Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rebranding the War Zone

The residents of the south east side of Albuquerque between San Mateo and Wyoming from west to east and Gibson to Lomas from south to north have a message for the rest of the city and the local news media stop calling us the “War Zone” because our name is the “International District, the in place.” Residents would like the city to know that crime is down and community spirit is up. They want to make their community the in place for an international community that embraces diversity in all of it productive outlets. They want to welcome businesses and encourage a spirit of community. They are looking for new development in the spirit of Nob Hill while still maintaining their international flavor.

City Councilman Ray Garduno called a town hall meeting to discuss the name for the area and to define boundaries to be covered by the new name. He will be taking it to the city council for approval. State Senator Tim Keller will be looking to introduce the same to the State Legislature. He was present for the meeting and is working hard to improve his state district area. Also present was Michael Cadigan who is running for Albuquerque Mayor this year. A number of local community leaders were present to provide their input into renaming of the area. Much discussion ensured before the name and area was finally vote for during the meeting. At the end of the meeting Councilman Garduno was presented with a birthday cake since yesterday was his birthday.

Councilman Garduno said to feel free to contract him on any issue that affect his district which is City Council District 6.

Contact Information:

Phone: 505-768-3100
Fax: 505-768-3227

Don’t Show this to Any State Senator

This is very funny but at the same time I would not recommend that you ask your state senator to speak with U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman anytime soon about web cameras in the senate although I am sure that our U.S. Senator has a sense of humor.

Former Vice-President Al Gore Support of Obama’s Economic Recovery Bill

Former Vice-President Al Gore testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday to encourage them to pass the economic recovery bill which the U.S. House of Representatives pasted this week. Republicans did not vote for this bill because they want to use it to attack Democrats in 2010 so they are putting politics before the welfare of this country’s recovery. When will they learn that tax cuts to large companies and tax cuts to the wealthy are no answer to our problems. We need to reinvest in our America before this serious recession becomes a depression. The voting public should encourage their senators to vote yes on the economic recovery bill.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Congressman Luján on and in Your Corner

With so many households in New Mexico unprepared for the change over to DTV, Congressman Ben R. Luján will be on the corner on Super Bowl Sunday to encourage the change over to constituents. He will be handing out information about the transition at the Center Market in Espanola. Congressman Luján a man of the people does not want his constituents to be caught off guard by the change. I made the change over in early December and it is nice to get the added channels. I like PBS World (9.2) very much because it covers science programs and politics. The weather channel on (4.2) is also nice since you can check the outside temp at anytime night or day. So go see you congressman on the corner and get more information about the DTV transition.

What: Congress on Your Corner – Rep. Luján will meet with constituents and hand out information about the DTV transition
When: Super Bowl Sunday, February 1 at 12:00 pm (MT)
Where: Center Market, 745 N. Riverside Drive, Espanola, New Mexico

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My First Day at the Roundhouse

Even though I have been political active in Albuquerque for the past few years today was the first time that I every went to the roundhouse. I have a good cause to be there this year.

I am trying to get a bill passed that would give instructional support staff paid holidays and paid annual leave. These individuals have worked for the Central New Mexico Community College for years and worked with student everyday to provide them with a quality education. Yet they earn less then $25,000 a year and are forced to take off 21 days unpaid leave every year. The unpaid leave is divided up in such a way that they cannot find part-time employment during the leave. Other staff gets paid annual leave and holidays but they work for the administration. We are told that because we work with students that we don’t deserve to be treated fairly. How do I know all of this? I work as an instructional support staff member for the college.

I did not start this journey yesterday. I have worked for the past six years four of those with the AFT union trying to help get instructional support staff these benefits. I have been through every level of the school administration. They all say that they support these benefits but then turn around and vote against them. They fight hard to keep us from getting the same benefits that all of the other administration staff receives each and every year. They lie to our faces and feel what good about it? They give the president our raise and think nothing about it.

The time has come to take our case to the state government. The time for hope is now! I hope that the AFT feels the need to do more then just thank me for my efforts in this matter other wise why am I paying dues to them or for that matter why is any instructional support staff member paying them dues.

I watched the State Senators debate the Solvency bill today in the senate. They spent way too much time on an amendment to provide $6,000 to fund web-cameras to record the proceedings. From all the debate I got the feeling that they need to work on a real plan and process to make this a reality but the bill they were debating was not the place for that amendment. I think web cameras would be great because when administered fairly they provide transparency for our state government. I understand that a few of our state senators don’t think they are cute enough to be on camera but what they don’t understand is that what they are talking about is far more important then how they look or how much hair they may or may not have on the top of their heads. One senator pointed out that senators would have very little reason to grand stand in front of the cameras because it would make the voters unhappy to watch them behave in such a poor manner. I must admit he had a point.

Albuquerque should be very proud of a few of their state senators because they speech well for our city and our children. Senator Eric Griego, Senator Tim Keller, and Senator Tim Eichenburg all did us proud today. Senator John Smith is a person to watch because of the control he holds in the state senate over some of our senators. Clearly he fears that our budget could fall much lower in the future. I hope he remembers what the mission of education is in this state and finds a way to side with the individuals who work hard everyday to provide our children of all ages K-16 with the educations that will provide our state with a skilled workforce. Our local economy will only suffer in the future if we fail to provide our residents with the proper education that will attract both large and small companies in the future. Business leaders do not want to have to pay more for employees just because there are fewer qualify workers.

The Railrunner needs work Governor Richardson. They need to train their staff to be more helpful when it comes to directing people to connections once they arrive in the city of Santa Fe. More information should be provided to travelers on how to make connections and maps with people to greet them in the capital would be of great help. We want visitors to feel welcome in our capital city. I met some very amazingly helpful local residents who were very kind but without them I would have been lost and I grew up in a large city back east so I don’t get lost easily.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Webcasting from the Roundhouse

You have to understand that change can be hard for just about anyone but older individuals adjust to it at a much slower rate than younger individuals. Living in a state where most of the media outlets lean toward the right has not been a great help in encouraging change nevertheless change will come to our roundhouse. State Representatives will learn to adjust to having people from all over the state carefully watching how the laws in our state are developed and it will be for the good. Transparency and accountability in government is always preferred over closed door policies. The more people who can watch our state government in action the better they will understand how difficult it can sometimes be to pass laws. Although if you have ever watched the federal government at work you know that it can be a very tedious and dull process at times.

I personally look forward to the day that I can check the web to see what our local state representatives are working on in Santa Fe. I think that it should be administered in a way that does not reflect badly on either party and that such meetings may just get a little kinder if people know they are being watched by the voting public. I firmly hope that in the future they will come to welcome web cameras in their meetings.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - New Mexico Specific Figures

Highways & Bridges………………………………….......$281,158,912
Transit Capital Grants………………………………………24,066,600
Clean Water State Revolving Fund…………..………$ 28,496,754

K-12 Education

Title 1
FY 2009: $53,207,000
FY2010: $53,207,000
Total: $106,414,000

Individuals with Disabilities Act
FY 2009:$46,615,000
FY 2010:$53,669,000
Total: $100,284,000

Educational Technology State Grants
FY 2009:$3,873,149
FY 2010:$3,873,149
Total: $7,746,297

Education Modernization, Renovation, and Repair: $114,687,000

Higher Ed………………………………………………………..........… Total
Education Modernization, Renovation, and Repair………$39,619,000

Pell Grant Max Award of 5,350: Award Year 2009 ‐ 2010
Aid Available$188,365,171
Average Award $3,616

Early Childhood:

Head Start:
FY 2009: $2,949,834
FY 2010: $2,949,834
Total: $5,899,668

Child Care & Development Block Grant:
FY 2009: $8,908,267
FY 2010: $8,908,267
Total: $17,816,534


Community Services
Community Services Block Grant
FY 2009: $2,847,778
FY 2010: $2,847,778
Total: $5,695,556


Low‐Income Home Energy Assistance
FY 2010: $5,058,116
Total: $5,058,116

Elderly Nutrition Services
FY 2009:$806,764
FY 2010:$806,764
Total: $1,613,528


Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant
FY 2009: $2,279,422
FY 2010:$2,279,422
Total: $4,558,843

Federal Funding for State Medicaid Costs…………..$528,486
Total………………………………………………… …………..$5,087,329

State Fiscal Stabilization………FY 2009…….FY 2010…………….Total
State Fiscal Stabilization Fund…………………… ........$209,642,000…..$209,642,000…….$419,284,000

Employment and Training…………………………………….$15,888,368

Make Work Pay Tax Credit…………………………………Eligible Workers

Relief for Jobless Workers…………………………………..Total Eligible Recipients
$25/Week Increase in Unemployment Benefits……………….70,351
Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program...………13,756

Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Funding……………$46,361,350

Reactions from our three Congressmen:

“My constituents in Southern New Mexico have been hit hard by the recent downturn in the economy and this Recovery Package provides direct relief,” said Congressman Harry Teague. “By providing tax cuts that will benefit the majority of New Mexico’s working families as well as infrastructure investment that will create jobs and modernize our infrastructure, this plan gives our economy an immediate shot in the arm.”

“This bold recovery and jobs package will create good jobs for the 1st Congressional District and provide much needed tax relief for working families,” said Representative Heinrich. “The people of Central New Mexico work hard and this economic downturn has been difficult for far too many. With the immediate tax relief and investment in our infrastructure that this plan provides I am hopeful that my constituents will feel swift economic relief.”

“The people of New Mexico need relief in these difficult economic times,” said Luján. “This recovery package will help communities and individuals who need help the most. The recovery plan focuses on job creation through infrastructure projects, renewable energy development, school modernization and other important projects that will help many communities and put people back to work. I look forward to maintaining an open dialogue with local leaders as the recovery plan moves forward and begins to impact the people of New Mexico.”

President Obama’s Administration is working hard to provide transparency and accountability for these funds and will be keeping a watchful eye on how they are spent in our state. This package will help a lot of individuals that have been hit hard by the current recession.

Monday, January 26, 2009

UNM Educational Administration Salaries an Outrage?

UNM says that $378,100 salary not an outrageous amount to pay for a university administrator. Want to talk about out of touch and not having any grounding in reality. UNM like most universities and colleges around the state have gone the way of corporate administrators with no idea or care for how current conditions are affecting their lower paid employees. Our state has been very lucky over the past few years to have lots of money to spend on education and administrator have grown fat and happy on salaries that this low income state can ill afford during a recession. These same administrators are now ordering reductions in supplies and material used for students. They are telling employees no pay increases, no replacements of employees who leave during a time of raising enrollment and yet they are still demanding increases in their own salaries. Sure wish the governor would set them down and explain reality to these individuals. When families earning less than $25,000 a year are being ask to face no pay raises over a two year period and being told that they may not even have jobs it is very hard to find any goodwill toward administrators among these employees.

Congressman Luján on Renewable Energy

Today Congressman Luján, who is working on the Committee on Science and Technology, will be meeting with experts from across the state on the issue of renewable energy. Congressman Luján worked very closely with other state leaders while on the Public Regulation Commission and therefore has a huge amount of experience in the area of development and legislation when it comes to renewable energy.

"It's important that renewable energy projects are part of the discussion in the upcoming economic recovery bill," said Luján. "We must advance renewable energy development and create green jobs in New Mexico, and there has never been a better time to do so. I look forward to meeting with advocates and experts in the renewable energy field."

Last week Congressman Luján expressed his views in a letter to the congressional leadership in which he outlined priorities which included renewable energy.

Here is what he had to say last week about the priority of renewable energy:

"We need to expand and extend tax credits that encourage renewable energy production and stabilize the industry," said Luján. "An aggressive investment in wind, solar, and biofuels will create new clean energy jobs. We need to modernize our energy grid to accommodate clean energy production, and we need heavy investment in research and development to make renewable energy easier to store and transport."

