Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's Not Waste the Budget Crisis

The January legislative session is fast approaching and it's time for both the governor and the legislature to step up to the budget crisis. Temporary federal aid, gauze and band aids have gotten us this far, but the first aid kit is now empty. Projected general fund revenues for fiscal 2010 have declined over 25% (from $6.4 billion to $4.7 billion) with no sign of significant revenue growth in sight. Little has been done to address the long-term structural problems we face. The tough decision-making still lies ahead.

It's no mystery how we got here: Big increases in state spending, $700 million in tax cuts since 2002 (largely to the highest income earners), "economic development" perks of dubious public benefit, and questionable deals made in a "pay to play" political culture. All of this was financed by a bubble in natural gas severance tax revenue that is unlikely to return, and financial market shenanigans that fueled a bloated economy.

Tired posturing about indispensable government programs or no new taxes will not solve our problems. A combination of immediate measures and long term policy shifts can. Successful businesses use tough times to reinvent themselves. That is exactly what New Mexico State government needs to do. It's painful, but it sure beats the alternative. Let's not waste this crisis.

Here are some ideas for moving forward this next legislative session.

Reducing Government Spending

It's human nature to get sloppy about spending when there's lots of money around. The first step back to financial stability is controlling spending. The Governor has created a citizen panel to review potential tax increases; we should do the same to address potential budget cuts.

There has been much discussion about "across the board" cuts to "share the pain". This will only result in across the board mediocrity. Large bureaucracies tend to create new programs to solve each newly identified problem. Real solutions often lie in better delivery of core services rather than layers of new initiatives. Marginal and underfunded programs should be dropped as we refocus on more effective delivery of basic services.

Our public school classrooms are a perfect microcosm of this phenomenon. Between overcooked federal and state testing mandates, documentation-heavy programs to help struggling students, and a bevy of "flavor of the month" programs, it is widely acknowledged that teachers no longer have enough time to actually teach. By streamlining and eliminating mandates while maintaining accountability we can improve instruction and save money at the same time.

Policy adjustments can also significantly reduce spending. It costs upward of $30,000 annually to house a prisoner in a state corrections institution. Taxpayers are punished as much as criminals every time we send someone to jail. Though we call them corrections institutions, the overwhelming evidence is that prisons are far more adept at teaching criminal behavior than correcting it. Do we really benefit by sending non-violent first time offenders to jail? Alternative forms of punishment not only save money, but promise fewer career criminals in our future.

Now might also be a good time to review the state procurement code. Many complain that it often adds significantly to cost. I don't pretend to know one way or the other, but given the claimed level of waste, review and possible adjustment of the procurement code seems reasonable.

Restructuring Taxes

Legislators face many proposals for tax breaks for narrow interest groups every year. Far too many are approved and never reviewed again. More taxes are exempted in tax credits and deductions than is actually collected in state income and gross receipt taxes each year. The result is a tax system where tax break losers subsidize tax break winners.

We do not need to raise tax rates to increase revenues. We need only eliminate tax breaks that serve no broad public purpose. Is it really appropriate that New Mexico auto sales excise taxes are only about half as much as gross receipt taxes on other products? Other states don't give this tax break. Forty eight states have implemented "consolidated reporting" policies to prevent national corporations from avoiding local state taxes through accounting tricks. New Mexico has not. Correcting just these two inequities would increase revenues an estimated $60 to $100 million annually.

Legislation that requires annual review of tax breaks, and that imposes sunset clauses on all narrow tax and economic incentives deserves our support.
Curtailing Pay to Play

The impact of pay to play is much bigger than the criminal violations we regularly see in the news. Technically legal transactions that violate the public trust probably cost us far more than illegal activity. Giveaway deals by the State Land Office, subsidies that give (not loan) hundreds of thousands of dollars to private speculators for every acre of private lots they create, and film incentives that give a cash rebate of $.25 for every dollar production companies spend in New Mexico will cost well over $100 million this year. Total costs are much higher and are impossible to measure.

If we abhor pay to play as much as we let on, we should change the laws that encourage it. Contractors working for the state, and companies seeking publicly funded subsidies or tax breaks should be prohibited from making political contributions. There is no hope of curtailing corruption if we're too faint hearted to make it illegal. Legislation that addresses these "ethics" issues may well save taxpayers more money over the long term than any other change we implement.

By State Senator Steve Fischmann

Note: I may not agree with all of Steve Fischmann's suggestions but we should listen to him and the other state senators in order to find ways to cut the state budget without harming important programs. My favorite suggestion for education is targeted cuts to large over paid administrations.

Steve sent this out in the hopes of getting people to talk and make suggestions that will help cut the budget in smart new ways. I would suggest that voters contact him and other state senators if they know of ways to cut waste without harming programs and services to the public.

Feedback and new ideas are a very important part of the process when cutting the state budget.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is A Contract a Contract

You have to hand it to Ex-Mayor Martin Chavez because as an inactive lawyer he knew that a contract would be legally binding even on Mayor Berry. Marty used contracts to protect a limited number of supporters because he knew that Berry would go after their jobs with a ax if given the chance. Berry ran on the issue of getting rid of Martin Chavez’s rather large administration. What he did not say was that he would replace it with his own which would be paid for with taxpayer service fees on such items as water and sewer.

I have to wonder exactly how hard city unions want to push this matter when their contracts could be next on the chopping block if Berry can find away to get around a contract signed by Chavez. This does raise an interesting issue. Can one mayor sign a contract that runs into another mayor’s term and if not then how can unions sign long term contracts? Should elected officials be allowed to enter into long term contract with city employees that ensure a salary level for them? Where exactly does city council fit into this picture?

Berry who is now looking at red light cameras may be looking at raising the cost of other city service fees so as to pay for his cuts that would only benefit republicans in the northeast heights part of the city. When Berry ran on cutting city cost he did not bother to explain to voters that he would also raise cost to middle class city residents.

Why is Darren White expressing any type of view publicly when it comes to city employee's salaries? Who died and made him mayor? God help us all!

The Past Ten Years

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Open and Honest Government? Seriously ?

Is it just a fantasy that can never be achieved in the real world of politics? Our president promised open decision on healthcare reform but the truth is that we were sold out in back room deals that were never intended to be open to the American voters because the deals had been done long before the first vote was ever cast.

We can go back and review all the campaign promises in the world that are on tape but the simple truth of the matter is that the president feels his judgment is more important then what the voters want out of our government. He has clearly stated that the public option for healthcare was never a major deal breaker for him. It was never about what we wanted but about what he wants that counts in the federal government and he will tell the American people as many lies as he has to in order to get his way on this issue.

The question is will there ever be a time when Main Street takes a front row position to the needs and the wants of Wall Street? The answer is no! Not as long as large corporations are allowed to pour large sums of money into campaigns. Main Street voters will get second place and the bill for first place.

Winning at all cost has made losers of the American voting public. Campaign reform should be voted on by the people and not left to the politicians who directly benefit from money given by large corporations who out right buy their votes and influence over our political process.

It will take an outraged public to demand a public vote on this issue and until the American Voting Public is willing to fill the streets and demand a public vote on this issue it will be business as usual in Washington. We should simple stop believing in open and honest government because the special interest and lobbyists will find a dark spot to pull our elected officials into in order to buy their vote and their influence which should only be used to improve the lives of the American people.

President Obama is a sad disappointment and the progressive movement should do all they can in the future to remove him for office. His links to big business are way to open and his choice in administration has made it clear that they will not take any responsible for their failures when it comes to public service.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Of the People, by the People and for the People

Our founding fathers worked hard to create a system that was answerable to the people of the United States. Government officials are not appointed but elected by the people and are therefore answerable to the people who take the time to cast a vote. Without this system our country would be either a dictatorship or ruled by a kingship. Our founding fathers gave their lives and their blood to make sure that we had the right to vote for government officials. The reason is simple if someone is answerable to the American people then they must in turn take into consideration what the American people feel is best for them.

Now as President Obama has proven as of late that principle does not always hold true. Once elected it is up to the elected official to hold true to his or her promise and core values to work in the best interest of the voters that elected that individual.

Today major corporations are spending large amounts of money to overcome an elected official’s desire to work for the American Voters. They convince elected officials that with time and money elected officials can get away with anything as long as the advertising agents have enough time to spend it in the desired context. They go around explaining that the American people are un-educated or undereducated and that the vote is simply a popularity contest that will be given over to the richest candidate who has the best advertising.

