Minimum-wage political fight gets uglier

Dan Lewis, left; and Trudy Jones
From - ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Albuquerque voters will decide next Tuesday whether to raise the city's minimum wage by a dollar-an-hour to $8.50.  In the meantime, two city councilor's filed ethics complaints against one of the groups supporting the measure.  "This is not citizens of Albuquerque doing this," said Councilor Trudy Jones. "This is an outside, national organization and, more importantly, they have not registered as we are all forced to do, required to do, when we run for office."
Jones and Councilor Dan Lewis filed complaints with the City Clerk Wednesday against the Washington, D.C.-based group Working America, which is advertising in support of the measure  They claim the group had sent out robocalls and mailers to thousands of Albuquerque residents even though the group didn't file as a committee with the city. The mailers show people claiming to be New Mexicans holding signs supporting the wage increase.
The city clerk has asked Working America to stop sending mailers while the investigation continues. Read more

New Jersey investigating reports of price gouging

Your choice: do you want to have no gas or high prices
NewsNM:Swickard - We want prices at the very top during an emergency so that people do not fill up their gas tank, they just take the four gallons they need to exit the area. Then four more cars can each get the four gallons they need to leave the area with the twenty gallons the first driver would have taken if the price had been normal. If the price does not skyrocket then the first 100 cars buy all of the gas from that station and the next 400 cars are parked on the side of the road, out of gas, with the people walking. How much is gas worth when you have none? From - Prices for gasoline, hotel rooms, electrical generators and other post-storm necessities have risen sharply from New York to West Virginia in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and many residents are complaining of gouging.
In New Jersey alone, about 100 consumers have called the attorney general’s office to complain, said Neal Buccino, spokesman for the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs.“Some gas stations have raised their prices by 20 to 30 percent in one day,” Buccino said. “Some hardware stores have doubled the price they charge for generators overnight.”
Those types of increases would appear to be illegal under New Jersey’s anti-gouging law, which prohibits price hikes of more than 10 percent in an emergency. The law does make an exception for merchants who face increased costs, but the markup is still limited to 10 percent above normal, according to the state attorney general’s office. The state has deployed teams of investigators to check out complaints against specific retailers.
Violations are punishable by $10,000 fines. At least one gas station operator paid $20,000 to settle gouging charges in New Jersey related to Tropical Storm Irene last year. Read more

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Actor Johnny Depp gives money to Navajo Nation
Rio Rancho immigration raid
Environmentalists continue Mexican Wolves fight
Carlsbad Mental Health Center probe 


AG's office investigates fraud at Carlsbad Mental Health Center

 A search warrant was executed late Monday at Carlsbad Mental Health Center by investigators with the state Attorney General’s Office, with the assistance of the Eddy County Sheriff’s Department.
 Carlsbad Mental Health is under investigation for Medicaid fraud. 
Phil Sisneros, director of communication for the Attorney General’s Office, says the warrant was expected to be filed in court on Tuesday. He declined to provide details on the search at the nonprofit health center, citing the ongoing investigation and potential ethical and legal concerns. He also declined to elaborate on the items taken from the building Monday evening. 
The center’s board of directors issued a statement two weeks ago, stating that the agency is fully cooperating with the investigation.


Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 10/31/12

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Environmentalists continue Mexican Wolves fight
Actor Gene Hackman slaps man in Santa Fe
NM Racing Commission asks for more money
Gary Johnson pushes for %5 of election votes 


NM film industry continues to flourish, sets sights on tourism

Audio story here:

A string of movies have been shooting in New Mexico this past year with even more movie crews setting up shop in the state in the coming months.

Johnny Depp just wrapped up filming “The Lone Ranger” around Shiprock, Jane Seymour just started a movie shoot in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas and Eva Longoria and Ed Harris will head over next month to shoot an independent film.

Why the draw to the Land of Enchantment? Aside from the vistas and rich culture, It’s simple….tax incentives.

New Mexico continues to offer one of the most competitive incentives packages in the industry which includes a 25% Refundable Film Production Tax Credit, the NM Film Investment Loan Program and the Film Crew Advancement Program.

The state will give 25% back on whatever is spent in whether its vendors, hotels or crew members.

