Suspected Embezzlement at Santa Fe Fraternal Order of Police

From -A criminal investigation is under way into a suspected embezzlement scheme at Santa Fe's Fraternal Order of Police and the lodge is dealing with major financial problems tied to the alleged loss. The FOP, state police and the District Attorney's Office confirmed to the Albuquerque Journal that they're conducting an active investigation into alleged financial wrongdoing at the FOP four or five years ago. No charges have been filed. And it's unknown how many people may have been involved, how much money may have been stolen or whether any law enforcement officers are being investigated. A former civilian FOP employee is a potential target of the investigation, but she told the Journal last week that she's done nothing wrong. The New Mexico Gaming Control Board has put conditions on the gaming license for the FOP - which relies on slots revenue and bar sales for its survival - that include keeping the former employee away from gaming operations. FOP attorney Rosanna Vazquez says board members struggled two years ago to keep the lodge afloat. It took "drastic measures" just to stay afloat financially. Employees weren't being paid for weeks so the FOP could catch up on bills, like electric and gas payments, and a board member even took FOP garbage to the dump because it couldn't afford trash service. More here

U.S. Senate Race Could Include Third Candidate

Jon Barrie
From - Jon Barrie is likely to qualify for the November 2012 ballot for U.S. Senate candidate in New Mexico. If he does so, he will be the first non-Democrat, non-Republican candidate for U.S. Senate to appear on a New Mexico ballot since 1996, when a Green and a Libertarian each qualified. Independent candidates in New Mexico face a severe petition burden, 3% of the last gubernatorial vote. Therefore, Barrie created the Independent American Party of New Mexico, and submitted 5,900 signatures by the April 2012 deadline. That was almost twice as many signatures as were needed. But New Mexico forces qualified minor parties to submit separate petitions for each of their nominees. So he must also submit a petition of 6,018 valid signatures, by late June, to qualify for the ballot. The two petitions combined, requiring a total of 9,027 signatures, still total fewer signatures than the statewide independent petition, which requires 18,053 valid signatures. Barrie’s campaign web page is Barrie is not opposed to having his party nominate like-minded candidates for other partisan office this year. 

NM policyholders speak out against Blue Cross proposal to raise premiums for health insurance

The RepublicA state hearing officer has listened to several Blue Cross Blue Shield policyholders speak of financial hardships they'll endure if higher monthly premiums were to kick in as the insurer wants. The insurance company has proposed a 6.9 percent increase on June 1 for 31,000 New Mexicans with individual health care policies. Saturday's hearing to take consumer comment in Santa Fe came after Blue Cross laid out its case for the increase earlier this month. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports ( ) the company argued it was needed to cover claims that led the company to lose $7.2 million in the individual market in 2011. New Mexico Division of Insurance hearing officer Aaron Ezekiel has until April 20 to make a recommendation on the need for the rate increase. Policyholders with employer-provided group insurance aren't affected. Sonia Shad Goldstein told Ezekiel that her premiums would go up to $809 a month, more than her mortgage. "I imagine myself, a 60-year-old woman, without health insurance," Goldstein told Ezekiel. "It scares the bejesus out of me." Several other Blue Cross Blue Shield policyholders spoke of potential financial hardships. Some asked him to reject the increase or they'd be forced to cancel their policies and join New Mexico's already large uninsured population, while others expressed anger at the company. Read More News New Mexico


