Film property bought by state for Robert Redford projects hardly used; $1.75m in stimulus funds spent

Bill Richardson & Robert Redford
Capitol Report New Mexico The Albuquerque Journal published a story Sunday (April 29) reporting that the Los Luceros property in Santa Fe that the state bought during the Bill Richardson administration — aimed at work with actor Robert Redford’s famous Sundance Institute to create and expand training programs in film, arts and the environment — has hardly been used after the state allocated $2.5 million to renovate the structure. From the Journal[The state's Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica] Gonzales said there has been no money for programming, but she is about to hire a company to perform a $50,000 audit to show how the state can either fund or seek a public-private partnership to bring more programming to the site. Her department has money to maintain the property, she said, but not to offer programming. A film institute, helmed by Redford, was planned for the site years ago but has had programs there only a handful of times. The department has not been in contact with the actor’s consultants in months, according to Gonzales. Messages sent to Redford through his publicists were not returned. An email from a publicist stated the actor was out of the country and was not available to comment. Capitol Report New Mexico reported on this story back in October of 2010 and mentioned how then-Gov. Richardson allocated $1.75 million dollars to the Los Luceros project with stimulus funds, which state Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming) didn’t approve of. Sen. Smith said the stimulus cash from the federal government could have been better spent on social services across the state. Read More News New Mexico


Arizona Leads U.S. in Real Immigration Reform

BloombergOne’s heart really has to go out to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. Last month, in one of the most high-profile cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, the litigation position of his client -- the U.S. government under the administration of President Barack Obama -- forced Verrilli to argue on one day that the penalty imposed by the individual mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act was not a tax that would deprive the court of jurisdiction under the Anti-Injunction Act, but argue the very next day that it was a tax for the purposes of determining Congress’s constitutional authority to adopt the act.The administration’s position also led him to argue on Day 2 that the individual mandate was a core part of the act, but on Day 3 that, if unconstitutional, the individual mandate could be severed from the rest of the statute because it was not a core part of the act. Then, last week, Verrilli’s client’s position compelled him to argue that the Obama administration’s unwritten policy of non-enforcement of federal immigration law prevented the states from helping to enforce those very same laws, because of the Supremacy Clause, which makes the Constitution and laws of the U.S. (not the policy preferences of a particular executive) the supreme law of the land. Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, widely presumed to be an opponent of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law, had to tell the solicitor general that his argument was “not selling very well.” Read More News New Mexico


Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on the rise

Gary Johnson
Carlsbad Current-ArgusFew noticed Gary Johnson's political fall. The former New Mexico governor hopes a country will watch him rise. Johnson, 59, still a stranger to much of America, hopes his visibility will start to increase this week if he wins the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party. Even various Libertarians who are not fans of Johnson concede that he is a lock to become their party's presidential candidate on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev. A former Republican, Johnson quit the party in December because he said it abandoned him when he tried to run for president under the GOP banner. Johnson could not crack into the Republican presidential debates and his poll numbers languished. He sat on the sidelines as opponents such as Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann took the stage. Rather than accepting certain defeat as a Republican, Johnson switched to the Libertarian Party in December. He became its best-known presidential candidate as soon as he signed his Libertarian membership card. Johnson relishes his reputation as a skinflint with the public's money. He became famous for vetoing legislation and cutting budgets in New Mexico, where he was nicknamed "Governor No." One old rival says Johnson was always more Libertarian than Republican, though he disguised it for years. Read More News New Mexico


Former Caveman Offered Contract With Bengals

From -Former Cavemen football player Bubba Forrest was offered a NFL free agent contract by the Cincinnati Bengals less than two hours after the NFL draft ended Saturday night.
The contract is not yet official, but both sides came to a verbal agreement with the details to be worked out in the coming days. Based on the new rookie wage scale, the most a rookie free agent can make is $20,000. Forrest, who graduated from Carlsbad High School in 2007 and went on to play for the University of New Mexico, said he received a call from his agent Everett Glenn about an hour and a half after the conclusion of the NFL draft informing him that the Bengals were interested. Not long after that Glenn called back to say an offer was made. "I was so excited," Forrest said. "I almost thought it wasn't real." The defensive back must now work to make the team's 90-man roster, which will eventually be cut down to 53 players and an eight-man practice squad by the start of the regular season.
Forrest said that former Caveman and NFL player John Wooten offered significant help to him throughout the entire process of landing an NFL contract. Wooten was not only able to get Forrest's name out to his many NFL contacts but also counseled Forrest in how to approach the process mentally, emotionally, physically and logistically. The former Caveman knows he has a long road and lots of work ahead of him before he makes the final cut but just having the opportunity makes him excited and proud.  More here


Voting Records for Southern NM Legislators

From Insurance News -HB 1 Appropriated $20.1 million to fund the session and the year-round activities of the Legislature. (Passed unanimously in House and Senate.) HB 2 The main budget bill, it appropriated $5.6 billion to fund state government operations. (partial veto) (Passed unanimously in House. Passed 34-6 in Senate: Steve Fischmann yes, Mary Jane Garcia yes, Cynthia Nava yes, Mary Kay Papen yes, John Arthur Smith yes.) HB 10 Provides a $1,000 tax credit to employers who hire veterans within two years of discharge to a full-time job. (Passed unanimously in House and Senate.) HB 11 Allows a municipality's fire department to service an area adjacent and contiguous to its corporate limits. (Passed unanimously in House and Senate) HB 14 Establishes the six-year "K-3 Plus" pilot project as a permanent program to provide funding for additional educational time for disadvantaged students. (Passed unanimously in House and Senate)  More here

New Mayor of Sunland Park Resigns

From -The new mayor of the troubled southern New Mexico city of Sunland Park has resigned but hopes to be reappointed next week. Javier Perea's resignation on Friday came a day after Attorney General Gary King issued an opinion saying the City Council violated state open meetings law when they appointed him less than two weeks ago. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Perea immediately asked the Council to reappoint him in a way that meets King's requirements. "The city has the option to appeal the opinion and ask for a stay, but that is not the right thing to do for the people of Sunland Park," Perea said in a statement. "As such, I will accept the conclusion of the opinion and relinquish my title and the ability to perform in the official capacity as the mayor."  More here

Governor's Grandfather Was a U.S. Citizen

Governor Martinez
From -Ever since taking office last year as the nation's first Hispanic female governor, New Mexico's Susana Martinez found her family tree scrutinized over whether her Mexican-born paternal grandfather was an illegal immigrant. Documents obtained by The Associated Press, however, show that he was lawfully admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident in 1918 and became a U.S. citizen in 1942, something not even Martinez knew and a discovery that removes a potential trouble spot for someone mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney. Martinez was surprised at the news, but maintained that his status, citizen or not, didn't affect her political views. "I embrace lawful immigration," she said. "I think it's what makes America wonderful." The first-term governor insists she's not interested in and wouldn't accept a spot on the GOP ticket.  More here