Priorities and Politican-Speak Santa Fe Style

News New Mexico has figured out what was sacrificed so that Governor Bill Richardson could divert federal stimulus funds into a ranch purchase. The money is going come out of the pockets of people who provide childcare for low income families in the state. See story on ranch purchase September 17, 2010 here:
From - On Monday September 27directed the Children, Youth & Families Department to extend child care assistance to 5,000 families that had been notified they would lose state aid next month. At the Governor’s direction, CYFD Secretary Bill Dunbar will take the appropriate steps to cut provider rates by 10 percent in order to save $6 million and ensure that families will continue to get child care assistance until the Legislature meets again in January. “Facing a drastic loss of federal money, combined with budget cuts mandated by the Legislature, I am still determined to provide families with access to child care during these tough economic times,” Governor Richardson said. “This effort will help working families.” There are currently about 25,000 children enrolled in the state’s childcare assistance program. Read more here:

2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra Retired

Rachel Alexandra, who was unable to return to her 2009 Horse of the Year form, has been retired from racing, her connections announced Tuesday afternoon. After winning all eight of her starts - including defeating males three times - as a 3-year-old filly in 2009, Rachel Alexandra won only 2 of 5 starts in 2010. Most recently, she was beaten one length by Persistently in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 29. Though she had worked three times at Saratoga since then - presumably to run in Saturday’s Grade 1 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park - owner Jess Jackson decided to pull the plug on Tuesday. "As you know, despite top training and a patient campaign, Rachel Alexandra did not return to her 2009 form," Jackson said in a news release. "I believe it’s time to retire our champion and reward her with a less stressful life. We are delighted that she will retire healthy and happy to our beautiful farm in Kentucky." Jackson said he would breed Rachel Alexandra to his two-time Horse of the Year Curlin next year. Read more here:

Interest Rates on Treasuries Continue to Fall

Treasury 10-year yields were within five basis points of the lowest level since January 2009 before a report this week that economists said will show manufacturing activity slowed. Five-year yields were close to the least in two years after the Conference Board said consumer confidence dropped more than economists forecast, spurring expectations the Federal Reserve will take further measures to keep borrowing costs low. The U.S. is scheduled to sell $29 billion of seven-year notes today, the last of three note sales this week totaling $100 billion. “The set of incoming data will show sluggishness in the U.S. economy, and bode well for bonds, supporting expectations for additional monetary action,” said Masashi Nakamura, a Tokyo-based economist at Mizuho Research Institute Ltd., a unit of Japan’s second-largest bank. “This will add to downward pressure on bond yields.” Read more here:

Morgan Stanley Institutes Hiring Freeze

Morgan Stanley, the sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets, halted hiring at its investment-banking group for the rest of 2010, a person briefed on the decision said. The firm ruled out layoffs through the end of the year, the person said, speaking anonymously because the matter hasn’t been publicly disclosed. Jim Wiggins, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment on the hiring freeze. He said the company intends to hire brokers for the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney unit, a joint venture with Citigroup Inc.
The freeze, which includes the New York-based firm’s sales and trading units, comes as weak trading and equity underwriting volume may lead the five largest Wall Street banks to post their lowest revenue from investment banking and trading since the fourth quarter of 2008. Bank of America Corp. is firing as many as 400 employees in its global banking and markets division, a person briefed on the matter said last week. Read more here:


CEO's Souring on Sales and Hiring

Chief executive officers in the U.S. turned less optimistic in the third quarter as fewer projected sales and hiring will improve, a survey showed. The Business Roundtable’s economic outlook index fell to 86 in the July-to-September period, the first decrease since the beginning of 2009 when the gauge dropped to a record-low of minus 5, the Washington-based group said today. Readings higher than 50 coincide with an economic expansion. The gauge fell from a second-quarter reading of 94.6, the highest since 2006. Read more here:

Consumer Confidence Lowest Since February

Mounting gloom over the outlook for jobs and wages caused American consumers to lose confidence in September, indicating spending will take time to recover. The Conference Board’s sentiment index declined to 48.5 this month, lower than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the weakest level since February, according to figures from the New York-based private research group today. Another report showed home prices cooled, hurt by a slump in sales following the end of a government tax incentive. Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the world’s largest economy, may be constrained by a jobless rate this is projected to average more than 9 percent through 2011. Best Buy Co. is among companies planning to use promotions to spur sales during the year-end holidays in order to overcome shoppers’ somber moods. Read more here:


