Mario Burgos

Clear thinking and straight talk from the top of a mountain.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's A Good Question

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I heard Lt. Governor Diane Denish on the campaign trail saying, "Now is not the time to raise taxes."  All too often politicians say one thing on the campaign trail and do an entirely different thing when they are elected to the office for which they are campaigning.

Looks like we don't even have to wait to elect the Lt. Governor to see her live up to that long tradition of saying one thing and doing another.  Consider this from a recent press release by GOP candidate for Governor Susana Martinez:

Denish initially claimed to oppose an "across-the-board tax on all food." That sounded to me like a cleverly-worded statement that left the door open to a "partial" tax increase on "certain" foods (like maybe tortillas, for example, as was proposed during the regular session). So in January,  [http://cts.vresp.com/c/?SusanaMartinezforGov/b794e4993b/c534fc8f02/dc0b33a94e] I called on her to clarify.

Her response? Silence.

Sure enough, as the "partial" reinstatement of the food tax was flying though the legislature and she was presiding over the state Senate, she did nothing.

And just last week, Denish was acting Governor... As acting Governor, she even signed legislation.

So, that raises this question: If Denish is so opposed to the food tax, and she was acting Governor, why didn't she take the opportunity to show real leadership and VETO the food tax increase?
It's a good question.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Let's See the Proof

The Governor's office and Lt. Governor Diane Denish appear to be in a he said / she said squabble about the state's failure to land a Race to the Top education reform grant from the Obama administration:

Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia said that despite Denish's interest in education, she declined repeated invitations to help develop the proposal.
        

"Her only involvement was to write a letter in support of the state's proposal, which she praised as being 'innovative,'" Ray-Garcia said.
        

"Now, for whatever reason, she has decided to attack the hard work of a lot of New Mexicans, including Secretary Garcia and her staff, who dedicated a lot of time and resources into this proposal. It was a strong proposal and Governor Richardson was proud to spend considerable time in Washington D.C. last week lobbying Secretary Duncan on its merits."

Denish spokesman James Hallinan said Denish was never invited to participate in the grant-writing process. 
Now, I admit to being a bit curious as to whom is telling the truth here. And, as it was pointed out to me by one reader, this should be relatively easy to prove one way or the other. Maybe Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia would like to send us a copy of the emails or memos that were sent to the Lt. Governor inviting her to help develop the proposal, or maybe a copy of one of the written responses where she "declined repeated inivtations."


Alternately, maybe the Lt. Governor's spokesman, James Hallinan could send us a copy of the request the Lt. Governor made to actually be involved with the proposal writing. I'm just saying, if one of you is telling the truth, please back it up with a little written evidence.


As a relative tangent, you've got to love the fact that teachers' union representative actually wrote a letter AGAINST the state's request for $160 million from the feds:
And while the state's chances probably weren't helped by a letter from Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein criticizing the state's application, that likely wasn't a determining factor. 
It may not have been a determining factor, but I do hope that when we have a second special session this year because revenue is less than projected, our state legislatures take note that the union went out of their way to keep money for education from coming into the state.  Education cuts in the amount of $160 million should absolutely be on the table if a second special session is called.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

New Mexico Democrats Have a Problem

Last week, I attended an event that had, among others, Lt. Governor Diane Denish as a speaker. To the delight of myself and the small business audience in attendance, the Lt Governor said, and I paraphrase, "Now is not the time to raise taxes. It is time for the government to do what the private sector has been forced to do and control spending."

Now considering that Lt. Governor Denish is usually considerably to the left of me, and that her campaign for Governor is well-funded, it can only be concluded that her internal polling is telling her that supporting tax increase, any tax increases, right now would be the equivalent to political suicide.

And, herein lies the problem...
More details on tax hikes and spending cuts in a new state budget plan emerged Sunday as New Mexico lawmakers prepared to return to the Capitol today for a special session on the budget.
        

The plan, hammered out behind closed doors by top-ranking House and Senate Democrats, would increase the state's gross receipts tax, raise the tax on cigarettes and have New Mexico cities reinstate a portion of the gross receipts tax on food items that was repealed six years ago. 
Yup, leave it to the Democrats to propose a slew of new taxes as families are struggling to survive. If these tax increases are passed, they are going to hurt campaign efforts of every Democrat running for office during this election cycle. Mind you, that's not something that's particularly upsetting to me, but for a strategic standpoint its interesting to watch how this is playing out. 

As a limited government guy, I wouldn't mind seeing some taxes cut for a variety of reasons I've outlined over the years.  But, in the current economy, I would be willing to settle for no new taxes. The Democrats seem to be operating as though it is business as usual (i.e. let's find another incremental tax to pass).  But, there is nothing usual about the situation in which we all find ourselves.


Right now, Lt. Governor Denish is trying to emerge from Governor Richardson's shadow and define herself as a leader in her own right. Of course, taking a stand against new taxes when her Democratic colleagues are pushing for them is setting her up to appear either:


a) Lacking in leadership and the ability to influence policy.


OR


b) Saying what the people want to hear in public and privately supporting the taxation of the masses.

Either way, New Mexico Democrats, from the Lt. Governor on down, have a big problem.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Richardson Approval Numbers in Free Fall

The Teflon Governor is Teflon no more.

We're going to have our New Mexico poll results out starting tomorrow- perhaps the most interesting thing we found is that Bill Richardson has become one of the least popular Governors in the country, with 63% of voters in the state disapproving of him to only 28% approving. He's even in negative territory among Democrats at a 42/47 spread.

I've always been amazed by Governor Bill Richardson's early popularity. Despite the rhetoric, the "successes" of this Administration have been nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on for days, but you can just hit the appropriate label button below and read it all without me repeating it.

So, what does this all mean for the Democratic hopefuls during this upcoming election year.  Well, right now it looks like Richardson Administration #2, Lt. Governor Diane Denish, is still polling out ahead... barely:

Where New Mexico departs from its regional counterparts is that it still looks favored to vote Democratic in its most significant statewide race this year. Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish leads her top Republican opponent, Pete Domenici Jr., by a 45-40 margin and has leads of 14-18 points over the rest of the GOP field.

Denish is by far the best known of the candidates running, with 41% of voters in the state holding a positive opinion of her to just 34% who see her negatively.
 Keep in mind, the Lt. Governor has been campaigning for this position for going on two years. So, I don't know that those  numbers are anything to celebrate about - especially, considering Pete Domenici Jr. just got in the race a couple of weeks ago.

