Senator Burt legislation signed by Gov Martinez

State Senator Bill Burt
From the Alamogordo Daily News - SANTA FE -- Gov. Susana Martinez said she righted a wrong Wednesday by signing a bill that expands New Mexico's definition of military veterans. The measure will enable the state to offer a small break on property taxes to those who served for at least six consecutive years in National Guard or military reserve units, even if they were never called to active duty by the U.S. government. Previous state law restricted the veterans' tax benefit. Those who had not served 90 consecutive days on active duty did not qualify, Martinez said. Martinez signed the bill at National Guard headquarters before a few hundred soldiers, all of them cheering. She said the state's old system of defining veterans could have slighted service members who helped fight the Las Conchas fire that burned 150,000 acres last summer, or those who helped northern New Mexicans displaced during the unseasonably cold winter of 2011. "In my mind, these heroes have always been veterans," Martinez said. Sen. Bill Burt, R-Alamogordo, sponsored the bill broadening the definition of veterans. For Burt, appointed to the Senate by Martinez 13 months ago, it was his first bill to be signed into law.  He said a constituent in the Las Cruces area called his attention to the problem of differing treatment for who served in the military but were not on active duty. Read more


N.M. Title Co. Check Paid for Broncos Suite

From -A New Mexico Title Co. check for $132,880 went to pay for an executive suite at the Denver Broncos' football stadium, according to court records.  Court filings in the New Mexico Financial Institution Division's investigation into the company include a copy of a $132,880 check from New Mexico Title Co. to Stadium Management Co. for an executive suite at the Denver Broncos' football stadium. A license agreement for the suite is signed by Bobby Willis, a former owner of New Mexico Title Co. and current owner of New Mexico Title Escrow, according to his attorneys. The significance of the check, dated April 20, 2010, is not explained in court documents. Santa Fe attorney John W. Day, representing the owners of New Mexico Title Escrow, laid the blame for the business' disarray on a former employee, Shannon Strunk.  More News New Mexico

How Israel Keeps Us Safe

From -What has Israel done for us? The two most important areas of 21st-century warfare are electronics and cyberspace. Israel is the world leader in both those areas. Because we are mutual allies, Israel shares its knowledge and equipment with us. We would not be as far ahead in military technology, security, intelligence, or counter-terrorism without this crucial strategic alliance.  Compare the benefits of our alliance with Israel to the things we get from our allies in Europe. Europe has chosen to take advantage of us, depending on our taxpayers to protect theirs. They use us for a free ride. Britain supports us, but has no great military budget anymore. Their modern weapons systems depend on us. There is no broad two-way street.  Our alliance with Israel is not only broad and mutual, but it is essential. Drones? Israel is the world leader in the development of unmanned aerial systems, including drones (invented by an Israeli) for intelligence collection and combat, and has shared with the U.S. military technology, doctrine, and vital experience.  Think of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We use an Israeli-produced tactical radar system to enhance force protection. Israel is "a global pacesetter in active measures for armored vehicle protection," which we use to save our soldiers' lives.  More News New Mexico

Swickard: The need to please lost on two pharmacies

Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - Many Americans wonder how our healthcare will change with ObamaCare. Yes, it is generally assumed that somehow someone will kill that bad-boy of an idea. What if it does not get killed? What if our country finds only government workers to talk to when our head hurts? Oh, my. At the coffee shop there is consensus it will be a disaster for those who do not enjoy being under the thumb of government. When I deal with the government it is always on the terms of the government. I have yet to find a government agency that cares what I think. I do what they tell me, or else. When governments run something it ceases to be user friendly. Government entities seem to view citizens as “giving units” who must interface with the government. Occasionally they say, “We serve the public” but with fingers crossed. Private companies can also be user-unfriendly as I will document. It is different with for profit insurance companies and pharmacies, I suspect it will get worse when people cannot change pharmacies upon being angered. Examples of moving that direction are two scuffles I had at two different pharmacies this last week. Both times I walked out shaking my head, wondering what it is about handling drugs makes some people so stupid. I have written on this topic a couple of times and am still amazed at how badly things are going now before the government gets its hands on the heartbeat of health. Read column