Progressive Magazine's Obama/Biden Grievances

Obama told Rolling Stone that it’s “inexcusable” and “irresponsible” for Democratic voters not to turn out in droves on Nov. 2. “Buck up,” he said. And Biden said Democrats should “stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives.” But Democratic voters, and for that matter, progressive and independent voters, aren’t children who can be sent to their rooms without supper until Election Day. They’re citizens. And many of them are disillusioned with the Obama Administration, and for good reason. The progressive base has repeatedly been kicked by the Obama administration—from single payer all the way to Afghanistan. Progressives didn’t vote for more drone attacks on Pakistan. Progressives didn’t vote for giving the President the right to assassinate U.S. citizens.
Progressives didn’t vote for Obama to keep Guantanamo open, or to continue with kidnappings of people to Bagram Air Base, where they are deprived of due process. Progressives didn’t vote for Obama to let the FBI raid the homes of leftwing political activists. Rank and file Democrats, as well as Independents, can’t point to enough tangible things the Administration has done for them. Official unemployment, after all, stands at 9.6 percent. Real wages are down. Foreclosures are rampant. Read more here:


Williams - Cash Flow Dilemma

Armstrong Williams
Are banks and state governments unwittingly colluding to prevent millions of Americans from being able to afford to pay their bills or profitably run their small businesses? Several pieces of economic data have raised serious questions about the ability of a whole subsection of Americans and small business owners to take the first steps toward building wealth — namely, lack of credit. For many Americans, this will preclude their ability to meet short-term financial commitments let alone achieve long-term financial stability. What is driving these negative trends in consumer and business credit? It is the same banking regulators who are supposed to be looking out for and protecting consumers. In fact, the constriction of consumer credit is the product of banking regulators who have continued to add to the hurdles that banks must meet to make loans, including raising the banks' reserve requirements. As a result, it makes it nearly impossible for the banks to meet the credit needs of this growing population of Americans — nearly 100 million strong. Read more here:


Obama Campaigns for NM Democrats

From the Santa Fe New Mexican - ALBUQUERQUE — The White House billed it as a backyard visit in Albuquerque's south valley, a chance for a disabled Marine Corps veteran, his family and their neighbors to pull up a lawn chair and share concerns with President Barack Obama. But it sure sounded like a campaign stop to prop up New Mexico Democrats. Obama addressed about 40 people at the stucco-sided home of Andy and Etta Cavalier, speaking on the importance of education in ensuring America's economic future before taking questions from the group on matters ranging from immigration reform and veterans issues to why he is a Christian. In the audience were Gov. Bill Richardson, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., who suggested to Obama that he visit the semi-rural south valley, where a breeze smelled of alfalfa from an adjacent pasture and two horses grazed while the president spoke. Read more here:


Pet of the Week Highlight of Council Efforts

City Council work session meeting held on Monday, September 27, 2010
1. The pet of the week was presented. It was a RAT. Obviously our animal shelter has something for everybody.

