Posts Tagged ‘Governor’

Legal Shenanigans Serve as Fallback Position

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

For years I’ve lamented the fact that we’ve thrown more and more money at education in New Mexico with absolutely no return on our investment in the one place that it matters most – improved student performance. In fact, it could be easily argued that the more money we put into the system, the worse it seems to fare for our children. The education unions have proven that when push comes to shove they are more interested in maintaining hierarchies than improving the system for our children, or allowing exceptional teachers in the rank and file a place to flourish.

So, now we’ve got new leadership on the fourth floor, and you know what? Governor Martinez is actually shaking things up. She is looking at a broken system and an empty piggy bank, and saying it’s  time to take a different approach. Now, the left is famous for talking a big game and promising bold change, but in the end delivering the status quo. In fact, threaten to upset their apple cart, and they’ll pull out the lawyers to look for any minute legal justifications to avoid change:

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s nominee for public education secretary, Hanna Skandera, faces questions in the Legislature over whether she meets constitutional requirements for the job.

The leader of the Public Education Department must be a “qualified, experienced educator,” according to the New Mexico Constitution, but Skandera has never worked as a teacher or administrator in a public elementary or secondary school.

Skandera is subject to Senate confirmation, and Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said lawmakers are trying to determine what the Constitution means by “educator.”

“I don’t think we should just close our eyes to that issue,” Sanchez said recently.

Just in case you’re wondering, when Senator Sanchez isn’t putting unions before children, he’s practicing law. Now before some bozo tries to make the case that only someone who has spent some time in a classroom can run an education department, let me say that is utter nonsense, and for the record, I spent five years in the classroom. Let’s also forget about the fact, that if someone has a Master’s degree, than they have spent an awful lot of time in a classroom. And, let’s move beyond the buffoonery which would pretend that if someone has served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer at a University, which Ms. Skandera has, they are less of an educator than say a fourth grade teacher.

After all, according to the Union and good Senator’s logic, the only one capable of running a fast food enterprise is someone who has served time as a fry cook, and we all know that’s not true. But, I’ll tell you one good thing is coming out of this. This desperate last ditch ploy by the entrenched beneficiaries of the status quo make it abundantly clear that Governor Martinez’s selection for education secretary is going to shake up and truly attempt to improve the system.

New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Let the cutting begin. Or, better yet, let the cutting continue. I’m all for this elimination of wasteful spending:

The state’s first elected female governor says the state should stop funding the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women.

As part of her plan for covering a large projected shortfall in the state budget, Gov. Susana Martinez recommends eliminating state spending for the 37-year-old program.

In response, commission officials have launched a campaign to lobby legislators and the Governor’s Office to keep state money flowing.

In fact, I’ve given reasons before for eliminating this Commission. It’s nice to have a Governor willing to make sound fiscal decisions.

Rats on a Sinking Ship

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship The general rule of thumb is that political appointees, like rats on a sinking ship, make way for the exits when their political free ride comes to an end (i.e. it comes time for their benefactor to leave office). This rule of thumb is particularly necessary when state government is saddled with a crippling deficit as is the Land of Enchantment.

However, I can’t say that I’m surprised that the Richardson Administration is attempting to leave office with same disregard for the public welfare which was evident during the entire time they were in office. Namely. I’m talking about their willingness to time and time again put public interest aside in favor of political payback jobs. But, even though I’m not surprised, I am nauseated by the gall of those who continue to put their self-interest before everyday New Mexicans:

Richardson on Sunday ordered a suspension of hiring by agencies under his control, but an internal memo circulated Monday says the order doesn’t apply in cases where agencies have completed hiring decisions and offered jobs. That loophole could allow more Richardson appointees to shift into classified jobs in the coming weeks.
Cole’s column on Tuesday reported that at least seven gubernatorial appointees have been moved to classified positions since July.

