Wednesday, September 16, 2015

NM Dems As "Happy Hostages" As SOS Scandal Drags On With No Resignation, Energy Gator Analyzes Guv's Plan And A Mayor Gator Looks Ahead 

Sometimes it seems the Democrats have forgotten how to play the game. The Republican secretary of state is embroiled in a corruption scandal that makes the all time hit list, yet the Dems can't even seem to get a small corner of their party to make hay over the potential GOP political calamity. Instead, leading Dem lawmakers assume somber poses and talk of the "heavy" responsibility of impeachment and how they must remain fair and impartial. It has the R's grinning from ear to ear, even as Secretary of State Duran--absent from her office for over two weeks now-- stubbornly refuses pressure to resign.

(She has entered a not guilty plea to the charges brought against her by Attorney General Balderas.)

Senators say they may have to sit as judges at an impeachment trial for Duran that could end with her being removed from office so they have to steer clear of the fracas. Similarly, House Dems say they may have to vote on impeachment articles so they have to step carefully. Imagine the shoe on the other foot. Would the R's be acting so courteously? It would never happen.

In deciding not to seek another term, longtime Santa Fe City Councilor Patti Bushee said politics has become a "bloodsport." It is indeed for one party, but the other trembles at the sight of the red stuff.

The recent bust of ABQ Dem State Rep. Moe Maestas for filing faulty campaign reports served to worsened the Dems already weak resolve as they fret that the Guv's machine will be combing through their campaign finances.

Gov. Martinez effectively hung the millstone of corruption around Dem necks when she won the governorship in 2010 and when the R's took the House majority in 2014 for the first time in 60 years. Even after years of verbal abuse and intimidation the Democrats seem like happy hostages, unable to flee even when the door is wide open and the public is clamoring for action.

The D's have paid a most terrible price for their political ineptness and inaction--the highest in the modern history of the state party. The state House is gone, the governorship is gone, the land office is gone, the secretary of state's office is gone, the state senate is half gone and maybe all gone next year, if the happy hostages don't wake up and smell the blood.


This reader tries to give the Dems a clue:

There has been noise about SOS Duran’s failure to show up at work and some wringing of  the hands and crying that nothing can be done. Perhaps a glance at the common law crimes of dereliction of duty and refusal to execute a public office might be of use. These are specifically the sorts of crimes envisioned as grounds for impeachment (at least in the US Constitution). NM recognizes them in 30-1-3 NMSA.

And where is the Dem legislation crying out for reform of the SOS office? Come on, hostages, take that rope off your wrists.


Our "Energy Alligator" takes a look at the long-term energy plan unveiled by the Governor this week:

Yes, the state needs lots of energy infrastructure: for the oil regions the needs are pipelines and related rights of way approvals so that natural gas isn't flared but instead sold (and NW NM's very fragile, nascent oil economy might substantially benefit from rail); for renewable energy the state needs transmission lines. But where is the Governor on Sun Zia and what's been the fate of RETA (the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority)? Also, will the governor cross party lines and support the extension of federal tax credits for wind and solar?

The state has been doing a good job with respect to the energy/water front and recently set new regulations to govern the recycling and reuse of oil and gas industry waste water.  NM ought to consider legislation that would support our state becoming a world hub for water-related technology. We've got some great companies here in that space already.

Coal exports from NM are a non-starter. The Powder River Basin in Wyoming has cheaper coal and better access to market. Sorry New Mexico!

Modular nukes? Maybe but these seem to be many years off--and that might be a good thing given that the recent WIPP accidents may have soured public opinion on NM's commitment to anything nuclear.


Joe Monahan
Now some Senior Alligator commentary on the floating of the name of conservative businessman Steve McKee as a possible 2017 ABQ mayoral contender:

No sooner had we asked the question: "Who will the Republicans put up in the mayor's race?" than the name "Steve McKee" is floated. An attractive blank slate. A Berry clone?

Mayor Berry has said he will not seek a third term in '17 and is said to be eyeing a run for the '18 GOP gubernatorial nod. Of course, all statements from a politician as to what they will run or not run for are subject to change.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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