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Morning Word: Griego Investigation Deepens

December 22, 2016, 7:30 am
Investigation Deepens
Deborah Baker reports, “The Attorney General’s Office continues to drill down into former Sen. Phil Griego’s possible misuse of campaign funds, obtaining a search warrant for his American Express card account.”
According to the recently released search warrant, in the period from March 2012 through January 2014, Griego made 23 payments totaling $23,375 from his bank campaign account to American Express. He failed to report 13 of them, totaling $15,916, to the secretary of state, the AG’s investigator said. Previously, investigators had said there were 43 instances since 2012 in which checks written from Griego’s campaign account were not reported to the secretary of state.
Senator Proposes Popular Vote System
Frustrated her candidate didn’t win the White House, State Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, wants to add New Mexico to an interstate compact “aimed at guaranteeing the president–in future elections–would be elected by national popular vote.”
Stewart, who introduced similar legislation in 2009 that passed the House but died in the Senate, said she’s been receiving 15 to 20 emails per day from constituents upset about the Electoral College system and this year’s election results.
Ten other states including California, Washington and Illinois have already enacted similar popular-vote legislation.

Population Stagnation
New Mexico continues to have more people leaving the state than moving in. New Mexico’s population growth rate was the 42nd lowest in the nation, and the lowest in the region. Utah had the nation’s fastest growth rate at 2 percent, or 60,585 people. Arizona and Colorado each grew by 1.7 percent. Still, the population grew, mostly because there were more births than deaths.

Holiday Lockdown
Speaking of leaving the state, if you’re heading out of New Mexico for the holidays you can definitely expect stricter security in the wake of the Berlin truck attack. Police departments around the US are making a show of force at places where crowds gather at Christmastime. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called such precautions "a very sad reality."
Big cities have been fortifying sidewalks since the Sept. 11 attacks, installing bollards and concrete planters designed to prevent vehicles from driving into pedestrians or the side of a building. Parts of Times Square and a two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House have been closed to traffic for years, partly as a precaution against car bombs.
Quezada’s Election Victory Challenged
Republican Patricia Paiz lost her campaign for a seat on the Bernalillo County Commission last month, but she’s not giving up. In a lawsuit filed in state District Court on Wednesday, Paiz and her attorney A Blair Dunn claim that Steven Michael Quezada, the Democrat who beat her by more than 8,000 votes, shouldn’t have been on the ballot in the first place because he personally didn’t sign a form declaring his candidacy.
 
Teen Marijuana Use Drops Significantly in Colorado
Teen marijuana use fell sharply in Colorado after the opening of that state’s recreational marijuana market, new federal survey results show.
The data released this week is the first clear evidence of a drop in teen marijuana use in Colorado following legalization. Legalization supporters have long argued that the best way to prevent underage marijuana use is to legalize and regulate the drug.
Going Out on Top
After more than four decades, Clovis High School football coach Eric Roanhaus, 69, is retiring. During his career he led the Wildcats to 343 wins and 10 state championships, making him the winningest prep football coach in New Mexico history. His record includes a streak of five state titles that started in 1981.

 

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