Swickard: Working New Mexicans celebrate statehood differently

© 2012 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - This Centennial Year of New Mexico Statehood we must realize our history is primarily of people who made New Mexico what it is now. William McDonald was New Mexico’s first elected governor and owner of the Bar W Ranch outside of Carrizozo. His neighbor Bill Gallacher (pictured on left) provides an interesting insight into that era.In 1977, the 65th anniversary of New Mexico Statehood, I decided to interview someone who was living in the state that statehood day. I wanted to get an eyewitness view from someone in the middle of the statehood celebration. I thought of Bill Gallacher, a 1908 graduate from the college at Las Cruces. In January 1912, Bill Gallacher had been living for four years on his ranch 20 miles from Carrizozo as he was still in 1977. He died years later at age 98.Bill Gallacher was an interesting New Mexico pioneer. From living in White Oaks before the turn of the century, he lived to see the landing of the space shuttle 60 miles from his ranch. He was 35 miles downwind of the first atomic explosion at Trinity Site, July 16, 1945. He was also one of the few people who could look up in the sky in 1986 and say, “Halley’s Comet, what do you know, there it is again.”As I drove out to his ranch on a dirt road, that was dirt in 1912, 1977 and still is dirt, I pictured the celebrations; firecrackers going off, dogs barking, and people toasting statehood at the local bar while politician gave speeches. I was sure it was one big party to celebrate New Mexico statehood. Read column

Film Looks at N.M. WWII Internment Camps

From kob.com -Nearly 70 years ago, thousands of Japanese-Americans were held at internment camps in New Mexico. It’s an unfamiliar story for many in the state. That’s why filmmaker and former KOB Eyewitness News 4 reporter Neil Simon made “Prisoners and Patriots.” Simon interviewed families and Japanese Americans who were held at New Mexico internment camps during World War II.  Simons said it took him almost five years to make the film. "There was nothing,” he said. “There was no video, there were very few pictures and despite there being so much literature about the Japanese-American internments, there was very little about the Department of Justice run camps like Santa Fe."  More News New Mexico

Legendary Boxer Involved In Crash

From KOAT-TV.com - , N.M. -- Police were investigating a crash Thursday involving a five-time world champion boxer. Johnny Tapia walked out of an Albuquerque Police Department substation Thursday as a free man. He has battled drugs outside the boxing ring for years. Police said they're awaiting results that will determine whether he'll face a third charge of driving while intoxicated. Authorities said Tapia crashed his black sport utility vehicle into the median at Paseo Del Norte on Thursday afternoon. The SUV came to rest in the middle of the median. Police later seized the vehicle. "They did perform field sobriety tests on the scene. He did show signs of impairment, which is why they placed him in investigative detention," Albuquerque Police Department Sgt. Rob Gibbs said. After the wreck, investigators said Tapia was taken to a police substation, where he submitted to a blood test. They said a breath test showed he was not drunk, but authorities believe he had a central nervous system depressant in his body. Read more

New House districts map has longtime Dem mulling retirement

From the Santa Fe New Mexican.com - State Rep. Nick Salazar, a veteran Rio Arriba County lawmaker, said Wednesday that he's considering retiring after serving his term because a new state House of Representatives district map approved by a judge this week "butchers" his district and would pit him against a fellow Democrat in the primary. Salazar, who has served in the Legislature since 1973, said his new district, under the redistricting plan approved by retired Judge Jim Hall, just has a small portion of Rio Arriba County. "It goes all the way up to Raton," Salazar said. The plan approved by Hall, which was submitted by Gov. Susana Martinez, combines parts of Salazar's old district with that of Rep. Thomas Garcia of Ocate. Read more

