Monday, December 06, 2010

12/8: Sierra Club and Beer Mixer at O'Niell's Pub in Albuquerque

From the Sierra Club:
Join us at our upcoming Sierra Club and Beer mixer to hear from pro-environment candidates that won on November 2nd. Now that the election is over, it's time to look forward to 2011. Come meet like-minded people and learn how we can continue advancing policy that creates a cleaner and healthier environment for all New Mexicans. And meet our new organizer, Juan Reynosa, working to transition New Mexico from coal to clean energy.

RSVP now and come on time to get 1 free drink ticket, good for any beer or house wine. This is limited to the first guests, and you must claim your ticket by 7:30 PM at the event. So sign up now and get there early.

  • What: Sierra Club and Beer, celebrating the victory of pro-environment candidates
  • Who: Pro-Environment Lawmakers, Sierra Club members, and you!
  • When: Wednesday, December 8th, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Where: O’Niell’s Pub, 4310 Central Ave, SE, Albuquerque (map)

We've invited the following victorious Sierra Club-endorsed 2010 candidates:

Martin Heinrich (US Congress District 1), Gary King (Attorney General), Ray Powell (State Land Commissioner), Hector Balderas (Auditor), Rick Miera (NM House District 11), Eleanor Chavez (NM House District 13), Miguel Garcia (NM House District 14), Bill O’Neill (NM House District 15), Antonio “Moe” Maestas (NM House District 16), Ed Sandoval (NM House District 17), Gail Chasey (NM House District 18), Mimi Stewart (NM House District 21), Danice Picraux (NM House District 25), Bruce Thompson (ABQ Metropolitan Flood Control Authority).

Thanks for all that you do for the environment,
Shrayas Jatkar
Sierra Club -- NM Field Office

December 6, 2010 at 10:04 AM in 2010 General Election, Energy, Environment, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guest Blog by Senator Michael Sanchez: We Are Democrats!

MichaelSanchez1 This is a guest blog by Senator Michael S. Sanchez, who serves as the Democratic majority floor leader in the New Mexico Legislature.

Now that the recent election is over, here are some thoughts that I hope will help us remember who we are.

There are times when a challenging situation brings an opportunity to reflect, regroup and remember our most important values. Democrats have that opportunity following the results of the November elections. In New Mexico and throughout the country, Democrats suffered losses at the congressional, executive, legislative, and local levels for a variety of reasons. Anti-incumbency sentiment, economic climate, and negative campaigns were all factors in the losses.

While it is important to examine the mistakes or miscalculations that were made during the campaigns and learn from them, there is a temptation to play the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” game for too long. But continuing to look in the rear-view mirror does not get us where we want to go. We need to take stock of who we are and why we are Democrats.

As Democrats, we value justice, equal opportunity, smart stewardship of our national resources, safe neighborhoods, quality education, and fiscal responsibility. We cherish our due process rights and understand the importance of the separation between church and state, as our forefathers intended. Contrary to the negative attacks against us, we are religious, yet we do not force our beliefs on others. We are proud of who we are and what we represent.

Democrats believe that all people should be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Our support for families extends from the youngest to the oldest members. We represent the working class -- the backbone of our society -- while recognizing responsible business partners who understand the value of their employees. We give a voice to those who have none in the boardroom, but are affected by the corporate bottom line. We fight for those who cannot speak on their own behalf. Democrats take care of those who are less fortunate and need protection, whether they are eligible to vote or not.

In the sixties, we marched for civil rights legislation. More recently, we joined together to support the notion that health care should be available to all Americans, and not just those lucky enough to afford it. Democrats stand on the shoulders of such giants as John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Dennis Chavez, to name just a few. Our position on the issues is based on doing what we believe is right, not what is politically expedient.

During the past several years, Democrats in the state legislature have sponsored and passed several important measures that help everyday New Mexicans. We fought for and won an increase in the minimum wage and unemployment compensation benefits. Our commitment to equal pay regardless of gender led to the passage of the equal rights amendment. We have provided stricter regulation of predatory lending practices. We have witnessed the greatest increase in childhood immunization rates. We have become a national model for veterans’ affairs, particularly for our combat troops. These measures are only a few of the successes Democrats have ushered into our world.

In the aftermath of the election, it may be difficult to move forward. However, Democrats can learn from our mistakes and be proud of the many positive things we have accomplished and stand for without backing away from our principles. We must never shy away from those principles that have benefited so many across our state. Although New Mexicans will have fewer elected Democrats to represent them, it will not lessen our resolve. We have not come this far to stop now. We will move forward with an agenda representative of the values that form the basis of our state. We must take advantage of this opportunity and emerge even stronger. We are Democrats!

This is a guest blog by Senator Michael S. Sanchez. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page. To see a collection of guest blogs, visit our archive.

November 23, 2010 at 01:32 PM in 2010 General Election, Democratic Party, Guest Blogger, NM Legislature 2011 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guest Blog: The GOP's in the House ... It's Gonna Be a Cold Winter

This is a guest blog by Terry Schlederthe staff for the NM Alliance for Retired Americans and a longtime social & health justice advocate in NM. He holds a Masters degree in Public Health from UNM and has Labor in his blood and bones.

