Governor: Current NM DWI laws too soft

From - November has proven to be a deadly month when it comes to DWI crashes. More than half a dozen people, including two children, have lost their lives and alcohol is suspected as a leading cause. KOB Eyewitness News 4 took the troubling news to the New Mexico’s top political leaders to see what they plan to do about it. “What’s going on right now is people are still making the same conscious decisions to drink and drive,” said Secretary of Public Safety Gorden Eden. In the 2011 NM State Legislature, Governor Susana Martinez pushed for three anti-DWI bills that create harsher penalties for repeat DWI offenders and forces habitual DWI offenders to forfeit their vehicles, but none of them passed. Martinez said she plans to reintroduce these bills in the next legislative session. “We no longer are going to go soft on people who drink and drive in vehicles repeatedly,” said Gov. Martinez. “We have to get tough on repeat offenders.” Read more

Gregg Marcantel trying to change a culture

From Capitol Report New - Gregg Marcantel has a big job. He not only has to run a state agency but he has to try to turn around a department that has a reputation for having the most infighting and the lowest morale in the state. There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the New Mexico Corrections Department in recent years. Just a few months ago, the previous secretary, Lupe Martinez, resigned after her live-in boyfriend shot a rattlesnake on Corrections property and was later accused of tampering with evidence. (The warden and the warden’s family live on state prison property.) And just this past weekend, Deborah Baker of the Albuquerque Journal reported how former Corrections secretary Joe Williams is now working in Florida for the GEO Group, Inc., a private prison company that oversees facilities in Hobbs, Clayton and Santa Rosa. It’s the same company some state lawmakers accused Williams of going easy on after GEO faced fines for understaffing. GEO which used to be part of the Wackenhut corporation also donated to a number of campaigns of former Gov. Bill Richardson, who had appointed Williams. Into all this steps Marcantel, who served in the Marine Corps in his younger days and may need all of that hard-nosed training to get the department moving in the same direction. Read more

ESPN: UTEP will be in a bowl game (if they win Friday)

From the El Paso Times - By Aaron Bracamontes - ESPN's two bowl analysts are predicting that UTEP will be bowling this year. Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards' latest predictions both have UTEP penciled in bowl games on Schlabach has the Miners taking on the Purdue Boilermakers in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2 in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Edwards sees the Miners renewing an old-Western Athletic Conference rivalry against Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24 in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. UTEP is 5-6 and is one win shy of being bowl eligible. They will play the University of Central Florida at 5 p.m. on Friday at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Read more

Grover Norquist: Don’t blame me

From the - Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist fired back at Sen. John Kerry Monday, charging that it’s Democrats not Republicans who are standing in the way of a supercommittee deal. “[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, the leader of the Democratic Party, wants to raise taxes to spend more money. I think Sen. Kerry was actually trying to come up with a solution that would work, but Reid wouldn’t let him do that,” Norquist said on Fox News. Norquist said the Republican Party won’t be “fooled” into raising taxes again. Democrats are hoping for a repeat of 1982 and 1990 “when they tricked Republicans into tax increases [by] promising them phony spending restraints. Republicans are not going to walk into that room again … they’re not going to be fooled to raise taxes in return for promises of spending restraint,” he added. Read more

The History of Newt

From the Weekly - By FRED BARNES - Before you dismiss Newt Gingrich for having too much “baggage” to win the Republican presidential nomination, much less the presidency, consider this: In 1980, when Ronald Reagan emerged as the likely Republican presidential nominee, President Carter’s advisers were thrilled. They’d done extensive opposition research. By pointing to what Reagan had said in speeches, radio commentaries, newspaper columns, and conversations, they assumed it would be easy to characterize him as a right-wing extremist. And enough voters would reject him and reelect Carter. They were wrong. It wasn’t that voters ignored Reagan’s offbeat comments. They just didn’t think eccentric statements he’d made over the years were important. Bigger things were at stake, like Soviet aggression and a stagnant economy. And Reagan had better answers than Carter. And this: A similar phenomenon occurred in 2003 when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for California governor in a recall election. The media dredged up stories of his chronic groping of women. Voters, intent on ousting Governor Gray Davis, didn’t care. Schwarzenegger won and was reelected in 2006. Read more