It's going to be very hard for the Lt. Governor to start disengaging herself from the Governor after Denish has been so silent for so long. Only 34% of the voters see her negatively right now, but let's be realistic.  She has operated in the shadow of Governor for the last eight years. His failed policies are bringing him down very quickly.  It's not going to be very long before that same problem is encountered by Richardson's #2. This is particularly true when we consider that the Governor spent so much time out of state during his Presidential dream chasing, that the state was actually being run by Lt. Governor Diane Denish.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Denish-Come-Lately

Denish-Come-Lately

Noun

Singular
Denish-come-lately

Plural
Denish-come-latelies
Denish-come-lately (plural Denish-come-latelies)
  1. (idiomatic) A newcomer; a novice; an upstart
 Example in Common Usage:

Considering her complicit silence for seven plus years as Lt. Governor and many more years before that as the Chairman of the Democratic Party, many might consider Diane Denish's election year decision to become an open government advocate something of a Denish-come-lately phenomenon.

It's been more than half a decade, all of which Lt. Governor Diane Denish has occupied the number two seat in one of the most corrupt and backroom dealing administrations this state has ever seen, since I've lamented the fact that how the administration spends taxpayer dollars is done in secrecy.

Now that election season is in full swing, Governor Richardson's number two is trying to reposition herself as a "Champion of Sunshine."  Well, she may be able to fool some folks, but come November the voters are not likely to forget that when it came to letting the sun shine in this scandal plagued administration, Lt. Governor Diane Denish her time hiding in the clouds.

Even as recently as a few months ago, when this administration refused to identify those the 59 administration faithful who were supposedly being cut (probably to hide the fact that some were being moved to other positions), the sound of Lt. Governor Denish's silence was deafening.

Sorry, but being a Denish-Come-Lately to the sunshine brigade is just not going to cut it in November.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Confirmed

When considering the polling prior to the outcome of the recent Albuquerque mayoral election, I noted that a strong anti-incumbent sentiment was in play:

In 2008, incumbents were swept out of office. Sure, it was a huge Democratic sweep. But, it was just as much an anti-incumbent sweep. People wanted new blood. They voted for "change."

The Obama administration and the Democrats now in control of the Congress misunderstood this vote for change to mean the country was endorsing a shift to the left and bigger government programs. This wasn't and isn't the case at all. The vast majority of Americans are not extremist - neither right nor left. Instead, they are firmly planted in the center.

So, the change they were voting for was against the incumbents, and the direction in which they were taking our country, which ironically enough was towards bigger government programs. Now, it seems to me that the anti-incumbent sentiment has not subsided. It is still alive and well.

My observation regarding the anti-incumbent sentiment seems to be confirmed by a recent Pew Research Group study:

According to the Pew Research Group, the number of people who would like to see their own U.S Representative re-elected has reached a low point — the same type of low point seen in the 1994 and 2006 midterms when the parties in power suffered large losses.

“About half (52 percent) of registered voters would like to see their own representative re-elected next year, while 34 percent say that most members of Congress should be re-elected,” according to Pew. “Both measures are among the most negative in two decades of Pew Research surveys.”

And, in more bad news for Democrats, Republicans are currently much more enthusiastic about voting in 2010.


I'd argue that these results also apply to the Governor's office and any swing legislative districts in 2010. Spend time talking to people about politics, and you'll see its true. Its probably the reason behind State Senator Eichenberg's recent candid observation:

He wrote that Eichenberg told the crowd at the Southwest Learning Center in Albuquerque that due to Denish's "complacency or complicity" with the ‘pay-to-play’ atmosphere surrounding the administration of Governor Bill Richardson, and standing quietly behind him," that he was unwilling to invest a half million dollars in a 'losing campaign.'

Bralley writes Eichenberg said, "I looked her square in the eye when I said that. I told her I didn’t think she was going to win.”

I'd say the numbers support his assertion.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Siphoning off Money

I've noted before in response to some comments that I don't believe that Lt. Governor Diane Denish is corrupt. However, I do believe that she made a conscious decision during her seven years at Governor Richardson's side to just go along to get along. She opted to look the other way as corruption flourished and taxpayer funds were misappropriated and mismanaged.

Nothing demonstrates this more than the facts that Jim Scarantino has uncovered by doing a little digging around and then a little more digging around. Now, defenders of Mrs. Denish can call Scarantino names and try to dismiss him as part of some GOP ploy, but it doesn't change the facts. Facts, I think are captured perfectly by Heather Wilson in a recent note on Facebook:

"I served in Congress when we passed the economic stimulus bill in 2003. The funds we sent to states were to cover essential government services and unfunded federal mandates during a recession. Today's new revelations suggest that Lieutenant Governor Denish diverted those funds to pay contract staff for activities related to Senator John Kerry's Presidential campaign.

This is obviously inappropriate. It's time for the state legislature, federal and state auditors to decide they won't tolerate this kind of wasteful self-dealing in Santa Fe anymore and initiate an audit. It's pretty clear Mrs. Denish has a lot of explaining to do."

Now, fellow blogger Heath Haussaman, for whom I have the utmost respect, has noted that he's at a loss as to what's the big deal:

There’s been much ado this week following a report from a new Web site about the way Lt. Gov. Diane Denish spent federal stimulus funds she was given in 2003 by Gov. Bill Richardson.

I’ve been investigating the situation for two days and, frankly, I can’t figure out what all the fuss is about.

And, if you're focused on the amount of dollars spent five years ago to a contract employee to do PR on some questionable activities, he's right. I mean in a state where it seems not a month goes by without a news story breaking about millions of taxpayer dollars being stolen, who has time to pay attention much less care to what's got to be less than $1,000 of misspent money?

Right? Wrong.

See the problem is not whether or not Lt. Governor Denish took $500 from one account when she should of taken from another. Sure, that's wrong, and she blew it on day one by not taking ownership for the mistake and opting instead to go after the messenger. But, that's not the bigger issue here.

The bigger issue is the stated purpose of the $225,000 gift handed from Governor Richardson to the Lt. Governor. It was part of a stimulus package in 2003 "to cover essential government services and unfunded federal mandates during a recession."

Hmm, kinda like the situation we find ourselves in now.

I don't see the Lt. Governor getting run out on a rail for what she did (then again she wouldn't get very far on the rail). However, I DO think she failed a crucial test. No matter how you slice it, public relations, polling and chauffeuring are not essential government services. For a former Chairman of the Democratic Party, it's understandable how they may seem like essential political services, but they are not by any measure essential government services.

Now, consider the fact that the stimulus money flowing into New Mexico in 2003 was chump change compared to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Here are some 2003 numbers in case you don't have them handy:

The federal government's May 2003 stimulus package included $20 billion in fiscal relief for the states. $10 billion was provided through a temporary 15-month increase of 2.95% in each state's Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP). The other $10 billion was in the form of revenue sharing, i.e., a "no strings attached" block grant to the states based on population. Both of these mechanisms allowed federal fiscal relief to flow to the states very quickly without the need for the establishment of any new programs or the submission and approval of plans for using the money.

That's right the entire redistribution was $20 billion as opposed to $787 billion now being handed out to states. According to former governor Toney Anaya, this round of stimulus spending is supposed to bring $1.4 billion to New Mexico alone.

And, therein lies what all the fuss is about....

The situation today is by all accounts drastically more dire than it was six years ago. In fact, it is quite possible that this is the worse recession since the Great Depression. Even if those pushing for tax increases get their way, non-essential government services are going to have to be cut.

Lt Governor Diane Denish wants us to elect her to be our next Governor during these difficult times. Yet, when she had a chance once before to use stimulus funds to cover essential government services, she chose instead to waste the funds on PR contracts, chauffeurs and polling.

With schools failing and unemployment rising, can we really afford four more years of leadership committed to siphoning off money from essential government services to fund political fancies?

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Shooting the Messenger is a Mistake

Jim Scarantino broke a story yesterday on the New Mexico Watchdog Website about Lt. Governor Diane Denish's misuse of federal funds that is getting a lot of attention:

Lt. Governor Diane Denish used $225,000 in federal funds to pay for a driver to shuttle her to meetings and press events, a contractor to take Christmas pictures and write Christmas cards, a lawyer to make hotel reservations, opinion polling and public relations services. The money was given to her for “various projects” by Governor Bill Richardson. The money came from unallocated federal fiscal stimulus funds transferred to the New Mexico treasury under the 2003 Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.

The fact that yet another misuse of federal funds by this Administration has emerged is not particularly surprising. Actually, it would be surprising to find an administration department or official that was not misusing federal funds. Luckily, we do have the New Mexico Watchdog to look into these inappropriate use of taxpayer money since the the defrauders are seeking to render useless the one state agency that can help uncover other violations of the public trust:

The Legislature and governor reduced the general fund money appropriated to the auditor’s office by 14 percent earlier this year, telling the auditor to replace that money with other cash. Now, bills awaiting action from the governor would cut an additional 4 percent from the auditor’s budget and take $500,000 from the fund the state auditor is required to use to supplement its funding.

The loss of that $500,000 would amount to an 81 percent reduction in the so-called “audit fund” – the very fund the Legislature told the auditor earlier this year to use to make up for the 14 percent reduction in its general fund appropriation.

The sum of those budget reductions would plunge the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) – the agency charged with ensuring that state government isn’t plagued by fraud, waste and abuse — “into a budget crisis,” auditor spokeswoman Caroline Buerkle said.


Oh, I know we're in a budget crisis. But, that is precisely why we should not be gutting the State Auditor's office. The one office in state government that has of late actually been looking after the public interest. Want to know who is misspending our money? I'd suggest looking at those who are most eager to see the State Auditor budget cut.

Back to Lt. Governor Diane Denish's problem. No, the problem is not the misuse of federal funds, the problem is, that in what has become the standard modus operandi of this Administration, Lt. Governor Diane Denish is attacking the messenger instead of owning the mistake and making an amends:

Denish's office provided records to the Journal late Wednesday. The office also sent a statement from Denish chief of staff Joshua Rosen, saying, "The accusations made by this right-wing organization and advanced by Republican candidates for governor are reckless manipulations of the truth.

Ok, you can call Jim Scarantino a lot of things, but right-wing organization is not one of them:

In 2000, Jim co-chaired the McCain for President effort in New Mexico. In 2004, in protest of the administration of George W. Bush, Jim switched to the Democratic Party. Since then, he has continued to support the person he believes is the best candidate for the office, left the GOP. Jim is currently registered Independent, but reserves the right to register with either party to support the right person in a party primary.

Anti-establishment guy? Yes. Right-wing mouthpiece? Absolutely not. [A disclosure here... I get along well with Jim, but he has oscillated over the years between attacking me and making nice. We are currently in the making nice period.]

And, attacking the messenger instead of taking ownership is not the only mistake being made by Lt. Governor Denish:

Denish's chief of staff, Joshua Rosen, said all the funds were spent for legitimate purposes. A list of talking points included in documents the office gave The New Mexican said, "The money that was given to this office under the federal act represented less than 1 percent given to the state."

Talked about your mixed messages. First, they try to pretend there is nothing wrong with the misuse of funds, and then they try and minimize the size of the crime. Sorry folks, that's just not going to fly. Just because this isn't as bad as, say the fraud perpetrated by the former Secretary of State, doesn't mean it isn't just as wrong.

Lt. Governor Denish had an opportunity here, and she blew it. She could have shown leadership, owned the mistake and made it right. Instead, she did what this Administration always does, try to dodge the bullet and shift blame.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Note to the Democratic Party

With Heather Wilson's announcement yesterday that she will not run for Governor in 2010, there is only one thing that is crystal clear about the gubernatorial race... The Democratic Party of New Mexico has a messaging problem:

“Regardless of who emerges from the Republican primary, the lack of experience in their entire slate of Republican candidates should deeply concern New Mexicans,” Geise said. “Now is not the time for on-the-job training. We need a proven leader to help New Mexico families weather these tough times, and none of the Republicans running come close to meeting that challenge.”

What's the problem with this message you ask? Well, it tries to define Lt. Governor Diane Denish as a proven leader. Of course, the only proven elected leadership Lt. Governor Denish has is as the second highest ranking member of the scandal plagued Richardson Administration. Heck, if you factor in the Governor's out of state travel schedule, especially in the last four years, you might even argue that she has significant experience as acting Governor of a scandal plagued administration. Problem is you'd be arguing against Lt. Governor Denish herself:

Denish has said, in an attempt to distance herself from the scandal-plagued Richardson administration, “There is only one governor at a time.”

So, which is it? Is she a proven leader, or someone who spent the last seven years failing to prove leadership? Let's say we give the Lt. Governor the benefit of the doubt and choose the former over the latter. Well, then we have a leader who has proven that she can be at the helm of the most corrupt, financially bankrupt and policy flawed administration in the history of New Mexico.

