No one-size-fits-all approach to wooing Hispanics

U.S. News & World ReportIn New Mexico, Tomasita Maestas says she will pick the presidential candidate who has the best plan to fix education and the economy. In Arizona, Mexican immigrant Carlos Gomez backs Republican Mitt Romney because he's more conservative on social issues than his Democratic opponent. In Miami, Colombia native Luna Lopez probably will vote for President Barack Obama now that he's decided to halt the deportation of many illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children. The reasons that Hispanics give for choosing between Obama and Romney are just as diverse as the countries that they or their ancestors once called home, suggesting there's no one-size-fits-all approach to courting the nation's fastest-growing minority group. The Latino vote isn't monolithic or, really, a voting bloc. It includes a range of people with varying opinions. Among them are Republican-leaning Cubans in Florida, new Mexican immigrants and longtime descendants of Spanish settlers in the Southwest, and Democratic-tilting Puerto Ricans in the East. Immigration policy would seem to be the natural top issue for these voters, except that nearly two-thirds of Hispanics are born in the U.S. Their priorities are the same as the general population — jobs, the economy, education and health care. Read More News New Mexico


Officials worry gangs, cartels growing in rural NM

Alamogordo Daily News Authorities are urging leaders in rural New Mexico to work to prevent Mexican drug cartels and notorious outlaw motorcycle gangs from continuing to spread into their communities. The Alamogordo Daily News reports ( that Otero and Lincoln counties are drug-trafficking hot spots where gangs are actively recruiting young people. The 12th Judicial District has recently filed more than 100 drug cases stemming from an Otero County Sheriff's sting operation, prosecutor Diana Martwick said. "We have big-time gangs coming in here," Martwick said recently. "They've been involved in all our violent crimes lately. When you see the Zetas up in Ruidoso at the racetrack, they're really here, and they're real. I am not saying this is like Albuquerque or even Roswell. I want to get a handle on it before we become the next Roswell." Authorities report that gangs and cartels are growing in Roswell and the New Mexico Four Corners region because of the general isolation, unpatrolled American Indian reservation roads and small law enforcement departments. Read More News New Mexico


Martinez: Katie's Law Extension is Working

Governor Susana Martinez visited the Metropolitan Forensic Science Center at the Albuquerque Police Department Crime Lab today to discuss the state’s success in putting more criminals behind bars thanks to the expanded version of Katie’s Law that took effect last year. As one of her first initiatives after taking office, Governor Martinez endorsed the expansion of the legislation that she worked to pass as a District Attorney to require a DNA sample taken from any individual arrested for a felony crime in New Mexico. Previously, DNA samples were only taken from those arrested for a subset of more serious felony crimes. Among the increased DNA matches that have occurred under the expanded version of the law, over 80 percent (five out of six) murder case matches that were credited to Katie’s Law since July 1, 2011 were a result of DNA collections required under the new provisions.
“Katie’s Law has proven to be a critical tool for law enforcement as we work to make New Mexico safer for our children and families,” said Governor Martinez. “Thanks to the expanded version of Katie’s Law which requires a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a felony, we have seen a remarkable rise in DNA matches that have allowed us to put more criminals behind bars. I’m proud that we are leading the country in cracking down on criminals through DNA matches. New Mexico now has one of the toughest versions of Katie’s Law in the country – and it’s working.”
Since July 1, 2011, the expanded version of Katie's Law accounts for:
  • 5 of 6 homicide DNA matches
  • 3 of 9 sex crime matches
  • 28 of 59 burglary matches
  • 3 out of 3 auto theft matches
  • 45 of 94 total DNA matches
  • A 92 percent increase in cases matched to arrestees
“The rise in convictions based on the expanded version of Katie’s Law proves that someone who commits a non-violent felony today can often be a violent criminal as well,” added Jayann Sepich, whose daughter Katie is the namesake for the legislation. “In New Mexico and across the country, we are seeing that individuals who commit forgery, fraud, and other non-violent crimes can also be murderers. New Mexico is a leader in putting criminals behind bars thanks to DNA matching and I’m proud that our efforts here might lead other states to create or toughen their own version of Katie’s Law.”
Katie’s Law was enacted in 2006, nearly three years after New Mexico State University student Katie Sepich was brutally raped and murdered. Though her murderer left behind traces of DNA under Katie’s fingernails, New Mexico did not at the time allow for DNA to be collected upon arrest. While the 2006 version of Katie’s Law allowed for DNA collection upon arrest for certain felony crimes, the expansion signed into law by Governor Martinez in April 2011 requires a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a felony in New Mexico.


