Morning Word: Ethics board rules for Bushee
Pre-filing for legislative session begins and more NM news...
December 17, 2013, 8:00 am
- The Santa Fe Ethics Board dismissed a campaign finance complaint against mayoral candidate Patti Bushee.
The ERCB dismissed the complaint based on ruling that the public finance code does not address the type of payment Bushee made over the summer to former campaign manager Tarin Nix. Board member and attorney Paul Biderman recused himself from the vote, citing contracts that he receives from the city as a conflict of interest.
"It's clear that nothing in the code addresses this situation," Bushee says. "I'm grateful that the political theater, at least in relation to this one effort, is over."
- Monday was the first day that legislators could begin pre-filing bills. The bills should start appearing on the legislative website today.
- The Municipal League wants to weaken the Inspection of Public Records Act and exempt job applicants from the open records law.
Requiring applicants for city manager and other top posts to be disclosed immediately “really does inhibit people who would like to apply but don’t want to lose their current jobs,” Municipal League Executive Director Bill Fulginiti said Monday.
New Mexico’s leading open government group has vowed to fight the Municipal League effort.
Greg Williams, an Albuquerque lawyer who becomes president-elect of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government on Jan. 1, said the public has a right to know who applies for jobs funded by taxpayer dollars.
- Another chunk from the column on social welfare groups involved in state politics. About the Democratic PAC New Mexico Prosperity:
Lipshutz told me me that he left to run the Morales campaign. He said Prosperity’s board members told him they voted to shut down the whole effort, though it’s listed as “active and in good standing until 5/15/2015” on the secretary of state’s list of corporations.
- After a more libertarian-leaning chairman stepped down because he's running for U.S. Senate, the Dona Ana County Republican Party elected a chairman with ties to Gov. Martinez.
- Albuquerque Public Schools is out for the Race to the Top grants, but Santa Fe Public Schools is still in the running.
- APS school board vice president doesn't agree with superintendent Winston Brooks' pursuit of a grant.
“Whoop-de-do,” wrote board Vice President Kathy Korte in an email to her colleagues a week ago in response to an email Brooks sent about the prize. Korte’s email made it clear she disagrees with the superintendent’s enthusiasm for the prize.
The Broad Prize is the largest education award in the country for urban school districts. It honors, annually, districts that demonstrate the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps between low-income students and students of color on the one hand, and, on the other, wealthier white students.
- A website is encouraging parents to opt out of tests for their students.
- The story of a Rio Rancho teacher telling a black student dressed up as Santa that Santa was white (spoiler: Santa is fictional) has went national. It came just after a Fox News host said that both Santa and Jesus are white.
- The amount of people who will have to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act to hit goals is lagging.
- A water rate increase is possible in Albuquerque.
- Dona Ana County Commissioners are going to talk about a proposed hit to education funding involving the Spaceport tax. Legislators say that a tax for the Spaceport that earmarked part of it for schools would unbalance statewide school funding formulas.
- Gov. Martinez was in Farmington on Monday and spoke about energy issues and a proposed freight rail line in the area.
Martinez said her administration has created several incentives for companies interested in energy development and export.
Her administration revised the "pit rule," which required oil and gas companies to haul away all drilled soil to a separate pit, a process that cost the companies about $200,000 to $250,000 per well, she said. Martinez said the rule was driving companies out of the state.
The revision does not require companies to haul the soil as far, reducing costs, she said.
- PNM is going to unveil a solar center in Otero County today.
- Aztec Ruins National Monumentwill receive money to help promote its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This will always remind me of Otero County opposing the UN listing of White Sands National Monument because they feared this would mean UN control of White Sands. This was in 2007, before the Tea Party. But Maude Oliver Rathgeber, then the leader of the arch-conservative Eagle Forum, led the charge against the UN listing White Sands as a tourist spot.
- The Portales News-Tribune writes about who is running for reelection.
- An Albuquerque city councilor wants a 24/7 police presence downtown.
- Breaking Bad's Walter White was named the most influential fictional character for 2013.
The chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin (played by Bryan Cranston) was TV’s most talked-about antihero, luring 10.3 million viewers to Breaking Bad‘s series finale—up 442% from season four—and sparking thousands of Internet debates about the nuances of morality. And White’s (spoiler alert!) death did real-world good: a funeral event staged by fans raised $17,000 for the Albuquerque homeless.