Gov adds food stamps to special session

From - SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Gov. Susana Martinez says she will call for legislation to address a lack of funding for New Mexico's supplemental food stamp program to be placed on the agenda for next month's special session. A $650,000 request for the state's supplement to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was not approved during the regular legislative session that ended in March. The governor's office says that resulted in New Mexico's supplemental food stamp assistance to certain low-income, elderly and disabled residents running out at the end of June. Martinez committed unused federal stimulus funds to keep the program going through September. Read more


Hispanic group calls for APD chief to step down

From - By Cristina Rodda, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - The New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens director claims there are even more people killed by Albuquerque police who are not being counted. At a protest Thursday, the New Mexico LULAC Director Ralph Arellanes explained that some people not being counted died after being Tasered. He said that at the LULAC convention this summer the members voted unanimously for the U.S. Justice Department to step in. They also voted for Police Chief Ray Schultz to be kicked out of his position. Since the beginning of last year 19 people have been shot by officers. New Mexico LULAC Director Ralph Arellano said, "We want a police force that is here to serve and protect the people not go after the people and the Hispanic community has been victimized tremendously. Read more


Charges To Be Temporarily Dismissed Against Judge Murdoch

From - SANTA FE, N.M. -- Albuquerque police confirm that the Santa Fe District Attorney Angela Pacheco plans to temporarily dismiss the rape and intimidation of a witness charges against former Bernalillo County Judge Pat Murdoch. Police said the district attorney’s office has 60 days to take the case to a grand jury from the time he was charged or the case gets thrown out. However, Albuquerque police said the investigation is too complicated and it will be difficult to meet the deadline. So for now, the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office will soon temporarily dismiss the case and re-file the charges at a later date. Second Judicial District Attorney Kari Brandenburg had asked Pacheco to become the special prosecutor in the case against Murdoch. Murdoch was arrested in July on charges of criminal sexual penetration and intimidation of a witness. Read more


PRC chief of staff receives threatening phone call

From Capitol Report New - Another strange twist in the Jerome Block Jr. case. A commissioner on the Public Regulation Commission announced at Thursday’s public meeting (Aug. 11) that a member of the PRC staff had received a threatening phone call to his home in regards to the embattled PRC commissioner. Commissioner Ben Hall did not give specifics regarding the contents of the call but after the meeting, fellow commissioner and PRC chairman Pat Lyons confirmed that chief of staff Johnny Montoya (shown in picture) had received a phone call making a threat against Montoya, although Lyons did not go into details of what the caller allegedly said to the chief of staff. When asked for his reaction to the news, Lyons told reporters, “I don’t like it at all. It shouldn’t be happening. It’s a bad atmosphere. Hopefully, nothing comes of it.” Read more


Former Miss El Paso USA arrested for shoplifting apologized to security officers

From the El Paso - A former Miss El Paso USA apologized to security officers after she was allegedly caught shoplifting, according to her arrest affidavit. Police arrested Miss El Paso USA 2008 Lorena Tavera, 21, on suspicion of shoplifting Friday at the Dillard's store at Sunland Park Mall. According to her arrest affidavit, at about 6:45 p.m. Friday Tavera and two friends were near a dressing room at the Dillard's store when Tavera was spotted on a store security camera stuffing the $69 Jessica Simpson-brand shirt into a plastic shopping bag, then attempted to leave the store. Store security personnel followed Tavera outside of the store and stopped her as her two friends walked away. Dillard's employees kept Tavera at the store until police arrived. According to the affidavit, they told police they wanted to press charges. Tavera faces a charge of theft for an item over $50 but under $500. She also had two outstanding traffic warrants. Jail records show she was booked into the El Paso County Jail early Saturday and released Saturday afternoon after posting a $728 bond. Read more


