Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Guest Blog by Roxanne Lara

Rocky2012Excellent Guest blog by Roxanne Lara; Candidate for NM Democratic State Party Chair.

I love New Year’s Day. It is nostalgic and hopeful all at the same time. When I was young, my parents went to New Year's Eve parties and I always went to sleep knowing that I would wake with a glittery paper hat and a noisemaker leftover from their night before. Then we would spend the day taking down decorations, watching the Rose Parade and making resolutions. As I grew older and earned my own glittery hat and noisemaker, some things didn't change. New Year's Day continued to be a day saved for family traditions and resolutions. A day to plan moving forward while remembering the past.

2013-new-year-wallpaperI spent most of 2012 working with my friends to get President Obama reelected and Senator-elect Heinrich moved from the House to the Senate. We spent hours in hard-fought races for congressional districts, legislative and judicial seats and local government positions. We called, we walked, we rallied and we put up signs. We registered voters and made food. Like many NM Democrats who took time off work, I took time away from my law practice to promote our candidates, not just in my home county of Eddy but all over the state. Then, in November, we celebrated, we laughed and we cried. And I would do it all again because I believe in our democracy. I believe in the strength we have in our state, the people of New Mexico and a brighter future. I believe in a future which does not rank NM near bottom in poverty and education; where our cultures and communities not only compliment but support each other; and where government leaders engage in constructive debate to reach the best result for all of us. So in planning for 2013, I am taking action on my beliefs and running for Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

I was born and raised in Carlsbad and I feel so fortunate that I have been able to build a successful small business as a lawyer in my hometown. But my passion is the work I have been able to do for my community. I just completed a term as County Commissioner and served this past year as Chair, representing Eddy County in many different venues. My experience in local government and grassroots politics has confirmed to me that politics really are local. Locally, Democrats are recruiting and encouraging candidates for every level of government. They are getting out the vote and digging deep to donate the financial resources needed for their candidates, causes and charities.

DPNM is the single entity that has the ability to lift, support and bring together the efforts of Democrats statewide. As chair, I will never forget that communicating our values positively as well as calling out the actions and inactions of those hurting NM are vital steps to improving the lives of New Mexicans all over the state. I will use my experience in fighting and standing up for constituents as an elected official to fight for all of us. Being from a rural community has taught me that we need to make our voices heard and not wait for someone to do it for us. We need to harness the power of every vehicle available to convey those messages, including mainstream and social medias. I will stand strong and confident for our values while working to strengthen our alliances with all groups and communities because I am firm in my belief of inclusivity of all Democrats—no matter who you are or where you live.

I have been listening to Democrats all over our state and I can feel their hunger for taking our party to the next level. I have heard great ideas and hopes for the future of the party. I know that we cannot implement many of those great ideas unless we can fund them. Yet, I know we cannot support the infrastructure and institution of our party unless there is money in our bank. That is why, as your chair, I will implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy, involving both traditional and innovative approaches. The state central committee is a team and every member of the team is a valuable player in advancing the party. I will seek strength and support from our team in establishing a long-range plan for our party.

As we look toward 2013 and the future of NM, I am excited about what we can do together as a team. Understanding the hard work ahead of us, I take off my glittery paper hat (but I hang onto the noisemaker) and roll up my sleeves because this year, I resolve to be an effective leader for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, setting and surpassing goals with our team.

January 1, 2013 at 12:51 PM in Candidates & Races, Democrat, Democratic Party, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Guest Blog: Winter DNC Meeting - Democrats United for 2014 by DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales

Javier gonzalesFollowing is a guest blog from Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales. Javier has been DPNM Chair for two terms. He was elected in September 2009 and then again in April 2011. Javier is serving as the NM Democratic Party Chairman until April 2013, when the party will elect a new chair for this very difficult important position to lead the State Dem Party.

This past weekend as Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico and appointed member of the ASDC Executive Committee, I was honored to represent New Mexico Democrats at the Winter Association of State Democratic Chairs and Democratic National Committee meetings in Park City, Utah.

Utah was a great location, in particular for New Mexico’s attendance, because its proximity allowed me to bring the staff so our state party was able to gain the most from this series of meetings and trainings.

You may ask, “What was so important about this particular meeting?” Good question.

The ASDC is the best forum for both State Chairs and Executive Directors of State Parties to meet together and within their own groups to discuss best practices, goals of the association and also as a means to continue the training and education necessary to best execute our jobs in our home states. These forums also allow the states to coordinate and speak with a unified voice to the DNC – failure to do so would diminish our collective ability to adequately move forward together as a group of state parties.

