Use Taxpayer Dollars to Glorify Yourself

Sheryl Williams Stapleton
Capitol Report New Mexico - In the summer of 2010, Capitol Report New Mexico started its periodic look at “Monuments to Me,” the practice in which sitting legislators end up getting public buildings named after them. One of the first examples we noticed was how the African American Performing Arts Center in Albuquerque has a wing named after state House representative and Democratic whip Sheryl Williams Stapleton: Last night (Oct. 27), KRQE-TV’s Larry Barker delivered one of his trademark investigative reports, disclosing that for years, Stapleton did not take leave from her job as an administrator at the Albuquerque Public Schools system and received pay while attending legislative sessions. It seems that APS superintendent Winston Brooks is pretty cavalier about Stapleton’s breaking of the rules. At the very least, she should repay the $167,000 she earned when she violated APS policy. After all, taxpayer dollars fund the APS budget. Read full story and see videos here: News New Mexico

First Major October Snow in New York Since Civil War

Daily Mail - The leaves may still be on the trees but it appears autumn has been bypassed, as the East Coast braces itself for snowstorms which could hit 60 million people. New England has already been struck by a very early snowstorm, while this weekend looks set to see huge amounts of sleet and snow covering the North East, invariably causing power outages and travel chaos. Forecasts for this nor'easter have changed in the last couple of days and the prospect of a snow-free Halloween weekend have now gone. Low pressure will track up the East Coast on Saturday possibly bringing significant amounts of the white stuff across the tri-state area, Pennsylvania and New England. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Center for Biological Diversity Takes Shot at Noon

Marita Noon
According to a Center for Biological Diversity press release, four New Mexico conservation groups demanded yesterday that regular News New Mexico contributor Marita Noon, who the release calls a "fossil-fuel industry front-woman," cease her use of “watermelon-smashing” rhetoric in speeches and editorials and on websites. Below is an excerpt of the press release:
"Noon is notorious for whipping up hysteria at pro-industry rallies by chanting “smash the watermelons” after telling crowds that environmentalists are watermelons because they are green on the outside and red on the inside. Noon distributes “Smash the Watermelons” stickers at her anti-environmental rallies and has created a “Smash the Watermelons” Web page.
“Marita Noon’s vitriol pollutes civic discourse,” said Taylor McKinnon, public-lands campaigns director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Inciting violence against your fellow citizens is unacceptable. She needs to stop now.” Read the entire release here: News New Mexico
NewsNM note (Spence) CBD's Jay Linninger has also appeared on the show and has an open invitation to return and make the case for silencing Noon. 


It All Depends on "What Your Definition of Lobbyist Is"

ABC - More than a dozen of President Obama’s top campaign financiers have close ties to the lobbying industry, despite his pledge to remain free from the influence of lobbyists and their cash, according to an analysis of donor lists by the New York Times. At least 15 Obama “bundlers,” or volunteer fundraisers who gather contributions from their deep-pocket friends, are actively involved in the federal policymaking process, working in law firms or corporate offices that focus on lobbying, the Times found. None of the donors are formally registered as federal lobbyists, the threshold the Obama campaign uses to regularly refuse contributions.
But the individuals’ activities, the Times contends, fit the definition. Pfizer executive Sally Susman, for example, chairs the company’s political action committee and leads its “public affairs activities, including relations with governments,” according the Pfizer website. She has bundled more than $500,000 in donations for Obama so far. Comcast executive David Cohen, who oversees the media giant’s government affairs and public affairs, also bundled more than $500,000 and has hobnobbed with Obama on Martha’s Vineyard. And Michael Kempner, whose PR firm MWW Group touts to its clients its “important relationships with both the Democratic and Republican leadership,” has also bundled half a million dollars for Obama. His firm includes seven registered lobbyists, according to the Times. Read full story here: News New Mexico