Our roads are crumbling, our schools are failing and not a week passes without someone tied to the administration getting indicted or resigning in shame. If this is what counts as "proven leadership" in the Democratic Party, then I think you'll find most New Mexicans have just about had enough with the Denish/Richardson brand of proven leadership.

On the other hand, if we are to accept the Lt. Governor's claim that the terrible mismanagement of the public trust belongs to Governor Bill Richardson, then she has a failure to prove leadership problem on her hands. See, over the last seven years, Lt. Governor Denish sat side by side with Governor Richardson and told New Mexicans that all was well in the Land of Enchantment. Now, we all know that all was not well. In fact, as we have spiraled further and further into crisis, one thing has becoming increasingly clear there has been a decisive lack of leadership shown within the ranks of the Richardson Administration.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Education Cuts Put in Perspective

The education establishment is up in arms and willing to go to any length to fight education cuts during the special session. Admittedly, part of the problem is the way that cuts are proposed. Rather than take responsibility for past irresponsible actions, the Richardson/Denish Administration like to propose "across the board" cuts:

Richardson has proposed a 3.5 percent cut to state agencies and a 1.5 percent cut to public schools, which would amount to about a $40 million reduction in the state budget for kindergarten through 12th grade.

Taking this approach to reigning in a budget gone wild is irresponsible at best. Yet, a recent special audit report released by State Auditor Hector Balderas show just how much waste is in education:

The money involved in the transfer to the discretionary account came from funds meant for technology and transportation, Balderas said. About $3,500 of it came from federal Head Start money, in violation of the federal rules, the audit states.

Among the items allegedly purchased by the northern New Mexico school district through the discretionary account were:
  • More than $2,800 in lobbying expenses.
  • $200 spent on 20 bags of beef jerky for lobbying at the Legislature last March.
  • $742 spent on food at the Bull Ring in Santa Fe for a legislative meeting last February.
  • More than $900 spent on flowers for funerals and other events.
  • Jackets for all district staff for staff appreciation in January 2007 costing $3,299. More jackets for staff and also for legislators in March 2007, costing $290.
  • Gift certificates from Wal-Mart for three retiring employees in May 2006 costing a total of $150.
  • A $302 gift from Zales Outlet for the district's retiring superintendent in August 2006.
  • Another $1,200 for items for conference rooms from a vendor called "Nambe" in August 2008.
  • For district staff: more than $1,300 for hams in December 2007, more than $1,600 for turkeys in February 2009 and more than $900 for denim shirts in April 2009.
  • And more than $2,400 spent on jackets for district leadership in March 2009.
The audit said that depositing money into the discretionary account resulted in less money available for school district operations. Auditors looked into transactions from the discretionary account from fiscal years 2006 to present.

Consider that's just one finding, and it accounts for almost 1.5% of the district's annual budget. Let's roll up our sleeves and get the job done.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Now That's Interesting

It's like the legislature just woke from a seven year slumber, and decided to, well, decided to start acting like a legislature. For seven years, those controlling the legislature have rubber stamped every ridiculously large, bank-breaking budget proposed by the Richardson/Denish Administration.

Now, the piper wants to be paid, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the Richardson/Denish Administration have created, long-term structural problems for New Mexico. But hey, don't take my word for it. Instead, read what Lt. Governor Diane Denish has to say about the failed policies of her administration:

We know temporary “band aids” applied to remedy our budget shortfalls are not the answer to long-term, structural problems with the state budget. We must craft solutions that work for future generations of New Mexicans.

In other words, what the Lt. Governor is trying to sell us is, "I got us into this mess, so I can get us out of this mess." Of course, we know that's not the way it works in the real world. In the real world, when people make bad decision after bad decision that results in the virtual collapse of their organization, they can expect to be fired.

Now in case you're wondering what type of bad decisions have been made by Rchardson/Denish Administration, you have to look no further than some of the proposals that are being put forth by their Democratic peers in the legislature to fix the "long-term, structural problems". For example, consider this press release received from Representative Cote:

Rep. Cote introduced HB24 on the floor of the House today. The proposed bill calls for the Governor to reduce the number of exempt employees in cabinet departments and state agencies with salaries over $50,000. According to the bill, cutting at least 180 of these positions would save $8.1 million for the rest of this year and $19 million in the next fiscal year.

“Under the current fiscal conditions, all state expenditures must be analyzed and none excluded. I’ve noticed significant growth in the number of exempt positions in the last several years and the incumbents of which could be placed into permanent classified positions. My bill is an attempt to reduce the size of the state’s payroll. I feel the state government has grown too large for the revenue available in the state of New Mexico,” Rep. Cote (D-Dona Ana, Otero-53) stated.

During the last regular session the Governor said he would trim salaries of 470 exempt employees but, in the past year alone, the number of Governor exempt employees has risen by 27 positions from 789 to 816, while the number of state classified employees has stayed the same. Over the past seven years the Governor’s exempt positions has risen by 281 positions.

That's right, Lt. Governor Denish has stood silently by as her partner in crime, Governor Bill Richardson, has created and handed out new government jobs as payback for political favors. This practice, among many others has led to the long term, structural problems with our state budget, that now threatens the financial viability of education, social and infrastructure programs.

Of course, Lt. Governor Denish would rather we not point fingers and blame (read: personal animosity):

Legislators should act quickly, she said–putting “personal animosity aside”–because the state doesn’t have “time or money to waste”

Of course, she's right. The state doesn't have time or money to waste... Diane Denish and Bill Richardson have spent seven years wasting our money and our time, and the proverbial cupboard is now bare.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Not Enough Screaming Insults


Must have been an unbelievably slow news day. The front page of today's online Albuquerque Journal has an "article" which is basically a free ad for Lt. Governor Diane Denish's request for contributions:

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is asking New Mexicans to restore civility to state politics — by contributing money to her gubernatorial campaign.

In an e-mail sent out to supporters Wednesday, Denish, the sole Democrat to enter the 2010 race thus far, said many New Mexicans have told her they're tired of the name-calling and negativity of current politics.

"Stand with me against the screaming and the insults," said Denish, who added that a contribution of $25, $50 or $100 would help her "put her foot down and say 'enough is enough!'"

Sorry folks this isn't news. There are lots of candidates out there asking for money, and unless the Journal plans on giving each and every one of them equal time, I think they ought to revisit their editorial policy.

As to the content of the Journal's in-kind contribution to Lt. Governor Diane Denish's campaign efforts, I can't help but wonder what exactly the Lt. Governor wants everyone to stop screaming about? Does she want New Mexicans to stop screaming about the fact that this administration's tenure has been marked by more criminal indictments and pay to play scandals than any other administration in recent history? Maybe she wants New Mexicans to stop screaming about a public education system that is failing more and more children every year?

As a former Chairman of the Democratic Party, does the Lt Governor find it insulting that a member of her own party would point out that OVER A BILLION DOLLARS is spent without required audits. Or, could it be that Lt. Governor Denish finds it insulting that she is being held accountable for failing to blow the whistle as tens of millions of dollars in taxpayers funds disappeared because of highly questionable investment practices.

Sorry, but if you ask me, there's not near enough screaming going on in the Land of Enchantment. In fact, I hope the "screaming" grows louder, and I'm really not going to lose any sleep if the crooks, or their enablers, are insulted.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Ethics Reform Doesn't Work for Criminals

Advocating ethics reform legislation to solve the problem of criminality among our elected officials is just foolishness. It's a blatant bait and switch tactic by politicians who don't have the backbone to blow the whistle on their own:

The state Democratic Party’s vice chair, Annadelle Sanchez, declined to talk about the potential political fallout from the corruption scandals, but released this statement:

“The people of New Mexico deserve a government that is open, honest and transparent. Good government is not a partisan issue, so instead of pointing fingers, Democrats and Republicans should work together to bring about the type of reform our system needs. I’m proud of Democrats like Diane Denish and (state Auditor) Hector Balderas that are leading that fight.”

Richardson has not released a statement about the indictments. Denish on Wednesday renewed calls for ethics reform, but her office said the Democrats’ likely 2010 gubernatorial nominee was not available for comment Thursday on the political aspect of the indictments.

First things first, Hector Balderas, our State Auditor, is leading the fight to get criminals behind bars. He seems to be doing his job well and with little concern whether the elected criminals have an R or D attached to their name.

As much as I personally think Lt. Governor Diane Denish is a nice lady who has done a lot for New Mexico through her association with the Daniels Fund and other not-for-profit organizations, when it comes to leading the charge for rooting out corrupt politicians, she gets an "F" on her report card.

Let's face the facts:
  • She was the Chairman of the Democratic Party at a time when many corrupt political criminals were at their strongest.
  • She has been silent about the rampant pay-to-play of the Richardson administration
  • She has not stepped and asked for an investigation into a single incident of corruption
Do I think Lt. Governor Denish has been robbing New Mexicans like many of her colleagues? No. But, nor do I think she has stood up for us either. "Renewed calls for ethics reforms" is nothing but smoke and mirrors designed to take our eye off the ball.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Denish's Silence to be Her Undoing

It's everywhere. Governor Bill Richardson got the boot from the cabinet secretary position because the FBI is not able to give Richardson a “clean political bill of health.” Do I think this is the first step to re-uniting Bill Richardson and Manny Aragon? No. However, I do think this is a devastating blow for Lt. Governor Diane Denish.

Lt. Governor Denish was poised to become the first female governor of New Mexico, but in one fail swoop that has all changed. My guess is that Governor Richardson will now finish out his term and attempt to save what is left of his legacy. That means switching all of those reporters he has gathered over the years into overdrive efforts to redirect the focus away from the indictments and on to more flattering topics.

Of course, the Lt. Governor could save her political future by coming out on the attack and blow the whistle on Richardson's antics, but that's just not her style. Sure, there was that whole pinching episode...

The lieutenant governor of New Mexico, Diane Denish was quoted in the Albuquerque Journal saying she avoids standing or sitting near Richardson because of his physical manner, which she said was not improper but was "annoying." The governor, she said, "pinches my neck. He touches my hip, my thigh, sort of the side of my leg."

On repeated occasions, Richardson has been pressed by reporters or Democratic activists on whether his personal conduct can withstand public scrutiny.

But, even then, the Lt. Governor had been careful not to call anything Governor Richardson did "improper." She preferred to think of it as simply "annoying." As this scandal plays out, most likely the final major scandal of the Richardson administration, expect the Lt. Governor to remain silent on the impropriety of pinching donors.

After all, it's no secret that Lt. Governor Denish has been rather aggressive in her own rights in securing a rather impressive war chest over these last few years. But, as one of the Lt. Governor's esteemed colleagues pointed out, taking large sums of money is only about charging for access.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Make That 21

A couple of days ago, Kate Nash noted that 15-20 people are interested in the Lt. Governor job, once Diane Denish vacates to take over as Governor - a position she has filled for a very large part of these past two years while our current Governor has been out exploring various job opportunities:
However, Denish gave no hints as to whether she had a favorite, saying simply in an interview that she is "going to appoint that person when there's a vacancy in that office."

You've probably heard the same names I have: Lawrence Rael, Hector Balderas, Lucky Varela, John Garcia, Joe Maestas, Dan Lopez. A new one I heard the other day is Pojoaque Gov. George Rivera, and then came Stuwart Paisano's name as another possibility.

But it seems there are others, according to Denish's numbers. Any women contenders? Anyone we never heard of? Send me your nominations now. . .
Ok, I don't know about any female contenders, but a quick review of this list makes it clear to me that it is in desperate need of a Republican. Now, I've got quite a few other pans in the fire right now. However, I am willing to put them on hold and accept the nod as Lt. Governor.

Now, I know it's a tough job that will require all of my attention. After all, the day to day responsibilities include.... um, consist of.... uh, well, let's just call it a tough job and leave it at that.

I'm up to the task and am willing to serve. Now, I haven't I had a chance to talk to Lt. Governor Denish about me filling the position, but I'm sure once she reads this post, she will quickly see that I am the only qualified Republican on the final list of contenders. As such, if our soon to Governor opts not select me, then we'll all know that it partisan politics as usual at play.

Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Mexico Finance Authority

Let's assume that Governor Richardson is not indicted by the grand jury over the CDR pay to play scandal. Assuming that's the case, his confirmation by the Senate will still go through, and he'll be departing the Land of Enchantment for the Beltway.