Mexican Drug War Spreading to the Web

From Fox News Latino - By Patrick Manning - The Mexican drug war that has taken thousands of lives over the past four years isn’t just on the other side of the border. It’s now online. Cartels are using Facebook and Twitter to find out information on potential victims and to track them down. “They use them as intelligence sources, I suppose, to gather information on people,”said Dr. Tony Payan, associate professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso. Payan told Fox News Latino they’re also posting violent videos of victims being tortured YouTube to threaten and intimidate their enemies. “They are saying: ‘Look you guys, you contrary team, competitors, you enemy, this is what’s going to happen to you,’” he said. Plus, the use of Twitter also allows the cartels to send messages quickly. “You don’t have to make a bunch of phone calls, you don’t have to take the time to communicate to everybody,” Payan said. He added they use secret phrases about where to meet other cartel members or to inform them about the status of an operation. Before, cartels worked quietly. “I think this is a new generation of drug traffickers, new generation of criminals, and they often like to post what they do on the Internet,” Payan said. “They used to be quite discrete and quite restrained. In fact, they went out of their way not to draw attention to themselves.” Now, the tables have turned. Read more


Officials break ground on Ute pipeline project amid protests

From the Clovis News Journal - As a light rain sprinkled over the Ute Reservoir, the sounds of protest drowned out officials’ optimistic vision of progress and a long-term solution for eastern New Mexico’s water supply. Hundreds attended Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System, commonly known as the Ute Water Project, ranging from Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to Clovis and Portales city officials, to other officials marking the ceremonial first step to the $432 million pipeline project. But the three dozen public officials, supporters and media members were far outnumbered by Logan and Quay County residents, who lined the road leading up to the reservoir and surrounded the small ceremony with jeers and chants to protest concerns the authority will drain the lake, which is tied into local economies. “I think it went well,” said Ben Newton, a Logan business owner who helped organize the protest. “We had asked for people to keep it civil; no profanity, no outlandish thing. It was controlled well, we had a good turnout.” Chanters suggested not too subtly that the visitors, "Go home," but also requested they, “Save our lake,” and respect “3,765,” in reference to the community’s desired elevation in feet for the reservoir, which was created though legislative action nearly a half-century ago as a potable water source for eastern New Mexico, with water reserved by several communities. The first phase is an intake structure, or pumping station, that would move the water from the reservoir to authority members that have reserved it — Clovis, Portales, Texico, Melrose, Grady, Elida and Curry and Roosevelt counties. Planned delivery is 16,450 acre feet annually, or approximately 5.4 billion gallons. “We understand,” said Newton, who has owned Ruf-Nec Tackle since 2000. “We know they own the water rights; we’re not contesting that. What we are asking is ... for a permanent pool at the elevation of 3,765. We feel that is viable for our area. Logan residents and officials know the history and intent of the reservoir, but also feel conditions have changed over 50 years, as the village of about 1,000 has current and future economic development tied to the lake and its resort capabilities. Read more


Carlsbad faces critical water situation

From the Carlsbad Current-Argus - CARLSBAD — Carlsbad is approaching a critical water situation. The city is close to exceeding its 10-year, 10,200 acre-feet water right set by the state, said City Administrator Harry Burgess. "Stage two water restrictions could be implemented in the coming months even though the city's well field that provides water for the community is relatively stable," Burgess said. "We are projecting, through the end of the year, usage of 9,900 acre-feet. That's if we can get people to cut back on water usage," Burgess said. "The city has an ordinance that requires by this time that we have seven months of history and projections for the next five months using the 10-year average to calculate if we will exceed our water right. "At present, we have a small cushion. But if we continue at the extra high utilization rate we have been seeing this year, it's very likely that we will hit that (10,200 acre feet water right) within the next two months." Burgess said with Carlsbad reportedly entering day 60 of temperatures of 100 degrees and above and very little moisture since September, it is understandable why many residents are pouring more water on their lawns and shrubs. However, he is urging everyone to cut back on their water usage. Read more


Army vet returns 'home'