Another Anchor suspended - this time for Danica comment

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick
From - A sports anchor in San Diego will have some extra time to think about his next story after being suspended one week for comments made on the air about NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. KSWB-TV anchor Ross Shimabuku landed in hot water with station executives after saying he would describe the female racing star with a word that "starts with a B and it's not beautiful." The comment came last week as the anchor discussed a clip of Patrick talking to reporters ahead of the Daytona 500. "Danica Patrick is such a pretty girl, and she makes a lot of money in sponsorships because of it. But what's not attractive is that she's sexy and she knows it," Shimabuku said. The station then aired footage of a Patrick interview, in which she asked, "I don't quite understand why, when you're referring to a girl — a female athlete in particular — that you have to use the word 'sexy.' Is there any other word you can use to describe me?" "Oh, I got a few words," Shimabuku said as the action returned to the studio. "Starts with a B and it's not beautiful." Shimabuku was red-flagged one week without pay for the on-air comments, KSWB-TV acknowledged Tuesday via its Twitter account. Shimabuku issued a statement saying, "I truly apologize if I offended anyone by those comments. "They were not meant to be an attack on Danica. I think she's great for the sport." story

‘Religious Liberty’ Rally in Las Cruces Saturday

Albuquerque Journal - Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M.; state Rep. Yvette Harrell, R-Alamogordo; and Dona Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando are among the elected officials who are reported to take part in a “religious liberty” rally scheduled for 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Genevieve’s Monument on the 200 block of Church Street in Las Cruces, according to a news release from the Traditional Values Action Committee. Other confirmed speakers for the Southern New Mexico March; Rally To Protect Constitutional Rights and Religious Freedom are, according to the release, John Loudat of the New Mexico Southern Baptist Convention and editor of the Baptist New Mexican; Pastor Mike Skidmore; Dr. Tony Levatino, an OB/GYN and former abortion provider turned anti-abortion advocate; healthcare provider Angie Carver; Richard Cheney of the Traditional Values Action Committee; and Teresa Miranda of Catholic Youth. The rally was inspired by the recent decision by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s requirement that religious institutions provide birth-control insurance coverage to their employees despite the religious beliefs of those institutions, according to the news release.


N.M. Bataan Death March Survivors Dwindling

From -The horrific memories have faded but not disappeared for Clovis' Alvin Fails, one of a dwindling number of area Bataan death march survivors.  Telling his story from an easy chair, in which he now spends most of his days, the 95-year-old Fails recalled clearly the starvation rations on which he barely survived for almost four years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp called O'Donnell. "They would cook rice and keep the white parts for themselves, and only feed us the juice," Fails said.  More News New Mexico

PNM Set To Release Earnings

From -New Mexico's largest electric provider is set to release its earnings report for the latest quarter as environmental groups accused the provider of pushing for rate hikes and higher profits.  Public Service Company of New Mexico is scheduled to release its earnings Wednesday. The company says that it has spent millions of dollars each year to provide customers with "reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy."  But five nonprofit groups, including the Sierra Club and the San Juan Citizens Alliance, say PNM is paying executives increased compensation while rate payers are struggling.  More News New Mexico

Navajo Sues Urban Outfitters Over Product Names

From -The Navajo Nation has sued Urban Outfitters Inc. months after the tribe sent a cease and desist letter to the clothing retailer demanding it pull the "Navajo" name from its products. The lawsuit filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Mexico alleges trademark violations and violations of the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which makes it illegal to sell arts or crafts in a way to falsely suggest they're made by American Indians when they're not.  The tribe has about 10 registered trademarks on the Navajo name that cover clothing, footwear, online retail sales, household products and textiles. Tribal justice officials said they're intent on protecting what they believe are among the tribe's most valuable assets.  More News New Mexico

Conrad James Stays Put

Conrad James
Capitol Report New Mexico State Rep. Conrad James (R-Albuquerque) told Capitol Report New Mexico Wednesday morning (Feb. 29) that he won’t run for the state Senate and, instead, run for re-election in District 24 in the state’s House of Representatives. Back on Monday, James told Capitol Report he was considering running for the state Senate to replace Republican Mark Boitano, who has announced that he is stepping down from the Senate after 16 years. “I’m pleased to announce that I will be running for re-election to House District 24,” Rep. James said in a text message. “Even though my new district is significantly less Republican, I believe that my message of economic freedom and personal responsibility will resonate with New Mexican voters across the political spectrum.” Under the latest redistricting map put forth by Judge Jim Hall, District 24 will go from a Republican-leaning district to one that is just about an equal 50-50 split between likely Republican and Democratic voters. James is finishing up his second year in the House. He replaced fellow Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, who served the district in the Northeast Heights for eight years. James ran unopposed in the 2010 election. Read More News New Mexico


