Friday, September 30, 2005
Startling Evidence: Voter Action Update on NM Voters' Lawsuit
From Voter Action on the NM lawsuit against the Secretary of State on behalf of voters:
Lopategui v. Vigil-Giron Lawsuit Update:
Our initial discovery process is revealing startling evidence of serious voting machine problems, top-to-bottom incompetence in the administration of elections, cover-up by election officials of major errors they know have gone uncorrected, and the ceding by election officials of oversight and control over our elections to unaccountable private companies.
Examples of this evidence, gleaned from two weeks of depositions, include:
- A voting machine vendor has admitted under oath that the design of machines used by many New Mexico counties probably causes the unintended erasure of presidential votes, contrary to the voter’s intent.
- The owner of the private New Mexico company that has been paid commissions by Sequoia Voting Systems on sales of their AVC Edge touchscreen voting system to New Mexico counties testified that the system lost votes in a Bernalillo County election and that he is suspicious of Sequoia’s claims that all of the lost data was successfully “recreated.”
- The state and county post-election canvass processes are incapable of detecting most types of voting machine error or fraud.
- Contracting out key parts of the canvass process to unaccountable private contractors and subcontractors has increased vote-counting errors and heightened security risks.
- A closer look at the “independent audit” of the 2004 general election touted by the Secretary of State reveals that:
-- It consistently under-reports as single “errors” common mistakes and irregularities even when the “error” results in the miscounting of hundreds of votes.
-- The audit examines only a small percentage of precincts, leaving undetected -- and uncorrected -- similar widespread and large-scale errors in between 80% and 90% of precincts statewide.
Our next step will be a thorough examination of several types of voting machines and central tabulators used in the 2004 election by our academic computer security and voting machine experts. Moving forward is contingent upon securing additional funding. Later we will need to take more key depositions, but the machines are our primary focus now.
Thanks for your continued support. Should you have any questions, always feel free to contact us. firstname.lastname@example.org, 505 823 6362
Holly Jacobson, Lowell Finley & the entire Voter Action Team
The budget for the New Mexico research and litigation effort is $250,000 and is actively being raised in order to move discovery forward in a timely and effective manner. As a project of the International Humanities Center, a 501(c)(3) organization, Voter Action can offer donors tax deductibility to the full extent permitted by law. Checks should be made out to Voter Action/IH Center c/o Voter Action, PO Box 25651, Albuquerque, NM 87125. Credit card payments may be made at our website - www.voteraction.org. Gifts of stock can be made by contacting Pam Stokes at Voter Action New Mexico 505 823 6362 or Co Director Holly Jacobson 206 769 7185
Last Chance for NM Wildlands Conference
From the NM Wilderness Alliance:
Don't miss the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance's 2005 Wildlands Conference de Santa Fe on October 8th with a special day of Wilderness Workshops and a post-conference Wild Reception.
Only 40 Spaces Left!
Sign up on line at https://secure.ga3.org/05/conference_05
or Call 505-843-8696
The conference will be held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Registration will begin at 8:00 AM
Location: El Dorado Hotel, 309 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM
The Conference Fee is $40 including lunch and reception
We will start off the Conference with guest speakers Jim Baca and Dave Foreman. After you are all pumped up to save Wilderness, we will split up into the first workshop session. You will have a choice of 3 (1-hour long) sessions: Emergency Wilderness Medicine, Creating Collaborations with our Fellow New Mexicans, and Threats to Wilderness.
We then come back together for the "Conservationist of the Year Award" and settle down for a gormet lunch of Santa Fe style southwestern cuisine. During lunch the film "Monumental: David Brower's fight for Wild America" will be shown.
After lunch you will have a choice of 2 more workshop sessions: Creatively protecting Wilderness, Youth in the Environment, The American Jaguar, NM Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Activism Guide and the Roadless Rule.