For most of the time we were in Utah, myself and Executive Director Scott Forrester were in meetings fighting for the preservation of an initiative called the State Partnership Program (SPP). This program provided direct monetary resources to state parties across the country from the DNC. At the close of the 2012 cycle, the DNC had announced it may not continue the program.

To put this in practical terms, the absence of this financial support would jeopardize the ability of our state party and other state parties to adequately staff their offices in off-year cycles and it would also impact our ability to continue to elect Democrats in New Mexico.

I am happy to announce that at the conclusion of the ASDC meeting – after strong lobbying by Chairs and Executive Directors – the DNC has committed a minimum of $5,000 per month to New Mexico, which represents a guaranteed $60,000 of funding for the 2013 calendar year. As well the DNC – committed to transferring OFA data collected over the last four years into the DPNM voterfile.

Along with these two big successes, the DNC and State parties left Utah united and ready to take back the House of Representatives, hold the Senate and make sure we beat Republican Governors, especially Susana Martinez.

Additionally, during the ASDC meeting – and while myself and Executive Director Scott Forrester were negotiating for the continuation of the SPP program – day-long panel discussions, workshops and regional breakouts were attended by our other DPNM staff members.

Particularly of importance were workshops on the use and future improvements to our data and technology programs. It is no secret that Democrats were aided by a very strong data program, and the ASDC meeting provided an opportunity for state data file managers to get together with the DNC, Clarity Campaigns and the national VAN CO-OP to provide direct feedback on programs, data management and troubleshooting.

This kind of access is crucial for a state like New Mexico – one of the stronger data usage states – to gain advanced tips and techniques to build on the already strong technological foundation which exists already at the DPNM.

Finally, one of the last opportunities for New Mexico that the ASDC meeting provided was an informational panel on preparations for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Like the DNC Convention, many New Mexicans will be traveling to support our President as he is sworn in on January 20 and 21, and the ASDC forum with the presidential inaugural committee provided crucial information, deadlines and structure which will benefit all New Mexicans who are choosing to travel to Washington, DC. The DPNM, along with our NM Members of Congress will play a lead role in securing tickets to this historic event and will be better equipped to do so because of this meeting.

In all, I found the ASDC meeting to be the perfect opportunity for the DPNM to not only be fully represented, campaign to maintain the strong working partnership which currently exists with the DNC, and gain crucial professional development for the headquarters staff as we transition to the 2013 election cycle.

December 5, 2012 at 01:25 PM in Democratic Party, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mom’s Christmas Wish - Guest Blog by John McAndrew

Guest blog from John McAndrew: John writes his own blog called Uncommontary.com. Always thoughtful John looks at life through a common yet uncommon prism. A dear heavy discussion/arguing friend of my dear Barb, he is such a great part of my life. I am thankful for our sweet John McAndrew.

So_this_is_ChristmasPeople have been complaining about Christmas spending for years. Yet, far from addressing the problem, it seems worse than ever. Fox TV has even conflated Christmas (December 25) with the holiday shopping season, taking offense at people not calling days other than December 25 “Christmas,”  and seeing a hesitation to call the days between Thanksgiving and December 25 “Christmas” as an assault on the religious meaning of the holiday. The commercialization of Christmas is complete.

There are models for celebrating Christmas differently. In Spain, Christmas (December 25) is a day for family to gather and to go to religious services. Gift-giving happens in January on a day commemorating the gifts of the Magi, Dia de los Reyes. You’d think American commercial interests would be all over that idea – extending “Christmas” by two weeks? Plus they would get credit for separating the religious from the commercial observance – a win-win.

Mothers always have better ideas than advertisers. It took a national tragedy to provide the catalyst.

After the attack of September 11, 2001, our 85 year old mother spoke to my brother and me about what we were going to do for Christmas that year. She told us  that, after the terrorist attack, gift-giving wasn’t appropriate, and she suggested an alternative.

Mom loved Christmas more than most. She loved baking Christmas cookies, decorating the house, and buying great presents for her boys and other family members. There was that one lime green sports coat, but she was usually almost psychic in her ability to pick just the right thing. She gave Waterford crystal, a pocket watch, and even a bodhran over the years. She wasn’t anti-consumerist at all, but she kept it in check because she was a devout Catholic and the real reason behind the holiday was never out of view for her.

But after September 11, pretty little things in pretty wrappings just seemed wrong. Maybe she intended her suggestion to be taken just for that year, but my brother and I found it so obviously right, so fitting on so many levels, that it has persisted beyond Mom’s death 4 years ago. Like most great ideas, it is simple: instead of buying stuff, why not give the money we’d have spent on gifts to a charity in each other’s name?

Also like great ideas, it is easily adapted to each family’s abilities and ideas. My brother and I have very different priorities: the charities I favor are not always in keeping with his priorities, and vice versa. We decided to give to charities on which we could both agree – an exercise with its own intrinsic value, as it led to a conversation whose goal was to discover a thing or two on which we agreed. It turned out not to be difficult at all, and I recommend it.

We also agreed that we still enjoy getting a little something from each other for Christmas. We haven’t set a firm dollar limit on those gifts, but I think we usually keep it under $50. Jim also suggested that his son, who was in his teens at the time, be excluded from this arrangement – something on which we disagreed, but on which we found middle ground.

I recommend Mom’s idea for its many benefits. You may think of other reasons, but this is why it is so appealing to me.

  • It puts the control of the commercialization of Christmas in our own hands, not in the hands of retailers and advertisers who want a commercial Christmas.
  • It focuses gift-buying on quality and expression, not on quantity or expense.
  • It makes “Christmas” purchases tax deductible in most cases. We can double up on year-end donations by sending a favorite charity a bit more.
  • Similarly, it eliminates the sense that we must accumulate more debt during Christmas if we are to “do it right.”
  • It does away with the awkward questions of Christmas: what do I give to one who has everything? What if someone gives me something but I have not bought anything for them? What if they spent more on me than I spent on them? “I give to charities for Christmas” answers all those questions, and may even give others a similar idea.
  • You might feel embarrassed if you can only afford a very small gift; but who would criticize a person for giving some of what little you have to charity? We know from the New Testament story of the widow’s mite, and O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi, that generosity’s virtue is not diminished by coming from those of modest means.
  • It makes it easy to request small things for Christmas, since you don’t have to worry about seeming greedy. For example, this year I intend to ask both my brother and my nephew and his new wife for photos of themselves, so I can complete the rogues’ gallery of family portraits on my wall. This lets them know what I want, in case they were stumped, and they can control the minimal cost. It provides a way to open the discussion about which charities we are choosing for each other. And you know it won’t add a burden to their budget since they are only getting you one small thing anyway.
  • Rather than stressing about lines at the mall and getting the latest geegaw before it’s sold out, Christmas became an occasion for giving to the Tiny Tims of the world – Charles Dickens would be so pleased – and isn’t that what the true value of Christmas ought to be? Even for those who are not Christian?

It is a simple transition to make. It requires only a conversation with family members, most of whom will be relieved at not having to deal with “Christmas” mall mobs and glad for the chance to do good rather than buy stuff they’re not sure you want anyway.

This year I will split my donations between two charities.

The first is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, for whom I raised money earlier this year and with whom I am proud to be associated. Most of my donations will go there.

The other is Rolling Jubilee, a new organization that is raising money to buy and dispose of distressed debt. This latter is particularly appropriate during a season when so many often make purchases they cannot afford, adding to their other debt. Instead of our giving adding to our national weight of personal debt, let it be used to settle the debts of those who are struggling. If the organization does well this year and is well run, I would hope that in subsequent years we might begin tracking how much debt is canceled, rather than accrued, every Christmas.

I have shared this with friends over the years. One decided to buy a family tree each year, some to make sure they shop at local stores, and so on. I would be interested in hearing if you decide to adapt this to your family, and what form it takes when you do. If you need ideas for charities, see the site at Charity Navigator, which will tell you which charity in many different categories is best at spending donation on the cause, rather than on administration.

That is the story of Mom’s greatest Christmas present. She passed away four years ago, at midnight the night of December 2nd, during her favorite time of the year. I share this now, not just because it’s a great idea that deserves wider use, but as a way to honor Mom’s greatness of spirit. I miss her most around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I wish you a very happy, relaxed, contented holiday season, and a very merry Christmas. God bless us, every one.

November 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM in Guest Blogger, Holidays | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lora Lucero In Gaza: Drones and Bombing

A guest blog from Lora Lucero who has been living in Gaza for several weeks now. Lora has her own blog of her journey in Gaza, you can follow her here.

Gaza bombed
Gaza November 14, 2012

A sleepless night last night as we sat together at home in the center of Gaza City. Earlier in the afternoon, Israel had assassinated the #1 military chief of Hamas, a targeted killing as they had promised they would do. But everyone expected more, and we got it.