In some areas they are right because we have failed as a country to give voters the information to make educated decisions when it comes to their own government. The Republican Party truly believes that it is a good thing to have uneducated voters who can be taken advantage of for their advancement. The Republican Party has convinced the American people that politics is a dirty word and that they should have noting to do with the people who run our country or our state. Some American don’t even understand that elected officials are answerable to them and are not better then anyone they represent.

I have heard a Appeals Court Judge express her views and that she should be appointed for live so that she is not answerable to any voters because it might just have an effect on how she would rule. So if the people have no pressure on our government then how on earth can we call it a country that is of the people, for the people and by the people.

Laws are created by people not god and are not always perfect. Much is left up to interpretation so it comes down to a judge’s best judgment that is in the best interest of the people as a whole. We don’t want people in any elected position who feel they are better then the people they represent in government at any level. It is up to our elected officials to make every effort to make sure that they get out and educated voters on the issues and on why they would best represent voters interest and not just the views of the rich or the powerful in this country.

I truly believe as our founding fathers did that if we want a good honest country that has the capacity to work for it people that people who work for the government should be elected by the people and not appointed by the powerful.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Judicial Temperament

Nothing is more important when deciding what makes a good judge then judicial temperament. Our judges are faced everyday in our court system with many different and often difficult cases and people. Some respect the court system while turning to it in times of need and others could care less therefore they are more then happy to show their disrespect openly.

New judges are faced with the difficult task of hearing a great number of cases due to the limited resources provided our local court system. We all know that the Second District Court could use another 10 judges just to provide the services that a population the size of Bernalillo County requires but due to budget limitations the state at this time cannot afford to provide those judges for public safety.

We are now looking at four new judges who will face a partisan election come 2010 so I feel that the public should be provided with as much information about our new judges as we can give them.

Today I visited the courtroom of Judge Alan Malott who appears to thrive on the challenges thrown his way by our current court system. He is respectful to all involved in the process and acts thrilled to be providing a quality service to the public. His temperament is one of claim respect and thoughtful contemplation of the facts put forth by the lawyers in his courtroom. He is a hard judge to anger and works hard to strike a fair balance between all parties concerned in a case.

The case I saw today was a short one due to the fact that the individual being sued was a ex-DA who did not feel the need even to show up for the hearing. The judge pointed out that the case was in its fifth year and that there was most likely little hope of any financial award due to the fact that the individual in question had allegedly admitted to the other lawyer that he had not filed a tax return in the last eight years and at current was living off his mother. An order to show cause was issued in the case and it was clear that if this ex-DA did not make an appearance that he would be faced with jail time for his lack of respect for the system he had once worked for in this state. One does have to wonder what would cause such a change in someones behavior in the first place.

The lawyer present at the hearing was an older gentlemen who just could not bring himself to understand how a younger lawyer could behave in such a poor and disrespectful manner toward our court system. He was clearly upset and angered by this defendants behavior both towards himself and the courts.

This case is just one example of what faces our new judges on a daily bases but there are a few bright moments in a judges day. The next act was for Judge Malott to marry a couple a military gentleman in his dress uniform and his beautiful young blonde bride.

I saw the happy couple kissing in the hall just before they entered the court room. I told Judge Malott that he had better marry them before they started the honeymoon early. It is task such as this that lift the spirits of many of our local judges. Judge Malott has married hundreds of couples since he took the bench. Community service is another way in which our judges see the more gentle side of our society. While they are required to stay natural it would be a shame to force these caring individuals to completely isolate themselves from the community they are task to serve.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Benefits for Women in Albuquerque from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act

This evening following the introduction of bill R-09-10 by city councilman Isaac Benton the city council using funding totaling $80,826 for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved a grant to fund The Albuquerque Police Department which will utilize STOP Violence Against Women funds to partner with District Court to provide a Court Clerk position at the Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center; and will also utilize Recovery Act STOP Violence Against Women funds to establish a temporary Domestic Violence Specialist Officer designation for the City of Albuquerque Police.

This evenings meeting was a record for being one of the shortest. It ended at 7:00 pm.

2010 Unelectable Candidates

After this week is over and the healthcare bill is passed then future candidates of the Democratic Party had better understand that one penny for a insurance company, its employees or its administration will make them unelectable in 2010 or any future election.

Once the American people truly understand that the president along with the sixty percent of the U.S. Senate sold them out from the very start there will be no stopping the progressives paired with the independent voters to push back on this issue. Campaign donations from the insurance industry will be toxic to future candidates as voters express their anger over being sold out and forced to buy insurance they cannot begin to afford. In the future we will be watching as those same politicians try to force tax increases to hand even more taxpayers dollars over to the insurance industry which has brought and paid for our president.

The progressive movement lead by Howard Dean has its work cut out for it finding solid progressive candidates that are willing to reject money from that industry in order to fix the mess that our current system is about to create. The voters will be reminded on a daily bases every time they look at their paycheck just how angry they are about this bill which does not include a public option or anything else that will force the insurance industry to curve cost.

This fight is far from over! Voters have a great deal of influence at the polls each two years and their anger will drive them to force these corrupt politicians out of office as soon as they become eligible for reelection. We as Americans cannot allow either democrats or republicans funded by the insurance industry to forcible take using the legal system our hard earned income just because the insurance industry was willing to pay off our politicians.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Dark Day for Healthcare in America

The Federal Democratic Party is being lead off of a cliff by a failed president and the American people can do nothing to stop it. It is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. People have been expressing their anger and total disappointment all day on his facebook website.

A few have warned that 2010 will be a massacre because of his unwillingness to listen to what the America people want from healthcare reform. The progressive wing of the party will have its work cut out for it over the next few years as they work hard to find replacement leaders who did not vote for this train wreck which the Obama administration is attempting to call reform even as they hand over 30 million Americans to the healthcare industry as slaves or these people will face becoming outlaws.

How could we have been so completely wrong about a man who promised us real healthcare reform and hope for a better future only to watch in disbelief as he sides with Wall Street and turns his back on the very public that elected him to office.

Howard Dean and his brother are calling on Americans to place as much pressure on Federal Senators as possible in the next few day but we all know that the time has passed and nothing short of a Christmas miracle will put an end to this nightmare.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Healthcare Bill at All Cost—Why?

Sell out a woman’s right to choice, Sell out the Middle Class to healthcare they cannot afford, Sell out Democratic Leaders by publicly attacking them for standing up for the American people. Where will this president and his administration stop? Does he even care any longer?

The American people do not want a healthcare bill at all cost because they cannot afford it. The 30,000 feet the president talks about has gone to his head because he does not care what the voters want any longer. There is no way he can sell this monstrosity of a give away to the insurance industry as being good for the American people or as it being reform in any manner.

This will harm U.S. Senators for years to come if it passes because of their willingness to sell out and take blood money from the insurance industry in the process.

Someone needs desperately to sit down with the president and calm him down before he makes a mistake that could harm himself and the Democratic Party for years to come. We want real healthcare reform and are willing to take the time in order to get it done right the first time around. Stilling Christmas from 30 million Americans by selling them out to the insurance industry is no Christmas present to the people who elected him president in the first place.

President Gary Johnson?

I had to wonder why Gary Johnson was speaking a lot more to the local press but this takes the cake for it. The man who ran our state into the ground and told our children that it was ok to take drugs now wants to be president.

It took Governor Bill Richardson years to undo the damage that Johnson did to education in this state because of his policies as Governor. Still he is now looking at a run for president.

Let’s not forget that his wife divorced him shortly after he left the governor’s office. It would appear he is working on a grassroots campaign and courting the tea party as his supporters.

He reportedly has been attending their meetings here in our state. I knew that the tea party appears high but had not idea that they had gone off the deep end to this point.

The tea party is a far right wing group known to hate government, taxes and anyone who is not light of skin. I have seen skin head individuals attending their events that openly attack our current president because of his race.

Looks like Johnson is determined once again to make his home state the laughing stock of our country. You almost have to feel sorry for the Republican Party with representatives like this making national news. Please does it have to be our state or can we get him to move to Texas?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NO Public Option – No Mandate!

This is what the Dean Brothers are sending progressives:

“What they are actually talking about is something called the "individual mandate." That's a section of the laws that requires every single American to buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn't actually "cover" 30 million more Americans -- instead it makes them criminals if they don't buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.

A public option would have provided the competition needed to drive down costs and improve coverage. It would have kept insurance companies honest by providing an affordable alternative Americans can trust. That's why, without a public option, this bill is almost a trillion dollar taxpayer giveaway to insurance companies.

