« July 2011 | Main | September 2011 »

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

10 More Local Leaders Endorse Hector Balderas for U.S. Senate

N90305594266_1773904_6711129 Today, the Hector Balderas for Senate campaign announced ten more local leaders who have thrown their support behind Balderas' candidacy. Those who endorsed Hector, include:

  • New Mexico State Senator Mary Kay Papen (Dona Ana County)
  • New Mexico Rep. Mary Helen Garcia (Dona Ana County)
  • Village of Pecos Mayor, Tony Roybal
  • Town of Bernalillo City Councilor Ronnie Sisneros
  • Espanola City Councilor Dennis Tim Salazar
  • Mountainair City Councilor Frank Anaya
  • Torrance County Commissioner Venessa Chavez-Gutierrez
  • Socorro County Commissioner RJ Griego
  • Mora County Commissioner Laudente T. Quintana
  • Former Socorro Mayor, Tony Jaramillo

New Mexico Senator Mary Kay Papen praised Hector's message of bringing real fiscal accountability to Washington, DC. "Hector knows that fiscal responsibility is the best way to ensure that we expand economic opportunity across New Mexico. As New Mexico's State Auditor, Hector protected taxpayers' money by cracking down on fraud and abuse in our schools, municipalities, and agencies, including the Housing Authority. By going after waste in our schools, he helped make sure that money went back into the classroom to educate our children, where it belongs. Hector fights for this type of fiscal accountability so that we can invest in initiatives that create jobs such as education, infrastructure, and innovation."

Espanola City Councilor Dennis Tim Salazar added that Hector's record of putting party labels aside to find solutions is exactly what the United States Senate needs. "As a public servant, Hector has always remembered that he works for New Mexicans -- not a political party, and not special interests. Hector is from New Mexico, has spent a career fighting for New Mexicans, and is guided by New Mexico's values. It is exactly this type of leader that Washington, DC is in dire need of. New Mexicans will be fortunate when Hector Balderas represents them in the United States Senate."

"It is an honor to receive the support of these committed leaders," Hector said. "Every day they wake up and work to make New Mexico better. I look forward to engaging with them to implement policies that help hard working families," Balderas concluded.

According to the campaign, today brings the total of 45 current and former elected officials across the state who have endorsed Hector Balderas for United States Senate.

August 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Hector Balderas | Permalink | Comments (1)

Video/Photos: Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Lujan Speak to Santa Fe Seniors on Medicare and Social Security


Click for photo album

On Monday, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and NM-03 Congressman Ben Ray Lujan visited the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center in Santa Fe to talk about the importance of saving and strengthening Medicare and Social Security. It's a topic that is much on the minds of New Mexicans these days, as these programs are under attack as never before from right-wing extremists gone mad.

Republicans have been mounting a savage campaign against these two highly successful programs that have helped so many seniors obtain low cost, quality health care and live a life of dignity instead of abject poverty. Especially in the U.S. House, where extremists like Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. John Ryan are pushing to abolish the programs, "privatize" them or at least cripple their ability to function effectively, Dems like Reps. Pelosi and Lujan have their hands full battling misguided right-wing rhetoric with the facts.

Meanwhile, the leading GOP candidate for president,Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has even referred to Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme," and claimed the program -- which pays for itself -- is unconstitutional and unsustainable. Nothing could be further from the truth, and both Pelosi and Lujan made it crystal clear that they will fight to protect our social safety net with every ounce of their being in the face of brutal right-wing attacks.

Reps. Pelosi and Lujan addressed a packed house on Monday, accompanied by Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, Sylviana Diaz D'Ouville of the New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans, Carol Estes of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and others active in the senior and health care communities. The large crowd paid rapt attention to the speakers and were clearly looking for reassurances that Congressional Dems will continue to fight hard to protect these vital and often life-saving programs. They got what they came for.

In the video above, Rep. Lujan welcomes everyone, outlines what we are up against from Republicans and asks those present to stay active in helping Dem protect Social Security and Medicare.


Rep. Nancy Pelosi addresses the crowd

In her speech (above) Rep. Pelosi said these programs are "about the economic security of families; it's about our responsibility from one generation to the next." She noted that 46 years ago Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson who said, "no longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that people so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years."