Explosions every 5-10 minutes throughout the night. Some were far away and some were a couple of blocks from our house. Those shook the building and broke the glass. Today there is plenty of glass everywhere.

Living in Gaza for 7 weeks now, I have learned the sound of drones and F-16s. Last night I heard plenty of those, in addition to the bombs.

I have been blogging, posting on Facebook and just learning how to Tweet. When we have electricity (as we do now because someone has turned on the building's generator) I try to send updates.

A number of people have asked me "why are the Palestinians sending rockets into southern Israel. Aren't they asking for a response? Doesn't Israel have a right to defend itself?"

I urge Americans to put this in context. Col. Ann Wright described the recent chronology of events, which I included here. http://loralucero.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/put-israels-assault-in-gaza-in-context/

I don't want to justify violence from either side, but the equities in this situation should be understood.

Israel is an occupying power with the best weapons in the world thanks to American tax dollars ($3 billion per year).

Palestinians in Gaza have some home-made rockets. The Palestinian children who were killed playing football (soccer) had no weapons, and one was shot in the stomach - like target practice.

Israelis living in southern Israel near the hostilities have a choice. They can evacuate to a safer location.

Gazans have nowhere to go. This is one of the most dense locations in the world, with families squeezed in very tight quarters. They have no choice but to sit tight and hope the bombs don't fall on them.

I am very disappointed in Obama's canned response --- that Israel has a right to defend itself.

Of course, both sides have a right to live in peace and security, but Obama's response is not helpful to anyone in the region. The Arab League, Egypt, Russia, France, Turkey, and many other countries have expressed concern and outrage for Israel's deliberate carnage in Gaza. I hope Americans realize that the community of nations understands the dynamics in the Middle East, and our willful ignorance in the U.S. is disgraceful.

Please call or write our new U.S. Senator Heinrich and help educate him.

Thank you from Gaza.
Lora Lucero
www.loralucero.wordpress.com

November 15, 2012 at 10:39 AM in Guest Blogger, International Relations, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Middle East | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Is Paul Pacheco "homo-phob​ic"? Let's have a conversati​on...

Guest Blog from Mary Ellen Capek:

Below are copies of posts from Paul Pacheco's FB page.  Several people alerted me to these.  When I tried to "comment" in response, they removed my first comment then "blocked" me.  So I'm including their posts at the end of this email, assuming that whoever has been forwarding my Marci Blaze emails to the Pachecos will send this along as well (thanks for fostering dialogue, whoever you are).  Like so many Republicans living in what has just been exposed as an alternate universe this election season, their ignorance and hypocrisy are breathtaking.  Pacheco's flyers attacking Marci have been relentless and nasty, not to mention inaccurate.  My several emails in support of Marci have been mild in comparison.

BUT...  to my point of Paul's being "homo-phobic," I want to offer a conversation.  One of the last flyers I saw attacking Marci pitched Pacheco as a "family values" candidate: that's CODE for "NO WAY are we going to let gays marry much less have equal rights."  Right, Paul?  You'd never vote to allow families like mine to marry in NM.  Not even vote for domestic partnerships to give my family the same benefits yours gets, right, Paul?  (My partner and I actually got married in Canada in 2003, celebrated our 25th anniversary this August, but neither our partnership nor our marriage is recognized in NM.  Yet.)  I betcha you wouldn't vote for legislation that would recognize my rights to determine care for my wife in the hospital.  Or help pass laws that would assure that she, not the government, inherits my estate, right?

So I'm calling you out, saying, hey there, YOU, sir, are indeed "homo-phobic."  This is 2012.  We just had a watershed election.  Marriage equality passed in three more states (Maine, Maryland, Washington) and Minnesota voted AGAINST enshrining hatred in their state constitution.  So, you know what, CODE doesn't work like it used to.  Based on the mailings that went out supporting your campaign, I'm calling you out: you're homophobic.  BUT if you want to sit down over coffee, I'd be more than willing to continue this conversation in person.  And if I'm too nasty for you, based on the "shocking language and disgusting emails" Tami claims I've sent, I'd be happy to set you up with other gay or lesbian families to meet and talk with.  They might also be your constituents.  No more nasty emails, no more nasty flyers, no more "code."  How about having a conversation?

Yesterday's Posts from People for Paul Pacheco's Facebook Page:

Paul Pacheco: To everyone who has supported us during this trying time, I want to thank each and everyone of you. We won't know for a couple days until the recount is final. My opponents supporters are still sending nasty emails, the lastest one today accusing me of being homo-phobic. I can't tell you how weary I am of their constant, relentless lies about my character and I am hopeful that this will be over soon. Thanks again and we will keep you updated, your thoughts and prayers have kept us going!