We must act fast. Both Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senators need to hear from you. Please stop whatever else you are doing and make the calls right now.

Senator Harry Reid
DC: (202) 224-3542
Carson City: (775) 882-7343
Las Vegas: (702) 388-5020
Reno: (775) 686-5750”

Senator Jeff Bingaman (505) 346-6601
Senator Tom Udall (505) 346-6791

So the questions is do we support a president who is willing to sell us out to the insurance industry or do we support the progressive movement and tell them no public option then no deal don’t make criminals out of the American people.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

White Answers to Mayor Berry Directly

When the new top cop in The City of Albuquerque embarrasses our city by encouraging racial profile of American voters, City Councilman Rey Garduño can honestly and proudly say he did not vote for that man.

City Councilman Rey Garduño's voting record on this issue:

EC-09-02 Appointment of Darren P. White to the Position of Chief Public Safety Officer
Motion: Confirm
Voted: Against
Status: Passed

It is clear that Mayor Berry will have to take the blame for Darren White’s actions all by himself because White proudly announced at the city council meeting that he answers directly to the mayor even though the city rule directs him to report to the CEO of the city. I am sure that David Campbell is more then a little happy to hand that responsible (hot potato) over to Mayor Berry.

When asked about our city’s economic outlook Mayor Berry did not have any inspiring ideas to turn our city around and get it back on the road to prosperity. Mayor Chavez would have used an interview like that to announce good news and a new business but Mayor Berry came with empty hands and no plan. Still Mayor Chavez is working hard on ways to bring new green jobs to our state even if he is no longer the mayor.

Looks like Mayor Berry is wanting to turn Albuquerque into a sanctuary city for red light runners as he takes a closer look at red light cameras in the Duke City. You have to hand it to him as he pays back the republicans in the northeast heights of our city. Republicans up in that area of the city don’t think traffic laws apply to them after all this is where the most of those cameras are located.

Mayor Berry is still looking for ways to cut our city budget so maybe he will find ways to reduce city services in the coming weeks. Maybe then he can hire another double dipper for his top administration.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

APS School Board's New Policies

APS Board is beginning to develop top down management rules that are one size fits all. Management would love our children to fit is little square holes that give them no room to develop individual abilities to take responsible for their own actions. They done want our children to question authority in any form.

Prime examples of these new policies are their new policies on parent-teacher conferences and cell phone usage. Both new policies were developed with little to no parent, student, or teacher input. Students are not treated as individuals with individual abilities to take responsible and in some cases these new policies show not desire to take into account either the individual needs of special needs students or poor performing students.

You would think that common sense would tell the school board that a partnership between parents, teachers, and students would be the best approach for developing a successful and rewarding term but when you place individuals in control who have a autocratic management style then the end result is to teach our children not to question blanket rules that unfairly target individuals who have not misused a system.

Conferences which exclude teachers fails to develop strong bonds between parents and teachers therefore opening the door to behaviors that require more strict control from top management. Businesses do not want employees that fail to think for themselves and show the ability to take responsibilities for their own behaviors while on the job. We do not want to force our children into a place where they need someone to control their every behavior. This type of micromanagement does not encourage independent thinkers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Albuquerque Journal Editorial On Cell Phone Usage in APS Schools

The editorial in today’s Albuquerque Journal had to be written by a non parent or one that cares nothing for his or her children. Am I a overprotective parent? You bet your booths I am! I like most parents today only have one child so you could say I have all of my eggs in one basket.

In my parent’s day they had four children but only three lived to adulthood so I don’t think for one minute that any parent with only one child should be lax on protecting their only child. My parents let me roam the West Virginia mountains at the age of three without fear but in today’s society one cannot let their child very far without a danger to their life.

For working parents who want to provide their children with after school activities it is a must to know when they need to be picked up so that they are not left standing outside a empty school with no one to protect them from harm. Schools are a lot larger now and parents have a job just finding their students after school. Should school be released early for any reason students then need to contact parents for pickup and schools have proven that they cannot keep records in good order of how to contact parents. They rely on the students with their cell phones to do it for them.

I am not against intelligent use of cell phones and rule that would encourage it but taking a vital link to parents away from a child could result in the school being sued for causing harm or even death to a child. I for one would sue the pants off the school system if any harm came to my child because some over zealous instructor felt the need to take my child’s line of communication from her during school.

Cell phones have given parents with active children a strong sense of security and with the violent behavior shown in schools across the country over the past twenty years it is no wonder that parents feel the need to check in on their children during the school day. School board president Marty Esquivel should stop acting like a out of control dictator and start communicating with the parents who elected him to office in the first place otherwise we may be forced to find someone who can in the future. His job is to provide policies that protect our child from harm and provide a secure learning environment without unnecessarily causing fear to parents of only children. I myself have call him twice in the last year but both times he has failed to return the call. Last time I checked he was an elected official or maybe he is just another politician who does not care what the voters think or feel about APS policies.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Progressives Outraged with Failure of Healthcare Reform

Progressives around the country and the state are outraged by the selling out of the U.S. Senate to the Healthcare industry. It has been made clear that Senator Raid has no ability to move this reform forward and has in the end giving the Republican Party everything they wanted and more while giving the American Voting Public nothing in return for their support last November.

The back lash from this complete and total failure will be felt by U.S. Senators for many years to come as progressive leaders seek to remove conservative senators in an attempt to correct the colossal mistake carried out by the U.S. Senate and the current president.

Their fear of conservatives will result in a loss of votes and control until a new senate can be installed that will more clearly reflex the views and desire of the voting public.

The insurance industry will rake in huge profits at the expense of the voting public but in the long term will lose total control and may not survive the anger of the progressive voters.

Just a few of the reactions:

Keith Olbermann-“total and unmitigated defeat without a war.”

Jane Hamsher- “Shoveling taxpayer dollars into ‘too big to fail’ insurance companies is not the change I voted for,” she wrote. “The failure to establish a public option to control medical costs and increase competition is President Obama’s failure alone.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If No Public Option

Is the Democrat controlled senate giving in to the health insurance industry and removing the public option from what they would outrageously call reform? Will the America voting public stand by and watch while real healthcare reform is sold out to the insurance industry.

What happens when low income working families and the middle class are forced to buy insurance they cannot afford because the federal government forces them into a position where they have no other option? What will these families have to give up in order to hand over their hard earned cash to private insurance companies who rake in huge profits?

Why after being giving a huge victory last year in November’s election are Democratic Senators caving in to pressure to remove a public option from healthcare bills. How much money has been handed over to senators to betray the voting public on this issue?

It would indeed appear that they don’t care what the public wants but only what the insurance gravy train industry wants in this matter. When will the U.S. Senate and the Oval office grow a backbone and stand up for the American people? How is this different from having the Republican Party in control of the U.S. Senate? If democratic senators fear lossing seats in the senate then they had better start pushing for a public option unless they want progressive voters to not cast a vote in 2010 for any U.S. Senator.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wall Street vs. Main Street

This week President Obama will meet with Wall Street CEOs and large companies to work on job growth. The economic crisis for Wall Street is over but the crisis for Main Street has not been delta with in the last year by this new administration.

We are facing record numbers of unemployed workers which puts stress on local and state government. States are facing budget cuts brought on by weak job numbers and yet large corporations are seeing large profits return.

These profits are at the cost of job cuts which have put Americans on the unemployment lines in record numbers. America voters are beginning to ask where is the benefit from bailing out Wall Street if they cannot put food on the table or even have a home in which to have a table.

Washington is living in a bubble where they don’t care about Main Street American Voters. The President is hosting state parties which are restricted to VIPs while Americans are struggling to put food on the table. Since when is it time to throw parties while Americans are facing difficult economic times and who bloody cares what social light crashed his last party? Why is Washington holding hearings on this when far more important issues are facing the American public?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Afghanistan—Serious Business

It has been eight years since our war heroes have been at peace and we have seen the toll it has taken on them and their families so adding more troops to Afghanistan is not something that most Americans want to see.

We want to see our troops at home in their jobs and in our college classrooms. We want to wake up knowing that they are safe in their own beds with their families around them in peace. We know that they are willing to give their lives and limbs for this country and for that we honor them.

Money is not the main issue when it comes to deciding where or not to add more troops to this war or for how long they should stay. The president must look at the safety of the American people and the American troops. Open ended wars would do no good for Afghanistan or for America because we don’t want to be nation builders. We are not willing to take another country’s natural resources and assets in order to make a conflict profitable for us in the long run.

