Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Lament For Leadership As Economic Chaos Continues, Plus: Stretching For PAC Dollars, Chopping At Michelle, And: Intel Layoffs "No Opportunity" 

You may not see it in your daily routine but rest assured economic chaos continues in New Mexico. . .

NMSU toys with staff furloughs as it cuts its budget, low potash prices lead to massive layoffs in Eddy County which is already suffering from widespread job losses in the oil fields; layoffs, reported to be 215, loom over Rio Rancho's Intel plant and reimbursement rates for doctors and dentists serving Medicaid patients are about to be chopped because of the impact of the commodities price crash as well as over zealous tax cutting.

What a great time for strong, bold leadership---to restructure and tighten the state's entire higher education complex for the 21st century; to propose a tax policy that positions us for  a long bear market in energy; to attack the social conditions crisis by funding very early childhood from the state's nearly $15 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund and to fund Medicaid--not cutting it--by finding the funds via a new tax policy.

All of this is within a Governor's grasp. Alas, no one is reaching.


Gov. Martinez's Susana PAC makes a real stretch in its most recent plea for election year dollars:

The Democrats believe that Hillary Clinton will spend millions of dollars in New Mexico this election that will help elect Democrats at all levels. That’s why your help is so critical.  Please donate today and stand with me as I work to help elect Republican legislators in a very challenging election cycle.

Actually, the Dems fear the direct opposite of what the Guv says. They fear that national Dems will spend hardly any money here for get out of the vote efforts because the state is solidly in Clinton's column. Also, there are no competitive congressional races and only one statewide race eon the ballot.


ABQ Dem US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham has stuck her neck out early in the '18 race for governor so it's natural that they start trying to cut it off. Reader Ron Nelson leads the charge:

She has no schooling in business or economic issues. She will rely on advice from those that will only provide their slanted viewpoints, most likely leading to pay to play.  I’m beginning to like Attorney General Hector Balderas. He is quietly cleaning up that office, and making it more for the people instead of the government pension desk jockeys. He is working with local business groups and is being schooled in some of the economic issues. I also think he is picking and choosing his political battles.

Anna Otero Hatanaka piles on with this:

I had a good chuckle reading your article regarding the economy and Michelle running for governor. As Secretary of the Department of Health under Gov. Richardson, she testified during a budget hearing that payment rates for developmental disability providers would not be an issue because she planned to place everyone into self-directed services thus eliminating community agencies and rate issues.

At that time the community provider system was struggling due to inadequate reimbursement rates and providers were advocating for increases in rates for necessary core services. Not everyone with a developmental disability can or wants to direct their own care. The loss of community programs as recommended by Michelle would have resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and would have had a huge negative impact on the NM economy. Advocating the destruction of a needed service system for some of the state's most vulnerable citizens reminds me of the recent destruction of the behavioral health system for other vulnerable New Mexicans.

Welcome to Campaign '18, Michelle.


Reader Michael Gross is a former New Mexican who now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. He writes with passion of the downsizing of Intel in Rio Rancho and the suggestion that the loss of jobs is an "opportunity":

I was an attorney practicing for 32 years in Albuquerque and have since moved to Florida. When I moved to New Mexico in 1972 it was a land of opportunity. I left in 2011 realizing that the downward spiral was getting worse and would never end without huge changes. There will be no opportunity until the fundamentals change and it will take decades. Why?

New Mexico ranks at the bottom for education, at the top for poverty, at the bottom for child development, at the top for crime and drugs, at the bottom for law enforcement morale and staffing and at the top for losing longtime residents and millennials. The bottom and top list goes on and on. New Mexico ranks at the bottom of every important indicator that fuels opportunity. What company would want to locate to Albuquerque?

What company could find the kind of educated, motivated, enthusiastic, creative, innovative, progressive workforce that is drawn to Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City?
Have you seen the new high rise condominiums, mass transit, downtown development, night life and social events, new bike paths and hiking trails, new concert halls and community support in those cities recently? Albuquerque does not stand a chance of competing with the neighboring cities that planned for the future and invested in the future. They are now getting all the dividends from those investments while New Mexico is looking at negative growth and opportunity.

In St. Petersburg we have a beautiful new world class Dali Museum, a brand new pier with huge public spaces for events and activities, a beautiful new Tampa international Airport and a no state income tax. How can Albuquerque compete and create opportunity when other cities are already growing and planning and creating an amazing quality of life?

I love New Mexico but there will be no opportunity until the political and civic “leadership” changes and invests where it counts.


We erred Tuesday when we said conservative  billionaire broadcaster and KOB-TV owner Stanly Hubbard lived in ABQ. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is his son Stan Hubbard who lives here. He's the CEO of a national cable channel. More here. He must be the one Jay calls when he doesn't like a story on KOB.


New Mexico First, a bipartisan public policy organization is hosting a town hall on the state's economy. Help create recommendations for New Mexico's leaders. Click here to register.


UNM is the blogging gift that just keeps on giving. First, they kick the economically important annual Gathering of Nations out of the Pit, saying they could not afford a minuscule 2,500 loss they took this year. Now the athletic department wants to open up the booze spigots at UNM football games and get all the college kids drunk. Okay, everybody. Let's all chant "Go Lobos" in our best slurred speech.

Will UNM's next blogging gift top those whoppers? Stay tuned.

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