New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis says it not only boosts tourism, but the film industry is creating jobs.

Johnny Depp as "Tonto"
Maniatis- “If we get a large production, a 200 million dollar production, they could dump one hundred million dollars into our economy in about six months. There is something to be said for that. I think it’s important for me to create jobs and that is what I’m always trying to look to do.”

The film office is also partnering with the Tourism Department to create film tourism. Maniatis says the popularity of shows like “Breaking Bad” have sparked the curiosity of television buffs from around the globe.

Maniatis-“We’re going to try to tap into that need for people to see where things were made. Breaking Bad was such a big hit and now they have a trolley up here that does a tour and people come from Europe to see it.”

The long term goal for the film office is to create itineraries, maps and movie listings on their website to show people what actors and New Mexico locations are in films. Mianiatis says if enough funding can be secured there are plans for an Iphone and ipad app that allows users to select their location and see clips of a movie shot where they are standing.

For Newsbreak New Mexico, I’m Vanessa Dabovich.  


Santa Teresa Industrial Park reopens, hazardous material still a mystery

The Santa Teresa Industrial Park near the U.S Mexico border reopened Wednesday following a mandatory evacuation due to a hazardous material spill.

Around 200 people were sickened Tuesday by an unknown substance reporting difficulty breathing, light-headedness, nausea and dizziness.  

A 1-mile area surrounding the Dona Ana County Industrial Park and Mexico border crossing at Santa Teresa was evacuated for a few hours and the county airport was closed. Evacuees were taken to Santa Teresa High School.

An Albuquerque-based civil support team from the New Mexico National Guard headed to Santa Teresa to try to identify the hazardous materials and their source. The investigation initially centered at the FoamEx plant on the industrial park campus but was later expanded to other areas in the park.

Vice president of the Border Industrial Association, Jerry Pacheco, says FoamEx Innovations owns a building about 298,000 square feet in the industrial park that makes polyurethane foam products. Pacheco also says there are a variety of different kinds of companies in the three industrial parks in the Santa Teresa area, around fifty in all.

Dona Ana County emergency officials say the cluster of factories and warehouses in Santa Teresa was reopened at 6 a.m. this morning after testing for hazardous materials was negative. The Dona Ana County Airport also reopened.

Investigations to identify the substance continue.

For Newsbreak New Mexico, I’m Vanessa Dabovich. 


Actor Johnny Depp gives Navajo Nation scholarship funds

Johnny Depp as Tonto

Actor Johnny Depp filmed scenes in New Mexico for an upcoming movie and now has given the Navajo Nation $25,000 for scholarships. 
Tribal president Ben Shelly accepted the donation and the Navajo Nation's Health Education and Human Services Committee voted Monday to accept the money so it can be appropriated for vocational scholarships. 
Depp's spokesperson says the donation is supposed to be private and no further statement will be released on his behalf. 
Depp will play Tonto in the movie version of "The Lone Ranger," which is expected to be in theaters in June. 
The Shiprock monument in New Mexico can be seen in the movie's recently released trailer and Monument Valley near the Arizona-Utah border also is featured.


Feds conduct immigration operation at Rio Rancho restaurant

Federal agents took four people into custody after storming a Rio Rancho business and home on Monday morning. 
Homeland Security agents wasted little time when they moved in, quickly throwing handcuffs on the owner of the Double Dragon Chinese restaurant.  
The agents and police were looking for computers and other records that could help bust open an illegal immigration operation that centers partly on fraudulent documents. 
Agents also searched at least one Rio Rancho home. Investigators are staying tight-lipped on specifics related to Monday morning's raids. 
The four people detained Monday are expected to be dealt immigration charges shortly.


Serious crash closes highway 70 and Bataan Memorial East

A Wednesday morning rollover crash has closed a portion of Highway 70 in both directions and Bataan Memorial East at Sonoma Ranch Boulevard.

The crash was reported shortly after 8 a.m. today and appears to involve two vehicles.

Highway 70 westbound is being diverted to Bataan Memorial West at the Mesa Grande Drive exit and traffic on Highway 70 eastbound is directed to exit at Rinconada Boulevard, head northbound and take surface streets east past Mesa Grande Drive.

If at all possible, motorists are asked to avoid the area or seek an alternative route.