President Obama will be hearing from his Fiscal Commission soon about how to bring our national debt under control, and an early report by the co-chairs, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, may give us a clue about what we’re up against. Full-throttle class warfare may be coming our way in December, a war that pits the tax-breaks for billionaires against shrinking Social Security checks for seniors or disabled workers. This and other ugly economic show-downs are being tee’d-up as 2010 exits, and we’d best be paying attention or we’ll surely lose our shirts.

If 14 of the 18 Commissioners agree on recommendations, they’ll send them to President Obama on Dec 1. In prep for the worst-case scenario in our new Tea Party’d Congress, the Alliance for Retired Americans has been ramping up its educational and legislative campaign to mobilize workers, pre-retirees & seniors to press Congress to do the right thing. Will your union join us in NM? Even if you’re not thinking about retirement yet, you should be, because cuts to Social Security now will hurt you later, when you can least afford them.

Seems we’re in a new era of Congressional anti-tax hysteria and budget deficit fetishism that is trumping common sense, but it’s really just a thinly veiled attack on workers and the Middle Class. This Commission should be concerned about getting back to genuine progressive tax policies - like ending Corporate & Gazillionairre Welfare - to change our current march toward a new Gilded Age, but the Chairs seem instead obsessed with severe spending cuts over moderate tax raises. Indeed, roughly 70% of the Co-Chair’s report was for spending cuts while only 30% was about revenue increases. 

Will the President and Congress choose to fight for a strong Middle Class if they get a Committee recommendation that places profit over people in the name of a balanced budget? And will they fight for workers now by extending our unemployment insurance, or by putting folks to work on our crumbling public infrastructure, for example? Will our lawmakers focus on our growing income inequality or will they continue to shamelessly ignore our real financial and moral crises… and scapegoat Social Security, Medicare and our new Health Reform law, instead? 

These questions and more demand our attention and solidarity as 2010 draws to a close. Here’s a list of things you, your organization and union can do now for a stronger Middle Class in New Mexico:

  • Hook up with your NM Alliance to get the facts about the budget’s impact on workers and retirees. Affiliate with us at the statewide level so we can keep organizing for economic & health security for working and aging families. If you’re not there yet, you will be soon;
  • Join our growing NM Alliance email listerve. Send us your email addy and stay informed on the latest actions, events and policy facts;

  • Call your U.S. Rep. and thank them for signing a pledge to protect Social Security and fight any retirement age-increases or privatization (The NM Alliance secured all 3 of our US Reps.’ commitment to this pledge last month!);

  • Call both of our U.S. senators and ask them to cut Corporate Welfare, tax the superrich, and stay strong on no cuts, retirement age-increases, or privatization of Social Security. Remind them that our new Health Reform Law cuts the deficit by controlling health care costs, so they must stand strong on it. (With a “Public Option,” we’d be saving even more. So why did the “fiscal conservatives” boot that out??);

A balanced U.S. budget doesn’t take rocket science … it takes political courage and a promise to do the right thing for working Americans, once and for all.

Hey President Obama & Congress! Remember this when you get confused about who caused our budget problems: It’s not Social Security, It’s the tax- breaks- for-Billionaires, Stupid!

This is a guest blog by Terry Schleder. This article was published first in the NM Federation of Labor’s Newsletter, November, 2010.

If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

November 16, 2010 at 02:09 PM in 2010 General Election, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, Obama Administration, Right Wing, Senior Citizens, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Susana Martinez: DREAM Act? What's That?

Susanamartinezcr Embarrassing, but telling. In an interview with Latina Magazine, our new Republican governor-elect Susana Martinez -- you know, the "new face of the Republican Party" -- had to admit she didn't know what the critically important and historic DREAM Act is. The exchange:

Latina: Do you support the DREAM Act?

Susana Martinez: Remind me. I know that the scholarship...

Latina: The DREAM Act is the law that people have been trying to pass for 10 years that would allow children of illegal immigrants to stay in the country as long as they go to college or perform military service.

Susana Martinez: Oh, yes, yes, yes. OK, I do know that.

When asked to describe what ideal comprehensive immigration reform would look like, Martinez said,

I don’t know what the comprehensive reform act would be.

She then goes on to talk about securing the border and cracking down on the criminals who cross it, as she always does, because she seems to view almost every problem solely through the narrow lens of a prosecutor. However, she does say,

I think that [the DREAM Act] has to become part of the comprehensive immigration reform that the government has failed to take on and take on in a very serious way.

Aha, she doesn't know what comprehensive reform should be, but she knows the DREAM Act should be a part of it -- once she's reminded what the DREAM Act is. I see.

A Scholarship Program?
Then again, Martinez still doesn't seem to get it because she goes on to talk about the DREAM Act as if it's a scholarship program, which it's not:

Susana Martinez: What I am concerned about is that we have New Mexico citizens who want to attend college and there’s only so much funding to go around. Are we excluding people that are in New Mexico who are in the military service and have served our country and are here legally and cannot receive that kind of funding to attend college because the funds are limited? 

