Duran withholds cash from publicly financed candidates

Secretary of State Dianna Duran
From NMPolitics.net - By  - The Secretary of State’s Office is refusing to provide matching funds state law dictates are due to publicly financed candidates who are up against wealthier, privately financed campaigns. To back up her decision, Secretary of State Dianna Duran cites a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar law in Arizona in 2011. As a result, six Public Regulation and Court of Appeals candidates are currently without funds state law says they’re due. However, with the June 5 primary days away, the matter may not be fully resolved. A state district judge in Santa Fe will consider a request today to order Duran to release the funds. The biggest impact of Duran’s decision is in the race for the Albuquerque-area District 1 seat on the Public Regulation Commission. State law dictates that Al Park’s publicly financed opponents in the Democratic primary, Cynthia Hall and Karen Montoya, are each due $61,066 because Park, whose campaign is privately financed, has raised almost $139,000. In the Democratic Court of Appeals primary, Victor S. Lopez is due $21,727 under the N.M. Voter Action Act because opponent M. Monica Zamora has raised $107,475. And in the PRC District 3 primary, Danny Maki’s raising of almost $42,000 means his three Democratic primary opponents – Valerie Espinoza, Brad Gallegos and Virginia Vigil – are each due $1,730.90. Read more
Share/Bookmark

UPDATED: Gov, Legislative Leadership Report on PAC Money

Albuquerque Journal (subscription) - The latest campaign finance reports show that Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s political action committee has contributed $19,000 to candidates for the Legislature and other offices in the past three weeks. Susana PAC gave $14,000 to six candidates for the House and Senate. That included $2,500 to Albuquerque lawyer Chris Saucedo, who is running against another Republican for the party’s nomination in House District 15. The governor’s PAC contributed $5,000 to Dona Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando, who faces in a Democratic challenger in the general election. Martinez vacated the district attorney’s position in becoming governor. According to a campaign report filed Thursday, the governor’s PAC had a cash balance of $171,000 earlier this week. The committee raised about $3,200 and spent nearly $106,000 in the past three weeks. 
The latest state campaign finance reports show that New Mexico’s Democratic and Republican legislative leaders have more than $200,000 stockpiled in their political action committees that could be used in this year’s legislative elections. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, a Belen Democrat, reports a cash balance of nearly $54,000 in his PAC. A leadership PAC affiliated with Republican Senate Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales had cash-on-hand of nearly $67,000. House Majority Leader Ken Martinez, a Grants Democrat, had a balance of nearly $37,000 in a PAC he runs and House GOP Leader Tom Taylor’s PAC reported cash-on-hand of almost $47,000. Political committees and legislative candidates faced a Thursday deadline for filing campaign finance disclosures in advance of next week’s primary election. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

New Mexico Court site hacked

KOB - The New Mexico Courts website has been hacked – and it appears the people responsible didn’t do much to cover up their identities. You can see the group “Latin Hack Team” is claiming to have done the deed. As of right now, the site is still down. We’ll let you know when it’s back up and working. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Loving resident beach bound after winning $250,000 New Mexico Lottery jackpot

Carlsbad Current-ArgusIt's going to be a day at the beach for Loving resident Adama Vasquez. After winning a $250,000 jackpot from the New Mexico Lottery, Vasquez said she plans to take a vacation to Hawaii. She said surfing lessons are out, but poolside refreshments will be topical during her tropical adventure. Vasquez beat odds of 1 in 435,897 to land the top prize in the Roadrunner Cash game. Her quick-pick ticket for the May 22 drawing matched the winning numbers of 15, 25, 29, 30 and 37. The winner, who bought her ticket at Food Jet No. 2 located at 3102 National Parks Hwy. in Carlsbad, discovered her good fortune after checking her ticket with winning numbers published in the Carlsbad Current-Argus. "I had to read it five times," Vasquez recalled for lottery officials in Albuquerque Tuesday. "I didn't know if I was dreaming." She showed the ticket to her husband, Ben. "He looked at me like I was crazy," Vasquez said. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Deval Patrick: Bain is a "perfectly fine company"

