Santa Fe Actors test local servers

From the Santa Fe New Mexican - by Andra Cernavskis - For two hours on Friday night, two bar-hoppers visited five establishments in Santa Fe County — all jam-packed with people in town for Indian Market. While people around them drank their prickly pear margaritas and Santa Fe Brewing Co. pints, these two weren’t served a single drink. And that was a good thing. The pair are trained actors — or, as they refer to themselves, “pseudos.” On Friday night, one of them acted intoxicated, while the other observed what happened when the pseudo-intoxicant attempted to order a drink. Their trek was part of an ongoing operation known as the Santa Fe Retailing Project. Since its inception in 2008, the project has targeted what it refers to as off-premise businesses — such as grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and convenience stores — that sell packaged liquors, to find out if they follow state law by refusing to serve intoxicated patrons. Friday marked the first night these “mystery shoppers” targeted on-premise locations ­­ — establishments where liquor may be bought and consumed on-site. The Santa Fe Retailing Project is an educational service and has no affiliation with law enforcement agencies. Every establishment visited will receive a letter from Giuffra regardless of whether or not its staff served the pseudo-intoxicant. All five bartenders she encountered refused to sell her any alcohol. Read more 


New Mexico is Just Not Business-Friendly

Dennis Kintigh
NewsNM - Listen to Dennis Kintigh on News New Mexico Monday, August 20 at 7:30 a.m. - Commentary by Rep. Dennis Kintigh - There has been much talk about the dismal economic conditions in New Mexico and the need for the governor and/or the mayor of Albuquerque to do something. The “do something” usually involves the spending of taxpayer money in the form of noble civic projects, subsidies for some politically correct industry, or just hiring more government employees.
While the concern is legitimate, we need to focus on finding the basic cause of New Mexico’s economic malaise. Why doesn’t New Mexico attract and retain more good jobs? The disturbing answer can be found in numerous surveys of business leaders, the very people we are trying to entice.
In 2012 Chief Executive Magazine conducted a survey of 650 business leaders, who ranked New Mexico 33rd. This depressing position was driven by the taxation and regulation climate in the Land of Enchantment.
In 2010 the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal reform surveyed more than 1,400 in-house counsel, senior litigators, attorneys and senior executives regarding the “litigation environment” for the various states. New Mexico came in 41st.
Last month CNBC released its annual multicategory survey of the “Top States for Business.” In 2012 New Mexico came in tied for 36th. All of the surrounding states were ahead of us. Texas came in first, Utah second, Colorado eighth. Even Arizona and Oklahoma outperformed us, with rankings of 22nd and 23rd.
Our worst performance was in the category of “Business Friendliness,” meaning regulation and litigation environment, where we came in an abysmal 47th.

These statistics show the unseen and unmentioned drag on our economy is our legal and regulatory condition. Few seem willing to confront this issue, but we cannot continue to pretend more government spending will fix our problem.
One very compelling example of the litigation peril faced by New Mexico is the situation at the $200 million spaceport. We have been assured that this is our economic destiny and the state will ride to prosperity on the wings of futuristic spacecraft. The only problem is that even if we build it, which we did, they will not come if they are afraid they will get sued.
In 2010 legislation was enacted to limit the liability of operators of spacecraft. It was sensible because we all understand space flight is inherently risky; and if you decide to get on a spaceship, you are taking a chance things won’t go well. As sensible as this legislation was, it took heavy support from the Richardson administration to get it passed. Similar legislation to extend reasonable protection to spacecraft manufacturers and suppliers failed in 2012. It remains to be seen if the spaceport bears fruit or is another barren dream.
The one bright spot in the state’s dreary economic picture is the oilfield boom in southeast New Mexico. Yet if one looks closely, the picture becomes one of opportunities missed.
Four counties in southeastern New Mexico are at least partially in the Permian Basin, a huge oil and gas depository mostly located in west Texas. In 2004 approximately one out of every three drilling rigs operating in the Permian was in these counties. The other two were in west Texas. In 2012 the New Mexico portion is less than one in six. Why? The geological formation did not change. The technical advances in drilling and completion are available equally in Texas and New Mexico.
What is the difference? Regulation and litigation.
New Mexico has such great potential. We are fortunate to have cool mountains and warm plains and valleys. We are rich in physical beauty. We are blessed with natural resources of water, coal, oil and natural gas. Yet our economic development lags behind our neighbors.
In the last census our rate of growth was below the region’s average. Only two states in the west grew at a slower rate. We must begin a serious and careful examination of what makes New Mexico undesirable to the employers that our children and grandchildren need.
We cannot pretend that throwing around taxpayer money will solve the problem. We must construct a foundation of reasonable regulations with a just legal system. If we build that, then they will come.