Guantanamo detainees get new $750G soccer field

Guantanamo Bay 
FoxNews - At a time of record deficits, a new soccer field for detainees at Camp 6 in Guantanamo Bay is just getting the finishing touches -- at a cost of $750,000 to taxpayers. The project was the highlight of a tour Tuesday of the detention camp for reporters at the facility covering the arraignment in a military court of Majid Khan, a former Baltimore resident and the the only legal U.S. resident on trial at Guantanamo. The project began in April 2011 and is due to finish this spring. The detainees will now have three recreation facilities at Camp 6, which is home to "highly compliant" detainees who live in a communal setting. In addition to an indoor recreation field and the existing outdoor recreation field, the new soccer field -- selected because it is such a popular sport with detainees -- is half the size of an American football field. Read More News New Mexico


Watchdog Finds Lobbyist Laws Broken

New Mexico Watchdog - The law was broken. Campaign contributions were misrepresented. The names on checks lobbyists hand legislators often are not the names lobbyists report to the state. One lobbyist gave $7,500 to various unnamed legislators on behalf of a fireworks company. Bills that could have restricted sale of fireworks during high-risk fire seasons stalled in committees – just months after the state suffered its worst wildfire in history.
Fireworks makers, firefighters’ unions and most Americans are free to contribute – within limits – to candidates who run for state offices in New Mexico. Limits to that freedom include prohibitions against quid pro quo – politicians can’t trade favors for campaign contributions.
New Mexico legislators have passed laws that promise the public access to enough information to see whether such illegal or unethical transactions take place. Those laws aren’t working as they were intended. Based on available public data it’s impossible to connect the dots to know if the fireworks distributor contributed to legislators who let the bill die in committees.
That lobbyist who failed to itemize recipients of campaign contributions broke a law, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Dianna Duran wrote in an e-mail on Monday. Scores of lobbyists who incorrectly completed lobbyists’ disclosure forms likely broke the same law, a Watchdog investigation revealed. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Western States Explain How Washington D.C. Has Become a Jobs Destroying Machine

Steve Pearce
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Senate Western Caucus Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Steve Pearce (R-NM), Hearing Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Members of the Senate and Congressional Western Caucuses hosted a bicameral hearing entitled “Washington Barriers to Prosperity and Property Rights in the West.”

Caucus Members and witnesses, including Idaho Governor Butch Otter and Mike and Chantell Sackett of Idaho, examined the Obama Administration’s environmental and natural resource policies and their negative impact on jobs, economic growth and private property rights in western states and communities.
“Since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, gas prices have doubled, unemployment has increased, and our national debt has skyrocket. Today, we heard from people across the West who feel the pain of this administration’s indifference. Whether from an elected official focused on helping their state, county or town succeed, a fourth generation farmer trying to pass down the family farm a little better than he found it, or just a couple trying to build a home, we heard example after example of our federal government getting in the way of the American dream. The West and the rest of our country deserves better.”
- U.S. Representative Steve Pearce (R-NM), Congressional Western Caucus Chairman
“Often the voice of the West is lost among the powerful special interests that comprise the environmental lobby and their allies in this Administration. Every day these witnesses face aggressive bureaucratic red tape and litigation that cost thousands of jobs. The quality of life in America’s western and rural areas depends on policies that promote economic growth, not constrain it. Principles such as protecting private property rights, supporting limited government, advocating for local control, and protecting the multiple use of our public lands, are essential to achieving that economic growth.” Read rest of story here: News New Mexico


Duke City Extends Impact Fee Moratorium

NewsNM note - With horrendus unemployment rates in the construction industry New Mexico's two largest cities take the opposite approach to so called "impact fees." Albuquerque tried them and made the determination they were bad for jobs. Progressives have fought to revive them and a "study" has been ordered. Las Cruces came along later and instituted impact fees after they had failed elsewhere.
New Mexico Business Journal - Albuquerque has extended the moratorium that reduced impact fees on new construction for at least eight more months and, perhaps, as much as one year.
The Albuquerque City Council voted last week to maintain the impact fee moratorium until a study on their affect can be completed by consultant Duncan Associates. That study is expected to be completed in another eight to 12 months. The fees are reduced by 100 percent for certifiable green building projects and 50 percent for non-sustainable green building projects. The fees have been in affect since 2009, when the construction industry lobbied the city to reduce fees as an incentive to create more building projects. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Santa Fe ditches its public education superintendent