But, there is a silver lining to this cloud. It gives us an immediate opportunity to see just what kind of executive we have in  Governor-elect Susana Martinez.  The answer is a no nonsense Governor, who appears ready to walk the talk:

Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, the Martinez transition team chairwoman, told Richardson staff chief Brian Condit that any “exempt employees” moved into protected jobs after Nov. 3 without Martinez transition committee approval “will immediately be terminated upon the swearing in of Governor-elect Susana Martinez on Jan. 1, 2011.”
And, I for one can’t wait to see those folks sent rowing on January 1.

Remember When We Used to Trust?

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I’ve opted not to take an active role in any campaign this primary season.   This is a departure from years past where I’ve done everything from volunteer, to blog about, or even consultant on one primary campaign or another – not to mention once running as a candidate in a primary. For the most part my decision to stay out of the primaries (although, you can bet I’ll vote) is due to the fact that, with a few exceptions, there are very few candidates running in the Republican primary that I would have a problem supporting in the general election. And, those candidates I would not vote for in the general election have ABSOLUTELY no chance of winning their respective primaries.

With that said, I have to take issue with a recent post put up by fellow blogger Joe Monahan. It’s been awhile since I’ve given Joe a hard time, and his recent innuendos regarding the large  contributions received by Susana Martinez from the Perry’s of Texas definitely warrants criticism:

Those previous Perry donations raised some fuss, but were not as sensitive as they are today because they did not come in a climate filled with news of corruption and alleged corruption–mostly all stemming from campaign contributions.

A Martinez operative points out that Perry does not currently do business in the state. But with the size of this donation, if he did choose to do business here would it buy him access? Or what about his associates who might want to set up shop in New Mexico?

So, first let’s deal with the facts. A very large campaign contribution is made to a candidate by a donor with no business in the state of New Mexico.  A donor who has a significant history of making large contributions to Republicans in previous campaign races in New Mexico without pursuing business in the state.  So, why does an outsider do this?  Well, historically especially while the Democrats have controlled the political reins, it’s because that’s how business is done in the Land of Enchantment.

But, the Perry’s have not given large donations to Democrats in New Mexico to buy political favors when the number of recent indictments has shown those favors were clearly for sale. So, what’s the motivation for the Perry’s to give such a large sum of money to a campaign? Well, this may be hard to understand for people who put their personal self-interests above all else, but looking at the Perry’s contribution history, it’s clear that you have folks who are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Or, more specifically, invest in their principles. This is actually pretty common in America.  Every day, all over our great nation, people make donations and contributions to politicians, not-for-profits, religious organizations, etc. without expecting any “payback” in return.  Some of those contributions are very, very large. In fact, the return they expect on their investment is that the receiving party will do what they promised to do.

When it comes to  Republican candidates, this generally means enforce the rule of law, limit the size and reach of government and demand accountability. Every candidate is a person, and every person has flaws or has made mistakes. However, “being for sale” is not a flaw. It’s not a mistake. It’s a felonious act. And, let’s face it, if Susana Martinez was guilty of these type of crimes, she would of long ago been run out of Las Cruces where she has been elected and re-elected as a Republican to be the District Attorney in a county that has a strong Democratic majority.

I long ago said that the pushing of ethical reforms is nothing more than political posturing.  It sounds great on the stump, but means absolutely nothing in practice. Crooks will be crooks regardless of the ethics adopted by others.  Unfortunately, one of the worst legacies of the culture of corruption of the eight long years of the Richardson/Denish Administation is that everyone now assumes the worse. The simple act of stepping up to the plate and giving to people and causes you believe is assumed to have an ulterior motive.

It’s time to get back to a time where we can trust one another. Where we can believe the best, rather than the worst of those we elect to represent us. Where we celebrate the contributions of citizens rather than the farewell parties for criminals.  Everyone is going to be aware of the contribution made by the Perry’s, and that’s how it should be.  If the Perry’s wanted to buy political favors, they wouldn’t have made a single huge contribution that was bound to attract everyone’s attention.  Instead, they would have done it in the manner that has been cultivated into an art form in the Richardson/Denish Administration – less conspicuous bundling of contributions to purchase political favors in return.

