--2 Morning Word: Estrada faces more counts
Sept. 22, 2017
Jamie Estrada is heading to prison.

Morning Word: Estrada faces more counts

Berry gives Perry big raise in ABQ and more NM news...

November 1, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • Jamie Estrada, the former Susana Martinez campaign staffer, is facing additional charges. He was previously accused of hacking into campaign accounts.
    Federal investigators say Estrada lied even more than they originally thought. They now say he denied knowing a fake e-mail address he created even existed.

    That kind of lying to the FBI means four more counts against him, with a possible five years in prison for each count if a judge convicts him.
  • Rob Perry, the Chief Administrative Officer in Albuquerque, will get a whopping 22 percent raise ($33,000) to stay in his position.
    “He does wonderful work on behalf of the citizens every day,” Berry said in an interview. “This is a 24-7 type of job, and Rob is a 24-7 kind of guy.”

    The mayor added that Perry could have made more elsewhere.
    The per capita income in Albuquerque according to the U.S. Census Bureau is $26,436 per year.
  • Rep. Steve Pearce introduced a bill with a Democrat that would help keep families together.
    The proposed law would allow an immigration judge or the Department of Homeland Security to review cases and give relief to people who have been barred from entering the county legally because of an immigration violation on his or her record and who have immediate family members who are U.S. citizens.
  • Attorney General Gary King, a gubernatorial candidate, spoke to New Mexico Mercury's Insight New Mexico and addressed a number of issues -- including the controversial behavioral health audit.
  • Is the twenty-week abortion ban ballot question confusing? KRQE reports that some Albuquerque voters are confused by the wordy ballot question.
  • The state pension plan is on better financial footing after a legislative fix this year.
    The Public Employees Retirement Association has an estimated unfunded liability – a figure that measures the gap between future retirement benefits owed and assets on hand – of $4.6 billion, based on the PERA’s annual accounting.

    That figure is down from $6.2 billion last year, due in part to legislation that, among other things, cut how much money retirees receive as part of their annual inflation-related pension adjustment.
    Cost of living adjustments for those already retired are controversial -- and have already went in front of the state Supreme Court. The court hasn't made a ruling yet.
  • A public forum in Santa Fe looked at issues in public education. Considering the sponsors of the forum (including the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association) and the moderator (ProgressNow New Mexico's Pat Davis), one could see which direction it would go.
    Another issue was teacher morale, a question Davis specifically asked Ross about.

    “The big thing is morale,” Ross said. “Morale is diminishing by the day because of all the onerous regulations that are placed on teachers. They want to do what’s best for the students. They want to provide a creative learning environment where the kids feel inspired. If the teacher doesn’t feel inspired, then it’s going to be hard to inspire the kids.”
  • Sen. Tom Udall says the blocking of two of President Barack Obama's nominees shows the need for filibuster reform.
  • A state appeals court narrowed a law on who is required to report child abuse or neglect, despite opposition from Gov. Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King.
  • The Navajo Nation is in the coal business.
    For years Navajo Mine has provided coal to the Four Corners Power Plant and while the land and coal belonged to the Navajo Nation, the equipment and personnel did not.

    That changed Thursday when BHP Billiton and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company LLC, or NTEC, signed an $85 million purchase agreement.
  • Albuquerque isn't the only place benefiting from the film industry. Santa Fe Studios is almost halfway to its job targets. The Journal North looks at this as well as the controversy surrounding the initial financing of the studio.
  • The state Land Office hired a development official according to Albuquerque Business First.
    The New Mexico State Land Office has hired a new economic development representative who will head up its Commercial Resources Division in Santa Fe.

    William Consuegra has worked as a proposal manager for AREVA Solar and as a land development associate for Forest City Enterprises at Mesa del Sol.
  • Is New Mexico among the worst or best when it comes to the tax situation? Well, it depends on which organization you cite.
  • Rain and snow has helped but there is still a water deficit in New Mexico.
    To really begin pulling out of the long-term drought, Jones said, “we need a good winter and to follow that up with another good season next year.” He said the state needs several inches of precipitation, preferably in the form of snow, to start making up the difference.

    “The winter snowpack is our water supply,” Jones said.
  • The Ute Water Commission voted down an additional study on the Ute Water Project.
    The vote was 7-4 vote, with all Curry and Roosevelt county entities voting against the motion and all Quay county entities voting for it.

    Proponents said the study, which would have been funded through member contributions of around $2 per acre foot of water reserved at the Ute Reservoir, was necessary to reflect recent years of drought condition and felt it unwise to pin a $500 million project onto the findings of the 1994 Whipple Study.
  • A proposed Albuquerque ordinance would slow down mayor Richard Berry's plan for the bosque.
    The concept includes things like boat launches, wildlife observation decks and even a restaurant in the bosque.

    "Once the plans are out, and if he's trying to make changes that would include a restaurant along the bosque, that would have to go through the process," said Sanchez.
  • Rep. Ben Ray Lujan was among those who questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
  • Gov. Susana Martinez, Comcast and former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy (for some reason) want to team up to bridge the digital divide.
    The father of nine, Dungy sat down to help one son with a math assignment and was shocked to learn there was no textbook. Everything was on line.

    This moment also made it apparent to Dungy that kids without web access are at an enormous disadvantage. He said promoting Comcast’s Internet Essentials program was an offer he happily accepted, knowing it could help millions of kids.
  • Dungy also gave a pep talk to Albuquerque High School's football team which was facing an all-time record for most losses in a row in New Mexico high school history. AHS broke the record later Thursday night when losing to West Mesa High School.
  • The Portales News-Tribue looks at the effect of food stamp cuts on Eastern New Mexico.
    Nineteen percent of Curry County’s population of nearly 50,000 and 17 percent of Roosevelt County’s more than 20,000 residents received food stamps, according to New Mexico Health and Human Services.
  • KUNM covers the first large-scale clean up test of the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill.
  • The New Mexico oil and gas industry hosted a career fair for high school students in Artesia.
    Dreamed up by Amanda Trujillo, an environmental scientist at Yates, the fair paired middle and high school scholars in the MESA program with companies in the oil and gas industry.

    "The goal is to show these students that there are opportunities, not only in oil in gas, but other areas where these technologies can be applied," Trujillo said.
    The New Mexico economy is largely dependent on oil and gas revenue -- so much so that small changes in the price of crude oil or natural gas can impact the state budget by millions of dollars.
  • Aztec's Chamber of Commerce is in shambles, as it doesn't have a director, board or staff. Basically, all it has is a name.
  • The town of Red River will be using capital outlay funds to connect the municipal sewer system to a subdivision. That subdivision is owned by a Red River town councilor. It wasn't a close vote, however; the project was approved unanimously, including with the vote of that councilor.
  • A Las Cruces man accused of threatening President Barack Obama was given bond and will report to a halfway house.
    After waiting on hold for nearly an hour, according to a criminal complaint, only to be told he had to wait two weeks for the new Medicaid card, White vented. He allegedly blamed Obama's changes to health care, then said he'd get a .45-caliber gun, "go to the White House and shoot his ass."
  • The attendance .
  • The Jicarilla Apache Nation reached a deal with the Northern Rio Arriba Electric Cooperative , according to the Rio Grande Sun.
    A settlement conference was held Oct. 25 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Torgerson in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, ending two years of litigious hostilities between the utility and the Nation, whose lawyers said Nation officials are displeased with NORA’s service and are ready to end a franchise agreement.
  • The city of Alamogordo moved the site of a desalination plant.
    "The funding the city is obtaining to construct the temporary desalination plant requires the project to be completed within a certain time frame," Thies said. "Locating the mobile plant at the La Luz treatment plant could require additional environmental clearance which, if required, would likely cause time delays making it difficult for the city to meet the time constraints in the financing documents."
  • Los Alamos passed a historic preservation ordinance that creates a process for protecting historically significant properties.
  • False positives on drug tests: Not just for athletes. There was one on a pig entered in a competition at the San Juan County Fair.
  • Maybe related? The Southwest Bacon Festival will take place on Saturday in Albuquerque.
  • UNM's basketball team made the AP preseason top-25 for the first time in 15 years. The team is ranked 23rd.

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