Single-engine air tankers battle blazes

NewsNM - Swickard, we celebrate the pilots who risk their lives along with all fire fighters. Thanks! From - The Swallow Fire that burned nine homes in Ruidoso could have been a lot worse, according to fire officials. All the ingredients of another White Fire, which burned more than 10,000 acres, were there. But firefighters got some help from above, and helped turn the tide to save more homes than were lost. Two 1,300 horsepower single-engine air tankers, or SEATS, sit at the Sierra Blanca Airport near Ruidoso waiting for the call. Crews are expected to be airborne within 15 minutes. On Thursday, the call came in around 2:30 for the Swallow Fire when it started about eight miles away. Pilots suited up, ground crews filled up and in less than 10 minutes, the planes were en route. Hundreds of gallons of fire retardant began raining down on the fire line. SEATs can carry as much as 800 gallons of retardant. With cockpit controls, pilots have pinpoint accuracy, and can decide how much is dropped in one pass. The planes can maneuver around personnel and target structures to help protect lives and property. The SEATs have been placed at a number of airports around New Mexico and can provide air support anywhere in the state within minutes. Read more

Tailgaters (the bad kind) beware: RRPD is watching

From the Rio Rancho Observer - Rio Rancho Police recently conducted a study involving the major causes of crashes over a six month period. In that time, at least 50 percent of the crashes, about 300, involved drivers who were following too closely. This is significant because most of the crashes could have been avoided. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) previously came up with guidelines for safe following distances. The three-second rule was adopted as a National Standard. The rule is a simple way to double-check driving at a safe following distance. To do this, simply choose a fixed point that is even with the car in front of you like a road sign or a building. If you reach that same fixed point before you can count to three, then you are driving too close to the car and you need to fall back a bit. (NewsNM Swickard, Yes, four cars will pull into the gap one after another, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did the right thing, eh?) Officers will target peak traffic volume and density locations, complaint areas and areas where statistical data revealed a high propensity for following too close and inattentive driving collisions. Officers will use LIDAR (Laser Radar) equipped with the Distance Between Cars (DBC) function to measure following distances of motorists in target areas. Citations will be issued for, but not limited to, following too close, aggressive driving and speeding... Read more

Taken for a ride? Police department's squad car take-home policy raises questions

From the Santa Fe New - by Geoff Grammer -Though Santa Fe Police Department officers spend their work hours patrolling the City Different, when they punch the time clock at the end of the day and drive home, the vast majority of them leave Santa Fe. In fact, just 34 of the department's 154 sworn officers actually live in the city they are paid to serve and protect. The other 78 percent live outside Santa Fe, with most of those officers residing outside Santa Fe County in Rio Rancho, Pecos, Albuquerque and even Las Vegas, N.M.
Note: there is an editorial about the lack of affordable housing sending the police to live out of town. It is also in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Since anyone can seem to remember, the police department has allowed officers to drive their city-owned police cruisers from home to work on the city's dime. It wasn't until the perfect storm of rising home costs and a recruiting crisis hit the department in 2003 that the force extended its vehicle take-home policy to 60 miles outside city limits, opening the doors to potential cadets living in the Rio Rancho and Albuquerque areas. While nobody is suggesting the benefit be eliminated, many are saying the policy in its current form is far too generous, too costly — especially as scrutiny on city spending increases — and is defeating its original purpose of providing a visible police presence in neighborhoods around Santa Fe when officers are off-duty. Read more

Billboard hearing held

(NewsNM - Swickard) We only have real first amendment rights when what is written or said causes people to scream. Is the billboard covered by the First Amendment? We shall see.
From the Alamogordo Daily News - For now, Greg A. Fultz's anti-abortion billboard will remain posted on White Sands Boulevard. That could change if 12th Judicial District Judge James W. Counts signs a recommendation forcing Fultz to remove it. Fultz was verbally ordered to remove the sign before Friday's hearing by the Domestic Violence Court Commissioner Darrell N. Brantley on June 1.
The billboard first came under fire when a Right to Life New Mexico representative said they asked Fultz to remove their endorsement of the billboard prior to it being displayed on Alamogordo's main thoroughfare. The billboard depicts an Alamogordo businessman, GEFNET owner Fultz, 35, holding what appears to be the outline of a baby in his arms as he is looking down at it. Next to the picture, in large print, is the statement, "This Would Have Been A Picture Of My 2-month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To Not KILL Our Child!" The billboard has drawn national attention. Read more


