Should NM create its own state bank, like they have in North Dakota?

From Capitol Report New - On this site, we’ve written how Santa Fe should be a little bit more like Bismarck. Huh? While Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico, Bismarck in the capital of North Dakota, the state that’s navigated itself through the economic downturn better than any other. In fact, North Dakota has the country’s lowest unemployment rate and in 2010 had an actual budget surplus of $700 million. Now, one of the members of Roundhouse’s Democratic contingent is calling for establishing a state development bank here in New Mexico — just like they have in North Dakota. Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) says creating a “New Mexico State Bank” to help out small businesses will be ”a win-win-win” for small businesses, local banks and the state’s bottom line. “It won’t cost the state a penny,” Egolf says, “and we’re going to make money on this from start to finish.” Here’s how it would work:
The State Investment Council (SIC) has one of the largest permanent funds of any state in the country. At last calcuation, the balance is roughly $14 billion. Egolf wants to see $100 million of the permanent fund set aside to create a state development bank aimed at helping small business owners complete loan agreements so they can expand their businesseses. Read more

Officials: Juárez reports 38% fewer homicides in 2011

From the El Paso Times - By Diana Washington Valdez - Juárez reported 38 percent fewer homicides in 2011 than in 2010, according to Chihuahua state statistics. The city ended another year of drug cartel wars with 1,904 homicides in 2011, from Jan. 1 through Dec. 23, compared to 3,117 in 2010. Juárez had 2,643 homicides in 2009 and 1,607 homicides in 2008. Police reported the first homicide of the year Sunday with the death of a 60-year-old man who was struck by a vehicle, based on a preliminary investigation. He was identified as Ezequiel Carvajal Zavala, whose body was found near the intersection of Las Maravillas and Piramide. Officials said a bullet casing was found nearby, but they didn't know yet if the man was also shot. Nationally, Mexico had 51,918 homicides since President Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown against the drug cartels. Read more
NewsNM: Swickard - My friend Julie Baker Carter took this picture of past wind power now enhanced with the addition of electricity and a water pump.

Occupy Movement Legacy of 2011

The "Occupy" movement headed up behind the scenes by former Obama Green Jobs Czar, Van Jones grabbed the national news spotlight and created a historical legacy for itself in 2011. Highlights of the accomplishments of those involved are captured on film here in this powerful video.


Gun Sales Up Big in NM During 2011

KRWG - FBI data suggests that gun sales in New Mexico and nationally will hit record levels in 2011. The Albuquerque Journal reports the number of FBI National Instant Criminal Background in New Mexico totaled 10,011 in November, up 14 percent from about 8,800 in November 2010. That number falls short of the state's 12,078 background checks performed in November 2008. State data for December was not available. Read full story here: News New Mexico

NM Congressional Map Set

Capitol Report New Mexico - Late Thursday (Dec. 29), retired Judge Jim Hall adopted a redistricting map for New Mexico to determine political boundaries for US Congressional races for the next 10 years. Hall selected a compromise map that makes slight changes, shifting less than 25,000 people into new congressional districts. Hall’s map has the support of a Gov. Susana Martinez, other Republicans and a group of Democrats, including Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe. One of the affected areas is Valencia County, east of the Rio Grande that will go from the First Congressional District to the Second. Here is what the new map looks like:

Read the entire story here: News New Mexico

ACS Headquarters Heads for Charlotte

NM Business Journal - Advanced Composite Structures is relocating its headquarters from Albuquerque to Charlotte, N.C. The company, which will continue to operate a factory in Albuquerque, will open a 32,000-square-foot facility in Charlotte on Jan. 16 with 40 employees, said President and CEO Tom Pherson. ACS, which makes thermoplastic air cargo boxes, wanted its headquarters located next to a seaport for shipping to global markets. “It costs more to ship containers from Albuquerque to Houston for export than it does to ship by sea from Charlotte,” Pherson said. “The cost of transportation was affecting our operations, so we chose to relocate our final assembly and logistics engineering business.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Bomb Making Lab Found in Torrance County

KOB TV - A bomb making lab was found at the Torrance County home of a retired Sandia National Labs employee who recently died. The Torrance County Sheriff Heath White said the explosives belonged to 81-year-old David O'Keeffe. White said the landowner went to collect back rent from O'Keeffe but discovered that he died in Albuquerque a couple months back. While looking for the man the landowner discovered a bomb making lab. An area around N.M. 41 and Highway 542 has been shut down and some homes in the area have been evacuated. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Malpractice Lawyer Lands Appointment to Senate

Lawyers are both the most politically active and politically over-represented profession in the state. And now lawyers will have yet another voice and vote protecting their interests in the New Mexico legislature when the 30 day session begins later this month.
Lisa Curtis

It seems that medical malpractice attorney Lisa Curtis, a very partisan Democrat from Albuquerque, was successful in her behind the scenes political efforts in 2011. On Friday afternoon, a reluctant Governor Susana Martinez announced the appointment of Curtis to fill the vacant Senate seat in a solidly Republican District (21).
How could Curtis manage to land an appointment to a Senate seat in a Republican district? Apparently, being an activist and contributor to many Democrat candidates paid off. Both the Bernalillo and Sandoval County Commissions were convinced by Curtis on straight party line votes that she should be the only replacement choice submitted to Governor Martinez to fill the seat vacated by Kent Cravens.
In the end, Governor Susana Martinez was left with two choices. Leave District 21 completely unrepresented or seat the partisan Democrat Lisa Curtis to serve out the remainder of a Republican's term.