Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trying To Put Some Policy Meat On The Guv's Bones, Plus: Another Edition Of Vox Populi As Readers Blog The Issues Of The Day 

It's hard to tell exactly what's going on with the Fourth Floor. Maybe they're trying to put some policy meat on the Guv's bones after five exceptionally skimpy years of legislation and ideas. Recently, Martinez unveiled what the administration sees as the problems with higher education. Now comes a lengthy missive on state energy policy. (Full report here).

Is this to give her some policy credentials for the VP post or cabinet? Maybe, because after five years in power one would expect that the future of energy production and our higher education problems were properly defined and programs long in place to address them.

One item largely missing from both policy pronouncements is money to implement change. That's apparently still a taboo subject in Santa Fe. As long as that's the case, all these verbose reports will gather digital dust, even if they accomplish the political aim of making the Fourth Floor look like a whirling dervish of activity. (Hey, Jeb! Look at me!)


Time for another edition of the popular Vox Populi.  Here's Stephanie DuBois on the secretary of state scandal:

Joe, I do not understand the Governor's reluctance to end this. Also, where is the Republican Party state party chair in this? You know that if the SOS were a Democrat the Republican Party and the Governor would be out to crucify that person and demand his or her resignation ASAP. I think this is an excellent opportunity for Democrats in 2016 to regain the seats to take back the majority in the state House and perhaps gain some seats in the Senate. However, playing devil's advocate, can we assume that all legislators--with a few exceptions--have all fudged on their SOS reports? So coming forth is not in their best interest. The SOS office is the most important position in the state as it has everything to do with our constitutional right to vote. This is a very serious situation that needs to be resolved.

Laura Sanchez in Los Lunas writes :

Joe, does anyone actually take seriously Susana Martinez' chance to be on the GOP national ticket? Seems like she has two insurmountable obstacles. One is Marco Rubio, who either will or will not be the GOP prez nominee. If he is, no way will there be another Hispanic name on the ticket, particularly when the GOP has  spent the last few years stampeding their base into a blind panic over immigration. If Rubio is not the nominee, then he'll be first choice for VP if they're trying to look ethnically inclusive and Fiorina if they're pretending they like women.

The other big obstacle is the national media, as evidenced by that recent NYT piece on the Governor and the various scandals here. They're not likely to be cowed into submission like local corporate outlets are by the Martinez Machine. Therefore, they're much more likely to publish stories about Susana's miserable record and plentiful scandals. On the other hand, Susana's not grotesque enough to dominate the media circus like Palin did.

From Santa Fe, Rick Lass writes:

In a city with as many problems as Albuquerque, where are the new visionaries coming forward to offer a better model? I was shocked to find out that two of the four council seats up for election Oct. 6  have unopposed candidates. Are Albuquerquenos completely apathetic? Have they given up hope on government as an agent of change?

Likewise with the public campaign financing system. Why are Councilor Benton and council candidates Isaac Chavez and Pat Davis the only three candidates taking advantage of the opportunity to run clean? Is there a flaw in the system that makes it unattractive, or are the others just stuck in the pattern of raising tons of money from special interests? I feel sad that the majority of folks in ABQ (those outside of council districts 4 and 6) don't have much reason to go to the polls this year. It seems that democracy can be added to the list of things leaving the city.

Marlena Livingston writes:

I am glad to see that you are covering the District 6 city council election. And I am even happier to see that you included Sam Kerwin. I believe Kerwin is likely to be the October surprise. . . I was quickly convinced by his enthusiasm that he is the best candidate. Small elections like these aren’t all money and machines; it’s much more about character and ideas. Sam Kerwin has plenty of both! I have been telling my friends about Kerwin, and they all agree the 20 million dollars promised for a revamped rapid ride would be much better spent on doubling the amount of regular buses on heavy use corridors. It’s time we get some common sense ideas from a local Burqueno in City Hall. 

Kerwin, 22, is a UNM student. Like candidate Pat Davis, he is a Democrat. The third contender in the race for that SE Heights council seat is Republican Hessito Yntema.

An anonymous reader writes:

You might want to ask your Alligators about ABQ businessman Steve McKee and his interest in running for mayor in 2017.

Preciliano Martín in Raton writes:

Politics in New Mexico have always been interesting, if not brutal. It reminds me of the old time New Mexico politician Albert Fall who was active in local, state and national politics years ago. He was quoted as saying that "New Mexico has more politics per square inch than Tammany Hall." I don't know if it is good or bad, but it is interesting and true.

Can't argue with that, Preciliano.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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