Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez Delivers Democratic State of the State Response: 2013

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez delivered the following Dem response to the Gov State of the State speech. This was delivered on January 15, 2013, the first day of the 2013 Legislature. Note, video of speech is at the end of post. Thank you to NMinFocus for video.

New Mexico just concluded our Centennial year – 100 years of statehood in the United States of America. In fact, today marks the inauguration of our first governor as a state.

Then, like now, New Mexicans chose a divided government, though at the time the tables were turned. The new Democratic governor faced a Republican-controlled legislature; yet, they came together to grow New Mexico far beyond what anyone at the time could have imagined.

In his first inaugural address, our first Democratic governor outlined a vision for our new state where fair taxation and quality public education would bring prosperity to its citizens.[1] Coming together, Republicans and Democrats laid a foundation for a new state. We are challenged to finish the work they began. For most of the past 100 years, we have succeeded in living up to that challenge.

But few of us were in the mood to celebrate in the past year. New Mexicans are hurting.While our neighbors in states like Nevada and Colorado are getting back to work, our family and friends in New Mexico continue to lose their jobs. In the past year alone, more than 4800 New Mexican workers – almost 100 a week - lost their jobs[2], along with the dignity that comes from working.

By the time this new legislative session ends 60 days from now, more than 700 more New Mexico families will have joined the ranks of the unemployed.

The legislature’s attempt to stimulate our economy and create jobs was frustrated by the governor last year when she vetoed more than 190 local projects – and the jobs that come with them - from a bi-partisan capital outlay bill.

But avoiding a veto is no guarantee that signed legislation will be implemented. This administration has stalled the construction of a much-needed substance abuse treatment center for women and children that the legislature appropriated last year. Although the project was not vetoed with the other capital outlay projects, the administration has refused to authorize the sale of $5 million in bonds for the project. We encourage the governor to show her commitment to the serious issue of alcohol and substance abuse by moving this project forward.

Her actions and inactions have failed to provide opportunities to address a devastating problem and generate support for the comprehensive middle-class job growth New Mexico needs.

A comprehensive approach to putting people back to work must focus on the majority of everyday New Mexicans who have not and will not benefit from corporate tax breaks. That’s why Democrats are proposing a comprehensive jobs package that raises the statewide minimum wage, expands tax credits for Working Families, and ensures that it is never cheaper for an out-of-state company to do business in New Mexico than it is for our neighbors who built our Main Streets.

Any plan to put people back to work cannot begin and end with tax breaks that benefit non-New Mexican companies more than our homegrown Mom and Pop shops.

In the last session, the legislature passed a bi-partisan bill that lowered the corporate tax rate and leveled the playing field for New Mexico small businesses. Under the bill, all out-of-state corporations would pay the same taxes as their New Mexico competitors. It eliminated the loophole that allowed “big box” out-of-state companies to avoid paying New Mexican taxes.

Sadly, the governor vetoed that legislation as well. But we will not give up. Democrats will continue to try to get the governor’s signature so that local businesses are better able to compete with national corporations.

But building a more attractive business climate for New Mexico takes more than tax breaks. It takes providing sufficient water to meet the demands of a growing economy. Water has always been a scarce resource in our state. With the most recent lawsuit filed by Texas, we must work together to preserve our agricultural traditions while allowing us to grow into the future. This is not a partisan issue. It is a New Mexican issue that affects all of us and future generations.

In addition to having adequate resources, CEOs considering to relocate here look at the ability of our schools to teach their children and train future workers. The owners of homegrown businesses expect nothing less.

Democrats understand that there is a connection between tax cuts for the rich and low performing schools for the poor. The choice to expand tax giveaways for the rich comes at the expense of funding our schools and training tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

Every student should have the opportunity to succeed in a New Mexico school. But educating our children does not begin on their first day in a classroom. Studies have proven that the first five years of a child’s life are critical in their development. So we will again sponsor legislation to fully fund Pre-K education from the state’s permanent school fund so that we don’t wait on our children to reach third grade before we provide them help.