Post-Conference Wild Reception
After a day of interesting Wilderness worshops we will unwind with a Wild Happy Hour Reception from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. We will be serving up margaritas and snacks and holding an auction. Here is a sneak peak a the auciton items:
Live Auction Wilderness Trips including: Guided Backpacks, Llama Trek and 2 Night B&B
1961 New Mexico Gazetteer
Gym Gift Certificates
Dana Design Trail Series Backpack
Marmot "Twilight" 2-person tent. Weight is 5lb. 4oz.
Dry-bag, compressible, totally waterproof,15L volume
Wilderness Responders Course Tuition in Colorado
Wilderness First Aid Certification Course in Albuquerque
Wilderness First Aid Kit
Framed original photographs by Anthony Howell, Frank Parrish and Jan Bartelstone
Framed original oil paintings by Michelle Chrisman
Framed original wood engraving prints by Lezle Williams
Rewilding North America signed hard cover by Dave Foreman
Children’s Book “Pancho and the Power” and DVD “Desert Dreams” by Frank Parrish
Patagonia Synchilla Jacket
Please join us for this great event! If you cannot make it for the Conference, come join us for the Reception! Space is filling up quickly, so if you plan on attending please sign up by October 5th. If you cannot make it, please consider donating $40 for a Conference Scholarship so that someone else can attend.
To Register or donate call 505-843-8696 or
Register on-line at https://secure.ga3.org/05/conference_05
Thursday, September 29, 2005
NEWS FLASH: Griego - Winter News Conference on Chavez Fundraiser
I can't believe that Mayor Chavez thinks he can get away with sending city employees on city time to a joint press conference by two of his competitors in the mayoral race. Read all about it in this news release:
Griego, Winter Jointly Call on Chavez to Fully Disclose Fundraiser Information: Mayor Uses City Employees as Shield
City Councilors Eric Griego and Brad Winter on Thursday held a news conference on Civic Plaza calling on Martin Chavez to fully disclose the details of his fundraiser at the home of Angelo Garcia – the convicted bagman in the Vigil-Treasury Scandal. Rather than publicly responding to the councilors’ request, Chavez sent city employees – during city work hours -- and campaign staff to protest and disrupt the press conference.
“Angelo Garcia is one of the most corrupt individuals in our state,” Griego said. “And he hosted a fundraiser for Martin Chavez. The public deserves to know the details of this event to ensure that corruption is not occurring - once again - in our city’s highest office.”
So far, the Chavez campaign has cited three different dollar amounts allegedly raised at the event and they have not disclosed who else attended.
“Martin Chavez needs to come clean to the public immediately,” Winter said. “Who was at the Angelo Garcia fundraiser, how much did they give, and was every donation – cash, check or otherwise – reported correctly in the September 9th finance report?”
Winter added, “If Martin Chavez is upset with the press conference today, he should step forward personally, rather than send hard-working city employees to the event when they should be doing the city’s work.”
City workers attended the news conference at the mayor’s request, including 311 Director Michael Padilla, APD Spokeswoman Trish Ahrensfield, Transit Department Director Peter Behrman, Deputy Transit Director Leonard Garcia, Boards and Commissions Director Richard Kennedy, several firefighters and others.
Martin Chavez used Angelo Garcia to host a fundraiser for Chavez’s mayoral campaign on August 15. Garcia has been indicted for bilking New Mexico’s senior citizens of close to $1 million. Garcia has also pled guilty to serving as the bagman for Robert Vigil and Michael Montoya.
Marston Moore at Duke City Fix has an excellent run-down on the continuing saga of the NM Treasurer's Office scandal, the tentacles from that story that reach into Mayor Marty Chavez's campaign fundraising and the Albuquerque Journal's handling of this story.
Cocoposts chimes in on the Cost of Influence and highlights an on-target quote by Bob Schwartz of the Alibi on "civic extortion." Coco links to Andy Lenderman at the Santa Fe New Mexican, who lays out the facts on alleged bagman Angelo Garcia. And Mario Burgos ponders Chavez's response to the revelation that one of his campaign fundraisers was held at Garcia's home.
Speaking of corruption, how about yesterday's indictment of Rep. Tom Delay for a money laundering conspiracy charge? Seems the corrosive effect of big money in politics is an equal opportunity scandal these days, bagging headlines about offenders from both political parties. Isn't it time for a big pushback from the public to remind crooked politicos of whatever stripe that elected officials should be representating the people, not just seeking what amount to bribes from big-pocket players?
Roberts Confirmed as Supreme Court Justice
John Roberts was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this morning as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on a vote of 78-22. Click for a complete vote tally.
I note that most Dems who have their eyes on running for president voted no. NM Senator Jeff Bingaman voted yes. Perhaps the most surprising votes were a no by our Senate leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), a moderate Dem, and a much criticized yes by long-time liberal Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
What the vote tells me is that the Democrats in the Senate have no discipline or cohesiveness in terms of Party unity. What a stark contrast to Republicans, as we know. Many have touted the Democratic strategy on Roberts, such that it is, as "keeping our powder dry" so we might better fight against Bush's next nominee. We'll see. Personally, I'm wondering if Dems have any powder available for any battle as the opposition party. When was the last time this bunch stood up as a bloc and passionately defended core Democratic principles? Can you remember?
I know that we couldn't defeat Roberts with the Senate dominated by Republicans. But it seems to me that a yes vote for a candidate who refused to answer even the most rudimentary questions about his views and values represents a head-in-the-sand approach to governing. Remember, BushCo refused to hand over reams and reams of Roberts' record when he served in the solicitor general's office. The yes votes by Dems serve to communicate that that's just all right by them.
Dems Who Voted Yes on Roberts:
Yes Votes by Dems:
Nelson, Ben (NE)
Nelson, Bill (FL)
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Back in Their Court on Living Wage Debate
Remember how mayoral candidate Eric Griego challenged the Albuquerque Area Chamber of Commerce to a debate about the living wage proposal? Terri Cole responded they would prefer to host a mayoral candidate debate on the issue. Eric just agreed.
OK, Terri, is it set up yet? Let's see if the other candidates, especially Martin Chavez (who has often failed to show up at candidate forums), are up to the challenge! I'd love to see this debate.
Guild & CCA to Host NM Middle East Film Festival
New Mexico Middle East Film Festival
October 7-13 at the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque
and October 8-9 at the CCA in Santa Fe.
Presented by the NM Middle East Community Cultural Alliance including New Mexico Humanities Council, Religious Studies Program and Media Arts Departments at UNM, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Gray Panthers, Arab-Jewish Peace Alliance, New Mexico Conference of Churches, People Before Profit Film Series, student groups and other community partners.
Films covering the entire region including: Palestine/Israel, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Qatar, Morocco, and Jordan.
Films on culture, politics, gender issues, media, Arab-American experience, spirituality, history and art/music including:
- Al Jazeera
- Occupations of Iraq and Palestine in Baghdad, Fallujah, Jenin, Gaza, Dheisheh, Jerusalem
- Umm Kulthum and Fairuz
- Nasser, Andulasia/Arab Influence, History of Middle East
- Edward Said and Hanan Ashrawi
- Israeli peace activists
- Feature Films and Classics
- Student life and student films
National Speakers and Film Directors:
- Jess Ghannam, Filmmaker and Psychoanalyst, Producer Until When..., San Francisco, CA
- Mona Mikhail, Professor of Middle East Studies, Film Producer, Live on Stage: A Century and a Half of Theatre in Egypt, NYU, New York City, NY
- Garrett Scott, Film Producer & Director, Occupation: Dreamland, San Francisco, CA
- Jennifer Moore, UNM Professor of Law and Peace Studies Program, Albuq., NM
- Riad Hamad, Palestine Children's Welfare Fund, Austin, TX
Tickets available now at The Guild, CCA and Page One. Visit our website online at: https://www.nmmecca.com for more information, film schedules, ticket prices, etc. or call 255-2067.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
We Need More Dems Like This
In the current environment of scandal in New Mexico, we can forget that the majority of Democratic Party candidates and officeholders here and around the nation are honest, hard-working advocates for ordinary citizens, justice and fairness. To me, it's critically important that Democrats who do run their affairs according to the highest ethical standards be vocal and passionate in demanding accountability in all echelons of the Party. Here's an item on one of them who is doing just that:
PRC Commissioner Jason Marks Returns Robert Vigil Campaign Contribution; Calls for Impeachment to be Heard During Special Session
Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks (D-Alb.) announced on 9/23/05 that he is returning a $50 campaign contribution he received towards his 2004 election effort from the Robert Vigil for Treasurer Committee. Marks stated that the media reports about Mr. Vigil’s indictment caused him to remember a $50 contribution he had received in October 2004, and to look into the finance reports filed around that time by Vigil’s campaign committee. Per Marks:
Regardless of whether Vigil is guilty of the specific criminal charges that have been made against him, his own filed reports show that his campaign committee collected tens of thousands of dollars from investment advisors, brokers, bankers, and others with a direct interest in obtaining (or retaining) business with the State Treasuer's Office. It is clear to me that it was only the largesse of these individuals that made it possible for Vigil’s fund to dole out support to my PRC campaign and to many other campaigns last year. In my own race, I did not accept contributions from persons who I knew to have a direct interest in the business of the Public Regulation Commission. I cannot in good conscience keep money that came from the Vigil campaign fund, when it now seems that it was originally generated with an improper motive.