NewsNM - Swickard: Partly personal, my father served at the base during the time this man served. In fact, I was born at Holloman in 1950. From the Alamogordo Daily News - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE - Holloman defenders have been patrolling the base's grounds for almost 70 years, and in the process they have protected the various weapon systems and people that have called the base home. One of the earliest defenders, former U.S. Army Pvt. David Kelley, recently visited where he had called home more than 62 years ago. "I started at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, and was transferred to Rome, N.Y., from September 1947 to February 1948, before coming to Alamogordo," Kelley said. "This was my first time to go inside the base since I left. I drove by in 1962 with my family and that was the last time I was by here." Kelley came back to the base to see the area he served from February 1948 to December 1949, he said. Seeing the inside of the base for the first time in 62 years, Kelley was astonished at what he saw. "I see nothing that even resembles what was here when I was," he said. "I can't see anything that even resembles the old base - not even the guard gate. At the time, instead of a welcome center you would just come up to the guard gate and say, 'I want to see so and so,' the guard would pick up the phone and call who you wanted to see and they would come to the front gate to get you. If whoever the person was there to see said no, you would have to make a U-turn and exit the base." Read more


A sense that Washington doesn’t serve most people

From NM - by Heath Haussamen - It’s no wonder that many average Americans stop paying attention to politics when a donor can spend $1 million anonymously in a presidential race and almost get away with it. The story of a company called W Spann LLC being created in March, giving $1 million to a Mitt Romney-supporting political action committee in April and dissolving in July is outrageous. The only name listed on the corporation’s paperwork was its attorney, and she refused to name her client. Politics is full of promises to make government better serve people and be less beholden to special interests, but this nation’s people have a strong sense that the opposite happens regardless of which political party controls things. It makes people feel like their voices and their votes don’t matter. One of the first steps toward convincing more voters to participate in the political process would be mandating full transparency in campaign financing. Donations and expenditures should be put online in real-time or close to it, and the system should be simplified so there are fewer loopholes. Washington needs to aggressively close loopholes as they are discovered and go after those who break the rules. Of course, changing attitudes about transparency in Washington would require a reduction in the influence of the wealthy special interests that don’t want transparency. So where do we go from here? Read more


Bill O'Reilly: Calling an Audible

Commentary by Bill O'Reilly - As a former quarterback, I know that when a game plan is not working, you change strategy. Fast. If you don't, you will likely lose the contest and have to endure the ignominy of failure.If President Obama were calling signals for the Washington Redskins, he would have been relieved a long time ago. His economic blueprint of spending a large amount of federal tax dollars in order to stimulate consumer spending and create government-suggested jobs has obviously not worked, and it's run up a huge debt in the process.Remember "cash for clunkers," whereby the feds gave you money to upgrade your car? Well, Mr. Obama's entire economic vision might be classified as a clunker, if the truth be told. It is perplexing that the president does not seem to smell the panic. You don't have to be an economic genius like Barney Frank to know that government mandated economic stimulus has been a disaster. It is time for new solutions.Blaming the Tea Party is not a solution. Blaming W. is not advancing the ball. Let America be America. Unleash the private sector, Mr. President. Read more


Senator Sanders: The Fed Audit

From the Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders - The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. "As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world," said Sanders. "This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else." Among the investigation's key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. "No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president," Sanders said. The non-partisan, investigative arm of Congress also determined that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans. Read more


Swickard: Stopping one-way fish in a barrel shootings

© 2011 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them. Richard Henry Lee, one of our country’s founding leaders - Mission Statement from the Brady Center for Preventing Gun Violence: We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities. Every few weeks there is a new outrage where otherwise law-abiding defenseless people are suddenly killed by a psychopath without the victims having any recourse for self-defense. When these attacks happen, the victims stand like sheep at slaughter, nervous but compliant to these one way shootings. The perpetrators of the massacres count on their victims being defenseless and society delivers that defenselessness because our society has made it quite hard to be armed in our society. Today it is quite problematic to use guns for defense because of all of the constrictions. Legal weapons cannot be close to schools or government offices which is ignored by murderers but means lawful owners of guns cannot help protect people when murderers run rampant. Look at the rules against guns in Mexico and then look at the number of AK-47s used every year to kill thousands of Mexicans. The law-abiding citizens have no means of defense. If they try to defend themselves they violate the law. They are instructed by their government to allow themselves to be murdered rather than have a means of defense. It is just one-way fish in the barrel killing by the criminals in Mexico. Read column


Squier: Bad Accounting Under Richardson Led to Under-reporting and Over-billing in Medicaid Program

John Arthur Smith
The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that New Mexico's Human Services Department plans to ask the Legislature for perhaps as much as $100 million. Why that much? HSS Secretary Sidney Squier says she needs to to take care of an accounting problem she blames on bad management under former Gov. Bill Richardson. The Journal reports that the letter to top-ranking members of the Legislative Finance Committee, Squier said the problem stems from faulty record keeping in recent years that obscured both under-reporting and over-billing of Medicaid expenses.
The Journal says Finance Committee Chairman Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, said that lawmakers will likely will have little choice but to approve the request. $100 million would take a huge portion of recently reported state revenue increases above projections.


Are Post Offices Pork?

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today raised serious concerns they have about the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) plans to study the possible closure of up to 50 post offices in New Mexico. In an effort to reduce costs, the U.S. Postal Service announced last week that it will undertake a study of 3,700 post offices nationwide to determine which to close. The USPS identified 50 it may target in New Mexico. In a letter, the Senators asked for a meeting with the Postmaster General and outlined some of their concerns, including what impact closures may have on rural New Mexico. The letter can be viewed here: News New Mexico


Embezzlment in Bernalillo County Clerks Office?

Veritas New Mexico - A Bernalillo County Clerk employee is accused of stealing nearly $23,000 dollars from the government office where he works in downtown Albuquerque. Clifford Valencia, 25, was arrested on Thursday afternoon and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on embezzlement charges just after 8pm. County Clerk Maggie Toulouse-Oliver told Veritas New Mexico that Valencia was assigned to the office’s Recording and Filing Department. He allegedly figured out a way to charge customers, including the City of Albuquerque, and other government agencies, full price for their various filings, but then pocket a large portion any payments made in cash. “Even with the quality control process we have in place there was no way to know this was happening,” Toulouse-Oliver said. “He found a loophole in the software that our vendor didn’t even know existed.” An annual audit also did not detect the scheme. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Terrell: Martinez Would Appoint Block's Replacement

Steve Terrell
Roundhouse Roundup - Breaking news: Nobody new called for Jerome Block Jr.’s resignation on Wednesday. Well, no one that I know of. I haven’t checked my Twitter feed in a couple of hours. Bipartisan requests for Block to quit the state Public Regulation Commission began flowing last week when the story broke about an investigation into thousands of dollars in questionable charges to a state gasoline card issued to Block, among other possible misdeeds. So far, Block hasn’t responded to those urgings, nor the possibility that the Legislature might consider impeaching him. Gov. Susana Martinez, who is among those who say Block should step down, would have authority to name a replacement for him until the next election. She hasn’t talked with any potential successors, her spokesman said Wednesday. “If the seat does come open, we would go through a swift and thorough process to find the right replacement,” Scott Darnell said in an email. It’s probably not going out too far on a limb to think that a Republican governor would want to appoint a qualified Republican to the $90,000-a-year job — even though the GOP didn’t even field a candidate in this Democratic-leaning PRC district in 2008, when Block was elected. If Block departed and Martinez appointed a Republican, it would shift the political balance of the elected regulatory body, giving the R’s a 3-to-2 edge. Read full analysis here: News New Mexico