The Arab countries do themselves and us a huge disservice by not dealing with their own internal issues that have caused this problem in the first place. Osama Bin Laden is not a leader of a country or a spiritual leader for that matter. He is a CIA trained trouble maker who knows far less than most Arabs about his own country or culture. He is more like an American then an Arab.

He is the only reason that the Americans have a presents in that part of the world and if the leaders of the Arab countries dealt with him then the Americans would have no reason to have a presents in that region of the world. You almost wonder if past presidents did not have him trained as an excuse to invade the Arab countries since he has caused two wars and is working on a third. Maybe Arab leaders with all of their objections truly want America to build their poor nations while riding them of trouble leaders and are using him as a tool for those ends.

President Obama is being forced to action and is trying his level best to find a way out of this conflict in a speedy way without harming the safety of Americans. It was a war he was handed not one of his choosing. It was a war that should have been dealt with eight years ago except for the fact that President Bush had old issues to settle with the Iraq republic.

The ground war is becoming harder and more dangerous in Afghanistan as of late so something must be done to put an end to this conflict and give control of this country back to its Arab leaders and their people. I don’t personally wish to see this conflict drag on but I also don’t see a more practical end for it then to support our president at present but I cannot and will not support delaying an end if he is given this 18 months so there will be no support for revisiting this issue at the end of 18 months. It is now his war and he had better get it done.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Judge Worth Keeping

Who is the Real Conservatives in Our City and State

Is Mayor R.J. Berry living up to his conservative views of cutting the city budget? Funny for a man who preached fiscally conservative views during his campaign when it came to the city budget it does appear strange that he is paying his chief safety officer a salary of $125,000 which is well above the county sheriff’s salary and above the $100,000 mark plus Darren White will be one of those famous double dippers who the voting public love to hate since they are doing serious harm to our public retirement funds.

With word that the state is once again looking at raising the amount of income that state and educational employees have to pay into those funds the sight of someone like Darren White taking home well over $125,000 could do R.J. Berry’s image of being a fiscal conservative a great deal of harm in this city. The future will tell us if our new mayor is willing and able to live up to his views on the city budget or if it was all just words to get him elected during difficult economic times.

White will not be the only double dipper hired by the new mayor so why is the chief of police the only employee who is turning down a retirement while the others are cashing in on this unacceptable set of rules.

It sure looks like it will take democrats like Diane Denish, State Senator Tim Keller, State Senator Tim Eichenberg and State Senator Cisco McSorley to cut these over paid public employees off from the gravy train of state retirement funds at a time when our state cannot afford their price tags.

It does not appear strange at all how State Senator Jennings and State Senator Smith want to tax average voters for their daily bread before doing something to deal with this problem. Maybe they are too busy protecting their own pork to fight for a real way to cut cost in our retirement funds.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Peace on Earth and a New Sheriff in Town

Peace on Earth

Today all the voters want is peace on earth but with Afghanistan becoming a problem that will not go away that does not appear to be in our near future. Most democrats hate war and the waste it causes. War by no means is our first step when dealing with problems on the international front but when push comes to shove we jump in with both feet.

If we are going to go to war then we want results and a solid plan that has a end in sight unlike the republicans who just want to make money off of someone else misery. If the President wants to get democrats on board then he had better roll out a real plan tomorrow evening that has clear and achievable goals. Open ended plans are not to our liking.

Changes at home

Today is Sheriff Darren White's last day on that job. Tomorrow he becomes chief safety officer for our city. This is what we call a gain for Bernalillo County and a loss for the City of Albuquerque. The county commission now is faced with appointing a new sheriff. We have a few very good candidates so the commission should have no problem appointing a democrat to that position.

Perhaps the new sheriff can show the old one how to provide quality protection to the voters in Albuquerque.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Study Shows Albuquerque Ranked 72 for Crime by CQ Press

For the 2009 – 2010 year Albuquerque has made the list as number 72 out of 392 so what can be done to reduce the crime rate in the City of Albuquerque?

Mayor Elect Berry ran on a platform of change and crime prevention yet his first act was to hire Darren White as chief safety officer. Change is a hard road and the new mayor should probability take a harder look at finding someone new for that job who has real experience and success in reducing crime in large cities. The mayor elect should be more concerned with preventing crime and less with pleasing his own party.

The local police force should take a hard look at our local parks since they appear to attract the criminal element far too often. Homeless individuals hang out in parks during the day with no attempt in finding work or improving their life.

The Mayor Elect said that he will look into keeping homeless shelters open longer so people don’t freeze to death in our city but he should do more to help clean these people up and provide them with some form of education that would allow them to manage their problems both social and economic. Housing people in need is one thing but it would go along way to help them resolve some of their issues if the city provided councilors to assist these individuals to get back on their feet.

Councilors could guide homeless individuals to city and state programs so that they would no longer need to be in a homeless shelter in the first place. This type of approach could reduce the cost in the long run of housing the homeless in our city.

Adult homeless males are a serious problem when it comes to crime and drug problems in this city so the mayor elect should look at ways to help get these individual into treatment programs which could reduce crime in the future.

If the mayor elect is honestly serious about reducing the crime rate in this city there is a great deal he can do to help people that does not just require him standing in front of a camera handing out food to the homeless.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brian Colón’s Views on Education

Here is a candidate for Lieutenant Governor who understands the needs of our children and cares about our state’s economic future in a constructive manner. His new website has statements like this one on all of the current issues facing our state. Now would be the time to check out the new website and educate yourself on his views.

Brian Colón’s publicly announced views on education in this state:

“No other issue is as important to me as strengthening education. I’m a father to a wonderful boy and a husband to an incredible public school science teacher. An investment in New Mexico’s schools is an investment in our young people and essential to our economic growth in the future. Without the great education I received in New Mexico’s public schools, I would not have been able to be the first in my family to attend college. As Lt. Governor, I will make New Mexico’s children and their education my top priority.

As a former Chair of the New Mexico College Success Network, I know that early childhood education, primary school, and every grade leading up to college is critical to each young person’s future. With each new high school and college graduate, our state’s future is brighter. Our schools and our students are essential for a vibrant and innovative future New Mexico. That’s why times of financial hardship are precisely the wrong time to shortchange our children through their classrooms. I will work with the Governor and the legislature to strengthen New Mexico’s schools. My top educational priorities are to:

· Increase teacher pay;
· Implement stronger incentives for good teachers to work in rural areas;
· Reduce class sizes by building new schools and training more teachers; and
· Strengthen the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math fields (STEM) to make New Mexico more attractive to the next generation of high-tech and echo friendly green employers.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

President Clinton Speaks at Governor King's Service

President Bill Clinton spoke fondly of the late Governor Bruce King yesterday at the service. It was clear that the two men had bonded during their time as governors. President Clinton looked to Governor King for down to earth advice and wisdom.

Part 1 of 2

Coming Soon

Part 2 of 2

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Mexico Says Goodbye to Her King Today

Bruce King who served three terms was a governor who loved people and his state. He made friends with everyone and worked hard to protect our children in this state. He was the type of man that could make people like President Bill Clinton feel like a antisocial V.I.P elected official and still the late Governor King made people of all walks of life feel important in his eyes.

Today Former Governor Bruce King was laid to rest in the Stanley Cemetery and I am given to understand that his spirit is making heaven a much funnier place to be along side his wonderful and kind wife Alice King.

Everyone who was anyone in the Democratic Party showed up today to say goodbye to the late Governor. All three federal congressmen showed up for the service today to show their respect for Governor King. Governor Richardson and Lt. Governor Denish were seated in the front row at the service. Party leader Gonzales was there along with representatives from the Bernalillo County Democratic Party. Three of the candidates for Lt. Governor even took time from the campaign to show their respect to Governor King.

State Representative Al Parks and local Metro Court Judge Ben Chavez took time out of their schedules to say their goodbyes. Former Governor Gary Johnson and Former Senator Pete Dominica both attended the service. The only downside to the service was the two unpleasant mean spirited women who tried to keep me from saying hello to our elected officials but in true Governor King fashion which says everyone is a VIP I slipped around them. What those women failed to understand was that in the Democratic Party we are all one big loving and happy family in this state even during such a sad event .

The gym was filled but not so much as when Alice King was laid to rest. The King family took up a number of rows of seating in the service. It was a sad day for them because now both Alice and Bruce are in heaven together. The King family is one that is very sincere about public service. Attorney General Gary King sit next to President Clinton during his father’s service.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Return to Food Taxes

Leave it to the republican lead state legislature to target food tax increases as one of their most desirable ways to raise revenues in this state. Take food from the mouths of children and people on fixed incomes before raising the taxes on the rich in this state.

Take teacher income and financing for education and dismantle public education before ever taking one penny for a rich republican in this state.

This Thursday the governor’s budget balancing taskforce will be meeting from 1:00 until 4:00 pm in the Leon Hams Youth Hall at Expo New Mexico. The voting public should make the attempt to let them know that these types of measures would harm working New Mexicans and should be off the table before they take food off the table of hard working New Mexicans.

And the Chief of Police of Albuquerque is

Ray Schultz

I also hear that Darren White needs a lot more help with spin when it comes to the voting public. Maybe Mayor Elect Berry is trying to prevent some of those lawsuits that will result from his stand on immigration. I can see the civil liberty people having a field day with White as chief safety officer.

It was announced last evening that two more of the West Mesa victims were identify. Where was the sheriff while these women were being killed and buried on the West Mesa and how will he approach protecting women in this city over the next four years?

Property crime may be a big issue right now thanks to the team of Chavez and Schultz but if women start turning up dead or missing in this city I don’t get the feeling anyone is going to care about who took their DVD player. White’s past record is not so hot when it comes to this issue so maybe his new public relations person can start the spin on why we should feel safe with him having such a strong roll when it come to the protection of women in our fair city.

We should all wish Chief Ray Schultz the best of luck over the next four years because both him and the female voting public will need it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mayor Elect R.J. Berry’s Appointments

Our soon to be new Mayor R.J. Barry will now create a job for constituent services so he can spin any harm done to the voters of this city. He will hire Tito Rizzieri from Heather Wilson’s congressional group which did more to promote the title then to help local voters.

I was at some of the first meetings with Congressman Heinrich and the amount of neglect shown our veterans during Heather Wilson time in that office was shameful. One veteran told me that since Congressman Heinrich took office more has been done for him then anytime in the past.

Darren White was picked for safety since he is known to encourage racial profiling and we will see how the federal courts downtown handle his bad behavior. I don’t think his tricks will play well with federal judges. I wonder what the cost in lawsuits will be to the taxpayers over the next four years.

Bruce Rizzieri will be the new director of city transit so we can hope for a little positive change in that area but let’s not get our hopes too high since Berry was not in favor of the transit tax even thought it has help to improve this city’s mass transit. I would like to see more bike trails in the Southeast heights but with a republican in office that hope is dead for the next four years since they don’t care much for the environment or healthy living.

John Garcia will do the job of economic development secretary which means that Berry wants to allow large businesses to run uncontrolled in our city and that could do harm to our small business leaders and our local environment. We want to see more growth of small businesses in this city but again I am not so sure how well that will go under a republican mayor. Deregulation will do our city’s economy harm at this point in time.

December 1, 2009 will not be a good day for the City of Albuquerque.

Planning for the State Budget

With the legislative session looking to be one of limited resources the need for planning is becoming a major issue that must be faced. The session will come in January so the planning should be now for what will be a thirty day session.

The first item is to look at the current budget and see where you can trim waste without harming programs. The second one is to admit that since the state government has grown so much during the good times it may be time to cut back on highly paid administration.

No one wants to see education harmed in this state except for the republicans so now is the time to look hard at how any cuts should be applied to prevent harm to the students. Cuts in this area must be made from top administration where the higher incomes are and not from front line workers where it would have a direct effect on student achievement.

Old programs which are outdated must be reviewed to see how they can be improved. Technology should be used to reduce paperwork and improve efficiency. Travel and meetings should be restricted to activities which directly affect student achievement and success.

New ways of raising revenues should be considered and legislators should reach out to small business leaders and entrepreneurs to find new industries which could provide a steady stream of reliable revenues for the future of this state and its residents. Taxes should be looked at closely to close any loopholes which could cost the state needed revenues. Locally owned businesses should receive priority over nationally owned ones because income stays in the state and is subject to state taxes.

Small job development programs that show results should be encouraged along with technical training programs for future green jobs. Partnerships between small start up businesses and schools should be encouraged to assist each in developing the skills needed. Film and acting career training should be encouraged to provide an educated workforce for industries that bring jobs to the state. Research should be done to find out which job markets are emerging that could produce future high paying jobs and local colleges and universities should be encouraged to develop programs in those fields.

Another way the state government can help small businesses to success is to provide a statewide website that could list each one and link to a business website. This would promote these businesses to locals and to visitors to our state. Assistance should be given to help small business leaders bring their businesses onto the worldwide web. Just think if there was one website where people could go to in order to find information about product produced in the state of New Mexico and contact information for those businesses. The state website should have a tab that reads shop New Mexico.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Former Governor Bruce King Dies Today at Age 85

Our heart goes out to Gary and his family today. Bruce King and Alice King will be remembered fondly by all New Mexicans.

Statement From Attorney General Gary King on the News of his father's death:

"Bruce King would be the first one to tell us all that death is just another phase in the cycle of life and that we must go on with our lives trying to do the best we can while helping others make their way too. None of us in the family thought this day would come so soon after we lost my mom Alice King, but we are comforted by the thought that Bruce and Alice can be together once again."

Congressman Heinrich had this to say:

“Bruce King will always be one of our greatest New Mexicans. Governor King was so kind, and he served the state in so many ways. He will truly be missed. When you think of New Mexico, you think of Bruce King. Julie and I send our thoughts and prayers to the entire King family.”

Five days of Unpaid Leave for All State Workers

I hear that the state workers are not happy about this decision from the Governor’s Office. I don’t have any sympathy for these workers since I am forced to take off 21 days every year unpaid leave for the states school system. These individuals are paid more and have more paid days off then I do so sorry but it is the cost of balancing the state budget.

Maybe the governor should take the same stand as the colleges and universities boards and give them all 21 days of every year without pay which would save huge amounts of money at the cost of peoples well being. Oh, make sure that they cannot take the leave all at one time so that they cannot supplement their income with another job.

I got an even better ideas lets have all of the educational administration also take 21 days off a year unpaid leave just think of how much money that would save the state government in salaries.

Welcome to my way of life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

UNM and the State Legislature

I am told that I am one of those people who likes to stir the pot with a large spoon every once in a while. What they mean is that when I see an injustice situation I just have to say something about it.

Our state is faced with a large budget deficit and cuts to education are being made every legislative session as of late. Still UNM receives a large chuck of that money for salaries. The president and the coaches get huge salaries to bring in money for the university. One does have to wonder what all the negative press is doing to raise funds for that institution of higher learning.

The culture of misconduct is only too public at this point in time and nothing is being done to clean up the mess. Fans and supporters are expressing outrage and the university administration is trying to cover up and play down the embarrassment to the university and the state. Further investigations from outside sources are being stepped on hard by the board and for what reason no one can say.

With the January session of the state legislature coming up soon all eyes are turning to what the state will do to force a cleanup of this continuing mess from our state’s largest university. Some are suggesting removal of the university president and the football coach along with some of the board. This would give the state an opportunity to clean house and reduce current salaries to a reasonable amount which would save the state large sums of money better spent in the classrooms of UNM.

New leadership could set the stage for new attitudes about how employees are treated and new expectations for how athletes behave toward each other and other teams. The questions remains will the state legislature have the backbone to stand up and do something about this continuing mess or will they again complain about not wanting to micro manage a clearly publicly broken system.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One Step Closer to Healthcare Reform for All Americans

H.R. 3962-The Affordable Health Care For America Act-passed the House of Representatives on Saturday night with a vote of 220 to 215 this bill included a public option that would lower healthcare cost. Now it is on to the U.S. Senate which is where the difficulties begin.

We can say that we are very proud of two of our congressmen in this state as they stood up for the people on Main Street and said no to pressures from large healthcare companies with deep pockets who have been filling the airwaves with false claims just to scare voters. The third congressman needs to understand that he is not a republican and that the southern part of this state thanks to the hard work of Brian Colón is moving more to the liberal side and to a true blue view of our world.

We can count on Senator Udall to stand up for the public option and work hard to pass a bill that will help New Mexicans afford healthcare. We will need to keep the pressure on Senator Bingaman so that he knows we mean business when it comes to healthcare for the people on Main Street. I am sure that large sums of money will be offered in order to persuade these men to back down on real healthcare reform but they must understand that the American people will hold them accountable if they fail to pass real reform. Now is the time for our U.S. Senators to show leadership to our state and our nation on this issue.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Issue of Double Dipping and Other Reforms

Double Dipping became a major issue for saving money in this state as the national unemployment rate hits 10.2%. A program created during the time when unemployment was low has now become a liability to state government.

