The silence on why Barbara Couture is out as President of New Mexico State University is deafening. --- The Board of Regents at NMSU have clammed up and indicated that they will not reveal why the President of a public university was let go -- with a big payment due (more than $450,000 before January 15 in addition to being put on paid leave until the end of the year).

This prompted a

from editor Jim Lawitz railing against the Board of Regents for their secrecy.

However, their proclaimed commitment to transparency rings hollow as nothing could be further from the truth. To NMSU's leaders, the Open Meetings Act is a sham, something to follow to the letter, but to avoid in spirit.

They hide behind specific language in the Act that allows confidential debate on matters involving personnel, real estate, litigation and the like. Their notice of meetings and subsequent agendas are purposely vague and only meet the strict definition of the law.

Then they make some absurd announcement — Couture's "resignation" — and expect the public to buy it. They are, after all, one of the biggest entities in southern New Mexico, educating and employing thousands. They are above suspicion, some say, and deserving of our loyalty.

The ordeal comes the same week as today's New Mexico Foundation for Open Government's annual "

" luncheon where a number of New Mexicans will be given the William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award for commitment to open government. We can assume we won't be seeing any of the NMSU regents getting this award any time soon.

  • Just six days left until voter registration ends. Absentee ballots will be sent on the same day.
  • Speaking of sharply-worded opinion pieces, the Ruidoso News
  • goes hard after the "voter fraud phantoms" that Secretary of State Dianna Duran is chasing
  • .
  • Common Cause saw the purge as part of a national effort to suppress voter turnout, especially in swing states like New Mexico, and urged Duran "to abandon her partisan media campaign and get down to the serious business of preparing the state for the important election year ahead." Then Duran tried to rewind the tape, saying that it wasn't a voter fraud investigation but a "misunderstanding" by the media.

    She must never have heard the old adage that when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
  • Polls show
  • Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by double-digits in New Mexico
  • . Considering the entirety of campaigning in New Mexico consisted of Romney holding a rally in deep-red Lea County, this doesn't come as a surprise.
  • Thom Cole
  • takes another look at the secret Keith Gardner recording
  • and focuses on Gardner offering his friend a state job.
  • Big news from the battle of pollution controls at the San Juan Generating Station. The
  • AP has it
  • :
  • It calls for retiring two units at the plant by December 2017 and installing less costly equipment for cutting pollution on the plant's remaining units.

    At issue is an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that calls for Public Service Company of New Mexico to equip the plant with certain technology to cut pollutants that cause regional haze and visibility issues in national parks and wilderness areas. The rule, issued in August 2011, gave PNM and the plant's other owners five years to come into compliance.
  • The big Santa Fe Reporter cover story is
  • on violence against Native Americans and the flawed court system
  • .
  • Gov. Susana Martinez said that New Mexico
  • must reduce its dependence on federal spending
  • .
  • Despite some bright spots in the state’s economy, New Mexico continues to lag behind surrounding states, Martinez said. Between 2009 and 2011, Arizona saw a 4 percent increase in its per capita income, Martinez said. Colorado had a 6 percent increase, and Texas saw a 6.5 percent rise. New Mexico’s per capita income increase was 2 percent, Martinez said.
  • Bad news for
  • PERA as its investments had a negative return
  • .
  • The investment loss will likely mean an increase in PERA’s unfunded liability, which is already pegged at $4.9 billion, when its annual accounting is released later this month.

    “It’s hard to see how our unfunded liability won’t be worse later this month than it is now,” Propst told subcommittee members of the Investments and Pensions Oversight Committee.
  • Despite a lawsuit and petitions from Libertarians,
  • we won't be seeing, Gary Johnson in tonight's debate
  • alongside Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The debate is just up the road from New Mexico, in Denver.
  • The Santa Fe Reporter looks at
  • controversial rule in Santa Fe
  • that would require city-funded construction jobs of more than $500,000 to be at least half-full of union members. The Reporter has more:
  • The CWA works like this: of the first 40 employees hired, 20 must be hired through a union. The other 20 can be hired in any way, but they’re required to sign up with a union for the duration of the project. Each additional employee also must be hired through a union.
  • Speaking of petitions, a coalition of local groups are going to deliver a petition calling on New Mexico to transition away from coal power to renewable energy sources. The groups include the New Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLE), Sierra Club, New Mexico, and New Energy Economy.
  • Who could have guessed that
  • the guy in jail for threatening the governor
  • is crazy? Its OK,
  • Joe Vigil is on it
  • .
  • Sanchez just sent a jailhouse letter to KOB Eyewitness News 4, saying he plans to put up a billboard between Santa Fe and Albuquerque that pokes fun at the governor. His drawing tells people to vote the governor in as dog catcher in Juarez, Mexico.
  • Big embezzlement arrests in Santa Fe
  • , as federal agents arrested Tom Keesing, the owner of The Santa Fe Agency Real Estate Inc. and New Mexico Real Estate Inc., and former Santa Ana Pueblo Gov. Bruce Sanchez. They allegedly embezzled at least $3.6 million from a company that was created to develop the former Albuquerque Indian School property, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
  • Taos County
  • has a new manager
  • .
  • The Department of Indian Affairs
  • announced $13 million for capital improvement projects
  • for New Mexico tribes and pueblos.
  • New Mexico Watchdog says
  • KNME is breaking laws when it comes to open government
  • .
  • The Weekly Alibi
  • will have its 20th anniversary dance party
  • at Effex Night Club next Tuesday. Just imagine what it will do when it is old enough to drink...
  • There
  • will be two prescribed burns
  • in New Mexico forests this week.
  • The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe
  • found old blueprints for Zozobra
  • .