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Richardson Threatens Public Safety

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.