Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Angry Anchor Makes Newsroom Splash; Joles-Dyson Clash Gets Top Billing In La Politica, Plus: Lujan Grisham And the Childhood Amendment; She Says She's For It 

Too bad KOB-TV didn't have the cameras rolling when anchorman Tom Joles and veteran reporter Stuart Dyson blew up at one another in the newsroom this week. The station's news broadcasts have been in third (or even fourth) place so long, the fracas might have juiced the ratings. Well, at least it was a welcome relief from the doldrums in Santa Fe. . .

One outlet reported that the KOB news director told staffers after the outburst that Joles--a 25 year veteran of the anchor desk--was having trouble "fitting in" at a modern newsroom. Well, given the state of TV news, that's like saying Tom would be out of place in an insane asylum. . .

The face-off was apparently sparked when Joles dressed down newbie reporter Stephanie Claytor. That--reported fight reporter Dennis Dormzalski--prompted Dyson to offer his support to the cub which prompted Joles to chew out Dyson. The two got into a good old fashioned newsroom screaming match replete with F-bombs but, Dennis sadly reported, in the end no fists flew. It reminded one of two aging dinosaurs--Dyson over 60 and Joles fast approaching it--arguing thunderously as the hatchlings gasped in amazement.

Joles, who station management says is off the air for a "cool down period," may have had reason for leaning on the cub. The back story is the turmoil in that newsroom. For example, the station recently had to run a correction relating to an uncomplicated story out of the NM attorney general's office. Insiders say Joles was none too happy about it, but when you are the highest paid anchor in the ABQ market, sometimes you got to swallow hard.

In any event, the bookies are giving Dyson the edge over Joles in any rematch. Even though he's older he has more combat experience and gets more sleep because he covers the Legislature. But Tom may decide some things--like trying to make sense out of TV news--just aren't worth fighting for. We're sure Dick Knipfing can tell him where he can get a good buy on a rocking chair and Brian Williams can show him some nice lunch spots in NYC. . .

Things like the Dyson-Joles bout used to happen with regularity at the Roundhouse. But now that Guv Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner is minding his manners and not pinning anyone against the Roundhouse walls (we miss you, Keith) our only hope is that House Republicans Nate Gentry and Dennis Roch decide to get physical. (And that hope may not be that far fetched, given their infighting over a right-to-work bill).

As for the betting in Santa Fe, those who pretend to know are doubling down on the '15 trifecta. That would be death for right-to-work, third grade retention and repealing driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. We are in about our fifth rematch between the Governor and state Senate on two of the three. Right-to-work is the newcomer, but already looking as battered as a '57 Chevy up on cinder blocks in an EspaƱola driveway.


Put ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham down in favor of the constitutional amendment to use a portion of the state's $14 billion Permanent Fund to finance very early childhood programs. Her office says:

Yes, she supports the constitutional amendment. (ABQ Dem) Sen. Michael Padilla has the current version in this year's legislative session.

The amendment, which would require the approval of both chambers of the Legislature to get placed before the voters, was killed last year in the Senate Finance Committee. The proposal was approved in the state House when Dems had control.

We blogged Tuesday that the amendment is dead now that the GOP controls the state House, but with Senators Udall and Heinrich and US Reps Lujan and Grisham all now publicly supporting the amendment, perhaps there could be some movement?


Attorney Steve Suttle's argument here Tuesday that the state Constitution is too easy to amend drew a number of reactions. One reader points out that while most constitutional amendments require a simple majority of both houses of the Legislature and then voter approval, that is not the case for all amendments:

Article XIX, Section 1 states: "No amendment shall restrict the rights created by Sections One and Three of Article VII hereof, on elective franchise, and Sections Eight and Ten of Article XII hereof, on education, unless it be proposed by vote of three-fourths of the members elected to each house and be ratified by a vote of the people of this state in an election at which at least three-fourths of the electors voting on the amendment vote in favor of that amendment."

 The people of New Mexico do not simply vote Yes on every proposed amendment to the state's Constitution that comes before them, and getting a proposed amendment to the people is a rare thing. This study shows the numbers through the 2012 general election:

Mr. Suttle's parade of horribles -- "constitutional amendments to ban abortion, prohibit same-sex marriage, or to authorize state-sponsored prayer in schools" -- would perhaps be of concern to some if it were not for the fact that all three are patently unconstitutional, and have been so declared by the US Supreme Court. If the Legislature were to put those proposals on the ballot (very unlikely), and were the people of the state to approve them (also very unlikely), the Federal courts would take about 10 seconds to invalidate them.

Not to say that Mr. Suttle's overall point, that the state Constitution should not be amended lightly, is invalid. The numbers show, however, that the Legislature and the people of the state take this responsibility seriously.

Thanks for that. We ran into the higher requirement to approve certain constitutional amendments last November when a proposal to change the date for school board elections failed to pass because it did not garner 75% of the vote as required. 58% of the voters supported the amendment.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.  

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign