out. He says we may find APD is the best at child welfare or our approach is antiquated. What? This guy's got the spine of a jellyfish.

Even worse, in several points in the interview he tries to suggest this isn't an unusual issue, it happens in Oklahoma, Texas and around the world. That this issue isn't exceptional to New Mexico. Really? I think everyone who's watching this train wreck knows that New Mexico has a problem with how they treat children--from poverty to abuse to nutrition, we score among the worst. The governor and the mayor showed their true stripes on this issue-they are happy to ignore it and avoid responsibility/blame as much as possible. Sleepwalking through their terms in office.  By the way, speaking of weak leadership, where's the city council on this issue?

Now, that's what we call a pair of Alligator strikes.


From Santa Fe, House Republican Leader Donald Bratton says:

“I think the general public misunderstands what the role of a lobbyist is,” said Bratton of Hobbs. “Lobbyists aren’t here passing out suitcases of money to influence decisions one way or another.”

Thanks for that educational reminder, Don. The public must have forgotten that the lobbyists these days just deposit the money directly into our legislators campaign accounts.


In a fund-raising letter GOP US Senate candidate Allen Weh frames the contest with Dem US Senator Tom Udall this way:

It’s Top Dog Liberal Tom Udall versus Underdog Conservative Allen Weh. This contest has a happy ending because with your help, the underdog wins and goes to the Republican-led Senate and leads the charge to repeal ObamaCare and shrink government down to size. Make it happen.

Weh must first get past Republican rival David Clements in the June primary before he can take on the
"Top Dog."

Meantime, Udall is offering college students a chance to see how the sausage is made in DC:

Senator Udall invites New Mexico college students interested in gaining legislative or press relations experience to apply for summer internships in his Washington office. For more information and to apply for an internship, please visit here.


Reader Bill Croft messages state Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee:

Hello Joe, Here's a story from a University of Chicago economist on the value of pre-K education. Maybe someone should send it to Senator Smith.


The UNM cancer center reminds the Santa Fe political crowd that:

New Mexico legislators will play tonight (Friday) in the annual “Hoops 4 Hope” basketball game to raise awareness and money for cancer treatment and research. The proceeds will benefit the University of New Mexico Cancer Center. 

The  game has been an important source of private donations for over 15 years.  Last year‟s game raised over $26,000.. ” The “Hoops 4 Hope”  basketball game will be held in the Capitol High School Gymnasium, Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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