Environmentalists continue to fight Mexican wolves proposal

Environmentalists and a group of scientists are criticizing a draft proposal that outlines options for releasing Mexican gray wolves into the wild.  
The plan deals with releasing wolves from captive breeding facilities into the wild in Arizona to replace wolves that are either killed illegally or die from natural causes.  It suggests the replacement wolves be selected to maximize genetic diversity of the wild population in Arizona and New Mexico.  
The scientists and other critics have sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying releases are needed, but the plan doesn’t do enough to boost the wild population.  They also argue that release decisions should hinge on the federal agency rather than guidelines from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.  
There are around 58 wolves in the wild along the New Mexico-Arizona border. 


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Santa Teresa Hasmat situation causes evacuation 
FBI report shows violent crime down in NM
Gary Johnson aims for 5% of the election vote


Actor Gene Hackman slaps man in Santa Fe

Gene Hackman
Police in New Mexico say Gene Hackman was acting in self-defense when he slapped a homeless man who had become aggressive toward the Oscar-winning actor and his wife. 

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the incident occurred Tuesday afternoon in downtown Santa Fe. Police didn't immediately provide any additional details. 
A message seeking comment was left for Hackman's publicists at Guttman Associates in Beverly Hills, Calif. 
Hackman and his wife have a home in Santa Fe. The 82-year-old actor has won two Academy Awards and been nominated for three others over a career that has spanned five decades.


Libertarian candidate Johnson pushing for 5% of the votes

Gary Johnson
Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson has several new campaign ads running in markets across the country. 

Johnson is making a push to get 5 percent of the general election vote. 
He says it would officially qualify the Libertarian Party for federal funding. He says the result would make the Libertarian Party a bonafide third party.  
The candidate supports pulling out of Afghanistan now, ending the war on drugs, balancing the budget and marriage equality.


FBI numbers show violent crime down in NM

New Federal Bureau of Investigation numbers show that overall violent crime in New Mexico fell slightly last year.

 The annual FBI Uniform Crime report released Monday showed that violent crime in the state dropped around 3 percent in 2011. 
According to the report, law enforcement agencies in New Mexico reported a total of 11,817 violent crimes. That's a decrease from 2010 when agencies reported 12,126 violent crimes. 
However, the state saw a tiny jump in the number of reported murders. Last year, New Mexico agencies reported 156 murders, a spike from 142 in 2010.


Hazardous material spill led to Santa Teresa Industrial Park evacuation Tuesday

The Doña Ana County Airport and a Santa Teresa industrial park remained closed Tuesday evening while an investigation into a hazardous material spill continued.  
Emergency personnel on Tuesday morning evacuated a one-mile radius around the site, about two miles north of the Santa Teresa port of entry on the Mexican border, after the release of unidentified chemicals caused workers to suffer difficulty breathing, light-headedness, nausea and dizziness.  
Twenty to 45 people treated at a Santa Teresa High shelter were later released, and three people who went on their own to an El Paso hospital were also released. 
An Albuquerque-based civil support team from the New Mexico National Guard headed to Santa Teresa to try to identify the hazardous materials and their source.  
The investigation initially centered on the Foamex plant, which produces flexible polyurethane foam products, but other areas were also checked. 


What happens after the election?

Commentary by Jim Spence - With six days to go until the election citizens are starting to wonder what will happen if Obama wins. They are also wondering what will happen if Romney wins.
Jim Spence
What happens if Obama wins is a pretty easy question to answer. The approach to governing we have seen for the last four years will continue.
Some who say the GOP has obstructed Obama’s budget since it retook the House in 2010 wonder if Republicans will change. We checked the votes on the Obama budget proposals. A 2011 vote in the U.S. Senate on Obama’s budget failed to secure a single vote in either party. It was defeated 97-0. A 2012 vote on the Obama budget in the House also failed to garner a single vote. It lost 411-0. It is sort of silly to wonder if an Obama victory will make the GOP more cooperative. On the last two budget votes not a single congressional Democrat has followed the Obama lead.
Fair enough. What will happen if Romney wins? This is a more difficult question to answer. The first thing that will probably happen is there will be widespread rioting in the inner cities of most major metro areas. Alarming activity on Twitter and Facebook already has law enforcement and the Secret Service scrambling. It seems that there have been hundreds if not thousands of threats on social media sites of riots if Romney wins. There have also been dozens of death threats on Twitter directed at Romney if he wins. Given the fundamental nature of a significant portion of the Obama base, on at least some level, civil unrest and violence in the inner cities seems sure to follow a Romney victory.
If there are inner city riots, expect 2nd Amendment right supporters to be prepared. Sales of guns and ammunition to suburban Americans have hit all-time records over the last four years.
In Washington following the election, a lame duck session in Congress will follow. Then in January, America will begin to see if a switch to Romney will facilitate more across the aisle cooperation. Will Romney be able to work with a smaller portion of Democrats in Washington like he did with a huge 87% Democratic majority in Massachusetts? Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to continue to stonewall all efforts at reform. As governor, Mitt Romney worked with his opponents to erase a $1.6 billion budget deficit left by his Democratic predecessor. Despite Reid’s threats Romney seems to be the only chance America has to return to some semblance of fiscal sanity.

Sowell: 'Cooling Out' the Voters

Commentary by Dr. Thomas Sowell - Confidence men know that their victim -- "the mark" as he has been called is eventually going to realize that he has been cheated. But it makes a big difference whether he realizes it immediately, and goes to the police, or realizes it after the confidence man is long gone. So part of the confidence racket is creating a period of uncertainty, during which the victim is not yet sure of what is happening. This delaying process has been called "cooling out the mark."
The same principle applies in politics. When the accusations that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton first surfaced, he flatly denied them all. Then, as the months passed, the truth came out -- but slowly, bit by bit. One of Clinton's own White House aides later called it "telling the truth slowly." By the time the whole truth came out, it was called "old news," and the clever phrase now was that we should "move on."
We are currently seeing another "cooling out" process, growing out of the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11th this year. The belated release of State Department e-mails shows that the Obama administration knew, while the attack on the American consulate was still underway, that it was a coordinated, armed terrorist attack. They were getting reports from those inside the consulate who were under attack, as well as surveillance pictures from a camera on an American drone overhead.
Why then did both President Obama and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice keep repeating the story that this was a spontaneous protest riot against an anti-Islamic video in America? The White House knew the facts -- but they knew that the voting public did not. And it mattered hugely whether the facts became known to the public before or after the election. What the White House needed was a process of "cooling out" the voters, keeping them distracted or in uncertainty as long as possible.
The White House had to know that it was only a matter of time before the truth would come out. But time was what mattered, with an election close at hand. The longer they could stretch out the period of distraction and uncertainty -- "cooling out" the voters -- the better. Once the confidence man in the White House was reelected, it would be politically irrelevant what facts came out. Read full column

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PNM headed to east coast 
NM voters to decide constitutional amendments
Last day to request absentee ballot Nov. 1st
700lbs of pot seized at Santa Teresa port of entry


Candelario steps in as Raton's new mayor

Raton City Commission
With no fanfare or formal declaration, the title of Raton mayor has been passed to Chris Candelario.

Candelario, who has been mayor pro tem since March, when he ran unopposed for a commission seat after being appointed in January 2011 to fill a vacant seat, chaired Tuesday’s commission meeting as mayor for the first time. Candelario stepped into the role following the Oct. 10 resignation of mayor and commissioner Charles Starkovich.

Candelario and City Manager Pete Kampfer each said there are no specific city or state laws that specifically outline how to replace, in a commission-manager form of government such as Raton’s, a mayor who resigns, but city ordinance and state law have identical language that gets close to the matter. The laws say that during a mayor’s “absence,” the mayoral duties shall be performed by the mayor pro tem.

Candelario this week said there is “no protocol” to give the commission direction in selecting a new mayor under the circumstances other than for him to simply “move up.”

The commission selects a mayor from among its members every two years immediately after the municipal election that usually includes two or three commission seats on the ballot.

State law does spell out how the commission is to fill the vacant commissioner seat that used to belong to Starkovich. The commission can appoint a registered Raton voter to complete the term, although it remains to be seen whether the commission will make any appointment before an ongoing recall petition process is completed.

Recall petitions were submitted to the city clerk in late September seeking a recall election for every commissioner. The clerk purged many signatures from the petitions because they did not meet the requirements of state law, she said, leaving the petitions short of the required number of valid signatures to trigger an election. The process now awaits the possible reinstating of signatures of anyone who provides sufficient evidence to the clerk to show that his or her signatures should not have been purged. On Tuesday, the commission took the formal step of accepting the results of the clerk’s examination of the petitions.

Tuesday’s commission agenda listed Candelario as mayor and included an item calling for the commission to appoint a new mayor pro tem. However, the commission tabled action on that matter because Commissioner Jimmy Fanelli was absent from the meeting.

Candelario’s current two-year commission term expires in March 2014. He previously served on the commission from March 1998 to March 2002.

Starkovich resigned in order to pursue an effort as a private citizen to try to change what he called the city’s “discriminatory” at-large voting system that he alleged leaves Hispanic and other minority voters without an adequate political voice in the local election process and underrepresented on the city commission.

Read more at The Raton Range...

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Last day to request absentee ballot Nov. 1st
NM Red Cross heads to the east coast
New film shooting in ABQ
Bill Richardson takes job at California spaceport 


NM horse racing industry wants better drug control

Some of New Mexico's biggest drug dens are at its five horse tracks, the executive director of the state Racing Commission told legislators on Thursday.
The commission is seeking a budget increase of almost $800,000, in part to test more racehorses for performance-enhancing drugs and to hire three more employees, including another track investigator.
"New Mexico has a drug problem," said Vince Mares, who directs the Racing Commission's day-to-day operations. "I've identified people who have doped horses and caused the deaths of horses."
Mares, testifying before the Legislative Finance Committee, said the underlying message of inadequate testing is that horse owners and trainers "have to cheat to compete."
State Sen. John Arthur Smith said afterward that Mares made a good case for adding money to the Racing Commission's budget.
"If we're going to attempt to salvage the industry, I'd say the chances are probably pretty good that it will happen," said Smith, D-Deming.
He said New Mexico horse racing was "under a cloud," and that lingering questions about its credibility would hurt the businesses unless improvements are made.
Legislators have paid close attention to horseracing for most of this year.
An investigation by The New York Times last March found that five of the seven U.S. tracks with the highest rates of horse breakdowns and deaths were in New Mexico.
Ruidoso Downs had the worst record of all from 2009 to 2011, at 13.9 incidents
per 1,000 starts, according to the Times.
The method of generating these statistics brought criticism from Mares and others. Still, Mares said the Times' story was valuable in that it alerted state residents to the industry's problems...


BREAKING: Evacuation order for Santa Teresa Industrial Park

BREAKING: An EVACUATION ORDER has been issued for the Santa Teresa Industrial Park, northwest of the Santa Teresa Airport, due to a HAZMAT situation in the area.  

A shelter has been set up at Santa Teresa High School for evacuees who live in the area.  The evacuation area covers 2 miles northwest of the Santa Teresa Airport, to include the Santa Teresa Industrial Park. 

We'll keep you posted with future updates as they become available.

Update: 10:51am

Santa Teresa High School is being used as a shelter for evacuees in southern Doña Ana County, where a hazardous-materials incident is developing. Air-quality testing is underway to determine what is making people sick in the area.  The Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services Department Hazardous Materials Response Team has established a command post at Airport Road and the Pete V. Domenici Highway near the Doña Ana County Industrial Park and the Santa Teresa Port of Entry.
A mandatory evacuation is underway for an area up to two miles from the industrial park. Approximately 200 people are in triage for symptoms of difficulty breathing, light-headedness, nausea and dizziness. No serious injuries have been reported, and no one has yet been transported to area hospitals.
The Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority has activated a reverse 911 call to alert residents and businesses within two miles of the incident to remain indoors, seal all doors and windows and turn off air conditioning and heating systems that bring outside air into the home or business.
The exact nature of the incident remains under investigation by authorities. Travelers and the media are advised to stay at least two miles from the area until authorities clear the area for traffic.
The Doña Ana County Emergency Operations Center is in standby status. Helicopters and equipment from various agencies in both Doña Ana County and El Paso County are standing by to assist if necessary.
Updates will be provided as more information is received.