Because Marks closed his campaign account earlier this year, he refunded the Vigil contribution with a personal check.
Marks further wishes to state that, while Vigil is entitled to a presumption of innocence in the criminal sense pending a trial, the damning facts that have been reported in the media indicate that Vigil is not fit to continue serving as Treasurer, even in a “recused” capacity. If Vigil will not resign, Marks believes that the special session of the Legislature should conduct an Impeachment Trial to hear the charges (and Vigil’s defenses) and determine whether or not there are grounds for Vigil’s removal pursuant to the State Constitution. Marks commends the Governor and Attorney General for negotiating an arrangement that keeps Vigil away from the Treasurer’s Office immediately, but believes this should only be an interim measure until the Legislature convenes.
Uh Oh: Man Indicted in Treasurer Probe Held Fundraiser for Chavez
One of the men who has already pleaded guilty in the Robert Vigil extortion case recently staged a fundraiser at his Albuquerque home for Mayor Martin Chavez.
Angelo Garcia’s fundraiser on August 15th took place three weeks after he had entered guilty pleas and admitted to being the middleman in a kickback scheme.
The Albuquerque Tribune chimes in with more info on this story.
Of course this proves nothing, given that the treasurer's office indictments hadn't yet been unsealed when this fundraiser took place. However, it seems clear that certain fundraising and campaign donation circles are rather messy here in New Mexico. It should also be kept in mind that, according to the Tribune article:
[Angelo] Garcia is also under indictment in relation to a securities fraud investigation by the state which alleges he and two associates bilked senior citizens out of nearly $1 million for investments in a Santa Fe real estate project that was never completed.
Just on that basis, you'd think Mayor Chavez would steer clear of any fundraisers hosted at Garcia's house, wouldn't you? Then again, this is a Mayor who benefited early in his administration from ABQPAC, which funneled "donations" from city employers and contractors to the Mayor to cover things like his travel and cell phone expenses. Marty ended up having to pay most of the money back to contributors after being chastized by the ethics board. I guess you could say he doesn't pay too much attention to the particulars of ethical standards when he's building huge blocs of money to serve himself or his mayoral campaign. "Follow the money" is always good advice.
Don't Let the Special Interests Win
From the Albuquerque Living Wage Campaign:
THEY’RE SPENDING A FORTUNE
BECAUSE LIES ARE EXPENSIVE
DON’T LET THE SPECIAL INTERESTS WIN
JOIN US FOR A FINAL LIVING WAGE CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISER
HOME OF CITY COUNCILOR DEBBIE O’MALLEY
839 FITZGERALD, NW
ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87107
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30th
6:00 – 8:00 PM
RSVP TO 242-7411
ALBUQUERQUE MINIMUM WAGE COMMITTEE
411 BELLAMAH, NW
ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87102
OR VISIT WWW.ABQLIVINGWAGE.ORG