--2 Morning Word: More National Journal profile fallout
Sept. 24, 2017

Morning Word: More National Journal profile fallout

And the rest of New Mexico's news...

December 2, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • The National Journal profile of Martinez's top political adviser Jay McCleskey continues to drive the conversation in New Mexico. The source is not Jamie Estrada, despite some Republicans saying so on Twitter.
    In a posting on the National Journal website after the Governor’s Office alleged Estrada was a source, author Daniel Libit wrote: “Jamie Estrada is not the ‘former top aide’ I quote in the piece.”

    Libit, reached by telephone, declined to comment further about the posting or the story, which portrays McCleskey as exercising inappropriate and extensive control over government affairs.

            Update:: Typos on this item were fixed.

  • Gubernatorial candidate Howie Morales wants emails from a Martinez political adviser and Martinez's political arm responded by seeking some records from Morales.
  • It got kind of buried on Black Friday, but the Albuquerque Journal has a look at the "revolving door" of legislators becoming lobbyists.
  • Roman "Tiger" Abeyta dropped out of the Santa Fe mayoral race and endorsed Javier Gonzales.
  • The Mountain View Telegraph says the Moriarty-Edgewood School District is joining an effort that says the state is not committing enough money to public education.
    The Funding Formula Study Task Force, whose members were appointed by the Legislature and the governor, paid for a study in 2007 that determined that New Mexico was underfunding elementary education by $330 million every year. In the years since the study – with the exception of this budget year – school funding has gone down.

    School districts receive state money based on the number of students enrolled. While there are numerous factors on how students are counted, the state each year will come up with a unit value. For instance, a special needs child requires more school resources and therefore those students are counted as more than a single unit.

    The unit value for this school year is $3,817, but Trujillo said that, according to the 2008 study, unit values would have to increase by 15 percent for schools to be sufficiently funded.
  • The New Mexico job situation is so bad that immigrants are headed to Arizona despite the state's harsh anti-immigration laws.
  • There might be two more Democratic Lt. Gov. candidates -- but they haven't really told anyone about it.
    These are Marie Q Julienne and Peter Zollinger. Like Haaland, neither Julienne nor Zollinger have contacted me or, as far as I know, other political reporters.
  • Are New Mexico teachers quitting because of new mandated standardized tests playing a large role in teacher evaluations? Leslie Linthicum says it's hard to say.
  • The Weekly Alibi takes a look at the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill, calling it "the environmental disaster you've never heard of."
    For comparison's sake, the KAFB spill is larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, which dumped more than 12 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound, killing an estimated quarter-million seabirds, 3,000 otters, hundreds of harbor seals and bald eagles and nearly two dozen killer whales. The KAFB jet fuel spill—the Air Force calls it a “leak”—is the largest toxic contamination of an aquifer in US history, and it could be twice the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster.
  • A legislative subcommittee was told that the state should look at the cost of imprisoning criminals as part of a way to overhaul the state's criminal code.
    The recommendation came from Jim Seward, a representative of the governor of South Dakota, who said his state realized it was putting a lot of people in prison, at great financial and personal costs, and they were not changing the behavior of the prisoners. They also realized their prison population included a high proportion of inmates serving time for nonviolent crimes.

    South Dakota completed a redrafting of its criminal code earlier this year and expects the result to avoid having to build two new prisons and save state taxpayers $207 million in construction and operation costs through 2022.
  • There is a shortage of medical marijuana in New Mexico.
  • Mayor Richard Berry was sworn into a second term along with six Albuquerque city councilors. Berry will be facing a city council with more Democrats than Republicans for the first time.
  • Tourism went up in New Mexico in 2012, and state tourism officials say it is because of a higher advertising budget.
  • The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is providing a $1.1 million grant to restore a 400 year-old church in Socorro.
  • A story in the Washington Post about the minimum wage fight going to state and municipalities mentioned Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Santa Fe has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation while Albuquerque voters emphatically backed an increase in 2012.
  • The Los Alamos County council will consider changes to the county charter in relation to the Board of Public Utilities.
    State law has changed since the current Charter was written, and now places responsibility for any liability resulting from mismanagement squarely on council. County Attorney Rebecca Ehler summed up the problem this way.

    “By law you can’t delegate your liability that way to any other organization. We don’t want our government passing on its responsibility to organizations we can’t hold accountable to voters.

    “Under the current system of our charter, you’ve not been given oversight. So if there is an operational infirmity, you can be held liable ultimately, but you don’t have the ability to direct the operations to correct whatever that infirmity might be.”
  • Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, under fire because of what many see as a disrespectful nickname for his team, flew into Gallup to meet with Navajo and Zuni officials. And later, Navajo Code Talkers were honored before a Monday Night Football game.
  • Las Vegas is the latest municipality to go to the voting convenience center method of voting. This allows people to cast ballots at any one of a number of locations rather than just one precinct.
  • New Mexico's infant death rate is above the national rate in the latest numbers available, 2012.
    The main increase in infant deaths was in White and Hispanic infants in the neonatal period (under 28 days of age) in several cause of death categories. "Birth defects" and "disorders related to preterm births (before 37 weeks of gestation) and low birth weight" are the two most common causes of infant deaths. Those categories accounted for nearly 26 percent and 19 percent, respectively, of infant deaths in 2012.
  • Is Costco behind the surprise bankruptcy filing by Sunland, Inc.? The Clovis News Journal:
    A court-appointed trustee says Costco Wholesale owes Sunland Inc. about $4 million after abruptly canceling its contract five days before the defunct Portales peanut processor filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

    Costco’s cancellation of the contract now appears to be the catalyst for Sunland’s Chapter 7 filing, forcing the plant to shut its doors owing millions to creditors.
  • The Los Alamos County Council had a long discussion on the budget following falling revenues.
  • The village council for Ruidoso outlined legislative priorities for the village of Ruidoso in next month's legislative session.
  • Unexploded chemical weapons from Panama could be on their way to New Mexico, specifically White Sands Missile Range, to be destroyed.
  • The Taos Municipal School District will hire a compliance officer to help get their special education program back on track. This comes after the district was told by the state PED that the district was not in compliance for several years when it came to the district's special education program..
  • A big roadblock in an anti-bullying month for Española Public School District? The Española Public Schools superintendent.


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