Thursday, March 12, 2015

Is This Finally The Year For License Compromise? Plus: Berry Hits Rough Patch At Roundhouse, ABQ Hoteliers Revolt Over Bad Business And Domenici Son To Follow Father? 

Sens. Ingle & Smith
If there was ever a year to craft a compromise on the most divisive wedge issue of them all, this seems to be that year.

Dem Senator John Arthur Smith and Republican Stu Ingle have fashioned a bill to address the repeal of driver's licenses for undocumented workers. It is Gov. Martinez's premier campaign issue and it has faltered each year since she took office in 2011. But the Smith/Ingle compromise would solve the problem by giving the undocumented workers a driver's license that is good for driving but not for proving citizenship. Everyone else would get a regular license. The House has passed a bill that is a straight repeal of the licenses.

It's a compromise that even ardent defenders of the undocumented are agreeing to. Senate approval seems very possible.  The bill needs a push from the Governor--she says she is interested--and House Speaker Tripp to put it over the top and once and for all end the mantra of "driver's license forever." That is, if they really want to. . .

It has not gone noticed that liberal ABQ Dem state Senator Jerry Ortiz Y Pino has been assigned the heavy lifting by Senate Majority Leader Sanchez this session. Just about all the controversial wedge issues--including the driver's licenses--have been sent to Pino's public affairs committee where as chairman he will reliably lead the committee in voting them down. That includes third grade retention and right-to-work which the committee has already tabled. The driver's license compromise gets voted on today

Sanchez has needed a foot soldier who will not defect and will close ranks on the hot-button issues. So far Pino is doing just that. The 72 year old is in his third term and plans on seeking a fourth next year.


ABQ Mayor RJ Berry found out just how lonely it can get for the leader of the state's largest city at a legislative session. The big city is never loved, but with its police department in chaos and bringing shame and ridicule upon itself across the nation, Berry's push to allow ABQ to reinstate so-called double dipping for police officers was greeted with extra skepticism.

Berry, who once served in the NM House, personally testified to a Senate committee that allowing cops to retire and then come back and work at full salary at APD was the way to stop the bleeding of personnel. But there are many other causes for police fleeing the department--not the least of which is the Justice Department's civil rights investigation because of the many fatal police shootings. The committee promptly sent Berry's plan to oblivion and sent him back to the drawing board. . .

Reader Alan Wagman writes of Berry and his APD woes:

Six officials have resigned in Ferguson, MO, including a judge, the county clerk, the city manager, the police chief and a police sergeant. How many have resigned in Albuquerque? Oh -- that's right, I forgot -- the mayor keeps assuring us that no one has done anything wrong.

In addition to the thorny APD problem, Berry's second term could be marked by strife among his base supporters--the business community. Folks are tired of losing money or not making anywhere near the profit margins that are common at businesses in neighboring states. The ABQ Innkeepers Association representing hotel owners in the city is the first to break rank, pounding the ABQ Convention and Visitors Bureau for what they say is its failure to stimulate business here. ACVB says it's trying, but the leader there has been in the slot for 11 years and the hotel owners want a fresh face. . .

If Berry could only run APD like the way they run the ABQ International Sunport we'd be on our way:

A top-10 list of the best U.S. airports for art lovers published in USA Today lists Albuquerque as having the second-best airport art in the country. The Albuquerque International Sunport finished second only to Denver International Airport in the listing, which was compiled based on polling of USA Today readers. ". . . Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) has a 113-piece art collection of paintings, sculptures, pottery and other items displayed inside and outside of the building and in the rental car facility. . . "


To clarify a story: NM law mandates that a governor's public records be archived at the State Archives. So it will be for Richardson's papers but everything else is going to the University of Texas at Austin. By the way, retired Dem US Senator Jeff Bingaman donated his congressional papers to UNM and personal memorabilia to WNMU in Silver City,


It must be in the genes. Look what's happening up in Nevada:

RalstonReports.com writes that (Senate Minority Leader Harry) Reid is locked in a tight battle with two possible Republican challengers: Reid is in a tight race with either GOP Attorney General Adam Laxalt (Laxalt, 48-46) or ex-Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (Krolicki, 46-45) ... So what does it mean if the poll is even close to true? What we already knew: Reid will be in a tight race against almost any Republican.

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