Tami De-Nio Pacheco: I love you! I'm sorry you've had to go through all this nastiness. Maybe I'll put together all of MaryEllen Capek's emails and let the world know who she really is. From dirty language to ugliness unrivaled, she has really has shown who they really are. I was shocked at the language and disgusting emails she sent throughout the campaign and continues to today. Very sad...

November 9, 2012 at 02:29 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, November 02, 2012

A Note On Campaigns & Race in New Mexico - Guest Blog by Hakim Bellamy

Hakim lauretteInaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, New Mexico (2012-2014)
www.hakimbe.com

It was therapeutic to walk the streets of Albuquerque for my friend and House District 30 Candidate Mary Ellen Broderick today with my 4 year-old son. It was cool to teach him a lesson about democracy. It was cool to teach him that we value the things we work and fight for more than the things we are granted. It was cool to get him some practice pounding pavement and knocking doors, and demonstrating democracy by foot and by fist. It was necessary because of a week of recent experiences that challenged my faith in the place I choose to raise my child.

Last week, on my way to 4th of July Canyon with my favorite patriots (sons Tobey and Kaylem), we passed a huge white sign that said “Shove It Heinrich.” At that moment, I decided that I was going to make the time to knock on doors in hopes of getting 10 Heinrich votes for that one obnoxious sign owner. That sort of sign (reminiscent of the antagonistic signs that became emblematic of Tea Party rallies) attempts to nudge the very fine line that separates a peaceful, electoral exchange of power from a hate-fueled, violent rebellion. It is fine to disagree with Martin Heinrich, but a pro-Heather Wilson sign would be much more “American” than the vitriolic hate speech this citizen chose to turn into signage. Unless Martin personally said something about this citizen’s mother (or father), there is no need to shove anything, ANYWHERE.

However, I ended up walking for Mary Ellen today, after deciding that she probably needed a Black man walking her district north of Osuna and east of Wyoming. I felt my visual appearance in a neighborhood “like that” would either win Mary Ellen votes she needs (that she might not get per chance of the way she looks) or lose her some votes she doesn’t want (per chance of the way I look).

On a weeknight last week, I pulled into the gas station by my apartment near Lomas and Tramway. It’s a four-pump station, and me pulling up made for three cars. I got out and walked inside because I’m familiar with this station’s pumps, and their inability to accept a purchase from my debit card. Behind my car is a women who appears Anglo-Latina and goth, pumping her own gas with a Mexican-American appearing male in the passenger seat of her “way to many miles on it” sedan. On the other side of the pump is an older Chicana woman in her white Taurus getting gas as well. I tell the attendant that the pump won’t accept my card, like I do every time I get gas there, and return to my vehicle.

As I pump my gas, I notice the car that was behind me is gone, and then the abuelita says something to me in Spanish. I say excuse me, and she repeats her exclamation while visibly upset. Then, she proceeds to tell me (in English) that when I walked away the “do nothing” male in the passenger seat said that he hopes my car “blows up.” I assume he meant that my car would ignite while I was getting gas, in which case he obviously has so little of a life that he watches way too much television. Then, my abuelita friend continues to tell me the rest of the story. She tells me how he laughed when he said it, because he said it quiet enough so I could not hear him and loud enough so she could. She tells me how she spoke up because that pisses her off, and she has Black grandbabies and did not side with him simply because they were the same color, in the same state, at the same gas station. She tells me how he got uncomfortably quiet when he realized that she, who was probably his grandmother’s age, did not find his comment amusing. She tells me he was probably made quitter because she was, in fact, disappointed in him (like I imagine his grandmother would be). She tells me how the girl said nothing and they drove off, and how she sees this type of behavior far too often in New Mexico.

Then, she tells me that I will be blessed. She says she prayed over me because his bad energy and irresponsibility may have cursed me…a curse of incompetence, but a curse nonetheless. So she prayed for my prosperity, and I thanked her. She smiled. And I realized my 4 year-old son was in the back seat the whole time. He had heard this guy articulate how he wanted him and his daddy to perish in a ball of gasoline fire. However, he also heard someone that looks like his school teachers stick up for us….to somebody that looked like her.