Martinez Wins With EPA, Holds Off Higher Electric Rates......For Now

San Juan Generating Station 
KRWG - The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says she agrees with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez that an alternative to dealing with haze-causing pollution at a New Mexico power plant should be worked out among stakeholders.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a letter sent to the governor Monday that such an alternative would be in the environmental and economic best interests of the state.
Jackson signed a 90-day stay so the parties can evaluate alternatives for the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Santa Rosa Hit by Tax Revenue Surprise

SANTA ROSA, NM (KRQE) — If you're expecting a paycheck, a bill is the last thing you want to see sitting in its place. That's what happened to the city of Santa Rosa last month. City administrator Ian Serrano says the city was expecting an approximately $160,000 deposit from the state for its monthly gross receipts tax revenue. Instead city hall got a letter from the Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) informing them that Santa Rosa not only wasn't getting that money, it actually owed the state about $243,000 not including the $160,000 the state had already taken.
Serrano says that's because an unnamed business appealed its tax bill and won an approximately $400,000 refund. It's unclear how or why the business was overcharged.
In the letter, state tax officials ask that the city pay up before the end of the year in either a lump sum or with monthly installments.
Serrano says the total the city owes reflects about a quarter of its annual revenue stream and Santa Rosa is asking for two years to pay the money back. The city also needs a loan of the money the state's already taken to cover its bills in the short term. It's working with TRD to come to an acceptable arrangement. Read full story here: News New Mexico

State Police Investigate Espanola Voter Fraud

KOB - New Mexico State Police are now investigating after a KOB 4 On Your Side investigation exposed possible voting fraud in Espanola. Last month, 4 On Your Side investigative team showed an undercover video of a political operative Elias Fresquez telling our producer who to vote for and offering whiskey as he drove him to an early voting site. Read full story here: News New Mexico

New Mexico State Employees Are Miffed at Incredibly Slow Response by State Employees

Santa Fe New Mexican - The state Department of Finance and Administration says it has identified 724 employees who were not paid in full after a software glitch Thursday triggered a series of payroll headaches.
The state on Monday planned to issue paper checks to those who had been shorted, department spokesman Tim Korte said.
He also said in an email that the state would consider on a case-by-case basis whether to cover late fees for employees who missed or were late with payments to mortgage companies or credit cards. He asked employees to work with their human resources departments.
Korte said the pay shortages for the 724 employees appear to involve the second week of the pay period.
Several state employees spent the weekend angry at the state over a payroll snafu that left them with incorrect paychecks, overdraft fees and other financial problems that as of Sunday evening had not been resolved. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Downs at Albuquerque Complaint Still a "Secret"

Albuquerque Journal - A state fair commissioner has asked the Office of the State Auditor to investigate the Downs at Albuquerque racino lease the commission awarded in November. In a related development, a Martinez administration critic released additional emails showing attempts by the Downs’ attorney, a prominent Republican, to discuss issues related to the bid with top Martinez staffers and an Expo New Mexico official.
Commissioner Charlotte Rode, who was appointed to the State Fair Commission by Gov. Susana Martinez last August and who has been a vocal critic of the deal, said she filed an 18-page complaint with the state auditor on Thursday. Rode, a Republican, said she’s asking Auditor Hector Balderas to look for violations of the procurement code when the State Fair Commission awarded the 25-year lease at the fairgrounds in Albuquerque to the Downs.
Rode said her complaint accuses the Governor’s Office of manipulating the deal through private contact between administration officials and Downs representatives. She refused to release a copy of the complaint, saying Balderas, a Democrat, asked her to keep it secret. Read full story here (subscription required) News New Mexico