Bobbie Gutierrez, Santa Fe Public Schools
Photo COURTESY: SF Reporter
From Capitol Report New - Back in 1962, an angry Richard Nixon uttered a famous line – “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” — after he lost his bid for governor of California. On Monday night (Feb. 27), the outgoing superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools made a similar comment to a reporter at the city’s alternative weekly newspaper. “You don’t have to deal with me anymore,” Bobbie Gutierrez told Wren Abbott of the Santa Fe Reporter, “and that will be one of my greatest pleasures.” Wow. On Monday night, the Santa Fe school board bid goodbye to Gutierrez, voting 3-2 to buy out the remaining one year-plus on her contract. That means Gutierrez will receive $168,428 — a pretty nice payout but the fact that three school board members were willing to do it indicates the level of frustration parents and taxpayers in Santa Fe are experiencing with its struggling public school system. And the word “struggling” is an understatement. Recent statistics show a shockingly low graduation rate for Santa Fe public school students — just 53 percent. “In some other studies, the number is 60 percent,” school board member Steven Carrillo told Capitol Report New Mexico, “but regardless, those numbers are … pretty bad.” Gutierrez and others in the Santa Fe system had pointed out that nearly two-thirds of the city’s public school students qualify for free and reduced lunch programs but critics countered that while the poverty level has to be considered, the fact remains that 56 of the 89 school districts in New Mexico have higher percentages of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches than Santa Fe and that 55 of those 56 districts have higher high school graduation rates. Read more

Board questions safety of Sandia reactor

From the Santa Fe New - AP - ALBUQUERQUE -- A federal oversight board is questioning the safety of a nuclear reactor at Sandia National Laboratories.  The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Tuesday sent Sandia National Laboratories a letter saying a recent safety review of the Annular Core Research Reactor at Sandia raised concerns about unreliable safety systems.  The review comes several years after watchdogs began questioning nuclear safety at the Albuquerque lab.  Citizen Action says it doesn't believe the lab has ever adequately addressed questions about whether the facilities could withstand earthquakes, plane crashes or other potential hazards. Citizen Action executive director Dave McCoy notes that the lab is near Albuquerque's Sunport international airport and sits on a series of faults with earthquake potential. Read more


Steinborn to challenge Lujan in Dem primary

Jeff Steinborn (left) and Antonio Lujan
From - Former State Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, announced today that he’s running for the seat currently held by a one-time Democratic House colleague, Antonio Lujan, who announced his own re-election plans last week.Steinborn’s attempt to unseat Lujan in this year’s Democratic primary is certain to upset some party insiders. The race will likely be one of the most hotly contested legislative primaries in the state.Steinborn used to represent District 37 on the northeastern edge of Las Cruces, but he lost the seat in 2010. This year’s redistricting appears to be moving him into Lujan’s inner-city District 35. Though redistricting is still up in the air, the maps currently being considered affect the Las Cruces area the same way, so most think the district boundaries in this area are set.“But Lujan announced his re-election campaign last week, saying he was committed to the race regardless of how redistricting turned out. In an interview today, Lujan said he has no hard feelings against Steinborn, who informed him during the recent legislative session that he might run.“I just told him, Jeff, if you want to run, feel free to do so. It’s nothing personal,” Lujan said. “I don’t have any problems with opposition, and we’ll see who the people choose.”He said he asked Steinborn to commit to a positive campaign.“He didn’t commit to it, but if it doesn’t stay positive then there’s going to be some blood on the ground,” Lujan said. “I don’t want to go that route. I’ve never run a negative campaign. I know how to do them, but that’s not my preference or my style.” Read more


Accused U.S. Traitor Nominated by Nobel Committee for "Peace Prize"

Bradley Manning
The Weekly Standard - Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, the Associated Press reports. Manning is most famous for allegedly leaking troves of classified documents, including State Department cables and Military files, to WikiLeaks. He was arraigned last week in Ft. Meade, Maryland and is being charged with "engineering the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history."

