Martinez Urges Action on Anti-Corruption Legislation

From -Gov. Susana Martinez is urging the New Mexico Legislature to crack down on public corruption.  The Republican governor held a news conference with a group of lawmakers Sunday at the Metropolitan Court to drum up support for a package of proposals pending before the Legislature. She said state law needs to be changed to better hold corrupt public officials accountable and better protect taxpayers from having to pay for corrupt officials' crimes.  More News New Mexico

Martinez quashes talk of Romney VP run

From - SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney mentioned New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as a possible running mate, but she says she's not interested. Romney dropped the first-term Republican governor's name Friday during an interview on Fox News where he also mentioned the governors of New Jersey, Louisiana and South Carolina as possible running mates. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell quashed the talk. He issued a statement saying Martinez has no interest in serving as vice president. Romney and Martinez have attended a few events together. Read more

Santa Fe Blue buses a vital link for many, but regional transit district faces criticism over costs

From the Santa Fe New - Miguel Jose Trujillo of Chimayó has his nickname, "Stoney," tattooed on the side of his neck. Trujillo, who has worked on Harley-Davidsons since the age of 13, is covered in tattoos -- a dragon, a Viking ship, Papa Smurf, Pepe Le Pew, and two saints to honor his deceased parents. And over his heart, "my chuey" (Jesus). Now 63, Trujillo has slowed down and mostly stays home and takes care of his Chihuahua/dachshund-mix puppies. Without a car, he gets to Santa Fe to take care of business and to Española to pay his bills on the blue buses operated by the North Central Regional Transit District. Taking Trujillo from Chimayó to Española costs the district -- which is funded by a gross-receipts tax and federal grants -- an estimated $25 each way. It doesn't cost Trujillo a penny because the district wants to build its passenger base without the burdens of collecting and accounting for fares. To Trujillo, who rode the bus from Chimayó to Española to pay his cable bill one morning in December, the service is invaluable. "Porqué, if I don't have nothing to look at I go on the drunk," he joked. The transit district has faced criticism from some elected officials of its member counties -- Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Taos -- since its inception. High costs per rider, excessive administration and a lack of fiscal oversight are among the gripes. Read more

Police remove parent from Aztec wrestling tournament after altercation with ref

From the Farmington Daily Times - AZTEC — Emotions at the Aztec Tiger Duals wrestling tournament spilled over from the mat and into the parent section Saturday. After a highly competitive and contentious heavyweight match between Piedra Vista's Troy Young and Aztec's Marlin Norman, in which Norman came from behind to secure a pin win, a PV parent rushed onto the mat in anger. Referee Jason Hare, who was on the sidelines watching and not officiating the match between Young and Norman, came onto the mat in an effort to restrain the disgruntled PV parent. At that time, witnesses reported seeing the PV parent grab Hare around the throat and push him. Aztec police immediately rushed in and escorted the PV parent off of the Aztec High campus. Aztec Police Sgt. Mike Colson said the parent was trespassed from Aztec High and will not be allowed on the property for one year. Police and Piedra Vista school officials declined to release the parent's name because the incident is ongoing and additional charges may be pending. An official statement from Aztec police is expected Monday. "My biggest concern is his son. I hope (Young) understands where the line is and how quickly it can be crossed," said PV coach Levi Stout. "Mentally, I hope (Young) can accept his dad not being there. Read more

Commentary: What are Newt Gingrich’s big ideas?

From the Washington Post - by Ezra Klein - On Saturday’s edition of “Up With Chris Hayes,” former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson brought up an old Newt Gingrich idea I hadn’t heard before: Putting individuals who brought more than two ounces of marijuana into the United States to death. That sounded extreme, even for Gingrich. So I looked it up. And sure enough, there it is: “The Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996.” What makes the bill even more amazing is that Gingrich himself is a confessed pot smoker. When he was young, he said, experimenting with drugs “was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era.” Read more