The path to success also includes training and preparing the teachers who will instill in our children the knowledge to succeed. New Mexico will need 2400 more teachers by 2020.[3] But we can’t recruit those teachers if we continue to insist they spend more time testing than teaching and blame them for all of our problems.

My wife, Lynn, is a public school teacher. Let me tell you, it is no easy task being a teacher. It is no fun to clean up after a sick child nor is it easy to counsel the victim of a bus stop bully. The challenges of our students are as unique as they are, and our teachers need the flexibility and resources to address each and every one properly.

Unfortunately, we have cut millions from our classrooms, resulting in fewer teachers, lower salaries and larger classes – none of which are a part of any formula for success. A recent report by New Mexico Voices for Children showed that cuts to education have been among the deepest in the country since 2011 – yet another list New Mexico should never be on.

While the governor’s budget returns some money to education, little of this new money will end up in our classrooms where it belongs. We propose a different direction that protects a parent’s right to have a voice in their children’s education and a teacher's opportunity to teach to the student, not to the test. That’s why in previous years we have resisted plans to let out-of-state consultants and appointed political bureaucrats interject their judgment for that of parents and professional educators.

We also know that our children can’t succeed if they are too sick to learn. Today, more than 150,000 New Mexicans –including 50,000 children- go without affordable access to the most basic health care. But last week, the governor took an important step towards closing that gap by granting conditional approval for an expansion of Medicaid to cover our poorest neighbors.

Expanding Medicaid was the right decision for New Mexico. In addition to ensuring access to health care for our most vulnerable neighbors, the new health care jobs generated are equivalent to adding an entirely new national lab – not an insignificant fact as federal investment in our labs continues to shrink. But those who will rely on Medicaid cannot count on conditional healthcare. Nor can the new health care workers we will train. The federal government has made a commitment to fund the expansion and we should do the same for those who will soon count on it.

The political climate in Santa Fe today is much different than 101 years ago today. Though Republicans and Democrats had spent decades fighting over statehood, once achieved, the Republican legislature and Democratic governor came together to do what was right for the new-New Mexico.

New Mexico has grown impatient with partisan battles in both Washington and Santa Fe. Last year was the least productive session since 1976[4]. Just 77 bills were passed, and 13 of those were vetoed. New Mexico has spent the past two years marred down in the political back-and-forth that has also enveloped Washington. Predictably, the results are the same. We challenge the governor and our legislative colleagues on the right to set aside partisan attitudes and move quickly to put New Mexicans back to work.

For two years we have made numerous attempts to compromise to reform our drivers’ license system. No doubt, there are those who will continue to prefer playing politics with the issue instead of fixing it. Democrats are not among them and will, once again, offer a hand in compromise to resolve this issue. While many have argued for years that New Mexico was alone, or nearly so, in issuing licenses to non-citizens, the tide is turning – in no small part to DREAM Act-type legislation by President Obama permitting undocumented children to come out of the shadows without fear of deportation to a country they have never known. To date, at least a half-dozen states have announced plans to do so and many more are considering it. It is time to settle this issue in New Mexico once and for all and Democrats are prepared to do it.

Focusing on divisive wedge issues does nothing to address the serious challenges we face, including job creation, pension solvency and school safety.

The heroic sacrifices of educators in Newtown can never be repaid, but it shows just why no investment in education yields bad returns. But our teachers should never be asked to be soldiers in our schools.

Our state has a proud heritage of gun ownership but that heritage has always included a duty for those who choose to own a firearm to do so responsibly. There will, no doubt, be spirited debate on this issue in the coming weeks, and there are some common sense proposals which deserve consideration by those on both sides of the issue. But, each conversation should begin and end with a consideration for how it will prevent the tragedies we have seen in Aurora, Virginia Tech and, now, Newtown, from occurring in Los Lunas, Jal or NMSU.