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who allegedly received the leaked information from Manning, was nominated last year for the award, though he did not ultimately receive it.
The AP notes that "Being nominated doesn’t say anything about a candidate’s chances. A wide range of submissions come in every year from lawmakers, university professors and others with nomination rights, but the decision rests solely with a five-member panel appointed by Norway’s parliament."
Manning's nomination places him along side Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and other international figures, who have been nominated for this year's award. The Norway committee awards the prize annually. President Barack Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, his first year in the executive office. Read full story here: News New Mexico

With Official on "Site" Matanza Proceeds

KOAT TV - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Thousands of Valencia County residents gathered Saturday to celebrate Matanza, an annual pig slaughtering event in the state. Organizers said the event, dubbed as the world's largest Matanza, was almost cancelled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Officials said the more than 40 pigs to be slaughtered for the Matanza were not processed in a USDA facility.
"I've been in Matanzas most of my life and never have I seen someone get sick, said Belen Mayor Rudy Ortega. Organizers said there had been talks between the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, State Sen. Michael Sanchez and the USDA to find a way that traditional event can go on. They've asked state health inspectors to verify if the pigs were OK to eat.
After the confirmation that the pigs were safe for human consumption, organizers said the USDA allowed the celebration to continue, but with state inspectors on site. Read full story here: News New Mexico

N.M. Senator Mark Boitano Announces Retirement

N.M. Sen. Mark Boitano
From nmpolitics. - Sen. Mark Boitano, a champion of the movement to webcast legislative proceedings, announced tonight that he won’t seek re-election, making him the fifth senator thus far to announce that he’s retiring this year. “I have always believed in term limits, and after four terms in the Senate, it is time to move on and allow others to continue the fight in the Senate to improve New Mexico,” the Albuquerque Republican said in a news release. “I have a real estate business to run, a wife and children I love and want to spend more time with, and I will begin looking for new opportunities to serve my community and state.”  More News New Mexico

N.M.-Texas Border Drug Smugglers Getting Younger

From -Border drug smuggling operations have turned to small packs of young, aggressive men who are increasing using the remote Texas-New Mexico desert, federal agents say.
Agents said some of the illegal immigrants carry 50 pounds of drugs for several days, travel in groups of two to five, and evade capture by heading quickly to mountain canyons along the Texas-New Mexico border. The area includes a cavernous maze where the stone ground makes it harder to follow tracks and rocky terrain blocks smugglers from view.  More News New Mexico

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Hall Draws New District Boundaries

Judge James Hall
Nola  — The longest-serving member of the New Mexico House will be paired with a fellow Democratic incumbent in a newly consolidated north-central New Mexico district under a redistricting plan ordered Monday by a state district court.
The latest map ordered by retired State District Judge James Hall meets a deadline set by the state Supreme Court for revamping a redistricting plan he developed last month but that was overturned by the justices.
Redistricting is necessary to adjust the boundaries of political districts for population changes during the past decade. The goal is equalize district populations as much as possible to meet the legal doctrine of one-person, one vote. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Andy Nunez: Roundhouse Cowboy

Santa Fe Reporter - On Jan. 17, the opening day of New Mexico’s 2012 legislative session, longtime state House of Representatives Speaker Ben Luján, D-Santa Fe, stood before a hushed chamber. Luján, a diminutive man in his 70s who for years had controlled much of what happened at the capitol, had just announced that he had lung cancer and planned to retire from politics. The 2012 session would be his last. It was the end of an era.
Andy Nunez
While many House members wept openly during Luján’s emotional speech, one politician sat quietly in his assigned seat in the back row of the chamber. A year ago, Andy Nuñez, an outspoken, drawling rancher from southern New Mexico who wears a large cowboy hat and can often be seen with a childlike smirk on his face, was the most vocal backer of a southern coalition united to replace Luján as speaker.
Now, Luján’s poor health overshadowed any intraparty turmoil in the Roundhouse. But it couldn’t halt a political shift already underway across the state. Luján’s coming retirement marks the declining dominance of northern Democrats in state politics; conservatives from agricultural, oil-and-gas-dominated southern New Mexico are positioning themselves for greater influence. As a former Democrat turned independent and the champion of an effort to repeal the state law allowing foreign nationals to obtain driver’s licenses, Nuñez has become the unlikely poster child for a rising right. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Wilson’s poll has her leading Sowards by 71 points