Cost savings to the state government could be somewhere between 7 and up to 11 million dollars. This would be money saved that could protect healthcare programs and education in this state during hard economic times. This only takes into account savings from retirement payments and does not include lower paying salaries due to the fact that new employees would not require the same high wages as older employees.

This along with sin taxes could help to prevent job losses which could harm important government support systems which affect how our state’s future workforce develops. Without an educated healthy workforce state tax revenues could continue to decline in future years.

With so many people unemployed in this state how can state government continue to justify this program? Lt. Governor Diane Denish has said that she will support legislation in the January session of the legislature to put an end to this practice. She has also stated that she wants to look at how pork (Capital Outlay) money is handled so money is not just sitting around unused in accounts when other programs are facing layoffs and reductions in services to middle class and low income individuals.

Lt. Governor Diane Denish is also hoping to use technology to the state’s advantage to help reduce costs and help increase services to people in need in this state. She sees the need to provide government services in the most cost effective way during these difficult economic times. The Lt. Governor is showing common sense when it comes to her approach to providing a more cost effective and efficient state government.

This approach along with future ethics reform could save the state millions of dollars at a time when no state can afford a waste of capital funds. Taxpayers do not want to see their tax moneys wasted when they have had to tighten their own belts.

One can only hope that the presidents of colleges and universities around the state take note of the Lt. Governor’s approach and look at their own systems to find ways to cut cost without harming the classrooms or the employees who work directly with the students. The time for top heavy administration in any government run program has come to an end for the next few years.

Sports programs need to be reigned in so that a few individuals who have caused scandals don’t received outrages salaries while classroom instructors go without and students are piled into ever larger classes. These programs should be more about promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children, who will be this state’s future workforce, and less about providing glory for college and university presidents and their boards.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why the Progressive Candidates Over Incumbents?

Voters want new faces with new ideas in our state. The voting public wants to see candidates that are more than willing to plan for the future and provide growth that does not disappear in bad times.

They want communities which support a healthy lifestyle. They want walkable communities with large community centers which offer something for people of all ages. They want small businesses that bring in good paying jobs and tax revenues that stay in the state. They want environmentally friendly jobs that help rather than harm the communities in which they live.

They want candidates that will think outside of the old shoe box and use local resources to improve voter’s quality of life within the community. The old guard is too busy trying to help themselves and their old friends at the expense of their own communities. Old guard candidates fail to think locally and also fail to even be active in their local communities.

Progressive candidates bike to work and walk the communities with supporters while the old guard plays golf and spends their time in private exclusive clubs. Progressive candidates are a part of the fabric of the local communities they are trying to improve through changes for better living. They see everyday what needs to be improved and they work hard to bring about those changes with the support of local leaders.

Just this last week in the City of Albuquerque one of the new progressive state senators Tim Keller made the news by asking for funds to be unfrozen to help clean up the fairgrounds because of the harm it was causing local residents. Not something you would find the old guard even taking note of in this state.

If the old guard candidates wish to hold onto their seats in the following years they will have to find a way to reconnect with the voters in their own communities and provide improvements that are lasting and environmentally friendly. Healthy city planning will become a major part of how that growth develops.

The old guard will have to come down from on high and get to know the community leaders once more in order to find themselves reelected. The voting public is finding that these progressive candidates are encouraging renewal at a local level and that it has been good for their lifestyle and their businesses. Progressives were a key part of the movement that helped elect President Obama who himself was a community organizer before he entered politics.

Change is not about politics as usual but about local improvements that create healthy communties.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What in the World was He Thinking?

The news is all over the web that State Senator Tim Eichenberg does not think that Diane Denish can win the governor’s chair in 2010. I emailed Tim to find out what he actual said at that meeting but he has still not responded. Eichenberg has been a stand up guy in the state senate so I am wondering what this is all about.

I can’t for one minute think that he would want to give our state over to the Republican Party with the economy in such bad shape because of them. He of all people should know after this last special session what the republicans would do to this state if they had that seat.

The Republican Party has control of our state senate with the help of people like Senator Smith and Senator Jennings and just look where that has gotten this state. We need true progressives in control of the state senate to protect Medicaid and Education. A Republican governor would destroy both systems while handing over large sums of money to the very rich. A republican governor would deregulate oil and gas so as to destroy our natural environment. Services to low income and middle class families would be cut to the bone.

Diane Denish has worked hard to protect K-12 education in this state and understands the value of a quality education for all New Mexicans. She told me personally at the special session that she would never support anything that would harm our children. As Lieutenant Governor she has supported ethic reforms but how often has the state senate blocked those reforms.

The Republican Party has had its fair share of scandals in the past few years so they have very light moral ground to stand on when it comes to this issue. Their own party had problems with both a congresswoman and a federal senator. My mother use to always say people who live in glass houses should be the last to cast stones at their neighbors. If the Republican Party wants to end corruption in this state then they should start by cleaning out their own house first.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

When Good Teacher Goes Bad

When the case of the teacher who allegedly sexual assaulted her 13 year old student first came out I was stunned and outraged by her reported conduct. To be a teacher is to take on the responsible of caring for other peoples children. These young people look to you for an education and guidance at a time when they are still developing both in mind and body. Nothing is more shameful then for someone to take advantage of a child and then blame it on the child.

As a parent of a teenage girl this type of behavior is one of our worst fears. Parents have a right to know that their children’s teachers are sound in mind and free from a criminal history. I see no reason why criminal background checks should not be carried out more often. Mental health treatment should be something made available to every teacher in this state. Doctors should always report any possibility or probability that a teacher might harm a child in anyway.

With the budget as tight as it is right now I have little hope of these safeguards becoming a reality anytime in the near future. Perhaps it is time to create support groups for teachers so that someone could be stopped before they harm a child in their care. Parents should make a effort to spend time getting to know their children’s teachers. Student lead conferences are most assuredly a step in the wrong direction. As a parent I would never allow my child to spend time alone after school with any of her teachers no matter how much I trust them.

No teacher should be treated with anything but total disgust if they are found guilty of sexual assaulting a child. Harsh treatment should not be reserved for male teachers only. Teachers should understand that once they cross that line that their lives changed forever if they are found out by anyone either among their colleagues or the community. No tolerance should ever be giving to a teacher who harms a child in this manner.

This is just one example of why teachers should receive better training and better pay so as to attract quality individuals to our field so that higher standards of personal behavior can be freely enforced in our state. You cannot pay a poor salary and expect professional level employees. Parents should be outraged that more is not being done to get the incomes to the classroom teacher instead of paying it to educational administrators who never even see their children.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just a Few Ideas for Educational Reform

State school superintendents and principals should be put on performance contracts which would spell out their job requirements, duties and responsibilities. Standards should be developed based on the income levels, student readiness and teacher experience levels for each school system. Customized minimum standards and annual progress requirements should be set that would be reasonably achievable by each school system individually. Even if AYP is not met schools should be recognized for achievable improvement along the way to AYP standards.

The state secretary of education should be required to perform an annual review of each school superintendent and then each superintendent should be required to perform a review of each principal with the goal to provide clear standards to each school system within the state. Principals would then be required to do annual performance reviews of each teacher in their school system. Overall results of these reviews should be made available to parents.

Superintendents and principals should be given some control over how money from their budgeted funds for supplies and textbooks is spent and be accountable for any failure to supply the needed materials to all of their students.

Classroom teachers should be given an opportunity to help select classroom materials which would support learning and achievement in the school system. Teachers should be actively involved in choosing career development classes and training which would result in more meaningful career development.

A centralized bank of lesson plans and classroom activities should be developed so as to assist new teachers develop these skills. Best practices should be developed statewide and shared so that academic reviews could be carried out to evaluate the central bank for quality and effectiveness.

Mentors should be assigned to every new teacher and a central listing should be developed so that support and material could be shared between teachers. With computer technology it is not unreasonable to think that even small school systems could acquire assistance with mentoring from larger schools systems with more experienced teachers.

Each school’s funding should be determined objectively using a transparent formula with the goal of providing a quality education to every New Mexican student in this state. At the state level support should be supplied so that schools can order material in bulk and then the state would see to it that it is delivered to each institution in a timely manner. A statewide internet system should be developed for standard request from parents such as school transfers and meal assistance forms. It should also have local systems where teachers and parents could use to communicate on grades and behavior.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Layoff the Double-Dippers First

Here is an idea that’s time has come and it just might help people to feel a little less displeased about layoffs of government employees. Since double-dippers already take home an income in the form of a retirement check why should they not be the first to be laid off if this state is forced to let people go come next January?

Better that those jobs be keep by younger individuals who are in need of income to support their families. Double-dipping was a way to prevent job openings for long periods of time during the boom years but with the unemployment rate up to 7.7% in this state this may no longer be a problem. The time has come to let younger individuals have those jobs and let the retired individual collect their retirement funds.

Capital outlay (Pork) has been frozen by the Governor until January in order to prevent it from being spent at a time when people should come before pork spending in this state. Empty buildings will be of no help to unemployed state workers. Students will have no need for new buildings if they don’t have teachers to use them in the first place. Close attention should be paid to where the growth is and how best to manage current educational resources. Student needs must be put before those of educational administration.

With the drop off in housing development new schools may be the last thing needed in some areas. At times like this when revenues are down new shiny items and buildings will just have to be put off for a few more years in order to keep the basic systems running.

Revenue creation will have to become a major initiative in order to keep the state’s economy moving in the right direction over the next few years. Studies should be carried out to determine which job markets will produce the most jobs in this state and then colleges and universities should be strongly encouraged to develop training programs for those future job opportunities.

Small start up businesses should be encouraged so as to bring in more tax revenues for the state. Partnerships should be developed between schools and small businesses so as to employee the most number of New Mexicans and prevent businesses from looking to other states for new employees. New Mexico businesses should be encouraged to develop a mentality of hire New Mexicans first. Continuing Education of entry level employees should be strongly encouraged so as to move those individuals up when opportunities for advancement present themselves.

Middle schools, high schools, two year colleges and universities should partner with local businesses to encourage interest in fields which are producing new job opportunities. Summer internships should be setup to encourage students to try new fields of study. Mentorships with people in fields that promise future growth should be encouraged by both schools and local employers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rush and the Republican Party

The Republian Party holds this man up as one of the leaders of their views and this is what he has to say about our president.

"Something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about, and that is: he (President Obama) doesn't deserve the award...we all are on the same side as the Taliban." -Rush Limbaugh

Nice to know that the Republican Party is siding with the Taliban. This is why the Democratic Party is in control in Washington. God help us all if these people ever gain control of our country again.

Regular Legislation Session in January

The weather will be cold and snowy in Santa Fe and the mood in the state house and senate will not be any warmer. We will be faced with closing the budget holes without harming Medicaid or Education in our state. Republicans and state senators like Jennings and Smith will want large cuts and even larger classroom sizes in order to prevent tax increases to the very richest New Mexicans.

These individuals have grown fat over the past few years on oil and gas revenues but now we are faced with a new harsher reality which means tighten our belts and their in order to balance our state budget. This will not be an easy task since they don’t see the need to tighten their own belts anytime in the near future.

Parents should be asking why salaries should not be capped at say $80,000 for state workers and educational administration after all if it is good enough for the state auditor and treasurer why not other state workers. I see some very good people in both the state auditor’s and state treasurer’s positions so how would it harm any other position in this state. If the governor wants to move any of the current exempt workers into permanent position then they should look at serious salaries cuts in order to achieve job security.

We must start pushing for increase taxes in liquor, tobacco, and sodas. We should look at luxury taxes on high end products while protecting small businesses which produce jobs and provide for the basics in our state’s economy. Green jobs should be encouraged in order to bring in more tax revenues that will not go away in the near future.

Diverse small business growth should be strongly encouraged while loop holes for large businesses should be closely look at in order to see if they are producing jobs and tax revenues within the state. We should look at large businesses and how their current salary structure is either helping or harming government programs to support low income individuals and find ways to push large businesses to shoulder their fair share of cost when it comes to their workers benefits. The state at this point in time cannot afford to be providing those benefits for workers of large businesses while they take their profits out of the state.

We should look at ways to bring in new revenues while reducing waste and inefficiencies in our current governmental systems. Education will also have to work at lessen cost to achieve quality education for our children. Administration must be cut in ways that will protect the system for our children. Meetings and travel should be restricted to items that improve the classroom and not just provides a free vacation for top administrators.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Conservative Democrats Attempt To Dismantle Public Education

State Senator Tim Jennings and Senator Kent Cravens spoke out long and loud on increasing classroom sizes but would not hear of cutting salaries from over bloated educational administration. Senator Jennings feels that educational administrators should be given free rain to stack classrooms in order to layoff teachers thereby encouraging a larger dropout rate in this state were we now how one of the highest in the country. This would drive out more Hispanic and Native American students then even before and further harm our public educational system. What is one or two or for that matter a dozen more students in a kindergarten class in this state?

State Senator Eric Griego was one of the more vocal progressive senators when it came to his defense of our public educational system. His passion for this issue should be admired by all parents in this state. He has taught college classes at the local community college and clearly has a better understanding of student needs.

Tax increases are still firmly off the table as the rich get richer at the expense of our children’s future. The growing divide between the haves and the have not is becoming alarming. Our best and brightest students are walking out and never coming back according to resent studies. With the current cuts we may even start to loss people who came from outside of the state in order to protect their own children. No parent will want to live in a state where public education is treated as something that must be disposed of as soon as possible.

Union representatives spoke up to try and prevent further damage to public education but with the conservatives in firm control not much was allowed to be said. Parents need to show up in mass and speak out against further budget cuts to education before it is completely too late for our state and its children.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Special Session--Get a Clue Senator Jennings

Today Senator Jennings was pointing out the need to protect programs today in order to encourage people to cut the educational budget. If he truly cared about our educational system he would think of a way to cut administration while protecting classrooms, teaching assistances, and teachers. After all why are we paying people over $100,000 if we cannot afford to pay teachers a living wage?

If Senator Jennings is so hot to cut waste in state government he could start with a top heavy educational administration or are those his close friends who helped him to gain all of that weight he so happily carries around in the senate.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Special Session

Yesterday I took the RailRunner up to Santa Fe to watch the opening of the state legislator’s special session. The train was an 1½ late but the session did not start until closer to 4:00 pm and was over by 5:00 pm so no harm came from being late for the start. The legislators showed up at 9:00 am and were in meetings until the last minute working on how to deal with the budget.

I chose to attend the state senate side because they are the ones best know for being the more conservative body. Senator Tim Jennings was wasting time cutting jokes on the floor along with the republicans. They were making fun of how to cut the budget and not taking the matter before them very serious. State Senator Cisco McSorley at one point wanted to charge the senate committee on committees for use of the senate finance committee meeting room to hold public hearings on the bills place before the senate yesterday. He was giving Jennings as good as he got. He was pointing out that there was a need to raise income so as not to harm vital programs such as Medicaid and education in this state.

Today at 1:00 pm the committee on committees took up in a open hearing the bills that would increase taxes on items such as liquor, cigarettes, soft drinks and a proposal to repeal 2003 income tax cuts. Jennings put out one to give total control of the educational cuts to an administration that does not know how to keep classroom education safe because all they care about is their own $100,000 and up paychecks. We know where he stands on these issues. It is a shame that the voting public will have to wait to get their chance to deal with that for a few years until he runs for reelection. Clearly there are a few older state senators who need to retire and allow the progressive senators to take control as this would be better for our children in this state.

The educational unions were all there and their members filled the gallery in order to show their support of state senators who are friendly to public education. Some were even chanting the name of their state senator. Senator Michael Sanchez took the time to explain the processes as he ran through the opening of the senate so viewers would have a better understanding of what they were watching. With a body that deliberates it is not uncommon to face delays in order to have the proper paper work in hand and to have time to have read and studied it in order to move forward in a intelligent manner.

Much debate was had over what the governor had sent down as basic rules of what would be covered in the special session since clearly the governor did not want to see children, teachers, or education in general harmed. Late word was that the governor was beginning to give in to some of the republicans and senators like Jennings’ and Smith’s demands for cuts to basic education. Everyone in the room knew that the governor is known for moving toward the center of issues and first taking a hard stand so it is no surprise to anyone that he would give ground on this issue as well. The fear is how much harm is he will to do to our children and teachers just to make a deal with the republicans and budget hawk democrats.

I ran into a number of elected officials early in the day. Senators Keller and Eichenberg both were working hard to protect education where they could. Diane Denish said, “I will not vote for anything that would harm our children”. She has always been a strong defender of early education in this state. It may very well fall to her in the near future to fix the harm done to education this year by the Republican Party and their very close friends Senator Jennings and Senator Smith.

Outside before the session started were a few groups that showed up to display their strong feelings on issues. The gay and lesbian group formed a ring around the roundhouse to make their feeling about marriage clear. The Teacher Unions held a press conference to explain that voters, parents and educators strongly do not support cuts and will demand answers if education is further harmed this year when it is in bad need of basic reform because of the lack of will power of educational administration to control administration cost.

I also had a pleasant surprise because I ran into Judge Tim Garcia who was collecting signatures for his reelection to the appeals court. Out of all the candidates for the three seats this is the judge that I think has the best temperament to be an appeals court judge. Like State Supreme Court Justice Daniels, Appeals Court Judge Garcia just has what it takes to be a great judge for our state.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taking the City Bus to Work

This week my car had some problems and I will have to wait until Monday to get it fixed. I am taking the city bus to and from work. You see the same people on the city bus every morning and every evening. For the most part it is college students, handicapped people, the working poor and criminals. Every once in a while you will also see a homeless person. People talk on the city bus and you get to hear all about their crimes and when they are due back in court. If you take the late bus you get to see all of the people who have been drinking and are coming home from the bars. I taught a late evening class one day this week.

Growing up back East I got to take mass transit all of the time and along with all of the above individuals you also saw the working middle class because they did not have the parking in the city that our city has at present. Back East the cities are more built up rather than out so parking is more of an issue. Urban sprawl is more common for cities out west where we have the room to build out. When I first moved here we did not even have a bus system that you could use to get back and forth to work on everyday of the week. We have Mayor Marty Chavez to thank for the common sense approach he has taken when it comes to mass transit in this city.

One does have to wonder just how our New Mayor Berry will handle the growth in this city. Will he look at this issue and continue to grow public transit or will he be unfriendly to both local businesses and the environment by cutting mass transit in the near future in order to use that money for other activities such as enforcing his attacks on illegal aliens and even more uncontrolled urban sprawl to the west of our city. Water issues will become a major issue in the next few years and one wonders if our new mayor will even admit that there is and will continue to be a problem with uncontrolled unplanned sprawl.

Latest evening I attended the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County monthly meeting and one of the things brought up by an independent voter was that the new mayor may just be paying off political debits to the Republican Party by appointing Darren White as the person in charge of police and fire in this city. I have heard from some of his own and his neighbors that he might just not be as nice of a person as anyone would think. Time will tell just how much he is willing to harm our fair city and its public transits system along with its illegal alien population.

By the way a special thanks to a dear friend that gave me a ride to the meeting last evening. And one last comment please get out and start signing petitions for our candidates. Someone said it reminded them of yearbook signing at this point in the election process so go sign a few blue yearbooks.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Could Not Agree More with Monahan

Oh my god has purgatory frozen over today or what? I can’t say that I ever agree with this man but on this issue he has it dead right. Educational Administration has grown far too fat over the past few years and should be facing cuts. The governor and state legislators should be looking hard at these areas of education if they want to make cuts to education at all. Hundred thousand dollar salaries are simply not affordable at this time for any government run program. Let them leave to find another job because the last time I checked unemployment was a bit on the high side and there are not any other jobs to be had in any state in this country.

Monahan’s words:

“We're talking about a surgical strike at the excess bureaucracy in the public schools. Do we need multiple principals and administrators at our schools? Can we trim salaries of the administrators and leave teacher pay untouched?”

"Again, legislators can stop peddling the argument that they are helpless and all they can do is across-the-board cuts and let individual districts implement them. It doesn't wash."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Student Lead Parent-Teacher Conferences

Winston Brooks’ student lead parent-teacher conferences are a total and complete failure. I would have contacted him personal to speak to him on this matter but it would appear that the superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools is also a failure at providing parents with a way to contact him. It would appear that Mr. Brooks is not very good when it comes to communication skills.

I would like to suggest that you need to rethink student lead parent-teacher conferences. There needs to be communication between parents and teachers. Parents and teachers should be working together to come up with strategies that will allow the students to achieve success in their classrooms. I am one of the lucky parents that have a student who got all A’s this term but I feel for the parents whose students did not do as well as mine. I would still have liked to been able to ask her science teacher if maybe next term we should think about moving her to an honors class.

Parents should be speaking directly with their student’s teachers and not to someone who was picked in a random fashion who does not even know their child.

The question is who’s bright idea was this and why were the parents not included in the development of this poorly though out plan?

Latest News Good and Bad

Brian Colón raises Largest Sum of Money from Voting Public

Brian Colón candidate for Lieutenant governor raises more than $275,000 in just five weeks. His reaction was “I am humbled by the broad support our campaign received from New Mexicans in each corner of our state,” Colón said. “Folks have lined up enthusiastically behind our campaign because they share my commitment to providing high-quality education, creating new green jobs, and implementing transparency and ethics reform in government.”

To Donate: ActBlue

The Disaster that Awaits the City of Albuquerque

Ethics is a term that we need to see more of in the coming days as our city falls under a dark cloud of republican leadership. Mayor Elect Berry has sent a clear message that unless you look like this blogger with blonde hair and fair skin that you will be a target for the city police force. He has clearly embraced the far right wing of his party and will be a shining example of the damage a republican can cause in our fair city. I think that over the coming months democrats will look back at Mayor Chavez’s 12 years of honorable service and wish he was still in office during these difficult economic times.

The news from the county commissioners was also not good yesterday as Alan Armijo aided the Republican Party by forcing through the appointment of a republican to replace Berry in the state senate. Clearly Mr. Armijo needs to understand that this was not a welcome move when it comes to the Democrats in this city or for that matter the state. He may find it very difficult to get votes in the future from his own party. This type of behavior will not be soon forgotten. On the other hand Maggie Hart Stebbins has shown once again why she should receive the total support of any democrat in this city with her fair and balanced view of how to select a replacement by our County Commissioners.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Basic Needs vs. Privileged Access (Healthcare and Education)

The Republican Party would have all Americans believe that basic healthcare and education are not basic human rights but are for the privileged only because of limited resources. The Republican Party would like to see both healthcare and education run by private industries whose main goal is profit and not to value human life or the quality of human life.

They would like to see little to no government restrictions on how those companies are run because it might reduce profits for the very wealthy in this country. Educated individuals know they have more choices and exercise their right to make informed decision when it comes to elections which results in fewer profits for the very wealthy in this country.

As a civilized society I would hope that we would want healthcare and education to be considered basic services which everyone not just the wealthiest in our population should enjoy. These two services help any country to become more stable and therefore allow it to thrive over time and not just for the few but for all. Education has been a proven way to keep individuals out of the criminal system in this country. Healthy individuals clearly have more earning power then those who lack healthcare services.

We have seen the failures caused by both in banking and healthcare services due to private ownership. We have been the ones forced to bail out these major industries due to lack of restriction on how they do business in this country and still the restrictions are weak at best. We understand that without restrictions the powerful CEOs of Wall Street will simply repeat the past failures in other areas in an even bigger and more painful way for the taxpayers of this country.

We can either standby and watch this country destabilized as the wealthy acquire all of the assets in this country or we can force a level playing field by ensuring that our population gets a quality education and that they have healthcare no matter what their income level. It is up to the voters to fight for these rights.

Both state and federal representatives need to hear from the voters to understand that the American dream is something that we hold dear as a core value in this country. The Republican Party will drive this country to ruin if we sit on our hands and allow it to happen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rep. Al Parks on Eye On New Mexico

Today at 4:00 pm on channel 4 State Representative Al Parks will be on Eye on New Mexico to speak about state budget cuts. We need representatives who are willing to stand up to State Senator Tim Jennings and State Senator John A. Smith. Educators took their battle to the state capital to make clear that cuts to our educational system will only harm this state, it’s children, it’s businesses and it’s future.

Republicans and their friends are only concerned with dismantling public education in this state and are using a tight budget to achieve their goals. They know that intelligent voters will vote for democrats and not republicans so the Republican Party is working hard to destroy any hope to give our children a good education and with it a good future.

The time is now to stand up and fight for our public education system unless we want to be 50th in the country when it comes to the standard of our educational system. Businesses and families will move from this state if they cannot provide their children and their workers with a quality education. Republican short term goals don’t take into account the future of this state.

Private education will only be for the very rich while poor and middle income children will simply go uneducated or undereducated in this state if the Republicans get their way with the state budget this year. Why is it that rich people don’t pay their fair share of taxes while services are cut to the middle class and the poor children of this state?