Super Committee Says It's Unable to Agree on Debt Reduction Deal

From Fox - After months of bipartisan debt-reduction talks, the Super Committee said Monday that it will be unable to agree on terms to save $1.2 trillion over 10 years by tonight's midnight deadline. Senator John Kerry, left, said, "Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve." Shortly after the committee's announcement, President Obama said at a press conference that Republicans would not budge in their defense of the tax cuts for wealthy Americans. He said Republicans are main stumbling block to reaching agreement on deficit. The panel had until midnight to come up with a plan for reducing the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over 10 years or face automatic cuts, called "sequestration." Failure to do so would violate the law that demanded that the Congressional Budget Office come up with a fiscal evaluation of the plan and give Congress two days to review it before the Nov. 23 deadline. The task was supposed to be wrapped up by Dec. 23 with an unamended vote on the package. Read more

Occupy Wall Street hires former Obama czar Van Jones

From the - President Barack Obama's former “Green Czar,” Van Jones, who describes himself as a “rowdy black nationalist” turned communist has found a job as the official spokesperson and leader of the national movement to end economic segregation and social injustice in the United States. Talk show host and constitutional activist Glenn Beck exposed Jones on his Fox News Channel show and eventually Jones was asked to step down. But now Jones has found a new home with the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to the blog for a non-partisan watchdog group that investigates, exposes and prosecutes government corruption. Read more

Obama tells insurer to reverse rate hike

From the Washington - The Obama administration on Monday called on a Mennonite-owned health insurance company to cancel its proposed 11.6 percent rate hike, marking the first time the government has tried to pressure a private company under the new health care law. While Pennsylvania-based Everence Insurance said it needs to raise rates on about 5,000 customers to cover costs, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius called the increase “unreasonable,” holding it up as evidence that the government has an important role to play in reining in the cost of coverage. “This sends a message to insurers around the country that the days of unchecked, double-digit increases are over,” Mrs. Sebelius said. But Everence officials disputed the methods used by HHS to reach its conclusion, arguing that the agency calculated the plan’s loss ratio over a one-year period, instead of calculating rates based on a two-year period that they said would give a better idea of gains and losses Read more

Governor Martinez Affirms Film Industry

Susana Martinez
NM Business Journal - Senior members of Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration gave the film industry and businesses associated with it something they’ve been waiting to hear for a long time: A public affirmation that the governor supports the industry, wants to see it thrive and has no intention of pushing any changes in the state’s film incentive program. Keith Gardner, chief of staff to Martinez, and Ryan Cangelosi, deputy chief of staff, addressed about 700 people at Albuquerque Studios on Thursday evening. The event was convened by NMEDIA, an industry group formed several years ago to represent the interests of the industry, focused primarily on the businesses that serve film and television productions. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Belen Buzzing About "Arnold"

Arnold Schwarzenegger
KOAT - TV - BELEN, N.M. -- The buzz in buzz in Belen has been all about Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's been filming "The Last Stand" in the area. The quiet town of Belen isn't so quiet these days. Among the mom-and-pop shops in downtown Belen is a massive green screen, a film crew and actors. Locals said they couldn't be happier about the star-studded visitors like Schwarzenegger. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Downs at Albuquerque Gets New 25 Year Lease

KOB TV - The State Fair Commission has approved a 25 year lease with the Downs at Albuquerque that will allow the Downs to build a new casino on the south end of the fairgrounds near Central and Louisiana. The commission made its decision Monday during what had been billed as a work session on the matter. The vote was 4 to 3 in favor of the bid. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Pipeline delay gives Obama a fundraising bonanza

Marita Noon
A week has passed since President Obama made his shocking announcement delaying the Keystone XL pipeline decision until after the presidential election. The news has been met with cries of victory and sighs of disappointment, but the tactic shouldn’t have surprised anyone as it totally fits with his ideology. Additionally, TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, handed the environmentalists a win. First, we all know that the President is fundamentally opposed to all carbon-based fuels (think Solyndra, et al)—so the pipeline’s approval was a longshot. But it would have created thousands of true shovel-ready jobs without a dollar of taxpayer money—many of which would have been union (not to mention the spin-off jobs). The pipeline’s approval would have made the unions happy, while angering the environmentalists. Two of Obama’s solid funders were in conflict—one shouting in one ear, the other in the other ear (drowning out the voice of the American public). Waiting for the decision, watchers wondered which base held more sway.
The delay announcement, however, is a possible fundraising coup. In April, the President announced that he would raise a record-breaking $1 billion for his reelection campaign. To date, fundraising has not been as strong as expected. In August, when the Environmental Impact Statement on the pipeline “reaffirmed the environmental integrity of the project,” environmental groups threatened to pull their support for President Obama in the upcoming election if he approved the project—some calling his environmental record disappointing and dismal. Because they have no place else to go, Obama expects them to stick with him. Not only will environmentalists likely stick with the president, his apparent quandary invites their input—only this time, not in his ear, in his pocket. Read rest of the column here: News New Mexico


Martinez Draws Praise and a Grant for Education

SANTA FE – Governor Susana Martinez announced today that the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) will receive $460,000 from the Daniels Fund to help the state’s 40 lowest-performing schools. The funds will be used to pair leaders in these schools with those from the top 40 performing schools in a mentorship program. The idea is simple: to share the practices from successful schools with those that are struggling. The innovative program will also provide a stipend of up to $3,000 for each participating school leader.
“There is greatness in every one of our children, and I’m thankful for this significant investment in a mentorship program to help our lowest-performing schools,” said Governor Susana Martinez. “By assessing the progress of our students, rewarding excellence in the classroom, and supporting struggling children and schools, we can enact meaningful education reform that better prepares our kids to succeed.”
“Since taking office in January, Governor Martinez has made improving education for New Mexico’s kids one of her top priorities,” explained Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund. “We are impressed by the strong commitment of this administration to raising the quality of public education in New Mexico,” she added.


Matthews: President Obama "is surrounded by little kids with propellers on their heads"

Chris Matthews
MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews, a longtime Barack Obama worshipper, has had enough of the president and his staffers. Matthews shocked the political reporting world over the weekend when he described the people surrounding the president in an interview with Alex Witt on MSNBC as, "Little kids with propellers on their heads." Matthews says the president hasn't uttered a word about what he wants to do in his second term particularly in the critical areas of entitlement reform and getting control of the national debt. He also said of the president, in terms of his communication frequency with Congress, "I hear stories you would not believe." Had Matthews' statement been made by a Fox News anchor nobody would have batted an eye. However, when the face of the pro-progressive MSNBC network makes statements like these, it catches the attention of every corner of the political world. You can watch the amazing video here: News New Mexico

Trouble brewing at Curry County Jail in Clovis

From - CLOVIS - One jail official has already been fired and Curry County manager Lance Pyle is moving to fire three more jail employees and discipline a fourth for lapses that led to a prisoner escape last weekend. Narcizo Soto Jr. escaped from the jail but was luckily caught the same day. He was the Curry County Jail's 14th escape in nine years. This time one jail sergeant has lost his job. Jail employees allowed Soto, a maximum-security inmate, to work in a cleaning detail in an unsecured part of the jail, which allowed him to escape out an unlocked door. Read more

Santa Fe putting the boot on parking scofflaws

From - SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Parking scofflaws in Santa Fe can expect to have their car disabled by a device called a boot, and might even find themselves hauled into court if they continue to ignore unpaid parking tickets. The city's new parking division director says those are just two of the steps he's taking to try to collect parking fines. Drivers haven't paid for nearly 10,000 parking tickets in the past decade. Director Sevastian Gurule tells our news partners at the Santa Fe New Mexican the unpaid fines total $1.3 million. He's ordering boots on cars with more than three unpaid tickets, putting in a new system to help find scofflaws and working with courts to stiffen enforcement. Read more

NIMBY: Alb Residents Upset About New Solar Panels

From - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Residents of a Valencia County neighborhood said they are upset about a proposed plan to install large solar panels near their homes. "They're about to put up solar panels that are going to be 50 feet up in the air," Leta Brewer said. Brewer, who lives off of San Fernando Avenue, said the panels will ruin the view from her home, as well as its resale value. A group of residents are filing an appeal. A number of residents who spoke to Action 7 News off camera say they had minimal warning of the project. Others say a map sent out by the county outlining where the panels will be was misleading. The planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the project Thursday night. Due to the appeal, though, it's likely county commissioners will ultimately get the final say at a January meeting. Read more

Rio Rancho: no funding for construction impact-fee study

From the Rio Rancho Observer - BY BRAD BUCK Observer managing editor - The City of Rio Rancho has nixed an idea to pay for a study to see whether suspending impact fees is a good idea. In a 4-3 vote, the Governing Body decided against the study. The idea was for the consultant to help councilors determine whether to eliminate impact fees completely or cut them by half. Councilors Tim Crum (pictured left), Kathy Colley and Steve Shaw voted for the study, while Patricia Thomas, Mike Williams and Tamara Gutierrez voted against it. Mayor Tom Swisstack cast the deciding vote against the study. Construction of new homes has dipped dramatically in the past six years; thus stimulating the impact fee discussion. Meanwhile, current impact fees will remain unchanged, according to a resolution adopted by city councilors Wednesday night. Tim Crum said the city has to get home and commercial construction jump-started somehow. He said he hopes suspending impact fees would create not only more construction but more gross-receipts tax revenue. Read more