Do you understand how creating a path to citizenship for children of undocumented workers who meet certain specific criteria -- if they go to college or enlist in the military -- would jeopardize funding for citizens to go to school or join the military? Me neither. Maybe some up and at 'em New Mexico reporter should ask her that question and demand a specific answer. I won't hold my breath.

November 11, 2010 at 09:42 PM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Governor's Race, Border Issues, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (7)

UNM Regent Jack Fortner Denies Campaign Donations Led to Position on Martinez Transition Team

Remember all the accusations and racket GOP governor-elect Susana Martinez made during the campaign about alleged corruption and pay to play in Santa Fe? Remember how one of her biggest talking points was that she was going to bring "bold change" and unprecedented transparency and ethics to the job, if elected? It now appears that all those statements may have been just for show, for buffaloing voters into thinking she was on their side and free of the kind of political cronyism she pledged to eradicate.

More and more evidence is emerging by the day that a significant number of Martinez's appointments to her various transitional search committees are going to people who made significant campaign contributions to her and other right-wing candidates. Take UNM Regent Jack Fortner, who was named to the search committee on public and higher education. According to an article in the Daily Lobo, Fortner contributed more than $40,000 to the Susana Martinez campaign:

Fortner made five contributions totaling $40,250, including a $20,000 donation to Martinez’s campaign just weeks before Election Day.

“Two years ago, I was planning on running for governor, and I set aside $200,000 for my campaign,” Fortner said. “I made my contributions with the money I set aside.”

Fortner’s other contributions were $2,500 on April 28, $10,000 on May 25, $3,250 on June 1, $2,500 on June 8 and $2,000 on Sept. 10, according to the campaign finance information system on the Secretary of State’s website.

... Fortner said there is no connection between his appointment to the transition team and his campaign donations.

Fortner's term on the Board of Regents ends in January, the same month Martinez takes office. She could reappoint Fortner as a Regent, but Fortner has said, "That’s something we have not even discussed." He was first appointed to the post in 1999 by Republican Governor Gary Johnson.

Fortner has made other donations to Republican candidates:

Fortner also donated the maximum allowed by the Federal Election Commission, $2,500 per individual, to Steve Pearce, who won the U.S. House District 2 seat in southern New Mexico against Harry Teague. Fortner lives in Farmington.

“I also gave some to Matt Chandler,” Fortner said, referring to the Republican candidate for state attorney general.

Fortner has a consistent history contributing to Republican candidates. In 2008, he gave maximum contributions to John McCain and Darren White.

Las Cruces business owner Keri Mitchell, another member of the education search committee, donated a total of $3,000 to the Susana Martinez campaign, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State's site.

November 11, 2010 at 02:55 PM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Governor's Race, Education, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DPNM Calls on Albuquerque Mayor Berry to be Accountable for Susana Martinez Transition Chairs

City of Albuquerque Chief Public Safety Officer Darren White and City Attorney Rob Perry have been selected to serve on Governor-elect Susana Martinez's transitions teams. Darren White will serve as the Chair for Public Safety and Homeland Security and Rob Perry as the Chair for Corrections.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico's Executive Director, Scott Forrester, called on Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry to pledge that Darren White, Rob Perry and any other city employees who are participating in the transition teams work be unpaid, off the clock, and fully accounted for.

"In these tough financial times when departments and employees are asked to do more with less, tax payers should have the right to know two city public employees and all other city employees serving on the transition team will be not be serving while on tax-payers' dollars and all of their time will be accounted for while serving on the Governor-elect's transition teams," said Executive Director Forrester in a statement released today.

November 10, 2010 at 03:39 PM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Governor's Race, City of Albuquerque, Democratic Party, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rep. Martin Heinrich Guest Blog: What Victory Means

MartinHeinrichFamilyCr

A week since Election Day, Martin Heinrich, who defeated Republican Jon Barela in the race to represent New Mexico's First Congressional District, reflects on what this victory means.

Though Tuesday's national result was a difficult one to comprehend, it wasn't simply an indiscriminate wave whereby an anxious public swept aside the party in power. Within the larger trend, we saw smaller narratives emerge. By the end of the night, one in particular became clear: Those of us who won did so by having the courage to stand by our legislative decisions—to run on, and not away from, our records.

This has been a time of great challenge for our nation. But even in the face of such uncertainty, leaders on both sides of the aisle must resist the temptation to frighten a jittery public with extreme rhetoric. Now is a time for reconciliation and reason, not repudiation. Republicans may have taken back the House, but they're no more popular than Democrats. Together, we need to rebuild the public's trust in government and continue the hard work of economic recovery that began two years ago.

MartinHeinrichVictory

And, yes, I believe compromise is possible. The cynics on cable TV might not think so, and they may have a few soundbites from the fringe to back up their punditry. But politics doesn't happen at the fringe. Republicans know the American people won't tolerate a government shutdown, and we know we can't pass job-saving legislation without their help. On tax cuts for families and small businesses, on cutting deficit spending, on lowering our nation's debt, on benefits for veterans, and even on immigration—we will find a way. We will pass on a more prosperous nation than we inherited.

Know that I consider this victory a humbling challenge to keep fighting for you and for your families. My wife Julie and I are so grateful for your commitment to the hard working people of central New Mexico and to our nation’s Democracy, and we thank you for all your help and support.

Top photo by M.E. Broderick. Lower photo by Joe'l Trujillo.

This is a guest blog by Rep. Martin Heinrich. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

November 10, 2010 at 03:00 PM in 2010 General Election, Guest Blogger, NM-01 Congressional Race 2010, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Stephen Jones: Barack Obama and Lessons Lost

This is a post by contributing writer, Stephen Jones, of Las Cruces.

On January 3, 2008 candidate Barack Obama surprised the chattering class with his easy victory in the snowbound caucus state of Iowa. Obama had just defeated the biggest name in Democratic politics, his principal rival Hillary Clinton, who finished a weak third. In the run-up to that election, candidate Obama had accused his rival of caving in to the Washington establishment and placing expediency ahead of principal. His would be a different administration, he said, an open one, one that embraced bold change from the way things were usually done in the nation’s capital.

Americans responded to the challenge of bold change offered by candidate Obama and overwhelmingly elected him President. They believed they had sent a strong progressive leader to Washington. What they got, unfortunately, was a lot of the same. Obama quickly adopted the Bush policies on war, on executive power, on civil rights and civil liberties, on LGBT rights, on government secrecy, on torture and on women’s reproductive rights, to name just a few.

He put his administration's full authority behind bailing out the banks at the expense of the consumer and taxpayer, and he cut inside deals with the insurance lobby on health care. He left his own party leadership and base of supporters out to dry, fighting for cost-containment measures like the public option in the health reform bill, a provision he and his administration had secretly dropped even as his base and progressives in the House, including the Speaker, were staking their careers on the fight for it. Confronted with the dichotomy of the public and the private Obama administration, the Administration turned against their own supporters.

Administration spokesperson Robert Gibbs denounced the “professional left,” and demoralized Democrats by seemingly welcoming a Republican takeover of the Congress. Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, simply called rank-and-file Democrats and progressives in the House “retarded.” On one issue after another, the Administration caved in to right-wing media personalities and the GOP, and abandoned its once stated principles.

60 Minutes Interview
After this month’s election we got more of the same. “Republicans were able to paint my governing philosophy as a classic, traditional, big government liberal. And that’s not something that the American people want. I mean, you know, particularly independents in this country,” Obama told 60 Minutes on Sunday. “My hope is that we may be in a position now where the two sides meet and agree on some things that need to be changed.”

Rather than outlining a post-midterm program for change, President Obama signaled his willingness to take his marching orders from the opposition. “I think that it is entirely legitimate that in the banking sector, it’s very important for us to write these rules in collaboration with interested parties so that they can start knowin’ how things are gonna work. When it comes to healthcare, we need to be consulting with the insurance industry to make sure they know how things are gonna work,” he said.

Rather than praising the Democratic leadership in the House that sacrificed their positions to fight for the bold change he once promised, including the key leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Obama found his new principled hero in the Senate. “There are some sincere Republicans in the Senate like Tom Coburn, Oklahoma, who is about as conservative as they come, but a real friend of mine and somebody who has always had the courage of his convictions and not, you know, bringing pork projects back to Oklahoma. And it may be that that’s an example of where, on a bipartisan basis, we can work together to change practices in Washington that generate a lot of the distrust of government,” Obama said.

Background: Nothing New for Obama
This failure to learn basic fundamental lessons is nothing new for Barack Obama, and a flaw in his political makeup that long predates his failure to grasp the lessons of his own victory in Iowa. As a young community organizer he arrived in Chicago in the winter of 1987 and was quickly swept up in the re-election campaign of then Mayor Harold Washington, a progressive insurgent, and that city’s first African-American mayor. In that election, Washington surged to victory against former Mayor Jane Byrne, whom he defeated in the Democratic Primary, and then against his arch-rival Edward "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak, the former Cook County Democratic Party Chairman, who had switched to the Republican Party to challenge Washington.

Another familiar face in that 1987 campaign was David Axelrod, a former Chicago Tribune reporter who had gained traction in a new career steering several Democratic candidates to statewide office. Because of his close associations with the press, Washington had signed on Axelrod, but quickly dismissed the new consultant, and ignored his advice to moderate his core principals and to placate the Mayor’s opposition.

It had been a stiff ride for Harold Washington, and victory in 1987 was never assured. In 1983, Harold Washington toppled incumbent Byrne in a bruising three-way primary, but garnered only 38% of the vote. General elections are usually minor formalities in Chicago, but in 1983 Regular Organization Democrats then rallied against the reformer, and the Democratic nominee Harold Washington, and joined forces behind Republican Bernard Epton, whose campaign slogan took on the borderline racist tone of ‘Vote Epton: Before it’s too Late!’ Regular Democrats and Republicans distributed campaign buttons that featured a watermelon slice with a circle and line through it. Even Bernie Epton’s children were horrified, and they publicly endorsed Harold Washington against their father. Washington won, barely.

For the next four years Harold Washington fought his opposition on an unyielding progressive platform of change, government reform and community empowerment. The weekly City Council meetings became a free-for-all of fist pounding, overheated rhetoric, and hurled insults, epithets and wadded-up missiles of paper. Howling City Council opponents stood on desktops and tried to shout the Mayor down. Leading the charge against his administration were Alderman Edward Vrdolyak, the Democratic Party Chair, and Finance Committee Chair Edward M. Burke. The national press dubbed Chicago “Beirut by the Lake.” After four years of refusing to give in to evil, Harold Washington won, and he won handily. Chicago voters rewarded principle and re-elected him along with a big City Council majority to support him.

Slaying vs. Siding With the Enemy
And that is the difference. Harold Washington knew he had to slay the “Eddies,” but Barack Obama praises them, while, at the same time, showing his own base of support the back of his hand. We should have guessed this about Barack Obama from the start, not only from the presence of David Axelrod, but from a well-known photograph of a younger Barack Obama as a community organizer on the southeast side of Chicago that was frequently used in the 2008 campaign television commercials and campaign literature. That photograph shows a smiling Obama seated at a table in a mill-workers hall. Behind him in the original photograph, hanging on the wall behind Obama, is portrait of Chicago’s reform mayor, Harold Washington. In the 2008 presidential campaign, Washington’s portrait was Photoshopped out of the Obama picture.

Fortunately for Chicago and for the emerging political career of Barack Obama, nothing in Chicago was ever the same in that city. The once-balkanized community embraced, belatedly, the idea of diversity and government reform. The Chicago press that once savaged Mayor Washington’s recalcitrance on a daily basis called him, in retrospect, “a giant.” Barack Obama was one of the chief beneficiaries of that fight. He went on to symbolize the new Chicago; the kinder, gentler, forward-looking Chicago in which anyone could find a place at the table if they tried hard enough. Even State Senator Barack Obama, the newcomer from Hawaii with the funny name, found a place at the table in the new Chicago.

The Courage of One's Convictions
Unfortunately, this is not the lesson that Obama learned in 1987, and he failed to learn it again in 2008. Not from his victory in Iowa, nor his eventual triumph nationally in November. The lesson is simple. Voters will stick by you if they think you stand for something. They will back you if they think you have the courage of your convictions, if they think you really mean it. Let’s hope that in the next two years President Obama reflects on the past and charts a better course, for himself and for all of the rest of us.

Before it’s too late.

To read more posts by Stephen Jones, visit our archive.

November 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM in 2010 General Election, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, History, Obama Administration, Progressivism | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, November 08, 2010

How Much DID the Albuquerque Journal Help Susana Martinez and What Should We Do About It?

There has been widespread grumbling about the Albuquerque Journal's political coverage leading up to the November 2nd election, as well as criticism about the process used to determine the paper's endorsements this year. The critiques have focused on problems like the paper's tendency to conflate news and opinion in its UpFront columns by Thomas J. Cole on the front page, its choice of headlines that sometimes had little to do with the content of the articles and its failure to clearly identify personnel affiliated with the right-wing Rio Grande Foundation when their writing is published in the paper's editorial section.

Other problems relate to the paper's prominent placement of articles favorable to Republican candidates, while burying articles with positive news about Democrats. Sometimes the problems center on what the paper doesn't cover, as much as what it does.

We've long known that the Journal's publishers lean hard right. However, this year that slant was apparent to many in the paper's news coverage -- especially regarding the race for governor -- as well as on the editorial pages where it belongs.

Tessier Probes Journal Bias
Denise Tessier discusses a number of these problems in her recent hard-hitting piece entitled, "The Push for the Nation’s First Hispanic Female Governor" on the Albuquerque Journal Watch blog. Tessier, who worked for the Journal as a reporter, photographer, columnist, editor, editorial writer and editorial page editor from 1974 to 2005, as both a staff member (20 years) and freelancer, lays out how the Journal's coverage of the 2010 New Mexico governor race was often clearly biased towards Republican Susana Martinez, the eventual winner:

Before it outright endorsed her in an editorial, the Journal had already exhibited signs it was deliberately advocating for eventual winner Susana Martinez – through Thom Cole UpFront columns, other front-page stories and pro-GOP national wire stories. Support was conveyed also via the Journal’s debate reportage, its choice of headlines, and in pertinent information left out of stories.

Before Martinez had even won the GOP primary there were indications the Journal was going to oppose Denish, no matter who the GOP nominee would be.

The article then goes into some of the many ways in which the Journal coverage skewed towards support of Martinez. For instance:

Traditionally, the Journal covered candidate platforms like this. But it didn’t cover Denish’s announcement – a significant plan, considering the Legislature had predicted a shortfall of that amount just months before. The Santa Fe New Mexican covered Denish’s plan as soon as it was released. But on the day the Journal normally would have run it, the story in the Journal instead was “Weh Sues State Over Redacted Denish Files.” Those who read the story would learn that GOP candidate Allen Weh’s beef was with the Department of Finance and Administration over some public documents from Denish’s office, rather than an issue with Denish. But the implication was that Denish had done something fishy.

The Journal held off on running Denish’s platform until July, when it packaged it together with comments from Martinez.

The Denish platform rarely was mentioned after that. Even when the Sunday Journal ran its full-length profiles of the two history-making female candidates, the only reference to Denish’s plan was three lines in the in the bullet-point list that ran at the end of her profile under the label “Budget.”

More Example of Right-Wing Slant
Tessier also points out specific examples of the Journal's slanted coverage on the gubernatorial candidate debates, its headlines and story placement and a couple of Thomas J. Cole's biased UpFront columns.

Tessier's article also demonstrates how different the Journal's coverage of certain stories was compared to that of the New Mexico Independent and how the stories would have been handled in the Albuquerque Tribune, which ceased publication in February 2008:

Especially in these recent weeks, I was reminded of the absence of the Albuquerque Tribune, and was struck by how different the election looked when reading the New Mexico Independent. It was the Independent that first disclosed that Martinez received $20,000 from a Texas oil man who had crassly joked about rape. After the Independent’s disclosure – and calls from the Denish campaign for Martinez to return the money – Martinez donated the funds to a rape crisis center. This ran two days later on the Journal’s Elections page – not unusual for a “catch up” story. But its impact would have been different if the story had run on the front page – as it essentially did in the Independent (and as it likely would have run in the Albuquerque Tribune.)

Another factor Tessier examines is the Journal's front-page profile of Denish's husband, Herb, while neglecting to provide any coverage about Martinez's spouse. It also discusses the Journal's rehash of negative stories on Governor Bill Richardson in the weeks before the election that served to support Martinez's repetitive talking points that sought to portray Governor Richardson and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish as virtually the same person:

I would submit that the Journal buttressed that impression by running a number of stories critical of Richardson as the campaign neared its end.

... perhaps the electorate would have thrown out Denish even without the Journal’s encouragement. But in the absence of an unbiased “leading newspaper” in New Mexico, that’s something we’ll never know.

I strongly encourage you to read the Tessier's entire column and pass it on to others who are concerned about the lack of a statewide source of genuine fair and balanced news -- not just the Fox News version that the Journal currently offers. While you're over there, be sure to check out previous posts that point out the Journal's shortfalls and biases, as well as some of its positive contributions by various reporters.

What Should We Do?
There's lots of discussion in political circles right now about the best way to protest the Journal's sharp and transparent shift to the right in both local and national news coverage. Many folks have already cancelled their subscriptions, others are discussing a possible organized effort to get people to unsubscribe and boycott Journal advertisers en masse and others, at the very least, believe we should be complaining loudly to the Journal every time its right-wing bias is detected in its news coverage, and demanding changes. What do you think?

You can check out a few of my previous posts about the Journal's unprecedented bias in this year's election coverage here, here and here.

November 8, 2010 at 02:44 PM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Governor's Race, Diane Denish, Journalism, Media, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (8)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Hate Email Typifies Approach of Right Wing "Movement"

See below the break for a message I received today at the email address for this blog. I decided to share it with you as I believe it illustrates the kind of hateful mindset that is being fomented and nourished by right-wing and tea party strategists, politicians and pundits, as well as their misguided supporters.

As we've learned, a significant amount of funding for this "movement" is being funneled through secretive right-wing organizations that are getting their donations from large corporate interests, wealthy hedge fund managers and even foreign governments -- thanks to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads, American Action Network and the US Chamber of Commerce are examples of "movement" players that poured millions of dollars into nasty ad campaigns attacking Democrats and using appeals to the baser nature of voters to do it. One of the "movement's" favorite techniques is to use immigration as a wedge issue. Another is to question the citizenship and religion of President Obama -- as we saw now congressman-elect Steve Pearce do in this campaign cycle.

On another local note, one of the donors who contributed seven million dollars to American Crossroads was none other than Swiftboater Bob Perry of Texas. You may recall that Perry and his wife gave now governor-elect Susana Martinez the largest donation in New Mexican history -- $450,000. It's all of a piece, isn't it? And there's more of it to come. Rove has announced that he and others intend to keep up the barrage of attack ads and other initiatives all the way through the coming lame-duck session of Congress and beyond. This is the new America courtesy of conservative and corporatist extremists. And it's not a pretty picture.

I reproduced the email just as it was received -- odd spacing and all -- so you could get the true flavor of the sender. I did remove the sender's email address:

     
Subject: Illegal Wetbacks
 

Sent by "Mario"   On:  Nov 11/05/10 8:56 AM

To: "dfnm albq" 

 

Subject: Obama/Scumbag
 
Impeach the Black Muslim Bastard ! ! !
 

  
Pelosi,
 
You along with this Raghead in the Whitehouse are a total disgrace to this nation ! ! The only thing that would personally make me feel better,along with millions of Americans,is that you along with Harry Reid and Obama are diagnosed with terminal cancer.
 
 This Black Raghead Obama has to go ! !
 