Elect Officials Fail New Mexico

Friday, February 19th, 2010

When the Legislature meets during the 30 day session, the constitutional mandate is clear:

B. Every regular session of the legislature convening during an even-numbered year shall consider only the following:

  (1) budgets, appropriations and revenue bills;

  (2) bills drawn pursuant to special messages of the governor; and

  (3) bills of the last previous regular session vetoed by the governor.

Weak Attempt at an Alibi

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

We’ve all seen the movie plot line. It’s been in every mob movie made to date. The mob boss needs an alibi.  So, he makes a point of being seen somewhere other than the scene of the crime.  After all, if he was seen by hundreds at a party, how could he possibly be linked to the crime in question.  Sure, his hired guns were there, but hey, there’s no guilt by association, right?

The State Investment Council got together this week to hear what outside consultants found in their review of the agency. 

To no surprise, Gov. Bill Richardson, who chairs the council and controls it through his appointment of a majority of its members, didn’t attend the council meeting.

As I first reported last February, Richardson has rarely attended the meetings of the State Investment Council, which invests billions of dollars in state endowment funds.

Now, the governor is using his absence in an apparent bid to distance himself from the scandal that has rocked the council over the past several months.

“The reality is I left decisions to my state investment board,” Richardson told reporters Tuesday. “I hardly attended meetings. I felt that I shouldn’t be part of decisions.”

Now we know why the movie industry loves to come to New Mexico. We provide great inspiration for future plot lines.

Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Confirmed

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

When considering the polling prior to the outcome of the recent Albuquerque mayoral election, I noted that a strong anti-incumbent sentiment was in play:

In 2008, incumbents were swept out of office. Sure, it was a huge Democratic sweep. But, it was just as much an anti-incumbent sweep. People wanted new blood. They voted for “change.”

The Obama administration and the Democrats now in control of the Congress misunderstood this vote for change to mean the country was endorsing a shift to the left and bigger government programs. This wasn’t and isn’t the case at all. The vast majority of Americans are not extremist – neither right nor left. Instead, they are firmly planted in the center.

So, the change they were voting for was against the incumbents, and the direction in which they were taking our country, which ironically enough was towards bigger government programs. Now, it seems to me that the anti-incumbent sentiment has not subsided. It is still alive and well.

My observation regarding the anti-incumbent sentiment seems to be confirmed by a recent Pew Research Group study:

According to the Pew Research Group, the number of people who would like to see their own U.S Representative re-elected has reached a low point — the same type of low point seen in the 1994 and 2006 midterms when the parties in power suffered large losses.

“About half (52 percent) of registered voters would like to see their own representative re-elected next year, while 34 percent say that most members of Congress should be re-elected,” according to Pew. “Both measures are among the most negative in two decades of Pew Research surveys.”

And, in more bad news for Democrats, Republicans are currently much more enthusiastic about voting in 2010.

I’d argue that these results also apply to the Governor’s office and any swing legislative districts in 2010. Spend time talking to people about politics, and you’ll see its true. Its probably the reason behind State Senator Eichenberg’s recent candid observation:

He wrote that Eichenberg told the crowd at the Southwest Learning Center in Albuquerque that due to Denish’s “complacency or complicity” with the ‘pay-to-play’ atmosphere surrounding the administration of Governor Bill Richardson, and standing quietly behind him,” that he was unwilling to invest a half million dollars in a losing campaign.’

Bralley writes Eichenberg said, “I looked her square in the eye when I said that. I told her I didn’t think she was going to win.”

I’d say the numbers support his assertion.