Deval Patrick
Politico - Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday, Patrick called Bain “a perfectly fine company.” “They have a role in the private economy, and I’ve got a lot of friends there … on both sides of the aisle,” Patrick added. “I think the Bain strategy has been distorted in some of the public discussions.” “I think the issue isn’t about Bain. I think it’s about whether he’s accomplished in either his public or private life the kinds of things he wants to accomplish for the United States,” the Massachusetts governor said. “It’s never been about Bain,” Patrick emphasized during another Thursday appearance, on CNN’s “Starting Point.”
Afterward, the Romney campaign couldn’t resist a dig. “It’s clear the Obama campaign has no message and no vision when their surrogates continue to repudiate the Obama campaign’s attacks on free enterprise,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “We appreciate all of the Obama surrogates who have praised Mitt Romney’s record.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Romney Visits Shuttered Doors at Solyndra

ABC - “The reason for keeping it quiet is because we knew if word got out that Solyndra would do everything in their power and the Obama administration would do everything in their power to stop us from having this news conference,” an aide said in a briefing en route. “But taxpayers made a substantial investment in Solyndra, there are serious questions about what happened at Solyndra, why that investment was selected, what happened to that money.”
Solyndra is the failed California-based solar technology company that received more than $500 million in federal stimulus money before it went bankrupt last year. It has since become a mantle of Romney’s argument that Obama doesn’t know how to run the economy. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Artur Davis Dumps Democratic Party for its "agenda that would punish business and job creators"

L.A. Times - Artur Davis, one of President Obama’s earliest supporters and a former co-chairman for his presidential campaign, announced Tuesday that he was leaving the Democratic Party for good. In a post published Tuesday on his website, Davis was vague about his future political endeavors, but declared: “If I were to run, it would be as a Republican. And I am in the process of changing my voter registration from Alabama to Virginia, a development which likely does represent a closing of one chapter and perhaps the opening of another.”
Artur Davis
Davis, who represented Alabama’s 7th Congressional District from 2003 to 2011, was notably the first member of Congress outside of Illinois to endorse then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 presidential bid. And it was Davis who seconded the official nomination of Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Along with making hints at the future, Davis reflected on his experiences as a Democrat, and condemned the path he believes the party is taking. Renouncing the party “is no light decision on my part,” he wrote. “Cutting ties with an Alabama Democratic Party that has weakened and lost faith with more and more Alabamians every year is one thing; leaving a national party that has been the home for my political values for two decades is quite another.” But “wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities,” he said.
“On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again,” he said. “I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country.” Read full story here: News New Mexico
Share/Bookmark

Map lines blocking emergency responders

Drunk driver causes fire - who will put it out?
From KRQE-TV.com - by Scott Daniels, KRQE News 13 - After a suspected drunken driver smashed into a house near Edith Boulevard and Osuna Road in northeast Albuquerque Sunday, the house caught fire. Now Chris Gallegos' home is in shambles. A neighbor's video shows the Albuquerque Fire Department putting out the flames. AFD had to travel about 3.5 miles across the interstate arriving at the fire in six minutes and 13 seconds. But although the Bernalillo County Fire Department has a station a mile away, its crews were not dispatched. BCFD wasn't called because the house is in AFD's jurisdiction. Both departments say this happens every day, and it's been happening for years. "That's throughout the county," BCFD Chief John Garcia told KRQE News 13.  "You can go to the South Valley, the North Valley and even the east side of town where there's jurisdictional lines above a fire station Read more
Share/Bookmark

State legislature candidate challenges City of Albuquerque

Emily Kane
From KOB-TV.com - By: Mike Daniels, KOB Eyewitness News 4  - Emily Kane is used to fighting fires.  Now the Albuquerque fire captain is fighting City Hall.  Kane is running for state legislature, but the City has thrown down the gauntlet - either forget about running or leave the department.  Kane is not backing down. "We don't have the working class common class perspective that I wanted to bring to the legislature," Kane said. This year, Kane decided to run as a Democrat in the June primary to fill the vacant State House District 15 seat.  "Why wouldn't a fire fighter run for office, why wouldn't someone like me, a public servant all my live, serve in the legislature." In March, the City of Albuquerque said not so fast and warned Kane she could not run and was violating her job duties. "City employees can't run for office, while a city employee. Ms. Kane has been told that," said Rebecca Wardlaw, an Albuquerque assistant city attorney. In 1989, voters passed a city charter making it illegal for a city employee to hold a state elected office.  City policy went a step further with a personnel rule, prohibiting even running for state office.  "There are rationales like conflict of interest and funding your own job." On Thursday, Kane will ask a judge for a temporary order so the city cannot discipline or fire her. She said her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights are being violated.  "I just don't want the fact that I’m a candidate to affect my employment." Read more

