DA: Saggy pants, no big deal

KRQE-TV.com - A California District Attorney says there are bigger issues to deal with that carrying out charges against a University of New Mexico football player arrested after he refused to pull up his sagging pants. Lobo defensive back Deshon Marman was arrested last month after he refused to pull his pants up as he boarded a US Airways Flight in San Francisco. On Wednesday San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe dropped the charges against Marman, which included suspicion of trespassing, battery of a police officer and obstruction. “We have more important things to deal with in our criminal justice system here, and it is my belief that he spent a night in the county jail and has had to deal with all the publicity with this and I don't think any further action is called for,” Wagstaffe told KRQE News 13 Wednesday. Protesters gathered with the NAACP in San Francisco Tuesday to rally around Marman. His arrest sparked a national debate over appropriate airline attire, although many believe he was unfairly targeted because of his race. Wagstaffe says those claims are unwarranted. “The first two people to deal with Mr. Marman were two women, long-term employees of the airline, older women, who know the business, and both of them African-American. And so for people who don’t have awareness of the facts to throw out the issue is racism at the heart of what’s going on here are people I think are working without knowledge of the facts,” Wagstaffe said. While charges have been dropped against Marman, the case may not be over. Marman’s attorney in San Francisco says his client was falsely arrested and considering filing a lawsuit against US Airways because no apology has been issued. Read more

High water rates could force golf course to close

From KOB-TV.com - Sky-rocketing water rates could force an Albuquerque golf course to close. A group of state lawmakers and local leaders met on Wednesday to try to come up with a solution to keep Desert Greens Golf Course open, but some of the solutions could end up costing the owner even more money. Desert Greens owner Ronnie Meng said he could afford to have his rates double or even triple, but not quadruple. "I believe we're at the final hour here, I really do," said Meng. After 50 years, the Desert Greens Golf Course may close. Meng said in 2009 his water bill was about $130,000. Then the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority took over New Mexico Utilities. This year, his bill could reach $500,000. "They're one of the highest users, if not the highest of a golf course of its size in the community. The fact is that the system basically penalizes those that are high users," said Commissioner Michael Wiener. Wednesday morning's meeting was held to try and figure out a way to keep Desert Greens in business. "We're going to look at every possibility and we're going to try to work with the owner to explore those possibilities," said Wiener. Meng said he has tried to update several things including sprinkler heads, but was afraid to put too much into it if he was going to lose the course anyway. Read more

Democrats Try To Paint Misleading Picture Of Photo Voter ID Laws

Commentary by David Norcross - Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) may have admitted that "Jim Crow was the wrong analogy to use" for photo voter ID laws, but that didn’t stop Bill Clinton from making similar comments just one month later. Clinton made the outrageous statement that “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.” Clinton continued to incite young listeners at a Washington conference this July by deriding what he called the “disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time." Yes, photo voter ID laws have passed in Indiana, Georgia, Kansas, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas with Republican support, but the “passionate, determined effort” is coming from Democrats against such laws. Democratic governors in Minnesota, Montana, Missouri and North Carolina vetoed photo voter ID legislation passed by their state legislatures. Sixteen Democratic Senators including Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Department of Justice investigate whether state voter ID legislation violates civil rights laws. Democrats are trying to paint a picture of photo voter ID as a solely Republican measure aimed at keeping minorities, the elderly, the poor and college students from voting. But that’s simply not the case. Read more

Jacob Sullum column: Plane Truth

Commentary by Jacob Sullum - According to the White House website, President Obama enjoys the comfort and convenience of two "highly customized" Boeing 747s with "4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels," including " a medical suite," two galleys that "can feed 100 people at a time" and "an extensive suite for the President that features a large office, lavatory, and conference room" all at taxpayer expense. But as he proved at his press conference on Monday, where he once again inveighed against "these egregious loopholes that are benefiting corporate jet owners," Obama cannot stop complaining about other people's fancy airplanes. "You go talk to your constituents," the president recalled telling Republican leaders last month, "and ask them are they willing to compromise their kids' safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break. And I'm pretty sure what the answer would be." Obama objects to the fact that owners of corporate jets can write off the cost of their purchases over five years instead of the seven required for commercial aircraft. If this policy continues, he warned at a press conference two weeks ago, "it means that food inspection might be compromised," along with college scholarships, medical research, the National Weather Service and Medicare. The revenue to be gained from a slower depreciation schedule for corporate jets, writes The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, is "so small the White House could not even provide an estimate." Read more