Heather Wilson
NMPoliticsThe first poll of the GOP U.S. Senate primary to be released since John Sanchez dropped out of the race has Heather Wilson leading Greg Sowards by 71 points. The survey, an internal poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Wilson campaign, has her leading Sowards 81 percent to 10 percent. The survey of 500 likely Republican primary voters was conducted Feb. 13-15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points. Read More News New Mexico



Fossil fuel’s triple “A” rating

Marita Noon
“I'm trying to write a paper on why fossil fuels are good. I was wondering if you could help me out with some information? I couldn't find much information on the Internet because most people seem to think that fossil fuels are evil.” The aforementioned is from an e-mail a young man named Cooper sent me the day before his paper was due. His father had heard me on the radio and suggested that Cooper contact me. I spent 45 minutes talking with him. Everything I said was a fresh new idea to Cooper. Obviously he was not being taught the complete picture. If Cooper had questions, others probably do, too. Here are the three things I told him that, like Cooper, you may not know, may have forgotten, or just haven’t thought about in a while.
With rising gas prices bringing energy into the debate, and President Obama setting his energy priorities out in his budget, it is important to be aware of some energy realities. Otherwise you may think fossil fuels are “evil,” when, in fact, they provide us with the freedom to come and go, to be and do.
With gas prices in the news, reporters are interviewing people in gas stations and getting their thoughts on the situation. One had a man proclaiming that oil is a precious resource. He stated that we needed the price to go up so people used less of it. I agree that oil is precious—as in valuable and important, but not as in scarce or rare.
Decades ago, it was thought that we were about to run out of oil. True, production in America did decline. But new privately developed technologies have both found more oil and natural gas and allowed us to use it more efficiently. Read rest of the column here: News New Mexico


Gutierrez seeks DNC post, not running for re-election

Joni Guitterez
NMPolitics - The Democrat from Mesilla joins a growing list of lawmakers who are retiring from public office this year or running for other positions instead of seeking re-election. N.M. Democratic National Committeewoman Mary Gail Gwaltney announced Friday evening that she’s stepping down from that post; State Rep. Joni Gutierrez said she will seek to replace Gwaltney rather than running for re-election this year.Both women made their announcements at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Las Cruces. Neither could immediately be reached for comment, but confirmed their announcements with multiple sources who were present. Many considered both announcements to be surprises. Gutierrez, D-Mesilla, will finish her current term as the representative for House District 33 but will leave the position at the end of the year. She has held the seat since 2005. Read More News New Mexico


Permit Requirement Bothers Occupiers

KOB TV - Police cuffed and hauled away some UnOccupy protesters Sunday at UNM’s Yale Park – and weren't happy about it. The demonstration had been advertised all week - but when protesters showed up Sunday, police stepped in.
Our Eddie Garcia was at Yale Park as the demonstration and arrests unfolded. UNM officials told him that none of this would have happened if the group would have gotten a permit. Four people were arrested for trespassing as UNM police moved in to Yale Park to kick everyone out. The University actually shut down the park to force demonstrators onto the sidewalk. “I don't think anyone has ever heard of a beautiful Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock closing down a public park. That's when it should be most open and most available to the public,” said protester Jeffrey Haas. Read full story here: News New Mexico

NM Stars provide a galaxy of economic opportunities

RR Mayor Tom Swisstack, left, NM Stars owner/gm Dart Clark,
 From the Rio Rancho Observer - BY GLEN ROSALES  - Expectations are high for the New Mexico Stars in this, their inaugural season. Not necessarily on the field — where the success remains to be seen — but in the box office, in the tills around Rio Rancho and even in the community. The Stars kick off their Indoor Football League opener at 3:05 p.m. today at the Santa Ana Star Center. But, in reality, Stars Owner and General Manager Dart Clark began the sales pitch for the team months ago. “First and foremost, Dart came into the marketplace and wanted feedback on the community,” said Matt Geisel, Rio Rancho Convention & Visitors Bureau manager, who helps oversee the Star Center. “He wasn’t afraid to admit what he didn’t know, instead of coming in and saying this is how it was done elsewhere. That’s a positive first step.” The Stars have been advertising locally and in Albuquerque for several months, and that has translated into verifiable numbers in terms of recognition, Geisel said. In a survey during the recent Taste of Rio Rancho event at the Star Center, the team registered a 67.3 percent awareness rating, he said. And the survey showed that 66 percent were highly likely, likely or somewhat likely to attend a Stars game, Geisel said Read more