Share/Bookmark

NM Sec of State won’t rule on Phil Griego until after primary

State Senator Phil Griego
From Capitol Report New Mexico.com - New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran won’t make a decision on whether the campaign expenses of 4-term state Sen. Phil Griego (D-San Jose) were appropriate until after the Democratic Party primary this coming Tuesday. “The secretary and her office are getting ready for the primary,” Duran spokesman Ken Ortiz told Capitol Report New Mexico by phone shortly before the close of the business day Wednesday (May 30). “All of her focus and attention” is on the June 5 primary election. Griego is embroiled in a tough, three-way primary with fellow Democrats Nicole Castellano and Jack Sullivan in a newly-formatted District 39 that covers four different counties and roughtly 200 miles from northern part of the state abutting Santa Fe and Las Vegas all the way down to parts of Ruidoso in the south. Sullivan filed a formal complaint with Duran’s office, challenging the Griego’s campaign spending. “We’re quite disappointed” with the Secretary of State’s decision Sullivan said by phone Wednesday. “Sen. Griego has taken a whole month to respond … if they [the Secretary of State's office] don’t have the staff to respond in a timely manner, they should forward the case to the attorney general’s office.” Griego has not talked to media members in recent weeks and a call to his cellphone Friday afternoon went unanswered. Read more
Share/Bookmark

Otero County plans to sue BLM over mining road

From the Alamogordo Daily News - A year ago, an Orogrande girl led a campaign to stop a mining company from gaining access to the old Cinco de Mayo mine near the small southern New Mexico town. Now, Otero County is trying to use an eminent domain rule to open the road to the mining company, Gulf Coast Mining.
County Commissioner Ronny Rardin said that Gulf Coast Mining was invited a couple of years ago by the New Mexico economic development secretary to come into the state and do some work. "They looked at two sites, Deming and Otero County," he said. According to Rardin, Otero County had told the mining company it was OK to start when actually it wasn't. In February of this year, Gulf Coast Mining was approved for a minimal impact new mining operation permit for the Iron Duke Mine from the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, but the company has not gotten clearance through the BLM to widen the roads for their equipment. But, Rardin said, the mining company has a "patent" right-of-way to use that road to get to its mine. Edward Seum, supervisor for BLM's Lands and Minerals Division in Las Cruces, said BLM and Gulf Coast Mining have been working to get something done about the permitting but have not reached a point where the roads can be accessed yet. "We did issue a trespass," Seum said. "As part of that trespass, we did issue a decision for administrative damages to them and they did pay those damages." Gulf Coast Mining has paid the $7,611 damage assessment, but BLM has not yet collected money for repair work (on damage already caused) because the company has applied for a right-of-way and, if that is granted, the reparation of damaged areas will be part of the requirement for use. Seum said there are no endangered or threatened animal species in the area of the roads or mines. "There are sensitive plants," he said. "State-listed plants that could be in the area and, as part of the process that we go through to investigate right-of-way, we do environmental studies." But before thinking about environmental studies, Gulf Coast Mining has to put up a $200,000 bond before it can work on the road. Bill Childress, BLM district manager, said the bond is required because there are two cultural sites that could be affected by the work on the road Gulf Coast Mining will have to do. The bond would cover the mitigation of those sites if they get damaged. The cultural sites are prehistoric with a component of a historic site, he said. Read more

Share/Bookmark

Another one bites the dust: Beto O'Rourke ousts eight-term U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes

Winner - Beto O'Rourke (photo from the El Paso Times)
From the El Paso Times - By Chris Roberts - Former city Rep. Beto O'Rourke bucked a nationwide trend Tuesday night by ousting eight-term U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the 16th Congressional District race. In the final tally, O'Rourke beat Reyes by 23,248 votes to 20,427, or 50.5 percent to 44.4 percent. Nationally, challengers rarely defeat incumbents in primary elections, and only a few exceptions have occurred so far this election cycle.  O'Rourke said he connected to voters by personally ringing more than 16,000 doorbells across the county. And he said people told him they were ready for change. In those over-the-fence conversations, O'Rourke said, he found common themes. El Paso needed economic stimulus, which means good jobs, and a full-service Veterans Affairs hospital. O'Rourke hammered Reyes for not solving the problem of long waits at the international bridges. He said those bottlenecks are choking off millions of dollars in commerce and threatening tens of thousands of jobs. The congressman also made an issue of O'Rourke's stand on legalizing marijuana, which Reyes opposed. O'Rourke said it would deny cartels a major profit source, potentially reducing violence in Juárez, and allowing the drug to be better regulated. He also said he would not pursue the issue in Congress because voters did not consider it a priority.  Reyes, to prove his status in Washington, brought a string of high-level officials to El Paso, including former President Bill Clinton, who personally reaffirmed an endorsement delivered earlier in a video. Reyes also received an endorsement from President Barack Obama. O'Rourke will face Republican Barbara Carrasco in the Nov. 6 general election. Read more
Share/Bookmark

Penn. Dem leader defects to GOP, cites Catholic faith

Jo Ann Nardeli cites her Catholic faith for move to GOP
From the Daily Caller - By Caroline May - The defection of a prominent Pennsylvania Democrat to the Republican Party is raising some eyebrows. Jo Ann Nardelli, a state committeewoman and founding president of the Blair County Federation of Democratic Women, has switched her political affiliation to the GOP, citing her Catholic faith and President Obama’s embrace of gay marriage as reasons. During a press conference last week, Nardelli cited President Obama’s recent announcement in support of gay marriage as a central reason for her defection, endorsed Mitt Romney for president and changed her party registration to Republican, The Altoona Mirror reported. “As the Democratic Party has taken the stand for same-sex marriage, then I must make a stand on my faith that marriage is between a man and a woman. God’s principles for life never change. His guidelines, given in Scripture, produce fruitful lives when you follow them,” Nardelli, a pro-life Democrat for more than 40 years, said at the Blair County Courthouse. According to Politics PA, Nardelli continued to point to her Catholic faith as a major motivator in her letter of resignation to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “I respect all of you and all that I have achieved in the past. Due to personal matters and faith beliefs at this time, it is only fair to resign,” she wrote. “I will miss you all very much as you are all a part of my family; however, it is time to move forward with my life in a direction that is more in line with my faith.” Read more
Share/Bookmark

Swickard: Anyone but me on the ballot

Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - The only fear I have concerning elections is that I might surrender my good sense and run for political office, any office. Like Sherman, the only person I absolutely do not want to see in office - is me - because I do not have the temperament nor patience. As luck would have it there is no groundswell whatsoever to put me in office. In fact, I am the last person either party would select since I am a neither party independent. From watching politicians serve in office for more than forty years, it is not intelligence that makes a good politician; rather, it is the twofer of temperament and patience. Everything that I lack is what allows politicians to sit sphinx-like in meetings for hours on end. To me that is slow-death. Anyone who can sit quietly with a placid expression for hours in a meeting is either a better person than me or they have brains of custard. This next week is the culmination of the primary season in New Mexico. I have no vote in either primary which is just fine. I do not want to have any say in which R or D is selected for the general election. If the political primary season is any predictor, this will be a mean-spirited general election. Usually members of the same party only bring out the long knives behind closed doors. Not this year, with the exception of the Balderas/Heinrich race. This Christmas there will be far fewer cards sent within political parties. Read column

Share/Bookmark

Santa Fe C.C.'s Higher Ed Center in Limbo

SF Reporter - Four years, four schools, one location. That’s the promotional tagline for Santa Fe Community College’s proposed Higher Education Center, which will allow students to earn bachelor’s degrees without leaving Santa Fe. There’s only one catch: For months, SFCC has been blocked from actually building the center—and if the state has its way, the center may never be built at all. In May, nearly 500 SFCC students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas. None of them earned a bachelor’s degree, though; for that, they’ll have to transfer to one of Santa Fe’s private institutions (such as the Santa Fe University of Art and Design or St. John’s College) or relocate to a city with a four-year public university, such as Albuquerque or Las Vegas. Read full story here: News New Mexico
Share/Bookmark