2. Las Cruces Film Industry Update by Bill McCamey, Las Cruces Film Liaison Office. He gave an update on Las Cruces’ efforts to attract the film industry and believes we need to have equipment on hand to rent to the film industry. He is a one-man office and currently works 20 hours per week.
· Las Cruces is a great area, especially for western themed movies and he is working to get a Western movie back lot set constructed near the west mesa by the film industry without costs to the city. No one discussed the potential negative impact the proposed Wilderness Act may have on the film industry in our area.
· The International Film Festival has been pushed back to next summer.
· The City needs to procure ads (they are expensive) to promote Las Cruces as a film location
· Discussed the need for additional tax incentives and rebates to be competitive with other cities. Councilor Thomas thinks the film industry should be part of the City’s economic plan. Councilors Thomas, Connor & Silva want a citizen’s commission to assist the CLC Film Liaison office in attracting the industry.
· Lisa Strout, Director NM State Film Office commended the City for having a film liaison office. She mentioned that Santa Fe has three western back lot sets but that they are under snow in the winter so Las Cruces could be very attractive. She also believes additional financial incentives are necessary at the local levels and are successful in other cities. New Mexico is # 3 in film production behind Los Angeles and New York. There were 145 major film projects and 563 total film projects since 2005 resulting in multi-billion dollar revenue to the State. Her department is working to keep local Film & Digital Media Technology graduates here in New Mexico. There are currently more than 250 film specific businesses in NM.
3. Wounded Warriors Film Project – John C Muir, PhD discussed the Returning Veterans Film Employment Project. He and his wife both teach film industry related subjects at DACC & NMSU and want to create a clean-green film training program that is focused on disabled and women veterans. The program would provide job qualification and certification but not job positions. They want Council support of the program. Councilor Sorg said this concept fits into his vision of a diverse economy and increases median income. Interesting comment since there were no discussions on income opportunities or levels. Councilor Pedroza thought this was a good proposal because she gets many calls from women veterans. Mayor Miyagishima will try to help through other organizations and recognized the Vietnam veterans in the audience. Councilor Small thought that Las Cruces would become a hub for veterans organizations due to the NM Veterans Museum and its proximity to the nearby military complexes.
4. Smart Growth Initiative update was presented by City Community Development Director, Dave Weir.
· Las Cruces will continue to grow and compose half of Dona County population and that there is a connection between development and quality of life.
· He discussed the 10 Smart Growth principles and strategies. #1-Mixed land uses (zoning ordinances), #2- Compact building design (increased density) #3-Housing options (affordable low-income housing), #4-Create walk able communities (MPO, design standards, walking trails, streetscapes), #5-Foster attractive communities (overlay & historical districts, parks-recreation, median landscaping), #6 Preserving natural landscapes, open spaces & agricultural lands, #7-Direct development of existing communities (El Paseo, downtown, University corridor), #8-Variety of transportation choices (MPO transportation plan, bike lanes, El Paso-Las Cruces bus, walking trails), #9-Insure process is fair & cost effective for all stakeholders (Vision 2040 plan), #10-Encourage Public Participation (steering, advisory & Ad Hoc committees, coordination meetings, El Paseo project).
· Councilor Thomas made copies of the Smart Growth book she advocates available to the council members. She doesn’t see a City integration of transportation and economic development. She believes that “transportation is the backbone of smart growth” and feels future Federal transportation dollars will be tied to this integration. She wants a presentation by the El Paso City staff on smart growth as well as one from Los Alamitos Transit Authority. She wants to establish individual neighborhood identities. Why is she so insistent on changing Las Cruces? Is she ashamed of the city or its culture?
Councilor Small wants to support neighborhoods on how they want their community to look and stressed that development needs to be streamed lined. He supports Smart Growth and is concerned that Las Cruces is not a safe bicycle community and wants this addressed.
5. Revisions to Solid Waste Ordinance presented by Klaus Cameron, Manager Solid Waste. He listed four options for revising the solid waste policy of the city to address those who wanted to be able to suspend their service. He estimated that allowing suspension of service could remove up to 5000 customers from the service area and cost the City more than $370,000 every six months.
· Option 1: Continue the existing policy of not allowing any suspension of service
· Option 2: Allow a 4-6 month suspension but require a $50 fee to remove and re-issue trash containers. It would redistribute fixed costs to the remaining customer base
· Option 3: Require a minimum suspension of 6 months and require a $50 fee to remove and re-issue trash containers. The general fund would reimburse the enterprise fund.
· Option 4: Allow suspension of service and require a $50 fee to remove and re-issue trash containers. It would redistribute fixed costs to the remaining customer base.
· Current customer service department policy defines an “occupied residence” as one that has current gas and/or water service and occupied residences cannot terminate solid waste service. Councilor Silva wanted to know why the City could not use a subscriber system to track who had service. He was informed that it was too difficult for the City to manage even though commercial services have the ability to do so. He believes that in light of the recent addition of mandatory recycle service it is too early to understand the impact on solid waste and the wrong time to be changing policy. He also asked why customers should pay for a service they did not receive and that City services should be more customer oriented. Councilor Small and Mayor Miyagashima both expressed concerns that this was an economic issue and everyone must pay because the City depends on the revenue stream. Councilor Thomas stated that “if you afford more than one home you can certainly pay for garbage service” and would not support a suspension of service..
· The Council did not support any suspension of service and choose to continue with the current policy of option #1
6. Erosion Control Ordinance update was provided by Robert Kyle. He stated that the revised draft was nearly complete and anticipates it to be ready for Council review by the end of the year. It still needs to address unpaved roads and alleys, unpaved parking lots, and define City staff responsibilities. The next step is to put the draft out for public comment. Councilor Thomas stated that she had a list of the victims of dust control problems and insisted that they be a separate focus group for public input.
She understands that Tucson, Phoenix and Albuquerque/Bernalino County all have their own Air Quality Districts and wonders why Las Cruces doesn’t. She was informed that it is based on population. Councilor Sorg stated that we have a dust problem in the City and wants to see mitigation remedies and stronger Codes enforcement because the number 1 complaint in his district is lack of codes enforcement.
Mayor Miyagishima wants provisions in all general liabilities polices of developers to include dust mitigation provisions. There will be two demonstration/evaluation areas. One in District 5 in the Settler’s Pass area and one in District 6 on the Eddie Binns Diamond Springs property along Roadrunner Parkway. This demonstration will be monitored and evaluated jointly by NMSU and the City.


