A point of light needed instead of the usual politics

by Michael Swickard - “There is a point when you cannot walk away, when you have to stand up straight and tall and mean the words you say. There is a point you must decide just do it ‘cause it is right.” Randy Travis - Governor Susana Martinez must stand up straight and tall and mean the words she says. New Mexico needs someone to do what is right despite the anger it may cause. In the first year of her first term, it is time for Governor Martinez to serve the people and not do politics as usual. She must be a point of light.What New Mexicans saw during the recent special session for redistricting of the New Mexico Legislature was totally unacceptable. The legislature once again met and intentionally did not reach a conclusion so they could pass their responsibility to the judiciary. There is never a time when one branch of state government is supposed to punt their responsibilities to another branch of the government. The Governor needs to do something difficult and do it because it is right and not back away even though it will infuriate the members of the legislature.She must not allow the legislators to do business as usual and then go home. They must be called back into session and kept in session until they act responsibly. They will resist and posture and blame. Eventually, though, when they realize the Governor will not back down they will do their duty. Read column

Feds:Medical Pot Smokers Cannot Purchase Guns,Weapons

From newmexicoindependent.com -Though medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico, the drug is still regarded as an illegal scheduled substance by the federal government. Given the federal government sets the rules on who can own guns, medicinal marijuana smokers of this state and 15 others are barred from owning guns. The point was reiterated in a late September letter written by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and sent to federal firearms licensees. Owners of gun stores are instructed to withhold the sale of arms or munitions to anyone suspected of having an interaction or addiction to scheduled drugs, including marijuana. The letter specifies individuals known to have a medicinal marijuana card can be reasonably assumed to be an abuser of a controlled substance and gun shop owners must refuse purchase.  More News New Mexico

US/Mexican Border Governors Conference Had Poor Attendance

Gov. Martinez
From mysanantonio.com -For the second year in a row, the annual conference of U.S. and Mexican border governors was poorly attended. While relations between federal officials in Washington and Mexico City remain robust, the diminished significance of a once high-profile event is a troubling sign of weakening relations between leaders who actually live and work along the border. At last year's 28th gathering of the four American and six Mexican border governors, then-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was the only U.S. governor in attendance. He was also the conference's host.  This year's meeting took place last week in Baja California. Susana Martinez, New Mexico's new governor, was the only American governor in attendance with three of her Mexican counterparts.  Perry, Brewer and California Gov. Jerry Brown all said they had scheduling conflicts.  More News New Mexico

NM Oil And Gas Assoc. Seeks to Ease Rules on Waste

From therepublic.com -The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association is seeking to ease state rules on how well drilling and production waste fluids are handled.  At issue is the so-called "pit rule," approved by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission in 2008. It governs how thousands of oil and gas wells around the state handle fluids in buried tanks, sumps, pits and closed-loop systems.  More News New Mexico

NM Fraternity Finds Severed Goat Head on Porch

From kob.com -UNM police are trying to figure out who left something very disturbing on a fraternity house front porch.  Members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity found a severed goat head on their stoop last Wednesday and now police are investigating. Some students said it was a harmless practical joke, but others are more concerned.  Manriquez said there was a note attached to the partially-skinned goat head. He said the note had the word "done" written on it with a heart over the letter "o."  More News New Mexico

NM power plant sued over pollution controls

From KOB-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Owners of one of the nation's largest coal-fired power plants are being sued by a coalition of environmental groups over allegations the plant has failed to install the best available equipment to control pollution. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association and a pair of Navajo groups. The groups are complaining the utilities that own and operate the 48-year-old Four Corners Power Plant have repeatedly violated the Clean Air Act by not updating pollution controls when making other modifications at the plant. The lawsuit is asking the court to force the plant to install state-of-the-art equipment to reduce emissions. Read more

Will Hector Balderas Take Time off from the Campaign to Audit Workforce Solutions?

In a recent report the U.S. Department of Labor announced that New Mexico ranks as the 3rd worst state in the nation in terms of incorrectly paying unemployment claims. The ratio of bad claims paid by those in charge of the state's unemployment fund was 28% in 2010. And the total amount of taxpayer dollars wasted was more than $97 million.
This troubling report raises serious questions for New Mexico’s working citizens and working employers. Why should administrative incompetence of this magnitude be tolerated? Where is the outrage? And more important, where is U.S. Senate candidate Hector Balderas……who is also drawing a salary as the taxpayer's State Auditor?
Hector Balderas
In the most recently ended special legislative session, Senator John Arthur Smith and Governor Susana Martinez did their best to work together to try to come up with ways to sure up the state’s dwindling unemployment fund. And there seems to be vague grumblings from behind the scenes suggesting that managerial reforms might eventually be forthcoming. However, in the meantime, when Balderas hasn’t been engaged in well publicized urination contests with PRC commissioner Patrick Lyons, he has been out on the campaign trail trying to bolster his chances of beating primary opponent Martin Heinrich in the fundraising game. So far, there has not been a peep from Balderas about a sorely needed audit of the $97 million per year leaking sieve, known as the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.