Finally, no one goes into public service with the goal of getting rich. However, no one should expect that their salaries will decrease. For the last five years, public servants have suffered cuts in their take-home pay to balance the budget. Now as we recover, we need to stop that trend.

Our teachers have also answered our call to help ride out the economic downturn. It is not too much to expect that teachers who taught and tended to our children for 25 or 30 years will receive the pension we promised them when they first signed on. That was the contract and we have a responsibility to keep it. That’s why we will make pension solvency a top priority of this legislature for all of our public servants, be they educators who teach our children, police officers who protect our homes or license clerks in the MVD.

That first governor, speaking in his first inaugural address 101 years ago said this of the politics of the time and of times to come: “As we look into the future, bright hopes of promise appear to some, and dark forebodings may dim the horizon of others. The past is history; the present is the dawn of the future. It is to the future we look and that future will be what we make it.”

We could not agree more. The present is the dawn of the future. Like our predecessors a century before us, we have weathered hard times and are ready for a more prosperous future. Where some see a bleak future for growth and revitalization, we see a chance to reinvest in our middle class and Main Streets. When our grandchildren’s children look back on us a 100 years from now, let us be sure that they see this year as the one where we recommitted to the vision of fair taxes, equal opportunity and strong public education on which our state was founded a century ago.

[1] http://www.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=460
[2
] https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p.12
[3] https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p. 9
[4] http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/02/21/news/legislature-passed-77-bills-least-since-1976.htm

Video above is from NMinFocus Youtube Channel. Thank you NM in Focus!

January 16, 2013 at 09:35 PM in Democrat, Economy, Populism, Education, NM Legislature 2013, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Governor's Plan For Jobs = Epic Fail

From ProgressNowNM.

It's Arithmetic: Governor's plan to create four times the jobs with half the budget reveals predictable results

REPORT: Other states took opposite result and added jobs ASAP

As New Mexico struggles to explain its unrelenting job loss problem, the budget for the state’s only agency tasked with recruiting business was slashed in half, a recipe Governor Martinez and her economic development team believed would spur four times the job growth previously achieved, a report by ProgressNow New Mexico Education reveals.

On paper, Martinez set an expected outcome of 2,200 jobs created by the New Mexico Partnership – a non-profit business recruitment agency funded by the Economic Development Department. This was more than four times the number of jobs created by the agency in the previous year and the largest component, in terms of job creation, of her Economic Development Department.

But records show that while promising impressive job growth from the Partnership, she cut the budget for the department by more than 46% - almost half – while expecting it to perform four times greater than the previous year. Predictably, the agency created just 1/3 of the jobs she promised.

By contrast, Nevada and Colorado added investments to their business recruitment programs at the same time– almost doubling the budget in Nevada – and realized growth for the first time in years.

“This report is a cautionary tale for decision makers. It begs us to look closely at promises by this administration when it comes to job creation. We can’t permit them to give the unemployed hope for new jobs coming if there is no real commitment to follow through,” says Pat Davis of Progress Now NM Education.

“This administration has adopted a fatalistic approach to job creation. They claim that government can’t grow jobs and business doesn’t want to move here. Then they slash the funding of any agency looking to prove otherwise. It makes no sense, but it’s our reality.”

Read the full report at ProgressNowNM.org/blog.

January 11, 2013 at 08:44 AM in Jobs, ProgressNow New Mexico, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Thursday SWOP Delivered Pit Rule Petition Signatures to The NM Gov

From SouthWest Organizing Project:

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Groups and Community Activists Hold Press Conference in Albuquerque yesterday to discuss 12,000 New Mexico petitions in support of our strong Pit Rule; Petitions delivered to Gov. Susana Martinez in Santa Fe

In September, the Chile Lovers of New Mexico delivered a petition composed of over 10,000 signatures from New Mexicans in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Rio Rancho in support of protecting New Mexico’s landmark Pit Rule to Governor Susana Martinez. Since then, an additional 3,000 New Mexicans from our rural communities have spoken up in support of a strong Pit Rule.

The Pit Rule is an important safeguard that protects our land and groundwater from oil and gas industry waste. Currently, Martinez’s Oil Conservation Commission is considering dismantling the Pit Rule in ways that will hinder its ability to protect the land and water that sustains all New Mexicans.

The commission has delayed making a final decision several times, and is set to reconvene in January. Supporters of a strong Pit Rule are asking Governor Susana Martinez to not change the rule by adopting amendments proposed by the oil and gas industry.

Yesterday, organizers and volunteers gathered to hold a press conference in Albuquerque, and to deliver the petition to the Governor's office in Santa Fe. Here are some quotes from the statements made at the press conference:

Molly Brook, Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund: "...With drought and other factors making our water increasingly scarce, it is critical that every drop of water is clean and safe for us to use. Protecting New Mexico's water should be common sense, but that's why it's puzzling that we even have to be here fighting for our water in the first place- all because the safeguard that currently protects our ground water from pollution is under attack."

Patricia Atencio, community volunteer: "I do have a sister that does live in Las Cruces and she has some land out there in Doña Ana and they plant alfalfa and if the water is contaminated there will be no longer alfalfa, there will be no longer chile, and that goes for all of New Mexico. So I want to ask the people, the New Mexicans... to support us in this Pit Rule, we need it desperately."

Tomás Garduño, SouthWest Organizing Project: "All the people that we've been working with over the past several months, volunteers who have called the governor's office- over 300 people have called the governor's office- and these over twelve thousand total petition signatures that are going to be delivered to the governor's office really show that New Mexicans understand the connection between making sure that our water is not contaminated, and having a thriving economy."

The Chile Lovers of New Mexico is collaboration between the Southwest Organizing Project and the Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund.

The Pit Rule is a law that protects New Mexico’s land and water by ensuring that industries properly lines their waste pits to prevent contamination. Before the law was enacted in 2008, there were over 400 known cases of groundwater contamination that could be linked directly to poorly maintained oil and gas industry waste pits. Since then, there have been zero known cases.

December 17, 2012 at 09:44 AM in Energy, Environment, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12,000 New Mexicans Ask Gov. Susana Martinez to Protect the Pit Rule

From the SouthWest Organizing Project:
Groups and Community Activists Hold Press Conference in Albuquerque Thursday to discuss 12,000 New Mexico petitions in support of our strong Pit Rule; Petitions delivered to Gov. Susana Martinez in Santa Fe

In September, the Chile Lovers of New Mexico delivered a petition composed of over 10,000 signatures from New Mexicans in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Rio Rancho in support of protecting New Mexico’s landmark Pit Rule to Governor Susana Martinez. Since then, an additional 3,000 New Mexicans from our rural communities have spoken up in support of a strong Pit Rule.

The Pit Rule is an important safeguard that protects our land and groundwater from oil and gas industry waste. Currently, Martinez’s Oil Conservation Commission is considering dismantling the Pit Rule in ways that will hinder its ability to protect the land and water that sustains all New Mexicans.

The commission has delayed making a final decision several times, and is set to reconvene in January. Supporters of a strong Pit Rule are asking Governor Susana Martinez to not change the rule by adopting amendments proposed by the oil and gas industry.

Who: New Mexicans in support of protecting the Pit Rule and our groundwater
What: Press conference
When: Noon, Thursday, Dec. 13
Where: Washington Park at Park and 10th Streets, Albuquerque

What: Petition delivery in Santa Fe
When: 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13
Where: Gov. Martinez’s office, Santa Fe

The Chile Lovers of New Mexico is a collaboration between the Southwest Organizing Project and the Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund.

The Pit Rule is a law that protects New Mexico’s land and water by ensuring that industries properly line their waste pits to prevent contamination. Before the law was enacted in 2008, there were over 400 known cases of groundwater contamination that could be linked directly to poorly maintained oil and gas industry waste pits. Since then, there have been zero known cases.

December 12, 2012 at 04:19 PM in Action Alerts, Environment, Mining, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (3)

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)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Governor Martinez-led Board Denied Request for More Vote Machines

Press release from ProgressNowNM:

Governor Martinez and her hand-picked Board of Finance denied funds to run a smooth election in Sandoval County.

Newly uncovered emails from the Secretary of State’s Office show that her office knew of potential voting delays on Election Day but Governor Martinez’s and her Board of Finance denied a request to purchase more machines just a month before voting started.

Martinez told KRQE on Election Day, “the Secretary of State was able to spend what was necessary to make sure that there were enough machines at every location." This new information directly contradicts Martinez’s assertion.

During Thursday night’s Sandoval County Commission meeting, Chairman Darryl Madalena read from a portion of a September 18, 2012 email from the Director of the Secretary of State's Elections Bureau showing that the Secretary of State asked Governor Martinez and the Board of Finance (Martinez is its president) for $1.4 million in emergency funds to "meet the requests for an increased number [of Autovote machines] for the General... Our request was tabled. The Board did not allocate any additional funding to cover the costs of the Election."

ProgressNowNM has posted the entire two-page email on its website at ProgressNowNm.org/blog

In the email to clerks from Bobbi Shearer, Elections Bureau Director, she blasts Martinez’s Secretary of Finance Tom Clifford and the Board of Finance, of which Martinez is the president and appoints all four public members, saying "the Board does not have an adequate understanding of the election process” and ridicules their questions about voting convenience centers.

From the email it is clear that that the Secretary of State accepted responsibility to provide sufficient Autovote machines to the clerks and acknowledges that more had been requested after the primary election. The clerk request for more equipment prompted a budget crisis for the Secretary of State who had already spent election money on non-election day items like voter purge cards and postage.

November 19, 2012 at 02:00 PM in 2012 General Election, Candidates & Races, Election Reform & Voting, ProgressNow New Mexico, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, November 16, 2012

News Flash: Republicans Care about Them

What a joke. Like republicans care about you and me. When was the last time a republican did anything selfless for the people or for the planet? Romney is their leader, they just finished voting for him in a very large way. According to Politico, the popular vote was 62,611,250 for Obama to 59,134,475 for Romney. So now all of the leaders of the 59 mil Romney voters are saying they did not agree with his policies he would engage in if elected. What hypocrites, pitiful liars.

Romney in May 2012"

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. ... My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." -Mitt Romney, in leaked comments from a fundraiser in May 2012

Romney a few days after the above came out:

"My campaign is about the 100 percent in America," he said Wednesday evening at a Univision forum, according to the Los Angeles Times, just a few days after the secretly taped video of his speech in front of wealthy donors in Boca Raton, Fla., went public. "And I am concerned about them. I am concerned about the fact that over the past four years, life has become harder for Americans."

Romney one week after losing election:

“What the president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote,” Romney said. Read more: Romney says Obama won by giving voters “gifts” from the government.

Gov. Susana Martinez today:

From Politico: New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, another GOP rising star, is the latest to denounce Mitt Romney's comments — and called for a change in approach and language to immigration reform, in an interview with POLITICO's James Hohmann:

“We need to embrace them not just at election time,” she added. “We visit them, and they don’t appreciate that. And I don’t blame them for not appreciating that. We should not visit them when we need their vote and then walk away. And then four years go by and we go visit them again. We have to make them part of the solution, and the way you do that is by listening to them.” She expressed disdain for Romney’s claim this week on a conference call that President Barack Obama won reelection because he offered “gifts” to minorities and younger voters. “That unfortunately is what sets us back as a party — our comments that are not thought through carefully,” she said... ...“Republicans need to stop making assumptions,” she added, “and they need to start talking to younger people, people of color, and ask them — not talk to them — ask them, ‘What is it that we can do better? How do we earn your vote? How do we earn the ability for you to see that we can be the party that will make your life better and that of your children?’ But we can’t be the ones that come and tell them how things are going to be and how we have all the solutions.”

Let's recap Susana: "We visit them" Martinez says. Them like they are some subspecies. Them, them, them, obviously not us but for sure them, no way us.

And this quote too from Susana: “that unfortunately is what sets us back as a party — our comments that are not thought through carefully.” Note no complaint about what Romney is saying is wrong but just that it is not thought through. That maybe be the most honest statement.

The Republicans do not care about us. We are the them.

Let's watch as the 2013 Leg session gets into action how much our own NM republicans believe what Romney is saying is wrong. Let's hold the Republican feet to the fire of "We all do better when we all do better." Or teh Republican favorite to use these days "that a rising tide lifts all boats."

November 16, 2012 at 01:04 PM in Mitt Romney, Republican Party, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (6)

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)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Mexico Needs Jobs and Leadership to Restore the American Dream

Following is an op-ed from Sam Bregman - Restore the Dream

What is Governor Martinez doing? Where are the jobs and where is the leadership she promised with the private sector and federal government to generate good paying, long term jobs? They’re not in Tampa, site of the Republican National Convention and a top destination for this Governor since she took office in January 2011. Now that the panic is over about whether she will be allowed to speak or not, maybe the priority can be finding and creating jobs. Maybe. What has she done to create one, single job? Absolutely nothing.

So far, the Governor’s agenda consists of bringing up divisive social issues, blaming our teachers for failing schools, placing incompetent, discredited political hacks in charge of government agencies and allowing her chief political consultant to run a shadow government that is obsessed with furthering her political ambitions, whatever the cost.

Meanwhile, the worst economic crisis in 80 years continues to destroy jobs as New Mexico working families struggle for their slice of the American dream. After 20 months in office, they expect strong leadership from their Governor, someone that will fight and work hard to create jobs. Sadly, the result is failed leadership, starting with the Governor and continuing with do nothing political appointees, while repeated excuses assigning blame, play like a scratched, broken record.

As a concerned citizen and proud New Mexican , I believe that state government can and must take the lead in promoting and encouraging job growth in the private sector as well as in government. We must have strong, committed leadership that reaches out to both parties and is willing to use every tool available to help New Mexicans.

I have traveled thousands of miles throughout New Mexico and listened to voices in communities large and small, young and old, Democrats and Republicans. No one cares about personal political agendas or how to tear down your opponent in the next election—they care about providing a home to their children, good schools, safe streets and holding on to the American dream. They look to the future and want their Governor to support them. Nothing else matters if you cannot provide economic security for your family.

Recently, the Republican National Committee sent out a press release quoting Governor Martinez:” …Americans want to work. They want to build their businesses, compete and succeed in order to create more jobs and a secure future for their families.”

Really? Could you start doing something that would create jobs and provide a secure future in the state that elected you Governor?

New Mexican working families are waiting for Governor Martinez, her political appointees and consultants to stand up, provide leadership and fight for jobs in New Mexico, instead of looking for opportunities to tear down yet another opponent in the next election.

Because hard work, a good job and hope for the future is the American dream. For New Mexico and the USA.

August 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM in Economy, Populism, Jobs, Susana Martinez, Unemployment | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Repub Gov Martinez Used to Prosecute Guys Like These Now She Surrounds Herself with Them.

The following article is from ISPAC and was released and published on August 10, 2012.  You can find the complete story by following this link. In the spirit of full disclosure Mary Ellen Broderick the co-founder of this blog is currently in a Legislative race against Republican Nate Gentry.

Susana Martinez is a former prosecutor who has professed deep concern about violence against women. Yet her “top advisor” Jay McCleskey left an Albuquerque woman with bruises, according to a police report and criminal complaint, and a closer look at the governor’s inner circle reveals an alarming pattern of aligning herself with men who mistreat women.

