News NM City Council Notes

$34 Million City Hall Building
News New Mexico City Council meeting held on Monday, August 23, 2010 Note: Councilor Pedroza arrived 15 minutes after the meeting began. Presentations and Proclamations:
· The “Pet of the Week” was presented. This was the first time there was a cat as the pet of the week. It was a very calm Tabby.
· Councilor Small recognized Harold Morris, Sr, who is a veteran and one of the enactors at Fort Seldon, and read a proclamation declaring August 28th as “BUFFALO SOLDIERS DAY” this year and on that date in all future years.
· A proclamation was read that declared J Paul Taylor Day as 8/28 in recognition of his contributions to education and the arts.
Public Participation: No member of the public chose to make any comments.
Olga Pedroza
Resolutions and/or Ordinances for Consent Agenda: All items on the consent agenda were approved by a vote of 6/0 (Councilor Pedroza was absent)
Resolutions and Ordinances for discussions
1. Items #3 concerning a Department of Energy clean-energy program known as Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) was discussed. Currently the program has been put on hold at the federal agencies Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae. The council approved by a vote of 7/0 a resolution in support of pending federal legislation (HR5766 &S.3642). Restoration of this program will facilitate the City issuing bonds to provide funding for small scale renewable energy systems.
Sharon Thomas
2. Item #4 concerning the rezoning a parcel between I-25 and Del Rey Blvd to accommodate the construction of a 5 unit assisted living facility was approved by a vote of 7/0. Councilor Thomas expressed a concern that the developer insure there was adequate walking paths for those who required a walker. This facility will provide living for a maximum of 90 residents
There were no Board Appointments or review of any proposed ordinances
Status/Updates on Current Project List
1. The construction on the convention center is scheduled to be completed in October and the months of November and December will be used to correct any deficiencies and install all the amenities. Its grand opening is scheduled for January 2010.
2. The Aquatic Center is operating under a provisional operations permit until such time as final state inspections are completed. General Discussions:
Mayor Miyagishima
Mayor Ken Miyagishima:
· The City of Las Cruces and Governor Richardson have worked together to host a Jobs Expo on Dec 9th at the Pan Am Center.
· He expressed concerns about the heavy traffic near I-10 and University avenue. He wants to know if NMDOT has any plans to improve it? I found this somewhat ironic since the Council previously approved the University Corridor plan which will install stop signs/traffic circles along University and make it a pedestrian friendly corridor and further restrict and negatively impact traffic in the area.
· He also expressed concerns about the traffic issues on Hogan and Alameda. Fixing this problem will require acquisition of private property. Residents continue to oppose any City eminent domain condemnation of their private property. Councilor Silva suggested the City Police regularly provide an officer to direct traffic at that location. Public Works Director Mike Johnson stated a 3-way stop sign at that location would not resolve the problem.
Councilor Thomas, District 6:
· Announced the District 6 meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 25th at 6:30 pm at Good Sam.
· She also announced there will be a transportation summit on Sep 9th at City Hall. It is open to the public but registration is required
Gil Sorg
Councilor Sorg, District 5:
· He announced that there will be an Green Energy Conference on Thursday at the Ramada Palms and encouraged everyone to attend
· He thanked the Public Works staff for their work on Jornada Rd and on lighting issues in his district
· He expressed his appreciation to Police Chief Williams and the PD for resolving a juvenile delinquency issues around Mondale Loop & Elks Club Drive
Councilor Small, District 4:
· He expressed his appreciation to Chief Williams and the PD for actions concerning a park in his district.
· He commended Pro-Ranch Market for taking advantage of “new markets tax credits” to develop their market on El Paseo
· He wants the City to use every tool, resource, and opportunity to help businesses convert to solar energy
Councilor Pedroza, District 3:
· She thanked Montazucco (sp) Market for providing certificates to hand out to people who walk in Young Park with her and announced she was installing solar units on her home.
Dolores Connor
Councilor Connor, District 2:
· She announced the Public Regulatory Commission is in the process of approving a program for El Paso Electric that will enable them to pick up old refrigerators and freezers and provide a rebate of $30 per unit. It should be approved by October.
· She announced the City will celebrate “PATRIOTS DAY” at City on September 11th. There will be free entertainment and refreshments.
Councilor Silva, District 1:
· He expressed concerns about negative political campaigning in Las Cruces and advocated that the City should require volunteer street campaign workers to wear name tags so they can be identified. I believe this could become a freedom of speech issue.
Terrence Moore
Terrence Moore, City Manager:
· He announced the City Council Chambers will be closed until after the Labor Day Holiday so that the contractors can install the sound attenuation panels.