Rod Adair: Newspaper story wrong wrong wrong

State Senator Rod Adair
Commentary by State Senator Rod Adair via facebook: The front page story DEATH IN THE ROUNDHOUSE in today's Albuquerque Journal could not be further from the truth. The story purports to show "How Key Bills Died in the State Legislature." The entire story is---and I know this is harsh language---a blatant lie. Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming the reporter. I believe he is acting in good faith and writing what he sincerely believes is true. But ...the idea that any bill dies (let alone the "Social Promotion" bill) because of dramatic, suspense-filled "maneuvering," or "filibusters," or what-have-you, is just plain false.  The Democrat majority in both houses "want" people to believe that. Many journalists, most likely through no fault of their own, buy into these false scenarios. The fact is that ANY bill could be shepherded through the legislature in 24 hours, from start to finish. It's been done, numerous times. The notion that "it's difficult to get a bill through in a 30-day session" is just not correct. The key component is the WILL to enact a particular idea, concept, or reform. And that will just isn't there. It wasn't there in last year's 60-day session (when, strangely, there wasn't "enough time" for any number of measures) and it won't be in next year's 60-day session, UNLESS the make-up of the legislature is subtantially changed.  It isn't about "compromise," or "talking," or other such notions. This particular issue (and many more) have in fact undergone hundreds of hours of talks, and many compromises have been made. So those kinds of excuses are nothing more than a gigantic canard. The fact is the "educatocracy" (the combined forces of the ingrained public education establishment, its unions and many, many lifetime educators and administrators, though not all of them) does not want change.  An additional unseen fact is that the very idea that certain bills are, oddly, always "waiting" on the floor on the final day reflects an opposition strategy that takes tremendous fake maneuvering just to pull off. Those bills could have reached the floor a week--even two weeks-- earlier. Opponents have to connive--they actually have to scheme fairly carefully-- to get things to "look" as if they "just ran out of time."  Journalists need to stop buying this "Child's Garden of Verses" kind of storytelling. And New Mexicans need to understand what is really going on in Santa Fe. See post


Getting Hosed at the Pump

From Jewish World - by Greg Crosby - Gas prices are going up. A lot. Already the cost of a gallon of gas has increased by 51.4 cents over the past year. By this summer don't be surprised to see $5.00 a gallon prices at the pumps. That will mean anywhere from $85.00 to $100.00 or more to fill up your tank. But before you start cursing out the big evil oil companies again, let me tell you that it's a lot more complicated than that. Several factors are at work here.  Even though we've had a warmer than normal winter across the country resulting in less demand for heating fuel (which usually means larger supplies of oil in reserve, and should translate to lower prices for us) our gas and oil prices have skyrocketed. As Fox's Lou Dobbs has pointed out, this is because oil companies HAVE NOT stockpiled the oil that we didn't use; they have sold it overseas to developing nations like China and India and jacked up prices to us here at home. But this is only half of the story.  President Obama is complicit in this rip off. He is simply fulfilling one of his campaign promises to turn the U.S. into a more "green energy" friendly country. Investors Business Daily has pointed out that during his presidential campaign, Obama admitted he didn't have a problem with sky-high gasoline prices, he just "would have preferred a gradual adjustment."  The idea is to make traditional energy sources such as gasoline and oil so expensive that it will force the public into using alternative fuels. His energy secretary, Steven Chu, told the Walt Street Journal before joining the administration that "somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Read more


High Gas Prices and Now THIS !

KOAT TV - It probably was not their idea of a dream wedding, but one Albuquerque couple had little choice when they were married at pump three of an Albuquerque gas station Thursday. Police said when they swarmed a gas station at San Mateo Boulevard and Indian School Road to arrest 28-year-old Caleb Rogers, they had no idea he was on his way to marry his fiance.
When they found out, they cut him a little slack.
"He was standing there in handcuffs. They were all standing around and I thought, 'What's going on? This is very bizarre,' because they're just standing around talking," gas station cashier Ellen Coffman said.
Police helped to organize a simple wedding for the couple at the gas station.
Officers said they kept the ceremony short and simple in order to make sure everyone was safe and secure.
"Obviously they had the compassion to go ahead and allow the ceremony, but we were also safe about it. He was under arrest and handcuffed," Albuquerque Police Department Officer Mark Aragon said. Read full story here: News New Mexico