Polls Raising Cain, Dead Heat with Romney

Herman Cain
CBS - Herman Cain has moved into a tie with Mitt Romney atop the field of Republican presidential candidates, according to a new CBS News poll, while Rick Perry has fallen 11 percentage points in just two weeks. The poll shows Cain, who stood at just five percent support two weeks ago, now holding 17 percent support among Republican primary voters. That puts the former Godfather's Pizza CEO into a tie with Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, whose support has essentially held steady over the past two weeks. Perry, meanwhile, has dropped from 23 percent support to just 12 percent support over the past two weeks, a sign that the Texas governor's shaky debate performances - in which he has alienated portions of both the Republican base and the party establishment - have taken their toll. Eight in ten Republican primary voters said the candidates' debate performances are at least somewhat important to them, and 58 percent said they have watched the debates that have already taken place. Just ten percent of Republican primary voters said they agreed with Perry that the children of illegal immigrants should be allowed to get in-state tuition, a contentious topic in recent debates. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Another Blow to "Green Jobs" Initiative

Daily Caller - President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives suffered another major blow late Monday, as the nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, announced a plan to lay off roughly 10 percent of its staff through a voluntary buy-out plan. According to the Denver Post, the lab plans to eliminate between 100 and 150 of its 1,350 jobs. The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants.
Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds. At the time, the Associated Press reported that the stimulus grants included $68 million to build a demonstration model of an energy-efficient office building; $19.2 million for solar, geothermal and fuel cell equipment; $10 million for testing and evaluation of wind technology; and $45 million to research and test drive-train systems for wind turbines. Red full story here: News New Mexico

Pearce: Center for Biological Diversity Uses Taxpayer Funds to Manufacture Lawsuits and Intimidate

Washington, DC (October 4, 2011) Today, Congressman Steve Pearce issued the following statement regarding the Center for Biological Diversity’s threatened lawsuit against Catron County, New Mexico: “I make no apologies for representing the people of New Mexico, and working for their interests,” said Pearce. “My goals are jobs and commonsense management of our resources, and I will continue to fight for policies that will achieve these goals. Our local residents and elected officials have a right to make decisions regarding areas within their jurisdiction without the sword of litigation dangling over their heads,” Pearce continued.
“As it relates to Catron County, the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) statement is ludicrous as usual, and the lawsuit threat is a prime example of their method of operation—manufacturing lawsuits at taxpayer expense in order to intimidate local people. These outside groups take local governments and the federal government to court on a constant basis, and as settlements and federal tax returns show, taxpayers are legally obligated to hand over millions of dollars to their pit bull lawyers. From 2000-2009, CBD filed 409 lawsuits in federal district courts and 165 appeals in federal appeals courts. In the last two years, they filed another 67 suits and 152 appeals. CBD is doing what they do best: cranking up their lawsuit factory to tie the hands of local residents and our community leaders to keep them from reaching proper solutions. As we saw in Otero County, bringing people together to voice their concerns is the most constructive way to solve our problems.”


"On a Bridge"


Voters Saying No To Red Light Cameras, City Council Still Must Vote To Accept Decision

From KOAT-TV.com - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- After years of controversy, voters packed the polls on Tuesday to decide the fate of red light cameras. With about 87 percent of the precincts reporting, the vote to end the red light camera program is winning by 53 to 47 percent. The issue of whether to remove the cameras may have been black and white, but those who cast ballots gave some colorful reasons for their votes. "I voted against that," said Sylvia Domney. "My husband got a ticket that didn't even belong to him. That was like a completely different person, different car, everything." "I talked to someone this morning who had unintentionally ran a red light and somebody almost hit her," said Betty Newman, who said she voted for the cameras. The camera vote comes after a Target 7 report uncovered that the program was hemorrhaging up to $100,000 every month, a report that outraged some taxpayers. The city has since renegotiated its contract with Red Flex, the company that operates the cameras so that the program at least breaks even. "When I signed that bill to put it on the ballot, it was clear on my mind," said Mayor Richard Berry. "If the voters say yes, they're going to stay. If they say no, they won't." Red Flex spent more than $140,000 to urge the public to vote to keep the red light cameras. Read more

Project Greenlight: Judge rules in favor of deal for a movie studio in Santa Fe

From Capitol Report New Mexico.com - It may have been a sweeheart deal, but a district court judge in Santa Fe ruled that Santa Fe County’s agreement with private developers to build a movie studio on the outskirts of town is legitimate. “The issue is not whether it is a wise use of public money,” Judge Sarah Singleton said Tuesday (Oct. 4). “That’s not my call to make.” What was her call was deciding whether claims by an attorney for Santa Fe residents Jack Stamm, James McGaughey and Greg Bemis that the county’s deal allowing the construction of Santa Fe Studios on Highway 14 violated the county’s own procedures as well as the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA). “The county can use public monies with private industy to create new jobs,” Singleton said. Back in 2009, Santa Fe county commissioners OK’d a deal in which Santa Fe Studios — backed by Lance, Jason and Conrad Hool – received land, free water utility hookups, a $10 million grant from the state and a $6.5 million loan to construct a state of the art facility to lure Hollywood producers to New Mexico. The Hools are longtime friends of former Gov. Bill Richardson. One of the original partners in the plan was Javier Gonzales, who is now the chairman of the state Democratic Party. But Gonzales has recently said he has detached himself from the project. Read more

Occupy Wall St.: This Is Not a Head Scratcher

From the Huffington Post - by , Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Last night I heard a story on NPR about the Wall St. protest that is now spreading to other cities. The gist of the story was: "what are these protests really about? What do they want?" I'm sorry, but that's just not a head scratcher. Do these news analysts think it's a coincidence that they're occupying Wall St. as opposed to Columbus Ave north of 79th? As Andrew Sorkin put it today (after writing that the message was "at times...hard to discern"): ... the demonstrators are seeking accountability for Wall Street and corporate America for the financial crisis and the growing economic inequality gap. I'm not saying everyone down there is ready to give a clear exposition of the facts of the case, but commentators can stop scratching their heads now. I've been writing about these problems for decades. Sometimes they've gotten a little better, but mostly they've gotten worse. Before the downturn, the share of income held by the top 1% was 23.5%, the highest since 1928 and more than twice the 10% level of the late 1970s. Read more