Richardson Threatens Public Safety

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

There’s a time to play politics, and there’s a time to solve problems. Apparently, someone forgot to clue Governor Richardson into this fact:

The state of New Mexico would have to shutter two prisons, give early releases to up to 660 prisoners and lay off and furlough Corrections Department employees if Gov. Bill Richardson signs budget cuts approved by the Legislature, his office said Wednesday.

Richardson’s office raised that grim possibility as his staff analyzes the impact of $253 million in spending cuts legislators passed during a special session last week to deal with a revenue shortfall.

If the real measure of leadership is how someone performs in a time of crisis, Governor Richardson is failing miserably. The Governor has always been a great campaigner, there is no question about that; however, now that we actually need an executive leader, he is seriously falling down on the job.

He’s still in political spin mode, which is nothing short of ridiculous considering that he can’t run for re-election. In fact, his attempt at side-stepping responsibility by choosing to threaten the public with the unleashing of criminals rather than cut fat from a bloated bureaucracy is very likely going to hurt the campaign prospects of those who wait quietly in the wings.

The Governor has been shown to be quite enamored with all things Cuban, so I can’t help but wonder if his strategy is not just a bit Castro inspired:

It is true that Castro opened his jails during the 1980 exodus, flooding Miami’s streets with criminals, drug addicts and mentally unhinged people, which contributed to Miami’s skyrocketing crime rate and helped it become murder capital of the world by 1981.

Fidel Castro did it to take make a point and causes chaos for those who didn’t agree with his style of governing, and it appears that Governor Richardson is doing the exact same. Worse, it looks like there isn’t a single person in his administration with the backbone to step up and say, “Hey Governor, threatening to unleash criminals on the taxpaying public is not a viable option.”

It is true that one Richardson Administration politician has publicly noted that “the state can only have one chief executive at a time.” But, it is equally true, that a public official’s first responsibility is to the public. Of course, this is a fact that seems to be long forgotten by the ruling political elite in New Mexico. They work for us, we do not work for them. We put them where they are, and we can take that away. And, if they continue to choose to threaten instead of lead, I’m sure come Election Day, we will do precisely that.

Hidden Messages

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

If you haven’t heard about the hidden note to legislators from California Governor Schwarzeneggar, you’ll definitely want to check out Steve Terrell’s recent post. Coincidence? Yeah, right.

The Governor of La La Land

Monday, October 26th, 2009

That’s the only way to look at it. Governor Richardson has officially relocated to La La Land:

  1. Los Angeles, California (often abbreviated L.A.). This expression pokes fun at the alleged eccentricities of the city’s inhabitants. For example, What do you expect? Frederick has lived in la-la land for ten years and it has rubbed off on him. [Slang; c. 1980]

  2. A state of being out of touch with reality, as in I don’t know what’s going on with Amy–she seems to be in la-la land. [Slang; c. 1980] Also see cloud-cuckoo land; never-never land.

No, I don’ mean that he has moved to Los Angeles – although, one could only hope. But, like Frederick in the example above, it appears that Governor Richardson’s contact with Hollywood’s elite has altered his perception of reality:

New Mexico lawmakers on Friday wrapped up their special legislative session, sending Gov. Bill Richardson a package of measures to repair a $650 million budget shortfall this year.

“It isn’t pretty. It doesn’t solve the problem; we know that. But it’s a step forward,” Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said before the Legislature adjourned.

The package includes spending cuts of about $253 million this year in public schools, colleges and other government programs.

Richardson criticized what he said were “excessive” cuts to state agencies, and warned they could result in layoffs and reduced services.

That is the only possible explanation for the Governor’s reaction to the recently ended special session. See, when you have a $650 million deficit and growing, and you only cut $526 million, that leaves a gaping hole of a whopping $124 million. No one in their right mind would call those cuts “excessive” as they clearly fall far short of the mark of what’s needed.

Then again, I guess if you’re a Governor living in “cloud-cuckoo land” you’re not really in your right mind.