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Morning Word: Udall gets GOP challenger

And the rest of New Mexico's news

October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • A libertarian-oriented Republican announced his candidacy for Senate. David Clements, the chairman of the Dona Ana County Republican Party, is the first challenger to Sen. Tom Udall. Udall easily won election in 2008 against Steve Pearce and is favored to win again.
  • The state Department of Health subpoenaed records from a staff writer at the Santa Fe Reporter over a whistleblower lawsuit.
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich slammed the government shutdown. Meanwhile, the House is still in disarray, with Republicans unable to come up with a bill to end the shutdown. The latest indications are that the House Republicans will cave and give in to Democrats' demands -- but who knows.
  • The Texas-New Mexico water lawsuit is on ice during the government shutdown.
  • Gov. Susana Martinez has a whole pile of cash for her reelection campaign. A very large pile $3.3 million cash on hand.

    From the AP:
    Martinez raised $2.1 million for her re-election during the last six months while King collected $175,145.

    No campaign finance report was immediately available for Democratic state Sen. Linda Lopez, who's announced plans to run for governor
  • Hector Balderas has amassed $415,000 for his Attorney General candidacy. Balderas is the only named candidate so far.
  • In the Santa Fe area, Rep. Carl Trujillo led the fundraising pack.
  • Activist Dolores Huerta -- a mother of 11 -- was in Albuquerque to speak against the proposed 20-week abortion ban.
    Huerta, 83, spoke against the proposal Tuesday morning in a news conference held in a Downtown office building.

    “This is an attack on women’s health,” Huerta said. “This is also an attack on women’s civil liberties.”
  • The completion date for the massive Tres Amigas superstation is still 2016, the company's president said.
    The superstation, to be built 10 to 15 miles northeast of Clovis, will serve as a power highway for wind farms and other power plants to circulate their electricity between the nation’s three power grids.
  • The "sometimes girlfriend" of the former city manager was part of a "flurry of raises" in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. It was a pretty hefty pay-raise: 35 percent.
  • Strange bedfellows, Downs at Albuquerque edition.
    Now we learn that Dynamic Communications, whose president is Michael Rode, the commissioner’s husband, was hired earlier this year by the Downs to do work on the new casino.

    Scott Eldredge, chief operating officer of the Downs, said Dynamic Communications installed a fiber optic line and a phone system and was paid $64,000.

    So we have a State Fair commissioner, through her spouse, potentially reaping a financial benefit from the major tenant at the fairgrounds. That’s a possible conflict of interest, but Charlotte Rode still loathes the Downs – as it does her.
  • Milan Simonich writes that there is a "rush to judgement" in the Tierra Blanca Ranch case -- and ties it to the story where the Children, Youth and Families Department allowed sex offenders to live in homes that were also state-sanctioned childcare centers.
  • The story, however, went national with a New York Times story.
    On one visit, Ms. Morgan recalled, other students told her quietly about a staff member known as Harold the Hun who beat Ryan with a Kubotan, a flexible stick. The conversation haunted her, and she pulled him from the program last October.

    Soon after, a former ranch classmate told her that Ryan was beaten for hours by a staff member one day, after being unable to complete an exercise routine.
  • Meanwhile, the ranch owner intends to move forward on the civil case against the CYFD.
  • High Country News looks at if groundwater protections in New Mexico will be lessened. They use the copper rule as an entrance into the issue.
  • Demis Foster, the Executive Director of Conservation Voters New Mexico, writes about the website examining Gov. Susana Martinez's environmental record.
  • Innovate ABQ could feature "entrepreneur dorms" in downtown Albuquerque at the old First Baptist Church as a way to help draw jobs to Albuquerque.
    Two “entrepreneurial dorms,” as well as a 50,000-square-foot office building, would cater to the tenants in the incubator.

    Overall, 40 percent of the space would be reserved for research, 25 percent for science and tech businesses, 30 percent for living and 5 percent for commercial retail.
  • The state of New Mexico could be writing a big paycheck for misallocated tobacco funds from 2003.
    Biernoff said it was too early to pinpoint exactly how much of a reduction New Mexico will face, but he said the cuts could continue for years to come. Biernoff said New Mexico did not significantly change its practices in regulating companies in 2004, 2005, up until last year.

    "Future years, we expect, will be the subject of dispute," Biernoff said.
  • The state Game and Fish Department Director urged farmers to help protect the lesser prairie chicken.
    Last year, he said the population was about 34,000. He said that with the five state plan, populations of the bird could increase to 67,000 by 2016.

    The lesser prairie chicken, he said, is a “neat animal,” worth conserving. Its unique and elaborate mating rituals, including a booming sound that can be heard two miles away on a calm day, make it a treasure.
  • Yup, traffic is going to be pretty terrible at the Paseo del Norte / I-25 interchange for awhile.
  • San Miguel County officials are asking for patience on repairs to roads damaged by flooding from storms this summer.
  • A ticket-holder to the Spaceport says the area doesn't have enough luxury accommodations. Since a ticket costs in the $200,000-$250,000 range, these are definitely people used to luxury.
  • Remember the photo op with then-Gov. Bill Richardson and former President Bill Clinton where they watched the Super Bowl together? That was a big factor in the end of their friendship, according to Richardson. Well, that and Richardson endorsing Obama instead of Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton, for president.
  • The Lincoln County manager is getting a raise after two years on the job. The $5,000 raise will bring his salary to $90,000 a year.
  • Here's the latest on the walkout of eight of eleven volunteer fire chiefs in Eddy County after the removal of Malaga Fire Chief Raymond Rios.
    Immediately after the closed session and the commission's announcement, the sheriff's department, county road department representatives, county's fire coordinator Robert Brader and County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Joel Arnwine arrived to lockdown the firehouse and seize its records and drugs stored in the ambulance.

    The three commissioners who voted to shutter the fire department said they consider Burkham's stated leave of absence as a resignation from the department.
  • Rio Rancho will need big money to fix bursting water pipes.
  • Meanwhile, Eddy county named a new county manager.
    Eddy County Public Works Director Rick Rudometkin has been named the New Eddy County manager.

    County Commission Chairman Jack Volpato said the commission believes Rudometkin comes well-qualified for the job and the commission's choice is a good one.
  • The U.S. Solar industry, of which Albuquerque at one point seemed to be poised to become a domestic leader, is hurt by loans going to Chinese companies that undercut US prices.

 

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