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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Guest Blog: What Really Happened Today on the Domestic Partnership Bill and How Your State Senate Really Works

In this post I'm passing along an email I got from someone calling themselves "Scott." It speaks truth. After all, this was also the day of the big SunCal TIDD giveaway, supported by all the righteous Senators who get clumps of money and other largesse from the California developer that packs the Roundhouse with their slimy lobbyists. It was also supported by cowed Democrats who are evidently afraid to stand up to the crooked element that continues to pull the levers in the Roundhouse.

On the final day of the 2008 state legislative session, State Senator Cisco McSorley went to the mat for New Mexico’s taxpayers and communities – courageously filibustering a $629 million public subsidy to a massive sprawl development (SunCal) on Albuquerque’s west side.

You can imagine that the project’s proponents and their favorite legislators weren’t very happy about this turn of events, and they unleashed a veritable fury of efforts over the subsequent months to ensure that such a horrific example of democracy in action couldn’t possibly happen again.

SunCal fought to keep their supporters in office during the primary elections. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a massive PR campaign (it’s difficult to tell exactly how much money, since they haven’t filed reports as required by the Secretary of State).

Senator McSorley wasn’t cowed by their power, money or influence. He stood on principle in defense of sound public policy, against tremendous and intense pressure. He remained steadfast. He fought for us.

Payback is a bitch.

Today, in the State Senate, the leadership of the Senate made sure he paid a dear, dear price for his commitment to protecting New Mexico.

Today, Senate leaders – having stalled and delayed the domestic partnership bill for which Senator McSorley has fought valiantly for years – engaged in an egregious act of political payback.

Today, Senate leaders made sure that SB12 (the domestic partner bill) wouldn’t be heard on the Senate floor until after the SunCal subsidy was passed, even though SB12 has now lingered on the Senate floor calendar for over a week.

After promising advocates for domestic partnerships that SB12 would be heard on Thursday, Senate leaders pushed the developer handouts ahead of SB12 on the agenda. Then, to add insult to injury, they helped defeat the domestic partners bill – or at least stood by and watched, which is just as bad.

Today, they tried to force Senator McSorley to choose between equal rights for New Mexicans and a massive bailout of a bankrupt developer.

It would be epically poetic, if it weren’t so pathologically twisted.

No matter what happened today, Senator McSorley should be applauded. And Senate leaders should be ashamed.

-- Anonymous, because I am not as courageous as Senator McSorley

p.s. a special shout-out to Senator Eric Griego, and also Senators Stephen Fischmann and Dede Feldman, for their efforts to educate the State Senate and the public about the nightmare at hand in approving these massive subsidies.

Senator Griego was fierce and unwavering on the Senate Floor today – fighting an uphill battle on behalf of his constituents and all New Mexicans, aided in no small part by Senators Fischmann and Feldman. It’s comforting to know that Senator McSorley has some conscientious company, however small a percentage of the State Senate they might comprise.

See this post for more on today's vote.

February 26, 2009 at 07:18 PM in Civil Liberties, Corporatism, Crime, GLBT Rights, NM Legislature 2009, Sprawl Development | Permalink


It is all about the filthy money. The gay people are a political football nothing more. The crooks don't like the push for ethics and they don't like being seen taking the money from the SunCal hucksters and others. We're just pawns. Wake up. We need to start doing something powerful and in their faces. No more nice guys from now on.

Posted by: Ian | Feb 26, 2009 7:23:49 PM

I have watched the legislature for a long time and what this anonymous person says is true from what I have learned. Sadly all true.

Posted by: Santa Fe Gay | Feb 26, 2009 8:20:03 PM

I agree with Ian. Let the planning begin.

Posted by: mary ellen | Feb 26, 2009 8:33:31 PM

I'd feel a lot more comfortable in crediting this anonymous post if it was not anonymous, and if the author's allegations were backed up by supporting links. I don't deny that what he/she says is true, but saying that they are not as bold as Sen. McSorley doesn't wash. At least not with me.

That said, I think the ten who voted against DP are craven DINOs. And I'd be interested in knowing if they voted en masse in support of SunCal.

Posted by: Ms. Ann Thrope | Feb 26, 2009 9:59:42 PM

Are you suggesting that Jerry Ortiz y Pino, who argued for the TIDD bill was part of this conspiracy to kill SB 12 to get back at his friend Cisco McSorley?
Didn't both Ortiz y Pino and Linda Lopez both _support_ Domestic Partnerships and TIDDs?
And was Vanessa Alarid, former NM Democratic Party Executive Director, who has always been pro-GLBT issues and now the primary lobbyist for Sun Cal, also in on this conspiracy to get back at McSorley?
Sorry, I think we're talking apples and oranges. In as much as I vehemently disagree, there are certain New Mexicans who for religious purposes oppose anything that will give equal rights to same sex couples. Sun Cal TIDDs have nothing to do with it - separate issues.