Update: 2:50pm

 New Mexico State Police have requested a civil-support team from the New Mexico National Guard to deploy to the Doña Ana County Industrial Park at Santa Teresa to assist with monitoring and testing. That team is en route. The Las Cruces Fire Department’s Hazmat team is standing by to provide assistance as requested.


Millennials Are Turning Into A Generation Of Fiscal Conservatives

This generation of young Americans has been called many things, from civic-minded to "entitled." But fiscally conservative?
That's a new one, and it just might have an impact on the presidential election. 

Listen to Caroline Winsett, a senior at DePaul University, who considers herself fairly socially liberal but says being fiscally conservative matters most right now. 

"Ultimately, I'm voting with my pocketbook," says Winsett, a 22-year-old political science major who's president of the DePaul student body. 

She recently cast an absentee ballot for Republican Mitt Romney in her home state of Tennessee

To be clear, polls show that President Barack Obama remains the favorite among 18- to 29-year-old registered voters, as he was in 2008. No one thinks the majority of young voters will support Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, in the Nov. 6 election. 

Read more News New Mexico


The Angry Seas

Hurricane Sandy at Dewey Beach, Delaware


New Mexico voters to decide on constitutional amendments

New Mexico voters will consider approving five constitutional amendments and tens of millions of dollars in general obligation bonds when they fill out their election ballots. 

Far down the ballot are three amendments dealing with reforming the Public Regulation Commission. The three proposals would allow lawmakers to streamline PRC duties, move some of the commission's oversight to the secretary of state, and allow lawmakers to adopt minimum standards for PRC candidates. 

The other amendments call for creating an independent public defender's office and adding members to the state Judicial Standards Commission. 

As for the more than $140 million in proposed general obligation bonds, senior citizen centers around the state, libraries, and the state's colleges and universities would stand to benefit.


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ABQ Journal poll shows Lujan-Grisham up
Campbell trial set for NMFA scandal
Bill Richardson takes California spaceport job


Bill Richardson takes job at a California spaceport

Bill Richardson
ABQ Journal- Former Gov. Bill Richardson will be going to work for a California spaceport to help push lawmakers there for an expanded “informed consent” law protecting manufacturers and suppliers of private spacecraft from most civil lawsuits.  
Stuart Witt, executive director of the Mojave Air and Space Port, confirmed Monday that Richardson has been hired as a consultant. Terms of his deal will be made public Wednesday when the spaceport’s governing authority reviews the contract. 
Mojave is seeking expanded protection in California similar to the kind the Martinez administration is pushing the New Mexico Legislature to adopt for Spaceport America – a $209 million project near Truth or Consequences that was one of Richardson’s signature initiatives...


Campbell trial date set for alleged role in NMFA scandal

Greg Campbell
Former New Mexico Finance Authority controller Greg Campbell is scheduled to stand trial in February 2013 on charges related to his alleged role in a fraudulent audit scandal that prompted an agency shake-up. 
Making his first court appearance Monday since being arrested Aug. 8, Campbell sat alone in the courtroom before a brief hearing in front of District Court Judge Stephen Pfeffer, who announced the trial date. 
Campbell, through his public defender, waived his right to a formal arraignment Monday and remains free on a $20,000 bond with certain release conditions. 
Campbell left his job with the Finance Authority in June, shortly before the falsified audit was discovered. He is the only current or former NMFA employee facing charges in connection with the audit scandal.


ABQ Journal poll shows Lujan-Grisham leading Arnold-Jones

Democratic 1st Congressional District candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham has maintained a wide lead over Republican Janice Arnold-Jones as the Nov. 6 election nears, according to a new ABQ Journal Poll.  
Lujan Grisham, a former Bernalillo County commissioner and state Cabinet secretary, was favored by 51 percent of likely voters or voters who already have cast an early ballot, according to a Journal Poll taken Oct. 23-25.
Arnold-Jones, a small-business owner and former state representative, was backed by 36 percent of likely voters. Thirteen percent of voters were undecided. 
In New Mexico’s two other U.S. House districts, incumbents Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat, and Steve Pearce, a Republican, had significant leads over their challengers, the Journal Poll found.