Arizona’s Undeclared War: The Desperate Need for Market Driven Management

From the Westerner - By Stephen L. Wilmeth - From the news this week, it was clear that Arizona is on its own to resolve the issues that are ravaging its resources and decimating its civil union. Its border is the most dangerous border in the world, and two of the fires burning in the state are the first and third largest fires in state history. One of those fires, the Horseshoe II Complex in southeast Arizona in the Chiricahua Mountains, was likely started by illegal aliens. The common theme of the debacle is the fact citizens of Arizona have little private dominion. Government controls the state. It controls their lives. Government, in one form or another, owns 85% of the state. Today, the logging enterprises of the greater Southwest are almost a thing of the past. When asked what caused the Wallow Fire, the Forest Service indicated an unattended campfire. The fact is the fire danger in Arizona and across the West is the result of the ongoing and cumulative effect of massive fuel buildup. Fire has been suppressed and historic private enterprises that effectively reduce and remove dangerous fuel supplies have been vilified, suppressed, reduced, and evicted from federal lands. The total elimination of grazing with complexity (sheep and goats), the dramatic and systematic reduction of cattle grazing, and the wholesale elimination of logging have consequences. When these methods of fuel reduction are reduced or eliminated in the face of natural fuel expansion, large fires will and do occur! Western states must find, elect, and field leaders who recognize the insanity that has been heaped upon our landscape and is being manifested in the scourge of Arizona. Something must give and it can no longer be the citizens and the communities that have been altered and debilitated by the federal actions that are destroying the very resources they are pledged to protect. The current events also remind us there is an overlooked value that should be added to the Declaration of Policy of the management of these lands. That value is the promise of national security on our borders. That value must take precedent over any and all values. Without it . . . failure is assured. Read more

The Heat is Growing for Gary King

Gary King
 From -The criticism of Attorney General Gary King is building. On Sunday (June 19), the reliably Democrat-friendly editorial page of the Santa Fe New Mexican published a harsh review of King’s performance, saying the AG “has been dragging his public trust to political depths previously unplumbed.” Wow. King has been getting especially rough reviews for his performance — or lack thereof — in handling a number of high-profile cases as well as his seemingly tense relationship with another Democrat, state auditor Hector Balderas. More News New Mexico

Weiner and the Muslim Brotherhood

From - Far more disturbing than the salacious details of Weiner's dalliances is the fact that apparently his mother-in-law is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, Huma Abedin's brother, Hassan, "is listed as a fellow and partner with a number of Muslim Brotherhood members." Hassan works at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) at Oxford University. The Egyptian Al-Azhar University, well-known for a curriculum that encourages extremism and terrorism, is active in establishing links with OCIS. Saleha Mahmoud Abedin, a professor in Saudi Arabia "belongs to the Sunni movement's women's division known as the Muslim Sisterhood." During the recent uprising in Egypt, which resulted in Mubarak's removal, "a special women's unit within the Muslim Brotherhood served as 'mules' to deliver messages and acted as messengers for the terrorist group." More News New Mexico

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all of our fathers out there. We at News New Mexico appreciate your hard work and dedication to your families and we hope you have a wonderful day. I would also like to wish a Happy Father's Day to our one and only Jim Spence!