AZ Escapees, Companion Charged With NM Murder

From the Santa Fe New Mexican - ALBUQUERQUE — Two escaped convicts from Arizona and a woman who accompanied them were charged with murder and carjacking Monday in the deaths of an Oklahoma couple who authorities said were targeted because of their camping trailer. Federal prosecutors in New Mexico filed murder and carjacking charges against John McCluskey, 45; Tracy Province, 42; and their alleged accomplice, Casslyn Welch, 44. They're accused in the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla. Read more here:

Progressive Take on Mosque Controversy

For more than a month now, Republicans have been stoking the anti-Muslim fires in America. This shameful campaign has centered around plans for Park51, the Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero. Sarah Palin was one of the first to ignite the controversy, calling it an “unnecessary provocation” and saying that it “stabs hearts.” Newt Gingrich, also a GOP Presidential hopeful, blew hot air all over the flame by saying, "Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington." Read more here:

Bond Funds Gain Cash Like Stocks in Dot-Com Era

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The amount of money flowing into bond funds is poised to exceed the cash that went into stock funds during the Internet bubble, stoking concern fixed-income markets are headed for a fall. Investors poured $480.2 billion into mutual funds that focus on debt in the two years ending June, compared with the $496.9 billion received by equity funds from 1999 to 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and the Washington-based Investment Company Institute. Read more here:

Pesak - With China Bill Gross is Less Relevant

Reading Bill Gross’s latest musings makes one nostalgic for the days when words from big bond-fund managers actually mattered. We in the media like to point out that Gross runs the biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. He did, until China created a portfolio of sorts totaling $2.5 trillion. As the assets of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, grow, it’s making Pimco’s $239 billion Total Return Fund look like chump change. It’s a SAFE world; we just live in it. Expect SAFE’s mushrooming influence to create new jobs around the globe. Remember the Federal Reserve watchers who got so much ink in the 1980s and 1990s? Welcome to the world of the SAFE watcher.
Cracking the thinking inside the world’s biggest bond portfolio isn’t easy. How, when and where China invests its vast savings is a closely held state secret. And global markets will never be the same as debt-sellers bypass the likes of Gross and go right to the source: China. Read more here:


Muscular Dystrophy Gene Riddle Cracked

From Bloomberg - A genetic flaw behind a common form of muscular dystrophy may be explained in research that suggests why some people with the variant gene are afflicted with the muscle-wasting disease. While scientists have known for more than a decade that facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, is linked to genetic abnormalities on the end of chromosome 4, not everyone with these changes gets the disease, said Daniel Miller, a genetics researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle. The findings show that strings of genetic code surrounding a critical gene can either disable it or allow it to be expressed and damage cells, Miller said. The results may help scientists develop new drugs to treat the condition, which generally strikes children and causes weakness that begins in their facial muscles and shoulders, then spreads down the body, Miller said. About 1 in 20,000 people worldwide have FSHD, according to the report published today in the journal Science. “Prior to this, if you wanted to develop a drug, you didn’t know exactly which genes caused it,” Miller said. “This allows us to focus drug development on a specific biological target.” Read more here:

Congressional Democrats Raise More Money Than Republicans

From Bloomberg - Democratic Party committees raised more money than their Republican rivals in July, leaving them with a cash advantage of more than $20 million heading into the last three months before the Nov. 2 congressional elections. The Democratic National Committee brought in the most money during the month, with $11.6 million, compared with $5.5 million for the Republican National Committee. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had the most cash, with $35.8 million in the bank at the end of July. Read more here:

Lurita Doan - A Presumption of Innocence?