When I drove off, I though about my Grandma Ida who just passed on Labor Day weekend, and how this abuelita reminded me of her. I thought of how my grandma was watching over me in the form of this woman that day. And as I canvassed the door of a 96 year-old Albuquerque woman in the Heights, I was excited before I was disappointed that she was not home. I was disappointed because I am sure she would have reminded me of my grandmother as well. I am sure she would have been my Grandma as well. However, I got to have conversations with New Mexicans of many different colors today. Some were D’s, some were R’s and some were I’s. But they all gave me faith in this state. They all (except one guy who talked to me from the other side of a closed door) took the time to see another human being. Regardless of my candidate or political affiliation, they took the time to be open. They took the time to be open to our differences, but also our humanity. And they did not wish for my son and I to die a fiery death or tell us to “shove it.” They reminded me why I choose to raise my son here. Faith restored.

November 2, 2012 at 10:13 AM in 2012 General Election, Guest Blogger, Racial Minorities | Permalink | Comments (4)

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)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

House District 30 Race - The People of HD30 Deserve Better

Guest blog by Mary Ellen Broderick candidate for State House of Representatives District 30.IMAG0317crop
The race for State House District 30 made a huge leap into the nasty, negative campaign category on Tuesday, two weeks prior to election day.

Representative Nate Gentry has decided to go all out on attacking me personally. Now nearly every single day, Rep. Gentry is sending his constituents negative mailers against Broderick claiming everything from my supposed support for child killers to hypocrisy over something that never happened. Gentry even mailed out a link to a two year old spoof video.

Meanwhile the good people of House District 30 remain in difficult economic times, worried about education, their lives hanging in the balance as their Representative Nate Gentry pulls out every tired smear tactic in the GOP playbook.

What about the issues Representative Gentry? Do you really believe that negative, personal attacks will help local small business owners create jobs? The video made two years ago is a parody of Glenn Beck speaking at his huge rally in Washington DC on August 28, 2010. Rep. Gentry and his allies must have spent hours, if not days, digging thru 2000+ videos stored on this blog's youtube channel. Rep. Gentry and his allies then took the video and re-uploaded it on their own under a no-name account.

Below is a link to the Glenn Beck speech Broderick is parodying, go 44 seconds in.

Isn't it time to stop the politics of personal destruction? Don't our constituents deserve better?

This is exactly why I entered the race. Because too much is at stake in this election to gloss over the issues and focus only on personal smear campaigns.

Representative Gentry, I have never attacked you. Period. But I do think the voters deserve to know about your record – which has been damaging to middle-class families, small businesses, veterans and seniors. Those aren't attacks, they are the facts.

I love this state, and I know that Rep. Gentry does as well. However, we have very different ideas of how to embrace our future. Those are the differences we need to discuss.

I entered this challenging race for House District 30 proud and determined to speak up for people and give voice to the concerns and frustrations that everyday New Mexican families have with the direction of state. The politics of character assassination is a distraction from what really matters in this race.

Please also view this short clip of Representative Gentry, In the video below Mr. Gentry says he will not make personal attacks. This was one day before the “Hoodie” mailer dropped and just days before he circulated a link to the spoof video. You decide whether those are personal attacks – I'm out to knock on more doors, meet more people and bring my POSITIVE vision for the future of New Mexico to the people of District 30. Let's get to work!

October 24, 2012 at 09:57 AM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

DISORDERLY CONDUCT

Following is a guest blog by Dr. William Pratt.

Nations seem to move from order to disorder and back to order. The transitions may be rapid or slow. The processes are more or less violent. It appears to me that , at present, the Republican Party of the USA has become an agency of disorder. Good governments have found a balance between order and disorder. Too much order brings oppression of individual fulfillment. Too little order brings loss of a foundation for personal achievement. Collapse of a society or nation may occur when there is too much order and oppressed people rebel against tyranny or when not enough people participate in a democracy. Order is then restored by force by stronger, better organized groups. A foreign power may also intervene and take control.

The Republican Party now represents disorder.

  1. Regulation of the financial system is order. Deregulation is disorder.
  2. Union representation is order. Unorganized workers is disorder.
  3. Economically secure families is order. Hungry children in deprived neighborhoods is disorder.
  4. Peace is order. War is disorder.
  5. Environmental regulation is order. Pollution is disorder.
  6. Treatment for drug abuse is order. The illegal drug trade is disorder.
  7. A comprehensive immigration policy is order. Chaotic immigration policies is disorder.
  8. Available health care insurance and health care is order. Millions without health care insurance is disorder.  

The dominant message of the Republican Party now is to oppose efforts to restore a reasonable degree of order. Disorder does benefit those with more power and wealth, at least for a while. Republicans with a longer view know that increasing disorder will have tragic consequences. The people who provided our US Constitution were well aware of the problem of disorder. They had just created disorder by rebelling against the British Empire. They saw the loss of lives and the disruption of social structure.