However, we still have a problem. The New Mexico Finance Authority Board contains no less than four cabinet secretaries as well as the State Investment Officer:

Ron Curry

Secretary

Environment Department


Katherine Miller

Secretary

Department of Finance & Administration


Fred Mondragon

Secretary
Economic Development Department

Joanna Prukop, Board Secretary

Secretary

Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources


Gary Bland
State Investment Officer
State Investment Council
So, even if you were to believe that it was just a bizarre coincidence that a company would be awarded with a $1.5 million fee after making two large contributions to the Governor, the fact remains that no one can find the contract, and those cabinet secretaries who are supposed to be looking out for us were at the very least negligent in their duties.

Which raises the questions, if the Governor leaves, and Lt. Governor Denish takes over, will she immediately remove all of those listed above from their positions?

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Good to Know They're Working Hard Together

With New Mexico facing a half billion dollar shortfall due to a gubernatorial spending spree the likes of which New Mexico has never before seen. It is good to see that the dynamic duo are working hard together...

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Gov. Bill Richardson have been trying to find time for a one-on-one meeting, but it’s been difficult.

“He’s out of town this week,” Denish said of Richardson on Wednesday. “I have a meeting scheduled next week. We are trying to maybe have a meeting this Friday. It depends on his schedule.”
Well, at least they try to fit in a quick meeting to deal with the budget crisis on those rare occasions when the visiting Governor's schedule allows.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Moving to the Left

I've got admit. I'm at a loss as to what exactly this recent statement by our soon to be Governor could mean (subscription):
Speaking at Albuquerque Interfaith's 15th anniversary celebration, Denish said government will need advocacy groups like Interfaith to help retool an ailing state and national economy.

"For so long, we thought business made the sole determination about who gets the jobs, but what you and I know is that the community helps to make those decisions, by working together and by organizing," she told about 150 people at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

Albuquerque Interfaith is a nonpartisan community organization that includes 31 member congregations, unions, public schools and nonprofits. The organization advocates, among its economic stimulus proposals, workforce training programs and services for trainees that include child care, counseling and transportation.
Ok, now this is a scary thought... businesses will not get to make the decisions about whom they hire to fill jobs. Am I reading this wrong? The left has historically tried to make community synonymous with government (think: "it takes a village"). Does Lt. Governor Denish envision a future where the government dictates who has what job? I sure hope not. I believe that experiment already failed.

I looked for a website for Albuquerque Interfiath, but it ididn't come up in the first few Google returns. However, this did.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

The Backhanded Compliments Just Keep Coming

So, Barb from Democracy for New Mexico left a comment to yesterday's post about Governor Richardson failing to do the right thing with regard to vacating his position, so that Lt. Governor Denish can do the job she is inevitably going to inherit:
Plus no-one in their right mind would leave their elected post before being confirmed by the Senate for a Cabinet post.
Yeah. People who care about the company/organization/state they are leading step aside all the time to make way for new leadership before their next job is in the bag. People who believe in the leadership skills of their successor are more than willing to turn over the reins. But, therein lies the problem.

Although I am more than willing to give our soon to be Governor the benefit of the doubt that she has what it takes make the tough decisions to turn around the financial pickle in which we now find ourselves, it doesn't seem our outgoing Governor feels the same (subscription):
Both Richardson and Denish assured reporters the transition will be smooth, but said Richardson won't cede authority until he leaves.

"On some of the major budget items, obviously I'll make the decisions but she's going to have a role in them," said Richardson, who was nominated by Obama on Wednesday.
Are we witnessing an incredible display of machismo here or what? Where's the outrage Barb? This is worth repeating:
Obviously I'll make the decisions but she's going to have a role in them.
Governor Richardson is talking about our soon to be top executive the way that some people talk about incapacitated family members before putting them into a retirement home.
Denish, who was joined Thursday by her husband, Herb Denish, said she intends to make decisions on whether to retain members of Richardson's Cabinet on a case-by-case basis.

More urgent, she said, is addressing a budget shortfall that's ballooned to more than $500 million in the past three months.

"The people of New Mexico expect us to get down to business," Denish said.
Obviously, Lt Governor Denish understands the problem at hand - a half a billion dollar deficit. And, she's dead right, the people of New Mexico expect her and the legislature to get down to business. I mean who are we kidding here? The Governor hasn't been around to focus on the state for the last two years. Now, we're supposed to believe that while he's away "at least half the time" - his words - in Washington going through the confirmation process he's going to be able to "get down to business."
Although Richardson intends to call the shots while awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate, he said he'll mix some of Denish's proposals — such as implementing safeguards on payday lending — into the legislative agenda he'll present to state lawmakers on Jan. 20.

"We're going to have to incorporate some of her ideas on the issues she cares about in the budget," Richardson said.

He also voiced confidence in Denish's ability to lead the state.
WOW. Talk about your backhanded compliments. For goodness sake, "We're going to have to incorporate some of her ideas on the issues she cares about in the budget." Gotta love it. He has to incorporate some of her ideas. Could he be any less enthusiastic?

Let's get real here. Denish, not Richardson, is going to have to govern when this budget comes into being in June 2009. If he had "confidence in Denish's ability to lead the state," she'd be taking his ideas under advisement while making budget decisions - not the other way around.

This is a all a recipe for disaster and brings us full circle back to the heart of Barb's original comment. Whether it's okay to just let people stay in their current job while waiting for their next gig's contract to be signed.

Well, Barb let me tell you how this works in the real world. When you find out your current key employee is moving on, you wish them well and send them on their way. You don't wait until their new employer has finished crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's because it in THE EMPLOYEE'S best interest.

Make no mistake, Governor Bill Richardson works for us, the people of New Mexico, not the other way around. We hired him. We pay him. And as his employer, it's time for the people of New Mexico to wish Governor Richardson well, and show him the door. If we don't, we only have ourselves to blame when our problems are compounded because we find ourselves dealing with a key employee transition right in the middle of the most important legislative session in recent history.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

The "Me First" Commerce Secretary Nominee

60 Days. That's all we have. 60 Days to deal with a budget deficit likely to exceed a half a billion dollars. 60 Days for a whole slew of freshman legislators to figure it all out. 60 Days that will have a tremendous impact on the future of public education in New Mexico. And, guess who plans to throw a wrench into the whole system?
“This is by no means an easy decision and brings with it a mix of emotions. I am proud of what we have accomplished in New Mexico during the past six years and we’re not done yet. I will be here to deliver the State of the State address when the Legislature convenes on January 20. I will present an aggressive, responsible and balanced budget plan as well as a full slate of important initiatives. I will not resign as Governor until I am confirmed by the United States Senate, and until then I will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all New Mexicans.
Rather than step aside and let the next administration take on the challenges that face us, our outgoing Governor is going to stay in the saddle as long as he possibly can. Because... well, because he feels like it.