Root: Why Obama Will Lose in a Landslide

Wayne Allyn Root
Townhall - Most political predictions are made by biased pollsters, pundits, or prognosticators who are either rooting for Republicans or Democrats. I am neither. I am a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, and a well-known Vegas oddsmaker with one of the most accurate records of predicting political races.
Neither Obama nor Romney are my horses in the race. I believe both Republicans and Democrats have destroyed the U.S. economy and brought us to the edge of economic disaster. My vote will go to Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson in November, whom I believe has the most fiscally conservative track record of any Governor in modern U.S. political history. Without the bold spending cuts of a Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, I don’t believe it’s possible to turnaround America.
But as an oddsmaker with a pretty remarkable track record of picking political races, I play no favorites. I simply use common sense to call them as I see them. Back in late December I released my New Years Predictions. I predicted back then- before a single GOP primary had been held, with Romney trailing for months to almost every GOP competitor from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt- that Romney would easily rout his competition to win the GOP nomination by a landslide. I also predicted that the Presidential race between Obama and Romney would be very close until election day. But that on election day Romney would win by a landslide similar to Reagan-Carter in 1980. Read full column/analysis here: News New Mexico
Share/Bookmark

Long Lines for Jobs Except for Keystone Jobs

In 2012 the lines for job seekers are blocks long. With no Keystone pipeline jobs to be had, in many locales the federal govrnment has decided not to block related job creation actions involving fossil fuels.
CNBC is reporting that at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama more than 20,000 people have applied for one of the 877 job openings. Hyundai will build cars that burn……well….they will burn fossil fuels. These are the same fuels that the Obama Administration found to be so objectionable, it actually blocked all the jobs associated with the Keystone pipeline. The ironies of the illogical Keystone pipeline policy are everywhere.
1. Last summer more than 18,000 people applied for one of the 1,800 jobs at a re-tooled Ford plant in Louisville, Kentucky. That plant will open and start building the Edge SUV in mid-June.
2. Also in 2011, more than 41,000 applied for one of the 1,300 positions at the new Toyota plant in being built in Tupelo, Mississippi.
3. In 2009, more than 65,000 applied for one of the 2,700 jobs at the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TN. Since opening, that plant has added shifts and is currently hiring another 820 workers. Tens of thousands would gladly take those jobs too.
Decent pay and benefits from solid companies in the auto industry, an industry that manufactures products that burn fossil fuels, is the common denominator in this story.
Strangely with all of the people out of work, and these companies mentioned above making products that burn fossil fuels, one has to wonder why President Obama isn’t blocking all these jobs too, just as he did the jobs and tax revenues associated with the Keystone pipeline. After all, when the cars are built at all the factories listed above, their purchasers will need access to gasoline, a fuel Obama burns constantly, but also despises so much. It just doesn't make sense, unless you live in progressive-land.

Share/Bookmark

The anti-free-enterprise president

Reince Priebus
Politico -  Chairman Reince Priebus will join News New Mexico Thursday morning 8am Mountain time. President Barack Obama declared Tuesday, “This is what this campaign is going to be about.” He was not talking about jobs. He was not talking about the economy—not even about the budget deficit. He was referring to divisive, disingenuous character attacks against presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney and a rhetorical assault on job creators. How far we’ve come from what Obama said in 2008 that his administration would be about. Yet these attacks on free enterprise reveal more than just the end of “hope and change.” They reveal a president unacquainted with the free market — and therefore hostile to it. 
The president’s tactics are so extreme that some in his own party are recoiling in disgust. Until now, it was unthinkable that the president would base his campaign on undermining the nation’s confidence in our free market system. Maybe, though, it should not surprise us. His policies have been an affront to the private sector — constraining job creation and economic growth. His words are now catching up with his actions. From “Obamacare” to excessive regulation, from anti-growth tax policy to stimulus handouts, the Obama administration has left the free market battered and bruised. Its misguided attempts at top-down job creation have not worked. In many cases, they have backfired. In Obama’s view, government exists to use taxpayer money, without our permission, to prop up failing companies — often to benefit of his campaign donors. Such is the story of Solyndra, which gobbled up over a half-billion dollars of thoughtlessly allocated stimulus funds, only to go bankrupt and lay off more than a thousand employees. Obama, standing at the solar energy company’s California headquarters two years ago, praised businesses like Solyndra as the “true engine of economic growth.” That’s the problem. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Obama Campaign Ads and What They Imply

