Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SOS Impeachment: "Solemn" or Routine? Plus: Could Hector Possibly Plea Bargain With Dianna? And: New Mexico Is Going To Look A Lot Older 

GOP State Rep. Zach Cook, co-chair of the House committee that met Monday to start talking about impeaching Secretary of State Dianna Duran, called the proceedings "solemn." We would argue a better description would be "routine." After all, this is the third time in 10 years that the House has started impeachment proceedings against an elected official. In the previous two cases the officials resigned before they could be impeached. . .

Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico don't see anything Santa Fe does as "solemn." With the economy stagnating for six long years, they long ago tuned out the politicians and the process as witnessed by the crash in voter turnout, the apathetic response to Secretary Duran refusing to resign and the incredible net migration out of the state.

New Mexicans, never a hopeful bunch, have pretty much thrown in the towel on any significant ethics reform. What they hope and pray for are good jobs or a pay hike if they have a job.

The two previous impeachment moves--against Treasurer Michael Vigil and Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block--came amid wild bull markets, with high oil prices, growing employment and scads of federal dollars still rolling into the state.  When the good times are rolling, a few bad apples in the barrel are easier to accept.

The Duran scandal comes amid the Great Stagnation that has laid bare our fundamental weaknesses which Santa Fe has chosen to essentially ignore and thus has effectively declared insoluble. The kids catch the vibe and hightail it out of here to the Austin city limits.  When will we get "solemn" about that?


As for Duran, you wonder if the state House will get to impeachment during the upcoming 30 day session. The impeachment committee doesn't meet again for another month. . .

Also, can Attorney General Balderas, who brought corruption charges against Secretary Duran for allegedly raiding her campaign funds to gamble in casinos, actually entertain a plea bargain that would reduce the charges from felonies to misdemeanors? Duran would then be able to keep her pension but Balderas could be in for a whole lot of pain. He gets credit for bringing the charges but if he went squishy on Duran, the public might go squishy on him.


What surprised us about this news from the latest newsletter from the Legislative Council Service is that we are the only state in the nation experiencing this:

More people continue to move out of New Mexico than into New Mexico--the only state where this is true. New Mexico's out‐migration was more pronounced in 2014 than in 2013, with 25,000 more people leaving than moving into the state in 2014, up from 10,000 in 2013.

Is that trend continuing in 2015? Is there any reason to think it isn't? New Mexico is increasingly attractive to the older demographic, not the younger. A surprise in the future may be the median age of the state rising  further than today's experts anticipate. Well, maybe not all the experts. John Covert is regional director of the research and consulting firm Metrostudy:

Covert pointed to Albuquerque's impending "senior tsunami." He said Albuquerque's senior population is expected to grow 132 percent by 2030, which will have seniors encompassing one-third of the city's population.

Should we open a prune juice franchise here?

America at large remains an immigrant magnet but not without generating angst:

The Pew report casts light on the uneasiness some Americans have expressed about the shifts in society in the United States. In 1965, the researchers found, whites made up 84 percent of people in the country. By this year, their share had declined sharply, to 62 percent. “Historically this is perhaps the lowest we have seen the non-Hispanic white share in U.S. history,” Mr. Lopez said. According to Pew projections based on current trends, by 2055 whites will lose their majority status in the population, and their share will continue to decline. Pew projects that after 2055, no ethnic or racial group will be a majority of the population.

New Mexico reflects the wave of the future. We've been a majority-minority state for years. Currently only 39 percent of New Mexicans are White, compared to 62 percent of the USA.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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