Supreme Court to Hear Moongate Plea for Justice

NM Supreme Court Building
The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Moongate Water Company that would deny the City of Las Cruces the ability to force, through a heavy-handed condemnation process, the sale of the company.
Moongate began serving many areas east of Las Cruces decades ago. The company invested heavily in infrastructure when the city refused to extend water services beyond its eastern city limits.
In recent years aggressive land annexations by the city of areas served by Moongate has increasingly found the private water service provider fending off efforts by the city to annex its customers and water supplies.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the Jornada Bolson, one of two underground water sources for people living in the Mesilla Valley. Essentially, city policy makers in Las Cruces want complete control of the aquifer that Moongate has been accessing to provide water to its customers.
In a surprise ruling last summer, the New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed a local district court decision by Judge Robert Robles that protected Moongate’s water and other property rights from being substantially diminished by the city’s aggressive incursion into its service territory.
If the Supreme Court does not follow Judge Robles' ruling, it will pave the way for the City of Las Cruces to use an aggressive condemnation procedure to seize control of all water supplies in the greater Las Cruces area. Many observers believe the city is playing a shell game with its arguments concerning water supplies as a precursor to much higher water rates and much more restrictive water use policies.


Border Patrol Never Rests

El Paso, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas and New Mexico recorded 110 enforcement actions last week. CBP officers intercepted drug smugglers, illegal immigrants, fugitives and other violators during the course of the day. “The threat remains high and we remain vigilant,” said Ana Hinojosa, director of field operations in El Paso. “It is important that the residents of our community understand that CBP officers are working hard everyday to identify and stop any and all violations they encounter. They have to inspect all arriving people and they are finding those that are in violation of our laws.”
CBP officers working at area ports this week recorded 63 immigration violations. Intended immigrants made up a large group of the violators. A total of 35 were identified through thorough document exams. In these cases, individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico. The balance of the immigration violations included false claims to citizenship, impostors, visa overstays, alien smugglers, counterfeit documents and people entering the country without proper inspection.


Activists Argue Against Permitting a Wal-Mart Store Because Many People Will Choose to Shop There

NewsNM note (Spence) - These stories document how fundamental assaults on our freedom are taking place. The primary excuse given for those opposing the building of a new Wal-Mart store is too many people will go and shop there. Imagine that. The reason to deny the permit is so MANY people will actually choose to patronize the applicant's place of business increased traffic will occur. So long big football and big basketball games. Stadiums and arenas create "traffic" because so many people want to go.
KOAT - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Some Albuquerque residents waited more than seven hours to speak about a proposed Walmart on the west side. The city's Environmental Planning Committee listened to more than 130 people discuss the planned big-box store at Coors at Montano. For months, residents have expressed concerns about increased traffic in the already busy area, the store's proximity to a school and how construction will affect the nearby Bosque.
"It's already difficult, and it's not going to get better. It's one of the major bridges across the river and one of the few north-south roads," resident Linda Watson said. But Walmart said many people support a new store and presented about 5,300 signatures to back it up. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Duke City Chamber Sets Legislative Priorities

KRQE - The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce would plow any state budget surplus into job-creating tax cuts while rolling back taxes on small businesses, chamber directors decided today. The chamber board of directors approved a package of legislative priorities ranging from supporting a teacher-evaluation system and reorganizing the Public Regulation Commission to opposing pay raises for state workers and additional raids on the Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for government operations and projects.
“Our efforts this session will be dedicated to supporting legislation that will strengthen the private sector,” Chamber President and CEO Terri Cole said in a statement released by the chamber. “The stronger the private sector is, the better chance we have to create jobs.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

More Evidence of Richardson Corruption Surfaces

Bill Richardson
Albuquerque Journal - New Mexico’s investment adviser was making recommendations on where the state should put more than a billion dollars of its nest egg, based on lists provided by Richardson administration insiders, according to transcripts of a secretly tape-recorded meeting.
Partners in Aldus Equity Advisors secretly recorded a September 2006 management meeting during which founding partner Saul Meyer explained how things work in New Mexico – where the company was paid $1.5 million a year to advise the State Investment Council and Educational Retirement Board. Saul Meyer told his partners that the Correras provided him a list of firms Aldus had to recommend for state investments.
Saul Meyer
“To think that Anthony (Correra) and Marc (Correra) don’t have a stranglehold over this thing is crazy,” Meyer told his partners in the Dallas meeting. “Because the Governor runs this sh*t and they run the Governor.”
Anthony Correra was a close political and economic adviser to Gov. Bill Richardson and helped select Gary Bland as State Investment Officer. Marc Correra shared in more than $22 million in finder’s fees paid by companies that received the state investments. Read full story here (subscription required): News New Mexico