This will go down in history as the worse decision of his political career. Worse than the Wen Ho Lee fiasco. Worse than bankrupting our transportation system by building a train we can't afford. Worse than giving a billionaire upwards of a $100 million dollars to pursue space dreams.

Admittedly, as a partisan political player, I should be thrilled by Governor Richardson's actions. His commitment to keeping Lt. Governor Diane Denish from taking over the reigns during this time of crisis is tantamount to declaring, "the lady just can't do the job." It is the ultimate slap in the face.

The result of declining oil and gas revenues this year and into next mean that some very unpopular decisions are going to have to be made over the next two sessions, and our soon to be Governor Denish will be kept out of the loop. However, she will receive all of the blame.

So, as a partisan, I should be thrilled that Governor Richardson has practically ruined any chance of Diane Denish to become re-elected Governor in 2010. However, as a New Mexican, I am extremely dismayed. The next two years are going to be tough enough, and Richardson just made them tougher.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The "Me First" Governor's Final Snub

If Governor Bill Richardson is indeed appointed Commerce Secretary, then the big question that remains is whether for once he will put New Mexico before his own self interests:
"If the governor is called to the Cabinet, I'm ready to step in and lead. And there will be a very smooth transition," the woman who could soon be the state's first female governor said in her first news conference since word broke that Gov. Bill Richardson could be the next U.S. commerce secretary.

"It's an exciting challenge, and I'm ready for it," [Lt. Governor Diane] Denish told reporters before touring a veterans integration center in Albuquerque.


Later Monday, Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos referred questions about the commerce job to aides to President-elect Barack Obama, but said Richardson and Denish have spoken in general terms during the past week about the potential for a transition.

"Gov. Richardson believes the lieutenant governor is prepared to be a very good governor," added Gallegos — though he said Richardson is looking forward to delivering his annual State of the State Address to lawmakers Jan. 20.
And, there it is. That final parting shot at the Lt. Governor, and more importantly all New Mexicans... "Richardson is looking forward to delivering his annual State of the State Address to lawmakers Jan. 20. "

Really?

January 20th is the day when all eyes will be turned toward Washington D.C. Regardless of which way you voted, there is no denying that the inauguration of our nation's first African-American President is a momentous occasion.

Equally important, albeit on a more local scale, is the fact that January 20th would be the first date in New Mexico's history that the State of the State Address would be given by a female Governor. Yet, Governor Richardson is actually considering giving his farewell address on that date. Why?

What could an outgoing Governor, who has been only an infrequent visitor to the state over the last two years, possibly have to say that is so important? His years in office have set the stage for what promises to be one of New Mexico's most difficult economic periods, and no
self-aggrandizing parting words are going to alter that legacy.

The 2009 State of the State address is not going to be a time for looking back, but a time for facing the numerous hurdles ahead. The make-up of the Legislature in the Senate and the House has drastically changed - both on the Democratic and Republican sides. The budget outlook is looking bleaker everyday with oil and gas prices dropping precipitously from one moment to the next, and municipalities across the state are projecting budget shortfalls as a result of declining property and gross receipt tax revenues.

Yet, rather than giving New Mexicans a chance to hear what our new Governor plans to do about it, Governor Bill Richardson is planning to take the stage one more time. A man abandoning the ship as we head into the storm, and he wants to tell us how to navigate. If Richardson gives the 2009 State of the State, he will confirm what we've all known all along. It was never about us. It was always about him.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Speculation on Obama's New Mexico Appointment

Is Governor Bill Richardson going to take a cabinet secretary position in President-elect Obama's administration? I think it depends on which one he is offered. If Bill Richardson were offered the position of Secretary of State, I think he would jump at the chance. It's a high profile position in a tumultuous time that would allow him to travel the world and play the Diplomat - both things he loves to do.

However, I don't see him chomping at the bit for any of the other cabinet positions. Instead, if he serves on the transition team, it would be more likely for him to encourage our next President to appoint Senator Bingaman as Secretary of Energy.

Senator Bingaman has always been something of a policy wonk. He has served for a very long time as Chairman or ranking member of the energy committee. He was instrumental with Senator Domenici in crafting and passing the last energy bill, and after serving 25 years in the Senate, he is in the sunset of his career. So, why not go out with a bang?

We are at a critical juncture with regard to energy policy in this country, and being at the helm as Secretary of Energy during this historic time could provide a lasting legacy for Jeff Bingaman - a man who spent much of his political career in the shadows of Senator Pete Domenici.

What would Governor Richardson do if this were to happen? He would naturally appoint himself to the position of U.S. Senator. Normally, this goes over with voters like a ton of bricks. But, as much as it pains me to admit it, I think the voters of New Mexico would likely forgive Richardson this transgression, and he would gain membership in the world's most exclusive club that he could in all likelihood keep until the end of his career.

Lt. Governor Diane Denish would take over as Governor and appoint State Auditor Hector Balderas as Lt. Governor. Denish is going to be a formidable candidate in 2010, and adding a Hispanic Northerner like Balderas to the ticket will make her that much stronger. Their biggest problem will be overcoming the looming budget crisis that they will inherit from the departing Richardson.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has thought of this scenario. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that this scenario has crossed NM House Speaker Ben Lujan's mind:

If Gov. Bill Richardson is appointed to serve in the administration of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama - should Obama win Tuesday's general election - New Mexico could find itself reaping the benefits.

That's according to House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, a longtime Richardson ally who recently told the Journal a Washington D.C. job could be the governor's for the taking.

"I think if (Richarsdon) wants it, Senator Obama would find a place for him in the White House," Lujan said. "With him being in the Cabinet or being part of the national administration, it would be very beneficial to our state."

See, it makes perfect sense for Speaker Lujan to push for Richardson to take a position with the administration. With Richardson out of the way, Congressman-elect Ben Ray Lujan would be the Democrats natural choice to replace Bingaman when he does decide to retire. And, we all know that his father has always done a heck of a job of clearing out the candidate field for his son.

Of course, the biggest question is if Governor Richardson and Senator-elect Tom Udall are sworn into the Senate on the same day, who gets stuck with the role of the Junior Senator from New Mexico? On second thought, based on personalities, it's not hard to figure out who would steal the limelight from whom.