This handling of this oil spill in the Gulf is just another
reason your are a total failure as
President of the United States.Every
bill you have pushed
through Congress has been a total failure,including Healthcare reform,
the failed stimulus bill along with the total out of control spending and
lack bi-partisanhip on the behave of this administration,also your
refusal to secure are borders to stop the flow of illegal Wetback
Scum ! !
 
To whom it may concern:
 
Mexican murder suspect: US consulate infiltrated ! !
 
Put the Wetback Bastards through a
woodchipper and use
their the remains for fetilizer in the
gardens of the Left
Wing Liberal Democrats that support amnesty for
these Wetback Scum !
 
Mario P. Hepp

 
This email was recently sent to all state Governors ! !
 
Subject: Gov .Jan Brewer

Congratuation Governor Brewer ! !
 
This law  was way over do,something has to be done to stop the flow of illegals into this country.Now maybe other border states will do the same.These illegals are committing voilent
crimes and taxing the already overloaded  social programs here in the United states.This Left Wing Liberal Barack Hussein Obama is certainly not doing anything to stop the flow of these Wetbacks into this great nation ! !
 
This email was recently sent to Allen Bersin.
 
Attention: Allen Bersin ( Border Czar )
 
 
This is a recent email I sent to my Congressman Scott Murphy of New York (21st
District
 
Congressman Murphy,
 
What the hell is wrong with this Rep.Luis Gutierrez
from Illinois,what part of illegal doesn't this"Wetback"
idiot understand ? These illegal aliens living here in
the U.S.A. are entitled to nothing ! !
These "Wetbacks"and their siblings should be deported back to the counties they came from period.I and the millions of legal hard working men and women of this great country are tired of seeing are tax dollars going to programs in the 
United States being used by this "Wetback" illegal scum ! !
I believe I have the solution to this illegal alien problem.
Have the federal government order shoot to kill those illegals trying to cross are borders,then take their dead bodies and put them through a woodchipper then the remains
could be used as fertilizer in the gardens of the Left Wing Liberals Democrats,that support amnesty for this scum ! !

 
 
Bring this email to the attention of this Lius Gutierrez.

P.S This certainly doesn't surpise be that this Luis Gutierrez is pushing to take care of his illegal "Wetback"
aliens.Why is it that many corrupt low life politicians such
as Barack Hussein Obama,Eric Holder,Rahm Emamuel,Jessee
Jackson Jr,Valeri Jarrett,Senator Burris,Van Jones all come from the state of Illinois.

This email was also sent to Bill O'Reilly,Glenn Beck,Sean Hannity,Rachel Maddow,Keith Olberman,Cnn,ABC,NBC and CBS,Eric Holder,Janet Napolitano,L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa,Media Matters
L.A. Times,Washington Post,Miami Herald,Chicago Tribune,N.Y.Times,
and Senator John McCain.

Mario P. Hepp
Glens Falls N.Y.

 

November 5, 2010 at 10:53 AM in 2010 General Election, Border Issues, Corporatism, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Karl Rove, Political Ads, Republican Party, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bravo Team Heinrich! Martin Beats Back Barela Challenge 52-48%

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Democratic incumbent Rep. Martin Heinrich beat back a tough challenge by Republican Jon Barela, grabbing the majority of votes on election day after the two essentially split the early/absentee votes in NM-01 (Heinrich led by about 1,000). The unofficial totals according to the New Mexico Secretary of State show a Heinrich victory by 6,839 votes:

Martin Heinrich, Democrat: 110,046 votes, 51.6%
Jon Barela, Republican: 103,207 votes, 48.4%

Heinrich6Cr In Bernalillo County, Heinrich garnered 99,487 votes, or 52.4%, to Barela's 90,353 or 47.6%. Heinrich also edged out Barela in Sandoval County, with 4340 votes, or 51.0% to Barela's 4174, or 49.0%. In Valencia County, Martin got 3310 votes, or 47.2%, to Barela's 3706 votes, or 52.8% Barela captured 1543 votes, or 67.0%, in Santa Fe County to Martin's 761, or 33.0%, and won the portion of NM-01 in Torrance County, getting 3431 votes, or 61.5% to Heinrich's 2148 votes, or 38.5%, but it wasn't enough to overcome the margin Martin built up in the other two counties.

Rep. Heinrich made history in 2008 when he became the first Democrat elected to Congress in New Mexico's first congressional district by beating Republican Darren White by a margin of 55.5% to 44.5%. Bucking a national trend towards Republicans this year, he made history again by becoming the first Democrat to be re-elected in NM-01.

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The Courage of Our Convictions
Rep. Heinrich mounted the stage at Hotel Andaluz to chants of "Martin, Martin, Martin!" at about 11:45 PM last night, after Barela called him to concede (click to see a video of his speech). Heinrich had high praise for both his campaign team, who did everything right, and his congressional staffers in Albuquerque and Washington, who provide top-notch constituent services. He also thanked his family for the sacrifices they made as he flew back and forth to Washington over the past two years. Rep. Heinrich thanked his Jon Barela for his "spirited camapaign and his willingness to serve."

Rep. Heinrich noted that "a great campaign team doesn't get your there if the volunteers never show up, if the supporters don't help, and we had the most incredible army of folks knocking on doors and making phone calls -- hundreds of thousands of them."

Martin said another reason for the victory was that "we had the courage of our convictions. Unlike a lot of folks this year, I never shrank from the fact that I was proud I voted for health care reform in a country that needed it (huge cheers). And we will keep fighting to make New Mexico the clean energy jobs capitol of the world. I'm proud of the fact that we put mortgages here in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico and people's homes ahead of the Wall Street CEOs at AIG and Goldman Sachs."

He extended his thanks to all of NM-01, saying, "I want to thank all of the people in this district, every single one of them -- the ones who were right there making sure we were re-elected tonight and the ones who disagree with me. Because I've learned so much from them traveling this district, sitting down with people one on one, and I am in their debt. This opportunity to serve again is something that means a great deal to me and I do not take it lightly."

Turning to the unfinished business at hand, Rep. Heinrich said, "Our nation has as many challenges today as it did yesterday, and it's time for us to roll up our sleeves, work with each other -- including across the aisle -- and get back to work on behalf of the people of this great state."

Heinrich Turns Back Last-Minute Barela Surge
Until the last weeks of the campaign, Rep. Heinrich had been sitting on at least a somewhat comfortable lead of a 6-7 points according to most polling. A visit by President Barack Obama to a residence in Albuquerque's South Valley at the end of September helped shore up support for Rep. Heinrich.

However, in the final weeks of the campaign, more than $3 million of outside money from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others poured into the district in support of Barela -- much of it funding dishonest attack ads. The struggling GOP candidate then started to pick up some momentum. Internal polling by the Heinrich campaign reportedly had him up by a couple points, while Barela claimed his internals had him up by a couple percentage points. The final Albuquerque Journal poll released this past Sunday claimed that Barela had moved ahead by two points.

A combination of Heinrich's solid debate performances, fact-checking analyses that revealed the dishonesty of several of Barela's attack ads and a stepped up, strategic savvy and a well-targeted and highly effective GOTV ground game made the difference. The Heinrich campaign's phone banking and canvassing operation was running on all cylinders all the way through election day, until the polls closed at 7:00 PM. In the end, the campaign's hard-working candidate and staff, along with a determined swarm of loyal volunteers, won the day.

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50+ waiting vote at 6:50 PM last night, RFK in South Valley

To see our previous posts on this race, visit our archive.

November 3, 2010 at 03:35 PM in 2010 General Election, Jon Barela, NM-01 Congressional Race 2010, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (1)

Democrats Lose in Southern New Mexico But Dominate Doña Ana County Stronghold


Click for photo album

Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

After a hard fought campaign, Doña Ana County Democrats celebrated the local victories of Andy Segovia, Jose “Joel” Cano, and Mannie Arrieta, who raced through the finish line and expressed their gratitude to supporters at an enthusiastic gathering at the Beverly Hills event center in Las Cruces last night. With their families at their sides, Cano, Segovia and Arrieta thanked their friends and supporters and promised to bring integrity to their respective offices.

Despite strong finishes in Doña Ana County, other southern New Mexico Democrats finished the campaign with mixed results. Congressman Harry Teague and the statewide Democratic ticket narrowly lost races in the southern half of New Mexico, including much of Congressional District 2. However, most held on in most contests in Doña Ana County, New Mexico’s second largest county. Two sour notes were losses by Democratic State Representatives Jeff Steinborn and Nate Cote who lost to their Republican challengers, Terry McMillan and Ricky Little. State Representatives Joni Gutierrez and Andy Nunez were easily re-elected. State Representative Joseph Cervantes and Mary Helen Garcia were unopposed.

On the bright side, Appellate Judge Mannie Arrieta led a field of Doña Ana County candidates to victory. Arrieta was reelected to a full term, soundly defeating his Republican opponent Rick Wellborn by a 53-47% margin. Elected by even larger margins were Andy Segovia, the Democratic candidate for County Assessor, and Jose “Joel” Cano, who was easily elected Magistrate Judge. Magistrate Judge Olivia Garcia and Probate Judge Alice Salcido were also re-elected. Sheriff Todd Garrison, the Republican incumbent, beat back a challenge from Democrat Juan “JR” Stewart. Democrats County Commissioner Karen Perez was easily re-elected, while Billy Garrett narrowly won a seat in District 1.

Teague and the rest of the statewide Democratic ticket, with the exceptions of Diane Denish and Secretary of State Mary Herrera, won handily in Doña Ana County, but fell badly to Republican opponents elsewhere in southern New Mexico. Bill McCamley and Stephanie DuBois were also defeated in their district wide contests, despite strong finishes in Doña Ana County . Teague garnered the highest vote margin of any Democrat in Doña Ana County, winning a sizable 56% of the total vote in the County, however he was defeated by Steve Pearce District-wide. PRC candidate McCamley was narrowly tipped by Republican Ben Hall by only a few hundred votes in his contest.

Click for Doña Ana County election results and statewide results.

Photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

November 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM in 2010 General Election, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Las Cruces | Permalink | Comments (0)