Dr. Terry McMillan to Appear on NewsNM Tuesday

Dr. Terry McMillan
In the 7:30am segment Tuesday we will visit with Dr. Terry McMillan. We will ask Dr. McMillan about his dreams for our state and what he thinks are the most critical challenges ahead. Visit his website here:

Debate Summary from Capitol Report

Diane Denish
From Capitol Report New Mexico - Democrat Diane Denish and Republican Susana Martinez met for their second gubernatorial debate on Sunday (Sept. 27) and while neither candidate committed any gaffes or delivered any knockout blows, both seemed more self-assured than at the first debate and each threw plenty of jabs at the other. The debate, in front of about 400 people at the Congregation Albert synagogue in Albuquerque, went on for just over one hour and can be seen in its entirety here, thanks to KRQE-TV, Channel 13.

Susana Martinez

Here are some of the highlights and, for what it’s worth, my analysis of the day’s back-and-forth: Jobs - Denish, who is trailing in the polls, came right out in her opening statement and hit two topics that she repeated throughout the debate: that Martinez is “fighting for big corporations” while describing herself as a job creator who knew how to run a small business. Martinez later responded by saying that government does not create jobs but that it creates “an environment for jobs” by devising policy that promotes growth. Read more here:


Black GOP Poised to Score Historic Wins

Frances Rice
Riding a fierce anti-incumbent wave, Republicans have an opportunity to make history by electing a record number of black conservatives to Congress this November. Fourteen black Republicans have received the GOP’s nomination in their respective congressional districts. If just three of them win, it would mark the first time since Reconstruction that more than two African-Americans from the Republican Party have served in Congress, according to The Frederick Douglass Foundation. "We're pretty confident that at least two of those individuals will make it for sure,” Dr. Timothy Johnson, co-founder of The Frederick Douglass Foundation, tells Newsmax. “And I'm looking upwards to as many as five or six. I could be surprised, it could be more." Many black Republicans eschew the hyphenated African-American modifier when describing themselves, emphasizing the point that they are first and foremost Americans. Read more here:

Baum: The "Contract" Revisited

Carolin Baum
A contract is a contract, a pledge just a pledge. If a contract can be abrogated when the political winds shift, what sort of staying power should we expect from a pledge? The contract I refer to is the 1994 Contract with America, a legislative agenda presented and signed on the Capitol steps 16 years ago by 367 Republican revolutionaries. It included eight major reforms and 10 bills, which the aspiring lawmakers promised to bring to the floor in the first 100 days if they became the majority party. (They did and they did.)The measures included a balanced budget amendment, term limits, tax incentives for small business, and Social Security, welfare and tort reforms. Read more here:


One More War - A Trade War

China may retaliate against U.S. businesses operating in the country if Congress passes legislation intended to force a revaluation of the yuan, representatives of those companies said. China “is looking for another bad guy” after decades of tension with Japan, Robert Roche, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said at a briefing in Washington yesterday. “We are going to fit that bill.” Read more here:


Dennis Prager: Observations on Party Loyalty

Dennis Prager
All Americans, including conservatives, understand why any leftist would vote Democrat this year. The Democratic Party is now America's version of a European Social Democratic or even Green Party. In domestic policy, there is no significant difference between the American and European parties. So there is no question as to why those on the left would vote Democrat. There is, however, a legitimate question regarding non-leftist Americans -- why would any of them vote for a Democrat this year? Read more here:


Politics Versus Gold

Thomas Sowell
One of the many slick tricks of the Obama administration was to insert a provision in the massive Obamacare legislation regulating people who sell gold. This had nothing to do with medical care but everything to do with sneaking in an extension of the government's power over gold, in a bill too big for most people to read. Gold has long been a source of frustration for politicians who want to extend their power over the economy. First of all, the gold standard cramped their style because there is only so much money you can print when every dollar bill can be turned in to the government, to be exchanged for the equivalent amount of gold. Read more here: