Subpoenas likely soon in PRC impeachment case

From the Santa Fe New - The House could be asked by the end of the week to issue subpoenas for an investigation to determine whether Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. should be impeached for misconduct in office, lawmakers were told Tuesday. Former prosecutor Robert Gorence, who is leading the investigation as special counsel for a House impeachment subcommittee, told the panel it probably will take at least two or three weeks to gather evidence in the case. Gorence said he hoped to receive some information from the commission, the attorney general's office and the state auditor this week then will ask for subpoenas. The House can issue subpoenas during its special session. Block, an Espanola Democrat, is under investigation by the attorney general's office for possible misuse of a state-issued gasoline card. He has refused to publicly respond to the allegations and has remained in his $90,000-a-year job despite calls for his resignation, including by other members of the commission. Read more

Senate Panel Eliminates Spending for Obama High-Speed Passenger Rail Plan

From - President Barack Obama’s high-speed passenger rail initiative may go unfunded next year after a panel controlled by fellow Democrats approved legislation that contains no money for the program. The Senate Appropriations subcommittee that sets the Transportation Department’s budget approved the spending plan today. The full committee is scheduled to consider the bill tomorrow. The high-speed rail program is “a casualty of the cuts mandated in the debt-limit deal” Obama and congressional Republican leaders struck in August, Obama sent a budget to Congress in February requesting $8 billion next year and $53 billion through 2018 to provide high- speed rail service to 80 percent of Americans within 25 years. The Republican-controlled House’s transportation appropriations subcommittee, which adopted its spending bill Sept. 8, also didn’t fund the program for fiscal year 2012. The $447 billion jobs bill Obama submitted to lawmakers this month seeks to devote $4 billion more to the initiative. Read more

Solyndra execs will decline to testify at hearing

From Reuters - Sept 20 - Solyndra LLC's chief executive and chief financial officer will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and decline to answer any questions put to them at a Congressional hearing on Friday, according to letters from their attorneys obtained by Reuters. In the letters sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, attorneys for Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison and CFO W. G. Stover said they advised their clients not to provide testimony during the hearings. The bankrupt company's $535 million federal loan guarantee is being investigated by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Solyndra's offices were raided by the FBI two days after the company filed for bankruptcy, although the FBI did not say what prompted the raid. Read more

Some Layoffs Draw Headlines, Others Don't

Numerous media outlets reported this afternoon that the New Mexico State Personnel Board “voted” Tuesday to lay off 27 state workers, including seven people from New Mexico Magazine. It was also reported by A.P. that, “Union representatives asked the board to work to place the employees in other jobs,” instead of increasing the total on state's unemployment rolls.
Certainly these layoffs are bad news for the individuals involved and their families. There are already thousands of people desperately seeking jobs in the state despite the fact that New Mexico’s unemployment trend has been bucking the national trend for several months now.
This story and the widespread media attention prompts at least two questions about how much more operational reform is still needed at the state level. First, with tens of thousands of private sector workers in New Mexico dismissed by a reeling private sector over the last few years, why does it take a Personnel “board vote” for state worker layoffs in areas where ongoing operating losses at a magazine enterprise are huge? Private sector management teams also serve as “boards.” And private sector managers are truly sympathetic to anyone who loses a job.
State Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson
However, it is clear that any realistic business person, dealing with their own capital and cash reserves, will always act much quicker to make sure his or her entity survives. Naturally the unrealistic business people....lose their own jobs. Second, why do state worker layoffs instantaneously make statewide media headlines when private sector workers have been suffering the same fate? Are public employee layoffs and the resulting hardships more noteworthy? Are the managerial belt-tightening decisions mysteriously tougher because the workers aren't private? Of course new Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson inherited the financial disaster unfolding at New Mexico Magazine from Bill Richardson appointee and former Tourism Secretary Michael Cerletti. However, after seven months on the job……Ms. Jacobson and the "board" now owns the operating record at New Mexico Magazine.


Sanchez Says Borrow, Tax, and Spend More Won't Work

John Sanchez
Lt. Governor John Sanchez a candidate for the U.S. Senate issued the following press release on the latest jobs proposal from the White House. SANTA FE – “I am very disappointed in President Obama’s lack of leadership on the economic front. A tax increase of $1.5 trillion will further cripple the American economy and stifle growth and investment. I do not believe Stimulus 2.0 is the answer to America’s financial crisis. We need a commander-in-chief in this economic crisis, not a campaigner-in-chief. The President's first stimulus was one of the largest economic failures in American history, recycling the same old worn out tax and spend ideas is the absolute worst thing he could do to the economy. It’s time to repeal Obamacare, produce more domestic energy which will create jobs in New Mexico, and cut the corporate tax rate. Reforming the tax code, so it does not stifle small businesses should be the President and Congresses primary focus. Using tax increases, and specifically “carried interest,” as a mechanism to fund additional federal programs will not create more jobs or address the budget deficit. Carried interest is utilized to finance growth in the multi-family and commercial real estate market as well as for private equity. The President should look to capping and cutting federal spending while targeting waste, fraud and abuse to find savings in the federal budget. It is time for honest leadership in ways that get the government out of the way of entrepreneurs, small business owners and investors so they can create jobs in a predictable and stable economy free from unnecessary and outdated federal regulations.”


Photo-Ops - Investing: Why Taxpayers Got Killed on Solyndra

Obama "Touring" Solyndra
Townhall - by Eleanor Vaughan - A savvy private investment firm would certainly never rush the approval of a half-billion dollar loan in order to take advantage of a photo opportunity. Private investment insures accountability: invest in a business that suddenly goes belly-up and you lose your investment. When its your own money on the line, you do your homework to make sure you won’t lose your shirt. The private investor wants to make a profit and therefore looks for projects with good prospects of success. Taxpayers should keep this in mind the next time the President or another politician talks about making “investments” with taxpayer money. Do you really think that government is going to take the same care investing your money as you would? When it comes to energy policy, the United States desperately needs clean, reliable, domestic energy sources. From this source will flow new jobs, new wealth, reduced environmental impact, and independence from Middle East oil states. But incompetent investment by politically-motivated bureaucrats is not the way to achieve this goal. If America is to have a hope of green energy and jobs, it will be through private investment in promising companies and technologies – not through government officials playing high stakes roulette with other people’s money. Read full column here: News New Mexico

Solyndra and LightSquared Emails Emit Odor

The Hill - House Republicans say they have emails showing the White House pressuring Department of Energy bureaucrats to expedite the loan approvals, although the White House has argued that nothing improper occurred. Republicans have also charged that the White House pressured an Air Force general to revise testimony before a closed congressional hearing to aid LightSquared, a wireless start-up company. Emails between the company and the White House make mention of the fact that the company's CEO would be attending Democratic fundraisers in Washington, and administration officials met with executives from the company on the same day that CEO Sanjiv Ahuja wrote a $30,400 check to the Democratic National Committee.
The company is facing a tough regulatory road after initial tests showed LightSquared's technology had been found to interfere with military and aviation GPS. But both the company and White House have denied any influence-peddling. Although Issa did not specifically accuse the White House of wrongdoing, he suggested that government loan programs tempted corruption.  "This is another reason that crony capitalism … is dangerous, because they're going to pick winners that they ideologically, or in some cases because they support their candidacy, want to see win," Issa said. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Aggie QB Manley Out For Season

Andrew Manley
New Mexico State football coach DeWayne Walker announced minutes ago that starting quarterback, Andrew Manley is out for the remainder of the season after suffering an ACL injury in the 16-10 loss to UTEP last week. Manley was helped off the field in the fourth quarter after completing 20 of 37 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown in the rivalry game. On the season Manley connected on 57 percent of his passes for a total of 892 yards and six touchdowns through three games including the upset win at Minnesota in week two. The Aggies will turn to senior Matt Christian to lead the offense. Christian has starting experience from last year and led NMSU to a come from behind victory against San Jose State, who NMSU faces this week. contributed to this report.

Miller: Session Should Be Over

Jay Miller
Inside the Capitol - As we enter the third week of New Mexico's special session on redistricting, we begin to see some signs of life. Some of the easier bills are popping out into public view. The easiest bill is the one redistricting the elected Public Education Commission. The PEC is so inconsequential, it hardly exists. Its predecessor, the elective State Board of Education was powerful, indeed, making all the important decisions about education. But in 2003, newly-elected Gov. Bill Richardson convinced New Mexico voters that in order for him to make the bold changes that education needed, he must have the power to accomplish it. That fall, voters gave him the power on a bipartisan vote. An advisory elective Public Education Commission was created in order to make voters happy that they still had something to vote on – even though they never had been able to name a single member of the formally powerful board. As evidence of the new education board's inconsequential nature, often no one ran for some of the positions on the board. Sometimes positions would be filled by last-minute write-in candidates. A few years later, the board was given the authority to approve or disapprove charter schools. Now, at least, the board has an official duty. One wouldn't think that would be enough for map makers to make enough changes to carve two incumbents into the same district. But it happened. The oversight now having been corrected appears to be in sufficiently good shape to move along to the governor for her signature. Read full column here: News New Mexico


Agency’s excuse for withholding records is bogus

Dianna Duran
NMPolitics - Tax and Revenue refused in May to release documents related to the secretary of state’s claim about foreign nationals illegally voting, saying they were part of a police probe; we now know that police aren’t investigating, so that isn’t a valid reason to withhold records. I told you in June that the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department had largely rejected my request for records related the secretary of state’s claim that she uncovered “evidence” of foreign nationals illegally voting in elections. Tax and Revenue (TRD) cited the law enforcement exception to the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) to justify redacting e-mails between TRD and the secretary of state related to the situation, and to withhold all attachments. Those attachments included spreadsheets and other documents that Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s office compared with voter registration forms. The reason TRD refused to release them? “The Secretary of State’s Office turned this investigation over to the State Police, which is continuing the investigation,” TRD records custodian Patricia A. Silva wrote in her May 26 letter explaining that the records fell under the law enforcement exception to IPRA. But on Sept. 3, the Albuquerque Journal dropped a bomb on that argument: Read full story here: News New Mexico

Party Line Votes in Senate Re-Districting Plan

Chron - A Senate committee approved a Democratic-backed plan for revamping state Senate districts that will pit two Republican incumbents against each other in the southeastern corner of the state. The Rules Committee endorsed the plan on a party-line vote Monday night, with Democrats backing it and Republicans opposed. The measure goes to another committee for consideration, but Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said he hoped the full Senate will be able to debate the proposal Tuesday. Under the proposal, Republican Sens. Rod Adair of Roswell and William Burt of Alamogordo would end up in the same district. Read full story here: News New Mexico

The Politics of Re-Districting

Tim Jennings
Capital Report New Mexico - The chatter around the Roundhouse late Monday afternoon (Sept. 19th) concerned a report that Senate Democrats and Republicans have been working together (yes, strange but true) on a redistricting bill for statehouse races and the two sides are close to an agreement one senator said could garner as many as 35 votes — an impressive figure, considering the Senate is made up of 42 members. We’ll see if they can pull it off. One prominent senator told us, “the next 24 hours will be crucial” towards making a deal. Redistricting is always difficult but one of the major complicating factors this time around is dealing with the shifts in population. More people keep coming to the west side of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and parts of Las Cruces but the rural districts keep losing population. “The east side of the state is becoming practically vacant,” one senator told me. So while seats will be added in Bernalillo County, there appears to be no way around having to combine rural districts — and that means pitting one sitting legislator against another. “This is a hard time,” Sen. Tim Jennings (D-Roswell) said Monday. “Trying to come up with new legislative districts where you lose members and create slots for other people in other parts of the state is very difficult.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


Obama's Attack Watch Explored

IB Times - In an effort to rouse political fervor, President Barack Obama and his campaign team have released a gatekeeping Web site called "Attack Watch" to set facts straight. According to Obama for America national field director Jeremy Bird, offers "resources to fight back" against negative or untrue statements made by Republican and Conservative candidates. "When another unfounded attack surfaces, we'll arm you with the truth so you can share the facts with your friends and family," the Web site says, offering the capability to "report an attack." The Attack Watch Web site, with dramatic red and black lettering, has a separate Twitter account, @AttackWatch, pleading it is "fighting back with the facts." Attack Watch is similar to "Fight the Smears" released by Obama during the 2008 election, but with a more stagy tone. Read full story here: News New Mexico
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$3 of Tax Increases for $1 in Spending Cuts, President Obama Points to the Greek Economic Model

Washington Times - President Obama on Monday proposed a deficit reduction plan that calls for about $3 in new tax increases for every dollar in additional spending cuts as he seeks to put his imprint on the ongoing talks with Congress over reducing the government’s staggering debt. In a plan his advisers described as his ideological vision rather than a compromise offer to Hill Republicans, Mr. Obama also threatened to veto any plan Congress sends him that makes changes to Medicare benefits without also raising taxes on the wealthy, which he argues is central to a “balanced” approach. “This is not class warfare, it’s math,” Mr. Obama said in the White House’s Rose Garden as he laid out the outlines. “The money’s got to come from some place.” The White House argues his plan totals $4.4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years, though $1.1 trillion of that comes from savings on war-fighting expenses that all sides agree were going to happen anyway as the U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan shrink. Another $1.2 trillion has already been signed into law in last month’s debt deal and another $430 billion comes from lower interest payments because of the potential lower debt. Yet another $450 billion comes from the tax increases the president proposed last week — and has already accounted for in new spending he wants on infrastructure, and other tax cuts. Read full story here: News New Mexico