The right balance of order and disorder can happen in a liberal democracy. There can be innovation and free expression on a base of mutually agreed stability. Our Constitution and our better traditions show the way.

August 18, 2012 at 01:42 PM in Guest Blogger, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tax Policy in New Mexico

Guest blog provided by Alicia Manzano. Alicia is the Outreach Director at New Mexico Voices for Children and also leads the New Mexico Fairness Project.

In her June 29 column, “Apples and Activism,” Sherry Robinson dismissed a proposal to close a New Mexico tax loophole that only benefits profitable out-of-state corporations. One of the main problems with her column is that she demonstrates a basic lack of understanding regarding what the proposal—called mandatory combined reporting (MCR)—actually does and does not do. It does not allow New Mexico to tax the profits a company makes in another state. That would be illegal—and the legality of MCR, which has been adopted by most other western states, has been upheld by the Supreme Court. That said, it’s hard to give much credence to the rest of her assertions—particularly her argument that our state’s corporate tax rate is too high. An Ernst and Young study released earlier this year showed that New Mexico’s effective tax rate was among the lowest in nine of our western state neighbors.

In addition, Winthrop Quigley, a business writer for the Albuquerque Journal, recently pointed out that when studies take into account the effect of New Mexico’s wide range of tax incentives, our state’s effective tax rate shrinks by more than 62 percent. The devastating impacts of so many unfair and ineffective loopholes also mean cuts to essential programs and services like education.

When it comes to comparing our state budget to other states, we found especially troubling a report on MSNBC a few weeks ago that listed New Mexico as #1 in the country for “states cutting the most to schools and cities.” Beggaring our schools and infrastructure undermines the foundation for future job growth.

These realities are re-igniting a conversation among New Mexicans about our state’s budget priorities. It has become increasingly hard for defenders of trickle-down economics to justify loopholes and tax breaks that only benefit the wealthiest and big, profitable corporations. That goes for the 2003 state income tax cuts that gave a huge tax cut to New Mexicans in the top income bracket, while providing New Mexicans in the bottom 40 percent with no tax reduction.

The old trickle-down dogma has repeatedly failed. The legacy of both the Bush and New Mexico’s failed tax cut polices for the top 1 percent are plain to see. A sagging economy coupled with the increased transfer of wealth to the richest New Mexicans leaves the rest of us to ponder the value of those tax breaks as vital services are cut and teachers, police officers, and firefighters are laid off.

How much bigger can New Mexico’s class sizes get as teachers are let go? How much longer can we stretch public safety response times due to under-funding for police and firefighters? How much more disinvestment can Main Street New Mexico handle before their small businesses close up shop? How many more hungry children will be turned away from underfunded summer lunch programs? How many more thousands of our toddlers will end up on a child care waiting list?

The executive’s refusal to close this tax loophole, along with the veto of important transparency measures, only harms our ability to make smart decisions regarding our state budget. New Mexicans deserve transparency and hard data about the job creation effectiveness of tax breaks, like those enjoyed by out-of-state corporations.

In tough times like these, New Mexico’s wealthiest 1 percent should be contributing their fair share. New Mexicans also deserve to know how out-of-state corporations have gamed New Mexico’s tax system while not being held accountable for promised job creation that never happened.

At the end of the day, New Mexico needs a tax system that exemplifies the values of fairness, transparency, and accountability.

August 15, 2012 at 02:30 PM in Economy, Populism, Education, Guest Blogger, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Respect – We Are ALL Made in God's Image the Central Message of Christianity

Guest Blog by Nick Rimmer, Esq.

Respect –this is a central message of Christianity. We are all made in God’s image, and we must treat our neighbors with the respect that each of us deserves. Whether you’re a Christian or not, this seems to be a pretty good message.

This is what makes Hope Christian School’s decision to deny admission to a 3-year-old boy because he comes from a same-sex family all the more disappointing. The fact that the school also receives tax-payer dollars makes the decision really troubling.

Like many private schools, Hope Christian’s application form reflects an understanding of changing family dynamics in the modern age. For instance, the application includes a section that allows four different parents and guardians at different addresses, recognizing that the definition of family in modern America is evolving.

Our children face so many more challenges, including coming from homes where both parents may have to work two-or-three jobs just to make ends meet, than the generations before them.

