Wild horses get mysteriously dragged away

From Capitol Report New Mexico - Gov. Bill Richardson’s proposal to spend $2.8 million on a land purchase for a wild horse sanctuary was supposed to come before the state Board of Finance on Tuesday (Nov. 16) but was suddenly and mysteriously withdrawn from the agenda.
This is the third time in as many months that the issue has been withdrawn. The board has the final say over whether the state will OK the purchase of the land for the construction of a horse sanctuary. A spokesman for the Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources refused to comment on the withdrawl and referred questions to Stephanie Schardin Clarke, interim director of the Board of Finance. Capitol Report New Mexico left a voicemail message at the board’s office early Tuesday afternoon. As soon as we get a response, we’ll pass it on. The wild horse sanctuary proposal has been a controversial one, with Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Lt. Governor Diane Denish coming out strongly against it. Just days after Richardson made the announcement, Denish told the Albuquerque Journal she thought it was a bad use of stimulus funds, given the state’s deficit. As Lt. Governor, Denish serves on the Board of Finance and went so far as to say, “Nobody I talked to said they were going to vote for it.” Incoming Gov. Susana Martinez has also expressed opposition. Read more

UNM's liquor license fight gets nasty

From KRQE.com - ALBUQUERQUE - UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs sent an email calling city councilors hypocrites for rejecting the school's plan to sell alcohol at the pit. The email was sent to the suite and club holders Tuesday morning. Half way down the long-winded letter is where it gets ugly. It states: "The hypocrisy (Isotopes park selling alcohol at 70+ events across the street) and shortsightedness that led to last night's decision is frustrating.” Monday city council said there will be no liquor sold at the Pit or University Stadium. The very next morning the email surfaced proving the topic is still not dead. In reaction to the email City Council President Ken Sanchez said it’s the university’s fault that fans are disappointed. He also said the word hypocrite should not even be used. “They may call us and say its hypocrisy with the council; I think it is arrogance on the part of the university,” Sanchez said. Sanchez said the university jumped the gun by getting fans hyped up about the new bar on the club level at the pit and by counting on it to bump up revenue before the school had a license. In Krebs' email, the athletic director cites liquor sales as a key part of UNM’s plan to pay for the $60 million pit makeover. He said the idea would enhance the sell of suites at the arena. As the city and UNM play the blame game lobo fans that’ve dropped $40,000 a season for a suite are left high and dry. Read more

Bikers Rally To Support Boy's Flag Display

From KCRA.com - DENAIR, Calif. -- A 13-year-old Stanislaus County boy at the center of a flag controversy got a big show of support Monday as many bikers rallied to his side. Cody Alicea was earlier told by Denair Middle School officials that he could not ride onto campus with a U.S. flag on his bike. The story has gained international attention, from Rush Limbaugh to soldiers in Afghanistan. The school changed its mind, and now Alicea can display the stars and stripes. Denair Unified School District Superintendent Edward Parraz said the campus recently experienced some racial tension. He said some students got out of hand on Cinco de Mayo. He said some students displayed the Mexican flag, while others displayed American flags. Read more

Adapting: Budget Numbers Grow Worse by the Day

Susan Martinez
From NMPolitics.net - Faced with a dramatically larger budget deficit than previously predicted, Gov.-elect Susana Martinez appears to be shifting her language about cuts to education and health care. Martinez said repeatedly on the campaign trail that she opposed any cuts to education and Medicaid. But at a news conference on Friday, she instead talked about protecting “classroom spending” and “basic health care for those most in need.” “Closing what we learned yesterday to be a half-billion dollar deficit is going to be a challenge,” Martinez said at the news conference. “During the campaign, we had deficit estimates that started around $80 million. Suddenly, we’re now at half a billion.” Read here:

Bingaman: Obamacare Ramrod Now Favors Tax Hikes

Jeff Bingaman
From The New Mexico Independent - In a conversation with New Mexico radio reporters yesterday, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, weighed on the idea that not keeping tax cuts in place for those with incomes over $250,000 would hamper economic recovery. Most economists don’t believe it would, he said. “Most economists I’ve heard from say that that’s not the case,” he said. “…clearly keeping taxes where they have been for the vast majority of Americans makes good sense in this economic downturn. And that’s what would be the case if we were to keep in place the tax provisions for everyone with up to $250,000 of income, that’s 98 percent of the population.” “The remaining 2 percent will of course get the same lower taxes for the first 250,000 of income they receive, but they would then pay higher percentage on income above that 250,000 and most economists think that would not be a substantial drag on the economy.” Read here:


Happy Meal Banners and Their Ilk

Mona Charen
From Townhall.com - What are we to make of Nancy Pelosi's home town's measure to ban Happy Meals? Shall we say that the San Francisco board of supervisors got a little carried away in their zeal to prevent childhood obesity? Or is it about time someone staged an intervention to shake Americans out of their sickening (literally) eating habits? Well, maybe, but not this way. When liberals unleash their coercive urges as the supervisors in San Francisco have done, even some Democrats -- notably the mayor -- are forced to protest. Would we like it if McDonalds changed its menus in response to social pressure and consumer demand? Yes. And by the way, that is happening. Customers at McDonalds can now choose salads, fruits, and quite tasty coffee in addition to the usual fatty fare. But that clearly didn't satisfy the food cops. Read here:

We Need an Entrepreneur President

Laura Hollis
From Townhall.com - Much has been made of President Obama’s reaction to the spanking American voters delivered in the November 2nd elections. Pundits argue alternatively that Obama doesn’t “get it,” that he is “in denial,” or that he is “too detached” to understand the message that the voters have clearly sent. Not for the first time, I have found myself thinking, if only this guy had some business experience. Not only because he doesn’t seem to have a clue how businesses create jobs – although that experience would certainly help in an economy with 10% unemployment – but because he doesn’t have a clue how a business becomes a business in the first place. Anyone who has worked with entrepreneurs knows that they often come up with clever ideas, nifty inventions, or cutting-edge technologies – ideas, inventions and technologies that fall completely flat in the marketplace because no one wants them, or understands what they do, or feels that they are enough of an improvement over the products the public has become accustomed to purchasing. Read here:


Vacation Report: No Signs of Recovery in Phoenix

We took a little three day excursion to Phoenix late last week. We have always loved watching live NHL hockey and with back-to-back games scheduled in Phoenix we thought it would be a nice post-election diversion. Or put another way, when we have had (temporarily) our fill of politics we news junkies tend to explore our other preference and satisfy our sports junkie appetite. What we found in Phoenix were signs everywhere that the economic downturn is, at best, scraping along the bottom. The signs were unmistakable. For starters we were able to secure rooms at a very nice hotel on Priceline at OUR price. We have found that usually, when the economy is healthy, our relatively low offers for rooms are rejected we are forced to pay the hotel’s asking price. When we got to the arena in Glendale on the west side of Phoenix we were shocked to see all the Calgary fans that had made the trip down to Phoenix.
Coyotes on the "Power Play"
No doubt the province of Alberta has a different attitude towards developing natural resources including oil and gas than we have had here in New Mexico for the last eight years. And thank goodness for the Phoenix economy there were plenty of Canadians there to spend money. Still, when the game started on Friday night the arena was less than half full. We have never seen a smaller crowd on a Friday night. As frequent patrons of NHL hockey in Phoenix it was a bit shocking to see. The Coyotes made the playoffs last year for the first time in several years and the 2010-11 team shows equal promise.
When the St. Louis Blues and the Coyotes played the following evening the crowd was similarly disappointing if not even smaller. No doubt the Missouri economy is not humming along like the economy in Calgary. There were very few Blues fans visiting. All in all for us a good time was had. The Coyotes won both games and the games were very entertaining.
Washington D.C. "Power Play"
But as we moved out of the area Sunday morning I could not help but think that the last thing the NHL team in Phoenix needs is the implementation of Obama-Pelosi-Reed Tax Hikes in January. NHL tickets appeal to relatively high end consumers but the fans spend money at shops and restaurants outside of the arenas. Higher end consumers in Phoenix are still showing severe signs of wear and tear in an economy sporting a 9.6% unemployment rate. Apparently the "stimulus" didn't do Arizona much good either. And by the way, we are no longer going to use the term "Bush Tax Cuts" to describe the current debate. Whether or not the delicate geniuses in Washington are going to reach into our pockets now that they have borrowed and blown for two years has nothing to do with the reset of tax rates that propelled the U.S. economy out of the Clinton/dot.com bust/9-11 attacks recession. That was then and the tax hikes looming are "now."


State office “supercomplex” on track, but new Gov will get final say

From Capitol Report New Mexico - Governor-elect Susana Martinez will get the final say on whether the state should go ahead with a land purchase that would lead to the development of a “supercomplex” to house various state agencies in southwest Santa Fe. The Las Soleras Land Acquistion – which makes up House Bill 728 – could cost more than $200 million to complete but Secretary of General Services Arturo Jaramillo argues that in the long-run, the state could save as much as $5 million-$6 million a year by placing six state bodies (including the state Department of Human Services and Children, Youth and Families Department) that are currently in different locations into one, centralized place. Critics counter that with Santa Fe office space already experiencing a vacancy rate of 436,000 square feet, the notion of the state buying and constructing a “supercomplex” doesn’t make financial sense. The matter came before the Capitol Buildings Planning Commission at the Statehouse Monday (Nov. 15) with a number of members expressing concern the plan did not give incoming Gov. Susana Martinez enough time to consider whether the Las Soleros deal is fiscally sound or not. In the end, Jaramillo offered a 90-day extension from the date of the plan’s approval so that the Martinez administration would have until approximately mid-February of 2011 to either accept or reject the agreement. That satisfied nearly all of the members, including Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) who joined a 12-1 majority to approve the final review of the project: Read more

School consolidation could stem from funding cuts

From KOB-TV.com - Consolidation may become reality for three school districts in Southeast New Mexico. A special meeting was held in Dexter Monday night to discuss the possibility of combining Lake Arthur, Hagerman, and Dexter schools into one district. Officials in Dexter are opposed to the idea because they say schools do a lot for rural communities. “The state is considering ways to fill the budget deficit and in doing that they are considering the small school size and district size adjustments which would, in affect, make us consolidate on our own,” said Patricia Parsons, Dexter schools’ superintendent. Dexter school officials believe cuts will be unavoidable at the state level, and believe it’s time to start educating parents about what schools may look like for next year. Read more