Commentary by Jim Spence: We have come a long way in America, a long way in the wrong direction. You can tell how uninformed the current collection of elected officials think the general population has become simply by the Obama campaign team’s approach to using ads in the hopes of winning the election in November.
Suddenly the airwaves are full of re-elect Obama commercials that attack the very foundations of free enterprise capitalism. Naturally, the Obama spokespeople deny that they are anti-business. When questioned about their assaults they always offer meaningless platitudes designed to deflect the reality of their anti-business message. But in the end, the Obama ads that question the investment activities of Bain Capital infer that ONLY government can make decisions regarding how to invest to meet the needs of our country. The Bain ads suggest that our businesses, all of our businesses, are merely thinly disguised exploitation machines that must be held completely in check by an army of benevolent pro-Obama big government bureaucrats.
Those of us who have worked in both the public and private sectors during the course of our lives understand just how false the premises contained in the Obama commercials actually are. And additionally, we are keenly aware of how our public employee union-dominated education system has been systematically poisoning perceptions of the business community in the minds of young people for decades.
We have come a long way in the wrong direction alright. We blindly trust government and we are far too leery of business. We are conditioned to be happy for the wealth gained overnight by lottery winners yet suspicious of the hard earned wealth achieved through risk taker's work in the free enterprise capitalism arena for many years. In November we Americans will find out whether we are collectively willing to drive ourselves right off an economic cliff.

Share/Bookmark

Low turnout in Eddy County early voting

Carlsbad Current-ArgusEddy County election officials say they hope they are wrong, but based on the low early voting and absentee voting turnout, they are predicting a low voter turnout in next Tuesday's primary election. Early voting started last week, and as of noon on Tuesday, 384 people in South Eddy County have participated in early voting. Slightly more than 100 voters in North Eddy County have voted early. Absentee ballot numbers are also low. "We have 160 absentee ballots for the entire county," said Robin Van Natta, Eddy County chief deputy clerk. Van Natta said election officials in counties from around the state are also reporting low voter turnout. "It's low for a presidential election year," Van Natta said. "There's just not a lot of competition in the primary here in Eddy County. The Republican nominee for president has also been decided. We hope the November general election will spark more interest and people come out to vote." Van Natta said compared to the 2010 primary election in Eddy County the numbers in terms of party voters has also shifted slightly. Currently, 13,417 people have registered as Democrats, down from 2010 when there were 13,616 registered Democrats. The Republican Party gained in numbers since the 2010 primary election. Van Natta said there are 11,499 registered Republicans, up from 10,107 in 2010. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Gila wildfire becomes largest in NM history at 170,000 acres

Las Cruces Sun-News A massive wildfire in southwestern New Mexico's Gila National Forest is now the largest fire in state history. Fire officials said Wednesday the erratic fire has grown to more than 170,000 acres, surpassing a blaze last year that burned 156,593 acres in New Mexico and threatened the nation's premier nuclear facility. The Gila forest fire is also the largest currently burning in the country. Fire information officer Jerry Perry says about 1,200 firefighters from around the state were in the isolated region to battle the growing blaze. He says they face low humidity and shifting winds in their firefighting efforts. Perry says parts of southern New Mexico could expect to see smoke from the fire, which has destroyed a dozen homes. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Romney nominated before NM votes

KRQEMitt Romney officially became the Republican Presidential nominee, a week before New Mexico's primary. That means New Mexico Republicans had no say in the pick. Political analysts say that is not going to change anytime soon. "It's just not going to happen for a small state like New Mexico," political analyst Joe Monahan said. "The Republicans of course would like to have it earlier, but moving it around just to get in the game at this point is probably highly unlikely." Just last January Republican leaders said they were hopeful New Mexico would have an impact in the primary race and that Presidential candidates would spend plenty of time here. However, Romney has not come to New Mexico yet and his state campaign chairman says there are no plans for him to visit in the near future. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Super PAC, union aid Sen. Smith’s challenger

Smith and Martinez
NMPolitics - The American Federation of Teachers and Progressive Kick, a federal Super PAC based in California, are trying to help Larry P. Martinez unseat Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith in next week’s Democratic primaryThe last time state senator John Arthur Smith drove this many miles campaigning was during his failed 2002 run for the open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That year, Smith had prevailed in the primary against more liberal candidates largely because voters felt his record as a conservative Democrat stood the best chance against Steve Pearce in the historically Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District. Pearce won and Smith returned to the state Senate seat he’s held since 1989. Since then, he’s garnered a reputation as a fiscal “Chicken Little,” accurately warning of the budget crunch that hit the state starting in 2008 and being one of the few Democratic voices arguing for controlled spending. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