We know that those fortunate enough to have a family are far more likely to overcome those challenges. After reviewing decades of study, psychologist C.J. Patterson concluded “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” [1]

New Mexico already has enough challenges when it comes to raising our children. More than 30% of our children live in poverty, the second highest rate in the nation [2]. And more than six out of 10, like the boy denied admission to Hope Christian, who are eligible for preschool are not enrolled. Our abysmal graduation rates are well documented and often discussed.

By all accounts, the child at the center of this recent discussion is on track to avoid becoming one of those statistics. From outward appearances, his parents have given him all of the advantages—a loving home and a commitment to education. Sadly, the school is imposing an unnecessary punishment on this child, and we – as New Mexicans – can’t look the other way.

The 2010 Kids Count report estimates that 11% of children in New Mexico – a full one in 10 – are living with two moms or two dads. That is the same percentage of those living only with one dad. Combined with children living only with mom, a full 40% of our children live in family types virtually unheard of just 50 years ago.

Children today will encounter peers from a wide range of backgrounds and families, and we must teach them the principles of treating other with respect. Like the school’s own application recognizes, the family dynamic is changing. We will do well to remember that each family matters in the life of a child.

Footnotes for above article:
[1] Patterson, C.J., 2005. Lesbian and gay parents
and their children: summary of research findings. In: Lesbian and Gay Parenting.
American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. 
[2] Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010, Kids Count Report, http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/Rankings.aspx?loct=2&by=v&order=d&ind=43&dtm=322&tf=133

 

August 7, 2012 at 05:49 PM in Children and Families, Civil Liberties, Faith Community, GLBT Rights, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, August 06, 2012

NM01: Michelle Lujan Grisham Changes Two Young Women's Lives; Guest Blog

Following is a guest blog by Hannah Roberto and Addie Bordegaray two young women entering their senior year of high school. They are Michelle Lujan Grisham's summer intern extraordinaires! Thank you Michelle for helping these two young women along a path that has influenced their lives.

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Hannah and Addie!

On the very first Friday of our pivotal summer between junior and senior year in high school, we helped Mary Ellen organize her campaign party, not knowing that it would open a new window of opportunity for us. While greeting partygoers and collecting donations, we met Michelle Lujan Grisham and immediately hit it off during a casual conversation about summer and adolescent fun. We joked around about helping Michelle’s campaign in any way she needed and then gave our contact information to her campaign manager, Dominic Gabello, not expecting a call back. Within 48 hours, we were contacted by a staff member at the campaign who invited us to come in to help with calls, canvassing, and other campaign activities.

The following Monday, we went to her office down Mountain Road and 6th Street, not knowing what to expect. As we walked in, we were greeted by unfamiliar, yet friendly faces and were immediately put to work on contacting voters. Within the first two hours in the office, we were whisked away to a couple of news interviews and other events in which Michelle was being showcased. All of this seemed as though it was a dream. Within a couple days we were already experiencing a side of politics we had never seen before.

We began working for Michelle 11 days before the crucial primary election, and to say things were hectic would be a HUGE understatement. For 12 hours a day during the next two weeks, we made phone calls, knocked on doors, and did whatever was necessary to convince people to vote for Michelle. Everyone thought it was crazy that two 17-year-old girls would be so dedicated to this campaign so early, but we felt a connection to Michelle from the first day we met her, and knew we would do whatever it took to help her succeed. Little did we know that every phone call and knock on a door would help lead to a five point margin victory in the primary election.

Immediately following the election, Dominic asked us to take on the role of formal campaign interns and help Michelle through the General Election on November 6. Obviously, this sounded too good to be true! Who would’ve thought that two weeks of grueling hard work could lead to an opportunity that not only benefits us now, but will do so greatly in the future? Being an intern on Michelle’s campaign has taught us life skills, as well as the ins-and-outs of a political campaign. The skills we gain from working for Michelle are not just limited to politics, but will help us to succeed in any career endeavors we have in the future. Aside from just the professional standpoint, we also have formed bonds with many of our co-workers and have had the privilege to meet and get to know so many people just through this opportunity.

To us, this isn’t just a summer job that we were lucky to grab; it is much more than that. This opportunity has shown us what it’s like to have a serious and time consuming job, how to connect to people from all walks of life, and how to take chances and use them to benefit not only us, but our future. We could not be more grateful to Michelle and Dominic for giving us this chance, but we will stop at nothing to make them proud and to see Michelle not only win this election, but be the fantastic Congresswoman we know she can be!

August 6, 2012 at 04:38 PM in Candidates & Races, Guest Blogger, Michelle Lujan Grisham, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Women's Issues, Youth | Permalink | Comments (7)