Posted by: Danny Hernandez | Feb 26, 2009 10:16:57 PM

Danny, I agree. This post defies Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation is always the most accurate.

Read the substitute bill, folks.

It was designed to overcome every objection.

We need votes from Pinto, Lovejoy and Muñoz? Okay, it doesn't apply to the tribes and pueblos.

We need to prove this isn't just marriage by another name? Okay, it forces couples who are currently getting equal treatment using marriages from elsewhere to give up their marriage certificates to get that same equal treatment.

Catholic Charities might have to start paying its gay employees the same as their straight peers? Okay, 'religious entities' are exempt from 'recognizing' DPs.

Magically, with a few simple word changes, all the stated objections to the DP bill were solved.

The substitute bill was a fire sale, an attempt to give away whatever it took to get the votes. And there weren't enough buyers at the price.

I love a good conspiracy theory, but give me a break. Compared to the horse trading that went on right in front of me, I don't feel driven to find the hidden plot. Our advocates pulled a bait and switch in the open--and failed anyway.

So what's next?

Posted by: PhoenixRising | Feb 26, 2009 10:39:59 PM

I wondered who had it in for Cisco, and why, when I saw the article in the Albuquerque Journal recently trying to make him look unethical. I hadn't known that he fought so valliantly against the TIDDS. It makes sense now. But why is Jerry Ortiz y Pino for them? I thought he was ethical, and for getting New Mexico more taxes for needed services.

Posted by: Michelle Meaders | Feb 26, 2009 11:19:41 PM


Its more complicated than simple pay back politics -

DP and TIDDS are both tied together but in a different way than the author proposes. The whole mess started quite a while ago and really got going with the formation of a group to get Jennings re-elected as Senate Pres. That was the key event and was driven by SunCal's TIDD - everything else is based on individual interest. Lopez et al. got their TIDD, B. Sanchez et al. stopped DP, and the Republicans got to stick it to Progressive Democrats.

Don't kid yourself Lopez helped seal the death of DP early on when Jennings won re-election. Anybody that voted for Jennings helped kill DP and get SunCal's TIDD passed.

If we get rid of Jennings, Lopez, and Sanchez things will change. Looks to me that the LGBT Community, clean Government Folks and the anti-TIDDS people have lots in common. Perhaps its time we talk -

Posted by: mwfolsom | Feb 27, 2009 9:01:37 AM

This really goes back to Cisco McSorley joining with Richard Romero and Republican senators to get rid of the corrupt Manny Aragon back in 2001. The machine and patron Democrats never forgave that. They are the same people fighting for the Sun Cal TIDDs and against ethics cleanups in the senate.

Wake up people. They have it all planned out. They "allow" senators like Linda Lopez and Michael Sanchez to vote for DP and other progressive measures because they've already worked it out that enough votes will be there to defeat these things. It's a strategy.

Anyone who thinks there's no strategy to protect the big money connections that run the senate are not paying attention. The same people are involved in threatening and taking legal actions against the nonprofits that are (or were) getting the word out on the connection between votes and campaign donations. These people detest that some of their best crooks got beaten last election. They are out for revenge and you can see it on display on many votes. Linda Lopez pretends to be progressive but she is one of the worst in working for the moneyed interests.

If you refuse to see the connections between all this you don't understand the depth and power of the crooks in the senate.

Posted by: wake up people | Feb 27, 2009 9:35:19 AM

This company has a history of buying votes. They do it wherever they can to use your money to make money for themselves. Here in Anaheim we rode them out of town on a rail. I don't think that they will ever be allowed to build in our city again. You can always do a recall or vote the politicians who took money from them out of office. Your vote does count.

Posted by: Stan | Feb 27, 2009 10:09:47 AM

This is a bit belated--I was in Roswell when I found out the defeat of SB 12, and I was so upset that I had an accident on my way to the meeting I drove to Roswell for. Nothing major, but i have had to deal with a totaled car and insurance adjustors.

Anyway, there is still a chance to at least defeat the TIDDs bill, isn't there? It has to go to the House now. Anyone have any idea how Speaker Lujan feels about it?

Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Feb 28, 2009 5:32:10 PM

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