Friday, January 15, 2016

War On Poverty Becomes War On Words; NM Truth Vs. NM True, Plus: Readers React To TV Ads That Generate So Much Buzz, And: Berry And Double Dipping 

It's a war on poverty that has led to a war of words. Those parody TV ads sending up the NM True tourist campaign by CHI St. Joseph's continued to generate headlines as the week closed out.

KOAT-TV joined the ABQ Journal in nixing the ads. The station decided the New Mexico Truth" ads infringed on the NM True trademark. The Journal never did carry the ads, turning down $14,000. KOAT and the Journal have a business relationship.

However, the other major stations in the ABQ market continue to air them as well as radio stations around the state, much to the chagrin of Gov. Martinez and the Tourism Department. (The New Mexican goes long and deep on the controversy.)

The battle could end up in court as St. Joseph's is not backing down. Allen Sanchez, CHI St. Joseph's CEO, told a news conference Thursday the ads will not be pulled and that he wished Gov. Martinez had responded as speedily to the child well-being crisis in the state as she had to the TV ads. Those ads point out that while NM is indeed a beautiful place, it is also at the bottom in child poverty. New national stats are expected next week and expected to buttress that argument.

Will the Martinez administration actually use taxpayers money to go to court to stop the ads that tell a simple truth that they are hesitant to face? Or will they hope their usual media bullying will win the day? They better hope it does because the Legal Beagles are unanimous in their view that they would get laughed out of the courtroom. That leads you to wonder about that decision from the Republican led Journal and KOAT.


Reader email now on NM True and NM Truth. Rick Allan writes from Anthony, NM:

Allen Sanchez has done something absolutely brilliant with his "new" campaign on behalf of New Mexico's children and their needs. He has carefully yet dramatically presented for all who care to see the stark and sorry record of the state on behalf of its children who represent  its very future. He bluntly challenges those who are in leadership positions to seize the opportunity to act forcefully and get behind an obvious and attainable approach--- tapping the Land Grant Permanent School Fund for children. 

This issue is now out in the open and on the public table. The immediate attacks on the messenger, St. Joseph's Children, came with incredible irony from those elected officials guilty of failed and irresponsible leadership on this issue and in fact on a broad range of other issues like unemployment, a low- wage economy, weak infrastructure investment, etc.

Attacks led by the Governor and her people are certainly embarrassing and shameful. These responses, however, do very effectively, I think, expose the political attackers in a way most people and even the sleepy media can understand. 

The people want to know in the grand discussion that Sanchez has adeptly and imaginatively begun on why our children are being so woefully ignored by the state that badly under-resources them in every way while the immense Permanent Fund ($15 billion) goes on feeding its own bureaucracy and Wall Street? Let's hope that Sanchez's audacity will stir all New Mexicans of good will to aggressively demand action now.

Bruce Wetherbee writes from Santa Fe:

The Tourism Department's response to the New Mexico Truth campaign is prima facie evidence of why the website NewMexicoTruth.org needs to exist and continue.

The Martinez administration has totally abandoned the children of New Mexico. Shame on them for reacting so defensively instead of doing something about the poverty this state sees growing every day.

Grow up for God's sake! Remember you actually work for the people of New Mexico, not some self indulging monarch, who has spent more time flying around the country collecting money from her seedy corporate sponsors over the past five years than she did helping the people of this state recover from a dismal economy.

And God Bless Allen Sanchez, Catholic Health Initiatives St. Joseph's Children, Voices for Children, and Interfaith Workers Justice  for not being afraid of speaking truth to power!

Reader Susan Broadway writes:

Joe, I just saw the article about "New Mexico Truth." Brilliant. Just brilliant. I want to also take this opportunity to thank you once again for your efforts towards improving the well being of NM. We live in a human wasteland. Only to become worse if something doesn't turn it around. The Truth is always a good place to start. Thank you, Joe.


Governor Martinez political operative Adam Feldman came unglued over NM Truth, putting out this Tweet that sounded suspiciously like his patron Jay McCleskey:

Idiotic NM "Truth" campaign has backfired. Bill dead. Public disgusted. Biz community outraged. Total blunder.

Idiotic? There's that rage and hate that is a copyrighted trademark of the Guv's Machine.

The proposed constitutional amendment that would tap the Permanent Fund for very early childhood programs was never expected to pass the Republican-controlled House. And the public is far from "disgusted." An ABQ Journal poll shows overwhelming voter support for the amendment. The ad campaign probably generated over a $1 million in free publicity because of the administration's temper tantrum. The issue of child well-being went front and center, hardly a blunder.

But if the ad campaign was so terrible, Adam, why doesn't Gov. Martinez support the constitutional amendment and let the voters decide and be done with the issue once and for all? Well, we know why. . .

Reader James Cooke writes:

This campaign by CHI St, Joseph's Children is a first-of-its-kind attempt to point out the problems here and to suggest simple fixes (as in spend the money sitting in state bank accounts). It's launched by an organization that is broadly respected and not partisan. And, because she has attacked her critics once again rather than responded to the facts, our governor throws one more log on her own funeral pyre. The parody of NM Tourism's ads is icing on the cake. All in all, a very positive move, I think.

Reader Charles Arasim writes:

OMG! I guess we can expect to see WisePies sue Suzy for copyright infringement for her Wise Guys Pizzahh party? Un-effing-believeable!


Why is ABQ Mayor Berry's double dipping proposal to get more cops on the APD force not a very good idea? Because it does not advance the need for a culture change at the department, argues former Dem City Councilor and 2013 Berry mayoral opponent Pete Dinelli:

“Return-to-work” legislation allowing retired police officers to “double dip” prevents authentic hiring of new personnel not “ingrained” with the “culture of aggression” found by the Department of Justice. Double dipping encourages reliance on past leadership and keeping those who created or contributed to or who did not stop the “culture of aggression”. Return to work legislation will result in APD becoming a department of retirees comprising approximately 25% of the department’s sworn personnel and suppressing and discouraging a new generation of police officer. APD is at a critical time when it needs “new blood,” new ideas, a new approach and a healthy turnover in personnel to successfully implement the Department of Justice reforms and not the issuance of "walkers" or "wheelchairs" as APD standard issued equipment.

And retired APD Seargent Dan Klein and Berry critic Dan Klein writes:

My ABQ Free Press column clearly shows APD has reversed Berry’s bad policies and APD is on track to go to 95% staffing by December 2016. So why do we need this? And the 120 new officers that APD is on track to hire this year will all be trained under the new DOJ consent decree mandates. New officers, new training, a new department. 

The Berry double dipping plan is expected to stall out in the Legislature as did his previous effort. The Mayor has also launched an ad campaign to attract officers from other departments into the city, an action that holds some promise.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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