Saturday, February 27, 2010

Budget Cuts to the Second District Court

With the Legislature meeting on Monday to deal with a budget shortfall that has been projected to be somewhere between 500 and 600 million with higher projections of as much as 800 million by the Republican Party and the Red Dog Senate Democrats no group or service is safe from the knife or the ax.

The court system like the school system has been hit hard in the past year because both systems are based on services to the voting public which leaves little room for deep cuts without directly harming the two systems ability to provide the services they were designed to deliver. Surely the republicans understand that to cut services during such a difficult economic time will only harm those people who are most vulnerable.

Talking with Second District Court Judge Allen Malott, I was struck by the fact that these types of budget cuts could also harm small business leaders who count on the court system to give them fair and balanced answers to difficult civil legal problems which could harm their businesses. One is left to wonder how republicans could be so hard on the small business communities when they are so valuable to our state’s economy and future growth.

Here is what Judge Allen Malott had to say about those budget cuts and the affect they have had and will have on our local court system.

Here is a little background about the Judge in his own words on his experience and qualifications.

Judge Malott is a very dedicated man who even showed up for work with the pain of a bad back and was willing to take time from his very busy schedule to give this interview so our voting public would be reminded of just how valuable our local court system is to fair and balanced justice for all.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Interview with Bernalillo County Sheriff Candidate Pat Davis

Today I spoke with Pat Davis who is running for the position of Bernalillo County Sheriff about what he means when he talks about community policing.

Next we talked about the usage of technology in keeping the voting public informed here in the county of Bernalillo. Santa Fe has a real time alert system that sends messages to your face book/twitter accounts to alert the public on many different emerging issues.

Pat Davis has had the experience of having worked in Washington DC during the difficult security period around the 9/11 attack and wants to bring those skills to our county to improve the sheriff’s office which is something that the past sheriff failed to do during his terms in office.

With violent crime and property crime being major issues both in our county and our city it would service the public to have the most skilled and experienced people we can find in leadership positions of our law enforcement.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Bills; Some Bright Spots from the 30 Day Session

Guest blog by State Senator Tim Keller

Like most legislators, I am not proud of the fact that we were unable to finalize the budget during the 30 day session. Our budget is top priority and I am confident that we will be able to balance it during the upcoming Special Session.

However, the 30 day session was not a complete loss. There were some important issues that I am grateful we did address. Our state faces an urgent need for restructure in the areas of “double dipping”, investment funds, education, domestic violence, stalled capital outlay, incentive accountability, reservation infrastructure and ethics reform. Thankfully, bills were successfully passed that addressed many of these crucial topics.

Two issues I happened to work on, State Investment Council Reform - Senate Bill 18 (SB 18) and Economic Development Incentive Accountability - Senate Bill 47 (SB 47), would not have been possible without bipartisan collaborative efforts between both legislative chambers and the executive branch. In the current context where cynicism tends to be the norm, these two bills are a testament to how government can come together and effectively work for New Mexicans.

Reflecting on these bills is like a tale of two journeys: one from a Government 101 text book and the other from a sausage-making cookbook. Both bills were Interim Committee bills that were crafted over the course of the fall and deliberated in multiple venues. The Interim Committee process is often overlooked in our state. These committees play an important role by providing an avenue for staff, agencies, media, legislators and advocates to iterate bill drafts, and to find the right solutions, without being under intense time pressure.

Both bills were pre-filed in early January which gave time for agencies to draft analyses and allowed for advanced public review. Messages supporting consideration of both of these bills were also received from the Governor. In a 30 Day Session, a message from the Governor is required to make any non-budget bill germane – relevant and appropriate for the Session.

Each bill, however, took a very different path once the session started. Legislators and advocates felt very comfortable with the incentive accountability policies in SB 47 and had consensus around its need. The two page bill moved through committees with relative ease, was never amended, and passed each stage without a single negative vote. It was a right idea at the right time and legislators efficiently passed it on its way.

On the other hand, SB 18, concerning investment fund reform, was an exercise in real-time policymaking. The complex sixty page bill was substituted twice in each Senate committee, was combined with two other bills in the Senate, had six pages of amendments in the House and then finally went back to the Senate for final concurrence. SB 18 also passed each stage of the process unanimously, yet each step along the way it was improved, enhanced, streamlined and balanced out; reflected in its final official title: “Senate Finance Committee substitute for Senate Rules Committee substitute for SB18, 218, 238 – Keller, Neville, McSorley/Heaton as amended in House Tax and Revenue Committee with an emergency clause.” The result was urgently needed comprehensive legislation that passed with less than an hour left in the session.

The process of SB 18 is a representation of how the system can effectively work on complex issues. This bill is a prime example of how individuals can spend hours working on a piece of complex legislation to get it right and how the system can respond to the public’s will in order to resolve problems. On the other hand, the process of SB 47 speaks to how basic ideas are moved along without partisan or personal political hang ups. Both bills are reflections of effective committee and floor leadership in which both chambers were able to productively reach this Session’s deadline.

While there is a lot of deserved frustration regarding the budget, I hope that these examples at least provide a thread of optimism; and some proof points that our government may work in mysterious ways and can be effective. For SB 18 & 47, it is now up to our Governor to complete the process by hopefully signing both bills. For the budget, it is up to the Legislature to complete the task we started in the 30 day session.

Senator Tim Keller
District 17
East Central Albuquerque and the International District

State Budgets--What is wrong with this process?

The first thing you learn as an accountant is that budgets are better done over time and not rushed at the end of the year. A rushed budget is one where not everyone has a chance to provide critical information and input that matters to the final product. If a company ran their budget process like the state does it would go bankrupt in a very short period of time?

State Senator Keller sent in this op-ed to illustrate how the process works best when he created two bills that passed both the senate and the house during this last session.

We need to create a process in this state where the budget is a longer process which includes time and opportunity for everyone to give their input and to provide supporting date on items that would be covered by the budget. The process must be open to the voters and have a common meeting ground where legislators could listen to all input to supply them with the best information.

It is not good when a voter cannot contact his or her representative during these very hectic sessions because it fails to support a budget outcome that is a result of the best ideas and suggestion from everyone in the state.

If an open and transparent system was created where the budget with all of its supporting information and supporting date was put on a website open to the public then people would feel less at the mercy of closed door attempts to finalize a deal that no one understands or for that matter can live with in the long run.

State Senators and Representatives should be required to show item by item which parts of any budget they support in order to encourage feedback from their constituency. Open government is a good thing for all New Mexicans.

Diane Denish Clear Winner for Governor

Diane Denish has not even started her campaign for governor yet and she already has the lead in the Governor’s Race for 2010. A poll released yesterday by Public Policy Polling has her well in front of everyone on the Republican side with Pete Domenici Jr. being the closest because of his father’s name ID.

Diane Denish is the clear pick when it comes to governor because of her stands on small business, ethics and education in this state. In a time of difficult economic issues facing our state we can ill afford a governor who would harm small businesses, our children and the environment all at the same time.

Democrats should take nothing for granite when it comes to this race because the welfare of our state depends on keeping the governor’s seat in the hands of the Democratic Party. With large money coming into this race from corporations on the side of republicans we will have our fight cut out for us this summer.

Denish has repeatedly said that it would be nuts to want to be governor at a point in history like this because of the higher expectations set for anyone elected and she also says that she is willing and able to meet any goals set by voters in this state. It is only too clear that none of the republicans could possibly come close to fulfilling those expectations in this state.

A native of the southern part of our state she appeals to both the left and the right side of the party. With the right lieutenant governor candidate by her side she should be an unstoppable force during the general election. She will need a team effort by all party members to make sure that corporations do not gain control in our state and drag us down over the next four years. Local busiensses leaders should fight hard in the next few months to prevent corporations from gaining Wall Street control of our state.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old Republican Machine Feeds on Its Own Young

Well it looks like the republicans are already on the attack when it comes to their own candidates. Allen Weh is already attacking and misquoting Pete Domenici Jr. Domenici is calling him out on this intentional misrepresentation of the facts.

We have all seen this happen time and again with the Republican Party both nationally and on a state and local level. It is no wonder that the republicans have such a weak showing in our state. I don’t agree with their view of politics but it is a two party system and we as democrats are made stronger by a good Republican Party.

We will watch and see as the republican machine rips apart yet another young candidate. The sad thing about this is that I have been told by friends who know Pete Jr. that he is not such a bad guy once you get to know him. I don’t want to see his as governor but I would not wish the old republican machine on any young person who wants to help run our state.

While democrats encourage and help young people to come up in our party the republicans kill their own young. How sad is that for their party?

Maybe the state’s Republican Party needs its own progressive wing to protect young republicans who want to lead a more positive and bipartisan group into the future. This has worked well for the Democratic Party in our state.

I feel sorry for any young republican and would encourage them to check out the Democratic Party as a way to move our state forward for a more positive and successful future.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is the Courts in New Mexico Up for Sale

With the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to give businesses unlimited ability to spend money on elections we are now faced with the fact that those businesses can now spend huges amounts of money to replace our judges with individuals that are bought and paid for by corporations.

On the other hand we do not want judges appointed for life by individuals who do not have to answer to the public because that would allow corporations to buy those people in secret and then the judges would again feel no need to care what people think or how their decisions would effect the public.

Do we as the people want a republican governor to be the one to pick our future court and then allow them to stay on the bench for life? How is that fair or balanced for any New Mexican?

Clearly we need a system where judges are chosen for their skills in the law and their ability to refuse to take sides on any issue until they hear the facts in the cases. This takes a system where people should only be allowed to run for the bench if they prove to a non-partisan selection group that they have the needed skills to run for the position. Then it should be left up to the voting public without the aide of corporate money to decide who is best suited for the bench.

Humble does not come from a system where judges appointed by one high ranking individual feel they are above the voters in any possible shape for form. Clearly most lawyers in this state think they are smarter then the voting pubic. It is through the election process of meeting common people and learning about them that lawyers who are known for large egos are forced to humble themselves to the very people that will appear before them on future cases which teaches them the very important skill of being a good and caring judge.

We as the voting public need to encourage our lawmakers in Santa Fe to create laws that would prohibit businesses from spending large sums of money on our local judicial races. We want laws that would encourage future judges to get out and speak with the voting pubic because I can tell you from personal experience that once elected you will never see the judges again unless you appear before them in a court of law. Of course there are a few exceptions to that rule. I can name two individuals and that is all. Ask yourself when was the last time you saw a sitting judge in this state? Which speaks to the need for elections to retain judges in this state.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Great Day for Democrats in Bernalillo County

70% of the delegates showed up for the county convention ready to put democrats in key positions of state government.

Diane Denish lead off the event with strong encouragement to delegates to keep up the hard work.

Ben Lujan was a great speaker as he pointed out all that they had managed to achieve in just one short year while it took Bush eight years to drive our country into the ditch . He said that now the republicans were trying to run away from the scene of the crime. Yet democrats are only two aware of who is to blame for our current economic difficulties.

Martin Heinrich was a strong voice for our county and is supporting the public healthcare option along with lots of green job support for our state’s future. He has two little boys who are counting on their father to provide a good job market for their future and he does not plan on leaving them anything less.

Teague did not show but sent a nice little letter explaining how sorry he was that he could not attend the state’s largest county convention even though he had areas that are under his control in our county.

After the business of adding important issues like support for domestic violence prevention to the platform were voted on by delegates it was time to hear from candidates.

We had judges both district, metro, and appeals court who are all doing a great job and want to continue their important work even with less funding from the state government.

We had a number of candidates for land commissioner with Ray Powell and Sandy Jones being the lead candidates in the field.

We had a number of sheriff candidates all of who are willing to fix the problems left behind by a republican sheriff who did little while women were being killed and buried on the west mesa.

The last to speak were the candidates for Lieutenant Governor. With a field of so many gifted individuals voters will find it hard to pick just one and many would love to have the top three candidates all at the same time but unfortunately we must pick one. Although I have my personal favorite I strongly suggest that the voting public takes their time to get to know each of the candidates so they can see why we are so lucky.

After the convention a number of us went over to the Blackbird on central to listen to Congressman Heinrich speak.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Healthcare Public Option through Reconciliation

“Senator Michael Bennet just announced a letter to Senator Harry Reid, asking him to pass the public option through reconciliation, which only needs 51 votes in the Senate. 18 other senators have already co-signed it -- and over 100 House Democrats and 300,000 Americans have signed on in support of this strategy”

Statement put out by the Democracy for America Group

At this point Senator Udall has signed on to this letter defending Main Street Americans. I am sad to say that Senator Jeff Bingaman has not yet signed on to this letter and his staff have said that he has no official response on this letter as of yet.

We are all very proud of Senate Udall and his stand on issues that matter to Main Street Americans. As for Senator Bingaman it is high time that he either stands up publicly for the public option or he should stop claiming to support it.

Angry to the Point of Violates

Yesterday we saw an angry individual fly his airplane into an IRS building to express his anger at our government. We run into people every once in a while who are so mad about their personal issues that they are willing to harm innocent people.

Why are we not more frightened by people who are willing to solve their issues through violent acts against others? Why are we not willing to tell people when they need help with their behavior problems? Why does it take someone dying to make Americans face the reality that we need to teach people better anger management skills? Violent behavior is never the answer to solving a problem with other individuals or the government.

It is one thing to encourage people to stand up for their civil rights but quite another to encourage them to harm people in order to get their own way on issues. You can see a crowd mentality when these people get in large groups and spread their anger.

We hear on talk radio everyday individuals encouraging violent acts toward others but it is not just republicans who have a problem with this behavior. I have seen individuals with anger management problems in the Democratic Party and they are scary.

Partisanship has been taken too far in this country and our people are being encouraged to turn on each other in both verbal and physically violent attacks to solve their issues. We should be encouraging civil discord in order to solve difficult social issues. We should be willing to listen to all individuals even if we do not agree with them on issues.

We must first start by respecting the fact that everyone has a right to disagree with our viewpoints and we cannot force them to agree with us simply because we do not like their stand on an issue.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Never Talk Religion or Politics with Your Friends

How often have I been warned by people I know and in some cases they are right because some people are emotionally unstable and will harm you if you do not agree with them. They will try to make you a social outcast for expressing views that fail to be their own. These individuals don’t really want to hear you views because they can never truly listen to them.

Now I talk politics all of the time on this blog and sometimes I even commit on religious issues that are dealt with in the local and federal government. I make people angry with me because of my view point on some issues.

Partisan politics are the result of us failing to be able to calmly listen to other viewpoints. Common ground can only be reached when we stop yelling at each other and start listen to the other side of the issues. Being unable or unwilling to give and take can only result in a smaller party. Sometimes you even have to agree to disagree on issues.

I am sure that some of my friends on facebook will no longer call themselves friends of mine after this week because they fail to be able to talk religion and related politics without becoming angry and hateful towards anyone that cannot totally agree with their view point.

I lost one friend a week ago because he wanted to treat me like a social outcast because of my expressing my viewpoint during a political meeting. I will not be friends with someone who can so publicly disrespect me. I did not demand or expect him to side with me on the issue but at the same time I would not allow a friend to disrespect me in public either. I am a person and you can be nice to me without agreeing with every view I hold on issues.

The Democratic Party is the big tent of issues and we do not all agree on every issue but to treat someone badly or disrespectfully because of their views on issues can only in the long term harm our party. I hold no personal anger toward anyone that disagrees with me on issues. As a matter of fact I hang out with lawyers because I enjoy the ability to talk issues without taking it personally.

Give Us a Break

Who should the voters hold responsible for the budget gridlock in Santa Fe?

Come on give us a break do the republicans in the senate really think that voters do not understand that it is them with a few Red Dog Democrats like Tim Jennings and John A. Smith that are holding up the budget and trying to tax the poor in this state? How stupid do they think the voting public is in this state?

I know don’t answer that because they even charge voters to attend their own pre-primary convention so that their candidates can pay supporters to vote for then when it comes to getting them on the republican side of the ticket. Why any low income individual would waste their time voting for one of those republicans is beyond the capacity of any normal sane person to understand.

The democrats will be holding their pre-primary convention here in Bernalillo County at the convention center downtown on Saturday and it is free and open to any democrat no matter their income level. Maybe a few should show up and explain the value of staple foods to their own state senators that is if they have the nerve to show up in the first place.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tortilla Tax Unfair to Working Class New Mexicans

The New Mexico state senate lead by democrats who act more like republicans has passed its view of a state budget that would harm the poor while helping the rich in this state.

They are now trying to force that bill through without support of the voters in this state and then they expect to try and get elected in November so that they can widen their control over our already heavily tax burned state but the taxes are only taken from the poor and not the rich.

The tortilla tax would single out Hispanics and Native Americans in this state who are already facing very difficult economic times and who face food shortages every day of their lives. Some have asked what planet dose these state senators live on that they do not understand our basic culture in this state.

Conservative news is warning representatives that the voters will not be happy unless this bill is passed by mid-week. The Republican Party is using scare tactics to force through legislation that can only harm the working poor and benefit the rich republicans in this state.

What state representatives better be careful of is angering their base and finding that they have no support for the left if they pass legislation that harms those supporters. Senators like Jerry Ortiz y Pino are already facing anger from the progressives who see the tortilla tax as being harmful to the very people they went to Santa Fe to represent in the first place.

The good news was that the real progressive senators like Keller, McSorley and Garcia did not vote for or support this tax on the working poor. Even Linda Lopez who supported Tim Jennings at the outset understands that her voters would not support this tax in the first place.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Young Dems of NM Calling into Question Republican Petitions for Candidates

Young Democrats to question signatures on republican petitions. Are the republicans playing loss and wild or are they playing fair when it comes to the petitions they are turning in to the secretary of states office to get their candidates on the ballot? Do they care if voters met the requirements to be allowed to sign a petition or are the republicans just looking for warm bodies.

With the Secretary of States Office having limited funds to check petitions are the republicans running for office taking advantage of that fact to knowingly hand in false signatures? It would appear that they may be facing some serious legal challenges if the young democrats find false or illegal signatures on those petitions.

The young democrats are calling on their membership to check signatures by volunteering time to check petitions. This is a matter of keeping the system honest and above board so that candidates are being held accountable to the process and the state laws.

Host: Young Democrats of New Mexico

Type: Cause-Rally

Start Time Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

End Time: Friday, February 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Location: 1301 San Pedro Blvd

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a Trap

This is something pasted on by a friend that you must just see for yourself.

The Trap
How could President Obama begin to know what universal healthcare would look like?

New Mexico State Senate Not From this Planet

With State Senators like Tim Jennings and John A. Smith standing firmly with the Republican Party’s state senators what hope do the working poor in this state have when it comes to the budget? These men are democrat in name only and vote republican every chance they get. It is a total falsehood that democrats are in control of the state senate.

Jennings and Smith would rather enforce a tax on the poor instead of raising taxes on the rich in this state. They don’t care about working families and they work hard to force bills through our state senate that only harm New Mexico families and small businesses.

Today Jennings and Smith will be working hard to reduce the pay of already low income instructors in this state by 1% which is nothing more then a tax on the poor who make less then $40,000 a year in income. Some of these families make just over $20,000 a year but will just the same face a tax increase in the way of paying more for their retirement.

This tax increase on the working poor only takes more money from our local economy and further harms our state by making sure that local small businesses don’t see the income they need to stay out of the red.

Someone in this state needs to call these red dog democrats on their behavior and force them to understand that this is unacceptable for a blue state like New Mexico.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What is the Value of the Constitution of the United States?

So often people in this country get so wrapped up in their own personal values and issues that they forgets that our nation is made up of many individuals with different views and different values.

It is very important that we find a way to live with each other without forcing our personal views on the general society. Bipartisanship is something this country has lost the ability to work within and we must find a way to get back to those values if we hope to move our country forward in a new direction.

We as a nation have all agreed to a basic set of rules which we call the Constitution of the United States.

Among the top values are some basic freedoms which include freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. These are all listed in the first Amendment established in 1791.

Special interest groups would have all of these freedoms done away with in order to force people to accept them. They hold us too tightly in their grip and would kill us before they would allow us to fly free.

I am not a member of the Republican Party so I fight to keep my party open to all who would call themselves Democrats. Special interest groups fights to force their values on our general society without regard for anyone else’s values but in the end they must always fail because any law created that would force such changes would simply be unconstitutional.

For special interest groups to use large sums of money to buy advertising space in order to spread their lies and misconceptions is a disservice to the agreed upon rules of our society. Everyone in the voting public must fight to make these groups face the facts that our constitution does not allow their views to be forced on even one member of our society.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Howard Dean’s Visit to New Mexico

Howard Dean never ceases to inspire the Democratic Party’s voting public when it comes to supporting our elected officials in this State and across our great nation. He can be credited with helping to turn around the Democratic Party when it comes to getting people of all age groups to get out to vote and to become active in local and national politics.

He strongly suggested that supporters spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something that is related to local politics. He also suggested supporting community causes to develop strong caring relationships with local community leaders. Clearly he and his brother Jim are working hard for the future of our country.

His message for the voting public is to support democratic elected officials because by not doing so you doom this country to republican failed policies. He says that you must hold elected officials to their word and express clearly you discontent so that they get the message that change is what we on Main Street need the most.

If you give up on the party or our elected officials then you are failing in your duty as an American. Today Dr. Dean teamed up the Democratic Party of New Mexico and its leadership to bring his message to local voters while raising funds for our party.

In this video Dr. Dean is speaking to students at UNM

Albuquerque Tea Party: Wrong Values System at the Wrong Time

Albuquerque Tea Party is a far right wing republican group that represents the worst America has to offer when it comes to our core values. Clearly their values are not the values of Main Street Americans.

They encourage hate and welcome hate groups such as the KKK. I personally have seen members of hate groups at some of their meetings supporting their candidates. They would allow the weakest in our society to fend for themselves without any help or hope of help from our federal government. They would close down public education and make education only for the very rich 1% of individuals in this country.

They support big uncontrolled businesses which would harm Main Street America. If it is up to them and the candidates they support Big Wall Street Corporations would run uncontrolled so that wages would be less than those in third world countries and the environment would become unlivable for our children and our parents. They oppose the cap and trade system that would stop the worst of global warming around the world.

Small businesses would have no hope of competing again huge Wall Street run corporations if the tea party gets it way in this country. Small businesses and individuals would soon see healthcare become unaffordable and people would begin to die from treatable diseases. Parents would be forced to stand by and watch their children die from treatable illness while the very rich took up doctors’ time for unneeded procedures.

The tea party is now reaching out to the uneducated and the undereducated in our city and filling their heads with lies and fears that they over the time of the Bush Administration have help to create in the first place. They color everything as if nothing bad was going on before President Obama was elected.

It will be up to the Democratic Party and Independents to save our state from a future where the tea party manages to kill small businesses and harm our families through their own warped values system.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pore Space and Why It Matters to New Mexicans

On Friday the New Mexico State Senate passed Senate Bill 145 that would define ownership rights and liabilities for what is being called pore space.

Ownership of land is easy to understand because it is the top soil and everything you can see on the surface of the land. Mineral rights are for things like gas, oil, copper, gold and coal. Some people understand that you can sell mineral rights while still maintaining ownership of the surface land.

A company will come in and mine the minerals, reclaim the land and then a owner has a flat piece of land to then build on in the future. While the land is never the same it still has a use as a piece of property. It is only the natural historical environment that is destroyed by strip mining.

Now New Mexico is on its way to having a third property right spelled out which is called pore space. So what is pore space and why is it important to land owners and New Mexicans.

To understand what pore space is you must think of our planet like a large sponge. Like a sponge it is not hollow but it has pores or pockets varying in size from very tiny to huge which have gas, oil, water, and some have air in them.

When we drill for oil we replace the oil with water or CO2 gases using a method called boosts so that the land does not sink in on itself like a sponge that dries out. Hard rock has large pores that we call caves in southern New Mexico where water has carved out softer rock to create hollow spaces.

With more coal fired power planets trying to find ways to store CO2 gases that they cannot release into the air they are turning to drilling into deep rock and then injecting those gases into that pore space which would displace anything such as air that is already in the pore space. Oil Companies are already using CO2 boosts methods to get more oil out of the ground in the southern part of the state.

Think of poring a glass of water on the ground the surface absorbs the water by displacing air rather then the water just sitting on the top of the ground. For now the experts believe that the gas will stay deep underground where it will not harm people. There can be no long term studies because this is a new technology.

We know from past experience with places like the Love Canal in New York State where a chemical company buried chemical which harmed many families that anything placed in the ground can come back to the surface in the future.

Sometimes that can result in harmful effects to people who later buy land without the knowledge of what has been buried underground in the past. So having a law which clearly defines who has the liabilities for what is injected in the land would be good for New Mexicans. Not much is know about the effects of CO2 on humans but research is ongoing to produce those results.

Containment is another issue because pore space is not controlled by property lines. It is like dropping a drop of food coloring into a glass of water the color does not stay in one place over time but spreads out. CO2 gases can pollute natural gas deposits and deep ground water.

Clearly we want to know who has owned the pore space and what that space has been used for in the past. At present pore space rights can be sold through contract and the issue of liability has not been clearly spelled out in state law.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interview with Lieutenant Governor Candidate and State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino

Late yesterday evening in Santa Fe I was able to sit down with State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino and ask him questions about the budget, the partnership bill and education.

Senator Ortiz y Pino is a candidate for the position of Lieutenant Governor and a progressive who is running on a platform of progressive values. He has promised not to give up those values if elected as New Mexico’s next Lieutenant Governor.

Senator Ortiz y Pino has been described as a very effective legislator and I am sure that the other candidates all wish that he would continue his important work in the state senate. Senator Ortiz y Pino answer is that he thinks he would be even more effective in the lead chair in the state senate.

The Budget

The Partnership Bill


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just the Facts

“Just reporting the facts makes it easier don’t you think?” that was a question put to me lately by a news reporter friend of mine. Just reporting the facts on a hot button issues is far harder than one would think but he makes it look too easy. A news reporter that actually just reports the facts is hard to come by in this state and we should value them for the insight they give us by reporting the facts on both sides of issues. Unbiased news reporting is the foundation of a free society.

Here are my views on a hot button issue but be forewarned that I am a columnist and not a news reporter so I am expected by my readers to express an opinion on current issues.

Last evening I attended a meeting put on by someone who is openly lesbian and she was very angry because the partnership bill had been effectively tabled by a local state senator who condemned it to a republican controlled finance committee rather than see it passed into law.

This state senator violated the voters trust by not supporting the Democratic Party’s platform when it came to this issue but as of late he has engaged in attacking another party member as well and one has to wonder what his reasoning is behind these behaviors.

The leader of the group turned her anger toward me at the end of the meeting because my church does not support partnerships or marriage for lesbians/gays. I told her that I personally support partnership for lesbians and gays because I see it as a social issue of fairness and human rights to their community but that I cannot support marriage because I know that there are extreme individuals in her community that would try to force priest into marrying them. When their tacit fails as it must they will then sue the church for large sums of money. Their desire in the end is not to be married in the eyes of the law with all the rights that it entails but to force the church to accept their life style.