Unknown Unknowns

Commentary by Dr. Thomas Sowell - When Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense, he coined some phrases about knowledge that apply far beyond military matters: there are some things that we know that we know "known knowns." We may, for example, know how many aircraft carriers some other country has. We may also know that they have troops and tanks, without knowing how many. In Rumsfeld's phrase, that would be an "unknown known" -- a gap in our knowledge that we at least know exists. Finally, there are things we don't even know exist, much less anything about them. These are "unknown unknowns" -- and they are the most dangerous. We had no clue, for example, when dawn broke on September 11, 2001, that somebody was going to fly two commercial airliners into the World Trade Center that day. There are similar kinds of gaps in our knowledge in the economy. Unfortunately, our own government creates uncertainties that can paralyze the economy, especially when these uncertainties take the form of "unknown unknowns."The short-run quick fixes that seem so attractive to so many politicians, and to many in the media, create many unknowns that make investors reluctant to invest and employers reluctant to employ. Politicians may only look as far ahead as the next election, but investors have to look ahead for as many years as it will take for their investments to start bringing in some money. The net result is that both our financial institutions and our businesses have had record amounts of cash sitting idle while millions of people can't find jobs. Ordinarily these institutions make money by investing money and hiring workers. Why not now? Because numerous and unpredictable government interventions create many unknowns, including "unknown unknowns." The quick fix that got both Democrats and Republicans off the hook with a temporary bipartisan tax compromise, several months ago, leaves investors uncertain as to what the tax rate will be when any money they invest today starts bringing in a return in another two or three or ten years. It is known that there will be taxes but nobody knows what the tax rate will be then. Some investors can send their investment money to foreign countries, where the tax rate is already known, is often lower than the tax rate in the United States and -- perhaps even more important -- is not some temporary, quick-fix compromise that is going to expire before their investments start earning a return. Read more

Alb. Fire Marshall: Sprinklers Needed in Restaurant Freezers

From firerescue1.com -Those on either side of a city ordinance are like fire and ice when it comes to whether it makes sense to require sprinklers in walk-in coolers of restaurants.  Albuquerque Fire Marshal Victor Marquez said the fire code adopted by the city in 2005 requires taverns and bars, nightclubs, banquet halls and restaurants over 5,000 square feet or with an occupancy of 300 or more to have sprinklers "in all spaces." "All spaces means all spaces, whether it's a storage space or walk-in cooler," Marquez said. Business owners have said the full retrofits, including coolers and freezers, would cost between $60,000 and $100,000. Wight says a member was recently required to install a fire suppressant sprinkler in a walk-in freezer, at a cost of $2,000. The member was not named in the letter. "The cost may keep the employer from hiring another employee, or he may have to raise prices," she said. "The unintended consequences may be that the owner finally gets fed up and decides that it is not worth it to do business in Albuquerque.  More News New Mexico

Southern Farmers Say NO to a Water "Loan"

Elephant Butte Dam
Santa Fe New Mexican - ALBUQUERQUE — Fears of having the shortest irrigation season on record are coming true for thousands of farmers who depend on the lower Rio Grande to water their crops as a persistent drought refuses to release New Mexico from its grip. The New Mexico Compact Commission had offered to loan water to the Elephant Butte Irrigation District to extend the irrigation season, but the district's board of directors recently declined the offer. District Manager Gary Esslinger said Wednesday that the district appreciated the state's efforts to find "a creative solution," but the deal wouldn't be in the best interest of family farmers throughout the valley. "We don't want to obligate our constituents to a future water debt especially in these uncertain times," Esslinger said. The loan program would have allowed farmers to borrow from New Mexico's accrued water credits in order to have another few weeks of water, but they would have had to pay back the water at the beginning of next year. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Moore Heads up Martinez Office in Washington

Brian Moore
Roundhouse Roundup - One of Gov. Susana Martinez's deputy chiefs of staff is heading to Washington, D.C. to head the governor's branch office in the nation's capitol. Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell confirmed that in an e-mail. Moore's transfer was first reported by blogger Joe Monahan, Moore, a former legislator from Clayton, "will work regularly with the staffs of our congressional delegation, as well as federal agencies when necessary and the National Governors Association," Darnell said. "His office will ensure communication and coordination on the many issues that affect New Mexicans that have federal and state components." Read full story here: News New Mexico


Wilson Doesn't Agree with "some" aspects of Ryan Budget Plan

Heather Wilson
NM Independent - Heather Wilson, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate — and former colleague of Rep. Paul Ryan — continued to sidestep questions about his budget plan Friday in an interview with Politico: “I’m not in the House of Representatives. This is not something that I have to vote on. I don’t agree with some of the things in his budget plan,” said the former congresswoman, now taking her second shot at the upper chamber. “There are a lot of things in there that cause some concern.” Her primary opponent, Lt. Gov John Sanchez, has also declined to support the Ryan plan in full. The most controversial part of the plan converts Medicare into a voucher program for private insurance. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Harbison: Restore Voter Confidence