Lurita Doan
Our founding fathers endorsed a fundamental belief in the importance of the presumption of innocence, but recently, the far left seems to be challenging that basic principle. Tom DeLay was vindicated when the Justice Department dropped all charges. But, that wasn't good enough for left-wing extremist groups such as CREW that have continued their campaign to besmirch the reputation of the former House Speaker. Tom DeLay made an interesting point in discussing the left-wing extremists in congress and elsewhere when he said: “The new politics — it’s no longer good enough to beat you on policy, they have to completely drown you and put you in prison and destroy your family and your reputation and finances, then dance on your grave.” Read more here:

Economic Setbacks Continue During Vacation

President Barack Obama’s 10-day family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard won’t bring any escape from the nation’s economic woes or efforts to keep a faltering recovery on course. Amid golf games and bike rides, the president is getting daily economic briefings from his advisers, and he will be bracing for more disappointing reports this week. Home sales probably fell in July and economic growth for the second quarter likely will be revised to 1.4 percent rather than the 2.4 percent annual rate calculated last month, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the figures are released. That follows data released Aug. 19 -- the day Obama left for the island off the coast of Massachusetts -- showing jobless claims rose more than forecast and manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly shrank. Read more here:

Wilderness Anyone? - Shootout On Border Briefly Closes Streets in El Paso

From and El Paso Times - El Paso Times photos - CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - A gunbattle erupted between Mexican police and gunmen near the Rio Grande on Saturday, killing one person and prompting U.S. authorities to close a highway that runs along the border in El Paso, Texas. There were no reports of bullets crossing into the U.S. side, El Paso police Detective Mike Baranyay said. The gunmen attacked a municipal police patrol on a boulevard in Ciudad Juarez next to the border river, said Ramon Salinas, a spokesman for Mexico's federal police. The fighting escalated when federal police rushed to help, he said. One gunman was killed and three municipal police officers were wounded. El Paso police closed that city's border highway for about 30 minutes because of the shooting. City police said the U.S. Border Patrol asked for the shutdown. Doug Mosier, a spokesman for the Border Patrol, said Paisano Street was closed "in the interest of public safety." He said that to his knowledge, it was the first time a street in El Paso has been shut down because of a shooting in Mexico. Traffic was halted on a stretch running from downtown El Paso to the city's northwest, passing the University of Texas-El Paso, which overlooks the border. The fighting occurred in the same area where a deadly shootout between gunmen and Mexican police sent seven bullets across the border and into the El Paso City Hall on June 29. Read more
From the El Paso Times - El Pasoan Ray Campos could see what was going on in Juárez from his home in Sunset Heights. He said he heard at least 40 gunshots from automatic weapons. The shootout lasted 20 to 30 minutes, he said. Eric Valdez was at the University of Texas at El Paso when he heard the shots, but he thought the sounds were just part of campus construction projects. Residents in Sunset Heights near UTEP took out binoculars and stood on top of vehicles to see what was going on across the border. Read more

War in Mexico - Decapitations in Cuernavaca

Police in Mexico say they have found four bodies hung from a bridge in an affluent town south of Mexico City. The four men had been decapitated and mutilated before being hung by their ankles from the bridge outside Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos. A message had been left with their heads warning that anyone supporting Edgar Valdez would risk a similar fate. Edgar Valdez is reportedly fighting Hector Beltran Leyva for control of the influential Beltran Leyva drug cartel. Cuernavaca, a city of 350,000 and a popular weekend retreat spot for wealthy residents of Mexico City, is at the centre of the turf war. The cartel has been without a leader since Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed by the security forces in December. Read more here:

Kevin Hassett - Bury Keynesian Voodoo

Kevin Hassett
Initial claims for unemployment benefits surged to 500,000 in mid-August, a level more typical of a recession than a recovery. The bad news confirmed what conservative economists have been saying for some time: The biggest Keynesian stimulus in U.S. history was a bust. Incredibly, some Keynesians who supported Barack Obama’s $862 billion stimulus now claim it fell short of their goals not because the idea was flawed, but because the spending package was too small. Christina Romer, the departing chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, has become a minor cult hero to the Keynesians, thanks to news reports that said her analysis in 2009 suggested the stimulus should be in the range of $1.2 trillion, or 40 percent larger than it turned out to be. Read more here:

