Here we are, kicking off the last full week of July. July and August are generally dead periods for politics in the state. In election years such as this, the candidates are licking their wounds after the primaries and getting ready for their battles in November.
This is a time for a lot of fundraising, but little actual news.
But as August turns to September and voters begin to pay attention to the upcoming elections more, things will intensify. All the behind-the-scenes work and strategizing will, hopefully, come together for the candidates. The political ads will dominate the airwaves, making us yearn for these hot July days where you might only see an ad once or twice a day instead of on every commercial break.
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On to the Word:
- KOB producer Peter St. Cyr posted the full audio (right click and save the audio file) of an interview with Greg Campbell, the man who is accused of faking an audit for the New Mexico Finance Authority. Campbell says the number are legit, something that the State Auditor and other officials dispute.
- Hector Balderas, the State Auditor, says the NMFA audit was never even started.
This is one story that is not going away any time soon, as it could have serious fiscal effects on the state.
- Another story that isn’t going away are the private emails of Republicans doing state business. Already, Pat Rogers was forced to resign from the board of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, doing so on Friday evening when much of the attention is focused elsewhere. The person (or people) who has these emails has their first scalp — but there are likely many, many other emails that have not been released.
- Conservative activist and CNN contributor Erick Erickson, influential among the Tea Party class, still doesn’t like Heather Wilson.
- Wilson unveiled a new ad last week. Look for an Ad-Watch piece about it later this morning.
- Progress Now New Mexico says that New Mexico had the worst job losses in the West.
- A District Court judge ruled that an Albuquerque firefighter is not barred from serving in office while working as a firefighter.
Kane says the fire fighters union agreement and New Mexico law allow her to. And days before the primaries, a judge told the city it couldn’t do anything until after the primary election.
Second District Court Judge Beatrice Brickhouse ruled Friday the city’s employee rules and part of the charter are unconstitutional. Brickhouse went on to say, “a blanket prohibition of the city on anyone seeking office is overbroad.”
- Votes will decide on five constitutional amendments this November. Three of these relate to the Public Regulations Commission, the powerful body that oversees many regulations in the state.
- The governor doesn’t like the idea of taxing online sales.
For New Mexico, the NCSL’s estimates are $246 million in uncollected taxes this year, with about $120 million of that from online sales.
State officials’ estimates aren’t that high. A report done in 2010 by the Legislative Finance Committee and the Taxation and Revenue Department, based on 2007 figures, estimated that New Mexico had up to $76 million in unpaid taxes from online sales. There was no estimate for overall remote sales.
- Meanwhile, local institution Langell’s Art Supplies, a store that I have driven by pretty much my entire life as my grandma lives in the area, is going out of business. Part of the reason is the little store couldn’t compete with cut-rate online retailers.
- There will be debate on a new travel plan that will close many trails and routes in the national forest to motorized vehicles, such as ATVs. Both sides hate it.
Off-roaders say the plan bars them from more than 70 percent of their riding trails. “We got screwed,” said dirt bike enthusiast Henry Lanman.
But environmentalists say too many trails are left open for off-roaders. “The plan leaves nowhere outside of the wilderness that someone can go for quiet from the noise and disturbances of daily life,” said Bryan Bird of WildEarth Guardians. “Most people go to the forest to get away from the noise of everyday life.”
- Steve Terrell writes about the number of dead people on voter rolls as compared to non-citizens.
Duran’s study last year found 641 dead people on the state’s voter rolls. Also uncovered were 104 noncitizens who registered to vote in New Mexico, though only 19 of those actually cast ballots in elections. (The Secretary of State’s Office didn’t know whether any of the dead voters had ballots cast for them.)
- Reps Ben Ray Lujan and Steve Pearce have massive cash on hand leads against their opponents. Michelle Lujan Grisham merely has a commanding lead over Michelle Lujan-Grisham for the open 1st Congressional District seat.
- A resident pediatrician at UNM Hospital urged the state to take the new federal Medicaid funds.
- Democrats are saying that Republicans understated the costs of their legal fees when it came to redistricting.
- College students who live at Lobo Village, near The Pit, like to party and the Albuquerque Journal is on it.
According to documents obtained by the Journal through a public records request, UNM police have responded to incidents at Lobo Village about 100 times since last August. Albuquerque police have also responded more than 100 times, although some of those calls likely overlap with UNM response.
- Non-farmers are getting federal farm subsidies.
- The conservative website Human Events likes Martinez and profiles her as a potential VP pick for Romney. Martinez has repeatedly said she has no interest in being on the Republican ticket.
- Some teachers want Balderas to run for governor in 2014.
- The Santa Fe Review is highly critical of a recent decision by the Santa Fe city council to stop the fluoridation of its water.
- The Santa Fe city council may reopen the debate on the fluoridation, perhaps realizing what exactly they were doing.
- I’m starting to think that Michael Swickard’s columns are some sort of elaborate joke being played on all of us. His latest focuses on how America is great, but it used to be greater. Or something. But there is this piece in there:
We were one of many countries who had slaves, but we gave that up. We are now a country truly without racial bias. That is exceptional.
In the comments, as usual, Swickard tries to backtrack and says what he was talking about was only systemic racial bias.
Systematic describes what happened in the Holocaust, a systematic killing of a people. I do not see any connection between the systematic extermination of people and the episodic abuse that occasionally still happens. Our society is not systematically racist, you are wrong Bernie.
So because America has not had a holocaust, America is without racial bias.
- Civil War re-enactors were at the Palace of the Governors. Note to the Las Cruces Tea Party: This is an appropriate time to fly the confederate flag.
Filed under: Morning Word