Curious neighbors dime firefighters

From - RIO RANCHO - There was no smoke, no fire and no emergency. Nonetheless, a big fire truck was parked in a Rio Rancho neighborhood for more than two hours Saturday. Neighborhood residents initially were buzzing with concern. But those concerns soon turned to suspicions the longer the fire engine remained parked by the side of the road. But when neighbors looked closer, they noticed the truck wasn't even from the Rio Rancho Fire Department. It was from the Albuquerque Fire Department. Residents snapped several photos of the truck parked on the street. It turns out the crew with a driver, a lieutenant and two firefighters received permission from their battalion chief to go to one of their houses to fix a broken water pipe. But AFD Fire Chief Jim Breen said the firefighter lied about the location of his house, saying it was in Albuquerque and within Station 27's district on the far west side. The chief said if the bosses had known, it never would have been approved. The crew wasn't honest with the firefighter's neighbors in Rio Rancho either. When one asked a firefighter what they were doing in the neighborhood, he said they were checking out a “smoke complaint” a neighbor told News 13. It's unclear if the firefighters were fixing the water leak for the entire time they were in the Rio Rancho neighborhood. It may be just a coincidence that it was about the same time the Denver Broncos-New England Patriots NFL playoff game was on TV. Even though the crew was out of its jurisdiction for more than two hours and was seven miles from their station, it remained on dispatch's call list. That means there would have been a delay if they had to respond to a fire in their district, possibly putting city residents at risk. Read more

APS superintendent speaks against governor's plan to reform education

From - Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks is speaking out against the governor's plan to reform education. In fact, Brooks said some of it is not reform. Governor Susana Martinez proposed holding elementary students back if they cannot read. She said she wants the state to buy every first grader a book. Brooks said it is a relief that there is finally some money coming in to education but thinks where that money goes should be decided by the individual school districts. "I think too much of what the governor is proposing is being dictated and the state level, I think it takes away local control," Brooks stated. Brooks said Governor Martinez and lawmakers should be turning to educators to figure our how and where to spend an extra $97 million for the classroom. "Those of us who work locally know better about what our communities need than probably the governor does," Brooks said. He agreed with the governor that reading is a priority but questions her approach. "Getting every first grader a book is a great symbolic gesture on the part of the governor - do I think that's meaningful school reform? Not at all," said Brooks. Instead, Brooks said he would put the focus on forming a solid pre-school system to kick start kids on reading. "Preschool programs developed for state wide could be extremely helpful, particularly for those families that we have who live in poverty here in this state," Brooks said. Read more

NM House members fight over paying for appeal of redistricting decision

From Capitol Report New Mexico - It didn’t take long for the state House of Representatives to get into its first skirmish of the 30-day legislative session. On Wednesday the first day of debate, state Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque) tried to add an amendment to House Bill 1 — what’s called “the feed bill” that assigns money for the chamber to conduct its business. Normally, passing the feed bill is a routine matter but Gentry wanted an amendment dictating that no legislative monies would go to any appeals of the recent House redistricting decision that was handed down earlier this month. In that decision, redistricting judge Jim Hall rejected the redistricting plan for the state House of Representatives that passed through the Democratically -controlled legislature back in September – as well as a number of other redistricting proposals — and accepted a redistricting map sponsored by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
Democrats are expected to appeal Judge Hall’s decision and the legal costs of defense would be paid for with legislative dollars (i.e., taxpayer dollars). “We’re now suing ourselves, essentially,” Gentry told reporters, adding, “My amendment says we’re not going to pay for it.”
But Majority Floor Leader W. Ken Martinez (D-Grants), with Legislative Council Service director Raul Burciaga sitting next to him offering technical expertise, argued that Gentry’s amendment was unconstitutional. In a 35-33 vote, the amendment failed, with all Democrats voting to table it and all Republicans voting for it. Independent Andy Nuñez voted with the GOP. Democrat Debbie Rodella and Republican Alonzo Baldonado were absent. Read more

The Six Dirty Secrets of Presidential Politics in 2012

From the American - By John Ziegler - You simply can't properly evaluate what will happen this November without first understanding that: Ignorant votes rule - No matter how politically incorrect it may to say out loud, there is absolutely no doubt that the voters who determine who wins our presidential elections are frighteningly lacking in even basic knowledge of the issues or the candidates. Issues/Ideology Mean Very Little - Thanks to "dirty little secret" number one, I find it almost hilarious that so many political commentators still desperately hang on to the delusion that voters (at least the ones who matter) make their decisions the same way that said commentators do. The 2010 Midterms Are Largely Irrelevant - The biggest political misunderstanding that most hardcore conservative voters have is that presidential elections are pretty much the same as the midterm variety. The Liberal Media's Influence Is Increasing - The popular perception among most commentators is that the media's general influence is on the decline and that, therefore, liberals are slowly losing one of their most powerful political weapons. I have devoted most of the last four years of my life to proving that this premise is patently false. The Conservative Media Has an Incentive for Obama to Win - The "dirtiest" little secret on my list is one that, because it is so obvious, I am astonished has not been mentioned in any significant way. In my experience, the most universal misconception that conservatives have about politics is that most of those in the "conservative media" or those who are "activists" are motivated primarily because they believe in the cause. Unfortunately, for many reasons too numerous to get into in this space, this is simply not the case. The vast majority of the decisions made in the conservative media and by activists are decided by business considerations rather than by what is best for the cause. In other words, it is ratings, traffic, and, ultimately, revenue/job security which dictate a huge portion (not all) of the content produced by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and talk radio, and it is donations which determine how most activists react. This is why Sarah Palin's irrelevant presidential tease and Herman Cain's always-doomed campaign were given so much more attention than they deserved. It is also a significant part of why the "Tea Party movement" evolved as it did. It is also why there is a very good chance that many people in both groups will effectively lay down their arms in the battle to unseat Obama. Read more

Recall Vote for Wisconsin Gov. Walker May Spell End for Public Unions Nationwide

The - , Political Buzz Examiner - True to their word, labor union backed volunteers flooded the state of Wisconsin over the past months, attempting to attract enough signatures on the re-call petition for Governor Scott Walker, who, along with fellow Republicans took over power in the November 2010 mid-term elections. National labor unions spent the majority of the $35 million on the recall races, which was nearly double the $19.3 million that was spent on all of the 115 original 2010 contests combined. The first hurtle for union-led recall drive will be to have enough 'legitimate' signatures on the recall petitions, boxes of which were delivered to the State Capitol by the liberal group "United Wisconsin," to meet the estimated 540,208 necessary. Fraud is already suspected, as testimony by elections officials during hearings late last year revealed that Mickey Mouse and Adolf Hitler had signed the petitions, and some others were found to have signed multiple times. Evidently, Wisconsin law provides that any eligible voter, with a 'valid' Wisconsin address, may sign a petition, whether they are registered or not. Read more

Boehner Blasts Obama Over Approving Solyndra But Rejecting Keystone XL Pipeline

From - Speaker of the House John Boehner lambasted President Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline during a press conference on Wednesday. “President Obama expedited approval of the Solyndra loan project, but won’t approve a project that’s been under review for over three years.” “President Obama is destroying tens of thousands of American jobs and shipping American energy security to the Chinese,” Boehner exclaimed. “There’s really no other way to put it. The President is selling out American jobs for politics. The President was given the authority to block this project only and only if he believed it was not in the national interest of the United States. It’s not in the national interest to create tens of thousands of jobs here in America with private investment? The President has said he’ll do anything he can to create jobs, today, that promise was broken.” Read more

Enrollment Down at APS

Albuquerque Journal - Albuquerque Public Schools has an additional challenge this year as it starts the process of building a budget: The district’s enrollment has dropped by more than 1,000 students, which means APS will receive less state money. District officials don’t know how much state funding they will receive, as the legislative session has just begun, but they estimate cuts will be less severe than in the past few years.
A rough estimate shows APS cutting about $10 million this year, compared with the nearly $40 million the district has cut from its budget each of the past two years. It’s unclear exactly where APS’s students have gone this year, as they have not been tracked individually. Read full story here (subscription required) News New Mexico

Competing Rallies on Sessions Opening Day

Capitol Report New Mexico - The opening day of the 30-day legislative session began with the polar opposites of grass-roots political activity holding competing rallies in front of the Roundhouse.

At a little after 10 a.m., supporters of the Tea Party movement met at the westside of the capitol building and a little after 10:30 a.m, proponents of the Occupy Wall Street movement gathered at the east end of the Roundhouse.
Even though the two sides are basically the political equivalents of the Sharks and the Jets, there was not much interaction between the two groups. During the time Capitol Report New Mexico spent covering the Tea Party rally, a couple protesters shouted briefly about curbing military spending and corporate spending in elections but the interruptions were brief. During our time at the Occupy rally, we heard no interruptions from the crowd from opponents. Read full story and see the pictures here: News New Mexico

Occupiers Greet Governor Martinez Rudely

Capitol Report New Mexico - As Republican Gov. Susana Martinez began to address a joint session of the New Mexico legislature on Tuesday (Jan. 17), as soon as she opened her mouth, a handful of protesters started shouting from the gallery. “Mic check!” they shouted in unison, echoing a phrase used in the Occupy movement and then started saying, “no justice, no peace” and complaining about out of state corporations. Security removed them within about 45 seconds. Here’s what I recorded on my FlipCam: News New Mexico

Martinez Wants Education Reform

Susana Martinez
KOB - TV - The legislative session is underway. After years of budget cuts, lawmakers have about a quarter of a billion dollars in anticipated fresh revenue to work with. If you have a kid in public school, Governor Susana Martinez spoke directly to you in her State of the State Address. She wants to infuse more money in the classroom. The governor is proposing an extra $97 million to go to the classroom. "It's an investment in reform, an investment in initiatives that are designed to get results and improve student performance," Martinez said. She said the new system that passed last year to grade schools A through F will be a good way to identify struggling schools so they can get help. Read full story here: News New Mexico

GOP House Members Comment on State of the State

Tom Taylor
New Mexico House Minority Leader Tom Taylor (R-1) and Minority Whip Don Bratton (R-62) released the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of the State address:
“Today, our Governor, Susana Martinez delivered a common-sense roadmap to refocus education reform, empower job creators and entrepreneurs, force state government to live within its means, weed out corruption and promote public safety,” said Representative Taylor. “Governor Martinez is keeping her promises and House Republicans look forward to working with her to build a brighter future for New Mexico.”
Don Bratton
“This session we have the opportunity to empower job creators and provide a much-needed economic boost for New Mexico families while rewarding veterans for their service to our country. Business owners are beginning to believe that New Mexico is open for business. The Governor’s proposed tax cut and incentives package will help us grow our economy and create more high-paying job opportunities for New Mexico workers,” added Taylor.
“We are committed to cleaning-up the way state government does business by promoting transparency and honesty in government affairs,” noted Representative Bratton. “Corruption in government should not and will not be tolerated. We look forward to working with the Governor to renew trust and restore confidence in state government.”
“Promoting public safety is a huge issue in our state and there is much we can do to make our state safer for New Mexico families. From repealing the dangerous law that allows foreign nationals who are illegally in the United States to obtain driver’s licenses to cracking down on repeat drunk drivers by getting them off our roads, Republicans will be working hard this session to make New Mexico a safer place to live, work and raise children,” concluded Bratton.


"Debate Cleanup"