Luevano Press Conference Monday at 10:00am

Tomorrow morning at 10:00am in front of the house of House of Representatives candidate Johnny Luevano, there will be an interesting press conference. Anyone who believes in supporting the troops should take note of the event.
Retired Colonel Allen Weh, a former gubernatorial candidate in New Mexico and other New Mexico veterans will join Luevano when he announces his decision on whether or not to appeal the ruling by District Court Judge Alan Malott to summarily toss him off the November election ballot.
Last week, just days after Judge Malott’s decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court provided appropriate leniency on its ruling affecting nearly a dozen candidates around the state. Despite various errors made by all candidates in their filing paperwork, the high court made sure every single candidate remained on the ballot. Voter choice and candidate intent took precedence over nit-picking technicalities. The principle was applied equally to both parties in all cases.
The Luevano situation seemed similarly benign. But the case was heard in a lower court. Less than four months ago Luevano ended his status as an active duty Marine. Back in June of 2011 he began building his permanent residence in Albuquerque. The permanent home, located in the district where Luevano filed his candidacy, was in fact ready for occupancy in February.
Johnny Luevano
Unfortunately, the slow pace of the City of Albuquerque bureaucracy got in the way. It seems that an absence of any sense of urgency by bureaucrats, coupled with their complete control of final occupancy permits, was irrelevant to Judge Malott's ruling against the twenty year Marine Corps veteran. If Luevano chooses not to appeal, or if he does appeal and Judge Malott's ruling is not overturned, Representative Antonio "Moe" Maestas, an attorney in Albuquerque, will hold the dubious distinction of being the only candidate in either party in the entire state this year to be able to eliminate his opponent in the courts rather than at the ballot box.


Jackie Robinson Day Revisited

Jackie Robinson
NewsNM note - This column is updated. It first ran one year ago.
Today, every major league baseball player will wear # 42, paying fitting tribute to one of America's greatest citizens, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson. In watching the games on this special day we were reminded of the remarkable experience of a New Mexico-based money management firm attending an "Emerging Manager Conference" in Chicago a few years ago.
After their arrival in the Windy City the firm's principals soon learned they were legally barred from doing business with the State of Illinois. Believe it or not, Illinois actually has a gender and racially oriented exclusion law regarding the hiring of emerging money managers. The law requires emerging money managers hired by the state to NOT be white men. Below is the verbatim portion of the applicable legal language in the statute: Goals for Utilization of Minority-Owned Businesses, Female-Owned Businesses, and Businesses Owned by Persons with a Disability - ........1 Effective April 3, 2009, Public Act 96-0006 revised the definition of “emerging investment manager.” As a result, the current definition applicable to ISBI is found in 40 ILCS 5/1-109(4) and is defined as “a qualified investment adviser that manages an investment portfolio of at least $10,000,000 but less than $10,000,000,000 and is a “minority owned business,” female owned business or business owned by a person with a disability as those terms are defined in the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities Act.”
Stunned, the head of marketing for the New Mexico-based management firm tracked down a local Illinois expert. He was asked for a clear interpretation of the language in the statute. The consultant shrugged when questioned and said, "It simply means so long as a firm is NOT majority owned by white males it can compete for the state's emerging manager contracts."
The good news for the New Mexico management firm was its white male owners were not denied hotel rooms, water, or food service at the restaraunts where the conference was being held. The bad news was it found itself tricked into paying a tidy sum to co-sponsor an event in a state where it was statutorily BARRED from winning contracts to manage public money solely based on the color of the skin and gender of the majority of owners.
Jesse Jackson
One of the principals mused after the return to New Mexico that the overt racial and gender discrimination built into the Illinois statutes had somehow managed to make the subtle non-merit-based culture of corruption that has been part of  New Mexico's pay-to-play system for state contracts under Bill Richardson seem almost fair. But the big question remains, "What would Jackie Robinson say?"
Update - The firm mentioned in this piece last year was recently named the national Emerging Midcap Manager of the Year by Emerging Manager Monthly. But of course since it is still majority owned by white males, it is still ineligible to be hired by the state of Illinois (and several other states) for public funds. So far Illinois-based Jesse Jackson has not seen fit to tackle this remarkable case of state-sponsored race and gender discrimination....even on Jackie Robinson Day.