With New Mexico having two of the best national labs in the country there can be no better place for research and development on renewable energy to occur. Today President Obama will outline some of the goals and new regulations that will move our country forward in the sector of renewable energy. President Obama will also encourage the support of renewable energy development in the economic recovery bill.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lobbyists spend 1.6 Million in New Mexico

How can the everyday voting public compete with that kind of money when it comes to laws in this state? When do elected officials have anytime or care for the needs and the wants of the people they were elected to represent if they are already bought and pay for by lobbyists of large school administrators and larger companies.

Where is the ethics in taking money to buy access to the government that should be by the people, for the people and of the people? The Obama administration is trying their hardest to limit the access of lobbyists while giving the voting public more access to laws and budgets made by this country’s governmental leadership. The problem is that our local elected officials are now getting the money that would have been spent on federal government. Working class Americans have little or no hope of getting a fair deal from a local government that has not time or ears for their issues. Where is the hope in state government?

More money in state government mean less benefits for working Americans. Local lawmakers are not likely to vote to freeze their paychecks or to stop this kind of selling of government when they are the ones receiving the money. Yet they are more then happy to cut the budget for education thereby taking away the hopes of working class families’ children. Yet there are those progressive representatives that turn down the money thereby giving hope for changes no matter how hard the battle becomes in Santa Fe. We clearly need to replace the ones that battle against education and green jobs just to stand for giving more money to oil and coal companies.

We should start by pointing out how state representatives cast their voted during the next 60 days. Who was among the 19 that voted for progress and who was the 23 that vote to stay the course?

Friday, January 23, 2009

President Obama has Busy First Week

President Obama has had a busy first week in office. Tuesday he was sworn in and attended 10 parties that evening. The first lady looked great in her white formal evening dress. It was nice seeing the two looking like newlyweds on the dance floor.

President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts were off to a good start by working together instead of pointing fingers even after Chief Justice Roberts had to return to the White House that first evening to administer the oath of office once more just to be safe.

The next day was spent closing Guantanamo prison in Cuba within the next year and banning torture of detainees. It was good to see him make a strong stand on the values and morals that drive this country.

Today he has spent his time working on putting our economy back on track and moving us forward in a positive fashion which will include goals that cover building our country back to a position of solid economic footing for future development.

All in all not a bad first week even though it started on a Tuesday and the work could not start until Wednesday morning. There is still much work to be done before anyone can rest but we have had a very promising and hopeful start.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Conservatives Effect on Public Education

What will be the effect of Dr. NO and his conservative friends on this state’s educational system? Will they defend it or destroy it? What is their past and current relationship with very high paid educational administrator in this state? Why are they working with republicans in Santa Fe to keep control of power? Why are they not reaching out to the new progressive democrats that the voting public sent to Santa Fe? These events bear careful watching over the next few weeks as the educational budget is prepared for the next year. Next week I will visit the state capital to request a fair deal for educational employees so maybe I will get to ask these individuals were they stand on these issues that is if I can get them to take the time to speak to someone that does not drop large amounts of money on lunch for them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reactions to Inauguration Day by our Congressman

Today was a great day for our country. President Obama gave an inspired speech today that said we must raise ourselves up, dust off the past and move forward to a brighter future. Our country is faced with tremendous challenges but with hard work and patients things will begin to turn around over the next four years. To help him along we have sent two democratic senators and three democratic congressmen to support him. Here is the reactions of two of those congressman.

Congressman Luján

"Today, President Barack Obama made history by being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States,” said Luján. “I join all Americans in celebrating President Obama’s Inauguration. President Obama’s Administration and Congress face tremendous challenges – circumstances that President Obama outlined in his remarkable address – but we also have an unmatched opportunity to change the direction of our country. It is an honor to represent the people of New Mexico during this historic time, and I look forward to working with the Obama Administration, my colleagues in Congress and my constituents in New Mexico to get our country back on track.”

Congressman Heinrich

"What an incredible day for all Americans! Having just witnessed the inauguration of President Barack Obama I am filled with a tremendous sense of hope, patriotism and pride.”

“I look forward to working with President Obama to renew America’s promise. Our times are certainly challenging, but I am confident that together we can overcome any obstacle to move this great nation forward and achieve the change our constituents asked for and deserve.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes! We did and Yes, We Will

Tomorrow is the day that we in the Democratic Party have been looking forward to for years. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be overjoyed as is the Democratic Party to see part of his dream become a reality tomorrow. President Barack Obama will lead our country forward by creating green jobs; rebuilding our country’s roads, public transportation, bridges and schools; putting people back to work; bringing peace around the world; and protecting our environment with his new policies that will depend on honesty, truth, public input, and scientific fact that is not censored. The Obama administration will reach out to the world and listen to all people not just the ones that tell us what we want to hear.

President Elect Obama has said things will get worst before his policies can have a real impact on this country. The USA is like a large ship it takes time after putting in a new direction before the ship begins to turn but turn it will in the right direction. Some republicans may not be happy with the new course that this country is taking in the future but we have seen the results over the past few years of their leadership and their direction.

Change is not always welcomed by all but it is in the best interest of the whole country. Education will become an important part of helping people to move into jobs that are more secure and stable. We must find ways to take back control from CEO type administrators who put their salaries before the health of our educational system and the health of our economy.

Tomorrow millions of people will watch as the dream of change becomes a reality.

Both Congressman Ben Ray Luján Jr. and Congressman Martin Heinrich are welcoming New Mexicans to their offices in Washington between 8:00 am to 9:00 am and between 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. They want everyone to feel free to drop by and tell them their views on issues and ask for any help that they might be able to give. It will also be a nice way to get out of the cold for a few minutes. Both congressmen took time today to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Heinrich’s feelings on the day:

“I join my fellow New Mexicans in celebrating the continuing legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Just one day before our first African-American President is inaugurated, we pay respect to the extraordinary life of Dr. King and those who have fought for true civil equality. In honor of Dr. King’s substantial contributions to our country, I hope each one of us will not only think about the meaning of his words but put those words into action for the betterment of our community.”

Ben Ray Luján’s feelings on the day:

“Today, we honor the memory of a leader who gave his life to better our country and break down barriers,” said Luján. “Tomorrow, our country will inaugurate our first black President – which shows the tremendous progress our nation has made since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched in Washington forty six years ago and outlined his dream for America. As we honor Dr. King and his legacy of service, we must remind ourselves of the work that remains to promote civil rights and equality for all. We have come far as a country, but as long as inequality prevents opportunity, we must continue to join together to fight for justice.”

President Barack Obama will put his hand on Lincoln’s bible tomorrow and pledge to uphold our constitution to the best of his ability and in doing so he will become our 44th president. Behind him stands ready a nation united to move our country forward into better times. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Tomorrow Barack Obama with his family beside him will take that first step that will lead our country over the next four years in a new direction.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Democratic Women of Bernalillo County APS Candidate Forum

Today at the UNM Law School the Democratic Women of Bernalillo County held a very well attended forum for the APS Board Candidates. The candidates were given two minutes to introduce themselves to the ladies and to tell why they are running for a position on the school board. They then took two questions from residents of their districts. Due to time constraints and the number of candidates, members were unable to ask more questions otherwise the forum was a great success. Perhaps in the future the forum can be broken up into districts so as to allow for more time for each candidate to answer questions from members.

The issues covered were:

To hold an independent external audit so as to determine if policy and procedures for capital expenditures are being followed. To determine exactly what the priorities are for the current budget and to determine if they are being met by the current budget. On this issue most candidates felt that a quality education for our children should be the major priority.

How best to provided hot lunches for all APS students and then determine how best to collect money from parents or provide support to parents who cannot afford to pay their students overdue lunch bill.

How best to measure student achievement and to reduce the level of student dropout while still providing a high level of education for students of the APS system. What would be the best policy to prevent troubled students from derailing the educational process while still ensuring them a quality education and support classroom instructors at the same time? Some candidates floated an idea of paying teachers a higher rate and not making unrealistic demands for a class which took these students out of regular classrooms.

How best to achieve a system that provides for transparence government while still staying within the limits of the law. With little discussion in public view and no major input allowed from working parents clearly the current system needs improvement. Some candidates felt strongly that team work should not mean a solid wall that does not allow for parents and voter to have real input into important decision that affect the children’s education of this city.

These issues have been of much concern to the voting public and the parents of current students within the APS school system.

When questioned about the possibility of dividing up the school system into two the candidates questioned in district 5 responded by saying that more studies need to be done before they could give an informed answer to that question.

All in all the forum did cover the candidates very interesting responses to the questions raised by the Democratic Women of Bernalillo County and the new president said that she hopes to get the group involved in local governmental issue more in the future.

Friday, January 16, 2009

32,000 New Mexican Children Could Receive Health Care

Today Congressman Ben Luján provided this press release to give us more details about the New SCHIP bill that could provide 32,000 New Mexican children with affordable health care. Congressman Luján is clearly very concerned about the working families in this state. We should all support our congressmen when it comes to pasting bill that will support working families during these poor economic times.

Over 32,000 New Mexican Children Could Receive Health Care Coverage Under New SCHIP Bill
New Report Shows Positive Impact of SCHIP; Luján Supported Legislation to Cover Children

Washington, DC – A report released yesterday by Families USA analyzed the recently passed SCHIP legislation and detailed its positive impact on New Mexican families. According to the report, 32,100 uninsured New Mexican children could be covered under the reauthorization of SCHIP, reducing the number of uninsured children in the state by 35 percent. Rep. Ben Ray Luján voted for this legislation, which will provide health coverage for 11 million low-income, uninsured children nationwide.

“I joined my colleagues in support of an expansion of health care coverage for low-income, uninsured children that will help children and families throughout the state. This report shows the real positive impact of this legislation,” said Luján. “Over 32,000 children in New Mexico could receive health care coverage, which is especially critical as families in New Mexico struggle in this difficult economy. In a time of rising unemployment, it is especially important to make sure that parents are able to get their children the health care they need to stay healthy and active.”

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP) passed the House 289 to 139. The legislation, H.R. 2, will help working families across the state who are struggling to provide health care coverage for their children. Last Congress, President Bush twice vetoed similar legislation.

The bipartisan legislation will preserve health care coverage for the 7.1 million children currently covered by SCHIP and extend coverage to 4.1 million uninsured children who are currently eligible for the program, but not enrolled. The legislation would cover almost half of the 8.7 million children uninsured nationally.

In New Mexico, 16,525 children receive health care coverage through the successful SCHIP program. This legislation will preserve coverage for these children and work toward covering the 93,000 New Mexican children who lack health insurance coverage. According to the report, with 32,100 uninsured children who could be covered under the reauthorization of SCHIP, the number of uninsured children in New Mexico could be reduced by 35 percent. This bill increases the SCHIP allotments for New Mexico by 277%--from $52 million to $196.2 million.

“Making sure New Mexico’s children have health care coverage is the right thing to do,” said Luján. “By passing this legislation in the House, we are investing in our children’s future. Healthy children attend school, participate in after school activities, and are better equipped to put themselves on a path to success. The House passed this important legislation and took a step toward preserving health care coverage for 16,525 New Mexican children currently covered by SCHIP and insuring 32,100 New Mexican children, according to this new report. This legislation is an important step to getting our country back on track and helping families in New Mexico.”

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created in 1997 to provide health care coverage for children in families that earn too little to afford private health insurance for their children, but too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Congressman Luján will be meeting with the public on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at the opening of his office in Santa Fe. Now is the time to take the opportunity to speak with the congressman about issues that affect your life and let him know about your support on issues like the SCHIP bill. Constituents services is an issue that Congressman Luján takes seriously and he is working very hard to reach out to the working families or any New Mexican to find out what he can do to New Mexican’s lives better in the future.
Opening of Santa Fe Office
What: Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s Official Santa Fe District Office Opening
When: Tomorrow, Saturday, January 17, 2009, 2:00 pm (MT) - 5:00 pm (MT)
Where: Santa Fe District Office, 811 St. Michaels Drive, Suite 104, Santa Fe, NM 87505

I would like to take this opportunity to pass along to this congressman and the other two congressmen in our state that some older individuals are concerned with the issue of health care for them and they are asking the congress if there is anything in the works to provide health care for adults and older individuals. Affordable health care appears to be an issue for all Americans during a time when job security is becoming a major issue. With so many individuals losing their jobs people are concerned that current medical conditions could become an issue when finding new employment.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Senator Tom Udall’s Website

A web site for communicating with the Senator is in the making but in the mean time here is the contact information for his national office and local offices.