Car in El Paso Hit? - Bullet From Juárez Shootout

El Paso police are investigating a report that a stray bullet from Saturday's shootout in Juárez struck a vehicle in El Paso. "At this time, El Paso police have received one report of a vehicle possibly being struck by a stray bullet," El Paso police said Sunday in a statement. "Officers did check the surrounding area for any injuries or other property damage, but none was reported or located." Police spokesman Detective Mike Baranyay said, "We are still investigating whether the bullet, if it came from Juárez, struck a parked or moving vehicle."
At the request of the U.S. Border Patrol, police closed West Paisano, between Santa Fe Street and Executive Boulevard for about 30 minutes on Saturday. Read more here:

War Continues : 2 Workers Murdered Saturday

Two Juárez maquiladora workers were shot to death Saturday afternoon in front of their assembly plant, Mexican authorities said. The employees, both men, worked for Eaton Inc. in the Omega Industrial Park, west of Elias Plutarco Calles street. Read more here:

Border War Spillover - Natalicio: Campus not target

From the El Paso Times - UTEP police believe a stray bullet from Saturday's shootout in Juárez may have hit a campus building, and El Paso police are investigating a report that a stray bullet from the incident struck a vehicle in El Paso. A single bullet struck Bell Hall on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso sometime Saturday night, UTEP President Diana Natalicio said. UTEP police believe the bullet may be related to to the shootout in Juárez. A single bullet struck the south door of Bell Hall, going through a glass panel in the door. The bullet was found embedded in an office doorframe. No one was injured. "This appears to be the only stray bullet to have struck the campus, and there is no evidence to suggest that UTEP was specifically targeted," Natalicio said in a statement. Read more here:

Ken Blackwell - Obama Policies Threaten Israel

Ken Blackwell
President Obama has wasted his first year in office “reaching out” to the mullahs in Tehran. Even now, he absurdly says that the Iranian clerics and the United States have a “mutual interest” in stopping the Taliban in Afghanistan. Just whom does he think is now aiding the Taliban? Can he really be so naive? For the past year, although they would never admit it, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been pressing a “re-set” button on U.S. policy toward Israel. Clinton--at Obama’s urging--has demanded that Israel submit to UN oversight of its investigation into the violent boarding of the Turkish supply ship that tried to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Hamas, the terrorist organization committed to the immediate destruction of Israel, runs Gaza. From Gaza, Hamas has launched thousands of missiles into Israel. Read entire column here:

Star Parker - Dr. King, Religion, and Freedom

Star Parker
August 28 marks the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream speech.” On that steamy summer day in 1963, hundreds of thousands of Americans, black and white, converged on the mall in Washington and heard this black pastor deliver what was essentially a sermon for freedom. Compared to the unrest then on university campuses, violent outbreaks in urban areas, and the protests of the civil rights movement, today’s turmoil seems relatively sedate. Nevertheless, we do live today in a deeply troubled nation and it’s instructive to think about what has changed since the sixties and what hasn’t. Read more here:

Larry Kudlow - Frank Comes Home to Facts

Larry Kudlow
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? In politics, the answer is usually no. Most elected officials cling to their ideological biases, despite the real-world facts that disprove their theories time and again. Most have no common sense, and most never acknowledge that they were wrong. But one huge exception to this rule is Democrat Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. For years, Frank was a staunch supporter of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant government housing agencies that played such an enormous role in the financial meltdown that thrust the economy into the Great Recession. But in a recent CNBC interview, Frank told me that he was ready to say goodbye to Fannie and Freddie.
Barney Frank
“I hope by next year we’ll have abolished Fannie and Freddie,” he said. Remarkable. And he went on to say that “it was a great mistake to push lower-income people into housing they couldn’t afford and couldn’t really handle once they had it.” He then added, “I had been too sanguine about Fannie and Freddie.” Read more here:

Joseph Phillips - America: Still Talking About Race

Joseph Phillips
According to the website, some of the criticism of first lady Michelle Obama is driven by partisan politics. However, “others say the attacks are rooted in white resentment of the “uppity Negro.” Two things quickly come to mind. The first is that no one other than Harry Reid uses the word “Negro” anymore. Second, that it is the 21st century and yet there are those who continue to talk about race as if it were 1955.

Eric Holder
Last February, in a speech to honor Black History Month, Attorney General Eric Holder remarked that Americans of all colors should stop avoiding an honest discussion of race in America.
Said Holder: "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."
I disagreed with Holder at the time and still do. Americans are not cowards when it comes to discussions of race, neither are they dishonest. Rather, I believe Americans are simply bone-tired. Read more here: