Morning Word: Why did Berry win by so much in ABQ?
And the rest of New Mexico's news
October 14, 2013, 8:00 am
- Why did Richard Berry win by such a huge margin? The Albuquerque Journal looks at some reasons.
Low turnout, lots of money and a likeable personality.
Oh, and he’s a good campaigner, too.
Professors, politicos and others credited all of the above for helping push Mayor Richard Berry to a whopping re-election victory in last week’s election, when he won 68 percent of the vote. He led his closest competitor, Pete Dinelli, by 39 percentage points.
- The Albuquerque Journal editorial board -- normally an ally of Gov. Susana Martinez -- isn't buying the explanation for her use of the state police helicopter.
The $6.7 million chopper should be for purely state business. And that doesn’t include making up for lost time getting to the airport to catch a flight for a political event. That’s the kind of thing candidate Martinez would have robustly criticized.
So when her spokesman tries to paint the $800 chopper trip as being in the public’s interest, it really doesn’t fly.
- Finally, a Republican is stepping up to face Sen. Tom Udall. It is Dona Ana County Republican Party chairman David Clements. Clements is part of the libertarian wing of the party that took over the southern New Mexico county's party structure.
- Steve Pearce got some bad press after his Facebook page told furloughed federal workers to take out loans if they couldn't play bills. Pearce's spokesman blamed the post on a staffer.
- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to fund Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs, but Democrats are standing firm against any "piecemeal" funding bills.
- The impact is hitting contractors at Los Alamos National Labs, according to the Los Alamos Monitor. LANL will shut down this Friday if Congress can't agree to fund the government.
- The shutdown could hit the less fortunate in the Taos area.
The partial closure of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Oct. 1 has the potential to impact several initiatives that feed local residents.
One food distribution program administered by the Eight Northern Indian Pueblo Council could be forced to close after the end of the month if funding for the Department of Agriculture is not restored.
- Oh, and I hope you got your firewood.
A notice on the Carson National Forest’s website states that the government’s “lapse in funding” means the sale of all types of permits, including firewood and other forest products, are suspended until the government reopens.
- Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich are staffing local offices again.
- Oppo work on those digging up oppo research? The Santa Fe New Mexican reports on a PAC with ties to mayoral candidate Javier Gonzales doing opposition research. A founder of the PAC had previously denied the allegations.
Jon Hendry, who helped found the PAC and is still listed as its chairman and campaign treasurer in its latest filings with the city, told The New Mexican on Thursday that the committee had no involvement in hiring the D.C. firm.
Hendry, of course, is president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and IATSE Local 480.
But Hendry backtracked after the story appeared and said he was no longer with the PAC and was now part of Gonzales’ campaign steering committee.
- Officials canceled the Amber Alert for nine teens thought missing from the Tierra Blanca High Country Youth Program after the children were all found safe. Four of them were with their parents.
Each of them was picked up by family members, who were asked to let state police know they had done so, he said.
"I would respectfully disagree that they're in danger, missing or abducted," Domenici said Sunday.
- State police are still looking for the owner of the ranch, however. And this comes while some graduates of the ranch support the owner.
- The state will see a reduction in tobacco settlement payments.
Anti-tobacco advocates claim the ruling could put the squeeze on the state, which incurs an estimated $954 million in annual medical and other smoking-related costs, according to the state’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program.
“It’s a big loss to lose any of this money that we are supposed to be using for future death and disease,” said Sandra Adondakis, the state government relations director for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.
- "Voting Convenience Centers" are on their way to Luna County.
With the new "Voting Convenience Centers" or VCC, the public would no longer have to be assigned a voting precinct, but would rather simply be able to go to the two VCC's located in Deming and cast their vote.
Each VCC computer will be online with the statewide registration database at the County Clerk's office and each vote cast will immediately be counted as to prevent double votes or any type of voter fraud.
- The Navajo Nation continues to move towards a purchase of the Navajo Coal Mine from the Australian company that currently runs the mine.
Included in the policy is a section on the future of coal and coal-fired power plants located on the Navajo Nation.
"Coal and coal-fired plants are a significant component of the Navajo economy and the nation's revenues," the energy policy states. "The nation will encourage a future in coal as a key component of the nation's energy mix as a coal producer that derives a significant amount of royalties, rent, fees, jobs and tax revenue from coal mining and production of electricity."
The energy policy also calls for the tribe to support clean coal technology and any of its developments, a measure that is also receiving support from Shelly.
- The New Mexico Supreme Court granted Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins party status in the same-sex marriage case.
- This week's interim committee hearings:
The drought subcommittee, I assume without any irony, is meeting at the New Mexico State University golf course today through Wednesday. As will the Water & Natural Resources Committee.
The Mortgage Finance Authority Act Oversight Committee meets Tuesday at the Public Service Company of New Mexico building in downtown Albuquerque.
The Investments & Pensions Oversight Committee meets on Wednesday at the state capitol.
The Legislative Education Study Committee meets Wednesday through Friday at the state capitol.
The Science, Technology & Telecommunications Committee meets at Wooton Hall at New Mexico State University on Thursday and Friday.
- The oceans may help New Mexico have a few more wet decades.
- An APS school bus driver was cleared of sending an offensive text to the parents of a disabled student.
Chavez said that the text may have been sent by way of a spoof smartphone application that she said allows uses to send texts from a different phone number.
APS is not looking into who did send the message.
- Jemez Pueblo is appealing a judge's decision to throw out a case where the tribe hopes to have 89,000 acres of land in the Valles Caldera returned to the tribe. The tribe says it is sacred land.
- San Juan County held a terror-response drill this weekend.
In this year's scenario, a group of people in one of the college's programs are arrested and expelled after getting caught with methamphetamines. In retaliation, two of the people shoot students at two locations on campus. At the same time, two people from the group also bomb a facility of local energy company Kinder Morgan.
While the campus has never experienced anything of the degree practiced in the drill, Rhonda Schaeffer, the college's director of public relations, said the drill helps responders refine their response.
- A local group is demanding no more school testing, the Mid Heights Messenger reports.
- Get ready for absurd traffic, Albuquerque. At least if you have to go anywhere near Paseo del Norte and I-25 during rush hour. Lane closures are coming for the famously congested area while the construction on a new interchange begins.