The Week in Review

We began the week learning how easy it is to cut spending. Apparently out of state travel by state legislators fell by more than 50% after rules on reimbursements for most trips were tightened up. If only legislators realized that taxpayers want them to treat our money the same way they treat their own when they feel that getting reimbursed is in jeopardy.
Two weeks after businessman Larry Link was murdered in the boot heel region of the state there were no suspects in custody. While the southwest corner of the state is not as bad as the Tucson sector in terms of border security, (400,000 illegal aliens crossed in the Tucson sector last year) it is an area where frequent drug drops and human smuggling activities overwhelm out manned border agents. This is a fact regardless of who killed Larry Link.
President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi
A couple of years after nearly a trillion dollars in federal stimulus spending was supposed to keep the nation’s unemployment rate at “no higher than 8%,” President Obama snickered during a “jobs conference” this week.  The good laugh came as Obama conceded that some of those stimulus projects were not quite as “shovel ready as we expected.” Those who have watched government with an objective eye, particularly as it has tried to do anything in a timely manner, never shared the president’s expectations or his amusement at his own miscalculations.
Bill Richardson
Bill Richardson was back in the news this week on the New Mexico Watchdog website. In doing a study many have been demanding for quite some time, the Watchdog said: “Members of the Richardson-era judiciary on average paid more than four times as much in political donations during recent years, compared to the recent political donations of long-time judges who remained through the Richardson era.” And in an unrelated story Susana Martinez made two judicial appointments this week.
What our U.S. senators say about the need to cut spending is one thing. How they vote when offered a golden opportunity to cut spending is another. Senators Bingaman and Udall always manage to cast a “yes” vote for any measure that will cripple the oil and gas industry in New Mexico. However, they both voted against eliminating costly ethanol subsidies this week. Accordingly, billions of dollars will continue to be handed out by the federal government to ethanol producers.
Susana Martinez
Speaking of spending cuts, Governor Susana Martinez took a knife to the bloated education bureaucracy in New Mexico only to have her actions labeled as “retaliation” by public union activist Michelle Lewis. Saying she thought her layoff was intentional but had no proof, the comments by Lewis were tame when compared to the comments made in New Jersey this week. A union boss in the Garden State called New Jersey’s Governor “Adolf Christie” and compared the union’s working conditions to those in Nazi Germany.
We found it somewhat ironic that health care workers in Santa Fe at St. Vincent’s hospital prepared for a possible strike this week. They did so as activist progressives in and around the state capitol continued their fight to make health care a basic right. These two developments seem to set up a collision course. Who will win the battle between those demanding the right to strike and those demanding the “right” to obtain services on demand from striking health care workers? Our guess is the lawyers will win and the taxpayers will lose. Sound familiar?
Agent Brian Terry
The most dumbfounding story of the week had to be the failure of the U.S. government to halt arms sales to drug cartels. The problem was the sales were taking place right under federal government official’s noses. The explanations made by bureaucrats in Washington to questions on this sad incident were befuddling. Expect more blame shifting and denials as investigations into policies that actually led directly to these weapons being used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry continue. No doubt those responsible for this blunder already have their “shovels ready.”
John Arthur Smith
Senator John Arthur Smith said it all this week after hearing a lame explanation of why outrageous over payments made in error by New Mexico’s ERB were not reported or recovered in a timely fashion. “There’s a time-frame gap there that is hard for me to accept,” Smith said to ERB boss Jan Goodwin. We can only wonder how long it would take for the state to be made whole on a fiasco like this one if the benefit administration process had been outsourced to a private company. And we can only imagine the outrage of those who regularly offer excuses for bureaucratic blunders.
Rail Runner
And finally, we must recognize the Rail Runner as a perfect symbol of the excesses and grandiose central planning schemes of our state government during the Richardson administration. This week bureaucrats in charge of what should have been named the "white elephant" announced plans to eliminate weekend service later this summer. Take heart. The gargantuan investment and huge operating losses sustained by N.M taxpayers via the Rail Runner will remain. It is only any semblance of customer-oriented service that is going to disappear.


Weekly Newspaper Folds After 45 Years

From -After more than four decades, El Hispano News has published its last weekly issue. Owner Angel Collado says he started the paper with just $100 in 1966. He told Albuquerque TV station KOB that he couldn't afford to keep the Spanish newspaper running. Collado blames the recession and declining ad revenues. The paper was published out of Albuquerque. Collado is a World War II combat veteran who started up El Hispano because of a need for a Spanish newspaper in New Mexico. More News New Mexico