Jim Harbison
I was pleased to see the Sun News recent support for Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s investigation of potential voter fraud. What started out as a few incidents has now grown to more than 64,000 cases. The perception of voter fraud that disenfranchises anyone is disturbing and it increases the lack of confidence in the integrity of our election process. Any investigation must be non-partisan and I think most of us agree the State Police is the appropriate agency to investigate it. Like most New Mexicans, I am very interested in what the state police will find and hopefully nothing will be “swept under the rug.”
Dianna Duran
Unfortunately, our election laws are so lenient it is impossible to detect the depth of the fraud that may occur during any given election. Our voter registration process is a joke. Those registering to vote do not need to present any form of identification and they can simply make up a Social Security number, name, address, and age. We know that fictitious voters have registered because county clerks occasionally catch them. Unfortunately, the odds of being caught are profoundly in favor of those who want to cheat and prosecution is rare.
Dianne Hamilton
Having worked at the polls I am convinced fictitious people have voted. Friends who also worked the polls commented that when they asked for the year of birth, some voters have had to guess multiple times. Even if it took 10 tries to get it right, our laws demand they get a ballot. It makes me wonder if someone doesn’t know the year they were born if they should be voting.
We know election fraud occurs because the perpetrators have become careless. Across the nation groups have been found to have registered non-existent people. Unfortunately, a well organized group, keeping accurate records of the mythical voters they registered, and intent on influencing an election, could cast countless fraudulent ballots without detection. There is simply no way currently to catch them.
What is most disturbing about the voter fraud question is the contempt Democrats seem to have toward the public. They indignantly demand absolute proof of voter fraud and yet oppose Voter Photo I.D. Their opposition continues to make it even easier to cheat and undermine the integrity of our election process.
Legislation is submitted by Democrats nearly every year to allow people to register without ID and enable same day voting. Democrats have repeatedly claimed that simply producing a bank statement or a utility bill should be enough to safeguard our elections. Oh, really? Using today’s technology it is easy for anyone to produce counterfeit statements, bills, or even birth certificates on a home computer. Using these phony documents individuals could complete multiple illegal registrations and vote in different precincts with impunity. With our extended early voting period, a tremendous amount of damage could be done to undermine any election.
Victor Contreras
I have long been a supporter of Hispanos Unidos, a non-partisan Dona Ana County based PAC that runs commercials statewide telling their fellow citizens of the crimes committed against our democracy by way of voter fraud. Victor Contreras, the chairman of the group, has become a good friend. Recently he told me, “The people of New Mexico are wonderful, Jim. They hear us and are joining our fight for fair elections.” Recent polls show that now more than 85% of our electorate want a photo ID requirement at the polls.
State Representative Dianne Hamilton, from Silver City, has introduced legislation for three years in a row requiring a photo ID at the polls to insure fair and clean elections. Her bills have always provided that a citizen who doesn’t have a photo ID and can’t afford one will be provided one free of charge by the state.
Sadly, she has been verbally attacked on the House floor, maligned by the liberal media, and accused of lying about the need for election reform. I applaud her for her courage and commitment to all New Mexicans as she continues to travel around the state articulating the need for photo ID at the polls. At this point, voters no longer have confidence in our election process. Our voter rolls are inflated with deceased voters, people who no longer live in our state and non-existent people. No effort will totally eliminate this problem. Voting is one of our most important and sacred freedoms and Voter Photo I.D. is not only reasonable but necessary.


Columbus Shuts Down Police Department

From reuters.com -  A tiny New Mexico border town where three top officials were charged with running guns to warring Mexican drug cartels has dissolved its police department, authorities said on Tuesday.  Village trustees in Columbus, N.M., citing a lack of funding, voted at a council meeting on Thursday to get rid of the town's three-person police department and other city services.  More News New Mexico

NM Business Environment: Room for Improvement

Capitol Report New Mexico - Susana Martinez and her new administration have been touting that “New Mexico is open for business.” Well, it appears there is plenty of room for improvement because a recent survey of the Best/Worst States for Business sees New Mexico dropping from 29th place among the nation’s 50 states down to 32nd. The poll was compiled by Chief Executive Magazine, which surveyed 500 chief executive officers around the country who “considered a wide range of criteria, from taxation and regulation to workforce quality and living environment.” A close look at the numbers provides a mixed bag for the Land of Enchantment. On the positive side: Read full story here: News New Mexico

Obama Says He Will Not Pay Social Security First

On Tuesday President Obama said Social Security benefit checks might not go out if he is not allowed to borrow above the government’s current debt limit. “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on Aug. 3 if we haven’t resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it,” he told CBS News.
We did some quick math on the president's claim about having enough money and realized that the government will in fact have much more revenue than what is required to issue social security checks.
It would seem that though it would not play quite as effectively politically let alone get the phones ringing in his opponent's congressional offices, a more accurate statement from the president would have been, "Since it looks like I can't get my opponent to raise income taxes on job creators, and I don't have enough money to fund all the other programs I like, I am now going to threaten NOT MAKE the issuance of social security checks a priority." Come early August, the Obama administration looks like it is going to have to make choices according to importance. Take a look at the Citizens Against Government Waste "Pig Book" for 2010. There has been no action on these programs. Apparently senior citizens make better hostages in negotiations for piling tax increases on job creators.