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Friday, March 22, 2013

Help Pete Dinelli Qualify for Public Financing

From Pete Dinelli for Mayor Campaign:

Friends,

What a week!

With just 9 days to go until the deadline for qualifying for public finance our campaign is picking up tremendous momentum. But there is lots more work to be done to ensure that we meet our goal.

The special interests don't want me in City Hall because I won't represent them, I’ll represent YOU! Please click to chip in $5 or volunteer this week to help us qualify for public finance.

This week we also announced an incredible amount of endorsements for our campaign to move Albuquerque forward. I'm honored to have the support of so many important public officials from all across our city and state.

Remember to join us online on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the latest in campaign news.

Thank you for all you do,

-Pete

P.S. - We need volunteers to reach out to as many voters in the city as possible over the next few days. Please click to chip in a few hours of your time to support clean campaigns in Albuquerque.

March 22, 2013 at 06:45 PM in 2013 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Candidates & Races, Democrat | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Real Story - Tax Bill Shows Need for Legislative Reform by Heath Haussamen

Haussamen-Heath low resolutionBy Heath Haussamen,
New Mexico In Depth

As House Speaker Ken Martinez put an end to the 2013 regular legislative session on Saturday, a number of journalists and others took to Twitter to express their shock at what had just happened.

Members of the N.M. House of Representatives approved a number of tax reforms that had each provoked long debates in the past. They lumped the proposals into one, complex bill that essentially shifts tax burden from corporations to cities and counties, which forces the local governments to decide in the coming years whether to make budget cuts or raise your taxes.

The House and Senate both approved the legislation in the final hour of the session, without many lawmakers taking time to understand how their votes might affect their constituents and what cities and counties will do to plug budget holes. Many didn’t have details on how the changes would impact the state’s budget or data to support the bet that cutting corporate taxes will bring significant numbers of new jobs to the state.

In the House, Martinez allowed the bill to bypass the scrutiny of the committee process despite his past statements about the importance of that process. On the floor, the majority of lawmakers chose to vote without any debate. As the session concluded around noon on Saturday, the House gave final legislative approval to a major rewrite of the tax code most had seen for the first time only minutes earlier.

“That’s insane,” one woman, her voice captured on an archived video recording of the final moments from the House, muttered as she watched the tax bill win approval.

The Senate had approved the bill minutes before the House. At a post-session news conference, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who participated in secret negotiations on the legislation, promised to sign the legislation and called it “an important victory.”

Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, told me having little information about the impact of the bill is why he joined 25 other House and Senate members in voting against it. He called the last-minute push for a secretly negotiated bill an “ambush” that showed a lack of leadership.

“If you have a good policy, it should withstand debate and scrutiny,” Cervantes said. “If you have an uncertain and unclear position, then you pass it without an opportunity for scrutiny.”

How it happened

Most legislators didn’t know leaders were negotiating the tax bill as the 60-day session wound down last week. The governor, Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith and a handful of others kept discussions secret.

A version of the tax proposal became public Friday night when Smith’s committee approved Senate Bill 538. That legislation went nowhere following the committee vote.

But the proposal gained new life in the final hour of the session, around 11 a.m. Saturday, when proponents stuffed it into House Bill 641 on the Senate floor. Senators voted 34-8 to approve the proposal, with only Democrats dissenting.

There was little debate. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, called the legislation “complex” but urged approval. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, decried the lack of information and voted against it.

The House took up the proposal with less than 20 minutes until the constitutionally mandated noon end of the session. Before House members had a copy of the bill, Minority Whip Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, proposed voting without allowing debate. Speaker Martinez, D-Grants, delayed Gentry’s motion long enough for members to get the bill and be told by a cabinet secretary that it would have a positive impact on the state’s budget each of the next five years.

Then more than two thirds of House members who were present agreed to skip debate and go straight to a final vote.

House members didn’t have time to read the bill carefully, if at all. Many said they got no written report on the impact of the legislation, while others received a copy of a report on the earlier version of the proposal, which was outdated, just before they voted.

Though Finance Secretary Tom Clifford promised a positive impact on the state budget for five years, he provided no details and said nothing about the impact on local governments or your wallet. A legislative analysis released Wednesday – four days after lawmakers voted to approve the bill – estimated a positive impact on the state budget for the first two years but a negative impact for the following two years.

Before the House voted to skip debate and then approve the bill, Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, tried to debate, but Speaker Martinez cut him off. Instead, there were periods of silence as the speaker waited for a legislative staffer and Clifford to provide information.

“They were stalling so there wouldn’t be time for debate,” Rep. Stephen Easley, D-Santa Fe, was quoted by The Santa Fe New Mexican as saying. “That was pretty unfortunate in terms of process and procedure.”

Steinborn agreed.

“I’m all for sensible tax reform and balanced tax reform, but it needs to be done with debate and forethought and very sound financial data,” Steinborn told me Tuesday. “That’s why I was standing up to debate, and why I took exception with this.”

In the final seconds of the session, House members voted 46-18 to approve the bill, with Steinborn and Easley among the handful of Democrats and Republicans in opposition.

House Majority Whip Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, who had earlier said he didn’t know whether to approve the “complex” and “major” proposal, voted for it. After the session ended, he told KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, “It’s a great day for New Mexico because it’s jobs, it’s economic development. We came together. We listened to one another.”

Listened? During debate that never happened?

A duty to be deliberative and transparent

Many components of the legislation had been discussed individually before. But lumping them together created massive tax reform whose impact hadn’t been scrutinized. In addition, the House has 18 new members this year, including Easley – that’s about a fourth of the chamber’s 70 members – who might not have been familiar with the individual proposals.

Those who negotiated this proposal and shoved it down lawmakers’ throats – and legislators who went along with that effort – tossed principles of good government, like scrutiny and transparency, out the window. Why?

Smith was quoted by The New Mexican as saying he didn’t know any other way to pass such legislation “when we’re running out of time.” Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Rio Rancho, who voted against the bill, told me he didn’t have time to look over the bill before voting but “didn’t really mind the process.”

“I know it happens sometimes,” said Lewis, who said he supports the legislation now that he’s had time to look it over.

Time is an issue. Lawmakers aren’t paid, and many have other careers. The prospect of returning to Santa Fe for a special session can be daunting. In this case, the governor threatened to veto the budget and call another session, but Smith and others believed she might sign the budget if she also got a significant tax-reform bill.

Hence a deal that Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, who voted against the bill, called a “royal screw job.” Many lawmakers who voted for the tax bill were apparently influenced by a desire to avoid another session.

That’s outrageous. Lawmakers have a duty to be deliberative and transparent, to take the time to gather information, analysis and opinions needed to make reasonable decisions. If that means another session, so be it.

Cervantes said New Mexico’s legislative process is designed to avoid debate and scrutiny. He has pushed for years, unsuccessfully, for the creation of a commission tasked with proposing constitutional reforms, including changes to the legislative process.

If the current system hinders lawmakers’ ability to do their jobs, then it’s time for structural reform.

Haussamen, New Mexico In Depth’s deputy director, can be reached at heath@nmindepth.com or on Twitter @haussamen. Find NMID at nmindepth.com.

March 21, 2013 at 07:00 PM in NM Legislature 2013, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (5)

Pete Dinelli Is Marching Along to be the Next Abq Mayor

From Pete Dinelli for Mayor Campaign:
Majority Whip, Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas Headlines Even More Dinelli Endorsements

ALBUQUERQUE – Today, Albuquerque Mayoral Candidate Pete Dinelli continued his announcement of support from every corner of Albuquerque.

“It's time to move our city forward and I'm proud to stand with Albuquerque families as we work to recover our economy and restore faith in government,” said Dinelli. “I'm honored to have the support of so many important community leaders.”

Dinelli has assembled an incredibly broad coalition that includes current and former elected officials, public safety officials and community activists.

Adding their names to the growing coalition of supporters today is House Majority Whip Representative Antonio "Moe" Maestas, Representative Edward Sandoval, Representative Sheryl WIlliams Stapleton, Albuquerque City Councilor Issac Benton, former Bernalillo County District Attorney Jeff Romero and former Mayor of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Harry Stowers.

In endorsing Dinelli, Maestas said, “Albuquerque needs to move forward again and I believe in Pete Dinelli's vision for our city's future.  Pete will get our families back to work by investing in important public infrastructure and make sure our kids get the education they deserve.  Pete has the backbone to restore the broken trust and confidence in our city’s leadership and that's why he has my support.”

Below is a complete list of announced endorsements:

State Auditor Hector Balderas
Fmr. NM Attorney General Patricia Madrid
Albuquerque City Councilor Issac Benton
Albuquerque City Councilor Rey Garduño
Fmr. Albuquerque City Councilor, Michael Cadigan
Fmr. Albuquerque City Councilor, Steve Gallegos
Fmr. Albuquerque City Councilor, Miguel Gómez
State Representative Rick Miera, Majority Leader
State Representative Moe Maestas, Majority Whip
State Representative Ernest H. Chavez
State Representative Miguel P. Garcia
State Representative Emily Kane
State Representative Edward Sandoval
State Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton

State Representative Christine Trujillo
State Representative Luciano “Lucky” Varela
State Senator Michael Padilla
State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto
State Senator Gerald Ortiz Y Pino
Fmr. State Senator Dede Feldman
Fmr. State Senate Candidate Bill Tallman

Fmr. Public Regulations Commissioner, Jason Marks
Fmr. Bernalillo County District Attorney Jeff Romero
Bob Stover, Fmr. Chief, ABQ Police Department
Robert Ortega, Fmr. Chief, ABQ Fire Department
Ross Aranda, Fmr. Deputy Chief, ABQ Fire Department
Fmr. Mayor of Española, Joseph Maestas
Fmr. Mayor of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Harry Stowers
John Wertheim, Fmr. Chairman of Democratic Party of NM
Linda Stover, Fmr. President of Democratic Women of NM
Cynthia D. Borrego, MPA, Fmr. State PERA Chair

BACKGROUND: Leader. Problem Solver. Born & raised in Albuquerque. Pete Dinelli is running for Mayor because he won’t stand on the sidelines while City Hall is engulfed in a public safety crisis & petty partisan politics. Pete knows our prosperity depends on creating the good-paying, long-lasting jobs of the future, providing a world-class education for our children & public safety that will make our city a model around the state & nation. Pete has served as Chief Public Safety Officer, Deputy City Attorney, Director of the Safe City Strike Force, Chief Deputy District Attorney, 911 Interim Director, Workers’ Compensation Judge, Albuquerque City Councilor, Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Attorney General.

March 21, 2013 at 06:08 PM in 2013 Albuquerque Mayoral Race, Candidates & Races, Democrat | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Diane Gibson for City Council District 7

Diane gibsonFollowing is from the Diane Gibson for Abq District 7 campaign:

She has worked as a Sandia National Laboratories prototype machinist and an Environmental, Safety and Health Coordinator and a Tax Professional. Now Diane Gibson is seeking election to Albuquerque City Council for near-northeast heights District 7.

A long-time resident of the area, Diane’s priorities on City Council will be reforming Albuquerque Police Department, growing jobs by supporting local, home-grown businesses, expanding Albuquerque’s high-tech and tourism industries, and partnering with Albuquerque Public Schools and CNM to build a highly trained, well educated work force.

Photo diane gibsonDiane’s background is varied and particularly well suited for bringing jobs to Albuquerque. In 1985, Diane became just the third female to graduate from Sandia National Laboratories’ Journeyman Machinists program. She worked at Sandia for 17 years as a machinist. After leaving the labs, Diane became a tax advisor for H&R Block, where she currently prepares tax returns for individuals and small businesses.

Diane is a dedicated volunteer in several community organizations. She has served as an Ombudsman for the New Mexico Agency for Aging and Long term Services. She is active in the District 7 Coalition of Neighborhood Associations and the Jerry Cline Park Neighborhood Association. In addition she has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and is a member of Animal Protection of New Mexico.

In addition to years of professional and vocational training, Diane is a graduate of the College of Santa Fe where she received a Master of Business Administration. She also attended UNM University of Colorado and CNM and has personally rehabilitated two dilapidated homes, one of which is her current home. She enjoys gardening, fishing, travelling and community work.

Diane feels that District 7 needs strong representation and a responsive Councilor. Her life experience, work history and professional education make her the best choice for City Council District 7. Diane believes that big campaign donors have too much power in local politics and will be seeking public financing of her campaign under Albuquerque’s Open and Ethical Elections Code.

March 7, 2013 at 08:53 AM in 2013 Albquerque City Council Races, Candidates & Races, Democrat | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Sequestration Day = Citizen's Screwed, Elected Officials Safe - Time to say NO

Websters Dictionary Definition of Sequestration:

In law, a writ authorizing a law-enforcement official to take into custody the property of a defendant in order to enforce a judgment or to preserve the property until a judgment is rendered. In some civil-law jurisdictions, contested property may be deposited with a third party until it is determined to whom it properly belongs.

Breaking%20Down%20the%20Sequester%20Pie%20Chart

Image above from the BiPartisan Policy Center

Sign this petition http://signon.org/sign/recall-the-dc-535 and like this FB page. 

If the Sequester kicks in, it is because the Congress has demonstrated a persistent inability to do its job as set forth in the Constitution. Therefore they should be recalled as a body.

However, as recall elections of federally-elected officials are not permitted, we the undersigned declare this Congress and its members illegitimate, and state our intention to remove every member from office, regardless of party affiliation, in the next election.

Do your job. Or go home.

Also Go LIKE this FB page:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Recall-the-DC-535/543177652368994

To the people who are looking for jobs this sequestration is very real. The economy is extremely fragile. This is already having effects. It is unbelievable to have this acually going to occur, mostly this affects the poor and elderly.

The solution in my humble opinion, elect women up and down the ticket. No more men in office til they can play fair with others.

March 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM in Candidates & Races, Corporatism, Current Affairs, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Republican Party, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Tom Udall, Steve Pearce | Permalink | Comments (3)