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New Mexico Telegram » Morning Word » Morning Word, 08-09-12

Morning Word, 08-09-12

The biggest news of Wednesday was the two arrests in connection to the alleged fake New Mexico Finance Authority audit.

Former controller Greg Campbell was allegedly a “rogue employee” who made the fake audit. But John Duff, the current COO of NMFA? That was a name that was not on the radar.

The two were arrested for allegedly hiding a $40 million loss by NMFA. So far, there hasn’t been any explanation of why they would do this – there hasn’t been anyone alleging the two would gain personally from the fake audit.

Here’s the Albuquerque Journal take on it. And the Associated Press’.

  • The NMFA board of directors met today, after the arrests, and approved a temporary procedure for small loans according to New Mexico Business Weekly.
    The Public Project Revolving Fund (PPRF), which the board unanimously approved, will allow the NMFA to make infrastructure loans of less than $5 million, the agency said in a news release. The NMFA has $37 million cash on hand that it can use to finance the smaller projects.

    Of course, larger loans are what are needed for bigger infrastructure projects, meaning that the larger projects will continue to be stalled.

  • New Mexico Business Weekly also has a timeline of events in the NMFA fake audit that is very informative.
  • KOB spoke to Campbell after his arrest. Capitol Report New Mexico got a reaction after the NMFA board meeting.
  • The Secretary of State’s plan to clean up the voter rolls, which opponents say is a voter purge, is off to a bad start. Not only does a prominent legislator say the move is not permissible by law… but Progress Now New Mexico comes with this:
    Among the first to receive a mailer was none other than Santa Fe resident Diane Wood, the Voting Rights Director for Common Cause New Mexico, a non-profit organization working to ensure fair and accurate elections in the state.
    [...]
    However, when Wood checked her voting status there, she found that her status had been changed to “INACTIVE” in this mail purge alongside a list all of the elections she has voted in since 1992, a total of 44. Wood’s most recent vote was just 88 days before she received the notice sent to alleged non-voters.

    Wood moved to her current address more than 5 years ago and has voted absentee from there at least 4 times during elections when she was working in other parts of the state protecting others’ right to vote.

    Oof. There is an interview that ProgressNow New Mexico did of Wood up at YouTube.

  • Every reporter sees another reporter write a story and say, “Why didn’t I write that?” I experienced this when reading the Alibi story on the PACs that spent the most money so far in the 2012 election. The number one PAC is Susana PAC, Gov. Susana Martinez’s leadership PAC. The second is another Republican PAC, Reform New Mexico Now.
  • The EPA makes a final decision on a Four Corners area power plant.
    Rather than mandate that the Four Corners Power Plant take one avenue to reducing nitrogen oxide emissions, the EPA is giving the plant’s operators a choice, regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Arizona Public Service can either upgrade the five units at the northwestern New Mexico plant or go with its own plan to shut down three units and install pollution controls at the two others.

  • The bond issue for the Paseo del Norte/I-25 interchange may not be on the ballot in November. If it is not, it would not reflect well on Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry who tried to tie the interchange funding to funding for a sports complex in 2011. That initiative failed.
  • Heinrich should get a grassroots fundraising boost after being named to the Dean’s Dozen, a list of progressive candidates approved by Democracy for America. The group was founded by former Presidential candidate Howard Dean.
  • Fewer movies were filmed in New Mexico in 2012 than in 2011.
    The state film office says only 14 feature films were shot here last fiscal year, which ended on June 30th. There were 21 the year before and making them put $276 million directly into the economy. But last year that number dropped to $224 million.
    [...]
    “It was an attitude of hostility that coupled with the uncertainly that turned a lot of people away and there were a lot of other states that were ready and wiling to take that business,” Kane said.

  • John Fleck works the LANL beat.
  • The death penalty has not been on the books for a couple of years now in New Mexico. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still legal issues about it. Two men still sit on death row in the state and are set to be executed.
  • Santa Fe’s city recreation manager will be fired(er, ‘let go’) for padding a city contract.
    Public documents obtained by The New Mexican this week show Lujan, a former school board member and onetime City Council candidate, exchanged email messages with his brother, Larry Lujan, about how to “get paid” for tickets to sporting events and travel to Florida with city funds that were supposed to be used to promote a youth wrestling tournament in Santa Fe.

    The New Mexican has more of the emails, and they are damning.

  • New Mexico’s two U.S. Senators say relaxing rules on travel for some visitors from Mexico will aid New Mexico’s economy. More on this in NM Telegram tomorrow.
  • The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce wants to cap Santa Fe’s minimum wage at $10.29 per hour.
  • CNM enrollment is down ten percent. The story quotes Bob Anderson, a former Green Party candidate for Congress and part-time professor at CNM. I took Anderson’s political course when I went to CNM a few years back. It was… interesting.
  • The Alibi looks at the effects of Bank Transfer Day 10 months later. I have always used a credit union and have never had a bank account.
  • Smokey the Bear is turning 68.
  • The Las Vegas Optic reported on a “major drug bust” in San Miguel County.
  • The Santa Fe Reporter looks at a solar charging station in Santa Fe.
    Since its ribbon-cutting ceremony on the summer solstice, June 23, Wheeler estimates that Positive Energy’s charging station sees about four hours of use a day—and currently is completely free to use. The model is intended to mimic a gas station, in that the plug resembles a pump and the solar panels themselves create a shade spot. A short charge gives customers a boost to their car batteries, roughly five miles’ worth of travel.

  • While it was the hottest July on record for the continental United States, it was actually cooler than usual in New Mexico.
  • The Ruidoso News has been covering the hell out of the Little Bear fire and its aftermath. The latest is about Ruidoso restructuring its capital projects post-fire.
  • Lowe’s must like New Mexico. The company is planning on hiring 300 more employees in Albuquerque.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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