Thursday, August 29, 2019

Oil Boom Party Continues; More Record State Surpluses Forecast, Plus: Tracking Epstein And Zapping Zack 

The Permian Basin oil party is just getting started. The news:

The state is on track to spend more than $7 billion in year-over-year spending this budget year, while revenues are expected to reach an all-time high of nearly $8 billion for the 2021 budget year, which starts next July. New money is defined as the difference between projected incoming revenue and current state spending levels. In addition, the state is on pace to have nearly $2.3 billion in reserves at the end of the current budget year (on June 30 2020).

And the pie gets divvied up at the next legislative session in January, The question: Will it be wasted or lead to welcome outcomes?


We mentioned recently that regardless of the election outcome, the ABQ City Council, apparently for the first time, will have a female majority when the new council is seated in December--five women and four men. Several readers reminded us that the BernCo Commission already has such a majority with three female commissioners--Debbie O'Malley, Maggie Hart Stebbins and Charlene Pyskoty--serving with two men, Commissioners Quezda and Talbert. That is also an apparent first.


Conservative ABQ radio talk show host Eddy Aragon has been intrepid when it comes to the Epstein scandal and its NM connection. He has criticized the media here for not paying closer attention. To allay any fears of a conspiracy of silence, off we go. . .

Lately Aragon has been discussing a $2,800 campaign contribution that Dem US Rep. and Senate candidate Ben Ray Lujan received from former Governor Bill Richardson but one the campaign returned. The returned donation was reported by the newspaper but there was no explanation given.

Jeffrey Epstein
Richardson was recently accused in a court deposition by one of Epstein's alleged underage victims of being ordered to have sex with Richardson and other prominent men. Richardson firmly denied the charges. Asked why the Richardson campaign contribution was returned, the Lujan campaign said:

The money was through an LLC and we don’t take corporate PAC money so it was returned. 

The campaign says Richardson has since donated personal funds to the Lujan effort. That money has not been returned. So BRL isn't pulling the rug out from under Big Bill.

Richardson recently said he has been informed through his attorney that the US Attorney responsible for the Epstein case says he is not a suspect or target in the investigation. Richardson has offered his assistance to the investigation.

Aragon, with the help of investigative reporter Conchita Sarnoff, traced the Richardson-Epstein relationship back to 1994, well before he became Governor in 2003. In that year, before Epstein was a convicted sex offender, campaign records show Epstein donated $1,826 to then-Congressman Richardson.

Then-Gov. Richardson returned $50,000 in campaign contributions he received from Epstein in 2006, who by then was a convicted sex offender.

Epstein purchased the Zorro Ranch in Stanley from Governor Bruce King in 1993, one of the Epstein properties where it is alleged sex crimes occurred.

The Farmington Daily Times has more on the donations made by Epstein to a long list of NM politicos.


It's the Democratic Old Guard versus the Dem Up and Comers in the battle for the ABQ City Council District 2 seat long held by Dem Ike Benton. The latest example comes from longtime Dem politico and current BernCo Commissioner Debbie O'Malley. She takes issue with this statement running on the Facebook page of 29 year old Zack Quintero, one of the leading contenders among the five candidates trying to take Benton out:

Meet Zack Quintero running for Albuquerque City Council, District 2 in New Mexico! If elected Zack would be the first Latino to represent the District since redistricting in 2009!

To which O'Malley says:

I served on the Albuquerque City Council representing District 2 until 2012, not 2009. Either Quintero doesn’t know I’m Hispanic or doesn’t know this district’s history, which given that he’s lived in Albuquerque for just three years might be the case. Many long time Hispanic families like mine stand with Councilor Isaac Benton and are supporting his re-election. 

O'Malley's mother is a Romero. She says her father was a "coyote" whose first language was Spanish, the language her parents used to speak with one another. Her grandfather, Jose Nemcio Romero, served in the NM legislature when the state was a territory. Quintero, head of the NM Young Democrats, is from Las Cruces.

Don't feel too bad about that minor miss, Zack, at least they're talking about you.

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