Martinez, who is married to a career law-enforcement officer, has surrounded herself with the sorts of rogues she once prosecuted. Martinez has said she opposes expunging criminal records, and for good reason. In her memorandum vetoing a bill calling for expunging these records, dated March 2, 2012, Martinez acknowledged employers should have the right to examine not just criminal convictions, but non-conviction records of those they employ.

Martinez recognized that because a person is not convicted of a crime does not mean they are innocent. She wrote, “however, there is a litany of other reasons why someone could be charged for a crime, but not convicted. For example, it is sadly not rare for someone arrested for domestic violence or another serious crime to find a way to pressure or intimidate a victim or other material witness into not testifying at the offenders’ trial, often allowing the offender to avoid a conviction of a crime he/she committed.” (Read her Memorandum here)

That sensible stand is not a guiding principle of Martinez’s, unless she simply failed to vet the people she’s chosen to help run and enforce the actions of state government. Politics breeds hypocrisy, but that hypocrisy is more unseemly when it involves men using their power (whatever kind of power that is) to intimidate and threaten women.

Not all of those listed here fall into that category and not all of this conduct resulted in criminal charges. But the pattern is there and it calls into question Martinez’s commitment to protecting victims, especially of abusers.

Put simply, Martinez should be judged by the “bad boys” whose company she chooses to keep: Jason “Jay” McCleskey, Paul Pacheco, David C. Chavez, David Doyle, Jr., Bob Wooley, and Nate Gentry. If Martinez knows these men’s histories and conducts business with them anyway, then her law-and-order image is just that—image. And if she doesn’t know what they’ve done, then our governor does not do her homework.

Below is the name of each of her "bad boys" and the ISPAC research and write up about them. What comes across is the flagrant entitlement each of these republican men have, bullies. The republicans can break any laws they want and have no repercussion. The only other bad boy I see missing from this list is Darren White. Please click on each name below and see if you would want them over for dinner at your house.

August 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM in Independent Source PAC, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Major Martinez Donor Outed as “Secret” Company to Win Multi-Million Dollar Tax Appeal; Threatens to Bankrupt NM Cities

From ProgressNow NM

A Florida for-profit prison company who gave tens-of-thousands of dollars to Governor Susana Martinez has been outed as the secret company whose sudden tax appeal threatens to bankrupt at least one New Mexico city.

In early July, municipalities including Santa Rosa, Grants, Hobbs, Jemez Springs and Guadalupe County reported receiving large tax bills from the state. The bill to Santa Rosa demanded immediate payment of more than $1.2 million - half the city's budget - though the Martinez administration refused to disclose the name of the corporation it had awarded the tax appeal. The administration also refused to cite the tax code provision which had been appealed.

The Guadalupe County Communicator now reports that of the industries that paid large tax bills in the past six months, only the GEO Group, a Florida-based for-profit prison company, did business in Santa Rosa.

Similarly, the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) operates private prisons in Grants and Hobbs and would have also benefited from the administration's tax decision.

ProgressNow NM has discovered that the GEO Group gave more than $41,000 to Martinez - $33,000 of it directly to Martinez herself - and the Republican party since 2010. That is more than five times the amount given to Democrats.

In early July, Santa Rosa officials petitioned the state Board of Finance, chaired by Martinez, to provide a temporary $1 million loan to allow the city to avoid bankruptcy. Despite the state reporting a $250 million surplus, Martinez and the board denied the request.

"This entire tax process was undertaken between the governor's administration and a corporation which gave her huge campaign donations, and now local taxpayers are being held accountable to foot the bill," says Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, a non-profit government and corporate watchdog group. "This governor is letting an entire town go bankrupt to fix her administration's mistake, and the only one who wins is some huge Florida corporation?"

July 26, 2012 at 04:25 PM in ProgressNow New Mexico, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (4)

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)