Monday, December 17, 2012

Bottoming Out Culture 2012

Just as any drunk and addict bottoms out so will a culture. As much as the cold blooded killings to those beautiful children and teachers that occurred on Friday would possibly be the bottoming out of our addicted culture it will not. This one has stumped us though as a country and a culture.

Where does one start to express the anger and sadness about such an act as Sandy Hook. It is all of one piece like a tapestry. Gun laws, the making of weapons, the life of perpetual war, the senseless killings of other harmless countries children, the years of funding a war machine, killing machine. The incredible toxicities in our air and water and land, polluting our minds beyond what we really comprehend and we are not willing to fund for better understanding because of our love of weapons.

Not funding those that teach us, our teachers. Doing long days working for very little pay, their reward watching the light of learning go off in that child's mind. More funding for teachers less for war I would like to hear spoken from our politicians mouths. Teachers should be held up as high and dignified as our first responders. They were the first responders in this Sandy Hook tragedy.

How about the glorification of killing in movies and videos. These industries make billions all just making killers. The young males that get into this particular addiction should be discussed. Maybe even that the killing craze is mainly done by white males should be studied.

Greed, how about greed fellow humans. Why won't we take care of each other? Some people don't have bootstraps folks. We are continuing generations of poverty now, just so the filthy rich don't have to help others. Many good citizens now jobless, no future, no dignity, no way out, sickness hitting home, cancers. Tons of cancer, an epidemic that we don't talk about either affecting millions of people.

The planet we call home we are continuously harming. Killing off entire species. Polluting our waters so our children will be waterless. Polluting our air so our children can not breath.

It is all of the same friends. One sick addicted selfish culture.

Buy buy buy, consumerism, materialistic craze. All just band aids to a sick culture. Almost every product having some sort of plastic in it. What is plastic made of? Petroleum, fossil fuel our other major addiction. What are the hazards of plastics? Plastics are known to kill off sperm counts in males, what does it do to female eggs? Maybe that is what is causing such depravity? Ingesting plastics. We fashion ourselves an advanced culture, we could study this relationship of plastics and mental illness. But we can not as long as most of our collective money goes to the american war machine. How can we study this when we have guns to make and sell to the world.

The rant could go on. The point is it is all of one piece. We can not blame the NRA or this or that when we allow our weapons killing manufacturing buzz to continue, each of us have to consider our relationship to this massive killing machine industry. We cannot look for answers without looking at our fossil fuel oil addiction and what relationship we have to it. It is all of the same. The NRA is every military base, every nuclear weapon stored here in Albuquerque. More jobs in this country are for the killing machine then are for helping others. We are a culture based on violence and we all have a part right now.

One more thing, am I the only one that is disgusted with the vision of one of the swat military peace officers and the stupid machine gun they carry walking beside a youngster exiting the school? Is this what we have become? Ever since 911 we have funded homeland security to the tune of billions as well. For sure one of the answers to this sickness will be to have more security, instead of dealing with the problem head on. More security devices and gadgets and guns will be sold in order to protect us. Some rich pig becoming more filthy rich all with the disguise of protecting us. Maybe every school will have it's own militia like APS does now. All funded by our tax dollars.

Just like an addict we will let one day slip to the next and eventually the horror of the previous action will become distant we will forget and slip back into our addiction.

December 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM in Government, Guns, Military Affairs, Terrorism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Mexico’s Wealthiest Has Almost Ten Times More Income than Poorest

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released the following report: Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends the week before our week of major consumption. Who wants to read such dismal facts the week before eating and spending abundance?  

New Mexico has Highest Income Inequality between Richest and Poorest

Nm income chart 3

From the CBPP report: Why the growth in wage inequality? The biggest factors:

  1. "Wages at the bottom and middle of the wage scale have been stagnant or have grown only modestly for much of the last three decades.  The wages of the very highest-paid employees, in contrast, have grown significantly."
  2. "The erosion weakness of wage growth for workers at the bottom and middle of the income scale reflects a variety of factors.  Over the last 30 years, the nation has seen increasingly long periods of high unemployment, more intense competition from foreign firms, a shift in the mix of jobs from manufacturing to services, and advances in technology that have changed jobs.  The share of workers in unions also fell significantly.  At the same time, the share of the workforce made up of households headed by women — which tend to have lower incomes — has increased.  Government policies such as the failure to maintain the real value of the minimum wage and to adequately fund supports for low-wage workers as well as changes to the tax code that favored the wealthy have also contributed to growing wage inequality."
  3. "Government actions — and, in some cases, inaction — have contributed to the increase in wage and income inequality in most states.  Examples include deregulation and trade liberalization, the weakening of the safety net, the lack of effective laws concerning the right to collective bargaining, and the declining real value of the minimum wage.  In addition, changes in federal, state, and local tax structures and benefit programs have, in many cases, accelerated the trend toward growing inequality emerging from the labor market."

  Nm income chart 1

States Must Play an Important Role

More from the report: "Growing income inequality not only raises basic issues of fairness, but also adversely affects the nation’s economy and political system.  While it results to a significant degree from economic forces that are largely outside state policymakers’ control, state policies can mitigate the effects of these outside forces.  State options include:

  • Raise, and index, the minimum wage.  The purchasing power of the federal minimum wage is 13 percent lower than at the end of the 1970s.  Its value falls well short of the amount necessary to meet a family’s needs, especially in states with a high cost of living.  States can help raise wages for workers at the bottom of the pay scale by enacting a higher state minimum wage and indexing it to ensure continued growth in the future. (DFNM note: From the hard work of our Local Ole and other organizations we accomplished this bullet point in Abq.)
  • Improve the unemployment insurance system.  Unemployment insurance helps prevents workers who lose their jobs from falling into poverty and keeps them connected to the labor market.  Yet some states have cut benefits deeply.  These states should restore those cuts and others should build on recent efforts to fix outmoded rules that bar many workers from accessing benefits.
  • Make state tax systems more progressive.  The federal income tax system is progressive — that is, it narrows income inequalities — but has become less so over the past two decades as a result of changes such as the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.  Nearly all state tax systems, in contrast, are regressive.  This is because states rely more on sales taxes and user fees, which hit low-income households especially hard, than on progressive income taxes.  (The income inequality data in this report reflect the effects of federal taxes but not state taxes.)
    As state revenues slowly recover from the recent recession, some states are cutting taxes.  The bulk of the tax cuts enacted this year, however, disproportionately benefited higher-income families.  If these trends continue, states will make their tax systems even more regressive and diminish their ability to restore the large spending cuts of the last few years.
  • Strengthen the safety net.  States play a major role in delivering social safety net assistance, which pushes back against growing inequality by helping low-wage workers move up the income ladder and shielding the nation’s most vulnerable citizens from the long-term effects of poverty.
    There are a host of options states can consider to strengthen their safety nets.  States can create a more streamlined process for enrolling in work supports such as food stamps and child care as they retool their health insurance systems under the Affordable Care Act.  States also can boost the prospects of poor children by increasing temporary cash assistance to the neediest families in state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs.  Improving access to SNAP (food stamps) and providing assistance with rent can help low-income families afford food and housing.
    In addition, states can improve the child care system by providing child care subsidies with affordable co-payments and by investing in quality early care and education programs as well as after-school programs.
  • Protect workers’ rights. States can raise wages by protecting workers right to bargain collectively and by strengthening and enforcing laws and regulations to prevent abusive employer practices that deprive workers of wages that they are legally owed.

While these are all useful steps, federal as well as state policies will have to play an important role if low- and middle-income households are to stop receiving steadily smaller shares of the income pie."

Nm income chart 2

Pull Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps

First we need bootstraps. The small government naysayers are now saying "see all the poor want are govt handouts." No, what the poor want is an attempt at a slice of the pie.

Dignity

In the great depression dignity was something FDR realized existed and he went about providing jobs with govt monies so as the workers could work again and provide for themselves and their families. People want to work, people have great pride in their work. Raising taxes on those that have become filthy rich over the past decades should be first on any elected officials mind. Period. Raise the taxes and create new jobs building great things, high speed railroads, solar farms, wind farms, senior care centers, state of the art schools. We have the money we need the political will.

November 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM in Economy, Populism, Government, Green Economy, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Politics at it's Worst" Guest Blog by Charlotte Rode State Fair Commissioner

Governor Martinez often uses the phrase “this is politics at its worst” when faced with opposition. As a conservative Republican, I happen to agree with her. Let me give you a few examples of how ‘politics’ is interfering with ‘good government’ in New Mexico.

During the 2010 election cycle most of us were ready for a new era in Santa Fe. Bill Richardson’s demeaning vocabulary and strong-arm tactics were wearing thin. Big campaign donors whose money bought them relevance, appointments and power were costing us millions. His appointees were forced to sign resignation letters in advance to ensure they performed as rubber stamps, advancing his agenda and rewarding friends. Despite campaigning on a promise of transparency and against corruption, the Martinez administration has us feeling like little changed in the two years since her election.

The vulgar, demeaning language used by Keith Gardner in a recording to describe his and the Governor’s feelings about Senator Jennings goes beyond any form of decency. The only reason I can imagine a close friend secretly recording your conversation would be a lack of trust. Keith is the Governor’s Chief of Staff. His job, and hers, is to hold the public trust. As quoted in an article, the Senator believes this attack was a result of his opposition to the Down’s Racino contract. In the same obscenity-laced conversation, Keith offers the Expo management position to his friend, even though hiring management at Expo is, by statute, the responsibility of the State Fair Commission. The Governor’s office has doled out all five senior management positions at Expo at an annual expense of nearly $400k and saw to it that Larry Kennedy became the Commission Chair. Mr. Kennedy is the only commissioner denied confirmation by the NM State Senate.

Martinez’s handler, Jay McCleskey stated in the Albuquerque Journal that “moving the governor’s agenda forward trumps everything” – the ends justifies the means. Does it trump ethics? In identical language, I was told the role of the State Fair Commission was to move the Governor’s agenda forward and if I disagree then I should do the right and respectable thing and resign. Where does that leave our State? If an appointed official witnesses corruption, they should resign instead of speaking out? Tom Tinnin, a well-respected Republican, served for 16 years on the State Board of Finance under four governors. He resigned over concerns with the Downs contract and said before Martinez, he “never had a governor ask him to compromise his integrity, on any level”.

They kept the RFP secret and now they’re doing the same with the enforcement of the new 25-year lease, shielding big money donors from public accountability. A year after the Downs won the award, they have yet to make significant progress towards completion. The new contract is not being upheld. They have not obtained a performance bond, shown evidence of financing or paid their utilities. The State Fair Commission is nowhere to be found. Chairman Kennedy is playing ‘hide the ball’ and hasn’t convened a meeting since June, unilaterally running the commission and completely disregarding state law. They are still operating in secret. In the past year I have been denied nearly every document I’ve requested, even after submitting a formal public records request.

Our state and our country are in desperate need of great leaders, not great politicians. Great leaders are not necessarily liked, they’re respected and effective. We have tremendous human resources in NM, let’s try engaging the talent and expertise of all who represent our diverse electorate, allowing each community to decide for themselves who best represents their needs. This all-or-nothing, seek-and-destroy mentality will not reform our state. Principled leaders will.

Charlotte Rode, State Fair Commissioner

October 31, 2012 at 04:02 PM in 2012 General Election, 2012 Legislature Races, Government, Guest Blogger, Susana Martinez, Transparency | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Darren White Being a Close Friend of Susana and Jay McCleskly Pays-off

Darren White continues to be passed around for some position in the Martinez administration. And currently the Racino Downs is part of the Martinez/McCleskly administration. Maybe Pat Rogers will be hired as deputy GM under White?

In the days that we are living in of hard to find jobs, and tough scrutiny over applicants it is aggravating to see such favoritism and out right cronyism from the Governor of New Mexico. Governor Martinez ran on a platform of " NO Corruption", "NO cronyism", "NO favors". The response to this accustation will surely be it is not my administration appointing and running the Downs, it is not Susana's NM Government, it is her NM Shadow Goverment.

Following is a good recap of Darren Whites history provided by ISPAC.

Darren White Is New Downs General Manager. REALLY ???

In the latest chapter of the “Dirty Downs Deal” saga, Darren White has been selected as General Manager for the Racino.

So what are Darren White’s qualifications for the General Manager position at The Downs? How critical is this position for the operation of the Racino? And what does this say about the perfect score of 300, lead evaluator Charles Gara awarded the Downs for “managerial expertise”?

  1. Darren White is best buddies with Jay McCleskey. The two of them spend a lot of time sitting around the swimming pool together. White is also very close to Downs lobbyists/lawyers Pat Rogers and Mickey Barnett.
  2. Barnett’s law firm has represented both White and McCleskey in some family law matters.
  3. Oh yeah, and Charles Gara contributed money to Darren White’s failed congressional race and also hired Jay McCleskey to run a political operation for him. Think they are all tight?

According to the Response to RFP submitted by the Downs on August 25, 2011, the General Manager position “has been created in anticipation of the new facility”. So White was given a job that did not previously exist, despite the fact that the Downs has operated as a racino (racetrack and casino) since 1999.

The job appears to be one of the most critical to the operation of the racino: “the General Manager serves as the head of the administrative department. Reporting to the General Manager will be the accounting, human resources, audit/compliance and marketing divisions, as well as the Casino Manager and the Racing Manager. The General Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of The Downs, including implementing and monitoring policies, establishing and managing the budget, hiring and training the management team, ensuring managers are actively monitoring compliance with all regulatory requirements and providing overall operational support.”

Here is what Darren White brings to the job:

2011 - 2012 White has no gaming management experience. His only involvement with the racino before this was as a “security consultant” helping the Downs at Albuquerque prepare its response to the RFP. White then briefly worked as the Project Manager at the Downs for the construction of the updated racino. As of the last several weeks, however, there does not appear to be any actual construction going on at the Downs.

2011 Before the Downs, White served as the Public Safety Director for the City of Albuquerque. When White intervened at the scene of his wife Kathy’s one-car accident, his brief stint in this position ended with “No-Confidence” votes by members of the Albuquerque Police Department (85%) and the Albuquerque Fire Department ("overwhelmingly”).

2008 In February 2008, as Bernalillo County Sheriff, Darren White helped TruTouch Technologies secure a sole-source contract in the amount of $379,995 to “supply alcohol screening and testing prototype equipment.” White notified the County Commission that “the Sheriff’s Department fully supports the Sole Source contract award to TruTouch Technologies of Albuquerque.” White was also running for US Congress, and received campaign contributions from TruTouch officers during a prohibited time. (Disclosure: Michael Corwin of ISPAC initially unearthed that these contributions were made during the prohibited time in the procurement process. This discovery later led to Bernalillo County severing ties with the company.) The current Bernalillo County Sheriff, Dan Houston, has requested an investigation by the New Mexico AG, as this equipment was never put into service.

1999 - 2001 Darren White was the crime reporter at KRQE.

1999 The two no-confidence votes in 2011 were not the first of White’s management career. While serving as secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, members of the New Mexico State Police Officers Association voted 243 - 31 “No Confidence” against White. The state police officers accused White of improperly supplying equipment and cars to its officers, which they felt was an officer safety issue.

1999 White was investigated by the New Mexico AG for possibly committing two felonies, 1) violation of the anti-donation clause and 2) unauthoried destruction of a cultural property (property located on state land). While secretary of DPS, White called the State Land Office and arranged to have state Highway Department workers demolish, without a permit, buildings located on state land at the behest of his buddy Don Imus’s brother, Fred Imus. Imus had called White to see if the state could remove some "dilapidated ranch buildings" on the state land adjoining the Imus Ranch, claiming they negatively impacted their property. The investigation was stopped when Imus agreed to pay the state $6,696 reimbursement for the use of state workers to tear the buildings down.

These are but a few of the situations that raise serious concerns over White’s selection as the General Manager of the Downs. Not only does he lack any relevant experience to managing a racino, he has yet to prove himself as a competent manager at all. He has done very well at proving he is someone willing to engage in ethically and legally questionable behavior.

July 23, 2012 at 10:56 AM in Darren White, Government, Independent Source PAC, Jobs, Susana Martinez, Transparency | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Martinez Repos Economic Development Secretary Barela's Super Computer

The following press release is from ISPAC:

Governor Susana Martinez to repo New Mexico’s super computer. So says the Albuquerque Journal article today by Kevin Robinson-Avila.

The state claims that the operator of the super computer, the New Mexico Computer Applications Center (NMCAC), who Martinez intends to repo the computer from owes money primarily due to the default by Cerelink, the largest customer who owed the operator NMCAC $934,000.

What the Journal article failed to mention, just as KRQE’s Larry Barker failed to mention back when he did a story last year blaming the Richardson administration for the costs of the computer, is that John Barela, Martinez’s Economic Development Secretary, has had a key role in Cerelink. It is believed that Barela helped to found the company while Barela was still with Intel.

Barela’s 2011 financial disclosure form lists him as a “shareholder” of Cerelink. Barela also sits on the board of the NMCAC. So he is both debtor and creditor.

So why was there no mention of Barela’s involvement by either media outlet? The Journal did mention that Martinez has wanted to privatize the state computer since she took office.

Did Barela’s involvement with Cerelink have anything to do with the company’s failure to pay its debts to the operator? Was Cerelink’s failure to pay the operator a convenient mechanism for Martinez to repo and privatize the computer?

DFNM did a little more research on this topic.

It sure smells bad, but again if gone unchallenged the republican administration which has touted itself as anti-corruption will get yet another pass by main stream media.

Is it corruption? That decision is above my pay grade for sure. However, researching briefly I found this article in The Independent (rip, still a bummer) written by Marjorie Childress on 10/11/10; Barela ducks questions about state film rebate program.

Hypocrisy at its best. A quote in the Independent article; "Republican Jon Barela continues to avoid questions posed by The Independent about the business his company gets due in large part to government programs."

How can this be so, that NM Economic Secretary John Barela can rise to wealth on government welfare subsidies for this super computer?

Remember back when Heinrich and Barela debated in October 2010? No? Well read this other great article; Heinrich challenges Barela on film rebate program written on the Independent by Marjorie Childress to refresh your memory.

An excerpt of Marjorie's article is here:

“You know, it’s funny that the small business, the high tech business that my opponent just mentioned, Cerelink, it’s a business that relies, actually, on a tax-payer funded super-computer, to do the work for them, to render movies here in New Mexico,” Heinrich said.

“They couldn’t do that work if they had to do it on their laptop at home. They utilize our taxpayer resources to do that work. In addition, they wouldn’t be competitive if they didn’t have a 25 percent tax credit to do that work here rather than somewhere else.”

Barela repeated his position that government doesn’t create jobs and that regulation and taxes should be reduced. Heinrich said Barela couldn’t “wag your finger on one side and have your hand out on another,” in reference to the use by Barela’s company of New Mexico’s supercomputer and the state’s film tax credit program to acquire business.

Heinrich said he didn’t have a problem with those policies, that public/private partnerships are good policy, but that Barela can’t “wag your finger on one side and have your hand out on another.” 

That last line somes up so many of the matters facing us.

Here we are in our the richest country in the world (supposedly) and in New Mexico. Barela uses this supercomputer for movie graphics, while we need energy research to mention one extreme need that our country could be researching and NM profiting from the research and knowledge weaned from this supercomputer.

China_national_supercomputer_center

The above image is from Computer World the article is: China breaks ground on futuristic supercomputer complex. China will be using its supercomputing capability for scientific research such as climate models, but also for military purposes

July 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM in Government, Independent Source PAC, Jon Barela, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Dirty Downs Deal

Pay to playLooking for a hot summer sizzler to read? Check out this More McCleskey Email Problems For Dirty Downs Deal. 07.02.12. Exposing the insiders within the Martinez administration and how "pay to play" is alive and well in the state of New Mexico. And while you are reading don't forget this previous good read by ISPAC - Investigative report behind The Racino Contract and the Martinez Administration: A Sole-Source Contract Concealed Behind an RFP, dated Jan. 20, 2012. These guys and gals at ISPAC are relentlessly exposing more and more about the non transparent Gov. Martinez administration.

Back in main stream media; the Albuquerque Sunday Journal decided to run an update on Bill Richardson on the front page yesterday. Re-hatching the old scandals that brought ole Bill down, and that prevented LG Denish from getting the Governorship. No need for the Journal to run new articles regarding all the new information coming out about the current scandal with the Republican administration now in office. The documents that have surfaced show Pat Rogers sending emails at 3:40 AM talking about the Racino Downs Dirty Deal. Looks like Pat had some sleepless nights conducting the dark business, of behind the scenes government work, he and Jay McCleskey were running.

What makes matters worse is that the people in this Dirty Downs Deal are cunning and persistent. Pat Rogers sits on the board of the FOG- Foundation for Open Government. Opportunists like Pat Rogers do not actually want open, transparent government, they like to pretend they do. They pretend open and honest government as they manipulate our tax dollars for their own good. Heath Hausemann asks for Pat Rogers to resign from his position on the FOG board in an article on NMPolitics.net.

Pat is no stranger to being in the news and controversy. He has been the point man of many a republican scandal. Barb in the past has wrote about Pat Rogers many many times on this blog you can read a good piece here, having links to other backup pieces.

In summary, Governor Martinez's bold statements of no more government corruption and no more pay to play are just empty words. We can see in the documents from ISPAC that the Martinez administration has been conducting business with her cronies, behind closed doors, in secret, and not for the good of the citizens of New Mexico. What is the likelihood that this corruption scandal gets a full investigation? What is clear now are the emails were concealed from the public, and that the emails authors were conducting state business, spending our tax dollars, in secret, colluding with their friends, not conducting the good honest governmental business for us the citizens of NM.

Below is a quote from the FOG website:

In order for government to truly be of the people and by the people, and not just for the people, our citizens must be able to know what their own public servants are doing in their name.
New Mexico Supreme Court opinion in San Juan Agricultural Water Users Association v. KNME-TV (2011), written by Chief Justice Charles Daniels

July 2, 2012 at 09:59 PM in Government, Independent Source PAC, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Free Speech Not For Sale by Contributing Writer Lora Lucero

By Contributing Writer Lora Lucero.

The US foreign policy of using sanctions against Iraq in the 1980s-1990s and currently against Iran  is designed to be the kinder, gentler, antiseptic tool of aggression.  I heard last week from Richard Becker (ANSWER Coalition) about the impact of our sanctions on Iraq.  More than 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of these sanctions.  And now we are following that same path in Iran.

Front desk ch27Where was Becker speaking?   Unless you attended the presentation at UNM on Saturday afternoon, you only would have heard him or seen the video “Genocide by Sanctions” if you watched the IndyMedia show on Albuquerque’s public access TV Ch. 27 on Thursday evening (7-8 pm).  The mainstream corporate stations did not cover this serious discussion.  It didn’t fit within the sanitized commercial programming of KOB, KOAT, KASA or KRQE.  The Albuquerque Journal certainly didn’t cover it.

Albuquerque’s public access channels 26 and 27 have been run efficiently and economically for thirty-plus years by Quote-Unquote but now city government may lock the doors and turn off the lights.  There is a very real threat that the community will lose its public access channels, the only media that provides free studios, equipment and training to the public so that our voices can be heard, and the stories we care about can be aired.

Studio ch27     Studio 2 ch27
I naively thought public access channels were guaranteed by some FCC regulation, but in recent weeks I’ve learned there is a nationwide campaign by phone companies --- including AT&T Inc,  Verizon Communications Inc, and Qwest Communications International Inc. --- to move into the cable market.  They have their sights on PEG (public, education and government) channels.   Albuquerque is part of a much larger battle being waged in Los Angeles; Troy, NY; Tampa, FL; and elsewhere around the country.

The corporate takeover is a bit convoluted, but here’s the skinny as I understand it today.  Comcast wants the cable TV channels which were reserved for public use in the ABQ/Comcast 2002 Franchise Agreement.  That agreement doesn’t expire until October 2017, and it was codified as a city ordinance.   That means Mayor Berry and the City Administration cannot simply turn the keys over to Comcast;  the City Council must approve any amendments to the agreement first.  The battle is currently in the city council chambers where free speech advocates have eloquently pled their case.  The final decision is expected Monday, May 7.

The deal being secretly negotiated with the country’s largest and most powerful cable television operator by the Berry Administration is the transfer of operating rights of six of the nine digital cable channels reserved for public use for a small fraction of their worth.  To illustrate the size of the giveaway, note that the last sale of two commercial channels approached $30 million, but the Comcast offer for six channels is reported to be a total of $250,000.

The arithmetic stinks, but so do the bedfellows.  Mayor Berry and the Administration bypassed the Cable Franchise and Hearing Board recommendation to award the public access contract to Quote-Unquote, by creating an ad hoc group which recommended that uPublic receive the contract – the same group that was effectively “gifted” the Education Channel 95 nearly a year ago but has kept the channel dark ever since.

Another fishy piece of this puzzle.  Rick Metz, President of uPublic, had a meeting with Rob Perry, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, prior to the city issuing the RFP to operate the public access channels.

Studio 3 ch27It appears to me that uPublic is the front man for Comcast in this “deal.” If the City Council approves the amendment to the ABQ/Comcast 2002 Franchise Agreement and uPublic is awarded the public access channels, then the “deal” will strip ordinary citizens of a valuable 1st Amendment platform in Albuquerque.

This is CHINATOWN, only the battle is for broadband real estate, and not water rights; for freedom of speech, not a glass of water.  And many, many more cities around the country are also under siege, or have already lost to the Cable/Media giants.

Time for the public to rise up and tell the City Council that free speech in Albuquerque is not for sale.

April 24, 2012 at 06:14 AM in Corporatism, Government, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Television | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Governor Martinez Establishes New Task Force

Breaking news!  Following the New Mexico State Engineer’s decision on March 30, 2012 [OSE File No. RG-89943] dismissing the San Augustin Ranch, LLC water rights application, Governor Susanna Martinez announced the creation of a new task force -- the Building Resilient Communities Task Force.

The stated goals of the task force are to examine the impacts of climate change on New Mexico communities (both urban and rural) and make recommendations by October 1 for building stronger, more resilient communities to be better prepared to adapt and respond to the serious impacts predicted by the scientific community. Governor Martinez will review these recommendations to determine what her administration can implement immediately and what might be appropriate legislation for the Legislature to take up in 2013.

“The Building Resilient Communities Task Force will pick up where Our Communities, Our Task Force left off in 2007,” Governor Martinez said. “We must not drop the ball.  Under my predecessor’s leadership, New Mexico began to ask the tough questions.  It is more important than ever to search for the answers today with the impacts of climate change, the economic meltdown, and other challenges confronting New Mexico.”

Lora Lucero, an Albuquerque land use attorney, city planner, writer, and climate activist, has accepted the role of leading the Building Resilient Communities Task Force which will be comprised of members from the previous task force. “I’m grateful for this opportunity,” Lucero responded. “Climate change is a non-partisan issue which impacts us all, and our children’s children, without regard to political affiliation.  I look forward to working with everyone on the Task Force over the next six months and including the public in this very important work.”

April 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM in Climate, Environment, Government, Green Economy, Land Issues, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Susana Martinez, Urban Issues, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Mexicans Can “Breathe A Little Easier” Thanks to EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Standard

San juan gen plant_coal
Photo above taken in Nov., 2011 by Martin LaMonica/cnet

From the Sierra Club: Local Groups and Citizens Express Support for New Safeguards that Will Hold Industrial Polluters Accountable and Help Protect New Mexico Communities’ Health

Today, New Mexicans are breathing a little easier after the Environmental Protection Agency’s and Obama Administration’s release of a proposal to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, which is essential to improve public health. Local organizations including Physicians for Social Responsibility of New Mexico, New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and Environment New Mexico applauded the new standards.

“Every year, coal-fired power plants dump more than two billion tons of dangerous carbon pollution and other pollutants into the air,” said Dr. Robert Bernstein with Physicians for Social Responsibility of New Mexico. “This new standard announced by the Obama Administration and the EPA will establish the first national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants and move our nation a much-needed step forward toward protecting public health from the harmful effects of climate change. Doctors, nurses, scientists and other health experts say that carbon pollution is particularly dangerous for children because it makes smog pollution worse, which triggers asthma attacks and permanently damages and reduces the function of children’s lungs.”

New Mexicans are showing their support for the new carbon rules, saying the EPA is doing its job under the Clean Air Act – and holding power plants accountable for the amount of pollution they spew into the air. The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board recently repealed two plans that would have required statewide carbon polluters, including major stationary sources like coal-fired power plants and oil and gas refineries, to reduce emissions beginning in 2012 and 2013. The Public Service Co. of New Mexico, (PNM), the largest electric utility in the state, oil and gas associations, and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez lobbied against the common-sense state carbon pollution limits.

“The EPA and Obama Administration stood up to the big polluters like PNM and opposed their efforts to block clean air standards,” said Shrayas Jatkar with the Sierra Club in New Mexico. “Our public leaders would be wise to remember not to put corporate polluters’ profits ahead of our kids’ health and know that New Mexico families want the EPA to protect us from dangerous air pollution from power plants.”

In addition to strictly limiting carbon pollution and protecting public health, many say these new standards will also spark innovation in clean technologies and create green jobs here in America.

“Like the EPA and Obama Administration’s clean car standards that will cut carbon pollution from new vehicles nearly in half by 2025 while at the same time helping rebuild the American auto industry, standards for new and existing power plants will likely spur innovation and create jobs,” said Mark Westbrock of Positive Energy, a New Mexico solar installation company. “The new technologies necessary to make significant reductions in harmful carbon pollution will encourage innovation in the power sector leading to clean technology manufacturing jobs.”

The standards announced today will limit carbon pollution from new power plants. The EPA is also working to develop standards to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, and is expected to issue a draft proposal for existing plants early next year.

New Mexico is home to two of the nation’s oldest and largest coal-fired power plants, the San Juan Generating Station and Four Corners Power Plant. Both coal plants rank in the Top 50 for carbon pollution, together emitting over 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

“We also applaud Administrator Jackson for continuing to work with scientists, economists and public health officials on a process for addressing carbon pollution from existing power plants. The health and safety of current and future generations depends on us tackling this problem,” said Sanders Moore with Environment New Mexico.

March 28, 2012 at 05:59 PM in Energy, Government, Regulation | Permalink | Comments (1)

Heinrich Supports "No Budget, No Pay Act"

220px-Martin_HeinrichU.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) supports legislation to cut off pay for members of Congress if they fail to pass a budget and all spending bills financing government agencies before October 1, the beginning of each fiscal year. Lawmakers couldn't be paid retroactively, either.

“Managing our nations finances—money coming in and money going out—is an essential duty of Congress,” said Rep. Heinrich. “Yet a budget and the spending bills necessary to fund the government have passed on time only four times in the past 60 years. With families across New Mexico making tough decisions to budget their own finances, it's only right that Congress do the same. This is just one of many steps we must take in order to restore trust in government and bring accountability to Capitol Hill.”

Rep. Heinrich, along with a bipartisan list of nearly 40 members in the House, is a cosponsor of H.R. 3643, the "No Budget, No Pay Act."

March 28, 2012 at 02:30 PM in Government, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Heinrich Votes to Bring Accountability to Washington

220px-Martin_HeinrichU.S Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) today voted for legislation that holds Members of Congress, congressional staff, Executive Branch officials, and judicial officers subject to the same insider trading rules as everyone else. Rep. Heinrich is a cosponsor of the original Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. A revised version of the STOCK Act passed the House today by a vote of 417-2.

“This is just one of many steps we must take in order to restore trust in government and bring accountability to Washington,” said Rep. Heinrich.

House Republican Leaders finally relented in bringing the STOCK Act to the floor for a vote, but not before meaningful provisions that promoted additional transparency and accountability were removed.

“It’s outrageous that in the dark of night Republican leaders stripped critical provisions from the bill that would police those who collect ‘political intelligence’ and help prosecute criminal wrongdoing by public officials,” said Rep. Heinrich. “I remain hopeful that these bipartisan provisions will be added back to the bill when it goes to the Conference Committee in order to provide additional transparency and accountability in Washington.”

Here is an overview of many of the bill’s provisions to bring greater accountability to Washington:

  • Ban Insider Trading: Prohibits Members of Congress from trading stocks and other securities on the basis of confidential information they receive as lawmakers. It makes clear that they are not exempt from the federal law and regulations that ban such insider trading.
  • Reporting on Stock Sales: Requires Members of Congress to disclose the purchase or sale of stocks, bonds, commodities futures and other securities within 30 days of notification of the transaction, allowing up to 45-days if there is an extension granted. The information would be posted on the Web. The new reporting requirements would not apply to transactions involving investments in widely held investment funds (i.e. mutual funds or 529s).
  •  Expand Ban on Congressional Pensions for Felons: Expands existing law that bans Congressional pensions for Members of Congress convicted of committing a felony. The amendment stops pensions for Members of Congress convicted of 22 additional crimes, including insider trading, and would apply to crimes while serving as any elected official – not just while in Congress.
  • No Bonuses for GSEs: Bans the payment of bonuses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives while the two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are under government conservatorship.
  • Mortgage Disclosure Provision: Requires Members to publicly disclose all residential mortgages, including the date that the mortgage was entered, the range of the amount, the interest rate, the term, and the name and address of the creditor.
  • Post-Employment Negotiation Restrictions: Includes provisions with restrictions on how executive branch officials handle job negotiations with prospective employers.
  • Wrongfully Influencing Private Entities Employment Decisions Executive Branch Officers and Employees: Extends the current Congressional prohibition on wrongfully influencing private employment decisions to cover all executive branch officers and employees.

February 9, 2012 at 06:40 PM in Corporatism, Government, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Transparency | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

NM HB2; Budget Bill for Year 2012 Passes Unanimously

House picWhile so many people are out of work this 2012 House Appropriations Bill passed very easily. This must mean much of the details were worked out in committee meetings. Here is a link to the entire appropriations bill. Or since it passed so easily maybe there is nothing in it for the people. No help for the people in these hard times. No additional funding for programs, for projects, for us. Hate to be negative but if there were things for the people within this 2012 budget, the R's would have thrown a fit, and the D's would have had to fight for the items for the people. 
ps. Editors note: I have not read the bill yet. I am speculating due to the lack of debate on the house floor over our NM budget for the year 2012. Rep. Ezzel questioned a couple of items that were 100k and 500k in value, she asked if they were wasteful or not needed. My beef is why are there not more items in the $5 billion dollar bill that would raise the ire of the R's? We need money in the budget for jobs across the state.

Below is the press release from the House of Reps.

The House of Representatives has passed a budget for the next spending year that begins July 2012. HB2 would provide $5.642 billion in state spending, an increase of $215 million (nearly 4 percent) over this year’s budget. The spending plan leaves $41.8 million to allow for flexibility in hammering out a final budget (such as tax reductions, pension solvency, infrastructure funding, or as a hedge against weak natural gas prices).

HB2 also puts a safe guard in place should revenue projections fall short. This provision allows the governor to make across-the-board spending cuts to adjust the budget. The automatic spending reductions would apply to most state agencies except Medicaid programs; the developmental disabilities support program; the law enforcement program of the department of public safety; the inmate management and control program of the Corrections Department and any agency that receives less than $5 million total in general fund appropriations under Section 4.


The bulk of the budget in HB2 would go toward public education and higher education, then health, hospitals, and human services.

· $2.45 billion for Public Education (increase of $89 million or 3.8 percent)
· $756.1 million for Higher Education (increase of $40 million or 5.5 percent)
· $905 million for Medicaid (increase of $38 million or 4.4 percent)
· $291 million for Dept. of Health (increase of $2.5 million)
· $207 million for Children, Youth and Families Dept. (increase of $12 million or 6.1 percent)

Chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC), Rep. Henry “Kiki” Saavedra (D-Bernalillo, Valencia, Dist. 10) said, “We work real hard –Democrats and Republicans – to come up with a budget that’s balanced. This was a joint effort to do what is best for all New Mexicans.”

HB2 passed by a vote of 70 to 0. The budget plan now goes to the Senate.

And here is a link to an AP story by Barry Massey regarding the passage of the NM budget within the House of Representatives.

February 8, 2012 at 02:03 PM in Economy, Populism, Government, Jobs, NM Legislature 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1)