Rio Grande water restored to Albuquerque customers

From - (AP) - Albuquerque's water utility has resumed delivery of Rio Grande water to metro area customers. That's after tests showed the utility's treatment plant was successful at removing ash from flooded fire areas upstream. The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority had temporarily switched to using groundwater due to concern over the amount of ash in the river water. Thunderstorms over the area burned by the Las Conchas wildfire have sent debris flows and ash into the Rio Grande. The Water Utility Authority concluded after a Thursday test run that its water treatment plant was having no difficulty removing the small amount of ash now in the river. Read more

Home-Schooled Student Says She Can’t Get Lottery Scholarship

From KOAT-TV - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A home-schooled high school student said she was told to drop out of her diploma program and just get a GED in order to qualify for the state’s Lottery Scholarship. After four years of study in an accredited home school program, Jaclyn Page said she thought her 3.9 grade point average and high school diploma would lead to a New Mexico Lottery Scholarship. Because her diploma didn’t come from a New Mexico school, Page won’t be rewarded for her studies even though she’s lived in the state her whole life. While her mom said she’s ready to pay for Jaclyn’s education at the University of New Mexico, the recent graduate said it feels like she’s being punished for choosing an alternative way to get her high school education.Read more:
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes in all this drama about the debt ceiling:"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that any time there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress and Senate are ineligible for re-election."

Albuquerque man loses cash

From - An Albuquerque dad was in such a rush he forgot he set something very important on the roof of his car, he then drove away with it on there and now it’s gone. Jason asked us not to use his last name. Friday his luck ran out, the stay at home dad of two admits things were hectic that day, and he got caught up in the moment. “Bonehead move of the year. I was loading my children in the car and I put the money on the roof and drove off with it,” Jason said. The money was in a grey bank-bag, Jason said it had nearly $5,000 in it. He was heading to the bank and then to pick up some supplies. He said he is hoping someone else may have seen it and picked it up, but because he had no contact information in the bank bag, Jason said he realizes getting the money back is pretty unlikely, still he remains hopeful. Read more

Vote looms for a debt-limit deal

From the Washington Times - President Obama and congressional leaders late Sunday said they’ve settled on the outlines of a deal to raise the government’s borrowing limit, and will pitch the deal to their colleagues Monday to try to tamp down burgeoning rebellions among both Democrats and Republicans. “This process has been messy. It’s taken far too long,” Mr. Obama said at the White House in announcing the leaders’ agreement. “Nevertheless, ultimately the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise.” Already, though, pressure was growing from both ends of the political spectrum to reject the deal, and Republican leaders in the House and Senate both pointedly told their colleagues there is just a framework, and any final deal will depend on the reactions of rank-and-file lawmakers. Read more

Bloomberg News takes a look at Spaceport; Richardson says it’s his “legacy”

From Capitol Report New Mexico - A boondoggle or a blessing? Spaceport America generates plenty of debate. For the people of southern New Mexico, there’s a lot riding on its success. It’s early, but the results appear to be mixed as this week, Bloomberg News sent one of its reporters to Doña Ana and Sierra counties to take a look at the project championed by former Gov. Bill Richardson, who predicted Spaceport could create as many as 3,460 jobs in the area. So far, those projections seem overly rosy. But Virgin Atlantic says it’s already signed up 440 people to take suborbital flights at $200,000 a pop. Read more

State hitches extra cost to towing bills

From the Santa Fe New - A recent state Public Regulation Commission decision means owners of illegally parked cars will pay dramatically more if their vehicles are towed. And while those whose cars are towed without their permission will no doubt be unhappy about the higher bills, local wrecker company owners aren't all smiling about the change, either. The increase, which took effect in mid-July, raises some of the fees that towing companies charge. But it also does away with other fees, prompting groans from some operators who say they're trying to stay in business. Depending on the type of car, the new rates mean the cost of a tow truck hookup is between $55 and $75 more than it used to be. The new rates range from $100 and $225 to get connected, and other fees including mileage apply on top of that. The increase applies to nonconsensual tows, such as those ordered by police or by property owners who find cars illegally parked. PRC Commissioner Jason Marks said the industry has had the same rates for 11 years, so it made sense to allow the increase. Administrative fees rose from $10 to $25. But the ability of wrecker companies to charge other fees was taken away. Companies used to be able to charge different rates for day and night service, They also used to be able to charge for time spent waiting to tow a car, such as at an accident scene that needs to be cleared first. Companies also were able to charge for the use of a dolly to hook cars up behind tow trucks, and for flat tires that had to be changed in order to tow cars, Read more

While Congress Negotiates, Obama Takes Some Time Off to Raise Costs and Kill Automobile Manufacturing Jobs

President Obama's plan to double fuel efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025 received applause from environmentalists who have been pushing against the demands of consumer choice for decades. And why wouldn't they cheer?
During the two-year U.S. borrowing binge, normally "conservation oriented" radical environmentalists have cheered the accumulation of trillions in debt. They have cheered the way the new Obama-led EPA has set about the task of killing the coal industry and driving up the cost of electricity. And along with these job-killing efforts they also cheer the increasing prospects for more rolling blackouts. Blackouts kill jobs too.
Radical environmentalists have also cheered the stonewalling of domestic oil drilling everywhere. And with the blood of dead oil independence still wet on their hands, they call for America to reduce its foreign energy dependence. They have also cheered on wasteful taxpayer subsidies for ethanol, a policy that drives up corn prices and results in absolutely no reduction in net CO-2 emissions. There is so much more. They cheered when hundreds of jets landed in Denmark for a climate change conference to talk about how evil..... jet airplanes are. And they cheered again when every gas guzzling limousine within a hundred miles of Copenhagen had been leased by the most eminent "planet savers" so they could ride back and forth between their five star hotels and the meeting place, and pontificate on the evils of.....well.....of those damned gas guzzlers.
And so it was on Friday when President Barack Obama announced new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks at the Washington Convention Center that nearly everyone in attendance cheered. Hapless automakers, clearly under threats of additional regulatory harassment, had been strong-armed into agreeing to hike the average fuel economy standard to 54.5 miles per gallon over fourteen years. No doubt Obama's limo will get a waiver while all the little people are forced to ride in little cars. Still, there the president stood, in all his glory, having ignored all common sense calls to reign in his base. Since 2009 radicals with his ear have been successful in blocking efforts to produce nearly everything, everything except the most heavily subsidized and inefficient forms of energy known to man. The president smiled and congratulated himself for engineering what he called the, "Single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
With a couple trillion dollars of "stimulus dollars" all but down the drain Obama remains undeterred. With all of that taxpayer money that was central to Obama's big plan to hold unemployment at 8% and then lower it, Obama continued his to assert his historic obliviousness. As he spoke first quarter GDP reports were released that showed growth estimates for the first quarter of 2010 had fallen from a pathetic 1.9%, to an astonishingly sickening reality of .4%. Then later in the day White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had the gall to treat everyone in attendance to some economic tutoring. He did so while he explained why we had to borrow more money because we couldn't afford to have interest rates go up. Never mind the fact that rates were falling like a rock that day right under his ever longer nose.
The White House is right. The U.S. is running out of time. We are running out of the time we Americans and New Mexicans have to put some real authentic BUSINESS PEOPLE in charge of our nation. How many more job-killing policies can we afford? How long do we have to vote to completely discontinue this process of allowing inexperienced and naive social experimenters to destroy the living standards of 300 million-plus Americans in the name of "saving the planet" and "social justice." Not long.


The Week in Review

We began the week with a, “So what else is new,” story. No, it wasn’t about the federal debt ceiling fight. It was a story of the how the oil and gas industry in New Mexico continues to pay a large portion of our bills for us. Amazingly, certain segments of our political system continue to use oil and gas for their cars and trucks, cash oil and gas checks, spend oil and gas revenues, and brand oil and gas as evil. Biting the hand that feeds seems to be a favorite state and national past time.
The news spotlight continues to shine on two district court judges who find themselves under scrutiny in the state. Facing charges of rape in Albuquerque, Judge Pat Murdoch announced his retirement. And facing multiple felony counts in Las Cruces, Judge Michael Murphy was arrested on yet another bribery related charge late in the week. It has not been a good year for the news flow on district judges in the state.
Jan Goodwin
Speaking of bad news flow, the Education Retirement Board (ERB) has crammed twenty years worth of bad news into 2011. Earlier in the year, ERB head Jan Goodwin allowed as to how the ERB had issued a bunch of monthly checks for incorrect amounts all the way back in August of 2010, including one for about a quarter of a million dollars. She conceded she has not recovered all of those funds yet. This week, Goodwin allowed as how the ERB had cost itself over $700,000 when it prematurely terminated the contract of an asset management firm based in New York.
Goodwin said originally the ERB thought the early cancellation would “only” cost the ERB about $88,000. Later she said it was discovered that the ERB would have to pay the terminated firm over $700,000. Nobody, including Goodwin, stepped forward to take the blame for the latest “miscalculation.” In the wake of the latest revelation, many New Mexico-based asset management firms were left to lament how much they don't get paid to NOT manage a portion of the state’s ERB funds. And the state’s revenue coffers were left to lament how much the total cost is of outsourcing asset management services to non-New Mexico firms. It is also good to know UNM and NMSU are training finance students to find jobs in the asset management business.... somewhere else. (Full disclosure requires me to say I work, hire people, and pay all sorts of taxes in New Mexico through my owenership interest in an in-state asset management business.)
The Tea Party AKA the "Boogie Man"
We noticed a change in blame game tactics this week in Washington. It seems the so-called “Tea Party” has become the new boogie man of Democrats. We are told the Dems haven’t passed a budget in more than two years mainly because the “rich” need to be taxed more to save our country. Dems also say the Tea Party is ruining everything. Fortunately for NM House members Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan, the leader they voted for to guide them in the House in the wake of last November’s electoral wipe out, is still Nancy Pelosi. And former Speaker Pelosi is once again taking her powerful message to the New Mexico people, as well as the rest of the nation. Apparently Nancy, Ben Ray, and Martin want everyone to know they are fighting as hard as they can to keep us on the same path........even if the damn Tea Parties try to get the nation to change directions. Good to know.
Environmentalist radicals seem to have unfettered access to lawyers. And they had another good week in New Mexico. Once again the New Mexico Supreme Court provided the mercenary alarmists with “standing” in an action that will enable them to drive up the price of electricity and save the planet at the same time.
In another item of interest on the planet saving front this week, the City of Las Vegas, NM learned it cannot fix leaks in its water supply because it might disturb the habitat of the creatures that love the muddy mess below Peterson Dam. According to creature sensitive federal officials in the Obama administration, once Peterson Dam started leaking the city’s precious water supply, ownership of the water and control of the way the dam performs somehow magically transferred. Now the water needs of the human beings living in Las Vegas are secondary. The lawyers representing toads, tadpoles, and salamanders claimed the critters are now "owed" the water coming from the leaks. They are entitled to them because……get this…..they are "wetlands."
There was some very bad news for one planet saving “scientist.” This one had decided a few years back that his data proved that polar bears were facing extinction. Turns out he was placed on administrative leave this week in the wake of what looks like serious evidence that he “fudged” his data. Who’d have thought with billions of dollars in climate change research grants on the line that somebody would fudge data?
News late in the week told us what we already knew about the difference between Susana Martinez and Bill Richardson. State government is getting smaller under the leadership of Martinez. Observers believe that the lack of presidential ambition has made it unnecessary for Martinez to hire state employees to help with a huge out-of-state national campaign. The headcount in Santa Fe for those serving the governor’s office as “exempt” employees has already dropped 40% and figures to fall farther. How will she possibly manage?
And finally, the state is providing Medicaid benefits to those in New Mexico living as much as 235% ABOVE the poverty level. Now it looks like the federal government’s matching Medicaid dollars are sure to be reduced. Naturally, an “angry” crowd showed up at an Albuquerque meeting. They demanded New Mexico taxpayers be charged with making up the difference. Unfortunately, according to observers at the meeting, there weren’t many taxpayers at the gathering to argue for more self-reliance and fewer handouts. Most of them were at work pulling the economic wagon that those yelling at the meeting were sitting in.


More Wolf Protection Demanded

KOB TV - Now that state game officials have cleared the way for furbearer trapping to resume in southwestern New Mexico, environmentalists want the federal government to do more to protect the Mexican gray wolf. WildEarth Guardians this week asked forest and wildlife officials to reconsider a petition that seeks an end to trapping throughout the wolf's range in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Will St. Vincent Nurses Go on Strike?

KOB - TV - Christus St. Vincent union nurses are deciding whether they will go on strike Sunday in an ongoing battle with the administration. A contract between the two expires at midnight Sunday and if nothing is done, the nurses will take action. The union said they have already given up millions in worker benefits to hospital administration to make sure the nurse to patient ratio stays at safe levels. Contentious negotiations over the issue have been going on since April and the union said the out of state company that runs the hospital has been in the business of union busting. The union also said the reason they are fighting so hard is to make sure there is enough staffing to make the hospital safe for patients. Santa Fe Mayor David Coss along with several high ranking officials, including Speaker Ben Lujan attended Saturday's meeting to show their support. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Harbison: What is Your Mayor Doing?

Jim Harbison
The 79th Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors held its meeting in June 17-21, 2011 in Baltimore, MD. Mayors from across the nation attended and “represented” their cities. From my perspective I would say they misrepresented my values and supported positions I strongly oppose. The Mayor of Las Cruces was there and it is a good chance your mayor was a participant as well. The record of their proceedings can be found here.
These mayors get together each year to discuss issues and build consensus to formulate national policy initiatives. They are a powerful group that lobbies, individually and collectively, for more money for their cities. Money that by the way is collected from the tax payers. The resolutions they pass send strong messages to the U.S. Congress about the type of legislation they want to be passed and the social programs that should be retained or created.
I would bet you are unaware of some of the resolutions adopted during this last conference. Without going into great detail of all the resolutions contained in this 192 page document I will highlight some of those that impact our freedoms or property rights, increase government control or raise our taxes. Most of them can be directly linked to the social programs enumerated in the various chapters in UN Agenda 21. They cover nearly all aspects of our daily lives including open space, nuclear weapons, immigration, public funded housing, urban redevelopment, climate change and environmental protection, controls over public lands, educational policies, public transportation and high speed rail, restrictions on residential and commercial development, agricultural reform, electric vehicles and even red-light cameras.
There is a common trend in all the adopted resolutions. They propose expansion of both the national and local governments and greater government control over our daily lives. They are clearly designed to restructure America. It seems it will be impossible to satisfy the unquenchable demands for more of your tax dollars to support these programs. The “wealthy” middle class taxpayers will again be contributing a disproportionate share of the financial burden to support their mayor’s liberal policies.

They passed a resolution to implement the Dream Act expeditiously and adopt comprehensive immigration reform and asked for $1,825 billion next year for affordable housing. Another resolution assumes we are all advocates of the electric vehicle and willing to contribute significant taxpayer funding for research and development to get 1-million electric vehicles on the highways by 2015. They also requested $556 billion for high speed rail.
There were a host of climate change and environmental resolutions that each mayor adopted on your behalf including funding Climate Showcase Communities at $20 million per year.
Did your mayor seek your opinion when they voted to reaffirm the right of state and local governments to exercise liens or assess special taxes or other property obligations for energy efficiency improvements? I didn’t think so. And if the costs of goods and services weren’t high enough they proposed creating an Affirmative Sustainable Procurement Program where all products purchased will need a third party validated climate neutral certificate guaranteeing that there are no hidden carbon liabilities And lastly, I know we must be thrilled to know that our mayors recognized the vital work of United Nations Association of the United States of America in cities across America and encouraged us to become well-informed about international issues and how they affect our communities. Finally, something I can agree with. We all need to know what our mayors, as well as the United Nations, are doing to fundamentally change and dismantle our society.


Pearce Explains Reid Bill

Steve Pearce
Washington, DC (July 30, 2011) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce joined his colleagues in the House to vote down H.R. 2693, a debt limit increase proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Americans have been clear: no more budget tricks, no more accounting gimmicks, no more empty promises,” said Pearce. “Now is the time to change our course and get our debt under control. The American people said in November that they want change; they want Washington to stop spending money we don’t have. Today’s legislation simply does not show that Washington is listening. It contains accounting gimmicks to exaggerate its savings, and it does not provide the lasting, structural reform we need. The House has passed two bills for long-term debt solutions. Now is the time for the Senate and President to set aside party politics and join the House in finding a solution to our crushing debt crisis.”
While Rep. Pearce hopes an agreement can be reached before the deadline, he will not support a debt limit increase that does not include fundamental, lasting solutions to America’s debt crisis. Last week, he joined colleagues in the House from both sides of the aisle to pass the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011.” Yesterday, he voted in favor of another plan, the “Budget Control Act of 2011.” He encourages the Senate and the President to join the House in passing a plan for significant, long-term debt solutions.
“Job creation, not temporary cuts, will be the key to truly solving our national debt problem,” Pearce explained. “We need to reform the burdensome taxes and unnecessary regulations that are preventing small businesses across America from creating the jobs we need. Only by putting Americans back to work can we hope to truly solve our debt crisis.”
Rep. Pearce has been in active communication with constituents on the debt limit issue, including discussions at town hall meetings, email surveys, on Facebook, and through other interaction. On Thursday, he reached out to 40,000 New Mexicans through a telephone town hall meeting to seek further input. The vast majority of constituents on the call favored the House’s “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan that Rep. Pearce voted for last week, and nearly a third favored the compromise passed by the House yesterday.