Aggie Baseball Continues to Roll

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The 25th ranked New Mexico State baseball swept a doubleheader with Sacramento State yesterday. The scores were 16-4 and 6-1 in games played at John Smith Field, Saturday.
The Aggies have now won 18 of their last 19 games while improving to 27-9 on the year and 4-1 in Western Athletic Conference play. The Hornets fell to 17-18 overall and 2-3 in league play. Junior left-hander Ryan Beck was the winning pitcher in game one and is now 4-1 on the year after going five innings and striking out four. He gave up the four runs, but only two of them were earned as NM State committed an error in the fifth inning.
Rocky Ward
Senior shortstop Zach Voight had a big game going 4-of-5 with two runs scored and seven RBI’s. Included in his four-hit game was a grand-slam in the sixth inning, his sixth home run of the year. Junior catcher Zac Fisher, who entered the game in the top three nationally for RBI’s, finished the game with three more going 3-of-5, with two doubles.
"We were really good all the way around today. It was a dominant offensive performance in game one and in game two we put up six runs in the first inning and let Adam Mott take it the rest of the way," head coach Rocky Ward said. "Sacramento played good, quality defense and you have to give them credit for that."
The Aggies take on Sacramento State in the third game of the series today at 2pm (MT). The game is scheduled to air on KSNM AM 570.


White House Infested with Rosens and Wrights

Hilary Rosen
The claim by DNC advisor Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life” was utterly rejected by everyone at the White House. In fact, with a perfectly straight face White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed he was having a bit of trouble remembering exactly who Hilary Rosen was.
Obama and Jeremiah Wright
We can only imagine how angry President Obama was after Rosen, a frequent White House guest and Oval Office visitor, said something so incredibly stupid. Realizing the danger of his association with her, Obama immediately called her, "some person on television." Not to worry. Obama is a veteran at deflecting outrageous things said by others.
Take Obama’s sixteen year association with his self-described spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright was captured on camera screaming, “Not God Bless America, Goddamn America.” With no fuss or muss, Obama simply suggested that Wright was now no longer his spiritual mentor. Fair enough and what the heck, Obama didn’t say those hateful things. Why should we blame him? Indeed! Why should we blame the President for things “others” in the Democratic Party say? Most Democrats I know categorically agree with the idea that Ann Romney’s choice to stay at home and raise five kids does not mean she never worked a day in her life. And most Democrats I know also bristled when they viewed video tapes of Wright screaming vile and despicable anti-American phrases during sermons in which he was explaining why the United States got what it had coming on 9-11.
White House Supporters - The "Occupy" Movement
Here is the truth. Hilary Rosen and Jeremiah Wright aren’t strange and unusual exceptions to the general rule of type of people appointed by President Obama. These two clowns are quite typical of the types that have infested the White House. Many other radicals stay comfortably below the media radar screens and manage to stay out of the news. However, it is clear that Obama consciously chooses to surround himself with people just like Hilary Rosen and Jeremiah Wright. He has literally appointed hundreds of their deeply disturbed philosophical equivalents to make decisions for the executive branch of our government.
Naturally, with the media the White House routinely engages in a clever process of disguising its penchant for embracing outrageously radical ideas and ridiculously reprehensible people. For mass consumption the President and his media surrogate Jay Carney carefully craft their words after consulting fresh polls and focus groups. However, behind the scenes the asinine rhetoric of Rosen and Wright is wholly embraced at the White House. In the courts and through executive orders, in every nook and cranny of this administration there are people who agree with the basic premises of Wright and Rosen. And they fight night and day to expand the power of the federal government in ways that are pleasing to Rosen and Wright.
The choice for voters in November is crystal clear. Voters wanting to continue to go in the same direction Obama and his appointees are taking the nation should vote for Obama. Those in favor of ceding more of their money and freedom to make personal decisions in their daily lives to the federal government have a fine choice. It is Obama.
Those who feel the nation is heading the wrong direction and is placing too much trust in the federal government also have a choice. It is Mitt Romney. It is hard to imagine how the differences in our choices in November could possibly be greater.