18 Lawsuits Remain Pending From Richardson Pay-to-Play Era of Corruption

Bill Richardson
Albuquerque Journal - So far, the SIC has recovered a total of $394,000 in settlements with two investment firms. The SIC, which manages the state’s two largest trust funds, also has a pending lawsuit against 18 defendants, alleging it and taxpayers were the victims of a pay-to-play scheme in the making of agency investments. The SIC, in response to subpoenas, has turned over millions of documents to the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, neither the Justice Department nor a state prosecutor, including state Attorney General Gary King, has charged anyone with a crime. Saul Meyer, a former adviser to the State Investment Council and the Educational Retirement Board, has admitted he recommended investments pushed by politically connected people, knowing that they or their associates would benefit financially or politically. Read full story here (subscription required): News New Mexico
Share/Bookmark

California Horse Racing Board Follows New Mexico's Lead on Clenbuterol Ban

ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico Racing Commission today applauded the California Horse Racing Board for following New Mexico’s lead with a vote to severely curb the use of the drug Clenbuterol at California race tracks. Last Thursday, the CHRB voted to increase the withdrawal period for Clenbuterol from 96 hours to 21 days. In March, the New Mexico Racing Commission banned the use of the drug at New Mexico race tracks as it examines whether the steroid-like substance can be eliminated from the sport entirely. “The Racing Commission is proud that New Mexico is taking the lead on addressing the use of Clenbuterol at our race tracks and that other states recognize the seriousness of this issue as well,” said New Mexico Racing Commission Chairman Rob Doughty. “We will continue our work to make New Mexico’s racing industry as safe as possible for our horses and jockeys.”



Share/Bookmark

In Your "Face" Book

Telegraph - The social network has lost more than a fifth of its value since its faltering Wall Street debut on May 18, while its 28-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg has been honeymooning in Rome. It is now unlikely to recover in the short term, analysts claimed.
After placing at $38, Facebook’s shares briefly peaked at $45 before sinking back to $38.25 on their first day of trading. They have fallen every day since then, and today plummeted nearly 10pc to a low of $28.84 at the close in New York. Read full story here: News New Mexico
Share/Bookmark

Yo Really Really Quiero Taco Bell

Smoking Gun - Today’s instance of drive-thru rage comes from Huber Heights, Ohio, where a 23-year-old man allegedly crashed his truck into a Taco Bell after he “did not get one of the tacos he ordered,” according to police.
Michael Smith was arrested early this morning for felony vandalism in connection with the bizarre 12:15 AM incident at the fast food restaurant. Smith, pictured in the mug shot at right, is being held in the Montgomery County jail. Read full story here: News New Mexico
Share/Bookmark
     

Share/Bookmark

Wilderness: Building the Forest Fire Fuel Load

Western New Mexico Whitewater-Baldy Fire in Gila
Commentary by Jim Spence - Over the years radical environmentalists have blocked numerous efforts to clear underbrush that builds the combustible fuel load in the Gila National Forest.
In a bizarre twist, the wilderness crowd, obsessed with clean air and protecting wildlife, has taken it upon itself to make it extremely difficult for ranchers in the entire Gila National Forest and wilderness areas to renew grazing leases on land there. Sure, cattle reduce underbrush fuel loads as they eat, but what about the pristine untouched forest? We can't have any cow poop up there. No sir. Securing the “wilderness” designation of countless square miles in the Gila area many years ago has also made sure no mechanized vehicles can enter the area to do any underbrush clearing.
Now that we have managed to get the government to suspend all range and forest management science to keep it "pristine," how is this approach working out for us?
Well......um.....If you are walking around outside just about anywhere in the state of New Mexico you might have noticed we suddenly have the dirtiest air in memory. It seems that the latest wildfire in and around the Gila, which has been bolstered by unprecedented underbrush fuel load, has incinerated enough forest to make breathing the smoke outside unhealthy in many counties. Toasted wildlife is another feature of these bad forest policy assisted fires. We will spare you those pictures.
Bad forest management policy has become one of the crowning disachievements of the radical environmentalist’s long list of absurd "causes." They seek clean air, we get dirty air. They seek wildlife protection, we get toasted wildlife. They seek to bankrupt the ranchers that supply our food, well you get the picture.
There is more sobering news. These same people have been working hand in hand with Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall, Ben Ray Lujan, and Jeff Bingaman to work their public policy magic on U.S. energy supplies.
One question goes unanswered. With “friends of the earth” like these, who needs enemies?