Fairness toward society’s individuals when it comes to basic human rights is something every society should work toward and America is not without its flaws in this area. America was built on the idea of fairness and tolerances toward all individuals so we should respect each other’s views and work toward living together in peace without hate and anger toward each other because of our different views on issues. The first step toward understand is to listening to each other without anger or name calling.

So in answering my friend’s question yes reporting just the facts on some issues would appear to be a lot easier but columnists must often step into the area of opinion to get people to listen to each other and to express their own point of view on those issues; nevertheless, I do want to point out that there is nothing more valuable to a free society then a unbiased news reporting system. We all need trusted sources where we can get hard facts from both sides of an issue.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions and Its Effect on Big Corporations

The U.S. Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom has decided that large corporations have the same rights as any other human being in this country. They have the right to freedom of speech and can use their own money the same as any individual in this country to influence voters when it comes to elected officials and elections.

The idea of being able to create large corporate entities was developed during the industrial period of our country to allow companies to grow by raising large sums of funding from many individuals. Because no one individual had direct control over the decisions made by a business it was decided to limit liabilities to protect individual investors.

Corporations were created and given limited rights as if they were people not just companies. They had to pay taxes and could be sued but the owners of the corporations could not be personally held responsible for their corporation’s behavior. Only the assets of the corporation could be taking if the corporation failed therefore personal assets of the investors were protected which encouraged people to invest in those corporations. This allowed our country to grow and develop a Gross National Product that could be sold to Americans and other countries alike.

The problem is that a corporation is not in reality a human being and because of that it should have no rights to freedom of speech. The government never gave a corporation the right to vote because they understood that corporations could be owned by anyone either in this country or from outside this country and only Americans should have the right to influence elections within our country. Far too many of our corporations are now owned by investors from other countries and it is not in the best interest of our country to allow outsiders to have a voice in our political process. This issue is a serious matter of national security for our country.

Individual investors and CEOs have little to no interest in what is best for our people. Their views as shown in the recent past are only on short term profit. If I was a CEO of a large corporation right about now I would be recruiting candidates from both parties that would vote from issues like limited liabilities on lawsuits and environmental protection laws that would best benefit my corporation. If I was a foreign CEO I would want someone who would lower trade restrictions and reduce security measures.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a huge error with this decision and this gap must be closed by the current administration before it is allowed to get out of control.

Today Senator Tom Udall took a step in the right direction by inducing an Amendment to limit the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision.

"Money can have a corrosive effect on the political process. We've seen evidence of that in campaigns at all levels of government," Udall said. "We have long needed substantive campaign finance reform, and it's my hope that the high court's disappointing decision will provide the push we need to put elections back in the hands of average Americans."

Albuquerque City Council Uses Red Light Camera Money to Benefit Police and Fire

Yesterday evening the Albuquerque City Council voted to use funds from the Red Light Camera fund to help replace old police cars that have been run into the ground protecting the City of Albuquerque‘s residents. They also provided partial funding for two city fire stations.

R-10-30 Providing Partial Funding For The Construction Of Fire Stations 2 and 7 And Providing Funding For The Acquisition Of Marked Police Vehicles; Making Appropriations Within The Photo Enforcement Fund 288 And The Capital Acquisition fund 305

I spoke to City Councilman Rey Garduño on the passage of R-10-30.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Colón a Week of Campaign Kick Offs

While most candidates for Lieutenant Governor are kicking back and watching football Lieutenant Governor Candidate Brian Colón was working on another type of kicked off this last week Starting with a birthday party attended by just over 300 supporters followed up by a campaign office opening of another 150 people. Colón a native New Mexican from humble beginnings was surrounded by supporters all of this week.

Colón promises to be the hardest working candidate in a field of 5 lieutenant governor hopefuls. He is traveling the state and making sure to visit all 33 counties as he works to include all the voting public in New Mexico.

Colón is out spreading the word of his support for things like education and small business development in the state. He says that no area of the state is too small for him to stop and visit with its residents are he works his way around New Mexico.