Democrats Got Greedy on Redistricting

Judge James Hall
Democrats were crying in their political beer on Wednesday after retired Judge James Hall tossed aside every suggestion the Dems offered for redistricting the 70 state House districts. Judge Hall, a Democrat, after reviewing all of the proposals felt the one offered by Governor Susana Martinez was the most fair. Democrats who have controlled the House of Representative for decades currently hold 36 seats in the house while Republicans have 33. Andy Nunez of Dona Ana County is the lone independent in the legislature.
The Albuquerque Journal quoted Santa Fe attorney and angry Democrat house member Brian Egolf, “It is a major upending of the political balance.” Both Representative Egolf and fellow attorney Antonio "Moe" Maestas of Albuquerque were amongst the most vocal critics of the judge's ruling.
In the same Journal article House Minority Leader Tom Taylor of Farmington characterized the new plan as “more competitive” than current districts. “There’s no question that some of the sitting representatives, both D’s and R’s, are going to have to work a little harder,” he said.
After several reports and interviews of the players during the special session indicated that the Republicans were completely shut out of any discussions regarding redistricting maps, House Speaker Ben Lujan was more reflective than his colleagues on Judge Hall's ruling. Apparently the Speaker is still pouring over the maps. Lujan had this to say to the Albuquerque Journal, “The governor’s plan was never vetted anywhere. She didn’t make any attempt to introduce any kind of plan to be discussed during the special session.” Others told News New Mexico that every effort by the GOP to obtain input in the process was summarily rebuffed by the leadership in the House.
In the end most experts we spoke with suggested that the Democrats got greedy and tried to stack the deck. They seem to have counted on the notriously partisan Supreme Court to appoint an equally partisan judge that would let them draw the lines in ways that would benefit the party instead of the voters. Judge Hall spoiled their fun, sided with proposals that encouraged competition, and forced more elected officials to compete for votes instead of simply awarding themselves boundary advantages.


Governor Releases Budget Message

Today, Governor Susana Martinez announced her Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal, which continues the Governor’s commitment to responsible budgeting while calling for targeted and significant investments in important priorities for New Mexico’s children and families.
“I am proud to announce to New Mexicans that our fiscal house is back in order,” said Governor Martinez. “A year ago, we made a commitment to balancing our budget without raising taxes, while protecting core priorities like classroom spending and health care for those most in need. Thanks to responsible budgeting and an intent focus on cutting excess costs in government, we are now able to take another step forward by making important investments in the education of our children, as well as economic reforms to improve New Mexico’s long-term fiscal health and ability to compete for jobs.”
Just fourteen months ago, reserves for FY11 were projected to total just 3.5 percent of the state budget by the end of that fiscal year, and the state was facing a staggering structural budget deficit. After significant cost-cutting measures that included selling the state’s luxury jet, reducing the number and salaries of political appointments, placing a moratorium on state vehicle purchases, renegotiating state office leases, eliminating hundreds of unused or unnecessary cell phones, and passing a budget that critically assessed funding needs throughout state government, New Mexico closed FY 2011 with general fund reserves at well over 9 percent of the state budget, and FY12 reserves are also projected to finish at nearly the same level. Read rest of message here: News New Mexico

GOP Calls Senate Redistricting Map "Unfair"

The redistricting trial taking place this week before retired Judge James Hall is his third since the end of the special legislative session in September. Thus far Judge Hall has opted for a “least-change” map for New Mexico’s three U.S. House seats as well as for the state’s 70 House districts.
Susana Martinez
There seemed to be a familiar refrain emanating from the Santa Fe courtroom again Tuesday. Fresh off a huge win that set aside the suggested lines favored by most Democrats for House districts, GOP attorneys labelled a boundary map passed by the Legislature during the special session that redraws district boundaries for New Mexico’s 42 state Senate seats as "unfair." Attorneys for Democratic lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez said the map the majority approved was well-studied during a special redistricting session in September and sufficiently balances various interests. It is roughly the same failed argument the Democrat's lawyers made in trying to defeat Governor Susana Martinez' proposal for House redistricting.
The Public Regulation Commission redistricting trial is scheduled for later this month. The Senate map was passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature only to be vetoed immediately by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.


