Martinez and tribe clash over Medicaid proposal

From - (AP) - Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and American Indian officials are at odds on a proposal to redesign Medicaid. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that both sides sparred Monday over how thoroughly the state consulted with New Mexico's 22 Indian tribes on possible changes. One criticism of the proposal tribal officials raised is that the state would discontinue the payment of medical bills in the three months prior to an individual's enrollment in Medicaid, as is currently done. Tribal officials also said the plan doesn't recognize how difficult it is to deliver care on rural reservations, pueblos or tribal lands. But the Martinez administration says the program is unsustainable without changes, which is why it wants the federal government to give it extra flexibility in administering Medicaid. Read more

Aggie Baseball: The Ignored Stepchild

Carolina Baseball Stadium
In an article we posted earlier today we chronicled the success of the NMSU baseball program in sweeping this year's NCAA Division I Baseball Champion, the University of Arizona on the road in Tucson back in March. Arizona just completed a two game sweep of the University of South Carolina last night in Omaha to win the national title. The U of A went 10-0 in the post season. Above right is an ariel view of Carolina Baseball Stadium. This is the facility that University of South Carolina baseball program calls home. It is a legitimate college baseball facility capable of hosting an NCAA Regional Championship. The University of Arizona plays at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson. Hi Corbett is a former minor league park and spring training home of the Colorado Rockies. It is now a decent college baseball facility where an NCAA regional tournament can be hosted.
Presley Askew Field
Below is an ariel view of the dilapidated Presley Askew Field where the NMSU baseball program plays. Notice the differences in the press box and seating. The Carolina Stadium is designed to handle a large working press contingent, including multiple radio broadcast teams, television coverage, and the print media. The stands extend far down both foul lines. The stadium can accomodate large enthusiastic college baseball crowds. Presley Askew Field's press box is an embrassment (it is the small shack at the top of the home plate bleachers with the orange roof). Presley Askew will not support two radio broadcast teams let alone any print media. And instead of being able to seat thousands of fans, the never completed bleachers at Presley Askew (note the empty dirt space just to the left of the first base dugout) seats only a few hundred.
For the second time in five years the NMSU baseball program earned two road wins over the eventual national champions (Fresno State 2008 and University of Arizona in 2012). No major Division I athletic program in the nation delivers more for less than NMSU baseball. The Aggie Baseball program deserves a new facility.


Stockton, California: Public Employee Unions Negotiated the City into Bankruptcy with Lavish Benefits

Reuters - Stockton, California was poised on Tuesday to take a major step toward becoming the largest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy after talks with its creditors on Monday at midnight. Negotiations aimed at averting bankruptcy may press on informally, the city's spokeswoman said, adding that city officials would next discuss any moves toward bankruptcy at the city council meeting on Tuesday evening. The council's main order of business will be taking up and voting on a proposed budget to guide Stockton during bankruptcy, an option city officials have been considering since February. City Manager Bob Deis, who the council has authorized to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, last week unveiled the budget proposal, also known as a pendency plan. The plan assumed Stockton, a city of 292,000 people about 85 miles (about 135 km) east of San Francisco, would fail to win concessions from its 18 creditors to close its $26 million shortfall for the fiscal year beginning on July 1.
To help close the budget gap, Stockton's plan would suspend $10.2 million in debt payments, a move likely to trigger rating agencies to further downgrade the city, and reduce spending on employee compensation and retiree benefits by $11.2 million. About $7 million in savings would come from cutting retiree health care benefits for one year and then phasing them out. Stockton officials have said the benefits are a crushing expense due to their fast rise and projected liability of $417 million. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Agency Asked To Prohibit Secrecy in Deals

Albuquerque Journal  (Subscription) -  A group advocating for open government is asking a state agency to prohibit confidentiality provisions that restrict public disclosure of settlements with investment firms, such as those under investigation in an alleged pay-to-play scheme. The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is upset because the State Investment Council reached a $250,000 settlement that wasn’t made public for more than a year because the agency agreed not to issue a press release or voluntarily announce the deal with a California-based investment firm. The council oversees state endowment funds worth about $15 billion, and today is considering proposed guidelines for handling settlements as it tries to recover money for investments allegedly influenced by a pay-to-pay scheme during former Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration. A draft of the proposed policy says the council “strongly disfavors” settlements with confidentiality provisions. However, the foundation wants tougher language to make it clear there can be no restrictions on public disclosure of settlements. “We understand that the state has a financial interest in reaching settlements such as this one, but that interest cannot trump the state’s duty to act transparently on behalf of the public,” Gwyneth Doland, the foundation’s executive director, said in a letter to Gov. Susana Martinez, who leads the council. Read More News New Mexico


Eco Scare Scams Raise Obama Cash

Marita Noon
Townhall - The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is in the news for its investigation into Fast and Furious. The committee has not let go, however, of the investigation into the “cozy ties” between the Obama administration and green energy projects funded through Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees. A hearing was held on Tuesday, during which emails were released showing that a senior advisor in the DOE loan program was “too close” with a loan recipient—“giving the company access to pre-decisional information encouraging the company to make edits to internal documents.”

Tuesday’s hearing is one of the latest attacks on the loan guarantee program that have intensified since the public collapse of Solyndra drew attention to the department’s policies. The story is much bigger than Solyndra and wider than the DOE.
US energy subsidies, including spending, tax breaks and loan guarantees, increased from $17.9 billion in 2007 to $37.2 billion in 2010. The Obama administration would likely have us believe that the money spent is to reduce dependence on foreign oil while increasing international economic competiveness, to create jobs, and to address environmental degradation. However, as Peter Foster stated in his Financial Post column about the failure of the Rio +20 conference that ended on Saturday, “bogus eco scares” are being manufactured “as a rationale for payoffs”—which is certainly what has happened for the DOE subsidies. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Aggies Swept National Champs in Tucson

Rocky Ward
On March 20th and 21st the Aggie baseball team travelled to Tucson, Arizona to play a two-game series with the 5th-ranked Arizona Wildcats. NMSU emerged from the two day road trip with a road series sweep (7-4, 13-8) of……. this year’s eventual National Champion. Last night the Andy Lopez-coached Wildcats completed a two game sweep of two time defending national champion South Carolina in Omaha before a sell-out crowd on national television. The reasons why NMSU has a such a great baseball program are numerous. It begins with the son-father coaching team of Rocky and Gary Ward. The Wards are simply magnets for baseball talent.
What is a mystery is why leadership at NMSU won’t commit to building the team a modern baseball facility that would enable the Aggies to host NCAA Regional and Super Regional tournaments. The NMSU baseball program has already proven it is competitive at the most elite level in college baseball. Unfortunately, until the Aggies stop playing home games at a ballpark that is inferior to several high school facilities in this state, there are limits to what the program will be able to accomplish.
Ray Tanner (left) and Andy Lopez (right)
The recruiting strategy at NMSU is to do their best to get good players to come to the school. Unfortunately, inviting recruits for a visit is NOT part of the recruiting strategy. The coaching staff realizes their chances to sign top talent will only go down if a prospective player gets a glimpse of Presley Askew Field before signing.
Five years ago, the New Mexico State University baseball program accomplished a similar feat when it swept a double header on the road from eventual NCAA Champion Fresno State. Before and after those victories the Aggie baseball has been a virtual after-thought in the New Mexico State University Athletic Department. Based on merit alone it is time for this situation to change.