I usually resist making predictions, but it's not too difficult to envision this scenario playing out.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Denish Attacks GOP for Supporting Pueblo

In a bizarre twist that could only be described as a publicity stunt gone bad, Lt. Governor Diane Denish, NM Chair for Hillary Clinton, held a joint press conference with Obama supporter State Representative Al Park to criticize the Republican National Committee's (RNC) choice of Santa Ana Pueblo's Tamaya Resort.
Supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama stood shoulder-to-shoulder at a community center in Albuquerque's Barelas neighborhood, home to many low-income people, the while Republican state party chairmen met at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort at Santa Ana Pueblo.
Would Lt. Governor Denish have preferred that the RNC hold their Chairman's meeting in a downtown location as opposed to showing their support for the Native American community by choosing to introduce people from all over the nation and as far away as American Samoa to the entrepreneurial success story of one of New Mexico's pueblos?

This is just another unfortunate example of prominent Democrats attempting to cause friction among hard working Americans by pitting one minority against another. In this case, the Democrats choose to hold a press conference in the largely Hispanic Barelas community to decry the RNC's support of Native Americans.

What makes this intentionally racial manipulation even more transparent is that only a few weeks have passed since the Democratic Party of New Mexico chose to hold their State Pre-Primary Convention at the Santa Ana Center as opposed to say the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Barelas.

While the Democrats were holding their hate based press conference, the Republicans were reaching out to members of New Mexico's grassroots community. How do I know, well, I was one of those members.

Carly Fiorina, RNC Victory Chairman and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, picked up the phone to give me, a local Hispanic blogger, a call and discuss a variety of issues important to New Mexicans. I didn't ask for the opportunity to visit with Chairman Fiorina, but it is obvious the RNC is eager to talk to everyday New Mexicans to get their input.

Over this weekend, I plan on doing a series of posts about the topics we discussed, so make sure to check back. Until then, I'll leave you with this question: When was the last time the Democratic National Committee held their Chairman's meeting in New Mexico?


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Monday, November 26, 2007

Endorsement is Ridiculously Early

The last thing I want to do is pick on firefighters. I have the utmost respect for all of the men and women who put their life on the line to help and protect others.

But, I just don't understand how the New Mexico Professional Firefighters can possibly pick a candidate to endorse before they even know who is in the race:
Almost three years from before the general election, gubernatorial candidate and Lt. GovernorDiane Denish received the endorsement of the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association. The association has 1,200 members across the state, including Hobbs, Carlsbad, Las Cruces, Artesia, Deming, Silver City, Gallup, Farmington, Raton, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Espanola, Las Vegas, Santa Fe County, Sandoval County, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Socorro and Los Lunas.

In voting for the endorsement last weekend, the firefighters cited Denish's efforts to improve their working conditions and addressing their health and safety issues through the years. Denish was instrumental in helping to pass a line-of-duty death benefit and a Fire Fighters Day of Remembrance to be held each Sept. 11.

So, give the Lt. Governor an award. Declare her Woman of the Year. Make her an honorary Fire Chief. I'm all for recognizing her contributions to supporting firefighters, but endorsing her three years early before there are any other candidates in the race is just absurd. Frankly, I think it takes away from the endorsement.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Not a Smart Move

The Albuquerque Journal has reported that Lt. Governor Diane Denish has decided to endorse District 6 City Council Candidate, Rey Garduño (subscription):
While [Mayor Marty] Chávez wouldn't comment on Denish's motivation for the endorsement, he said in reference to Garduño's conviction in a 1988 shoplifting case, that "given his background, it's unusual."

[Lt. Governor Diane] Denish said she was aware of the shoplifting case— in which Garduño pleaded no contest and was found guilty— but said it didn't dissuade her.

Garduño didn't reveal the incident on his initial response to the Journal's candidate questionnaire.
This seems just plain foolish to me. First, you've got to wonder what the Lt. Governor is thinking by stepping into this fight. Second, could she have picked a worse candidate to endorse? As near as I can tell, partisan politics aside, Mr. Garduño has two strikes against him.

First, you've got a guy running for office, on the taxpayers dime I might add, who was caught shoplifting. Sure, it happened almost 20 years ago. But, he was 45 years old at the time... FORTY-FIVE YEARS OLD AND SHOPLIFTING (subscription):

A police incident report said a Sears store employee accused Garduño of putting a $200 telephone in his bag and leaving without paying for it.

The charge was a misdemeanor and he was issued a citation.

Garduño said the incident was a misunderstanding. He had bought light bulbs and a lamp at Sears and was looking at the phone, he said. He didn't intend to leave the store without paying, he said.

"It's not something I planned to do," Garduño said. "It was a mistake."

Garduño said he didn't recall being found guilty. He thought the charge was to be dismissed if he agreed to go to school.
We're not talking about the mistake of an immature kid. We're talking about a man, who at 45 years of age, gets caught trying to walk out of a store with a $200 phone. Then, he makes matter worse by running for office and not owning up to his petty theft until he is caught again:
He said Tuesday that he misunderstood the question. A campaign spokesman said Garduño would submit an updated response to the questions. The campaign had thought the 1988 citation was akin to a traffic ticket, not a misdemeanor, the spokesman said.
I'm sorry. We're supposed to believe shoplifting is "akin to a traffic ticket?" Yet another great example of the caliber of candidates we get when the taxpayer is footing the bill for the election.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

A Quick Reality Check

It's been said before, but it is worth repeating. Mayor Martin Chavez has virtually no chance of beating Lt. Governor Diane Denish in a race for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010. What is amusing in this week's Journal poll is not how low he polled, but Mayor Chavez's response to the poll (subscription):
The election is almost three years away and one of the candidates hasn't even committed to running, but just for fun let's ask the question:
What if Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez faced off in a Democratic primary for governor today?

The results of a Journal Poll of New Mexico Democrats indicate Denish would win. And maybe by a bunch.

Half of those surveyed— who said they're likely to vote in a 2010 primary— said they would vote for Denish. Chávez had the support of 30 percent. The rest said it was too early to say.

Chávez, who is raising political money but hasn't said yet whether he'll run for governor, on Saturday called his numbers "remarkable."

"She's been campaigning full time for almost a year and I'm not even a candidate, so I'm very pleased. Those are good numbers," Chávez said.
Did Mayor Chavez actually say that with a straight face? We're talking about a guy who has held as many as 57 news conferences in 69 days. Mayor Chavez gets a lot more statewide press than Lt. Governor Denish, yet it's just not working for him.

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