What if questions suggest journalists are a disgrace

Jim Spence (left)
Commentary by Jim Spence - The “what if,” questions surrounding the horror of Benghazi just keep coming. The first question is what if this incident had happened under George W. Bush’s watch. One thing is for certain. If six weeks after the Benghazi attacks Bush was still claiming his people were “investigating,” after he had initially sent out his staffers to make utterly false statements to the media......all hell would have broken loose long ago. Instead of all hell breaking loose, on ten of the eleven networks where people get their news (CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, Bloomberg, Link TV, Free Speech TV, Current TV, and CNBC) the subject does not even come up. Watching Sunday’s talk show circuit was astonishing. When some of the few inquisitive commentators brought the topic up, the so-called moderators at ABC and NBC dismissively changed the subject. It seems that only Fox News continues to ask legitimate questions that go unanswered.

Let’s try to get this straight. In far less than twenty-four hours the White House knew Benghazi was the result of a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muhammed video gone awry. And more than six weeks later, with accounts of what actually happened including the calls for help all around them the White House can’t answer any questions.
Returning to the original premise of this column, if this had happened under Bush’s watch it would be front page news. It would be the lead story on every network including Fox every night until the White House came clean. Instead it is mostly backburner stuff because of an overwhelming bias in favor of Obama's re-election in the media. No wonder Fox News is commanding huge ratings compared to its competitors. Journalism in America has become an embarassment.

Obama Cares About Big Bird Not Real Birds

Commentary by Marita Noon - The number of days until the election can now be counted on both hands. Regardless of the outcome, we know one issue will be buried under the fiscal-cliff news—where it hopes to fly under the radar. This one issue? The extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy—which is bound to be present in lame-duck session negotiations, as it is currently scheduled to expire on December 31.
Using taxpayer dollars, the PTC supposedly “makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity”—though wind energy is still more expensive than traditionally fueled electricity and raises the costs for both residential and industrial users.
Throughout the year, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has been working valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to get the PTC extended. They are now down to the wire and are getting panicked—sending military veterans to meet with staffers of GOP members who are believed to be “persuadable,” and even calling on pension fund managers to put pressure on House and Senate leadership. Their only hope for salvation is the lame-duck session.
Should Romney win, the lame-duck pressure will be even stronger as he has stood in opposition to the PTC extension. In a Romney White House, wind energy will need to be viable without taxpayer subsidy or borrowing from China. After twenty years, it should be, but as we’ve seen, it isn’t.
We’ve all heard stories of birds and bats being killed by wind turbines—earning them the “giant bird Cuisinart” moniker. The birds being killed aren’t just sparrows or pigeons. They are eagles and raptors that “are protected by two of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Eagle Protection Act.” While the wind industry isn’t prosecuted for the “unpermitted bird kills,” the oil industry gets hauled into court and is required to pay hefty fines for the deaths of a few ducks.
The bird deaths have become so dramatic, 91 environmental groups have signed a petition asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create regulations to better protect migratory birds. “Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.–based lawyer, who represents several environmental groups on the bird-kill issue, said: ‘It’s absolutely clear that there’s been a mandate from the top’ echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws.”
Following Romney’s debate remark about defunding Big Bird, Obama has made opposition to the killing of Big Bird a campaign issue. Yet, Obama’s support of the PTC is, in effect, a plan to fund bird murder—a plan “persuadable” Republicans are being pressured to support. They are being told that there will be no problematic political fallout from including the PTC in a package of other miscellaneous tax-extender items. The PTC extension could well get buried in an omnibus bill, filled with some other things most Republicans want.
Right now, the PTC extension is being pitched to the House Ways and Means Committee (as a predecessor to coming to a vote for the whole House). Calls from constituents, especially to Ways and Means Committee members, can alert them that there is problematic political fallout if they move the extension forward. Will you pick up the phone (202-224-3121) and tell them that the real cost of wind energy subsidies is too high?
Don’t let the threat of killing Big Bird obscure the bigger issue of murdering real birds, of hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars per job, of mandates that are raising energy costs, and of obscene subsidies for an energy source that couldn’t make it in the free market. Tell your congressional representatives to say, “No,” to the PTC extension—regardless of the package in which it is hidden. Read full column