Athletics Will Challenge New UNM President

Robert Frank
From -The waters Bob Frank will soon tread are far more treacherous than those he encountered as a University of New Mexico swimmer nearly 40 years ago. Frank is the first former Lobo to be named UNM president, and in the past couple of days his fellow Lobo letter winners have offered their congratulations.  But  when it comes to universities and the NCAA, condolences may be more appropriate. Frank arrives at his presidency at a time when college athletics has blown up. Conference alignments have shattered, and the chase for money is spinning out of control.  More News New Mexico


A Valuable Business Class Lesson

Jim Spence
We learned of an excellent teaching strategy in a business class at a U.S. university recently. The lesson began while the class was engaged in a broad economic discussion on the first day of the semester. A fundamental philosophical assertion was made by the vast majority of the students. The system of “free market capitalism” was failing, according to the students. Relying on more government intervention to control the business sector was the most equitable way to provide for the greater good. Most of the students agreed with the principle that no one should be too poor and no one should be too rich. Most expressed agreement with President Obama’s recent declarations that everyone should be required by law to pay their “fair share.”
Admiring the student’s sincere and heartfelt desires for advancing the greater good, the professor offered the students a proposal. The grading system for the entire class would be based on the goal of making sure that not a single student be allowed to fail the final exam. A vote was taken on the grading policy and despite some misgivings by a few, the vast majority of students approved of the system.
After the first unit exam the grades were averaged and everyone in the class received a “B.” Most students were satisfied. Those who did not show up for some of the classes and studied very little were quite content with their B’s. But not everyone was pleased. The students who had come to class every single day and studied extensively were upset. However, since they were in the minority, and the majority had ruled, they decided it would be unwise to grumble out loud about the system and give the appearance of being greedy.
During the second unit of study, students who had skipped class frequently before the first exam decided they could afford to spend even less time studying. These students skipped even more classes before the second test. Most of the students who had studied quite hard for the first exam only to receive a B grade, decided it would be wise to concentrate their efforts more on getting A’s in their other classes rather than bear down for the second exam in the business class.
When the second unit test scores were averaged, collectively the class achieved a “D”. After the exam results were released every student was furious. Finger pointing dominated the dialogue. Everyone was upset that nobody was willing to study for the benefit of the entire business class. Read rest of column here: News New Mexico

Office Vacancy Rate Higher in Duke City in Q4

NM Business Journal - Albuquerque office reports an 18.7 percent office vacancy rate for the fourth quarter of 2011 and projects lethargic leasing activity in the new year in the metro region. The Q4 rate rose above the third quarter office vacancy rate of 18.3 percent. There was more than 67,000 square feet of negative absorption in the fourth quarter and for the year, it was more than 171,000 square feet. Office remains the most sluggish category in commercial real estate. The office vacancy rate grew by 54 basis points in 2011 and would have been worse had it not been for the lack of construction starts. There was just one building, REDW’s 47,000-square-foot headquarters, constructed by a private company in the Duke City in 2011 and it contained the vacancy rate. Read full story here: News New Mexico


APS Superintendent Gets Contract Extension at $250K

Winston Brooks
According to KOB TV - The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education has approved a one-year contract extension for Superintendent Winston Brooks. Brooks was hired to lead the district in 2008 and his current contract will now continue through June 30, 2015.
APS Board members evaluated Brooks in December and approved the one-year contract extension at a special meeting Friday morning.
Brooks new contract does not include an increase in salary. According to his contract, raises for the APS superintendent are tied to teacher raises. There was no salary increase for APS teachers this year so Brooks will continue to earn an annual salary of $250,000 which is more than five times the average salary of a classroom teacher. Read full story here: News New Mexico

EPA Awarding “Environmental Justice” Grants To Modern Dancers and Earth Worshippers

From -In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency provided $1 million in grants to 46 different non-profit and tribal organizations to promote what it called “environmental justice.”  The EPA’s grants have gone beyond organic gardening projects and tree plantings. One financial award went to the Cleveland Tenants Organization for fighting bed-bug infestations. Another paid the Florida-based Institute for Community Collaboration train teenagers to become environmentalists.  More News New Mexico

Rep. Tim Lewis Refuses APS Salary During Session

Rio Rancho – New Mexico State Representative and Albuquerque Public School (APS) teacher, Tim Lewis, announced today that he will voluntarily refuse his APS salary while the New Mexico legislature is in session. APS teachers that serve in the legislature are allowed under APS policy to receive their salary for their time away from the classroom while in session in Santa Fe.
Tim Lewis
“Although current APS policy allows teachers who serve in the state legislature to receive paid leave during the session, moving forward I have decided not to take my salary from APS while I am serving as a citizen legislator so that I can freely serve and avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest,” said Lewis. “While I do not believe that it would be a conflict, I want to maintain the integrity that is expected and needed when it comes to serving as an elected official.”
Representative Lewis is a classroom teacher for APS and has taught at Cibola High School for the past six years. He was elected as a New Mexico State Representative from District 60 which encompasses a large portion of the City of Rio Rancho.
Lewis said that he has notified APS Superintendent Winston Brooks and explained his decision not to receive his salary during the session. Lewis also met with the APS Human Resources Department and has filed the proper paperwork for “unpaid leave” during the upcoming session. Representative Lewis is not a member of a teachers union and he is the only classroom teacher at Albuquerque Public Schools who serves in the New Mexico legislature. While away from his classroom at the legislature, Lewis is still responsible for each class and student including lesson plans, and continued communication with his administrators as well as parents of his students.


John Arthur Smith Not Ready to Cut Taxes....Yet

KOB TV - Governor Susana Martinez is calling for tax cuts in her blueprint for the state budget, but key Democrats in the legislature say not so fast. The leading Democratic skeptic right now is Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming. He is the chairman of the powerful Legislative Finance Committee, which came out with its own budget plan Wednesday - a plan without tax cuts.
John Arthur Smith
The governor responded with her own plan Thursday, proposing $55 million in tax cuts, mainly for small businesses. Martinez armed herself with a report from the Council on State Taxation showing New Mexico with the heaviest business tax burden of all the states.
"We have to get competitive with the surrounding states," Martinez said. "Our gross receipts taxes make us uncompetitive. Pyramiding makes us uncompetitive. A business can go anywhere in the world. We have to make sure they're looking at New Mexico seriously."
Smith said Martinez needs to take a second look at the books.
"It's very popular to say I'm gonna reduce taxes," said Smith. "You'd better be real careful when you're looking at the state revenues and trying to operate government with the cash flows that are needed. You need to be real careful about what you do in that area." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Mayor Berry Raising the Bar at APD Academy

Richard Berry
KRQE — Mayor Richard J. Berry on Thursday announced big changes at the Albuquerque Police Department academy including a return to tougher standards for would-be officers.
Cadets coming in with the 108th class will have need to have at least 60 hours of college credit or three years of military service. In addition, the Mayor will do a nationwide search to find a citizen director for the police academy.
The education and military service requirements were instituted in 1994 but dropped five years later in an effort to fill the ranks of the police force. "We're bringing in people who've shown they have the ability and the inclination to move themselves forward but that also have the propensity to be life-long learners," Berry said and a news conference. "We think that one of the good consequences of that is that they will also bring that attitude into the department." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Details Emerge on Archdiocese Robbery

KOAT - TV - An Albuquerque police investigation of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred near St. Pius X High School late Wednesday revealed that just before 11 p.m., an armed, masked man broke into the archdiocese offices to steal a safe, according to police. Police said the man restrained and assaulted an overnight security guard in the process.
“(The security guard) was assaulted by the man, (and he was) tied up. At the time he was tied up, the offender held a gun to the security guard's head and wanted to know where the money and or the safes were kept,” said Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz. Police said as soon as the gunman saw the APD officer he began to fire a .357-caliber revolver.
"Luckily for us, it appears that after he had fired the gun several times, the gun malfunctioned," Schultz said.
Read full story here: News New Mexico

"Dire Straits of Hormuz"


New Mexico became the 47th state 100 Years Ago

From Capitol Report New Mexico - On January 6, 1912 New Mexico became the 47th state in the union. President William Howard Taft signed Proclamation 1175 to make it official. After signing it, Taft reportedly said, “Well, it is all over. I am glad to give you life. I hope you will be healthy.” I wonder if the 6-2, 300-pound president then retired to his specially-made bathtub. Click here to read the proclamation from that day. There’s an excellent page on the website of the New Mexico Office of the State Historian recounting the meandering story of how New Mexico was finally admitted into the Union. Interestingly, for years there was hardly any clamor from residents to become a state. In fact, during the Congressional session of 1889-90, lawmakers on Capitol Hill actually received a petition from New Mexicans opposed to statehood. Why? The petitioners argued that New Mexico was “at present totally unfitted for such responsibilities, and that federal control from Washington was preferable to ‘home rule’ by unscrupulous politicians.” I guess some things haven’t changed much. Read more