LFC Proposes NM Government Grow Spending 4%

KRQE — A legislative committee is proposing a budget that will increase spending by $250 million next year and provide higher take-home pay for public employees for the first time since 2008. The Legislative Finance Committee announced its budget proposals on Wednesday. The committee's recommendations serve as a foundation for spending decisions when the Legislature convenes later this month.
The committee proposed spending nearly $5.7 billion on public education and general government operations in the budget year starting in July. That's an increase of more than 4 percent from current spending. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Irreconcilable Differences in Policy

NewsNM note- (Spence) Reconciling President Obama's policies on energy/military/jobs is impossible. In one breath Obama says we have to have a jobs bill now. In the next breath he says he will glady risk tax payer dollars and our young people's lives who are serving on ships lives in the Strait of Hormuz to keep the oil supplies flowing. Then in the final breath, he tells us we cannot add another pipleline, in the U.S. in an area covered in piplelines, to get safe energy from Canada and add a hundred thousand high paying jobs, without a dime of public money. These conflicts reflect incoherence.
Real Clear Politics - Half a century ago, the eyes of the world were on Cuba and the water surrounding it; there was the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, followed by the tension of the Missile Crisis that saw Washington threaten Moscow over what it was sending to its ally on the island. Today, there are different players, but an eerily similar situation of international tension centered on Iran and the Strait of Hormuz.
While nuclear politics is a part of the equation, today’s crisis isn’t an exact fit with the Cuba model. But the similarities are worrying enough.
Each side is talking tough. Each is pledging that it will not back down from a challenge presented by the other side. Tehran is advising the United States Navy to avoid returning to the Gulf, and has just staged military exercises in the body of water that is drawing the world’s attention.
The Iranians are pledging to not back down militarily, although it remains unclear how they have any chance of standing up to the United States. The U.S. is also talking tough, but it remains unclear how it can actually use its military power to settle the issue without causing an even bigger catastrophe. And unlike the Cuba situation 50 years ago, there are nearby arenas where the U.S.-Iran struggle could play itself out, violently.
Read full story here: News New Mexico

Tom Mullins Posts Statement on Congressional Run

Congressional candidate Tom Mullins posted this statement on his website regarding the possibility of a run against Congressman Ben Ray Lujan:
Tom Mullins
"New Mexico and our nation face great challenges in the coming days. These challenges will require honest everyday citizens to step forward and serve our country in time of need. I want to thank everyone who has supported me through their prayers, financial support, volunteerism and commitment to my campaign. After much consideration, I have decided not to seek the GOP nomination for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District of the US House. At the present time, I am unable to fully commit myself to the effort necessary to win this challenging seat. I have family and business obligations that preclude me from serving New Mexicans in this important position, should I succeed. The future will undoubtedly hold another opportunity for me to serve New Mexico citizens in some capacity. I look forward to that day where my work ethic and honest straightforward commitment to service can be put to greater use. May God continue to bless you throughout this new year." - Tom
p.s. My campaign website, will soon be taken down. www.mullinsforcongress.com If you would like to contact me in the future, you can e-mail me at: tom@tom-mullins.com


Puppy Love: Dog Eats Wedding Ring

KOB TV - Dogs always get blamed for eating homework, but how about a $4,500 wedding ring? It happened to an Albuquerque family and when nature would not pass the ring back, they had to find another way. Rachelle Atkinson has a habit of leaving her wedding ring on her night stand and in the morning, she puts it back on - that was until a few weeks ago. "I went to go put it on and it was nowhere to be found," she said.
Rachelle and her husband Scott searched everywhere but eventually started to suspect a thief, their 10-month old basset hound, Coraline. "She was the only one in our room so we immediately looked at her and she looked guilty," Atkinson said.
For the next 10 days, Scott had to go through a lot of Coraline's droppings searching for the treasure. "I had to go through all the 'poos' everyday and squish them up and make sure there were no hard lumps in there so yeah, that wasn't much fun," said Scott Atkinson. Read full story: News New Mexico