One Pleads Guilty in Driver's License Crime Ring

NewsNM note (Spence) - For two years Democrats in the New Mexico Senate have blocked efforts to repeal a law that allows people in the U.S. illegally obtain a driver's license in this state.
Albuquerque Journal - A Polish man has pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a New Mexico driver’s license scam aimed at illegal immigrants, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales announced Friday.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in federal court in Albuquerque, Pawel Skladnik, 38, admitted to transporting illegal immigrants into New Mexico and arranging for them to get driver’s licenses with the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division. He pleaded guilty to a federal charge of transporting illegal immigrants.
Court documents show that Skladnik and Lukasz Koslik, 28, also a Polish national, were indicted in August for helping illegal immigrants not living in New Mexico get state driver’s licenses last year. Read full story here (subscription required): News New Mexico

Mayor ProTem & Manager of Sunland Park Arrested

Amy Orlando
El Paso Times - LAS CRUCES -- Sunland Park Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Salinas and City Manager Jaime Aguilera were arrested Saturday evening in an ongoing investigation into city government. Each faces identical charges -- conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with evidence and conspiracy. They were jailed in lieu of posting $50,000 cash bonds.
Sunland Park City Hall
The investigation continues, said District Attorney Amy Orlando. No further information on the arrests was available Saturday night. The arrests Saturday came after searches were conducted by New Mexico State Police and investigators for the district attorney's office on Friday at the home of Salinas and at his office at Sunland Park City Hall.
Salinas is one of three candidates for mayor. Early voting in that election has started. One of his opponents, Gerardo Hernandez, alleged last week that someone was attempting to blackmail him in an effort to get him to drop out of the race. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Does New Mexico Belong to Obama?

Jim Spence
President Obama was actually mocking calls for increased domestic gas production while touting oil-producing algae as the solution to high gas prices this week. If algae technology is ever proven to be viable, we are many years away from it providing for even a tiny portion of our energy needs. But in the face of huge jumps in gas prices it would seem that pinning hopes on Solyndra is a pretty tough sell for our leader.
Obama Praising Solyndra
Still, if you believe recent polls, New Mexico appears to be a safe bet to go into the Obama column in November. How can this be?
Oh it be. Obama’s strength in New Mexico is built on a couple of solid pillars. First, there has been a huge influx of white baby boomer progressives into New Mexico from places like California. Though these people are economically naive, they are politically active. They host neighborhood socials and go door-to-door looking for one-on-one situations where they can convince otherwise politically indifferent people to vote all Democrat.
If you are a hopeful Republican you better stop kidding yourself about what you are up against. These progressives now have hundreds of precinct captains in place all over our state. And they have several thousand foot soldiers. Progressives have armed themselves with voter lists. And unlike the average business person or generally disinterested independents, these people are intensely political. They know how their neighbors are registered and they are out there working every day to quietly convince them to either vote for Democrats, or alternatively, against certain Republicans. They are well trained and they know how to persuade the uninformed.
The second pillar of Obama support in New Mexico is simply the voter rolls. Thanks to “tradition,” there are simply a lot more registered Democrats in this state than Republicans. And most times the gravity of traditional voting patterns is overwhelming. In conversations with most life long Democrats, one gets the impression they don’t even realize their votes are gradually producing economic catastrophe. They simply vote for Democrats because that is what they have always done. The Democratic Party gets the same treatment as a favorite football team. And in New Mexico, most Hispanic voters have also block voted for Democrats. Block voted that is, until Susana Martinez came along.
Susana Martinez
Are pollsters who tell us New Mexico is safe for Obama actually right? There are only two potential threats standing in the way. And for now, they are merely “potential” threats, not real ones.
First, the tea parties in each and every municipality in the state have to recommit themselves to more sophisticated organizational tactics. If the tea parties' leaders realize they must commit to a structured, one person at a time approach to matching the organized efforts of progressives, this could present a bit of a problem for Obama.
Second, if the very popular slate of Hispanic leaders running the executive branch of government in New Mexico, led by Susana Martinez, makes a genuine commitment to communicate what is at stake for New Mexico and for America, and then works tirelessly all over the state, one precinct at a time for the Republican nominee, New Mexico might not be quite as safe for Obama as all the pundits and pollsters seem to think.
In the absence of these potential threats becoming real, this state will vote blue. And if our five electoral votes are as important as most people think, the outlook for employment and higher living standards won't just be blue, it will be bleak.