She explained that when Social Security was passed, President Franklin Roosevelt said it was a law that "would take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness." This isn't just about how these programs meet the needs of seniors; it's about how these programs "meet the needs of our country," Pelosi emphasized.

The "Super Congress" Table of 12
Rep. Pelosi spoke about the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in cuts by late November, saying, "We're at a place where there's a big debate going on in our country. I think you will agree it has not been a pretty sight. So we have to bring clarity to what is going to happen at that table. And as we bring clarity for all of you, we also hope that it brings you hope." She explained that the "decisions on these programs will take place at "a table of 12 people. This table of 12 cannot be a chopping block for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It must be a table of hope, of opportunity, of economic growth, a table of greatness for our country, a nurturing table -- not a chopping block."

Pelosi also stressed that all of the proceedings of the "Super Congress" table of 12 should be "open to the public" and "transparent," with real-time webcasts online and broadcasts on TV, so that the "decisions made will be clear to the public." Why? "So when a decision is there that says they want people to pay more for Medicare and get fewer benefits, while they give tax cuts to corporations sending jobs overseas," people will see who is pushing for that. "So when they say they want to block grant and shrink Medicaid, while we can give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in America, while making those who are economically challenged pay more, those who have contributed to the growth of our country," people will know who is supporting that and also "know that we say no!"

Pelosi continued, "And when they say to young people, you're going to pay tens of billions of dollars more for your student loans so we can give tens of billions of dollars in tax subsidies to big oil, the American people will know whose side everyone is on in this debate." 

American Values
Rep. Pelosi said we need to take the discussion to "higher ground." She asked the audience if they thought "most Americans would agree that the education of our children is an important value." Big applause. She asked if most Americans would agree that "a dignified retirement, health and economic security for our seniors" is an American value." Big applause. Can people agree that "creating jobs for the American people is an important value?" Big applause. Would people agree that "protecting the American people -- whether it is the security of safe neighborhoods, clean air, clean water, the national defense of our country -- is an important value? Big applause. She said we are going to do that "in a fiscally responsible way, fix the deficit and take us into the future in a more stable economy."

"So that table shouldn't be about who do we cut and who do we tax; it's about how do we provide growth? How do we use our tax code to do that, how do we make our investments and government investments" so there's "more effective use of those dollars?" 

Standing Our Ground
Pelosi explained that "we are not drawing any lines in the sand. We are open to suggestions that address the greatness of our country" and its values. "Because if you support the values that you have applauded, and you know the American people support those too, you couldn't possibly support the budgets that have been put forth by the Republicans." As for our seniors and veterans, "their concerns will be represented at that table by the Democrats -- I can assure you of that -- and I hope by the Republicans too."

"We try to take as much partisanship out of all of this" as we can. "We try to find our common ground. But where we can't find the common ground, we must stand our ground for our children, for our seniors, for their families, for our sense of community, for our veterans, for those who have built American, for those who have defended America and for those who are America's future." Standing ovation from the crowd.

The Real Causes of the Deficit
Here, Rep. Pelosi takes a question from Rob Nikolewski of the right-wing-funded Capitol Report about how we can possibly protect Social Security and Medicare given the large federal deficit and debt. She notes that we're mistaken if we think that passing the bill for caring for our seniors to the states is actually reducing the deficit.

She agrees that the deficit is large and must be reduced, but says that, "Democrats know how to reduce the deficit. We had to sweep up behind President George Bush I when he left President Clinton a huge deficit. We passed a bill -- our Budget Bill of 1993 -- that took us into a path of fiscal stability" and "raised taxes on the wealthy." She noted that 4 of Clinton's budgets "were either in surplus or in balance."

Then along comes President Bush II. "Tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country. A prescription drug bill that gave away the store to the tune of billions and billions and billions of dollars to the pharmaceutical industry. And two unpaid for wars." As she said, you shouldn't lower taxes for the wealthy when you go into war, but Bush did. She noted that Dems can reduce the defict and will do so, but that the current debate is not truly about reducing the deficit. "If this is all about reducing the deficit, why didn't the Republicans say 'boo' when this defict was being amassed under President Bush? They didn't say word one" at that time.

"Now they say tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs," Pelosi continued. "They didn't during the Bush years! In fact, it's important to note that more jobs in the private sector were created in the second year of the Obama administration than in 8 years of the Bush adminisration." She stressed that "these tax breaks aren't creating jobs; they're just creating a deeper deficit by the same people who now say to this president, and this president alone, that if we have to raise the debt ceiling we have to have all of these cuts in our domestic agenda. They've never said that to any other president."

Pelosi explained that, as far as Republicans go, this is really about "destroying the public role," destroying "public education, public safety, clean air, clean water, public safety, you name it -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They have said they have no place in a free society" and they should "wither on the vine." She continued, "if you understand that they don't believe in the public sector ... and they want to privatize" Social Security and other programs.

In the clip above, Rep. Lujan answers another question from Rob Nikolewski about the deficit by saying, "Look at the trajectory Republicans put us on. When there was revenue, they took that revenue and gave it to the most wealthy in the country. They never brought it back. On top of the costs of Afghanistan and Iraq. And now they're saying, oh, well there's not enough revenue coming in. Well they gave it to all the most wealthy of the country." He says, "That's not right." He noted that, "the words "Social Security" shouldn't even be used in the same sentence with "deficit reduction."

As Rep. Lujan notes, the American people are now waking up to what's really going on, and we are not going to stand for it. The Republicans gave away our tax revenues to the rich and big corporations and now they have the nerve to whine that we have to cut vital services to the people because we don't have enough money to pay for them. No way. It is clearly time to ask the rich and big corporations to pay their fair share -- to share in the sacrifice. No more free lunches for them while the right wingers insist that we must balance our budget on the backs of working and middle class Americans.

All videos and photos by M.E. Broderick.

August 31, 2011 at 11:14 AM in Economy, Populism, Finance, Investments, Jobs, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Senior Citizens, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (3)

Guest Blog: Time to Break Taboo on Open Discussion About Drugs and Accidental Overdoses--Lives Are Literally Hanging in the Balance

6a00d834519ed469e2014e892a6a1c970d-120wi This is a guest blog by Emily Kaltenbach, who is the New Mexico state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

August 31st marks International Overdose Awareness Day, a day for people in New Mexico and around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. This day is also an occasion to educate policymakers and the public about the growing overdose crisis in New Mexico and beyond. It is time we offer concrete solutions that save lives.

Overdoses happen everywhere, to all kinds of people, and it's only been getting worse in recent years. Drug overdose is now the number one cause of accidental death for Americans between the ages of 35 and 54. In 17 states, it now surpasses car accidents as the leading overall cause of accidental death.

New Mexico has long grappled with overdose mortality rates far above the national average. Overdose deaths continue to rise -- the heroin overdose rate in 2008 was the second highest ever recorded and fatal overdoses from prescription opiates such as hydrocodone and oxycontin have surged alarmingly. Nor are our young people being spared from this epidemic as there has been an increase in the number of people 21 years and younger dying from overdoses.

This loss of life is completely unacceptable, in no small part because most of these deaths are so easily preventable. But the “tough-on-crime” rhetoric of the drug war and the stigma associated with illicit drug use have blocked the widespread adoption of simple, proven, life-saving policies.

In the face of this tragedy, however, New Mexico has become a leader in the struggle to prevent overdose fatalities. It became the first state in the nation to implement a 911 - Good Samaritan law in 2007 that provides people who call 911 on behalf of an overdose victim with limited immunity from prosecution for drug possession. Good Samaritan laws reduce reluctance to seek medical help when illegal drugs are involved, and thus save lives.

Our Department of Health has programs to educate the public about overdose risks, and trains first responders, law enforcement and members of the public how to recognize an overdose and respond using rescue techniques and the opiate antagonist medicine naloxone. This unheralded and inexpensive drug has been used by first responders for decades. Administered nasally, it can revive opiate overdose victims within minutes. These programs save lives while reducing hospitalization costs and relieving pressure on first responders and emergency rooms. More could and should be done, however, to expand the availability of naloxone. All too often, first responders are not called or cannot arrive in time.

Calling On New Mexico's Lawmakers
On this day of awareness and mourning, we ask New Mexico’s lawmakers to build upon the growing tradition in New Mexico of taking a proactive role in addressing the overdose crisis. We ask them to stand up and support policies designed to get us to a place where politics no longer trumps public health, science, or compassion. Policies that continue to support access to syringe exchange programs for all New Mexicans struggling with an addiction, including our youth. Policies to increase access to naloxone that has no abuse potential, and costs as little as one dollar for one dose. And, policies to explore the efficacy of safe injection sites and heroin prescription programs -- both of which are evidence-based life-saving interventions for individuals struggling with addiction to opioids when other treatments have not worked.

There is no question that innovative overdose prevention programs are needed and long overdue in this state. All that stands in the way is ideology and the cynical assumption that it can never happen in New Mexico.

This is a guest blog by Emily Kaltenbach. Also see her previous guest blog on the 40th anniversary of the war on drugs.

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.

August 31, 2011 at 06:08 AM in Drugs, Alcohol, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Legal Issues, NM Legislature 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

8/31: Juárez from the Eyes of a Human Rights Worker

From the Southwest Organizing Project:
This speaking event will give insight to the violent struggles in the border city leading to a wave of political asylum seekers to New Mexico. Click for flyer

Cipriana Jurado, of the Juárez, México-based Center for Information and Solidarity with Working Women (CISO), will be speaking at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice on Wednesday, August 31, about her experiences defending the rights of citizens of Juárez, México and the current conditions in that country. Jurado is currently continuing her mission of awareness and activism from Santa Fe, where she and her two children now live.

Jurado was granted political asylum earlier this year due to threats on her life, part of a growing number of Mexican human rights workers, journalists and political leaders who have fled Mexico.

Join us for an evening with this courageous, longtime human rights champion, and learn about the realities on the ground in Juárez. Jurado's mission now is to increase public concern over the levels of violence and terror that grip Juárez and many other Mexican cities and towns by sharing her eyewitness accounts of the grim nature of everyday life and survival in Juarez.

This event will be held at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE, Albuquerque) tonight at 6 PM. The event is free. Food will be served and Spanish to English translation will be provided. For more information call Tracy at 505-247-8832. Sponsored by the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP).

August 31, 2011 at 05:47 AM in Border Issues, Children and Families, Events, Hispanic Issues, Human Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Susana Martinez/GOP to Sen. Mary Jane Garcia: Na Na, Na Na Na!

Grease5
Susana: Pink Lady Complex?

As the Santa Fe New Mexican's Steve Terrell Tweeted yesterday afternoon, State Senator Mary Jane Garcia (D-Dona Ana), the Majority Whip, appeared with Governor Susana Martinez at a press conference about the governor's bill to stop social promotion -- to hold third graders back a grade until they can read at the appropriate level. Although Garcia had supported a similar bill last session, yesterday she unexpectedly said the bill shouldn't be debated in the upcoming special session:

"It's premature," Garcia said of the bill. She pointed out that taxpayers will have to fork out about $50,000 a day for legislators to attend the special session, and she stressed it's not the right time to push for educational reform, given the need to focus on redistricting of political boundaries based on the latest census numbers.

... "I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you beforehand. But I made this decision just last night," Garcia said to Martinez. "I was mobbed with calls from everybody, saying, 'You can't do that. You can't take away a parent's rights. We don't want our kids to be held back. We want them to go on and achieve.' " 

Sen. Garcia then apologized again to the governor, and Martinez replied, "that's ok, everyone is entitled to their opinion." I guess Susana was more miffed at Sen. Garcia than she let on. Or she believes that revenge is best when served up (at least somewhat) cold.

Later in the afternoon, the Republican Party of New Mexico sent out a scathing press release repeatedly attacking Sen. Garcia for "taking a cheap shot" at Gov. Martinez, and then dredging up incidents from the past to try to embarrass Sen. Garcia. Susana might just as well have saved everyone time and effort and instructed the GOP spinner to write a press release containing only the phrase "na na, na na na!" repeated over and over again. It's that juvenile and vengeful. Well, nobody ever claimed that Susana Martinez or the NM GOP are models of dignity, restraint and maturity.

Images If this is how Susana expects to capture the VP slot on the GOP presidential ticket, I'd have to say her judgment is more than a little off. Then again, tea partyish right wingers seem to really like women candidates who "talk tough," cultivate a rough "law and order" image, pack "heat" and use rhetoric that exhibits the worst qualities of nasty banter heard in high school locker rooms from the 1950s. Think "Grease" or any number of entirely forgettable teen B-movies of the 50s era. All Martinez needs to complete the picture is a hot pink jacket and a ratted up bouffant hairstyle held together by a can of Aqua Net.

Governor-shooting
Susana "Pinky Lady" Martinez at the shooting range

Saying that Sen. Garcia "once again proved that no cheap shot is below her," the release quotes GOP executive director Bryan Watkins saying, "Garcia would rather take political cheap shots than improve our schools."

The release goes on to inform readers that, "Garcia has a history of taking cheap shots, including against Barack Obama, who she called arrogant." It then moves on to a report of Garcia "attacking" Martinez last year related to the Baby Brianna bill, and ends with the outrageously inaccurate claim that Gov. Martinez puts New Mexico above partisan politics. Yeah, we've all noticed that, right?

Granted, some of the statements attributed to Sen. Garcia are not exactly politically correct, but the venom expressed in the press release is rather shocking, even for the New Mexico GOP. And that's saying something.

Susana Martinez has been taking a lot of guff for trying to pack the agenda of the upcoming special legislative session on the already contentious issue of redistricting with bills meant to nurture wedge issue frenzy -- like another stab at repealing driver's licenses for foreign nationals and the social promotion bill touted yesterday. Sen. Garcia is quoted in a KOB.com story as being very critical of the governor's plans for the session:

"We may end up being here the whole year and not get the redistricting done," said Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, a Las Cruces Democrat. "I want to focus on redistricting, and I'm thinking of the $50,000 we're gonna spend every day to keep us here in Santa Fe."

She'd Kick You in the Kidneys
Another Dem legislator is also seeing the nasty "Pink Lady" side of Susana Martinez. According to an Albuquerque Journal story,

Rep. Eliseo Alcón, D-Milan, made it clear Wednesday that he didn’t see any compassion in Republican Gov. Susana Martinez as he made a speech outside the Roundhouse doors.

“I believe that our governor up there on the fourth floor, if she were to see you laying on the floor right there because you were hurt, she would probably go kick you in the kidneys just because she can,” Alcón said. “And that would be all she would do. She feels that just because she is governor she can hurt whoever she can.”

As the Journal reports, Alcón was speaking after an announcement that Martinez’s administration would be sued over an administrative action that requires 10,000 foreign nationals with in-state licenses to prove their residency in New Mexico or risk losing their licenses – a move her critics, and the lawsuit, claim is discriminatory.

Gov. Martinez is developing quite the reputation as a cruel and callous operator, which many right wingers no doubt think is very, very cool. What she's losing in the process, however, is any perception that she knows how to govern wisely and fairly. This is one GOP governor who's never out of campaign attack mode -- and it's ordinary New Mexicans who will suffer for that fact. 

August 30, 2011 at 03:37 PM in Education, Immigration, NM Legislature Redistricting 2011, Redistricting, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (4)

8/31: UNM Center to Host Forum on Electoral College; Similar Forums in Santa Fe, Las Cruces in Coming Months

From Benson Hendrix, UNM:
The Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico Cen­ter for the Study of Vot­ing, Elec­tions and Democ­racy (C-SVED) is pro­vid­ing a forum for the pub­lic to debate the impor­tance of the Elec­toral Col­lege and its effec­tive­ness in mod­ern elec­tions on Wednes­day, Aug. 31, from 10 AM-1 PM at the UNM Con­tin­u­ing Edu­ca­tion Building’s Room H.

In March 2011, the New Mex­ico State House passed House Memo­r­ial 056, which asked the Sec­re­tary of State to study and report on how the cur­rent Elec­toral Col­lege sys­tem and the national pop­u­lar vote sys­tem com­pare. Absent from the House Memo­r­ial is pub­lic dis­cus­sion and debate about the Elec­toral Col­lege and its effec­tive­ness in mod­ern soci­ety. This forum is one of a series of pre­sen­ta­tions over the next three months, dur­ing which the pub­lic will be given an oppor­tu­nity to pro­vide input on this topic.

This issue is becom­ing a crit­i­cally impor­tant topic as nine states total­ing 132 elec­toral votes –- nearly half the total of 270 needed to win the pres­i­dency –- have already passed laws to appor­tion their elec­toral col­lege votes to the win­ner of the national pop­u­lar vote. New Mex­ico and its cit­i­zens must have their voices heard in this impor­tant debate about how our nation will choose its President.

As the Sec­re­tary of State’s office pre­pares its report, C-SVED is pro­vid­ing the pub­lic with an oppor­tu­nity for input and dis­cus­sion of the pol­icy con­sid­er­a­tions that ought to be pre­sented to key pol­icy mak­ers in state government.

C-SVED has assem­bled a Cit­i­zen Panel to for­mu­late pol­icy con­sid­er­a­tions on this issue. The Cit­i­zen Panel is com­posed of inter­ested cit­i­zens, elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion prac­ti­tion­ers, leg­is­la­tors and oth­ers inter­ested in how elec­tions are con­ducted. The Cit­i­zen Panel will meet three times, once a month in August, Sep­tem­ber and Octo­ber. The point of each meet­ing will be for panel mem­bers to learn about the Elec­toral Col­lege and to dis­cuss the local and national impli­ca­tions of the cur­rent sys­tem and alter­na­tive systems.

From these meet­ings C-SVED will issue a report, which panel mem­bers will be encour­aged to sign in con­cur­rence, or in dis­sent, as a way to build some knowl­edge and inter­est around this issue. The report will be pub­licly released by the Center.

“As Thomas Jef­fer­son said while craft­ing this country’s found­ing doc­u­ments, it is impor­tant for us to re-examine insti­tu­tions of gov­er­nance in light of our chang­ing soci­ety and cir­cum­stances,” said Pro­fes­sor Lonna Atke­son, Direc­tor of C-SVED. “We honor this guid­ing prin­ci­ple as we engage in the Cit­i­zen Panel discussions.”

The meet­ings will be held:

  • Albu­querque on Wed. Aug. 31 from 10 AM – 1 PM
    Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico Con­tin­u­ing Edu­ca­tion, Room H
  • Santa Fe on Wed. Sept. 28, from 10 AM – 1 PM
    Loca­tion TBA
  • Las Cruces on Thurs. Oct. 13, from 10 AM – 1 PM
    Loca­tion TBA

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact UNM pro­fes­sor Lonna Atke­son at (505)-660‑8976, or atkeson@unm.edu.

August 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM in Election Reform & Voting, Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

9/1: Fundraiser Supporting Marty Chavez for U.S. Senate at Scalo's in Albuquerque

From Marty Chavez:
I hope you will join me on Thursday, September 1st, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM, at Scalo’s in Nob Hill for my inaugural Albuquerque fundraiser. Scalo’s owner Steve Paternoster is a long time, great friend and I am proud to begin the financial part of my campaign for U.S. Congress at his establishment. If you agree with me that Washington needs to start working for all America, please join me on the 1st.

PLEASE JOIN
Steve Paternoster 
Along with co-hosts:
Chris Baca, Nick Bakas, 
Art De La Cruz, Mark Fleisher, 
Richard Dineen, Carlos Dominquez, Richard Guay, 
Jim Maddox, Mike Malloy, Loretta Mares,
Frances Ray, Ken Sanchez
 

 FOR A FUNDRAISING RECEPTION 
In Support of 
Marty Chavez
Candidate, NM 1st Congressional District

Thursday, September 1st, 5:30 –7:00 PM 
Scalo Northern Italian Grill
3500 Central SE, Albuquerque 

Suggested Contribution:
$2,500 Host ~ $1,000 Friend ~ $500 Sponsor

Rsvp to: Janis Hartley (505) 412-2642 or janishartley@gmail.com. Contributions can be made payable and sent to: “New Mexicans for Marty Chavez,” PO Box 91208, Albuquerque, NM 87199. Or you can Click Here to contribute online.

August 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM in Events, Martin Chavez, NM-01 Congressional Race 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Comment Now on BernCo Clerk's Voting Convenience Center Proposal

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver is rolling out her proposal that the Bernalillo County Commission implement Voting Convenience Centers (VCC) in lieu of precinct-specific locations for the Primary and General Elections in 2012. VCC's are similar to Early Voting Centers in that any voter can obtain his or her appropriate ballot and vote at any VCC he or she finds to be convenient. Each VCC will have the ability to print out a ballot that contains the proper listing of candidates, ballot questions, etc., for any precinct in the county where a voter resides.

“Legislation was passed last year to allow all Clerks in New Mexico the option of implementing Voting Convenience Centers,” said Clerk Toulouse Oliver in a statement released today. “My staff and I have prepared a detailed proposal and we are seeking input from the public in an effort to make certain that we have incorporated all essential elements.”

“Our analysis shows that VCCs will be more convenient while cutting costs for county taxpayers and voters. The 65 locations will be strategically located throughout the City and County and will be easily accessible. Having 65 locations instead of the traditional 172 on election day will cut down significantly on manpower and supplies, resulting in a potential savings of upward of $1 million dollars,” she continued. “More and more voters are taking advantage of Early Voting and VCCs are a logical extension.”

Members of the public can view or print the proposal on the front page of the website at www.bernco.gov or click here for a direct link. Comments, questions or concerns can be sent via e-mail to votingconvenience@bernco.gov or you can call 468-1291.

The Clerk will also be hosting a public forum to present the proposal on Thursday, September 22, 2011 beginning at 6:00 PM in the Chambers at One Civic Plaza, NW.

The proposal will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners for final approval in October.

August 29, 2011 at 04:36 PM in 2012 General Election, 2012 Primary Election, Bernalillo County, Election Reform & Voting | Permalink | Comments (7)

Letitia Montoya Announces Bid for Santa Fe County Clerk

LetitiaMontoya120 Democrat Letitia Montoya released the following statement last week announcing her candidacy for Santa Fe County Clerk:

Today I am announcing my candidacy for the office of Santa Fe County Clerk.  Being born with dyslexia has forced me to be creative in my ideas. This way of thinking has allowed me to be successful at whatever task I focus my attention on.   I have no limitations and I am a hard worker. I enjoy learning, am very organized and detail-oriented. When it comes to being dedicated to work I put myself into my job 100 percent. I will use these skills to organize and reenergize the Santa Fe County Clerk’s office. 

Throughout my years of working and public service, I worked my way up the ladder from a City of Santa Fe Life Guard/Swimming instructor to Chief Operation Officer for Assure Financial. I always advocated for workers’ rights and compensation increases. I encouraged promotions of women and minorities into management level positions.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science and a Masters of Arts in Education Youth at Risk the Leadership Strand. I have co-owned a Financial Services company for over 15 years. I am currently on the American Cancer Society Committee (I am a survivor of cancer) and on the Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters. I was Secretary of the New Mexico State Democratic Party for two terms, and currently a State Central member for my fourth term and two time National Delegate.

In the recent 2010 General Election our voter turnout was fewer than 50 percent. We need new ideas to get people out to vote. Within Santa Fe County I would like to focus on three areas. Update the County Clerk’s office by going paper free using electronic filing and upgrading the computer system. This would provide significant savings and better customer service to taxpayers. Additionally, the County Clerk website will undergo major upgrades, providing significant amounts of information to my external customers (voters) and a high level of transparency and accountability to the public.

Next, I would like to hire a full time grant writer to start working on finding funds for pilot projects. I am going to break the county into 16 areas and have a mobile vehicle that will have an optical scanner in it with security. This vehicle will be used for 28 days of early voting. It will be taken into the rural areas and the high dense areas (example grocery stores). We will track and analyze to see if this program works. It’s time to give voting back to the people and stop making it more complex.

The third thing is to start educating our voters. By breaking the county into 16 areas I would like to start educational programs. It is time to create a simple brochure that goes over the amendments and have community meetings to explain the amendments to the voters for the general elections. (This idea I got from Tesuque Pueblo.) Also, start creating an open communication with the Public School system to talk to the children about how important it is to get signed up to vote when they turn eighteen.

I ask for your Vote and Support for the success of my campaign. If you would like to make a donation you can send a check to PO Box 711, Santa Fe NM 87501, or if you would like to volunteer please contact me at (505) 983-8521, email   LetitiaMontoyaforSFCountyClerk@gmail.com. I would appreciate any help you could give me and just your vote is very important to me. Thank you very much for giving me the time to introduce myself to you.

In the past, Letitia Montoya launched several unsuccessful runs for Secretary of State and State Senator. She worked for the recent reelection campaign of incumbent Secretary of State Mary Herrera, who was defeated by Republican Dianna Duran, and also ran for Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, losing to incumbent Javier Martinez.

So far, the only other declared candidate in the Democratic primary for Santa Fe County Clerk is Tara Lujan.

Current Santa Fe County Clark, Democrat Valerie Espinoza, is serving out her second term and cannot run again for the post. She announced in February that she intends to run for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in District 3, where Jerome Block Jr. is serving his first term and has run into ethics problems.

August 29, 2011 at 10:25 AM in Democratic Party, Santa Fe | Permalink | Comments (2)

8/30-31: NM Legislative Redistricting Committee to Meet in Las Vegas and Santa Fe

The Legislative Redistricting Committee continues to hold public meetings at locations throughout the state in order to encourage public accessibility and input on the upcoming redistricting plan. The final public meetings prior to the upcoming special session will take place at Highlands University and at the State Capitol in Santa Fe on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 30–31.

Representative Mary Helen Garcia (D–Dona Ana–34) and Senator Linda M. Lopez (D–Bernalillo–11) serve as co-chairs of the committee. The upcoming meeting begins Tuesday morning, August 30, at 10:00 AM in the Kennedy Lounge on the Highlands University campus. On Wednesday, August 31, the meeting moves to the State Capitol, room 307 and begins at 9:00 AM. This is the final interim session meeting to be held in preparation for the special session of the legislature that begins September 6, 2011.

The committee will recommend new boundaries for the congressional districts within New Mexico, the state House of Representatives and Senate districts, the Public Regulation Commission districts, and the Public Education Commission districts. Recommendations will be based on the 2010 decennial census, the redistricting guidelines adopted by the New Mexico legislative council, and testimony received from interested individuals and groups. The hearings will include sharing of information about the legal requirements of the redistricting process, sample maps and time for public comment.

The committee recognizes the importance of redistricting in a democracy. Members and legislative staff are working to ensure that every citizen is represented and that the process is visible and open for public input. Representative Garcia encourages all interested New Mexicans to take an active interest in the redistricting process.

“The job of the Redistricting Committee is to develop a variety of plans that are in line with the legal principles that govern redistricting. We look forward to sharing the information we’ve gathered and hearing from all concerned,” said Representative Garcia.

The committee welcomes and encourages public attendance and input. Time for public comment will be allowed each day. For more information and the most current committee agendas and calendars, please go here.

August 29, 2011 at 07:52 AM in Events, Las Vegas NM, NM Legislature 2011, Redistricting, Santa Fe | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

9/1: State Reps. Eleanor Chavez and Miguel Garcia Host House Party Reception for Eric Griego for Congress

State Representatives Eleanor Chavez and Miguel Garcia
Cordially invite you to a House Party Reception for
State Senator Eric Griego
Democrat for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

Thursday, September 1, 2011, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
The Home of Blair and Ann Piper
715 Amherst SE, Albuquerque, NM
(1 block west of Carlisle, 7 blocks south of Central)
Click for Flyer
Suggested Contribution $50

RSVP info@griegoforcongress.com or call Ann Piper at (505) 259-0659. If you cannot attend but would like to support the campaign, please contribute securely online at http://www.GriegoforCongress.com.

August 28, 2011 at 09:44 AM in Eric Griego, Events, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Today: Benefit in El Dorado for Mulane Family of Dixon's Apple Orchard

As most of you know, the wonderful Dixon's apple orchard has suffered massive damage from fire, flooding and debris and mudslides caused by the recent Las Conchas fire that stripped the canyon walls that surround the orchard of trees and vegetation. Here's a way to help them keep things going after losing their home and other buildings, as well as a big percentage of the apples trees:

  • What: Benefit for the Mullane family of the Dixon's Apple Orchard. 
  • When: Saturday, August 27, Noon to 6 PM. 
  • Where: La Tienda, 7 Caliente Road in Eldorado. 

The event includes music, food and family activities including a raffle and silent auction. For more information or to donate items for the raffle or auction, contact Kim Duran at kim2955@aol.com.

August 27, 2011 at 08:59 AM in Events | Permalink | Comments (0)