Senator-elect Tom Udall’s Offices:
Washington, D.C. B40D Dirksen Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510
202.224.6621 (office) 202.228.3261 (fax)

Albuquerque 201 3rd Street, NW Suite 710Albuquerque, NM 87102
505.346.6791 (office) 505.346.6720 (fax)

Las Cruces 505 South Main, Suite 118Loretto Town CenterLas Cruces, NM 88001
505.526.5475 (office) 505.523.6589 (fax)

Santa Fe 120 South Federal PlaceSuite 302Santa Fe, NM 87501
505.988.6511 (office) 505.988.6514 (fax)

Some of the areas Udall’s State Offices can assist with include:

Veterans: Problems with veterans' benefits, eligibility determinations, VA home loans, and replacements of medals earned.
Social Security: Social Security benefits and eligibility or missing checks.
Housing: Problems arising with housing vouchers, federal loan programs and HUD.
Immigration: Naturalization applications, immigrant petitions for relatives, and adjustment of status applications that are delayed or lost.
Passports: Emergency passport applications, lost passports and overseas travel restrictions.

Clearly our Junior Senator is on the move to create lines of communication for our state. He also has a lot of work to keep him busy in the next few months in Washington D.C. since our congressmen are hard at work creating new bills to support New Mexicans. Now we can look forward to him showing all of New Mexico what you truly mean by constituent services.

Congressman Luján Stand up for New Mexican Children

“Washington, DC – Rep. Ben Ray Luján joined 288 of his colleagues in support of bipartisan legislation to provide health care coverage for 11 million low-income, uninsured children. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP) passed the House 289 to 139. The legislation, H.R. 2, will help working families across the state who are struggling to provide health care coverage for their children in this troubled economy.”

While the state budget is getting tighter and tighter by the day our congressmen are doing everything that they can in Washington, DC to make it easier for New Mexican working families. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which was created in 1997 once pasted will help to provide health care coverage for our children in this state. The program provides affordable insurance for working families that cannot afford private health insurance. This will be welcome funding for families in these economic times. Here is what Congressman Luján had to say about the bill.

“Too many children do not have access to health care,” said Luján. “By passing this legislation in the House, we are investing in our children’s future. Healthy children attend school, participate in after school activities, and are better equipped to put themselves on a path to success. Today, the House passed this important legislation and took a step toward preserving health care coverage for 7.1 million children currently covered by SCHIP and insuring 4 million children who are eligible for the successful and cost-effective SCHIP program, but who are not enrolled. This vote was an important step to getting our country back on track and helping families in New Mexico.”

I believe this is what we call change for the better in New Mexico.

Official Rio Rancho District Office Opening

What: Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s Official Rio Rancho District Office Opening
When: Tomorrow, Friday, January 16, 2009, 2:00 pm (MT) - 5:00 pm (MT)
Where: Rio Rancho District Office, Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle NE, Suite 330, Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Congressmen Hard at Work for Rural New Mexico

Our Congressmen are at it again with requesting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seek to provide funding to rural areas in New Mexico and other states. They want to see funding for education, health care, expanding broadband technology, public transportation, and water and sewage systems in rural areas of our state. Clearly with the state budget being cut in the area of education these rural communities will need this funding even more because of the tough economic times. Ben Lujan Jr., Martin Heinrich, and Harry Teague are working hard to find ways to help the people in rural New Mexico to get by until President Obama can turn the tide and get our economy moving in the right direction.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

January 13, 2009

Dear Madam Speaker,

As the 111th Congress begins, we of the freshmen class strongly urge you to consider the many ways in which rural communities can benefit from the national economic recovery and reinvestment plan. Rural areas are among the hardest hit in these tough economic times, and with this economic recovery plan we have an opportunity to provide necessary aid to these communities. We need to ensure that the funding streams contain formulas which make certain that money is funneled directly to rural America. If the funds go through the State, then State governments must be required to allocate equitable portions to rural areas.

The infrastructure of rural economies is in crisis. The economic recovery and reinvestment plan must invest significantly in maintaining and upgrading infrastructure in rural and other distressed communities, which will create local jobs. Among other viable options, the quality of life in rural America can be improved by expanding broadband technology, public transportation, and water and sewage systems.

Rural development funds should also be allocated to benefit local schools, police and fire stations, hospitals and community centers. The USDA reported that rural counties with high educational levels saw more rapid earnings and income growth over the past two decades than counties with lower educational levels. Failure to invest in education may offset or diminish the benefits realized through other investments. Moreover, funding for hospitals and rural and community health care centers is essential because of the enormous responsibility placed on rural family doctors. Because rural areas lack the population base to support many specialty practices, rural physicians are frequently called upon to treat patients across a wide range of specialties.

Assistance to education, health care and other programs is critical if we want all Americans to benefit from this economic recovery and reinvestment plan. Rural communities comprise about 50 million Americans and approximately 75% of our nation’s land area. The needs of rural Americans must be directly addressed in this bill if we are to succeed in curbing the economic downturn and improving the lives of everyday Americans.

Please join us in standing with Majority Whip Clyburn to advocate for rural interests and to ask that rural communities be included in the upcoming economic recovery plan.


Betsy Markey
Member of Congress

John Boccieri
Member of Congress

Kathy Dahlkemper
Member of Congress

Steve Driehaus
Member of Congress

Parker Griffith
Member of Congress

Debbie Halvorson
Member of Congress

Martin Heinrich
Member of Congress

Ann Kirkpatrick
Member of Congress

Larry Kissell
Member of Congress

Frank Kratovil
Member of Congress

Ben Luján
Member of Congress

Eric Massa
Member of Congress

Dan Maffei
Member of Congress

Walt Minnick
Member of Congress

Tom Perriello
Member of Congress

Chellie Pingree
Member of Congress

Jared Polis
Member of Congress

Mark Schauer
Member of Congress

Paul Tonko
Member of Congress

Harry Teague
Member of Congress

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Richardson Completely Misses the Mark with Educational Budget Cuts

I have to admit to being completely and totally disappointed with the budget that Governor Bill Richardson put forth yesterday. The governor has decided to listen to top educational administration officials who are so out of touch with what the voting public values that like the CEO in the business world they care nothing for the students and everything for their own salaries. These administrators run our state schools, colleges and universities without any knowledge of the problems faced by educational employees working in the frontlines of education and they live in their own little fantasy world where salaries between $200,000 and $600,000 will simple not be enough for them to retire yet they expect teachers and instructional support staff to live on incomes of far less. If it comes to which of these groups should be losing jobs these administrators feel that they are far more important than the people paid to work directly with students. This failure to pursue doing the job that our educational system was created for is why these administrators are requesting cuts in areas such as teacher’s salaries and educational care and support along with reductions in student equipment and supplies. Clearly their salaries are more important than the success and achievement of our young people in their minds.

I personally think that Governor Richardson should get out of Santa Fe and listen to the people in this state that will be affected by these budget cuts. I am sure that there are a number of New Mexicans that would like to express their views on how to cut the budget in a smart way that will protect the quality of our children’s education. Now is the time for Governor Richardson to listen to classroom teachers on how important classroom size is to the quality of education. Now is the time for him to listen to college and university employees to find out the problems and obstacles they face on a daily bases. To tell people that this problem will only go on for the next year is to sell out the very people who worked the hardest to elect democrats to office in the hopes of bettering our educational system in this state.

It is not that we don’t understand that there is not as much money to be spent on education this year but that we want the money spent on classrooms and instructional employees before it is spent on administration. The smart answer is to set priorities that ensure the future success of the young people of our state. This is the year of change where the values and core beliefs of the Democratic Party are put into actions after eight long years of watching our country face failure under Republican Party Control.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Three New Mexico Congressmen are already Hard at Work

Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan and Harry Teague have already started working to protect working families, give pay equality to women, and protect our environment not bad for a first week of work. Here are formal statements on one of the pieces of legislation they are working on this week. These men make us proud to be democrats.

New Mexico House Delegation Joins Together to Help Working Families
Legislation Would Make Child Tax Credit Refundable for Next 5 Years

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monday, less than one week since Representatives Martin Heinrich, Harry Teague, and Ben Ray Lujan were sworn in, they joined together to announce legislation that would help New Mexico’s working families. Representative Harry Teague introduced H. R. 452 that would make the Child Tax Credit refundable for the next five years, allowing working class families to benefit from the Child Tax Credit. Representatives Heinrich and Lujan are signed on as original cosponsors to the bill.

“This legislation will continue to provide much needed economic relief to those hit the hardest by the downturn in the economy – our working families,” said Representative Martin Heinrich. “I will continue to work so that any stimulus package puts New Mexico’s working families first.”

“My constituents in Southern New Mexico sat by and watched as Wall Street banks benefited from a massive public bailout, and watched again as Congress acted to save Detroit automakers. By making the Child Tax Credit refundable we will give a helping hand to working Americans in Southern New Mexico and across the country,” said Representative Harry Teague. “The working families that are eligible for this credit are the backbone of America. By making the Child Tax Credit refundable we can help them through these hard times and ensure the economy receives a full stimulus benefit when they begin to cycle those dollars back into the economy.”

“As families struggle during this difficult economic time, it is important for Congress and the Administration to focus on hardworking families throughout New Mexico and the country who are having trouble making ends meet,” said Rep. Ben Ray Luján. “By making the Child Tax Credit refundable for five years, we will help these families by putting money in the hands of those who need it the most. The Credit will stimulate the economy as the families spend the money they receive at local retailers and businesses that will be able to create jobs in our communities. I am proud to join the New Mexico delegation in supporting this important legislation that will help get our economy back on track.”

The voting public should email them and tell them to keep up the good work in Washington.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Richard Romero Sunday Afternoon Fundraiser

Today is one of many fundraisers that Richard Romero will need to hold in order to raise the money to run for Mayor. Romero a strong believer of public funding for local races will be using only public funds for his campaign. He limited donations to between $25 and $100 per individual as is required by public funding. Blair Kaufman and his wife Ann welcomed to their home Candidate Richard Romero and his wife, Margie for a fundraiser to support Romero’s run for Mayor. Blair Kaufman said that he thinks that Romero would make a very good mayor for the City of Albuquerque.

Richard Romero spoke to a group of residents in the southeast heights about the economy and public funding. He told the group that he was a veteran of the Vietnam War, a teacher who worked at Wilson Middle School and a former state senator who stood up to individuals for political ethics. Romero worked in the field of education for 27 years with 13 of those years being as a principle. He told the group that he would work hard to work with all vested groups and develop lines of communication that would benefit the City of Albuquerque in the future.

Shortly after Romero's speech Margie, Romero’s wife, told me that she has been happily married to Richard for the past six years. They meet through the field of teaching and because they both had a love of running. They have no children in their marriage but Richard has a son from a previous relationship and that son has a long term relationship with a woman who has a child from a past marriage. The eight year old boy has happily and proudly adopted Margie and Richard as grandparents.

Romero spent the rest of the afternoon listen to the voters about what they saw as issues that would matter in the campaign. Romero like most candidates wants to take the opportunity to listen to what matters to the voting public during this time in his campaign. With public funding he will not be forced to spend long hours on the phone dialing for dollars from high valued donors that would expect payback in the future. Romero served as a state senator where he worked hard on reform for the funding process in the state.

Blair Kaufman who is a candidate and incumbent who is unopposed for the Central New Mexico Community College governing board invited a large group of active democrats most of who comes from the field of education.

The issues spoke about were more support of this side of the city. Clearly with the economic issues another of the major concerns was the funding of public education in our city which includes after school programs and the issue of making sure that economically distressed families were sure that their children were getting at least one hot meal during the day without facing being shamed by the current policy put forth in order to collect money from parents that are overdue on their children’s lunch bills. The voters wanted to know that Romero would work hard to bring people together and that they would see less fighting between the eleventh floor and the city council. They wanted to see a good working relationship between state and city government that would benefit the city. They wanted to see a continued support for green jobs and support for large and small businesses for green energy usage.

This side of the city does lean more toward the progressives left and has produced well know elected official such as Congressman Martin Heinrich, State Senator Tim Keller and State Senator Cisco McSorly. One of Congressman Heinrich’s first votes of this year was to support pay equality for women. Clearly the voters of this area of the city have a proud history of electing quality elected officials. It would appear that Richard Romero is in agreement with the progressives and that he will work well with this group but he is not limiting himself to only reaching out to that group of voters.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rebecca Vigil-Giron under Investigation by Attorney General’s Office

It came out in the Albuquerque Journal this morning that former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron who is now working for the Department of Workforce Solutions is under investigation by Gary King’s office for the accounting of $3 million of federal funding spent for a voter’s educations campaign from 2004 through 2006. Last year there was a federal audit released which questioned the methods used in reporting and recording $3 million of a 6.3 million allotment of federal funding. At the time of the release of the auditor’s report Rebecca Vigil-Giron was in a tight race with Martin Heinrich for the congressional district one democratic position on the ticket.

I interviewed Rebecca Vigil-Giron and she was happy to turnover a written copy of her response to the federal auditors. She felt at the time that there had been no clear directions for recording and reporting how the money was spent so she turned to a system used by the Attorney General’s Office thinking that the system would meet all of the federal requirements. At present due to the investigation Ms. Vigil-Giron is forbidden from responding to questions about the issues but since I received the response months ago and post it at the time I see no reason not to reference it in this blog.

So here is the interview with the official detailed response Rebecca Vigil-Giron made to the federal auditor before any investigation was initiated.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mayor’s Race in Albuquerque New Mexico

The candidates are declaring their intentions to run for the mayor’s race in 2009. The list of candidates who are looking at running is gowning longer by the day with Major Martin Chavez holding back on declaring that he is either in or out of the race. From what I have been hearing if he did decide to run that most people would still support him for mayor. As far as other candidates the first that I was to hear about was Richard Romero in December. Romero is being helped by a number of progressives in the city. Someone pointed out to me lately that they think most of the progressives that took seats in the state this last year were running against candidates that did not put themselves out much when it came to trying to get reelected to office. This should then be the race that either proves or disproves that the progressives are having an impact on local races. Richard Romero has been putting himself out there for the voters to get to know and to hear his views on where he wants to take the city in the future. I have not been hearing much for any of the other candidates as of yet but I am sure that will change once they are better organized. Maybe I will attend something this weekend so that I can get a picture of Richard Romero talking with local progressive voters.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Governor faces hard questions from right leaning press

Clearly the Governor is having a hard time with the right leaning press in New Mexico at present. Rather than set up a time and place to interview him and allow him to try and answer questions about the current events they are chasing him around New Mexico trying their level best to put a damper on good news for our state’s economy and the environment.

Now we all understand that news is news and that reporters have the responsible to ask the hard questions but our state also deserves a little respect when it comes to public events that are breaking news for our economy. Why did the media here in New Mexico not just ask him to meet with them at a time and place that would be respectful to both the media and the governor? Maybe they want to make this whole affair appear more sorted then it is and they are enjoying putting the screws to him. I personally think that it is wrong of reporters to kick him at a time when he has clearly been hurt in such a personal way by an investigation into his administration that cost him a position in the Obama administration.

Maybe news reporters should start acting like they learned something from the four years they attended Journalism College? If they can prove that they have contacted the governor’s office to request an interview and that he has refused to speak to them then they can interrupt an event at the end and demand that he answer questions. Clearly he cannot be forced to say anything that would result in harm to either himself or people who worked for him while serving his administration. Governor Richardson has stated forcefully that he feels that both himself and his administration will be cleared of any taint once this investigation is over and done.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Why? Why? Why?

Why is the one word that comes out of the mouths of just about every educator from birth on to death because it is the driving force in our lives. We simply can not help our selves as a group of people we are driven to learn and to pass that knowledge on to anyone that will listen. It is the one word that drives modern day administrators up the walls. They are the type of people who wish nothing more then to give an order and have it followed to the letter without commit and yet they are trying their level best to herd and communicate with cats who call them selves educators.

It is no more in our nature to be controlled then it is for us to stop breathing air. We want to commit on everything and every subject we come into contact with and we have a view that just has to be expressed each and every time. We no more agree with each other then we do with the administration that tries to rule our kind. We do get along with lawyers because they appear to be just like us and the bonus is that they love to argue just as much as we do and never admit to being in the wrong. Maybe that is the reason Aristotle first started teaching on the steps of government because he knew that he would find lawmakers in those buildings and at some point they had to come out and deal with him and yet in the end it cost him his life.

Why can we not get lawmakers in the modern world to understand that the knowledge we pass on to our students is just as valuable as any tool made by humankind? Why can we not make them understand that in order to pass along knowledge that we must have the time to pursue knowledge our selves after all we are a creative lot of people? Why is it that we cannot make lawmakers understand that in order for people to learn that their educators must have the freedom to pass the knowledge alone in their own methods however peculiar or strange those methods may appear?

Cookie cutter education teaches people only how to be cookie cutter people who cannot learn or think for them selves. If lawmakers want to improve education in this country then they will challenge educators to find the best methods and the most effectives systems to educate our current generation of people and they will challenge educators to find ways to prove that their students are learning to the top of their abilities. Cookie cutter test will only produce cookie cutter results that will prove nothing in the long run. True learning only happens when an environment of creative freedom is produced that can promote the endeavor.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Governor Richardson withdraws from Commerce Secretary Position

How sad that the investigation into the activities of CDR has cost our governor his position as Commerce Secretary in the Obama Administration. Richardson has said that it will take far too long and he does not want to hold back the Obama Administration but he is confident that the investigation will show no wrong doing on his or his administrations part.

Governor Richardson will now be able to focus his full attention on our state and the future of all New Mexicans. Lt. Governor Diane Denish will just have to wait for 2010 for her chance to become the states first woman governor. What can one say in the face of this development but that the nation’s loss is New Mexico’s gain.

Interview with Paula Maes candidate for district 5 APS school board.

Paula Maes is a veteran in the field of public broadcasting with her degree in the field and many years of practical experience which shows with a love for her career evident by the many awards on the walls of her office. She is the incumbent in the race and has served 8 years as the district 5 school board elected official. She raised four children with many photos to show just how much she cares about them and the children of Albuquerque proudly displayed on her desk top and she is very active in the schools in which her children attended. She is a native Hispanic New Mexican and has strong family ties within her community. In the past she has enjoyed huge support from the local voting community. Mrs. Maes major objective is to support Winston Brooks who was hired by the current school board as the new APS superintendent in the hopes of improving our school system and the policies set forth by the that school board which she hopes will have a direct positive effect on future improvements within the school system.

She is concerned with the downturn in the economy and the negative effects it might result in when it comes to our student’s abilities to concrete on the educational process. She feels that the best way to increase support for future raise to instructional staff and to protect the current budget in our school system is to get parents in a grassroots effort to call and email their state representative to express their support for funding of our educational system which she feels would carry far more weight then anything the current or future school board could say to our state representatives; nevertheless, she continues to lobby the state for a improved allotment of funds for our school system. Mrs. Maes is clearly a supporter of grassroots efforts to improve our local educational system and encourages parents to stay involved in their children’s education as she has done over the years with her own children. Clearly Mrs. Maes comes from a family that encourages education as a vehicle for future success in live and shows that support by public serve to her local community. For further information about this candidate you can go to

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Governor Bill Richardson appointed three new Judges to Second District Court

On Friday January 3, 2009 Governor Bill Richardson named three lawyers to the second district court here in Albuquerque. Each will now have to run in a partisan race to retain their positions on the bench. Civil Court Chief Judge William Lang has requested in the last few weeks that any appointee not take office for a few months in order to save the court system money in salaries for its budget cut of 2.5%. It remains to be seen if any of the new appointee will abide by Judge Lang’s request.

The New Judges are:

Beatrice Brickhouse: Age 46 A graduate of Western Illinois University and the University Of Arizona School Of Law. She has defended the city in discrimination cases, personal injury claims and federal civil rights cases since 2002. She was a commander in the record and evaluation center of the U.S. Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., before law school and has worked as a prosecutor in Farmington, a sole practitioner, an associate attorney with criminal defense attorney Gary Mitchell in Ruidoso and with the Jaffe Law Firm in Albuquerque.

Alan M. Malott: Age 55 graduated in 1979 of Loyola University Law School in Los Angeles California and The University of New Mexico School of Law, Judge Malott is certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, one of only about two dozen in New Mexico. He limited his practice to the litigation of personal injury claims, insurance company and HMO misconduct, products liability and professional negligence/malpractice cases. He has served on the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners since 2006. Judge Malott has successfully handled cases against all the larger insurance companies as well as numerous large corporations. See: Azar -vs- Wal Mart, Barncastle -vs- ANPAC, Garcia & Soberanez -vs- Progressive Insurance, amongst many others.

Judge Malott is also licensed to practice law in Colorado. A member of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association, he is also active in the State Bar of New Mexico and is a part time instructor at Central New Mexico Community College. He also still plays with cars and loves trivia!

Gerald J. Lavelle: Age 55 A Bachelor of Science in psychology and a master’s in psychology and a graduate in law from the University of Nebraska. He worked as a claims adjuster at the World Trade Center in 1981, he worked as a clerk in the New York state family court system, he worked as a family law attorney in private practice and also he worked as a Legal Aid in juvenile court. He has coached Little League and basketball.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Justice of Fair Raises

This last year the college gave its instructional support staff a 0% raise which did not even help it keep pace with inflation at the same time congress gave the federal supreme court the same raise. Here is what Justice John Roberts had to say about getting a rise.

"The judiciary's needs cannot be postponed indefinitely without damaging its fabric."

I could not agree more with this assessment of the path that both congress and our college management has decided to embark on during this last year.

Educational employee’s needs cannot be postponed in this state indefinitely without damaging the fabric of our higher educational system. The industry is willing to pay twice what our college systems are for these talented individuals who have families to rise and debts to meet. If New Mexicans wish to provide a quality higher education then they must demand that educational staff be paid a fair and just salary.

I can completely understand the pain and frustration of Justice Roberts because for the past eight years I have faced the same problem. Neither of us left our respected industries with the understanding that we would loss ground when it came to our long term salaries. We did understand that we would be giving up huge salaries in order to become public servants but had faith that the systems in place would treat us in a fair and justice manner.

When the economy makes a turn for the worse people in control of our government have cut both the educational system and the judiciary. The very things that we value most in this country are the very first items to be cut. People in control of this country and this state give themselves pay raises without feeling any need to support the items that would provide for this country’s future development of our economy. Core systems are being damaged for the sake of saving money that is them spent to give people even larger pay increase in administration positions and yet it has only lead to an increase in loss of good paying jobs in this state and in this country.

I have already interview two candidates for the local school board but cannot bring myself to write them up because all I hear is more of the same from these individuals. They value the same old methods that have led our educational system down a path of damage that has made us one of the least respected in this country and twenty seventh in the world. To say that we spend huge amounts on salaries for both education and government are true but the money is not going to educational staff or judges. The systems are broken and no longer support the reasons or the people they were created to support. They no longer support providing the services in which they were created to support.

Our only hope is that with the changes in people that were elected last November that change will come to the governmentally bodies that form the policies that will create future budgets. Over the next month these individuals will take office and begin to create policy so it is my dearest hope that these individuals will work hard to create a system that supports our core values of education, justice, and economic development.