Two Housing Authorities - Two Audits

Las Cruces Sun-News - LAS CRUCES - The accounting for the region's two housing authorities - currently straddled awkwardly between the city and county - could have already neatly merged had the city not dragged its feet to unify the agency, the executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Las Cruces said Tuesday. "Everything came to a standstill and delayed us past our deadline," said Tom Hassell, executive director of the HACLC, during its work session 10 a.m. Tuesday. He said it should have been possible for the city, county and Housing Authority - the three moving parts of the fiscal affairs for Dona Ana County's public housing - to officially merge their housing finances into a single entity by July 1.
Formally merging the housing authority by that day, which is the end of the fiscal year, would have meant the agency could have started to have a single accounting audit rather than the dual audits it says are a waste. The current housing authority has 19 staff members, a five-member board and an executive director who oversee a total $7.4 million budget. The housing authority serves more than 5,000 people through various programs, including rent subsidies and management of 254 housing units. Read full story here: News New Mexico


The bin Laden Raid Back in Spotlight

President Obama with Nobel Peace Prize
BBC - Peter King, chair of the House of Representatives homeland security committee, cited a report suggesting the White House hopes the film will boost President Obama's election bid. New York Times writer Maureen Dowd said film-makers had "top-level access." The White House called that report - and Mr King's claims - "ridiculous." Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader who had spent almost a decade in hiding since fleeing Afghanistan in late 2001, was killed in May in a raid into Pakistan by members of an elite Navy Seals special forces team. The killing of the man behind the 9/11 terror attacks marked the recent high point in Mr Obama's presidency. Since then the president has been dogged by joblessness, a sluggish economy and partisan bickering and gridlock in Washington and has seen his approval rating slip.
Home-stretch boost
Maureen Dowd
In the aftermath of the raid, senior US military officials decried media leaks of information to the news media, saying they jeopardised future operations. On 6 August, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that Sony Pictures had begun producing a film about the Bin Laden raid by Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the Oscar-winning director and writer of The Hurt Locker, which portrayed a squad of US bomb-defusers in Iraq. "The moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history," Ms Dowd wrote, adding that the film would "no doubt reflect the president's cool, gutsy decision against shaky odds".
Ms Dowd said the film was due to be released in October 2012, "perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher". Read full story here: News New Mexico


Gore Launches Into Profanity Laced Rant

Marita Noon
Albuquerque's Marita Noon (Energy Makes America Great) a frequent guest on News New Mexico has a new column out. Townhall - Apparently, Al Gore doesn’t like being marginalized. With no real science to back him up, he’s resorted to expletives. When will real environmentalists wake up and realize that they’ve been used to spread fear to promote a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, but that was designed to make an elite few very rich? Whatever happened to simple bird watching? Read full column here: News New Mexico

The Political Value of Killing bin Laden

Osama bin Laden
Weekly Standard - There may be an overtly political reason that moviegoers will be seeing the story of the Osama bin Laden raid just before they vote for president. Sony Pictures, the company distributing next year's film, hosted a fundraiser for Barack Obama on their studio's premises in California last April. So far, Sony is the only major studio to hold a political fundraiser this cycle. According to Deadline Hollywood, Sony will release the bin Laden movie, directed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, on October 12, 2012--less than a month before the presidential election. "The eyebrow does go up when you see the release date," says Douglas Urbanski, a Hollywood producer and conservative radio talk show host. Urbanski said he believes Bigelow's movie will be straightforward and apolitical, much like her 2009 war film The Hurt Locker (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture). But Sony's decision to release the bin Laden movie just weeks before the election, he says, is most likely "very, very deliberate." Read full dolumn here: News New Mexico

Baldonado: One of NM GOP's Rising Stars

Alonzo Baldonado
Many well informed political observers around the state mention the name "Alonzo Baldonado" when you ask about the rising stars in our state. A real estate broker in Valencia County, Baldonado serves District # 8 in the New Mexico House of Representatives. We will speak to Representative Baldonado this morning on News New Mexico at 7:30am. For more information on the freshman from Los Lunas click here: News New Mexico