Share/Bookmark

Lobos and Aggies Head to Post Season

The UNM Lobos and NMSU Aggies are in the NCAA's postseason baseball tournament. The Aggies who took 3 out of 4 games from UNM this year head for Tucson to take on Louisville. Host team Arizona, which the Aggies swept in Tucson earlier this year, will face Missouri in the other bracket. NMSU earned an at-large invitation to the tournament after winning the regular season WAC crown.
UNM will travel to Los Angeles to play the University of San Diego on Friday. The winner of that contest will take on the winner of the UCLA vs. Creighton matchup. UNM earned an automatic spot in the 64-team field by winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

Share/Bookmark

Doña Ana County voting centers to debut in June election

Courtesy of Niki Rhynes
Las Cruces Sun-News Doña Ana County will showcase its first-ever at-large voting centers on June 5 —a change election officials say should benefit election-day voters. Under the new model, registered voters can visit any one of 39 sites throughout the county to cast a ballot tailored to their own precinct on election day. So, someone who lives in Chaparral, for instance, could vote in Hatch, if they're in the neighborhood. "You're never in the wrong precinct," Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said. Before, if a voter went to a polling place that didn't have his or her precinct, the person would either have to find the correct polling place and go there, or cast a provisional ballot — a type that's tallied separately from other votes in the days following the election. A down-side to some voters, however, could be that there will be fewer places countywide to vote. In past elections, there were about 80 polling sites, some of which hosted multiple precincts. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

4-H Rodeo Struggle

Courtesy of Jim Thompson
Albuquerque Journal (subscription) - A lack of major sponsorship and Expo New Mexico’s dismal financial condition mean the Bernalillo County 4-H Rodeo, for the first time in 55 years, will not be held in Tingley Coliseum. Instead, the 100 or so youngsters will compete in a one-day rodeo on Aug. 4 at the outdoor Heritage Rodeo Arena in Moriarty — about 35 miles east of the fairgrounds. “I’ve gone to a bunch of rodeos around New Mexico, and my favorite ones have been the ones in Tingley,” said 11-year-old Marisela Sandoval, a 4-H member from Bosque Farms who had been looking forward to competing there in August. “I’m disappointed they’re not going to have it there.” Marisela, who competes in barrel-racing, pole-bending, breakaway roping and goat-tying, said Tingley is a special place for budding cowboys and cowgirls. “During the State Fair, I see all the pros compete there, so it makes me feel special to be able to compete where they do,” she said. The 4-H fair will be held separately from the rodeo, from Aug. 8-11, at Expo New Mexico. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Tapia's death appeared inevitable

Johnny Tapia
KOBSunday night I heard the news longtime New Mexico boxing champ Johnny Tapia died.  I’ve covered Johnny Tapia’s career for the past decade and a half and news of his death was sad, but to anyone who knows his life, the ending to this story was unfortunately predictable. I don’t know if there’s anyone who had a tougher upbringing than Tapia.  When he was 8 years old, his mother was kidnapped, raped, hanged, repeatedly stabbed and died a couple days later.  To help fight that nightmare, Tapia turned to boxing.  Of his 58 professional wins, the one opponent he could never take down was his addiction to drugs.  Tapia lived like a guy who thought he had nine lives and wanted to use every last one of em.  He admitted to being dead several times from his drug use. He didn’t like being alone. Years ago Tapia once called me at work from a limousine because he just wanted someone to talk to.  I never found Johnny to refuse an interview or deny a fan of an autograph or picture.  Tapia was charismatic and a crowd favorite every time he stepped in the ring. Read More News New Mexico

Share/Bookmark

Attracting Films to New Mexico

NM Business Journal - Communities can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the film industry, which can be “big, inconvenient and omnipresent” for short periods of time, said Don Gray, locations coordinator for the New Mexico Film Office. However, making a community film-friendly can have long-lasting economic impacts, he added. The most important thing for community to do is identify locations film companies need. “I’m your used car salesman,” Gray quipped. “The more cars I have, the more likely I am to close the sale.” The Film Office has 60,000 photos on its database at www.nmfilm.com, but it always needs more, he said. Read full story here: News New Mexico
Share/Bookmark