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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sound Off: Ethics in Politics - Wouldn't That Be Nice!

This Sound Off was submitted by Terry Riley, who attended yesterday's meeting of the Ethics Task Force appointed by Governor Richardson:

To be fair I want everybody to KNOW that as I have become involved in politics and political activism and lobbying that I have met and worked with and against some very ethical politicians.  Unfortunately there are a couple of really newsworthy ethics stories in New Mexico. The State Treasurer and now the director of the Department of Corrections. These are bad problems and the media is making a big thing about them. Governor Richardson appointed an Ethics Reform Task Force to prepare legislation for the 2007 Legislative Session.

I attended the first part of the first meeting of this task force. WOW! The people who attended had very impressive credentials. The comments that were made during the opening presentation! I have every faith that good things will come from this action and because these people are involved.  You should take time to come and watch for yourself. You could make a comment or two if you want, the task force meetings are open.

The first question that came to my mind after the initial presentation was who is responsible to enforce ethics violations presently. We find that there are jurisdictional difficulties but, for the most part, enforcement of ethics rules is the responsibility of the Secretary of State.

Secretary of State, Attorney General and candidates: I would like to point out that I do not believe that anybody was there representing the SOS office. I hope that I am wrong about that. I am sure that one candidate for the Secretary of State position in the upcoming elections was in attendance, Stephanie Gonzales. I believe that this is exactly how we should decide on who to vote for. I would also point out that there probably should be representation from candidates for the Attorney General position.

I would like to share this because I believe that the issue of ethics in politics is what is going to make more people willing to become involved.  Lack of ethics makes people not vote!

Editor's Note: The next meeting of the Ethics Reform Task Force is tentatively scheduled for June 28-29 in Santa Fe. We'll keep you posted.

Sound Off is a regular feature of this blog that provides an opportunity for readers, candidates, advocates, etc., to express opinions. If you'd like to submit a Sound Off, send it to me by clicking on the "Email Me" link on the upper left-hand side of the main page.

May 31, 2006 at 09:47 AM in Sound Off! | Permalink

Comments

Thanks for the post, Terry, and thanks for coming to the task force meeting yesterday. The next meeting(s) will be in a committee room (room yet to be determined) in the Roundhouse June 28 and June 29. There should be plenty of time for public comment/input, so please attend if you can.

Posted by: Matt Brix | May 31, 2006 11:50:03 AM

I take it this next meeting of the task force is one of their most important in terms of an opportunity for public input.

We must show up in force so that the powers that be don't water down this effort until there's next to nothing left. We had to keep the pressure on to get paper ballot voting and it's still not a done deal in reality. If we want to stop the crooks we need to push HARD.

Posted by: I Vote | May 31, 2006 2:07:25 PM

I agree with you Terry, lack of ethics and negative campaigning do contribute to a lower voter turnout. It's worse when you put both of them together! I know of a certain candidate who is allowing this combination to continue and it is NOT achieving what he originally was aiming to do. Instead recipients of this organized and expensive yet "anonymous" mailing have been giving feedback such as, "it's garbage," "I have thrown it out," or "it only has made me want to campaign against (the sender)." It is sickening being that it is a Democrat that is participating in this type of cowardly slander, being that we are supposed to be the party of character. We are also supposed to be the party that encourages large voter turn out and we know that these types of antics discourage participation. They are the same antics of Tom Delay, but what can you expect from a carpet bagging west-Texan in New Mexico Democrat clothing!?

Posted by: Westside Voter | May 31, 2006 2:22:02 PM

What contributes to a low voter turnout is that the State Democratic Party does almost nothing to build its organization, reach out to new voters and those who have left in disgust, train and support candidates or anything else that would bring more voters to the polls. They're not even out there registering voters.

They are in cahoots with the Governor and others who want all the money and volunteers for themselves as they build their kingdoms.

Most people don't vote because they know that most candidates stand for nothing except what their big donors tell them to stand for.

Step 1 for reviving politics is getting big money out of politics as much as possible. It's the only way really.

Posted by: JLC | May 31, 2006 3:50:51 PM

I would like to respond to JLC. There are some really serious problems with the State Democratic Party. There are a bunch of us who are working very hard to force the party to change. It is a shame that we have to refer to it as forcing but if you have attended any of the last three State Democratic Party State Central Committee Meetings or the State Resolutions and Platform Committee or the State Rules Committee you have understand why I say forced. If you have not been there then I would like to invite you to come. We need more people in order to carry the load and to become more effective. We need and welcome your time and support.

Politics in America is a mess and it is because the citizens of America are spending too much time doing fun things or watching TV, etc. There is NO excuse for not participating in YOUR government. Please join us, there is so much to do.

Terry Riley

Posted by: Terry Riley | May 31, 2006 5:15:04 PM

Terry-

"spending too much time doing fun things "

Help me find those people - so I can join them. Most of the people I know are working their tails off for less money than they would have made twenty years ago working fewer hours. Lots of us are working hard at the expense of health, families, & communitites.

Posted by: suz | May 31, 2006 5:51:54 PM